today’s photos by Patricia
The hummer buzzes close by sipping nectar. Bluebirds have taken residence in the wooden house on the split rail fence. The mockingbird proudly sits at the apex of the roof chittering happily every song it knows, which is many.
Springtime splendors overwhelm my senses with such joy; a basket of lilacs to fill the house with intoxicating aroma, lilies of the valley next in line for picking, an herb garden, new this year awaiting a good watering so that basil and parsley can germinate. A four pack called Scarborough Fair also awaits planting once any danger of frost has passed; parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.
Simple earthy pleasures abound along with my blossoming spirit soaking up blooms, deer prancing in the meadow, and sunshine as wisps of clouds evaporate and heat radiates from clear blue skies. The dew wets my sneakers as meadow rounds are walked, bare feel inside them feeling the cool moisture.
Mosaic butterflies hanging on the trees by the creek glow with a sparkle that shimmers, even the one I hated has now become a favorite. The other two in front glitter and sway on the branches as if alive.
Each day new pleasures await with an internal calmness that allows my being to enjoy them.
photo by Patricia
The path to the core becomes tangled, blocked by memories, though the soul goes there to hide. So one resides in a place that can’t be found. No way in, no way out.
She peeks out at times. Maybe there is someone to trust, who takes her hand and guides her. Even so, the world is tough and into hiding she goes.
It may never be safe to come fully out. Maybe only in solitude does she find her soul, a safe haven to breathe, connect and become who she was meant to be.
It is these roots that save her. The very place she runs from, the memories which are a part of her history locked deep below. The same place where she hides.
Coming out she looks below and runs. Yet that is where the strength comes from and has kept her here all along. It is in what she suffered that makes her strong and who she is. It is her history that makes her beautiful.
photo by Patricia
My mother died almost 9 years ago. After her death the book erupted from deep within. Protecting her vision of a happy family was no longer needed. Freedom to grow and become complete occurred. It took that long. I was 56.
As the words gurgled up about what they had done it was committed to paper then strewn to the universe where it belonged. It did not belong deep down in me, or kept on that little girl’s shoulders anymore. I felt lighter.
Along with the details no child should live with, came events that brought joy. The tears falling down my cheeks each week were capsules of joy with the pain. I looked forward to mornings writing while sipping coffee, and the hours ticked by satisfyingly.
A book emerged without much planning. Each chapter fell into place as if written before writing and just waiting. Once committed to book form and available to the world a need existed for further voice. A blog, start a blog. The voice blotted for decades began to sing.
The one rule is, be honest. Be who you are, or who you know yourself to be at the time of writing. Going deep beneath the layers of who should I be, the pleaser, the sweet person, and all the other personas worn and learned over time to ride the waves without hitting a rock, dissolved. What was left?…the journey inside, no longer fearful to learn about who was there, discovering her, and speaking for her for the very first time.
photo by Patricia
Cocooning myself against the threats in the world was crucial to survival. Every living being posed a threat. This type of cocooning lead to decay, not growth, but I knew no other way.
Reaching out for help from the black hole took great courage and persistence. One starts where one can. The local Mental Health Clinic took on clients based on income so my fee was very low. With only Samuel working at minimum wage we scraped by each week. My babysitting, crafts and frugal spending habits kept us afloat.
Those steps outward were so terrifying. What will they think about me? The urge to blurt forth what brothers had done had become too much to contain, yet along with it was great fear of how badly I’d look. The dirt by others dirtied me and in my mind must be my fault.
Yet there remained one glittering speck of instinct knowing all that was not true. And that speck grew and grew with the help of therapists throughout the years, even ones that behaved badly. Perhaps those spurred me on even more.
Reaching out for friends and outside activities brought anxiety and was scary yet the need for connection grew greater. Always a part of school chorale my love of singing drew me to the local chorale. That became a healthy opportunity for growth in many ways for years. With shaking knees at concerts, friends held me up with their kind support. Each concert became easier and rehearsals less scary and fun.
Friends have remained and due to taking risks and asking others, a group was formed that has met monthly for over 15 years. We rotate at each other’s houses for crafts, cards, snacks then a dessert. The comfort and camaraderie of other women became a base like earth to grow from.
The need to cocoon myself from too much stimulation remains. Many should’s arise in my mind, yet one rational voice whispers my truth, It’ OK, do what you need to for you…
There is in each of us a wealth to discover of untapped resources. But how to dig through the layers of injury to find the treasures? It wasn’t until middle-age when the filth left behind by others began to break away. Feeling clean arose from deep within. My life had stopped at the age of eight. Who I was went underground. Who you knew was not me.
There were periods of success and finishing what was started, but more often any hopes, dreams, goals or even a small simple project was left unfinished. Darkness and pain mired my body and mind in turmoil and self-hate.
Working with mosaics brings satisfaction on many levels. Sometimes the jagged pieces cut my fingers and reminds me how like the shards I am; warm and beautiful sometimes, prickly, cold and sharp other times. And the broken pieces, not usually cut carefully but pounded with a hammer, come together in wholeness with a unique presence not found when scattered.
It gives me hope. It feels good to finish what was started, from rolling out the clay, glazing it, firing the tiles, and then hammering the tile into pieces. The design phase allows a conduit from the soul outward, a route heavily blocked since childhood- the iron doors too thick to penetrate either in or out.
As the sun splays through the window upon my shoulder, reminding myself to breathe as muscles relax on the exhale, incense burning and music softly playing in the background, the process of coming together is happening with broken tiles, but also, most satisfying, with me.
This is my life, putting back the pieces…
What lies beneath?
photo by Patricia
Reproaching constantly when failing to meeting goals, expectations or plans fortifies the harsh force living inside that leaps to the forefront more quickly than the warm, soft one. The latter is newly cultivated and without nurturance wilts quickly needing continual moistening with tender attention.
You know winters are hard. Yet you expect to perform as if it is not. Reminders of its challenges and how difficult they are will soften expectations, heighten your ability to see successes over failures, and make the path more enjoyable.
It is work to repair so many years of engrained self-flogging that started at age eight and only flourished as decades passed. As a child touched in such criminal ways, and silenced to meet others needs of normalcy, it is common to take the crimes on as if they were your own.
Hating oneself solidifies. Self-love, what is that? That is the work, softness, warmness, and acceptance towards oneself. Is there a part of the brain that never softens from the blizzard of self-reproach?
The windows yesterday were closed when temperatures began to drop from 60. Rain melted the snow filling the creek into a pond. Wind raged through the night. Upon waking it is 16 degrees and snow swirls to over a foot.
Kitten curls up on my lap as the word gratitude wraps around me like snow.
photo by Patricia
The journey within is often dark and scary. Issues of low self-esteem grew since the first wrong touch as a child of eight. Low self-worth became as solid and strong as bones that grew with them.
To move beneath those shadows can be frightening. Voices bellow a cadence of grim put-downs that put a being in a grave while still living. But with work fallacies dissolve and the real humanness inside can be explored. Treasures found have been there all along.
With realistic eyes see where you add to dysfunction or unhappy interactions. What is in your power to change, and what is not? What can you do to provide yourself with what you need so that there are no regrets? It is up to you and no one else.
The road is fraught with pits of self-recriminations because that is what I know. To furrow new rows where love germinates takes attention and work. Newly spaded soft warm earth needs tending and care. Too often robotic me drives on and no softness sprouts up.
When feelings of cold self-rejection overtake trying to harvest a soft place to fall where before only ice existed is new territory that doesn’t come easily. Bringing softness to places where harshness tends to live is an ongoing journey into the depths of my being.