Food of Life

photos by patricia

Get to the root causes of why you overeat. Yes. Feed this body so it works properly.

What about the psyche, emotions, and the soul that searches for something never found? These crucial parts still crave satisfaction and wholeness.

I eat anxiety. I eat to feel better about the little girl lost, unloved and unprotected who to this day struggles with self-esteem and so much more. It is a desire and basic need that will forever go wanting because no one can go back and make it right…or safe.

At 64 I am only just learning to be kind to myself. That is key. Yet the constant challenges of confronting that harsh voice inside remains and needs work daily questioning its validity.

Food soothes. Food quiets the voice. But then another voice booms even louder, “You are fat, you are bad!” but it is one I’m used to from the age of 8 when food numbed the horrors. I go in circles and circles.

Keep at it, keep trying.

Waking to the birds, the humidity is thick. Taking coffee to the patio, bare feet against the cool cement, the nesting mourning dove calls hauntingly and sweetly back to her mate sipping water at the birdbath. They are on nest two. At this rate they will have three families by summer’s end. A tranquility descends into my being.

Each day a mystery. Will you feel fear, or be OK? Tame the beast of impermanence. Each day a challenge wrestling with thoughts, turning them around, finding the peace restlessly craved; a quietness in the soul that when found allows textures to be felt, scents to be absorbed, and moments to be full…

RECOVERY

Equilibrium returns slowly at a snail’s pace, that feeling of wholeness, OK-ness— centeredness out of reach, floundering for shore, a safe place and feeling safe only craved for not found. Days pass and a moment of noticing a thing of beauty occurs, like the glittery bits in the new stone for the garden path, and hope flutters like a sparkle of sun then passes. It takes time to recover from a simple eye exam.

Simple for others. I had to medicate myself in order to be in a closed, windowless room with a technician then the doctor. Each took their turn putting the mammoth glaring machines up against my eyes which also means another human only an a few inches from my face and body. The room is darkened. I want to remain calm and seem like a normal person not the crazy mixed up one I feel like inside.

So I pity myself, something I hate to do yet the exhaustion of the appointment and bringing that terror up from the recesses of my gut out through my mouth in a coherent way to explain my surgical needs took everything. It has taken four days of directing my body to perform needed household tasks, even making jam, but something was off, where is the joy? Separating from the terror meant separating from myself. I’m a robot.

Today the pieces are joining. Wisps of daisies dance with buttercups in the meadow taking me to a place of peace and beauty.  Wisteria hanging in grape-like clusters a few feet away float an exotic aroma through the kitchen window, its floral wafting a caress. Mowers heard in the background add to the mix of heady scents with the sweet smell of fresh cut grass.

Molly stretches in the sun on the porch, her white belly full from breakfast, glorious in fluffy white. She too radiates with the coming summer and all its untold, mysterious splendors…

Samuel’s roses…

PEACE

photo by patricia

Peace is restored. Daily tasks sublime in their normalcy bring me into the present moment. The morning sun warms my face through the window as the hot soapy water glides off the silver kettle and makes bubbles on my hands. 

Typical ‘the Donald’ morning news stories  playing on the TV in the background unnerve my repose. My stomach curdles fearing the future of our planet and the very air we breathe. The newly elected president seeks to destroy anything of worth or value, even the future of his own grand-children for the sake of pleasing his supporters who voted him in. My spirit sinks as world leaders castrate his pulling out of the Paris Environment Agreement feeling sickened and ashamed of what he has done. 

Thankfully my massage therapist had a cancellation. The scent of luscious oils permeate my being the moment I walk through the door. I know in a few moments lavender oil with be lavished on me. She was drawn more to the impinged shoulder than the stiff neck. 

“I can see that it’s swollen and feel that it is warm,” she says working the area carefully while I wince. “Ice it twice a day,” she adds. We schedule several more visits every two weeks. One more self care task added to the ever growing list. I leave feeling refreshed. Her touch soothes and heals. 

The hummingbird zooms in behind my head to the feeder while sitting having coffee on the patio the next morning. The sun peeks out warming me thoroughly. Dew glistens like diamonds on the hostas. Papa dove swoops into the nest on the porch next to Mama as if to ask, “Do you need a break?” 

The morning is spent doing nothing except being. Yet that accomplishes a great deal that is healthy for the body as it unwinds and relaxes inside and out. 

photo by Cory

 

FROZEN

photos by son, Cory

I need people yet being around too many freezes me. I pull in, become numb from stress and it can take days to unwind and find my way back to myself. Even those closest to me; sons, daughter’s-in-law and grand-children. Taking them one at a time? No problem. All at once?

Love having everyone together because it is rare, yet…the stress of wanting it all to go perfectly caused stiffness that speaks in my shoulders, tendons like taut piano wires.

“I feel frozen,” I tell a dear friend, one who also suffered childhood sexual abuse traumas.

“I’m like that too after being around a lot of people,” she confides, and a burden drops from me like water falling off rock. Having feelings validated and understood is priceless, like my friend.

As the freeze begins to melt the tears come like soft rain, each drop bringing me back to myself, the land, the butterflies, the dappled light at my feet from the leaves overhead, the singsong of birds chanting lively along with the croaking of tree frogs and the tractor in the distance.

Though I love my family, keeping up with 30 year old’s is exhausting. But it is worth it and all did go perfectly, even walking the glen on hike after hike. Just give me a few more days of grass, breeze, quietness, and rest…

PEACE

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In that place that is not now, distracted from the present, and not knowing why, tears fall. Then fall more.

Sometimes an instinctual urge has no name or explanation. Get out. Walk. Doing will help you feel productive, not paralyzed as this new wave of unspoken needs and change take hold.  

Eventually the mind will meet the emotions and the unnamed feelings will make sense; or they won’t. Until then ride the waves and do the work needed to maintain health in all realms; emotional, mental, spiritual and physical. 

Walk, confront the negative voices, bring that dissociated mind back to what is around you now. A scent lifts me, the aroma of lilacs or lily of the valley. The cat splays out on the floor in the sun stretching her expansive furry body able to look adorable even in her sickness. Life goes on…

The feelings move through. Another day arrives, each one a new flavor. 

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BLOOMING PROPERTY

A walk around the house…

Waking the feelings of sadness pull me down and easily defeat efforts of a productive day. Determined to not let an aging cat cripple me with negativity I push myself out onto the meadow. The day sparkles with sunshine not matching my mood. 

On lap five I lay down in the shade on the gentle bank filled with lilacs standing guard offering protection to the precious ever expanding area of lily of the valley.  I begin pulling the stems then relax asking what’s the hurry? Where are you going? This is what you are doing and where you are. Be here and now. 

The scent fills the empty places. Breezes caress my body as the sun flickers through the leaves making moving patterns around me. I say my prayer and it is heard as my insides unwind and pull in the beauty around me. 

Help me be grateful, feel peace and ease my fears. 

I go in for my camera and take a walk around the house filling my soul with more ‘food.’ 

WHOLENESS?

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photo by patricia

I wonder at the tattered cloth, can it ever be whole? Feelings of wholeness seep in then despair. A depth of dark and cold with no succor. The yearning for something unnamed. Resolve to have it. Then tears.

And more tears. An awakening. The present so infected by the past. Go back? Must I go back? Others say, “Be happy.” My happy is back there to that little lost girl I abandoned. I hurt, she hurts.

“Why?” she asks. “When you had college age women to explore your sexuality with. Others who were willing and your age. Why a little sister? Only a child. A little girl who looked up to you, adored you, trusted you?” And she cries as she asks.

Like a tattered cloth that needs mending, the needles pierce with every stitch. To make it whole again the wounds must be lanced and it hurts. To come to the present I must visit the past and I don’t want to. Yet the visit brings me back to the present more fully.

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