DEEP PEACE

Since middle school, or even before, it was others who I longed to be. Looking at another girl my age, how calm she seemed, how centered, or earning an award over my efforts, made me yearn to be her. The peace inside, the naturalness, acceptance.

Now, as I look around at others, (when my state is peaceful) I don’t want to be them, there is peace and comfort inside me. That may change in the next 5 minutes.

But there has been a lull. Sleeping comes in adequate amounts. Days are summery, productive, and when not, the harsh critic can be mostly silenced with, “It’s OK for down time, time enjoyed is not time wasted.”

Doing what is healthy for mind, body and soul are daily goals, not all met on every day, but the attempt is made. And taking out the critic who lashes at what wasn’t done is part of the job.

Acting in ways to others that is in alignment with my beliefs and principles, despite how they may have acted towards me, is satisfying also providing peace. All is right with the world, even when so much is not. Because inside commitments have been made and stuck to.

I have done my part. Yes, you do deserve good things. You do deserve peace in your soul, heart, body and mind.

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ONE DROP

You are but a drop of water in the ocean of humanity, the thought came while walking the meadow still sultry from the morning dew. Even out in the beauty of the fields my mind wanders getting stuck on a person or a thought, rolling over it again and again. Wake up!

Snapping back to now, what’s around me comes alive, but my thoughts pull me back time and again. It’s OK. Go to where you need to, even that safe place where the world slips away and nobody can touch you.

Yet the struggle continues, to be present, or be consumed by how this person has hurt me, and what to do. Settling down for a breather after laps are done, ice still in the water bottle, I take a long drink. Plopping it down a drop falls into it. It stopped me. My trivial concerns are a  mere speck in the universe, hardly even that.

You are but a drop in the ocean of humanity. Let it go, all the stuff, and reap in the rewards of NOW. Having all that we have, even though we scrimped and saved every penny along the way, which makes it a comfort knowing we can manage with both of us retired, should make me happy and appreciative. Appreciative, yes, happy?

Too often thoughts ravage my mind. The beauty around me is lost. Come back to now. See the splendor, dissolve into it. Still the body, the thoughts, the ever too busy mind. And then it happens. Stillness. And peace. Sitting a long while on the patio, Samuel joins me.

We notice new flowers blooming as others fade. A hummingbird visits back and forth to the feeder only a few feet away. Birds sip on the birdbath nearby. We don’t have to go anywhere for excitement, it’s right here in our backyard, wherever you are in the present moment. Be alive. Be where you are.

COMING HOME

It is easy to become lost, out of my body wandering away from feelings, or being in the present moment connected to whatever it is that is being run from. Then ‘home’ again, starting a new day after the wanderings only led to being more lost, and coming home to all the quandary of emotions, facing what is there, welcoming it; fear, the aloneness, more fear, the abject refusal to be me. But I am me, there is no running from it.

The need is to keep working at it, like chiseling a granite statue, finding the beauty underneath, sifting through memories like hard chunks of rock to the magnificence below. Warming once again in the center of me, the magnificence above and around becomes heightened and cherished, where both pain and pleasure find a place to be both at once.  

It is not about how much one has, but how much one is accepting of oneself, opening to what is. And every day there is running, having to come back home over and over, to the place inside always running from. Come back home and accept what is. The more I get to know what is there, the more comfortable a place it is, and the more it is trusted.

Running is abandonment. Coming home is warm, safe, and whole, opening up the inner and outer worlds, expansion. The red hue of morning burns brighter, the bird songs  sweeter, the body carrying the inside being craves better treatment, not as a means of escape. Feelings are OK, all of them in wholeness when coming ‘home.’

 

RELAX

photo by Patricia

Upon waking the first feeling is a flash of fear. How to mold the day with discipline, another one to face in a way to feel good about at day’s end. The sun sunk behind the horizon will shine, and the dark thoughts will be chased away by its beams.

That is it, how to live each day so that the brilliance within shines. So that the best comes out, and the rest is worked with patiently, and with loving acceptance.

Beyond the years accumulated where the childhood beliefs ruled, there is a being who partook in life with the wild abandon of joy. Moments of it erupted while doing things dearly loved; running the horse through the fields on a summer’s day, digging in dirt to plant, the soil tying me to mother earth as one while bird melodies make sweet music to work by.

Just sitting, paying attention to the body, allowing each muscle to relax, the cool cement of the patio on my feet while the sun warms the rest of my body. Relaxed enough to feel the sun, hear the birds, and ingest the intoxicating aromas around me.

It is news to me that the many milkweeds Samuel so carefully harvested in the meadow for the monarch’s to multiply on, emit a fragrance so luscious it made me wonder where it was coming from. The wild roses had come and gone while we were away, but the blissful hint of another blossom made me walk over to a milkweed that had flowered. There was the answer to the mystery as I breathed in deeply.

Directing myself to just be takes deliberate intent, but worth the effort as all the senses come alive if relaxed enough to let them in.

BREATHE

Waking. Sit with it. Breathe. Just sit, as the little fountain gurgles, and the hummingbird’s wings make a flutter close-by at the feeder. Birds in the trees sing melodies while the damp earth emits fragrant scents of life.

Just sit. Let the shoulders relax, and breathe allowing consciousness and relaxation at the same time. Coming that far after a lifetime of anxiety is progress, a miracle really. So give room for it. Luxuriate in it. 

Traveling This Life

Rhubarb from a friend. Jam, my favorite canning job!

Trying to canoe with Samuel is like trying to lasso water. There is no synchronicity as he does his own thing. But on this journey in a new part of the canal going against the light current, it’d be nice to work together. He tries, but doesn’t pay attention for longer than a paddle or two.

Laying my oar down, enjoying the bright sunny day, exasperation moves through me with the breeze while pondering the life we’ve had. We put each other through so much, he with my rage that had nothing to do with him, and his quietness masking anger coming back ten-fold passive aggressively. It is interesting that two such diverse temperaments stayed loyal for over 40 years. 

Though we have our spats, we’ve also learned not to stew over them. Soon we are back to enjoying the moment. That progress is noted on this perfectly brilliant day with azure skies painted with emerald green trees exploding with thickly sweet scented blossoming locusts wafting their aroma down upon us..

In a few weeks we go on our first camping trip to the mountains for three nights. Part of the fun is the anticipation, and readying for the trip; campfires, loons on the lake, sandy beach swimming — and to try my patience, more canoeing…

The Beast

lilac-photo by Patricia

There will always be a voracious emptiness waiting for sustenance like a ravenous dog chained. Unleash it and worse fate awaits. It won’t go away but must be quieted each day, especially at night when the dark yawns ahead with the day’s worries rolling downhill like an out of control boulder.

From age eight food tamed the beast, but food made me wake nights throwing up. It still does, so does the urge to stuff in food to erase the badness that grew in me like tarry fungus.

In the night, waking, turning over wondering is this a night when sleep won’t return? A softness arose so unusual. What if it is OK to feel OK? My insides loosened as if a snake uncoiled becoming soft like rippled water. Sleep came.  

Though chilly once again after a day of opening all windows, the sun shines brilliant. My brow furrowed with thought, the softness came again. What if it is OK to feel OK?

It is as if my life has been burdened with secrets kept for the family forcing me hostage. And though each link has been slowly broken, the skin scarred from the cold, hard steel can’t feel the air around it now, only the remembrance of my job in the family.

Be still, be quiet, don’t talk, and don’t have needs. Your body is not your own, not your mind, spirit or emotions…nothing is.  You must hold it in. It takes a lot of my drug of choice to keep all that in.

To become free of patterns gagging me since age eight takes doing exactly the opposite which requires a quiet strength of character laced with courage. And it takes time, because for that long a disconnection to my body occurred. It is fearsome to be connected to it. So connection, like connecting to the present moment, is like dipping a toe into water to see how it feels.

To begin the process of connecting to my body, while at the same time allowing happier feelings to take root, allows the wild beast, always absent of love, to finally feel soft, whole and warm at my center. To open up that core so vigorously guarded, even from myself, is to trust and be vulnerable. Maybe I am safe enough to finally dare go there.