Tiny Miracle

photo by Patricia

Though the drudgery of winter is wearing, walking continues to bring a modicum of relief. By lap three the joints are loosened, muscles are warmed, and a boost to the spirit occurs. Additional rewards include resting creek-side. The silence in winter is deafening.

Where are my feathered friends, leaving me, wanting to follow? As my heartbeat calms, the dullness of bare trees does not improve mood. Then, there on my coat cuff, one lone, perfectly shaped snowflake.

Lifting my arm closer, pondering its miracle, as if an angel has spoken, “This is for you. Be aware of the beauty hidden among ugliness. This is hope.”

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PLEASURE

Photo by Patricia

What can you do today to bring pleasure into your life? That’s a concept left behind. The daily business is about caring for a sagging mood, and an aging body. But pleasure? Yes, you can have pleasure. You deserve pleasure too, as if to need validation and permission.Winter depression pulls me to down to a place where just getting through the day getting things done is all there is. 

Samuel asks, “Want to take a canoe ride?”

“Sure,” I respond while resting in the Adirondack chair by the creek after a few laps.

Coming in later from an unusually sunny day, the idea of pleasure drives me to chocolate. Swirling the syrup into my coffee, topped off with whipped cream left over from the holidays, then red sugar sprinkles, also left over from the pancake Christmas breakfast, a satisfied smile erupts. Forgotten was the special use of chocolate for its curative effects on mood and endorphins. Chocolate, a necessary medicine.

What other simple pleasures await? It is up to you to provide them. Take the time to implement pleasurable activities to help the winter months pass more agreeably.

A hot bubble bath, working on a puzzle, a brisk walk in the meadow, a delightful canoe ride on a 50 degree January day, a special meal made with care, being present with the cat warmly nestled in my lap instead of dissociating—be there, be present.   

That cold pit in my stomach that comes during the winter craves relief. In it worms a restlessness unrelieved, an anxiousness lacking till the green leaves grow. What can be done to help bring me back to my core, feel good being there, and stay?

What brings you pleasure? I’d like to know.

 

PEACE

photo by Patricia – JEWELS

Words tend to tumble easily when struggles wear me down, or PTSD rears its ugly head. The stretches of peace in-between are appreciated with relief. Sleep occurs like clock-work, fall asleep by 10, wake at 6. Eating is under control, not perfect, but near. Exercise is implemented, along with meditation for half an hour, and 20 minutes under the full-spectrum lights needed to combat winter depression.

During the lull of peaceful times writing feels less emergent, yet deserves attention equally. When peace reigns, and well-being fills me, this equilibrium and stability is a sacred place honored.

SCROOGE

Like Scrooge counting his money, so I am sorting my jewels. For a present to myself more glittery gems were purchased for mosaic work, and storage containers to keep them safe and easily accessible. Who knew that in the tool department storage for glass beads could be found?

Samuel didn’t know. “If you don’t want those, I’ll take them,” he said after noticing the quality of the box and that the cups come out for each item.

Removable cups will make it so easy, and so much fun. I can pour out the precious stones onto a plate making it a pleasure to create and use them. No more precarious little plastic containers haphazardly placed in too small a space to topple over if disturbed.

The pleasures of gifting oneself are many…

The Great Outdoors

 

‘Practice what you preach,’ words chastising in my head while dragging my body to the door pulling on snow pants, a brightly colored coat so the hunters won’t shoot me, then a hat, scarf and gloves. It is like walking through water getting to the door, my mood making me sluggish but also with the knowledge that this is the time when exercise is most needed and helpful.

Once opening the door to the frosty air my mood refreshed instantly with uplift. Though my body took the laps slowly, my heart happily pumped as aches eased with the movement. It is essential, even in winter, to keep moving. Mother brings such pleasure, peace and ease, her tranquility a healing balm every time.

The last lap earns a rest in the Adirondack chair. The latest melt has caused the creek to rise. In the distance my ears discern the rushing of water over the beaver dam not far away. Various prints in the light snow paint trails of rabbit, squirrel and deer activity crisscrossing like delicate embroidery.

Feeling full, satisfied and plied with more vigor, I tramp back puffing uphill to the house. The cat awaits my return, curled up high on the closet shelf in the mitten box where she can keep an eye on me lap after lap. Winter weariness needs to be attacked every day, but is so worth the work… Sometimes the relief is immediate, other times it takes a while.

 

SUNSHINE & DRAGONFLY’S

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?

The Blizzard

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.