Fill Up on the Simple Things

Back to basics, remembering what is so easily forgotten, the very simple plan of working on self-care and self-love. My job, as what occurred in the developing of my personality was just the opposite; self-hate, self-destruction, and the loud critic a constantly nagging companion.

It is not easy to change the trajectory of one’s upbringing. And had death taken me already, which at 68 is quite possible, the peace created now wouldn’t have materialized. It has taken decades. It has taken a strength of fortitude that only now can be appreciated.

Some people might like a do-over, but not me. No way could going through the depressions, and robot-like living be done again. The magic of meadow walks, solitude, and each moment of life treasured… a new miracle some have had the good pleasure to have never lost. It has taken a great deal of work to have arrived here, where living feels good more than ever before.

My center, my core, any basic trust in others was lost at age eight. Shattered, only now able to pick up a few fragments, but never knowing really what life would have been like growing up under the roof of a loving, functional family.

My sons are together for a week at Cape Cod. My usual feelings before now would include a searing loneliness wanting to be with them even though knowing it would be impossible. The drive, the traffic, and having to take something to sleep every night over the course of 7 nights— too much! The loneliness for it crept in anyway. But not now. Now? Gratitude.

Now I feel only joy that they can be together, and I can be at peace doing what I do. The sun, the birds, the critters, Samuel, a few friends, snaps and photos from Shane and Cory daily (enjoying their trip vicariously without the hassle), and summer. My days are full and happy.

And Give Me Peace…

Once again the ease of life presents her gifts before me, as she always does, but often my ability to be present, calm, and centered is so off I cannot let them penetrate. The lavender’s scent in baskets can be noted, though it’s been there all along the past week. The scented candle in the warmer seems especially fragrant. And a slight feeling of boredom sets in.

That’s when I know I am there at my center feeling peace. Because after a life of cortisol bursting days where my jumpiness is at the ready along with screams of terror at any little surprise, peace can sometimes be confused with boredom. It’s not boredom, the calm gives me with peace equating to happiness, even bliss.

Days home after camping, walks daily in the meadow with ‘mother’ nurturing me with her bounty of caresses… Hermie the young buck in the field lifting his head wondering what I’m doing in his territory, the graceful heron floating by over the water, the natural bouquet of blossoming milkweeds emitting a luscious scent amidst a spray of look-a-like wild baby breath, all these gifts are finally able to reach my center after a week of quiet, beauty, and plenty of sleep unaided by drugs.

LIVING

It’s OK, you’re OK, the message needed often and daily. During the pandemic when all were essentially shut down from socializing, my feelings of oddness went away and good feelings replaced them. Others were forced into solitude… like me.

Forced solitude out of the knowledge that others cause harm. That was learned during childhood. It does not change. Also, there is a need for seclusion because too much stimulation sets me off into the stratosphere.

Now others have taken up their social activities, singing in choir, doing band performances in parades such as the couple we know, church gatherings and dinners, get-togethers… and the list goes on.

But it is just as OK now for me to live the life chosen for me even if it differs from the majority of others. A life with quietness, peace (hopefully), and with ease. With retirement there is a drifting of purpose.

Raising sons gave me purpose. Then my nursing degree when the kids were older. Then the job, haranguing as it was to my psyche and emotions. Ugh. Now what?

We saved like little squirrels, so now we know we can pay our bills even though no longer working. So, now what? What is the purpose? No answers here except life. Live it. Live it the best that you can by being in each moment, squeezing the goodness out of each one, even the pain that comes with them. Yes, even that.

Live, grow, oh, try to grow. Work at growing and becoming a better person, and there is much room to grow. And enjoy the simple bounty around you.

There is Herman, the young buck in the field, coming each day, even as I walk by. His head lifts up from the tall grass and we have a moment staring at each other.

“Hi Hermie,” I say greeting him, his big ears atop the brown body unmoving, then he decides to hop away, the white fluff of tail bobbing behind him.

Just enjoy all you have, temper the willful brain that likes to take detours into unhappiness, steer it back to the moment. Not all moments are happy, often there is sadness without knowing why. Feel them, release them by feeling, and let them go.

There is happiness amidst pain. Let it all come and flow through. That is living.

A Very Berry Breakfast

Photos by Patricia

Samuel’s berries are ready, though the eating is much more fun than picking. And other summer surprises visit, the splendor of nature overwhelmingly beautiful.

So many bird nests filled with hatched babies all around the property, one on the front porch, another atop the wisteria, one on the eaves, and so many more. Daddy robin keeps guard on the tripod when he isn’t feeding the mother sitting on the nest. The tiny bird on the porch sounds like a raptor when going out there, so my visits are limited to watering the hanging baskets quickly.  

All varieties converged one night staring up into the hedgerow from the garden arch into the trees where there was so much racket!

“Samuel, come out, something’s wrong with birds!” I exclaimed, the noise bringing me outdoors.

He clapped his hands then a hawk flies away, hopefully without his meal. So many duties before me, picking bouquets from Samuel’s roses that have gone off the charts with blossoms this year. Everything that blooms seems to have increased in volume ten-fold.

The joys of summer continue to explode…

PAIN with PLEASURE

MAGICAL FAIRY POOL, where rose petals give you mystical powers…

Too much stimulation, even happy times, inhibits my ability to sleep. Lying there hour after hour, by hour three after Samuel came to bed and began lightly snoring, a pill was taken while waiting for the ‘wise voice’ to interject her thoughts.

And it came later the next day, still groggy from the night-time medication. Why- oh why- can’t my body keep up with others? Simple things like a day with the grand-children, happy in the little pool, with imaginations that take off, laughter abounding. The rest of the family joining us later for dinner. Knowing the answer should be no to an overnight request by Cindy my excited answer was YES!

How can that be turned down after a year of solitary confinement? But of course it was too much for a body worn out after daily adrenaline rushes coursing through my veins due to early repressed traumas. Tiny occurrences my body took as deadly danger released chemicals into the bloodstream that should have been reserved for real danger. My body can only go about a half day before quiet, alone time, and stillness is required.

Determined NOT to have a sluggish day after a night-time medication was used, I walked laps through the grogginess anyway. Not even 90 plus heat swayed me from my path making me feel good about me. Round and round, the sweat proof of work being done offering a sense of achievement.

Choosing to live well through it all, forging through, doing what brings satisfaction and success. And maybe hardest to swallow, acceptance of what is, my body, mind, and soul need attention and care because all facets have taken great hits. There is joy amidst struggles.

Bury the Living

Though hard, it is good to get back to the work of inhabiting my body as one. The more time that passes after being with the chaos and drama of origin family members, the better I feel and the less my mind goes in loops over it.

Moving on to the usual, facing a day with its fears, and challenges with the diligence needed to be present. That is enough without the quagmire of the past, pulled back into old grooves where no growth occurs. It has. No going back, my core will not allow stagnation once tasting the fruits of expansion.

The time spent as a robot to please while with them, dimming as each days goes by. The wonders of each sunrise begins to settle in while worries, and mental games that sicken fade. Because the mind can make me sick if around others that are stuck in loops of their own.

My internal wisdom won’t let me stay in swamps of death-like goo, memories of what was that still are in that group. Who cloyingly begin drowning me with repeated attempts at collaboration in dysfunction. No, free me, let me loose. Tentacles of what seems like family luring me down into the tar that sucks a soul dead.

My issues are many without adding to them, all spelled out in the psychiatric textbooks of diagnoses. Though terms are not my thing, it is helpful to acknowledge my own reality so that gentleness towards self can grow; DISORDERS- Depressive, Anxiety, Trauma and Stressor related disorder, Dissociative Disorder…

It takes great care to manage my life without adding more stress to it. Perhaps these doors that have been left ajar with hopes of meaningful contact need to be closed, maybe locked. To come back to the basics each day, contemplation of my own mortality which spurs my desire to enjoy the simples pleasures amidst the pain.

Ah, to be free of it. As each day passes, more freedom lightens my being. Joy replaces depression. Tears dry, without knowing why they are there, wiping them away almost daily. Maybe it is a mourning all over again. Each failed attempt at connection comes with the price of mourning.

Bury the dead while they are alive? In a sense, yes. Or more succinctly, Live and let live

COMFORT and BEAUTY

Each lap brought more comfort, the honeysuckle bushes in their full splendor, the scent filling me up at each passing. The lilacs also owning their space, emitting a bouquet of loveliness almost intoxicating. The earth so dry the clay cracks, the warmth of each day increasing as summer approaches.

My flip-flops becoming moist in the early morning before the dew dries. Rest at the creek continues to bring surprises; the heron gracefully floating by to find another fishing spot, an oriole singing its specific melody, her bright orange mingling with the coral pink quince blossoms as it jumps from the flower to the feeder.

The meadow erupts with buttercups, soon daisies will gather with them. The beauty of spring overwhelming in its bounty of colors, songs, and scents, giving way to summer with all her secrets exposed. Traumas early on cracked my soul from body, spirit from flesh. The decades passed living split has opened up to wholeness where the core integrated with all other parts…

PHOTOS by PATRICIA

Wonderful Work

As the sun pours forth, so does my energy. Not planning to work the gardens, Samuel’s efforts at weed pulling make it irresistible wanting to cover up the exposed earth with cardboard and wood chips before the invaders filled in with my flowers again.

The sun amidst bird songs while working made it a pleasure until the point of exhaustion giving up the project for Samuel to take over. My energy is highest in the mornings, his the afternoons.

By evening the back gardens looked new as we both put up our feet making wonderful catatonic couch potatoes.

NATURE’S CURE

With Christmas festivities over, the tree taken down not until Inauguration Day, a need for light and hope are sought. Surrounded by darkness upon waking it is heartening to see the desktop’s slideshow of my photos through the years living here, mostly of green, green, and more green.

The thirst for green is on, awaiting the first robin which comes much earlier than once thought, even as early as February. The crush of winter upon my body and spirit hits despite the energy put forth to combat it.

A deep achy tiredness descends sucking the life out of me. Resting awhile helps relieve some of it. Which is odd because after a full night’s sleep it wouldn’t seem necessary.

Yet there it is, winter and its effects on brains chemicals.  Exercise, sunshine if it’s there, and around here in winter that’s not much, and a half-hour each morning in front of full spectrum lighting.

The most relief is fresh air, but pushing myself out the door often takes great effort. Yet out I go, and by lap three an energizing within my body and spirit occurs. Fresh crisp air fills my lungs as my boots press the snow down in a nice path, round and round.

Crystals appeared overnight in the frigid temps glittering in the sunshine. Coming indoors after a respite by the creek, the relief of Mother Nature’s curative effects make the rest of day enjoyable. And it comforts to know that activities were employed healthy for mind, body, and spirit.

PHOTOS BY PATRICIA