ALONE IN NATURE

Winter can kick me down the stairs of negative and repetitive thinking. It is so hard to stay afloat wondering how those around me tolerate it, like Samuel for starters, but my sons too.

They do. Love is like that. And with learning to love, staying open, a fullness towards myself offers the same for others.

The process of learning to love myself, that I am worthy of love, is life-long, as my insides clammed up tightly at 8 years old. There was no one to love or trust except my cat or other non-human animals.

Time alone in nature offers the safety needed to feel love. Even around those loved it is difficult, either in person, via email, or by video. But alone, out in the meadow, without other’s inconsistencies or my raging self-doubt over interactions I blame myself for, love abounds filling me up satisfyingly.

This insulated life is not of my choosing. Shattered at age 8 and continually broken from then on, caused fractures so deep they remain life-long. Quiet and solitude heal. Acceptance means picking up the pieces and making a life of my own choosing, even if seemingly different or odd to others.

It is my life, and can be made magical by working to stop the negative yammering constantly in my head. (and hanging up more fairy lights to welcome me on dark morning walks) Easy, no, possible? Yes. Each time that voice starts berating me, blaming me, think of it as a challenge. With persistence, gentleness, and patience, healing and growth occur.

REGRETS

Moving on to the new year, a new start, a beginning? I’m still me, with all the thoughts, memories, and regrets, blackening my interior much more darkly in wintertime.

How to manage the tendency to go back over every mistake in my entire life feeling it scratch like sharpened talons in the deepest recesses of my soul? I’ve made grievous errors in judgement that must be lived with. How do people do it, because I’m not the only one.

Didn’t we go through this already, just about every winter, you the critic, and you the wiser gentler side? Jekyll and Hyde. Light and dark. Breathe fresh air or drown?

Laying in the dark, ready to get up, anxiety erupts reliving mistakes from 40 years ago. The blackness of winter devouring me at the start of a day.

Yet there also is light if choosing to come out of that dark cave of regrets. Forgive yourself yet again, as many times as it takes. While walking yesterday I thought, ‘Haven’t you done this already? Forgiven myself for this?”

Yes. But do it again, and again and again, however many times you need to. Good practice for someone with a tendency to be so harsh on herself. And when remembering all your own mistakes, and forgiving them, it makes it so much easier to forgive others.

Henry David Thoreau

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.”

SPRING?

Sitting on the frond porch late in the day with a sleeveless dress warm in the sun. Is it spring? A gaggle of geese fly by squawking loudly in unison.

Peacefulness fills me up. This luscious break is ever so precious amid the winter depression that dampens my spirit.

But this year a discovery to uplift me, venturing outside in the pre-dawn. That pleasure is usually missed in winter due to dark days which now have turned the corner and each day is longer and brighter- out in the meadow before the birds wake, walking as I do in summertime but without the sun.

Our joys often need founding by ourselves. What brings joy? Scrapbooking is another way to fill my heart with warmth, gathering both sons photos filling books for the grandkids with captions as some are just learning to read.

Bright colored cardstock with fancily trimmed pictures done so easily with scissors that cut them that way, glued onto paper embellished with stickers and other eye-captivating, meaningful additions.

The kids cherish my gifts, one grand-son only 2 having a shelf special for Nana’s books. This pleasures my heart as much as his, and gives the kid in me childish things to do with a grown-up twist satisfying both parts of me.

In winter especially, it is a time to seek out the things I love to do and do them. Quiet past-times, uneventful for some, fill me up contentedly.

KNOW THYSELF

Quote by Socrates: “To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.”

The lantern swaying back and forth, ice glittering with its sparkly glow even in the black before dawn. My ice trekkers keep me from falling and work like a charm, a wonderful Christmas gift for those days when all the path ices over.

Sitting by the water, barely a crack of light beginning to show, the quiet, dark shadows are unnerving, yet also relaxing. A distant train clatters satisfyingly.

More rounds to go before the breeze begins to chill me, round and round, the twinkling lights in the house a beacon one way, with glimmering solar stars glowingly wrapped around a few trees the other way.

While resting again, mother nature does her work on my body, mind, and spirit, curing the restlessness of winter cabin fever, rushing pink health to my cheeks, and the warmth of movement to my body.

But the best cure is calming my rat brain, much worse in the winter, which takes any tiny hardship and magnifies it into disaster. Calm, peace, and sleep-filled nights are blessed to me of late, so when those negative thoughts creep in, chase them far away.

Use a big corn broom and swoosh! That feeling of nostalgia niggling in the background, of loss, memories of old with others long gone, or others still here that closeness is difficult for me to nurture or sustain?

Those are to be felt, because my premise about feelings is, feel them. Trying to squash feelings makes them harden and stay.

So, tears have come each day and I let them, squeezing out not knowing why, nostalgia, loneliness? Then the why comes, (yes to both of those), and with it understanding, acknowledgment, and feeling real and accepted, even if it’s only by me. Because who better to know than me?  

A FRIEND?

My friend’s remark last week (with friends like that, who needs enemies?) erased a lifetime of work in her one-liner, you are back to square one. Six little words set me off my rails doubting everything about myself.

It wouldn’t help to tell her what an airhead she is. But it does call for my internal depths to deepen and grow. There’s no making someone understand who cannot.

To ease the pain lingering from her shallowness, and to understand myself better, a letter that won’t be sent, or maybe will be. The risk of letting myself be known is losing this ‘friend,’ because it already came close this time once again. Let it go, or work on tolerance, acceptance, and forgiveness? To not speak up when someone puts a boot in my face is not healthy.

Though I’m able to forgive your blithe remark, I won’t forget it. To look down on me without knowing the ramifications of my childhood and erase a lifetime of working at keeping myself alive?

Because yes, it has been that hard. In one short sentence you delete lifelong work. It tore me up, not because I believe it, but because you believe it. That after all these years you don’t know me or want to. And that’s OK, how could you? But to take a quick peek and dictate such a thing?

And interestingly, the answer I sought wasn’t forthcoming. You had said out of the blue recently that you were glad I was learning to love myself. My curiosity was in response to your blunt sentiments, entering a space you hadn’t been asked to join.

I regret asking. Boom, what seemed like a positive observance from you replaced with unsolicited advice that had nothing to do with my question.

You don’t know what a destroyed nervous system is like. Adrenaline pumping through my veins daily, cortisol bursts draining precious resources. My body, psyche, emotional being, and mind, all tired from a life of it. Daily occurrences that don’t make others jump with terror, terrorized me. Because all people became dangerous from what was learned in childhood.

We have sold the camper, giving up something loved. The possibility of going to Cory’s again is probably too much for me take on again. I cannot fly around the country like you do or drive anywhere long distances without my body being upset for days.

I need to stay home, and accept it, because I love the land, and being here. I am happy. I am mostly at peace, though little changes in routine upset my tired-out body. No, you cannot see my scars, but they are there, and they are life-long growing more challenging as I age.

Even Christmas with Shane made for a fitful night of sleep waking at 1:30AM and staying awake all day yesterday feeling teary and tired. I have a lot of days like that due to my sleep issues from Chronic PTSD, spilling over from what happened at age 8, terror so deep my body 60 years later still protects me from remembering, though I do know a rape occurred. I remember everything else which is bad enough.  

I believe a hidden agenda in such a grievous remark compounded with a lack of knowing your own motives was behind it. But it came out anyway sword-like. I never became accustomed to your barbs couched in syrup drawing blood over the years, but this one so trite in black and white I won’t forget.   

I write in the hopes you might see a miniscule fraction of what my life is like and stop quick judgments. The respect I deserve is sadly lacking. It is enough that I know.  

Patricia

Is this a friend to keep or not? That question has occurred many times, once almost ending it, but she stuck by loyally and loyalty is most valuable to me. To end it would also mean ending the monthly group of 5. What would remain is Samuel and my forest friends. It is as Samuel said once, “You don’t stop picking berries because of the thorns.” Well, actually I have.

BUILDING

Like building a snowwoman, once complete a piece falls off having to snow-glue it back on again. The shattering’s of confidence each time someone says something thoughtless or ignorant, lesson just a little as self-kindness and acceptance grow inside.  

A solid woman is beginning to form. One to be counted on, internally sound, full as in depth and completeness with wisdom that often is deeper than once thought possible.

As my world shrinks on the outside due to the inability to go far from home, my internal home welcomes more fully, freely, and softly as a place to stay and be.

STILL WATERS

Though things have been patched up after an email confrontation with a friend, my world feels topsy turvy. That angst compounded with some blood work that is off (low blood sodium), upsets the status quo.

It doesn’t take much to set off my alarm bells, especially interpersonal relationships that go awry, and anything to do with my body.

The weariness of winter doesn’t help. The best remedy continues to be gentleness towards self, something not learned earlier in life after a childhood of repression, neglect, and abandonment.

Parts of each day feel glum, then the sun rises, if not in reality, then in my being. Taking it all in without running is the key to equilibrium and calm.

Calm, oh calm, how that is craved, found, lost, then back again. Still waters among tall waves.  

Frosty Morning Walk

After the first ten minutes of removing my glove to take photos, that had to stop because my fingers were freezing in such frigid temps.

“Did you know the animals talk to me?” I asked my grand-daughter one day.

She smiled in response while I added, “They do. The birds hop along tree to tree all the way down to the creek. And the bunnies stop, sitting still, letting me close, wondering why is this fairy nymph up so early.”

The magic of the meadow is curative, mystical, and wonderous.

BE KNOWN

At first urge, unwanted feelings that arise are denied or run from. The more unwanted, the more running or stuffing.

What freedom to hear a soft whisper say, accept them. Let them be, feel what’s there, and like a vapor they then dissipate up and out.

Sometimes, and very often, the experience teaches me about myself; motives, wishes, desires, hurts, the potpourri that makes up me.

We are all a mixture of pieces, some parts wanted, others not, but in accepting all there is, a person yet unknown blossoms as love of the whole self grows.