Yesterday, unexpectedly, several online friends sent notes, emails, Facebook messages.
“Where are you? When are you coming back to blogging? We miss you. Are you surviving the winter?”
My heart lurched in appreciation for friends who reappeared out of the woodwork of the Internet with such kindness and concern.
I am rich in what really matters, it seems. Caring friends and family who send snippets of love.
Yet my heart simultaneously sank. May I share why?
I. Stoking the wood stove hour after hour comforts me. The repetition feels soothing, logs clinking upon logs, flame burning, heat rising.
II. Writing sentence after sentence burns the same way inside me. Joy builds with each unexpected word. Delight tingles when two opposing ideas reconcile. I am stunned silent before the power of words, and always grateful for this craft, this stoking, this amazing possibility of tinder and flame.
III. Photography takes my spirit by surprise. I never think about taking pictures. Days and weeks and sometimes months pass without interest in capturing sight, curve, flash, energy. Photography inhabits my body sometimes, takes over, grabs the camera, insists upon expression. It’s not me. I’m its servant. When it lights its match, I’m putty in its power. People glimpse me with a camera in hand and think its me. They see joy and think its mine. They don’t know I’m simply the log burning itself to ash in those moments.
IV. Another hour, another log. Burn, my child, burn. You’re not losing anything. We’re gaining your precious heat.
Lately, oh so lately, I’ve been able to sit with my own uncomfortable inner places much longer without turning away.
Because of this, I can stay with a good friend on the telephone for 78 minutes and resonate with her pain. I will not shirk or abandon her. I will stay with her in that dark underworld of suffering and regret and perhaps eventual grudging acceptance without turning too quickly toward the positive, the optimism, the la-de-da where it all feels okey-dokey.
Oh how I’ve sometimes turned toward optimism way too quickly in my life, grabbing hold of it like a snowshoe, begging it to keep me safe and navigating through deep drifts.
Others embrace the negative too quickly, resisting, fighting fervently against the way the present moment refuses to meet their expectations, digging their boots deep in snowbanks, paralyzing all ability to propel forward.
Lately, oh so lately, I just allow it all to exist, you and you and you, pain and joy and delight and death, negative and positive, the whole compost of it, the whole turning of the seasons.
Many of us live our wild & precious lives burdened down under a heavy weight of “should”.
Instead of celebrating who we are–can there ever be a more perfect you?–we second-guess and third-guess and quadruple-guess our actions. We think ourselves crazy with expectations. We focus on what doesn’t seem to work in our lives, judging ourselves unworthy. We monitor our every thought, feeling, sentence and paragraph and conjure how we might succeed in becoming the perfect person, the should-less being, the enlightened one.
Worse yet, we often peer for approval from friends, from relatives, from society. We want them to declare us acceptable. So many of us ache to be liked and fear saying something–anything–to upset the apple cart.
Yet we do. We upset the cart and apples spill everywhere, no matter how nice we attempt to be.
The clock ticks 6 a.m.
Outside our Little House in the Big Woods the wind howls fiercely. Father November has thrown a deep cloak of blackness across the breasts of trees and the wood stove sputters in the basement.
Barry still slumbers.
I must drive to work through darkness, hoping the wind won’t snap huge branches awry on the roads. Florida feels long ago, a dream perhaps.
I shall schedule this post to appear at 9 a.m., when you’re awake, when darkness lifts its cloak and the world promises new possibilities.
What the woods looked like last Tuesday
Tuesday. Blessings of the flock.
You’re walking up the road. The air feels still. Silence reigns between tall trees with lingering yellow leaves. Fallen leaves smell crisp with childhood memories of burning raked piles. In the distance, a logging truck whines. Otherwise, you only hear your footsteps slapping pavement.
Suddenly, up above, all around, dozens of chattering birds surround. From treetop to treetop they call, they tattle, they sing. They dive, they wing between branches, they dance. What kind? You hear chickadee, you glimpse juncos, you see a nuthatch.
It’s the blessing of the flock! All around they create bird magic for you. They sing until you remember your dream-wings, the heft and tilt of flight. Don’t they remind you of seeds everywhere, hidden in bark crevices, to be found when needed and not a second before?
Later, down the road, silence returns. You catch your breath at the mystery of it, the way the flock surrounds and dissolves. How it teaches in a language of feathers and how it can change everything, simply in the arising.
We tend to think of blessings as positive happenings in our lives.
We win a million dollars, we secure the desired job, we raise perfect children, we finish school, we live secure and content happily ever after.
We tend to think of other events as challenges. We ache, we get cancer, our children make mistakes, heck, we make mistakes. We worry about money, Obamacare, our depressed nephew. We suffer from rejection, real and perceived.
It’s sometimes hard to find blessings in part of life, isn’t it?
The Buick’s windshield covered with heavy dew obscures our road in blurry wet shapes. Up ahead–just to the left!–oh look, it’s a coyote. No, it’s a fox. Darn it, it’s a blurry wet windshield reflection moving into tall waving grasses.
Deep longing to know. To bond with tan-red wild creature skulking into the sunrise. To know its name. To feel its feral wildness, its unknowableness.
I will never know.
And maybe that’s OK.
Lately I have been enjoying writing blogs that seem to reconcile stuck, limited, or judging viewpoints within.
Something arises. Some judgment, some feeling, some sorrow, something that’s not yet integrated.
Perhaps it has to do with a friendship. A sense of longing. Something deep inside which wants to be accepted, yet there’s still a pushing away, a not-allowing. Perhaps it’s an anger, a sorrow, a not-understanding.
I sit and type, letting the deepest self share its thoughts.
Then–instead of turning too quickly in the next moment–or too compulsively looking toward your comments or visits–it seems that the words in the blog are felt on a deeper level. I feel the truth in the words, to understand, to allow.
It often feels like a big ah-ha of understanding. It feels like it translates into true realization, into something real which can inform the next action.
Posted in May 2013
Tagged acceptance, blogging, blogs, feelings, inspiration, integration, life, love, Opinion, personal, spirituality, thoughts
Make a wish and come to earth for a lifetime.
So many lives are made of dreams, of wishes, of wants, of blow-the-dandelion-fuzz across the back yard so the Forest Owls hoot your deepest desires back to you just before midnight.
I once dreamed of traveling to Switzerland, to Italy, how about France? Perhaps even Mexico, Nicaragua, maybe Ecuador. I dreamed of writing a famous book, you know, the kind of book which leaves readers gasping, wanting more, truly inspired, truly knowing themselves in some deeper way.