Autumn leaf underwater

Autumn leaf underwater

Do you ever wake up on a Tuesday morning with an undefinable longing?  It palpitates near the heart, perhaps, beating its insistence with a red drumbeat whispering, “Please, please, please.”

Of course a mere human can’t figure out what longing wants, can she?  We can only feel the red threads of fire, the way they rise and fall like matches sparking logs into conflagrations of rising flame.

Longing–and her twin, restlessness–have been my companions these many years.  Do they visit you in your little house in the woods or city or suburb or small town?  Do they come in unexpectedly and wipe all your pretty organized well-behaved china teacups from your cupboard? Do they smash into your perhaps contented moment and demand attention like a petulant two year old?

Longing for connection

Longing for connection

In my early years, oh those twenties especially before babies arrived all sweet-cheeked and squalling, I used to run to the car and drive townward to find relief in creamy coffee and homemade toast in the Nite Owl restaurant.  One needed a scribbling paper on which to pen poetry, metaphysical pondering and anguished metaphors of blue-bolt thundering gods throwing sparks of longing especially toward this red quivering and longing heart. Coffee especially spurred on the metaphors as adrenaline pumped.

This lone restaurant escape soothed the longing for maybe two hours, but created other problems because the residents of this small town eyed a single dining scribbling woman with curiosity and maybe labeled her eccentric or peculiar or just darn weird.

And at that age all I wanted to do was fit in.

She doesn't fit in.

She doesn’t fit in. Or does she?

The babies arrived all sweet-cheeked and squalling and didn’t cooperate at the Nite Owl with a scribbling mama so other contingencies developed.  As they grew spindly and sturdy legs–and the longing pierced its red arrow into my red heart and the blood of wanting and desiring and aching arose–we would walk up or down the road to Joe and June’s house, or Opal and Roz’s house, and sip creamy coffee and munch Oreos or Windmill Cookies or homemade treats and the longing abated beneath the breastplate to wait for its next blitz.

A lucky privileged woods-dweller with such a rich life shouldn’t long so desperately for something inexpressible, should she?  We should be satisfied with our gardens, our husband, our children, our full plates, our healthy legs, our part-time jobs. This restless longing has no place in the life of a human being–has it?

One sure thing that burned away longing was words.  If you sat still and allowed words to flame forth into consciousness by marrying concepts–a heart can swell in love and tears pinprick forth.  I loved to watch words knit together the opposites.  To say the unimaginable.  To bring together sweet-cheeked and squalling separated only by an “and”.  Wow!  Thrill!  Take that, you longing! How can you survive in the face of THAT?

The mystery of what fits

The mystery of what fits

Spirituality did the same thing.  It sparked into that heart, that essence, and took a broken plate and glued it together.  It took a fractured world and whispered, “this too, this too, this too” until magic arose and you could almost see the interwoven allowing of death and birth, sadness and happiness, sickness and health, anger and acceptance, poverty and wealth, this and that.

Sometimes, when the sun illuminates your world just so, when the moon reaches its fingers through dark clouds of despair, longing makes perfect sense.  You can truly see it as a gift.  Perhaps of creativity.  Perhaps of pushing you forward out of your stuckness.  Perhaps as an fiery red angel-demon who parachutes you, terrified, out of an airplane into the blue sky of infinite possibility, into the lake of your own immense essence.

Perhaps we can finally make friends with our longing singing “this too, this too, this too” when she arises once again to shake us out of complacency or boredom or checking Facebook one too many times.

Does anyone else intimately know this longing?  How do you appease her, feed her, fight her, sing to her on a Tuesday morning in October when she rises like orange flame?








About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in October 2018 and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

53 Responses to Longing

  1. dawnkinster says:

    Oh yes I know longing. But I’m in DC with no laptop and your blog on my phone shows nowhere for comments. So when I get home I will post a response. For now know that you are not alone.

  2. Ruth says:

    Enjoyed your words.💖 And it’s hard to know what to do when that “longing” shows up. I also find coffee shops and paper and pen, alone, as well as drives or walks in the country.

    • Kathy says:

      Ruth, what if so many of us are feeling this longing? And yet we’re not actually taught that it’s normal, that it’s OK? That maybe longing is even the fuel that keeps us going, keeps us moving towards–something? Liked chatting with you in that coffee shop yesterday morning, even though culvert repair drove me toward it more than longing. Thanks for commenting when I was silently wishing you would. 🙂

  3. timalanmi says:

    Yes I too get that feeling or wanting to just get away, for a hour or two or three or a day .. Get in the car ride listen to music, dream and find a nice place for coffee and just to think and write .. I think its good for the soul!!!!

    • Kathy says:

      Tinalanmi, yes–it is good for the soul! There is also something about just driving in the car that seems to help. The world flies by outside the car–as if by magic–and a certain sense of freedom sometimes arises. Do you find that too? So interesting that so many people experience some form of this longing.

  4. Yes! That feeling that life (marvelous life, filled with comfort and joy, good health, active mind and sufficient of everything to fill my needs) is not quite enough. Was I born for greatness, with ability for greatness, that I have ignored? Should I be in the studio right now, doing something grand? Or at the table, writing my heart out? Should I be crocheting like a mad-woman to express what I feel? Or crazily sewing scraps together? Or, maybe, I should sit quietly – never my strong-suit, especially in times of great longing – with perhaps one lit candle and a cup of hot tea – and let the answers come to me. Or maybe, just maybe, I should take this time – that feels like a door into unlimited possibilities – and clean out all the cabinets, scrub the floors, rearrange the living room…because that energy has to be spent. Now, too often, instead of letting the desire fuel action, I turn on the computer to let a twenty-four hour news feed hypnotize me back to real life. I miss the longing!

    • Kathy says:

      Cindy, I love how you express yourself, how you tell the truth of yourself. The longing does have that element of destiny, doesn’t it? Like it contains the Universe’s plans for us and we’re somehow ignoring it because we don’t know what to do. And even if we sometimes think we know what to do–sometimes we just can’t. My challenge (and maybe yours?) has been that feeling that I’m squandering this precious longing on something repetitious, conditioned, reactive, hypnotic. Something that doesn’t contain or reflect the integrity inherent in the longing. Yet we humans shall persevere, right? We’ll keep trying our darndest, failing, succeeding. But maybe the point is beyond all that? I need to quit typing now, lol. Thanks for sharing, Cindy.

  5. dawnkinster says:

    Oh yes I know longing. Once when I was younger I drove all night from my apartment in Lansng to the Straights of Mackinaw because of longing. Then at daybreak drove home again. These days when it strikes I take my camera and drive till I find something to distract me.

    I know I should be grateful as I have a good life but sometimes I just so badly want a DIFFERENT life. I’ve always been this way. I don’t think I’d wish to be different.

    • Kathy says:

      Dawn, have you ever worried if so many of our actions are fueled by this longing? What if most of our life has simply been a response to this longing? I am smiling about the way traveling eases your longing, or at least alleviates it for a while. It’s one reason I love traveling, too. As for a DIFFERENT life, yes. Have you ever looked inside of houses as you traveled and wanted to be living the lives of every one in every house? Of course we probably wouldn’t want that. But sometimes one human life seems too limiting. Some spiritual sages say they “wake up” to realize that they ARE everyone. Then the longing dissolves–poof. So interesting.

  6. Carol says:

    As I read your words, I realized that desperate longing for – something – has mellowed greatly in recent – weeks – months – I’m not sure. I think weeks. There is, oddly, a greater satisfaction for life as it is while there is a greater fear for the world as it is. Odd. Acceptance? Contentment? Again, I’m not sure.
    What I am sure of is that your photos are lovely, and the sunrise/sunset absolutely stunning.

    • Kathy says:

      Carol, thank you for sharing your own experience of longing. How interesting that you’re experiencing both a greater satisfaction for life along with that fear. It’s like they’re coexisting in you. Remember how you often wrote about “enough”? Maybe “enough” is also an acceptance of what is arising, even if it’s what we don’t want to arise. Thank you for liking the photos!

  7. Bonnie says:

    Oh yes, I know longing, but it never seems to be satisfied. As you said, we should be happy, satisfied with what we have and what we do in the here and now. I cannot not weave the words of longing with the wonderful words that you do. Perhaps that is a longing of mine too, to be able to write with such amazing thoughts, and to touch each reader with a special hug.

    • Kathy says:

      Bonnie, now I want to hug you and your longing and say–yes, we’re all in this longing field together. And yet it effects us all in different ways… Sometimes I’ve hoped to be able to fulfill my longing through the kinds of crafts like you do. However, that has never worked on this end. Some say that making friends with our longing, of learning to accept it as a precious (but difficult) part of ourselves is the way to lose the sting of it. Perhaps?!

  8. Barb says:

    I don’t have to go too far when I feel the longing and restlessness you express (so well). I just have to go inside my head where the words live.

    • Kathy says:

      Such a short distance away! It is truly amazing me that this longing and restlessness seems to be universal. So many of the spiritual books say so, but have never realized it as fully until now. xoxoxo

  9. What a beautiful heart-rending question that matches the gorgeous fire-orange photos you share with us. Yes, I know of the longing you describe. I felt it the worse (and longing can be painful) before my sweet-cheeked children arrived. Once they came in my late 20s, I felt a deep purpose and a sense of intimate spirituality in the nurturing of others. But the longing snuck in as the sweet-cheeks snuck out on their own. I discovered writing then. Writing fills up my senses (thank you John Denver) and fills up the spaces of wondering and wishing and wanting. Writing is the orange-red fire of desire, sated in words.

    • Kathy says:

      Pam, oh those days before the sweet-cheeked ones arrived. Hellish! Did you ever read the book “What Color is my Parachute?” back in the late 70’s or early 80’s? I thought if I just followed the instructions Properly I would discover my deep purpose and calling. But it never ended up being such a straight definitive path. How wonderful that you were able to feel that sense of deep purpose and intimate nurturing of others. And writing! The gift that flies through your fingertips…so amazing. Guess what? I sat down at the computer yesterday morning equipped only with a longing to write and NO IDEA what to write! And look at what birthed through the fingertips? Thank you for sating me with some of your words this morning.

      • Ohhh, yes, I read What Color Is My Parachute (brought to my attention in the late ’80s) and the main message I received from that book was to write my heart out, not expecting to fill a parachute with money, but with satisfaction. In that way, the book has been successful for me.
        I’m so glad you worked on my “NO THINKING” rule (#1 rule for my creative writing students). In that way, the ‘real’ stuff is released. I loved your post here!

  10. Alanna says:

    I know the feeling all too well. I believe it’s part of the human experience. At this point my life the only thing that quenches it is when I enter my creative world , when I’m immersed in nature or among the ones I love.

    • Kathy says:

      Alanna, thank you for sharing your feelings about this. It must be part of the human experience–it turns out it’s so universal. Thank goodness for the gifts of creativity, nature and love. What would we do without them?

  11. Longing you feel- then write you must. Or something like that. Why don’t you write a book and see where that takes you?

    I hope your heath has improved.

    My only longing at my age, is for better health and more time to enjoy things that I like.

    • Kathy says:

      Yvonne, I have tried to write a book many times–even finished a couple of them–but never felt the energy & impetus to edit and rework. Have never fallen head-over-heels in love with any of the books I have attempted to write. But HAVE fallen head-over-heels with these blogs at times, so that’s where the energy keeps going. Health has improved in some ways and not in others. I can so imagine that health and time become more and more precious as we age. Honoring that longing in you…

  12. Janet Zahn says:

    As always Kathy, this sings to me deeply. For me longing is the paradox of humanity: our deep dreams to be connected, snugged right up next to our desire for individuality. Kind of like a cat who wants to be “on the other side of the door” …. wherever they happen
    to be. Longing drives creativity, growth and movement, if we use it for fuel. ❤

    • Kathy says:

      Janet, it is so lovely to see you here and to know that the song of this longing spoke to your longing and the longing of so many people. Love the words that you painted around this in your comment, and the fact that you shared to your Facebook group. Morning hugs!

  13. debyemm says:

    A deep longing ? To know there is in me a connection back to All That Is. That it responds to me and that I am never alone because of It. Because this is where I have arrived, that longing is satisfied. Other longings ? Oh yes. Like to get published and augment our finances a little bit. There is that still. I think when the consciousness turns inward and no longer wants anything external – death is not far away.

    • Kathy says:

      Deb, I thought about your comment all day long, on and off. You are so very fortunate to have “realized” that place where you are never alone because of your connection with Source, or All That Is. The great sages say that once we fully realize that our longing does abate because we Know.

      It’s interesting. I Know that connection with All That Is with my whole heart & being. I can see it clearly by looking around this room. It’s obvious, the non-separation. The Oneness, the unity, the connection. And yet. And yet. Something else that is within me doesn’t realize it on a physical embodied level (except at times, with rhythms like the waves pounding in on the shore.) The longing is for physical embodiment of what is known. But instead of turning to the Self I often reach for objects and people and writing and coffee and Facebook. There is, of course, a way one can reach for all of these things from Wholeness. But we can sense a difference when we’re reaching from a lack of fulfillment. So that has always been the conundrum these sixty one years.

      How utterly wonderful that the conundrum does not exist for you. I mean that with my whole heart!

      • debyemm says:

        I understand and know that your honesty is such a blessing – for so many people – and your friendship a blessing for me. I’ve had similar exchanges with our friend Judith Ivy. I don’t know why I am the way I am. I used to believe that somehow I was deficit (you may remember that, back in the Zaadz days, I really struggled with it). Finally, I understood that I wasn’t. It’s a kind of acceptance and yes, the inner relationship with my creator, my soul, whatever the heck it is – that connection right back to Source is a blessing I can’t lose now. It is that clear and constant for me. For that I am eternally grateful.

  14. jeffstroud says:

    In recovery rooms that longing is called “a hole in the soul”. Something searched for, longed for, because something as been denied or stuffed, or violently crushed. Yet Recovery allows for the unravelling, the chinks in the wall let the light in, words and language become supportive, encouraging, and most of all loving.
    Finding our purpose, discovering our talents, asking for and researching thoughts and ideas that begin to bloom when we are creative, when we enjoy doing and being that creative creature we are. You my friend are a writer, you blend and engage your words with the everyday experiences we all have into a rainbow of joyful illumination. Love this blog very much. ((Hugs))

    • Kathy says:

      Jeff, what a beautiful way of expressing this. “A hole in the soul.” And all of us have denied or stuffed things during our lives, refused to feel, because it hurt so damn much. The spiritual journey does seem one of unraveling, of finally bringing to the surface all the parts of ourselves. Thank you for reading and resonating with this post. ((Hugs back to you!))

  15. Lori says:

    Wow. Did you take that last photo? Awesome. I can relate to this feeling. It’s like I need to do something and I can’t figure out what it is. Don’t know that I’ve ever figured it out when it occurs.

    • Kathy says:

      Lori, I want to say–glad you relate to this longing–but it’s such a challenge sometimes when it occurs that maybe it would be better if you didn’t relate, lol! Maybe we’re not meant to figure out what it is. Or maybe we’re meant to follow it until it leads to our heart’s greatest longing. The journey of a lifetime indeed… And, yes, I took all the photos, including the last photo. Didn’t take it recently, though. It was in a blog published some time ago, but it seemed to fit in with the theme so used it again.

  16. Abby says:

    A beautifully written accurate account of feeling. Thank you!

  17. Oh yes, I do have spells of longing, and they are hard to define and describe…. But you have a way with words, Kathy. I love how you portray the outlines of those feelings. And in the end, I do think longing is a gift, making us more aware of and ready for transcendence, awe and blessings when presented to us.

    • Kathy says:

      Barbara, I resonate with your sentence about longing as a gift, making us more aware of and ready for transcendence, awe and blessings. That is the upside of this. And YES! those feelings can be so hard to describe and paint in words. You’ve articulated what was trying to come through when I wrote this. How to put in words something as elusive as a feeling rising and swelling within before it abates and something else arises. xoxoxo

  18. Val says:

    I know this feeling (that you so beautifully wrote about. Thank you.) Sometimes the longing is defined and fulfilled only to return in another form. All my life – from childhood onward, something felt like it was missing and I’d want to be anywhere except where I was. As I got older I started having daydreams of living in the countryside or by the sea. Then a decade ago I made it happen (countryside. Other half isn’t keen on seaside places, unfortunately). Now I get the same feelings but no longer know exactly what it is that I seem to be longing for. I suspect it’s something within us, Kathy, that just calls out. Sometimes we find something that fulfills the need, sometimes we don’t, but it seems to return later.

    • Kathy says:

      Val, thank you. You’ve beautifully described this, as how it really can’t be “solved” by moving to a new place, or eating a piece of cake, or drinking wine. Nothing seems to abate it because–perhaps–it’s a longing for the Universe, or the Infinite, or who-the-heck-knows-what. I see people changing locales or partners and sometimes sense they’re just trying to find a way to fulfill the longing and want to say, “No, it won’t work.” But who knows? Maybe it does work for some people. I don’t know two hoots, except I enjoyed connecting with you through your comment about your own longing.

  19. sonali says:

    I’m so lost…

    • Kathy says:

      You know this longing, too, Sonali? It can make a person feel totally lost. But perhaps in some strange way it also can help to connect us to something larger… Hoping that you are OK, even in your lostness… Love…

  20. Resa says:

    Congrats for your win on roughwighting blog!!!!

  21. Elisa says:

    Oh NOOOOO!! Oh dear god you woke HER up!! how COULD you?! lol

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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