And that about sums it all up.
And that about sums it all up.
Of course I always was
at this time of year,
because of the absence of light,
because of the cold,
because of the way
the sun sets when I’m not ready.
But this year,
the Christmas decorations
are bringing me down too.
The Christmas carols
are making me cry
instead of sing.
I feel sad looking at my children.
I feel sad about everything.
I never knew something
that always brought such joy
could bring the sting of sadness
over and over and over again.
But I guess that this is how it goes
when home doesn’t feel like home,
when your husband isn’t a husband,
when your life isn’t what
you thought it would be.
Still, there’s something about the holidays
that makes this worse.
Is it the outward cheer
that throws my inner desolation
into such sharp relief?
Every time I see a Christmas tree
I want to weep.
Sometimes I do.
Please God, let me make it through.
The forest has been calling me
and my heart answers
but my hands keep doing laundry
and my feet are pacing
back and forth across the wood floors
as I vacuum.
The forest has been calling me
but I have not been able to answer.
And this is why I am crying.
Today over at NaPoWriMo.net we are invited to write a pastoral. From what I’ve gathered it’s an ancient form of poetry and calls our attention to nature, landscapes, and human interactions that unfold there.
I love nature, and a part of me feels displaced, confined, oppressed even if I have been separated from the natural world for any length of time. This past week my husband and children were ill, and I didn’t have the freedom to run out into the woods the way I would have done if everyone had been well and adhering to their normal routine. In short, I was feeling pretty miserable inwardly with all of the neediness and no free time. I tried to capture this feeling somehow in my poem today, even though feelings are slippery and don’t want to be captured.
After having yet another disagreement
about the time I spend alone in meditation,
alone writing, alone reading–
I can really get why many marriages fail.
It cuts to the heart of what is important for me,
and his disagreement is heartbreaking…
it feels like an attack. It feels like he is being stubborn,
And what words would he use to describe me now?
Probably selfish, ridiculous, out of touch.
if I weren’t committed to working this out,
a part of me would be content to say,
“Ahh, clearly I need to be married to a man who meditates.”
A part of me would be content to throw in the towel
and blame him for our problems.
Hogwash. Relationships don’t work that way.
I want to tend to mine with love and caring,
to develop loyalty and the strength
so that I may support him in his creative pursuits,
so that I may experience true companionship.
This all makes so much sense, yes,
but what about when marriage
becomes like war in the trenches?
When does my willingness to concede
become a sacrifice of ME, the self I like in me?
If one of you has a magic wand,
please rub it over our heads.
Maybe our eyes and hearts will open
just a little bit more
and we’ll enjoy the being in the other.
O Nobly Born, O you of glorious origin, remember your radiant true nature,
the essence of mind. Trust it. Return to it. It is home.
–Tibetan Book of the Dead
My body is so tired,
and I feel so tired writing that again.
Isn’t this what I say so often…
that I’m tired?
But tonight in particular, everything seems tired.
Not just my body, but my mind, my heart, my spirit.
Nothing seems worth any effort,
even fifteen minutes of free-writing in my journal seemed torturous, futile.
What is happening?
My mood took a nose dive today without warning.
What could I do to reestablish balance, to feel whole again?
I can hear the stories in my mind, the resistance to what is.
How do I heal this tendency to see myself as broken?
Yoga teaching helped me to feel like myself again this evening.
Two classes, thirty-three people, and I felt like myself again.
When I step into the role of teacher,
the little self becomes absorbed
into the infinite ocean of the universal self.
For a moment all my neuroses disappear,
and I’m left to ponder space, to experience pure being.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to be teacher,
to connect with other human being in such a positive way.
I just wish I could forgive myself
for not being a master of all the qualities I’m seeking to develop within.
I wouldn’t tell my child that she isn’t allowed to make mistakes–
so why can’t I allow myself the same forbearance?
What makes it so hard to see my inner nobility, to believe in the good?
When will I find freedom from the inner tormentor?
When will I remember my radiant true nature?
When will I return home?
Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt was pretty alluring, so I decided to give it a go. Construct a poem in the voice of a member of your family. Connecting positively with my father during the holiday today, I realized that I yearn for that kind of connection with him much more often. But it’s hard to get close to him sometimes. Sometimes it’s hard to want to be close to him. Such is the great paradox with members of our families of origin…wanting closeness, but wanting distance. I see a lot of sadness and vulnerability in my father. I wish I could help him to be happier, but I know that I’m powerless to change him, and so I often feel frustrated when I think of him. This poem might stir up a lot of feelings, like the prompt suggested. Let’s see what happens.
My house is a graveyard
and I am buried alive in memories.
I am afraid of too much space
so I clog every available inch of my home
with something, anything
anything to keep me from confronting the emptiness within.
I am so tired because
there is no room to move in the place where I live.
What am I wanting anyway?
I spend much of my time alone
Without a mirror to look into–
how can I know myself?
My mirror of nearly 45 years
went off to California
She can finally breathe
She can move
I miss her.
She was my only real contact
with the outside world,
and now she’s gone.
What have I done?
I keep myself from living out my full potential.
I am scared, and my fear dictates every thought and deed.
Somewhere in the mental morass
I am talented and brilliant and tender,
but how could I know,
how could anyone know?
I am buried alive in the graveyard of my body, my home–
And I am profoundly alone.
Yep. I’m exhausted. Ready to throw in the towel. Working so hard, feeling like I’m spinning my wheels. I’m teaching seven yoga classes a week and trying to find balance at home with my children and husband. Twice daily meditations, writing in my journal, this blog, my other blog, weekly therapy sessions, antidepressants, and still I am so low I wonder if I will ever see the light again.
I have reached out to countless people. I have prayed. I have tried and tried again to practice one-pointed attention. I don’t know what else to do.
Today I became angry and yelled at my daughter. I wasn’t in control of my anger; I yelled from an unconscious part of myself and then felt guilty afterwards.
A friend who moved to the mid-west told me that I shouldn’t blame myself for my biochemistry, that I need to be monitored by someone who can assess my needs better than my primary care doc can. She said that maybe I need a combination of medications. A combination? More meds? How did I get to this point?
This third month I said I’d be working on the third step, turning it over to God.
I turn this mood over to you. I turn my biochemistry over to you. I turn my life, my work, my marriage, my children–I turn it all over to you. I don’t know what else to do.
And I don’t know what else to write, because right now, my words don’t matter. This is pointless. Why put more effort into what I want to say? I don’t want to say anything, I just want rest, and a friend who’ll hold me and tell me that it won’t be like this forever.
Now I’m remembering to breathe. This moment, this breath. A little more space in my body, some space to exist, even if it’s painful right now, even if I’m feeling alone. This moment this breath.
It is 1:35pm, and I just got the kids in their rooms for “nap”– in quotes because napping isn’t really happening these days. It ends up being the kids playing by themselves in their rooms for an hour or two while I have one blessed moment to myself. A lot of the time I end up lying down and trying to catch some shut-eye, knowing that at any moment my daughter may interrupt my attempts to rest with breaking news of her latest toilet accomplishments. And then there’s the ceaseless chatter issuing from her bedroom. Her stuffed animals have been very noisy lately. They have involved, often heated, conversations with each other, and they have little regard for my profound need to rest. I’ve stopped fighting. I don’t tell the stuffed animals to be quiet. I just let them have their conversations and try to sleep in spite of the noise.
I find myself typing here, trying to get my post of the day over with, so that I won’t have to worry about it later when I’m so tired that I can barely keep my eyes open. There is resistance in me to what I’m attempting to do here, and it’s strong, and loud, and intimidating. It pushes against me, tells me sleep is better than this baloney I’m smearing across the screen. It again says, “Why bother?”
Well, because I can. And, because I want to.
I talked yesterday about the anchor of procrastination and the inner critic monster that accompany me whenever I attempt to write, and how heavy they are. Today I have a different vision– of my creative self sobbing silently, sitting on the floor of a dungeon, back up against the cold stone wall, arms wrapped around knees, body curled in a little ball, head hung low. Creative self has been here a long time. It has nearly given up hope of ever seeing the light of day.
Many stair steps lead up to the light…each step takes great effort and the prisoner is feeling weak from hunger. She follows the candle flame, which appears dim and vulnerable in the encroaching blackness. One foot after the other, one by one by one…some day, some day I will be free.