Today’s prompt over at NaPoWriMo invites us to go on a walk and gather some things to create a “walking archive.” This afternoon I went on a walk around my neighborhood and left the sidewalk to duck into the woods. I was looking for morels. I found one within minutes, but it was past its prime, so I left it there, hopefully to shed its spores and give life to some new morels someday. I kept walking and came across a nice piece of quartz just lying on the forest floor. Moments later, a beautiful small feather tinged with orange caught my eye. And on the way back home, back on the sidewalk, I felt moved to pick two violets. One white, One purple.
My heart full of melancholy, I stepped out into the world only to see two little girls, neighbors, also stepping outside. They were wearing masks. I felt sad at the reminder of what life has become. I walked into the woods looking for morels but was really seeking solace in the arms of the Great Mother. I picked my way along the forest, down a slope, across a stream, winding my way among bunches of skunk cabbage, every once in a while pausing to sit on an old mossy log or hug a tree. A gleaming chunk of quartz caught my eye. Earth. And then a feather. Air. And then the sound of the stream. Water. And then the gift of the sunlight warming my weary soul. Fire. On my way back home, two little violets spoke their sweet, secret language to me. Grace. My heart is still full of melancholy as I feel the sorrow of the whole world, but the Great Mother still holds me, always holds me, eternally holds me. Love.
Today I turn 43; This body has made 43 trips around the sun, and it seems significant that I find myself alone to send up rockets of appreciation from my square foot of earth to celebrate the occasion of my birth. I like myself. I like the company I keep in the quiet moments when there is no one else to break the silence, when I have the space to listen to the deep music of what continues without human effort, what remains, what hums when we finally slow down and accept that enough is enough.
As an introvert, my alone time is essential to my health and well-being. As a spiritual seeker, it is crucial to my practice. And as a human being it is a necessary element to embrace in my daily life as I discover who I am in this world. Alone, I can hear the birdsong and the windsong and the watersong. I can peer into the very nature of existence itself with no one there to distract me from my journey. Alone I can hear the voice of my spirit whispering where to go, what to do, what to say and to whom. Alone I can see myself, hear myself, hold myself, know myself. I am grateful, so grateful for my solitude.
For a long time it felt like something was missing. I had been a Mrs. for so long, and now he was gone. There was an empty place in my bed, a hole in my heart, an vacant seat at the table, a void of presence in my life. But slowly, slowly, as time went on, I faced the one inside me who believed I couldn’t make it on my own. I worked hard. Day after day, I recommitted to my healing. I began to enjoy the company I kept in the quiet moments of solitude when I wasn’t working or mothering. It’s Saturday night and I’m alone. The highlight of my evening was a long soak in the tub. I love this moment. I love that nothing is missing. I love that I can feel my wholeness now. I love that I stayed alive for my healing.*
*If you’re reading this with a broken heart, having gone through a loss of a relationship or the loss of a loved one or the loss of something by which you formed your identity, please hang in there. It gets better. There were so many moments during my separation and divorce that the pain was so intense that I really thought I wanted to die. Thankfully I had Twelve Step Meetings, therapy and a few really good friends who helped me stay on this planet. On the other side of that terrible trial, I can look back and see what a gift it was. I am stronger now, and more capable of loving authentically. I have a clearer sense of who I am, and a much better idea of where I want to go and what I need to do to get there. There is hope, friend…hang in there.
Sometimes I wonder how you could go from I love you to It’s over. But that’s exactly what happened, from one month to the next… And yes, nearly two years later, I’m still wondering. I’ve read another book, The Way of the Superior Man,* by David Deida. (You told me I read too many books, but then I think you watch way too much TV.) I flagged each sentence that shed light on what went wrong in our marriage. I’ll go back and reread what I’ve flagged, memorize the passages, so that never again will I share my heart with a weak man, a man who blames his woman for his shortcomings, a man who defends his mediocrity by rescinding his responsibility. I’ll read every book I can get my hands on about cultivating a healthy relationship with myself and healthy relationships with others. I’m becoming quite an educated woman. The beauty of my aloneness is that I get to dream of being with someone who deserves me, and I get to cultivate the deep sense of worthiness that will draw him to me. I’m still healing from the wounds you inflicted when you left our marriage in such a cowardly way. Eventually, though, when I’m with a beautiful, strong man who loves and appreciates my deeply feminine core, I’ll thank you for giving up, because I know I was worth so much more.
*I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It resonated so deeply and clarified so much. I’ve never felt so vindicated, seen, heard and understood. Ladies, every one of you, please read this book. Gentlemen, every one of you, please read this book.
I woke up this morning with a lightness, was able to get so much accomplished… something had shifted, and my mind wasn’t stuck in the same old thoughts. I felt more like myself today than I had felt in ages. I took time to take care of my self, celebrated the quietude, seized the chance to tune in and clear my space. Now, freshly showered, clean sheets on my bed, and a warm mug of tea steaming beside me, I look back in gratitude. It was an incredibly ordinary day by mostly anyone’s standards, but I’m feeling peaceful now. God bless my ordinary life.
We went to an amusement park today.
What feels like play to many
seems to suck the soul out of me at times.
I tried to breathe as we waited in lines,
applying the tonglen meditation technique…
breathing in the impatience
for myself and all beings,
breathing out relaxed presence.
Sometimes I was successful,
I’m pretty sure at others I wore a faint scowl
unconsciously…as I dreamed of silence.
It’s a head game being around so many;
The noise and the commotion
remind me of how much I love quiet,
how important solitude is to my wellbeing.
Looking back on the day I see
another opportunity for balance,
dancing that fine line between being with self
and being with others,
giving enough time to each
to keep sanity and connection both within reach.