Pieces.

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What courage have I?  In the moment, it is simply a thing I have to do.  Tired of picking up pieces; the result of others’ choices, I made my own, and scattered my marriage, my life and his life to all points and corners.

I had envisioned months and months of civil side-by-side living while I cultivated the desire to live away from him.  I was shut down, closed off, impenetrable, had made my decision and dammit, I’d had enough.  I loved my children but I did not love my husband anymore.  Even the little, familiar things we shared seemed inconsequential and did not affect my ambition.

Six weeks later, I find myself rummaging for all the pieces.  Slowly, deliberately, even perhaps letting them come find me for repair.  As in Kintsugi, we are reconstructing in new ways.  Our marriage from before is dead; exploded, and the new one is beginning to look much different.

With this slow repair though, comes a devil on my shoulder.  The doubter, nagger, and all around pessimist.  She is obstinate and doesn’t want to move forward.  She is petulant and refuses to show any kind of affection.  She throws emotional grenades that make me break down in counseling sessions.  But what she fails to realize is that her work aids progress; she is part of the yin and yang of me.  However, she’s been the larger of the two for a long time and she’s not keen on sharing power.

So, I am struggling with conflict.  The desire to move forward and to not.

These are interesting times.  I see my husband in a new light but I don’t yet know who I am, or who I am in this relationship.  It’s a new thing, but not.  It’s not like a new relationship that’s thrilling and butterfly-inducing; it has a history.

So, I work on myself.  Or sit with myself.  Do nothing.  Think nothing.  Feel nothing.  Other times, I do, think and feel it all at once.  It’s still choppy waters.

But that devil…..boy, she’s had her way for so long.  I mustn’t fight her, but allowing her just to be makes my life quite challenging.

 

Friday Fictioneers: The Damned Town

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Photo courtesy:  Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

The Damned Town

Word count:  100

Lesley eyed the building while she polished the antiques. Its bleak façade hung like a gaping maw; rotted teeth below empty sockets, and its tongue rolled rock-strewn into the river.

Her gaze returned to inspect the wares on the windowsill; all polished and shiny, ready for another day of business.  Lesley knew though, that by morning they would all be tarnished again.

That night, as every night, Hell’s presence rose through the devil’s portal, imparting its ancient malice into the water. Fetid fumes seeped up river banks, swarmed over trees and bled into buildings, coating everything in a dark patina.

A Warrior Knows When to Accept Defeat

There are days in a warrior’s life when defeat drapes itself upon the heart; the weight of it pulls the mouth down, and every step feels like drMichael-Maier-1-Fantasy-Emotions-Grief-Contemporary-Art-Post-Surrealismudgery. There is no rising above it on a day like this. It feels so full, and leaden that the only thing to be done is to sit with it, and be morose friends for as long as necessary.

Defeat glums the soul, shrouds the light, and I am a stubborn one; I want it to do so. I want to feel its heavy-handed, tawdry weight. I languish in it, allowing it to seep into the very core of me.

What point is there in all of this? Nothing is getting better. Positivity? Shoo away, put up no fight, but don’t cower; wait in the shadows until defeat is exhausted with the effort.

Today, I am done, I am solitary, there is no hope.

It is not hopeless, I understand that; I am simply not hopeful today.

And that’s ok.

It’s a busy thing, to tirelessly keep the balls of life up in the air. Not just my own, but others’ too. I realize that I can’t keep up, so they fall, and I fall with them. I catch myself, held suspended in some sort of shadowy between-ness.

It will pass.

It’s temporary.

I have not stopped being a warrior; I’m just caving into darkness for a spell.

 

Well done burnt bridge.

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For a long time, I have fought a battle that can never be fully voiced. It can never be laid out on a table for all to see. It is a private war. I have danced around it in my blog, written about hard-won skirmishes, and weary defeats. It’s a sort of thing that I have treated alternately with a delicate hand and a closed fist.

Its presence is exasperating, like an annoying mosquito that won’t quit buzzing around.

No matter what I have done to abolish it (think on it, write about it, fight it, silence it, meditate on it, drink, eat), or didn’t do (let it be, accept it) it has had me chained to a merry-go-round. I, a colorful filly with great stems raised, ready to gallop, but unable to.

Recently, I burned the bridge to the battlefield that I alone had maintained. It was done with confidence, and without intention of returning to the precipice pleading for the link to be restored.

But, the ego is fearful. It knows I am stronger, and it bombards me with thoughts and questions, and the same old worn out lines. The crackled movie on a fading loop starring the old witch opposite Snow White, except my apple gift is dented, and browned.

What is it afraid of? I think on it….and have to laugh a little because I simply don’t know.

I have everything I need inside and out!

It could have been a sad thing to burn that bridge, but by deciding to stop the fight; I am forced to face the truth.

And the truth is acknowledging the dark side of self; specifically emotions such as anger, aversion, and dislike. No more sweet frosting. No more battles. No more black and white, or tussles between good and bad. This is it; the beginning of true healing begins with the belief that negative feelings are as much a part of self as the positive. In this way, the ego has little left to live for, and that’s what it’s afraid of.

Without the dark, there can be no light. And, the more I calmly let in the dark that’s practically barging down my front door, the sooner I will be free of these shackles.

 

 

Softly, Softly…

hard softSometimes when you’re lying in bed on whatever days that are yours to sleep in, between sleeping and waking, the mind draws itself into awareness. Done are the crazy roadtrips of the night; the events that make no sense and wisp away into the morning, or perhaps, like me, remnants remain for you to gnaw over. You are content and warm under the covers; floppy, sleepy. But the mind rubs its hands together, ready to take full advantage of your drowse. Little does it know that by opening up a can of worms, it could be presenting a moment of healing.

It was yesterday morning, the kids were home from school for yet another snow day which meant I had to stay home too. I had the extra hour or so in bed, and in my doze, yet with no will to do so, I cycled back to the summer of 2011. I’ve gone there before, drawn by how I felt about myself and how (I can see now) that was projected onto a woman I called my nemesis but who was probably a very nice person.

We still had our lovely restaurant and our kids went to a private school but beneath it all, our family writhed like chained prisoners. Ultimately, our efforts would prove fruitless but until the day of release, we were bound to keep trudging around on the wheel, grinding away, going nowhere. On a spiritual level, I was nowhere near the place I am today; whatever light that shone inside was shrouded in jealousy, fear, judgment, anger, and hatred. I judged myself against other people. And the prettier, the thinner, the richer they were, the more I could beat myself up.

My kids’ school, in particular my son’s grade, decided to hold their ‘Back to School’ parent gathering on the patio of our place. My husband and I were honored but nervous, and I recall, as I was deciding on what to wear from my closet of painfully old clothes, wondering what this other woman, this “nemesis” would be wearing, would she be there at all?  It was a pernicious trail of thought; one that led to my choice of the dowdiest outfit I had which inevitably led to feeling frumpy, inadequate, and clumsy which then led to drinking too much at the table shared with the principal and his eye-poppingly skinny wife. I laughed too loud, I broke a glass, it was noticeable. And this woman was there; tall, blonde, very slim, in a lovely figure-hugging dress. She oozed serenity. I had been to her house for a birthday party; it was spacious and organized. She had three kids and she didn’t work and she was living the life I had wanted for my family. I admit that I was so filled with envy, I couldn’t see the good in anyone. I imagined she laughed at me internally; could see through my guise of smiles that covered up the “look at us, we have a restaurant and we’re as good as you but I know really we’re not and you’re so fucking lucky.” 

This was played out to me in its entirety yesterday morning, and I let it do so. This other woman was beautiful and she had a grace about her, no doubt. But I remembered another time after her father had died suddenly. I passed her in school during a parent/teacher evening, and it was obvious she had been crying; her eyes were red and puffy, and if I had wanted to mentally scoff and say “Now she looks like shit!”…I couldn’t. In spite of the green eating away inside, I felt only compassion. I stopped and offered my sympathies. She looked me squarely and sadly in the eyes and thanked me. One soul connecting with another in a time of sorrow.

As I lay there, coming to the conclusion of the playback, the ego wilted a little.  A stronger voice arose uttering the word ‘soften.’ So I did. I allowed myself to view the patio scene from a perspective of compassion, for the frayed person I once was. I saw this other woman not as my nemesis but as a beautiful woman with a lovely family. The memories softened and loosened their grip. I knew that all I had felt and was still feeling on occasion when she came to mind, was my torch to extinguish.

In that moment, with eyes closed, tucked up in bed, I freed myself a little bit more of the hardness around my heart. It helped me soften toward other things too, and I allowed myself to be open in their direction also.

Another step for my little light. I’m so grateful, I could cry.

All About the Goat.

It’s been a ‘taking time’ sort of year. That sounds wrong, as if I had snatched time away. So I guess I’d rather say I have been working on ‘being with time.’

Monsieur Goaty Goat

Monsieur Goaty Goat

This goat is the perfect example of my being with time. During soccer season, my husband drove our son to practice and to coach, and on alternate nights, I drove our daughter. The fields were located at the end of a long driveway that wound through a place stuck in time. I thought it was the coolest thing: decayed buildings with worn pictures of what looked like British Colonial Indian men wearing turbans and holding rifles. We drove by an abandoned miniature golf course, and just past that, a large penned in structure with peacocks, chickens, horses in a field beyond, and this fat goat.

It became a ritual for my daughter and I to hope that the goat was hovering at the entrance gates. Most nights he was, and we were the only ones to stop the car, get out, and say hello. The goat didn’t give a shit, of course. Merely sniffed an outstretched hand, turned and trotted off to his perch. But I loved that we did that, even as other soccer moms raised eyebrows driving by, I loved it.

Being with time was sometimes a struggle; during our moving crisis, it felt narrow and tense. Many other times, I argued with it; wanted it to speed up so that healing could be done faster; anger and resentment would fade quicker. But time goes at its pace, and we must go with it. Like the one lane road we often find ourselves traveling on, stuck behind the slow driver with no passing allowed.

In the roominess of the space I sit when I’m feeling at peace, I see how valuable this particular year has been. I will admit to clinging to certain sufferings and still, I’m not sure why. They aren’t ready to be understood yet, so I am still…always…continually…learning to accept them. But when they rise up I can lash out; I’m working on that. But mostly, time for this year has been so beneficial to the most loving relationship next to self, and that is with my husband.

Bidding adieu to 2013, a time of learning, growing, stretching, understanding, loving, fearing, anger, detaching, resentment, judging, wishing ill-will, forgiving, apologizing, making peace, reaching out, hoping, wishing, hugging, kissing, making love, creating, writing, expanding, thinking, separating, dancing, crying, seeking truth, breaking, sitting, mindfulness, meditating, thanking, gratitude.

2014 will no doubt, bring more of the same, although with a little less financial crunchiness, and that’s just fine.

Now for a little bit of visual feastiness:  My favorite video of the year. The song by itself is ok, but when I watch it with the video, it makes me so happy.

Lose Yourself to Dance. Why? Because, really, it’s just a wonderfully, uninhibited, freeing, soul-reviving thing to do.

Peace to you All.  Keep Dancing!

Last Year’s Language

From Mindfulbalance blog – one of my go-to bloggers for affirmations and inspiration.  He quoted this yesterday:

For last year’s words 

belong to last year’s language 
and next year’s words 
await another voice.

And to make an end 
is to make a beginning.

T.S. Eliot

A new age then for me on the last day of November.  I am now on the cusp of the mid-forties.  A phrase which makes my husband smile and nudge me with a whisper “you’re in your mid-forties…” 

You ask how the hell did I get here?  What happened to 34 or 24?  You remember where, what, why and how you were then, and a little dawning lowers like a soft light onto the stage. You could be surprised at the speed and passing of time but then you stop, listen, see everything around you. The dishwasher shushing through its watery cycles, your husband fiddling with the kids’ small Christmas trees to get the lights to work (and you know he will because he can pretty much do anything). You hear the soccer match on the telly. The taste of bacon in your mouth. The cool air on bare arms but comfy fleecy pants to keep your legs warm. You just know that everything is ticking along rightly so.

Time, space, the padding in between all the stuff we do feels fatter as we get older. I love the plump feel of it like big cushions to roll around on. As a teen or twenty-something, the air in between felt like a vacuum and I think I just got sucked through to go on to the next activity. As a 30-something new wife and mother, time and space were nowhere to be found. So, what a relief that I am here.  Now.

In love with being forty-something. Loving the discoveries. Pulling back dark dusty curtains, surprised by the revelations. Some things, some admissions, some truths cause a wince but it’s all good; it’s moving forward. And what better way to step onto the next stone than seeing what lies ahead?

A new year for me. Last year’s language has all but gone; I worked hard this month to purge, and despite one or two trips, it’s looking big and breathful ahead.

This vast, beautiful life.aurora_borealis_1-840x524