Friday Fictioneers – Martha’s Mind

Dale Rogerson

Photo courtesy – Dale Rogerson

Martha’s Mind

Word count:  100

 

Martha inhaled deeply, held it momentarily then exhaled slowly.

She repeated this twice before settling into practice.  It was a warm evening with low humidity so she took the opportunity to meditate on the back deck while the mosquitoes were preoccupied.

The sun warmed Martha’s face; eased her frown lines, and smoothed her crow’s feet.  The cushion beneath cupped her bottom with ease which promoted a relaxed attentiveness.

Bird evensong and faraway car sounds floated by for her consideration but she paid them no mind.

For thirty minutes, Martha simply was.  Nowhere to go.  No-one to be.  Nothing to do.

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When there was nowhere else but down

Seven or eight years ago, life had become very difficult for my little family.  I could try to explain the whys and wherefores but the events are past tense.  To try to break it down, make it coherent, and string everything together would require more time than I care to give on the subject.  Suffice to say, things were a mighty struggle all around.

Local news today of a father who shot his wife and three young children before shooting himself reminds me of a day or two during that time when I had considered doing the same thing.

The man’s motivation appears to be that of concern over his marital problems and likely, the knock on effect it would have on the relations with his children.  But I presume; I do not know the truth.  I only know sorrow for the situation and relief for my own.

The details were loose.  I didn’t own a gun, and I didn’t know how to get one; I certainly didn’t have money to buy one.  But I remember standing in the living room of our little, rented house staring at the curtains in front of me.  Just standing and staring.  My husband was at work and our children, at school.  I had been crying.  Heartbroken.  My soul wrung out.  I felt desperate.  As if there was no way out.

In hindsight, I think I had a small breakdown that day.  I believed that if we weren’t here, the burden would be lifted.  I imagined if I had that gun, I would kill the kids first, upstairs, then I’d shoot my husband when he came home in the wee hours, and then I’d shoot myself.  I actually visualized it.  I visualized wrapping the kids’ bodies in blankets and waiting for my husband.

So disconnected was I from myself that I thought it would be easy.  I didn’t visualize the  fact that I’d witness my children’s brains scatter, or watch my husband’s body fall, or the last thing I’d see would be the barrel of a gun.  I didn’t pay any mind to family and friends who would be so shocked and saddened. I only visualized a world where our own struggle and suffering ended.

Dark times, indeed.

I am grateful for my own inner strength which pulled me through when my body and soul were limp.

And I hold this dear family in the light today.  I wish the Dad had found some tiny thread to help pull him through.

Namaste Dave

Rarely do I have sea-time without having to keep an eye on the kids.  Miraculously, they all decided they were hungry at once and traipsed back up the beach to my poor, tired husband to eat.  I remained in the ocean, blissed out and floating, treading water lightly, or reclining fully to feel the weight of the sun on my face. It was glorious. I wasn’t consciously trying to be in the moment, or attempting to grasp a fleeting feeling of gratitude, things I often try to do when I take a few precious seconds to marvel at the horizon. It was enough to just be caressed by the swells, gently pushed this way and that.namastesaying

Not far from me a gentleman also bobbed around, on a small boogie board. We grinned at each other and he said, “It’s lovely out here, isn’t it?” to which I replied, “It really is.  And it’s easy just…to be.” He smiled wide and I knew that he knew what I meant. He had an immense, colorful tattoo on his back, about which I enquired.  He explained that he had been to Japan a few times and loved to meditate in their gardens, so over time he’d had a similar scene engraved on his body: soothing waterfalls, Japanese maples, ponds, trees…everything he would wish for in a place for meditation.  I remarked that it was like having his inside on the outside, and he liked the comparison. We chatted for some time, not realizing that we had drifted far from our meeting point, and past the red flag near the rocks, so we laughed and paddled back to where we started, and continued chatting. About yoga, and hotels, and family, and work, until we discovered we’d drifted again. We parted ways at that point; I had to swim back to the sightline for my husband and he had to go find his family. I asked his name; he said it was Dave.  I told him mine and as naturally as can be, I said “Namaste”.  He put his hands together and Namaste’d in return.

The next day, I was driving with the windows open in the car because it was cool enough outside.  Strands of my hair whipped this way and that, and I had tosurreal-art people squint a lot to protect my eyes from both wind and hair. It reminded me of the forces of nature; the ocean, at once giving you enough grace to hold yourself afloat but at the same time, moving you far where you thought you were. The wind, giving you the power to hold yourself steady, yet able to push you around at the same time. The forces of fate; meeting people, kindred souls, not so kindred souls, whoever, wherever, whenever, and for undetermined (or is it pre-determined?) lengths of time.

I met Dave for maybe ten minutes, and unless there are plans previously established before our lives on Earth, it’s unlikely that I’ll see him again. But I won’t ever forget him. Just as I will never forget the elderly lady at the grocery store two months ago who happily informed me of the differences between jams, jellies and preserves (Truth be told, I already knew, but wanted to connect with her because I was feeling particularly friendly that day). I won’t forget the woman with the white hat at table 15, years ago; who was so angry about waiting for her lunch that she insulted me, and thought her salad was puny. Or the waistcoated gentleman at table 13, who on our opening night scored a free meal because he was under the (mistaken) impression that his risotto had wild rice in it instead of Arborio. I will remember the father many weeks ago, showing his teenage daughter how to pump gas. She thought it was funny; he was trying to impress on her the importance of the task.  We made eye contact and in a split second, I understood his frustration and showed him that I empathized.

We shouldn’t forget the boyfriends, the old friends, the neighbors, or the random people. It would behoove us to remember not just the people who showed care and respect for us, but also the people who treated us terribly, who were rude, or hurtful, or broke our hearts.

Or is it just me? Am I the only one who thinks about this stuff? What capacity we have to hold all these memories! In some way, some small or big way, every one of these people created a spark, a connection. And in some way, it taught us something, showed us something, or maybe just helped to keep us buoyed during a day. I honor all of them.

(Of course, this also applies to people online whom I shall probably never meet in person.)

Namaste, All.

 

Not Forcing

The Summer of Me took a turn down a different road; the things I had hoped to achieve physically, thwarted by health issues. Perhaps the barriers were raised because the roots of planning grew from negative soil. Soil in a field rife with self-judgment, and skewed views of the way things needed to be in order to be pleased with myself –  if I could just be the weight I want to be; if I could be shape and size I want to be, things will be much better; I will feel better about Me.

Self, the all-knowing Mother, so calm around the bouncing, impatient child Ego, says in translucent tones, “No honey, this is not what you should be doing right now.”

Impetuous child. She pouts, thinks she knows better and does it anyway.

It has been “settle down time” for a while. In it, gentle daily lessons and reminders of self-acceptance. Doing as I please in moderation, even though it is often accompanied by a certain unease; breathing into being with the transitory nature of now.

Soon, when I am confident of my health, I will return to the road I had started upon. I should take Self with me; she will be an invaluable guide and a steadying force in the company of a headlong kid.

Mother and Child; Self and Ego.

On what may be

Before my kids exit the car for camp every morning, I try to impart some wisdom. I understand that it’s mostly a futile thing but I hope that once in a while, and maybe for a long while, some of what I say will stick.

“Thoughts are like flowers and weeds.” I said yesterday, “The good, helpful thoughts are the flowers; the negative thoughts are the weeds. Your mind is like a garden, so be careful which plants you water, because what you water the most is what will grow. Would you prefer a mind full of beautiful flowers, or a mind full of weeds?” *crickets…..followed by mama’s gone crazy shared look*

“Sometimes not getting what you want is a good thing because it can lead you to much better things you never knew were there.” This one made my son eyeroll because he’d not been allowed to buy something on his electronic device half an hour earlier.

I’ve learned more about myself in the last two years than in all my years. Currently, I’m sitting with uncertainty, fear, worry, and frustration over things that I cannot control. In years gone by, I’d have been a bound slave to the dire link between thought and emotion. I know better now to locate the peaceful light inside, even if it feels like I’m parting a hedgerow that only serves to become thicker and snappier with each handful apart. I can see the light, I can feel the light, I can tap into it, and for a fleeting moment, peace settles in, right there in the middle of the writhing forest. Soon enough, and inevitably, the thoughts swoop in like crows with their chatter and tightness and the white birdlight flies away.  The process ebbs and flows as I work throughout the days to breathe, center, tap in….breathe, center, tap in…

Art Fantasy Fantastic Illusion Magic Painting Surrealism -6My lesson for the next few days will probably be about letting go of trying to control things. Keeping at least some part of me in touch with the light on the other side of the hedgerow while the rest of me is fretting about something that has an either/or outcome. And pulling from the experience, some words of wisdom for my kids who, one day, will appreciate the little seeds I’ve been planting. I hope.

 

Manifest my drum set

I’m sure you’ve heard of the Law of Abundance.

I like to walk at a nearby horse farm that has a long trail through woods, and across fields, and which, at points, neighbors with back gardens. I have walked by the houses and lusted after pools, cabanas, patios and decks. Nothing extravagant, but certainly nice. I have felt jealousy, and bitterness and lack in my heart, and not just at these possessions but toward other peoples’ successes. It’s how we judge ourselves and each other, even the most spiritual of us who are not monks in a monastery would have to admit to a slight inkling of the ego’s darker nature.

It was one evening that I walked by the same back gardens and caught myself having the same thoughts. “When will we…?” “Why can’t we…?” “Will we ever…”? “Ugh, These people are so lucky…” It was then that the Law of Abundance principle popped into mind; a practice which I understand but have trouble instituting consistently.

I guess it’s a double-edged sword on a personal level; having been in a position of absolute financial wreckage with a family to support, the overtones of which still waver around. It’s challenging to maintain the belief that what you want can be yours simply by believing, envisioning and feeling that they truly already are. But, I also have a natural bent toward believing that these sorts of things actually work. In fact, I have a very good friend who practices this manifestation belief daily, and she is quite successful.

So, I joined a group on Facebook to help buoy my abundant side; took part in a ‘manifest $200’ for the day and promptly got a $600 bill from the dentist, which is sort of funny now but definitely was not at the time.the-creator1

I’m not one to be deterred or downtrodden very often so I set about consciously practicing daily gratitude for all the things I have. This is where it begins; truly appreciating that what we have is all we need. We don’t have a lot of money but we are able through one avenue or another, to provide a summer of fun for ourselves and the kids. It may not be a Caribbean vacation or at trip to Disney but it’s more than we could have done in years gone by. We live in a great, little neighborhood with an abundance of friends for our kids, and with watchful eyes, and texting parents, they are able to stay out until bedtime. We are blessed in many ways, and we are rich with love. More and more these days, I think and believe that I have everything I need.

With all that taken care of on a daily basis, I would now like to manifest a book written by me on the bestseller list, and a drum set for my husband. Actually, I think I want the drum set more than the book because watching him practice a beloved rusty skill would be all I’d need.

A book would be cool, though, so I’d better get back to practicing, writing, imagining, believing, trusting, hoping, creating, and loving.  Consistently.  Decisively.

Gooses and Ganders

The bodypump instructor looks at me as we’re coming to the end of the class. Training our shoulders is the last thing we do with weights. Contrary to her recommendation, I have not loaded my bar. In fact, throughout the entire class, I have put whatever weight I feel comfortable with on that bar. I don’t hold with the run of the mill mindset that heavier is better. That the more you lift, the stronger you will become. Sure, your body will adapt over time but I don’t want to do that, I’m fine with a lighter weight, and lots of reps. She looks at me, and I see a sort of chiding in her eyes. We are both English too, so there’s a weird connection, as if we are comrades and I should do as she does because we are of the same cloth.

I run through a list of silly excuses if anyone should ask, because I feel that everyone sees even though I know that even if they do notice, what they have seen will be forgotten as soon as they leave. I think I can tell them that I am recovering from surgery, or an illness, or that my doctor has warned me to take things slowly. I laugh at myself for doing this, and for second guessing my actions. But it’s too late, I don’t have time to put extra weight on just to follow the herd. So, I carry on and I can feel my muscles working, and it is good. The next day, and the day after, I know that I didn’t slack off really because everywhere is sore anyway.

The other mother approaches the bus stop one morning last week. I am wearing my three quarter length workout pants, sneakers and a sweatshirt. I am planning on going for a run immediately after work, and there will be no time to change. Plus, my boss is out of town so I can pretty much wear what I like. But, I’m conscious that the pants are a bit too flary around the shins. I have never been able to find the regular leggings that fit past the knee. Frankly with my hips, I don’t think it would be a good look for me anyway. I watch the other mother but she doesn’t notice that I see her look at me from the waist down. I wonder what she thinks. Does she think that my thighs are too big? Or that the pants make my ankles look skinny? Or that I must have the day off because I’m dressed in workout clothes?

Later on, I take my first full run outside. The first for the year. It is hard work. I run much of the course the first time around. The second time, however, I walk more than I run. I wonder how the other mother is so slim.

I am an observant person. I notice the little things; looks, actions, and behavior of other people. I’m good at that. Maybe it’s a trait of the writer’s mind.

I am becoming more observant of the inside, too. The wagging finger and bullying voice that try hard to convince me that what these people see and think of me is important to me. That I must conform. That I must believe what I perceive. That I must believe what the thoughts are thinking up.

I was easily bent to their will as a teenager and twenty-something.  How glad am I that now, in my forties, I am able to set those things aside and do what is right for me.

Huzzah!