Colors

As a child, I was instilled with the belief that I was brilliant, by a misguided but well meaning father.

I wasn’t brilliant, only a hard- working average, but didn’t realize it until many years into adulthood. It’s led to many disappointments, and the wondering why things didn’t work out brilliantly.

The talents I did in fact have as a child weren’t nurtured. So I lost them, and am going through the process of becoming reacquainted.

Parenting oneself isn’t easy, and knowing what a disappointment you are to others is a fragile and on-the- brink place to reside.

Painting like an eight year old is frustrating, but freeing, too. I lie back into a box of colors, and try to remember who I am.

King Prawn

Last night
I floated on seawater,
And a glowing King Prawn
Darned my womb
with silken thread,
And clicking fingers of burnt sienna.

Sol Invictus in an exoskeleton, with full Mother Moon
looking on.
I’d have been afraid,
Had Mother not been there.

Threads, he said.
You are made of threads,
Each one a break or a bond.
It’s braids you must build,
To keep it all together.

White silken braids,
Made of love and longing
and the bleeding silver
in your hair.
(Which you must not hide,
he added.)

Red silk in warm water
Is not the path,
Even when the beckoning
Is strongest, stronger than
Even the pull of the tide.

Seek the threads,
Save the threads,
And remember what tapestries
The Mother creates
From gossamer.

Never let the warm water
Bring you under.

So said the Invincible Sun
With his King Prawn eyes
And tiny feet that tickled my belly.

I believe him.

The Feels

The way one FEELS may be directly indicative of the way one feels.

The physical feelings…uncomfortable, stiff, slow, restrained, queasy. But wow, the worst of it is this neck pain, starting at the point behind my hear, extending down my neck and shoulder, and into the area of my shoulder blade.

I can’t turn my head to the right, can’t tip my head back, and it’s actually difficult to hold my head up at all. I feel like my head is huge, and my neck is too weak to support it. The pain comes and goes, but its coming is frequent these days.

In her book Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, Christiane Northrup writes about the connection between physical pain and emotions. She states, “For example, instead of ‘My stomach is hurting,’ say,’What is it I’m having trouble stomaching?’ Emotions such as anger, or any other emotion that you may consider unacceptable or that you may find difficult to experience directly, will often affect your body instead.”

So…I ask myself, “What is it that I am feeling too weak to support?” And “What is it that I find sickening?” And even, “What situation am I uncomfortable with, and which I may be avoiding?”

I am a well-educated woman, and have worked full-time for over twenty years. I am about to accept a part-time position in another town, for a fraction of the pay, but in an office that is calm, friendly, and…yes…air conditioned.

I am leaving a job that makes me feel sick in my skin, that requires me to act in ways I would never act in my everyday interactions away from work. A job that sickens me with the dishonesty and lack of loyalty I see so many of my clients’ family members and representatives exhibit. I am leaving a job where the only clients I have (sometimes as many as 800 at one time) are helpless, and sick. Very sick. I have several clients per week pass on, due to aging, with new clients coming in to replace them. A revolving door of illness and death.

But the pay is great. And money is security. And I’m supposed to want to advance, and make more and more money, right? Isn’t that what is supposed to make me happy and healthy? Oh wait…but I’m not in the best health, and I’m not as happy as I know I could be.

I can shoulder the responsibility that comes along with less money, fewer hours, and happy people. I can shoulder the demands of one more move. I can shoulder the financial restraint I’ll have to exercise when my salary shrinks. I can shoulder the transition period.

I can help to support my family financially, even with a lower wage. I can support my family even better by having the time to maintain our home, take my daughter to events, grow my own vegetables, walk my dog.

I can leave the discomfort of draining hours, of exhausting client needs and demands, of the burden of an extremely heavy workload. I can leave the discomfort of feeling out of place in community, of worrying about living out the rest of my life in the same job that I have never, ever truly enjoyed, and that at times I have hated, and that has led me to anxiety attacks, depression and even one solid nervous breakdown.

I can stomach change, when it leads down a road of sunshine and fulfillment, even if my pockets will be emptier, and my bathroom shelves will be stocked with fewer lovely and expensive skin care products.

I can take a deep breath, enjoy a walk in the morning, and it will all be ok.

Money talks, but most often its words are so very dirty.

Let the hunt for happiness continue.

Dust and Midsummer

Restlessness. I keep moving in and out of this sphere of restless energy, this space of what-is-the-best-thing. Nothing new. Most of my uncomfortable bits are reruns, repeated patterns that I can’t quite seem to shed.

Boredom. But I never used to get bored, ever. It wasn’t a word in my vocabulary. In my kids’ vocab, certainly, but not mine. My answer to their whine of I’m bored? Well, I’ve got something for you to clean. I’ll be using that one on myself now, since I can’t seem to find any other cure for this flatness I feel. After all, I can’t watch Netflix forever.

Uncertainty. What to do? Stay or go? This or that? Now or later?

Midsummer. The growing season is halfway over. Days are getting shorter. Panic has set in, and that tells me that it’s time to rest, time to regroup, time to nurture and tend what’s growing, what’s nearly ready.

It’s not the time to leave it all behind. Not the time to start over. Spring is past. Time to just dig in, trust these roots, and wait a bit for the harvest. It shouldn’t be long.

It’s the heat that does me in. Heat and dust and waiting.

I always forget, by the time the waiting comes round, that the waiting is the hardest thing.

Stay Here

wpid-20141205_170238_sun_vignette_cornered.jpgOver and over.

The track on replay in my head is “you need more education”…”go back to school”…”be something.” Figuring out what I want to be, however, is tough. I want to:

  • teach others how to identify and use native herbs for beauty and wellness
  • lead intuitive art classes
  • help people nurture their minds and their spirituality
  • help others feel beautiful
  • write. write. write. always write.

And then there is the internal dialogue of how I want to feel. I want to feel:

  • respected
  • educated
  • cultured (I know…there is a bit of snobbery in my blood)
  • open-minded
  • artistic
  • writerly (and yes, no such word, but isn’t it lovely?)
  • beautiful
  • wise
  • kind
  • welcoming

Too much to ask? Perhaps, and probably. I’m constantly on the Google lookout for graduate degrees and certificates that will help me achieve the goals in category one, and feel the essence of those things listed in category two. The test is to see whether or not the graduate or certificate program meets both categories. Most often, the program will only meet part of one category or the other.

Throw in a third category of “will my current employer pay for this graduate program?” and my wishes are even less attainable. I work in social services, but it is most definitely not my calling. It is a good job, for which I’m thankful, and my employer has been very good to me for many years now, even allowing me to maintain my work on a part-time basis during a very difficult emotional time (a.k.a nervous breakdown) last year. They’ve been very good to me at work, and they are willing to pay a good chunk of money to help me go back to school.

However, I just can’t figure out what the hell I actually want to do. And to be honest, what I’d like to do most of all is cut hair, and write my heart out on the side!! Ain’t no viable option for that, though. I don’t live anywhere near a cosmetology school, and couldn’t dedicate the significant amount of time and money to the training, even if I did.

I’m taking free courses online in art therapy techniques, and I do so love the courses. But, free training doesn’t lend much to my credibility, even though the courses are taught by a national leader in the field. I also plan on taking a lovely weekend course in 2016 in the art of SoulCollage, which allows a practitioner to lead courses which integrate art and personal, internal spiritual and therapeutic work. The practitioner leading the class need not be a licensed therapist, and this program lights me up immensely.

I don’t want to be a therapist. But I do want to be a helper. I want to help people feel better about themselves, to help them figure out what what motivates them, what moves them, what makes them feel more whole.

I think part of what makes me feel whole is the search. Although I feel a bit of angst and frustration over trying to figure out what courses to take, which avenues to pursue, the seeking and finding of wonderful classes, inspiring programs, and incredibly creative teachers just fills me which such awe. I’d take every class, if I could. I’d be a lifelong, full-time student, and I’d never, ever graduate from anything, because life would be my homeroom, and learning would be my degree. And one is never, ever finished learning.

So, where am I going with all of this? Not far. I am just here, playing, looking for yummy new experiences. I believe I am simply a perpetual seeker, one who always has at least four books on the bedside table (and the dining table, on the floor by the sofa, and on the kitchen bar) at once, one who is always suggesting books to friends, family and people in line at the grocery store (“It’s life-changing!! You’ll love it!”), and one who perhaps will never feel complete. And maybe that is what I want to teach others. Maybe the feelings of incompletion, of the not-quite-knowing, and the motivation to keep searching, really are the point in all of this. Maybe those are the driving factors that truly can help the depressed person, the lonely heart, the lost soul, to stay here.

Because really, staying here is the main thing.

We Are

So many things I wish I could be, wish I was, wish I wasn’t.

My mind often tells me I’d be happy if I weighed 120. 127. 135. 140. Even 150. But I once was lighter, and once was at each of those weights, at one or two or three times or another. And I wasn’t happy.

I wasn’t happy, because happy doesn’t depend on weight, no matter what the weight loss commercials, magazines, and diet books tell us. Happy doesn’t depend on weight.

My mind still replays the old monologues, still hurls the old slams and insults. Fat. Frumpy. Lazy. Disgusting. Pathetic. Old.

My mind still tells my stomach, my upper arms, my neck and my chin what they are, and what they aren’t. What they should be, what they may never be again.

And then my Spirit steps in and says, whoa, Mind. Chill. Remember we’ve been through this before, and you were wrong last time. Everything you said, turned out to be wrong.

Happy looks a lot different than I used to believe. Happy isn’t about whether my skin is saggy or not, whether I have wrinkles around my eyes or not, or whether there’s a bit of a muffin top above the waist of my jeans. Happy isn’t about white furniture and clean kids and dinner on the table at six each night.

I’m finding that happy is actually much simpler than I ever realized. Happy is about getting a little sunshine, sitting on the back porch, being in the right place, and being here, right now. Happy is this moment, a deep breath, the sweet, pungent smell of sage, and remembering that this is sacred. I am sacred. You are sacred. 

Happy is holiness, and gratefulness is bounty.

I am here. Here, I am. Be here now.

Hush, breathe, and let the sweetness of the air sink in.