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.

How the Light Gets In

391202_2278046668545_1489483160_nMotivation. Why do we do what we do? Guilt can be a powerful motivator. But it can lead to a mountain of anger and resentment.

I’ve been resentful for a long time. Sometimes at certain people, nearly often resentful of myself, often at “God” (back in my Christian days), and frequently just resentful toward life, in general.

My reasons for completing the mundane, everyday household tasks carried with them a lot of martyrdom. I cleaned the cat box because “no one else will.” And always with a wad of anger in my throat.

I washed the dishes and cleaned the kitchen because “no one else gives a shit.” And the dishes would clatter into the dishwasher a little more loudly than necessary.

I did the laundry and swept the floors because “this place is a pigsty, and I am the only one who cares.” And tears would often flow as I dumped the contents of the dustpan into the garbage.

I helped my kids with their homework because “no one else in this household gives a crap if the kids are successful in life.” And I’d fall into bed with a knotted up stomach after helping my eighth-grader with math.

I’d mow the grass and weed the flower beds because “what will the neighbors think of me if I don’t?” And I’d apply the lavender essential oil onto my scratched fingers and arms and fume over the fact that everyone else had been watching tv.

Did I ever ask for help? Rarely. Because “I refuse to beg.” Did I love and enjoy my evenings, my weekends, my life? Rarely. Because “I’m alone in all of this. Nobody cares but me.”

Martyrdom. Anger. Resentment. Bitterness. Anti-depressants.

My family and I moved out into the country a couple of months ago. It’s been a dream of mine for years. Decades, even. I have my birdsong now, my peace, my view, my serenity, my bright stars, my silence.

And in all of this quiet, under the influence of the clouds and the meadowlarks and the night calls of coyotes, something in me has shifted and softened. Something inside of me is opening, and is learning to observe the hardened parts of my inner world. Not to hate those parts, or to feel guilty about those parts, or even to try to deliberately force those parts to change. I am just learning to look at them. To see them. To hold space for them.

I don’t have a name for what is really happening. I don’t yet know what it is, or how it will affect my future well-being, my depression, my outlook. I don’t know how much more work I have to do with it, or how far it will take me. I hope that it takes me far, that it takes me to happiness, to contentment, to balance and centering and peacefulness. To a natural state of gentle being.

But I do know that now, when I clean the cat box, I clean it because I love my cats and want them to have a clean, healthy place to poop. That was quite the revelation to have over the litter and clumps, with the cats waiting patiently behind me. It felt pretty fucking profound, actually.

Magic is afoot, I think, as I watch the early Spring storm clouds roll from one end of these mountains to the other. I will let this land tend to my heart, and I will accept each new revelation as a gift that takes me farther along a path of self-healing.

Let it begin with me.

Stirring It Up

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Amazon is my favorite “place” to shop, and I usually always have something in my cart. My Amazon shopping strategy is to spend way too much time searching, looking at recommended products (and by “products” I mean books), and reading reviews (especially the awful ones-they are fascinating!!). I’ve found so many wonderful books by looking through the recommended/similar books, and the “other people purchased” lists-books I’d never have even heard of if it weren’t for the Amazon lists.

During one such relaxing, tea-sipping peruse, I found the “Oh She Glows” cookbook. It is a vegan cookbook, and has simple ingredient lists and beautiful photography (and a lot of it). I don’t like cookbooks without amazing, glossy, full-color photos. It’s probably because cooking intimidates me, and I’m not all that great at it. I like to have a photo example to work toward! I am not vegan, but love the idea of relying on more meatless protein sources.

So late this afternoon, I put brown rice in the steamer, and an hour and a half later, I daringly reached for my wooden spoon and a can of chickpeas. The final product was flavorful, healthy, and looked just about as great as the photo in the book! I was very, very proud of my little self, not just because the recipe turned out so well, but because I planned ahead, and dammit, because I cooked. I cooked. I am congratulating myself every time I cook now, because I deserve it!

Even when the dish doesn’t come out especially well, I still deserve a pat on the back, because it takes a lot of time, energy and planning to create a meal-even if it’s just a grilled cheese sandwich. It’s still effort, and effort matters. We put forth effort when we care. And when we care, life can get really delicious.