Riding the Spiral.
I find myself today, riding the spiral.
Up and Down
In and Out
Back and Forth
There was a time that this would have felt stagnant. It would have felt like being stuck in the same cycles. I would have described it as pacing the treadmill.
But this, today, is different. It is more and somehow it is leading me to less.
My words are cryptic this morning when there are few minutes to write
but I must, I must,
I must take this few minutes.
Whether it makes sense to anyone else or not, these words are for me.
It is how I began many years ago.
I wrote for me.
I wrote to leave some record of my journey through life.
of the mundane that was profoundly wise.
of the common that was uncommonly beautiful.
of the struggle to find belief in my doubts.
I discovered myself in my words.
I uncovered myself and made way for an artist to emerge.
I thought I had excavated all that was buried.
Now, I see that in my frantic digging, I covered up some things.
Back to sifting, back to sorting through and rediscovering the valuable things.
Now to placing my treasured artifacts in the honored place where they belong.
To love oneself is the beginning of a life long romance.
~ Oscar Wilde
If it is not abundantly clear in this journal page, let me just make sure that my message is understood. Working through this thought process and heart belief of accepting life has been so important for me this month. As the waves of life keep rolling, acceptance has been not only my method of survival but a wonderful, beautiful place of peace.
However, when it comes to myself, I want to go beyond just acceptance. Entering this season of my life, I am focusing on non-resistance, on acceptance of the changes that are happening … in my body, in my mind, in my heart. I realized last week that it has to go beyond that though. I don’t want to just accept, just resign myself to this life, to this body. No, I want to CELEBRATE myself, I want to be in love with everything about myself. I have had enough of not being enough .. not being tall enough, small enough, flexible enough, smart enough but I am not JUST going to accept “my limitations”
No, I am nurturing a heart of greatness, an awareness of all that is wonderful and good about ME. I accept that it is OK to love myself!
I am an art journaler.
You are too.
No Rules, Just prompts.
I have attended two funerals in two weeks.
The first death, though of someone not related or extremely close to me still, pierced my heart, leaving it open and raw to receive the news this week that my twenty-seven year old nephew lost his battle with addiction.
I have attended two funerals in two weeks
Each time wondering at the sterile way we treat death, at what are acceptable and unacceptable displays of grief, at the industry that preys on our insecurities, our uncomfortableness, our fears.
Why do we expect those who have lost the most to be strong in the midst of the greatest pain a person can know? Tell me when is the right time, where is the right place, for a grieving mother or father to break down? How do we paste a smile on our face and shove that in front of a brokenhearted parent or grandparent and say, “you have to be strong. He would want you to be strong,” shutting down the tears, the pain, the grief? What right do we have to do that just so we won’t be uncomfortable, just so we won’t have to deal with that amount of raw emotion?
Please, may I say, please hold off on your judgment. I know there are those who think the one who enables, the one who struggles with the same disease, has no right to his grief. You are wrong. We ALL must enter into this broken place. We all must acknowledge and embrace the pain. This journey is what brings wholeness, eventually, it does bring wholeness. Here or there.
Do we not understand that the effort to deny the pain is the core of addiction? Do we not understand that by shutting down this process, we,in turn, are perpetuating the same behavior of not acknowledging, not learning how to be with pain, with things that are uncomfortable. Do we not see that in some ways we might all have addictions but ours are more acceptable and less devastating. Might we all be trying to avoid the pain, trying to be strong, trying to make it through another day?
I don’t want my living to be this way. I want to learn to sit with grief, with pain, with even just being uncomfortable. I certainly don’t want my experiences with death to be captive to what we consider respectful and normal.
Life is messy. Death is messy.
Let it be so.
Those of you have have been reading along with me for the years I have been blogging will be familiar with the way that sometimes I have to come to the keyboard and just type.it.out.
Let loose, let my fingers fly and find my way to peace. It is a mirror image to the way that I paint in those moments when nothing in my life makes sense and I just have to follow those brush strokes to transformation.
Tonight … no wait, this morning, in the wee, wee hours of the morning … I am at that sometimes place of just needing to speak, to write words with no worries of whether or not it means anything, with no motivation of anyone reading it at all.
These are words just for me and these words matter to me, mean something to me, even if that something is only to write over and over and over ….
I don’t know.
I don’t know.
I don’t know.
I don’t know how we make it past this moment when it all feels too painful.
I don’t know how I could have refused that last hug.
I don’t know how I … or anyone … could have changed anything … because a lot of people tried.
I don’t know how to live on the fringes of addiction, not affected directly but profoundly shaped shifted from childhood into this moment now.
This painful moment, empty, missing another soul.
I feel like I am tiptoeing through the aftermath rubble of another storm, this one larger than any I have experienced. We are all left in pieces and there’s not enough glue in the world to begin to mend these hearts.
I remind myself to pack up the judgment. There is no place for that here now. Instead, I repeat to myself over and over and over
Those two words, just those two words.
I don’t know how to practice Relentless Compassion but it seems it may be the only practice I have anymore. Sit still, listen and practice.
There is so much more that stirs in my soul but at least for now, for this moment, my eyes are starting to droop, sleep may be just around the corner now and I am ever grateful for this sometimes practice of just typing it out.
As explanation, all I can tell you is that Addiction has cast its final hold on my nephew. His troubled soul aches no more. This song, this dance, has been on a loop in my mind for the last twelve hours. It screams everything that I cannot for now.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I was a bit ambivalent for most of the book, thinking it was a take it or leave it, good enough but not worth telling others about …….
Until the last chapter.
That last chapter felt so deep, rich, so much like poetry.
Now I want to re-read the book with that perspective and see what changes for me during a re-reading.
Favorite quotes (from last chapter)
Esch is fifteen, saying these words,
“I hugged him tighter, held him the way I’d embraced those boys I’d fu**ed because it was easier to let them get what they wanted instead of denying them, instead of making them see me”
and my heart just split into pieces …
“instead of making them see me.”
Such truth, such raw and painful beauty in those words. Not just for a fifteen year old girl but even for an older woman … “instead of MAKING them see me.”
“Every line of Daddy’s face, his shoulders, his neck, his collarbone, the ends of his arms, seemed to be caught in a net dragging the ground.”
Can you feel it? The tiredness, the emotional fatigue that drags the entire body down.
Yes, such words finally broke through my busy mind and said to me … give this one another chance, read it again with different eyes, you are going to love this book.
“For they could not love you,
But still your love was true.
And when no hope was left in sight
On that starry, starry night,
You took your life, as lovers often do.
But I could have told you, J.,
This world was never meant for one
As beautiful as you.”
modified slightly from Vincent by Don McLean