who do i tell?

week 3: lesson 3       http://inkypath.com/programs

Write about the things you are grateful for as well as some of the things that are driving you absolutely mad.  Think of it as a gratitude journal or grievances record.  Instead of writing appreciations and complains, describe why you think these things are present in your life. What have you done to bring them about?

What can you do to change them?

Write to a 3rd party who knows nothing of your life and has no stake in the outcome. Get dirty. Lay all the gritty details on the table.

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Dammit. i am so tired of *feeling*. i’m tired of the tears. i’m tired of tired. i’m tired of so much and there are times i long to return to the numb, disconnected, frozen person of years ago. i am weary of knowing and loving and hurting and feeling so deep in my heart of hearts.

 

gratitude  ::  thankful  ::   appreciative

 

a silent morning alone, nestled in my golden yellow chair, feet propped on my kapok zafu, listening to the gentle rain on the skylight. facing north, gray clouds settle in, flocks of geese fly in formation, crows rest on bare branches, airplanes continue to take off and land :: there is something comforting in a schedule. yes. i am grateful. as i breathe deeply and slowly, today, the privilege of abundance is mine. i have more shoes than i will ever need. i will never go hungry. two dozen red roses, fill the room with their heady, intoxicating scent, reminding me that i am loved.

 

it is impossible to know what is under a word or one life, under pretense or profession, under a name or perspective. the veneer of living can be deceptive.

 

i can only know what is true for myself ~ when i slow down, breathe, sit and listen. there is always something else, underneath.

 

under the gratitude is regret. under regret is frustration. under frustration is embarrassment. under embarrassment is that question, “What have you done to bring them about?” under that is anger at the question.

 

putting it all on the table, getting down and dirty is so frightening, so difficult, so against everything that i have been taught and internalized my entire life.

 

the family motto has been “look good, be good”. the most important thing in the world is to appear “good”, to have everything neat and tidy and orderly, to appear as if everything is perfectly fine, no worries, no concerns. dirty laundry, divorce, addiction, suicide, unplanned pregnancy, unhappiness, and “oh, my goodness” even ‘living together’ have been hidden, unspoken and unacknowledged. 

 

for years my experience in religious community has imposed similar demarcations between external behavior and internal life. sit in the same place. don’t disagree, or if you do, say so politely. believe what they say, do what they say, act like everyone else, look like everyone else, talk like everyone else. don’t think for yourself, trust the Word, trust the words of others.

 

don’t you see the madness this invites? don’t you know that there is an internal world that screams to be set free, to be let loose from the binding rules of family honor and religious piety?

 

you tell me ~ where do i go with my story?

who do i tell ~ that this week i filed for unemployment?

who do i tell ~ that i don’t know how to figure out medical coverage?

who do i tell ~ that i applied for social security early because i need $507 a month?

who do i tell ~ that i am angry as hell that my husband is blind?

who do i tell ~ that i am sad and lonely, that i miss my children and my grandchildren?

 

you see, i have heard the questions “What have you done to bring ‘them’ about?” and “What can you do to change them?”  the questions and answers historically have come from politically conservative, religious people: work hard and you will get ahead. pull yourself up by your bootstraps. don’t take advantage of the system. don’t rock the boat. trust God. have faith. reach out. you know how to use the phone, call someone. all true, but missing the mark. (and in some circles that is the definition of sin.) and i want to scream from my belly, “what do you think i have been doing?”

 

i don’t need fixing and i do not want someone to take care of things. i just want to be able to tell….to share….to say….this is my experience, my truth without the expectation of someone else trying to change things for me.

 

i do what i know to do ~ i sit with my cuppa tea, compassionately present with the both/and of my life ~ acknowledging my life experiences, the truth of my internal journey and paying attention to the coming and going of the birds, the planes, rain, the feelings and the knowing.

 

yes. i am grateful. as i breathe, in and out, deeply and slowly, today, the privilege of abundance is mine.

 

myself, the elder

in only 20 years, i will be 83. an old woman. that is not very far away…and as i write, i realize i am already there. i am who i will be, even then.

this has been a very powerful write, a time for reflection and awareness. another testament to the power of the written word, working in my soul.

prompt: write a letter to your older or younger self…describe how you are feeling. ask old/younger self questions. explain yourself.   http://inkypath.com/programs

third week of writing

dearest anne,

myself, the elder, are you seen and loved and known and held?
i weep to know the sorrow and longing ~ but kindly, look not back with regret or despair
see the shining strands of silver, shimmering with beauty
feel the deep creases and wrinkles, marking you with wisdom

i weep to know the sorrow and longing ~ but kindly, look not back with regret or despair
resilience, rising up with the strength of first light
feel the deep creases and wrinkles, marking you with wisdom
years peel away pretence

resilience, rising up with the strength of first light
see the shining strands of silver, shimmering with beauty
years peel away pretence
myself, the elder, are you seen and loved and known and held?

with the deepest of respect and love,
anne

fragility

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Facing the fireplace, albeit a gas fireplace with no wood smell or crackling sound, in the overstuffed, butterscotch leather chair, studded with nail heads, knitting together, row after row, stitch after stitch, yarn entwined between fingers, there is so much to take in. You have to have a lot of light when you are old if you can’t see. Everywhere I look is beauty: the petite Victorian down stuffed sofa covered with red-orange dots… I am empty inside and I am full, but I don’t know…the 10 foot long table made from the floor boards of the old family business, large enough to hold ⅓ of the family in mismatched chairs… this one, then this one, then we go to the house. No, the store. No, to the yarn store. To get paper. 
The yellow sun umbrella expanded fully – inside the house… I know exactly what I am telling you about. …the attached green house, filled with fresh blooms of orchids, the new growth of amaryllis, a lime tree with fresh fruit hanging on heavy branches, faces the mirror glass river. She who lives here has a lot of love. The walls are wrapped in a blue-green-grey color that changes by the hour. Tom has all his marbles. He is really the best child. My newly trimmed pup is sleeping on my lap as my old cashmere sweater hugs me following a long shower. Do you mind, I mean think, I don’t know. Do I need to forgive your father? Is that my problem? My feet are cold and tucked into slippers.
A perfect cuppa tea, sweetened with warm milk and sugar fills the fine china mug that fits my arthritic hand perfectly. The sounds of rain hit the roof and run in sheets off the windows. I could watch the weather on the news but it doesn’t change one thing. Why waste time…lets go for a walk.
There is nothing physically recognizable from my childhood or young adult years in this home. The beauty and refinement only emphasize and shine light on the fragility of life. A life I have never known, yet know intimately as my own. A life of a woman deeply wounded, grieving her own history, her own loss of knowing and being…reframing gratitude and gift and blessing….
The fragility of a question asked, mother to daughter, “What gives a soul meaning?”
My strong, independent, creative mother is slipping away.