I’ll warn you on the front end, this post is gonna ramble. Because that’s where my head is at right now, thoughts popping like fireflies and I’m following their dance and see where it takes me. I’m relieved to feel this movement as, honestly, the last two weeks have been rough. I mean emotionally rough. Who knows why? It happens, cycles happen.
It’s the nature of most minds, definitely my mind, to try and figure everything out. Why am I in this funk? What is causing it? Is it physical? Emotional? Am I missing a nutrient? Oh I missed several days of my hormones, that’s it! Oh wait, it’s still here. Then maybe it was all that dark writing, was that good for me? Blah blah freaking blah the mind goes on and on with that clock face spinning and spinning searching desperately for the problem then the answer will be not far behind! I’m just sure of it!
What if the problem was actually the searching?
When they do all those intake forms for menopause issues, one of the terms that comes up frequently is a symptom of internal tension. Well let me tell you, most of every day over the last week or so, I knew exactly what they are talking about. This unrelenting pressure inside of your very being that is a loud resonant knock knock knock on your brain. It commands your attention. It bubbles over at anything and everything it finds deserving of it’s unique brand of sharing. Then it retreats, only to build again. Let’s just say there were quite a few apologies flowing out of my mouth to my brother on our trip to Sedona. “I’m sorry, I’m just not feeling like myself and I don’t mean to take it out on you”. He always just replies “it’s ok Kathy” or “it’s ok, I know you’re stressed” or one time he just replied by taking out the garbage without having to be asked. He listens. He’s actually a soothing balm for me with his unique brand of tolerance.
Last night I got to think about this going on. How to shake it, wondering when it was going to pass, when those hormone creams were gonna finally kick in, I mean it’s been four full days since I got back on them. Four full freaking days already!
So I allowed my mind to wander in a different direction when I got home from a movie with some friends. A very intense thought provoking film that is honestly my favorite activity when I’m in this state. Let me sit in a dark cool movie theatre and watch someone else play out my angst on a screen. It’s heaven.
I was also struck by a conversation after the movie that got me thinking about labels. How we are so quick to want to label our discomfort so we can as quickly as possible, find the remedy. And how we go down all these dead ends and wrong turns chasing those labels and cures. How I’ve done that I mean.
All of this pressure, all of this just being over my own damn self, led me to remember one of my favorite all time poems that I visit and revisit when there is any need for it’s particular medicine. I’ll just go ahead and share it right now. I also found an interesting blog with some interesting analysis on it. I’ve seen this poet, David Whyte, recite this poem twice in person and his own sharing of what it means or meant to him. I’ll just say I’m glad this poem is on the planet as it’s been good medicine for me on many occasions. Many.
When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.
When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.
Turn to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.
There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.
The dark will be your womb
The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.
You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.
Give up all other worlds
except the one to which you belong.
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.
The House of Belonging
Many Rivers Press, 1998
This poem always makes me think about seeds. About how they absolutely need those essential elements of time and darkness and aloneness in order to sprout. They do it all on their own, in their own time and with the right conditions they evolve in to a masterpiece.
They need that darkness and sweet confinement of their aloneness.
To a seed, it’s absolutely sweet. To me, sometimes, it’s my own version of Hell.
I need to revisit this experience, this revelation, over and over in my life. Each and every time I forget. This poem has become a compass to me, yet it doesn’t mean I don’t stop forgetting. This is maybe the one and only most important lesson in my life. To accept these periods of darkness and seeding.
I had a Myofascial release treatment this past week and didn’t my body just curl right up in to that seed posture. All on it’s own.
I felt all week and much of the last two weeks that I just wanted to be home. I wanted to be home in my little comfy chair with my comfy blanket or in my bed.
And at the same time, I found myself resenting all the fun people out there in the world having fun while I was sitting here stuck in a near state of paralysis. That judging judging mind loves to take all kinds of trips. The Road to Self Pity is a favorite jaunt. The I’m Going to Stay Stuck Like this Forever is a picnic it loves to pack. The I Am Really All Alone In This World is one it will purchase a ticket for.
Yet life rafts come in all forms I’ve noticed.
Sometimes they come in the form of someone else’s pain. I ran in to a girl online who was sharing her misery over a relationship that’s going south. I thought what can I say to her? Well, that’s when I realized it was really David Whyte who held the answer so went looking for his poem. Which was of course for me.
So back to seeds. I wake up this morning, laid in my bed for a moment to assess the emotional terrain. Is it still there I asked my mind? Well, there was a feeling of freedom that it had somehow started moving. Of course even the asking of the question brought back a shimmer of that dark cloud but I was able to move much more quickly from my bed. It’s kind of like your entire leg having fallen asleep but you can begin to move your foot. Like that.
I came downstairs wondering if I had anything to write today, any thoughts in my head worth sharing. Any organized enough to even be translatable.
So I signed on to Facebook first. And I ran in to this photo.
I became instantly captivated with this photo. Looking at the jars, the seeds inside, the book in the background, the granite countertop, seeing she has a Blendtec blender vs. the Vitamix I’d gotten for my birthday, wondering what the greens are in her smoothie until all that wandering through that photo, through that looking glass, led me to think “Why am I not making my smoothies anymore?”.
Something happens when that paralysis takes over me that I forget even the simplest steps to take care of myself. It’s these moments I realize the impact of growing up without a mother had on me. I know very well how to kick in to auto pilot to take care of others but when it’s me, my mind goes blank each and every time.
Sometimes I’m lucky and a friend just steps in. But most of the time I’m suffering in silence and stuck, forgetting even the basics.
So this photo and it’s pulling me in like those sidewalk chalk drawings did on Mary Poppins, was God’s way of sending me a life raft.
Now let me tell you a little something about the girl who took this photo, the smoothie maker. Her name is Elisha and I met her through the Travis Alexander trial. She was a very very good friend of Travis’.
I remember the first time I met her. First of all, she’s strikingly beautiful. I mean seriously head turning. Tall, lean, gorgeous red hair, one of those interesting faces you just want to keep looking at.
I got instant tears in my eyes looking at this photo of us again and noticing for the first time it appears I am hanging on to Elisha for dear life. See how my hands are clasped around her so tightly? When you read what comes next, you may understand what I was grasping. Her clarity. This photo was taken the day the guilty verdict was handed down in Travis trial.
What has left the greatest impression on me about Elisha is her absolute level of realness. She is a photographer so clearly has that artist’s soul and keen eye. I remember sitting there on that outdoor sofa with her the day I met her and just feeling so much, it was almost hard to even speak. Her pain at losing her very very good friend was so raw and so real. She shared some highly personal stories with me about her relationship with Travis that I still remember every single detail of. They had a very special soulmate type relationship although it was entirely platonic. I’m actually feeling the exact feeling I had that day right now while she was speaking as I’m writing this. Being in the presence of that kind of authenticity sometimes is just daunting.
I remember Elisha giving me a message that day about forgiveness. About how she received a message from Travis saying we all needed to forgive his killer Jodi Arias. Her commitment to this feeling, this knowing, was so strong.
The day of the verdict, Elisha went on national TV talking about that forgiveness. This girl has balls I tell you. In a moment like that when the collective community is immersed in vengeance, she’s talking, on camera, about forgiveness. She is a living legacy to Travis Alexander.
So this morning I’m captivated by Elisha’s simple photograph really talking about these jars she got at the dollar store.
Then I realized. Those are all seeds in those jars. This photo is an homage to the importance of seeds. But seeds in a particular moment in their life cycle. Seeds soaking in water in order to break down their outer shell, to release their life force.
I realized then and there that this is the moment I’m experience right now. That moment in the second stage right here:
Can you see how delicate that second stage of development is? It’s just barely begun to peek out of all of that hard protection. It must surely have to build up a ton of internal tension in order to bust out like that! After realizing it’s safe to come out and express itself. But it took it’s own sweet time to get there. In the third photo it’s starting to develop a bit more of a support system but that second one is where the rubber meets the road. It’s where all the vulnerability lies. And yet it still can’t help but be moved to move. To become more than it knew possible inside itself.
We all love to stop and smell the roses. To rejoice at those beautiful blooms everywhere. The poor seed often gets neglected.
Peonies are my favorite flower so I went in search of peony seeds this morning, never having seen one. Check this out.
Now those peony seeds themselves look so protected, such a hard shell. But they’ve added a whole other level of protection to sequester themselves in. I wonder how many layers I have. How many will I bust through to land in to something like this?
All unfurled and ruffled and displaying a pattern but no pattern at the same time. Just a full explosion of bloom. I can relate to this.
A seed knows it’s place in the world and does everything it can possibly do to protect that residence.
Why do I keep thinking I need to pull myself out of that germination prematurely over and over again?
Today I thank that tiny sprout that’s begun to take that journey in to the unknown. That little white sprout that trusts and eagerly reaches out without fear. That sprout that remains fully connected to it’s container as that seed sacrifices it’s life so it can develop in to what it was born to be.
So today I will be going to the dollar store to get those jars. Then the health food store to get the seeds Elisha recommended. And tomorrow to make my smoothies again, thanking each and every one of those seeds as they sacrifice their potential for my own.
Thank you David Whyte and Elisha for helping me remember. For helping me see. And Elisha, I’m going to set about forgiving myself today for forgetting. In you and Travis’ honor.