Winter came in October this year. The snow fell. The temperature dropped. There was nothing I could do about it except sit back and enjoy all that it brings. The world is in repose. There’s no need to hurry and fuss. Nature rests and so must we.
The snow lights up the dark mornings and evenings. It covers the ground in holy whiteness. No need to wipe the dirt off Sheba’s paws. She can roll and dig in the snow to her hearts content. I feel a peace grow inside as I gaze at my surrounding architecture. Love is here. Serenity is here. I hear the words of St. Teresa of Avila.
“Let nothing disturb you, Let nothing frighten you, All things are passing away: God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices.”
Have you ever been anxious? Have you ever been frightened? I’ve been both. It’s no fun. Any little thing can set things in motion. I’m afraid to look over my shoulder. I keep my head down, eyes averted, not wanting to see anything. I am afraid to take a breath, make any move. Afraid of what? I can’t tell you. It’s a sense of impending doom. I’m like Humpty Dumpty sitting on the wall. I could fall off any minute.
I’ve been like this for a long, long time. I hadn’t recognize it as anxiety though. I used to call it ‘having a hard time’. It has been very, very hard. But I’m having fewer and shorter episodes of them now. What probably set it off last night was a delayed reaction to the bombing in Sri Lanka. My friend there was okay. But then the news with names and faces of those killed seeped into my consciousness. And it probably didn’t help that I’ve been reading about Anne Frank and the holocaust. Throw in climate change and the fact that we are so dry here. No rain yet this spring. No hope either.
It’s no wonder I was unable to sleep. No tossing and turning for me. I was afraid to relax, move, let go and even breathe. I was a stiff, tightly clenched body. I saw a sleepless night ahead of me and a terrible day following. I gave myself a silent talking to and willed myself to do a body scan. It failed, of course. I couldn’t willed myself. I was too taut. I had to get up and do something.
So I got up, made myself a cup of peppermint ginger tea. I cleaned the humidifier of scale deposits using Sheba’s toothbrush. It has a brush on both ends, one big and one small. It was perfect for the job. She does not allow me to use it on her. Now I have a use for it. No waste of a good brush. It was relaxing and soothing. Sheba came out to join me. She plopped herself at my feet as I stood at the kitchen sink. I felt comforted by her prescence. The job was soon done. I left it on the counter to dry – ready for next winter.
I was not yet ready to lay down again. I took my tea and sat in my Lazy Boy recliner. I try not to fret, I try not to do anything. I sipped my tea in the dark. I listened to the wind howl and watched the spruce trees sway in the night. I’m learning to sooth myself. I let whatever feelings come as they will. I heard St. Teresa Avila’s prayer and was comforted.
Let nothing disturb you, Let nothing frighten you, All things are passing away: God never changes. Patience obtains all things Whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices.
I am here. Now what? What shall I talk about? How nothing’s right, but nothing is wrong either? Where do I go now, I who is always at crossroads. At least wherever I go, Sheba is with me. She is pure. No resentments. No grudges. If I give her a tidbit of a treat, it’s as if I had given her a steak. Wouldn’t it be lovely if I/we could be that joyous and thankful, our tails wagging back and forth?
I’m waiting and tapping, waiting and tapping. Which way to go? This way? That way? What to do? This? That? I can hear Carolyn Myss in my head, screaming: Stop it! Stop it! I’m going to listen. I’m stopping it – the wondering and wandering. I’m staying and tapping words, songs and prayers of peace.
May I find courage. May I find strength. May I find the words and wisdom. May I find silence. May I find and give compassion. May I love and be loved. And may I be safe. And may you also have all these things.
Day 120 in a year of doing different brought grey clouds and a spattering of snow. I baked through the valley of shadows to the other side. Now I’m enjoying a cup of tea and a second slice of fresh baked bread, wishing I had some jam. The only time I’m craving it is when I don’t have any. Isn’t that the nature of things.
So here I sit, tap, tapping and pushing the shadows further back. My magic bullet (Sheba) is beside me, squeaking her toy ferociously as if to chase out demons. She is doing a wild dog war dance, barking and squeaking. I had to reassure her that we were okay. We were safe. Could she please do a down? She obliged prettily.
I rest into the peace and quiet, reflecting on this life of mine. Into each of us some darkness must fall. It is the darkness that leads me out to the light. It is a guide, my North Star. I sit in prayer, giving thanks for all that I have and all that I am. Thank you, Lord, for your wisdom and guidance. Thank you for your compassion. May you bless us with wisdom, understanding and compassion for each other and for our earth. Amen.
What a loaded question! Everything surprised me this year. It was as if I had landed from outer space and Earth was foreign terrain. It was no longer the friendly place I once knew. I started unravelling like an old worn sweater at the strangeness of it all. The unravelling sped up as the days passed – like the end roll of toilet paper. Finally I was limp and helpless like a puddle on the bathroom floor.
Being helpless, I gave up fighting this strangeness. When there was no more struggle, no more sparring in the dark, I was surprised by my own strength and resources. Somehow I was able to pick up the stitches and knit myself back together.
It was not an overnight job. I sat through a month of instructions, listening every day to a new instructor. It was a most pleasant October as I spent each morning sipping tea with Melli of the Mindfulness Summit and learning what it is to be in the present moment, accepting what is.
It was a hard lesson and difficult knitting. No double I will forget and unravel again. But then that is how life is, isn’t it? Ups and downs. Flux and flow. All of life’s surprises, big and small. Have no worry for me. I am a muse and as muses go, sometimes I tend to be melancholy in my words. But I am ever a hopeful muse. As I end may I say a prayer for us.
May you find peace. May you find joy. May you find strength to carry you. May you find the gift in surprises that bring tears or joy. And may God be with you always.