Healing the wounds of the unseen…..

026

I feel so full for my city,
even as a massive wound has been lanced and pain spills into the streets.
Charlotte is bleeding sorrow and anger and frustration and confusion.
over the disease of unseeing.

I grieve for the lives lost and silenced
because of a systemic blindness that builds fearful walls instead of seeing grace.
I feel again the white hot tears that I tasted when my own sons were shoved down on gravel
on an empty stretch of highway while police officers grabbed their tender wrists into cuffs.
They were the right color but the wrong flavor
for the rural tastes of the small nearby town that they didn’t skirt far enough
to join their friends in a field for an air soft game after school.

Their windows down, long hair flying and music turned up high on a lone country road,
my youngest, 14,  twirls his toy gun absentminded in the passenger seat
as a passerby phones in a false alarm.
Within minutes they are pulled by shouting authorities with guns drawn
who mistake my youngest son’s neurology for defiance.
He does not process quickly the clamor and shouting,
is bewildered why they have him on the ground.

In the chaos,  neither of my sons are seen.

I bristle at  the condescending severity of the voice on the line
who asks if I’m a parent who know my kids are carrying guns.
Can’t you even see the plastic orange tip on the end of the thing,  I growl
– of course I know where they’re going and my throat goes dry as I struggle to explain.
I bite down hard the angry stream of words that rises up inside,
fearing for my teenage sons who are still in their hands.

But they will come home to us that day.
No one is shot and I don’t bear in my being
a long history dark that has scarred my emotional DNA
toward badges and the people who wear them.
I know this is only a taste.

We call and arrange a face to face with the officers for early next day
-we want to make them see.
My husband and I sit across a wide table lined with defensive faces.
Their patronizing slowly turns to understanding as our quiet voices begin to paint
what they didn’t see.
We wrestle down our own defenses and lean forward to see the people behind the mistake.
We can feel the vast expanse between us come together
as we let our hearts go wide.
I was proud of us all as we stayed in that place
until peace was made.

dunes

And now my heart pulses hot grief for the man who was shot in my city this week.
Maybe plastic orange tips are harder to see when a black hand holds them,
or when a black man is too rattled to comply.
Was he just the wrong color or flavor?  I don’t know.
Won’t pretend to know the whole of his story.
Or of the young black officer who felt pressed to pull the trigger.
But the wound of years of injustice
was opened
wide
and
I see
healing
rushing
in.

~For the man who was shot down and for his family – for the all too many families before.
~For the man who felt forced to drop him.
~For those grieving another officer buried just this week
because he served a warrant to a hopeless man with a loaded gun.
~For those uniformed men who do abuse their authority and act out their distrust and fear.
~For my neighbor whose piercing wail still haunts me
because her son has been shot by a cop who must mow down her boy
because he waves a gun,  wanting to die.
~For the shaking and horrified officer whose job required him to oblige.
~For my black friend who hints that my white life must be charmed
in a way that says she doesn’t see me.
~For the places where racism hides still inside of me – places where I, too, don’t really see.
For all of the wounds of the unseen.

I see you,  Charlotte.
And even now I’m so proud of my city.
Of the healers and seers and helpers and peace-makers
that you won’t see on TV or a facebook feed.
But unless you see them,
you haven’t seen my city.

We are those who protest peaceful and work to see and respect the people behind the badges
even while we show up to let our stories speak.
We are tender-hearted public servants who fight back tears even while standing tall
to protect and keep safe the all of us,
making space for expression of people in pain.
We are many standing humble together to build
more than those who come to tear down,
than the empty-eyed inciters who have traded in their their humanity
to bleed out hopelessness,  like infection,  in our streets.

The healers and seers and helpers and peace-makers are of more powerful stuff,
living antibodies more potent than the poison can survive.
Healing is happening in my city.

010

“Means we use must be as pure as the end we seek.”
– Martin Luther King

Thank you for coming by to have a read.
For being a witness.
Your company here is bread and wine to me.

Dance like you’re already in the rain….

004

The heat has lingered long this year,
the ground more parched than I’ve known in all my days of coaxing things to grow.
Painful dry.
The little bit of rain that has kissed the dirt rolls mostly off unreceived
and I’m watching people lose trees that have stood long
through the seasons.

I want to water everything.

To give a long,  slow pour to thirsty places,
dipping down my bucket to draw up water,
and then let go a fountain
to make brittle things live again
– dry bones,  dry-docked dreams
and dry ground.

I’m in heavy watering mode these days so if you’ve got some thirsty places,
hold still  while i give us a little pour:

You there,
growing where you’re planted in the middle of a dry spell,
hunkered down drawing up moisture from the dust
while your heart thumps hungry for the rain.
Can you feel the faint tremble as the ground rumbles deep?
Like something far is coming – the sound a wildfire or stampeding herd might make.
You feel it in the way that dogs hear a high pitched sound
so it puts you on edge and your heart begins to pace
because you’re already wilting in this place.
Feeling too far gone.  And tired.

024

Wake up your hope and listen.
In the early morning blue of your before there swells a river
that’s been rising on the raw end of a long night dark.
It’s the squeeze before your breakthrough that your thirsty heart is hearing
in those places of “damn,  we’re in a tight spot.”
This is your before – not the end as it may seem.
There’s coming a healing rain and it will find you
where and how you need.
There’s nothing you can do to miss it,  this help that’s on the way.
Your heart is seen and known and understood
and you’re okay.

What if you let yourself take on
a holy curiosity about it all.
To go toward wonder.
The clouds of something good are gathering.
Your dry season is ending.

Go ahead and dance like you’re already in the rain.

dsc06186edited

“Faith is not a club you belong to,  but a current you surrender to.”
– Glennon Doyle Melton

“God is perhaps more tender than you know.”
– Brennan Manning

I’d like to give away another package  this week
– yeah,  it lights me up:)
Leave a comment and I’ll plunk your name in the hat
for the drawing.
And it gives me huge joy to send one out to wonderful Susan of Windrock Studio this week
with a whole lot of love.

Singing river and shuffling shy…..

dsc01814edited

Last year this time I was bursting at the seams
to flesh out a wordy dream I’ve carried for a long time growing
– to find a way to give form and flight to my love for helping tug stories into the light
and whisper free voices that may have gotten buried in the bustle of life.
I’ve carried this flame since I was a girl,  this desire to hear and sing
the hidden songs that another spirit breathes
until they discover in themselves a beauty maybe yet unseen.

It’s grown as I’ve spent time with my older clients,  who come out to sit in their garden chairs
while I dig and tend and weed and mostly keep company with a listening heart
and as I reflect back the breath of their stories and watch their eyes mist and come alight,
it is my honor to hold these spaces sacred.  To be a witness.

So I saved my pennies and purchased a website and named my dream the Singing River Wordshop.
I’ll jump in and pop that thing right out,  I thought,  fueled by strong passion
and labor pains that had gone on plenty long enough.
Get ready to manifest:)
Or so I figured.

dsc01080

Instead,  the river surged wild and I was swept into the tumbling, muddy waters of my own story
and could only ride the waves that tossed me far and away downstream
to a new place altogether.
It’s different,  where I’ve landed.
Less apologetic.  More fearless.
I don’t quite recognize,  but it feels like somewhere I was too afraid to go.
The water sings softly here,  like an afterstorm.
I can hear.

So I’m stepping back in
and trusting help be poured out into every place of need.
Even though I’m knocking around in the dark in technical terms,
I will learn.
Because it’s how I want to invest my Autumn years
– leaning in for a listen to do some wordsmithing for those who may want this,
helping give voice to their own rustle and rhyme.
To notice the whiffs from the incense that a secret heart burns
and wrap words around the treasure buried there.

Because our story is what we leave behind.

dsc02917

“Ultimately what remains is a story.
In the end,  it’s the only thing any of us really owns.”
– Carole Radziwell

The Singing River Wordshop:  It’s about love letters and legacy.
The site is still an empty shell – I’m babystepping into the water again
and so open to questions and input from you – I invite it!
– I want to learn to put words around this thing I’m carrying and I’m not quite there yet.

Giving away another little soul spa package – a love bomb,  of sorts:)
Leave a comment and I’ll toss your name in the hat.

(last week’s drawing goes to Kathy of Paper Pumpkin!  With sooooo much love)

Badlands and bounty and loving it all……

DSC05963edited

I took a week away unplanned because I was spent from tugging some story into words
and then I lost my faithful little sidekick,  Lucy,  and I needed to hold some quiet
around me soft while my heart sat with it all for awhile.
In all of my remembering,  I met again the word that found me at the new year.
I’d danced with several.
The one that wanted to come home with me was so bold and sure of itself
that I could only smile and take it’s hand
and go.

All

And so began a year of leaning in to be brave enough
to learn to live from the all of me.
With all of my heart.
Even when I feel the hiss that I’m too loud,  too expressive,  too ebullient,
too much.
Be the all of me,  anyway.
For all of my life.
Give it my all.

barn beauty

Always.
All day long.
Leave it all on the table.

Lucy lived this little word in a big way
and we loved her for it.
And so I welcome again the gifts in the grieving,
both the side that hurts hard
and the side that celebrates the beauty and wonder
and laughter that she gives us still
where we hold her in our stories.

Life is a bounty
and I want to live it all.

I’ll be back next week with a fresh batch of words
strung together just for you.
Wishing you all the joy your heart can possibly hold,  friend.
And a couple of measures more.
A cup-runneth-over type situation:)

DSC00701edited

“Hope knows that pain does not get the last word.”
– I’m not sure who said this
but I like it.  A lot.

I’m giving away a package that I’ve added to my quiet little etsy store
– a soul spa,  of sorts.  It’s given me such joy to make and write and send these out
that i want to offer them up to anyone who wants.
I’m plumping them up and letting them sing a little louder now:)
Leave a comment and I’ll draw a name next weekend.
With much love.

The breath and belly of it all….

weeping

Winter rolls into Spring and my heart rides the growing waves
that lift and toss and throw me sometimes further out
as I begin to set my hope on a door that slowly opens,
then closes sudden and an undertow sweeps me into a tailspin
and I’m struggling breathless and unable to work my wings
and here is where I learn at last to fly,
because it’s sometimes into the jaws of a strong wind
that we get our bearings because we’re ready to dig in
and maybe this is the gift in going down and out

I do the work with a gifted grief counselor – she’s a bird on a breeze
with a gentle way and healing words that call to me through the dark
and she sings a song of paradox and the eyes of my heart soften into the  hope
that doesn’t disappoint and it’s a strong tow out of fearful waters.
Because when life hurts it isn’t black or white – there’s and and both to all deep pain.
The sad and scared and mad of grief are real and but that’s only one side
and if we try to survive with just that one wing flapping helpless
we tank,  unsteady,  and helter-skelter from the sky where we were born to soar
because we need both wings set to be fully alive.

As I become less dropsy at holding paradox,
keeping journal where I puddle my hurt onto the left page and record beauty and thanks
on the right – side by side together like a perfect pair of wings,
I begin to toddle this grief out,  a fledgling,
learning to hold the full of my pain and the joy,
my love and the disappointment,  the comfort and the hurt
because there’s medicine in embracing the breath and belly of it all.

And,  yes,  showing up can expose a heart for the breaking
but I want a love that doesn’t shy or go false,
to feel it when the Comforter whispers let me hold your hand
and not draw back or slap it away
but take deep drinks of compassion offered and continue to stand,
loved and wanted by a mystery so beautiful and grand
that I lean wholehearted into the turns,  more curious than perplexed or in dread.

Because life is happening bodacious and I don’t want to miss it or be passed by
because I’m holding on tight to one version of happy
when there are a million shades
and seeing narrow makes a chest fold over bitter on itself
while healing breezes kiss a heart stretched wide.

And it helps to have a caring hand to help untie the knots
of what’s true and what’s not.

DSC00419edited

~ The humiliation? – no.
Dig deep and don’t personalize this.

~ The shame? – hell no.  The brazen way it twists and mimics
and tries to impersonate the voice of God,
lying boldfaced that this generous goodness is harsh – Defy it.

~ the Heartbreak?  Yes. Be unapologetic about it.
The hurt is real.  Cry it out with someone safe.

~ The other painful parts of grief like anger and anxiety and sadness and loss?
Yes. Acknowledge. Feel it all.
Go there with all the help that you need.  But don’t live there.
With this wing alone,  we stay cut off from the sky.

Stretch wide the other wing as well.
There are gifts in grief,  and as I begin to unwrap them,
I see windows where before I saw only walls.

Some of the sweetest gifts,  for me,  have been learning to show up and do my best
but not more than my best,  because that’s stepping into someone else’s space.
That hardening the heart does not stop the hurt.
That a soft heart heals faster.
To not waste the pain,  because pain itself is gift.
It means you care deeply about something,  and if you’re willing to go along for the ride,
it can lead you to discover your deepest desires.

Holding paradox is sanity,
and humility
and flight.

I was going to end by telling you that I haven’t heard again from my baby girl grown
and that this road I’ve traveled to learn to hold the pain and disappointment,
alongside the joy and love and peace of letting go,
is one that I’m learning to cherish and carry
with a strong and honest hope
– it’s the story that I’ve been living.

But I get to write a different ending this week.

Because I did hear back.
Just days ago.
So beautiful and true and I will hold her trust with the tenderest care.
It’s pure gift,  sweet and sacred and unspeakably dear
but there’s nothing in me that feels any longer desperate,
like this is needed for repair
and so I can celebrate the timing of it all
because this is maybe gift-wrapped,  too:)

eye of the tiger
Your words have been balm and bread and broad strokes of grace,
finding me where my eyes were squeezed shut
to what a face may silently say,
speaking life and friendship and a healing song
that the girl of me needed to hear.
I hope we’ve been good for each other that way.
Thank you.  With love.  From the whole of my heart.

“Limitless, undying love which shines around me like a million suns
it calls me on and on across the universe.
– John Lennon

If you’re interested in some of the tools I’ve been using
in your own journey,

to help grieve it out and get stretched wide your wings,
i so recommend this DVD series by Mandy Bird and her collaborator,  Chris Saade.
A tall glass of comfort and hope,  this.