It’s been a year, dear Mom…

Dear Mom,  I was near your old house this week,
a whole year since the last time I got to squeeze your tiny hand
and kiss your sunken cheek
still remarkably soft like the young one that used to nuzzle mine.
I was so tired,  Mom,  and I felt overcome with missing you,
such a longing to drop by your house with the open windows and fresh linens,
and say,  “Mom I need a nap,”  and you’d have welcomed me in with care in your voice
and maybe even stroked my hair for a minute
as breeze slipped soft through your crisp white curtains
while I sunk into sleep for just awhile.
After my nap we’d have shared a cup of tea
and I’d have felt less lonely with each sip.

But as much as I miss you,  I’m glad you didn’t have to navigate this year.
People have been so cruel to each other,  Mom;  it’s harsh enough to blister a heart
but Lord knows you’d have loved the sparring.
And you know I’d have quietly withered a bit over each of your fb posts:)
Oh sweet mercy that your political soap box was retired
before this year of hard shaking.
(smile)

Yeah this year has been a non-stop rumble,  Mom,
– such a catalyst for change.
Kind of like an asteroid slammed into everyone’s backyard.
I’m feeling much charred but also grateful for how it came shaving off places I didn’t know
needed impact until I noticed some shift
in my entitled,  self-righteous places.  Oye.
I hope I’m becoming a better peace-builder.
And even with our wildly differing perspectives,
I always heard the affection in your voice every time you greeted me
and I miss it much.
I know your love was real.

I’ve still got my big feelings
and kind of sense that you don’t find them so daunting now,
like we’re closer somehow
from where you’ve landed,
as if my “too much” doesn’t feel as much so
in the great spacious wide you now enjoy.
I imagine you in those brilliantly lit fields of beyond
and think somehow that we could picnic there for hours,
together without a single sticky fear to flare up between us.
When I climb to the parkway,  to the rocky winds where we released your bones,
I let the jagged light kiss the spaces we kept between us
and it feels like healing
and home.

Last week in your city,  hungry for rest and feeling homesick and alone,
I remembered how you used to crawl into the warm car you parked in the sunny spot
of our old driveway just to take a nap.  Sanctuary:)
The memory felt a little like an invitation,
like I could hear you say,
“just lay back the seat,  dear,  and catch a few winks.”
And you know what,  Mom,  I did  – right there on the street where I was working.
I shimmied down,  closed my eyes,  and imagined you there beside me.
I woke up revived and thinking I’d heard you sigh.

I made you a garden this year.
Out of your favorite things – words and beauty.
On your favorite platform (Lord help us) – facebook.
I tried to show up daily – didn’t make all the days but gave it my all.
I leaned in to cobble together words and images that would lift,
and encourage from a mama-heart.
To honor your fierce like-a-lion love.
I used your pet word “dear” so much I can hardly punch it into the keys now
and I think your garden is full.
Am needing some rest from the digging –  want to go build other things
so I’m calling time.  It’s enough,  and I believe I feel your smile on that, too.
So weird how I made this for you but I grew way richer
in my own heart than anything I could’ve given.
Your generosity still kisses my life with gold.

I honor you,  Mom,
will continue to honor you by living my life – the one that you helped carry –
from the bottom of my being
until I’ve squeezed free every last drop.
I love you forever.

“Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing
there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.”
– Rumi

Thanks for letting me grieve and process out loud,  dear ones.
Your reads and comments are precious to me.
And congrats to Maureen – I drew your name to receive the giveaway bundle
I’ll make for you this week.
With joy:)
More giveaways coming soon.

In every wink of light….

When it hurts really bad,  this life
and I’m walking,  sometimes crawling through,
my hands can get to shuddering in the wrestle to lay down the white-knuckled way
I take on when I feel scared,
to get my fingerprints off where I want to wrangle some control,
to fix or defend or self-protect
but the wind whispers first accept
and don’t forget to love it –
Love it good,
this imperfect, raw,  hysterical,
complex,  intricate,  beautiful life.

This life so vulnerable is yours,  Spirit whispers,
for every single hour that you’re given,
yours for all the days that you’re alive…
this gift – be most excellent to it.

Let go the ideal,  the longing for certain and sure.
Let go the push,  the demand,  the rush to get back to what was.
And then love it here and now the way you love on something precious;
don’t leave your one ember of a life untended
like a dog coldly turned out on a lonesome road.
Love it because it’s yours to notice and steward and wrestle and thrill,

and even when it burns and bruises
and gets stalled in overwhelm,
don’t toss stuff and shallow comfort at it,
running away or numbing it down.
(Don’t hunker down inside the news or hunker down away from it.)
Don’t wait this thing out so that you can get back to your life.
Life needs your presence now,
just more of you stretched out on the ground with your face to the sky.
Step back inside your skin and engage,
and life will love you back.

Somehow in the crazy places we can step all over it
like something underfoot.
When you catch yourself un-living,
start breathing again,  breathing all the way down
– breathing to the bottom of your being.
Breathe into your life
and be generous about it.

In all that you’ve lost or left behind
your heart still thumps curious to live these moments,
your soul still here for the tending,
body still hungry to move and yours to feed
and your creativity still wilding to discover and play and please-go-and-see.

And even when anxiety sits stubborn on your chest
and bears down heaviness,
unfold yourself
and choose it again,
in every wink of light
– choose life.

“Every great loss demands that you choose life again.”
– Rachel Naomi Remen

Big love to Susan of Windrock Studio whose name we drew for last week’s giveaway.
I’m doing another this week – another homemade art journal (getting better with each go,  these).
Lots of pages I’ve started for you to explore and riff off of and lots of empty ones for you to fill.
And some handmade cards and bites of art and handwritten love.
Just leave a comment and you’re in the drawing – back next Wed.
With love and big hope.

(I’ll have more art journals for sale up in my etsy this week – baby steps, baby:))

Hand in my pocket and heart on my sleeve….

The biggest,  warmest hello to your much loved eyes
and even mucher loved hearts.
I’ve missed you…..missed  sending out my words to you and feeling them embraced and safeheld.
I’ve missed reading the words you say in such uniquely your expressions,
missed our front porch visits and the texture you bring to my journey
with the stories of your own.
I feel as if I’m back from a long travel to somewhere scary
where I had to leave my broken jeep beside the midnight river
and hike out barefoot and without reception.
I feel footsore and rattled and slowed down hard.

I’ve had so much to say that I couldn’t say anything at all.
But I’m gonna let the words trip out in bumps and starts now,
because it feels like time and if I wait until I can talk pretty
I may get stuck in the silence.

My hand hurts.  Always.  In the most noisy and sometimes searing kind of way.
My making hand – the one I’ve used for being me.
My writing,  arting,  planting,  pruning,  driving, doing hand.
And I’ve done the things medical and alternative
but it still feels like potholes in my ride each day
and there’s this fear that rides along -Who are you now like this?
And what are you going to do?

And I answer “still be me” and keep on walking
but the night sounds howl a little louder and the shadows make my jumpy heart race.
Because my loss of hand is not the storming down,
it’s just the how I know to ride the waves.
When life is hurting hard,  my doing-hand is what I use to shoo the sting away
enough to work it through,  to process,  to find a way to stay
when my feet want to run and help me hide.

And so into the chaos,  the ugly question creeps:
what if there isn’t enough to me without what I can do or show or make?
what if I don’t get a seat at the table
without what my hands can bring.
And it comes thumping around in my soul’s basement
that dark-corner question:  “who will love me now?”

Life has a way of making us look at the things
we fear may grab us from beneath
in the places where we’re leaning into rest.

(And aren’t we all learning how to rest in unrest?
We may have different tangles to navigate,  but perhaps we all show up to our stories
feeling capsized at times.)

So, yeah,  the waves feel high, I’m calling it adventure,
and ready to say my things. 
I’ll be here following the river;  come ramble awhile with me.

“Creativity comes from accepting that you’re not safe,
from being absolutely aware,  and from letting go of control.
It’s a matter of seeing everything – even when you want to shut your eyes.”
– Madeleine L’Engle

“When the night is holding on to me
God is holding on.”
– John Mark and Sarah McMillan

 

How deep your aliveness goes…..

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I’ve been walking down roads where my words won’t follow,
where they park themselves at the trailhead and sit down to eat a snack
because they wince to hear the language of these wild places
where the wind bleeds a howling sound that shakes me to the bone.
Grief has such a deep voice it’s hard to listen long,
maybe because I’ve been afraid that I might make out what it’s saying.

But it’s not as commanding as I’d feared.
It really can’t swallow the whole of me like I’d always imagined it might.
It comes charging like a rogue wave,  sure,  sweeping up and tossing like a ragdoll
every bit of my bearing at times.
But I can ride it out.
It can’t hold me under longer than my breath will hold.
It just can’t.

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When I let go the fear that this pain is a shameful thing,
that deep sorrow is dangerous and indulgent and wasteful
and just surrender into the tumble,
I come up lighter,  less lost,  and letting myself be loved.

I read this recently and it spoke aloe over my burns:
“Watch the ones whose only option left is to lean into the questions.
The ones who are uninhibited by the unknown
because they’ve jumped into that gaping hole
and found themselves,  by grace,  unswallowable,”
(-Mandy Steward)

Wherever you’re braving to be all in,
know this:
the pain will not swallow you.
It just won’t.
Learn to un-fear it.
You’re more alive than you know.

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“Grief has a way of showing you
how deep your aliveness goes.”
– Alison Nappi

heartsick and healing…


I’ve been shocked so hard
by news so bad
that my footing feels floppy,
as if the earth has a really bad wobble
and I’m queasy from riding in the back seat
with cold wind rushing at my eyes,
stinging my vision cloudy with tears.

My wings tremble,
and letting go muscles seize up tight
as heartache punches air from chest
and I’m homesick for feeling safe,
and  wonder if I’ll find my way back there again
through the thick walls of sadness thrown up
when a dear one goes missing
and prayers go unanswered,
his body pulled from the river
bound with chains and concrete
and horror pounds on a family
who have loved this one so well.

and today  the charcoal morning mist
lifting off the Autumn peaks
doesn’t shove the bricks of sorrow
off my chest
and I climb until I’m shaking
and my questions tumble out
and find no answers in the wind
but comfort comes and finds me still
and croons her ancient songs

how there is rest in even this,
tense mind driven to understand,
a grace to lay it down
and listen to the love
crying out in every leaf and twig and flower,
pressing their prints into broken hearts
and etchings in the pain.


Is it worth it
to love and lose so hard
?

… the wind whispers “yes”
and the leaves flutter healing
and the mountains shoulder the sorrow
that my heart can’t keep,

 my soul settles soft into mystery
and,
face pressed firm to blue sky,
there comes a heap of  help in letting go
of the driven-ness
to know,
to know.

 “I didn’t need to understand
the hypostatic unity of the Trinity.
I just needed to turn my life over
to whoever came up
with the redwood trees.”

-Anne Lammott

I’m a bit late posting this week.
I’ve been heartsick over the tragedy
of a dear-to-my-heart family who lost their gentle son
in the worst sort of way
and didn’t want to post
until I could write true.
It took awhile to wrestle through.
I appreciate it when you come around and read
….it’s joy to share.