The sweet and the sour and fruit on the vine…..

A whole heap of time has swirled past
since I last met with you here and I can’t say for sure why
except that I’ve opened this laptop often,  just brimming with words,
that then bottleneck and quickly subside like a low tide falling.
I let my fingers stammer for a little while and then release them to go outside
with a basket on my hip to work in the garden instead.
I come ’round to read your blogs  and my muscles draw me first
into the art room where I pour easy streams of paint into a paper plate
and begin swiping on another layer to hold space for the words
so that when they finally do tumble onto paper somehow,  they’ll have somewhere interesting
to land and maybe artfully arrange themselves.

Who am I even in this new season?
It’s taken me a minute to give a long and loving listen
to learn what this woman needs from me.

Quick back story:  I was immunosuppressed before Covid hit;
for years I’ve been extremely allergic,  tagged “overly” sensitive,
and so was super mindful to take care because I knew that if I got the virus
it may likely pound on me pretty violent,  as most viruses seem to do.
A common stomach virus can drop me because it’s gonna take a while.
I can’t actually physically throw up (lovely, right?).
I had an experimental surgery in the early 2000s because of reflux so severe
that my doctors at UNC guessed I needed to have a go.
Of mistakes I’ve made,  this was a big one.
Had I waited a few years,  as my intuition suggested,
I would’ve discovered that reflux is just one of the many
auto-immune symptoms that I’d need to navigate
with a lot of creativity and patience in the decades to come.

So it wasn’t totally shocking that Covid would hamstring me for a while with long haul symptoms.
But my healthy husband?  That shook me.

When after a vigorous move and  months of navigating my own confounding symptoms
my husband went suddenly ill with acute kidney failure,  I felt raw with fear.
For a short while I thought he may die.
Instead came the challenges of his living a newer normal –  high doses of prednisone,
insulin shots,  and wobbly with weakness.  And all the new what-do-we-do-now’s.
I had been pivoting away from our family business, gentling down, and suddenly that move
became as hardly do-able as all the other new necessities to navigate.
But ride each wave we did
and when anxiety stormed down a torrent,
I went out and dug in the garden like it was my only thing.
I guess trauma requires new dances
and this became mine.
Life became new normals and dances and gardens and ways.  And all of it mattered.

I hold them as delicious gifts now, the days when my body and brain show up in ways that I understand.
I’m learning new work-arounds for times when they don’t,
like using food enzymes to support a bum pancreas,
and implementing more structure to help with the buggy brain that can fog my windshield with sudden haze,
and talking myself through the panic that can jump me like a prowler
with a random wave of nausea or sudden chill.

Honestly it’s an unfamiliar place,  this learning to give myself some tender loving time.

To have to bend low and be patient,  sometimes as if with a toddler,  has been a level of care
I’ve never offered to myself before.
And as I do,  tentative and awkward,  I’ve felt this compassion rise
because I feel it vivid the spaces where this woman
could have used this kind of support always from,  well,  me.
How did I leave her last in a line
that never reaches the end?

This challenging stretch of road has been a ruthless and beautiful teacher.
I’m glad for these fresh cracks
and the way they’re letting the light crawl in,
bringing me somehow closer home.

Sometimes my heart flutters shy in this newer,  more tender relationship with myself
and I’m having to sit with it for a minute
before I can say the things.
I mean it sincere each time I write that I’ll be back to you more regular soon.
But I’m holding no space for the hurry I’ve long inflicted on myself;
I’ll be back when the wind fills my sails;
for now it’s maybe enough that I’m keeping them set.
And watching my garden grow:)

Sending love to you and to your own friendship with yourself;
you deserve the very most beautiful and best
there in that sacred space.
I hope you make some reservations to invest
and go gently.

“Inside your chest
lives a little nightingale
who never sleeps.”
– Alexandra Vasiliu

Big joy in sending out a package this week to Renee Clark
who likely doesn’t even remember leaving a comment
it was so long ago that I posted.
Baby steps:)
I’ll wait until I come back more consistently before offering another giveaway.

 

Food for the flying……

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I’ve been reading instead of writing this weekend,
feasting on an artful cluster of healing stories by Rachel Naomi Remen
and,  wow,  I want to serve it up,  this goodness I’ve been feeding on
……some nips of nectar
to nourish your bright wings:)

~ “The life in us is diminished by judgment far more frequently than by disease.
Our own self-judgment or the judgment of others.
and
this judgment does not only take the form of criticism.
Approval is also a form of judgment,
but we are harmed by it in far more subtle ways.
To seek approval is to have no resting place,  no sanctuary.
Like all judgment,  approval encourages constant striving.
It makes us uncertain of who we are and of our true value.

 (there’s more!)

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This is as true of the approval we give ourselves as it is of
the approval we offer others.
Approval can’t be trusted.
It can be withdrawn at any time no matter what our track record has been.
It is as nourishing of real growth as cotton candy.
Yet many of us spend our lives pursuing it.”

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“A label is a mask life wears.
We may need to take our labels and even our experts far more lightly.
In my experience,  a diagnosis is an opinion and not a prediction.
Like a diagnosis,  a label is an attempt to assert control and manage uncertainty.
It may allow us the security and comfort of a mental closure
and encourage us not to think about things again.
But life never comes to a closure;  life is process,  even mystery.
Life is known only by those who have found a way to be comfortable with change
and the unknown.  Given the nature of life,  there may be no security,
but only adventure.”

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There.
Do you feel a little stronger in your wings?
Wishing you fresh,  healing breeze in all your parts.

“I don’t need stress to do what I need to do.
That isn’t efficient.
Love and sanity are.”
-Byron Katie
(from her brilliant Loving What Is)

In every twig and twinkle….

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In all of your magic making,
yes and no saying,
errand running,
carol humming,
burden lifting,
option sifting,

picture taking,
merry making,
sky gazing,
crowd braving,
memory building,
how-in-the-world-ing,
hassle having,
heart salving,

 truth speaking,
quiet keeping,
sniffle tending,
love mending,
clutter busting,
mystery trusting,

card sending,
time bending,
idea trying
instead of buying,
storm weathering,
family gathering,
stocking stuffing,
trust for enoughing,

list making,
breath taking,
one-more-thing-ing,
just keep singing…..

-deep breath-

please remember
that even with dirty popcorn ceilings and wobbles and whoopsies,
your rustic handmade love that isn’t polished or perfect
and the gag reel of your life that sometimes isn’t all that funny,
you are,
without excuse or disclaimer,
LOVED.
In a big way.

I hope you can feel it this season,
the love that surrounds you in every twig and twinkle.

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“May your coming year be filled
with magic and dreams and good madness.
I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful
and don’t forget to make some art
-write or draw or build or sing
or live as only you can.
And I hope,  somewhere in the next year,
you surprise yourself.”
-Neil Gaiman

I’ve loved these giveaways and wish I could do it always and forever
for each of you
(this week the winner is Relyn of Come Sit by my Fire.
You’ll be welcome and glad if you do)
You mean a whole heap to me,  each of you.

tumbling free…..

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Somewhere inside is a brave girl child
who got churched too hard and knocked loose from herself
and when the pieces rattled and ached with need
she tucked away the noisy parts
to quiet down the clatter and not draw attention.

She wanted so strong to please the dazzling God
of leaf and sky and sea
but forgot what her heart already knew,
taking on lies like a boat sinking fast
in the drama of “do good and make nice”
and holding her wildness inside.

Until hungry days delivered her back
to the wild shores of her trueness,
each healing tide washing up bits of her self discarded long ago,
and the Love who never left her sent each sparkling wave and smiled
as she tumbled free of the helpless madness
back home to herself.

Some of what she’d forgotten to remember
looks like this:

“Self care is an attitude toward ourselves and our lives that says
I’m responsible for myself.   I am responsible for leading or not living my life.
I’m responsible for tending my spiritual, emotional, physical and financial well-being.
I am responsible for identifying and meeting my needs.
I am responsible for solving my problems or learning to live with the ones I can’t solve.
I am responsible for my choices.
I am responsible for what I give and what I receive.
I am responsible for how much I enjoy life,  for how much pleasure I find in daily activities.
I am responsible for whom I love and how I choose to express this love.
I am responsible for what I do to others and for what I allow others to do to me.
I am responsible for my wants and desires.
All of me,  every aspect of my being,  is important.
I count for something.    I matter.”

-Melody Beattie

How beautiful is that:)
Thanks for coming by if you’ve been following along.
I know every day is a lot….it’s just for this August,  I think.
It’s resting me deep in some funky way.

Anyway,  I just learned that my edits don’t show up
on the e-mail subscription that arrives to some of you.
Ugh…….I usually edit quite a bit after I hit “publish” the first time.
I’ll try not to do that anymore…..do my tweaking before it gets to you.
Little learning curve for me…..sorry:)