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

 

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.

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~ 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.

stronger in the showing up….

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I keep showing up,
carving out the space and time
to rest my eyes on the sky
while the sun shimmers low on the horizon,
suspended like a breath,
then exhales into the night,

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keep being wowed by how quickly it happens,
how easy to  slip right by
if I just did this one more thing quick first;
like a whisper in a crowded room
I could miss  it in the scurry
because life is sweeping past
and if you don’t kneel down and put your hand into the river
you may not recognize.

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And I have sometimes drawn back from the living
because I feel so much,
sometimes feel it all too much,
and the pain can make me flinch and close down and curl up tight inside
for just a little while
and as  I watch all these ordinary little whiles fill up
with so much that I wouldn’t want to miss,
bits I’ve mostly missed my whole life long,
it shakes me awake to the choices I hold

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and as each evening I walk back to my car
rubbing the  sunspots from my eyes so I can drive home,
I feel stronger in the showing up,
as if all of this light is infusing my choosing
as these days, they quickly go by.

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“You can change or stay the same.
There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or worst of it. I hope you make the best of it.  I hope you see things that startle you.  I hope you feel things you’ve never felt before.
I hope you meet people with a different point of view.  I hope you live a life you’re proud of.  If you find that you’re not,  I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”
-Eric Roth,
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button screenplay