Spring is my favorite season. The promise of new life. Little green things popping up their heads after a long rest, to greet the world. This year spring seems particularly poignant and somewhat fragile to me. It’s been an eventful year. I have fully embraced sheltering in place, it was not difficult for me to do so. Perhaps because for the first part of it I was staying at home to care for my dying husband. And for the last part of it I was staying at home and doing my inner grief work and learning what it means to be a widow. And much of what that involves is re-creation in my life. Who do I wish to be? The truth is I have been single for much longer than I have been in relationship, but there is something different about widowhood. Other widows I have spoken with talk about the difficulties, and the gifts, of living alone after cohabitating with another person for 20, 30 and 40 years. I do not have that experience. My husband and I were only married for a little less than two years. Together in romantic relationship for a little more than 3 years. Even though we had known each other for 40 years. So learning how to live alone was simply a return to what passes for normal for me. And shelter in place simply provided an opportunity to fully sink into a grief process, which I believe is necessary in order to successfully rejoin life. I strive for balance in all my affairs. Having been a black and white, all or nothing sort of person for so much of my life, I’ve learned that such extremes rarely serve me well. So during shelter in place, I did go out to perform weddings. Most of these were outdoors, and all of them involved following the guidelines for COVID: masking up, staying six feet away and frequent use of sanitizer. And now, here we are. Opening up. In so many ways! I am beginning to contemplate travel and doing more things in person. I’ve had one vaccine, the second will happen later this month. I am also contemplating re-creation. After 8 years of losses and moves and changes, I have experienced no small amount of Post Traumatic Stress. Now that I am settled in to what emerged from all that upheaval. And beginning to see signs of lessening of the anxiety, the need for more resting time, the need to just be and stop doing. I am revisiting some things I began before the full stop of dealing with a sick and dying husband. I am feeling excitement. It is cautious excitement at this point, but it is still excitement. And collectively, this nation has been opening up. As more and more people get vaccinated, shelter in place restrictions begin to ease. As we have a new government once again fully functioning with an emotionally healthy leader, the country is beginning to get back on track. I still experience deep sadness and dismay at the racism and misogyny that came out of the shadows to gloat during the previous administration. While at the same time I am grateful that they have come out of those shadows. Because only light can heal the darkness of generations of racism and misogyny. So I am feeling the consciousness of renewed hope that is spreading. It has occurred to me that we had a virus take over during one of the darkest times in our country. That is some strong metaphorical significance right there. Now we have new hope and new light taking over both the darkness and the virus. New life. And so I fully and completely embrace spring and all that it brings. I appreciate the metaphor of new life in all areas of my life and in the life of this country.
It would help if I meditated. Yes it would. But writing helps too, and so I write.
What is it I need help with on this fine Saturday morning? Nothing really. I’m just a bit scattered. Trying to land on something so I can concentrate enough to do what needs doing. I’m working on a few things. A new workshop. A talk. Two books. Trying to figure out technically how to create an online self guided class (if anyone is moved to help me with this one I sure would appreciate it).
I discovered a few daffodil plants in my yard last week, and today they are blooming! I love the spring bulbs and will plant more of those in the fall, so that next spring I will have even more. I could create a new version of Daffodil Hill, since weather eliminated my annual spring trip this year.
I believe I will make a batch of chili today. Monthly pot luck is tonight and it is good chili weather.
My photo today is a screen shot of my Kindle. Yes, I read a lot. Most books I read all the way through, then return to them again and again for research. Some are for pure entertainment purposes. Those are the ones with the semi naked men on the covers.
Today I turned to Joseph Campbell for a bit of inspiration. He always seems to just dial it in for me.
“The world is perfect. It’s a mess. It has always been a mess. We are not going to change it. Our job is to straighten out our own lives.” I often tell my clients that they cannot do anything about what anyone else is doing. They usually do not want to hear that. I don’t want to hear it. But it is true.
“The Hoarder, the one in us that wants to keep, to hold on, must be killed. If we are hanging onto the form now, we’re not going to have the form next. You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. Destruction before creation.” Yes, we must let go of what is in order to move into our next greatest level of expression. I’ve been using that phrase for quite some time, and just recently discovered that Joseph Campbell said something similar. Unfortunately, it is my experience that most people would rather live with the devil they know about than move into something new. The unknown is much scarier than the known, even if the known is shitty and the new is likely to be better. So they stay stuck, they hoard, and fight any destruction that may be happening. I’ve seen people do this to their death. Literally. Sigh.
“Out of perfection nothing can be made. Every process involves breaking something up. The earth must be broken to bring forth life. If the seed does not die, there is no plant. Bread results from the death of wheat.” People come to me when they are in pain, and without exception, I discover that the pain is just a symptom of a lifelong pattern. The solution to the pain is in recognizing the pattern and then changing the pattern, from the inside out. But most folks don’t want to do this. They want instant gratification, a quick fix. The idea of taking a look at the pain and the messages it has for them is not something they are even willing to consider.
“When seeking your partner, if your intuition is a virtuous one, you will find him or her. If not, you’ll keep finding the wrong person.” I’ve often put it like this: water seeks it’s own level, and we humans are made primarily of water. Another thing people do not want to hear. They would rather blame the other.
I’m reading a new book, it’s called A New Republic of the Heart. I’m only 7% into it, and still reading about the problem. They haven’t gotten into the solution yet. Perhaps that is part of the reason why I’m feeling a bit pessimistic this morning and why my writing seems a bit cynical. But I will persevere in reading this one, because I trust the folks who recommended this particular book.
And isn’t that what ultimately provides the willingness to hang out in the pain for a while, to examine it and discover the lessons it has for us? Trust. Or faith. Call it what you will. We need to trust that it will be better, or else why would we subject ourselves to this shit? Trust or faith is one of those things I find difficult to describe. I have ultimate faith in a Power that I like to call The Force. It is within me, a part of me. This means I also trust my instincts, inclinations, and ideas. It took a while to get to that point, and today, when I work with folks who simply cannot believe in a religious God, that male entity that is so separate from them as to be unreachable, and I present the idea that perhaps God is hiding in a place they would never think to look, within them, well, let’s just say the rebellion reminds me of a teenager, plotting to run away in the middle of the night because no one can tell them what to do! They refuse to consider anything different, and they refuse to consider anything known. They create their own stuckness. And yet, when I speak with people about this, they remain stuck. They refuse to consider that their stuckness is not a barrier but a cleverly concealed path to joy and freedom. They go away, and call themselves seekers, and never find anything. The truth is there is nothing to seek, and nothing to find, there is only our own incredible power to create. But sometimes we misuse that power.
So it seems as if today I am inspired to be cynical. To be pessimistic. To be real here, I know the reason for this and it has nothing to do with the latest book I am reading. But I can’t reveal the reason because to do so would violate the privacy of another human being. But I have clarity now, and that helps. On days like today, sometimes it is all we can do to acknowledge the feelings and be gentle with oneself and move on as best we can. And when the sadness and grief give way to anger, I will do my best to not react and do something that will get me into trouble. And when the anger gives way to acceptance and I breathe a bit easier, I will then be able to explore what lessons are in this experience, for me.
So that is what I will do today: notice my feelings, notice the new life in the form of the daffodils in my yard, create something new in the form of the chili, share my creation with others tonight at the potluck. And revel in the joy that is humanity, even in the midst of strife. And that, my friends, is what faith looks like.