It has been 18 months since my foundation gave way and I came crashing down, admitted to the Adult Mental Health Ward and started this soul work; this journey toward self a.k.a. "thehardestworkIhaveeverhadtodo.
It's still hard. Every day.
Following the masculine power model; I was pretty sure if I just set out a few goals, created a plan and checklist of things to complete I would be able to get back to juggling the forty seven things I always tried to do perfectly with no help, while swallowing managing my asthma, IBS, ear infections, two kids and my anger at how inept most other people were.
It felt a bit like a recipe:
Start with a big dose of therapy
Sprinkle liberally with medication
Dump in two, eight week courses of group therapy
Pour all into "ME" and bake until done.
Problem is, there is no "done".
Right now the work rehabilitation guy and I are playing phone tag. He e-mails, I call. He calls, I e-mail. After my gum surgery yesterday I was pretty sure I wasn't going to be talking to him for a bit, but turns out, the damage to the tooth was far smaller than they thought. I could still lose it but at least it was now as stable and safe as it could be. (Pretty good for a tooth I almost knocked out 37 years ago).
Last year, about this time, I started to be able to spend a lot of time out on my back deck. I called it my "small world". It was contained. It was a place where I could have some control over what happened which gave me back a sense of stability. It helped create a foundation on which I could build.
What was surprising about it was that it also taught me about mindfulness. Cradling a cup of warm coffee in my hands as the breeze tickled my skin, the sky turning from purple, to pink, to blue--there was nowhere to be except right there, right now.
I heard birds (we have birds out here?) for the first time, inhaled lilac and crab apple blossom perfume and felt the air warm with the rise of the sun. I wrote, I tried to read a bit, but mostly I just stared---at the oasis around me that had been there for years that I was too busy or annoyed or whatever--to see.
Each day I toured my "small world" off the deck, into the yard. Morning glories bloomed everywhere ---each trellis full a product of the one small sprout in a Styrofoam cup from my Youngest for Mother's day two years earlier. I plucked weeds, I created a small garden, I edged and tied and tended and watered--and was rewarded with fruit and flowers and a sense of connection with the universe.
I have always heralded the virtues of connection---it is what we most need in this life to feel at peace. I have my kids, my family, my "Sista", my dogs, and a world of online support that reminds me I am part of something bigger. When I share my stories with them, they hear me and they love me and they remind me that I am not alone.
Surprisingly, I get this same sense of connectivity with nature. When I sit on the beach, toes dug in the sand, I receive the peace, the warmth, the sounds that nature offers and I am soothed. When I dig deep in the snow and shovel as behind me, it flutters down to fill the newly bare spaces, I feel strength in my body as nature shows me how the art and beauty in each unique lacy flake--combines to become a force that can confine you to your house--where I am cozy and warm. When I hear the rain pound the roof and the thunder shakes the house, my body vibrates with awe at the energy and life giving force of a thunderstorm. When I see a sky streaked with purples and reds and oranges, and the grass freshly cut grass is cool on my feet---the silence and majesty of nature's kaleidoscopic skyline encourage passion and love and awe.
In this life, we are all one humanity and we all share this planet and all its amazing beauty. While it is still here---while you are still here---find a way to connect with it in one small way today. It will remind you where you are...who you are...and that all you have is this one moment, right now.