And I find myself slightly unsteady
Under the influence of
False Evidence Appearing Real
I commit myself to choosing
I am at the point in my planned relocation to North Carolina where I’m marking my remaining time in the San Francisco Bay Area in weeks, even days.
Today I sent my property manager notification of my intended departure date (we had talked previously about my plan to move, so it will not be a surprise). As I had given notice at my job nearly two months ago, with this notification I have completely let go of this life in the Bay Area.
Before I sent my notice to my property manager today, I was thinking about it and, quite unsurprisingly, felt some jitters in my gut. After all, I’m letting go of “security”. It’s kind of daunting until I realized that none of this belongs to me anymore.
As I wrote the letter I noticed that those jitters had gone away and I wondered if they would reappear as I got closer to hitting “Send”.
I sent the notice hours ago: still no jitters.
I find myself in a strange limbo where I’ve released the bar I’ve held onto for nearly a quarter of a century—the bar that is no longer mine—so that I can reach for the next bar that the Universe is sending for me.
I am not afraid.
Even though I know it’s not safe for me, I would cling to the known,
falsely believing it is safer than
Until that day comes, when
is the safest thing I can do.
Reclaiming My Peace
Reclaiming My Peace
Reclaiming My Peace*
*with a grateful nod to Maxine Waters
In the stillness between light and dark
(and light again),
I draw back my bow and
I set my sight
On all that I’m manifesting.
And then I take a deep breath.
Only by taking a step,
And then another,
And then another toward
The edge of My World
I discover that
My world isn’t flat after all
I was going through a box yesterday evening when I came across a stack of old journals, many had been started, then stopped.
One in particular has a few entries beginning right after my mother’s death, as I began processing that and everything that came at me in the months that followed. I wasn’t consistent with the entries: some are a couple of days apart and then there is a gap of several months. Some entries are letters that I wrote to Mom.
It isn’t easy to read those old entries, yet in re-reading them I see that I handled her suicide really well. I was very aware of what I was feeling and very tuned in to those who were helpful and those who were full of shit.
From 22 December, 1991: “I remember right after Mom died people were saying that they hoped one day I could forgive her for what she had done. And I couldn’t understand that because I wasn’t ready to be mad at her yet.
“Of course, time has changed all that. I was at my angriest last month when I was trying to finish up on the house.
“I’m still angry, but now I’m more lonely and scared. And no amount of love and support from friends and relatives can fix that.”
There was the trip I took with some friends a year later, when we visited San Francisco. The ticket for Alcatraz and receipts from various shops and restaurants are pressed between the pages.
I also was trying to document random things about Mom so I wouldn’t forget (how she drank her coffee and the way we would sit on the couch with the dogs and read or watch TV). Three and a half years later, after my Grandpa died, I wrote more random things about him that I didn’t want to forget.
That journal stopped after I wrote only about 1/4 of the way through it. Usually when I find partially-filled journals, I press them back into service and finish writing in them, but for this one, I think I’ll just let it end where it stopped.
My temperament has been a little on the fragile side the last couple of weeks. And yesterday, as I looked at a calendar, I realized why.
I have officially lived half of my life without my mother.
From this day forward, I will have lived more of my life without my mom than with her. That sentence feels pretty weird.
I can’t really say that surviving mom’s suicide has gotten easier over the years. It’s more like the sharp edges of the grief and pain and anger have dulled with time, as flowing water smooths out a stone. I haven’t dwelled in grief for many years, yet there are times when it just sort of pops up and stops me in my tracks. And, in that 15-day gap between my birthday and the anniversary of the day that my life changed forever, I tend to feel overwhelmed a little more often and my patience is razor-thin and I need quiet alone time even more than I usually do.
And so today is one of those days that I am aware that I need to pause and take a breath.
Because I am the one who is still breathing.
And so I begin another trip around the sun.
I’m a different Me this year. Or, rather, I’m more ME now than I have been in a very long time.
Over the past year I’ve made an assessment of my life and have been sorting what I’m bringing with me—and what I’m leaving behind—in the year ahead.
I’ve done some Spring Cleaning in my apartment: a first pass of the bookshelves and donated four boxes of books and carrying piles of magazines to the recycle bin. I’ve also been working on some Spring Cleaning of old beliefs and habits that are harmful…though releasing some of those beliefs and habits is not quite as easy as putting books in boxes and driving them off. Sometimes it requires driving the habit away several times before it stays away for good.
The year ahead guarantees challenge and change. Victories and setbacks. And learning. All the learning. I know that I’ll come to know myself even more deeply, and that many of my relationships will strengthen (and that some may dissolve entirely). I begin this year with a list of behaviors that I will no longer tolerate, just to keep peace. In turn, that allows me to begin this year with my feet firmly on the ground, and an open heart.
I’ve been working on a writing assignment that, on the surface, sounded fairly straight-forward. But by the time my terrified perfectionist and inner critic got done tag-teaming me, I started re-thinking this whole Writing As A Thing That I Do business.
All the while, in a very significant part of my life right now I’m feeling like I’m being pushed forward and dragged back simultaneously. Nothing in particular has been coming up in meditation, but my dreams keep playing themes of healing.
And then this evening’s yoga practice started to take a bit of a bad turn. Despite my effort to buy their cooperation with food, the cats were being just disruptive enough to distract me from my flow (because Sun Salutations aren’t challenging enough for me). Then came my balance poses. I have been so strong and steady in my balance poses over the last several days, but tonight? I could not balance on my right leg if my life depended on it. My Tree Pose uprooted after a couple of breaths. And as I fell out of Dancer’s Pose on the third try, I felt my frustration envelop me. I clapped my hands hard and stifled a scream as tears started running down my face. The old stories were trying to spin up again: No one is interested in your aspirations and they’re too busy to offer any support, anyway, and you’re going to have to go this alone like you thought you might. And this writing thing? Are you kidding? You’re falling apart over a few paragraphs, just like you’re falling apart here!
But this time I was able to stop those stories from gaining traction. I paused and observed them and took note of how I was physically reacting (pulling myself in, like a turtle). I reminded myself that I’m consciously choosing flow over frustration and love over judgement. I also reminded myself that I came home from work this evening and held my handstand longer than I’ve ever held it before. So balancing on my right leg is a non-starter tonight? Try something else! I don’t need to scrap the entire practice over a wobbly leg, I just need to get back into my flow!
I settled myself in Hero’s Pose for a few breaths, then did Child’s Pose and some flowing poses from my knees, to reset the link between my movement and my breath, before I worked my way back to standing. I went through my series of Warrior poses and came back for one last balance (Half Moon) pose. It was shaky AF, but I managed it on both sides! Forty-five minutes later, I enjoyed a peaceful Savasana.
After a brief meditation, I made myself a bowl of oatmeal for supper and took another swing at the writing assignment. I cut some sentences here, swapped some words there and finally decided to just post it, remembering one of my favorite painting quotes:
A painting is never really finished. It just stops in an interesting place.
Is it perfect? Well, if I wait for perfect, I’ll never post or publish anything! And the Universal Lesson was about finding my way through the sticky parts, moreso than writing flawless prose.
As for the other parts of my life that have me stymied right now? I’ll find my way, and I know I won’t do it alone. Instead of my default Shut-Everyone-Out Mode, I’ll keep my heart open to those who do care about what I’m doing and are willing and able to support my efforts.