Friday, August 19, 2011

pressed flowers and other revealing things

 These ones stayed..............

I lost count on the number of boxes I filled with books during one of the most humid nights of this summer.   There were times when I hesitated.... caught by a memory of when one of them had been added to the shelves.  A Christmas present...anniversary.....birthday gifts.  The much coveted novel, enjoyed immensely.  For the most part however, I was on a roll.  With a glass of wine on hand, and my musical preferences to keep me company, I spent hours decluttering, cleaning and stacking the boxes for future retrieve.  

My focus tumbled around 2:45 am.  Not quite the witching hour.  Almost. 

I came face to face with a  large reference tomb of a book . My resolve melted momentarily.  It had nothing to do with the book itself.  Rather, it was the pieces of paper towels sticking out of through the pages that caught my eye.  Caught breath.  Wavering balance.  My initial reaction was to recoil like I had seen a water moccasin curled up on the bottom shelf hissing at me!  It was just a book for goodness sake.  How in the world can something so inanimate create such a visceral reaction?  Well, try living in a house whose familial foundation was startled by thundering betrayal.  There are little emotionally ticking trinkets mocking you for months afterwards.  Bloody loud they can be! 

As soon as I saw them, a realization hit me in the gut.  Inside the creases of the paper towels were beautifully pressed flowers.  Pansies, daisies, forget me knots I had picked from our first house and placed in the book many years ago to dry.  My intentions back then were to use them to decorate candles or note paper. 

But, then I got busy.  The craft project was forgotten. The flowers were abandoned.

Two children to raise.
A career that kept me busy.
A home to run. 
A marriage to....................?

I took a bit of time to look at the flowers laying open on paper. My hands open to hold them.   I took in their delicate beauty.  I remembered where I had picked them...out of the garden of our first house.   I cried a little.  Not enough moisture to bring them back to life.....just enough to moisten my cheeks.  Then, I tossed them into the trash. 

I've tossed a lot of stuff along with rearranging pictures and painting walls.  Enlightening....... and lightening. Everytime I've reached that place when I could let go of "the stuff"  my whole body feels like it is somehow defying gravity for a thin air second. 

To get to this head space, I have worked hard taking one step at a time.  There are some who feel that I should be farther along the path. How do I know this?  I hear it.  Then, there are some who comment on how well I'm doing.  I hear this too.  Who the hell knows..... except me.  I am where I am.......   More importantly, I am fine with where I am.  Right here.  Living.  Moving forward at my own pace.  If there is anything I can control, its my own pace and my own readiness to tackle yet another piece of the "letting go" puzzle.  Those overcrowding yakety yak books were my chosen target the other night. When the urge hits, you've got to move into that headspace and go to it even if it takes all night long..... which it did. 

I put the kettle on as the sun raised it's orange eyebrow over the river horizon.  The boxes of dusty books were stacked high in my kitchen along with a few holding memories of past gift giving days.  My shelves had been scrubbed down with lemon scented cleaner.  More minimalist, they were reborn with the novels and reference books that were mine and the kids as well as a few bright coloured clay vases, a couple of woven baskets, a few framed photos....  I swear I heard the white painted wood heave a sigh of relief as I stretched out my own muscles while realizing for the first time how tired I was.  

Content too. I hadn't felt that broad contentment in a long time......

The sun rose into the peace of a hazy summer morning, accompanied by the choir of birdsong that always makes me feel happily connected with the ground my barefeet touch.  At that moment, I felt alone, but not lonely.  All of those sense of accomplishment emotions were lightly stirring the remnants of my energy.  Gladness. Wing fluttering gladness kissed by the sweetness of honey nectar.   It was a moment this summer that I will never forget because even though it seems like just another chore found on a "to do" list, it was so much more than that.  

A few of the people in my life who have walked with me knew what I had been up to that night.  I can honestly say that their spirit tapped me from time to time and kept me moving forward. I was always in good hands. When it was late enough in the morning, I phoned one of them........ in  a tired but satisfied voice, I announced that my latest decluttering mission was accomplished.  

Full of encouragement that only comes with understanding he invited me over to his place where there was a cool bed in an air conditioned room......... away from the rest of the familiar world.  I took him up on his offer, and as he went about his own chores, tackling his to do list, I slept more soundly than I had in months, lullabied by the constant whir of cool cool air, while being checked on from time to time by the caring eyes of a dear friend. His kindness I will always hold onto.

A month later, when I walk into my living room (which will in itself be transformed very soon) I can feel the refreshened difference.  This particular weight is gone.  All it took was to reveal the flowers caught in the spine of a book to let go of years of dusty words.  When the time was right.  It is that simple.  You just gotta be ready on your own terms.....

ps.  You know, the last time I had pulled an all-nighter before this task filled adventure sure had a different reason for it!  And it had nothing to do with chores!!!!  hahaha!  gotta have another one of those types soon too!  :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

it's been too long......

"The Mystery never leaves you alone.
Behind your image,
below your words,
above your thoughts,
the silence of another world waits.
A world lives within you."

John O'Donohue
Hi.  It's been way too long.  How have you been?  
I've been out in the world looking around, absorbing landscapes, seascapes, peoplescapes.  I've also spent quite a bit of time visiting a very different world inside me...... different than the one I can see with my outside eyes.... very different than the one I saw this time last year with my inside eyes.  
For the first time in 6 years, none of my sauntering sojourn was captured in words published on this blog.  My writing flow slowed right down to leaky faucet drops. I have about 50 half written pieces sitting in my blog drafts.  I'd make attempts to turn on the tap, but the well seemed to dry out very quickly.  At first it stunned me.... made me jittery uncomfortable.  Alone.  Afraid that writing was just a phase. 
Settling into that comfort zone where the pictures and prose magically danced inside my head no longer was an option I could turn to.  It felt like I had said all that I wanted to......... all I needed to and that anything more was just going to be a repeat.  Topics would float happily through my thought process and dance their way right down the drain along with my attention.  Along with my interest.  It was a mystery.  Until one day........ my inner voice nudged me into another direction.  The fear of never writing again left me once I listened to that voice..... and followed it's advice.
I began to revisit the pieces I had posted here over the course of the past two years.  It was time.  Time to assess it, absorb it, criticize it, enjoy it.  It was time to read rather than write. My energy had altered. I began peering into the world within captured during a time in my life comparable to a field of fireworks unpredictably exploding in a multitude of loud bangs, streams of teary sparklights tumbling down and bright flashes of expressive colour!  
Healing, taking risks, learning to cope while growing as "a work in progress" human being, along with the sunrise of new perspectives were the gifts that fed my courage to look at what I had created. The place "behind your image, below your words...." is where truthfulness of revealed reflections dwells.  You can't "go there" until you're ready. 
It was so interesting when the little bell tingled to inform me that for some reason I WAS ready to tackle the review because it felt like it had come out of the blue.  I began by culling through the myriad of posts, turning them into documents so I could have a printed copy in my hands.  Without a true plan in place, I started filtering through the pieces, wondering where these written words of mine would take me and where the heck they all came from!!! 
At the same time, also out of the blue, I was offered a little cottage to use at my leisure.  I couldn't believe it!  For a year or so, I've been openly expressing that I would love to have a place to go that was quiet to write without interuptions or responsibilities.  When the offer came from a new friend I have met this past year through attending church and getting involved in some community work,  I knew instantly that this unbelievable gift was no coincidence.  It was a prayer answered.  I'm convinced of it.  And so, my reading began on a porch that overlooked a wild grassy field and  the mouth of a beautiful river in the silence I had longed for.   
Cricket silence.  Yes.
After the sun set with spectacular glory, I continued to sit until the stars gathered and the fireflies glitter-danced just above the darkened field.  It was then that the poetic pictures in my head returned.  It was then that a thematic structure appeared to me that my separate writing pieces could naturally fall into a collective meaning.  I had the found the golden thread to weave with.  
To everything there is a season.........
Many of the pieces that I think are worth tweaking and sculpting were much more revealing and personally raw than I realized as I was writing and posting.  Some of it was quite tough to read.... to acknowledge that even the poetry and stories I had thought I had created as fiction from my imagination were littered with bits of me.  Gut kicking loud.  Reassuring too.... because it has shown me just how much I've far I've travelled. 
As I read, I realized that writing was my saving grace...... my breath,  my crutch, my teacher, my therapist. My trusty loving companion that never rejected nor unloved me.  It still is. I wouldn't be as whole now (with a variety of life kicking nicks visible both on and under the surface of my skin)  if I hadn't been churning it out day after day for 6 years.  Thank God.   
This part of the process continues in a pace slower than I would have predicted.  Silent in between time is needed to creatively digest.  That little voice informs me with the same little knock when its time to put the folder of raw writing aside and focus on outer landscape trips.  I've been on quite a few of those this summer to.  
Today, I visited my blog in search of a link to a John O'Donohue talk I thought I had posted a couple of years ago.  I never did find it, but I did find a few quotes and gems from him.  While I was skipping through this online place of mine, I felt a strange sense of maternal coziness I had missed.  I knew I had been gone from here too long.... it was time to begin and end a piece..... it was time to click on publish again to connect with YOU.  
Hi.  It's been way too long.....  How have you been?