Love and Loss

Seeing that the last draft on this blog was in March astounds me.  Even worse, I’ve published nothing here since November of 2012.  I lost hope.  Even as I tried to grab at the tattered remnants of the gorgeous golden thread of it, my fingers slipped.  You could say it was a nervous breakdown.  Strong as my spirit can be, the last few years have been especially rough for all of us riding through the universe on our lovely mother, earth.  We are trying to cope with so many stressors at once, and our Great Mother, who supports us all has been getting sicker and sicker.  Species are disappearing, cruelty has been splashed across the news at every turn and if we love our fellow beings it seems cowardly to look away.  Day after day then, we watch the losses mount and hope that our species has enough intelligence to overcome our greed for things.  Each centimeter of wilderness that is lost costs our hearts and souls on some level.  Even as spring arrived, and the trees burst forth with blooms; even as we delighted in a family of fox that took up residence in a mound on our land, still the world seemed fallow.

My birth mother is suffering, and has been since the death of my father.  One accident or illness after another has beset her, and a frightened child took up residence within me.  It became to risky to call and hear the pain in her voice.  God bless my three sisters who would call every day, as I barely managed a weekly check-in.  Lucky enough to see her for mother’s day, I rode many hours in a car driven by a spiritual warrior to get there.  My sister, Anne, has maintained her writing throughout every crisis, every set-back, every let-down as she crusaded for the quality of each human life she offers her wisdom to, and forded the river of deep despair that seeing the gridlock in our nation’s capital has on all but the most powerful lobbies;  allowing our mother to be strafed of life, fracked/raped for the resources we can still violently drag from her depths.  Even through her fallow times, she has prevailed.  I respect her so deeply for that.

My sisters, brother and I are all trying to comprehend what life without our earthly parents will be like.  Each of us is trying to cope in our own way.  Today, rather than working against my self, I am attempting to open the vein of creativity again.  I am putting my faith in the regenerative qualities of letting that blood flow forth, knowing there is always a new supply waiting to refill it.  Loss is as much a part of life as the cry of the newborn child, fox, wolf, of any sentient being.  It cannot be denied if we want to move with the natural rhythm of this earth.  Contemplating all of this, I send you blessings, peace and Namaste‘.  The light of spirit remains however dark our surroundings may seem.  May all of our lights be bright this day, and may strength flow into you like the sap in the trees.

Baby Steps

There are mornings I get up, like today, and don’t know how I’m going to make it. The chronic pain I’ve had (along with the PTSD, anxiety attacks, and depression) cripples me and limits me in ways that make me feel down before I even get up. I finally have this wonderful opportunity to work again, and do something to help others. I’ve always loved that about being a nurse. Our house has been such a chaotic mess this whole week though, whether because of the hurricane, election, days off for kids, broken instruments, seeing my darling son’s spine on an x-ray from two years ago and realizing just how many inches his disease has robbed him of in height. Several new medicines, along with treatments he’ll need to not be coughing constantly…this morning I just don’t know how I’m going to do it. I’ve learned some Reiki and want to learn more, I want to feel a connection with spirit, and come closest to feeling it when I’m practicing yoga, writing, or meditating, none of which I’ve had time for or feel like I have the energy for today. This is a very whiny post, I apologize.

The thing is, I’m taking baby steps back to spirit. I watched my son learn to walk, and then lose it. Learn to eat, and then not be able to feed himself anymore. At the same time, the agony fried my nervous system, and I now have phantom pain, or complex regional pain syndrome or fibromyalgia, choose whatever name fits. My baby steps are filled with falls related to these things, not because I think I’m special and shouldn’t have to cope with pain, but because there are days I don’t know how I’ll make it through and spirit seems so distant. In my heart and soul I know it’s as close as my own breath. My tank of strength feels empty, and just as so many of us need to do, I need to find a way to fill it. So I think of my spiritual energy providers, the A-T families I am in touch with, the incredible beauty of my fellow blogger, Wendell Brown‘s poetry (www.foreverpoetic.wordpress.com), Rumi and the other poets who seem to live with Spirit in their every moment of being. It is an honor to to read their work, and share the journey we are all on. I’ve put it out there to the universe, and to all the spiritual beings who provide the light on my path (including my loving family – “nuclear” and extended) and today I hope God will forgive me for asking for help. I may not be able to get down on my painful, shaky knees, but I ask for a sense of presence beyond my limited human one as I try to navigate this day of challenges, and to find joy rather than hopelessness in the tasks I need to accomplish.

Finally, I give thanks from the deepest part of my being for the love of all those around me. I bow in gratitude to my adopted family, the Landis, Blum, Derstines; to all my siblings and my parents, to my children and my amazing husband, and to those people who give of themselves to help the rest of us stumble closer to finding our connection to our Spiritual self, Wendell Brown; Rumi; Tara Brach; Pema Chodron, and so many, many more regular people who amaze me with their strength and faith. May we all feel the presence of the One who brought this universe into being. Namaste’.

 

Why I love Taylor Swift

You have to be hard-hearted, or not have one, to not like/love Taylor Swift, even if you don’t like country music.  I started this post BEFORE I knew she was taking a young man with leukemia to the ACM awards (rather than his prom because of her schedule).  I started this post after listening to a beautiful dharma talk by Tara Brach.  She retold a story from a magazine called “The Sun“, which we both love. (www.thesunmagazine.org/ )  She didn’t list the issue or date of  the story, but parts of it rang true so deeply in my heart.  While it is too long to recount the whole story here, the podcast was Part 2 – Trusting Your Basic Goodness, 01/18/2012.  In it Tara reads the words of a woman who writes, “My Mother always assured me that unspeakable punishments were bound to befall any child as naughty as I was.  ‘If I were you,’ She said, ‘I’d be afraid to go to sleep at night for fear that God would strike me dead.'” She continues, “I thought myself unloved and unlovable, not only by my own mother, but by God himself.”   This was a woman who found out that in the private school she was kicked out of, she had the highest IQ, but the lowest grades.  She then writes what she heard as the most devastating words that her mother ever spoke to her.  The police had just brought her home from an attempt at running away (there were many), so she said “it was bad timing on my part.”  What she asked her mother was, “Do you love me?”  Her mother’s answer was, “How could anyone ever love you?”  The woman said it took her 50 years to heal from these words and the other ugliness her mother spoke to her.  I can’t help but think of my own gifted, wonderful, yet flawed father saying something similar to me.  These are words that become seared into your soul like a brand on a horse, and trying to get them to go away is like major surgery;  many of us never recover.

The main point of  Tara’s talk was our essential goodness.  What a concept!  Essential “goodness?”  Maybe essential badness, but goodness?  I think of all the artists, so gifted and talented that we have lost over decades, and this is what I believe separates Taylor from so many of them and their tragic ends.  Her Mother and Father raised her to believe she was essentially “good.”  This is rare, so rare it is worth not only a blog post but a book!  Many, if not most of us, are raised to believe we are bad.  We can try to work with therapists, with prayer, with meditation, but it’s difficult.  We’re working with a nervous system that tells us we are under threat.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a tiger or a person who interupts your acceptance speech for an award.  When you also grow up with words that cut your very being to fragments of detached, damaged selves trying to integrate into some kind of wholeness, it becomes almost impossible to put the pieces back together.  Why would you even want to?

Watching any video of Taylor on tour, you see the deep and complete support she gets from her mother, father, her whole family (which includes her band).  Watch the video she made to go with her song for her Mom (“The Best Day”) and you can see how she was cherished – what a precious gift!!  I know my mother cherished me, even saw me as “saving” her life at a bad point in her  marriage.  My dear, departed father is another story.  On some level I know he loved me, but he also hated me for reasons I can’t begin to understand.

People may think Taylor naive, an innocent, someone bound to become cynical at some point, but I don’t.  As I watch her I find hope, for myself and for many of us who find it so hard to love ourselves.  I see a young woman who still finds wonder in the sunrise, in blowing bubbles, in things that “shine.”  I pray that she can keep that quality forever because it is a priceless gift.  Bless you Taylor, and your brother, and your parents who took the time to show you how deep and enduring their love and God’s is for you.  May the road you are travelling bring you joy, blessings and peace.  You are a unique and amazing young woman and a talented musician.  We lift you, your fans, with our love – but more importantly, you love yourself.  Don’t ever let that go.  Namaste‘.