The challenge in slowing down, is having life tailgating me as I putter along.
I'm in the slow land for goodness sakes! Ease up will you?!
Okay, so it is only me tailgating myself with internal dialogue ... why is this taking so long? When are you going to get around to x,y, or z? What are you doing?!
Ah, but I am learning the art of Sacred Listening (or sacred self listening to caught-in-traffic-of-life self) and winching as I hear myself talking smack about about myself which involves a gentle and loving self corrections.
I'm taking the time needed ...
it's worth and I'm worth the investment ...
And my new favorite: I'm creating my own life here and I'll do it my way. (Sounds a bit like toddler talk but then again, I may be in a toddler stage of autonomy and self understanding.)
Which reminds me of Cowgirl as a small girl insisting "I do myself" quickly followed by "Help me." And that is pretty wise now that I think about it.
I'm finding my way. Grief is an interesting terrain. In the beginning it feels impossible to survive the journey: the weight too heavy, the path indiscernible, the body and spirit depleted, uncertain, and rudderless. But day-by-day I pick my way through, I make my way forward.
Or inward? I'm not sure I really care about getting anywhere so much as being at peace with where I am. In my case, I believe utter exhaustion was needed for total surrender. I can't say how, but I have handed the reins over to Sorrow and let it go where it needs to go. So far, I am nothing short of amazed by the process. Specifically, how gentle and nourishing it can be.
In opening fully to my sadness, it seems a host of other guests have slipped in. Gratitude. Celebration. Appreciation. Wonderment. And the most surprising: myself.
My toddler self to be exact. Discovering and delighted by things I did not know I was capable of doing. There are the inner miracles - the sense of my mother within me, knowing and acknowledging what I've longed to share with her. As memory of her physical presence fades, an intimate togetherness seeps in. There are external manifestations that make me shake my head is this me? Baking, sewing, more homey moments amid an already homey life.
And then the horses. Their solid, earthy presence helping me find my roots. There is nothing quite like a few hours steeped in the smells of manure, leather, and horse to bring me back to the girl I wanted to be, back to life ... back to me.
I recognize how much my mother informed who I am, but I am allowing myself to see how I contributed to her. Understanding how Cowgirl has made me a better person, I grasp a similar dynamic between myself and my mother. It is no small piece of comfort.
So I assume my place at the head of my own table. I'm tending to her loose ends, the projects left incomplete: a needlepoint stocking, crewel sampler
And now this crazy quilt. Crazy indeed! When I was 11 my mother cut out yards and yards of squares for a quilt. She painstakingly basted and then hand-stitched many squares into triangles, a design I don't believe she truly knew how she would cobble it all together. So she didn't. But she held on to the box of fabric and carted it from home to home until it came to rest in my home. Now I sort through that box, mixing those pieces with scraps harvested from Cowgirl's first dresses and fabric I've collected over the years.
I'm not a sewer, but I am taking comfort in this process of piecing the two quilts together, making whole what had been abandoned and outgrown. I'm in no rush. I'm taking the time I need. I'm allowing myself opportunity to enjoy the process, to watch it build into something I have yet to envision. Something that will comfort and keep my girl warm while she dreams her new world while covered by our collective past.
"Small things such as this have saved me: how much I love my mother—even after all these years. How powerfully I carry her within me. My grief is tremendous but my love is bigger. So is yours. You are not grieving your son’s death because his death was ugly and unfair. You’re grieving it because you loved him truly. The beauty in that is greater than the bitterness of his death."
- Cheryl Strayed (Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar)