Today I type because, well, it feels like a gesture of moving dirt away from my mouth ... of clearing something out of me even if it is only mental dust balls and emotional grime. As I sit here, the Husband is mowing the lawn while a dozen or more barn swallows swarm around and around the yard, apparently gobbling up insects disturbed by the mower, but the scene is reminiscent of something out of HItchcock's movie The Birds. Given the ominous feel of Spring prairie skies, the effect is unsettling.
I recently told a friend that I think I am being rewired at a cellular level and all I can do is drift through my days as energy is being diverted to this deeper, internal task. I suppose it would be fair and okay to say I'm feeling a tad overwhelmed by it all, a little ... well, yes, okay ... depressed.
My 95 year old aunt died earlier this week. While not unexpected, the news had the impact of the final straw. I mean, really?! I think it is fair to say Death, move on now and give me a break. I know, Scorpio Moon and deeper lessons on the meaning of life through understanding death, but enough already!
It is not surprising that on top of all of the emotional blows I've somehow strained my back and am wincing and moaning through my days and nights. Then there are the severe storm warnings (we got off lightly with only 4 inches of rain in one evening; areas south of us are underwater) and toss on some crazy hormones and good times are being had over here my friends.
But I keep on truckin'. I keep turning my face towards the light ... planting seeds, starting my herb garden, baking (crazy how I ease grief through baking), and grabbing my camera. Returning to pictures is my way back in to noticing, looking intently, and living life prayerfully.
There seems to be only two choices: to close myself off or to open and receive, to say "thank you" not to the losses but for the gains, for all the memories lived and shared, for all the opportunities that were taken, enjoyed and celebrated. If there is anything I've learned from my aching back (which always leads me back to my yoga practice) it is the understanding that I can hold both sorrow and joy, discomfort and ease, depression and play.
I went to the barn yesterday, unable to muck out stalls but I could sweep the main corridor which meant I got to mingle with all the "residents." It could be the lack of restful sleep, but it seemed to me each horse greeted me with tenderness and care. At each stall I seemed to be greeted by a warm muzzle breathing into my back and each time I stopped in my work to close my eyes and savor the warmth and the force of so much aliveness and vitality.
The most difficult griefs,
ones in which
we slowly open
to a larger sea, a grander
sweep that washes
all our elements apart.
(excerpt from The Shell by David Whyte)
And so I putter on ... fumbling my way through these strange days, attempting to stay open, to trust my heart and to trust when I need to widen my perspective and when I need to lean closer in. I remind myself there is no manual for this ... no right way to grieve, no easy way to transition (into what? I'm still not sure!) and in fact the discomfort and the break downs are indications that change is afoot. And being alive means being in process, continually evolving, changing, becoming. I choose to embrace that ... Every.Day.As.Best.I.Can.