Monday, May 23, 2016

Spring Magic

Each year seems fuller and busier. My thoughts are all jumbled up with schedules and lists and summer plans ... so each day I try to spend some time being quiet, noticing and giving thanks for all the abundance that is Life.

look carefully ... she is on top of her babies, nursing ...

It's not even summer yet, but we are easing into the summertime pace!  My new "to-do" list reads: books, paint, horses, play. repeat.  Back to it! I promise to return with stories to share, tales to tell. xo

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

to turn again ...

As I sit sipping my morning coffee, the sun is attempting to shove aside the dark clouds that repeatedly wander back into the day.  Welcome to Spring in the Midwest: blue skies and gentle breezes unexpectedly can give way to stiff winds, swirling clouds and sudden downpours. Our little corner has been spared the more intense "weather events" and I savor each clearing day after a storm. There is a sense of a fresh start to these mornings -- a reminder to begin again.  

And also the benefit of a burst of cleansing and clearing energy. I've just tended to the coffee maker (ah, the smell of warm vinegar!) after tossing yet another load of laundry into the washer. With luck, there will be enough sun to line dry the clothes. I've looked around my space and decided it was time to give new life to some paintings that were satisfying exercises but uninspired finished pieces. It is funny how something that has been insignificant most of its existence becomes endearing the moment I decide to let it go. It takes a surge of optimism mixed with some ruthlessness to push forward; but once that first slash of gesso goes down, there is an exhale of release in covering over to start fresh.

  All around me are reminders of this process of letting go in order to spiral around anew. I have been watching a friend make her goodbyes to one dream in order to turn towards a new one.  To embrace life is to know how to say goodbye, to know how to allow endings to happen. Because new beginnings are seeded in endings, in death, in release. 

I keep pulling that damned Death card in the Tarot. Except it is not damned, but blessed. To push death away is to damn myself to stagnant living: lining my walls with paintings that do not breath; gardening with no challenge from hail or rabbits: living without the bittersweet of love ripened by separation and goodbye.

My girl and I witnessed the final hours of one of the therapy horses, her time being sudden and unexpected. It blew me apart in that her passing carried the energy of so many recent passings. 

Life is a series of journeys, and every lesson that it offers to us comes around again, in the same form or a different form, until we learn it. Each time around, there is more to be lost - but each time around, there is also more to be gained.
- Sharon Blackie, If Women Rose Rooted

Around and around ... as my girl enters the boggy terrain that is preteendom I shudder from the memory of my experience stumbling through that shadowy landscape. I had been thinking that to be a parent is to relive those experiences from the uncomfortable and helpless position of watching my child find her way forward. And indeed I cannot make that trek for her. I also cannot and should not project onto her my experiences. What I can do is recognize all that is stirred up within me  - the fear, the uncertainty, the confusion - is mine and this circling back around is my chance to do some deep healing work for myself.

Before I can support her, I have to take time to honor my own internal state and to offer myself understanding and compassionate care. Then I am in a better position to hold space for her own explorations and to support her finding, trusting and utilizing her powers to transform and heal. It isn't easy and I am not always so skilled at coaxing out my hurt feelings, but each time I remember is a gift that keeps on giving.

I am grateful for the lessons and insights offered in Annapurna Living's Mother Course. I highly recommend it not just for mothers, but for anyone wishing to strengthen and nurture compassionate, healthy, empowered relationships.