“Never turn your back on the ocean.” A teaching offered to me as a youngster. Living close to the Oregon Coast where sleeper waves can heave logs on to shore or wash an unsuspecting walker out to sea in an eye-blink, it is a sound piece of wisdom. Even as I connect in my being to the sea as “Mother Ocean,” I was reminded of this on a recent visit when I was knee deep in water seconds after noting the waves were a good 20 feet out and seemed to be biding their time, lapping more than galloping. She wanted my attention—“Daughter, something is stirring.” Something is stirring.
I invite you to visit a farmers’ market this time of year. The abundance flows from the stalls. I fill my bags with local produce even though I know, I mean I KNOW, I won’t get through everything. I am only feeding one person after all. But the fruits and veggies looked so delicious and autumn is underfoot as the first leaves begin to fall. It won’t be much longer and Sweet Sue peaches, Brandywine tomatoes, and Brooks prunes (reminiscent of my childhood) will disappear until next year.
Sunday marks nine weeks since I returned from my spiritual journey, “Sojourning with Grief.” As many weeks returned to this home as I was immersed in my Celtic homeland. I want to write something wise or profound about my growth and insights. And there are many insights spinning in my head and heart. But the truth is I am tired and the threads that I try to hold onto are too thin to be woven into any kind of cohesive tapestry. Instead I am offering a few random thoughts.
I tend to be an "English Garden" style of writer. Wanting to ponder each word’s placement, making sure the color, texture and sound are pleasing and balanced. Perhaps it is my English heritage, my desire to have order in my life, my perfectionism or the many other reasons I can devise that keep me pouring over a poem, a blog post, an email even, well beyond when it is time to say “done!” However, on my Sunday morning walk yesterday, once again my teacher, Nature, suggested I try to loosen up. So I am going to be vulnerable and brave and write this blog post in one go with one edit before I post.
Most of my friends and co-workers have bid “good riddance" to 2016, even amidst births, memorable vacations, graduations, and other life milestones. Maybe that extra leap day tipped the scales. Maybe it was the election and other turmoil around the globe. I know I felt heaviness both personally and in a community context. My divorce was finalized in February after 33 years of marriage, my mother’s unfolding Alzheimer’s disease increased use of blackout curtains to conceal her memories, and on the 29th of December my pug companion of 15 1/2 years took his last breath.
Ever have a bee buzzing around your ear. You move away concerned it might sting you, only to have it follow. Back and forth, back and forth you tussle until you resign to let it go. Soon, the buzz becomes part of the melody of the day and the fear subsides as you realize the fear of getting stung was greater than the actual risk. Following the path of the bee, listening to the melody was a gift waiting to be accepted. That gift was freedom from the fear.
When I was working with my webpage designer, Barbara Keany, we knew what business related pages were needed (i.e. “about,” “services,” “connect” and a “blog” to give the site movement.) As I worked on the content, she offered great advice on layout and design as I had no clue how to enter into this world of social media. I did know what I liked and didn’t like about how other webpages “felt” to me, and that was a guiding principle as the site unfolded on our journey together toward the “launch”. However I also knew I wanted to take a risk and add a page for my “poet self,” this increasingly demanding internal voice that was refusing to sit in the quiet any longer. She has made appearances at other times throughout my life, but not with the same roar and intensity.
I really don’t like to be reminded how powerless I am. Last week’s news, though, reminded me just how little I am in control of the world that swirls around me. I go about my day, slurping my morning smoothy, munching my mid-day pecan thins and cheese, nibbling an assortment of fruit throughout the day, finally relaxing with a light dinner. I interact with friends, co-workers, salesclerks, family…the list goes on. Our lives all unfolding one breath at a time; one mundane breath after another. Taking for granted that an inhale will be followed by an exhale. My routine remains calmly in place with just enough deviation to add some movement, like a slight key change in music—a variation to add flavor but not dissonance.