In last night’s dream, there are four photos of me with clouds behind me. It’s clearly exactly the same smiling image of me, but the clouds behind me are different: In one, they’re sort of happy and flowery, in another they’re simply bland and grey, in one they’re dramatic, and in one they’re clearly in the menacing form of a shark.
I’m wrangling these days with what it means to be honest and real in the midst of crisis. On one hand, I think it’s important not to put on a false face, to not pretend like nothing’s wrong when things are crumbling. I have always been grateful for people who let me in, who share the deep realities, even when they’re painful. I want to follow their modeling.
On the other hand, it’s not safe for me or others for the shark-cloud or the rainclouds to be obvious all the time. We wear the sunny face to protect ourselves and others. It would be exhausting to be wearing those drama-clouds all the time, and it would control every conversation. And I don’t want everyone to see those.
So there’s a balance, and I feel like I am only learning the way to sort them out. I might thundercloud you when we’re in a light and airy space, or look cheery and chipper when I really want to tell you how much everything just sucks.
I think this uncertainty about how to feel the Big Feelings and still be “socially appropriate” is something some of us never quite learn to sort out. Every time I live through something momentous, it’s always the same. Perhaps it’s my social awkwardness coming out. So many of our children’s books deal with how to feel Big Feelings–we probably ought to all have a shelf of those in our houses.
I received a card from a friend yesterday in which she gave me the excellent advice to give myself time and rest on this part of the journey. “If you had broken your leg two weeks ago,” she wrote, “would you really expect yourself to climb the hills around your house now?” Sage advice from a wise woman. Also, I am a seven on the Enneagram, and pain avoidance is my specialty, but, as another friend told me: “You’ve got to feel it to heal it.”
Between my wise beloveds and my dream state, some good reminders to sit with the strong emotions, not to simply pack them away and ignore them.
When you are in crisis and the world seems to crumble around you, may you, too, feel the protecting arms and gentle words of beloveds to hold you through your storms.
1. I heard Oriole this morning! My best friend bird is back in the holler! No matter how chilly the day today, I am going to have the doors open at least for a little while, so I can listen for him.
2. The healthy green of the new leaves on my Mary Magdalene (Lenten) Roses. Really, the healthy green of everything right now!
3. Wise, wise beloveds.
4. I went to the Junior Recital of one of my students at Millersville last evening. Such incredible talent. I am awed and delighted at the many different gifts of these almost-adults.
5. Sometimes when you’re sad, people feed you. Nothing like a lemon muffin to bring some loving zest to the first morning of another week.
May we walk in Beauty!
“A woman who has uncovered and honors her intimacy with the earth through developing a relationship with nature or through the power within her own body carries a wisdom of infinite mystery and potential. She moves through life with one foot in a strange ocean, one on the solid land of her ordinary life.This is not just an idea, but a way to live. Mystics, artists, and mothers of young children know this ability to be half-absorbed in unnameable creative forces.” —Hilary Hart
“The only time incorrectly is not spelled incorrectly is when it is spelled incorrectly.”
“There is no such thing as one-sided generosity. Like one ecosystem, we are each at different times receiving or purging, growing or pruning. In those moments when you believe you aren’t receiving enough, consider what you most want to receive might be the thing you need to give away.” —Toko-pa Turner
“Gardening is civil and social, but it wants the vigor and freedom of the forest and the outlaw.” —Henry David Thoreau
“Gratitude for the gift of life is the primary wellspring of all religions, the hallmark of the mystic, the source of all true art. Yet we so easily take this gift for granted. That is why so many spiritual traditions begin with thanksgiving, to remind us that for all our woes and worries, our existence itself is an unearned benefaction, which we could never of ourselves create.” —Joanna Macy
“What if the Creator is like the poet Rainer Maria Rilke’s God: “like a webbing made of a hundred roots, that drink in silence”?
What if the Source of All Life inhabits both the dark and the light, heals with strange splendor as much as with sweet insight, is hermaphroditic and omnisexual?
What if the Source loves to give you riddles that push you past the boundaries of your understanding, forcing you to change the ways you think about everything?
What if, as Rusty Morrison speculates in “Poetry Flash,” “the sublime can only be glimpsed by pressing through fear’s boundary, beyond one’s previous conceptions of the beautiful”?
Close your eyes and imagine you can sense the presence of this tender, marvelous, difficult, entertaining intelligence.” —Rob Brezsny