Sunday, January 31, 2010

Birthdays, Blessings...and Beauty

Whelp, its that time of year again. I am celebrating another year here on this earth. Thought this milestone would be a hard hitter for me. I am on the down hill slide toward another decade after all, but surprisingly it hasn't really hurt as much as I thought it would. Anticipated pain is worse than actual pain. Write that one down, it is almost ALWAYS true. I guess so much is going right for me that the number just doesn't feel so significant.

Well, so hear we are again...on the cusp of February, smack dab in the middle of a cold snap. All these should be adding up to depression for me, but for the first time ever...just aren't. Isn't that fabulous? There are so many things in my life different for me this year. Let me count the blessings. I have lost 115 lbs total so far, and am within 75 lbs of my original goal, so generally I just feel fabulous, and full of energy. I was diagnosed with diabetes last April and have since gotten my sugar levels under control; this has changed my life drastically. I discovered the wonders of taking Vitamin D3 by the thousands of iu's and Vitamin B12; both of these have changed my winter lethargy and depression into dancing. Then there is the lightening of the emotional load I have carried for so long. Its a wonder I'm not floating 3 feet off the ground. I can honestly say, I am happy and ok, and that feels so good!

Yet, every year a sinking feeling of disappointment and discontent creeps in as my birthday approaches. I generally blame it on one thing or the other that didn't go as I'd planned, but when I finally sat down to look directly at that dirty, wet, dog smelling up the room and dripping wet mud on everything, I couldn't remember its name. It is a familiar dog, but a phantom nonetheless...phantom pain. I can't really point to one specific thing as the culprit for causing my discontent and malaise, and when I try I end up talking myself in circles because I know what I am complaining about isn't the actual issue.

Perhaps I am just reliving the script of so many birthdays past. My soul seeks its old bent more strongly at this time of year than others. I am more comfortable and prepared for the role of disappointed, neglected victim than what I really am. Or perhaps...there are longings and yearnings too deep to be named that I keep trying to slap shallow names on so that they can be dealt with more easily.

I stand in an underground cathedral of a cave, at the edge of an underground lake. All around me is utterly dark and utterly quiet. As I stand there steeped in stillness an almost imperceptible shift from complete darkness to smudgy light happens, more of a hint of light than actual light, indistinct in its origin. Then, as the outline of my hands become apparent, the light centralizes to one glimmering spot far below the surface of the lake. That glow rises toward the surface and is traveling towards the shoreline for me; a date with destiny approaches. Part of me is frozen to the spot with wonder, part of me wants to run up and down the shoreline flapping my hands to scare away that light which evokes exquisite pain, hope, longing, and desire all at once. I have just made peace with the quiet and darkness of the cave, a refuge after the deluge of sludge I had been swept down the swift river with. The quiet has silenced the cacophony of voices that filled me with dread. This new presence in a place so peaceful, at first feels like it might be a return of the old chaos..but deep down, I know it isn't. I know that that light rising to the surface doesn't feel too horrible to behold; rather it feels too wonderful to behold. Can I stand it? Now the shimmering is becoming distinct and I can see that it is a fish the size of a koi, but with fins and streamers like a beta, as it moves through the water it fins scintillate light with every undulation, and its singing.

The fish is singing a song whose tendrils are wrapping themselves around my heart and squeezing. My heart at first feels the pain of constriction, but then begins to resonate. I am afraid of deep feelings; they usually mean devastation and pain, but I know I can and will trust this fish. The pain comes from longing, not fear and loss, yearning for what might be, what someday will be, for all I hope for. Searing as those tendrils are, they are defibrillating my heart, resusitating me. Then, over the building harmonies of the fish song comes an ancient sound, a beat that moves with steadiness into the song.

Its my heartbeat.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Yep, that's where I am. I was driving down the road this morning on my way to work listening to a summer mix my good friend Robbi made me. There is nothing like a summer mix to chase away the winter blues. Picture it: Me, bundled up to the eyes because the heat is broken in the car, driving down the snowy Upstate New York Roads, listening to the Beach Boys and laughing. Happy= me.
I find myself laughing out loud at the sheer joy of life. I am having such a good time. For the first time in a long time, fear is not my constant companion. I feel fearless, grounded, powerful, attractive. Everything is coming my way, and you know why? A lightbulb came on for me. I have given myself permission. I will not limit myself through fear anymore. Conversely, I will not motivate myself by fear either. Fear, your lease on my heart is up and you've been a destructive tenant. Time to go.
Meanwhile, let the good time roll! Laissez les bon temps roules! I am ready to have fun.

Monday, January 18, 2010


I was having Thai with a dear friend the other night. We had walked and shared deeply and were continuing our talk. It was so good to really talk, to talk about things that mattered. By the end of the night, I started feeling a twist in my chest. I couldn't figure out where it was coming from and how to get rid of it. Usually, spending time with people energizes me, especially when sharing hearts is involved, but I left our talk feeling totally sapped. I woke up the next day tired, with no energy for anyone.
So, I set about pondering. I think some of the twisty feeling came from me trying to abdicate my power. This pattern that has been a part of my whole adult life. This needing permission; from men, from those I respected, from those I wanted to please, from those I wanted approve from. I have been abdicating the power of permission in my life to anyone who might take it, whether they asked for it or not. Here, please...validate me. Tell me I am a good girl, that I am right, that I am OK.
I have figured out that I can give myself permission. What joy is this?

Any time I try to give the power of permission to another, it sets up a weird dynamic in me. I begin to feel dependent, insecure, needy of approval, and a little resentful. And here's the kicker...I do it to myself.
I will try to remember more quickly next time, but I give myself permission to make mistakes.

Also, I recognize my tendency to have to label everything...EVERYTHING as either good or bad. It can't just be. I realize that my negativity is a protective mechanism, and immediately I am labeling it bad and feeling like I've got to get rid of it PRONTO.

I just forget.

I forget that this process is so much more natural and gracious. Its going to take time to let go of that protection. I recognize it for what it is now...I will be grateful for what it did for me. When I finally do let it go, I will grieve the loss of it, and then? I will accept that it is no longer necessary to me.

But that will take time.

After all Rome wasn't built in a day.

Far from what I once was but not yet what I'm going to be. (unknown)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Risk Taker

I've spent a few years now in necessary insular protective mode, after a whole life of protecting myself to the point of isolation from many meaningful relationships out of fear. These last few years. I've spent time tearing down old things, sifting through the wreckage of my constructed self, destroyed by disaster. Now that the debris has settled and is mostly cleared, I am so grateful for that disaster. I am not living in a poorly constructed house anymore with leaks and lots of pests. I sleep under the stars for now, and have the free space to imagine what kind of dwelling I actually want. I have built lots of modern, spare, Frank Lloyd Wright inspired houses in my mind replete with lots of windows to let the outside in. I am imagining who I want to be, which is actually who I am meant to be. There is a sort of beauty in the process of dreaming, especially when there is the potential to inhabit those dreams.
Now comes the scary part. I have to actually gather the resources and start to build. Thankfully, my architect is far more talented than even Frank Lloyd Wright, far more inventive, playful, creative, and capable. And She makes beautiful, beautiful things. I am excited/scared of what this all means, and what it will require of me. I must not be afraid to use those stones unearthed in the back corner of the lot and cleared to make way for the heating system. They are beautiful, and will make a beautiful feature wall in the foyer. See how the veins run through them? Evidence of turmoil from eons ago, a reminder of what upheaval can yield. I don't want to forget that.
Mostly, I relish the light that will pour in from the windows. There will be more glass than wall, really. That's the way I want it. I want to live soaking in the magnitude of the beauty that surrounds me. I want to invite people into my space, then allow them into the house from which they can see to advantage those vistas I most cherish. Welcome, I will say. See the beauty? Yes, the structure is beautiful, but just look how it interacts with the beauty around it? Doesn't it put both the dwelling and the surroundings into better context? Don't they each enhance the beauty and depth of the other?

But risk is involved. I am more willing to take that risk recently. I am giving myself permission to take chances, and be vulnerable. The part of me that has always dreamed of jumping out of a plane (with a parachute of course) has now been given voice. OK, fearless me. Its time to count to ten, check your chute and JUMP!