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.