Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pull Up A Chair And Let Me Tell You A Story...

"The universe is made of stories, not atoms."
~ Muriel Rukeyser ~

Maybe it's because I'm finally deep into writing the book that has long been growing inside of me but would not manifest. It is creeping out onto the pages before me and it has found it's form. Like pearls on a necklace these little pieces, or connected stories, make up the whole. Some of them are so close to the precipice that I catch my breath and think, "Can I really say that?" I have been trying to figure out a way to write my story without going into the dark places, not that I intend to dwell on them, and I've healed and moved past them, but I can't tell my story without the dark times because the focus of the story is how we can come out of the darkness and into the light. And no matter how healed we might be, if we have moved past being crippled by the abuse itself in our minds, we are still left with the scars. If you've lost both legs after the shock of the tragedy you go on with your life, but your legs never grow back and you learn how to live another way. Some people never get over deep traumas, some don't survive, but a lot of us do, and the key is in coming to accept ourselves as we are, and learn to celebrate the gifts and lives that we do have, and to live our lives to the fullest extent within whatever limitations the world around us might think that we have. 

When I found the F. Scott Fitzgerald quote that I used in my new header I knew that I had turned a corner and it was because of something the beautiful Goddess Leonie wrote just the other day. It was a simple thing that she said, almost a throwaway line. She wrote, "This is my life's work." And reading that I asked myself, "What is my life's work?" and it really threw me. Just like the other day when I wrote about listening to the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song, "Teach Your Children" and they sang about the fact that we must have "...a code we must live by," and it, too, threw me for a loop because while I could share a whole list of things that I do, I couldn't think of a "code" that I lived by, nor could I, reading what Leonie had written, figure out what my life's work was. It was too scattered, I was trying to do too many things and it just froze me up. And so I have meditated and prayed and walked in the garden with the dogs and wondered about it. And then I sat down to read a marvelous book last night that I've had for a long time but only paged through and never really read, Gardening At The Dragons Gate: At Work In the Wild and Cultivated World, by Wendy Johnson, just a fabulous book, and the Fitzgerald quote was in that book, and my jaw dropped. I have been living my life like a bunch of puzzle pieces tossed up in the air, scattered all over, hither and yon, chasing around to try to figure out how to put them together, and they never would fit, or if they did for a time they seemed to fall apart again and I went skittering around trying to scoop them all up and make sense of them but I was too worried and worn out to stick to any one thing.

And then it came to me. If I were to do the work that I want to do I have to write on the precipice, facing the scary things, and in putting it all down on paper I will anchor myself and stay safe and sane in this world. I realized, even as I am in the process of putting together a room to see clients to do healing work in, and moving back into my fiber art, that they were important parts of my life, things that I would definitely do, but with my practice for example it takes years to hone your skills and build a practice. Like the flowers in the garden you can't hurry them. Fiber work is slow but immensely gratifying. My spiritual life, gardening, my work with pug rescue will always be a part of my life, but they are all also part of the story of my life. I am a writer, and instead of trying to do everything at once I will allow all of the various parts of my life flower in their own time. Some are annuals, some biennials, and some perennials. Each element of my life will come into it's fullness when the time is right, and the way in which it all happens is the story of my life. The story of a woman who was abused from 4 to18 and spent decades in therapy but came out of the darkness and into the light and is, for the most part, happy, fulfilled, at peace, and I have learned that I have something to offer, and most important of all I have realized that I can live my life just as I am, I can build a world that works for me and stop apologizing because I don't fit the picture others would like to see, I won't turn my life inside out until I am sick all the time because I am so afraid that I will never fit because who I am is a square peg in a round hole. And now I celebrate being a square peg, because even square pegs can give much to the world, they just have to love and accept themselves as they are. It has taken me 57 years but I finally figured it out, and I am kind of giddy and grinning as I write this because it is such a relief.

And so today I paid for the image that would be in my banner. It so completely represents who I am inside. A woman whose life purpose is to love, to love and open my heart as big as a full moon, and the best way that I can spread the love, the acceptance, the stories that I want to share to help others realize the light they have within them, to love themselves, and to celebrate all that they are is to write about it. I have carried the quote by Muriel Rukeyser around in my heart for ages, used it in my journal classes for decades, but now I really know what it means. The universe is made of stories, and like Fitzgerald wrote I will ask you to draw your chair close, and if you get dangerously close to the edge as you take in words that perhaps scare you a little because they touch down in the middle of your own life, good, that's exactly what I'm hoping for, and I want you to think about something I saw on a little placque in my therapist's office. It said "Leap and the net will appear." Don't be afraid to leap. Even baby steps are fine. Just keep moving forward. We can hold hands and leap together, no matter where we are in the process.

I often hear young people say, sadly and with angst, that their lives have not taken the path they had hoped it would. These young people are generally in their thirties or so. And if I talk to one of them I remind them that Grandma Moses didn't start to paint until she was 70, and she became the pre-eminent folk artist in America, and she painted until she was over 100 years old. I also heard a wonderful story of a woman who spoke at a graduation commencement. She didn't start writing until she was 50, but at 70 she had written 20 books. The young graduates asked her, "Aren't you sorry you didn't start sooner?" and the writer/speaker, who had raised six children, laughed kindly and said, "It was only 20 years."

It is often said that life is short and passes far too quickly. I have said it myself in years gone by. But now, near 60, I feel exhilarated to be coming into my own, and I know that life is BIG, and full of potent possibilities abundant, and it is never too late, you just have to open yourself as wide as the ocean, knowing that everyday in your life is full of endless possibilities. We can do anything, we really can, or a version that fits our own lives and who we are.

I wish you a wonderful journey, the journey of discovery that is before you. I am right here, beside you, and I am sitting here on the precipice, in my chair, telling you stories. Take them to heart, in whatever way they speak to you. Take them into your own lives and find the little nuggets that might help you through the night and into the light of day. Love yourself, celebrate yourself, just as you are, whoever you are, whatever you are doing. We can do this, and what better time to start than now? I am looking at the rest of my life in a whole new way and I am thrilled beyond measure. I can live and love and plant my roses and kiss my pugs and write my books and sing my songs and I can soar like an eagle. The precipice doesn't scare me, I've been there all my life. Now it's time to fly!


Gemel said...

Absolutely beautiful.

VirusHead said...

Thank you Maitri! Stories and humor, always. <3

Book Reviews said...

Your post is very informative and I enjoy reading it. Thanks for sharing.

Victoria SkyDancer said...

I always enjoy reading your words...tonight, though, these words of yours speak deeply to me, gently reminding me of that which I needed to remember, because I had forgotten it, during my Dark Teatime of the Soul. Blessings and THANK YOU with all of my heart. :-)

Maitri said...

To anyone reading this I most sincerely apologize if you have written me a beautiful, kind response in the past and I have not answered. I read and cherish them all, but it has been a couple of years of just hanging on and moving forward when sometimes writing the entry took all that I had. I promise that I will be diligent about answering every dear person that comments now. I know how much it means. I hope you will forgive me and this will be changing now.

Love and blessings to each and every one of you...


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