Monday, February 20, 2012

Forsythia Bushes. A Suicide, And The Importance of Living Fully Where We Are...

"Forsythia is pure joy. There is not an ounce, not a glimmer of sadness or even knowledge in forsythia. Pure, undiluted, untouched joy." 

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Dear Ones,

I have been moving through a very complex series of emotions for some time now, and have found myself unable to do my creative work, the work that sustains me. I could give you reasons and many of them are understandable because they are heart-breakingly sad, but most are neither here nor there, simply life tossing me hither and yon as it is wont to do. However, in these past weeks we have experienced a terrible family tragedy, we lost a beautiful 31 year old man, the nicest, sweetest, gentlest soul that ever walked the earth, a man who adored his tiny 18 month old daughter beyond measure, and was adored by everyone who knew him. He took his own life, leaving in the wake of his death not just all of the things that you expect --  grief, sorrow, a depth of sadness you hadn't known possible -- but all of those fruitless questions that breaks one's heart but have no answers... "If only I had..." "If I hadn't..." "If only I'd realized..." and on and on. We are quick to blame ourselves, but there really is no answer to any of this, and when a person has reached that point, there is no stopping them. Maybe today, maybe next week, but there will come a knock on the door one night, or a phone call startling you awake out of a sound sleep, and the news will come. No, there's no way you could have stopped it. The only thing we can do is to honor him by keeping all of the beautiful memories of his life and who he was and what he gave to all who knew him alive.

And then -- and I don't compare this in the least, but the odd juxtaposition of Whitney Huston being pronounced dead just as our Memorial Service was ending -- really hit me. I suppose it was a combination of the two. The former cutting so deep it is hard to even allow oneself to go there, and the latter waking you up to a life lost too early after so much promise had faded leaving incredible pain and sorrow in it's wake. And the fact that Whitney was ten years younger than I am when she passed and her music was very much of my generation, and younger as well, made me realize that life must be lived, and lived now. And then I made what for me was a startling discovery and I am still rocking from it, and leaning into it, and finding relief, recovery, hope and even a kind of gentle joy from it. What came to me was that I have not been able to move forward with my work because it was rooted in my past and the threads of past dreams were holding me in a place I had grown past, a place I no longer belonged. I had to find the place I need to be now, do the work that is age appropriate, and as I have written elsewhere today it is not about aging, I have never worried about that, but I need to do my work in a different way to fit the woman I have become in the circumstances in which I now live.

I don't want to say that there aren't real gems and lessons and experiences from the past that I have brought with me, because there have been many. I have written since I was nine years old and in my heart, in every molecule of my being, first and foremost, I am a writer. And in those early days I wrote to survive. A frightened little girl who never quite fit in, scarred and continually frightened by the sexual abuse ongoing, the drunken rages in the house, the ever present heavy weight in the pit of my stomach, I hid underneath and behind a large stand of forsythia bushes. They were thick and backed up to a white fence and there was an opening at the bottom of two adjoining bushes with a space behind them just big enough for a small girl to slip into. I took a little red spiral notebook and a Bic pen and wrote my heart out. I wrote rather pitiful poetry and journal entries and doodled little pictures, and that little red notebook saved my life. I would go on to keep journals all of my life, became a teacher of a healing journal process that I taught for thirty years, five online, and at 55 years old, going through a major life change, I rid myself of nearly 400 journals. People were shocked, but they had become the albatross I carried around, they weighed me down, they were full of decades of therapy and dealing with the abuse and the struggle to become whole. The only way to start anew was to let go of all of that, bow to the lessons that I learned from the decades of writing them, and move forward in a whole new way. Now, two years later, the ripple effects are finally spreading throughout my whole life. It's time to let go of the past, treasure the tender memories but not let them bind me to a time that keeps me frozen in a place that I can't go back to, that I wouldn't go back to, and as the ice melts and I become lighter and see more clearly I can finally understand the direction in which I must go now. I can still write, but I write from the place of being a nearly 58 year old woman, a crone, in menopause, a time I cherish. Crone Mother Maitri, that's how I think of myself. I have a very motherly nature, I am a healer and a teacher, I bring my skills and experience to bear on this present time, and I see the work before me in a whole new way. I am heaving a great sigh of relief because I have long been lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.

In the months ahead I will be doing a lot of writing, I will also be using my web space to create the work that I can do from right here at Dragonfly Cottage. I am still the little girl alone under the forsythia bushes, but I am now peaceful and content. I live in a little cottage in the woods with many animals. A contemplative, a teacher, minister, Reiki Master, Shamballa Master Healer and there is much that I can do online. I have stopped fighting the idea that I have to go out into the world to do work, I can no longer do that, and I am at peace in my sanctuary, surrounded by my animals, in my ever growing and beautiful, magical garden, and I can share with the world all that I do here, all that I learn in prayer and meditation, and as I write I can also do phone counseling and I can teach online again. I am learning so much from Goddess Leonie's Business Course I just cannot tell you. I have gained a whole new perspective and I know that I can do this. And the Goddess Circle that she has created, a beautiful community of women worldwide, is giving me the support and help I need to learn to live and work and celebrate all that I am now, all that I can be. What a gift! I just cannot express the joy and comfort I am finding there, even when I am too shy to post but just read what the other women are writing, and I am shyly stepping into the pool and learning to speak up myself.

And one more thing. I am going to plant forsythia bushes here this spring. In the years to come they will grow into a glory of golden blossoms that remind me where it all started, and I will leave a gap in the middle so that I can sit in an old rocking chair and write, my notebook in my lap, my pugs around me, and wildlings all around. I am coming home to myself as I am now, right here, in this moment, and the words flow so fast I can barely keep up with them as I work on the book. I am grateful -- filled with gratitude, inner peace, and for this slower pace -- and I know that now I can survive.

Once upon a time I would crawl out from under the bushes with little golden blossoms in my hair. Now I shall make a crown of them and wear them as the crowning achievement of that frightened little girl who has made it nearly six decades and is still alive, excited by life, and love and the work at hand. I lift my eyes to the heavens and sing praise and hosannas. I am finding my way, with grace and time.

I was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see...