JPEG Image (5042)It is winter here on the first day of spring – blustery cold, blowing snow, frozen ice on the pond. I am NOT dressed for walking, having come directly from the funeral, and so I will wait in the car , here in view of the trees, the lake, the snags at her feet, the mountains rising purple in the pinch….. until the cabin is ready.

I found myself experiencing deep sadness, even regret, as I drove here past so many reminders of the life I had longed for and allowed to pass me by. The little red- roofed cottage tucked into the bend in the brook, like a child cradled in it mother’s arms, the loft-y barn beside her, the field of last summer’s cattails, the ridge rising on the opposite bank covered in snow…. the quiet, the stillness, the solitude, the away-Ness. To be, away from the pressure to be something I’m not, on call to needs that are not my own… but of course they must be for I chose them, didn’t I?

The choice was laid out before me clearly. I could not grasp it somehow,….so that partIcular life will be left unlived in this lifetime. There is grief in that, as in all things that are allowed to die, to be lost. I can only trust in the new life that will emerge, as it always does, from such a loss. Something unseen, unknown, of course, until the grief is walked through completely.

I do not wish to live a life of regret, a bItter life, a What-If life. I realize now that to live such a regret-less life does not mean that I chase every unfulfIlled desire so that regret can never catch up to knock upon my door. I realize now that the choice Is much more one of accepting What-Is as good, as full of potential, and as opportunity to find what would remain hIdden if I dId not stay In one place long enough to dig beneath the surface of my station in my life to mine its gold. The grass may look greener but there is gold in these hills.

Oh, but it is quiet here. A place at last to listen for my own thoughts, my own heart, my own soul. I am so constantly responding to the cries of the other that I seldom notice my own quieter despair….

Oh, to be alone!

How fortuitous that I have this hour to myself . For even after the others arrive… these ones whom I love and to whom I have eagerly come….there will be one layer laid atop the quiet, one layer atop the voice within that is so seldom attended, I forget she needs me too.

Oh that is not entirely true. My sense of exhaustion reminds me, of course. I wonder how that works precisely. Does she pull a plug in there when my life has become too overwhelmingly full, draIn me, hoping she will be found.

There she is again at the bottom of the lake!

……I have been thinking about lines. How it is that one crosses over without knowing– the step so subtle– and suddenly balance is lost. When does that ‘yes’ shift ever so slightly from desire to obligation, from love to duty, from willingness to guilt? How is it that one Is suddenly walking on the side of fear of judgement, fear of anger, fear of loss?

It is painfully clear to me that relationship is vital to me. My choices point to that clearly. I DO wish to be a meaningful, loving presence in the lives of those whom I love.

Oh, if only there were enough me’s to maintain those relatIonshIps In the way I wish that I could. Instead, I fInd myself feelIng protective of my spare moments, guarded with my time. It makes me feel ungenerous with my love that there doesn’t seem to be enough to go around.

It is not my love that is lacking, is it?

Yes, perhaps that is the core of my wound, that I am not enough, that I am NOT love with a capital L after all. That I ought to be some other way than how I am, that I am self absorbed, that I don’t know how to nurture well… that there is nothing there to give. I suppose this is what stirs my anxiety, my fear, my boundaryless codependent behavior.

It is curious to me, this cancerous growth In our famIly. Though it is not literally mine, I wonder what it is here to teach, what it Is here to express —of imbalance—-what it is here to invite. It challenges me to ponder the InvIsIble (nonexIstent?) line between self and other.

Does one draw a circle instead, a circle that includes, yes (what Is yours Is also mIne) but also makes space to breathe, a space uncluttered, to see.

Are we not taught that It is a virtue to lay one’s life down for the other? To be there for the other in hIs/her time of adversity? To be drawn out of self and into the needs of the other? Is this not a good thing?

I have been swimming in a sea of projections… of judgement, of criticism, of entitlement, of dismissal. I come here to the lake to recall who I am. I come for thIs long vIew so I can clear my vIsIon. I come here to bask for a time in the presence of those who honor the sacredness of me.

I am surprised at how little time and space it truly takes to reconnect with my soul…. to disconnect from other voices, I should perhaps say. How quickly, it seems, all of the anxious feelings subside, the stress, exhaustion, fear. How fresh this perspective when stepping away, away from the center of the milieu to hear my own soul’s quiet voice.

The children’s story, Owl Moon, was read, these words, ‘You must be very quiet and make your own heat’. How long since there has been quiet in my life, in my house, in me? I cannot rely upon the other to provide this for me. I must make myself a priority. I cannot expect another to make my heat. This is a fire I need tend myself.

As In the story Clarisa was telling on the drive here about the young man deserting his elder and losing his ability to make fire, I must not desert my own wisdom, this part of me that knows how to make fire, and expect my life force to survive. Perhaps this is the gift in my exhaustIon! —A clear message from my soul that I cannot desert my own soul’s long-learned wisdom and expect to survive the cold. I can trust the long view of life I have earned, put ‘crisis’ in its proper place.

Oh, putting pen to paper is so rich for me. So much just beneath the surface, waiting to be revealed, answered, heard, if I but take the time to listen with my pen like this. I have perhaps forgotten that this is the true gift in my writing, thIs ‘making my own heat’. Even here In the wrItIng I have gotten lost in the making it for the other..(and yes, I do see In thIs a sImIlar egoIc need to be Important to someone, to matter, In some way, despite also recognizing–both/and always–the real gift in the honest sharing of self that these pages truly are to those who visit here. Ah, perhaps thIs Is the crux of my codpendence after all)

And so I will leave this place early to be there for the other, freely, consciously, choIcefully. I can choose to honor myself in that place too, to see myself as love, loved, lovable, loving. It is time to dissolve the line between here and there, to end this duality that says my soul is present here but not there, to pick up thIs old woman who knows about fire and carry her back to the village, not leave her here on the side if the mountain. I can listen to the quiet within, mine the gold within what is given, within the life that is mine to live.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Carolyn
    Mar 30, 2013 @ 11:02:20

    Vicki, may I quote from the back of the 20th anniversary edition of Anne Morrow Lindbergh GIFT FROM THE SEA: In her afterword, Anne reflects on a world totally changed in two decades – but a world unchanged in the profound need in women for self-realization; the need for each woman to learn and relearn the painful lesson that “woman much come of age by herself – she must find her true center alone,”

    Thank you for being brave enough to acknowledge that and seek it ardently.



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