Feeling Older. Day 21.

Good morning, bluebirds!

It’s been three weeks since I left Missoula…since I started a journey of intense self-love and cleansing. All I can say right now is that I feel more true, more happy, more healthy, and more able to just be without self-judgment or fear of being judged by others. I feel loved in a way that is sustainable and shows promise of being that way for a long time. I feel enlightened with opportunity. I am excited to move back to Montana this weekend, and I am giddy with the thought of romping around with my dog and seeing my beau—this time with a new intention in mind. I am excited to live in a new and beautiful home, to meet new people, and to visit the home I left three weeks ago. I am running faster than I ever have been able to. I am writing more. I am laughing more. I am comfortable sitting with myself for a long time. I have been meditating more. I want to grow a garden.

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And, right now, sitting in southern Utah and editing with coffee in hand and the sunrise tiptoeing over the jagged, vermillion horizon, I have made a few realizations; I feel they come from a place of clarity and purity that I can usually only see from the tippy tops of mountains or deep in the depths of desert:

Nothing is more important than keeping yourself healthy and happy. And second to the importance of that is loving others in a true and authentic way…a way that doesn’t diverge or waver from a straight path of honesty, openness, and caring. You do what you have to do for the people you love. You are loyal. You are honest. You are healthy. You are passionate, but not too much. You are patient, but you are not lazy or ignorant. 

Simply put: You go the distance for yourself and for the people you love. Yourself. Your family. Your lover. Your friends.

It’s never too late to open up, to save your own life, to save someone else’s life. To figure things out. To grow, learn. To be kind to yourself, dear.

I mean, it took these cliffs millions of years. Today I feel older, wiser, smarter, happier than I did three weeks ago.

I am happy. In love. Alive.

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Your Wild and Precious Life.

“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body 
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.” 
― Mary Oliver

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Missing Montana and Others.

Hi, bluebirds. 

I am working right now, in Idaho. I had a beautiful, warm run outside today, and now I am cuddled up with about 20 articles to edit and a big cup of tea. Right now there’s a big, open space in my heart…one that can’t really be filled. 

I am struggling right now. I am struggling in being away from the love of my life and my puppy and my home. And more than that, I am struggling with not knowing how long it will last. Or if it will ever be the same. I am struggling with communicating the way I feel. I am struggling because I can’t be heard. Most of all, I am struggling with regret. I wish I could turn back time, to a few months ago, and change some things. Change the way I act, the way I think, the way I trust, and the way I react. 

It’s hard to have a big hole in your heart. It’s hard to love someone and to feel like they don’t want to love you back again. It’s hard to forgive, but it’s harder to wonder if you’ve been forgiven. It’s hard to let go and let someone just be when you spent every waking moment with them. It’s hard to create space when you have nothing else to fill it with. It’s hard to be told that you need to stop communicating when your only way of expressing feeling, care, love, worry is with words. I am a woman made of words, and right now they have no place. They live in that hole. 

It’s hard to not know when someone will decide to open up again and let you back in. It’s hard to hear that it could be days, weeks, months, or years. The hole gets bigger. I wish I could hear, “In three months, it will all be okay and I will love you again and we can pick up the pieces.” It’s hard to want to give yourself to someone so fully and completely–and they don’t want you. It’s hard to be rejected two years in a row. Every Spring. It hurts. It hurts to wonder if the love of your life will find someone better, newer, or more exciting to replace you…to make a new life with. To go to Nepal with. To learn with. To have coffee with. To make love with. To grow your garden with. To play with your dog. To paint your house new colors with. To ski with. To build temples and gardens and world with. 

It hurts to wonder if they will forget you, refuse to work with you, refuse to give you another chance to dazzle, to bewilder, to trust, to love, to laugh with him. I can do it again, I promise. But it hurts to not be believed. It hurts to say, “I will never treat you like this again,” and not be believed. 

I am trying to learn. Trying to be peaceful with myself. Trying to feel the sun. I haven’t seen many mountain bluebirds lately. I fear sometimes that they are leaving me too. 

Sometimes I just wish I had someone to feel that sun with me. I used to. And I don’t know if I ever will again. 

Sometimes I see people who are in love–and not obviously in love. They are sustainably and truly in love. I had that, I thought. I don’t know what happened. I hope and pray every day that it will come back, or that I will at least know when or if it will come back soon. 

We all have to have something to hold on to, I guess. 

J. 

 

5 Minute Eyes Closed/Gratitude/Self Love Writing Exercise.

THis morning I woke up to magpiez crowing and chickens cockadoodledooing scuffling and the soundsmellfeeling of the coffee spitting out of its maker. And I thought to myself what if this is as good as it gets? What if the sunshine through the window and the sprouting crocuses and the farm dogs and horses barking and whinnying is as good as it gets? What if the windburnt cheeks and blistered working hands is as good as it gets?

If only any human could be so lucky.

The Butterfly as Hopi Symbol of Man’s Spiritual Transformation.

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“Grandmother Mona believes that giving the origins of her ancestors is as important as telling her name…Her last name, Polacca, means butterfly in the Hopi language and is the name received from her paternal grandfather. In Hopi lore, the butterfly is the symbol of man’s spiritual transformation.
‘At the level of existence, when it crawls on Mother Earth in the form of a caterpillar, it only sees what is right in front of it,’ Grandmother Mona explains. ‘There comes a time in the development when it puts itself into a little cocoon and enters the darkness. In this darkness, it completely breaks down. During that time a great change takes place…”

“‘Finally it emerges into this world, into this life as a beautiful creature,’ Grandmother Mona says. ‘Yet it doesn’t immediately fly away. It sits there as if to be making a connection again with the elements of life: the water, the air, the fire, the earth. Then there is a moment when its wings start fluttering, developing movement, developing strength within itself using these elements of life. 

‘When the moment comes and the butterfly takes flight, it suddenly sees the world from a completely different point of view, a view of vaster beauty and a much, much wider worldview. This is what I was told about being a butterfly.’

“…Grandmother Mona believes the Hopi legend of the butterfly can see us through these turbulent times of darkness and confusion by revealing to us our path of transformation. 

“These times can actually be viewed as necessary to enable humanity as a whole to transform into a comprehension of the truth of our oneness with each other and with all of Creation.

“Only by going into darkness and breaking down our old ways can we move from the myopic view of the caterpillar to the greatly expanded view of the butterfly~ a necessary view if we are to save the beauty and resources of our planet for the next seven generations to come.

“Then we will have emerged out of the darkness of ignorance into the beauty of the butterfly to see the wonder, hope, compassion, faith, and charity so essential for our survival.”

~Grandmother Mona Polacca from Carol Schaefer’s book Grandmothers Counsel the World: Women Elders Offer Their Vision for Our Planet

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

I Love You, Me, & the World.

Rapture

Who knows the mysteries of the poppies
when you look across the red fields,
or hear the sound of long thunder,
then the saving rain.
Everything beautiful,
the solitude of the single body
or sometimes, too, when the body is kissed
on the lips or hands or eyelids tender.
Oh for the pleasure of living in a body.
It may be, it may one day be
this is a world haunted by happiness,
where people finally are loved
in the light of leaves,
the feel of bird wings passing by.
Here it might be that no one wants power.
They don’t want more.
And so they are in the forest,
old trees,
or those small but grand.
And when you sleep, rapture, beauty,
may seek you out.
Listen. There is
secret joy,
sweet dreams you may never forget.
How worthy the being
in the human body. If,
when you are there, you see women
wading on the water
and clouds in the valley,
the smell of rain,
or a lotus blossom rises out of round green leaves,
remember there is always something
besides our own misery.

~ Linda Hogan ~

This is How I S…

This is How I Sit With Sadness.
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Hello? Is anyone here? a small voice calls out, echoing into the dark.

The small voice (my voice) calls out again, hoping to hear the warmth of a response, a sign that I am not alone in this place.

The darkness is heavy and my feet feel like a 100 pound weights and as I reach out to feel for the container of this space, my fingers are barely able to discern where I end and the despair begins.

I arrived here about two weeks ago and slowly, with one weighted foot in front of the other, I’ve been moving forward—at least, that’s what I think I’m doing but in the dark, it’s hard to tell. Maybe I’m shuffling sideways, or spinning in slow moving circles, or maybe it’s my mind that’s moving and my body is still.

The air is dank I can feel my bones shiver; I am scared, to be here in this place. It’s not new to me but it’s not old either and each time I visit a little longer and each time I fear a little more.

In the next moment—for time moves swiftly and in slow motion at the same time—I realize that I am standing still and the thought of moving my body to move the sadness through my blood is too much to bear and here I stay, waiting for this all to pass.

My brain says, This is too much and my heart says, I think you are killing me and I continue to breathe through the waves of panic that have taken up a permanent home in my throat. I think to reach for my mat, but that idea alone is too tiring and my arms hang heavy at my sides; every part of me is leaden.

The dark can be full of magic but for me, right now, it is not; if I sit or stand or fall, I am instantly swarmed with creatures I cannot see but can only feel, grasping, clutching, trying to steal the center of my soul; my breath of life, the beating heart from my chest.

A breeze falls down the back of my neck and my spine shudders and I want to lay down and let the hungry demons consume every part of me; the stronger me—my raw, open, vulnerable, beating heart—will not declare a victory to the darkness and she demands that I listen to her lead.

Keep fighting, she says. Keep praying, keep breathing, keep writing, keep feeling, she repeats, over and over again. I know somewhere inside that she is right, but I am tired and my visions blurs and I start to doubt her, too.

I am still not sure if I will make it out of here alive. In the darkness, my thoughts are harder to leash and I have convinced myself that I am undeserving of happiness; that I am undeserving of love and affection and that I will stay alone, here, forever, with only the memory of the light to keep my alive.

I have tricked myself out of a long-formed pattern of protecting myself, that I do not need to be loved, that I do not need to hear words of love and that I do not need to be touched in the ways of love.

When I cannot stand it anymore, I reach for something to numb my thoughts and the closest thing wins and then I sit with the shame of what I’ve done to my body and the weight gets heavier and I sink deeper and my body becomes part of the battle, too.

When I cannot stand it anymore, I climb into a hot bath cry and cry and let my tears meet the water and I bath in my sorrow.

When I cannot stand it anymore, I tumble to my knees and press my forward into the damp ground and ask for the God of my own understanding to save me for I do not know how to save myself.

When I cannot stand it anymore, with my forward to ground, I call for my army of warriors—other beating, strong hearts—to join me because I can longer be here alone and it is only with their love that I can ever come back to life.

Silently, ever so silently, I ask for help.

I can feel their warrior-love fill the darkness and tears of gratitude slide down my cheeks.

This is what it means to be loved, my heart says—this is what it means to be loved.

Writing from my writerly soul sister, coworker, new friend. Exactly how I feel and go through days right now. 

Day 5.

Days We Would Rather Know. 

There are days we would rather know

than these, as there is always, later, 

a wife we would rather have married 

than whom we did, in that severe nowness 

time pushed, imperfectly, to then. Whether, 

standing in the museum before Rembrandt’s “Juno,” 

we stand before beauty, or only before a consensus 

about beauty, is a question that makes all beauty 

suspect…and all marriages. Last night, 

leaves circled the base of the gingko as if 

the sun had shattered during the night 

into a million gold coins no one had the sense 

to claim. And now, there are days we would 

rather know than these, days when to stand 

before beauty and before “Juno” are, convincingly, 

the same, days when the shattered sunlight 

seeps through the trees and the women we marry 

stay interesting and beautiful both at once, 

and their men. And though there are days 

we would rather know than now, I am, 

at heart, a scared and simple man. So I tighten 

my arms around the woman I love, now 

and imperfectly, stand before “Juno” whispering 

beautiful beautiful until I believe it, and–

when I come home at night–I run out 

into the day’s pale dusk with my broom 

and my dustpan, sweeping the coins from the base

of the gingko, something to keep for a better tomorrow: 

days we would rather know that never come. 

 

-Michael Blumenthal