I do the best I’ve can with what I have from where I am…
I was reminded today of the beautiful song that moves me so deeply, the one Bette Midler sang, “The Rose.”
“… Just remember, in the winter, far beneath the bitter snow,
lies the seed, that with the sun’s love, in the spring,
lies the seed, that with the sun’s love, in the spring,
becomes, the rose…”
And Camus, from his powerful book The Stranger, one of the quotes I have held on to for decades as it has so much meaning for me and is a reminder of what more than one of my therapists has told me over many years when they said, “You’re so much stronger than you know.” Camus wrote…
“In the midst of winter I finally learned that there
was in me an invincible summer…”
And so on these days when my spirit flags and the road ahead looks long, and I can see no end of what is a winter of the soul I go outside in the garden where the stalks of the once beautiful cottage garden are bent and drying and brown and I gather the seeds who, with the sun’s love, will be hundreds, thousands of flowers, tremendous glory all through the summer and the fall, a flood of color that is breath-taking, and I collect the seeds and close my eyes and, as in The Wizard of Oz, my black and white world comes to life, in full blown technicolor, just where I am, in this moment.
And so what am I doing now? Self care. I said it yesterday, this is a time when self care is one of the most important things that I can do because one of the greatest needs that I have, one of the most important things that I need to learn, is how to re-enter my body. After a childhood of sexual abuse from four to eighteen, and for several years at the hands of two men, I, like so many abused women, exited my body. I not only gained a lot of weight but I have often been injured and sometimes badly. I fell down a flight of stairs and shattered both feet some years ago and couldn’t walk for a year, and that was only one among many breaks, sprains, falls, surgeries, and more. The thing is, like so many survivors, the way that I survived led me to a life that I can best describe, as I think about it metaphorically, as my spirit flying ahead with my body bumping along on the ground behind me.
How do you get to nearly 350 pounds, or for many even more? It is unimaginable to people. But if you have survived so much pain that parts of you have shut down, you don’t notice. I know people think, “How could you possibly not notice gaining 200 pounds?” Well, if you don’t know there’s really no way I can explain it to you. The fat, the padding on my body, has been a safety mechanism, although I never really thought about it in so many words. When your body is unbalanced and your spirit has gone into hiding, and you become a head without a body, thinking, dreaming, but not really doing, and you shrink further and further away from the outside world, you kind of disappear. When I’ve looked at myself in the mirror I didn’t see an overweight woman, well, yes, overweight, but not OVERWEIGHT. And then I see a photograph — and believe me I don’t allow many of those, and isn’t that sad, because when recording life with your children and grandchildren is lost you become the ghost in the family, the one people remember but can’t quite picture in their minds. I don’t want to be a ghost. Oh God help me I really don’t want to be a ghost.
And so I’m learning. As I sit here typing this my feet are in an electric foot bath, humming along and vibrating, the water pretty hot with my favorite foot bath powder mixed in. I use this when I’m not just using Epsom salts, Dr. Singh’s Mustard Bath, soothing my feet and perfuming the air around me with an earthy fragrant smell, not perfumey or sweet, that my body is kind of sinking into the chair going, “Ahhhhh….” It is detoxifying, soothing, and so fragrant your whole body relaxes. I am having another “foot episode.” Having had serious surgeries, breaks, and whatnots as I mentioned above, 2 years in a row I (Pardon me, I know this is gross..) have slammed my toe so badly that I’ve lost the toenail, broke the toe, and really made a mess of things. This was a bad one. So I am taking care of my feet and loving them and sending them healing energy. It is amazing what these detox footbaths do. You can also use it in the bath tub but I cannot bathe in a tub, another gift of my childhood and common for so many women who have gone through these things, but the feet, when cared for, detoxify the whole body. So I type this to you with my feet soaking and the air redolent with organic mustard powder, and essential oils of rosemary, eucalyptus, wintergreen and thyme. And the combination of aromatherapy and the gift to the feet I am trying to move back into are really helping me integrate body, mind, and spirit.
When there is little energy to spare we look for the little things that we can do, we look for the silver lining, we soak our feet, or make a comforting nutritious meal, and make a cup of tea. I once wrote a book about the spiritual art of tea, and then have longsince gotten away from drinking tea at all. It was coffee in the morning, a huge strong latte, and a glass of wine in the evening, and not every evening. I have never been interested in drinking as a recreational hobby. Now, another gift of the diagnosis I recently received is that I am not drinking alcohol of any kind and I have turned back to my tea ritual and I had forgotten how much more there is to tea than just a cup of tea. Tea is a state of mind, and in this state of mind I realized it was time to revise the tea book, while sipping tea, and publish it in the next year. Yes, so many gifts in this challenging time. Tonight it is lemon ginger green tea, and the ginger has sparked my senses and made me come back to life. It is almost 9 p.m., my feet are wrinkled like prunes, the pugs are jumping up and down because it is past their treats and meds and getting ready for bed time but I committed to writing every day and by gosh and by golly I’m going to. I’m not sure how much I’m helping anyone else by these daily posts, but what is happening for me is rather amazing and I’m so happy to be doing this.
I wanted to speak about my body and life as an oak tree, and more about the Dragonfly Cottage community that I am dreaming of, and not just dreaming of, creating, but it is time to publish this post and tend to the little ones here.
No, there has not been much energy to spare, but it has been a good day, a gentle, slow day, and it has been a gift. Be gentle with yourself, very gentle, and know that when I send you love it is genuine and from my heart, and I do, more than you can imagine, I really do…
Good night dear ones, may the night before you yield fruitful dreams that will fill tomorrow with gifts beyond imagine.
Blessings, Love, and Joy… it is possible, it is…