It’s a glorious, sunshine filled day. The light from every angle at which I stand seems to make the flowers and trees and even single solitary blades of grass look like they are dancing.
I love- LOVE- these kinds of days. They ring of fresh starts, filled full of singing and sighing- that sigh that you do when you feel complete and content, hopeful about all that can become.
These kinds of days whisper promises of quiet strength. Soft in their fortitude, rest for the weary, hope for the downtrodden.
I’m grateful for it- this day. Just to be experiencing it and noticing it, as it’s been a draining and emotionally exhausting span of space for me as of late. I am downtrodden for sure. Nothing especially special has happened. Thank GOD, we are all fine, we are all well, we are all free. We have a (literally new) roof over our heads, nutritious food to eat, we have our health, we are not frantic, over-scheduled, or exhausted. We have green all around us, the firmness of the Earth beneath us, good friends to keep us grounded- community telling us that we are loved and are lucky enough to have the assurance that we are not alone.
Life is good. It’s as it should be.
For me, anyway.
I was pretty surprised, when a few days ago, that little backpack I can’t ever seem courageous enough to put down for good, The Past, or as I often think of her, ‘One of my Past Lives’ (as there have been many) literally blew her top and out of the clear blue sparkling Spring sky, dropped a mother of a memory onto me, rendering me on the floor, immobile, crying uncontrollably for hours on end, wondering, not for the first time, if this was it- the moment I have always been trepidatiously waiting for- and I had finally hit the point of no return.
Was this me, losing my mind?
I’ve imagined what it would be like, this losing my mind thing, having watched someone very close to me, endure the process of playing hide and seek with one of our most allusive partners in life-The Psyche. It’s horrific, exhausting, bone achingly so. Many of us have been bystanders and watched this game play out, whether for someone else, or like a bird hovering over the shell that once embodied us, we know- none of us are immune. Anxiety attacks, debilitating depression. Being too afraid to live, but too afraid not to, a purgatory like space that many refer to as reality- I watched my mother balance in this arena for a very long time.
Depression always taunting haughtily, as she knew she was already winning the game, ‘Ready or not, here I come…’ and all the while, me, singing the child’s song, ‘Come back to me…’
It’s a hard thing to remember, but all I can think about in this very moment.
Was IT finally coming for me? Five years after the greatest trauma I will hopefully ever experience in this life; four years after unexpected motherhood applied her pressure and forced me to live for others not just for myself; seven years after losing her, the Greatest Victor of it ALL, my mother.
I can’t pick up the phone to ask for the best hiding places.
And ready or not- here it comes.
Like a tidal wave-you see it coming, but you are so indescribably paralyzed and all you can do is pray whatever mantra to whatever Being may or may not be listening and hope that you survive the deluge.
This is very difficult to write.
The shame and embarrassment after this latest episode filled me, for a time, to the brim. As the reservoir gave way and overflowed into all the crevices of my spirit and mind, it mixed with my angry tears and created yet another wave so big and strong that I could only watch in amazement as it washed over me once again, without time to recover from the first one, leaving me sputtering and gasping for air, for light, for reprieve. As my heart grappled for anything around her to help her stay afloat, I realized all she was holding on to was the confusion and hurt pride, betrayal of her senses and The Fear: you know, THE BIG ONE- we all know it-
I quite literally couldn’t breathe.
I WAS DROWNING. In anxiety perpetuated by triggers, feelings of overwhelming anger and the inability to understand what was happening to the one I thought I knew so well:
And more than anything- it was the SADNESS. I thought I was through this, I thought I was ok, I thought I was strong.
Finally, when it was all done, like a drowned rat, I climbed out of it, onto the shore, and quite beautifully fell into the acceptance that I get to call my husband.
We were both scared and sad, overwhelmed and heavy.
This again? Really?
Just ride the wave, rather than resist it.
That’s what was written on the back of the beautiful soul standing next to me in yoga class this morning. It was an effort to get there today. Needless to say, I’m worn out, I’m empty, even though it’s all done.
Just ride the wave. Don’t resist it.
With each painful pose, my eyes drifted to the back of her shirt and as I closed them, to block out anything and everything, I could see how much resisting I have been doing, and how the end result of fighting something with which I have zero control over is always going to leave me gasping, exhausted, fearful and without much hope for reprieve.
Wouldn’t it be easier to just let go- let it take me where it needs to take me, do what it needs to do FOR ME? Nothing happens to us, only for us.
This is hard too.
Many years ago, in one of my past lives, at a table in little Mexican joint somewhere in Tucson, I found myself sharing margaritas and tacos with a dear friend who I love so very deeply. The salt in our drinks was due to the steady flow of tears, as she shared the experience of losing her daughter too early and so painfully, she shared with me the wisdom of the waves.
Though her pain was unending, she sagely managed to explain that we can never escape it, these waves. They will be there, slapping us down, until we give in, surrendering to the movement of its rhythm, allowing it to carry us to whatever realm it sees fit. The sea of life will have its way- always has and always will. But surviving it requires full surrender.
Surrender of control, the letting go of our pride and expectations, and most importantly, the requirement that we should be exempt from any pain.
The waves are life’s gift to us- teaching us of our ability to stay afloat, no matter what type of storm we are weathering. It’s all necessary, it’s all normal, it’s all we have sometimes.
All we can do is stay calm, breathe in, and breathe out. Stop resisting, and just ride the wave.