In this week, after my second Dad’s shock accident, my family and I are floating in suspended animation. The best way I can describe what it has been like is to say that we are held. Held by family, by our friends and by our community. There are definitely positive aspects to putting down deep roots in one place and they are in ready evidence at times like this, where it would be easy to feel isolated and overwhelmed by grief and fear. My mother has her closest family and her dearest friends gathered around her, and while she is very sad, shocked and sometimes anxious, she is able to move through these feelings as they arise and then continue onto the next moment. The small and large kindnesses shown by friends and acquaintances alike have all contributed to our ongoing ability to keep on.
We have been forced into the present, a day by day, hour by hour existence by the precariousness and fragility of my second Dad’s grasp on life. He is still on life support, and is presently not strong enough to come off, although he is progressing and day by day he is stronger. Still, his body is so fragile: nobody knows what will happen, and all we can do is hope and pray for the very best outcome for him. Even now, 11 days after his accident it hasn’t sunk in. Not really. I am known for my radically slow processing of big events – it’s like I can only take in so much. I process what is absolutely necessary, and the rest just bounces off.
The strange thing is – life doesn’t stop; I feel life flowing around me, picking me up, washing me off. It is school holidays, I have two young children, and wherever there are children there is life. We went to a local food festival on the weekend, eating, hanging out with friends and listening to music.
We went to the beach on another day, and even though it is April it was warm enough to swim, even for me, notoriously wimpy when it comes to cold water. After our swim I took them to a river path I used to walk along often, before we moved away from the coast and started our hinterland family journey . On another day we had hair and teeth appointments – nothing that sounds fun; but on that day there was joy in the simple things – lunch on the river bank, a few lucky finds in the second hand clothes shop, hanging out together. On another night there was a spontaneous gathering at a friend’s house up the road for a pizza night. The kids played with their friends, we ate, talked, laughed and breathed in the simple pleasures of country life.
We are okay.
What are the simple pleasures of your week that have sustained you?
Best Short Read
Why the World Needs the Mentally Different – Glennon Doyle Melton
Glennon. I don’t even think we need to use her last name/s because, well, who else do you know called Glennon? In case you don’t know her, Glennon Doyle Melton is the founder of Momastery, author of Carry On Warrior and now member of the Honorary Committee for Mental Health America’s 2015 Conference. This is an article that she wrote about her view on mental health:
“Because sometimes we understand that our inability to accept and live resignedly in the world we’ve been born into is chemical and personal and that we need help integrating. We hang our heads and say: It’s not you, world—it’s me. I’ll get help. I need to get better.
But other times—we turn on the news or watch closely how people treat each other and we silently raise our eyebrows and think: Actually, maybe it’s not me. Maybe it’s you, world. Maybe my inability to adapt to the world is not because I’m crazy but because I’m paying attention. Maybe it’s not insane to reject the world as it is. Maybe the real insanity is surrendering to the world as it is now. Maybe pretending that things around here are just fine is no badge of honor I want to wear.”– Click here to read the rest.
I wake invisible.
I make a needle
from a porcupine quill,
sew feet to legs,
lift spine onto my thighs.
I put on my rib and collarbone.
I pin an ear to my head,
hear the waxwing’s yellow cry.
I open my mouth for purple berries,
stick on periwinkle eyes.
I almost know what it is to be seen.
My throat enlarges from anger.
I make a hand to hold my pain.
My heart a hole the size of the sun’s eclipse.
I push through the dark circle’s
tattered edge of light.
All day I struggle with one hair after another
until the moon moves from the face of the sun
and there is a strange light
as though from a kerosene lamp in a cabin.
I pun on a dress,
a shawl over my shoulders.
My threads knotted and scissors gleaming.
Now I know I am seen.
I have a shadow.
I extend my arms,
dance and chant in the sun’s new light.
I put a hat and coat on my shadow,
another larger dress.
I put on more shawls and blouses and underskirts
until even the shadow has substance
― Diane Glancy
Best Medicine Garden
A few months ago I was doing some Mother Earth meditations, and I asked how I could best help the Earth at this time. I received an image of a small round garden dedicated to the Earth: a Medicine Wheel Garden. Okay, I thought – I can do that. I did some reading on the medicine wheel, and learned that it is an American Indian tool for health and healing using the four directions, as well as Mother Earth, Father Sky and Spirit Tree.
Each direction can represent:
- Stages of life: birth, youth, adult (or elder), death
- Seasons of the year: spring, summer, winter, fall
- Aspects of life: spiritual, emotional, intellectual, physical
- Elements of nature: fire (or sun), air, water, and earth
- Animals: Eagle, Bear, Wolf, Buffalo and many others
- Ceremonial plants: tobacco, sweet grass, sage, cedar
On a visit to my parents a few days later, I told them what I wanted to do, and my second Dad casually mentioned that they had a large round terracotta pot that they weren’t using. My eyes bugged when I saw it – it could not have been more perfect. It was big alright – about one metre in diameter – and Terrence had tiled the rim of the pot in in the colours of the medicine wheel: orange, yellow, white and black. I happily saw that as confirmation and loaded it in the back of the car to take home.
I decided that I wanted to plant a Bay tree in the middle of it, which not only represents the Spirit Tree aspect of the wheel, but is also a universal symbol of peace. The Bear bought me a Bay tree, filled the pot with soil and planted it in the centre for me. I read everything I could find on sacred plants and medicine wheel gardens – which only served to overwhelm me with information. In the end I did nothing, and the pot stood empty except for the Bay tree for months.
Last weekend, on visit to the local markets, my daughter saw some little flower seedlings and asked if I could buy them for her so she could plant them somewhere. Little did I know that the somewhere would be in the medicine wheel garden :). I had been focused on choosing plants that would represent the four directions; but that had gotten me nowhere. It twigged that I could represent the four directions with crystals and plant anything in the garden. Which is what happened 🙂
The sun was setting as the finishing touches were put on the garden:
And a few days later there was a flower <3.
This article was featured on The Kindness Blog this week, among other places. It made me laugh so hard – not just because it was funny, which it is, but because it is so damn true. Number two is one of my favourites, but if you have children, you will find wisdom and comfort (not to mention a good laugh) in all of them:
2. Do an elaborate bedtime routine.
Literally everyone told us we needed to do a bedtime routine. Bath, infant massage, dim lights while nursing—this was bad enough and clocked in at about an hour. Now, with our 4-year-old, more rituals have crept in, like:
- sing a song;
- read three books;
- listen to Freight Train Boogie;
- play a game he and daddy made up, called “crashies,” in which I always get injured;
- a good-night “wrestle” with his brother;
- a game called “burrito” in which he is rolled in a blanket, then unrolled like Cleopatra at Caesar’s feet;
- a dozen good-night hugs and kisses in a specific order and if we mess up we have to start over;
- one more drink of water;
- one more pee;
- one more drink of water.
The bedtime routine starts at 3:45. In the interest of recapturing those hours, I’m eliminating all but tooth-brushing and prayers, which, mumbled at high speed while inching towards the cocktail cabinet, are more true to my Episcopalian faith anyway.
To read the rest of the article, click here.
Best Blog Post
Finding Yourself Helps by Dan Anicca
This article is written by a friend of mine about a journey to Peru he undertook a couple of years ago. Using photography, poetry and metaphor, he shares the wonder and insight of this beautiful place with us. It’s worth taking a look just for the photography, which is just amazing.
That’s all from me this week my friends. I hope that whatever you’re doing, you’re loving it <3.