being strong does not mean denying your emotions. being strong does not mean ignoring your fears. being strong does not mean you have uncertainty. being strong is knowing that there may be moments when your hands shake, and a cold trickle of sweat tickles down your back and all you want to do is curl up in bed - but you don't. you look the task at hand straight in the face and say "YOU deal with THIS." booyah. (the booyah can be extra).
Yesterday, I found an owl feather along the woodspath - with all the owls in my woods, i have never found a feather from one. and a huge & perfect feather, at that! This morning, i sat in the morning's dewey stillness, with a mug of steaming coffee in my cupped hands, breathing in the cool air. In front of me, an owl - silent and focused - swooped down upon an unsuspecting mouse, and without losing pace, flew back to his tree to eat his breakfast. the owl…what about the owl rang clear and true to me? I always know when there's an owl perched nearby - the smaller birds make a ruckus…alerting other birds to run. they swoop at him, and generally pull in the welcome mat. but the owl sits calmly and stays focused. calm and focused. an owl's eyes are fixed - they can't look to the right or left, up or down. they must turn their entire head in order to change their view. calmly fixed and focused. eye on the prize. knowing fully that the prize will be theirs…or another will come along. either way, i've never seen a starving owl! despite all the clanging and disturbance and chaos and ruckus and DISTRACTION - fixed and focused. eye on the prize.
a friend is going through some Nasty Bits, and we chatted over cheesecake. I assured her she could do this thing, because after all - I did.
"But you're so strong," she said.
I've never thought of myself as being strong or brave or anything exceptional. Never considered that i would actually finish the race. i am stubborn, a trait my mother reminded me of constantly when i was growing up. stubborn is not the bad thing she thought, though. stubborn meant holding my ground and doing things my own way. never quite fitting in - the odd fish out, as i wasn't going with the flow. yes - i literally ran with scissors. and had to stand in the kindergarten corner. i have a picture of myself when i was a little girl, wearing my favorite pleated plaid skirt - backwards. My mother wrote on the back "She was a stubborn girl today and wore her skirt backwards." what my little brain couldn't express was that there was a metal buckle that hit my little chair right at the small of my back and it HURT. so i solved the problem and turned the skirt around.
where am i wandering to with all this? who knows. but it feels good to feel enough to wander again. to not be afraid to poke in the corners and clear out the dust motes.
again, i am grateful for some of the Trailing Nasty Bits in my own life. it isn't being strong or brave that continues in my heart. it's a certainty that it won't kill me. and if that's true, then i can still get back on my feet and walk to the finish line. I may rest a bit on the ground for a bit, though. just go on ahead, i'll catch up.
husband (?) came over yesterday to box up some of his remainders to prepare for a moving van. the days and times of the pack and of the move have both been an epic battle. it has taken quite a bit out of me to have that kind of verbal violence and crush-em-at-all-costs-for-the-sport-of-it attitude back within my walls. my body has responded in protest, triggering all sorts of pain and weakness. but - and this is a big "BUT" - i was able to erase any any doubt from my mind as to whether or not this was a right choice…if maybe we should have tried harder. and it refreshed within me how it feels to be put way way down. i feel there is a Life Purpose in this for me…the Respite house need not be a multi-million dollar mansion and grounds - for now. it might get there someday, but this may be Just Right. and the road to get here was not as winding and convoluted as it felt, as i look back over my shoulder…it was exactly a straight line Point A to Point B and on. so by receiving crap with a grateful heart, i am lessening the collateral damage within my body/mind/soul, and acknowledging on some level that i have arrived at the next Point where Something Truly Spectacular will happen. It may take a bit, and it may look like Not Wonderful for a while, but stay grateful, knowing there is a purpose eventually. and look back once in a while, with those eyes that are fixed on a prize…see where your perches have been, and the lessons and gifts they have garnered. but continue ahead to Point B or C or D, as it may be in your flight.
i am ready to give a hand to lift another, as quickly or as slowly as they need the lift to be. my home will soon be open to respite. followed by flight.
bonus from my dearest Jonatha: