Thursday, April 5, 2012
Because I Can No Longer Contain It
"If you're interested in opening the doors to the heavens, start with the door to your own secret self. See what happens when you offer to another a glimpse of who you truly are. When your heart is undefended, you make it safe for whomever you meet to put down his burden of hiding, and then you both can walk through the open door." Elizabeth Lesser
You may want to grab a cup of something or if you have to pee, you may want to go ahead and go before you begin reading, I have a feeling this is going to be a long one.
* * *
You can no longer contain what isn't containable.
A few months ago I woke up in the middle of the night with the above words screaming at me. At the beginning of each new year, I always choose a word that I want to focus on, the word I chose for this year is peace. It is coming into my awareness stronger and stronger that in order to sink into the kind of peace that I so desire, I must first talk about, for the sake of release and healing, where there isn't peace, where there hasn't been peace for a long time.
For reasons I don't yet understand, it feels important that I share here in this space. I don't know why opening and sharing is so healing, I only know that it is. And I know too that containing it, hiding it away, pushing it down, running from it, is deeply painful. I am so very ready to release what I sometimes feel is pressing down so hard I can't move or breathe. I'm so ready to walk through that open door that Elizabeth Lesser speaks of.
I recently wrote a poem called "His Storms," that I want to share here again, not to dwell or to blame but with the intention of releasing and healing.
We got really good
Walking on eggshells
she used to say.
We never knew
when a misplaced word
There weren't warnings
for these storms
that raged. Never enough
time to take
the pounding, the quaking
drenched and dripping
for the aftershocks
* * *
For more years than I can count, I have been trying to shed the layers of too much weight. Not physical body weight, but the weight that comes from carrying the burden of everybody's (my own included) everything. Through art and poetry and therapy and more therapy and retreats and reading and more reading and coming here and sharing with you, I have cleared and opened and released tons. But this is what I'm finding; I'm finding that no matter how mindful I try to be, no matter how often I feel the fear and do it anyway, no matter how often I consciously open to love and move forward with courage, these aftershocks strike far too often. They leave me shaky. They leave me tiptoeing around my life. They leave me doubting my every move & decision. They leave me feeling drained and so very tired.
Yesterday morning, my youngest daughter asked me to help her with a little hat she's knitting. She wanted me to do something that I wasn't understanding...her voice kept getting louder and more irritated with me. The louder and more irritated she got, the more I panicked and couldn't do it. I started to cry right there in the kitchen with the breakfast dishes, with both my girls wide-eyed confused and watching. I told them that Grandpa used to yell a lot, that he used to tell me I couldn't and that I was crying because I was feeling sad for that little girl that I was. I didn't tell them that he used to call us stupid or that he ripped up my English papers and threw them way or that he sometimes laughed at my poetry. Or that he slammed doors and left and sometimes hit us.
As many of you know, I am in the process of self-publishing my book of poetry & art. My days lately have been spent gathering the poetry I've written over the last few years, gathering my art, writing my bio & introduction...with this, many many decisions have had to be made. What I'm noticing is that each time I sit down to write or organize, I am met with noise--the voices that tell me I can't possibly pull this off, they scream and growl until I begin to doubt the value of who I am and what I'm doing. In moments, I become that shaky little girl again and I can't move.
From so many years of being conscious, of untangling the scared-little-girl me from the me I know I truly am, I am all too familiar with these voices and, deep down, I know they aren't true. But on those days when I feel beaten down, they are hard to shake. And because I am in the process of birthing something that is woven into the very fibers of my being, these voices have grown relentlessly louder. It is not by accident that my whole book is about dropping below the level of thought, shedding, opening, trusting, enough-ness, mindfulness, breathing, opening wide to it all. I keep hearing that we teach/write what we most struggle with, what we most need to learn. This book is my answer to myself, the true me speaking to the trembling little girl me (the scared little me, that, to some extent, lives inside all of us). There is great healing here in all of this just as it is, I am certain.
Yesterday afternoon, I finally got outside for a much needed walk. At one point in my walk, just as I went up and over a steep hill, I stopped. The sun was peeking through the clouds just enough that I could feel its warmth on my face, a light rain was falling at the same time. I closed my eyes and felt it all; the sun, the light misty rain, the ache inside. I thought about how, when I was a little girl with pigtails, I used to take walks all by myself and how healing those walks were. I just let myself stand there and feel it all. I said a prayer or two while I was standing there-one of the prayers was asking for a sign that I'm not alone.
When I opened my eyes, right there in front of me, was a rainbow. It was a moment I won't forget, another reminder that there is room for it all.
"Our errors and failing are chinks in the heart's armor through which are true colors can shine." Elizabeth Lesser
I think writing this today is my way of making space for it all, of no longer tiptoeing, of opening my eyes, my heart, my arms a little wider. It's maybe my way of opening the doors to the heavens, of inviting you to step through with me.
Thank you for listening.