Sometimes You Have Someone to Rescue

I was just hit hard by something I read, it relates to everything I know about experiencing a shift and not being able to go back to the smaller version you once were.

Hazel had read enough books to know that a line like this one is the line down which your life breaks in two. And you have to think very carefully about whether you want to cross it, because once you do it’s very hard to get back to the world you left behind. And sometimes you break a barrier that no one knew existed, and then everything you knew before crossing the line is gone. But sometimes you have someone to rescue. And so you take a deep breath and then step over the line and into the darkness ahead.

The book I am reading is not a self-help, it is not spiritual or philosophical, it is not a book that makes you think or question (at least I do not believe that was the author’s intention). It is a young adult fantasy. I read mainly fiction and inside that genre I read mainly fiction that contains an element of magic or make believe. Part of my survival growing up depended on my ability to disconnect, my ability to create beautiful alternate realities where home was safe, siblings were fun, and mother’s loved their children. My imagination has always been one of my greatest powers; it protected me from harsh truths my delicate pieces could not handle.

To this day I love stories with whimsy, imagination; stories that are magical where realities can be bent and you can count on the world around you to come alive and help you. Whether it is a talking animal or being held and comforted in the maternal arms of the Oak.

I know this has much to do with my artistic leanings towards fantasy landscapes – I like to create worlds that you could step through the canvas into. My little pieces like to have places to go when reality feels like too much.

Coming back to what I read –

This spoke to me. It is how I feel after experiencing a shift. My heart is bigger on the other side of that line I crossed and I cannot go back to the before, the place where my heart was smaller. She is right, you do have to think carefully about that decision because there is loss involved in stepping over a threshold like that.

But sometimes you have someone to rescue. And so you take a deep breath and then step over the line and into the darkness ahead.

I have stepped into my darkness so many times to perform rescue missions. I know the rescue is worth anything that could be lost in the process. Finding a piece of yourself in the dark, picking her up, carrying her home to the light… Once you’ve done it you know. You know you would be willing to put down every single person and every single thing that you thought was important if that is what it would take to pick that piece of you up.

I am grateful for this reminder of one of my very sacred truths tonight. It is validation of the path I am walking.

I am not afraid of the dark, some of my deepest truest loves were rediscovered in the darkest places. I will continue to venture into the dark unknown until I my heart tells me that all parts of me have been welcomed home. I will not leave any piece of me behind as I walk my path forward, we all go together.

the swamp

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On Your Own is Hard

Little bubby is now big enough to sit in my lap for story time and I am loving it. This was a milestone my husband and I were both looking forward to as we are both avid readers and hope to impart a love of reading in him.

A few times a week I read him one of my favorite stories from childhood, The Little Red Hen.

You know the one, she bakes her bread on her own and eats it. She was open to receiving help, even called it in, but lack of it did not keep her from reaching her goal. Total feminist book if there ever was one. Good stuff.

Here is where the story falls short though, it leaves out the struggle.

The story has her planting and harvesting and lugging the wheat to the mill and making it almost seem easy. Not to mention it does not touch on the feelings of rejection and disappointment that arise when your friends/family do not show up for you.

Doing it on your own is hard and there are absolutely feelings to work through when you allow yourself to be vulnerable and ask for help just to be denied. Not to mention, so often in life rather than help people want to give (unsolicited) advice on how to do whatever it is, or even worse – they want to highlight the ways in which they think you are doing it wrong.

It is not easy to climb your mountain alone. It is not easy to reach out for your hand for help just to find it left empty. It is not easy to keep going when everyone is watching as you stumble. When you get there though, you are BIG. The struggle, the stumbles, the falls, the heartbreak – that is where the real story is. It is why the bread tastes so sweet in the end.

 hen

And Then She Quoted Joni Mitchell

After dinner tonight my husband and I took Lu for a walk. The weather was unseasonably cool with a steady breeze, I could have walked for miles next to him in weather like this.

He mentioned a tropical depression the news people were talking about, I shrugged and put my hand in his while we walked on. I did not need a reason for the weather, only to be grateful and enjoy it.

We took a detour from one of our traditional routes to stop by The Little Free Library a few blocks over. There are two Little Free Libraries near a home, both just a few blocks over from each other. This is a blessing for sure for a constant reader such as myself because sometimes I need something to hold me over until I can get to the bookstore.

This one is not usually as well stocked as the other but I checked the other over the weekend and found nothing of interest. I opened the wood door with the glass porthole window and started picking up books to quickly read the synopsis on the back. Still I was not feeling struck by anything. Feeling pressure to pick something because I knew if I didn’t I would have nothing to read tonight I landed on Both Sides Now by Nancy Sharp.

I chose it because of the title and the cover, no other reason. I didn’t know what the book was about but Both Sides Now sounds like a book that is going to embrace the AND in life, sign me up. I was drawn to the cover because it felt honest. It is black with gray running through and a small muted sun up in one corner. To me this signified the dark, the light, and the gray where they meet and life happens. I liked that the majority of the cover was black and gray, they sun is small, it does not feel like it is trying to force anything: ignore your darkness and be happy! This title, this cover, they felt real, like whoever wrote this book knows something. They get it.

Turns out the book is a memoir and one of the over arching themes of this woman’s story is loss. So far I have only read the author’s note and already a lot is coming up for me. She is discussing loss, so far, in a way many people can relate to; losing a loved one. Many of the losses in my life look different than that, her language is still relevant for me though.

Two pieces that stood out already are:

Seeing takes time. We have to be patient to draw clarity from the fog.

The question of Why? ultimately becomes What Next? because in order to live and love again you determine where to place yourself in this altered world.

I really really get what she is saying here.

My picking this book felt random, now I am not so sure. I feel like this woman is bringing me my work. And if all of this was not enough to convince me, at the end of the author’s note she quoted Joni Mitchell: Well something’s lost, but something’s gained.

both

Jasmine Tea and The Silver Witch

This last week I added two new favorites to my ever growing list of favorite things:

Jasmine Tea and The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston.

silver witch

I was at a women’s group last weekend and was perusing the tea selection when I found a sensuality tea that boasted being equivalent to romance in a cup. It was. It was INCREDIBLE. It was a green tea that had strong jasmine notes along with other flavors. Every time I lifted my cup to my lips to take a sip I was overwhelmed (in the best possible way) by the seductive smell of jasmine. It did kind of make me want to go home and make out with my husband I am not going to lie. Strong stuff.

Monday I met a former social work colleague turned friend for tea and found a jasmine white tea on the massive tea list. It was rather expensive compared to many of the other teas, I was curious to see how it compared to the other jasmine green tea. It was phenomenal as well! Jasmine tea is a top three tea for me now.

My plan is to go back to the tea shop near our home where I met my friend last Monday and buy a bag of the loose leaf jasmine tea. It is close to 35.00 a bag though and I am broke social worker. To be conservative I looked for jasmine tea while at the grocery today with my husband. I found one for 3.50 a box and decided I would give it a try. If I liked it I just saved myself 30.00, if I don’t I am only out 3.50.

Verdict: it is just okay. The other two were fragrant and smooth. This one has only the slightest hint of jasmine present and is rather bitter. A disappointment that was honestly half expected.

Moving on to the novel. I loved it. More so than The Sparrow Sisters by Ellen Herrick which I read first thinking I would like it better. I liked that one too, Silver Witch was special though. I really identified with the main characters in the book, as I so often do in my witchy novels, and with good reason! I think maybe I have said this before so at the risk of redundancy; these books are about women who have a deep connection to themselves, the earth/nature, and the greater unknown. They are introverts and highly sensitive/intuitive and embrace their shadows in love without being consumed by their own darkness. Of course I relate to the women/witches of these books.

Where I struggled with Silver Witch was in the editing. I feel like too much was missed. With that said, there may be another answer for this other than poor editing, the writer is not American so it may just be a matter of me not understanding the slight differences in dialect. I loved the character development so much the errors did not bother me. The ending was a bit weak in my opinion as well, yet again, I loved the women so much little else mattered much to me.

I don’t know my next move, in terms of what to read. I have plenty here and none of it is speaking to me. I could pick Red Tent back up and maybe I will. OR I could get a new book at the bookstore by way of the tea shop to pick up the sensational tea I cannot stop thinking about.

What I am Reading

handmaid

Handmaid’s Tale is turning out to be a top five favorite. It is amazing and fucking terrifying. I definitely do not want the story to end; I want to know the before and the after, I want more.

I am a little more than half way through and taking my time, I don’t want to rush to the end. I don’t want it to be over.

Yesterday while on our walk we stopped by the little free library a few blocks from our home. I borrow and donate pretty regularly. I love having access to free used books. Yesterday I grabbed two, which felt greedy but I will donate two in return. I picked up Corelli’s Mandolin which does not feel like my typical pick but the reading at our wedding came from this story so when I saw it sitting there I knew I had to take it home.

I also swiped Gifts of the Wild, A Woman’s Book of Adventure. It is a collection of short stories by women who have found themselves in nature. My kind of book.

The book I am reading now, while incredible, is certainly morose and grim. I think I will be ready to be inspired once I finish it and I think either of these new books will do the job.

Coming to Consciousness

consciousness

I am a page and a half into the introduction of The Handmaid’s Tale and already I am so inspired that I had to put it down to write.

First I can already tell I like Margaret Atwood the author. I do not have an answer for why, it is just a very strong feeling of  Yes. She feels honest. There is something about the way she is writing even just the introduction, she feels like someone who has to write. I identify with that. Some people choose it and work at it and become good. Some are just naturally gifted and they can choose to use that gift or not. Others do it because they have to, much like cave men banging rocks for fire, they would not survive without it. It is not about being good or gifted, it is just about the sheer need to get that fire started by any means necessary. I feel her urgency and I know that feeling.

On the first page of the introduction she talks about when she was born and then when she came to consciousness, two separate dates. You hear people talk about awakening to their life; some call that adulthood, for some it is spiritual, others their might be a right of passage involved. Whatever consciousness means to you really. For me it was 2011.

I remember my very first spark. I was sitting across a room from a man who told me that in everything that happens in our lives there is only one common denominator and that is you. You are the connecting thread between everything that will ever happen to you, good or bad, which means that no one ever leaves this life with clean hands.

I would say my true awakening came some years later, maybe closer to 2015, but it would have never happened without that spark.

There are a lot of wonderful and unfortunate truths about experiencing your awakening.

One is that you don’t get to go back after. For better or for worse once you cross that threshold that is where you are. Like Neo and the choice between the red and blue pill, once the red pill is chosen that is it.

Another is the level of clarity you experience in terms of yourself and others. You are suddenly given special glasses that allow you to see beneath the surface. You can see shadows where others (as well as yourself) try desperately to project only light. You are able to see truths that are completely hidden to others. It is like emotional x-ray vision.

Another wonderful unfortunate truth is that with great power comes great responsibility, this translates into LOTS AND LOTS OF WORK. You no longer get to be a inactive bystander in your life, you have to take action and the work is never done. It is the truest labor of love there is though which makes the heaviest days feel worth it. Mud suddenly is every bit as beautiful as crystal clear water, and everything you thought you valued shifts right along with that truth.

I am excited to read this book. I am excited for the messages it holds for me. I am excited to see how her consciousness shows up in the story she tells. I am open to receive all inspiration that I am quite certain is on the horizon.

Seeing Yourself and Crying at the Sight

anne1

I watched the new Anne of Green Gables series today. I went into it sure I would not like it because I loved the original Anne and Matthew so dearly from when I was a child. I was wrong though, I love this story too much to not love any version of it that is created.

I remember being a child and feeling understood because there was a character like myself that was both sweet and curious who loved nature and all living things but also had a hard time and got into trouble a lot for not following rules that she could not make sense of. Anne Shirley, and Maria von Trapp, and Dorothy Gale, and Alice in her wonderland made me feel like it was okay to be curious, and absent minded, and forward, and both heard and seen.

Anne and Maria in particular have always been important characters  for me in terms of feeling understood and okay the way I am. Later in life other characters came along that brought further joy and validation, such as Belle from Beauty and the Beast (up to that point I did not enjoy Disney princess movies and stuck to the animal Disney movies like 101 Dalmatians), and Ellie from Up, and Luna Lovegood.

Today as I watched this new Anne I found myself brought to tears multiple times. I saw so much of my little self in this character. The way she uses her imagination and idealism to save her, I don’t think a true grounded realist could ever understand how powerful that is. It is the reason sweetness survives.

In books and movies inevitably these characters are looked at as foolish and strange among other more biting labels by the more practical characters in the story such as Marilla and Mother Superior. With that though, there is no denying these characters are magic and dearly loved.

I think you know an INFP by how they make you feel. I have always known an INFP because they speak a language that I speak fluently but few others seem to understand.