Friday, June 29, 2012

something glowing

I've been wanting some kind of jewelry with an opal in it for months. Yesterday in a little shop in my hometown I came across a ring with three. It was $10 and unusual looking. I thought to myself "It looks kind-of modern" and went for it.

On closer inspection today it reminds me of a section of spine - the lower part. I laughed in the car - "I've got a spine again! A backbone!" (I do. I will stand up for myself when I need to; I will stand for justice in the world for another if I need to. The old strong bossy part of me is back.) I figured it could represent "confidence celebration" when I glance at it.

Tonight for no reason I had a sudden "fat and ugly" attack. I felt absolutely hopeless about ever losing weight or being healthier or not eating so much sugar for comfort. Exercise routine? HA. I've tried so many times. It never lasts. Maybe, if I only had one kid. Maybe, if I wasn't a single mom. The old impossible despair thoughts.

I called my friend Jenny and told her about it as I walked down my parents' driveway in the midnight darkness. I cried a little. She empathized. I told her "I just need some hope. I know if that can change in me everything else will follow."

Something caught my eye along the edge of the road. Something glowing. I thought it was a firefly but it wasn't moving and the glow was strong. I got closer and found this

A magic caterpillar. I lived in Wisconsin 25 years and have never seen one before. It was glowing in the pattern of my ring.

I sat on my parents' porch and watched it crawl around my hand as we talked; I thought about God and my body and the ring. As I did the little thing crawled up my hand seeking a safe place and before I could stop her went under and up into the ring's setting. I was scared to move it to free her; she was so tight I thought she'd get squashed. She curled back into the top and made herself at home in spite of the squeeze.

I say she because I eventually wriggled the ring off gently and went inside and learned about her. She is a glowworm, the phengodidae species. Only females in the species glow. They glow in particular when they curl around their eggs. They are not firefly larvae; they are glowworms. (Anyone else have one of those dolls when they were little? There was one at my grandma's house and it was my favorite thing.) The only people I found who anecdotally mentioned finding them online were all 3 from Wisconsin (one man had lived here 36 years and also never seen one before).

I hope I can see how glowing my body is at all times - and can bring out its radiance through even better health. I hope I can make myself at home in my tight spot. I hope.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

opening the heart

I've been crying a lot lately, and not the depressed kind. I cried as I watched Last of the Mohicans with my boyking's arms around me, because Daniel Day-Lewis was so markedly comforting of his love, with his gentle hands on her hair, and because Men who hold are real. (I dare you to find a movie with more tenderness in it.) I got choked up for perhaps the 7th time listening to Andrew Petersen's song Love Is a Good Thing while playing it for my brother and sister as we stayed up till 3am talking about marriage. I tried not to cry today listening to my sister describe a scene from We Bought a Zoo that made her cry, a scene about a widower remembering his young family having a picnic on a sunny day. A running theme: I watched that video of the dancing friends & family engagement proposal three times (back when it was still at 100K views), and cried like a baby every time.

I remember my friend Megan crying like this a lot the week before she got engaged, when she knew it was coming. I think about how we are all going to be happy-weeping when she walks down the aisle and her mom Cindy is there, Cindy who is doing better and going to make it just fine.

"If you tend to respond to love by running or panicking, don't push yourself. You must eventually get over the problem if you want your emotional wounds to heal, but you can't force this to happen.
     Just try to accept as much compassion as possible, in whatever form you can stand it. Persist in this effort and, over time, your resistance to love will relax.
     Then you will enter the 'emotional flooding' stage that happens when a wounded heart begins to heal." -
Martha B.

I have been persisting in my efforts to allow, in particular, Nathan Robertson Crandell to share his love and compassion with me. It's taken over two years just to get to the following point: a few months ago, I unexpectedly began weeping when I came across a photo of the view from a cabin porch available to rent 3 hours from Nashville. It took all the courage I had to ask if he would go there with me for my birthday. It took even more courage to ask for specific gifts of time and attention while there, like eating certain foods I like and watching movies I picked. The bravery was worth it because I felt more peaceful and loved on our drive home than I've felt in ages. He wasn't doing anything different - I had just been practicing the spiritual discipline of being able to stand his love extra much.

p.s. Helichrysum, also called the very beautiful Everlasting, Essential Oil, works on the part of the brain where these things are processed. (It has to be the same part where happy gas and alcohol trigger "lovey drunk" openness.) I've been applying a drop a day. It's aiding the healing, because this heart-weeping deluge has coincided with my beginning to use it - and both have happened for a good month, and PMS cannot last that long...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

a strong sense of freedom

"Marriage frees up emotional energy that can be used to grow and change. When you no longer have to worry about whether you have met the right person, cope with hurt feelings and rejections, deal with the uncertainty about his feelings for you or yours for him, or try to decide whether your relationship warrants a stronger commitment, you have more time and emotional energy.

I remember having a strong sense of freedom from these concerns once the stress and strain of the early years in my marriage were largely straightened out. Hours that had been spent arguing, apologizing, and sorting out different expectations could now be devoted to other things.

If you are in a stable, loving relationship, the best thing that you can do to keep it lively is to continue to develop and change throughout your life." - Dr. Ellen Wachtel, We Love Each Other But... (an exceptionally helpful book.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

the good ole days when times were rough

I have the summer cabin fever the way I used to ALL THE TIME. Which makes me note how things have gotten much, much better overall. Running a bed and breakfast out of my home has helped give me extra money to do things like buy $5 beach towels at Walgreens for when we go over to Nate's house to swim in his pool. I love having a little more money. It helps stress levels A LOT. More than meditation, more than friends. Well, maybe only equal to friends. :-)

Today I just found out, though, that my savings and all my extra cash for the rest of the summer and into the fall are going to have to go towards paying off some suddenly-due student loans. This was a blindside. I feel like I'm having a little bit of a mental breakdown from it. I need to manage my obsessive thoughts better, but holy boy, sudden stress sure kicks in both my problem-solving perseveration and my isolationism. I have also been stressing out over future weddings and babies and how to help make money for our family for the rest of my life in a way that doesn't make me bitchy, and none of these things need to be stressed out about exactly right now.

I thought I was good at living in the now, but there are undiscovered layers of freak-out in me, oh yes there are. I have old, old patterns that are a bitch to change. Like thinking that I have to keep my freakouts to myself, or that weddings and babies and how to make money are 100% my burden. Why I take so much on myself, I do not know. How to reach out and get outside of myself, I desperately crave to practice.

Also, to anyone reading, please send all the love and prayers you can to one of my best friends' moms, Cindy. She is ill. Thanks.

I think Cindy would want me to make a happy list right now, actually. So let me tell you some good things:

I turned 31 last week, with great loving people around me. They toasted what they love about me, and it was ROUGH to receive, and I also wanted to cry because it made me feel good. It was a really, really good birthday present. They said I was kind, calming, uplifting, genuine, expansive, welcoming, and giving. If God could work with me with one thing this year, it would be the ability to be more vulnerable and just cry in front of people about something like this. I think that moment was maybe all any of us ever want - a fellowship who knows us.

My man continues to teach me how to love with his open heart and arms. I notice myself talking to my kids or holding them the way he does me. I couldn't fix the broken mirroring in our family alone. He is uniquely gifted for it. He calls me his Bunny, and for my birthday he got me a 90-year-old hand tooled bunny from Tibet. This man is in the divine flow. Over the weekend he snapped a picture of me next to a flower growing out of a pile of granite. He looked at the photo on the camera's screen. "Beautiful!" he declared. I took the camera from him and winced at it; my posture, the angle, my chubby face, my shiny face lotion, my expression - everything about it was about as opposite from aesthetically beautiful as any picture of myself I've ever seen. Being loved unconditionally is pretty much the best and the hardest. He is better at giving it than I am. (I had just been irritated with him for burning some sausage 2 hours earlier.)

I am thinking about eventually pursuing Life Helping, also known as Life Coaching, also known as intuitive positive therapy. It is good to have a vocational possibility in the back of my heart that doesn't sound like the death of my heart to me. It is also an intimidating thought.

My children are healthy and hilarious. Eden is 5 and so much more easy to communicate with than a year ago.

I'm going to go to Wisconsin soon, and see my sisters and their babies, and be nurtured by the quiet green.

Monday, June 4, 2012

love realisticness

I'm re-reading Elizabeth Gilbert's Committed and being so helped by it, even moreso than the first time around when I was freshly divorced. These words apply to me, and my love.

"There is hardly a more gracious gift that we can offer somebody than to accept them fully, to love them almost despite themselves. These are no laughing matters, these faults. They can harm. They can undo. If we are at all self-aware, we work hard to keep these more dicey aspects of our natures under control, but they don't go away. Maybe creating a big enough space within your consciousness to hold and accept someone's contradictions - someone's idiocies, even - is a kind of divine act. What I am talking about is learning how to accommodate your life as generously as possible around a basically decent human being who can sometimes be an unmitigated pain in the ass. In the end, it seems to me that forgiveness may be the only realistic antidote we are offered in love, to combat the inescapable disappointments of intimacy. Immaculate mergers are impossible, but maybe we can live on together anyhow if we are polite and kind and careful not to spill too much blood."