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Finding Balance

I rarely post anything deeply personal here. Today, I feel the need to do that; to share my own thoughts and feelings in a very strange time of isolation. Maybe also to vent a little. Thanks for reading.

Most morning’s lately I wake up grateful for another day on this swiftly tilting planet, but then all I want to do is cry. Sometimes I hold that urge at bay, other time I weep, long and hard. As I mop up I wonder what that was all about.

I go about my day and think, I know what that was about. I am frightened, discouraged, alarmed and so much is completely out of my control. It is left to the control of others whom I believe are grossly unqualified, unprincipled and evil. Yes that is what the current administration, our leaders, represent to me. It was about fear, anger, unkindness. It was about a global pandemic; sweet innocent children in cages; immigrants seeking sanctuary being put in jeopardy and persecuted; the destruction of our precious natural resources, the earth and many of it’s creatures; profit over people; hate, inequality and divisiveness; misogyny; brutal lies and brutal deaths. I am going to miss the wedding of my step daughter who is truly a daughter of my heart. Then there are fires, earthquakes, places with no clean water to drink, shootings, neighborhoods are not safe just because of the color of your skin. It was about my friends, six of them, who are struggling with cancer today. One is a best friend of almost sixty years. It was about I haven’t had a hug since early March and my heart and spirit are breaking. Yes, I realize what those tears were all about at the break of day. It is not one thing, it is many. It is a lot. With those realizations come more tears. They say tears are cleansing. I will allow those tears, even encourage them until I am clean. It may take a long time.

I began weeks ago to limit my exposure to media of all kinds, but most especially social media. It is all very hateful, divisive and toxic. I get my news from sources I deem credible and in a very limited quantities. Some days it feels as if we are on the brink of civil war in this country and past the brink of stupidity…full in on that one. People actually attacking each other, literally and verbally, because of a request to wear a mask in order to stem the spread of the pandemic. Some have actually lost their lives! Rather than coming together in love and kindness to support each other, there are cries of what about my civil liberties!!

There are those who are pushing profit over lives. The statement was made by the occupant of the big house on Pennsylvania Avenue that we must open schools in August and only 14,000+ children will probably die. That now famous jacket comes to mind, I don’t care, do you?

As I go about my day, feeling isolated, alone and either allowing or fighting tears, I realize how lucky I truly am. I have a beautiful, nurturing and safe place to live. I am not in a city. I am out of the bullseye and remote. I have an income that has continued throughout this mess from a job I truly love. I do have many loving and caring people in my life. I have responsible, honest and loving sons, who are productive members of society. I have two beautiful and sweet K-9 companions. I have my health despite occasional flare up’s and complaints, I am able to get up, move, and fully participate in life each day. That is a gift that many do not have. I can also slow down and take a nap when I need one! A luxury not awarded to some. I find solace and joy in my yard.

When I am feeling overwhelmed, which happens fairly regularly, rather than let panic, grief or sadness prevail I can retreat to the peace and beauty of my safe, isolated, wonderful yard. All it takes is a few minutes out there it does not matter how low I am feeling it snaps me back to life. It takes me back to center. Weeding and watering are my meditation that bring be back to joy. As I survey the gardens and water thirsty plants every morning, I notice each plant and how it has grown and changed since I put that little seed into the earth. A complete miracle, each one. In the pea patch, I marvel at the magical translucence of the new pea pod in the sun. Water hits the dill and I am in ecstasy with the heady aroma that rises up to meet me! Next is the cilantro. It is a little sharper but still brings me delight. I did a happy dance when the first squash blossom appeared. Now there are so many I can’t count them.

I say that I planted the wildflowers for the bees and butterflies, but in truth I did it as much for me because I totally love them. They are beginning to show gorgeous blooms; bachelor buttons, Gerber daisies, baby’s breath, poppies, those funky little pink carnations and something blue that I can’t even identify but it makes me smile. I watch as the “chaste tree” that I planted without knowing what it is, grows to tower over me in all of it’s prickliness and beautiful thistle purple flowers that smell delicious and the bee’s love. I watch and listen to those bees and butterflies as they find all of those flowers as delightful as I do. The humming birds are also attracted to the flowers which is quite lovely to watch. It seems more satisfactory than feeders because there is not fighting! Pansies, daisies, moon flower, basil, mint of many varieties, catnip, iris, and morning glories are growing in this precious garden. The little prickly cactus patch seems to be thriving this year as well and has already rewarded me for care with gorgeous crimson flowers.

Tomatoes, beans, peas, chard, arugula, lettuce along with summer and winter squash are thriving. I have had the time to spend out there because of the world situation. That was a gift, one that nurtured me and saved me from serious depression and hopelessness. There is always renewal and hope out there. Birds come to the feeders and serenade me as I weed. There is a cricket that follows me around each morning joyfully chirping. I watch lady bugs walk on the edge of the raised beds. An eagle soars overhead and a great blue heron comes in for a landing on my neighbors pond. Last night coyotes serenaded me under that exquisite waning Gibbous moon.

I have learned about many new things and people since this isolation, or retreat, began. I have learned to recognize the rhythm of the day and can actually pretty much tell time by the position of the sun.

One of those people I have learned about is Nadia Bolz Weber. She is a former drug addict, a Lutheran minister up in the Boulder area, very tattooed including a full Mary Magdalen sleeve, and she says fuck a lot. I love her. She is brilliant, she is real. She talks about grace a lot. With my catholic upbringing I always disliked grace. I viewed it as a currency, like money. If you had enough in your account you might get to heaven. If you made unwise choices, sinned, that was spending grace and your account was empty. You know where you went then! I have a whole new relationship with grace. Nadia talks about grace being when you can feel God in the room. This really resonates with me and my garden is full of grace! I feel god there. I am close to god there. I talk to god there and I refer to it as the church of my backyard.

Life is good here. It ebbs and flows, it has pain, grief and sorrow, but it also has my back yard and a myriad of gifts to delight all my sense and return me to a place of peace, hope and balance. I am grateful. I still wish hatred and the pandemic would go away and that we had more loving kindness, acceptance and leadership in the world but I have this amazing escape from it all and I am grateful. I know I will still shed tears and long for a hug but I am finally able to find grace and that is a very good thing.

I wish you peace, love, joy, grace and a place where you are safe and are able to find your center and your balance.

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