Don’t Be

My friend, Liz, just wrote a blog on her life-squelching experience of being told, as a young girl and beyond, “Don’t think so much”.  As a Deep Thinker, Writer, Master of Words, this was the “Don’t Be” message of her life. As an Intuitive Feeler, more than a Thinker, I had a much different experience.

I remember my father being critical and ridiculing my mother when he thought she wasn’t thinking or speaking intelligently. We were all encouraged to steep ourselves in the world of words-even though there was only one “correct” interpretation of the “word” of God. When I was angry, I was told that “only dogs get mad” and never allowed to show emotion. Instead I was firmly encouraged to “go think about it”. Even though my father, reportedly, said he missed the sound of my laughter after I left home, spontaneous emotional eruptions were most often experienced as a disconcerting and disruptive force in our household. We did not hug, we did not yell, we only cried softly in our own rooms.

As a young adult, I would often find myself mired in confusion, unable to make decisions, not trusting my gut feelings. Not even knowing what I was feeling or that it was okay to use my feelings as my guides. Always, I tried to think it out, figure it out. My life-time best friend, Kendra, once said to me, “You are always just fine until you start thinking too much.” I will never forget these words. They changed my life. I finally had permission to shut off the noise in my head and just follow my gut. Of course, that wasn’t so easy. Years of shutting down my feelings, disconnecting and disrespecting my true self took just as many years (or more) to reverse the process.  Learning to open my heart and follow my own inner guidance; to feel strongly and let go lightly; to love and laugh, cry and rage, forgive and give thanks; to feel humility and sovereignty in the same heartbeat.

In the end, Liz and my experience of being held back from our true nature is the same. My hope for the future echoes through her words, “As time goes on, perhaps more and more youngsters will be encouraged to think their wildest, most independent thoughts and dreams, and express them openly.” And I would add, “to trust their own gut feelings.”

My deepest gratitude to all of my teachers along this journey. And to Kendra-You are my Ace, forever!

You can visit The Liz Path at http://thelizpath.blogspot.com .  I highly recommend a visit to her blog.

Moving in Gratitude

Arriving home in the middle of the night. I open my car door and the fetid smell of my mushroom inoculated compost companion is gratefully replaced with the heavenly smell of my lilac and peonies in full bloom. I feel grateful.

Grateful for the smell, grateful to be home and grateful for this new me that continues to emerge. I should’ve been (was planning on being) home before dark on Sunday, the last day of the Earth Activist Training at Rowe and my final day at my home of the past 20 months.

The old me would’ve made sure that I got home on Sunday; holding on tightly to my schedule for a myriad of practical reasons-bills to pay, poor night vision, pending rain storms, my cat to tend, calls to return…… I checked my email and found a request from my son to meet in Vermont on Monday. I called him and said I was headed home to Maine and wouldn’t be able to meet him.

My goodbyes at Rowe were long and difficult -lots of tears. I knew I needed to reconnect with the Babbling Brook before I left and I wanted to share some time with another friend in the area. So I gave myself the time to feel what I was feeling and then wash away my tears in the brook. By the time I stopped at my friends house to say goodbye it was already after 5 in the afternoon. He didn’t know I was coming, but had dinner enough for two already started and graciously invited me to share the meal and stay the night. I surprised myself by accepting the invitation and then calling my son and telling him I would meet him in Vermont the next day.

On each leg of my drive the next day I made a critical wrong turn and ended up going way out of my way, but it didn’t bother me. I felt like someone else was driving and I was along for the ride, unconcerned about time or distance-just appreciating the scenery, my well-functioning car and the quiet solitude.

My few hours with my son were uneventful. I helped him shop for new muck boots and supplies for his job at Essex Farm. We had lunch and sat in the car and talked long after I was planning on being on the road again. I just allowed our time together to happen. I am so grateful for Jeremy and there is such a sweetness to our time together these days.

The drive home was long; longer due to the wrong turn. But there was hardly anyone else on the road and I was relaxed and comfortable-once again moving in gratitude.

When I woke up this morning I pulled on my dirty traveling clothes and drove to the local bakery and got breakfast and a giant cup of coffee to go. I sat on my front steps and ate and drank and observed.

I watched the teenage boys hiding behind the neighbor’s fire escape; smoking and playing around with their skateboard. I watched an elderly man drive up and down the road over and over again-looking for someone or maybe suffering from dementia? I watched people walking dogs and pushing baby carriages-young women-cell phone to ear and seemingly  unaware of their child’s presence.

My lawn has turned into salty barren patches on the edges-the rest mostly a small field of yellow flowered ground cover (weed). What is this plant called? The perennial garden in the center bordering a seldom used front walk to the street boasts lupines, lilac and peonies in full bloom with the promise of more diversity in the lush green plants surrounding them.

Jeremy thought he would help me. There was a broken-down plastic tub of winter road sand on the porch; leaking sand from every crack. He shoveled the sand off the porch-back behind the rhododendron. The rhododendron doesn’t look happy. Its’ blooms are falling off as they should this time of year. But the browning leaves tell me it is feeling great stress. The quince bushes seem happy enough. Maybe they will take over. The-oh-what’s it called-you know -the heart flower- is still happy and showing off at the far end of the front porch. The lilacs on that end of the house are very happy about the tree removal I had done this past winter. Always puny and seldom blooming-this year they came on strong. The whole side yard is still covered with the parts of the tree. Big piles of bushy branches, logs two to three foot in diameter and five feet long. I loved that tree. Made my second floor kitchen feel like a tree house. Amigo loved it too. He spent his days watching the birds and squirrels move through its’ branches. But it was endangering my house-rotting-needed to go. Now I look out at my neighbors house and a graveyard of tree bones. I don’t know what Amigo looks at.

Out to the back yard. Jeremy has cut out some of the raspberry bushes. I can see the remnants of an old raised- bed garden that John and I created and used to tend. Now the trees have shaded the site and the berries have taken over. A new bed, further over. My tenants’ hopeful, but sparse little bed of veggies. A tree grown up and weaving its’ branches through the power lines. Time to call the power company.

My neighbor comes home. We sit on my front steps and watch the traffic and chat for an hour-or more. Sharing our family stories, our dreams, our neighborhood observations.

My apartment looks like a warehouse-one carload of stuff carried in and tossed down. Another still in the car. Bags and boxes waiting to be unpacked, laundry waiting to be done, bills waiting to be paid. Still-I am happy to be sitting on my front steps -observing.

This is not my old way of coming home. Hurriedly getting my precious belongings into the house before someone decides to steal them. Seeing the grass that needs to be mowed, the messes to be cleaned up, house to clean, laundry to do, people to be called, plans to be made.

Instead I sit and wonder if the smoking boys would be interested in a neighborhood project. I wonder what my land would like to be. I wonder how my neighbors would like to be. I wonder how I would like to be.