Good morning, everyone ~
We’ve said “goodbye” to January and with the word barely out of our mouths, it’s “hello, False Spring”. The pollen load is already a force to be reckoned with. Even the cats are sneezing! Last week, we were bundled against the freezing temperatures. This week we’re watching pollen flurries as the thermometer climbs into the 80s.
With so much of our daily lives being bombarded with conflicting data, this annual event of Winter warring against Spring’s arrival seems trivial. Yet, it is one more thing to add to a rather long list. We are exhausted on every level of our being. I find myself turning more frequently to the funny side of social media/entertainment. I need to laugh. I need a daily dose of chuckles to counterbalance all the dire news and uncertainties of Life. Without belittling anyone’s challenges, the need to smile remains a true necessity.
I’m thinking now of a dear long-time friend who has lived many years in Pennsylvania. After being the primary care person for her husband for nearly 30 years, she now faces the many challenges of living alone for the first time in her life. Our telephone conversations sometimes contain tearful moments, but they are best remembered for our shared laughter. We create a mutual sense of balance by such sharing.
Many have written about the healing power of stories. From myths around a campfire to the privacy of a counselor’s chambers, there is much healing taking place as we pop open brain-files and give voice to our life experiences, feelings, emotions.
In the dark before dawn, as sleep dissipated, a random early childhood brain-file gently opened. My older brother gave me a bike. Not a new bike. It suffered from rust, years of neglect/exposure to the elements. Good enough for a “dumb old girl” to learn how to ride.
I have never been strong in muscles, and trying to pedal that bike on the dirt road to our house seemed impossible. That road, however, sloped from a steep hill down into the valley floor. If I could start with the advantage of gravity’s assistance, the effort of learning how to ride that bike would be minimized.
Oh, it was great! I felt the wind of my descent as I sailed down that steep hill. I pumped the pedals with great ease as the slope eased into a gentle downward slant. I navigated between the ruts made by car tires and dodged pine cones, ditches, odd patches of wiry grass and perpetual puddles from an underground spring.
All too soon, I was back home. Feeling pleased with myself, my attention wavered and I failed to note the hard-as-rock ridge of dried mud at the end of my inaugural ride. The front wheel caught, twisted. Handlebars jerked suddenly in a counterclockwise direction. The bare metal end of the right handlebar stabbed my stomach. The bike and I crashed in a heap of pain, shock and disappointment.
I’ve had countless similar experiences (but not with bikes) since then. The most recent being yesterday. Having given my broken bones ample time to heal, I tried standing. Despite the foot/leg/arm exercises I’ve been doing, muscles have weakened during this long convalescence. In my imagination, I had entertained notions of once again being able to do home chores, gardening, driving, hosting outdoor sessions … .
In reality, my body needs more time to recover. Feet, knees, hips have seemingly forgotten how to do their job. After only a few moments, I needed help getting back in bed … and pain meds … and a tissue to dry my tears of pain/disappointment. Just as I had failed to pay attention to the last few feet of my inaugural bike ride, I had allowed my desire to outweigh reality.
In childhood, I gave up on the idea of learning how to ride a bike. The injury to my stomach left both my skin and my self-confidence scarred. I can accept the fact that my elderly body has been permanently changed by the many insults it has received in the past few months; and, I will continue exercising toward its best possible achievement.
My days of being on the move for 10+ hours every day cannot be rescued. What lies ahead on my Life Path remains to be seen. My greatest ‘exercise’ now is as it has always been: to pay attention, maintain my personal point of balance, remember the happy brain-files as a counterbalance against all those of disappointment/sorrow/pain.
There’s a lot of serious s__t going on in this old, beautiful world! There’s a lot of division, disappointment, death and agony (in both living and dying) going on. There’s too much of too much that we can’t do anything about. And, there’s a lot of story- telling to be shared, that can help anchor our attention on what helps, what protects, what eases our whole self enough to remind us that whatever we pay attention to GROWS.
February is unfolding it’s annual events. Pollen clouds and the songs of Sandhill Cranes fill the air. Spring and Winter wrestle for dominance. Disappointments and achievements happen. We can smile and cry at the same time. We can teach and learn from the same brain-file. Our personal point-of-balance is both private and worth sharing.
While I continue the long task of becoming “good enough; healed enough”, please be part of what helps me maintain my point of personal balance by sharing your brain-file stories with me. We both might learn something! And, we’ll be increasing a sense of balance in the world! Now that’s something worth paying attention to, eh?
Gentle hugs/much love,