Friday, May 30, 2014

Grateful Today: The Practice of Asking and Seeing People

"We must slow down to a human tempo and we'll begin 
to have time to listen." 
- Thomas Merton

"How long will you keep pounding on an open door, begging for someone to open it?"
-Rab'ia al-Adawiyya

Yesterday I had difficulty breathing. In the space between sleep and waking one word came, "Nebulizer." It took me a few heart beats to recognize the guidance ... straight forward direction. Under the futon was the nebulizer given to me by an old friend when I was first diagnosed with multiple sensitivities that needed to be addressed with new approaches. Nebulizing is not new, but it was at the time, something new to me. My old friend treated herself with that nebulizer, and treated her mother with it as well. During the year of living on the road, and without any formal structure of safety, that old nebulizer was a life-saver. Even without a roof over my head, we would find places to plug in the compressor, add a small amount of filtered water, add glutithione drops, and inhale the moist air to comfort my tightened lungs. 

Yesterday, Pete and I dusted off the tool that I've not needed for more than 4 years, and slowly I calmed to the draw of moisture to soothe my lungs. Grieving brings up old losses, and sometimes old tools are the charm hidden in the difficulty. I asked Pete to stay home yesterday, and be with me rather than go to work being out and about as he usually is. That request worked to the extent that we each loosened our cardinal grip on what 'being with me' meant to each of us. The short version of the experience is we each lived our lives as we are: Pete multi-tasking and me surprising people with my vulnerability. We blew up at each other, Pete and I, as I asked for one too many things of him; and now I see old patterns of dependency that has (surely) added to my burden as sensitive to everything. The definitions we had weren't the same.

I am grateful today for recognizing my need to be fed, and comforted during this time of grief. If I can learn to ask for what I really need it is a step forward healing deeply the Wounded Child of the North" as Angeles Arrien teaches in her work The Four-Fold Way. A strange but deeply soulful and real thing happens when grief opens the heart to truth. With all the confusion that I process, the limitations manifested in my inability to get on a plane to be at my brother's death-bed has swirled the cauldron of my storyteller's magic. If, as I believe, my role is to tell the stories, I find the root of one of my stories rots and offers me something ... a new tool to reclaim my birthright of breath. "Low self-esteem and the inability to see oneself correctly is often at the root of the pattern of hiding or holding back," wrote Arrien. How do you feed a ghost (the invisible self, the invisible child in need)? The years of living with an illness that can render a person invisible, or more invisible if there was, as with me, a predisposition to become invisible at a very young age. Grappling with the deep stuff of the soul anything is possible! It is the stuff of magic and sometimes, it is not easy.

Today, here at the Safety Pin Cafe, my practice of asking and responding with the help of an old tool, used on a new day, with a new experience, makes me grateful I can see things anew. Later today, a friend is bringing me bone broth to comfort me. We are communicating without a middle man, and in the process we both may be made stronger. I am writing to disperse the ill-gotten energy and believe "I get to enjoy broth made that will comfort me."

And ... for the record, the bone broth was delivered along with a sweet drawing of mousies tucked into a basket (a Beatrix Potter garage sale treasure) and a basket of spices. I have heated and sipped that comforting broth, munched rosemary toast along with it as the breeze blows sunny energy all around me. I get to enjoy it, I get to! It was delicious. Thank you, M.

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