[Above pic from Christmas Day 2017; I was heading back out to work so we snapped a pic] And somehow in the ins and outs of synchronicity and happenstance, that day before her birthday on November 30th, 2017, I began melding with The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood”, again returning to that one refrain which bows me down until I remember that day of holding my baby, knowing (like not in my head but in my body; like a knowing stretching outside of “knowing”) that pooling around my experience was now the potential for every single bit of love and agony possible to have within one life. For I had worried I wouldn’t love her as I did Julia; that was a real thing for me. I worried I’d never be able to rise to that level; Julia was my early baby, born 7 weeks before she was ready then hooked to IVs—“she might die; be blind, deaf; have disabilities”—and even before
December 17, 2016 As I was driving to a pet sit this morning–in the frigid air–I passed a bus stop on 5th East and saw a woman of smaller stature all bundled up with backpack holding a plastic doll the size of a real baby. While waiting for my light, I stared at her–at first, just trying to figure out if it was a real baby, then after realizing it wasn’t, wanting to join her experience for a moment, to see if she was okay; if she was hopeful or despairing; what the story was; just to be with her for a minute before I had to drive off–and as I did, I saw her look at the baby adoringly, and snuggle it to her, then watched as she gave it quick little playful kisses under its purple, fleece, hooded onesie, as if she was trying to distract it from how cold and boring it was to be waiting out
http://themoth.org/stories/the-house-of-mourning Press the link to watch Chaplain Kate Braestrup’s video from The Moth “House of Mourning”. I really got this video, and understood it from a deep place. For there was a time–after my soiree in college studying Native American and world religions and post-my first daughters birth–when I couldn’t see another path in front of me that didn’t lead to me becoming a non-denominational pastor. So to engage as Ms. Braestrup does with her world from the caring of a larger sphere of knowing is the most comfortable place of experience for me. And often I feel like a foreign visitor to a new planet when people talk of vacations and cars and hedonistic-esque material things for those to me are
Saturday 11/25, 9:53 a.m., Salt Lake City. It’s hard to know what to do with the grief of this world. I look at this man and his dog and feel the pressure of disappointment on both his heart and my own; I can feel the loss of the dream he had for his own life and experience that loss with him. For I don’t move about my world so as to push it away from me; I welcome it to settle within me and become part of my experience; I let it teach me and humble me so that I can grow more each day in understanding and perhaps one day maybe we humans can be a collective, empathic, love-filled whole again.
Last night my girls, Ellen, and I watched Thelma and Louise together, and because I’d forgotten how long the movie was, the event lasted into the early hours of today, at which point my youngest–who’d been hesitant to even watch it at all for the last scene she’d heard so much about–excitedly chatted to me through my bleary-eyedness, saying that along with Donnie Darko, it was now one of her two favorite movies. None of them had ever seen it, and Livy asked me in one of the first scenes when Thelma’s husband Daryl was being an asshole to Thelma, “Is that just the way it was back then?” The movie was made in 1991. No, baby; Daryl’s just a dick. In the midst of girl power and Thelma and Louise gunning it to their chosen end, Ellen held my left hand still and, as I watched the movie, drew upon my skin the pattern you see in the picture
And sometimes it’s true that the things you believe you need in order to be joyous aren’t the right things at all, and so it is that I’m standing in Einstein bagels this morning getting breakfast for my kids experiencing an epiphanic moment. Because in my former life, I was a married, stay-at-home mom—whose hobby basically amounted to filling up her spare time with activities–and I can remember standing in line at Einstein bagels during that life with a “gettin’ ‘er done” attitude, as if getting my kids bagels was just the prep for the bigger parenting moments yet to come; as if standing in line, waiting for my nova lox on plain, crossing “nutritious breakfast” off my to-do list, was devoid of meaning unless accompanied by the million things I was reciting in my head that I’d obviously still need to do in order to be a good parent. But ten years out, I’m now experiencing a life in
Going to meet a new (pet sitting) client two weeks ago, I walked up to her apartment to have her tell me I just missed the police escorting her ex-boyfriend and his cardboard boxes of life out of their once-shared apartment.
She is a fully-woke, always-present, powerful “feminist” (in quotes because I really hate labels) heart surgeon fellow with the financial and emotional support of both the University of Utah and her family and friends, and is happily-here in white-male centric Utah in a patriarchy-infused specialty standing strong against XY superiors telling her not to become friendly with the nurses, yet found herself in a situation where her relationship had devolved to the point where her Wednesday break from the hospital was spent with cops because the restraining order against her boyfriend for abusing her meant that the man she once trusted and made a life with couldn’t legally be near her without a law enforcement officer.
And as she relayed the story of how she was denied legal help in filing the order of protection–“They wouldn’t take it because I didn’t have any bruises”–she was reflective and kind and talked about it as if she was living fully in the now rather than in the realm of unanswered “whys”.
And again, somehow I meet the most remarkable people in my work, and I’m grateful to be allowed into their story.
For as she talked about how no one would take her case, she lamented her own privilege–financial/emotional support, the ability and resources to write her own legal documents–and a mere 30 minutes after her abuser had walked out with cops, spoke not of her own trials but of the wider insult of systemic injustice wherein a series of thinking errors has led to a culture in which women are basically forced to evacuate from their own lives, forgotten by a society that condemns them to their fate, then blames them for not being strong enough to leave.
And in looking at her, knowing that this terribly stressful thing had just happened in her life, watching her finesse her painful experience into a teaching moment beneficial to our entire society, it was as if she was integrating all the stories of our world so that she could hear the bigger sound.
Because we all have trauma, but the internal recitation of the world’s crimes against us is an energetic trap and, in the end, we’re all responsible for what we bring to the story of our world.
(For people who don’t know me irl, I somehow very circuitously became a pet sitter–someone who takes care of animals in their homes while they’re family is away–as my primary occupation. This post is about one of the families I tended for and that is me in the photos above). I had to stop sitting for these guys because they had moved to Sandy (I’m strictly Salt Lake City) but if I ever write a book, I’m going to contact Luna’s human to include her story. I don’t know what motivates some people to nurture what is not easily nurtured. Her new owner didn’t know if Luna could be rehabilitated–didn’t know what would happen, was unsure what would come of her effort–but Luna’s story pulled her into a situation wherein, at once, she was faced with the daily acceptance of knowing Luna’s ugly story at the same time as she realized that making a life with Luna would be
[641 words; 3 min 12 sec; families, struggle, what love can look like]
So I’m sobbing by the side of the street just west of her house, remembering
that late night I drove her home and we saw the streets and businesses flood. The windshield was submerged and the world inundated, and we all leaned forward in our seats
[714 words; 3 min 34 sec; hardship, grief, Nature, finding balance]
And it was a shapeless voyage. Underplanned; underfunded. Like that time in my twenties when my boyfriend and I camped up and down the California coast. Freezing; complaining. Our next step always unknown, and our misery purposeful and a small price