Though not a walkabout in the traditional sense, caring for mom, is a spiritual journey. Far from the work, life, and homes in Canada, CT, and the South Bronx, despite new and re-connected friends, this path is most often traveled in solitude. Yet it is from this very wilderness, or as I continue to rename it – Wild-er-ness, it is possible to trace the path of my ancestors through my mother’s experience preparing for life’s most mysterious passage.
Fresh from embracing the recent lessons of strengths discoveries, and in an effort to take action on Coach Martinovich’s wonderful insights, it seems timely to once again, look to the wheel of my life to uncover the usable treasures contained within. What success have I experienced with measurable signs of progress? When am I giving 100%? Which situations require greater effort or improvement? Where is only a slight correction or adjustment needed? Is the change required mental or physical? How am I playing to my strengths? Is my success a measure of integrity or a result of cutting corners?
Beginning in the north of my physical self – I have long been working to support a sustainable healthy natural body that enhances my life. It is ironic that I find myself making inroads on efforts to increase energy, endurance, flexibility, balance, and strength, all while watching the deterioration of my mother’s physical functioning and being more housebound. And yet, it is this very observation that fuels the fire beneath my efforts. It is clear there are plenty of uncontrollable physical challenges in life but everyday with her reminds me that the imperative to keep moving no matter what, is one that can go a along way to keeping things from breaking down.
I continue to seek opportunities to increase the physical part of daily life for ex: heating with wood this year brought added dimensions of stacking, lifting, and carrying. This summer I will add chopping wood, lawn care, and wheelchair walks to help overcome inertia in the latter parts of the day.
Turning to the East – my mind seeks increased creative sparks in response to mom’s free-flowing monologues infusing the air with particles of fear, loneliness, and disappointment. At times efforts to re-frame at least in my mind, her glass half empty view of life using humor, provide an alternative. But all too often sound bites of our house reveal an ever-present click track of lamenting. When I have argued, unleashed my negativity, or used silence to numb out the voices that are NOT mine, I have free fallen into fugues of forget-fullness. Pursuing concentration and focus through writing this blog, researching things that interest me or help others to meet their goals, and studying for my license all provide much-needed relief.
Approaching the south, I consider my ability to express the full range of human emotions – not just the pretty ones. This area needs some shoring up. I have noticed that my tendency is to avoid or not express the conventionally believed less desirable emotions for fear of becoming stuck there, or worse – a glass half empty kind of gal. The effort to stifle sadness though, is exhausting, and there is so much of it around me. Giving my anger, sadness, fear, doubt, and longing time often allows me to transform and open to what is real – the constancy of the wind chime in front of our house, bird songs, and leaves that continue to unfurl, albeit slowly, undaunted by the set backs in temperature. These reminders that it is not personal, present a possibility of ‘is-ness’ that does not include dredging a bottomless well that is not even mine to begin with.
Rounding the bend to the west of my spirit – reminds me of the necessity to take time in nature, where I feel most connected to the interconnected largeness of life, especially when my heart sags under the burden of being Death’s handmaiden. Through meditation, communications with my long distance partner, the kindness of friends, and sometimes the writing of this blog I am brought to my knees repeatedly, in gratitude for all that is of value to me in this life. This is an area where mom’s beliefs about life and death, are again reminders that drive me to quiet reflection or prayer in the middle of the night, and Pilates, or rowing on Lake Cochichuate, where I access the one-ness of life.
Coming full circle to the north of my wisdom looking in from the outside as I walk, things look far more successful than I might have predicted. It is difficult to believe, that a faceless post exactly one year ago would lead to so many dreams manifested as a direct result of progress and growth. From the core of this circle looking out in every direction there is still more to accomplish. AND for this one moment, maybe it is ok to take time to rest and celebrate. That is, until tomorrow… or at least until next week’s post.
Wishing you all the blessings of renewal offered by Spring. Blessed be.