This week’s effort to continue strategic reinvestment on the creation side of the energy ledger, meant standing in line with a few skeins of deliciously soft, ocean hued yarn. Approaching the counter, the colors that cling lavishly to the monolithic rocks, and play amidst the grass on the hills in Bandon-by-the-Sea, were mixing with visions of past knitting attempts corrected by both my mother and grandmother.
The friendly woman at the cash register who earlier, had helped ensure the correct number of skeins, and size of needles, reminded me to keep my sales receipt, because they could be returned for 90 days.
And there it was. One more reminder of what I had been contemplating and not, for the better part of the week.
90 days today. The exact amount of time since mom and I physically separated. Is there some mystical connection to the idea of 90 days? I read somewhere that the Virgin Mary remained 90 days with Elisabeth for the birth of John the Baptist. It seems to be the amount of time required before many employee benefits kick in, and is often the number of days for many types of probationary periods. It is also, roughly one complete season, the time we use to measure life in utero (as in the first trimester), and the period of time between quarterly tax payments.
Michael D. Lemonick, states in his Time Magazine article, “How We Get Addicted” “…evidence supports 90-day rehab models, first stumbled upon by AA (new members are advised to attend a meeting a day for the first 90 days) and is the duration of a typical stint in a drug-treatment program. It turns out that this is just about how long it takes for the brain to reset itself and shake off the immediate influence of a drug. Researchers at Yale University have documented what they call the sleeper effect–a gradual re-engaging of proper decision-making and analytical functions in the brain’s prefrontal cortex–after an addict has abstained for at least 90 days.”
This makes sense, an actual neurochemical process to explain the experiences of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual withdrawal symptoms and sense of gradual re-awakening that seem to be ongoing. Rip Van Winkle like, I awake groggy, somewhat disoriented but with a sense that important things have happened in my absence.
In the first month, when the gravitational pull of mom’s life force (the drug) was strongest, it felt difficult to get my bearings. The sense of vertigo seemed endless, despite efforts to right things in the environment through the process of clearing away excess. I had little tolerance or patience for the concerns or activities of the everyday world.
In the second month, there was a growing sense of the individuation process. As if untethered, standing on my own two feet, and living independently outside of my mother for the first time. Yet, still wanting to remain close to home or retain the ability to return there on a moments notice. A time of turning interests once again to life beyond these walls, and the affairs of friends and extended family.
The third month has brought a growing sense of having stepped into an unfamiliar role of becoming a matriarch in my right. A regeneration of color, and re-ordering of previously catalogued information. A curious mix of excitement and dread about what is coming next. It becomes easier to leave home for longer periods of time.
My interests have returned somewhat, but with the curiosity that accompanies beginners mind and once again the concerns about, of and for others are gaining momentum. There is a sadness at having missed rowing, summer days at the beach, and trips to the apple orchard. And by the grace of the creator those seasons will bloom brighter next year. There will be travel, adventures, work that I love, maybe not tomorrow but soon, very soon.
There are still times, containing vast desolate moments of disappointment, when I find myself sobbing in the shower regardless of who may happen to visit. But now, there are also ones like this – Today for the first time in what felt like forever I danced.
I moved praise to the few yellow leaves who dare to remain on trees, despite the impending tropical storm. I boogied with the grey stormy sky and beauty of the home that surrounds me. I danced the memory of Molly making me laugh, and mom providing safety. Even though there was crying afterwards, I felt better than I had than in a long time …. well at least in 90 days.
Inside of an impersonal piece of mail the other day, there was a handwritten yellow sticky note which read, “Beth, Your dreams are important to God. Don’t get discouraged, keep on believing for big things.” 10/16/12 I have no idea who it was from but I sure do hope they are correct. Until that time I will keep on with remembering it so.