Centering

I was reading back over my summer journal. I have been really down recently.  I know the primary medicine for this problem is walking.

I have been walking at a local track. It sits beside a busy highway. It is a track.  Round and round.  Not much changes in the view.  Even over the course of weeks, there isn’t much new to notice.  I had become dependent on my iPod for music and checking Facebook or Instagram to battle the boredom and battle the distraction of the cars on the road.

I sometimes astound myself at how stupid I can behave.

Even closer than the track is my park. I always think of it as my park.  I grew up in it along the lake. My grandmother named it.  So much of my childhood and early adulthood was spent there.  I used to always walk there.  I don’t know why I stopped.  I don’t know why I decided the track would be a better choice.

The park has an ever changing view. The park has the lake to see.  That lake reflects light like no other I have ever experienced. There is a chance to see wildlife. There are always memories to meet me.

Today was my third consecutive day to walk it. Already my severe hip pain has lessened.  It is related to my lower back issue.  My inner turmoil seems lessened.  I am feeling centered.

I included a photo on my very first blog post of this circle of trees. I have spent about one minute on each of my three walks standing in the circle and lifting up a prayer to Him.  Standing in the circle, centering.

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Scrub a Dub Dub

I have spent my evening cleaning house.  I estimate I am half way.  Maybe a little more.  I spent some time outside putting things away.  I even washed four windows.  Odd, I know.  They needed it more than the rest.  I will try to do a few more next week.  The fish tank needed some water work. I am give out now.

I have my menu for the holiday weekend made out and my grocery list about ready for tomorrow after the 9 to 5.  Rather than a traditional Thanksgiving menu when my daughter and her husband come, we are having a traditional Sunday dinner.  Fried chicken, chicken and dumplings, creamed potatoes, gravy, yeast rolls, corn, crowder peas, greens, cornbread, sweet potato pie.  We don’t eat like that anymore.  It has now become a treat in my mind.

My niece and her family are coming over the holiday.  I have a menu planned with two little girls in mind.  I checked my supply of chocolate syrup and will make sure I select some delectable cookies.  I don’t have time to bake cookies this week.  We will have to make do with store bought.

He was reviewing the menu for the several days.  He mentioned I had forgotten his ham rolls.  Added them immediately along with the cheese torte.  I hope he enjoys the festivities and the feasting.

Our holiday times are so different from the traditional ways of our childhood and even early adulthood.  The passing of our parents and the marrying off of our children changed everything.  I miss those two little people who used to live with me.  They made my life magical.

I see two grown-ups who seem familiar.  I think they are wonderful people as adults.  But, I still seek glimpses of my young’uns.  I still want to gather them in my arms and hold on tight.

The holidays will roll in and pass by.  I want to make some more magical memories.  I eagerly anticipate two little girls coming to visit.  I hope and pray weather and wellness permit.  I also eagerly anticipate seeing our daughter and her love.  Not sure if our grand-girl will be here.

I hadn’t been looking forward to putting up a tree and laying the table with decorations.  After writing this, I am feeling more like having Christmas after all.  Sometimes, it helps to give myself a good talking to.  Stop wistfully mourning the past and look happily toward the future.  Get the house scrubbed and ready.  Christmas is coming. And so are some of the children!

An image below of a place that never fails to ground me.  My beloved lake in winter.  I will need to spend time there soon.  All the festivities will have me teetering.  I go there and visit the ghosts and talk to Him.  He knows all about my heart, both the strong parts and the fragile.  He will scrub my soul and refresh my spirit.  Any day, not just the holidays.

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Hidden Things

What are the hidden things in my mind and heart? What drives me to do things I do? What prevents me from doing things I want or need to do?

I often seek occupation with a hobby. I have tried to get involved in several different types of arts or crafts. I don’t get much further than buying some supplies. Sometimes, I do a project or two. But, then something will come up and I will have to put the supplies in a box and clear the work area. Nothing more happens. Things stay boxed up until I get rid of them. I seem to associate pursuit of artistic things as with my father’s mental illness. He would often reach for the arts when he became manic. Perhaps that is why I won’t let myself like arts and crafts enough to keep going with something. Perhaps there is some other totally different hidden thing that gets in the way.

I make lists. I have written of this before. I make lists and remake lists. I have lists of things I need to do. Lists of things I like. Lists of chores I need to do regularly. I recently noted in my journal that I feel if I could ever get the list right, or get the right list, my life would be all worked out. Life would not feel so hollow. Not sure if that is the right word. There seems to be something missing in my every day moments.  This compulsive behavior has both good and bad properties. In a sense, I rely on the lists too much. I spend too much time working on them. On the other hand, the lists keep me on course to get chores completed, to keep my nine-to-five job duties prioritized, to keep my home supplied with essentials like milk, eggs and toilet tissue. I don’t know why I list. Fear of forgetting. Struggling to put order to my scattered thoughts. I don’t know why I do this either.

I refuse to ask for help. Not in a stiff-necked way, but in an “I don’t want to trouble anyone with my incompetence” way. If I ever do ask for help, I am usually so far gone I don’t know what to have someone do for me. So, I just don’t ask and give up until I can go again. I let myself go with unmet needs because of this.

I did not learn this from my mother. She was a five-star general at getting people to help her get things done. She did it with love and honesty and great home cooking. “I want to do project X. Y’all come Saturday and I will cook a roast and some beans and make a cake.” She would get everything to do her project and to prepare the meal. Extra hands would help in the kitchen and on the project. We made grand memories in the process.

Why won’t I even ask him for help with simple things that I struggle with? Little chores around the house that I may be behind on or just need to get ahead on. I don’t know about this one. I have realized I never asked my childhood friends about anything either. They were putting on makeup and I was too embarrassed to ask how they managed to apply eyeliner. That sort of thing. I don’t know where they learned things. I just figured I wasn’t clever enough to figure it out and they were.

He gave me a generous gift card for our anniversary. I spent almost all of it on shoes. What I needed was pants. Shoes and purses don’t depend on my size. Most blouses and tops will go from one size to another without much problem. My top half doesn’t change sizes that much when I am thinner. But, my pants size will change if I ever get my diet and exercise going in the right direction. My crazy mind thinks if I buy pants now, I won’t have money to buy smaller pants. Or that it means I am giving up getting fit. Or what? What is the hidden issue here? Why won’t I buy clothes that I really like and want to wear that fit me now?

I wonder at my quirks. I don’t mind having the more harmless ones. I want to know why I do what I do. Why I behave and respond the way I do. What makes me withdraw into myself and not allow others too close. I want to know why so I can undo the more harmful ones. Even knowing why may not help me change things. But, it is a start.  I want to do better for myself so I will have a better starting place to do for others.

I don’t know why I love the full moon so much. I love her rising over the lake. Is it because my grandmother would come to visit when the moon was going to be full just so she could take us down to the lake to see her rise over the water? Did she really time her visits that way or did it just work out that way very often? My mother’s mother is the reason for many of my favorites. Full moons over the water, jungle print fabrics, canna lilies, pampas grass, cemeteries, red “tennie” shoes to name a few.

I went down to see her the other night. I had almost given up when she appeared from behind the low clouds. I still feel excited anticipating her appearance and restless when her light shimmers around me. Restless to walk along quiet, white sand roads, listening to the voices of the past echo through the stories Granny always told me. Laughing and playing. Yes. I do know one certain reason I love the moon. My granny who loved me and understood me so deeply bound me to the full moon rising over the lake by loving me in the beams of light shed from the evening sky. Here is our August moon, Granny.

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Flood

He and I walked down to see the muddy water boiling through the gates from the lake into the flooding river bed.

This gushing torrent is pouring from the same serene lake whose lovely face I have shared previously.  She is overloaded with rain and bursting at the seams.  Not her normal self.

I know how she feels.  I have a torrent of thoughts flooding my mind.  I recently filled one of my paper journals and switched to a fresh one.  I keep hauling around the old one.  I have been back through it several times trying to figure out what I am afraid to discard or shelve.  Finally, yesterday, while again going over the pages, I realized the whispers of the bigger story I want to tell is started there.

I shared with my friend today my idea of what I want to tell.  She had asked me if I have taken classes or is my writing a gift.  I don’t know about it being a gift, but, no I haven’t taken writing classes.  I haven’t even read many books on the prescribed reading lists from high school or college.  I simply write.  I have written forever.  When the prescribed writing of school days ended, the pen of teenage passion waned, and my babies were big enough to play without constant surveillance, I began journaling.  From the first time I heard about the concept of blogging, I wanted to try it.

I always wanted to be like John Boy Walton and write stories.  I never felt I had a story to write.  I still don’t have a fiction story to write.  My cousin encourages me to write the book.  I want to tell my story.  Every woman’s story.  Wish me courage.  Wish me discipline.  Wish me strength.

I fear letting the story come forth, I will become like this raging river boiling from the depths of the lake.  Churning out of control and spilling forth over the banks meant to contain me.  The banks of calm rationality I try so hard to maintain.  But, dear reader, you know I despise fear.  Here is a fear I must overcome and free myself.  He will hold on to me when I start to go under.  He will not let me be pushed to the bottom of the churning turmoil of emotional energy.  He will lift me up to Him in his prayers and we will ride out another flood of life together.

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The Right Medicine

My grandmother called them “nerve pills”.  She would go to the doctor and get a prescription for anti-anxiety pills.  I wonder what demons chased her.  I wonder why she could be so violently angry and yet so generously loving.

When I was growing up, she would come spend the night and sleep with me in my bed.  She would rub my back for the longest time.  I guess until I fell asleep sometimes.  That was good medicine for me.  I need to be touched to feel loved.  I need hugs and kisses and cuddles and back rubs to feel all is right with the world.

These days those kinds of things are scarce in my life.  There is only him and infrequently my angel baby to provide such affection.  That need in me is why in never put a certain baby down when she is with me.

I must often turn to another kind of good medicine.  A muddy waterhole on the Neches River.  It is actually a legitimate lake.  Neglected and dismissed in the shadow of grander drama queens in the area.  She is home to me as much as this house in which I live.

When the tears flow, I run to her like a mother.  I walk through my abandoned parkway and the tears fall.  I call out to the ones who have gone before.  I call out to Him.  Always, I am met with one or the other of them.  This evening my grandmother, not the one above, but the other one, passed through my mind.  I talked to her and felt her presence.  I could see her clearly and recall images of us together.

I was overcome with despair and grief at the losses I have faced.  But, then suddenly, unexpectedly, something changed.  Rather than ending in resignation and toiling home to endure a season of sadness, I stopped in my tracks and turned to the water.  I spoke out loud.

“I do not want to feel this way.  I do not want to be sad and grieving.  I do not want to feel useless and without purpose.  I will not do this.  I will not despair.”  And I looked out over my muddy waterhole and saw the beautiful lady that she is to me.  I was filled with courage, peace and strength.

Further evidence of my ever improving emotional health.  See my beautiful lady.  She shines gracefully and serenely.  Welcoming my tears and returning them to me as calmness.  She is my nerve pill.  Just to have her in sight is enough to allow me to reach deeply into my soul and straighten out the tangles of darkness.  I never know which of my ancestors will meet me.  My Lord always meets me.  And my lady, the lake herself, patiently awaits.  I live here on a hill above her.  I cannot see her from here, but she in only minutes away on running feet.  Comfort to me for as much of my half century I can recall.  Here she is in her cold winter evening shimmer, veiled with black lace.  Isn’t she lovely?

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