It is the time of year when I always find my thoughts turning towards where, how and why I live in the way I do. Often it’s just a fleeting glance but sometimes a longer harder look is needed and sometimes a grinding halt is called for and new layout of days and place are craved way beyond any want or idle wish.
I have found the last year harder than many of recent times. The disintegration of thought process, physical energy, emotional strength have ripped huge holes in any sense I had of my fulfilling each days potential within my own small world and experience. As days slipped in to weeks and weeks in to months here I am in the final moments of the year doing something I rarely do, looking back.
The wasteland I glimpse is not pretty, the wreckage of days and long nights of confusion, despair and disrepair are piled high in to a mangled pillar, a monument to a life less lived, rather more survived and too often absconded from completely.
How dare I step in to the New Year in a few days time when the barren and bleak of this year wraps around me like a knotted rope and a chair to stand on feels easy; a push away in to space and a forever moment. But then if I do not dare 'WHY?', 54 years as recorded by man will just be the point at the top of an anonymous obelisk.
I rather like the idea of being the point at the top of an anonymous obelisk but I would like it to be formed of earth and sky with fire and water playing on it and stardust filling any void…much like a life.
Looking back means I usually manage to fall over as I will be plodding forward at the same time but this time I have come to a halt and sat firmly down with my back to the path I may take my next step on and my face turned fully towards the path I have stumbled and fallen along in the past almost twelve months.
Yes the path is strewn with boulders anyone else would have fallen over / on to but there are pits and potholes I’ve managed to dig with my heels and wide chasms created by unengaged heart and mind, which are all of my making.
I can’t do anything about the boulders that are part of the fabric of the path, of life, except wear stout footwear, carry a stick for balance and keep my sense of humour well oiled with laughter at the absurdity of one woman’s quest to discover meaning when all the time it’s there in the moment. However, the potholes, pits and chasms are a different thing. I have a hand or foot in each of their making so I surely can have a hand or foot in their making being a little smaller, more an encounter rather than an engulfing. Note I do not say I will have a hand in their demise as sometimes the digging in of heels or disengaging heart and mind is what is needed to anchor myself in a reality I recognise even if others might not.
It is getting the balance, a new favourite word have you noticed, which seems the crux of the disarray on the path looking back. Not the kind of work life balance that is the new black in fashionable circles but the kind of balance I call life, life balance.
Life-life is about internal and external impetus, stimulus and understanding. It is not about work and play, projects and people, family and colleagues for me the balance is not about separating but joining. It is about weaving the many strands of my life in to a whole that I recognise and find pleasure in its texture, colour, use but which I am happy to unravel, darn or recycle if I do not feel I am doing the threads justice in their present created form.
Life does not arrive as piece of cloth fashioned, finished and sealed it arrives as basic fibre, sometimes crudely combed and washed, sometimes spun in to yarn that still needs extra fibres to give it some strength for use, sometimes a skein of yarn is presented but still needs winding in to a workable ball. Sometimes the fibre will first be a plant which needs tender nurturing followed by complicated preparation before it becomes a fibre possible for further transformation. Sometimes the plant will be food for another life which will become the giver of fibre but the hands which tend the plant will never lay hands on that.
The fibre to yarn to cloth, the weaving, will be found in others hands but the tending of the green shoots that become the plants ripe for transformation is valuable in its own right and offers a means for connections beyond gain or want to be found.
Tending the green shoots of my own life is not about self absorbed ego led activity or at least that would be my intent. Sometimes of course the intent goes out the window and in flies selfish flowers in full and glorious bloom. Never gets me very far really as I either trip because I can’t see the next step coming up through the garish bouquet or unceremoniously fall flat on my face as I tread into a large freshly dug hole.
Like my garden, tending my life offers me means to share what I have with others and not just directly in here’s a present kind of way. By caring for the small plot of both garden and life, the wild birds, plants that others may call weeds and the myriad of other untamed creatures find sustenance and safety but beyond that some life many miles away may share in the good through the fresh air that the trees in my garden assist in creating. and in me being aware of how my consumption of both personal energies and the Earths not only causes ripples in my own day today small existence but may cause waves far beyond this seemingly insignificant less than affective life.
The light is changing here day by day with afternoons heading quickly into evenings sooner and sooner and dark morning stretching in to breakfast time and beyond making me aware how tenuous a hold I ever have on light and how powerful and persuasive can be the dark.
I love this time of the year with hope for bright crisp leaf strewn walks plus hot chocolate and book before log fire moments but I also know this time of transition is always hard for me and I often struggle to find balance which through this whole year has seemingly eluded me.
October and the year has almost passed and I feel as if I never did inhabit one moment of it let alone a day or week. Time and sense of being just slipped through my ineffectual grasp and seeped away un-noticed save for a stain or two which I can find no means to identify nor if the truth be known the will to try.
There have been small forays but most have left me stranded somewhere outside of my self and of time or place. Each trip has depleted and defeated me in ways that would make messy reading… I know because they have made extremely messy living.
BUT, oh yes that word is still so important to me, still the magic wand to wave helplessly but with extreme wishfulness and belief that it is the core fabric of the safety net that appears when I leap. OK often that net has been woven it seems with a few extra big holes in it and guess who often lands just where those holes are :0). However, even as I slip through the net it has broken the fall so my full stop has been more dent than death.
For a very long time this year I sat and tried to deny much, which took so much energy in the denying because the obvious reality of damaged limbs, compromised bodily ‘systems’ screamed out their presence and no matter how loud I tried to whistle they screamed much, much louder. Deafened by the screams, defeated by the terrain, depressed by my lost bearings and confused logic I slowly but inextricably slipped into the very fabric of where I sat becoming less and less identifiable as my self to my self, but finding no comfort in this slow annihilation except for the knowledge no one else was or would notice the shadow on the chair where once I might have been.
The being went on even in a truncated, translucent kind of way; substance was certainly unobtainable but didn’t make any difference to my ‘wee family’. Their companionship, and unending no holds barred love fest way of ‘dealing’ with their mistress never wanes and finds way through even the most desperate, in my terms, situations.
So this last month has been a series of fairly major melt downs one way and another each one adding to the gloop that coagulates around my life. I know that it is only I who has way through this just the small matter of continually holding the chart I’ve made upside down and heading up so many cul-de-sacs’ as to make town planners weep let alone one lone traveller trying to take directions from the sun as it continued to sink ever lower on my internal horizon as well as the one viewed through my window.
Beginning to face what has been staring at me for months is painful, frightening and completely energy sapping but I can’t say I have given up believing if I jump the net will appear even as of this moment I look over the precipice and just see one hell of a drop. This has never stopped me, for the last forty plus years anyway, so making decision to jump hasn’t been the problem rather the why bother question.
Comes back to either having lived for 54 years or just survived; cementing the cracks in the status quo and never even getting a graze in the process or opening up the battered umbrella and leaping knowing full well it just isn’t a parachute but believing that net will appear. Taking everything in on the ‘flight’ knowing that if this one should come to the full stop of death rather than dent I was awake and breathing all the way to the end.
That probably sounds rather dramatic but then in a small life trying to operate simply in the day to day realm the dramatic is the small, the seemingly boring, which is life changing for me.
So now, with only two full days left of this year and my New Years celebratory day beckoning I am trying to raise a smile to the light, which though diminishing as those self same days pass will and is still there even on the darkest days. For it is the light that will help me make it to the edge of the dark and leap.
Yet though it may be a leap in to total unending darkness a heart once touched by light never looses that faint glow for in that darkest of dark a pin prick of light glows from a life long dead…and we call that a star, marvelling at its beauty and power. Now that IS a life lived.