January 23, 2024
And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul. ~ John Muir
Is the current spiritual lesson writ upon the blackboard of my life something I’m just too dull to apprehend? I think I’ve internalized the lessons related to knowing I’m always supported, but I must be an abysmally poor manifester since I don’t notice a landslide of practical help pouring in.
The support so breezily attested to by Spirit is lovely in an airy-fairy kind of way. Oh look, there’s an angel who wants to be with you through your surgery and recovery! Good to know, right? Then why is my stomach so nervous? That invisible support should give me peace, a commodity whose fountainhead I acknowledge is within me, not outside of me. I don’t argue with that; it’s just that peace of any sort is elusive when the stress-o-meter keeps shooting up to high alert.
While engaged in dreamy walking meditation, or sitting undisturbed in a quiet place, I can be adjacent to peace, and that can support me through tumult and anxiety. Peace is a necessary ingredient for me to feel supported.
Without extended quiet times, or any prospect of same given the fragile equilibrium of feline and elder-family-member health, peace coyly eludes my grasp and becomes a chimera.
With adequate sleep and freedom from chronic pain, I know—I know—I’d be rolling more easily with the family’s high-maintenance health issues. I’d have mental and emotional sustenance to draw on, and the physical capacity for joy.
My inborn, physically expressive state would rise above whatever troubles nip at my heels. I’d walk into the forest to find my soul, I’d move and dance, using the pressure release valve of body-in-motion to do its job and allow negative emotions to dissipate.
With such physical outlets available only in limited and uncomfortable ways, the problems of caring for my family loom like Everest. And here I am, with only a slender walking stick for support on that vertical ascent.
It’s said that the energies are extraordinarily chaotic and stressful right now, easy to believe with what I’m hearing from friends—and observing in our animals. I wonder how many humans are in some version of what feels to me like the outer rings of Hades? The more self-reflective ones might be as befuddled as I am. Why is this all happening? What am I supposed to be learning? I know they said this would be hard, but…And perhaps most of all, When is school going to get out? I’m not sure how many more of these lessons I can take.
I put my spiritual toolkit to good use. Incantations and energy clearing, the hand-on-heart inner child hug. I suspect that without this modicum of intervention between me and chaos, my circuits would be burning out, smoke shooting from my ears like a robot on overload in an old sci-fi movie.
The high-maintenance cats purr and view me with knowing amber eyes. After Brownie’s now-chronic breakfast refusal, he’s been coaxed to eat enough to receive insulin. Apparently he knows his work for the morning is done, stretching before curling into a warm rumbling ball on my lap, exuding contentment.
Fluffy is purring audibly from ten feet away, looking out through the sliding door at the sundrenched morning. He’s been cautious with eating, which translates to a nervous stomach for me, and frantic mental scrambling for what I can do to head off another pancreatitis episode. He just came out of one a week ago.
Exasperated, I think: don’t you two know how difficult you’ve made my life? How can you be so happy?
Gradually, their apparent equanimity with that-which-is penetrates my seemingly perpetual jittery anxiety. Peace, they seem to be saying, looks like this. Brownie opens one eye and gazes up at me. I swear I hear him say, You’re doing a good job, Mom. Tears spring to my eyes and I lean over, engulfing him in a careful hug.
It seems my heart is continually breaking. I miss my old heart of stone. I don’t think I can trade in this vulnerable self for the old defensiveness, but I wouldn’t mind a few days when no matter what problems cropped up, nothing really bothered me. Maybe, back then, I really did know I was always supported. Perhaps I can channel that certainty into the now, without having to usher it in by way of the stony heart.