Monday, October 18, 2010

Little Man-A Blessing

There is something that gets lost as we get older.  A certain feeling that the world is an egoistic place and that we, as essential human beings, are somehow at the center of all of that magic.  That our physical bodies will take us anyplace our minds can conceive and that our actions, the affect that they have and how they feel, will only impact our own personal spheres.  Our own beings.  Our own centers.  It is a survival technique, really.  A way to ensure that we will get what we need in order to survive.  A way to alert the world as to our existence and to emphasize the inherent importance of that existence.  A way to connect with others.
And yet, as we get older, we begin to understand that our actions create reactions in others.  We begin to comprehend the much larger picture.  Our sphere radiates outward and little by little, the importance of those around us becomes more evident.

It begins with the realization that we are separate from our mothers.  And then, slowly, year by year, lesson by lesson, experience by experience, we come to understand that every action has a reaction.  We can then choose to become more empathetic, more connected to, more concerned about the well-being of others, more mindful of what we do to those around us.  Or, we can choose to ignore.  To remain the center.  To cast pain out into the world like a mindless stone tossed into the ocean, not paying any mind to where it might land.

Occasionally, we notice the ripples emanating from where the stone has landed.  We might decide to turn away from the ripple, paying no mind to the action(our action), which precipitated the sudden disruption.

Until we look back and realize that someone else is there.  And that someone is now experiencing the repercussions of our decision.  Light bulb moment!

Yet there is also a point in life that is oftentimes reached rather slowly, in which we begin to figure out that all of this radiating and rippling, all of the concern about the circles moving outward and away from us, are also taking us too far away from our own center.  For me, the epiphany behind this idea has taken years. Ten years of sharing my own body with four special beings taught me that my own body's needs were secondary to the needs of the little body that I was nurturing.  I was either pregnant or both nursing and pregnant for ten years straight.  And although the results were my four perfect, beautiful Angel Daughters, there was a certain price for me to pay.  And as I chose to spend my days mothering those four incredible souls, putting their absolute immediate needs before my own and forgetting my own spirit in the process, I suddenly learned that I was about as far from the center of the universe as one could possibly be.  It was not as if I woke up on one particular morning and realized that my life was out of balance.  The process was slow.  And as I disregarded the signs(my own deteriorating health, a HUGE one), I lost touch with me.  I witnessed my four healthy children standing outside of my immediate circle, growing into amazing young women and then I looked back and observed one ill, out-of-sorts, somewhat angry, but very altruistic(somewhat in congruent with angry) individual who was falling apart at the seams.(Cue-Deep breath)

So now what?  It was not yesterday that I got to this point.  It has been years of ill-health, one-sided friendships that sucked the life out of me, unhealthy relationships with family members and people I considered family members(until my brother suddenly died and I was left standing in a tiny pocket of six at his funeral), and a good amount of disregard for my own feelings to get me to the point that I am now. But I am here and I made it here with the help of my incredible husband, our four daughters, my furry and feathery family members and a very good pain therapist.  I am also here because of the very kind words and actions of fantastic individuals whom I have come to know through the blessing of this blog, many of whom I now consider my very dear friends.
It is not without a certain amount of joyful buoyancy, that I have reached a place around midway(God willing) through my life when I realize that you do not have to begin your caring at the very outer banks of the circle(people you might not really like at all, but who you feel sorry for in a way), working your way back inward and finally reaching the self.(If there is anything left.)  I have given myself permission to care for myself, to pray for myself, to acknowledge myself...First.  Because if we do not concede to our own needs first, eventually, we will run out of rocks in which to create those loving ripples back out into the world.  And truly, if we don't show care for ourselves, it is very difficult for anyone else to put our needs at a very high place on their lists.

So once again, I am collecting.  I have always had a pocket full of love because of my husband, our daughters and our pets.  But now I am demanding more.  I am learning to require things of people who wish to be a part of my life.  Nothing extraordinary, just common decency, lots of love, and consideration when it comes to the effect that their ripples have on my life.  No more than I would expect of myself, but also...No less.

I watched this little boy throwing rocks into the ocean, the other day, and his actions created an immediate reaction in me.  I wasn't quite sure why his throwing rocks into the water had set off such a chord within my spirit as to have me pull out my camera and start shooting pictures of his magical moment.  And then it struck me.  This little boy bears an enormous resemblance to the way that my beloved, little brother looked when he was about that age.  And although my brother's life only lasted a cut-off forty-one years, mine continues.  If I do not bounce with joy that I still have the time to fill my pockets to overflowing with the people and things that can bring me back to my own importance, my own center, then my own brother's death will have been in vain.  His life has been a lesson for me.  I can now look back and see his successes and his errors, and I can incorporate them into my own lesson book.  And in reviewing some of his mistakes, I can reevaluate mine.  I can reestablish the innate idea that I am an essential Human Being, created in the image of God and worthy of everything that I put out into the world.  The ripples begin somewhere, and as the saying goes, If Momma ain't happy, nobody's happy.  I am beginning to feel the Truth in that.  Another rock in my pocket:)

May you always remember that what you allow for yourself is as important as what you allow for the world.  May you find a way to fill your pockets with whatever it is that creates the ripples from your heart.  And may you recognize your own Center...And honor it.  Because that is truly where it all begins.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

San Clemente in October

Last week, the skies were filled with a blazing, golden heat which should only be reserved for the dog days of mid-summer.  The sun bore down upon us and the temperatures reached record breaking numbers as we were left to wonder where the fall had gone.

One of my favorite little Hummingbirds began buzzing around me as if to command me to refill his feeder.(Which I promptly did!)  And then he thanked me by lapping up the cherry red nectar with a thirst that seemed insatiable.
The ocean was clear and warm and mild.  Light breezes toyed gently with the sails on the sailboats.  Fresh Kelp beds(the dark areas out in the distance) thrived as the algae spores rose upwards toward the sunshine.
The beaches became crowded, once again, with people seeking relief from the unbearable heat.  They explored the numerous tide-pools on the lazy, heat-infused, autumn afternoons, momentarily forgetting about school and pumpkins and Halloween costumes.
The sun glistened off the surface of a surfboard, as people sought shelter beneath the comfort of a sole umbrella.  Content to be by the water on this misplaced summer day in early October.
The sweltering heat felt like it would never subside.  It hung in the air.  It surrounded our bodies.  It was stifling and stagnant.
Until suddenly, it was not.  Change blew in and the skies began to fill with fluffy, ethereal puffs of white clouds.
The heatwave broke.  Windsocks, flags and palm tree branches began dancing on the balmy, beach breezes.  The rain storms which would take place during the next several days, once again misplaced, were beginning to form.

And once again, the flocks of giant Pelicans remembered that it was time to go home.  They took flight against the grey skies in large numbers, their silhouettes creating beautiful patterns against the darkening clouds.
And as I watched them flying overhead, I once again remembered that I, too, am searching for home.  A home within myself.  A home to which I can fly, even in the absence of wings.  A home that includes my husband and my four Angel Daughters regardless of season, place or time.  A home that encompasses everything I need and not so much of what I don't.
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