The Choosing

car-repair

We’re traveling to Los Angeles next week in a new car. A car we have not yet found or bought. The pressure is on. This car is for me, a gift from my husband, but I’m having trouble choosing it, because I’m in an identity crisis.

The therapist in me is stepping back. The seer is closing her eyes. The healer is storing her remedies on the back shelves in the pantry. People still walk though my door. I extend my hand, my heart and my spirit, but I can feel this identity slipping away. She is halfway through the door marked leaving. I can still see her face, the strength in her shoulders and the courage in her stance, but soon, very soon, she will be a shadow. The door will close and she’ll live only in memory. Those were good years, rewarding, exhausting, and sleepless. Open arms defined me, bountiful and willing.

What a difficult time to choose a car, because a car is a reflection of Self. It’s meant to hold me as I move too fast through time and space, arriving at unknown destinations again and again.

My passion has turned to writing. My expression craves storytelling and connection. This is not the performance art of the past, where I stood costumed and elevated to be witnessed and heard. No. This is a private deep excavation of self and soul which leads, encounters, uncovers and continues. This new self does not want to transform pain by receiving, holding and mothering. No. She wants to sit in her nightgown with a cup of steaming tea, wrap her hands around the rim, and watch soothing vapors rise in scents of chamomile or ginger. She wants to cozy up, put her arm around you and say, Let me tell you a story. Let me help you laugh, let me give you perspective. Come away with me, escape. Come back when you are centered, restored and renewed. Courage lies in listening.

That’s the self that’s rising from the core. She is easy and old, with nothing to prove. There is no expectation, just allowing and being. She wants to go in and in, until she finds that precious and revealing wave of truth, then ride it like a wild-haired senior surfer.

So, help me out here. What kind of car does she drive?

Miracles Happen

 Her hand is extended in friendship. The gesture is genuine and wanting. I place my hand in hers, taking it ~ touched by the gesture and the sisterhood implied. But another part of me is cautious, not because of her. I am cautious because of the courage a real friendship requires. I am a coward in this area, afraid of what will be asked of me. Not asked, maybe but demanded. I must be honest, dead honest to be close. I am so easily hurt and the sting is lasting. It feels so hard to say, “When you did that, I felt this. It felt ungenerous. Did you mean to hurt me?” I have chosen instead to be distant all these years.

My oldest sister did mean to hurt me. She schemed and planned. It was her occupation and she was masterful. How can we leave Karen out, she wondered. How can I get rid of her? She formed groups of exclusion. Oh Karen, we were just talking about what we were all going to do, and we all decided that we did not want you to be part of it. We think you wouldn’t be of much use.

What was it in her that needed to destroy me and why? This older child who hated me was my care-giver and only available parent. We’re old women now, but the relationship remains, except I no longer engage in opening or extending. She still waits coiled and ready to strike. I ask in gestures and words. Can we stop this yet? Can we give this up? The answer is, No. Her position is set.

 What I had not fully realized is how this relationship has colored my ability to reach towards others. How quietly and subtly I have folded my hand behind my back or deep inside my pockets, when the thing my heart needed most was to extend forward, placing the warmth of another’s willingness inside the courage of my own. Honesty is required. I must speak and not be silent to create what I desire. I must risk that my words will fall on gentle soil.

Why does love require such courage?

Love should wash over us naturally and with ease the way the sun rises each morning or the way water laps gently and consistently against the shore.

Maybe love is that way after all, once our fears are put to rest and our wounds healed. Maybe in the end, it’s all that easy; but for me, I’m thinking probably not. For me, I will need courage, honesty and willingness. Maybe I can do that more easily now. Maybe miracles do happen.

written 7-27-08