Thursday, August 21, 2014
Crescent Within Crescent
I was putting Indy to bed when a motion outside her window caught my eye. It was a spider, an orb of dark against an electric blue, late evening sky. She was doing her balletic dance, creating a web, and she seemed to fly or float on the air as she worked around and around, concurrent circles, connected by waves. Indy and I stopped to watch her. We were unafraid. She was outside, under the eave, and the window fastenings were tight. I wondered at her direction. A tiny arachnid, afloat in an enormous sky. Yet somehow she knew exactly where to go.
I don't know where to go. Changes have occurred and have dramatically altered the perceived trajectory of my life. I thought I knew where things were headed and I feel not unlike a girl caught up in a tornado and spun about before being set down in a land that isn't home. I am uncertain of myself and unsteady on my own two feet. The changes aren't bad, even good change can knock the wind out of us. There is the stuff I can't talk about, but there is also my book, which has guided my life and been my true north for the last four years. Now it has set a-sail in its own tiny boat and I am here, windswept, rudderless without it.
And then there is the world. The world is teeming over with terrible ache. Ugliness and darkness everywhere we turn. I have struggled with what to do, and I don't know what is right. I don't want to turn a blind eye to the suffering of others. I also don't want to drown in it. Yesterday it all collected in my veins. I felt like I was slowly filling up with little bullet weights, the kind we tied to our fishing lines when we were young. Over the last few days I've felt overwhelmed and useless, haunted and insecure. Every little light in the dark seems quickly diminished by the latest reports coming in from the world and congealing on our social media.
When Robin Williams died, everyone was begging those who are suffering to please get help. The problem is, my experience with depression is that once it is upon me, I don't want help, nor am I capable of asking for it. I don't say this because I'm currently depressed (I'm not), but to make the point that it's necessary to have a plan in place before the depression hits. I know that mine will hit in the next month or so, and I need to update my prescription. My point is that there are times I'm not capable of knowing better or doing better. But when I am capable, I owe it to myself and this world to try. Most of the day yesterday, I wasn't capable. My own gloom filtered down to my children and we were the three of us a heart-heavy troika, the girls squabbling endlessly, my room reeking of despair. Throughout the day I kept thinking that I could flip this scene around with my own attitude adjustment, but I couldn't, I couldn't. I beat myself up about it, but there was nothing I could do. Until suddenly, there was. After dinner the girls went outside. I put on some cliche yoga music and got down on the mat. My body so badly needed to exhale and exhale, to breathe it all out again and again, and I did, heavily, tearily. I believe that our bodies can't talk to us if we heap abuse upon them, and that if we stop, we allow the animal wisdom of our physical selves to be heard, and we know instinctively what is good for us and what is not. I believe this goes for our souls as well. And who knows, perhaps it goes for this whole aching world.
As I finished yoga, a lightning storm hit. Ayla ran into the kitchen and cowered in the corner with her hands over her ears, panicked crying. Squealing. It's an irritating thing she does. Usually we try to command her not to be afraid, tell her there is nothing to be afraid of. Foolishly try to impose our will over hers. But this time, I was trying not to make any more souls silent with abuse. "Why are you crying?" I said. She said she was scared and if she was scared, she couldn't sleep. "So just accept you are scared," I said. "It's okay to be afraid. Now you know when you hear thunder, you are going to be afraid. And you can just look at yourself and say lovingly, oh look, here I am again, being afraid." Usually these scenes with Ayla escalate us all but this time she nodded and stopped crying right away. Though the thunder continued, she didn't mention it again.
Oh look, here I am again, Brittany, rudderless. I climbed down beneath the covers and told my soul she was doing a beautiful job. And she is. We all are. We are stumbling along through a limitless dark doing the best we can, which is enough. If I was some celestial being looking down upon our efforts against the void, I would be in awe. We keep getting up.
Last night I had a beautiful dream. I can see why people believe they might be traveling, astral projection they call it, now that I've had this dream. It was more vibrant that real life. All my senses were stirred, my whole body humming. Everything was perceived beyond my normal abilities of perception--all five senses resounding in my gut. I ran out of an ancient forest, across black rocks that were wet and gritty with sand, down an incline toward a beach. To my left was a black cliff and a purple sky, and from behind the cliff two brilliant moons were rising, crescent within crescent, concurrent half-circles over the waves. I ran along the rocks and knew I wouldn't fall. The atmosphere itself was living. Something told me to jump and so I did. I threw my body up and into the wind, the wild sea air. I knew I wouldn't fall or float away. I jumped, and the wind held me. Suspended like a star over a sighing sea.