Hi Mom –
I spun out on a SpEd tangent in the few days after I last wrote to you. I couldn’t put it in a letter. It’s one of those things I so badly wish I could pick up the phone and talk to you about as it’s going down.
I have a dear friend who has stepped up in that – the listening. Yesterday – she brought a reading to my attention that I would like to share with you today. We’d both read it before, but it struck her differently this time and – in light of where I have been lately with who I am and where my passions lie – she thought of me. I know you will get it – as she gets it – as I get it. She shared it in the middle of the day yesterday. The strange thing was that I had saved a yin-yang nautilus shell to my desktop just the day before. I have also seen – through my writing – that I have indeed laid my past to rest – but that who I am today was fed by it – was brought to life by it. There is a strength in me – and a buoyancy – that wouldn’t exist had it not been for the past. Of that I am certain.
Speaking of the past… Yesterday was September 16th. Your brother has been gone 7 years. It’s really hard to believe. B was in my belly when he passed. E was present – as an 8 year old – for my last phone conversation with him. I remember E consoling me as clear as day. My explaining that we would not see him again on this earth. He is missed. As are you. We planted a black walnut tree out back – added his ashes to the earth – had a beautiful ceremony when the family was here for John and my wedding. Dustin dug the hole. Memories seared in my brain. Me falling into the hole – that John had moved Ron’s perfect marker stone from – as we walked out to do the ceremony. I didn’t know that was where he’d found it. The grass was all long. It was fluke that I fell in there. I could hear Ron laughing with all of us when I asked where that hole came from and John told me. Actually – I can hear him laughing now. The stone is by the garden gate – not the tree. It’s not engraved, but I know what it is. It’s Ron’s rock. I hold faith that your souls hooked up on the other side.
So yeah – strength and buoyancy through being what you’ve been at different points in time. Buoyancy as you move forward into whoever you are in the present.
Here is the reading. It’s from Mark Nepo’s The Book of Awakening.
Where We’ve Been
I have been born again and again
and each time,
I have found something to love.
~ Gordon Parks
Our ability to find something to love, and to love again for the first time depends greatly on how we resolve and integrate where we’ve been before. A great model for us exists in the chambered nautilus, an exquisite shell creature that lives along the ocean floor. The nautilus is a deep-sea form of life that inches like a soft man in a hard shell finding his prayers along the bottom. Over time it builds a spiral shell, but always lives in the newest chamber.
The other chambers, they say, contain a gas or liquid that helps the nautilus control its buoyancy. Even here, a mute lesson in how to use the past: live in the most recent chamber and use the others to stay afloat.
Can we, in this way, build strong chambers for our traumas: not living there, but breaking our past down till it is fluid enough to lose most of its weight? Can we internalize where we’ve been enough to know that we are no longer living there? When we can, life will seem lighter.
It is not by accident that the nautilus turns its slow digestion of the bottom into a body that can float. It tells us that only time can put the past in perspective, and only when the past is behind us, and not before us, can we open enough and empty enough to truly feel what is about to happen. Only by living in the freshest chamber of the heart can we love again and again for the first time.
I can tell you, Mom. It’s taken a LONG time to break that stuff down. In doing so – I realize that’s just what you were doing when you were my age – especially in those last few years. Breaking it down so you could break free from yourself from it. I know you were – because life together in those last years just got lighter and lighter.
I built on what I learned from you – in many, many ways. I can say that now without idolizing you – without making myself seem like less than you or an extension of you. That took some time, too.
For the most part, I have learned to “live in the most recent chamber and use the others to stay afloat.” All good on the past front.
Right now – though – there is not work for me (outside of the home). I need more hours in this – my most recent chamber. Been looking, been writing, been networking. Could you pull some strings with God and the universe – the powers that be? I’m keeping the faith with all the 1111s and Dang – the 222’s. I woke up at 2:22 two nights in a row this week. Just sayin’… I’m listening. I’m praying, but I don’t know what the next step is.
I keep going back to this https://herpassionjournal.wordpress.com/2013/12/05/i-am-here/ “Follow your heart. There will be an eye watching over you and a hand to guide you.” Remember? Yeah. I’m doing that, but it’s getting a little scary over here. Wanting some guidance.
Keeping the faith. It’s working out the best for all concerned.
I will just keep on keepin’ on with the following of my heart.
I know you and the crew are watching over me.
I’m just feeling a little lost, and I am confused about what the next step is.
I love you so.