I honestly don’t know where to begin, although I’ve thought about the moment when I might so many times over the last six months. A dear friend said, “You know, even in very bad times, I believe that the conversation you maintained with your readers helped keep you afloat, sustained you on some level, and helped your spirit feel connected in ways it hasn’t in recent months. I also know that it just wasn’t possible for you to keep that up while you’ve been so deeply tired and so ill. But if you wake up one day soon and feel called to return to that conversation, or even just to gently test the waters again, I for one will cheer you on with all my heart.” Today is apparently that day. And I agree with my friend: These conversations between us, you all and I, have sustained and connected me to something that resonates within as vitally important as air. They have been life sustaining in fact.
I had told that same friend, when I withdrew even from her, that I felt a need to wrap tightly into myself, to somehow curl around my very core, putting its heat and energy into getting strong again, even if that same action served to shut out much of my world.
I haven’t written, not only due to a lack of energy and will, but also because of a lack of inspiration. A life tamped down to its barest essentials and medicated to the hilt doesn’t offer up much stimulus. And I felt I had nothing to add to the lovely conversation, as my friend put it, that we, you all and I, had going.
So along with almost everything else, I left you all and went deeply into self. I went silent. I want to apologize to those of you who have written to say you’ve missed hearing from me, and also to those (a surprising number according to the stats Adam-–see previous post How the Blog Was Born—recently sent me) who have stuck by me, continuing to check in and read even in the face of my ongoing silence. I especially want to thank you for that—for standing by me.
It hasn’t been easy here in my life. In fact it’s been very hard, although my difficulties are nothing compared to a mother in Syria, for instance, or a thousand other occurrences I could name that are unspeakable. But a friend once said to me suffering is relative. Just because there are others in the world in far worse shape than I, doesn’t diminish my own personal struggle. And I know that to be true.
I also haven’t written because I fear my whole demeanor no longer fits with that writer you all knew who was filled with belief and hope; faith in a benevolent universe. In fact after several years of being kicked about a bit, I no longer know what I believe.
I keep thinking that’s what it’s all been about: A stripping down to bone so as to teach me how to put on muscle again.
But does it really need to be about anything?
Or could it just be life? Could it simply be what life is presenting to me right now?
In a lovely letter I received recently from a reader she said, in part, “I hope… you have joy, love and happiness in your life. May 2016 bring you better health and a strong spirit.”
And there’s a wonderful truth: I do still have joy, love and happiness in my life and a spirit that is still strong in there somewhere, even if it wavers sometimes.
I believe (see there it is, poking its nose up to survey the outer landscape, I’m starting to believe again) that in the midst of seemingly soul-shattering experiences, life still offers us its light. But we have to stay alert or we can miss it, so small may be its beam.
Look at the children in those horrible news clips we see all too frequently now, the refugees seeking shelter from war. While many are distressed we see others, in the camps sometimes, playing with sticks and rocks or whatever is at hand; or babies clinging to parents, trusting: That is the human spirit made visible I think. And that is something we all share. Those people, refugees from war, hatred, evil, illness, continue because they want to live. They want to find a place of peace where they can raise their families. They want to give their children a better life. They need food to eat, clean water and air, shelter, a way to earn a living.
I have all of those things. And it seems monstrously disrespectful of me to give up, in the face of those who don’t, under much worse circumstances. So I want to tap into my own rather tested and tired spirit to proactively reclaim my health.
And I’m asking for your help. As my friend recognized, when I write to you I am kept afloat.
So let me make a pledge to you all here today because I haven’t been able to do it with Kim’s, Kathy’s, Craig’s, Aubrie’s, my Mom’s, love and support alone. Or by my own intention.
I am going to take the steps, a few at a time because it will be a fairly long journey, to get well again.
And I want to enlist your help in this way: I’d like you to witness my recovery, my journey back to health. Why, you might be asking, should I give a whit about that? But hear me out.
I thought I would try to write posts about my experiences and my hope is that as I offer up glimpses of my own personal reclamation project, some of you may decide to take a look at that thing you haven’t been able to face yet (come on now we, each of us, have something). And I thought we could support each other in the process. While writing to you gives me a sense of having made a pact, an oath more potent than just to myself, my efforts could possibly serve as a catalyst to you to deal with whatever it may be.
I don’t want to go into the specifics of my health issues because that’s not really the point. Instead I want to focus on getting back into partnership with my body to become strong again. And back into communication with you.
When I write to you a sort of connectedness to spirit opens within me. Some of you have written to say a similar thing happens for you when you read my posts. So there it is. I’m asking you to give me the strength I haven’t found elsewhere to deal with my seemingly crumbling health. And it is my hope that I may be of some use to you as well. What do you say?
I’m not sure how frequently I’ll be able to post, but I’m thinking just a toe in to, as my friend put it, test the waters. It’s fairly scary for me but I’ll take the plunge if you all go with me. Are we ready? OK, get set GOoooooooohhhhhhhh….
Love to you all,