The next number of posts, all titled Conversations on… come from email communications between a dear friend and me. With her permission, I am publishing excerpts from them because I feel they pertain to everything we’ve been discussing on the blog. Kate has been in the process of trying to figure out how to be a writer and still maintain her teaching job. She has very recently decided she must leave her job and fully embrace a “writing life.” At her request I’ve changed her name and am using initials for people she brings up. Those of you who have not read any of the earlier Conversation pieces, may want to go back to have a better understanding of Kate’s progress. You’ll find her story under the topic category, “Kate’s Story.” It’d be great if you all would join our conversation…
Yes, I don’t think you have any other choice than to just keep listening. I believe the morning pages and your Artist’s Way work will help a great deal with that. I think letting go of any attachment to a particular outcome may be part of it. I’m always having to practice that. Your daughter’s words are wise and, of course, extend far beyond gardening. It’s great advice for simply living.
Talk about inspired! Putting some of your photos up in your studio is brilliant!
Re: hoping to toughen up, I wish the opposite for you. Buddha said the heart will be broken again and again and again until it stays open. Your description of what you’re accustomed to—the tough little spitfire, full of determination to do anything you set your mind to—sounds very much like the persona I held tightly when I first left my corp. job. The universe made it very clear that this was no longer going to work for me—that I was being required to find a different way—that, in fact, this way of being was what was supposed to die. I was being asked to live from a place of vulnerability where just being, not strength of will, accomplished what was needed. Perhaps this is what you’re supposed to be letting go? Try just flowing with the opening you’re experiencing. Let go of trying to control any of it. You know you can’t anyway.
I am just at a loss about what I am supposed to be learning from what is happening right now. I hear you, and what you say makes sense about just being in vulnerability and that that is part of what being fully open is about, that letting go of the fighting spirit and a reliance on will that was part of the unhealthy way of being is necessary. As it was for you, this is a crucial lesson for me. BUT…
I am struggling to make sense of my conflict with nature and how that fits into my belief system, which has always ALWAYS rested on a feeling of oneness with those around me. Not only has Miles’s illness shaken my world (and I’m not sure that even corresponds to this question anyway, as that carries a whole other set of lessons to be learned), but the garden destruction, the attacking bees, having to give in and call someone to remove the extremely aggressive woodchucks after days and days of agonizing over how to control the damage, failing, and helplessly watching it happen, finding myself experiencing these creatures as adversaries–and now, as I found out last night, getting Lyme disease, which I have contracted from a nasty tick bite on my leg that I didn’t even know I had until a couple of days ago.
I spent two hours in the emergency room last night (yet more money down the drain) and left in tears, because this seems like one more blow that I just don’t understand. You may have heard about Lyme, though fortunately it isn’t a problem in your area. It has become an epidemic in the northeast over my adult lifetime. Charlie [Kate’s dog] has had it twice and was very sick both times, MF had it, his mother had it, my nephew had it, and my friend ended up committing suicide because her life was destroyed by the terrible effects of the disease, which in her case had gone undiagnosed. My father was one of the first cases documented in Old Lyme, CT, where it is thought to have originated. That was over 30 years ago. Though we live on the edge of a beautiful wooded conservation area, I don’t walk there at all unless there is snow on the ground, for fear of getting Lyme, as we have an out-of-control population of deer ticks here. I have always taken great care when on tracking trips and have never gotten a single tick on any of those many occasions. But deer ticks are all over the place where we live, and I even find them on Charlie just from his daily walks along a residential road. On Sunday I took MF and Charlie for a walk to a new place I had scouted out on a nearby mountain that has breathtaking views, and it’s possible I got it on the path walking up there. I had been seeking new and beautiful places to go for creative inspiration, as part of my Artist’s Way work. How discouraging!
I have to be on antibiotics for three weeks, the standard course of treatment, which isn’t so bad with the help of probiotics. It’s just that this—on top of all the other recent disasters—feels so bad, and, if there is a message in all this, it remains unclear to me, other than not to let such things deter or discourage me. I need to remain open, as you say, and keep listening. Maybe I am so very afraid of losing the openness that I am just learning to live with, so afraid that circumstances will shut me down again, that these situations end up feeling like attacks against my purpose, like the universe is at odds with me rather than supporting me, triggering all the old bad habits and responses. Maybe THAT fear is what I need to let go of, somehow.
I hope hearing about these frustrating trials gives you some added perspective of how far you have come in your life and how much meaning your support provides to those who are struggling along.
To be continued…
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Love to you all,