Gratitude in Clarity

I woke at midnight to no electricity. My phone had a message that the power company was working on the outage. I looked outside and smiled. I went back to bed. I know the trauma I have with winter and not feeling safe or warm. It comes up quickly. But I went back to bed.

I didn’t sleep much that night. I time traveled back and forth. I was trying to erase people from my life. I kept waking up and laughing. The reality seemed absurd but every time I closed my eyes I seemed to travel back to some other time and dimension.

I am who I am because of every person who came into my life. Who would I be if they didn’t exist? What would I had become? Would I miss what I never had? Would there be fragments of me that felt a great void? And how would life around me be lived? Each person was a stepping stone…would I have had different stones?

At 7am I observed the white purity of being covered by snow outside. Candles were burning. Shades laid open. Windows were clear of all distraction. I was too.

And then uneasiness started to set in. I allowed for it. I calmed myself down by reading old books.

There was no sound other than candles burning and children babbling. There was peace across the landscape. No cars. No nothing. Just clarity of silence and my most intimate thoughts.

But…after 36 hours of no electricity or water the ego begins to complain. Just a tad bit! It starts to create deep layers of sadness and remorse for living in a state that has these winters. I knew nothing of this before eight years ago. This year has been better. For the first few winters I was pretty much alone on a mountain. No money. A rundown motel. Two teenagers and the echo of uncertainty staring back at me each time I got snowed in.

I have patience. Lots of it. I began to dread winter. Each year that has grown. I fight against the Post traumatic events. I usually win.

Now every time I hear “snow storm coming” a part of my nervous system gets triggered. I can be prepared but the moment I feel the threat of no power or water…oh my…the ego reminds me of the past. And I enter a place of disregard. I start to feel something that doesn’t fit in my personality of today.

We now have power. As I write this it’s been three hours. The house is clean. Toilets are flushed. Kitchen is immaculate. Clothes is folded. Kids are napping in warm bedrooms. I sit next to my husband as I write. I stop and thank him for all he did to make me feel at peace. He knows me. I read several books by candlelight. I wrote. I loved on my tribe here. And I did a lot of meditating and praying. I did a lot of releasing and manifesting. I needed this detachment.

It’s that time of year that brings stuff up like wanting to erase the folks from the past. I cannot. I won’t. And I am happy that I can’t change anything because I am becoming the best version of me possible. It’s all there is. The snow has clarified that. I’m grateful. I feel the purity of the land healing me. My consciousness truly expands with every winter. I don’t have to hate it. I just need to be. For now. For however long it takes to continue healing me.

Peaceful Flurries

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Snow falls peacefully.

Wind blows fast and hard.

I hate missing you

throughout this chill.

Winter has taken over

inside of me,

numbing what I know,

freezing all reality

as I stare into the coldness.

Silence appears

laying in the whiteness…

I wish I was snow

and you

the shovel scooping,

unearthing,

gathering

me up towards you.

The beauty of moments

is that you never know

when you are making

a cherished memory.

Mine hold many of us

frozen somewhere in time.

State of Grace

I stared outside the window

witnessing sky art

created by the heavens.

I reach inside,

searching for the warmth

of my soul

sending a “thank you”

to the Universe

for the splendid,

magnificent,

awed-stricken

gift of living

in grace.

In the silence,

through the walls

of love and serenity,

I find Divinity

whispering within

the echoes

of a chilling winter morning,

Ah!

YES!

“You are greatly welcome…!”

Winter’s Night

The wind is howling outside the door,

rattling the windows,

clawing everything in its way.

My mind seems to be on the same rhythm.

Thoughts rattle in my brain

things of regrets,

others full of appreciation.

 

I cannot return to the past

as spirituality pushes forward.

Lessons learned.

Some painful.

Some delicious.

Some expanding beliefs.

Others forcing the evolution

of love and forgiveness.

 

I have nothing but the rattle

against my insides

battling Ego against Self.

 

If I run from all that I know

I will still be with me.

If I stay with all that I know

I will still be with me.

 

I am human

made of mistakes,

grace,

love,

and other little things.

 

I have some knowings

that carry me back and forth.

I have this sound of space

with just a few subjects

banging,

scratching,

twirling,

lurking,

breaking

any sense of silence inside.

 

It’s been a long while

since the storm in my head

created a tornado.

 

I breathe in hope

exhaling like the wind

with hollow sounds.

 

Until I remove the belongings,

until I can patch the holes left,

I cannot move into peace

and my heart cannot heal…

so I wait for the wind to die down,

for the swirling to stop,

and my heart to catch up

to the awareness

this too shall pass

and what’s left is just a shallow

memory of one bad night in winter.

Transcending Purity

tranquilityI sat outside watching the snow fall yesterday for a while.  Its silence, serenity and movement mesmerized me.  It has been one of those fluffy thick snowfalls that leave an imagery of fairy tales in the forest.  For so long I hated the snow.  I was traumatized by the destruction it left on my first year in the mountains: pipes froze, no money, didn’t know a single soul in this place, no water, and the desire to run back home while feeling defeated was overwhelming.  Now, four winters later I watch this marvelous tranquility in awe of how it transforms the land and how it has deeply touched the core of me.

Snow erases all borders and discriminating lines.  It isn’t just the whiteness but the abundance of calmness and purity:  dips, valleys, mountains, edges, and everything it touches vanishes into a blank screen.  I am reminded of my near death experience almost a month ago: the whiteness, equanimity, safety, embrace of divinity engulfing my soul.  Yet, I returned to this world.  I smile as I become fully aware of this last statement!

Just like the land with the snow, the essence requires some intergrading.  I am still me.  I still have all my quirks, silliness, sarcasm, and personality traits.  But, something has changed in my spirit.  The purpose of my survival has been diminished.  Everything is white.  There are no edges, radical falls, or fearful drops in the fabric of my being.  I can sit for a long time and marvel at things.  The anxiety of rush and uncertainty has been erased and somewhere in all that whiteness I am trying to distinguish a purpose for my return.  The evolution of me has drastically changed and finding myself in the middle of all this whiteness reminds me of something I can’t grasp.  I understand there is no need to know but this “reprogramming” is sometimes dictated by the ego that makes me human.

The all-knowing of “things” that drove me bonkers has been placed in a proper place.  Space and time don’t seem to exist only when I am due for an appointment or want to watch a television show.  I am somehow being suspended in mysticism and being around too many people tarnishes that peace.  Incorporating the experience with the whiteness of it all seems to leave a sense of displacement at times.  Why did I have to return?  As much as I love my life, family, friends and mate, something back there in that “other realm” is pure light and omnipotence.  I now have dreams of this place.  I relate to things in a way I can’t find words to describe.  I am here.  The body, mind and spirit are here fully conscious of the gift in this lifetime.  But…there is definitely a huge “but”…how do I move forward without losing myself in the soft snow of it all?

As I write this I sit on my sofa, blinds opened, watching the covering of pureness throughout the property.  It is absolutely beautiful.  The sky is white, the pond has a gray tint to it and colors have disappeared from this mountain.  We are all the same.  There is no distinction between what the mind labels and what is present.  This is the divine state of being.  This is as close to near death you can get without leaving the world.  The sound of silence is spectacularly dramatic.  I stare outwards knowing I have touched this somewhere and have returned for whatever reason.  I am okay.  I keep reminded myself when I am among others that I am fine.  The touch of a friend, the embrace from my lover, the lick on my fingers from my cat, the kisses from my daughter all bring me back to this moment.  Things have slowed down significantly and I can’t handle the rattling of anyone trying to force the moment to move quickly.

I have entered another phase of my life.  I don’t quite know where it will take me.  It really doesn’t matter.  This displacement is part of the lesson.  We are all snowflakes individually falling to oneness.  There is no need to ask permission for the existence, or give reasons for the fall.  We are here to live.  I have been provided with priceless gifts.  I am grateful for them all.  And you, there, reading this has joined me on this journey as well.  Thank you!  I see the light in you and our connection to each other.  Have a magical day.

Ode to Spring

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Through the mist,

cradled outside the tunnel of light,

I leave behind the winter

and now reside in the shadows of spring.

Shades of change awaiting rebirth

as the path from dark turns to light

in beautiful calmness and clearing

of all waking dreams.

Pleasant afternoons with evening magic

resurface under a canopy of blue and mystical skies.

It’s like sleep walking through seasons

of golden serenity

while watching the metamorphosis of nature —

spring bursting out in orchards, blooming, blossoming.

Southern mystery bathes in spring rain,

and the oak trees salute in glory,

the dogwood in angelic modes,

the tulips in rainbow vibrancy,

all in moments of perfect beauty captured in fields of solitude.

I want to meet you there

kindly enticing me to awake from slumber.

Pillars of bark and leaves align them selves

calling the sun, teasing it through and through.

Imagine the depth of each bloom,

the secret of each blade,

the breath of each life

the sound of every birth.

This takes me, pulls me, enfolds me

with reflections of green on a canvas of nature

allowing me to forget the length and mystery of its arrival.

I am born again.

Lessons from the Mountains

From time to time I will be posting pages from a book I am finishing.  I hope you enjoy these lessons:

In the winter of 2010 I find myself alone on a mountain top in an old motel living with the ghosts of regrets.  My two youngest are still dealing with the changes of the “poor life” versus their other life of luxuries.  Our home is a modest one.  My best friend and business partner leaves to work for weeks at a time in the airline business.  I don’t know anyone in this town.  I am engulfed in my own thoughts and haunting.  I don’t want to fail.  I cannot fail. Each freezing day that passes I want to return to the old places of familiarity.

The winter is the worst seen in many years on these mountains.  The pipes freeze and I am left without water for eight days.  Two weeks prior to this ordeal the basement floods.  There’s a monsoon of waterfalls coming through the walls.  The house is mourning and so am I.  I sit on the steps looking and listening to the cries.  I join the basement in this release.  I don’t know how much more I can take.  Was moving here a mistake?  What will my family think?  I cannot return to the life I had in Florida.  I cannot go anywhere without money.  I am alone.  I am cold and alone in a way I haven’t felt in years.  If stubbornness was a degree I would have a PhD in it.  I think this is what keeps me moving on auto pilot at this time.  I don’t know.  What do I know about living in these mountains that seem to be taking me to places of unknown assurance?

The days are gloom.  My entire essence is going against this terrain.  Now, on the fifth day without water, I decide to go to the frozen pond and grab a bucket full from the excess trickling down the mountain side.  It is two degrees outside.  I am in my pajamas, hair up on a bun, and water boots to guide my slippery path.  I go down frozen steps, iced and slick just like the pond.  I stand on the ice waiting for the trickling to fill the bucket so I can flush toilets.  I have a half-full bucket when I decide I am cold.  It’s enough for one flushing.  I make it up three steps when I hit an ice chunk and I tumble down the steps on my ass dumping the icy water on my legs.  I am wet, cold, sore and angry as hell.  I yell to the heavens, “Is this all you have?  Really!  Keep giving it to me and I will continue to take it. If I am not supposed to be here then show me a freaking sign so I can leave.”  The valley is quiet. The voice travels and echoes through the dead-ness of winter.  I am so tired of this crap.

I enter the house and cry on the floor in front of the fireplace. I have no money to get someone to fix the broken pipes.  They need to thaw and I need to as well.  I am frozen in my emotions as I cannot figure anything out.  I don’t know exactly what I am supposed to do at this point.  I go downstairs to my basement bedroom where the water has frozen in places.  The large part of my shoes had to be thrown out.  I am down to nothing in my ability to think or find a positive outlet. These are the moments that bring me to my knees.

I think of these mountains, the Appalachian Trail, the beauty and serenity of winter.  I am traumatized by all the white stuff on the ground.  I am not made for this cold.  I cannot stay warm.  I am afraid of the heaters being on too long and causing a fire.  I am afraid of the gas fireplace leaking gas while we sleep.  I make sure the kids have warmth upstairs in their rooms but I have nothing downstairs in the dungeon.  I wrap myself in layers and wait for sun and warmth.  It is months before I feel heat on my shoulders.  It is years before I recognize the power of these lessons.  I am stripped down to nothing.  Even my favorite shoes are gone.   I wait for a sign and it doesn’t arrive until I am ready to conquer my ego and self-worth issues.

The next morning it dawns on me that I have antiques I can go sell.  I have an engagement ring that I can pawn off for food and fixing the well and pipes.  I grab a hold of everything in a box and trek down the mountain, avoiding the black ice that has taught me to tread carefully for days now.  I go to an antique warehouse in Asheville.  I enter with four bottles that are full of liquor and have a music box with a ballerina dancing in the bottle.  They are worth something.  The Dutch company has been out of business for over thirty years.  I know their worth.

Two of the bottles get purchased. I then ask if they buy jewelry and immediately I take the ring that my ex had given me under false pretenses and place it on the counter.  The woman checks the diamonds and asks what I want for it.  I tell her that I don’t know and to make me an offer.

She offers me two hundred dollars and I tell her I will take it.  But then something magical happens as she starts to write the check.  She closes her checkbook and tells me, “You know this ring is worth more than $200?”

“Yes, I know.” I stare into her eyes.

“I can’t buy this from you at that price, ma’am.”  She hands me the ring and I place it in my pocket. She looks at me and the remaining bottles, “You know God provides tests all the time.  Some of us pass them and some of us fail.  You have made me question my character.  I almost failed another test from HIM.  Do you understand this?”

I say to her, “Sweetie, I am humbled by the fact that you didn’t rip me off. I have no sentimental value to the ring.  I would take the $200 if you care to buy it.”

She says, “Thank God.  I just cannot write the check. I cannot rip you off like that.”  Her eyes get glossy and she smiles in such a sympathetic way. She asks, “What is the story behind the ring?”

I tell her it was given to me by my ex and it was to cover up his infidelities at that time.  I couldn’t wear the ring and had not worn in years.   I want to tell her that it’s okay. I am okay with letting it go.  I want to eat something other than Ramen noddles, pay for my pipes to be fixed, and maybe take the kids to a movie.  I want to buy water so I can wash dishes.  I don’t share any of this.

I tell her thank you for her honesty in regards to the value, but as I am walking out of the store she says, “Miss, you are like that ballerina in the bottle.  Don’t ever underestimate yourself.  You are stronger and more graceful than you can imagine.”

I walk out with tears racing down my cheeks.  I had not shared the story of the bottles and my childhood. I don’t tell her that when I was six years old, in one of many Houdini acts, my father showed up with a similar bottle as a gift to my mother.  I remember standing by the dining room table watching the ballerina dance inside the gold liquor while my parents argued in the kitchen.  I wanted to be just like the ballerina: graceful, thin, beautiful and oblivious to my surroundings.

As I get in my car I realize that I am finally that graceful little thing inside of a bottle dancing to a French melody.  I have become the grace that carries me and pushes me towards the rhythm of God’s tune.  I know this.  And forever I will be grateful to this stranger for pointing it out that I am stronger than I think.   I am the embodiment of grace and forgiveness.

I now have some money.  I stop for food and I return up the mountain with a bucket full of hope, grace and peace until the next lesson these mountains choose to bestow upon me. .