The coming of spring and beginnings
Sitting before me in a white clay pot is an- about- to- bud hyacinth, moss surrounding the emerging leaves. It is the promise of spring and although purchased as a small gift, I cannot part with it. It is so precious, a cone opening with its pointed green leaves that are sheltering a nest of compacted buds. I wonder what colour will eventually erupt. Purple or white are my favourites, but blue or pink will also be fine.
I’m not sure if it the advent of a new beginning with the burst of the colours of flowers, the renewal of the feeling of the sun on my shoulders and the dropping of my winter coats to the back of the cupboard, or whether it is spiritual, emotional or physical reclamation: likely all. How can one simple plant make such a difference?
This week my daughter made a difference. The online video is attached here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-KrJxhkHto&sns=em .She and three other women spoke out in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania against the anti-abortion law. Then she followed up in a written article in The Elephant Journal. Addressing the issues through her own personal story, her public disclosures had to have cost her as they resurrected her loss, sad and terrible, one that she lives with constantly. However, she was determined to voice her perspective, honestly, earnestly with the hope that other mothers would at least be afforded the option she had. And her voice made a diffetence: as the governor did not support the bill. “This legislation would be a step back for women,” Wolf said at the press conference. “This legislation would be a huge step back for Pennsylvania. If this legislation reaches my desk, I will veto it.”
How do we get through the traumas of life?
First, we must breath. In and out, mechanically and take a step. Not simple.
I remember when my father died and I was torn by two opposing options. One to scrub him from my memory because thinking of him opened me to the fact he was gone and we could never address issues that had piqued me, such as my being too sensitive, that he favoured my sister, etc., etc…The other was to saturate myself with remembering the good times we did share, to relive the love that had passed between us on special times. Immerse myself in memories or banish them completely. One direction as painful as the other.
So I was stuck. To not move is also a decision, proclaim our Existential friends. None of this is easy. We think too much, we bury what we cannot confront. A friend whose parents were holocaust survivors explained the heavy burden she carried on her back. Tormented, she finally found that witnessing the stories of others whose experiences coalesced with her own helped. She said she didn’t know when, but suddenly she felt lighter, her backpack of pain lifted, and she could move on. And it is true, our emotions can be stones that weigh down our bodies, impacting what we do and how we behave.
The Mark Epstein book, The Trauma of Everyday Life, says we must first move through them. We are as Tennyson’s Ulysses reflected,
…a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
Gleams that untravell’d world…
Apart and part of all we have been, building into our psyches details, events, traumas and more so it is no surprise that our souls are filled, our human outlines fleshed out by all the accumulating phenomenon that sticks or becomes stuck to us.
I often joke, I am a bit like Teflon pot, some things sticking, others sliding away. And why is it that some sear us, other bounce and slide off our personal frying pans. In the matters of the heart, in terms of caring deeply, we do not easily slough off the arrows, the darts, the burning sensations with which life often provokes and brands us.
We are a cooked dish of flavours that is triggered by our senses: a piquant smell, the colour of a rose in bloom, the touch of fabric- all eliciting and triggering something we believed buried, bridging us in our contemporary setting to unfulfilled dreams, dark caves and unexpected memories of the soul. Although one’s mind cannot be in two places at once, we do layer experience upon experience and wrap ourselves in the past, good, bad or indifferent: for those events that have somehow pierced us and remain in our heads and hearts, although locked away, they may resurrect themselves unbidden and unexpectedly. I wonder, why this and not that? Why do I remember losing my mother’s hand in Eaton’s? And not my father gathering me to him in hug very often?
Our selective minds are usually reinforced by the happiest or saddest moments in our lives. It would be impossible to carry all the days in our heads equally. Perhaps it is a good thing that we cannot consciously carry it all around with us, and only the high and low give us pause to recount our days.