Second Time Around
I gave my first Icebreaker four years ago, and then, in September of 2012, my world fell apart. My beloved 17 year old niece came home from school not feeling well. She was taken to the hospital and the situation was dire enough that a special ambulance containing a doctor and a nurse was sent, sirens screaming, from Yale in New Haven to their home town of Newtown. Her parents placed her in the ambulance not knowing if she would emerge alive. She was rapidly becoming paralyzed from the bottom up and the top down. We organized prayer circles around the world. My blog became a lifeline. The increasing paralysis was finally stopped just in time so that she could still breathe on her own, but it took time to diagnose the problem, and to reverse the process. She had to relearn how to swallow. She had to relearn how to talk, and walk. Finally she was allowed to go home to recover. You may have caught where she lives - Newtown, CT. In one day, the mother of one her good friends was shot. Her family knew, in one way or another, everyone who was killed, except the shooter, though they had lived across the street from him when they were renting a house in Sandy Hook. One child who died was living in that house when the shooting occurred. Katy was not able to leave her home to attend, but her family went to funeral after funeral, memorial after memorial. It’s been two years, and there is pain. My foundation was shaken. I needed a break.
Years before, I had the opportunity to travel. I spent six weeks in Nepal, four of them in the mountains in the Everest region. Though I was raised on mind over matter, I learned that matter has a voice, one that can literally take your breath away. I was brought to my knees and was carried and then crawled to the altitude sickness clinic. I then spent a month in a fishing village in Mexico. I went to Jakarta and Bali. Then on Monhegan Island off the coast of Maine, I woke up. What was I doing? I was searching outside of myself, and I knew it was time to look more deeply within. I came home. I travel rarely now. Very little is enough. I find joy in the simplest things. Oh, look, the sun is shining. It’s raining. I have hands and feet. How amazing is that? Can you believe it?
One of the major themes of my life is the kaleidoscope. I’ve loved kaleidoscopes since I was a child. I found it magical that I could hold a cylinder to the light and turn it and patterns would emerge and change. I think even then I sensed the kaleidoscope as a metaphor for life. How do we meet what comes as the kaleidoscope turns and the patterns change?
Life has brought me to my knees many times. Each time, I’ve learned a new connection with and love of the ground.
I’ve also learned how to receive. I can’t do this alone. I need support. I need you.
Last weekend in a sensory awareness workshop, I felt my heart like a tinker toy, one of the round pieces with a hole in the middle, and holes all around. There is a hole in my heart to connect with something more, to Source. I see it as an umbilical cord to a wider womb. There are also holes to connect with you.
These words of Wendell Berry are my guide.
"It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stram is the one that sings."
Each time I'm broken apart, I can taste more of the river and sing more of my song.
I give thanks for the rocks in the stream, and for the foundation that shakes and breaks.
I am here, grateful. I offer thanks.