Thursday, February 11, 2016

Reflections



I can't get enough of my new dining room set-up. A lot is changed around here. Oliver gave me that sitting Buddha with the pot that holds incense. I don't like incense, though, so it's empty which I think is more fitting. To be empty. Emptied. I remember being a little girl at church on Sunday and nearly fainting and certainly gagging when the priest walked down the aisle swinging that thing around with incense wafting out and around. I felt as if I were suffocating. Perhaps that's symbolic of my wrestling and then fleeing the Catholic Church. Perhaps it's just that I hate incense. When Oliver gave me the little Buddha incense holder, he included a box of cheap incense, and he lit it and immediately the house smelled like one of those stores that sells things for the spiritually materialistic. I'm actually prone to spiritual materialism -- I love mala beads around my neck and wrists, my red Buddha necklace, my turquoise Buddha ring, the Mother Mary cards, my Book of Changes, the Poet Tarot Cards. But no incense.



I took a shower tonight, and while the water beat down on me, I thought about jinxes. I thought about Sophie doing so well for the last couple of days, and maybe it'll only be the last couple of days, but it's been a good couple of days. Have we found the sweet spot with the strain (ACDC) and dosage ( a little higher)? Or is it something else? Is it the hot, dry weather and absence of pressure? Is it just -- well -- just? It occurred to me as I leaned my forehead against the tile and closed my eyes that despite the passage of nearly 21 years, I still know so very little about what makes my daughter's brain tick -- and tick too much. Despite those 21 years, and countless showers where I had very similar thoughts, where I crouched down and cried while the baby screamed in the bedroom, where I leant into the tile, exhausted, the tile perhaps like Roman stone, trod on, trod on, trod on, I still know so little. My sighs and tears and musings are always the same, an endless cycle, samsara. Suffocating. To be emptied. An empty vessel with room for gratitude.

34 comments:

  1. Wow. So many times when I read what you write I am blown away by the way you tell things. By how you tell your story. And your perspective, and your gratitude. I love that. You have such a way with words. I do often wish the words could be filled with more joy and solutions and peace. But I'm glad for the respite. Even a few days respite is a big deal, I know. Big hug.

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    1. Thanks, Theresa. There's plenty of joy and peace -- pretty much no solutions, though.

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  2. I love your sitting Buddha. And yes, empty vessel… symbolic of so much. Hugs. xxk

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  3. I got a call last night because first Katie's roommate had a meltdown which set off Katie. An ambulance was called to assess her and they said she was okay. She couldn't settle though so I went to her house, armed with Ativan. She was sitting in her room crying. Her diaper was wet so we wrestled and I got her changed. My god she has become a full grown adult. I couldn't lift her anymore. I wrestled her into a new diaper and pyjamas and then bed. She kept crying and trying to bang her face for half an hour. I sat and tried to soothe her. I thought about doing this for the past 23 years and tried not to look into the future but can't help it. I see myself doing this forever with my getting slower and older.

    Katie finally settled and I left her tucked in bed, singing to herself. It's hard, even though I don't care for her everyday anymore it's still so hard.

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    1. When you tell me these things, I wish we lived closer to one another. I just know we'd be friends, and I know that I would visit Katie with you and help you.

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    2. Thank you Elizabeth. I think we would be too.

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  4. You sound as if you're in a moment of holding all that is spaciously.

    And the writing is lovely.

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    1. I think the holding happens only in moments, Angella -- and I guess that has to be enough.

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  5. Hopefully a peaceful emptiness, when everything else is too full.

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    1. I don't think emptiness has any quality, to tell you the truth -- either positive or negative. Perhaps therein lies the beauty.

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  6. I love the beauty and wisdom of this.

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    1. Thank you, Carrie. I am humbled that you think so given all that I've learned from you.

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  7. "An empty vessel with room for gratitude." Yes.

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    1. I'm glad it resonated, Leslie. I hope that you're well.

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  8. I'm glad for the good couple of days. And I so look forward to seeing you next week.

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    1. I am beyond excited to hang out with you!

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  9. This post left me feeling the way I feel after watching a friend's performance on stage which is so good that I cannot talk to them.
    Like that.
    (I love you- she said, in a teeny tiny voice.)

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    1. I just can't imagine you with a teeny tiny voice, Mary, but thank you!

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  10. I hope you have found the sweet spot. Beautiful writing.

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    1. I'm too scared to say, Mary Lou. I know you understand!

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  11. Not an endless cycle. I believe that it is more of a helix where we sometimes feel as though we are circling back around to where we were before, but we are actually just a little bit higher with a slightly better perspective as we move through time. We will all circle back around again and again and if we acknowledge that this is not a bad thing, but something that is part of our human pattern, we can see how far we've come.

    Love the photo and the musing and, I'm with you, I hate the overpowering, humid cloud of incense. The "empty vessel" is a beautiful metaphor.

    Love.

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    1. As always, your comment is profound Kari. Honestly, I wish you taught somewhere -- what you take in from others and then give out is tremendous -- it's like you see layers that even I don't see. You inspire me. Thank you.

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    2. You are so kind. And I sometimes think I "teach" everywhere (I just don't get paid to do it - ha!), and I am always touched when my words resonate. The inspiration is mutual, to be certain.

      XOXO

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    3. Beautiful words, Kario. I'll be thinking of and meditating on that helix.

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  12. Reading this, I saw a beautifully sad and powerful scene: a woman in the shower with her shower and tear streaked face resting on the tiles, a still moment in time. Very very moving. Your writing allows us in to a very intimate place, and I thank you.

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  13. So evocative as ever, Elizabeth. My heart aches for the woman who weeps, and surges with joy at the empty Buddha. I on the other hand love the smell of incense.

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    1. Ha! Do you recommend a certain kind of incense? I'm thinking that it's only the cheap kind that I despise -- or is there such a thing as expensive incense?

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  14. My mother felt the same way about incense. The Buddha my cousin gave her back in the 1950s sat in the nitcche under the phone and never burned anything.

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    1. I love that you have that memory. Hopefully, my boys will remember this about me and at least not burn incense at my funeral. :)

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  15. I value your thoughts so much. There is so much pragmatism and love in your outings. I love that Buddha, by the way. :-)

    Greetings from London.

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  16. Emptiness can be seen as an ideal state -- an openness to new things, a lack of occlusion caused by calcified thoughts and ideas. The Buddha is beautiful. I'm with you on incense, though -- I'm not a fan.

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