Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Inexperience and Providing Nourishment

Dark days ahead. I've only slept an hour or so, numb, and am finally, blessedly, woken at 2:30 by someone I love so that we could murmur to one another through the darkness, over the telephone. There's only love.

Early in the day I brought Sophie to the osteopath. A student held Sophie's feet gently and the doctor bowed her head, eyes closed, her hands under Sophie's back, her spine, then her head. Sophie resisted at first. I held her hands down, looked in her eyes. The doctor said All will be well. Sophie's eyelids drooped, she fell asleep under our hands. We are all healers.

All night I have been awake. I lie in the dark on my bed, the constant blip of an alarm breaking the quiet. Not a full-out alarm but a scrape, a shortened whine. I walk around the house and stand in various places, my head cocked. Is it here? Is it here? Is it at my neighbor's whose house is empty, being renovated? It seems somehow important, this half-way alarm, its insistence.

My three children sleep. One is wrapped in a defensive cynicism, the other in despair. Sophie is innocent, holding all.

I cut a person who questions my fear, tells me to trust only in family and place of worship. I think fuck you and recoil from him, myself. I delete his name.

Dark night. There's only love. My beautiful family.

I feel all the feelings that a body can hold, let them sit and swarm, envelop me in the darkness. There is time to feel everything, to know only the body and what it feels. You can't figure this out. The specificity of despair. So many things I haven't figured out, yet I am here. The sun is still rising and setting. There's history behind us to call on, people of strength and resilience.

Except fear. It rolls in. Stealth. Deserves only a cursory greeting, a scrape, a shortened whine. Is it here? Is it here? I will tell my children that I only greet fear as it passes through. I will tell them that they are safe, that they are loved. I will pay attention, my head cocked, my mind calm, relaxed, prepared to work.  My children are old enough to know, too, these other things. We will be prepared to work when we have allowed the feelings to flow through. We will be calm, relaxed, prepared to work.

We are inexperienced here and unprepared. Why should we be otherwise? I will be calm and relaxed. I will provide nourishment to myself and to my children and to those who need it. I will not waste my energies on those who would argue against the body that feels, against love.

The person in this position has indeed developed in himself a true appreciation of humanity in all of its folly and beauty. Such a person can lead others with wisdom, compassion, and inspiration, and attain all the success attributed to the great and wise historical leaders.
When your endeavors involve the nourishing of others, it is important that they are worthy of such support. If you consistently nourish superior persons, who will in turn provide nourishment for others, you can achieve great effects. Through nurturing and support, social and political aims can meet with success. 
 -- from The Book of Changes or I Ching, Hexagram Four (Inexperience) and Hexagram 27 (Providing Nourishment), when asked: What to do? What to think? What do I do? What to do? What do I think? What do I do?


  1. Breathe. Drink water. Eat. Love.
    I haven't begun to process this. How can it be processed? I don't know anything.
    Except that we will hold on to each other.

  2. Elizabeth - I read your blog all the time but rarely post. My words can never do yours justice. But I am just sick - so sad, so disheartened and I am crying for so many people today. I am a white woman, and am privileged just because I am white. I have never been so embarrassed. And who do I belong with? My family, friends, co-workers - mostly white, mostly voted for Trump. Who will I have left if I unfriend them all? How can this be? How do I walk in the dentist's office this morning, knowing most of them voted for him? How do I pass people at the grocery store and smile hello? How do I console my 22 year old daughter? It's just so hard.

    1. Patrice, you summed my feelings up quite well. But I think I know the answer...we hold each other tight.

    2. Good plan, Jennifer -- thanks. This helps too:

  3. Thank you Elizabeth, wise words that I needed so badly to hear.

  4. All of this, your exquisite post, the comments left her, makes me cry. I have no words yet. I'm waiting for words. Everything feels so raw.

  5. It really does come back to love. It has to.

  6. I'm still working my way through my feelings. Oliver (our dalmatian) expressed his well by throwing up the minute I turned the news on this morning!!


  7. Thinking of you and your family and sending love as we move forward into the unknown. Thanks for being her this morning. x0 N2

  8. I expected to come to Blogger this morning and find nothing but paralyzing fear. It's certainly justified. So reading what you have given us today is a balm so very much needed. I'm glad someone loves you so dearly that you are able to get to the best of you at a time like this, Elizabeth.
    What would we do without you? Seriously, this would be so much different without you.

    Thank you

  9. It's going to a tougher less forgiving America for a long time I am so upset and hurt and, yes, afraid

  10. You are a wonder. Thank you for being true to who you are and letting your kids feel the things that come to them. You are right - we will be ready to act once we have let the feelings rise and fall. The only way I know how to do this is by letting this wound stay open. No band-aids today - just raw, honest truth. Love.

  11. Calm, relaxed and prepared to work. D'accord.

  12. I'm just has shocked as anyone else. But at the end of the day, as a European, I don't question who won by your overwhelming electoral results, but whether who lost did so because of her gender. The only thing that spoke to me on this dark day everywhere in the world, is Hillary's concession speach - that made history for me today.

  13. "I will provide nourishment to myself and to my children and to those who need it. " Yes. We will be our best selves. I am so glad for your blog. Thank you.



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