Pods are hanging from the birch branches, multiplying overnight. What has been bare for months will soon be full, leaves and green-ness and rustlings-in-the breeze. The tulips have finally opened, I exhale. I’ve been holding my breath, fearing they might not bloom this year, perhaps confused by the extreme back-and-forth we’ve experienced these past two months. I’m still feeling sad for the magnolias, the pear blossoms, the other flowering trees whose names I don’t even know. I’m glad for the tulips’ staggered arrival, their petals rich and colorful, their stems strong and stately. I exhale, now wait for the sycamores. I know Nature doesn’t need me worrying for her. Still, I do.
There is a bird one morning, stunned after flying into the screen-in porch then sliding glass door. It lands by the door, somersaults seemingly forever until righting itself, and the right wing appears, at first, to be oddly bent, and my heart hurts at the sight of all this, the bird opening and closing its beak but no sound coming out. I wait, it flies away, I am relieved though stunned myself. I right my own self with deep breaths, with a reminder that I don’t need to worry quite so much and maybe I don’t need to feel so much, but am left wondering how that’s possible.
I think about the obstacles I create for myself, the barriers. I think about the way I get stuck sometimes and, at a certain point, become aware of being stuck, and remain stuck in that awareness of being stuck, a circuitous route inside my brain. I look for places to disembark the ride, eventually find my footing, eventually find a soft place to land, eventually get out of my own way—well, almost and maybe not quite but getting there.
I listen to two writers talk about their craft, their encouragement to be consistent with the work, to be in the creative cave without worrying about anyone else, to be attentive to the Muse and to self, to hold the work tenderly. I take notes, my notes as sacred as the writing I do the following day, all of it process and practice.
I read in Mark Nepo’s The Book of Awakening about the psychologist Michael Mahoney’s definition of self-confidence, his tracing of the word confidence to Latin’s confidere, meaning ‘fidelity’, then understanding self-confidence as fidelity to the self. This strikes a chord, is some version of an aha moment for me. Why would I ever turn away from myself (I have), why would I ever disconnect from my heart (I have), understanding that, in turning away from self, I also turn away from the shared living of all beings (ultimately, I have)? We are connected, you and I and the bird who crashed into my sliding glass door and the tulips and the browning magnolias and the river and the sea and the sky above us all. Why would I ever turn away from any of that?
I right my wobbly self once again, a practice, this righting of self, aligning of self, loving of self and All. I get out of the way, am almost and maybe not quite but sort of getting there.
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find
all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.
~ Rumi ~
P.S. I still have spots for April’s writing circle, The Quiet Page. Details here.
(registration closes Monday, April 18)