She said, “No matter how old we get, as women, we need a safe place where we can fall apart. Sometimes we just want to crumble but not loose a crumb of our confidence. Sometimes we just want to let our flaky resolve breathe but not loose a particle to the wind. Sometimes we just want to know that no matter how we melt that our flow will be safely stored until we become whole again, strong again.”
I miss her. I am so tired and I need her. She was that place of rest for me. She was my sabbath. She was like coming home, locking the doors to all the World’s demands, stripping the confining tailored garments of feminine flawed sexuality and bathing in scents and senses of acceptance and grace. She was my only safety. The only place where I was not dominated or domesticated, obligated or objectified, conflicted or constricted, oppressed or depressed. She was the meditation that medicated the poisoned well that ought to have quenched my parched identity.
I am tired. Tired and tender from the beatings of debilitating debates of who a woman ought to be and how she ought to strut or waddle. I miss her all knowing shine in her eyes. I miss that serene smile that seemed to silence all the Worldly words wasted on her, because woman was written into her before words could work on her.
“Why are you here?”
I know that is what she would ask, even though she knew why I came.
“Are you here for the mending or for amending?”
Either something was broken in me which needed to be made whole again or I had taken into myself words to define me which needed to be edited with better and a more truthful vocabulary. I often sat staring for hours before I know why I was there. But with her, it was as if our souls communed. Every inhale took her into me and every exhale gave her me. She waited but at the same time she moved and I followed in the stillness, in the silence.
“Am tired.” I finally sigh.
“As you should be.” She says.
“I just want to cry.” I sob.
“Go on then, melt away.”
And the waters flood over and spill unto my cheeks. The room blurs and clears as the tears trace a now familiar path. Soon I start to sniff and snivel. My palms wet from wiping my face. My mind numb from self pity and mutilated confidence.
“What’s wrong with me.” My voice trembles from misery.
“Who said there’s anything wrong with you?” She asks.
“Is being miserable okay?” I demand almost offended.
I feel her turn to me and when our eyes meet, there is no annoyance or offence in her countenance. Only comfort looks back at me.
“Who says your miserable? Tears flow when we hurt, when dirt enters our eyes, when we laugh so intensely we almost burst and when we see an inexplicable love laid out to us for the taking and we know we don’t deserve the gift. And yes we also cry when we need and we know we ought to have but fate or hate won’t give us what is rightfully ours.” She turns and looks into the distance. My eyes move with her and even though she fades, her words echo into my today.
“If you weep because you hurt then seek out the reason for the pain. Hurt often reveals a situation that requires our attention. Attend then to it. If the situation requires remedy then cure it as best you can. Seek forgiveness, for often an unconfessed wrong poisons health. Repair the fracture or break of a relationship for we are relational beings and that’s how we breath. Repent and turn from the deeds of insanity because you cannot do the same thing over and over expecting a different result. So love living with change because change is the only guarantee in life, nothing remains stagnant forever and if by any chance there is anything that does then like still waters it would only breed parasites.”
I think on this, ‘anything stagnant only breeds parasites’. A butterfly lands on her knee. It flutters it’s wings and rests them wide apart. The bright yellow and black look almost gold in the sun light. We both wait. We both listen and receive the message. The wings flap again and carry the messenger away. The wind suddenly moves bringing a host of messengers, each bears it’s own mix of patterns, each caught up in its own dance. In the choreography of the undulating breeze my tears too dry up and my spirit is arrested by simple beauty.
Her voice summons my attention again “If your eyes water from the caress of the wind, then you need only blink and you will be ok. Or squint and let your lashes fulfil the task they were designed to fulfil. Often we are given solutions but we seldom think that easy answers actually work. Like the river, sometimes just take the path of least resistance because there will be waterfalls up ahead so you might as well enjoy the easy paths. Life will give you it’s complicated moments so enjoy the easy questions and simple navigations.”
Suddenly our scene is shrouded in a shadow as the sun rides the clouds. I remember her looking up at such times. I follow her glance and witness the cloud outlined by the shimmer of the disappearing sun; the silver lining. There’s a sudden chill and the branches move to the wind, awakening resting birds that voice their irritation in a chorus of song. I close my eyes and the sound of simple music eases my ache. In this moment I take that which is freely given. In this moment I need not understand in order to accept. The birds don’t care about your opinion, this is not ‘Idols’ and so they sing. The butterfly doesn’t care if its colours and patterns are en vogue, this is not ‘project runway’ and so it displays. The clouds don’t care if they are shapely, this is not ‘your next top model’ and so they glide. The wind doesn’t care if its choreography suits, “So you think you can dance?” The wind animates anything that will allow it. This is me! All nature seems to beam. Your opinion is of no use here, so I too get caught up in its carefree laughter.
Her words flood my moment of bliss. “If you weep out of utter joy. Then let it overflow you, so that others may drink up and find nourishment in the good fruit of your soul. Nothing eradicates dis-ease more easily than the ease of a simple smile. Nothing electrifies the soul more powerfully than mirthful laughter emanating from the deepest joy. When these members visit you, usher them with the deepest gratitude, host them with utmost sincerity and hope that they will last as long as possible for they can be fleeting. Very rarely do you ever desire to wipe tears from such jovial weeping, you almost want to store those tears because they are so rare.”
The sun is out again. And I walk out into the garden. It’s alive and my pieces start to crawl toward each other and my spirit begins to shed its weight. I slip out of the human creations that house my feet and step unto the cool green grass. The blades tickle their way into the parting of my toes as the rest of the commune of green cushion my steps. I am walking on clouds. In this moment I feel blessed. It is as if Earth knows my sorrow and has made arrangements to hold me and comfort me.
Her words concur with my thoughts. “If you weep because you know you have been taken into a harbour to escape a storm, then let your ship find refuge and dock without shame. Rest in the embrace of such a haven and let love do what love does best. Let love serve you. Let love fill your empty store house and replenish your dwindling supply. Let love refuel you and tend to your torn and tattered sails. Let love drain you of waters that almost sank you, for to sea you must return for your voyage is far from over. Let love make you anew, though the tide has dragged you with anchor and all. You will still ride the waves and scale their crests again against all torrential pours. The storm has not revealed your weakness but only introduced you to strength.
To be loved is your underserved favour given in mercy’s palms. Tears that flow from Love’s reception are of deepest pain for they flow from deep wells that tap into the soul. They hurt more than any other but also bless like none other. Savour them for they teach the deepest wisdom and reveal our True Self.”
Suddenly the wind wraps all around me. I close my eyes. Lift my face to the heavens and inhale. The wind circles up my body and swirls in waves around my head. I hear her laugh. She’s also caught up in the rupture of gratitude. The warm splash of sunlight on my face feels like the look of love and acceptance. I matter. Just as I am. In this whole scene of butterfly, sun, wind, clouds, green grass, birds and trees, I too have featured. I saw, I watched, I felt, I heard, I walked, I laughed, I danced and I healed.
“Yes, we weep when in need but needing is like kneading a wound. It only hardens it and creates an ugly scab. Especially when we need out of entitlement. Who says we ought to be pleasing to others? Who says we ought to make everybody happy? Who says anybody exists to make us happy? Who says we ought to be anything less or more than what we already are? Is it meaning you seek? Then live a life that is meaningful to you. Is it truth you seek? Then live with a truth that does no harm to your being or another; to oppress another is to oppress you. Is it love you seek? Then give, scatter love to the four winds and in due time it will return when you need it most. Is it safety you seek? Then be another’s harbour and you will find that as others seek refuge in you, they too in turn become your safety. Tears of need are only wept when we seize to meet a need. Earth is an ecosystem where even dead things fulfil a purpose in their decay. So be you and in doing so, you fulfil a purpose and meet a need. The wound doesn’t mend when the need is met, healing often comes when the body continues in it’s service. Medication is not the only cure but work, exercise, nutrition, laughter and love all play a critical role. So be that which you seek and you will realise you have always had what you sought. “It is in giving that we receive.”
We are often dragged to sorrow when we have expectations that others do not follow. We confine others by our demands to cater to useless fleeting needs. We dominate their role by wanting to comprehend their purpose and though there is wisdom in understanding, what good is knowing if it serves no good or if it offers no peace. As it is written, “But, my child, let me give you some further advice: Be careful, for writing books is endless, and much study wears you out.” Must you comprehend the rising and falling of the wings of a butterfly to find solace in its flight? Did you need the touch of warmth from the sun before it blessed you with its caress? Some of life’s greatest gifts come by surprise. So do not let lack or unmet expectation reduce you to a fleeting shadow. You are who you are and you can only be what you will to be. So live daily faithful to your destination. Rest in the seasons of rest and bloom in spring. Whatever the minutes bring grow, from both pain or joy and no matter the loss choose love. Labour in love and let compassion be the compass that guides you home. No matter which tears, let them water the garden of your soul and in that quiet place find your rest.”