"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage." — Lao Tzu
The morning is bright and crisp. The long, doubled rope of the swing out back vibrates with the wind—each strand of line separating and then coming back to the other again and again. Occasionally a powerful gust of wind will come and sweep the entire swing upward and then back again, like a swaying pocket watch used in hypnosis.
The bay is hidden in a field of white. A large shadow of the giant pine drapes over the sparkly surface, evidence of the sun having recently risen. There is only one uncovered stream of water in the distance—rolled out like a navy blue carpet across the landscape of white.
In the hallway there are a string of deflated balloons—yellow and orange and green—still tied together with golden, curling ribbon. In the bathroom, the wide sink surface is covered in diamond shaped cardboard—Adrian’s current ambition to use toilet paper rolls that he has wet, uncurled and dried for collection and creation.
His impulse to repurpose household materials for art brings a smile to my face. My heart expands in recognition of the ways we rub-off on our children. Some of them are good.
I don’t know what I was thinking booking a flight that departed at dawn. Waiting to pack until just before bed, I noticed a slight pulsing pain in my head, the turning of my stomach. I set my alarm for three hours before we would be taking off and climbed into bed with ample time to rest.
Closing my eyes, I found myself on a carnival ride—the Gravitron in my mind spinning me around and around as if I were in my 20’s again having had too much to drink.
My options seemed bleak. I imagined having to cancel my trip—disappointing a grieving friend. I thought about the risks of bringing illness out into the world and to those who I love.
I wondered whether the maladies flooding our community had taken root in me—our bodies and minds so absorbent of the experiences of others—also, germ theory.
The hours passed, I didn’t sleep.
Instead I searched around myself for a place that was well—for an energy I recognize, even in my most debilitating moments when it shows up as only a tiny spec of hope.
I both greeted the discomfort entirely—swinging around on the tilt-o-whirl inside of me—and simultaneously expanded the stream of what I can only describe as perfect wellness, allowing it to flood the rest of my body with its vigor.
Beneath my doubts, a mantra pulsed through me, “I am well.”
A new reality was explaining itself to the cells of me. One by one they were jumping on board in deference to the Universal flow that is always at our service.
I have needed to be sick at times. I have collapsed feverish into rest like a corpse—freeing myself from the demands of doing and holding and keeping pace with the rapid swirl of the world. I have allowed the opportunity of illness to be revealing in its potent delivery of directives.
I have used medicine to help me heal—to ward of germs or promote wellness when I haven’t had the impulse or energy to will a change in the state of my body.
Even as I invited a shift in my being, I accepted the possibility that my early morning path would not look the way I hoped it would.
I straddle the worlds of personal, creative power and the mystery of the will of the Gods and biology—one leg each on either side of a seesaw catapulting through space and time.
I finally collapsed into a nourishing rest for about an hour before I needed to get up.
When my alarm sounded, my head was clear. I felt steady and strangely rested. I checked in with myself again and again as I showered and got dressed and rolled my weekend travel bag down the hallway in the dark, my two children draped with blankets in the winter’s night.
I was fully well.
Traveling so early, I found myself on the second leg of my journey in a row of seats by myself. I felt grateful for the extra space. It reminded me of traveling alone when I was very young and before the time when flights are mostly oversold and packed tightly with little breathing room between passengers.
The temperature in the airplane was frigid. The flight-attendant was apologizing and handing out blankets. I layered up all of the clothing I had with me including my colorful, fingerless gloves.
I have been re-reading the books that have most influenced my life and way of being in the world. It is interesting revisiting them as a mother now and noticing the ways in which they sit with me differently.
One of the gifts of having children is the wider lens it offers us unto ourselves. I have found in witnessing my boys’ impulses and needs, their tendencies and humanity I have been able to unearth further the places in myself that have been shut-down and ignored.
In nurturing them I have come to value more my own right to well-being. I have come to forgive more readily my mistakes—like I would theirs.
We all arrive here with all that we need. Remembering who we are—our original essence—and accepting the exquisite lightness of that being is the task at hand.
Huddled in my seat—still fully well—I read and read and then I would occasionally place my head back on the seat, removing the elastic holding my hair in a knot so that I could be more comfortable, closing my eyes and drifting off into a peaceful rest.
Yesterday afternoon it snowed unceasingly for many hours. Jonah desperately wanted to have a family snowball fight. I was the only taker. We decided to go for a walk first knowing the battle would leave us wet and wanting to go back inside.
The snow was still coming down as we walked along our hushed and deserted road blanketed in white. I convinced him to walk all the way to the house with the yellow Hummer in the driveway—its color popping out like a canary on a birch branch.
We walked briskly there—the snow layering up on my aqua blue hat and blending with my white scarf, making my neck wet.
Coming back we strolled more slowly.
Nearing our house again, Jonah stopped in the middle of the road and tipped his head back, closing his eyes. I took him in as his soft, pink cheeks greeted the wet snowflakes for a long while.
When he raised his head up, he told me how good it felt to do that. I said I would like to try. He looked on while I tipped my head back, closing my eyes and allowing the cold dampness to dot my face. I imagined the cool flakes thinning my makeup.
I noticed the refueling of my body engaged in the natural world.
When we got to the driveway, I gathered up the fluffy snow—too soft for a real snowball—and tossed it at Jonah. He took the bait and began running off toward his snow fort for shelter where he could ambush me in safe cover.
The snow we threw at each other separated like powder in the air again and again and we laughed breathlessly finally deciding that tomorrow would be a better day for real snowballs.
We decided to go down to the dock where a virtual tundra surrounded the shoreline. Jonah ventured out onto the boulder like structures of ice wanting to dip his gloves into the icy, watery mix at their base and create formations with this enticing mixture.
I kneeled down into the snow on the dock observing him, trying to notice and latch onto any warmth in my body so that I could stay out a few minutes longer.
Jonah summoned me more near.
“Will you catch me if I fall in?” he asked.
“I will,” I said.
“What would you do?” he pressed.
I replied in absolute confidence from the deepest knowing of my soul.
“I would do whatever it takes to save you.”