It is a new year; a fresh start.
The other night, before I closed my eyes and bid 2011 adieu, I reread some pieces I wrote over the year here and on my blog. Rarely do I go back and reread something I have written. For many reasons, I just don’t like to do it.
Last summer, I found three of my old journals in a dusty box as I was cleaning out the basement. I opened one of the fine leather bound books only to read a piece that left me stunned. The writing was raw, organic, me in deep water at times, and at other times me on a tranquil shore. As I continued reading pages here and there out of all three worn and loved and disliked journals, some memories haunted me, some were simply gorgeous. Certain pages were quite possibly some of my best writing.
I ended up throwing all three books in the box labeled “garbage”. Yes, I did. And I don’t regret it. Well, maybe just a bit – like the piece I wrote while sitting on ocean’s shore about the shades of green and blue and grey and how I saw my life in those tidal shades. I wrote something about perhaps becoming a mother some day, and in my words as I read them so many years later as a mother and with tears, threads of hope and light for my future shined. It was sweet and musty; the piece and the journal. It was really beautiful.
Weathered journals from fifteen years ago or published blog pages from today, no matter when I go back to read them my stories all weave and tell a similar tale. I’m softening. I’m coming into my own. When I am down and out I find something – big or small – that keeps me from falling. And even if I fall, I’ve learned to be okay on the ground. One of those journals I threw away were my thoughts and stories, collectively, the year I read and studied anything and everything I could find by Thich Nhat Hanh; when I read “When Things Fall Apart” by Pema Chodron three times – four maybe, my memory slips me. And that year, when I wasn’t strengthening my ties with my spirit and trying in vain to figure out what it is that calls me, and writing about it, I apparently was playing a lot of Scrabble because I found lists jotted down between journal pages of acceptable wooden tile words.
From weblogs most recent pages to my yellowed handwritten word now long gone, I can find myself, still.
I still love to be in the kitchen or outside. Still prefer the small things to be my guiding light. I still yearn to dig my way down into my soul – to learn and feel – much like I still love to curl my toes in sand greeting ocean’s foam while offering up my dreams and wishes to the pillowy horizon for the taking. The silver peak of a mountain top still takes my breath away. I still live in jeans almost exclusively and love cats and bare feet. Still, I have faith in God as my guide while my spirit undoubtedly yearns toward enlightenment, an ongoing quest which makes me a God loving – Buddha loving gal, equally. I still feel those wounds that my heart knows, but time and love that I share with those closest to me and my children, and writing and photography, those are my salve, always at the ready to heal me.
I suppose in certain ways I am different from those handwritten pages. I had not yet birthed a child. My struggles then were not about finding the balance I search for now because I never gave like I give now; like a mother gives, and gives up. All of this and more, merely tales to weave continually over time.
I wouldn’t want to predict for the coming year what colors I will use to paint my words or edit my images or the ways in which I will spend my days living out my many roles: friend, sister, wife, mother, daughter, me. I do think I’ll try to incorporate Scrabble back into my life. And I don’t think I’ll start looking back too much.
It’s a new year. It’s a fresh start.