40 days of black clothing.
40 days of forcing myself to think about, look at, and experience the things I’ve been avoiding all my life.
I was so afraid to start this project. So, so afraid. I was afraid that if I let the sadness in, it would suck me down to the depths and drown me, hold my head under as I struggled to breathe, wrap it’s icy hands around my heart, and change me.
Well it has changed me.
I was broken in pieces for a long time. The smile on my face didn’t match the anger and pain rattling my bones. The frustration of living in an abusive culture, with the shards of collapse around my feet, created a disharmony within that set my teeth on edge.
Now, finally, slowly, with great heaving sobs, my pieces are mending.
I can finally stop pretending that everything is fine, that I’m fine.
But instead of becoming depressed, I’m growing more buoyant each day.
Because speaking the truth feels so good. Like waking up from the longest slumber. Because standing in solidarity with everything and everyone I love in this world quickens the pace of my step and focuses my eyes.
And hearing other people’s stories and experiences blows me away, inspires me, chases away some of the longing I have for a way of life that mostly doesn’t exist.
And I would literally tear my own heart from my chest and lay it beating in the street, if it would take the pain, and sadness, and sickness from all the bright spirits, and warm hearts, and innocent ones, and wild creatures, and friends, and family, that share this planet with me.
And I’m just so fucking thankful to all of you who are holding the space for me to explore this stuff, and are listening to my words, and hearing their meaning, and standing witness as I unravel,
and try to knit myself back up again.
And I’m starting to feel a little less afraid, which is good.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for listening.
My friend Yank. I feel incredibly lucky to have found you. You have an honesty and earthiness about you that sets my soul at ease. Your post tonight breaks my heart. I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing, thank you for your words.
Loss of Hearing
It was kind of a surprise when my sister died. Deep down I knew something was wrong and I kept worrying about her, but she was serving time, so I thought there wasn’t a chance it was her who I had a strong feeling about. The gut does that, it is connected to everything and everybody around you. It knows better than you, it will nag at you and make you listen, even if it isn’t clear what it is saying, it is a strong force that will carry you through life, whether you are aware of it or not… For a couple of weeks this feeling sat heavy in my stomach, weighed heavy on my mind and heart. It grew stronger and stronger each day. And then I got a voice-mail from my brother. At that time I was camping, to get adequate cell service I had to drive to the top of the mountain. The message from my brother was that he had heard a rumor, via facebook of all places, that our little sister had passed away. I rushed up the mountain so that I could call him. As I drove, I had so many thoughts, “could it be true?”, “how and when did she get out of jail?”, I said loudly, “I need a sign if this is true”, directly after those words fell from my mouth, I turned a bend and there was my sign. A branch had fallen and it sat in the road in the formation of an arrow, and the arrow pointed to a beautiful coiled rattler on the side of the road. The feelings that I felt can’t be put into words, it all became very surreal.
Animals as messengers is nothing new. Nature is sending us messages and warnings constantly. Floods, erosion, birds dropping dead from the sky, colony collapse disorder, white nose in bats, that feeling you get in your bones when a storm is coming…these are all messages.
When two hurricanes passed over the east coast a couple of years ago, it left extreme flooding and dampness behind. We didn’t use a/c and so all of our belongings quickly became covered in mold. We mostly tossed everything. At the time I was a tad bummed. I hated tossing everything and I hated the thought of having to buy things to replace those items. And as ridiculous as it sounds, I hated questioning and being irritated with mold cause I know it has its place. Lately, I have changed my view on mold, I now see it as a messenger. It is telling me I own too much, and I own too much that is unhealthy. My furniture is cheap crap that fills my living space with formaldehyde, toxic gases, and stress. From the material objects that I surround myself with to the paint on my walls, my house is nothing more than a toxic pit, full of stagnant and unhealthy air, esp during the cold season when windows are closed. I now know that mold in my life is a blessing in disguise, it tells me that this way of life is nowhere near ideal. Having all this stuff is beyond unhealthy, it is toxic and cancerous. Which brings me to cancer and disease, they too are warnings. We act as if sickness and disease happen out of the blue, but in reality, it is consequence to our actions. The sad thing is, instead of listening to the message, we cover it up with pills that suppress rather than address the issues. When did we learn to stop listening? When did we learn to stop questioning? When did we learn to fly through life blindly?
I am guilty of not listening. Even on issues that I’m fully aware of, I still sit and do nothing. With all the warnings screaming at me, why can’t I break the vicious cycle? When will I stand up and say, enough is enough?
The first thing I am going to work on is learning to listen more closely to what is being said, nature is speaking to us, but her voice is being drowned out by planes, trains, and automobiles. Drowned out by our own loud thoughts. I mourn the loss of listening and from now on I will not let this way of life drown out the warnings and messages being sent, not even the ones that come from within my own gut. It’s time to start listening.
And I’m going to end this with one of my favorite quotes: “When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money.”