Of Winter, Bob Dylan, and Martha (My Dear)
First I need to say how grateful I am to you for sticking with this often-less-than-joyful-project, and for coming along with me on this sometimes-rocky journey.
What I’m noticing right now is how there’s something inside me that seems to be struggling to be born, something good that needs to be watered with time and attention. Something as yet unnamed.
And I’m also realizing that lately I’ve been caught up again in an old cycle called overwork-isolation—loneliness, and not reaching out for what I need, which right now is some support and nurturing. Part of this cycle entails taking the deprivation simply because I can. Until I can’t anymore.
Also that, just there beneath the surface, and yearning for air, lie wounds half a century old and fresh as yesterday. Childhood wounds of rejection; humiliation; loss and grief, that are being triggered again and are looking to be healed for good this time.
Ah yes, it’s winter.
And you know those recent posts where I’ve been talking about a hunger for something more in my life? A new adventure, goal, dream? I’m beginning to think this yearning for “something more”, while negating what I’ve got, is a kind of boredom, the kind Buddhists are referring to in their saying, “When bored, slow down”.
I tell you this – one way I’m getting taken care of is by you. Listen to what one reader recently wrote me:
“…Maybe you already have all your goodies, and don’t know-feel-it. Maybe ‘enough is as good as a feast,’ but you’re not ready to see that. Maybe you need to slow down…and find ways to savor what you have.” This was from my friend Ellen, who met me some 35 years ago when I was in my 20’s. This woman knows me well. She goes on: “It sounds like so much of what you’ve dreamed of having is in your hands. Maybe you should think back to yourself at age 30 and 40…”
I’ll tell you something, Ellen, one thing I wanted all those years was a friend and a sister like you who has known me so well, and could kindly and gently wake me from a funky stupor like you have helped me do with these loving words.
Another thing I’m finding out: What can help me see the glass of my life as half-full is something I would like to call graterosity, defined this way in the New Wiki-Wininger Dictionary: “To be grateful, thereby triggering feelings of generosity, or vice versa.”
So instead of my old bugaboo of feeling envy for the young, for example, and arguing with reality, and complaining that growing old is something I shouldn’t be made to do, I can nurture my graterosity and feel, first, grateful for my life, and for a youth I didn’t waste; and then generous: Now it’s their turn. I’ve had mine! **
Which brings me to Bob Dylan, who once wrote a song (one that happened to be called Forever Young), which includes this line…
“May you always do for others;
And let others do for you.”
This is one thing I’m starting to see: How being receptive is a subtler form of generosity. And more difficult. I may open myself to give; but I have to open wider to receive. Specifically, this means opening the door of humility, and also of vulnerability (an ability I’m still cultivating) which means having less control. Not as easy on the ego as giving. It’s easier to steel myself and focus outwards.
Reaching out gives others the opportunity to give. And what could be more generous than that?
So blogging for me turns out to be a kind of circular giving; a givceiving.
So right now, I’m in that spot where I wake up, again, to find I’ve been asleep, again, in a trance of overworking, over-reaching, and under-reaching-out. And here in the midst of a freezing winter, I am slowing down a bit and learning how to, as suggested long ago to Martha (My Dear), when I find myself in the thick of it, help myself to a bit of what is all around me.
** (Thanks, Shelley, for helping me realize this!)