#HAWMC 21: reflection

As the folks as WEGO said, we should think of the survivors of the bomb at last year’s Boston Marathon and salute their bravery, perseverance, spirit, and strength.

We are asked to reflect today on our journeys so far and our hopes for the future. I will digress a bit because I’ve been thinking of the journeys of other women in my family.

My great-grandmother was born in 1871 and died in 1963; my grandmother was born in  1901 and died in 2000; my mother was born in 1928 and died in 2010. And, I’ve been around for 50+ years.

I think about how much the world has changed in my lifetime (so far) and am astonished. I remember exposure to early word processors and VCRs, and mocking that someday almost every home would have one. I remember the first time a colleague showed me the World Wide Web in the early 1990s. And, I remember when I first truly entered the cyberverse, became part of online communities and blogs and bloggers.

But then I think of my great-grandmother whose life went from horse-drawn carriages to men orbiting the earth in spaceships. Two children were still born, another went to fight in France in 1914, and never returned – his body couldn’t be found. Her husband and one son died when the wooden schooner with masts and sails he captained was struck in half by a metal, coal-burning steamer at the mouth of a foggy harbor.

Or my grandmother who walked to a one room school house, studied in a house without electricity and running water, and sewed her clothes on a trundle (foot-powered) sewing machine.

For both, there was the war to end all wars, another world war, the cold war and the arms race, and countless wars, coups, revolutions, genocides, reprisals, pogroms and other inhuman actions.

My mother died one day after her birthday in 2010. In her life time, the world spun as well. Suburbia, washing machines and dryers, electric kettles and toasters, microwaves, and cable television.

And me? No microwave, smartphone, or tablet. No X-box, blue-ray, 3-D television. No car with an inboard computer screen, no GPS (other than my navigating by maps), no e-reader, no video screens to pass the time as I travel.

Medicine too has changed immensely. Home remedies; hospitals as a place of death; child mortality rates gave way over time to modern medicine with elaborate means of testing for disease; medication to help with a range of conditions; survival rates; even cures for some. But, we still use opiates to ease pain; alternative medicine might use methods familiar to my great-grandmother; and some chronic illnesses remain mis-or not understood; treatment or medication not yet refined; diagnoses off and answers not available.

When banks first began to issue debit cards and install ATMs, a friend refused to get one. “The government already knows too much about us,” she said. And now, any number of people can know a lot about you without you even knowing they know.

For the future? A magic pill that stops pain. Equal opportunities. Health care without health insurance providers. A roof over everyone’s head, food on the table, money in the bank, and smiles on their faces. I hope I’m not asking for too much.

Journeys: cot #204

A map of The Earthsea realm drawn by Ursula K....

A map of The Earthsea realm drawn by Ursula K. Le Guin. Original map published in Tales from Earthsea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m packed for the journey
Sandwiches, hobbit tales
Viking eddas, bottles of water
Camping gear, the Iliad

Travel companions arrive
Frederick, Karl and Frans
More to join along the way
Virginia, Agatha, Margret

Ballads, walking sticks
Star map to guide us
Soon we will reach
Camelot, Earthsea, Narnia

Oh, come with me
Let go of earthly limitations
We can trek to wherever
Our imagination travels

English: Map of Narnian world as described in ...

English: Map of Narnian world as described in The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


paths of dappled sunlight; inspirational steps

Bruce Cockburn (album)

Image via Wikipedia

That I received the candle lighter award, and that it seems I’ve chosen (or did it choose me?) a path of dappled sunlight filtered through the leaves and needles of strong, healing trees today, that my furthest steps so far are on the path of gratitude and thankfulness is by no means a condemnation of writing/blogging about the dark side of things. Whatever your dark side or demons are, they are parts of your journey that might/need to be told.

We all blog for our own reasons; our own goals: catharsis; expression; creativity; coping with demons; writing about the good, the bad, and the ugly that make up our worlds; that are a part of ourselves. Part of my self-designed therapy — while I wait to meet with a therapist in a couple of weeks — (with the help of many comments, emails and conversations, too) is to let my positive ear do the listening for a while.

At least for now, I’m trying to leave the demons in the darkness; to shut them in a closet (figuratively as we don’t actually have a closet) so their whispers aren’t so loud. That doesn’t mean I suddenly think that chronicling dark issues and feelings is inappropriate, misplaced or wrong. It’s just that my current path, my current aim is to walk through and towards the sunlight. To use the tao of the crossroads to head east into the sunrise.

This doesn’t mean I’ll become “phony,” and write happy things when I’m not, that I won’t complain about chronic pain or the health insurance system. There will be days filled with tears; there will be days, perhaps, I do need to go down the dark and dangerous path (holding on to the fact that I’m not really walking that road alone with my demons – there are folks out there I can reach towards). What I want to do right now is to reach out to the folks who care; to remember I have a safety net of internet friends when I take a mis-step on the tightrope of my life.

I admire the bravery of those who blog about their mental health issues – by doing so, they are revealing their private selves; making public the pain, the emotional insecurity, the despair, the isolation. They are not afraid to say what haunts them, what holds them back from the sunshine, what demons lurk in their dark corners. I know I have yet to deal directly with my demons; but for now I’m trying to NOT make them a part of my day; to keep the tears from falling.

The candle lighter award came as one of those serendipitous moments when I was still looking for a path to chose (or chose me). Taken with the earlier phone call I mentioned, and the arrival of a very special parcel full of fun and caring things – seemed like an omen. To take those tentative steps further down the path of dappled sunlight; the path of inspiration – my own and others; to light a way in a world of shadows.

Some folks are working on Day Books, others on gratitude journals. I think I’ll try an write something inspirational and positive every day I can (words of my own and of course borrowed from others – with proper recognition).

When (not if) the demons come back, please remember they are whispering louder than the positive ear can mask. They’ve broken down that virtual closet door and are following me around. But then, it’s the demons, the mental illness crisis that’s talking/blogging not really me. I’m still in there somewhere, as Bruce Cockburn wrote: “kicking at the darkness til it bleeds daylight.”

I really hope that my self-designed therapy, the wise advise of internet friends that I’m gathering into a kind of virtual booklet to help me along, will hold me together til my appointment on the 21st. And my sessions with the therapist will keep me on that dappled sunlight path of recovery.

Thank you all for listening, for being there (even if I didn’t see it/realize it). I have lots of pixie dust, wishing/calming stones, a few fairy wands, and other small gifts of gratitude to disperse. Today is the dappled sunlit path with trees to heal me. Tomorrow, I hope, the path is to a clearing where I can sit in a meadow of wildflowers and address some envelopes. Too bad fairies don’t deliver!

Today’s inspirational quotes are from the wrappers of my cough drops (I have a nasty cold right now): Don’t give up on yourself; Be resilient; Conquer today; Get through it; You’ve survived tougher. Of course, Halls’ “pep talk in every drop” is part of their television campaign, but hey, today, that’s all I got — a lot of cough drop wrappers, lol.

(photo removed: sorry, didn’t realize it wasn’t in public domain due to method by which I found it: just imagine a path through a woods with dappled sunlight through the leaves, and streaks of sunshine making pools on the forest floor and path)

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