Sorrow is beautiful. I never realized it until the Great Loss hit me, full blunt force in the face, in the heart. It struck down the very core of me until nothing really remained. I even have trouble remembering things sometimes. Thank goodness for close friends - the kind that knows your soul, your spirit, that remember who you are. The kind that remember you when you can’t anymore, whether because it is just too painful or whether because it is just...gone. I am not sure which it is with me, but so much has lifted and released me. I mourn those things of me that I lost and I feel still, 11 years later, the raw spots that remain from their sudden unleashing. What I did not count on was how it unfettered me. How heavy I had become in the burden of who I was. Not very many people get the chance to start all over again, but that is what I feel I have done. Rebuilt a version of self, up from the scorched earth, with the chance to now be who I want to be. Not a victim, not a parable, not an example. Just me. It was……...essential to life, to be this version of myself. I am glad I do not have to wait until my next time around to see this unseen world.
Now, after all this time, I have done so much. Seen so much. Helped so many. Helped my own soul heal. I go to work and I come home. I love my husband and I love my kids. I see the world continue to revolve and when I am truly true to myself, I see how the achings and yearnings and battles and warrings - how they just don’t matter. I feel pity for the poverty of spirit that has put us all where we are today. I am so wealthy and I wasn’t always so wealthy. I see now those who think themselves truly rich and I feel….pity.
I have a secret. It is a wonderful secret. It sits in my heart right now, only there two days but burrowed in and making me smile with the flutter of its wings against my insides. Joe gave me this secret yesterday. Do you want to know what it is? I am going to tell you, and you might be disappointed because it isn’t anything tangible to anyone but myself. But it is something I have always wanted to do. I am going on retreat. A writing retreat. It isn’t an organized function. The main presenter is going to be me. The inspirational topics will be birds and bees and wind in the treetops and across the grassy plains of Oklahoma. There is a little cottage, an artist’s retreat that another writer sort of individual keeps and rents to souls like me who need to unplug and focus on this urge to record the world and the stories and the emotions of life. There is no cell reception there. There are no people. But there is a labyrinth made of poetry that the owner carved into the grassland and propped up on stakes, and there is a little poetry museum in a little hut right next to the little cottage that I can wander into.
It is Spring and there is new growth on the trees, that sudden change that always seems to be on the brink of happening and then...having happened almost without noticing. Every year I try to find it -the magical moment when the earth heals itself from its cold exile and stretches into sunlight. And every year it seems to slip by me like a gossamer fabric in the wind, blowing past like an ethereal light, not sure I really felt it, leaving me awash in a sea winking shades of green, unaware I had been calculating yet again to catch it in the act of getting dressed. I can’t think of a better time to go away from the world than right now.
I am going to confess, I am a little bit afraid. What if in my solitude and meditative silence I find I have nothing really to say? What if I get bored with myself or see things I do not want to know? What if the opposite happens, and I love it so much that I never want to come back to this suburban imitation of a life well lived? Will my Joe pull into the countryside with me and fade into the glorious sunset that something in my romantic soul years to walk tall and proud and dignified into? What if there is nothing in my head for me to write? I love this, the blog of my naked soul but darn it, I want to go beyond this. I want to create something new and different. Something that is fiction that isn’t fully fiction and characters that aren’t really pretend.
I have read the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, who has become a sort of mentor in the way only brilliant and glittering strangers can. That book is, for the moment, a bible of permission to let loose this creative energy that I have gotten so good at sheltering, hiding and tamping down. I am losing my fear of blooming. How exciting is that? I am going to write. I open myself to ideas and invite them to approach me. I breathe in...I breathe out...and I wait. I hope one finds me before I go on retreat. I hope one finds me while I am there. I am just full up with anticipation of this phase in my life. Who knows where this all will go. I can’t imagine writing a novel, so I say just one short story...I will write just one short story and see it through to the end. But maybe….just maybe...I will write a novel. This isn’t about being the next J.K. Rowlings. This is about doing something I have been scared to do. I don’t even care if what I write sucks. I just want to fly.