Thank you for waiting for me. For sending cards and leaving messages, for bringing food and extending well wishes through the ether. Thank you for holding my place in your heart and trusting that I would be back just as soon as I possibly could.
It’s been a long, hard, difficult journey. There have been many days I was not sure I could find my way back to you at all. There were nights that I thought it might be best to just quietly disappear without a word or a trace.
But, slowly, painfully, I have climbed back up toward the light and I am grateful that you have been waiting for me here. Thank you.
The tale is too complicated to share. Suffice to say, it involved a couple of weeks of near-death pneumonia for my Sweetheart (plus several weeks of painfully slow recovery), some unexpected emotional tumult for me in the wake of my Mom’s death, a few challenging complications with my own health and heart, several catastrophic breakdowns of mechanical things, the loss of some dear friends to death, and the abrupt realization that my tank was empty and my battery was dead.
Thich Nhat Hanh has been one of my most trusted spiritual advisors for many years and these words seemed to leap out at me and lend me permission to take a break…
And so I did. I hunkered down. I climbed deeply back into the recesses of my spirit cave. I stopped talking and doing and being so I could hear my soul whispering sternly to me.
I’d lost my way a bit. I’d been so absorbed in my mate’s cancer and care for the last two+ years that I sort of forgot about me and my own needs. I was deeply sad in many ways for which I had no words. My life seemed an endless round of chores and stressors, emergencies and setbacks, heartache and fatigue.
It was time to…
A million things combined to make an immediate and prolonged hiatus mandatory for my mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
I desperately needed to heed this good advice:
Of course, I couldn’t do it in the seething midst of the daily crisis of my husband’s pneumonia or between the tumultuous emotional waves of sadness in coming to terms with the fact that my mother died without ever really knowing me. I couldn’t do it with all the chores piling up and the very hard setback of not being able to go visit my beloved sister Kim in the Sierras this Spring.
But something deep within me let me know that what I had to do was get off the roller coaster for a minute, pull into myself, breathe, pray, meditate, make some big changes, and regroup.
In the pause, I began to remember that…
It wasn’t easy. I’m nothing if not an over-achiever and it’s always been my worst fear to let anyone down or not to be able to help others who need me. But this was clearly a moment where I needed to put on my own oxygen mask first and I did, gulping for air, as the fragile airship of my life dangerously spiraled toward exhaustion.
There were whole weeks when I did not leave the house for anything but Albert’s medical treatments. There were days when I could do nothing but breathe and pray. I did not read emails or respond to phone calls. I lost track of the world. All I could do was try to re-calibrate my compass and re-sole my emotional hiking boots.
Healing came slowly but I learned soooo much along the way.
It took some time.
It wasn’t easy.
Often it felt danged near impossible.
But I persisted. I dug in. I refused to let myself be pulled under, drowned in the mire of stress that surrounded me. The storms continued to rage around me. The hits just kept coming. Every time I thought I might make it to the life raft, another wave crashed over me. My heart started acting up–stuttering and stopping, kicking and bucking. I had to let many things go. I had decline many kind invitations and abandon many dreams. All I could do was hold on tight and TRUST.
Gradually, gradually, Albert’s condition improved, things got fixed, my health started to improve, and I was finally able to let my Mom go with no resentment or regret.
I’m happy to report, the storm has broken and I can see the brilliant blue sky and feel the dazzling golden sun again. I’m finally strong enough to climb out of my cave and back into the Cottage to spend time with you, my faithful tribe, my sweet circle of merry creatives.
We got some good news this week–my husband’s chemo treatments are working better & holding the disease at bay a bit longer, I’ve been commissioned to create several exciting pieces of art for various wonderful patrons, my dear pal Anne and I have been sorting, cleaning, and reorganizing the Cottage, and in my garden, the tomatoes are abundant and ripening. It is time to rejoin the universe after a healing hiatus, reminding myself that…
So, THANK YOU for waiting for me and saving space in your life for continuing fun and art-making at the Creative Cottage!
We’ll be convening at the Cottage beginning next Saturday to celebrate Summer Solstice and to continue our mission to play, laugh, and create together–to uplift and support each other–to go deeper, stretch ourselves, and enrich our creative practice together. We’ll share stories of our journeys and celebrate our epiphanies together. We’ll enrich and enlarge our loving tribe, as we each heal in our own ways together. I’ll be excited to be back!
Come join me for the fun…
I’ll be the one with the happy, rested, willing heart wide open and welcoming at the door of the Cottage, beckoning you inside, where the mischief and merriment live.
Check out the summer classes, call or email to confirm space, and come play!
I’ve missed you!
With Endless Love and Gratitude from Kaitlin
P. S. This poem helped transform a compulsive “worrier” like me into someone who now takes it one day, one hour, one minute at a time–all the while singing.
I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?
Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?
Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
― Mary Oliver, Swan: Poems and Prose Poems
Who’s up for Less Worry & More Fun???
© Copyright, Kaitlin Meadows, 2019. All Rights Reserved.