It starts with a dog bite.
Note to self: I usually start these blogs because I think I have something to say but invariably I discover it’s something I’m supposed to hear.
The Wizard of Oz begins with violence. Depending on your perspective, Toto takes a justified nip out of Elmira Gulch, the mean and heartless neighbor . . . or . . . Miss Gulch stands up for her rights to have a garden without digging dogs and a feline world free of dog harassment. The moral questions and angst cause our adolescent Dorothy to wonder, “A place where there isn’t trouble—do you suppose there is such a place, Toto?” Cue Judy Garland’s iconic “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” That was 1939 and the question and the rainbow wish are still asking and still wishing.
Where can I go in the middle of a shit storm?
I think Dorothy ultimately ends up in the right place even though it takes a bump in the head, a fool’s journey, and a peak behind a fake magical curtain for her to let go so she can get there. When Dorothy’s house is swirling through air as her people, places and experiences fly past unhinged and dissociated, she ultimately lands in Oz. It feels like a real place (spoiler alert for those of you who somehow missed the ruby slippers), it’s just a dream. Oz is her monkey mind (constant chatter) on overdrive.
Anything can happen in the Land of Oz—flowers become munchkins who can sing (sorta), beautiful witches travel in bubbles while ugly witches use brooms, and a scarecrow, tin man and lion decide to follow a pubescent Kansas girl with pigtails. Dorothy struggles and strives on the yellow brick road because she believes she can find the fix for the world. Ironically, in the end she discovers that her journey leads her back to where she started—home.
Home is in the eye of my shit storm. Like Dorothy, it’s smack dab in the middle of my mess. It’s my seeing place, my knowing place, where things are seen as they are. Against all instincts, when I turn toward my tornado, observe and breathe deep but gentle self-compassionate breaths, something changes—me. Of course, many times I get lost in the story and confuse it for the truth. I chase dreams. My mind does what the mind does. It’s happy to provide an Oscar worthy screenplay. Yet, before I knew I could dream, I was bone and skin, a heart that thumped and lungs that danced like oceans on sandy beaches—the steady inhale and exhale of life pulled and caressed by a moonbeam. With a kindness that surprises me, sometimes I am able to invite myself back . . . again . . . and again.
Words try to name this place, to enshrine it into memory so I don't have to work so hard. But my constructs are ripe dandelions in the middle of a sudden gust, fluffy puffs that fly away before I can hold them. I am left with the naked green stem and the smell of lost summers. And so I begin again. I was born with this capacity, the gift of breath. It aligns me with the Creator and my creation story. It always brings rain, fresh drops from untapped reservoirs, warm, salty, and sweet on wind chapped fleshy cheeks. In my brokenness with teeth unclenched and pain held in expansive rooms with gentle hands, I discover the dandelion seed set to flight—a gentle zephyr carrying a beating heart. In the middle of the shit storm, the eye of the storm, I watch my chest rise and fall. Hello good friend.
Daily Bites and Blessings
Welcome to "Daily Bites and Blessings." Pull up a chair. I’ve set a place for you at the table. These edibles are sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet and often they are both. This is a come as you are party. I invite you to bring your compassion, courage, and curiosity as we dine together on life's bounty. May our time together give us more light and more love.