The day is over. When did it begin? I had one of those days last week, dreamlike, not an interesting or sweet dream, but one that feels foggy, where limbs and mind have lost their agency. At the end of the day, I had no idea how I had gotten from breakfast to bedtime. I was busy . . . with something, but the to-do list had no cross-outs. There were really important things on the list, things I wanted to do and should have done. Remarkably, I wasn’t aware of actively resisting or avoiding. Usually the to-do list looks at me with beady eyes and calls me four-lettered words. But this day it was silent. As I got ready for bed, I had a dull sense that I was waking up, but it was bedtime, so yup, I went to bed.
In the morning, I did my morning writing which is to say I did my dance with the devil of regret. My pen whined with yesterday’s reproach. I had wasted the day. I was a lollygagger. Don’t you love the way that word bounces and rolls around in your mouth? My dad used to use it to describe our summer sweaty lethargy when weeding long rows of peas or beans. In retrospect his word choice was a bit surprising—back in the day lollygag meant “fooling around,” the naughty kind. I could use a lollygag, without the weeds, but I digress. Why did I waste the day? The sloppy ink marks on the paper tried to figure out what went wrong, what was wrong with me.
I just wanted to be somewhere else. Maybe I should move to Wisconsin. Maybe I should join a monastery? Maybe I should make pancakes instead of savory oatmeal for breakfast—blood sugar be damned. Please, just anywhere but here. Fingers stiff from my vice grip hold, I finally reached the end of my allotted three pages of college-ruled paper and put my pen down.
Feeling no relief, I did my morning meditation. The singing bell sent me on my way, one breath, another one, another one, even my breathing wasn't right. Exhausted, I finally allowed my exhale to be surrender. In that strange place of letting go or letting be, I noticed how my flesh was clenching. It started in my belly and radiated to my jaw and landed in my shoulders. Constricted. Ouch. What if I softened one of these body parts, maybe just around the edges, maybe just for a moment? Could it be so simple and so difficult? It began with just a wish. But with more room, a loving phrase came bouncing through my door in a language I understood. From the land of dreams or ancestors or the divine, suddenly a voice,
“Honey, I’m home.”
l burst open like an untamed person, belly laughs, snot, snorts and tears, amazed I could do all of them at the same time, amazed by my body’s reaction to this hilarious, soulful and sweet greeting. In the midst of lollygag disgust and the wish that Spock would beam me anywhere but here, I landed in the dusty dirt. Amazed that space brought presence and kindness found me home.
Honey I’m Home
Outside the sun sparkles.
Inside, a shadow that shouldn’t be,
Moves on legs that don’t belong.
Neither awake, nor asleep.
“What’s wrong with me?”
“This shouldn’t be.”
I fall before the altar of no,
Prostrate, forgetting to breathe.
Small, alone with clenched gut,
The ugly mean man,
With small sharp words,
Appears without invitation.
Bangs his fist.
“You disgust me”
Unleashes the second arrow,
And pierces my softest flesh.
Bloodless and invisible.
Shame without a name.
Shuffling slippers in circles,
On their way to where they began.
Yet the sun still shines.
And sealed eyes need only to turn,
To feel the warmth of light.
Even a sliver will do.
Breath remembers to breathe,
Unclenched, my body finds room,
And room and room and room.
Space for all to belong, even him.
The ground shakes.
Sun and rain are one.
Baptized by tears and love,
Honey, I’m home.
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.