Tuesday, August 28, 2012

small spots

as i walked down the houseware aisle toward the cat food, i spied a nymph-of-a-cashier carefully turning the cans of cat food into columns of symmetry.  this meditative practice is often referred to as "facing" in the retail world.  i spent a good lot of my time at work doing this to antioxidants, omegas, and the like.  this cashier however, had a pensive countenance and her movements were slow and measured.  this is not the usual approach to facing a store.  it is often a much more harried task, so i felt compelled to inquire.

now this cashier is especially faerie-like.  she may be the quintessential cashier for a health food cooperative store.  her hair is wispy, light and often has fragrant flower blossoms or found feathers laying in it's haphazard curls.  her eyes are a piercing blue but her lids are heavy.  she is slight in build and has freckles on her nose. her name is not common.  she isn't named after a plant or a state of being - as the stereotype might suggest - but you probably wouldn't be entirely sure how to pronounce her name if you saw it on her name tag.  she is kind and genuine.  i'm pretty sure when she sleeps butterflies make moss beds on her pillow to slumber near her.

i wasn't completely surprised when she told me that at that moment she was thinking that "it" was all about balance.  "it" being life, not facing - although if you have ever dared to enter the tetris-like task of facing the tea-box-wall then you know that facing is also all about balance.  she continued to talk a bit about balance - the need to not swing to far to one side or the other. 

in my own balancing act i have found that when i make a sudden move, there will be an equally forceful movement in an opposing way.  while if i made smaller nudges then the pendulum doesn't hit me in the ass on the way back to me.

i immediately thought of the yin-yang symbol when the faerie-of-cashierland said "balance" because this symbol is often used in my parenting conversations, more so perhaps than most, because i have a very emotional child who can go to extremes in his reactions - clearly a genetic lark. 

the way the swirls suggest motion and a cycle.  the spot of light within the dark and vice versa.  the small points when light turns to dark and then dark back to light. 

constant circular movement creates balance.

and i fight like hell against this most of the time.  when things are good, i want to stop the clock and just keep it good.  for. ev. er.  i want laundry to stay clean.  i want money to stay in the bank.  i don't want to have to buy more cat food a month from now.  and i certainly do not want to talk about something that has already been talked about before.  yes, ironically i want exactly what i fear the most: stagnation.

but, as the cashier-faerie demonstrated with her towers of cat vittles and her twinkling eyes - it is all about balance.  even when things comes crashing down and land on your exposed toes, it is still about balance.

even when your checkbook is not balanced and your bounce several checks to the place you work - it is still about balance.

even when you try to bring in your purse, the library books, and the rotten food at the same time and fail at this attempt.  yup, balance.  again, when i say "you" what i mean is "me."

riding a bike.  taking a shower.  comforting a child.  making a meal. asking for help.  going to sleep.  sun down. sun up. 

over and over.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

let it shine

the divine mostly whispers.  small and soft voice in my mind- suggesting solutions, offering detour directions, calming me when i scrap my knee past the age when my mama's lap fits.  it is the crux of life that whispering can be easy to ignore.

often it is about ten seconds too late that i recognize the whispering.  the moment after i turn down a street and see the sea of brake lights, when the sound of my son's siren screech out of his square mouth lands in my ears from a trip i didn't catch -  resulting in blood and scab, the look of hurt as my impulsive words land on the heart of someone in an ugly splat of black tar.  then i think, didn't i hear that whispering that said to turn right, to hold my son's hand, to keep my mouth shut?

truth is i do hear it. 

truth is i sometimes don't recognize it as my whispering divinity.  sometimes she can sound a little bit like a nagging fish wench or a whiny child or a grumpy-ass old man who doesn't brush his teeth often.  or maybe it's that it is hard to hear because all of these voices/thoughts are swirling around in my head in an overcooked soup, where carrots and potatoes taste the same.

truth is, sometimes i hear it, i recognize it and i ignore it.  i think "yeah, right i don't need to get gas now."  the stubborn part of me that simply doesn't want to be told what to do - even told what to do by my best-self, my guardian angel, my muse, my floating buddha of hope.  the rebel without a reason, i just disregard all sorts of good counsel and go straight toward obstacles as fat and crusty as brick walls. 

basically, this is why i got my nose pierced.  not because i was rebelling, but because i wanted a reminder that i do have this little light that shines and if i let it shine, as the song goes, i can follow it to where i need to be. 

i discovered this one late night when i sat up and preached a sermon to myself on the couch as i folded laundry.  i started off by singing songs and then i started chatting about the song - why it has lasted so long, why so many voices and hearts had found comfort in them.  i kept coming back to "this little light of mine, i'm gonna let it shine."  and i'd talk to myself, out loud, about what that meant to me in this life.  

i figured the whispering and the light are one-and-the-same.  i also figured that i needed a reminder about this, something a little big bigger/louder than the whispering.  something purdy and glittery and magically delicious.

these were the thoughts i had when teri stuck a hollow needle through my right nostril - i was singing this song in my head and imagining the tiny hole was like a star in the night sky.  a jewel in a vast dark landscape.  a disney tune might have slipped in there too.

a year later my nose-piercing seemed to be working.  except when it didn't.   like one morning as i washed my face in the shower, i heard the whisper say "you should be careful washing your face with this nose piercing."  and so i didn't.  i thought "nah, it's been fine all this time."

until 5 minutes later when i noticed the moonstone stud wasn't firmly in my flesh, but on the brink of the shower drain.  and it wouldn't go back through my nose.  i could get it all the way through the layers of my outer dermis, the cartilage but not the inner mostly muscusy layer of my nose.  i could feel the tip of the metal but it would not pierce through.

i'm as vain as the next person, i admit.  but it was something more than vanity that caused me a slight flutter of panic to land in my belly at the thought of my nose piercing refusing to be replanted in my nostril.  it was like a sign, like my light was being denied.  like the whispering had gone away - the tiny stud being it's speaker in my face and i couldn't get the freakin' wires to connect.

throughout the day, i kept trying to get the stud back in my nose.  my nose responded by swelling up and making it even more difficult.  i straightening an L shaped piercing to double the length, but still couldn't quite get it through.  i stalked pierced folks at stores and later at a party for advice.

the consensus: i had to push it through or it would only close up more.

the advice: do it now.  make noise when it hurt.  use a frozen carrot.

well, there were no frozen carrots to be found in the farmhouse freezer because really, frozen carrots are never as good as fresh carrots.  however we did manage to find a bag of edamame pods in the chest freezer.  i've also appreciated edamame pods, especially because of those soft hairs on them.  they remind me of $85 tabs for sushi, seaweed salad and sake when it was feasible to spend that much money on 45 minutes of food.  it's been awhile.

while the party continued behind the barn, the jugglers on the stage of the flat-bed truck and the cherries pits being sucked clean and then spit into the bushes, i went inside to the bathroom with my Small Son in tow and a midwife for the pain.  sitting on the counter, i shoved a cube of ice up my nose to numb it.  Small Son found this hilarious.  then in with the fuzzy green pod.  the bulbous curve of the bean fit snugly into my nostril.  i pushed the piercing through and felt it hindered by my thinnest skin.

this is where the noise-making helps.  because it is really challenging to cause ourselves pain and hold in noise at the same time.  it also helps to have someone else, midwife, make loud groaning noises with you from the doorway of the bathroom as your kid plays with the wooden teapot on the waldorf kitchen set up.  it is easier to groan into a groan rather than into silence.

as i pulled the pod out of my noise i saw small spots of blood on the green skin.  i felt the silver poking my septum as i wrinkled my swollen nose.  i turned my head this way and that to view the little light that had been gone for the past ten or so hours. 

and i thought
next time, i'm going to listen to that whisper
damn, that hurt.