Thursday, January 7, 2010


I choose the moments I have left to be moments without pretending.

When Death Comes

by Mary Oliver

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

from the book Ten Poems to Last a Lifetime
page 111-112

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I am reading the book The Body Never Lies by Alice Miller. And it is so helping me. It says things I have already learned, but find it so helpful to see in print the words. It validates and gives permission to really believe things that have so rung true in my search for living a life fully, free and unencumbered. I have colored the sentences that just made me pause and drink it in.

If you click on the post title, you will go to Alice Miller's website.

From chapter 10, The Body as Guardian of the Truth
a story of Elizabeth from pages 121 - 123
...But, as always I managed to ignore my own feelings and adjust to her mentality...All I had to do was to listen to my own body, because in all the encounters with my mother I was invariably afflicted with severe physical symptoms as soon as I started repressing my feelings. My body appears to be completely unerring in this respect, and my impression is that it knows my truth very well; better than my conscious self...

It would be nice if I could find someone who would let me be as I am, let me say all the things I would like to say, who would not force-feed me with moralistic homilies. This might help me intregrate my painful memories....I am closer to my own feelings than I have ever been before. I can express them...Since I started doing that, my physical complaints and my depression have more or less disappeared.

...I haven't seen my mother once this year, and I do not feel the need to do so. The memories...protect me from any illusions I might have and also from expectations, that she might have something to give me that I missed out on so much as a child. Even though I still miss it from time to time, I now know exactly where there is absolutely no point in looking for it. ...I feel no hatred in me. I do not need to hate my mother because I am no longer emotionally dependent on her.

...failed to understand that. She wanted to free me of my hatred and did not realize that she was unintentionally thrusting me into that hate, which was an expression of my dependency, a dependency she would have created all over again...Today, I no longer need to suffer from pretending that I have feelings for my mother. I don't. That is why there is no hatred left inside me.

And this part I was really grateful to read:
It does not matter so much whether we have to break off all contact with our parents or not. The process of separation, the path from childhood to adulthood, takes place inside us. Sometimes breaking off all contact is the only way in which we can live up to our own needs.

Form Chapter 11 ~ Can I Say It?
page 127
I can well remember the fears that haunted me when I was writing Thou Shalt Not Be Aware.
...I knew quite definitely that I had chanced on an unwritten law, the devastating exploitation of children for the retaliatory needs of their parents and the taboo placed on that reality by society. We shall not be aware.

Did I not risk incurring the severest of penalties if I insisted on breaking that taboo? But my fear also helped me to understand a lot of things...

p 132 -133
...When their parents lie dying, they desperately hope to feel, at the very last moment, the acceptance and confirmation that they never felt in the presence of their parents throughout their whole lives. Dagnmar writes:
Every time I talk to my mother I feel a poison flowing into my body and forming an ulcer there. I try not to see it like that, because seeing it like that gives me guilt feelings. Then the ulcer starts to suppurate, and every time I lapse into depression. I try to admit my true feelings and tell myself I have the right to feel them, to see the intensity of my anger. When I admit my feelings, although they are not always good feelings,
I start to breathe again. I start allowing myself to stay with my true feelings. If I succeed in that, I feel better, more alive, and my depression disappears.

...But, how can I respect myself if I don't take my true feelings seriously? If I don't do that, I don't know who I am, I don't know who I'm supposed to be respecting.

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At January 8, 2010 at 2:26:00 AM EST , Blogger ilovemylife said...

I write this here, so that it won't be cached on the internet. It is quite personal writing and although I share it here with the thought that someone will find it relatable and therefore helpful, I wanted to protect it a bit in a more private place.

January 2, 2010 I wrote this in Journal #21 of mine

Some inhale and exhale mechanically,
some inhale and exhale life spiritually, emotionally.
It's breathing. Embodying LIFE's power.

The feelings that deeply lie in my spirit are powerful.
The two most powerful lines are from my mother and from The Great Spirit of the Universe. There are times I am aware of the powers that hold, mold and either enslave me or release me. There are times I am unconscious of the control of either or both of these powerful forces. But if I can identify them when they are strongly affecting me, I can also acknowledge them, recognize my relationship with them. And walk out of the grip (mother) or walk with the empowering freedom (The Great Spirit of the Universe).

The thought occurred to me this morning, that I thought my mother was the beginning and end of what was the seed of my life's "ground of being". But no, I can go past that wall that inhibits me, suffocates me, intimidates me, controls me and enter into another place. A place where I feel Light, unencumbered, the promise to be my natural spirit. A place I can be fearless, I can open myself to vulnerability. Be whole. Be one with all that is good and the landscape of an infinite... something. I've talked about this "place" before in my writing. How I love being here in this "place" of being. It's a place where I transcend barriers and feel. Feel real. Unabashed.

Thinking of whether to talk to my brother, sister or mother or not carries the weight of what we should do versus what we do for our own sake. They suck life out of me. They exert their idea of who I am to be and that person is foreign to who I am.

……We are required in this family to pretend. Pretend who I am. Pretend who they are. I am required to pretend not to feel what I do feel and pretend to feel what I don’t feel. It is an unspoken law of the family. And no one dares to say this out loud.

All this pretending would mean I would have to continue what was started in childhood….being untrue to myself. That is the price I would pay to go into their worlds.

I’d rather just not be in their worlds.

It is freer, here. Why would I want to put myself in the pain, the bondage, the tentacles, the aura, in the world of such facades?

Being in a place that encourages truth or pretense,

Truth versus Pretense

Truth versus Lies

Even if I didn’t have a brain, my instincts would be able to steer me into the place that encourages, inspires, looks for, moves toward truth.

Like a plant goes for sunlight.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I am
resting in the arms
of what IS.

In the Great Spirit’s presence.
Infinite and eternal in its capacity
to share, be the Light,
encompass all hopes, compassion, understanding,
genuine giving, genuine love,
allow my vulnerability a place of safety, comfort and welcome.

Thank you.

It is right, it is good and I am a part of it
now and forever.

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.”


At January 22, 2010 at 12:22:00 PM EST , Blogger Cassandra Batson said...

Thank you Sandra for sharing these intimate pieces of your thoughts and feelings. Your words are truly helpful as I ponder what to do and how to be in light of my mother's recent stroke. "To thine own self be true"...it seems so easy...until you have to weed through family and societal conditioning to get to what's really in the heart.


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