Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I'm a little afraid that I've forgotten how to write without a computer. Our connection is molasses slow these days (maybe we're competing with the end-of-the-quarter domination of the cyber waves? But by all accounts the undergrads in our neighborhood are too busy experimenting with blender drinks and listening to loud music on their porch roofs to be tying up the lines... But I digress...) - anyway, it only just occurred to me that I could pick up a pen to try and work out my thoughts tonight, and my brain blatantly ignored that particular thought and took a lazy look around the room, feigning boredom with Blogger's loading process.  Embarrassing.

I took a walk this morning to save my soul.  I have been waking up early - too early - early enough to hear the dawn chorus begin, which is mighty early around here in May.  I could decide to leap from bed, ready to greet the day, early as it comes, with some mind-cleansing yoga or an early start on the day's plans, read something devotional or philosophical, but what happens is a gripping need to solve all of the problems - All of Them - before getting out of bed.  I probably don't need to tell you how immobilizing that is but what I should mention is that for the most part, my life is a piece of delicious cake. Really.  Yes, there are piles everywhere and a just-discovered paper bag of sprouting potatoes masquerading as recycling in the corner of the kitchen and children who manically swing from angel to beast in each others' presence, not to mention my own wildly swinging hormones - but really? My life is amazing. It's slow, full, beautiful, funny. And we've got our health (I am starting to sound so old).  Between you and me, I've got little to worry about, except for Big Things that neither of us has much control over anyway. 

Tell that to my brain.  At 5:00 am it flips the switch and a slow trickle of lead enters my veins, tethering me to my side of the bed.  My heart starts to race a bit, followed quickly by the whirling of the stomach.  Dread, the low buzz of anxiety - welcome to the day.  Today I managed to thwart the worst of it - the truly incapacitating lump that enters the throat and forces me to begin the whole spinning thought-process all over again - by leaping out of bed, throwing on my shoes and going outside.

My recommendation to myself this year was to get more oxygen. Laugh, but I'm telling you, it is saving me.  Down to the bikepath, into an incredible fairy land of fog and dewy grasses, I could feel the tight threads slowly releasing their hold. Breathing my way along, I could start to see my thoughts in their own smallish bubbles - manageable, approachable, almost endearing in their tinyness.

I realized as I walked along that the feelings of dread that were so familiar to me I used to feel so often during my high school and college years.  Day after day of performing, trying to meet high standards (my own and theirs), feeling self-conscious and self-important at the same time, obsessed with where I fit into the world and how.  I thought about how I often cope with those feelings by checking out - denying that they're there, stuffing (sometimes literally) them down, spending more and more time "somewhere else".  No wonder I often feel as if that part of my life happened to someone else.

One piece of this current anxiety is that I've been asked to officiate at the wedding of friends of ours and I am feeling...the weight of needing to say something profound. Or funny. It could go either way.  It is an odd position to be in - I was asked (I think) because they are comfortable with me, they love me,  we do not share a long history fraught with drama, and I think because they are pretty sure I won't mumble or say anything too God-y.  I think another reason it is making me feel anxious is that I am feeling set-apart and possibly more important than anyone else who will be at that wedding, brides included, and that makes me feel lonely and flustered, and, well, there is that pressure to be awesome.

This morning I was feeling more God-y than usual, in the fog and the peacefulness and the oxygen.  I was marveling at the jeweled nests of the spiders in the grasses - they're like little hammocks decked out for miniature rajas, threaded with silver and diamonds, and they are everywhere on a morning in May.  I have been reading Anne Lamott lately, and she always sends something spiritual moving through me, and I was thinking about what she calls "brown bag miracles", just those everyday moments that stand out for their timing, their right-ness to the moment.  We sometimes play a game in homeschool marching choir that Dan calls "school of fish", where we all move our hands like fish, silently following the leader, which transfers through the game from one kid to the next, and watching the kids' faces, with their focus and glow and silence through the game pierces me every time with light and love. On a day that is not going just the way you would like it to, that would be a brown bag miracle, a reminder of the why - it's for the glow and the love.

This morning, once I had gotten enough oxygen to feel a bit more in the world again, instead of the toilet-bowl vortex of my own being, I was looking for connection and I started noticing that, far above the jeweled nests, there were these almost invisible strands of webbing stretching from tree limb to tree limb, from grass blade to clover leaf, and once my eye caught this layering of threads I could see that really, everything was delicately woven to everything else, and instead of being creepy and oppressive, filling me with more worry, it brought a huge grin to my face to see it all around me.  I don't often use the word God and I wondered in that moment if anyone would get what I meant if I told them that for me God was synonymous with spiderweb, because that's how it felt this morning, as if, when you cock your head and look at it all just right, it really is all connected and no one thing is more important than another.  This was my brown-bag miracle.  It is not all about me, it is all about Everything, and no part of It All moves without sending a vibration along a silken strand to touch Everything Else.

A little woo-woo, but it worked for me.  God, spiderwebs, feeling connected, and just enjoying the breath of an early morning, letting the crappy crumbs of worry fall away.


alissa said...

You are beautiful and profound and amazing and you don't even have to try.

Stacy @ Sweet Sky said...

i love you, debbie.


Kerry said...

What a perfect start to your day.

You are awesome without trying at all. There now, the pressure is off.