Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Fallow Fields Redoux - only this time it is different

I have to laugh at myself because I easily, so easily, forget the lessons I have already learned. Does that happen to you? I've often called this tendency of mine "the spiral staircase" and the point of that is that life is a cycle, but it is not a flat cycle, it is an ascending and descending cycle, and we can, by our choices, go either way. Very rarely do we end up exactly at the same point, but rather at a similar point or in a similar situation.

For me January and February seem to be hard, my body seems to resonate with a deep loss. Last year at this time, I had a miscarriage. Four years ago a custody battle with my ex-husband started and I was afraid I would lose my children. Five years ago at this time, my first marriage finally fell apart. Ten years ago, my ex-husband did the unthinkable to me and hit me while I was pregnant with our son and I was afraid my marriage would never get better. Twenty-four years ago, my ex-husband hit me for the first time. Nearly thirty years ago, I was date raped and my naïveté was lost. It goes on and on, and between these big years is a re-visitation of those losses of the past sneaking up on me strangely, or setting me up for the next big loss. Some years seem like a piece of cake in comparison, but I have a reckoning with loss and confronting expectations. It appears this is a life pattern worth recognizing. I must allow this mourning to unfold or life will hand me a big grievance to deal with and I feel this in my body more than my brain. My brain forgets to pay attention, honestly, but this year it is different.

This year is the first year that I've appreciated this pattern. I can see it so clearly today, that I'm actually shocked at its precision. It begs the question: What am I holding onto with expectation that will tear away from me in one way or another? What expectation can I confront consciously, be aware of and release before the big bad Universe comes to collect it? That sounds like fear mongering I realize, but it really isn't that at all.  It is an effort to become cognizant of false hope, to comprehend my own fantasies.

I rush to sit in my fallow fields before I'm forced there by unforeseen circumstances! Yes, the fields are still frozen solid. However, as I sit here, I remember that I'm not going to plant saplings right now. I'm going to grow my writing career from seeds, from peach pits. That is a completely different scenario from trying to grow a writing career from an already mature pattern. Oh yeah. Peach pits. I don't have to dig huge holes on the hill of my orchard. I have to wait for perfect timing, the last frost which may be months away, and spend my time instead shoring up other parts of my life...like finances, for instance. Is it pure, unadulterated fantasy to believe that I can plant peach saplings in the frozen dead of winter? The expectation that I can be dependent on a frozen budget that has no give is a clue.

For the last 23 years, I have been avoiding writing with my whole heart by taking on work to support my wasband, my children, and myself. I easily buy into making a success of other people’s projects. It is harder for me to invest this time in my own success, knowing that everyone I care about has to live with less while I am after it. My dear, sweet husband will not make the decision for me about whether or not to take finding another job seriously, no matter how I beg him to make up my mind. The guilt and shame of my fallow field rises daily as he works overtime to make ends meet while I struggle to write from seeds. I cannot explain in words how excruciating this dependency feels. Yet, he has faith in my writing, he believes that the peach orchard will grow if I just focus there, and sacrifice now the comforts of financial gain. How strange to have someone else have faith in my writing, when I second-guess it everyday. To find my patience is truly my spiritual lesson. We are not starving. We have, in general, necessities cared for, but no extras; no progress can be made today, right now. If, as I sit on the frozen, fallow field, I could locate patience then perhaps the field would thaw. 

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