It’s been a rough few days.
Feeling stronger and braver last week I tentatively opened a door to my past and unwittingly let in a few malicious ghosts. Instead of sending them scurrying with some well aimed truth, I let them linger and cause non-stop mayhem. My hard fought peace was gone and fear ran rampant. Insomnia, illness and grief followed in short order and I’ve been struggling with anxiety ever since.
Blast and bother.
I hate it when this happens. Hate it when I let others snatch my peace away, let them trample my joy and smother me with fear.
At my worst moment I decided enough was enough. Even though it was raining I donned my favorite boots, called my dog Fletcher and headed for the woods. There’s nothing like a good tramp through the bush to sort things out.
Five minutes later I was back. I had neglected fly spray and the buggers were about to drive me mad. I thoroughly drenched myself then headed back to the woods, grinning as potential fly-bombers hove off at the first scent of the spray.
My tromp took me along the edge of the dam, lush with weeds and wildflowers. Fletcher ran about like mad, having the time of his life even as his fur got soaked and matted with stickers.
Just getting out into the fresh air did wonders. The falling rain relaxed my tense muscles and I felt myself starting to breathe deeply again. Funny how stress restricts the diaphragm and makes your breathing shallow, suppressing the deep, cleansing breaths that do no end of good.
I wended my way through chest high grasses, carefully avoiding the pretty but mean-spirited Scotch thistles, keeping a weather eye open for kangaroos I knew napped nearby. As I approached the bush I smiled, knowing exactly where my feet were taking me.
The Sacred Grove.
Bear and I discovered the Sacred Grove in December when we went on a sunny bush walk on Christmas Day. It’s comprised of a group of towering gum trees that somehow grew in a circle, their branches shading the meadow growing between their roots.
Stepping into the circle I closed my eyes, breathing deeply of the rain-washed air, luxuriating in the stillness. I opened my eyes and tipped my head back, delighted to see that the circle of tree trunks was reflected in the circle of branches above.
I don’t usually dance by myself in the woods, but on this day, I couldn’t help myself. I had to. After all the angst and pain of the last week, it was time to let it all go and celebrate the good things: true love, friendship, and real freedom.
I don’t actually know how to dance so I just started moving, a little jig here, a little shuffle there, so happy that only Fletcher was there to gaze at me in astonishment. Suddenly I was dancing like an Indian at a pow-wow, surely looking like a lunatic but it just felt right. The hopping-bowing-raising of the pow-pow dance led me around the grove. I felt grief leave me in a great sob, tears streaming down my cheeks, mingling with the rain. Then suddenly the dance changed and I was twirling, swirling, bobbing and weaving, grinning like a fool and feeling light and free. Fletcher came and sat at my feet, looking up at me in wonder, and I burst out laughing. Poor thing. He did not sign up for this!
I twirled a moment longer until suddenly I saw him, a bright orange and blue beetle scurrying along a yellow stalk. I was so startled by the tiny burst of color in a sea of green that all thoughts of dancing and twirling were gone as I knelt down to inspect his colorful little self.
The dancing had done its work. No longer consumed by pain I could celebrate life again, could find gorgeous little bits of beauty in snazzy bugs and perky flowers.
I am grateful.
Since then I’ve been able to work through those gutting things. To find forgiveness and peace again. Dear friends gave inestimable comfort and cheer and the advice I needed.
Today I read the following quotes and hope they shore up your resolve as they have mine.
“And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Anais Nin
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” Steve Jobs
“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.” Ayn Rand