Rune Life Path Reading

I did a rune life path reading at The Root Cafe today. I chose five runes from a bag and laid each one down in a straight line between me and the reader. The first and last runes I laid down were upside down (reversed). The other three were laid down the correct way. The final rune is what I am ultimately working toward and the other four are what I will experience along my path toward that goal but not necessarily in the order that I drew them.

The five chosen runes for the reading:

1. Constraint (reversed)
2. Initiation
3. Protection (Spiritual)
4. Journey
5. Warrior (Spiritual) (reversed)

1. This Rune (lesson of Nauthiz) represents the obstacles we create for ourselves as well as those we encounter in the world around us. Reversed: Nauthiz is the great teacher disguised as the bringer of pain and limitation. A cleansing is required here; in undertaking it, you fund a will and strengthen character. Begin with what is most difficult and proceed to that which is easy. Thus you are required to undergo the dark side of your passage and bring it into the light.

2. This Rune (lesson of Perth) is concerned with the deepest stratum of our being, the bedrock on which our destiny is founded. If need be, let go of everything, no exceptions, no exclusions. Nothing less than renewal of the Spirit is at stake.

3. This Rune (lesson of Algiz) serves as a mirror for the Spiritual Warrior, the one whose battle is always with the self. During times of transition, shifts in life course and accelerated self-change, it is important not to collapse yourself into your emotions, the highs as well as the lows. Control of the emotions is at issue here. If you find yourself feeling pain, observe the pain, stay with it. Do not try to pull down the veil and escape from life by denying what is happening. You will progress; knowing that is your protection.

4. This Rune (lesson of Raido) is concerned with communication, with the attunement of something that has two sides, two elements and with the ultimate union that comes at the end of the journey, when what is above and what is below are united and of one mind. The journey is toward self-healing, self-change and union.

5. This Rune (lesson of Teiwaz) is the Rune of the Spiritual Warrior. Embodied in this Rune is the energy of discrimination, the swordlike quality that enables you to cut away the old, the dead, the extraneous. Reversed, Teiwaz calls for examining your motives carefully. Is it self-conquest with which you are concerned or are you trying to dominate another?


(The above explanations of each rune are from The Book of Runes by Ralph H. Blum)

The reading

I am on a journey to discover and embody my authentic self. I will achieve this but there will be challenges along the way and I will need to make a sacrifice (“to make sacred”, not always a negative connotation).

The path that I am on right now is directly related to the choices I have made in my past, whether positive or negative, and I must see this path through. I’ve been avoiding it and trying to change it based on guilt and shame from the past, but I must put those aside in order to see it through.

I live always in the past or in the future, but never in the present. The past is represented by guilt and shame and it uses those two things to keep me there. The future is represented by anxiety and worry and those two things dominate me most of all. In order to live in the present and continue on my path, I must shed guilt, shame, anxiety, and worry and realize there is nothing I can do about any of them.

There is a new path that has presented itself to me and many obstacles have sprung up to keep me from pursuing this path. I must push these obstacles aside in whatever manner possible so that I can continue on this new path as well as following the current path. They will join together. The new path must join the current.

My role is as an Initiate. An initiate role was chosen for me and I cannot leave it behind. The role I have always chosen for myself is Master because it gives me the control that I feel I must have. But because the role of Master conflicts with the role of Initiate, I am suffocating in identity crisis and experiencing more negativity than I need to be feeling.

My name, Clara, means, among other things, “clairvoyant” and I have been suppressing this gift for awhile now though I embraced it for a good portion of my life. I must let this gift flow through me once again in order to become my authentic self.

I am going on a trip in the next year and this trip will give me answers that I have been seeking. It is immensely important that I go on this trip no matter what. I alone know the questions and answers I am seeking and I will recognize these answers when they are made apparent.

The Spiritual Warrior is who I am and who I am working toward becoming. While I am on the journey and once I have attained my authentic self, I must not feel compelled to stray from it or be anything less than authentic at all times. No one around me is owed an explanation for my authenticity but if I give explanation to a loved one, it is with the full knowledge that this is an honor, not an obligation or expectation.

Fear has dominated my life, as well as guilt, shame, anxiety, and worry. Control (and the perceived notion of having complete control) has led my actions, my words, and my life. It is an absolute necessity to let go of each of those things (and continue letting them go) in order to achieve my authentic self and to rid myself of their negative attributes.

 

Honesty edition, part two

iceburg words

If you haven’t read “Honesty edition, part one”, please click on it here and read first.

————————————–

I wasn’t weak but I had been weakened.

Tremendously.

I wasn’t even aware of how much as we pulled off of our last lot with the circus in Fort Worth, Texas and made our way north to Fort Wayne, Indiana. Why Fort Wayne? I was born there and still have extended family there. My grandma had just passed away a few months before and I really needed that family connection to help me through the grieving process. I wanted to be there for my grandpa and I wanted to visit her gravestone after the final date was etched there.

We stayed with two of my cousins who rented a house in Fort Wayne. There was room for our RV to be parked out back and we covered it with its winter cover, moved our stuff into an upstairs bedroom and re-acclimated to conventional towner life.

It was unfamiliar. I reeled at the space we had to live in, at the size of the bathroom, the forgotten pleasure of immediate hot water, the ease of washing and drying clothing whenever I wanted to. I slowly remembered how to cook meals again, to sleep in, and I scored an amazing temporary bookseller position at Half Price Books about 10 minutes away.

I was surprised at how difficult transitioning back into towner life was for me. At times, it felt easy but most of the time, it felt as though I was a ghost floating through, unable to touch anything.

The morning stress of praying we would wake up to the alarm and not get left behind on the lot stayed with me for weeks.

The edge I felt going to sleep hoping I wouldn’t hear a knock on my bedroom door in the middle of the night (usually due to an emergency jump to the next lot because of weather or, when we were doing PR, a police officer telling us we couldn’t park there and had to move on) still hasn’t left me.

The immediate smile and canned enthusiasm I would display when people asked about my time on the circus was reminiscent of my forced customer service protocol drilled into me or my reaction when I used to be asked “just how awesome is it REALLY to work for Z Deli?!” (no comment).

Then I would feel conflicted. Because there were good times, there were great people, it was the opportunity of a lifetime for a lady like me who didn’t grow up on a show. I traveled. I lived next to tigers and elephants. I became friends with a fire breather, two contortionists from Mongolia, a tiger groom, a ringmaster and many more. I learned face painting from a woman who rode elephants. I mean, come on…

So I focused on that. I focused on the beautiful people who welcomed me into the family and who took care of me. I focused on my opportunity to hang out with an elephant who liked to sniff my shoes when I brought her my veggie scraps and who always enjoyed having her tongue petted (sorry, Armando, I tried to resist Tracy’s charms). I focused on the people I met along the way and who have since become good friends.

We settled into a routine in Fort Wayne. We had our favorite coffee house (Firefly Coffee House on North Anthony – nicest baristas and best coffee around!) that we visited every day and kept us rooted and connected with our loved ones via the coffeehouse’s free wifi. I settled back into selling books and John worked aggressively on making and selling our handmade puppets.

We hadn’t yet realized how radically our relationship had shifted in the two years we were on the road and even in the two years we were in Ann Arbor. He and I were both caught up in our own versions of survival mode: I was shutting everyone out with my walls of defense up, trying to appear strong and together, believing that if I acted strong and together, I would magically embody it. I felt as though I needed to fix things in Ann Arbor: we were there for me to go to school, I wasn’t in school, so therefore we were there for no reason. I needed a new reason.

He and I weren’t connecting like we used to but we didn’t yet know what that meant or how deeply it went. We still felt like we were in survival mode in Fort Wayne because it was only meant to be a temporary situation but we didn’t know where we needed to go next. The detox we experienced (and are still experiencing) dredged up a lot of poison, insecurities, and questions from the last handful of years that we hadn’t wanted to deal with and had blocked.

When we finally made the decision to move back to the Cleveland area, it was reminiscent of moving back there from Oregon a handful of years ago. Life had moved on without us and while we were happy to see our old friends and vice versa, we hadn’t been a part of things there for four years. People didn’t hang out as much as they used to, new relationships had formed, old relationships had ended, and we were just all…older.

There’s been a wide range of emotions felt in our household since our move back to Cleveland: excitement, trepidation, joy, and the feeling of following the right path and everything working out perfectly were some of the feelings we were having when we first moved back in February. Life was just clicking into place: our former duplex was available for rent again, we both had jobs in Lakewood (not an easy feat as anyone who lives here knows), I reconnected with a close friend, John was recommended to a local entertainment agency, and everyone we knew was getting rid of furniture and household items that we could use.

Somewhere along the way though, the poison began seeping out again. Miscommunication, tiredness, and a couple of sudden, lost friendships were wearing us both down. The loss of the friendships hurt pretty badly. They were new friendships that were invested in and believed in, but they ultimately didn’t stick around. The term I recently found out for what they did to us is called “ghosting”. Quite hurtful to be left in silence with no answers and no control over what happened.

Now it’s present day. We are both working for a cafe in Lakewood: he’s a barista, I’m the bakery manager. We work gigs over the weekend set up for us by Flower Entertainment: he does clowning and/or balloon twisting, I do face painting. Our house that we moved into March 1st is still a mess, nothing’s been hung on the walls, and most days we only have the energy to do some dishes and laundry. Our 14.5 year old cat has recently been diagnosed with feline diabetes and must get insulin shots twice a day.

Honestly? We are struggling. A lot has come back to haunt us, to teach us, to challenge us, and to make us ask a lot of questions. We are no longer certain of what the future holds and that uncertainty scares the hell out of us. We’re still figuring out our place in each others lives, let alone the lives of those we moved away from four years ago.

Honestly? Our relationship has always been unconventional for 16 years and it’s either going to grow even more unconventional or we’re going to morph into something different. It’s uncomfortable, it’s sad, it’s not fair, and it’s exhausting. Most days, I feel as though I’m losing my mind.

Honestly? My blinders are still set to survival mode but this time, it’s because I’m fighting for my future and I have no time or energy for anything extraneous.

Honestly? There are certain important aspects of my life I’m not going to share here out of privacy for me and the others involved. They may come to light eventually (with agreement from all parties first) but for now they are my own.

Honestly? This is the most terrifying birth. I’m not sure if I’m ready but that doesn’t matter…it’s going to happen whether I’m ready or not.

Honesty edition, part one

Me at the gate

I’m going to practice a bit of honesty here. A bit more openness than I normally exercise. A tad more straight ahead nonfiction rather than creative.

Firstly, I’m not approaching this honesty post with the intention of wanting to sit down and talk with any of you reading this afterward. Please don’t be offended. I am simply aware that what’s currently going on in my life is spilling over from private to public anyway and I wanted to share some insight.

Secondly, I am self-aware enough to know that most of you who read this may not know me or see me in real life and will think this is pretty narcissistic. I won’t argue with that. However, it’s also very therapeutic for me to get my thoughts out of my head and onto paper/computer screen, etc. There’s always the off-chance that something I write will help someone else or give them a different perspective as other bloggers/writers have done for me in the past.

Okay, onto honesty:

A little over four years ago…

John and I moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan. We made plans to move there because I had applied to graduate school at U of M and since I had already been accepted into another school (that I ultimately turned down because I didn’t like the city or campus when I visited), I felt confident that I would be accepted at U of M also.

I wasn’t.

I didn’t find this out until the evening before we were moving there. Looking back, it was ridiculous to have finalized moving plans before actually finding out if I had made it in or not, but we didn’t. We were full steam ahead.

Getting that rejection letter (not even a letter; an email) changed the course of my life. I was devastated, I was embarrassed, I felt stupid, and I very quickly felt as though I needed to fix things. Immediately. On my own. We were moving out of state for me and now we had nothing.

Once in Ann Arbor, I proceeded to lie to anyone I met about what happened with grad school: “Oh, I decided to defer a year until I am a Michigan resident so that my tuition costs will be lowered.” I said this so often that I began to believe it. It saved my sanity at the time and helped me feel as though I still had a chance at going back to school.

But I never applied there again. Instead, I jumped from job to job, frantically trying to find The Job that would justify us moving to Michigan and would get me started on my life’s path.

I worked at a grocery store to start and applied for an assistant manager position there. Then I worked at Zingerman’s Deli, then Relaxstation Massage Therapy, then Nicola’s Books. In the midst of that, I volunteered at a local farm and learned how to plant, manage, and harvest from a 15(?) acre farm.

One of those places could have been It (more than likely the farm) but I was still so focused on the future that I wasn’t living in the present. I had put walls up around me in self-defense, I had blinders on to anything that wasn’t career-focused, and I was living in my own little world.

When John was offered the circus job, it felt like a relief. Ann Arbor was quickly spiraling into a rut that wasn’t giving me any direction. Looking back now, I realized it wasn’t the city; it was me. But at the time, I was so relieved to have a direction, a path handed to us that we wholeheartedly agreed to it and spent the next six weeks selling most of our stuff off, storing the rest, subletting our apartment, financing and buying an RV, learning how to drive an RV, and giving notice at our jobs.

Before I knew it, we were driving from Michigan down to Arkansas to meet up with the show before beginning our PR jobs in Illinois. My life had suddenly become held together by a 29′ RV with frequent overnight stops in Walmart parking lots, fire stations, parks, stranger’s driveways, industrial parks, and even stranger places I don’t remember now.

To say that the first few months were traumatic makes it sound too blissful. I had one long continuous panic attack that lasted those three months (and then floated in and out of my consciousness for the next two years) that resulted in me crying uncontrollably every day. The stress of the new job and all of its demands on both of us didn’t allow me to process my panic and tears so I swallowed them as I could and assured John I was in.

I wasn’t in. But I didn’t feel as though we had a choice to be out. We had financed and were paying on an RV, we had nowhere to call home and no other jobs to go to. In retrospect, I wish we had given notice and left the job. I don’t know where we would have gone but it would have been better than what we went through.

I tried to keep a positive face on everything in my travel blog. I didn’t want to admit to the world that I felt as though I was failing this HUGE thing that we had proudly announced we were doing. That people were telling us they were envious of us doing. That we were supposed to be having the time of our lives doing. And I didn’t want to let the circus down.

So we kept going. Eventually things were better, we established a routine, we saw friends along the way, and it started to feel normal. I felt victorious. I told myself that I just needed to adjust to this life and that it took me a bit longer than some to do so.

By the middle of the season, we were made privy to the knowledge that the ring clown position would be opening up the next season. John wanted to go for it; I wanted him to go for it. Being on the show had to be better than being all by ourselves traveling for nine months.

At the end of the season, John had auditioned in the ring a few times and the season ended in Oklahoma. Not knowing if he had the job or not yet, we parked at winter quarters and waited. The wait ended up being longer than we had planned and after going through the money we had saved to travel back home for the holidays, we settled in for an Oklahoma winter.

It was hell.

Well, not all of it. We had the chance to hang out and socialize with friends on the show. We learned how to carve foam into props, how to latex it a million times and how to paint them realistically. The office manager invited us to her house for Thanksgiving and the elephant handler graciously invited us to his house for Christmas since we didn’t have anywhere else to go.

But we’d blown through our savings already with no other income in sight. So I applied at every business with an open sign in Hugo, Oklahoma and finally ended up getting offered a job at their Pizza Hut up the road.

Free Personal Pan pizzas and the meager earnings of a server barely kept us afloat and it was only through a loan from the show and another loan from a loving family member that got us through to the beginning of the season in February.

But we’d made it…the season was upon us, we were going to both be earning paychecks every week and things would be good.

Except they weren’t. Because of immigration laws and the hoopla surrounding them at the time, the show wasn’t able to secure most of our crew from Mexico or some of our international performers for the first 2-3 weeks. It fell on everyone else there to do double and triple duty.

Therein was our first newbie mistake. We offered to help a couple of times and we were told thanks, but it wasn’t needed. So we stopped asking and concentrated instead on trying to finish John’s props and costumes for the impending first show. Because we were holed up in our RV for most of the day, every day, I believe that some folks thought we were just being lazy and unhelpful. Some bad feelings emerged, not helped by the added stress of no crew members, and I don’t think we ever outgrew the lazy stigma the rest of the season.

I won’t go into details about the season. Suffice it to say, there were good times, fantastic times, exuberant times, and then there were deeply depressing, lonely, and frantic times. And everything in between. I felt like a towner playing circus and though we succeeded in finishing the entire season (though we took two weeks off to be with my dying grandma and to attend her subsequent funeral), we made a lot of mistakes along the way and didn’t feel too great about ourselves by the end. There were a number of loving, caring people on the show who reached out to us and though we accepted their friendship and support, we accepted many of them conditionally, wondering if by accepting help we were somehow showing weakness. We didn’t want to appear weak; there is no place in circus for weakness.

To be continued…

Do You Worry What People Think of You?

(inspired by http://mbg.to/NJwQWgg)

Yes, I do. All the time. It’s a disease.

1. What is the story you’re telling yourself that’s making you care about what other people think?
2. What consequences has this story had in your life?
3. What has this cost you so far?
4. What is your life going to look like five years, 10 years, 50 years from now if you keep this story or belief?
5. What is it that you truly want?

My answers:

1. What is the story you’re telling yourself that’s making you care about what other people think?

I internalized early on that it’s very important for people to like you no matter what. No matter what. I think it mainly has to do with the stereotypical expectation of women being people pleasers and having that ingrained through all outside influences my entire life. I dislike conflict because it throws me off balance, it flusters me, and I lack the confidence sometimes to stand up to it, to stand up for myself. Any chance I get to avoid it or brush it to the side is a win in my book.

But it isn’t a win.

If I can make everyone like me, then I won’t have conflict. If I don’t have conflict, I won’t feel flustered and self-conscious.

This is impossible.

It makes me uncomfortable when other people have a misconception of who I am. If you were to sit my in-laws down along with my best friend and ask them all what they think of me, they would each give you very different impressions of me. Who is right? Who is wrong? Is anyone wrong? Is it possible that they are both right? My in-laws haven’t talked to me in 10 years; even if there was any truth in how they perceived me then, is there any truth in it now?

I logically know that not everyone is going to like me. I don’t like everyone I meet either. I am probably making unfair assessments of some of them too. Does that really matter? If I never interact with them again, does it matter?

2. What consequences has this story had in your life?

Immense consequences. I have tailored most of my life to making others happy even at the detriment to myself. I have put others before me to the point where I have sacrificed my own happiness, my own goals, and my own wants, desires, needs. I compromise in big ways and small ways in order to make and keep people happy.

Working customer service has been the ultimate expression of this.

I remember having a friend in high school who was deeply depressed. I felt for whatever narcissistic reason my teenage mind could come up with that I was the only one equipped to help him out of it. I put him first in everything and ended up compromising my immune system from neglect and got sick. Nobody won. His parents stepped in and got him the help he needed and things became awkward with us afterwards.

A college friend and I have recently been discussing the Smile women automatically give when we are in an uncomfortable situation. We immediately try to put others at ease even when they are being inappropriate with us. We feel it is our place to still make sure others think kindly of us even when they are strangers rubbing our backs, commenting on our looks, or lifting our sleeve to look at our tattoos.

The ultimate consequence of caring too deeply what others think is never taking a second to think about myself. To realize that I usually put myself last even though I’m the one who lives with myself 24/7 and should take better care.

3. What has this cost you so far?

It has cost me regular growth in self-esteem, in doing things I’ve always wanted to do but haven’t so far because I’m too afraid of what people will say, and it has cost me myself.

I don’t know who I would be right now if I had internalized a healthy response to this. I don’t blame anyone but myself. And I don’t even blame myself; I’ve done what I’ve needed to do in order to get to this place in my life. At 35 years of age, I am learning to care less about what others think and more about presenting peace to those around me and especially to those I do not like.

I am in the midst of renegotiating and reconciling the traditional trappings of what society thinks a wife should be, a woman should be, a childfree person should be, a college graduate should be, an ex-daughter-in-law should be, a writer should be, and an introvert should be. I am realizing some of my paths are going to seem pretty extreme and confusing to some but I can no longer stall my journey down them. I am being unfair to myself and I only have this one life to live.

4. What is your life going to look like five years, 10 years, 50 years from now if you keep this story or belief?

My life is going to look very similar to what it looked like five years ago, 10 years ago, and even 20 years ago. It will be filled with little regretlets following me around, tugging on my pants, reminding me of each time I failed to stand up for myself, failed to follow a dream, and failed to pursue happiness. It will be glazed over with resentment and pointing fingers with an extra healthy dose of bitterness served on the side.

I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned so far and I am cognizant of the fact that I will always have lessons to learn. But many of these lessons need to be put into practice before its too late. There are only so many times you can keep bashing your head against a wall and expect a different result.

5. What is it that you truly want?

Whew.

I want:

– to live my life without fear directing it.

– to be every day honest about who I really am, what I really care about, what my passions are, what my beliefs have evolved into, and how fluid my thoughts really are on gender, sexuality, marriage, and religion (just to name a few).

– to be open about love.

– to celebrate my individuality yet mindfully honor my place in this world.

– to proclaim myself in confidence and remain sturdy when others respond with hesitation or questions.

– to commit to something I’m fearful of and prove to myself I can do it (ie. roller derby…I love the entire idea of it; I am incredibly, immensely fearful of injuring myself. I have yet to break any bones or get stitches. I have arranged my entire life in safety and I feel as though I’m missing out.).

– to go on a vacation all by myself and navigate every aspect of it by myself…just to prove I can do it. I’ve always relied on others when away from home, especially when things go wrong, and I’ve never had to stand on my own two feet in a situation like that.

-to feel wholly comfortable in my skin…regardless of my weight, my body shape, my hair color, or the number of tattoos I happen to have at the time. Regardless of what I think others are thinking of me…because most of the time, they are not thinking about me at all; they are thinking of themselves and their perceived flaws.

#FirstHarassed : a collection of experiences

************************* TRIGGER WARNING:*************************
CONTAINS REFERENCES TO SEXUAL HARASSMENT

(Inspired by true events)
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*

tumblr_nmxbceok0X1rtynt1o1_1280

I am a woman.

A partner, a lover, a sister, a daughter, a baker, a writer, and a wannabe Buddhist.

But it’s the woman part that many of us have the most trouble with sometimes:

Do you want me to tell you about the time a boyfriend said I shouldn’t pin my bangs back because it made my forehead too big?

Or the time she dreamed her t-shirt went flying through the bedroom door and how she laid on her back for hours, legs spread with a boy-man (who should’ve known better) between them? She can still see the top of his shaved head.

How about the countless bus rides that came with a free thigh rub from a good samaritan senior male?

Another favorite was the 17-year old athlete who threw a hissy fit if she didn’t give him free reign over her body.

All of this we’ve accepted as normal. We were a bunch of hormones sardined together in a school…how else were we supposed to behave? Boys will be boys, right?

Now when I think back to what they tried to get from me, I realize how much they chiseled away. Like a marble slab left to an inexperienced sculptor, my body was chipped away by each one with the promise of something better. With the expectation that I will give and give and give and give.

Because what else is a girlfriend for?

I rejected sexuality then: Not for me, I said. I have a low libido, I claimed.
I needed to protect myself. I can take care of myself, don’t need a man to take care of it for me.

This too was wrong.

To deny our sexuality, our passion, our pleasure; to claim responsibility and shame for their “inability” to keep their hands to themselves is, plain and simple: Bullshit.

When a woman is ingrainedtaughtinstilledindoctrinated with the idea that she is sex first, sex second, and beauty third, she will never be able to stop those thoughts from infiltrating her brain. Even when she discovers feminism, when she grows up, when she builds her self-confidence, when she finds the love(s) of her life and is finally respected.

She will still default to this mindset, even just a little.

And when she is catcalled while walking or patronized by a sexist customer at her job, when she is told by her boss that he won’t hire men to work in her all-female department because “you girls will get distracted”, and when she is sexually harassed at work but is encouraged to hide in the backroom when her harasser is in the store, it feels as though she will never escape.

For every one person who knows better or has changed his/her ways, there appears to be 25 more who won’t budge. Who will stare you right in the eyes and laugh at your discomfort. Who will repeat their sexist comment and dare you to say otherwise. It is a battle that is never-ending. But it is still important to fight. To educate. To not give in.

Because the other day, a woman was catcalled on my street and she stood firm, looked sharply around, and demanded in a loud voice, “Who the HELL just said that? You show your face RIGHT NOW. Right NOW.” over and over again.

To silence.

To no response at all.

The anonymous male voice was swallowed up in the face of strength, courage, and the demand that he claim responsibility for his actions. He could not. He did not.

She is my hero. Sometimes we do win after all.

————————

The story behind #FirstHarassed

Being present

Breathing in
I am breathing in.
Breathing out
I am breathing out.

When I breathe in, I am in the present moment.
I am not focusing on the future breath, I am not focusing on a past breath.

You and I are here and now. We are immediately present.
I am breathing you in, your presence in, your love in.
I am breathing me out, my presence out, my love out.

I am breathing for me alone. For everyone around me. At the same time.

I am present for me.
I am present for you.

I breathe.

The gardener

You are my garden.

Not in a sense that I own you. No, you are wilderness that I stumbled across at one point in my life and kept coming back to.

I tended you. Your soil was in need of nutrients, water, and love.
You tended me. My soul was in need of what you alone could give me.

The sunlight warmed you, the rain nourished you, the trees protected you.

But every so often, people would trample through my garden, not paying heed to the rich soil that was underfoot.

It’s been a few years and your soil is ready.
Together we planted seeds. Each one was lovingly and carefully enveloped in the earth.
Each one has so much potential.
Letting go of the seeds to their ultimate destiny made me cry but the thought of what they can become made me smile.

This is my promise to you:

I will tend you as I have from the beginning.
I will water and care for each seedling that appears.
I will learn patience: there is no salad to make yet. To harvest the crops now would mean to kill them.

I love my garden and I know the feeling is mutual. I am here, your gardener, your confidant, your secret-keeper. When harvest time comes, we will be new. We will be ready. I will be here where I have always been.

And our baskets will overflow.