24 January 2009

Running with Beauty: A Grand Aventure

"I hide myself inside myself and then I try to find myself..."
When I was a little girl, I loved this rhyme that my mother taught us: "I hide myself inside myself and then I try to find myself..." There were more words, but these are the ones that have remained with me all my life. I loved the idea of hiding myself inside myself. I remember giggling and giggling as the giddy ballerina in me turned round and round in circles singing this to myself...

Running with Beauty: A Grand AventureLately, the rhyme has been coming back to me with an understanding that became quite visceral the other day. I was walking my dog on a beautiful trail and paused on a bridge overlooking the reservoir. The sky was a brilliant blue. The branches of the bare trees held the stark beauty of winter; it seemed to me that the branches were reaching skyward in prayer.

An unexpected giddiness filled me
As I gazed out over the immense horizon of blue sky, glistening water and the sepia trees, I became aware that something had changed. Everything was clearer, more brilliant, more defined and the three dimensionality of the view seemed like a digital picture. An unexpected giddiness filled me and I called to Phoebe, "Let's go, girl!" We started to run and it was as though all of nature ran with me. I whizzed by trees as they whizzed by my. The sky was in front of me and the air beneath.

This is me, I thought, not knowing what I meant but I felt glorious, as if I was flowering from within. Finding myself suddenly breathless, I was forced to slow and feared the moment had passed. But as I began to walk, the colors, the sense of depth and beauty within and without remained. Again I thought, This is me...I knew this feeling. I've had it before, but usually for just a few moments and then I am myself again.

Timelessness and joy stayed with me
Gloriously, the timelessness and joy stayed with me for the entire walk and with it a deepening sense of having found myself — the me I had lost so long ago — and my childhood rhyme came back. I hide myself inside myself and then I try to find myself.

Have I found me? I wondered, feeling the giddiness of my six year old ballerina self twirling inside me. I was the six year old and I was the grown up me, both of us laughing at the trees and feeling as if we could merge with the sky. I love you, me. Stay with me always. Where have you been, you wondrous creature? Oh, thank you, thank you, glorious me, for returning!

It can't be taken away because it was not given
The walk ended and I returned to me who goes about life with all her hopes, plans, worries, problems, etc. But the awareness I had that day has remained and changed me in a most profound way. The awareness of freedom, love and connection to joy is me, the deeper, truer me, and is not something that can be taken away. It can't be taken away because it was not given, not by me or anyone else.

This awareness is my beingness, and the well of my creativity. It is ephemeral because I am living in a body and weighed down by both my physical and emotional bodies. But what a great challenge that is! To be me. To be alive. To be on this adventure called Life.
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  1. Anonymous12:02 PM

    These words; in my email box this morning speak to me. I must write.
    I don't have choice. I thought that
    now, this year, I'd find my way back to what I once knew; writer friends where I feel at home and understood, to a workshop, but I need to buy a car instead and I feel a deep regret that I missed exploring the feminine Jan 8th.I just had to save my money - again.
    I can't be a writer...it costs too much I think. I have doubts. Can I handle it if I would? The patriarchal world of non-women writers has got a grip on me. Why had I not found women writer friends online all these years? Why
    had I not responded to your invitation to write FREE online here to my kin. Today I must. I hide myself inside myself and then I try to find myself. Today I understand this comment in a way that fits for me as I would not have known yesterday.
    As a young girl, I had no choice but to hide myself - no one acknowledged my existence. I thought I was hiding but I wasn't. I learned to hide from experience as if I had choice. And my existence was met with rejection as my mother lived her only designated roles as mother and wife alone and taught me to not be creator of my own world but follow the paths already created for me. Over and over when I attempted to show myself, I was not seen. What was happening to me was denied and I learned to not talk. For a woman talking is making one seen because no one is looking. The eye has choice. A world that doesn't look at women and girls and see. A reality denied because there were no women writers in my world. All that was written was by men and they couldn't and still don't see me. Experience and teachings divide us. As first a child who has lost her mother and now a mother who has lost her children, in a world that doesn't even notice or count this, today in 2008, what happened to mother and children, my life becomes fiction.
    My voice becomes muted. Not because I am not speaking but because what I speak has no reference point for those I speak to and they can't hear. I must write because on paper my words count more. The story has not been told. My mothers couldn't tell the story. I must tell it. I have found myself.


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