As a very young and sensitive child, I remember often asking my mother, “Can I ask them to be my friend?”
What’s meaningful and scrumptious to one isn’t to another. Like how do we know when a friend is a friend?
I suppose a lot depends on the connection. Gives and takes are very knowing. For instance:
Friendships end and that can really hurt; trust is breached and betrayal stings. Sometimes, we regret having given too many of our secrets away and we watch them drift away.
Some friendship can never be repaired, no matter how hard we try it is severed and we see them no more but the ghost of them can linger with the whys? I believe there’s still unsolved sides of us and them still to be seen.
Each bond, though – from an unwavering friendship to a brief encounter -- are our teachers. Some show us that our boundaries need to be stronger. Others assist us to speak out when our feelings are not seen, or an injustice is real – conflict isn’t wrong because differences are paramount to the multiplicity of just about any relationship. However, very few can let us be our true selves. Some friendships are wishful thinking when really there was no intention on the other end to pick up and connect; we can feel the static in between. Trusting that feeling is strengthening our intuition and asking us to act upon it sooner.
Friendships are a need to relate with another being and appreciate that moment and to see if it will be an annual-like flower or a forest of evergreens. Will it be an ocean, or will we be an abandoned ship at sea?
Nevertheless, when opportunity to connect presents itself I have a feeling I will continue to explore and find inside the unseen earthenware being created as we speak and share and learn about the alchemy of our beings; it’s the continued revealing of the shadows of our unknown.
Please let me explain to you, how my life is filtered through a sieve and how quiet times are essential. I wear sleeves that hypnotize creativities heartbeats. Silence gives me the pause to assimilate multitudes: spiritually, supernaturally and what feels real.
Such is why when a hummingbird flies, courageously close, I can hear the wings sing a lullaby and my tears speak for us both. When I watch a film and lean in it is as if I’m them and they are about to confide the love they lost most. I will cry.
How the thickets aren’t only branches but arms that paint the skies and how clouds are sea worthy when the ocean is too far, but dreams take me there to follow the tide’s stars.
Unfairness is a violent riptide and social justice steps into me. I will invariably side with the minority and hand them the speaker, and hold the mic and shake with, rather than against. I believe, I believe, I believe in the heavens of diversity. This is my democracy.
I realize now it may seem unusual that I can hear an eye roll and buckle under a backhanded comment – it punches my soul. Posturing and sharp criticizing can crush my skull. I can feel when tired is bored and when tired needs rest. I understand when laughter covers a myriad of unrest. I can see eyes that blink an S-O-S and how flattering doesn’t impress.
I don’t need to justify who I am when I cradle a sparrow who thought the window was air. How I offer a band aide to a child whose cut they can only see but they need to share. I’m fascinated as bubbles grow and how they know to be the circle they are meant to be.
I walk close to words because they support me as much as sunlight blinds me to squint. I become the prisms inside of prisms; infinity lives in both. I often weep as I write because this is the essence of my hopes; to write from the rivers that sustain me in this convoluted, tepidly, brilliantly, fiercely, passionately, terrifyingly encapsulating quest of living – these are all the sides me that I’m aware of the most.
Like you and me, we are different and that’s more than okay but please don’t condemn me for my sensitivities. I feel angels as much as demons. Spirits bend with the influx of Nature and are often close. I will lock the doors to my heart when I feel abuse.
It baffles me too, when I can taste the color of a sunset and swim sea’s ancient grey blues; it captivates me too. Just like music or a whale’s song or empathy’s reach inside deeper hues. Nothing bothers me more than superficial. Fake tastes bitter. Love without trust is the rattling bones of fear. However, love with respect is a rose.
Sensitivity doesn’t always follow a timeline. I know what shame is. It was when you didn’t see me, when I needed you the most. Coffee shops ground me. Traveling unhinges me when time zones leave me in several places simultaneously; all I need is a little time inside small spaces to bring me back to harmony. Chastising only confuses and harms me. I symbolically bleed emotional oceans and land can be sand, trees, or a steady hug to behold.
You’ll see me frequently daydream; this isn’t idle or indulgent or unnecessary. Shallow talking abandons the intelligent fragrance of existing. Often while I’m driving, the lines become the staff of a musical, the cars are notes, trucks the bass and a siren is a cymbal that punctures me back to this space. Earth is difficult.
I noticed nearly everything from conception to birth and my daily ‘deaths’ of solitude become the gingered cookies letting me find the breath to float. I’m profoundly touched by the simplest gestures of kindness – this brings me to the center of my real.
One last paradox: I can be extroverted, but my natural tendency is an introverted pillow piled high with deep and thoughtful processing. I am highly sensitive. It is my everything.
Relationships are much like sunlight flirting with shadows or like the scurry of bird’s feet speaking with the earth -- just before flight. Relationships evoke emotions that ride with waves that kiss the tempest inside of us; with learned trust we are rarely not too far from a lighthouse that will bring us closer to the sea caves of our awareness. This is a place of fierce love. That bold, shy, quiet, raging holiness where we see for the first time, again and again, that our mistakes are our gifts.
Our heated complexities double-bind us until we stop running from our shadows and embrace them as one of us. Instead of exquisitely trying to deny and displace them. Such are the projections we narrate that ‘they’ could not be ‘us’ and yet ‘they’ are ‘us’ in the most extraordinary way. This isn’t easy.
However, when we begin to see clearer, we can step into our shadows and befriend our personal eclipses. Our conflicts, distrusts, poignantly distressed relationships, as well as golden ones are almost certainly there to teach our soul the colors are within. And maybe, as we continue to walk along this bridge, we will understand that this love is real as it is whole and holy us.
When sadness comes, welcome her as you would joy. She has a message too. Joy is simple to share; there’s something warm to hold onto.
But with sorrow, there’s an abyss that struggles to find the narrowest ledge. Grey drains to empty. The sands underneath shift with torrential rains. Midnight stays, and songs lay low with the bass of sorrow’s belly.
Sorrow is a warrior’s instrument reaching inside and using rib to strum heart. She is alone. Thoughts can drown there. Tiny opaque birds will peck at the remains of the shedding skin too small for what is to come.
In sorrow’s snare spiritual growth isn’t vertical; it wanders like plankton far out to sea – lost and speaks a language of eyes-closed-dreaming-wild. Its words burn defeat.
Sadness will engulf all successes and erase them to a dried shell abandoned on a beach. And there, the carcass waits for life to circle through.
Sorrow’s tears are the sea healing what feels insurmountable. The passage of time ends to let wind blow through the hollow holes of loneliness.
Only those who can recognize will hear the oboe’s lament. A bittersweet song of hope.
“What went wrong with us?” It was more of an accusation than a question. She paused for as long as it took to let her imaginary tea steep in the mind of wildness. The question orbited into planets of blame and constellations of shame. Blue began to summon her with a normal same. Fortunately, a string of leafless trees lining the road shook her.
Nothing went wrong. Instead it is ‘what went right.’ You stopped settling. The dark and faint dots of your being were fragmented and ached to became solidified.
Boundaries of steel grew into a forest to cut off that diamond.
The ‘we should be together’ isn’t always true. Old voices sometimes find their way to the current and shake the ground of the unknown. It is a pinging and a volley of slowing way down to hear the truest core of you. Sometimes we must push back and cut a small hole to slip a glass straw to the other side and wait for the storm to blow through. Where feelings are once again held, and thoughts are free to cultivate the essence of what isn’t wrong -- but what is just right for you.
I asked August if she had any parting words and she nodded yes and spoke:
“Yes, I do. Let me tell you. The heat rose and the sun casted shadows over you. I hope you saw the messages I left for you. Please don’t hide under the umbrella of small or wish you were different. Comparison is a bully. What they have you wish for, but do you? Do you really know you are tall in that way that spreads wings for all? It’s not conceited or rude to be the truer you.
Nice is fine, fine, fine but really when you’ve had enough of their abuse, show them what have you. If they leave, it’ll be okay. The strength I see in you holds universes. I have watched you for decades and this season you are ready to heed your calls. Don’t let them beat you down or restrict you; instead close your eyes and listen to the splendor of dreams within dreams. Those very etchings are the blood stains of your truths.
Trust you as you would trust seasons and river those openings to seaways. Seek the silence that becomes you and yet please don’t hide away all day. Gifts are meant to be given. And before I leave, I’m so glad you asked. I’ve been waiting for you and September stands with arms open wider than wide. You’ll be held. I promise you. Sweet blessings as summer fades. A new year always rises as autumn welcomes you.”
Much love & respect, Carolyn
Carolyn Riker | Artist: Kassandra Creations
I’ve been thinking about what is it that I do as a licensed mental health counselor. How can I describe what I offer? And so, in my truest heart-space, I looked to nature for guidance and started to daydream. Within minutes, two hummingbirds followed by two wild bunnies appeared. I watched and observed. All were playing and zipping in and around the bushes and trees and vying for the feeder. Hopping, darting and exploring.
And I said to myself, “Oh my! That’s it!”
I am a sensitive creature and quick to notice as I follow the process of my counseling clients. I’m intrigued with what isn’t said as well as what is said. I listen carefully as if I have two large rabbit ears twitching and sniffing the winds and I believe in their pain and stories that too often haven’t been.
I notice the flavor of my client’s as they walk, smile, laugh or shed tears.
I hold open space or circle it down to keep it safe.
I let voices rise or whisper.
Together, if need be, we ‘die’ and explore the depths of pain, abuse, worries, and fears. I feel images and see feelings and share what has risen. We create a bond of sacred space where authenticity and trust can truly grow.
Sometimes we use art or music and let the spirit of colors and shapes and sounds speak what words can’t do. Other times I’m reminded that questions don’t always have immediate answers; however, we wait together and explore to see what is YOUR deepest soul’s truth.
This I what I do. If you are interested in connecting with me, please check-out my website @ www.carolynriker.com and let’s begin working together.
Much love & respect, Carolyn
Photographer: Frank McKenna via unsplash
I was summoned to this very spot when I caught sight of the hot, hot sun setting over a burnt grey sky where a winged shawl of angels repeated, “Let the hurt be seen.” There beneath this oracle a hemline of trees was a chorus of protectors. And I knew it was safe as I felt the celestial fire rock me slowly to the left and circle me holy to the right; held in that pure space between sun and earth and the curve before day turns night. Amen. Amen. Amen.
Much love, Carolyn
This one is for those who don’t have emotional support. This one is for those who feel completely alone. Who don’t have someone cheering you on, supporting every word, holding your hand, listening to your thoughts and dreams. This is for the one who feels lost in a sea of everything. Whose sensitivity is unheard, unseen and not believed. This is for the one who feels defeated because they’ve been ignored, blamed, and shamed. This one is for those who watch and listen and give but rarely receive.
I believe, I believe, I believe -- You are worthy. You are loved. You are seen.
Carolyn Riker | Photo by Tim Mossholder, via unsplash
If I say to you, “how wrong you are in everything you do” sadly you’ll start to believe it. If in turn, I repeat with sincerity you are creative, intelligent, beautiful, kind, diverse and real – my hope is you’ll start to believe it. And with this fuel of self-acceptance you’ll translate the former assaults into gardens of seeing other’s who need to hear,
“You are creative, intelligent, beautiful, kind, diverse and real.”
My hope grows fuller for this to be repeated as vast as the sun and moon stretches over this very earth until we all believe it.
Much love & respect,
Carolyn Riker is a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) who provides counseling and coaching services. She is an author of two poetry books: This is Love and Blue Clouds. You can also follow her writing on Medium.
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