Now and again, it is necessary to seclude yourself among deep mountains and hidden valleys to restore your link to the source of life. Breathe in and let yourself soar to the ends of the universe; breathe out and bring the cosmos back inside. Next, breathe up all fecundity and vibrancy of the earth. Finally, blend the breath of heaven and the breath of earth with your own, becoming the Breath of Life itself. ~ Morihei Ueshiba.
As I dip inward to find answers, I navigate to the center of a large ocean of feelings.
I can easily become exhausted around the banter of noisy egos. I don’t enjoy superficial but flourish in meaningful. I’d rather have silence, a good book and some dark chocolate than attend a party.
I’m not “cool” or “hip.” I don’t dress flashy or in-style.
Fitting in, is difficult. I sort of blend but I don’t mix well. I can play the extrovert but prefer my introverted heart. The former leaves me exhausted.
I’m also extremely sensitive. I could hear a mouse fart in the next room. When hurt, my heart bleeds black and blue and I can feel your bruises too. I can hear emotions hiding in the shadow of false bravado. I can see when eyes truly twinkle or blink back a tear.
It’s exhausting to feel all of the time, so I am hanging out in low gear. It is a space above an imaginary watermark. It’s not an easy place to be. I tread the water in my soul. I hide under a lily pad, peeking out occasionally but mostly staying tucked in. The water is tepid and the weight of the lily pad is comforting.
So for now, I insert a straw into a cloud and sip. I sip the solitude like the crema of espresso and hold on tight to the weirdness of who I am and what I feel.
It’s okay to rest. I need to rest in this quietness and give myself permission to recalibrate my heart of emotions. It’s a sandstorm of chipping away debris and filling it with love. My inner camera lens seeks truth.
My overly sensitive radar leads to miscommunication. It happens. Words are spoken and I misinterpret it as harsher than it might be. Perhaps it was harsh but then I take it a step further, jump off a cliff and ruminate the meaning into an introspective hell.
He, she, it blamed me for, said to me, [Fill in the blank].
It doesn’t matter. Sometimes when this happens it’s not my stuff, it’s theirs. Accepting responsibility for my actions is enough to sort through.
Let it go and let it be. Let the muddy colors change to persimmon. Let the breeze caress the harsh words. Let the birds channel serotonin to my tired synapsis.
I need to let myself know, I have the power to stop the thought process as well as the ability to fuel the pain.
I will listen to the wind. Write. Sit in a sunspot even on a cloudy day and recharge my heart.
It’s a dose of nature that often settles and heals me. I walk through my tiny garden and the flowers, mixed with weeds, often speak to me; poised and tranquil, they bend with the breeze but remain standing. The rain makes them heavy and the sun lifts their buds. It’s a walking meditation as I methodically watch the process unfold.
Retreat, restore, regroup, relish the silence and breathe.
I either fully trust or tiptoe along the edges and fear trust. I send and receive mixed messages especially to those who have the same issues. It’s not a coincidence we are given the same lesson. Instead, it is a wake-up call to step back and sit with the mixed feelings and learn.
I’m giving myself a chance to tap into where do I begin and end? I learn more each time and let go of those thorn-like expectations of how it should be. I reflect and see. Give and take what is needed.
It’s an infinite recycling of refinement.
I love to give and I cherish my friends. I’m protective and will defend like a lioness would her cubs. I need to do the same for myself and protect my tenderness; Step aside from the mainstream flow and trust my genuine self.
Most answers lie within our heart.
I can’t actually climb to a cave, meditate and eat berries. Instead I have to go through each day doing the norm. This is where I find who and what the real pillars are versus the illusions.
Actually it’s all a dream. Therefore to survive in this world, we must occasionally carve a small imaginary cave and retreat. It’s not a negative thing. It’s proactive and protective like letting a nasty gash heal, however slowly, it teaches me patience.
When I’m in a sacred moment, with my thoughts it brings a smile of inner compassion. The frankincense burns and protects the space. Earlier, today a goldfinch peered into the window. He seemed to be checking on me. Thunder rumbled in the distance: nature’s drums. The universe is always watching and I'm reminded we are not alone.
Solitude is different than loneliness as the rain washes my soul and the sun dries it. Outside there’s a stillness of being in between time as I lay down my heart in the folds of a sunset colored rose, aptly named, Peace.
Originally published on elephant journal, Jun 17, 2013. Updated: Feb 8, 2018.
Carolyn (Riker) Avalani, M.A., LMHC is a licensed mental health counselor, teacher, writer and poet. Over the last six years she has written for numerous online journals and has been in five anthologies. Her first book of poetry and prose, Blue Clouds was published December 2016. This past September, 2017 she co-edited Hidden Lights: A Collection of Truths Not Often Told, which holds 54 writers and their stories, poetry, prose, photography and artwork. Between sips of coffee, navigating life with copious writing and daydreaming, Carolyn offers creative writing and private counseling. To find out more please visit her website.
Author + Psychotherapist
Carolyn Riker is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in private practice. She is also an author of three books. Her most recent book is "My Dear, Love Hasn't Forgotten You."
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