By Carolyn Riker
It hasn’t been the best week. By mid-Friday morning, my plans for the weekend dissolved in two sentences.
“I’m deeply sorry, but I won’t be able to make it. I am sick,” my dear friend wrote.
I truly felt sad for her and of course sent the appropriate response, “I’m sorry as well; please take care. Let’s keep in touch.”
Meanwhile my kids were extremely excited. Spring Break was approaching quickly. Both were making lists and packing for an extended trip with their dad. I oscillated hourly between true happiness for their pending adventure and deep sadness. I had proactively set cushions around my tenderness but the pillow fluff was escaping.
Switching inevitably into my default mode, I began to feel guilt, at my selfishness.
More truth surfaced: It would also be my first year alone on a holiday that seemed more like a regular day rather than holy.
I sank into a profound emptiness of unknowing and redefining.
Further aggravating my senses, social media was rock salt being steadily poured on a severed limb—namely my heart. I had finally seen enough meals, recipes, happy families and exotic vacation hot spots.
I’m usually okay with the ad nauseam of narcissistic-ego-driven-displays of perfect smiles, coupled with “think positive” or “glorified intentions” and a side dish, “everything is flippin’ awesome.” But in the last few days, I thought it all sucked.
I dug so deep inside of me to find a sentence or two of goodness and I couldn’t.
Instead, I judged and labeled everyone and put them on a shelf next to shut-the-f*ck-up.
I further enhanced my hissy-fit into, I don’t want to see another smiling face or hear another beautiful story. I hope your Easter ham dinner burns and your Seder is more bitter than sweet.
I’m such a badass, I thought smugly wrapped in a large sweater, wearing striped, mismatched fuzzy socks and my hair toppled in a messy bun. I wasn’t kind or nice or sweet. I was mean and nasty and jealous and maybe even a little angry.
It all surprised and freed me.
I turned off the chatter, grabbed a trustworthy snack of self-indulgence: Tahitian Vanilla Dark Chocolate Caramel and watched three spectacular mindless TV shows. By midnight, my exhaustion had just about melted into the sofa, under a blanket and comforted by a snoring house tiger.
I felt spent and my emotional rampaged had dissipated into the tick and the tock of silence.
Yesterday, much of this came to a raging boil. But rather than actually yelling, I had to pull over because my eyes were so misty I couldn’t see.
And there before me was beauty.
The sky held me and I floated in a sea. The trees were the four corners of the wind and the mountains, bestowed “groundedness.” I felt the earth vibrating through me. As I gathered my senses, found my feet and tucked my emotions gently into my left breast invisible pocket, I walked slowly and purposefully back to my car.
I had to find a focus, I thought.
Where is my center? What am I doing? Where am I going?
It was seconds later when the ‘honking’ of hundreds of geese flew overhead in a “V” formation. Each one able to see and each one following the other. Instantly, I was part of the flock and was being asked to look higher above the turmoil of feeling incredibly lonely and lost.
I don’t know how to take a break. I go until I drop. I am always, always on. My radar is so finely in tune with others, I forget about me. I had created interference with the divine.
Sometimes, all we can do is lean into the mountains and let the clouds hold our thoughts. As we perch in the variegated shades of emerald trees and swim in the clearest of blue sea-sky. It’s more than okay to admit things aren’t going well.
Solitude isn’t always quiet; sometimes it screams such beautiful truths.
And as Maya Angelou brilliant echoes:
“A Woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and only herself.”
Editor: Dana Gornall