Retrieving Joy

Retrieving Joy

Muddy waters let rest will settle.”

( old oriental axiom )

*

A dear friend of mine told me recently that he felt like he was getting his Joy back after many years of difficult occurrences in his life, including deep sorrow upon the death of his child. Indeed, it takes a good while to begin to feel an ounce of joy after multiple traumas in ones life, especially if one unsettling thing after another occurs.

Today as I went out the door of my cottage, after a pretty good nights sleep, I felt something strangely like peace. As I went through the wild flower path to the house for coffee, I pondered this feeling, realizing that it came from having no extreme problems lately, imagined or real. Perhaps the muddy waters are settling, and things are clearing up a bit.

Coffee in hand, I went back through the wildflowers which I allowed to grow in profusion from the soil of the fire here over one year ago, a fire which completely obliterated my plans for joyful activity. As I sat in my chair on the cottage deck, I looked at the many wonderful colors…blues of chicory, purple of thistle and clover, white of daisy flea-bane, a tall spiky splash of burnt orange of the broad-leaf plaintain seed-stalks and all the green leaves in between. Rejoicing at the variety of pollinators going from flower to flower, I thought “such a work of art Mother Nature has provided from the burnt-out soil !”, and the burnt-out soul. This part of my gardens I allowed to go totally wild in the aftermath of the hellish fire which incinerated my yurt and years of precious writing, pictures, clothes, books, important documents, sacred items, etc.. My life was thrown off to such a degree that I had little peace and rarely joy.

Displacement and loss is a reality in many people’s lives, creating trauma and stress. No one understands except the person in the middle of the problems, and when one trauma after another after another keep socking you in the gut, you can loose your center. Extreme sadness, fatigue, compounded with multiple triggers, as well as a grandiose effort to recover, to catch-up and get your life back on track, consumes your daily life. Besides that, if the people you live with are also dealing with their own issues, they likely have little tolerance for your expressions of grief and loss of good health. It is a stew pot of unsavory flavors, so eating wholesome foods becomes essential for recovery, and recovery is slow. Some days recovery does not even seem possible.

I will not go into all the setbacks I had before the fire, as that would take a book. All I know is that today I felt a settling. Perhaps that is because I have had no huge difficulty lately. Could it be the universe is giving me a break, a much needed one ?

Perspective has never been a strength of mine, but through all the problems I always had a glimpse and infrequent moments of true joy and peace, especially through the restorative beauty of nature, as well as music. The nurture of bird songs, the feel of the breeze on a hot day, the colors of wildflowers and the taste of wild berries all are healing for me. Without the world outside my door, I would be lost indeed.

This day I sat in my chair upon awaking and watched my two resident barn swallows zooming through the air, frequently resting under the roof eave where their nest used to be. They too suffered a huge loss one month ago when their old clay nest that had been there for at least 15 years gave way to a huge wind and fell to the tin roof of my porch. It broke my heart to see this happen to my faithful little swallows, as I believe the female was ready to lay her eggs. Every year they fly up here from South or Central America and have 2 broods, only to return in August as a larger family.

Much like me, their little lives were drastically thrown off. For awhile they disappeared, likely looking for another spot to nest. I missed their cheerful chattering and the constant swooping high in the sky for winged insects, like mosquitoes and gnats. Sometimes I think they simply flew for the joy of it. In fact, I am sure they did. Just watching the swallows always brought me Joy.

As I type my thoughts, these energetic birds are still swooping and chattering excitedly. Perhaps today they will begin to rebuild where the old nest had been, much as I did after my fire. Perhaps they looked for, but could not find, a better place. Selfishly, I hope so. Time has passed, and if for awhile there are no more storms, or fires, or falls, or traumas, perhaps we can all return to our happy little lives, chirping and singing and spreading our wings to fly, and to sing again, with JOY !

*

~ Christine Schoene Maccabee

July 8, 2014

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One Response to “Retrieving Joy”

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