Thursday, August 4, 2011


Walking to the shoreline, BWCA 2008

Is the language God speaks
And everything else is a bad translation.”
                                            ~ Anonymous

I have always needed still moments in my life, although I don't think I have really understood the "what and why" of it all until recent years. The past two months, stillness has been an extremely rare commodity. Kids home for the summer (our two twin teenagers Emma and Sara, as well as our college kids, Anna and Evan), two dogs, one cat and a number of family emergencies has left little time for quite space within our days. I have always enjoyed a healthy dose of chaos in our home - it's what makes it the "hub" for friends and family alike. People coming and going, live music, various forms of art in progress and meals adorned with laughter and generous conversation. It's a good place to "be". But this summer has definitely had it's challenges, making the balance difficult and leaving my spirit longing for solitude. 

Tomorrow morning, at 7am, I check into the hospital for yet another procedure. This go-around it's my heart. Hopefully, when all is said and done, they will have corrected an arrhythmia that creates both discomfort and risk for me. It's been an issue I have struggled with for many years that has progressed to the point of needing a fix. Antiarrhythmic medications are not a viable solution for me, so this is my only option. It is what it is, and tomorrow's the day.

As is typical fashion when under stress, this is how my morning started out. Actually, I should have realized what my unconscious self was up to when I quickly clicked out of my Stillness Buddy application when booting up the computer this morning. Stillness Buddy is a wonderful program that alerts me at different times during the day to take quick meditative moments, concentrate on my breathing and be mindful of the beauty that surrounds me. Today, I felt as though I had just too much to do to be bothered by the constant interruption. No breakfast, heart racing, stomach churning...I continued on with my list. Buy dog food, finish laundry, change sheets, order prescriptions, pay bills, check accounts, fill pill containers, check on parents (my mother recently had a stroke) respond to emails, blog, water plants - indoors and outdoors, empty garbage, fill bird feeders, pack for hospital, call kids, plan meals, make reminder list for family while I am gone, figure out supper for tonight...

If this blog is beginning to sound familiar, it might be because you see yourself in my "ways". Or, it possibly could be because you've read this before...see To-Do Lists. The mind, left unattended, can sure Run Amok. Yes, that's another one. 

Yesterday morning, I woke up, got my coffee and sat down to blog. The first line I scribbled down in my journal was "But that's not how it's suppose to be." I was soon interrupted with another family emergency that occupied my day until I crashed under the covers at about 8pm. This morning I looked back at that line and tried to recall the thoughts that led up to it. Once again - this was a great indicator of where I was going. 

Whether it's making ridiculous lists or finding yourself frustrated with how things are NOT what they should be - it all points to one thing - and it is definitely NOT living in the present moment. Oh, how easy it is to "live right" when things are manageable. Throw in a little chaos...okay, a lot of chaos...and next thing you know, your clicking right through life. Making lists, building expectations, controlling outcomes and fostering a shit load of frustration. 

As is quite often the case, necessity is the mother of all invention - and I need nothing right now as much as I need stillness in my life. And I guarantee you, it's not going to be found in the making of a list. I told a friend just yesterday in an email correspondence that it's crazy to think we can control this life. It's like swimming up stream - fighting and fighting for what? Exhaustion! It's much easier to "go with the flow" even if it gets rocky, even if the water gets deep, even if you get snagged up on the branches of life! And going with the flow means accepting what IS. I'm not talking about giving up, or somehow giving in to things in the hopeless sense of the idea. I'm talking about accepting what IS and living from that place. Once we accept things - then and only then can any good come out of the situation. Instead of becoming weak, we are strengthened by our cooperation with all of creation. Illness, tragedy and even death are all part of the same river - the minute we accept that, we become Free. Freedom equals peace. And nothing can take that away. 

I'm rearranging my day today. I've already sectioned off the list - divvying up tasks to various family members.   
I'm also allowing myself to be honest - right here, right now. I'm really nervous about tomorrow. I know that statistically this is a very safe and common surgery. But my life over the past few years has been far from common and I continue to find myself on the wrong statistics list. I have no intention on dwelling on these things - but for me, they're real. I believe one of the worst things I could do would be to go into tomorrow morning in the wrong frame of mind. So I'm letting go...just to let you know. 

The picture at the beginning of this post was taken the morning we left the BWCA about three years ago. It's how things looked as I walked down to the water to find my husband, who had gotten up early to get some morning shots of the fog and water. 

When I arrived to the shoreline, this is what I saw ~

Morning Eagle

Stillness Bay

Thanks to my husband, the moments are captured forever. Literally seconds prior to taking the first picture above, an Eagle swooped down directly in front of us and rounded the bend to the left of the island ahead. It was a gift I will carry with me forever, captured only in our minds eye. 

Stillness. I can still feel the stillness of that morning. The water like glass, the smell of pine and wet dirt, the occasional loon calling in the background...the dew hanging on each blade. When the anesthesiologist asks me to count backwards in my head from 10 - these are the things I'll be thinking about. About the beauty of this planet, about the children that have blessed me beyond any form of measurement, about the family and friends that love and guide me, and about the husband that shares this dream called Life with me. 

I am at peace. 


Deb aka murphthesurf said...

Keeping you in my prayers, sending our all my guardian angels to be with you until you are declared free for discharge home after your surgery. (((HUGS))) across the miles.

Theresa said...

Deb, thank you so much. How wonderful to have such an amazing support system - near and far! HUGS accepted!!!!!

Christine said...

What an inspirational post. Thank you for sharing your stillness with all of us. I honestly don't remember if we discussed or if you posted about your heart condition before but I am assuming you are having an ablation tomorrow. I also don't remember if I told you that I had one (this memory loss really gets in my way sometimes!) back in 2002. It was a huge success and I have not had a problem since. I know that oftentimes you end up on the wrong side of the statistics, but I hope that knowledge helps put you a little more at ease. I will say a prayer for a successful procedure and a quick/uncomplicated recovery. Hugs to you...

Anonymous said...

Lovely Post - lovely woman! Thoughts, prayers & hugs to you my dear!

Theresa said...

You did!! And I have thought about it every day since you mentioned it - SERIOUSLY! It's been the one thought that I keep falling back on!
YOU are a blessing!!

Anonymous said...

I'm right there in your heart's pocket, my friend. (You know, sometimes I don't know where this stuff comes from :-). I do know we are right where we are supposed to be. Breathing deeply with you.

Theresa said...

Got both your message and Susan's. Just cannot imagine my life without you both in it. And yes... you are tucked safely away, with me always.
I love you.