Standing Witness

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Sometimes, when I’m being honest with myself, I have this secret fear that I am not enough. Did you know that? No matter how hard I strive to control or contain reality, I get afraid.

Doc had to break my leg in order to make it whole again. That didn’t seem right to me and yet, because of my pain, I allowed it. I’m tired of limping. Tired of hiding my injury. Tired of staring at the ground when I walk so that I don’t accidentally trip and fall. Again.

Funny how that happens. Pain drives us sometimes. Sooner or later though, hopefully, we get tired of the pain and become willing to do whatever it takes to make it go away. This was really no different. I knew it meant being down for almost six months and frankly I was so tired, I really didn’t care.

Jeff came with me for the first two weeks, making sure that I followed the doctor’s orders by staying off my feet. Major surgery takes a lot out of you. Having your tibia broken in half, shifted, and new bone grafted in hurts. A lot really. I couldn’t be alone. At least not at first. And he, being my husband wouldn’t dream of leaving me to care for myself until he knows I am capable.

Fall has just come to the cove when I begin my recovery. The trees still have leaves on them and they are just beginning to turn. The weather is still pleasantly warm. There was a gentle breeze off the water and I spend the first six weeks of my recovery resting on the front porch with my leg up as the doctor ordered.

I watch the pelicans and ducks play across the cove chasing shad and each other back and forth every morning before settling in together. The cows from across the way come down for their morning drink and some mornings, if I am really still, deer come down as well.

In six weeks, I read four books, write five chapters of my own book, play banjo till my fingers bleed, and watch the leaves turn from green to bright yellow and then fall away, leaving my trees barren against the sky. Geese come and go their migratory way. So do the monarch.

A full season comes and goes. I witness all of it. Unhurried. No deadlines. No boundaries. No striving. No fear. Just being present as summer takes its last breath and fall prepares a covering for winter’s slumber.

Caught now in winter with Christmas behind me and full recovery only weeks away, I miss my front porch. The tightness in my chest is returning. I find myself planning my next bike ride, my next horseback ride, my next comedy show, my next banjo lesson. Everything that I think defines me is just out of my reach.

My thoughts, fears and worries that I left behind sometimes sneak out from under my bed while I’m asleep and scare me awake.

“You’ll never ride with the Diva’s. You’re a full season behind. They started training last year. You can’t keep up.”

“What if you fall off the horse? You’ll break your leg again, worse than it was before. What then?”

“Your banjo teacher will never take you back you know. His schedule is probably full. Besides, even if it isn’t, do you honestly think all of that time you spent practicing will be enough?”

“Do you really think people will remember you after taking six months off? There are plenty of comics in Tulsa who’ve been gaining a ton of stage time while you are gone. No one will remember you. You’re rusty now.”

“And what about that book you are writing? I mean seriously who are you kidding?”

If I’m being honest, sometimes I give in to the fears. I get up and go downstairs, pour myself a drink and light a cigarette in my garage and let them have their way with me.

Other times, I close my eyes and remember that summer ended, fall bloomed and passed, birds played, cattle lowed, coyotes yipped, wolves howled at the moon, (yes there are wolves in my cove) pelicans fished, and the monarchs continued on their way all while I sat as nothing more than a witness on my porch. And it was enough.

How often can we say that?

Come what ever may be as the result of my hiatus, life will continue with or without my help.

Perhaps I should follow winter’s example. The world is asleep. Spring is three months away. I’m only half way through my hiatus. I have time.

Now is not the time to let fear whisper to me like a thief in the night.

I have another season to bear witness to, Winter has lessons to teach but only if I’m willing to learn. It too will come and pass without my striving.

Another season without riding, without horses, without music lessons, without running the show – only me as a witness, nothing more, nothing less – a chance to rest and learn that even without my trappings, I am enough. May it be so.

Listening to my heart.

“Writing is cutting open your chest, pulling out your own trembling heart, plopping it down in front of someone and asking if they can feel you. I keep on doing it because every now and then, they can.” — Lori Houston Eizinga

It has been a while since I’ve allowed myself to just free flow blog. I’m not entirely sure why really. Part of it is because I’ve been busy and, part of it is fear. Two of my stories went viral this year, well viral for me anyway, and while I do think that’s cool part of me freaked out a little.

Neurotic thoughts of “how do I top that?” abounded in my brain. And then it happened, someone posted a rant in the comment section. A hateful nasty snarky rant aimed at me and my alleged stupidity. It was personal. But it was a stranger and even though it stings it is okay. And then someone misunderstood my heart in a different post. I’d shared a story from The Elephant Journal, Can We Be Lovers Without Having Sex, and while I love the whole premise of human connection and how we’ve lost that today, some people only see the sex part Oh well

I have at times been unfriended, blocked, rebuked, and prayed for, not by strangers mind you, but people who know me. That hurts my feelings. And that comes with the territory.

The same thing happens with comedy. One person’s clean is another person’s edge. Then someone writes and says thank you, I thought I was the only one, and it’s worth it.

And that’s the writer’s life. We will be loved. We will be hated. We will be misunderstood. And we will do it again tomorrow, because if we don’t, a piece of us dies.

fall at the coveI am currently at my cove recovering from the first of two surgeries on my right ankle. My leg is a little crooked and I am getting it fixed. They took out a piece of my tibia and grafted it back somewhere else. It’s being held together with a metal plate and screws. Once this heals, they will go back and add a castor hinge and more screws. It will be at least March of next year before I’ll be able to walk. That means no traveling unless it’s a family emergency, and no stand up. and so I rest on my front porch, read a ton, write even more and practice my banjo.

I really ran myself ragged  last year what with all my have-to-accomplish-now goals. I hit the ground hard when my youngest graduated high school in 2012; Teaching, speaking, writing, 30 college credit hours, stand up comedy (with strong internal pressure to master that over night) banjo lessons (ditto), art classes, acting classes, auditions, contests, building a platform, and becoming a cyclist (that one never really took off). Three weeks of staring at water at my cove revealed a moment of “duh!” I am exhausted. That so far has been my greatest epiphany. Well that and metal inside your leg really hurts when it’s cold outside.

Funny thing is, I entered this recovery/sabbatical with a to do list as well. I scratched everything out and simply wrote : listen to your heart.

Slowing down is good. Being present in the moment is even better.

Three things the bring me joy

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1. My dog Rocky
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2. My Banjo
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My horse Azul — who isn’t technically mine, he belongs to a friend of mine and I get to ride him. We rocked that arena this week. I worked for it, and we had a blast.

In other news: I tackled a cowboy this week. Hadn’t seen him in over a year and he surprised me by showing up at the stables. He’s married to my friend Jo and he’s been working out-of-town.

I have more girl in me than I sometimes admit and took off in a dead run the minute I saw him — Good thing he’s a cowboy or he’d have gotten knocked over.

My friends bring me joy as well.

Last week I was tired from being on the road for so long and was dealing with stolen car issues. (My car was found and returned to me in great condition) This week, it’s about peace, time at the lake and things that matter, like friends and family. This has been a great week you guys!

My hope for you for this weekend and the coming weeks is that you get to spend time with things that fill you up.  I also leave you with a question:

When was the last time you were so happy to see someone you took off at a dead run? Or better yet, when was the last time you allowed yourself to be free enough to do that?

Out Sick: TMI Potential

Dear Readers and Friends. An unexpected trip to the ER this weekend reveals that I have a bladder infection that has traveled to my kidneys. Angry kidneys hurt like none other let me tell you. I’ll spare you the wonderful details. Suffice to say I am on Lortab for pain as well as nausea meds and antibiotics. Per doctors orders I am resting, re-hydrating and focusing on getting well.

I have learned that Social Networking and pain medication are not wise cohorts.  In light of that, I will refrain from blogging, Tweeting and Face-booking. I will be checking in with my primary doctor on Friday to make sure that the infection is completely gone. Until then – have a wonderful week.

Be blessed.

Deana

A Really Cheesey Poem from 1982

Drinking from dry wells is a waste of time and energy. Poetic interpretation is as much about the state of mind of the reader as it is the writer. Huge shakers full of salt grains really do come in handy when laying your heart on the line. I remember sitting in the school library on October 27, 1982 writing the following poem. Moved by the beauty of the frost outside the window as well as the reality that my old life, high school, was ending and having spent the previous year in Sweden I was more than ready to get on with living. My heart and my mind traveled ahead while my body endured one last winter. — contrary to my mother’s belief that this was a poem about suicide (she almost put me in therapy), it is really about coming of age and the importance of waiting.

And I Wait for Spring

Morning frost covers the ground,

remnants of the night’s cold.

The crimson sun shines brightly, illuminating the morning.

Leaves shed their disguise of green and take on colors

which are better seen silhouetted again the pale blue sky of day.

The sun shines on the parade of wonderous colors

preparing for time of painted sleep.

The bubbling brook once fast and full of life

slows its course to better carry

winters burden.

A joining of life and placid rest

A time of time of celebration and endings

waiting for a new beginning.

 

In Search of Wings

Horses lend us the wings we lack. Pam Brown, 1928

I woke up with my shoulders in my ears this morning. My to do list is out of hand what with Christmas just around the corner and my oldest due home on Friday. I have too much on my mental plate and need to blow off some steam.

In light of that, I took time out to ride today. I usually ride Prince on Tuesdays. (See photo) This time Janell let me ride Cowboy. Cowboy jacks with me most days, but not today.  He’s not a bad horse, he just doesn’t like beginners. I’ve been riding for almost a year now and even though I cannot hold a steady gallop, I’m no longer a beginner. Something about my seat told him I could be trusted. He did everything I asked.

Horses need to be able to trust their riders as much as riders need to be able to trust their horses. It’s a two-way relationship. There is a life lesson in this I’m sure. Janell is teaching me how to race barrels as well as jump. Once I learn those, it’s on to roping cattle.  I’m becoming a real cowgirl. I’m 46. This is crazy. And oh so much fun.

J-man wants to know how I can “race barrels” if we aren’t really going at a full gallop yet. He’s an are we there yet kind of fellow.

That’s an easy question to answer. We just do it. It’s not about the speed. At least not yet.  It’s about form and it’s about trust. Once that foundation is set, the speed will come. Every hour I spend in the arena, I push myself to go a little bit faster for a little bit longer. I work my abs and my legs by holding them straight. My left leg keeps wanting to curl up underneath me for protection and that throws me off balance, holding it straight is a huge challenge. I work on keeping my eyes up and forward instead of on the ground. I sit as tall as I can and I let the horse go. Every day I ride, I borrow courage from the horse and make it my own.

Cowboy does not give an inch. Every step, every breath, every moment is earned with him. I rather like that.

I prefer to earn my own confidence than have it handed to me.

Cowboy will not let me lope one minute before I’m ready. His resistance is teaching about my own journey in life. So often we are in a hurry to arrive. Cowboy forces me to slow down, breathe deeply, check my seat, stay balanced and enjoy the ride.

In light of that, I’m taking the rest of the year off.

I hope you don’t mind it’s just that I’ve been in such a hurry to make Christmas arrive that I’m missing the journey.

No more twitter. (Ouchies.. I kinda like twitter)

No more Facebook. eh, they’ll live.

and No more Blog. At least not until 2012.

I hope you don’t mind.

I haven’t taken time to harvest the fruit from 2011 or to rest.

I need time to be.

To quote Anne Jackson, the internet will still be here in 2012. Have a blessed Hunakkah or Christmas or whichever you celebrate. I’ll see you in 2012.

Love and Laughter

Deana