Tuesday, 10 July 2012
After what had been a walk of considerable distance I had reached the turnaround point. That which began as an idea to combine the enjoyment of some seemingly long overdue sunshine, some exercise and exploration of a new nutrition/health store soon became a healing medicine walk. The route that I "chose" to begin toward home first took me through the neighborhood, and then directly past, the house that once belonged to my grandparents (my father's parents) - we used to go there as kids,they lived in that house until my grandpa passed away when I was eleven years old. Though he wasn't my paternal grandfather (I was adopted as a baby) I felt a connection to him somehow (more so than other members of my family) and it was painful to lose him - made more so, by not being "aloud" to visit him in the hospital or go to his funeral because it was thought that it would be too upsetting for me. I was reminded of Sunday dinners at the house and a toy dog (I think it was meant to be an Airdale terrier) it was on wheels, it might have belonged to my dad when he was a boy - I would sit on it and scoot myself around. Then I got the brilliant idea that if I took enough hard cover books and wedged them between the steps of the basement stairs I could make one long ramp and ride all the way down - it was going to be so thrilling. Well as you might imagine it didn't work anywhere near as well in reality as I had envisioned. It was a rather rough ride with a very nasty, abrupt and undignified landing. I don't have to wonder about the existence of miracles - my survival is testimony enough. Though never lacking in creativity my endeavors were often rewarded with painful lessons. I should mention that a few blocks before my grandparents former house (when I realized the direction I was heading) I became aware of something flying over my head - I looked up to see a beautiful tiger swallow tail butterfly. I stopped to watch it circle overhead (well butterfly type circles which are anything but geometrical but perfect I'm sure for their purposes. I thought as I watched it fly around - "my understanding of the "medicine" of butterflies is that they are about transformation" I took note of that as I further considered "no question I am at a place in my life where there has been huge transformation occurring over the past almost 4 years now." I wondered what the butterfly was telling me right in the moment. As my awareness returns to my grandfather, I become aware of the feeling of sadness in my heart and acknowledge that I miss him that I let go of any remaining energies of resentment that I wasn't able to say goodbye to him. I recognize that though it may have served me when I was a young boy to further close my heart as I result of this wounding for additional "protection" it no longer served me now. I am committed to my heart journey and open to the release and healing of any blocks that stand between me and the free flow of love. I continued on my walk a wash with the warm inner glow of the presence of love, love for my grandfather love for myself and for life. A few blocks away was another neighborhood made familiar by another chapter of my life. I turned the corner to walk past the house that once was the home of my former wife's "aunt & uncle" (they have both since passed on - in fact this had occurred while we were still married, he, one year after and she some eight or so years later). Again these folks were not paternal relatives of my wife, they were actually related to her "step-mother" They had been a significant presence in her life growing up and extended to us both, themselves, as though we were "family." I remembered the Friday night card games (I don't remember the game) suffice to say it went on for hours and when someone finally prevailed victorious they had in their possession the princely sum of twenty to thirty cents in pennies (which was returned to the jar to be distributed to the competitors during the next week's gathering). Among those present were a few couples from the neighborhood so the banter included the updates to the respective lives of each, some conjecture and opinion in the form of gossip related to someone in the neighborhood and the U.N. had nothing on this round table as the world's problems were identified and resolved (without even interrupting the game - it's really not that difficult). As I continue on my journey I contemplate the reality that gone are all those relationships (well at least with respect to our meeting person to person) and yet there still is a relating present - these people meant something to me - the time spent in each other's company was significant. I didn't see eye to eye with some of these folks on many occasions - but just the same, it was a place to belong, to know community and find acceptance. Sure much has changed since then, but it is not enough to just say I have "moved on" it would not honour these other souls nor my heart to leave unacknowledged that they touched me, in some way, played a part in my ongoing evolution. I suppose it is not possible to further expand my heart without first acknowledging those that have continued to reside therein, if it is to become anything more than a warehouse for repressed feelings. Only a few blocks away was the townhouse (the first place my former wife and I bought together) I crossed the road and walked through the entrance gates down the driveway into the complex. Ours was a corner unit which for all intents and purposes looked the same - I suppose inside might have undergone any number of changes - who knows if it's even the same "young" couple that purchased it when we moved on. I took note of the small garden patch outside the front door - there was now a beautiful Japanese Maple which which had grown and matured considerably since I planted it. When it was purchased from the nursery - it was a spindly specimen (not much more than a single branch in a small pot) the stick that held it up was more substantial) a more fully grown plant was far more than I was prepared to pay - as it was this small sapling was $24.95. I marveled at the size of it now - it's main trunk now three to four inches in diameter. I remembered back to I think it was the first winter after it was planted (which as it turns out was Victoria's "Blizzard of 96") not only was my infant maple buried but so were cars left at the road side. The weight of the snow proved to be too much for the Charlie Brown Christmas tree-esque maple and when I dug it out I discovered it was severely fractured. I decided to try a "Red Green" intervention and using two popsicle sticks and some duct tape a splint was fashioned - nothing to do beyond that but wait and watch. Spring came and to my amazement the little maple began to grow leaves (even right to the end of the previously fractured section)- it looked as though it would survive. Upon hearing this my dad apparently reasoned well yes of course Rob is a nurse after all! I suppose the theory may have been arrived at by awareness of similar interventions to aid a fractured bone - but in truth all I did was my best to restore the tree to a condition by which the love of nature could continue to flow through it and restore it to health. Around the back side of the town house was a story that would dwarf that of the Japanese maple. About the same time I purchased a "Windmill palm" it was pretty small at the time (might have been a 12'' pot with a few palm fronds sticking out of it). I had grabbed it from a table of others which said "grows to five to ten feet" - I thought this would be perfect for the small garden bed in our back yard. When I got it home the tag said "grows to twenty to twenty five feet!!" - hmm somebody must have put it back on the wrong table (oh well- I'm not going all the way back to the nursery, and though this is the "Banana Belt" of Canada - it won't grow that tall!) Well now, here we are some twenty one years later and I must say that is one fine specimen of a palm tree (emphasis on tree!) - what do you know the tag was right, probably is approaching twenty feet tall. Of course this last stop wasn't entirely focused on the growth and maturation of my two fledgling members of the plant kingdom. Both have outlived my marriage by nearly four years at this point. That townhouse was the equity that went on to pave the way to our "moving on up" which of course was meant to be a brick in the road on our path through life together. So I absolutely must acknowledge the woman and the time we spent together, the reflections of myself that has made possible and the catalyst it became to deep soul-searching, self-exploration, self-awareness and is now paving the way to perhaps the deepest level of self-acceptance and self-love that I have known throughout my life. I now let go of the pain and sadness - the mistaken belief that I somehow failed (or worse that I am a failure). I pray that we both will remain in environments and mediums where we will continue to grow, strengthen and evolve (with all the necessary light and love). I acknowledge my deep connection to both the maple and the palm tree the living metaphors of my subsequent hero's journey and I feel that the time is near that I will stand firmly in who I am - without the need for popsicle sticks or duct tape!!