today is the first day i have been alone and quiet enough to sit in silence, light a candle and journal my thoughts. it is a good thing.
i hit my threshold yesterday. you know that imaginary mark you place on a calendar or in your mind that says "i can make it until HERE", "if i can just hold out until IT'S over", "only THREE MORE DAYS until they're gone"? i had been holding out 'the first day of school' as that threshold, and none of it was spent alone, in quiet or taking deep breaths. by supper time i was pretty stressed out.
i awoke this morning around 6:00 and laid in bed thinking through some inconsistencies i had been unable to put my finger on. the clarity was beautiful. so much so that i didn't want to loose the thoughts and headed for the computer. i realized on my way though that if i opened up the internet i would get lost (as would my clarity) in the looking glass this computer is for me far too many times.
so i did what i haven't done in months. i picked up a pen, grabbed my fresh, new journal and wrote three pages of thoughts on the ah-ha's i had this morning. oh how i have missed that medium. the horror of missing things (or getting old and not remembering that you are missing things?) is that the imprint it leaves on our lives disappears so very quickly that we forget how important it is.
writing by hand engages different parts of my brain that writing on the computer. it's actually why i still use lower case letters. because i spent so many years typing for the institutions in my life that i become a different person when i must punctuate and capitalize. it engages a part of my brain that is thwarted far too often by my frustrated perfectionist. so lower case slides right by him somehow. (and yes, he is a man, i don't know why - but he is...)
anyway, back to the real purpose of this post. after everyone left i grabbed my guide (the cup of life, joyce rupp, that is taking me FAR TOO LONG to move through) and my own 'cup of life', and the sparker to light my candles on my altar. downsizing here at the flat meant that the table altar we had at our last home didn't fit here and it gave me a lot of frustration trying to find a space where it could nest.
another frustration here at the flat is a monolith of a brick fireplace - when the roof was replaced on the house they didn't fix the chimneys and the three fireplaces are now just monoliths instead of useful, warm additions to our space (the lower apartment has 2, we only have 1). it was uncared for by previous tenants and needed some love. we used stove paint to clean up the interior bricks and then it just looked like a black hole in the room. ideally we would have candelabras and lovely pillar candles to fill it with - they just didn't fit into the budget. so in a brush of impulsiveness i decided to marry the two decorating dilemmas i was having and put the altar in the fireplace. i blogged about my deep desire for a sacred space within my home way back in october 2004.
it's not really what i would have chosen in my 'perfect decorating world' but it works for now. i really want to paint a wrapped canvas with a fire element art piece, but that will have to wait for those cold winter nights. until then this is where i light my candles and pray for you.
as i sat there on my knees i thought how busy it looked and thought that simplifying it might help. then realized how each piece on the altar was significant to me and i thought i'd give you a tour.
this is my inukshuk. i know they are 'supposed' to have legs. i tried and tried to balance the rocks we found (each member of the family or tribe gathers the rocks for the inukshucks and all are important and used). he kept falling over. over and over. to the point where i was going to start over, scatter the rocks and we'd all find new ones on another trip to the shore. then i realized that he wasn't a he, he was a she. she is me. i am here. life is found here. community is found here. sustenance is found here.
this birdcage is a gift from my family. it was one of my most favorite christmas presents. you see i needed a bird for my empty birdcage i posted about here.
and this is getting far to long of a tour and a blog post, so i will leave you with this, pink drew it for me years ago and it's of her and i celebrating together: