Residing In Freedom

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A peaceful and quiet place, all noise removed, has been my retreat for not only my writing but my sanity as well. The feeling of being in a calm, safe space translates into a much happier me. This human-made structure (my home), devoid of people with only the bare minimum house noises, is where I also feel the most productive. I would imagine this rings true for many of us here on WordPress.

Once intruded upon, my surroundings become less appealing. There goes my peace of mind as well. It’s as if the boundaries weren’t respected, and chaos ensues. I always wonder how others react to or cope with intrusions. For me, my space becomes a complicated atmosphere, and I become tense and charged. Does that sound about right for you too?

Even music was considered an intrusion. Never before have I been able to write with music playing until I started listening to LP.  It’s like she’s a friend holding me through the process. It’s an escape to warmth and caring. I happened to discover this when I wasn’t in my usual quiet space and still needed to get some work done. The distractions around me needed to be drowned out. It was not sufficient only putting the earbuds in, so I also turned on her music. Yay, no more external noises pushing against my boundaries, but then I realized I could also write with her streaming in my ear. Wow!

Her music takes me to a zone I can lean into comfortably. It’s a rhythm like none other. My being and my body begin to move and sway with it. I feel like I’m in my bubble again, but it’s enhanced. LP does this to me every time. Her voice, along with the music, makes me want to glide and fluidly command the space. She taps into a part of my nervous system that responds with relaxation every time, without fail. It’s like it all becomes one with the core of who I am. She becomes a part of me, living inside of me. And I can write because she doesn’t feel like an interloper. LP helps the process.

But I digress with this tribute to my all-time favorite artist. I do highly recommend you search her out, though. She’s phenomenal. Shutting up now. I’ll get back on track as this piece started about the peace and harmony I find in my little world.

After a 50+ year existence, I’ve had a lot of trials and errors to determine what does happen to work for me. Right here, right now – having a feeling of peace and experiencing a quietness like this has done wonders for my life. Not saying that life doesn’t still throw curveballs, it does! But even those are mitigated as I feel so much more rational than I’ve ever felt. That must be part of what the aging process does to a person, or? The mind knows what it wants and grasps it. Or is that just me?

The kids have moved on to the lives of their choosing. I sit at my computer and type to my heart’s content – books all around me whose words I get to devour whenever I want to. My head allowed to roam freely, contemplating everything and nothing. Because of all this, I’m experiencing freedom in a way I’d not previously experienced. I’m exquisitely fortunate to have this space called home to express my thoughts, and for that, I’m grateful.

May it last until I close my eyes for the last time.

Finally, Peace…

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The accident happened on Thursday afternoon. Woman vs. vehicle, and she didn’t fare well. I was at my mom’s bedside for the last four days, waiting for her to take her last breath. Every day I thought would be her last. But then the machines would continue to track her vitals, showing me how wrong I was. Her heart was beating strong and consistent. “Healthy as a horse!” came to mind. How ironic, though, being healthy, she got clocked by a truck. She did all that exercise for nothing. Her lungs, on automatic, pushed oxygen through her body as if she were still alive. But her mind was gone. Mutti was brain-dead. It was time for her to check out, but her heart betrayed her and kept pumping. Her DNR was useless. Life screwed her yet again.

It felt like she was staying alive for no other reason than for me to work through some issues. I guess that was a good thing. The staff always shook their heads in amazement. “She shouldn’t still be breathing.” they’d say. I put the TV on to pass the time. The kind nurses gave me blankets and a pillow to get comfortable, to check-in for the long haul. 

She finally died. It was Monday, shortly after midnight. Her evil heart finally stopped beating. Odd though, the air felt calm. That was a new sensation. Having been there so many days already, the efficient hospital staff worked to get the last papers signed. It was sweet how they didn’t seem to want to impose on me further. They instinctively knew with it being the wee hours of the morning; exhaustion was setting in. The previous events had taken their emotional, mental, and physical toll. 

I said my goodbyes to Mutti, took the last picture of her in the bed, even cried, then turned and walked away. Passing through the hospital door out into the parking lot was a bit surreal, but it was okay. It was like a chapter had come to an end, and I was eager to read the next page. And I was calm.

At 3 AM, the keys jingled rather loud in the door lock of my mother’s home. I hoped the neighbor wouldn’t wake up with the racket. I was feeling more and more drained. All I wanted to do was sleep, but opening that door gave me the opposite of what I so desperately needed. 

I’d not seen my mother in ten years, nor had I ever been to her apartment. It was strange walking through the front door. The room felt tight with clutter and dust, and paper everywhere. I sighed and hesitated in proceeding into this unknown territory. The knickknacks lining the ledge above the fireplace had a thick layer of grey fuzz. Only knowing my mother as a neat freak, I didn’t expect that. I was shaking my head in disbelief that my mom had lived here. It was so unlike the woman I remember growing up with; she was neurotic about vacuuming every day. She even straightened the fringes on the Persian carpet in the living room if it crushed a little to the side. Even the guests in our home felt uncomfortable as soon as they walked into her clinical space. This home was nothing like I remembered in my childhood. My mom lived here in this mess and filth?

The longer I lingered in the doorway, the more the childhood memories flashed back. All the mind games my mom played rushed back into my head, almost tensing my body in response. Self-preservation – an instinct, I guess. Yet, I still couldn’t quite understand experiencing a feeling at ease along with the adrenaline coursing through my body, especially in this filth. 

I was feeling disgusted, seeing every room had piles of paperwork. After a quick skim, I could tell each had a kind of organized storage system. Mutti kept papers, receipts, and records of every kind. Each type of paperwork had its pile. There were even handwritten arguments with the neighbor. Almost like a visual paper trail of every step of her lifetime, documented and preserved in a heap, by date. It was apparent Mutti’s anal tendencies still ruled her in her later years. They had deepened to a degree of sick, the beginnings of illness I’d not noticed in my youth. She was weird back then, but this was extreme. 

I found documents going back to 1941, and not only the ones you should always keep like a birth certificate or a marriage certificate. When I look back, I couldn’t understand how Mutti hid this during my childhood. It seemed she went off her rails in the last few years. Fascinating and creepy, all at the same time. And yet, I was still calm.

Did she wish I’d visited more? My guess is no. She wouldn’t have wanted me to know how off things had become in her life. Me visiting would have exposed her behavior. I’m sure she understood I would recommend she get some help. 

But I doubt I would have ever come to North Carolina anyway, even if she’d asked. I made an emotional break from her grip years before I’d stopped visiting. I had had enough pain managing the aftermath of my upbringing. Her bad habit of adding fuel to any fire made me tired of getting burnt. The sooner I cut ties, the better for me. When I left, I didn’t look back. 

Being here, amidst all this clutter, I finally realized she had always been the chaos. And she was no longer here to do damage. In my youth, as in this apartment, I was in the eye of the storm. Surrounding me was the disarray, but in here, in this hole, she was gone, and everything was going to be okay. 

I was going to be okay.

At Play

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A
brightness
permeates
in and around
the air. So joyous,
feeling light and free now.
Let’s enjoy this wondrous time.
Come play like in our youth again.
No one and nothing could bring us down.
Do you remember how you felt back then?
We escaped into our own little worlds.
Fantasies filled with fresh scenery.
Everything was possible then.
Rich daydreams colored our world.
Sun, fun, and games all day!
Innocent children
at play again.
I sure do
miss it,
friend.

Stay

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Inspired by Reena’s Exploration Challenge 72

My lady, please don’t go.
I offer you protection and love,
being rooted in stability.
Let me envelop you in my wings
and ground you to me.

I can’t, Sir.
Another life demands my attention. 
Being sheltered isn’t what I need
nor want.
Freedom beckons me, so I must go.

Home In The Clouds

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Inspired by Hélène Vaillant – What Do You See? – 1/29/19

The sun is starting to slip below the clouds — another day at its end.
I glance out my window.
All I see is peace. And the balloon wavering silently.
All I hear is the wind and my thoughts.
After a long day, I’m grateful to have found my way back home to the sky. Away from the rat race.
This wooden refuge does connect me, but I am far above all the noises and struggles from down below.
The clouds nestle me and silence the stress and hectic of the world.
I’m home.
And I’m calm again.
*deep breath