It’s been a no good, very bad week.
Mercury is in retrograde and my kids have been having epic tantrums. A dear family member had a heart attack, and we got some bad news affecting our finances.
I’ve been in icy fear all week. Cortisol tears through my veins. My mind races, scavenging up ways to cut expenses and bring in more income. I feel a bit like someone has died, and I’m tumbling through the stages of grief from that chill of fear to a thick sadness to simmering anger.
Meanwhile, as always, life goes on: my son brings home math homework, night drops quicker, and the air is starting to crisp.
The Equinox reminds me of the interplay between light and dark, grief and love, hardship and joy. In the densest moments of my terror this week, I’m gently reminding myself to be present. When life gets really scary, I often get stuck in my head and lose sight of all the good moments unfolding in front of me.
In between tears and freakouts, I’m paying attention.
Yesterday, my son and I played in the yard. The day was warm but not the stinging heat of a few weeks ago. We made up a game called Jedi Hide and Seek, which consisted of me hiding while my son hunted me down and then clobbered me about the torso with a swimming noodle-turned-light saber.
I climbed up the maple tree and snickered from above as my son paced the lawn trying to find me. I hid in the garden beneath leaves flickering bright green in the sunshine. Cozied into small places, I remembered what it felt like to be a child. To feel small and amazed. I spied a secret spider’s web the size of a quarter, the light silvering it. A honey-sweet scent floated down from the flowers I crouched under.
My whole body went awake, and for a few moments, unafraid.
The earth shows us this: in a few weeks, the light green leaves of the maple tree I hid in will blaze a bright orange before dropping to the soil. Each night now, the darkness lowers earlier, splitting the day with the sun. Without dark, light means nothing. Without loss, change can’t be sparked.
My children remind me of this too. The one time I beat my son in our epic light saber battle, he threw himself into the grass. I plopped down beside him, my cheek against his sun-warmed cheek. I gazed at him, trying to figure out how the little colicky baby he’d just been had morphed into this beautiful long limbed child, and I inhaled the smell of the grass and dirt and his warm boy skin.
Everything changes, and so unpredictably.
It’s astounding how little we can anticipate, and how horrible and beautiful that is.
All we can do is this: to come back awake, over and over again. To make space for the twists of dark and light breathing in and out of each other.
And so I say:
Help me to stay awake in this shifting season, to remember that things have to fall apart sometimes in order to bloom.
More goodness from Lynn:
Author: Lynn Shattuck
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: petradr at Unsplash