Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Little Poetry Tuesday In Honor of Me, Myself and I

Today is my thirty-third birthday.  

I am fourteen-year-old me plus nineteen-year-old me.  I am the girl who met Jeffrey at a church dance.  I am the the very young girl who, after the wounding of teenage dating years, felt sooo old and chose to marry Jeffrey, the man whose arms felt to her like rest, like coming home.  I am six-year-old me plus twenty-seven-year-old me.  I am the girl who watched Grandpa Murray collapse in her back yard in shimmering summer and the woman who gave birth to a gorgeous baby boy in the warmth of her bedroom on a frozen new year's eve.

I am every girl and every woman I have ever been in these three decades plus three years and I am whole.

For the first time in a very long time I feel whole, authentic.  This has been the work of my thirty-third year.  Throughout this year, I have flung the doors and windows wide to welcome every regret, every mistake, every heartache, every misplaced step or hasty word of my life.  I have found it in myself to love myself, whole.  This has not been a simple forgiveness or an asking for forgiveness.  It has been a fierce and fearless, whole-hearted embrace of every element of myself in joy, with an understanding that it is the good with the bad that makes me who I am, that drives me closer to who I need to be within this world and the work that I must do to make the world better.

Six years ago, someone challenged me to learn to be my wild and authentic self.  I am only now beginning to understand what that means for me.  It feels good.

My goal for my thirty-fourth year is to do more and to do less:
  • Say yes more.  Yes to friendship, love, nature, everything that feeds and fills me.  Yes, to new experiences of every kind (even the ones that may hurt).
  • Love more.  Be more present. Connect more deeply and often with the people around me.
  • Express myself more--my love, my passion, my feelings.  Write more. Speak more. Give more.
  • More honesty, unabashed honesty with myself and others.
  • Worry less.  Worry less about what others think of me.  It doesn't matter.  Worry less about money or the future.  It will all come.  All I have right now is right now.
  • Buy less.  Own less.  Release what does not bring joy or light into my life.  Make room for those things that do.
  • Including doing less of what is not authentic, what is not important, what is not a part of my value system and my life purpose. Those things I do not feel deeply called to do, I will not do.
Those things that must be done: the laundry, the dishes, the feeding, the endless wiping of pee and poo and boogers and tears and dirt that comes with motherhood--they will be done with more love, more presence, more understanding of WHY they are essential.

When they are the less essential things, they will be done less, thrown by the wayside without guilt or apology because something more important is calling to me.

I heard a marvelous poem yesterday for the very first time.  It encompasses my recent feelings, the advice I might give to myself if I were to be honest and authentic right now.

I'll use it to close this post with a happy birthday to me and a joyous day to you.

Advice to Myself
by Louise Erdrich

Leave the dishes.
Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator
and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.
Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
Throw the cracked bowl out and don't patch the cup.
Don't patch anything. Don't mend. Buy safety pins.
Don't even sew on a button.
Let the wind have its way, then the earth
that invades as dust and then the dead
foaming up in gray rolls underneath the couch.
Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome.
Don't keep all the pieces of the puzzles
or the doll's tiny shoes in pairs, don't worry
who uses whose toothbrush or if anything
matches, at all.
Except one word to another. Or a thought.
Pursue the authentic-decide first
what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don't even think of cleaning out.
That closet stuffed with savage mementos.
Don't sort the paper clips from screws from saved baby teeth
or worry if we're all eating cereal for dinner
again. Don't answer the telephone, ever,
or weep over anything at all that breaks.
Pink molds will grow within those sealed cartons
in the refrigerator. Accept new forms of life
and talk to the dead
who drift in through the screened windows, who collect
patiently on the tops of food jars and books.
Recycle the mail, don't read it, don't read anything
except what destroys
the insulation between yourself and your experience
or what pulls down or what strikes at or what shatters
this ruse you call necessity.


Kerstin said...

Happy birthday to a beautiful, smart, witty, wonderful, brave and all around amazing woman. Thanks for being who you are! I admire you so much.

Heather said...

Thanks, Kerstin. I feel the same way about you (even though it sounds cheesy to say it because you said it first, I do).

Melody said...

Wonderful post - for yourself and the rest of us. Thank you and I hope your birthweek is just grand.

And the poem, well, just perfect.

"Your heart, that place
you don't even think of cleaning out..." Love it. Love you.

Tamra said...

I also love this post...and good for you! :) It gives all of us something to think about and improve! Thank you!

Jeff and Jessie said...

Happy one my friend! You are wonderful and amazing. How grateful I am for you friendship.