how they teach us*

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a walk in my sister's almond orchard

In Blackwater Woods

"Look, the trees are turning their own bodies into pillars

of light, are giving off the rich fragrance of cinnamon and fulfillment,

the long tapers of cattails are bursting and floating away over the blue shoulders

of the ponds, and every pond, no matter what its name is, is

nameless now. Every year everything I have ever learned

in my lifetime leads back to this: the fires and the black river of loss whose other side

is salvation, whose meaning none of us will ever know. To live in this world

you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it

against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.”

~ Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Vol. 1


Words from Mary that have reached deep inside my bones and offered my heart rest this week. This indeed has been a year of burning fires within and rivers of loss, only to find salvation, find my TRUTH on the other side. Its been a year of holding close to my bosom and clinging onto those last strings of hope and then, letting go of that which I love deeply but doesn't serve my heart. And yes every year of my life is filled with this but this past year seemed to be that of deeper layers of burning, raging, surrendering and flowing with it all. Perhaps because it wasn't just about me but also about my son, who I am so deeply connected to and being along side his own journey. It was about the growing pains of my husband and I learning to be his advocate by paying attention to, listening to, protecting and honoring his unique rhythm despite the selflessness this would require, despite the judgment of some that we trusted with our vulnerability.

Its been deeply humbling and empowering to find my own voice, for myself and as a mother. It didn't come simply for a people-pleaser like me. This past year I've had a greater awareness of how deeply I desire to be liked and loved and accepted by all that come into my life and when I am not, it causes self doubt. I've seen clearer how these parts of myself led me to putting others needs and ideas before mine or my family in a damaging and unhealthy way. I'm slowly breaking free from those peacemaker ways. I am still nurturing the pieces left by gently putting myself back together again, with tenderness and a gentle wildness, as I rise and stand firmer and firmer, taller and taller.

In all the books I've read about parenting a child with unique needs, one thing that is consistent is the importance of circling you and your child with those that trust, honor and respect your choices and desire the same for your child that you do. I am so deeply blessed that this journey with Cedar has attracted a gentle circle of supportive souls around us.

I know all parents travel this journey within their own unique stories. Our children inspire us to find our own voices, inspire us to trust our own intuition and to let go of that which doesn't bring peace into our lives. This is how they teach us.

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sunbeams, blossoms and healing