Being Still

real beauty

Being Still.  What a concept (this is a continuation of my last Musings post – sorry, guess I’m still in that zone)

Everyone’s  (rightly) been talking/writing about what a shittastic year it was and while mine was no exception, there was also a… stillness that wasn’t any sort of ‘tastic.   I couldn’t figure out what was going on until the snow and ice retreated and I went into the garden.

Most of you know that I spent last Autumn curating the space, with an eye to evaluating it this Spring and Summer.  I thought that was going to be a very difficult thing; I’ve spent a decade using the garden to fill the hole in my soul, jamming more and more plants in there, as if it would settle me down… except it did the persack opposite, with all the plants jostling and competing as a mirror to my own inner turmoil.  Last year, just quietly, carefully moving, editing… what an unusual approach for me.  This year is even more unusual – I’ve yet to open a single catalogue!  Other than the veg and decorative containers I always plant I’m going to spend this season just… being.  Being still. Letting the garden tell me what it needs.  Letting me tell myself what I need, both within the garden and without.

This is a ..disorienting.. way for me to be.  For most of my (rather privileged) life I have been in constant motion, trying to outmaneuver Floyd knows what.  The last 10 years of abject weirdness meant I couldn’t stop at all, lest I actually confront the trainwreck of my personal and deeply inner life… it took this year working with a young vet with PTSD to realize that I, too, was suffering from a form of PTSD, and had been for a very long time.  We’ve been exploring Warriors at Ease, a yoga/meditation program designed for veterans and others trying to manage the challenges of PTSD and other stressors.  Though it’s designed for returning combat vets, all the poses, meditations  work for anyone  wading through the myriad emotions connected with stress.  Interestingly, one of the gifts I’ve been given, exploring the program, is the beginnings of the ability to just. be. still.  I don’t have to go to Defcon 2 and fix everything right away – sometimes it’s okay to just.. be still.  Be present.  Listen.  Be.  It’s a discipline, like any other, but deeply rewarding. My young friend is struggling with a bizarre guilt – he enlisted, so feels he has no right to have PTSD, as if there’s some value judgement attached to having enlisted.  My first urge was to leap in and fix it for him (and punch the throat of anyone who would suggest that to him)… then I realized.. he just needed me to be still… and hear him.  That was the gift I gave him, to hear him.  Only then did I realize that I, too, attach value judgements to the strangest emotional things:  you can’t feel sad or lost if you’re fed and warm.   Or if you have money.  You can’t feel this, you can’t feel that.  You can’t, you can’t.

All these value judgements, setting false parameters.   What a shocking waste.

This year and the work I’m doing is allowing me to take these notions apart. It’s not as easy as I am making it sound.. ..but neither is it that difficult, I’m surprised to find.  I had to laugh – I’ve deliberately scaled back my financial burden, living in this ridiculous little house in this absurd little town so that I could give myself time to breathe – and for most of the past year I forgot to breathe!  Walking through the garden this am I realized that for the first time ever (EVAH!) I was content to just look. Maybe breathe a little.  Just be still.  It was a very odd feeling.  Other than picking up Winter’s detritus I have little to do this Spring, except watch stuff come up.  I thought I would feel anxious about it but it’s .. it’s okay.  How odd.

A good friend says about me ‘you’re one of the kindest people I know.  But your outside is covered in knives’.  And I wonder if that will ever go away.  Probably not (re the knives part – I’m hoping to always keep the kindness).  I’m not ‘nice’.  I’m rigidly formal and controlled, obviously, since SWAT isn’t at my door, but I can be a bit scary and very uncomfortable relying on the kindness of anybody, which is one helluva Life Lesson, ongoing, because I wouldn’t be here if not for the kindnesses of a lot of Anybodys, most of whom are a lot less scary than I am.  But they are there for me, in incredibly strong ways – stronger, even, than I am.  I do accept it and appreciate it beyond measure – but being comfortable with it is a whole ‘nother banana.  However, I no longer feel the need to cover every inch of me in knives.  In fact, it seems the tougher I get, both physically and mentally, the softer I am allowing myself to become, deep inside.

Okay.   Maybe not that soft.  I’m still a pretty rigid presence and I’m still ogling the living daylights out of a Benelli M4 ( I’m not a firearms nut – but just LOOK at it! and omg.  how it feels in my arm!!!). And a lot of the skills I like to develop are unnerving to the general public.   But at least now I can look at people, take a minute to Be Still  – and, mostly, see their humanity.

It’s a start.

But I’m still getting the M4.

what a beauty

what about you guys?  was this a reflective year or were you just trying to keep SWAT from breaking down the door?  Do you love shotguns as much as I do?  Okay, that’s a trick question.  NOBODY loves shotguns as much as I do (and I don’t like guns all that much, in general).  If you do, SANG it!  Right here.

 

oooh!  and I’ll bet you thought I forgot about the Musings draw.  I did not.

crikey

Janet in California

gmail your evilauntieanita with your details.  I’ll get some goodies out to you!

  • Meg says:

    Love this post! I lost my really nice shotguns in a divorce many years ago (mentioning this always elicits a look of pure horror on any sportsman’s face) and did not shoot for 25 years or so. I somehow found myself with 2 Wirehaired Pointing Griffons, versatile hunting dogs, and so it seemed we should go bird hunting. I got a 20 ga. And then I discovered GRITS (Girls Really Into Shooting, gritsgobang.org). I am terrible at sporting clays, but the group is great fun. A lot of the gals shoot 12 ga, so I now also have a Beretta 12 ga semi-auto. I am such an introvert that I have to force myself to show up at the shoots and then am always happy that I made the effort.

    • Musette says:

      except for the divorce loss (ditto) everything about this comment makes me smile! Do you like the semi-auto? I love the pump but have been ogling a semi-auto. Pistol grip? I didn’t think I would be, but am now a total pistol grip girl.

      xoxoxo

      and Always Show Up 😉 Always.

  • March says:

    What a beautiful post. I am SO looking forward to your musings continuing throughout this spring, as new life and hope begins to beckon all of us. XO

  • Dina C. says:

    This past year has been a good year for taking a breath, hasn’t it? I am one of those perpetually overscheduled ladies, so this whole lockdown situation has been a huge sigh of relief in some ways. All the deadlines and volunteerism has been put on hold. And it revealed the ones I missed and the ones that were secretly just a burden. I love hearing about how stillness and reflection are helping you heal and find wholeness and wellness. Let’s have more of that!

  • Marsha says:

    Congratulations! You have discovered what miracles yoga and meditation can bring about.

  • Cinnamon says:

    Enforced stillness is the way I look the idea. It teaches you all kinds of things, as you’ve noted. I was thinking this morning that it’s not a good thing if we focus on returning to our previous normal after everything that has happened in the past year. The point is when something massive occurs to focus on developing a new, different, better normal. I think that’s where my head is. And I look forward to pics of what the garden has decided for itself come warmer weather.

  • Portia says:

    Still
    WITH A SHOTGUN!
    That couldn’t be more USA, Musette. A terrifying jump that nearly blew my mind. Ba dum cha!

    Gardens are heaven and hell.
    Portia x

    • Musette says:

      we are ridiculous, I know. I’m not a fan of firearms, overmuch, but omg, Portia, a pump shotgun is my JAM! I confess to being more warlike than a lot of people – I fought it for so long…

      Now I just accept it and in doing so, am better able to keep it in perspective.
      But we’re still ridiculous. 😉

      xoxoxo

      • Maya says:

        A shotgun’s ok, but I prefer rifles – Winchester model 94, 30/30 carbine is my favorite! So nice. You’re not alone Musette. LOL.

        • Musette says:

          Thank you, darling! I have tried to love a rifle, truly. But I don’t hunt and I rarely target shoot so rifles are lost on me – a shotgun is actually one of those ‘train on it, with the hope that I never have to use it’ weapons. Even my close combat weaponry is training with the same goal in mind – to never have to use it.

          what do you use your rifle skills for – do you hunt? Or is it competitive shooting?

          xoxo

          • Maya says:

            No I don’t hunt. I hate the idea of killing any living being. Target shooting. My first husband tried to get me to shoot competitively. He was a combat veteran with an expert marksmanship badge and said I was dam good. I refused because of the attitude towards women. I have handgun for protection. He and I had a lot of fun. We shot just about every weapon there is – double barrel side by side 12 gauge shotgun, flintlock rifle that was longer than me (I’m 5’2″), cap and ball musket – just about everything, old and new.

          • Musette says:

            I love you.

            xoxox

          • Maya says:

            🙂

  • Tara C says:

    I’ve been filling the hole in my soul for decades with shoes, perfume, purses, jewelry, you name it, all to no avail. So I’m working on just being still. Soon I will be buying a new house, with a garden to cultivate, and I’m hoping that I will find a way to be at peace inside. I’m thinking that ditching the excessive focus on myself and turning my energies towards others will be just what I need to find that elusive peace. It’s been a very reflective year but I still have a long way to go. Covid has kept me holed up like a hermit, time to break out of my cocoon.

    • Cinnamon says:

      I think a garden can lead you in all kinds of directions that pull you out of an interior focus. The space needs direction, the plants need attention, and then once you’ve started that off it’s like the garden says ‘sit back and let me do my thing, that’s what I need now. I’ll let you know when I want something in due course’.

    • Musette says:

      Tara, one of the loveliest things about Being Still is, at least for me, I began to look at all the ‘stuff’ and saw it for what it is – a lot of stuff. This stillness is allowing me to really see the ‘stuff’ and decide what is necessary (or really desired) and what is not. Very freeing.

      xoxoxo

      • Tara C says:

        I’ve done very well purging everything except the perfumes… how do I get rid of 600 bottles? And do I want to? This is my current dilemma.

        • Musette says:

          if you don’t want to, then don’t. I think it’s more about desire v. just filling a void. If they make you happy, then you should keep!

          xoxoxo

    • SamanthaL says:

      I hope you find that peace…I feel very similar!

      • Musette says:

        I think ‘finding that peace’ will be an ongoing process rather than an end goal. Something tells me that this is the whole point of it – but we’ll see – that sort of ‘the journey is the journey’ idea. I’m open to whatever.

        xoxoxo

  • Pam says:

    What wonderful musings! Thank you, Musette. Being. Still. I work on that too. But it’s tough. I have to fight my inner antsyness.

    • Musette says:

      that’s why meditation isn’t easy and it is a process. Our society certainly doesn’t encourage it, which makes it even more difficult. But that journey is well worth taking, imo. xoxoxo

  • Queen-Cupcake says:

    Musette, this post made me so happy! Yes, be still. Listen. These things we all need to actually practice; for most people today, it does not come easily. But unless we do, we’ll miss some important stuff. My flutes are my shotguns. Do you know The Four Agreements? Wearing Winter Kitty by For Strange Women, in honor of my darling Frankie, who has crossed that alleged rainbow bridge.