NANCY G. SHAPIRO

FINDING CALM IN THE MIDST OF CHANGE

Lightening Our Load

April 15, 2010

One of my ongoing intentions is to lighten up, to see more of the humor, joy and celebration in everyday situations. Lately, with a major move and some health issues, it’s been more of a challenge than expected.  Synchronicity has come to my aid in the form of my dog, a new friend, and a poem.

 

At first, I said, “No. We’re not getting a dog now. After we move. Maybe.” Twenty-four hours later Mancha had wiggled her way into our lives. Her most endearing quality is that she wants love all the time. Pet me, feed me, walk me, scratch me, look at me, run with me, more, more, more. In light of her persistence, I melt. Everyday worries can’t withstand the pure calm that comes from being in her presence. The serious load of whatever I’m carrying falls away, and laugher, smiles and love take its place. Not to mention all those walks are good exercise…for us both. That original “no” has turned into a huge, grateful Yes!

 

My girlfriend Vickie makes me laugh like I’ve never laughed before. We laugh about the silliest things, and at our own seriousness while discussing those seemingly dire events that pop up every once in awhile. Like the news of a fibrous cyst—she calls it a ‘booby glitch' — and we laugh hilariously [people stare], and a ton of anxiety lifts off my shoulders.

 

Or the ups and downs of a new relationship — I suggest that “being cared for” is not the same as “being smothered,” it’s like saying brownies and garbanzo beans are identical — laughter replaces her frown. I treasure our time together, not just because of the humorous moments…the lightness leads us to conversations of important, serious things too. We are whole in our friendship, the light and the dark, the tears and the laughter.

 

Poetry has always been my safe haven. Being the serious person I sometimes am, I’ve always berated myself for not memorizing my own and other’s poems. Until Saved By a Poem came into my life. Author Kim Rosen speaks of not memorizing; instead she encourages taking in a poem by heart…of allowing yourself to be opened and transformed by the words and the rhythms of a poem that speaks to you. The one poem I “memorized” for a ninth grade assembly, a poem about roadkill (!), has not stayed with me, nor has the author’s name.

 

In contrast, D.H. Lawrence spoke intensely to me from the pages of Rosen’s book through an excerpt from his poem “Song of a Man Who Has Come Through.” In its flowing words, learned by heart late at night, came the grace of a deep, profound peace that will stay with me. It is my mantra, my reminder, the third synchronistic gift that has led me to lighten my load. Here are his words:

 

Not I, not I, but the wind that blows through me. / A fine wind is blowing the new direction of Time. / If only I let it bear me, carry me, if only it carry me! / If only I am sensitive, subtle, oh delicate, a winged gift! / If only, most lovely of all, I yield myself and am borrowed / By the fine, fine wind that takes it course through / the chaos of the world…

 

May that “fine, fine wind” carry you. 

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