Thus Far

Written by RitaC on December 5th, 2011

I am a poet and a mystic. Maintaining this natural state of mysticism during 2011 has been a challenge. Much of the time grace has paved my way. Sometimes I have white-knuckled it. At other times I wanted to stay in bed (but didn’t). A few migraines beset me.
In January during renovation of our 19th century farmhouse, I (and my husband and dogs) moved into my daughter and son-in-law’s suburban home. We stayed until late July, during which time my daughter grew ever more pregnant. In the fall, a second grandchild, a boy, blessed the family and as I held him for the first time, my heart opened with more grandmother love than I knew I had.  Two weeks later, I presented a weekend women’s retreat, a culmination of 12 months planning and coordination with 2 other women.
The entire year, one weekend a month, Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, I trained as a hatha yoga instructor. I graduated yesterday with over 200 hundred hours of study.
For the first half of 2011, I shuttled to the country, fielding contractor questions, inspecting on-site, deciding, designing, and purchasing. In the suburbs, I awoke to the patter of a 2 year-old, abandoning my usual practice of meditation in favor of (maybe) cobbling some form of formal spiritual enrichment later.
The day after the women’s retreat, I became a post-partum doula for 6 weeks. I assisted my daughter as she recovered from major surgery and cared for my toddler granddaughter as she adjusted to the new baby.
January through December, I studied anatomy, philosophy, and teaching ethics. I practiced yoga asanas, moving into configurations I never knew were possible for my body.
Throughout the year, several friends asked, “How do you do what you do?”
My reply remained the same: “I just do it.”
Although the women’s retreat and the yoga teacher training were planned, the extensive renovation and the new grandchild were surprises.  So many changes left so little time to refocus before the next shift appeared. But I had learned in grad school that I could hit the ground running. As a TA for the English Department, I learned how to teach as I was teaching. Not always comfortably and not always easily. But I did it and I did it well.
Throughout this arduous year, my long-standing practice of looking for the gift in any situation gave me the strength to know that my mysticism was not lost. I didn’t experience as many flashing epiphanies which are really just moments of clarity and understanding. But I knew I wouldn’t lose myself or all I’ve gained spiritually in the last quarter century. It just wouldn’t happen.
Though the extreme challenges of 2011 have passed, the integration continues and will for a long time. I will take my time, having rushed too much in this life. 
And what about my writing you might wonder.
I would say this.  I have continued to journal.  Not every day, or most every day, but I have a sketch of 2011.  The year, despite its tumult, has been rich.  Its richness lies in the gifts of words, words of mood, description, dialogue, subtleties, surprise, and darkness, gifts waiting to be discovered.