Friday 23 December 2022
I see her standing at the gate, waiting to pick me up, and it's only then I realise that it's been over a year since we've seen each other.
She suddenly looks strangely unfamiliar despite the fact that a day later I will know the gift given to me, handed to Nathan to open because kids love that stuff, is from her...
even though I can't read the card without my glasses.
Her handwriting, the shape of each letter an image clearly etched in my mind after so many birthdays and Christmases, is instantly recognisable.
It has been over four years since I've celebrated a birthday or a Christmas and I'm being fetched from the random guest house in Somerset West, by my mother, to return home for a once was important family event.
I've chosen to do this now because I've been reminded of a life I've been trying to forget, by Christmas posts on Hive and a recent session with a client who is trying to outrun her own history by impulsively relocating.
In recovery, we call this "doing a geographical."
The thing is...
you can't outrun yourself.
I've suddenly suspected that a part of my self imposed isolation is an attempt to avoid some of my own recent history.
And myself again.
I'm also painfully aware of the passing of time and the finite amount we all have of this.
(In the perfect words of @wesphilbin , "...never miss an opportunity to say, "Love you")
It is time to return home.
26 December 2022
How do you write an account of events while you're still in it?
I'm up, by myself in the dark hours of almost sunrise (but no longer alone), to try and get this post in before the In the Spirit deadline.
Up at 6am after a repeatedly snoozed 5am alarm because the best laid plans...
and a remarkable few days of intense re-connection.
The last few days have been a dance.
I'd say a whirlwind of emotion and sharing, but that doesn't describe an experience like this. Instead, there's been a slow circling around, a stepping back and a stepping back forwards into each other's arms again, as we try to make sense of how a family that was so close...
could've gone from a once 28 strong dinner table to now only eight of us here.
What I can say about being together now, is that it's very different. Different in the sense that each one of us has lost enough, to learn enough, to be far more authentic, self aware and present with each other in our connection than I've ever felt us before.
This us is more real.
and because of this...
this us feels far more connected.
Real connectivity and intimacy demand authenticity.
Authenticity demands vulnerability and honesty.
And honesty requires we acknowledge many uncomfortable truths about ourselves, others and about life, that most interactions and systems in our modern society prefer us to ignore.
As a family we've done this for as long as I can remember. Politely ignored the many elephants in our mutual and individual rooms.
It was when my life-partner was threatened and my reputation smeared to discredit me, and not one member of my family stepped up to assist, that I wrote a formal email and divorced them in writing in 2019.
I'd been raised to believe blood was thicker than water and that family came first, but when it came to the real deal...
I was left alone to handle it.
Some people may think my family aren't very decent people but this would be completely inaccurate. In fact, they're all what I like to call "givers". They rescue people, and specifically animals, in need and they help where they can.
They all, in contradiction to their reaction to my situation back then, really care too much. And sometimes when a person cares too much, truths that are too hard and too ugly to accept...
When I, at last, understood that we're all only able to see what we're able to accept, at whatever point we are on our own personal journey...
I was able to forgive people for their all to human humanness.
And myself as well.
And in all honesty...
I think it was myself that I actually needed to forgive the most in order for me to come home.
On my arrival at my aunt's house, where I'll be staying for the visit, she asks whether I remember...
if the rather fat cat, lying on a comfortable pillow that is hers alone, was one of my rescues. She was too old for me to find her a home with anyone else, so my aunt took her in.
This cat is the mother of a litter of kittens I found in a sewer across the road from the house where my first child was born. Found only a short while before my daughter entered this world.
My daughter is now twenty years old.
There's a brief conversation about whether these numbers can possibly be correct as I remember all of this out loud. They must be, even though it seems implausible.
The passing of time is draped over us, and this event, like a pall.
Or a blanket, as it turned out to be, in the end.
The first things I notice, as I re-enter my family circle, are a few belongings of my grandmother and grandfather. Now some years passed and both powerful family figureheads for us.
Still to this day.
I see the card table my grandmother once played solitaire on for hours and hours.
She taught me to play Solitaire as well. Plus Backgammon and other card games that kept us gently competing with each other for a good part of many good days together.
I still remember the clicking sound of the cards as she shuffled them. Tapping them on the glass to slide them into place after a split. Right on this very table. I reach out to touch it and sit down in front of it to feel her again.
At the bottom of the stairs, at the head of the table, is a portrait of my grandfather, painted by my grandmother. His stern face belying a dry sense of humour that would reveal itself unexpectedly. And an underlying playfulness that was sadly all but stifled, after his internment in a prisoner of war camp in Shanghai for some years.
As the memories come flooding back...
the relevance of misunderstandings, all too human mistakes and the inevitable but pointless resentment begins to fade into ancient history. Priorities shift with the realignment of the past and what can only be acknowledged in all truth...
as an unforeseeable future.
What is important and what is inconsequential is altered in conjunction with this unexpected shift in perspective.
I've just lost my sh!t at my mother in the car as we arrived.
She was complaining about something my brother has done for most of the drive and I finally exploded. My finishing words, as I turn to make direct eye contact, while she sits in wide-eyed silence at this new me:
"I didn't speak to dad for almost three years before he died and you know what? I can't even remember what we were fucking fighting about."
I've added a:
"Gran would be turning in her grave if she could see us now." in the last minutes of my rant on the drive for good measure.
And she would be. Half Chinese and with what I now understand to be an approach strongly influenced by Buddhist philosophy, my grandmother insisted we all get along and would gently berate us if she caught us bickering by saying, "Little birds! Little birds!"
That's all she ever needed to say for us to come to our senses and get over ourselves. I'm nowhere near as lovely and gentle as my grandmother. But we're all still raw from these last years and I'm worried about my brother.
Although I'm probably too vociferous in my response, there's no longer any judgement on the process other people are still in. I understand how painful and difficult it is to be there myself now.
I'm simply tired of the blame game and the scapegoating that we were raised to consider as normal around here. I know all to well how this particular kind of messy programming "works". I know all to well how it impacts those who are subjected to it and our future generations as well.
And all because this conscious relating thing is an acquired skill and none of us were taught how to do this as kids, in the "suck it up buttercup" post war fiasco our parents were all exposed to.
I just wish my brother was coming home for Christmas too. And I know, beyond the hurt feelings, pride and fear that we all carry at times...
that everyone attending this occasion honestly wishes this as well.
It's on the second day that we all begin to admit this.
The paradox of this half gathering, to what was once a firmly rooted family tradition, is a time of many conflicting feelings for us all.
Regret. Anger. Resentment. Sadness. Hurt. Grief.
And underneath it all as we slowly reconnect...
Unity, Love and the beginning of Hope that we can possibly fix this together.
It is everything all at once.
Just as life exactly is.
At last, we're turning towards all of these feelings and sharing ourselves more honestly, instead of pretending everything is okay. This shift in behaviour is the alchemy that transforms all of our individual learning into a mutual time of healing for us as well.
The gathering is awkward, painful, joyful, sweet, vulnerable, uncertain, sensitive and ultimately...
through our combined awareness of each other and the fragility of all of this...
I'm glad I found the courage to return.
After Christmas lunch I let my younger cousin know I'm headed to the garden to dance. I do this almost every day now. In small patches or hour long sessions. This is my therapy. This is my joy. This is how I find my present again.
This is my peace.
She wants to join me and we dance in the sunshine for almost an hour, smiling and sharing the moment. Feeling the freedom of the sunshine on our skin and the wind in our hair. Allowing each other to Be, while we validate our mutual and individual experience of the past and the present without judgement.
This is conscious dance.
It's the first time I've actively facilitated a conscious dance session with someone and I only really offer guidance for the first two songs.
I no longer feel the need to save people. I understand full well that only they can do that, for themselves. And that they are totally capable of doing this.
I'm able to let go and allow things to unfold as they do. I watch her smile to herself with eyes closed, nod when she shares what is arising for her and point out a song I think will facilitate her processing.
I enjoy the movement and music in between her dance.
It's not therapy for me today.
Today it is simply a celebration of life.
As I put the final track on for our session, I slow down and breathe in the moment. I look at her radiant face and the power of this practice is, once again, confirmed.
As is the fact that time heals all if we only allow things to unfold instead of fighting them and each other.
And that anything can be fixed if we choose to do this.
I no longer have Christmas decorations myself.
But I'm carrying around a box of Lego for the younger human (and myself if truth be told and we do that around here now), so I've already decided to make a less than traditional Christmas tree out of Lego with an Origami star for the In the Spirit prompt.
While not so long ago I was fearful of the Christian faith, after my personal experience with it, and the name of this prompt would have made me head for the hills...
I'm no longer afraid of this either anymore.
Once upon a me I believed in radical tolerance for all.
An' it harm none... do as you will.
Although I've never been keen on organised religion, because of the way it separates people, I've always been tolerant of everyone's beliefs. Who of us can say we know anything much for sure? Especially after everything we do know now?
This was my spirit.
Lost as well... in the chaos of these last years.
My resultant trauma left me mistrustful and suspicious. And oh so judgemental as well. I guess that's what fear does to all of us.
Now I'm able to participate in celebrating with others again. With respect for their personal perspective and the stories that accompany it. I smile, as I write the post for the prompt, at the progression of my recovery.
My recovery of myself, I mean.
Which I guess is what we really do mean when we use this word.
But semantics becomes confusing because of personal experience and subsequent interpretation. And often meaning is, thus, lost. Or misconstrued entirely.
I Google the word "spirit" as a noun and find this:
the non-physical part of a person which is the seat of emotions and character; the soul.
the non-physical part of a person regarded as their true self and as capable of surviving physical death or separation.
the prevailing or typical quality, mood, or attitude of a person, group, or period of time.
Description from Google
And I remember home is not a place. It is a feeling.
Right now as things stand... I have come home to myself as well.
It seems I have found my spirit again.
I don't try to control the creative process anymore either.
The Lego just happened because I was trying to pack for Cape Town and make some kind of decoration before I left the random guest house. Or I would've had to bring the whole box with me.
This is what I made out of bits scooped out of the box by hand. Hell no... I wasn't about to empty the whole thing out. When last did you try to clear up a decent Lego session? Seriously.
This was pot luck.
Or some might call it Fate, I suppose.
For the traditional star for the less traditional tree...
I've been threatening to learn and teach my son Origami as a part of home school because I've always wanted to learn how to do it. Little did I know what you could do with folded paper until yesterday!
After repeatedly watching online tutorials on how to make an origami star, that all included cuts, tape or glue (I'm a purist when I learn something new and this didn't feel like authentic Origami at all, so there was no way I was gonna to use any of those)...
my search ended up taking me to some pretty incredible possibilities.
Who knew you could do this with folded paper?!
I couldn't not do this one. Sorry Christmas star. Not this year. Because Origami fireworks!
(It looks enough like a star to get away with it, I reckon.)
And it most definitely
Filmed by a young up and comin' content creator who tried to get a surprise interview out of me at the end... :)
P.S. Missed the deadline for the prompt. Of course.
The Silver Bloggers will nod, hopefully smile and maybe roll their eyes a bit because nothing new to see here with my timing and admin.
To The Alliance. Welcome to the party. And apologies for all of the shoddy admin to come in advance. 😬
It wasn't for lack of trying. Honest.
I wanted to participate because this The Alliance initiative was instrumental in getting me home for Christmas, as were many family orientated posts on the Silver Bloggers community over these last months. So I'm sending it in anyway.
Out of running for prizes, please. Rules is rules. Finding Hive is more than enough of a win.
Because see what you did there? 👆
I did plan to write this yesterday afternoon, but my son came from his dad's for the Christmas lunch and ended up staying the night and, well...
family first. ❤️
The final song on the dance playlist yesterday.
I heard my cousin still humming it to herself... sometime later 😊
Beyond fear is freedom
And there is nothing to be afraid of.
To Life, with Love... and always for Truth!
What a cathartic but beautiful experience 🤗❤️ Thank you for sharing it with us!
I like that you left the brief fight in the story, and built around it to showcase it, instead of hide it. Very real and lovely of you, sometimes we have to have a bit of chaos to recenter, I think.
Your tree is beautiful too, what's holiday spirit without the force and some pirate flags 🤣💕 !LUV !LOLZ
Many hugs to you for your vulnerability, and for being vocal about your path to resilience 😘🤗
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Oh well... "none but ourselves can free our minds" ... and all that ;)
I also researched that the 25th was originally a pagan celebration. The rebirth of the sun or something. Stuck a sun in there for good measure. 👍🏼
They used to worship in the same spaces you know. Before money was involved. People covered their bases once upon a time.
The pagans and the early Christians.
And Jesus was born around March according to some older accounts. But I'm no expert on Theology.
Always so good to connect with you.
Yes. A part of healing includes disagreeing. Being who we really are. Messy. Sometimes foolish. Imperfect. But real. And being okay with that.
It was wonderfully cathartic. We still have some people to bring home. But I can't quite believe how much each of us has grown individually.
I think sometimes one has to step back to see the bigger picture
Sending love always. 💓🥰
I always enjoy reading your posts and I am inspired by your spirit and strengths ♥️
Glad you got to reconnect with your family, connect is what makes life special and to know we not alone.
To build ourselves up, find our way home and to who we really are.
That I can relate to so much, life is full off tests and we go through things that sometimes makes us lost.
Fear... That is also something that noone should ever have to feel.
I am happy to have gotten to know you and I am happy to see you post and I know your experience can help others.
Keep smiling and always know...
You are never alone 🥰
Much love ♥️
Hello, lovely 🌸
Always makes me happy to see your beautiful face and hear your beautiful voice around here.
Someone said something like "sometimes you have to lose yourself, to find yourself."
I can't find who the original source was because so many people have said this in confirmation in a variety of different ways.
Hey... the greatest loneliness is being surrounded by people who don't "see" or "hear" you, right? Nothing more lonely than this! :/
And there are different kinds of family. And blood family doesn't necessarily mean soul family as well :) It think that learning to see and accept things as they really are clarifies things and prevents disappointment and hurt. Because expectations come with relationships too often and that is never a good thing in my experience. 👍
I'm headed back out into fuck knows where today. Tempted to settle and rest but I haven't found my place to do that quite yet. Yep. Bit of fear but we know each other well now so meh. And boy is this bed at my aunt's place comfortable! So dreading the lack of this again but it is what it is for now. I think it's worth it until I'm sure of where physical home actually is for the next bit.
It's nice not to have my stomach in knots every time I think of Cape Town though. It was good to return and deal with that. Head on! The only way out is through. But as we are ready!
You make me feel less alone :D
And simply reading those words does that. Isn't connection and care incredible???
Thanks for being you and I hope you're as kind and loving to yourself as you are to everyone else today. ❤️
I really enjoyed reading this as a lot of it struck home to me, as well. I won't get into it, suffice to say there are lessons you have learned that we need to teach our children. In hindsight I would have homeschooled my children, too, if for no other reason than to provide them with an "emotional intelligence" worth owning.
There used to be a fellow in the city I live in who, in the warmer months, would dress in nothing but a speedo, shoes, and headphones, and dance his way through the city streets. Some people jog, some cycle (like me), others walk; he danced. What was the most inspirational was that he didn't care how he looked; he was out there to enjoy the day and feel good about it. Even better, whenever he was brought up in conversation, everyone agreed that we should all be more like "dancing guy." And we should. Even if
Iwe can't dance (and I can't - I have three left feet).
Thanks for being you! Don't ever stop.
Thanks for this lovely response, WWW. :)
We live and learn, huh?
You know... my aunt commented that she was really concerned about my boy and home school before we saw them
And she went on to say she can't believe how confident, mature and sharp he is a short while after he arrived :D
He had them all in stitches with his quick comebacks and sense of humor. He is quite a human!
I wish schools would start later and kids spent more one on one time with at least one focused parent for the first 7 or 9 years. This would make such a good impact on their emotional and mental health.
I do like learning and am a bit of a nerd though. You can prolly tell from the Origami mission...
I need to meet that "dancing guy" !! He sounds awesome! 💥
If you haven't seen Matthew Silver yet, totally worth a second glance. He's a street performer. This sounds like it might be him? Is that possible?
Or does your dancing guy do it for the sunshine and the music and not the activism / artivism?
Matthew Silver ❤️
He's full tilt, man! 😁💥
Finding our way back home, finding ourselves at last. Fear has driven too many apart, refreshing read and a good start reconnecting even if a little clumsy at first, once the move is made in the right direction we tend to find what we have been missing.
Inner turmoil and conflict perhaps the best is to remove oneself to find oneself again, we cannot fix anyone except ourselves.
Upvoted 👌 (Mana: 35/55) Liquid rewards.
It's all fear driven at the end of the day, isn't it? Yeah...
Thank you, Joan, Appreciate the innate wisdom here. I think the clumsiness is what was so beautiful. Cool is so over rated. Awkward is so sweet. Because fewer defenses and more open.
Yeah again. I think sometimes we need to step back to see the bigger picture.
And I know that sometimes we need space and time to heal.
Have a beautiful day, J. Thanks for stopping by 🌸
Fear driven which has not stopped, never obtained the control they wished to attain will have a run at it again in the next couple of years, mark my words. Get to wherever you enjoy life and make the most of being able to move around now.
Yep. That's the plan 👍🏼
In the meantime, we share how to be fearless in a fear driven world
Arm ourselves for the future 😊❤️🔥
Wear medievil armour, horse blinkers, water off a ducks back, we need them all!
Nah. Just don't be afraid of death. You lose that fear and not much else can rattle you.
But I do want a lightsaber, please 👍🏼
More fearful of the filth we endure must be honest, people one is able to avoid hopefully!
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Joy & Light dear 'Sister'...
Ditto, brother and fellow peaceful warrior.
Totally not mad you didn't enter the contest, but entirely stoked you got to reconnect with some stutter stepping family and recoup a bit of the time lost. Family is. Especially the offspring. Their demand on time may seem like an inconvenience (I know this for a fact!) but we are the ones they look up to and admire most. The first hugs they ever got. The first 'I love yous' and so many firsts. So, to see and read your spirit has returned - is a joy. May it grow and be nurtured as time mends and births new things along with it.
You must be killin' it out here!
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Hello you :)
You give yourself away my dear man. You're a poet under all that punk. How lovely. ⚘️
You're totally spot on.
Except the part about me not entering. I totally did enter dammit! Just 8 hours late which meant I was out of the running :D
I even had footage prepared. Items created. And set the alarm for 5am to put it all together because I was almost delirious I was so tired the night before.
My family talk a lot! Like alot, alot I tell ya!
Like bursting into your room and an hour conversation a lot and then again in half an hour a lot.
Like do you want a cup of tea and then two hours later you've covered 5 more topics a lot.
Nope. I did enter. But one would have to factor in tea, coffee, smoke, dinner and we randomly ran into each other in the garden, did you hear that thing, extended catch ups and conversation breaks 😆
So one whole working day late then! And I gunned it BTW!
Needless to say we will not be renting shared office space. 🤨
But yes. It was pretty wonderful. 😊
Thanks for the inspiration ❤️🔥 Yeah!
Every new day is an inspiration. I didn't grow up under the best of circumstances and when I was a young dad, I often stayed up through each night and would not sleep until I heard the birds the next morning. This assured me that, my kids would see another day. Family is.
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Thank you for sharing that.
Treasure right there.
You are indeed. 💕
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Much appreciated 🙏😊
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Reading this brought a tear to my eye Nicky. I'm so so glad you reconnected with the family. There always will be a connection even though we're all so different, I believe the secret is to respect the fact that each one of us are unique and cannot be molded into what is expected or acceptable.
Thank you for sharing this with us ❤️
Hello, my darling Lizelle 🌸😊
Love seeing you in the comments - and always tbh!
Precisely exactly that. We are learning... :D
Thanks so much for your steady support throughout. You are solid family once removed digitally. Your family are so lucky to have you to hold them and guide them ❤️
Shooo... thanks @wesphilbin and @innerblocks.
The support and encouragement keeps me going. Honestly.
This was such a tough one to write! 💕
That's the top! The harmony of the blizzard! Tranquility in the midst of the storm... 🔥🔥🔥🔥
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This writing stuff can be tough, huh?
The support, engagement and encouragement makes me just want to do it some more!
Have a lovely day 🌸 😊
Yeah, but not for me. 😜 The deeper, the better for me! Keep going!
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The formal divorce email!
Life is short, glad you managed to go back N!
Merry Christmas ya wee cracker!
We all did, my friend.
Merry, merry to you too. 💮
I hope it was full of bells and whistles.
And non stop jingles. Of course!
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I don't think I can accept this one.
I suspect Boxing Day is a good time for people to rest and read. Timing is everything.
And I'm busy working something out here as well.
While I do that... thanks, HB and have a wonderful day ❤️ 😘
You're welcome. The HiveBuzz team wishes you all the best for 2023! Have a Happy New Year ✨🥂✨
You too, darling HiveBuzz.
It's gonna be a good year for all of us. I can feel it. 💥
I finally figured out what to say:
Thank you to the members of this amazing community who see my potential, have faith in my creativity, support my content and for their trust in me ❤️
On a sidenote - are you the SPORTS token generator because I didn't know where or who and I was going to swop it. But if it's you I'm gonna keep it. Because you're you.
Unstaked it in prep and saw something about HiveBuzz (I think) - still working out that side of Hive. Lots to learn...
You're welcome @nickydee! Have a nice day 😊👍🌹
Hey Nicky! So good to read about your homecoming! What actually made you do this this year, after 4 years?
I love reading about your dance session with your niece. Just playing the last song, as I write this comment. That was quite a read. A lot of healing had to be done in order for this to happen. I hope next year your brother will join too 💙
I'm glad you are back home. I think that many families are specialists in trying to hide the white elephants, but fortunately, some learn after so many blows of life to accept themselves as they are. But like you, I agree that the most important thing is to accept ourselves and forgive our imperfections.
Thanks for sharing and all the best to you always, Nicky! ♡
Thank you angel. And I hope you're feeling strong and healthy again.
I've left already :D
It was just for 3 days over Xmas. But it was a really good thing we got together again. For all of us. 👍🏼
And yes. Our own and others imperfections. Only human. And that's more than okay now. So much more than okay.
Thanks for saying hello and connecting. I really appreciate it. It's always good to see you around here.
And I wish only good, easy times for you moving forward, darling. Please take good care of yourself and have a beautiful holiday. 💓
I loved EVERYTHING about this post... from the beautiful experience of family and reconnection to the magnificent fireworks display in the palm of your hands, to your son's awesome creativity with his lego and the closing song to come full circle... Going Home indeed, my friend (by the way... what a great song!). Isn't it wonderful when you can come home to yourself, come home to your family, and come home to that eternal spirit within? Keep dancing and keep smiling - you are a bright light in this world, Nicky. Love you! 💗 !LUV !hivebits !ALIVE
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My beautiful Sam
This step forward would not have happened without super special people like you appearing suddenly and leading me back towards the light 💥
Thanks for being YOU ❤️
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