“It takes 10 times longer to put yourself back together than it does to fall apart” – Finnick to Katniss in Mocking Jay.
Oh yes it does! I think the most challenging piece in putting ourselves back together when we fall so fully apart as I have done is finding all of the pieces first. I feel much a like a giant jigsaw puzzle that has been dumped onto a table. Even just finding the pieces to get started takes a great deal of time. If any of the pieces have fallen off the table, unbeknownst to you, good luck figuring it all out. Starting to put the pieces together so that they look like something can take days and days. And that’s only if you can focus all of your attention on the puzzle. If there are other tasks that need to be done finishing a puzzle can take weeks or months.
The same is true for putting myself back together right now. I find I am able to put a few pieces back together and then something happens. Memories flood in; I get tired and collapse; tasks pile up creating lots of clutter; I just don’t care enough about being put together. I will have several hours of of feeling almost “normal”, then my new reality crashes in and it feels as if all the puzzle pieces are scattered far and wide again. Most disconcerting.
Being gentle with myself and the kids; helping us all ride the waves of emotion and finding joy in the simple things that come my way each day; these are my focus every day. Baby stepping forward I see the kids and I inch our way closer to having at least a few of our scattered puzzle pieces stay together rather than falling apart at every slight shift in our being. We are getting a little more laundry done, a few more dishes, able to work a little bit longer each day, and finding reasons to laugh with one another.
For me, I am realizing again how very much puppies (okay ponies too), projects, and people can lift me out of dark times in my life. My day spent at Avalon yesterday was like trying to body surf or ride a roller coaster. I went down and up and down and up and all over the place throughout the day. Had several moments of pure silliness and many of deep waves of grieving. And being in that space in that time and in those moments made it all possible to simply hang on for the ride.
Hugging and breathing in puppies and ponies has been some of my greatest joys for as long as I can remember. I have hundreds of memories from throughout my life being obsessed with them both. Every chance I got as a kid I would ride or play with whatever dog was around. I remember several times bringing “stray” dogs home and trying to convince my parents to let me keep them. And I already had 2 dogs at home. 🙂 Every road trip involved scouting for horses along the road wishing we could stop for me to pet everyone we passed. Even now when my daily life involves horses I get visibly excited seeing horses when I am driving. Obsession. 🙂
Because of Avalon’s vaccine clinic yesterday, I had the excuse to touch all of my pups and all of my horses plus many of the boarders’ horses as well. Such a great, great thing for me. One of ours, Karoly (the big grey I most often ride), has been especially affectionate with me this week. He’s not always the most engaged horse with folks, even me who spends the most time with him. But his week he has been nuzzling me alot and licking my hands. I believe he knows how very much I need the connection right now. A lovely gift to me.
My dogs – especially Willow and Hinata – have been extra attentive to me the last several weeks as well. Willow presses herself against me as if she can somehow become a part of me. I swear she would carry me if she could. Hinata has so little interest in our new puppy, Ru, because almost 100% of her focus is on watching and protecting me. I feel their love and concern constantly flowing into me.
The day to day tasks of my life – dishes, laundry, cleaning stalls, feeding the horses – seem just too daunting most days. But completing short term projects give me renewed energy and I find I can fully engage in them for brief periods of time. While daily tasks leave me feeling like I will never move forward, new projects leave me feeling competent and capable. Yesterday, I had a bunch of the young Avalon girls hanging with me for the day. With their help we trimmed Rosie’s (our mini) hooves; created new tie up spots; and helped make the vaccinations of 35 horses, 3 dogs and 4 cats go very smoothly. I left at the end of the day feeling energized rather than drained to my core as I felt at the beginning of the day. As I pulled out of Avalon I felt hopeful that finding joy in my work could be a possibility again.
What is by far the best thing for me at this time and in this moment are the people who continue to surround me with love and support. The kids and I are supporting each other and I find my most joy in simply being with them. They are such amazing, wonderful people. I am thankful everyday to be their mother and hope that I continue to help us all honor our journeys with grace, love and gentleness.
While I can’t always “ask” for hugs right now, there is nothing better than someone coming to me and sending all their love to me through a big hug. I think others are at times worried about giving me space. And while I do need lots of quiet these days, I ALWAYS welcome hugs and simple messages of “I am thinking of you.” They help me feel a little more balanced and healed every time!
It was awesome at Avalon yesterday having a bunch of the kids at the farm. They hug me and help me break into silliness just by being there. Their joy for all the things of the farm are infectious and I find I am able to set aside the heaviness in my heart when they are around. Teaching the girls how to start using a drill is oh such a simple thing. And yet it gave me deep joy yesterday. Actually this is pretty much true for me whenever kids are around. I simply love entering into life with them. It’s all so real and innocent through the eyes of a child. And I very much need their eyes to help guide me at this time.
I am heading out soon to Avalon for an afternoon of puppies, ponies. projects and people. And all of this in a day filled with bright sunshine. Hoping for peace and love to wash over me as I soak it all in.