I haven't written here in almost a year. In my personal life, I've been in a period of deep silence as a human being. Most of my friends and all of my family has faded away slowly into a profound silence between us that feels more and more like it might last for the rest of my life. I have been questioning myself at every level of who I am and what I am doing on this planet...
When COVID arrived, I felt like I had gotten a head start on getting comfortable with the uncomfortable, and felt less lonely than ever before as I watched everyone else funnel into the place I feel like I have spent lifetimes. Who am I? Who are we? What are the stories I have told myself so many times that I finally believe they were THE reality of me and those I love? It has been a painful journey of undoing and surrender, and is by no means or measure over.
For months now I have been seeing my therapist twice a week and sometimes it feels like forever in between. In the process of my personal undoing and self-examining, I have learned to grow towards the tiny moments of synchronicity and grace that shine my way, like a hungry weed on the side of a highway, I find beauty in the absurd and relief in the less chaotic times in between the rest of life. Simultaneous to this, in my professional identity, I am bursting and thriving more than I could have ever imagined. I feel more wealthy in passion and purpose than I ever dreamed of becoming, even though if you add up Student and COVID loans, I am probably poorer than ever before. Gratitude is a regular companion, even in the midst of so many layers of terror, horror, and suffering around me. And while my own rage and grief is a regular visitor in my life, I also find laughter and delight in increasing lightness between the hard moments.
A few days ago after a long (14 hour) and fulfilling day, I closed my computer and slumped on my couch breathing deeply and feeling the glow and buzz in my body of traveling through the day and all the ways I practiced noticing the synchronicities even in the pain. I was about to begin the nightly routines and go to bed when this rhyme came into my head. I remember grabbing my phone to write a few lines down .... and 5 hours later I wearily realized how late it was and dragged myself to bed, not knowing quite what had come over me. I woke up the next morning (5:30am start) and reached for my phone sleepily to read what I had become so engrossed with the night before. Again I found myself lost in the lines and editing a few of the words here and there as I read. Wow, this was powerful for me to read again and again, I wondered if anyone else would resonate with it.
Below is the prose/poem that "came through." It's amazing how hard it is to own things I find beautiful that start with me. I'm sharing it because it is the best description I've ever written about the place I've been in for much of my life and now professionally at many levels, this is the space I hold as worthy for others who seek comfort in their own moments of upheaval and undoing.
Thank you for your patience with me if we have lost touch, I am still finding my way to a voice that fits whatever I am becoming, and thank you if you are just joining me on this journey of liminal space exploring.
The garden of…
There is a space in-between where we’re from and where we’re going.
Its a odd shaped space of thorns, and dead things, and all kinds of wilted and gnarly leaves
This garden, well most people wouldn’t even call it that, is a place where all the odd things end up at
Some might call it “the forgotten place,” others “an unofficial dump,”
When the rain has come those who take it as a shortcut have sunk
But in this place, so less than ordinary, there are secrets to be seen
This is the bridge where the worn-out are safe and the wild parts are free
A space for the forgotten to remember, and the lost to find possibility
Some call this the garden of belonging,
Where all feelings are welcomed and believed
and you can be however you need,
Included but not limited to being
frozen, falling apart, broken, wordless, and weak
Some of the wisest ancients,
carrying the greatest loads
Of ‘different’ and diversity
Wishing to implode
to no longer be
Sometimes go there to reseed.
With holes in their pockets,
and a shiver in their spine,
They find a not-so-special spot,
to stand and unwind,
and pray for grace
As they gaze at the thrown away scene
Of creatures wandering in between
and all the dreams never to be
scattered amongst the weeds and things
Overcome with shame and sadness
Feeling that fate has led them there
These travelers take a bended knee
And find the broken prayer
not to an idol of gold-bearing tales and spiritual glory.
But to the place of nothingness, the unsung, and gory
Sometimes a simple word comes,
or a feeling felt so deep,
their heaviness might overcome them,
and sometimes they even weep.
Longing with abandon for the sleepless sleep
And yet, they know the path that calls them on
With a howling growl, they grit in their teeth
And pleadingly release a different need:
Beyond the nakedness of tear-burned cheeks,
a mournful sigh is finally heaved
A great and timeless pause descends
In the brown tatters and rusted frames
A windless wind of something else begins
A deeper longing moans and brings
From the discarded, and insects, and forgotten things
A wandering gaze falls on a lowly weed
That just broke open towards a light beam
And somehow this birth in death seems to sing:
For those who dare to close their eyes
And find the chaos between the highs
Listen deeply for the place inside
Of thrown away parts and what we hide
Called discord, bad, wrong, and obscene,
Follow the path of fear and undoing
For it is in the forgotten we remember
The shattered parts are finally seen
The lost embraced and the burdened find relief.
So next time you walk past a person or place unseemly or unseen
Know that they are a member of the sacred in between.
And dare to wonder with reverence and humble curiosity
About your own path to this thorny place of infinite undoing
Where the exiled are free and the discarded embraced
Where the fallen are forgiven and the brave make space.
About the Author
Ruth Diaz, LPC, Psy.D. is a counselor, organizational consultant, and coach on connecting relationships with ourselves and each other at every level. She currently works as an organizational consultant and therapist in Portland, Oregon.