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Skating on thin ice

skating on thin ice tree

Drawing by Betsy Lewis

The Walkabout Woman blog has been languishing. The truth is . . . I have been busy making a living.

The loss of my pension in February sent me off in a new direction, one with less time for writing or art. I am actually enjoying my foray back into the working world.  I find meaning and value in the work I am doing.

I am also grateful for the previous months of solitude I spent in deep communion with myself.

Everything seems to come in its right time and place, but I am aware that I am living more on the surface of life now.

It is as though I am skating on a frozen pond, with just a thin sheet of ice between my busy everyday life above and the shadowy depths of my inner life below.  I am relishing the frosty air on my cheeks and my strong graceful competent movements.  I feel joy and exhilaration with this new slippery speed that sends me careening into contact with other people.

My months of solitude taught me a lot about the magic of being present — and I have not lost the habit.

As they say, “It’s all good.”

I joined a writing group made up of  nine women – The Portland Nine.  I am # nine, the new one. Each Thursday night, from 6:00 pm to  8:30 pm, we gather, respond to 10 minute writing prompts and share what we have written.

There is a lot of freedom in this and I feel myself loosening up as the evening goes on. It is only with these women now that the sheet of ice cracks and I fall through to the depths below.

Sometimes when I am reading aloud, it touches a nerve and I cry.

And try as I might, I am unable to write a scrap of fiction or come up with the colorful adjectives or metaphors that the others do. I can only write plainly and starkly about myself or myself thinly veiled. In this group, however, I feel accepted and appreciated for my voice. I am only slightly embarrassed by my tears. The other women seem unperturbed, and the  hostess just brings out the Kleenex.

What is profound for me is this — day by day, art or not, work or not (or maybe because of it), I am witnessing the unraveling of the tangled threads of my life. Sometimes my tears are  from the relief of finally setting the burden down.

I bought a scroll for my wall which says:

“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” Buddha

As I welcome in my own humanity and claim the wisdom of the crone that I am, the love I have received and given so far wells up inside me. I see that, in big and small ways, I am beginning to be able to love myself.

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8 Comments Post a comment
  1. plain writing is a perfect place to start! You go, Betsy…

    April 10, 2013
  2. nancy bardos #

    and so it is.

    April 10, 2013
  3. Katey Simetra #

    Betsy, I love your writing– it is beautiful and authentic and so engaging! I also find it not quite so easy to work a full day and then delve under the surface, especially at times. And I wanted to “start” creative writing this past month, and felt too confined by the lessons I was taking, so saved them on my computer, and decided to let my words unfold as they will– perhaps with a little guidance by Natalie Goldberg (in her new book inviting us to write). You seem so graceful with flowing with the changes, and that’s its own beautiful dance! Thank you so much for sharing your journey! I just finished a meditation that was, for me, a gentle touch that I was hungry to experience! In reading your words, I feel that gentle touch with you, too… as women we have this gift that is innate I believe if we tune into it. Just coming out of the meditation tonite and reading your words, I just feel the flow you’re choosing to take. Its own art form, really. Take care and be well– blessings… Katie

    April 9, 2013
  4. Gretchen #

    Your writing and journey is inspiring. . . .

    April 9, 2013
  5. i totally get this. Thank you for sharing and continuing your quest in the way that you are.

    April 9, 2013
  6. i totally get this. thank you for sharing and continuing your quest in the ways that you are.

    April 9, 2013
  7. So beautiful….

    April 9, 2013

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