Sunday, August 05, 2007


Are you guys sick of Dar Williams yet? You're not? Good!! Me neither! No more lyrics, though, I'm just going to write about one line of one song. Dar, and I like to call her "Dar," sings, "The beauty of the rain is how it falls," from the song, "The Beauty of the Rain."

I've got my cheapie Target disk player running this song on "repeat," my ears cushioned by the soft pads on the earphones. The water fountain outside the window playing soothing background music. It's raining on my porch, it's raining in my ears. It's raining from my eyes. Soft, cleansing rain meets all my senses and I let it. I do not put up a fuss. I do not stop the flow. I watch the rain fall, and marvel at its great, great beauty and restorative qualities.

I've realized as I've been listening to those words, that that is exactly what I've been trying to do all these weeks alone in Sisters. I'm trying to fall with beauty. I've been tipsy for a long time, but not wanting to cause any undo mess and confusion for anyone else, I've held off on the full falling apart until I could do so with as little global impact as possible. You can take the raging alcoholic parent out of the daughter's life, but you can't take the daughter out of the shadows/deep conditioning. Isn't that how the old saying goes? I learned a long time ago where (far, far away) and when (never) it was appropriate to let yourself come undone.

I fell once as a child. That didn't work out so well. Fell apart again on the brink of adulthood, another disaster. Fell a third time as an adult, wife, mother. That last fall found me in an ER with a stretcher on my back, and a prescription for anti-anxiety meds in my purse.

I've been critcal of other women and the way they "fall." Don't care much for the extra-marital affair option. Don't care much for the plastic surgery. Don't care for those routes, but totally, totally understand them now. There comes a point when the old life doesn't fit anymore and you're not going to wear it! Remember that old bra commercial? Kinda like that, but a whole lot messier, usually. I, personally, have never liked things to be messy. Call me a neat freak, but I prefer to do my mess making in private. I'm like an animal when they know they are going to die. They crawl off alone somewhere and take care of that natural process on their own terms.

In hindsight, if I'm brutally honest with myself, though, I've known this fall was coming for a long time, and I've been gentling the ground ever since. I see that now, with the rain all around me, what I couldn't see in the confusion of the clear, blue sky of my beautiful life.


My mom moved out of this home here in Sisters five years ago, after living in it, alone, for 13 years. Over the last five years I've slowly, but surely, made the house more "mine" and less "hers." Only last week I took the last of her food from the cupboards, last dishes, last paintings off the wall and last coat from the closet. The plan was she would come back often and see her friends here, so when she moved to Portland, she only sort of moved. The Sisters house remained fully functioning.

While the house maintanied its full functioning abiltiy, I slowly lost mine. There was a deep unrest in me. I had everything a girl could want. I had a beautiful loving husband, beautiful loving children, a beautiful home, beautiful friends, loving extended family. If I couldn't be happy with this, what the hell was wrong with me? Life doesn't get any better than this, right?

While it's so cliche I hesitate to say it, it remains true, what I didn't have was a sense of "self." Who was I? I was "wife," "mother," "daughter," etc., but I didn't know who I was without those labels. If you'd asked me, "Who is Carrie and what does she want?" my answers would have all been in relation to my relations. If you took those labels off of me I was naked and speechless.

As I sit with this rain in my ears and eyes, I realize the biggest part of this re-claiming process is behind me, I can see the end. I can see myself going back "home." Home to Portland. Home to the beauty of my life there. Home to the beauty of myself.

A friend sent me this quote from Sue Monk Kidd's book, When the Heart Waits, "I stood at the window watching the cocoon, which hung in the winter air like an upside–down question mark. That was the moment... I understood. Really understood. Crisis, change, all the myriad upheavals that blister the spirit and leave us groping– they aren't voices simply of pain but also of creativity. And if we would only listen, we might hear such times beckoning us to a season of waiting, to the place of fertile emptiness."

Fertile emptiness. Yes. That is is exactly. I am so blessed for the time and place to feel this fertile emptiness. For only when you've felt the emptiness, can the re-filling process begin. This re-filling process will be slow and steady, though, not my usual way at all. What goes back in will hold little resemblance to what was taken out. All that was "true," never left and is in no danger now. What was "false," though? That went out and will stay out. At least that is my intention.


Jerri said...

Deep peace to you, my friend.

Bossy Boots said...


Who is your teacher??

Suzy said...

Whoa!! WTF????

Where did this writing come from?????

From within you my friend. Stunning, stunning, stunning writing.

Stunning you.

Ziji Wangmo said...

Great Writing -sounds like a great summer.
luv u.

Eileen said...

Beautiful post....beautiful you. I admire you for having the courage to let yourself feel every bit of your journey. On to the next chapter of Carrie, recognizing all you love, yet knowing your future holds even more beauty.
Sending you peace, tranquil moments to breathe and balance.

Deb said...

Thank you for your honesty, courage and example - both as a woman in healing and as a powerful writer.

Anonymous said...

Wow! It's kind of like you had to hit bottom to get to the top of your game. "There is no ache more deadly than striving to be oneself"

Yevgeny Vinokurov

Clearly one of your better pieces of writing. Your voice speaks volumes.

kario said...

You have been the safety net for so many, my dear. Close your eyes and fall - here we are. You deserve to fall anywhere and anytime you have to and know that we'll be there to catch you. Fill up the fertile emptiness with light and love and beauty.

Love you.

Terry Whitaker said...

Yeah!! I am so proud to call you a friend. You've done it all.

holly said...

WOW! Ditto ms. teacher - thies is your best writing. GORGEOUS!

and ditto jerri - deep peace to you.

love the rain in here "rain in my ears and eyes..."

and one more quote for you - from micheal franti:

"Don't fear the long road,on the long road you've got a long time to sing a simple song."


Jess said...

Beautiful beautiful writing. Great honesty. I feel for what you are going through, but then I know it will all work out for the better because you are willing to dive into it this way. And I am so glad you have the music to accompany you.

Who tells you about this great music? ;)

Big love.

Kim said...

WOW. This absolutely took my breath away. I don't know how to separate the gorgeous, inspring writing from the equally gorgeous and inspiring sentiments. It is all true beauty.

"In hindsight, if I'm brutally honest with myself, though, I've known this fall was coming for a long time, and I've been gentling the ground ever since. I see that now, with the rain all around me, what I couldn't see in the confusion of the clear, blue sky of my beautiful life."


Sue said...

"We're all waiting for something to happen outside to bring us happiness. If I win the lottery, you know, I'll be happy, or that big promotion I'm waiting for. … We all think that in life there's action and reaction. There isn't—there's action, choice, reaction."

— Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

"If you have the courage to take the risks to say, 'I'm going to reinvent this part of my life,' you can be very, very happy."

— Susan Molinari, lobbyist and former congresswoman

"Life is one reach after another into the darkness when you don't know what's out there. Standing on top of Everest showed me what was possible in my life. I think all of us have an internal drive to stand on top. The world is so chaotic, and sometimes you can't predict what's around the corner. All of us feel like we are 'climbing blind,' in a sense. We may lose things in our life that we think are important, but everything we need to bring us happiness either exists inside of us already, or it's right in front of our eyes and we just have to reach for it."

— Erik Weihenmayer, a blind man who climbed Mount Everest

"I can tell you that we have only one mission and that is to make ourselves happy. The only way we can be happy is by being who we are. We create our own story, but society also creates its own story. If you know that, whatever they say will not stop you from being what you are. Just by being what you are, other people will change—but you don't do it because you want to change them. You do it to make your heart free."

— Writer don Miguel Ruiz

"That's why mental happiness is more important than physical comfort. Physical comfort comes from the material. But material facilities cannot provide you with peace of mind. … When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, 'Oh yes—I already have everything that I really need."

— The Dalai Lama

riversgrace said...

Carrie. No separation. Words and experience, face to face, breath to breath. That's the stunning quality, that precision of proximity to what is true for you, from the global looking back to the intimate detail of the present moment.

Where you are sitting is....well, it's medicine for anyone who reads it.

In one word, you offer the gift of delivery. And in this way, there is no distance between us - I am so with you, along every sentence, turning corners between words, I am right there, inside and outside, no distance.

That's LOVE period. Truly.

Blessings, blessings, blessings for all the falling open.

Go Mama said...

Beautifully put Carrie. Beautiful space.