These winter days start too dark and wind down too early and feel too endless to endure. They spark a kind of panic: how will I get through months and months of this? How can I speed up time? Pull the next season from my sleeve like a rainbow handkerchief? Understanding, simultaneously, that time is the most precious, most essential resource and that anytime I’m in a rush to spend it quickly or make it disappear this is an indication that I’m out of alignment with my true power and abundance. I’m driving 100 MPH blindfolded, tossing gold coins out the window. When I’m at war with time: something is wrong.




So then, as a way of course correcting, I woke this morning and tried to force myself to like this gray, 20 degree day. I took the dogs down to the river which was frozen in chunks and stretches dramatically. White where it’s normally dark blue. They ran at first and then became covered in icy cold snow which balled and tugged against their bellies and legs and lodged itself between their padded claws. They both stopped after a short time, looking at me, imploring: “Do something! Make the grass come back!”
It’s been nearly two weeks of single digit or negative degree weather. This is the first day I felt we could actually try a walk. And I also felt secretly compelled not to let January get to me. Forced joy is not joyful though. Forced joy is inauthentic. It’s pretend. I don’t want to pretend. I don’t want to resent time. I don’t want to fight my life. I loaded the dogs back into the car. Their quickly thawing under carriages and feet destroying everything they touched and rubbed against, so grateful to be in vs out. We drove in silence.
Out my window I saw the river again. She knows how to surrender. How to go still. How to stop when it’s too painful to go. I’m allowed, by the same principle, to not like the cold right now and to even feel despair when thinking about the months ahead. I don’t have to like January. I don’t have to push it away either. I can just be with these days as they unfold. These days, upon closer examination, are made of moments actually. Moments are bite sized. Digestible. Pebbles, not mountains. I don’t have to climb anything heroically or lie at the bottom defeated. I can slip these pebbles into my pocket and roll them around in my hand. Carry them with me. Deeply know them.
This is how we bear the unbearable: we chisel it down with the precision of our refined understanding until the insurmountable is small. Until it fits in the palm of our hands. And then we take it with us everywhere we go.


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I used to let myself believe in this idea that children are resilient. I would even let myself be deludedly soothed by it. I’ve just pulled the pin out of the grenade and dropped it at the feet of my family but it’s all good because children are resilient. You can blow them up and put them back together again like broken vases.

Are children actually resilient? Or is it more like choicelessly compliant? Strapped on a ride they can’t get off of and utterly dependent upon the very same people who just ruined their childhoods? Where is that resiliency when my 11 year old is crying, telling me he’s too sad to go to sleep and that all he wants for his birthday is for me and his dad to share a bed in the same house? Those are the exquisitely painful moments I feel a dark need to capture and bottle so I can hurl them later in the faces of all the well-meaning friends and strangers who try to comfort me by insisting my children are like Gumby dolls who can be stretched into all sorts of impossible configurations, ultimately relaxing back to center.

(from my essay: Keep It Up, on Medium.com - medium.com/@marywelch)


8:47 on a monday

I like these days, despite their chilliness. The dogs and I are the only ones at the park and they can run: wild and loose. I feel that deep hum of gratitude in my heart to be here with them at 8:47 on a Monday, the almost-winter wind against my cheek. The simplicity of freedom.

I'm reminded of a beautiful old meditation teacher I once had a long time ago who said, "You have no idea how much I've had to let go of just to sit in front of you like this, in stillness."

There are so many miracles that had to line up in my life, like numbers to a safe combination, unlocking my true hearts desire and letting me be with it, on the other side of the glass I was pressed up against, for as far back as I can remember.




the lonely wolf

It feels important, even spiritual, to hate you sometimes. To let the fire burn high and hot. To hold my heart over the flames like a marshmallow. To let it catch and turn black; its hard insides softening, oozing, dripping down. Uncontained. Marking everything with this sticky, inconvenient truth.

I never properly loved you. I never properly tried. Let me be a single flower standing outside the bouquet now. The lonely wolf. Give me room and let me burn. There are things happening - important things - I can't access any other way. 

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