Trash toTreasure

The black sky appeared to roll around itself as the last of the white billowed clouds disappeared in the darkness. It created an eerie setting– black sky high above a mantel of white– looming high, just waiting to swallow it all in. It certainly went along with my mood of the day, and I smiled as I thought to myself that thankfully, something wold be different on this day.

My mood mirrored the darkness in the sky, and the silence that clung on the neighborhood. I had been working hard trying to sweep out the memories left in the garage, basement, and attic. What had once been treasures had become nothing more to me than trash left behind from a bad marriage and broken dreams.

The thunder began to roll and the sirens began to blow. Warnings of bad weather and shelter had been sounded on the neighborhood alarm. The sound was piercing, but I didn’t want to stop my sweeping. I wiped my dirty hands on my apron, and blew a strand of loose hair that hung down my face. Dust flew as I swept away the years of dirt and grime, and I felt some satisfaction to be pushing it into the dust pan where it belonged.

Tools, clothing, pictures and artifacts of a marriage were stored there, and I knew I had to be rid of them in order to rid myself of the pain. I worked hard and endlessly as the storm blew in closer. I had to get it finished. I was obsessed with this task, and the weather could not make me stop.

Move, lift, throw away. I felt lighter with each piece that was dismantled and disposed of. My body ached from the bending and lifting. I could feel sweat trickle between my breasts. The damn sirens wouldn’t stop. “Stop you damn bloody fools! Stop your damn warnings of safety!” I shouted aloud as they bellowed loud in my ears and reverberated in my chest. I moved up to the attic hoping the shrill of the sirens wouldn’t be as loud.

In the darkness of the attic, I lit the flashlight, and there standing alone, was a small chest. I dusted off the mahogany wood and held it close. Inside was the red velvet lining and a small envelope. Hands shaking, I opened it slowly and read, “You will always be my treasure.”– LIFE. There was a poem attached by Jorge Luis Borges. I read:

You Learn
After awhile you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,

And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning,
And company doesn’t mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises.

And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
with the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child.

And you learn to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans,
and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.

After awhile you learn….
That even sunshine burns if you get too much,

So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,
instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure…
That you are strong.
And you really do have worth…
And you learn and you learn…
With every goodbye you learn.

In the trash I found a gift. I found myself.

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Mr. Ego vs Ms. Creativity

The snowbanks grew and grew as I observed the white flakes falling softly to the ground. I felt the cold on my face, and my nose drip. I loved the winter and the way it made me feel alive. Twirling and twirling until I would get dizzy and then falling into the snow would tickle me inside. I felt free, light and able to do anything my imagination allowed. I had no one telling me that I was “weird”- a favorite word my mother used to describe me. I was my own master of adventure as I began to make snow blocks for my igloo. I had to be prepared for the weather in this Lapland of snow and wind. I was going to save my village from termination. I was the heroine- always.

As a young teen, my emotions took over, and I would write all my greatest love stories and poems of love and heartache. It was my personal diary of love and a war within myself. I did have the imagined greatest of loves, but my inner pain would tell me “you are dreaming”. Mr. Ego was taking form. The pain was the ego coming to fruition. Mr. Ego never whimpered. He was beginning to take on a life of his own in my heart and my mind. I would write in my private world what Mr. Ego was telling me. He was harsh, and I would sit back and just listen, agree, and then write what he told me. My love stories became short vignettes of despair and loneliness, because Mr. Ego said I wasn’t worthy. I stopped writing, and put my imagination away for a few years while I was trying to “fit in” with the other teens who were going through the same thing but were afraid to admit it.

As a young woman and mother, I fought with a vengeance to “save” myself. I competed with other mothers on who was the best homemaker, who kept the best house, had the best children. Mr. Ego was there knocking at my shoulder on most days when the cupcakes I baked for my child’s school birthday party fell flat, or the washing machine broke and my kids had to go to school in dirty clothes. In retrospect, I worried for nothing. As a mother of six kids, I think I did a pretty damn good job, but my ego didn’t agree. I took my frustration out in writing again to escape my own insecurities of being a number one mother and wife. My writing never let me down, so I again grabbed on to my life rope of creativity.

As an older woman now, Mr. Ego still arrives, but now I know when he’s coming. I can feel the old insecurities coming for a visit when my heart starts to palpitate, or I feel envious of others. I try not to answer the door. I have found my inner peace to encourage myself as a person. I am beginning to reconnect with that little girl again who had no worries about what others thought of me. I am beginning to feel free again. My creativity has been set free through the help of music, art, reading, listening to what is around me, and just living in the present. I relish in the joy of my friends when their book is nearly finished or they have made a creative breakthrough. Their success is wonderful to share and savor.

TYPES OF EGOS AND WHAT TO LOOK FOR- We have several types!

1. The clinging ego- Wants to be taken care of and loved. They don’t want you to change, but just cling to the unchanging self.

2. Controlling ego- They love to tell you that you are wrong. This ego is demanding and desires perfection all the time. This ego has the capacity to criticize endlessly.

3. Competitive ego- They see all encounters with what you do and a contest. They would love to smash your imagination and inventiveness. They don’t want to let go.

HOW CAN YOU GET PAST MR. EGO AND WRITE OR BE YOURSELF AGAIN?
It’s not easy to turn off the noise MR. Ego replays in your head over and over again. My solution was to pursue other forms of expression. Relax and take it all in. Return to your child-self. Break through your walls. This might demand a bit of a shake up in your world, but explode them. Knock down Mr. Ego with a sucker punch! Look inside yourself for your inspiration. I’m sure there is plenty there to share with no hesitation. Just stop being afraid. The kid in you is strong, so call him out again. He’ll take you where you have to go.

I would love to hear your comments. What gets in your way of being creative?