I went outside this morning at about six and this was my view while taking out the garbage (see attached picture). The morning air was crisp, slightly damp and fragrant with evergreens and the rich temperate soil that I have only experienced here in the great Pacific Northwest.
Everywhere I look are mountain ranges, towering trees, extreme tides and familiar places and people. Before leaving Olympia for Massachusetts, I grew to resent all of these beautiful gifts because I was so scared and isolated by them and my outlook on life. Back then, overwhelming soon became empowering as I fought major battles to earn my family's freedom from what I thought only existed here, the place I called home. I won every battle and after the final case was closed in my favor, I was 'gone, gone, gone' as Johnny Cash puts it. I was released into a new journey in which I envisioned relief: from what I had not clearly defined. The journey and the destination, Amherst, Massachusetts, were filled with even more fights for freedom: Some that actually did result in certain forms of relief, but they were not at all as I imagined them to be.
They came in packages that required a shift in my perspective. I was translating a whole new language & culture...New England's less-than-open-warm-and-cozy environment, which natives proudly call 'subdued,' was quite foreign to me. This completely new culture created a need for me to pay attention in a way that I hadn't been required to previously. I had no choice. I was alone with myself and providing for my family with minimal human resources. This was somewhat familiar, but the finances were tighter than they had ever been and I was a fish out of water when it came to the land-locked terrain. Amherst, however, was a more fertile academic climate than I had ever inhabited. All of these factors created excitement, expectations and exhaustion.
The battles I fought daily simply to survive were more extreme, just like the weather and the academic climate I planted myself in. I felt like the non-native Rhododendrons that struggled to grow in the acidic soil of my front yard. They looked tapped out, dry, stretched toward something but far from full and healthy. However, they were alive and still managed to squeeze out flowers each Spring regardless of how exposed and unprotected they were.
I too was stretched out and desperate like they were: attempting to live, grow and produce flowers even when the resources laid out for me were less than ideal. Finally, after much struggling, I won the battle that revealed my own secret ingredient.
One of my greatest losses was handed to me in the late spring of our second year in Mass and it came with many unpleasant circumstances. I was tapped, exposed and felt very unprotected by the environment. Luckily, I made flowers. I also discovered that I am the journey and that freedom is simply a form of surrender that exists within me. At that time, I began to take steps that led me in a new direction, full of an enormous amount of support, acceptance and love. I resigned to trusting myself to create the life I envision and I now serve those who feel stuck in isolation, like I had been.
Our family still experiences hardships, but the shade, nutrients and sunshine cannot be ignored. I am more grateful than I have ever been because I make flowers, magic and laughter out of what many (including myself at one time) see as desolate territory.
Yes, we still have things to accomplish, but they do not feel binding or isolating.
Being back here in Washington, after going thru things in Massachusetts, that were on the extreme end of surprising, scary and isolating, has brought me a new appreciation for isolation and for how my my family's experience with autism has been my source of beauty, wherever we go.
Enlightening moments hit us daily like a ton of bricks and the beauty exists in the enjoyment of each of those "wild" moments. Several beautiful individuals with their own visions add to ours as we 'ride the wave' so to speak. We continually fall in love with the earth, one another and this great hippietrip called life. Nothing is predictable. Some things are chaotic. And all of it is perfect.
I am grateful for all that the extreme experiences, weather, poverty, education and abundance that were brought to us during our stay in the tiny state of Massachusetts. I grew to trust my own magic, intelligence and intuition. THAT is the best kind of freedom I could acquire. Thank you to all of our friends, acquaintances and adversaries who gave us energy. My kids, my life and the universe are direct beneficiaries of my new-found presence. And I will always follow my passion because it is the only way to create...and...life is way more fun this way.
This is something I wanted to share with all of you on a beautiful Pacific Northwest Wednesday morning.
Love and Freedom,