APRIL 2, 2011 1:04AM

I am a Mistress

Rate: 26 Flag

I don't know when the words will come. I am like a mistress at the mercy of their whim. They want the best cuts of the meat of my time, relegating all else to the left overs of my energy. And when they don't show up I wait. I'm spending a lot of time waiting. It helps relax the waiting to engage in activities that are not jealous of my attention. I am extremely fortunate my life allows me to be busy waiting.

Being on call, I try not to make any plans I can avoid, because I need to reserve my time for the possibility of being called. It's hard to explain the commitment of this waiting to friends so I don't try, and feel I'll be lying if I say I'm busy. Because this new kind of busy isn't recognizable to others. It took me a while to accept this process that does not measure well against the usual standards of productivity. But this is my process right now. I'm learning to surrender to it; I'm putting the money up front without any promise of the goods. Just like a mistress.

I'm finally ready to write the story of my burn. To do so requires much more then looking back. It requires me to turn around completely and, with open arms and heart and mind, welcome that painful past into the present. It has taken me by surprise that as a witness to my own experiences, I am so unsettled by them. Emerging from an immersion into the past awakens me to the horror of the experience in a way I did not have the luxury to be cogent of while it happened, or anytime soon after. I was too busy surviving and operating on a deficit. The words left behind on the page are the souvenirs of a trip I do not ever want to repeat, they remind me why.

It is said that time heals all. In the light of my current experience I have a different understanding of this: That time measures the opportunity to recover strength, and creates the safe distance with which to return to the pain. The pain does not go away, it merely hibernates. The Words have offered a connecting trail to them, and to my surprise I am discovering their patient waiting within the hidden spaces deep within. I now believe pain is like a sad, lost child waiting for someone to love her enough to bring her home.

So I find myself reading what I've written to parent the pain with the strength I now have. I find myself wanting to read aloud, preferably to another, as proof of our relationship. It is as if each dose of exposure to the pain is matched by a dose of healing – I am taking my pain by the hand and lovingly showing it the way home.

It took longer to re-enter the wholeness of my ability to experience then it did to reclaim body functions. Now I get to envelop all the horror of the experience within the wholeness I have returned to. I get to weep with sorrow over my suffering and with joy over my surviving it. A quiet cry of homage for which no tears are necessary. It's a different kind of busy for which no discernible movement is necessary.

This process of integrating past into present, pain into the healing of strength and compassion takes time. And the words know. So they make me wait, coming in installments. But they want all of me, and expect close listening to be heard. So there's a lot of waiting. And all the money I have put up front as a mistress in the hope of a quantifiable result is quietly giving me an unquantifiable one: healing, in installments.

 

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Best wishes on this leg of the journey. It will likely turn into something totally different than you imagined. We're all here to be witness to this for you.
I pray that having a supportive place to write about it
will help in your healing.
Thank you for your gift of sharing your story with us
rated with love
Thank you very much Oryoki and RP. The encouraging support I have experienced on OS has been instrumental in empowering me to write. I have been writing of my burn in bits and pieces but they seem to be gathering speed now. But I cannot post anything; this is too big a space for now. But it feels safe to share the process of this writing, and healing in itself to do so. Thank you so much for your embracing gentleness.
What is missed is stressed.
What is found can be missed.

Waiting will flail you, words will not fail you.

Healing is tapping the keys or pushing the pen. Whenever.
Installments. Thank you so much for sharing this wisdom about healing.
Beautifully and powerfully written, Maria. I especially liked your third paragraph. And this: " I now believe pain is like a sad, lost child waiting for someone to love her enough to bring her home."
This is an eloquent prologue, Maria, a distillation of the wisdom and strength that have grown sublimely from your trial, your suffering, endurance and healing. It helps arm me for what I know is ahead, knowing that you share this nightmare as part of your emergence from its darkness. My respect for you is immense.
"[The]process of integrating past into present, pain into the healing of strength and compassion takes time. "

Very true and stated eloquently, Maria. I remember the first piece I read by you around this time last year, and I will be here through your journey into healing, no matter how many installments it takes.
My respect and admiration of you are very deep.

♥R
you are a rare writer, maria, one who can write about something as awful as how you were burned and how you healed without self-pity. the work that is holding you mistress (great analogy) will be as good as this one is, as all of your work is, and as eagerly awaited.
I'll be waiting for the next installment. Great Post Maria!
Maria, you have let me see what you are feeling. This is a powerful beginning. Continue and let the child of pain run in the light. She is a part of you, to find peace, we love all the parts of ourselves, through understanding and time, we see our connections, even those we might disown presently. You are on the path, and with such beauty in your words, home is not far.
This is among the bravest posts I have ever read; and gorgeously composed. r.
This is a beginning that you have finally taken control of. Coming out of the horror of your experience has matured your mind in a rare way...you are smarter and ultimately more powerful. We wait also with our silent cheering and encouragement as you start the incredible journey.
- mhold: thank you for coming by. this is a surrendering process of which the waiting is integral. the words truly do not fail me, and i allow myself the whenever. thank you.

- l'Heure Bleue: whenever you come by I am reminded of a very important reason why I share. thank you.

- Kathy Riordan: means a lot to me, your generous words. thank you.

- Matt Paust: you humble me. i'm gratefully indebted. and so glad my sharing has helped you some, in the most difficult phase of a challenge - the dread of its inevitable approach. i hope it's not too big and scary a challenge and will be wishing you strength.

"[The]process of integrating past into present, pain into the healing of strength and compassion takes time. "

- FusunA: you are a sister in shared understanding. the feelings are mutual. thank you.

- femme forte: your words always empower me and I am deeply grateful to you for them. i return to read them to practice faith.

- scanner: thank you!

- SheilaTGTG55: thank you kind one.

- Jonathan Wolfman: really appreciate your wonderful feedback, thank you.
-Gary: thank you, thank you!
Dear sweet Maria,
I do indeed relate to your story, "I am a Mistress." So many things you have mentioned reminded me of similar experiences in my journey with cancer. We do indeed have to take small steps in looking back into our painful experiences. In this way we help ourselves to recover and thus heal in more ways than one. It also allows us to open our hearts and love ourselves again.

Your story reminds me that I too have work to do. I need to open my heart to all that I am: especially the fear and pain that I experience every day from this journy. I too cannot do it all at once. However I work at it little by little each day so that some day I will be at peace and in love with all that life has in store for me.

Thank you for your beautiful story. Peace & love to you.
You are amazing...and inspiration to all who seek recovery and healing...xox
Good Morning. I couldn't sleep.
Stars seemed to 'speak' to say `
get out of the lazy-hay stack.
No loiter in bed on Sunday.

I remember the first time I read about your candle light dinner preparation. I remember (Greg C.) how you were introduced by good ole Friends.
I sensed Love.
Oh, Empathy.
But - Pains.
I Know it.

It's hard to know what to say. People like me risk rambling as sage/idiot.

What is said may make psychic pain even greater. I am sorry? A body gets sore achy.

I pause and snort.
It's not a giggle tho.
It's knowing my aches.
Yesterday I spoke with a Elder who still cuts firewood. He was planting several varieties of evergreen, pin oak, and forestry bundles of red maples.
I said you'll live to be 140.
He neighborly smiled but`
`
"I Hope Not!' I said 110, then.
Life ends and we shed the form.
We begin again with a new 'robe'
Who'd want a sore stiff old body?
Were wise to consider Immorality.
`
Google * Sycamore * Wendell Berry
`
I share a few paraphrased thoughts (read)
The poem is a reread and reread - IMO
I have shared the poem for hacked bodies.
I have so many scars I see black - bright stars.
*
Nails have been banged into a Sycamore Tree.
Lightening has stricken it - The bark is gnarled.
Every wound and bruise has been woven into it.
Behold - Unique. There is none like it. Majestic.
*
Read the whole poem? *Sycamore

You not one trollop who services impotent males.
I spoke with the bellhop at DCs Capital Hells Hilton.
That's were you get wise. It sad to see the overnighter.
Attractive humans (male/female) roll a behind baggie.
I Love talking to Strangers. They are Divine Messengers.
sorry for on/on.
Eat some jelly.
Elderberry.
Thanks.
I go snore.
Bless you.
Dear sweet Maria,
I do indeed relate to your story, "I am a Mistress." So many things you have mentioned reminded me of similar experiences in my journey with cancer. We do indeed have to take small steps in looking back into our painful experiences. In this way we help ourselves to recover and thus heal in more ways than one. It also allows us to open our hearts and love ourselves again.

Your story reminds me that I too have work to do. I need to open my heart to all that I am: especially the fear and pain that I experience every day from this journy. I too cannot do it all at once. However I work at it little by little each day so that some day I will be at peace and in love with all that life has in store for me.
- JudyLD: I am so glad you came by to read and to share what it means to you in the light of your own experience with pain. Very grateful for that - it somehow always adds spring to the step when the walk is shared. it is ironic that the will to live beyond surviving has presented me with the lessons in self-love, in the importance of self-compassion. In realizing the healing power of this, as I draw from it. A slow lesson. Peace & much love to you.

- Robin Sneed: thank you with XOX.

- Art James: you are precious. thank you for the magic of your words, and you never have to reign them in for fear of increasing my pain - only I can do that. I also now know I'm strong enough to not easily be hurt, and strong enough to address it when I am. So be free. i love the fresh air of it, and you do not stink. But your neighbor who wisely declined your wishes for him to live to 140, did you mean "Were wise to consider ImmorTality?" or did you really intend "Immorality"? Well, I do advocate trying everything at least once if you want to, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else. Thank you for the poem - i look forward to reading its entirety. I love trees and they helped me accept my new body, being like gnarled bark now. I ran my fingers over all the lumps and bumps of my scarred arm and thought, why should I reject this in me when I love the very same texture in a tree? Why should I discriminate? Then I saw a girl dressed up all pretty in the kind of clothes I had to give away, and cried inside. But only for a minute. The tear smoothed the way for loving all forms. Here's to the gnarled majesty of the sycamore tree, and every scar that brings us closer to it. And every divine messenger that brings blessing. bless you. xxx
- JudyLD: I am so glad you came by to read and to share what it means to you in the light of your own experience with pain. Very grateful for that - it somehow always adds spring to the step when the walk is shared. it is ironic that the will to live beyond surviving has presented me with the lessons in self-love, in the importance of self-compassion. In realizing the healing power of this, as I draw from it. A slow lesson. Peace & much love to you.

- Robin Sneed: thank you with XOX.

- Art James: you are precious. thank you for the magic of your words, and you never have to reign them in for fear of increasing my pain - only I can do that. I also now know I'm strong enough to not easily be hurt, and strong enough to address it when I am. So be free. i love the fresh air of it, and you do not stink. But your neighbor who wisely declined your wishes for him to live to 140, did you mean "Were wise to consider ImmorTality?" or did you really intend "Immorality"? Well, I do advocate trying everything at least once if you want to, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else. Thank you for the poem - i look forward to reading its entirety. I love trees and they helped me accept my new body, being like gnarled bark now. I ran my fingers over all the lumps and bumps of my scarred arm and thought, why should I reject this in me when I love the very same texture in a tree? Why should I discriminate? Then I saw a girl dressed up all pretty in the kind of clothes I had to give away, and cried inside. But only for a minute. The tear smoothed the way for loving all forms. Here's to the gnarled majesty of the sycamore tree, and every scar that brings us closer to it. And every divine messenger that brings blessing. bless you. xxx
"I now believe pain is like a sad, lost child waiting for someone to love her enough to bring her home."

Looking the 'enemy' in the eye and making friends is the oldest, and I think most successful, way to heal. Wise Woman stuff that you've written here Maria.
Maria:
As always, your generosity astonishes me. Where's the resentment, the flailing anger, the self-pity the rest of us feel entitled to in the wake of the mildest rebuke, the slightest frustration? You couldn't escape the fire and the pain but you've escaped the usual aftermath. Your good cheer in the face of what you've endured is humbling to witness.

And now I see patience, a patience way beyond anything I've ever experienced.:

"This process of integrating past into present, pain into the healing of strength and compassion takes time. And the words know. So they make me wait, coming in installments. But they want all of me, and expect close listening to be heard. So there's a lot of waiting."

I've heard it said, back in the rebellious '60s, that patience was a revolutionary virtue. I was privledged to know a few people back then who actually took those words to heart. They didn't follow the crowd, they found their own way -- quietly, thoughtfully, even practically -- toward stopping some of the bloody horror of those days.

So now I read your contemplative words and hear the echo of those days, the echo of an urge toward peace and understanding and the willingness to sit with and listen to what the pain tells you.

So yes, take your time. And keep the rest of posted. We need to see your words at least as much as you need to write them
I admire your strength.
Maria: I look forward to your story with the mixture of awe, reverence and optimism your writing reflects and inspires.
- Gabby Abby: really glad you came by. Wise woman stuff - i like that.

- Jeremiah Horrigan: in all honesty, I think I reserve the resentment, the flailing anger, and the self-pity for the small stuff. Although I must also admit that some of the "big" lessons have filtered down despite my stubborn persistence in bad habits. And I'm really grateful to be that much freer from myself. Your observation made me acknowledge the patience I have developed from this experience, a patience noteworthy in its contrast to its almost complete absence in my youth. Thank you for pointing me to what I failed to see - knowing I've come a ways along the path is good encouragement for keeping on it. And patience is a revolutionary virtue - nothing can outlast it. You humble me, Jeremiah, by comparing me to people I would draw much inspiration from. But I'm glad you remembered them, and in so doing awakened the urge toward peace and understanding. The generosity of your comment floors me and I am grateful That you would even say my words need to be heard as much as I need to write them is golden motivation to persist through a sometimes too daunting task. Thank you deeply, Jeremiah.

- Cranky Cuss: thank you, and for keeping us all laughing with your good humor and clever wit.

- Nikki Stern: that you should say this, after all you've been through. Thank you so much.
Maria,

While we don't cross paths all that often, when we do, I know I have a friend and kindred sister on the path of healing. Your words are a salve for me; a bright light that shines across on the other coast of America. You are my Atlantic sister. And, whenever we find time to come together through our words, I am always reminded that I am not alone and that someone out there understands, loves, processes, witnesses, and holds herself and others with as much tenderness as I try to. You are a gift and a treasure. Your words? A total bonus. Love to you!
Dear Sparking, I am proud to be your Atlantic sister. The words with which you convey your experiences carry your power over them, and connect me to the same power within me - like a circuit of energy closing that allows the travel of vibrant force. Valkyrie force. I am so glad you draw the conviction from my words that you are not alone in our shared goals toward healing. You are not alone. Wishing you light, love, tenderness always and in an abundance that swallows all pain into it.
A vivid description of the hurt and then the preparation to heal. rated
Beautiful, beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. You have put words to truth and it is riveting.
"I now believe pain is like a sad, lost child waiting for someone to love her enough to bring her home."
I bow to your experience and your unswerving dedication to the holy and radical task of bringing yourself home. I have some experience of this and I know the impulse to flee so I salute the imperative to stay.
"It took longer to re-enter the wholeness of my ability to experience then it did to reclaim body functions."
Yesss!
You have a striking gift for articulating and processing what might otherwise become threatening embers within.
Wow, being a mistress waiting for words resonates so much with me. What a deep piece.
maria, as you know I am pretty new here, so was not here when you wrote this. I will read more.bless you, dear child.

bless you, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your nomination. You have given me hope that I can write my way out...:-)