Interesting play on words because I tend to equate moments of spiritual rebirth with settings of nature, almost virginal lush beauty. Instead, I found myself walking on pavement, looking up at buildings rather than trees, finding sunshine peek around city blocks, and in the middle of it all, having a hole in my soul sewed up. My Walden was New York City and in the midst, I refound my “happy”.

It’s private, so I won’t try to put into words the process of it’s reappearance. Besides, it was nothing so definite. The subtleties could have easily been dismissed or pushed aside but I knew I was open. I was purposeful in unlocking the door to let it in. I intentionally challenged fear after fear and stepped ahead…flying, speaking to strangers, looking at street people in the eye, and smiling for no apparent reason.

The result was walking on golden air, finding joy in the small things again, feeling exuberance over human connection of the smallest kind. I felt beautiful, felt loved by myself, felt I had something to offer and share.

Today I was listening to Alanis Morrisette’s music…she tends to articulate well my own emotional process, be it anger, grief, gratitude, introspection, justice. I feel a kindredness in her sharing, I stumbled over an older song of hers, “Thank You” and watched the video. The song challenges the idea that struggle makes us weak, blows gentle suggestion over it making us stronger and healthier. But I newly noticed two things about it today: the nudity in the video and the city setting.

I think the nudity is essential…the bareness, the vulnerability, the being stripped of any pretense or excuse. And that the birthing could happen in a city, full of noise and bustle and activity, touched the freshness of my own experience.

Last year I had a reoccurring dream that I’ve since painted. I dreamed it often for months and months before I left my marriage and the danger we were in. I left when I had nothing left I was afraid to lose save my children and my life. I knew in leaving it would all be gone…house, church, community, a whole known life. I was stripped bare of anything between death and life. I was starved, gaunt even, and yet responsible for the sustenance of those little lives. We walked through wilderness towards light we weren’t sure existed.

I call the painting, “The Leaving”. I don’t generally share my art work because I tend to not feel it’s meant for public consumption but rather for my own cathartic process. The only music I’ve ever heard that really captures what that dream was to me is this song by Alanis, because it gets it all…the pain, the hunger, the journey, the bottom, the salvation, the climb. I think the two of them will be linked in my mind always now and it seems right to post them together. And if I may, my apologies dear Alanis; your songs have stepped with me on my journey right from the first. You say it much better than I.

Here are the lyrics to the song:

How bout getting off of these antibiotics
How bout stopping eating when I’m full up
How bout them transparent dangling carrots
How bout that ever elusive kudo

Thank you India
Thank you terror
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you frailty
Thank you consequence
Thank you thank you silence

How bout me not blaming you for everything
How bout me enjoying the moment for once
How bout how good it feels to finally forgive you
How bout grieving it all one at a time

Thank you India
Thank you terror
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you frailty
Thank you consequence
Thank you thank you silence

The moment I let go of it was
The moment I got more than I could handle
The moment I jumped off of it was
The moment I touched down

How bout no longer being masochistic
How bout remembering your divinity
How bout unabashedly bawling your eyes out
How bout not equating death with stopping

Thank you India
Thank you providence
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you nothingness
Thank you clarity
Thank you thank you silence

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