Forging one's on solace

Almost nothing can be seen from my windows this morning. A few bits of trees poke out of the dense fog but everything else is shrouded in thick white. The air smells like wet compost and leaf mold. 

The contrast with the warm light of my fire and the dry, snugness of my little house is delicious. I tell my husband and children how fog was something so magical and exciting to me as a child, growing up in parched Eastern Oregon. Whenever we went on trips near the coast and drove into fog, I would shout, "We're in a cloud! We're in a cloud!"

My children are confused. I try to explain that fog is pretty much a cloud on the ground, but they insist that clouds are things with borders, skin and substance that you see up in the sky--not just white air.

My husband simply laughs at the idea of fog being exceptional in any way. He grew up in a marsh. 

I'll admit that fog has lost some of its magic for me. I am getting tired of the damp after eighteen years in this climate. I often long for the clean dryness of the high desert. Even after all these years, it hasn't left me.

Creative Commons image by Joshua Ezzell

Creative Commons image by Joshua Ezzell

But this particular morning I rejoice in the mist.

This week I had to draw the line in an unhealthy and manipulative relationship. Doing it required not just setting boundaries with one person, but choosing seclusion from a community--in fact a community that ties me to that high desert I love so deeply. 

I've spent so much of my life seeking community and struggling for inclusion that the act of choosing seclusion is boggling and yet on some level it is cathartic. The knowledge that you have a choice in every situation, even if that choice means exiting and taking the losses, is a bit of empowerment. 

I spent much longer at my morning meditation this morning than I usually do. Yesterday I missed it for the first time in many months, due to the pressures of rocky health and children.

And today I could not get settled. I felt a knot of anxiety and grief still in my gut and there was one distraction after another - the new-kindled fire threatening to go out (fog does actually make it harder to start a fire), the cat acting like it was going to vomit on my couch and so forth and so on. Even if you turn off your phone, sometimes the world just won't leave you alone. 

My meditation is a moderately active one. I don't sit and say "Om," though I know people who that works beautifully for. My mind chatter needs to be quieted, so I use recitation of poetry as well as simple ritual, candles and turning off all electric devices. Still I could not get settled, so I just did it anyway.

Of course, merely going through the motions is not really good spiritual practice, but "fake it til you make it," has its merits.

Finally I did make it, but not until I'd been at it for an hour (and I brought out the heavy artillery in the form of Tarot cards). Some days I don't have that much time. And today it was a near thing. 

But finally peace of mind came.

The fog closed around me and held me by my warm fire. The danger is at bay, somewhere beyond. I have forged my own solace--a chance for healing. And I do not need to struggle for now.

I know that when I step out again, I may have to face it all over. And soon I'll have to clean the school room and prepare for classes this afternoon.

But for now I have made solace by effort and design. This is woman-made peace without the use of mind altering substances or denial of harsh realities.

It's there somewhere. It can be forged.