Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Poem + A Print + 10 Rugs = Equilibrium




Nearly fifty years—during the years of psychedelic painting—a friend showed me a print of a dense, deep, almost black green, fir-tree forest against the broad sweep of a turquoise sky. A path of pink splotches wended through the trees.

A poem by St. John of the Cross was painted in calligraphy across the sky, among the trees, and along the path. The print and the poem have remained in my mind’s eye and my heart all these years.

The poet, known today as a mystic, was born in Spain in 1542. He studied with the Jesuits—esteemed teachers then and now. At twenty-one, John entered the Carmelites, a contemplative monastic order. A few years later he tried to reform the order, considering it too lax. When that attempt failed, he and several other men established a strict monastic society in a farmhouse.

Because of this, he aroused the animosity of the first Carmelite order he’d entered. This resulted in his imprisonment, during which he wrote the poetry for which he became famous. The poem I’m quoting to you today came from those lonely years of captivity. The “he” of the stanza is, I think, Jesus of Nazareth, whom I think of as Yeshua—his Jewish name.

Pouring out a thousand graces,
              he passed these groves in haste;
              and having looked at them,
              with his image alone,
              clothed them in beauty.

That treasured poem and the rugs in my house brought equilibrium to me this past week. Here’s how that happened: Because of the possibility of falling after I left the hospital on March 23, the rehab department asked me to clear my carpet of any throw rugs, furniture, or boxes that might hamper my walking. “Get rid of anything that could trip you,” I was told.

I’ve always liked wall-to-wall carpeting, but I enjoy having thick, Persian-like, throw rugs scattered here and there on the carpet—in the hallways, under the tables, by the bed. So when my eldest niece brought me home she rolled up ten throw rugs and stacked them on a large table in the garage.

That same afternoon, she took from my cabinets, storage areas, and pantry any food items, pans, or dishes I might need and placed them on the extended counter and the round table in my kitchen. Having everything at waist level would keep me from bending and twisting, which was a no-no for the next several weeks.

I hope you are getting the picture: clutter, clutter, clutter on every table top and counter, and no lovely rugs on the carpet. The poem comes in here. Ever since learning the poem and seeing the print, I’ve thought of throw rugs as the bright blotches of color in the forest through which Yeshua walked, strewing beauty in his midst. Those Persian-like rugs were my path through the forest of my home. They were a path of beauty on which I sought to walk with grace.

Last week I wrote of physical and emotional imbalance. This past week a sudden realization came to me: I was partly imbalanced because my home didn’t seem like mine anymore: All that clutter on the counters and tabletops. No path of beauty on the floor.

My home seemed stripped of who I am and try to be.

Thus it was that two friends came, put down all the rugs, put away the canned good, pans, and dishes and left me with a home that breathed contentment: Space. Beauty. Balance.

So today I’m posting in a much better frame of being than has been represented by my past three postings. Equilibrium has come to my life. I feel as if I truly have come home to myself.

Life is good. Peace.


20 comments:

  1. Our environment has a HUGE impact on how we feel doesn't it.
    I am so glad that you have regained your home. And with it your equilibrium.
    Hugs.

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    1. Dear Sue, I do know that the environment--the ambience--has a HUGE impact on my feelings. But the truth is that I'd forgotten that in the past few weeks as I went into a sort of whiney stage.

      I have regained my equilibrium and my sense of self and who I want to be. Who I am at the best of times. Thanks for hanging in there with me. Peace.

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    1. Dear Fishducky, yes, peace is like clover-fed honey seeping between and within our pores. Peace.

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  3. I am so glad that your path to serenity has been reopened. I love St. John of the Cross. You know his jailer was converted when he imprisoned the saintly man. It's a wonderful story, which I figure you must already know about. It moved me very much. Peace to you dear one. :-)

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    1. Dear DJan, yes, I do feel so much more serene. At peace. And yes, I do know about St. John because going to Catholic schools for grade and high school and college as well as being in the convent led to my reading about saints a lot and listening to stories teachers told about them. His "dark night of the soul" phrase came to my mind a number of times throughout the years. His faith in Light often enlightened me and gave me the assurance that all would be well. I'm glad you, too, admire him. Peace.

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  4. How intersting that objects of familiarity in their proper place are able to rebalance things. What an intersting way to make a shift.
    I once knew biblical passages because of the faith my parents offered to me but I chose my own path and after years of studies have opted to believe in one highest power. Peace is a state of mind we all seek to feel balanced . Glad all is well with you now. May it contimue.

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    1. Dear Heidrun, what is that saying? "Different strokes for different folks"????? Yes, decluttering and surrounding myself with what means "home" to me has really helped. Thanks for being glad for me. Peace.

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  5. Isn't it odd how our envlronment affects us? My throw rugs are only handwoven rugs made from used clothing, not Persian rugs but when my mother visits they must be put away to keep her safe. The first thing I do when Mom leaves is put all the rugs back down and my house feels "right" again. I never thought about it before reading your post!
    I'm glad those small changes have restored your equilibrium.

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    1. Dear Cynthia, let me explain that the throw rugs I have are not actually Persian--I couldn't afford those. But they are mostly 100% wool with a deep nap. So they are comfy to walk on when I'm barefoot and the colors and designs please me mightily!

      I understand so well about things feeling "right." I've been off for several weeks and now I'm "right"! I bet your mom really appreciates how you care for her safety when she visits. Lovely. Peace.

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  6. When my home is chaotic, I feel scattery and off balance, too. I am glad you have your home back to where you feel comfortable...but be very careful walking and bending! :)

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    1. Dear Rita, yes, "scattery" does it! I am being careful with walking and bending. There are still hip problems that cause discomfort, but nothing like before. Peace.

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  7. At first I was so impressed with the efforts your niece did to make your home safer and easier. Odd how those very efforts also made you uncomfortable and uneasy. Guess peace of mind trumps safety. As long as you are cautious with the rugs, your happiness is the best medicine for recovery. Stay safe and happy.

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    1. Dear Patti, I absolutely needed what my niece did for me. But last week, when I'd gotten to 8 weeks after the surgery, my ability to move around had improved so greatly that I could have the rugs back and the kitchen made neat again. I have to keep myself from shuffling when I walk though.

      I will always be grateful to my niece. She helped me unstintingly throughout all of this. Peace.

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  8. I totally agree about having your things where you like them. The older I get, the more balance I need in my life. Clutter drives me crazy and I cannot live a contented life where things are out of place. Please, though, Dee, be careful on those scatter rugs. I have slipped a time or two on those.

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    1. Dear Arleen, thank you for being concerning about my slipping on the rugs. I do try to be very careful. It's only when I'm rushing around for some reason that I stumble. An oh, I wish I could write poetry--I'd write an ode to decluttering! Peace.

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  9. Hi Dee, We have been out-of-town for 10 days (a beach trip to NC and a wedding in FL).... Am home now ---and trying to catch up on my blogging..... I read both of yours... Hope you are still feeling more in balance... The back surgery and what happened to you following the surgery had to have been ROUGH.... BUT---now that you have your home back the way you want it, I think you are getting back to normal.....

    I like balance also ---and when things get out of balance, I find myself all upset and askew... At my age, I do worry about falling. That is why--when I walk/hike, I find myself looking down instead of enjoying the beauty above me.... Oh Well.

    Take care my friend. Don't fall!!!

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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    1. Dear Betsy, I do continue to feel more in balance. You know I'm 81 now. All during my seventies, I was aware that I was slowing down and tiring more easily. But now I find myself wondering where all the energy I've had has fled. The recuperation is supposed to take around 6 months--so mid-September. I hope that slowly that energy will return--like a gift--to me.

      Like you, I walk looking down, but I stop frequently to look around me so as to absorb the beauty. I bet you do that, too. Peace.

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  10. How wonderful you have your rugs again. I believe we exist because of Beauty, that this Beauty can be recognized everywhere (even in the inferno life can be), and that It is from a Person. I like the poem you shared. Thanks!

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    1. Dear Deanna, like you, I believe that Beauty surrounds us and oozes through our pores so that we recognize it in the Oneness in which we exist. Peace.

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