Friday morning I wake with an image of butterflies resting all along my open hands, my arms, shoulders, the top of my head. Think yellow, rich, warm, and bright. Think wings, a forest of them, some still, some moving gently.
Even now as I write days later, I see this, and the joy I felt then I feel now. It expands within me, from my heart out to my fingertips, down through the soles of my feet, up through the crown of my head. Such an unexpected gift, this image and the joy that it gives.
The gift is how this makes me feel, body, head, heart, and spirit. It moves me into joy, into love, into peace and balance, without effort. I recall the image and I am changed, now.
It reminds me how there are other gifts in my life that create shifts for me. They are the memories I have, some just a flash of a person or place I love, others long and detailed that fill my senses and draw me whole.
Memories heal me when I allow them that power. It is a memory, one of the long detailed ones, that has brought my body back into healing after fibromyalgia had drained it and flattened my life.
Let me tell you a story about water and earth, body and joy.
It is Spring 2011. We are living in Nemiah, my husband and I. The water here tastes like no other water I have known. This water is alive. I have no doubt of that. It dances in my body. Forget coffee and tea. I am drinking six or eight huge glasses of dancing water every day.
There is water all around us here in all of its forms. We are high on the plateau next to the Coast Mountains. We have snow. Mist. Rain. Cloud. Ice. The curved edge of Konni Lake faces us from across the road. There is stream and marsh beside and behind our house, just into the edge of the trees. When the land thaws, moving to spring, there is water under the floor of the school . All of March and April, it makes thick mud of the ground we walk on.
I bought black gumboots with red soles on our monthly trip into town. I’ve been rediscovering the delight of splashing hard through puddles, seeing how deep I can go before the cold water tips itself into my boots and soaks my socks. I am a seven year old again, daring to experiment.
The energy of the world feels different to my body and my senses. Here in this place it is old, slow, strong, steady, constant, deep. I am captured by it. My meditation instructor, when I tell her, calls it earth energy.
I am remembering how much I love to be in bare feet, what it feels like to stand, warm from the sun, toes digging into the ground, water licking my ankles. My body and senses become completely here, now, and nowhere else. My thoughts fade, my head quiets, my breath slows. I am in love with this moment, happy. There is joy in my feet touching the earth, my body touching the water, and it runs up through me as I remember.
My feet are bare as I write this, resting against the metal base of my studio chair. I am connected here, now, this place, this movement of pen and mind, these words.
I am three years old. My feet are bare, my legs and arms too. The air is warm. There is bright sunlight. A bee is buzzing somewhere. It is summer. I can hear my mom in the kitchen.
I am running up and down the hallway in our house. I lean my back against our front door, then I go, running, my bare feel slapping hard on the wood floor, straight through the open door of my bedroom at the other end of the hall. I slap my hands against the low white windowsill in my bedroom, and stop. Laugh and laugh. I am all joy. I turn around, my back against the ridge of the windowsill. I go, running across the braided rug on my bedroom floor, down the hall, straight back to the front door. I slap it with my hands to stop. I am laughing. I turn around and do it all again. Fun. Joy. Laughter. Play. I am in love with my life, with the world, with my body, with me. It fills me. I am all feeling. There is nothing else.
Now, here in this time I put down my pen. I lay on the blue striped couch in my studio. I choose this joy and this memory. I sink my body into it like sinking my bare feet into the earth. I let my senses float in it, this lake of joy my three-year-old self has created. I let the memory run through me again, and again.
I feel the laughter in my body, my chest, my throat. I feel the wood floor under my naked toes, and my hands slapping against the painted wood of the front door and the windowsill. I feel the joy and the love fill me up. The palms of my hands and the soles of my feet are tingling with this memory playing in me.
I know this is how I am supposed to feel all the time. This is how my body, head, heart, and spirit should be. Joy, love, laughter. I have hurt and been tired for so long, I could not remember this. My body had forgotten what it was like to be comfortable and to know the steady hum of energy flowing through.
I can fill myself up with this memory and ground the whole of me in it. Over and over and over. Be here, now, three years old and all joy.
This is what I know. I choose this.