what the seeds told me this week

seeds 1Each and every seed carries within it the code for its own doom, as well as for the perpetuation of it’s own kind.

Upon making the effort the germinate, the individual seed itself is destroyed. It’s a beautiful destruction, as it may lead to another green plant, but be it a flower, a weed, or a tree, there is a destruction involved none the less.

The beans have a particularly creative style of accomplishing their transformation, as they use the meaty part of their seeds as the cotyledons, which wilt back as the true leaves mature. Other plants leave just a little husk behind as whatever is left of the seed is absorbed into stem or root, or sloughed off.seeds 4

Seeds have no choice. Given the right circumstances – temperature, moisture, light – a seed uses its inborn vitality and makes an attempt to germinate. If it has been made to wait too long in adverse conditions, that vitality may diminish, and if the moment to sprout never comes, the seed will eventually decompose. Again, the seed’s destruction feeds the living soil.  Whenever a seed gets an opportunity, it plays its part. Even at its own expense, the seed does what it can to bring about more life in abundance.seeds 5

The seed has no housework. The seed doesn’t make apologies. The seed doesn’t juggle a busy schedule. The seed doesn’t linger with good-byes.  The seed has no choice. We do.

Change challenges us. And change is completely unavoidable. There’s something about our capacity for freedom that breeds a spirit of resistance, and attachment. But if we resist the change coming our way, we will still be changed by the very fact of our resistance. If we cling to our beautiful moments, they will never mature into the sacred mundane. If we cling to our pain, we might not find out what it was for.

Some changes are more difficult than others. We are not seeds. We choose. Every moment, we choose, to be awake to life and its changes, or sleep through it and deal with change re-actively, and in the retrospect. To take the bull by the horns, or be thrown. But we can take a lesson from the seeds. They are sprouting up all over the place right now.

The lesson is clear…

Sprout. Grow. Bloom. Set free some more seeds.  Carry on.seeds 2seeds 3

Set aside fear, and vanity.  You will never be the same.  You never were.  Don’t let your unfulfilled potential rot like a seed that never got a chance. When it’s time to grow – let grow.

It’s Life itself that is really so beautiful.seeds 6

each life.

{I started writing this post a few months ago, just before finding out that I was pregnant. I feel like the process of putting this memory to words had a very healing affect on me. After putting this post on the back-burner for a time, I still feel compelled to share it even though the circumstances of my life have shifted. I am now nearly 22 weeks pregnant, and feel healthy and strong, and very thankful to have the chance to share this experience here)

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IMGP1280I’m not sure why I’m writing this post. I have a tendency towards light-hearted humor in this space. That is my tendency in life as well. The world is already full of enough weight, I hesitate to add to that weight unnecessarily. But I’ve had this nagging feeling… honestly, for a couple of years now. I just can’t shake the notion of the possibility that this story might be of help to someone out there. Of comfort, or understanding. Of alleviating loneliness or maybe isolation.

So, first, a disclaimer: If you are looking for a light read today, do not read further. Have a lovely day, but move on to something else. My thoughts do not coalesce into anything profound here. There is no neat and tidy ending to this story. It is simply an experience that I feel compelled to share; or maybe the experience is compelling me to share. I don’t know. If you choose to read on, understand that this experience still pains me deeply. My words may not always flow as easily as the tears that are already coursing down my cheeks.

Deep breath. Here goes.

I have had four miscarriages. One. Two. Three. Then four.

The first three occurred in my late twenties, during my first few years of marriage. I was coming off being a vegetarian, and am pretty sure that the soy in my diet was screwing with my hormones enough that my body just could not maintain a pregnancy. There just wasn’t balance. Somewhere along the way, I learned about the Weston Price foundation, and Sally Fallon’s book, Nourishing Traditions. Eric and I were in the beginnings of our homesteading efforts, and the progression of our diets would have eventually evolved into more of the picture this book painted, but reading the fine print really brought some important truths out of the shadows for me, and quickly. I honestly can not say whether or not the shift in my eating habits contributed or not, but I became pregnant with Ira. If you have been reading in this space for any length of time, you might know that Ira is now eleven. He did not miscarry. I sometimes wonder if his tenacity and stubbornness came to be because it took four tries before his spirit made its way into the realm of the living. Obviously, I can’t answer this, but I wonder just the same.IMGP1281

Then, Opal came to be. No problems whatsoever. Then Olivia. Again, no problems. Completely healthy pregnancies, wonderful homebirths, beautiful babies.

Then, just over three years ago my day began in the emergency room of our local hospital. I was nearly 12 weeks pregnant. I had been spot bleeding on and off for several days beforehand, but really had a hard time accepting the blaring fact that I might be miscarrying. Oddly enough, before I laid down to rest for the night, I asked Eric if he knew how to get to the hospital. Very randomly. I told him it might be a good idea to look the map up online. I also wondered what homeopathic remedy was appropriate for heavy bleeding. We looked that one up as well. It’s phosphorous, in case you are wondering. Something in my psyche compelled me to ask these questions, and I did not push the questions aside as paranoia. I guess it was instinct. Regardless, when I laid down with Olivia, to snuggle her little being into slumber, the cramping began. My heart sank. I knew immediately that was the beginning of the end.

This miscarriage turned out to be very different than the other three that I had experienced. This time around, I hemorrhaged as my body tried to pass the placenta that was blocking my cervix. It seems slightly twisted that I was nearly killed by my body’s best efforts to cleanse itself. And quite frankly, I didn’t understand that this was happening. Each of my other miscarriages had resolved themselves with no intervention, so I guess I expected the same thing. When the bleeding just wouldn’t subside, and my extremities were starting to feel numb, we (finally) called the midwife. She very emphatically instructed Eric to get me to the hospital immediately. So off we went, headed to the hospital at 80 mph on the winding country roads in the wee hours of the morning. This a way I hope to never, ever have my day begin again.IMGP1282Healing from this trauma was just awful. Not only was I emotionally wrecked, but I was physically shocked as well. I am a very physical person, and when I could barely walk a few steps across the floor without feeling like I would pass out… I was down in a way I had never been before. This was by far the worst I had ever felt in all of my life. The emotional healing was extremely difficult, too. Miscarriage is often one of those quiet burdens a woman carries around in her heart. It can be very isolating. Mourning a miscarriage is hard for any outsider to fully understand. The woman may not appear any different before and after the loss. There may not have been any physical “proof” that a baby ever even existed. But damn it, it is a huge loss. If you have suffered a miscarriage, you know precisely what I’m talking about. It’s the loss of a life. And each life is so precious, even if it ends having barely begun.

I will spare you all of the nitty gritty details of my healing process. I will spare you the episodes of severe anxiety and panic. The anger and fear. The sadness. It was all there, trust me, but enough said.

A few weeks after this miscarriage, when my midwife stopped by to check on my healing, she very calmly said “Don’t let this be your last memory.” Meaning, if we really wanted another child, don’t be afraid to try again. I’m pretty sure I mumbled something along the lines of I don’t think I will ever be able to try again. No way. Not ever.

Life is full of surprises, though… IMGP1283

Now, I’m almost twenty-two weeks pregnant. I can hardly wrap my head around it. The joy and the fear are all tangled up together. The first trimester of this pregnancy was incredibly intense for me. I had a few short spells of spot-bleeding that left me feeling very, very anxious. For my mental health, Eric and I concluded that we should proceed with our lives as best we could and that I would simply take care of myself. Regardless of the outcome. Keep moving, keep breathing deeply, and keep some Rescue Remedy close at hand. We opted not to tell anyone about the pregnancy until I was safely through the first trimester. Anytime I had to leave the farm, which I made sure was pretty seldom, I wore a puffy down vest to conceal my swelling… to avoid the questions and my own insecurities. I guess we all have to learn to ride the waves of our own lives, don’t we? Each in our own way. Well, I’m riding this wave now. I’m in the middle of it… Is it intense? Yes. Is it beautiful? Yes. Will I survive? I surely do hope so. IMGP1284

stick around

I am a small person, relieved to be standing at the end of the long winter, watching, feeling the approach of a new season, Spring.  And I am that small person in more than one way.

We held a memorial service for my grandfather last Monday.  He crossed over back in December, but the rest of the family lives far away so we took our time waiting for the season to change and making sure that most of them could make a visit.  It was crazy sweet to see those cousins we rarely see, let the new generation of little ones play, and tell stories about our shared loved ones gone on.gg memorial

At the same time as that was happening, the final business of my step-mother’s estate finally came to a close.  It has been a long and arduous year and a half since her untimely passing.  Finishing the work of her estate feels like shedding an old skin, like maybe I should cut my hair, drink champagne, do something radical to mark the passage of that time.

Our little family weathered four deaths of near-immediate family members in about 18 months.  A couple close family friends departed in that time frame as well.  Saying that it’s been an “intense” time doesn’t do it justice.

But I am not complaining.  I have grown.  I have learned about things I never thought of learning before, and that knowledge has contributed to the wholeness of my life in ways I never imagined.

I have learned about how much work is involved in dealing a loved ones affairs.  I am no longer quite so intimidated by IRS forms and large banking firms.  I understand the need to keep busy in the thick of emotional upheaval.  I have also begun to learn about what to keep and what to discard.  I have learned that it gets easier to let go of things as time passes.tree 3

I have learned that each death is as individual as each life.  Death is like birth – a place where the mystery of being, which we so often ignore, comes in close contact with our daily lives, where we can no longer ignore it.  Before our children we born, where were they?  Now that they are here, it is hard to imagine that they were not here – they certainly cannot imagine it themselves.  And just so, when a person we love has died, it is a stumbling point on our sense of reality – where did they go?

I have learned that in some ways, they haven’t gone anywhere.  Their presence stays with us in our hearts and our minds, naturally, and if we are lucky, our understanding of them and what they shared with us while they lived might even grow as we travel through the remainder of our lives.  It is not the same, but it is enough.

I have learned that our perception of loss, and of ownership, does not always match with reality.  Sometimes, our own perception is all we have to go on, so we have to stick with it.  But it’s worth is to understand that its only our own perception.

I have learned the benefit of silence in conflict.  I have felt, more so than ever before, the need to stand up for my perception of loss and ownership (even though I know they are only mine) in the face of contradiction and exploitation.  I have seen how the law of the land fails the ways of the heart, and sorrowed at that failure.

photo credit a. white. thanks.

photo credit a. white. thanks.

I have learned that none of us are alone.  Our lives necessarily touch other lives, and we often have no idea how much impact that contact has.

And I am beginning to learn something about memory.  It is a piece of perception, and so necessarily personal, but the sharing of memory is potent somehow.  If I cling to my personal memories in a possessive way, I run the risk of letting them grow dusty and stale, and less meaningful with time.  Sharing stories, memories, with others who shared the love of loved ones passed on opens up the possibility of greater understanding and greater appreciation.  It may be painful – our personal version of history may be challenged in ways we could not have imagined, which can feel like a complete violation of everything we are.  But it isn’t.  Not really.  And sometimes (not always) letting ourselves feel that pain can a way to new growth, and new growth makes for fresh flowers.  growth

Given all that – Thank you.  Thank you, everyone who hugged me and loved me through this time.  Thank you for your support and good thoughts and patience and love.  Thank you for carrying boxes, for offering me water.  Thank you for listening to me, over and over again.  I cannot imagine how it would have been without you all.  I know it would have been much more difficult. Thank you.

Knowing full well that my request is meaningless, I am asking for two more favors.  First, please have a will – a legal, written will.  And last, if we could take a break from this death thing for a year or so, that would be great.  Please, stick around.