Bare Bones

Written on 11/4/20 by Gaye Abbott

As I sit with foot elevated on a pillow with an ice pack upon it, the U.S. election results still not decided and a nation divided, and the results of a skin biopsy a few days ago that came back as a superficial squamous cell carcinoma – I feel stripped to the bare bones of the question, “where do I place my attention?”

In fact, I feel stripped bare period.

This is a particularly vulnerable space to inhabit. There are no sheltering or hiding places in transparency. It is simply raw and real – exposing the parts of us that we haven’t had the courage up to now to reveal to anyone other than those closest to us. And even then do we really share our deepest concerns, for fear of revealing to ourselves that we really don’t know who we are anymore in this chaotic world we live in.

Or perhaps with all that we have grappled with and are experiencing, we know, accept and love ourselves even more?

We are supposed to “have it together” and know what our next step will be. Yet there doesn’t seem to be external markers any longer that direct us to where our attention should go. We may feel lost or at best caught in a whirlpool of others expectations and cultures rules of order, lost in the chaotic pull of so much grabbing for our attention. Lost in the “pitfalls” of aging in a dominant culture that denies they will ever die.

Simply to confess to myself I don’t have the answers, nor do I know where I am going, feels to be an exercise in surrender.

There is too much moving in the wholeness of intimate interconnection to make grand plans or expect any more than simply placing attention on the present moment in which my foot hurts, but is very slowly healing; the election will be decided in a few days and will no doubt be revealing; and I will have a procedure next week to scrape away any residual cells on this Southern California sun marked skin.

Then let all that go.

For I realize the next moment offers an invitation into the bare bones of this last cycle of embodied life as an elder. Where so much passion, optimism, laughter, creativity, wild and elemental nature wisdom, and love reside amidst the challenges and the vulnerability.

A poetic improvisational way of living where I am part of the whole, intimately connected with life evolving.

It is when I go this deep, into the often messy bare bones, beauty and mystery of existence and rest there, that I am free….

Gaye Abbott, Natural Passages Consulting, 11/4/2020

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