Outside my window, spring is colouring the world in all its joyful splendour. The grass is turning green. Leaves are unfurling on the trees that line the river bank. The undergrowth is growing thicker. Soon it will become too dense to navigate easily.
Traffic rumbles across the vehicle bridge that spans the river to the north. A lone bicyclist pedals across the pedestrian bridge on its southern side, the side closest to my window.
This morning, the skies are grey, one massive steel grey sheet spanning the sky. And still, the sun shines behind grey skies.
In the darkest moments, there is light.
I sit and watch the river flow by, the traffic move, two geese landing upon the green waters of the river.
Memory rises up to greet the spring and I am pulled back. To another day. Another river.
This day is sunshine bright. Blue sky soaring. Leaves fully burdened with springs bounty blossoming into summer.
This day is another like all the others so recently before where I have stood by this river and wanted desperately to unhinge gravity’s hold upon my body so it could fall of its own volition into the waters and be swept away to the ocean. Into the west flowing into the unseen depths of nothingness so that I would never be seen standing on the shore again.
On that day, like so many others before it, I could not unhook gravity. I could not cast my body into the waters and be washed away.
Just as today, I cannot wash away memory. I can only honour its loving reminder to let it flow so I can be fully present in the now.
How is it I wonder, that memory’s hold still pulls me into the darkness of those days when I was lost and my life meant nothing to me? How is it that after all these years memory still slips into my mind on a grey sky day in May as I sit at my desk and watch the river flow past?
The tears have dried up. The sadness has lifted. Yet, memory advances, a counterpoint of darkness in spring’s early light, reminding me of a time when I danced with death, promising I’d give it all up if only gravity would let me fall into death’s welcoming embrace.
Death has slid silently into a future I cannot see nor need to know until it is time. Life embraces me each day awakening me to all I have, all that is possible when I embrace life as my constant companion.
And still, those memories of death’s beckoning flow into my mind like the river flowing endlessly to the sea. Those memories where casting my body into the waters seemed to be the only course to end my pain.
I know the truth now. I am grateful.
The river cannot flow backwards.
Memories of those dark days no longer stalk me.
They flow freely, appearing like a canoe on the river. In their passing I am reminded of the gift of my life and the precious nature of each moment passing by.
On this dreary May morning I fall with gratitude into knowing the gifts those memories that float by carry for me. In their darkness I am reminded of the light that is always there. In their presence I stop and breathe into the possibilities of this moment right now. Grounded in the beauty of my life today, my heart is full of gratitude and the beautiful truth I embrace in this moment right now as my mind soars free of the darkness like the geese flying by.
“I am alive and I am so very grateful,” my heart whispers. And so it is.
May 21, 2003 at 9:14 am, a miracle drove up in a blue and white police car and released me from the hell of a relationship that was killing me.
Sometimes, as that day draws near or a conversation sparks a thought, memory flows in to remind me of the precious gifts of my life today. I welcome their presence as I walk joyfully in the now.
Yesterday, someone asked me for the link to the TEDx Calgary Talk I gave about my journey into healing. This is it.