breathing in and out

image Ruha, Breath, 2005

If you stayed in the present, if you paid attention thoroughly to the now, what it had in it might come to you. And if you did not pay attention to the present, you might miss essential information that might be exactly what you needed. More than what you needed. ~ Nora Gallagher

One of my favorite ways to spend time is sitting in the portside window of the south bound train watching the waves and birds, people waving and dogs chasing in and out of the ocean waves. As I headed for North Bend, Oregon I spotted an Eagle on a post watching the water and the sky. Eagle symbolizes our own ability to soar. 

I traveled to celebrate my granddaughter Lillian’s 10th birthday. Her brother will be 12 in October, the Bellingham kids are 10 and 7, and our youngest, Evan will be 3 in September. No more babies. They are all soaring into their next life stages.

I believe in stories – in sharing our stories. This blog began almost 2 years ago with intention to follow my experiences during what my kids called my gap year. I was exploring ideas of shared housing with family and friends.  I’ve come full circle back to Bellingham where my children’s father, from whom I’ve been divorced for 30+ years, is sharing a small house he bought with me. No we are not living together. He has a condo nearby. This is his “hobby house” that I’m helping fix up. He calls it an investment for our children. Talk about shared housing.

Talk about a pilgrimage. It is a lot of work; And a blessing as moving in coincided with my diagnoses of heart failure (cardiomyopathy).

I’ve spent the past couple months painting all the rooms except the kitchen, working in the yard in the heat and participating in other activities that make this house a comfortable home.

After the diagnoses of “heart failure” was first offered and I was alone in E.R. a nurse came in and asked if I had any questions. I laughed to myself, oh, no, no questions; I’m just lying here contemplating my mortality.

I vowed I’d listen to the doctors’ protocol and follow it to the letter. Lately I’m questioning if this bulky “life vest,”the external defibrillator, is really necessary. I’ve read a lot of research about Sudden Cardiac Arrest. As my son Matt, an expert in risk assessment, drove me to the train, I explained Sudden Cardiac Arrest is most apt to occur if I put unusual excessive strain on my heart. The alarm on the gadget hasn’t given any warning signals even when I’m working hard or trudging through the Oregon sand dunes with grandkids. So I’m wondering…

My friend Nancy Agneberg ( who shares my penchant for bibliotherapy, sent Nora Gallagher’s newest book Moonlight Sonata at the Mayo Clinic to me for my birthday. Gallagher writes about her experiences with a baffling illness. “I had to acquaint myself and interpret the huge presence of medicine, medical systems, clinics, doctors – a place I thought I had known but did not. I had to start to draw a map.” This is a new for me – she who worked in hospitals and hospice and titled my doctoral thesis A Map to Living Open Heartedly.

There is no map to this thin time at my growing edge. I too must draw my own…

This land of illness, behind the wall, is much larger than I thought, and through its lens, the world we all live in, …becomes more precious. ~Gallagher

Note: Not long after I posted this I read the following essay in Orion online. I love it – the map can take us only so far… or I don’t have a smartphone : )


About Marian Methner, B.S., D.Min.

Polydox: accepting that we are many labels, I am mother of 4, mother in law (love) of 4 and grandmother of 5. My life is a collection of bits and starts. I was recently on the road for over a year exploring ideas of living in shared housing. A recent summer course in Permaculture design, solidifed my interest in "social permaculture" or ways we interact not only with our Earthly environment but also with each other. I am back Bellingham, Washington, in a small rental house, owned by my ex husband, talk about shared housing, practicing living in community with family, and friends. My doctoral dissertation A Map to Living Open Heartedly, centers around making art as a way to healing. Paradoxiclly, a recent diagnoses of heart failure (cardiomyopathy) expands this exploration...
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One Response to breathing in and out

  1. I always look forward to your posts–thanks for the link to my blog, by the way. I love that you have written a summary of your life right now–as a way to locate your position on the map currently in front of you. It doesn’t have every detail, but enough to know where you are. It doesn’t answer every question, but allows you leeway to question. You get to decide–north, south, east, west. The path you forge is always meaningful and inspirational.

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