“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


unexplored territories

an image from last april, when the sun was out and the heat was mostly here,
and i wasn't surrounded by sneezes.  

stepping outside one's comfort zone.

"To step out of the comfort zone raises the anxiety level engendering a stress response,
the result of which is an enhanced level of concentration and focus."

i do this occasionally.  on purpose, i mean.  i go places that scare me, i do things that make my belly uncomfortable, and what i've found is that, for me, recuperation takes a while.  it's supposed to be good for you - this not being comfortable business - and i know it is, but i always need some time to myself afterwards.  i get angry at myself for even thinking  it's good for me - noises sound too loud and i am annoying and the words don't come and i am not pleasant to be around, and i don't even care.  i say adios words, who needs you anyway, and i turn on a baseball game or read a few pages, and i breathe a big sigh of relief.  never again, i tell myself.  never.

it is a lie i tell myself.  myself doesn't believe it, but she listens anyway.

i originally, mistakenly typed that muself, and there you go.  the truth.  myself is the muse.  muself knows what to do. muself knows to take a week away from writing or people or washing the dishes, or whatever, and just let myself find my way back to myself.  muself is smarter than me.

and with that, another awakening, and i will say the words, and then i will just hush.  one last thought about two years ago, the year my mother died, the year i drove to florida to meet beth and other wonderful women.  way way way  outside my comfort zone, but i did it anyway, and i had a wonderful time, helped by them and by the ever-wonderful michael, they  all knowing i could do this, all there to catch me if i fell.  when i got home, i did fall - into bed and into work and into trying to catch my breath, but before that breath was caught, my mother was hospitalized, and then gone.  i have never caught that breath, and i never knew why until now.

"Anxiety improves performance until a certain optimum level of arousal has been reached.
Beyond that point, performance deteriorates as higher levels of anxiety are attained;
if a person steps beyond the optimum performance zone they enter a "danger zone"
in which performance will decline rapidly as higher levels of anxiety or discomfort occur."

i'm a little stunned.  of course.  of course.


it is sunday morning and my sneezing has stopped.  yesterday i bought white flowers for the back porch and dried apricots and almonds drizzled with dark chocolate.  i bought key limes and organic onions and i drove places and didn't take my camera and that felt like freedom.  when i saw a roadside covered in blue wildflowers i stopped and stood in their midst and used my iphone to take pictures - i will show you later.  i am at last catching that breath.


quotes from wikipedia


  1. WOW! i read this through. i will reread it again, and probably again. you ARE so many of us. perhaps that is why we come again and again to read your words. you say words others will not share. for fear. of what? the words, spoken and cannot be taken back? letting others see our most vulnerable self?
    i LOVE this one debi. honest, captivating, scarey.
    muself is smarter than me.
    perhaps there is a 'muself' in all of us.
    in my MOST fondest of thoughts, tilda

  2. I will watch for the results of catching that breath of yours, and I will follow behind hoping to also expand my lungs.

    Coming back from beyond that tipping point is a long, long road.

    Leaving the dishes to rot in the sink is therapy.


  3. For me this is all about survival. And what we were talking about, the things that don't kill you, even when you think they will. The journey through those things, before we get to the survival part, the catching our breath, that's the hardest, but, I think, also the place where we learn the most about ourselves.
    The human spirit is such an amazing thing. Muself is the perfect word for it. Inhale, exhale, and we move one step forward. And underneath it all, we are always stronger then we think.
    I am so glad that you have walked to this place.

  4. It takes an immense amount of strength to sit with one's own vulnerability. It takes even greater strength to share it. We are all richer because of what you share, and what parts of you cling to our souls.
    Love you.

  5. I just received your comment to my post and I wanted to be sure you got my reply. I honestly hadn't read this here before I posted mine! It's pure coincidence. I hope you didn't think I was relating it to you and were in any way offended.

    I love what you've written here (but then I love all the things you write) and you've really given me something today. I'm not very good at taking care of myself after being out of the zone. You've also reminded me about that optimal performance zone. So thank you :-) And hugs, thank you for being you, and for sharing you. My life is genuinely better because I can read your words here.

    1. i love that you wrote about comfort zones. i thought you had read this, but i was in no way offended - quite the opposite. I beat myself up all the time for how hard it is to be outside that zone of comfort - and it is damn hard - and it never occurred to me that we call it a comfort zone for a reason. :) thank you. your post was wonderful and i am now thinking differently about the whole thing.

      thank you, thank you.


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