Thursday, February 15, 2007

Random Thoughts on Supporting The Soul

I haven't posted for a while. Life has been busy and stressful. That's right, life on the farm isn't all fresh eggs and sunshine...though they are some of the more reliable parts of it. My friend Tracy went back to California to study some workshop techniques employing horses, got together with some friends and formed a company there to do the workshops in various places including Egypt and decided that she needed to be sort of based in California to work with them and to be closer to her aging parents. She put her house on the market and it sold, happily to a lovely British couple who are also long-term residents of Egypt, so she hopped on a plane back to Cairo, cleaned out her house and closed the deal. She also lined up some work here, and I suspect will be back for at least a week or so in March. Now I'm helping Philippa and Rob get started with their life at the house next door.

A lot of my friends and family are going through some pretty major changes right now. My daughter is applying to graduate schools and while we are hoping for good news, it's pretty tough waiting it out. The son survived a week of tough interviews for internships next summer and has a choice of places to work like a corporate coolie when his classes finish. Deep breath of relief.

I'm still trying to extricate myself from the remaining links to my late husband's companies, and that is not going all that well. Pretty high reading on the stress meter. The brothers-in-law have decided that they want to sell their parents' apartment, which is primarily owned by my children although they have no interest in it. They offered to sign off on their share in the family house in Sharm el Sheik in return for our share in the apartment and a rather hefty cash payment. In theory, all very nice but where is that cash supposed to come from? After seven years, they insist on believing that somehow we were left with little pots of gold all over the world. What universe do these people inhabit? Whoops! the lid just shot off the stress meter.
So last night was Valentine's Day and Tracy's last night in Cairo on this trip. She's left me with bags of vitamins, nail polish and all those funny things that you forget you have stuffed into the bottom drawer in the bathroom. Cool, but I have my own bottom drawer and it's pretty full. We went into town to meet some women friends for dinner, then she would go on with them to catch a cab from town for her early morning flight. Tracy and I had totally forgotten Valentine's Day while I was dealing with various small problems at home like an injured donkey and a sick dog. The restaurant was full of couples chatting intimately over candlelit plates of pasta and the four of us who all happen to be single, some of us single parents, found ourselves talking about the things that sustain us in hard times.

Naturally friends are important. That one is a no brainer. Then there is family, which is great when it's good, but a disaster if it's bad. Don't I know that one. Wish my side of the family lived closer. But those are things that we find outside of ourselves. Most of us had found that there were things that we carry within us that are even more important when the chips are down and so is our luck and buoyancy. Each of us could recall a blow to our lives that caused us to reevaluate our surroundings, our thoughts and practices, something that unbalanced us enough to make us see the world anew and we could remember how we first saw something new that we stashed away in our hearts. For myself, the death of my husband was the unbalancing point and the rides that I would take in the countryside at night alone with my mare the first summer were my secret treasure that could bring me back to the now. I'd been knocked so badly off my balance that every bird, every star, every wedding song meandering through the mango orchards was something new to be studied, turned over and carefully stored away to treasure forever. It took a horror to teach me about beauty, and it was hard to accept that the beauty could be there and be stronger than the horror. But it was and it has sustained me. Others had the same experience after a particularly nasty divorce, the loss of a parent, and so on. We all felt very fortunate that we'd been able to learn from and bounce back from our disasters with something stronger to show for it.

The photos are pretty random, but each one of them is one of those images that warms my soul.

copyright 2007 Maryanne Stroud Gabbani