Bearing Contraction



Disability and aging both visit bearing a template of contraction.

We must learn to live with piles of losses, not enough money or energy or strength or interest

To engage as we are accustomed; with Life.

I think of it as THE NARROWING.

The discipline is more far-reaching than a budget;

Yet similar in the constant decision making of stretching the money we have in the bank to extend and allow us the necessaries for survival.

I found myself challenged this holiday season by the desire to show my appreciation to the crew at the coffee shop I visit so often and fighting within myself to decide if I could afford to gift them with a spray of lovely mixed pine greens, pepperberries and a lovely, golden bow

To brighten the front door of the shop.

This felt like somehow EXTRA giving.. meaning not family or good friends and for a few days I ping-ponged back and forth whether I should follow this desire of mine. 

It may seem pathetic to you that I struggle to make ends meet in this seemingly inconsequential expense but unless you are independently wealthy as you enter illness or old age…get ready, my friends…and if you should have the glory of “plenty” take a moment to bow your head in gratitude.  I am quite rich in other ways.

Yesterday, I found I could not bear the contraction of not giving what I wanted to give.

I HAD to do it.

In these dark times when it seems we will all be asked to contract in some way or other in response to forces bent on curtailing all manner of freedoms

It seems the urgings of the heart ;

When their scratching sounds won’t leave us in peace

We just must respond to them

By doing all we can

To love

And acknowledge

And forgive

And sing

Our praises

For the privilege


Growing Beauty.


And especially

When it is



5 Responses to “Bearing Contraction”

  1. Carole Zoom on December 14th, 2016

    I understand so well. As our finances have contracted and the scope of people we want to recognize grows. I’m making gifts and cards

  2. Shanti on December 14th, 2016

    I am right there with you. Although we are not related by blood – I feel a kinship with you.
    In a way, I am lucky because I never had much material wealth, so I don’t need to get used to living with less – I don’t have far to fall so to speak.
    Now I am living with the challenges of MS (and I appreciate so much how well you describe in words, the struggles that I face, that I often cannot convey to others) I am being realistic that chances are I will not land that dream job or finally have financial security. But that doesn’t mean I can’t be happy.
    I don’t have much to give people in terms of material gifts, but what I do have to offer I feel is more valuable. I have learned that offering my presence with an open heart is the most valuable gift I can give any living being. And it is the most valuable gift I could ever receive.
    Thank you for your authenticity. I agree that many of us are quite rich in many other ways – ways that have nothing to do with money. It’s always nice to hear a reminder – especially during the holiday season.

  3. britt on December 15th, 2016

    Shanti, I am moved by your response AND the original post. I have spent my life as a working artist, hence the financial challenges! But, I always look for the light side and opportunity in every life event. So, I have developed resilience and determination I would not have known to life’s adversities. Getting creative is how I respond. At my age I have plenty of evidence that I can rely on myself to find answers because I have in the past. My mantra is “i’ll get through this” when I start feeling weighed down by difficulties. Thank you for your story!

  4. Cathy on December 18th, 2016

    Dear Shanti,
    I loved getting your message..thank you for being out there reading as it means the world. Chronic illness is the great and divine “EDITOR”
    We can’t get away but in hindsight are left with treasures helping us lead rich lives beyond what we could have known… xxx

  5. Dennis Chamberlain on December 21st, 2016

    “Bearing Contraction” and “Narrowing” and the words that follow those remarkably descriptive terms really get your message across in a beautiful way Cathy. And thanks to Shanti for her words: “….offering my presence with an open heart is the most valuable gift I can give any living being.” That, too, describes Cathy so well that the two of you must be, in meaningful ways, true sisters.

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