VISION QUEST

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It is not easy for me to try new things.

I tend to hem and haw, make excuses, convince myself I don’t have the time, energy, or perhaps even a genuine desire.  In reality, I get in my own way.  My inner conversation sounds like this:  “you’re just a mediocre photographer”, “you’ve never had any lessons, so how could you EVER sing publicly?”….. or…. “there are so many good writers out there…. would anyone really care about what you have to say?”

And then….this week….something surprising happened.

A Facebook photo of immigrant children seeking asylum, forcefully separated from their parents, provoked me to respond with a brief statement on social media.  Within a day, my post blew up…..receiving  5.1K responses with 4.3 thousand thumbs up, 662 hearts, and over 350 comments!

I had two reactions.

Astounded at the overwhelmingly positive replies to my thoughts and feelings, I realized my words had power, influence, connection to a mass of people… and that perhaps what I had to say had some import.

The second awareness….was a reminder that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. 

In addition to overwhelming support and positive remarks, the Facebook response was sprinkled with not just disagreement, but vicious attack.  I mentioned my age in the comment and was met with…” this one escaped the dementia unit”, “you are truly the definition of a 68-year-old fool”, “so…68 and senile?” as well as a few others that referred to me as basically decrepit, demented, out of touch and well past my sexual prime.

The fear of potential criticism and ridicule that often diverts me from taking risks momentarily overrode my desire to express myself.   My self-talk was riddled with apprehension about using my voice through writing.

The fear was simultaneously met with a memory.

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I recalled a Vision Quest on the desolate beaches of Chatham on Cape Cod.  It was over seventeen years ago that I stepped off a small fishing boat onto that wide, expansive strip of sand, several hours walk to where the beach eventually reunited with the mainland.  Strolling the shoreline, accompanied by dozens of seals playfully bobbing and rolling in the surf, engaging me with dark, soft eyes of curiosity….I enthusiastically embraced the opportunity of silence and inner dialogue rarely offered in day-to-day life.

Between a bottle of water and a few granola bars, I had tucked a camera in my backpack.  A favorite picture taken that day is the photograph above of the solitary seashell I discovered among the steep, wind-blown dunes.  The shell, symbolic of a spiral journey into myself… and the interaction with the sleek-bodied mammals…evoked three words I later wrote in marker on a smooth, oval-shaped stone dropped in my pack on the way back to civilization.

PLAY….CREATE….RISK

So here I sit….fingers tapping a keyboard… pushing through doubt and fear….in an attempt to embrace those words and venture into the world of blogging!

In response to Facebook hostility, I titled the blog:

“Musing with Margaret….Approaching Seventy….with Hair… and Soul on Fire.”

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, comments… and (gentle) feedback.  Smile.

18 thoughts on “VISION QUEST

  1. Beautifully written, Margaret! You’ve taken me back on a journey down Memory Lane when I, too, disembarked from the same small boat, ready to get in touch with my long forgotten self. You see, I was newly divorced from a 24 yr marriage, mother of two lovely daughters, and desperately trying to figure out what next. My rocks read quiet and passion and create and possibilities.

    I’ll never forget the courage you gave me as our group of 25 women were encouraged to share our “stories” of the hours spent walking the beach searching for our metaphors of life. Intimidated by the process, not wanting to risk the possibility of not being heard, while yearning to share my musings, I rehearsed a canned response in my mind similar to others before me until you shared your words in such a genuine way. A few participants later, it was my turn! Buoyed by your willingness to risk, I proceeded to read from my beach journal words of discovery I didnt believe were mine. I shocked myself as I was immediately thrown into one of the biggest “aha” moments of my life!

    Thank you, Margaret, for reminding me to take risks, create, and play as I traverse new vision quests yet to be discovered, yet very much possible!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dee Ann….I reposted your comment on my FB page. Thank you for acknowledging my courage…sometimes I forget I have any. You write beautifully…I remember you sharing in that circle and how impressed I was with your words and your authenticity. ❤️

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      1. I’m sincerely humbled by your comments, Margaret, which will resonate with me as strength to continue taking risks and a reminder that courage isn’t as elusive as I sometimes think! Transition times traverse the gamut of emotions. Knowing none of us are unique with these is how Musings with Margaret will be a tangible support in our respective journeys. Thank you, friend for the gift of encouragement!

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  2. Margaret,
    I remember that quest well and so love that you are pulling that into this journey! You are a beautiful writer and your words have passion, soul and impact.

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  3. Margaret,
    Way to go! Great blog and as a wonderful women once said to me. “If they aren’t talking about you, you aren’t that important.” You have lots to say, are important and I look forward to reading more of your posts.

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  4. You are my inspiration and muse. Thank you for your tremendous support and encouragement ever since I met you. I continue to grow and learn from you, admire your spunk and spirit…and YOU are the epitome and prime example of a seeker and risk taker. Thank you for always shining the light on my path. ❤️💋

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  5. Dear Margaret,
    Thank you very much for sharing. It took me down Memory Lane and stirred different emotions. You are a special lady. You have the gift to write and beautifully. Sometimes we as woman think we are alone is our thoughts or feelings or ideas and keep them buried deep inside. Heaven forbid one would want to share for fear of not fitting in or belonging….. I thank you for sharing your blog with with me. I am honored. You have given me much to think about or should say re-think as I “lost’ something over the years and have not had the courage to find it again but your words are certainly encouraging…..walking that beach does something to the soul. Great job!!! Keep writing and thank you again for sharing with me. It means much…….xoxo

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  6. My Dad fell in love with Mom,married her at 17,he was 23, 7 children later I was sure Sex had to be trouble so boys were,too. I played sports and was naive to this world of teenhood that came with no handbook, no map. It was trial and error. I met my husband at Age 14, at Age 19…he went to Vietnam..I believe The War has some responsibility for our Feministic Freedom….Protests, Woodstock, RockNRoll…we wanted out of the kitchen and into the Fire Of Life…and we stumbled our way through..
    I was last to get married, have children, I resisted the white picket fence with its ties to the mundane..but it was SEX and the miracle of birth that gave me the answers to why we’re here….
    In our world today…we have the capability to be stronger, brighter, academically and athletically…
    WE ARE FREE..and fight daily to keep those freedoms..no man…who does not bear in the womb…LIFE..can truly attest to the LABOR of that LOVE..he can love deeply and with extreme compassion…BUT he lacks the cord that feeds the fetus..
    All is Fair in LOVE and WAR..all should be EQUAL in SEX and OUR FREEDOM to choose…another Blog…right Margaret, my compadre’…we write..,we share…we SING from the rooftops…
    Our children are stronger, tech advanced, degreed, hard-working and make us proud..
    My grandgirls sport athletic wear GIRLS RULE, GIRLS RUN, GIRLS RUN THE WORLD….
    Yes…give us that RESPECT as Aretha proposed so long ago…WE’VE EARNED IT….😘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I smiled and applauded reading your comment. We are the generation that changed things for women…and we need to be vigilant to sustain and maintain those freedoms we’ve fought so hard for. Love that you are following my blog….(posting another article tomorrow 😊)…I know we have shared a great passion for writing since we met almost 60 years ago. ❤️

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  7. Just read your blog, my friend. And as you know I’m a ruminater…a big old cow (metaphorically speaking) standing still in the grass, chewing on her thoughts. So let me swallow and metabolize your words. I will say this, today I woke up depressed about this country’s direction– to tears actually. I spent time looking around for something that would help me and thought of calling you. But alas, there was your blog! Waiting in the wings. So see, there’s no retirement for helpers. One way or the other you’re always there. 🌹

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