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CONFESSIONS OF AN AGORAPHOBIC

stretch out from your omfort zone today

On Sammiches & Psych Meds

"I envision my hand on the door knob, jolting the creaky barrier, taking my first deep breath outside, and feeling like a child being born all over again. But it is too much for me. Too much. I am going back to bed. To the safety of my bed."

Through my window I see a scattered array of lines on the beach.  Scattered lines and circles throughout the world.  A colossal rim that engulfs the ocean, like a cell swallowing a parasite in endocytosis.  The rocks around the shore generously hug the wide, wide waters, a warm, open mother hug as the waves gently tap at her breast.

I see circles everywhere.  Circles and rims.  In the footprints on the sand, in the scattered clouds, the circular dance of the seagulls atop the water, the sun sits in a circle.  Circle of air around my face where my cheeks should be.  Empty circle in my heart opening up to the world, trying the sun on for size.

What is a circle and why do they mean so many things?  There are good and bad circles.  Of course, we never know the type while circling.  We can only judge by how we feel at every curve.  Or we can just reverse directions and see what feels right anymore.  Who judges which is the right way to go in a circle? Is God a man, a static web of spirit like the clouds in the sky, or is He just one big, all-encompassing circle?  Does God jet about like rays of comet-fire, asteroids in the great unknown, or does He move in calm, horizontal flowing lines like the tide into infinity?  Or does He knowingly circulate around the world, like a shark stalking its prey?  How does God watch us and what on earth is He waiting for?

Scattered lines, structured lines, methodical lines, asymmetrical lines all over the beach today.  Calm, outreaching lines in the deep, deep blue ocean all flowing, all moving from the horizon to the shore. Moving away from something and towards something…but which side is “away” and which side is “towards”?  It’s all so subjective.  Which side is right and which side is wrong?  Which is releasing to and which is reaping the bounty?  Who is the giver and who is the taker?  Horizontal ripples of the sea, like little commas in an everlasting sentence.

Which side is life?  The sky or the sandy shore?  And where does the tide want to go?  Where do I want to go?  I belong with the tide, slow and steady lines emerging one by one from the skylight, appearing out of nothing, popping into the world like candy from a vending machine, contently bobbing down the vast fluid path, moving away from its heavenly source of light, floating, floating to a world of life, a world of energy, a world of people.  And the sparks of sunlight – heaven’s gift to the mortal world – are bundled up in each ripple, like a portrait in a locket, carried across the water on a night-sea journey and gently tossed onto the sand.  And it sanctifies the shore, so each crystal of sand glows with divine light when the sun hits it – a mother fawning on her earth-children.

But light never stands still – it jumps from speck to speck, atom to atom, wind to wind, branch to branch, person to person, like water in a fountain.  It transfers itself, gives itself over, transfers itself ever so generously from the surface of the blown-about sand, into the feet, the soles and the souls that walk about it.  And they become heightened and enlightened as they walk about the world, and the world becomes holy, and then my world becomes holy, and I want to do all I can and more to be the most alive I can truly be and hold onto life like a never-ending song and sing until there is no music left in the world and then sail away on an empty staff, with the treble clef as my oar.

Woman with the Growing Trees Amy Oestreicher

Movement is everywhere, all around me, embedded in every corner of my world, flooding through my window screen, mirroring the movement in the neurons in my brain. I feel my blood circulating, my heart beating, my chest thumping, my stomach deeply gasping, the sparks of light collapsing over one another all over my body, like a child turning and turning over a kaleidoscope.  I see myself precariously balanced on a tiny horizontal wave, gripping its liquid edge to me like a warm winter blanket and riding it home.  Homeward bound, whatever that means, as the wind pokes at my hair and carries me towards my destiny, towards life, towards the enchanted feet, soles, and souls that wander along the shore, towards a welcoming world of blessed people and blessed life.  It’s all waiting for me.  But for now I peer over it from my window, like Rapunzel waiting for her prince to come.

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From my window, I spot a single tree.  It is growing from the ground?  Or did it blossom from the sky?  What a wonder that trees grow vertically, coming from a tiny seed ingrained deep in the folds of the earth, guided by baby angel dancers, little cherubs with plump, blushing bottoms that chant and sing and glide along the grassy surface, whispering “grow little seed, grow.” And then it might sprout a branch or two, maybe find that later in life it needs to deviate a bit to the left, detour maybe a little farther with tertiary twigs, indulge itself further along with a leafy head of hair, eventually thriving and flourishing into a full-bodied, fruitful sculpture. Nature carves it, wraps it in bark like a present, and adorns it with shedding leaves as it grows closer and closer to full maturity and enlightenment.  But whichever way it twists, turns, blooms, and transforms, it always grows up.  That’s what I like about trees – no matter the storm, the ice, snow, wind, hail or sun shower, they always know where they’re headed.

My life, from here on forth, will be directional, just like a tree.  I will know where I come from and know where I am headed.  I may grow a branch here or there, or may sprout one branch that droops slightly down to kiss the earth or to shade a patch of lilies, but I will always be growing up.  Isn’t that all we can ever do?

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The tree blossoms with tiny purple buds that branch out like bronchioles of the lung.  I feel my own lungs and my own vibrant vitality.  I am clenching onto life with eager hands, my fingernails stubbornly dug into all of its beautifully rugged crevices.

I see the circulation of frosty wind in the air align itself with the glowing breath circling through my core.  The purple bronchioles dangling off the tree branches give off puffs of air to the sky, and the sun sets into each limb.  Who is giving and who is receiving?  Who is the healer and who is being healed?  Which way are the arrows pointing?

All I know is that there is a wealth of life about me.  Under me, in me, around me.  I feel the arrows that weave themselves into circles, point thisaway and thataway, all over the sky, all over the globe, reaching and pushing their hands out to stretch the walls of my heart, dancing around my vessels, using my arteries as their sleeping bag.  I embrace the arrows and take off on their fiery trail like a god-bound rocket.  I feel the baby angels within me, I feel a factory in my body, the tiny workers with their cranes and machinery in my organs, I see the molecules floating down my bloodstream like floating tires in a creek.

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I envision my hand on the door knob, jolting the creaky barrier, taking my first deep breath outside, and feeling like a child being born all over again.

But it is too much for me. Too much.

I am going back to bed. To the safety of my bed.

Have you ever had one of those days where you just don’t want to get out of bed?

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