Sticking a spade into the ground, I’m beyond chiding myself for struggling with a sense of linear time. July 11 is not ideal for planting but time escaped me and the rootbound plants in their pots whispered, “Plant me or bust.”

I don’t even know what the plants are, but judging by their blossoms, I’ll hope for squash. They deserve dirt and time to grow.

This is the worse case of scatterbrain I’ve had.

Have you ever panicked because you seriously don’t know what time it is? Or which day of the month? Have you left a room and forgotten why?

Earlier today I rushed out of the Rodeo Room only to pause because I realized I forgot to take my supplements (you know, the ones that are supposed to improve memory). As I turned to go back, I glanced into the Unicorn Room, longing to go do my yoga, but first I need coffee but before coffee, I need supplements. While I froze in place doing mental flip-flops, Todd exited the master bedroom and shut the bathroom door. “Noooo…! I have to pee!” Yep, that’s why I left my room in the first place. I stood dancing to hold it in the hallway, wondering what is wrong with my brain.

It’s disconcerting for a caregiver to someone with TBI issues to develop an unreliable brain, too. But I don’t believe there’s anything physically wrong. When my job at Finlandia University ended, I lost an important anchor to time and space. Though I’m thrilled to be working on projects and being home more, I need a mental framework. And I need to resume my daily meditation practice.

Having fallen off my unicorn, so to speak, I can attest to the importance of daily yoga, ritual, and meditation by experiencing its lack in my daily life. I’m learning that as a dream tender and story-catcher, I must be grounded in these practices that can feel out of time and body. It’s incredible to learn how to work within the imaginal, but equally, I need to remember to return my focus to here and now. Evolution, growth, and personal alchemy are good but we must embody what we are transforming.

Every transformation demands as its precondition the ending of a world — the collapse of an old philosophy of life.”

Carl Jung

Perhaps this is the state of the world. With world news and weather, it can feel as if we are at the end of the world. But what if we are at the beginning of its creation? Its renewal. Transformation of humanity into a more peaceful co-existence. I met with a friend for coffee to ponder this thought and share my dreams with her (it’s useful to tend dreams among dreamers because it amplifies the images the same way we expand the idea of a single prompt as a literary community).

She kept glancing at the plastic menu sign between us, her eyes widening as she listened. Her response was to turn the menu card around where someone had penned, “Destruction before creation.” We both laughed and got teary-eyed. Yes. The collective is feeling this vibe. What’s percolating in your imaginal?

According to mythologist, Renee Coleman, author of Icons of a Dreaming Heart, the imaginal is located in our hearts. That fits what I believe about creative writing, too. As readers and writers, we can tell the difference between something written from the head and something written from the heart.

“The heart is an organ of perception.”

Lama Surya Das

Indigenous people remember this form of communication, which connects us to Nature, to the Sacred. They know to heal a Veteran Ogichidaa (Warrior). Our Tribe at Keweenaw Bay is building a veteran’s healing center for Indigenous Ogichdaa, which I wrote about (from the imaginal) as occurring where I set my novel, Miracle of Ducks. A few VA Hospitals have sweat lodges and traditional medicines, but these will be located in the Tribal Nation for Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. And Rodney Loonsfoot is leading the way.

Notice that Rodney mentioned the time to process emotion as part of healing. You don’t often hear veterans speak of emotion. But emotion is vital to the perceived images of the heart. To heal emotion is to heal the heart wounds of trauma and suffering for any human. Healing involves a spiritual element, a recovery of psyche.

“There can be no transforming of darkness into light and of apathy into movement without emotion.”

Carl Jung

This leads me to wonder what emotions hide beneath my bout of scatterbrainedness. When Finlandia University announced its closure, I knew it would be wise to find a therapist to guide my inner work. While I don’t like telehealth therapy for veterans (they need face-to-face), I was excited to find a plethora of therapists not bound by where we live. This is different from my caregiver-centric counseling. I wanted to go deep, transform, and create. I found my therapist in Texas, and she specializes in my needs.

Today, she helped me realize something about the fears that spark my struggles. We got down to emotion and relationships. She asked me many questions, but one was profound — “What role models do you have for parents of adult children?” Although I can think of families I admire, I don’t have any actual role models to show me how. It further occurred to me that I never fully grieved for the fledging of my children, and had been struck earlier this year by the postponement of grief at the loss of a twin when my son was born (thank you, Gloria!).

On October 31 (due date willing), I’ll be an elder, a grandmother, a gigi to goats and a wee bairn. But I’m not feeling confident as a mother to adult children. I have uncertainty and that’s not a good base to build a grandparent relationship upon. I know I’m a good mother; I know I love my children, but I don’t have an image of what it looks like and that gives me an underlying avoidance. What else am I avoiding? Is this really fear or grief or some untouched and unnamed emotion I have yet to face? The inner work continues!

In the meantime, I’m curious to know what we consider healthy, strong, and loving relationships between a parent and a grown child. And I’m curious beyond parent/child; it can be nephews or nieces, or children once taught or mentored. Did you have good role models to prepare you for later-in-life relationships?

And if anyone else is struggling with a sense of time and grounding, or if it has come up in your dreams, let me know in the comments!

July 11, 2023, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a loving relationship with an adult child. What happens when a significant child in one’s life becomes an adult? Think beyond a son or daughter — a niece or nephew, a former student, a grandchild. How did the relationship shift? What is the importance of the new dynamic? Go where the prompt leads!

  1. Submit by July 17, 2023. Please use the form below if you want to be published in the weekly collection. The Collection publishes on the Thursday following the next Challenge. Stories must be 99 words. Rules & Guidelines.
  2. Writers retain all copyrights to any stories published at Carrot Ranch.
  3. A website or social media presence is not required to submit. A blog or social media link will be included in the title of any story submitted with one.
  4. Please include your byline with your title on one line. Example: Little Calves by Charli Mills. Your byline can be different from your name.
  5. Please include the hashtag #99WordStories when sharing either the Challenge or Collection posts on social media.

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