Snowcapped Mission Mountains and Willow Trees North of Missoula, Montana


A Seattle friend asked if I was staying with friends in Montana in a huge cabin in the woods. No, it’s a regular neighborhood. But you get to stare at the mountains from the kitchen door and patio. It is quiet and peaceful. Running to the store means driving through an old town and passing a ranch where the cows graze through the snow patches and horses run in paddocks. All set against a backdrop of majestic, towering hills. Although I am usually alone with my thoughts in my little bubble of an apartment in Madison Park, I find myself content, less fearful, at peace and of course, not lonely here in Swallowsville. I thought I came to be with a fellow DD patient but I got blessed with the fellowship of a family, including pets!

I am thankful that even though there has been much hurt and pain in the past, I have always tried to forgive and move on for myself. I don’t have it all in order all the time, but I am trying my hardest. I have set boundaries in my life, a few of which some people may not understand. In doing so, I unknowingly freed up heart space and opened myself up to genuine friends. It is my manna from heaven. To be savoured by me through my life on earth. That is my relationship with Terri. She is more than a mere friend. We have grown so close, it is beyond a sisterhood even. I found myself overly protective of her when she went in for an outpatient procedure at the hospital yesterday. I was humbled that for once, I got to be the caretaker. And I got given the blessing of being that for Terri even though it was only a few hours. It is a circle of people who truly understand each other’s struggles and pain. Then choose to acknowledge the pain and suffering, but vow to always find hope, joy and teachable moments in every situation.

I also learnt sometimes, there are people who may take time to show you their real selves, their real souls. Many are used to being a pit stop in other peoples lives – the momentary friend; they will always expect you to move on the very moment there is a misunderstanding. Yes, it is hard staying put sometimes to show them there will be people who will stay, who will always be a friend. Listen to your intuition and your inner wisdom, unclouded by the chatter all around. Never allow for abuse. Neglect is abuse. Harsh and cruel words, mocking words, eye rolls when you try to explain your feelings, manipulation of emotions. Continually being disrespected and/or ignored. All account for emotional and mental abuse. And for someone who is chronically ill, it determines the level of healing you will gain even from your normal medications. If your gut is so wound up from stress, how will you really be able to absorb not just your meds, but nutrients from your food?

Being in this place at this time, I am coming to the true understanding of the knitting of hearts even if it was brought on by a horrible and painful illness. I am thankful that although I was going through so much at that time, I had reached out to Terri and offered to find us a place to stay in Laguna Beach for our get together this past June. I am reminded of the phrase, ‘taking the first step’. I am grateful to have learnt that even while I work out my issues, my problems and deal with high level of pain on a daily basis, I do not need to continually judge others or hold on to grudges. It’s cliche to say, “Let it go”. Yet it is precisely what I had to do. I had to, and still need to, loosen up. If I didn’t it would be as if I were trapped in the woods. Where it is perpetually winter.

Dark. Lonely. Frigid. Lost.

Make the very conscious choice of not holding on the anger or retribution. Release yourself from the negativity before it turns into the deep roots of judgment and hatred and binds you forever in its grip.

Choose life. Choose beauty in all its forms. Choose laughter. Choose joy!

“Loving and accepting those who violate others is not about condoning the behavior or even tolerating it in your own life. It also doesn’t mean that there aren’t consequences to this kind of behavior. Having compassion for those who engage in such behaviors doesn’t mean you must stay married to these people or even allow them into your social circle. It’s not only your right to set boundaries in the face of these kinds of behaviors; it’s imperative. But boundaries can exist in the absence of judgment. You can set limits that protect you and your loved ones without making someone wrong. Remember, judgment only burdens the judger. The minute you judge others, you lower your own vibration and step out of the vibration of love, which is the frequency of miracles. Judgment itself is the ultimate violation of all spiritual principles. Love and judgment simply cannot coexist. But love and discernment can.”

– Dr. Lisa Rankin M.D.


[image courtesy of Kenter Photography]

3 thoughts on “In the Woods

  1. You inspire my heart, during a really hard time. I wish my heart to become open and free, as yours is.

  2. tambra momi says:

    Your words are an inspiration! Breathtakingly beautiful….

    1. ginabentley says:

      Thank you!! Much appreciated 🙂

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