Oasis
Gretchen Schmelzer Blog
by Gretchen Schmelzer
5d ago
It wasn’t any angel who hovered, wings high, upright body, head bowed, not in prayer, so much as attention. But really, any blessing in a desert feels holy. A small spark of energy on a still hot morning where all I can find are fragments and pieces, no threads to weave them together. Sometimes just enough has healed to make the climb. Sometimes the path through the burning sand gives way to water and a grove of palms. Sometimes when it seems you can’t take one more step you realize that it’s breathing and friendship that will always save you— and you remember to have faith that the deep ..read more
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Grow What You Can
Gretchen Schmelzer Blog
by Gretchen Schmelzer
2w ago
A spring rain is falling on my garden this morning. It is lush and green, and it is a really different garden than the one I planned and created at the start of the pandemic. For the three years of Covid my little urban garden was both sanctuary and therapy. When I moved in it was a scruffy backyard with some raised beds. I watched Gardener’s World on YouTube and sketched new perennial borders. I combed through seed catalogs buying too many seed packets, and then growing 1000’s of seedlings under lights in the winter. I planted hundreds of Spring bulbs. I planted native flowers and perennials ..read more
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Healing: One twig at a time
Gretchen Schmelzer Blog
by Gretchen Schmelzer
3w ago
The outside world often makes healing from trauma seem like a linear path. You find someone to talk to and you just tell your story. But talking about trauma isn’t easy, and telling your story is almost never linear. Traumatic memory, as I have written about before, is fragmented—and the experience of trauma fragments the actual experience—the feelings, the thoughts, the images. So in retelling it, it often comes back in pieces, not paragraphs. When you start getting words out it can feel precarious. Last summer I sat by the water where I am spent some time writing on the coast of Maine. That ..read more
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The Beauty isn't Separate from the Mess
Gretchen Schmelzer Blog
by Gretchen Schmelzer
1M ago
  A mourning dove perches low sunlight gold on cold stone, while rock sleeps, the faithful wait for a sign of life below. Hide and seek, lost and found-- spring’s miracles are waiting games —but really, who has forty days to pray to the frozen ground?   I now move too slow, like everything, I am learning to walk again, or is it the first time?   Quietly growing new bones. The old gods never had patience-- but I learned to wrap myself in persistence— my grandmothers called it love— and on this cold morning on my walk at the edge of the path, I was blessed-- through scattered ..read more
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One Acorn. One Tree. Small Change. Big Change.
Gretchen Schmelzer Blog
by Gretchen Schmelzer
1M ago
“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn” — Ralph Waldo Emerson Out of small things, big things grow. Out of one small change, many changes can come. Healing happens because you say one word, you make one move, you try one more time. An acorn produces an oak, which in a good year can produce 70,000 – 150,000 acorns. One seed. One tree. Exponential change.  Exponential change. But not immediate change. Oaks take a long while to grow. They are lovely young trees, but you don’t get the full effect for at least a decade, sometime two. But they are growing every day. And it is hard ..read more
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To be defeated by bigger and bigger things
Gretchen Schmelzer Blog
by Gretchen Schmelzer
2M ago
Rilke said that the purpose of life is to be defeated by bigger and bigger things.  And there are just some nights, like this one, where this feels truer than others. I don’t mean that the past week was bad. I mean that it was a week where I threw myself out into the waves and got rolled around a lot. Where I had to try new things, and old things. Where I had the opportunity to learn and make some new mistakes. And I did. I made some beautiful mistakes. But I also know that it wasn’t just the challenges that got me. When Rilke talked about the bigger things defeating us—he meant the bigg ..read more
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Lost and Found.
Gretchen Schmelzer Blog
by Gretchen Schmelzer
2M ago
“I mean, what bird sings in a blizzard? And how can I learn that kind of hope?” — GLS This morning when I got up and looked out of my window, a chubby red cardinal was sitting on the fence next door looking around. He was surveying the yard covered with the flotsam and jetsam of early spring storms And of course he was singing. Or flirting. I don’t really know. I don’t speak Cardinal. Lately I have been writing about the hope and longing for Spring and seeing him, cheeky and red this morning made me feel hopeful. Made me feel like I had ordered him out of some ‘Looking for signs of Spring’ ca ..read more
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Purpose as a way to heal and grow
Gretchen Schmelzer Blog
by Gretchen Schmelzer
2M ago
“It is said that before entering the sea a river trembles with fear. She looks back at the path she has traveled, from the peaks of the mountains, the long winding road crossing forests and villages. And in front of her, she sees an ocean so vast, that to enter there seems nothing more than to disappear forever. But there is no other way. The river cannot go back. Nobody can go back. To go back is impossible in existence. The river needs to take the risk of entering the ocean because only then will fear disappear, because that’s where the river will know it’s not about disappearing into the o ..read more
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A letter of love to trauma survivors
Gretchen Schmelzer Blog
by Gretchen Schmelzer
3M ago
For those of you who have been hurt or who grew up with trauma you may know the word love, but you may not understand what it means. Or maybe you understand what it means in fiction, or movies, or other people, but you don’t know what it feels like. When people say they love you—you can think about the word love, you have an idea of what they are trying to say, you know they are trying to be nice, but your body feels numb, or you feel like you are watching the whole conversation from the outside. Love is something other people understand. Love is an abstraction. Survival mode makes it hard to ..read more
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This is what you do.
Gretchen Schmelzer Blog
by Gretchen Schmelzer
3M ago
We often think that when we have messed up or have made a mistake (again), and tell someone, we think what we want is reassurance. “Oh, it's OK” or “I’m sure it wasn't that bad” or “I’ll bet no one even noticed.”  Something to take the sting, or embarrassment or shame out of that experience. Something to make that bad feeling go away. But I found that there is a different response that is actually bigger than reassurance, and it’s even bigger than making that bad feeling go away. Many years ago, I offered to make dinner for what turned out to be a dinner party at a friend's house. I had ..read more
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