Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The Woodpecker at the End of the World


I wrote the goodbye note and left it on my desk in my bedroom, for my family to find. I was sorry… for everything… for my failures of the past and the pain I was inflicting on them with my impending suicide.

As had been a pattern in my life, I found the breakdown of close relationships excruciatingly difficult… and this woman… I believed she was the elusive one – the love of my life, my soulmate…

Before we met, physically, we had talked on the phone every night, wrote long, rambling emails filled with hope and unguarded expressions of affection. I eventually moved down the country to be closer to her, and we’d share long nights full of laughter and love-making… well, I was making love… she just used to shout a lot, but that was still quite nice!

Losing her felt like the greatest tragedy of all the tragedies I had filled my life with – and perhaps the sting of sorrow was even more acute because she looked a lot like Princess Leia, and we never did get round to the gold bikini thing. She’d promised me… it was just another betrayal.

I walked out of my house, at dawn, with a ligature made from knotted, plastic refuse sacks and headed off to the woods I used to explore and play in, as a child, in carefree days when girls had germs and they smelled.

Venturing deep and far out of sight of the path, I settled myself down behind a large tree and readied myself, ligature in hand. I looped it and made a slipknot.

I couldn’t see for tears and my shoulders were shaking from sobbing, but my teeth were clenched and I didn’t make much noise.

I felt worthless… abandoned… unloved and unlovable. I looked back on my life and - from my teenage years, onward - saw nothing but chaos, misery, error after error that I never learnt from, all wrapped up in crippling depression.

I wanted it to end. I wanted to leave. I just wanted peace.

There’s nothing cowardly about suicide, and there’s nothing brave. When you reach that point, it’s the end of the world…

… the mental pressure is overwhelming… you can’t see a way out… you can’t find a reason to want to see a way out…

I didn’t go into the woods because I wanted saved. There was no more crying for help. I just wanted to be over.

Lost in my dark thoughts, I put the ligature around my neck and closed my eyes, ready to pull it tight.

Then I heard a tapping… the rapid hammering of a woodpecker against one of the trees in the wood. I opened my eyes and while I listened, the early-morning Sun shone on my face through the branches. There was such warmth from it, against my skin, after sitting there in the cold Spring dawn.

I was enthralled by the noise of the bird, all of a sudden. There would be periods of hammering, then quiet, and then the hammering would begin again from another area of the woods.

I’d stopped crying. I’d stopped reflecting on those dark thoughts. Though I still had that make-shift noose around my neck, the urge to destroy myself had left.

I don’t know much about woodpeckers, but I knew it was banging its head against the tree. I imagined, when it fell silent, it had had enough at trying at that particular trunk and simply moved on to another. Maybe it was feeding, but I pictured it looking for a surface giving enough to peck a home in.

There was a lesson there.

And I smiled… listening intently, with the Sun shining on my face…

I didn’t realise it then, but I had been dragged into the moment… into an exquisite peace where all my thoughts vanished and I was just being – and by listening, watching and feeling, I saw the beauty of my surroundings, and of life.

It felt like someone or something was telling me that it wasn’t my time to leave.

I went home.

That was about four years ago. There were still many mistakes to be made before my awakening, last February… but that was my first recollection of experiencing the bliss of present awareness.

I know, now, that I wasn’t in love with that woman. It wasn’t pure. It was an egoic thirst to feel needed and wanted, and real love doesn’t exist in the mind… it bubbles up from the soul. That’s not to say there was no love there… love – just like the song says – is all around. It would be shared between everyone on this planet, if we just had the clarity to feel it and express it freely.

Love is the strength of being, within, that allows these precious souls to leave your life… and as much as it hurts, you wish from your soul the best for them – except for crap sex, obviously.

108 comments:

  1. From @Michiganbelle on Twitter:

    "I appreciate a woodpecker that would spare family and friends unbearable lasting pain!"

    Thank you! Me too. :-)

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  2. We are always given signs. It's up to us to recognise them.
    You did. Phew!
    Elpi

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  3. Thank you, Elpi! I'm glad I saw them, too! :-)

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  4. Thank you, Laurie. :-)

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  5. very nicely written Les...

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  6. Thank you, Beverley! :-)

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  7. This is a really great story in every way. In all honesty, it is. I know it reflects on a place of grief, but it is story to celebrate.

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  8. Thank you! I don't feel any of the grief, now... it really is like writing about someone else, although I know I experienced it. I really appreciate your comment. :-)

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  9. I'm thankful you are here to write this! The lesson here is that you lead with your heart and love and fall deeply and courageously! I can't help but think if that woodpecker, joyfully banging his head against a treetrunk can save a life by merely existing, imagine how powerful a person can be living with similar intent?

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  10. I guess I'm trying to be that woodpecker to as many people I can, with my words. It would be wonderful to help wake others up before they have to face such dark moments.

    Thank you for the touching comment. :-)

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  11. This is beautiful, it really is, been there not with a ligature though, perhaps a few bottles of pills and you are completely right, "love is not in the mind, it bubbles from the soul", signs are epiphanies and everyone needs at least one.

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  12. I seem to have been shown a lot of signs over the years, even if some only became visible after passing them by. Thank you for the comment! :-)

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  13. An incredibly moving piece, I'm so glad I found this. I've read it a couple of times now and it takes my breath away. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Signs are amazing, aren't they? So very pleased that the woodpeckers were there that day and that you listened. Beautiful.

    And nice to meet you! ;-)

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  14. Thank you so much, Talei! Yeah, I look out for them a lot more, now... or look in for them, I suppose. I'm just about to head back them before dusk, actually. I wonder if I'll hear them? :-)

    Great to meet you, too! :-)

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  15. I recognised the signs a number of times, but it was a long time before I finally felt what I'd known, logically, all those years. Well done for having the courage to tell the story.

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  16. Thank you, Anne-Mhairi! I guess everything happens at just the right time, and that wasn't my time for a full awakening - just a glimpse to carry me on. :-)

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  17. Les,

    Life happens around us; some pay attention and some don't.
    I'm happy you paid attention to the woodpecker that day. Call it what you will - fate, karma, kismet, but you decided it was not your time.

    That's good for us because we have your lovely writing today because of it.

    eden

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  18. Thank you so much, Eden. I'm glad I took the time to listen, too. :-)

    The river that flows past my village is the River Eden. It's a beautiful place. :-)

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  19. With a name like Eden, I would be surprised if it was anything else but. ;)

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  20. I know that 'bubbling love' — you have reminded me of the joy of it. So long ago when first it came. I found it hard to contain — bubble, bubble, bubble up, up up and over to start again. Dizzy with the intensity of it all. For me, it is the Holy Spirit — Divine and energising. For you a 'lifeforce'? Whatever, it matters not, for it is what links us soul with soul, soul with nature. Thank you you for your words and may you go from strength to strength bringing hope to others through this wonderful medium of Lesisms!

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  21. I guess it doesn't matter what we call it, as long as we can feel it.

    Thank you so much for commenting, Gladys! I'm really enjoying writing these posts and thankful that they seem to be helping, already. :-)

    Hugs,

    Les x

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  22. Thank fuck for that woodpecker!

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  23. Ha, absolutely! Cheers! :-)

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  24. Thank God for wonderful little creatures. Your time wasn't up and I'm happy that bird was there when it should have been. You are brave and you came to the understanding that your life is precious even if it was in the last possible minute. Love is so complex sometimes and I can only imagine the pain and anguish you felt then and how it must have torn your heart and taken away your mind. But in the end, you are here and that is all that matters. Stay positive.

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  25. Yes, there's no pain attached to the memory, but I'm fortunate I had that moment of clarity, and that the woodpecker was there to remind me that it's actually a very beautiful world we're living it.

    Always have a positive mind, now. Thank you! :-)

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  26. Ack right to the heart with this one. suffice to say I know that place you're coming from, though I won't elaborate here.

    It's amazing what nature can do for us, something like a woodpecker. You know there is a nest of em in my tree in the front yard and I think the parent birds hammered the hole out themselves so I think you're perfectly reasonable in assuming it was looking for some good real estate. :)

    I find the birds around my home to be quite entertaining and soothing, watching them carry on their lives. It's such a peace giver that.

    I am so, so happy you've found a happier place, and also that you can reflect with a clearer mind on the difference between what you thought was love, and what it really was.

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  27. Thank you, Cee - I'm glad you made it through, too!

    They're great to watch... they just get on with their thing, always doing the best that they can in the moment.

    I think there's a wonder in nature that people lose, in that if you look at the stars, they take your breath away... same with mountains and clouds... then woods and rivers... birds and individual trees... but when people get to their most important experience of nature - themselves - many lose that sense of beauty... yet it's there. :-)

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  28. A moving story and one that very many of us will relate to. To be 'in love' is one of the the most important experiences of being human. But this kind of experience happens whenever the 'Self' is unconsciously projected onto/invested in an 'other' exterior - be it person, career, lifestyle, anything. One then becomes completely dependent upon that 'other' to maintain any sense of psychic wholeness or integrity; to see oneself reflected in that 'other'. When people say things like 'I need you' that is what they are saying. But most of us know what this feels like and, especially with the human experience of 'love', it also has its 'divine'-feeling dimension too! My poem 'Revelations on a Tropical Night' (http://waywardladypoetry.blogspot.com/ post for Sun 19th June) in fact describes a profound revelationary experience of Love when with someone I was quite besotted with at the time. I learned through this experience and the affair with him the true difference between the two sorts of 'Love'. That said, I did have some immensely enjoyable times at that 'human' level too(as well as very painful ones)! And the easier to enjoy/remember when you no longer depend upon that person (or anyone/thing) for that deep inner connection with your true 'Self'.
    Apologies btw if this looks a bit 'self promotional', but the poem is too relevant to your post not to mention!
    I found this by way of today's Twitter. It's a good way to keep people reading earlier posts, I should make the effort myself!

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  29. Thank you for such a thoughtful post, Elizabeth! Not self-promotional at all... I really appreciated your poem and linked it on Twitter. You're a great writer. :-)

    I hope we both find the person to share our lives with - the person who will never 'complete' us, but are great fun to be around, all the same. ;-)

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  30. Thanks Les! And thanks very much too for the mention on Twitter (I am not on Twitter much at present, but saw the notification on my email).
    I hope too that we both find 'that person'. Once freed from that damning dynamic of projection and attachment, love - sharing love, making love and all that means is one of the most profoundly fulfilling and enjoyable experiences and expressions of the human spirit (in all its dimensions). Good luck to you; I enjoy your writing too!

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  31. Thanks, Elizabeth. Good luck to you, too! :-)

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  32. I found this reviving. Well done!

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  33. Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it! :-)

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  34. You have taken a dark time and turned it into a hammering, beacon of hope. Love your words. Thank you.

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  35. Thank you, Maggie. :-)

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  36. Sounds a lot like me finding sobriety, no excuses, yours from grief for a loved one, mine just stopped killing myself, being present doesn't suck.... It's a better day, thanks....caw-caw....lol

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  37. I've been there, too.

    It's refreshing to hear of another person with previous alcohol problems who doesn't blame it on a 'disease'. It's a choice, not an illness - not the sort of thing you can stack alongside a child dying of cancer or a teenager needing an urgent heart transplant.

    Much better to live a life without excuses when you know that making the right choice liberates you into real life, eh? :-)

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  38. G*d dammit. Now I have another stirring blog to read. Thank you very much for sharing this, Les.

    It IS all about being present. [reminding self]

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  39. Hehe, thanks, Sidney! ;-)

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  40. Having read most of your newer posts, I've wanted to save this piece for when I knew a bit more about you.

    I wish for you the most amazing woman who will adore you with the same intensity and love that you give. You deserve nothing less.

    eden

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  41. Thanks for sharing your story with us. My dad's dad killed himself, and it has haunted him his entire life. I'm so glad that woodpecker spoke to you!

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  42. Aw, thank you, Eden. Maybe I've met her already, but she just needs to find out about the secret folder on her husband's computers, with the sailors and the porcupines, and that will free her for us to be together at last? :-)

    As always, I'm touched by your words, and thank you for your immensely positive wishes. I'm sure I'll find that intensity and love. :-)

    Hugs,

    Les

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  43. Les,

    I applaud you for telling this story and for your willingness to be a "Wake Up" woodpecker for all of us.

    Thank you for sharing this story.

    Elliott

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  44. Ah, what a wonderful thing to say, Elliot - thank you so much! I wish I could wake the rest of the world up, but as long as we do what we can, I'm sure things are going to be okay. :-)

    Les

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  45. My gatha response to "The Woodpecker at the End of the World"

    A woodpecker's gift

    Attached to hard love
    The wind blew fast
    lust left with joy
    Present only Emptiness, pain
    Death on my mind
    A woodpecker pecked
    Life woke me up

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  46. Thank you again! I love these! :-)

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  47. wow.. enthrolled is an understatement.. i am so touched by the story.. in my youth had some wildly miserable days and thought the same thing. then i had children..now the feeling love..compassion and murder rofl sorry ..not really.. but my mind set is different as if i ever get that depressed again..i would think about them..couldnt do that to them..leaving them by my own hand.. well sorry to be so wordy lol .. my life..according to me! lol LNovak

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  48. I'm glad you made it through with strength, Laura. :-)

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  49. Les, I have read this truly touching story several times, as it gives me strength,and every time my eyes fill up with tears of sadness and then joy. I am so very grateful that something stopped you in the woods that morning! You are have such a positive influence on so many peoples lives; I am delighted that you are still around to share your enlightenment with us as it unfolds!
    Bless you Les! Thanks for sticking around!
    Hugs,
    Derrick

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  50. Hehe, thank you, Derrick. I hope to get a chance to stick around for a lot longer. Thank you for your very kind words and I really appreciate the encouragement. :-)

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  51. Thanks Les My 'woodpecker' was a little girl who asked me to tie her shoelace

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  52. ClearlyMeLuise1 August 2011 22:10

    Thank you for sharing something so deep and most of all for sticking around. You shine a brilliant light into all our lives, I can't imagine what a dark space would have been left if that woodpecker hadn't made himself known.

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  53. Gosh... thank you, Luise. I'm genuinely and very touched. :-)

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  54. ClearlyMeLuise1 August 2011 23:12

    You're welcome. :) It's very true.

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  55. Wow~ Thank you for sharing this... it takes a lot of courage to share the truth. Some of us choose to see life in a different light. Some of us feel deeper than others. I rarely share that I'm a survivor of more than abuse. 08/08/08 was my day turned night, a darkness only rare souls survive when the light comes to fruition. Shunned by my ashamed Christian family for trying to complete the one sin I've been taught we cannot find forgiveness for. After all, how does God forgive the sin once you're burning in the abyss? I often ask why... why me? Two-vials of tasty-not, but sweet nontheless, charcoal absorbed forcibly later... I found that I pissed off those who "say" they love me more by OD-ing... So, what's the point? People who say that only the weak commit suicide are weakminded fools. No one has the right to judge another. Most people live oblivious of the suffering that goes on in the world. Some people have a gift of feeling all too much while taking upon themselves the sufferings of others. It takes a lot of balls (pardon me) to actually go through with ending pain. People talk the talk, but can't walk the walk. Most of those outside miss the signs of the one who will attempt the end. Many of us leave no note behind... Love ones are lucky to get a final "I love you" text or email, much less a coveted handwritten note.
    How do we live without the ones we love? How do you live when everything has been stolen?
    How do you survive molestation, rape, abuse/torture and soforth? Let no one judge another without walking in their shoes. I'll give up my shoes if it saves one soul or teaches them lessons without the pain.
    Me... well I fear no man. I don't hide from the truth. I share the blunt truths. I'm a survivor...
    A cocoon opens for a beautiful short life of the butterfly inside... the Mariposa~

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  56. Dude,

    Pick-up the cd by jayz. Because "you've got 99 problems but a _itch ain't one" Love yourself dude. You are a huge talent.
    Today the markets re reeling and there are people living in their cars and you are thinking like this. Hey you have work to do. Suicide is not a cowards work it is the end of work. Now get to work , this country needs you.

    Mark Nejmeh
    732-995-3914
    call anytime
    www.jobcreation.us

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  57. Gosh, that's such a traumatic story, Berteena. I'm so glad you made it through. You've obviously had to find a great deal of strength to do that... but I guess there was never going to be another way for you. I'm happy you're here. :-)

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  58. Hehe, thank you, Mark! It was the recounting of a story from three or four years back, though. I'm out of the woods, though excuse the pun. I appreciate your words, though, and I hope things are going great with your company! :-)

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  59. I am happy you are here too Les and out of the woods...enjoy the days and live life to the full...God Bless you!!! xx

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  60. We live in beautiful lakeside forest where we only cut 3 of dense trees for our shack. One tree was broken and damaged by one which fell against it, Eventually, it died and we watched a pair of woodpeckers work furiously until they had finished a nesting hole and were soon busily feeding young. One day we head them loudly sounding alarm calls and watched as they frantically attacked the entrance of the hole in a frenzy. Then we saw the snake tail hanging from the entrance. Hurriedly, I grabbed the axe, thinking (reacting) I couldn't possibly fell that tree in time.

    Much more detail to story, but I did manage to save one fledgling. We fed it every day by hand with grubs and kept it in a bucket on the roof so it could see/hear the parents, and they him/her/! Believe it or not, they participated in feeding after awhile and had observed our feedings as well (with much initial vociferous trepidation!)
    Even after he/she was flying expertly and was foraging with parents further away she would return occasionally, to visit. We like to think woodpeckers repay us in unknown ways. I decided she was a female because she was SO beautiful and had a special glint in her eye!

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  61. Please do not hesitate to expand wherever your woodpecker leads you. The global, awakening awareness needs guidance of an extraordinary kind. Divergent Influences from many sources, heretofore dispersed by time and chance have suddenly converged on this time and at this place and may be ever so fleeting. Gather many followers with all the modern means available. The magnetism, be assured, WILL last for as long as need be. But in the larger sense, one lifetime, though rescued from oblivion, needs to be replenished and multiplied so as to be lasting and proffered as a gift for all.

    Your woodpecker and my woodpecker share a secret. The old bird. The one with the straightforward stare, and the revolving head, has been supplanted, in folklore, by the lowly woodpecker, as the symbol of wisdom. And remember, the woodpecker comes from a long line of Carpenter's.

    One more thing:My woodpecker and I share one more secret, unless she has blabbed it to your woodpecker~!

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  62. Just... wow. Normally, I'm much more eloquent, but this hits me in the gut. As someone who has struggled with varying degrees of depression for a large part of my life (getting better these days, with purpose) - thank you.

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  63. So moving, Les. I've been there, a little too recently. Although not suicidal, I'm prone to severe panic attacks and self injury. I'm proud to say that I have been able to avoid the latter this time around, and control most of the former. I have had experiences of clarity like your woodpecker, those magical moments that bring you into the joy of life. Into the present moment. I often listen to Tolle who helps being me into the moment, but I have yet to be able to remain there. I do look forward to that day.

    I truly wish I had found your inspirational blog while I was feeling so abandoned and rejected and scared in the UK this summer after the betrayal of a deeply trusted lover, but the second best time to find it is now.

    Thank you for your courage and your kindness.

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  64. I'm reading and listening to your blog, O.M., and should say it's obvious you have a great deal of courage and kindness, too. Good on you for getting out and getting through.

    You'll get there, and you're really already on the way. You've woken up, but you're having a few growing pains that need cleared out of the way so you can see the big picture. They'll pass. I'm excited for you, not sad for you. :-)

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  65. Thank heavens for the woodpecker and his pecking. A moving and honest piece of writing. You have plenty to offer the world. May you go from strength to strength. I am not as brave as you are and find it difficult to talk about lost love and the anguish that goes with it.

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  66. Les, This is amazing. A cardinal saved my life. Just before I pulled the trigger. I wrote it in my book, Above His Shoulders. Feathers are very very significant for me. This is the second time i have heard of a bird saving one from suicide. In peace my friend...keep flying.
    Dan

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  67. Thanks for sharing, I once was in that dark place and my cat brought me back from despair, They are here to remind us that we need to live life and keep going, If not for ourselves, for them and many more will bless our lives in our life time and for that we are blessed

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  68. This is a very poignant story and I'm so glad you were rescued. I have found that Nature is usually the remedy for my sad or angry times. Like the birds, we all need to learn to let go of our self-centered obsessions and simply live in the moment. There is often beauty and wonder all around us if we'd just take the time to notice.

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  69. Wow, I am so glad you are still here to tell this, my husband went through a bad patch about a year ago, thankfully he is still here as well. Lots of love. Karen

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  70. When you reach that moment there is such an overwhelming feeling that happens..that moment you decide for yourself that you want to live. I know that moment too. There was a later moment also..when I knew I was going to be ok. I cried then too.

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  71. Beautiful, Les. Thank you for sharing this--such a hard place to write about, self-destruction. But the insight--and the moment it came--you transmitted it brilliantly. Aside from changing my perspective on woodpeckers forever, you've given me a smile that will last much longer.

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  72. You've obviously touched a lot of people with this one, Les. You can add me to the list. We all hurt. We all have to get through it, which STINKS. But then we can all feel better. Which is SOGOOD. Thanks, Les. And you even through in humor at the end. Love it!

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  73. Got it right,and i am so glad you did,very brave to share,thank you i have been there

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  74. Beautifully illustrated and written with a lot of heart. A lovely read. I'm glad things turned out for the best. xx @Chaoskay

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  75. What a lovely post - read it first in News & Star (Nov 30th) - you've said it all really, with great sensitivity and insight. Suspect many more people have been in the 'treacle', unable to get out, than will admit to, and it's always something very simple, quite banal, and beautiful that yanks you back. Jean x

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  76. What a beautiful post - read it first in News & Star (30th November). You've said it all really, with great sensitivity and insight. I suspect more people than will admit to it have been in that terrible place, stuck in the 'treacle' unable to get out, and it's always something incredibly simple, banal, but also beautiful that yanks you back to appreciate all the good things in life.

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  77. When I read those deep meaningful heart wrenching posts about people struggling with their life and emotions I wonder how they have the courage to share it with the outside world. I wish I had that courage. But that courage is crushed by the fear of being judged and exposed. I guess in your case and other cases I read, once you have passed caring about yourself and you managed to overcome it, the worse is over, or is it? do you still feel exposed at times? It's crazy when you think that this woodpecker saved your life. Yet i do get how a simple thing can sometimes bring you back to life.

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  78. Thank you for your very personal and moving words. More people find themselves in this dark place than care to admit it and everybody probably knows someone who did not have a woodpecker moment. My mother (76) OD'd on Rx medication. Best friend's son (39) committed suicide after a long struggle with depression. My moment came after my husbands death. There is such a big hole in your heart that you just feel like you can't go on. I contemplated pills. My woodpecker came in the form of a small female Baltimore Oriole who arrived in Jan. right after my kids had left and I was completely alone. i had asked my husband to send me a sign that he was in Heaven and he was happy, so I knew this bird was my sign from above. She stayed with me, eating great amounts of grape jelly all winter, coming to the feeder several times every day. By the time she left in the Spring, there was no longer the urge to end it. I love birds and eagerly await the return of my hummers in April. They make me downright euphoric. And I love my woodpeckers (downy and red bellied). I am so glad you had your woodpecker and came out of your dark place. You are a very talented writer who, by posting this blog, has helped and inspired a lot of people. God Bless you!

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  79. I'm so sorry to hear that, Bonnie. You've really been through the mill, but I'm so pleased that Oriole came along at just the right time. It does seem, whether we're looking or not, there are often signs that things aren't as bad as we fear. It's a short life we live and a tragedy when we can't squeeze the very best from our time, here. And thank you so much for your kind words. Big hugs to you. x

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  80. Yep, that is how it works. As another tamer of 'the black dog' I endorse your methods.

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  81. I've been back to your blog a couple of times now, and each time your posts leave such a impression. You remind me of another writer I know, able to weave something dark and potentially depressing into a a beautiful story of wonder mixed with just a touch of humor. It's a rare ability. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  82. Thank you for this telling, poetic, wonderful post. As I continue to struggle with a failed relationship with MY soulmate, who I thought was 'the one', and he felt the same ironically, I was touched by your words. This is an area where I do struggle. As a 'creative'..painter, writer, musician, etc. I am moved to my core deeply by issues that I'm currently struggling with. Darkness is always lurking around some corner. By reaching out to my good friends and embracing Gods love & hope for my future..really trusting in those things, I've been able to crawl out of that place. Your words were a good reminder, so..thank you! xo

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  83. Just stay on your path or make a new one that better suits your needs, It is so wonderful you chose life! May you alwys go from "strength to strength."

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  84. What a courageous, refreshing write. Thank God for the woodpecker. Life is precious. Love your blogs.

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  85. except for crap sex, obviously.

    This x ∞ !!

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  86. Followed your link from twitter. You and your story were my woodpecker today. Thank you for being there.

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    Replies
    1. I hope you're okay? Give me an email at lesfloyd@gmail.com if you need to?

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  87. So touching and so beautifully written. Even woodpeckers can be miracles.

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  88. Powerful post. Mindfulness with its gift of awareness of the present moment ha changed my life and made my Borderline Personality Disorder so much easier to deal with.

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  89. I wish my brother had had a woodpecker when he needed one. But I'm really glad for you that you did.

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  90. LOVE this story of yours. I hear you.
    I have a Lighthouse metaphor. There are periods of seemingly complete darkness. Then a light shines from afar and reminds me. I wish the light shined all the time but it doesn't for me. But I know it will come around. At my worst times I know I can wait it out, I will see light soon. Like a lighthouse beam reminding me here is safety. Follow this light. I am not alone. So now I like lighthouses as a symbol.

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  91. What a story... Isn't it interesting how a 'simple' distraction can save our lives? Since we are all one, I believe this woodpecker was not there by lucky chance. Your soul wanted it that way. It knew this was what it took to wake you up. So that you can inspire many, many others to feel the preciousness of life. Beautiful writing. Thank you!

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  92. I had my moment today. Valentines Day and heart broken. So easily I could have stepped in front of that bus. It drew me like a magnate but sadly the time of dramatic flourishes has passed. I want the pain to end but not me to end. Reading this is timely and appropriate. Thank you.

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  93. very nicely said, we all have our moments too.. i guess. Thank you Les.. nice blog... yes .. signs come in at all times.. just like reaching your blog.. and i say.. another day lord.. haha

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  94. I'm glad you're still with us, Les. Thanks for these awesome words. We can never testify to life too much. My 14 year old daughter made a serious suicide attempt June of 2011. Thank God we still have her. Ever since then I have been passionate about spreading the word about the value of life, suicide intervention, etc. I really appreciate this post.

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  95. You opened your heart to me in a moment not too long ago when I was ready to throw my life into the abyss. I recall initially having an impression of you that was utterly, horrifically, wrong.."spewing plastic". It didn't quite make sense that we followed one another, but we did. Once in awhile, something astonishing would come sailing from the direction of you and I would call Bullshit on myself. I imagined I'd been keeping too much inside, but you put me to shame.

    I don't have a husband or any child. I attempted marriage and was at least half of the reason these marriages failed. I concluded that I did not believe in marriage as an accomplishment. I met other men. I was nearly chloroformed and kidnapped by a man who was wealthy and seemed impossibly romantic. I really didn't want to be involved with him, because he had a wife whom I loved and respected and was angry with myself for being made into an unwitting monkey in the middle.

    I realize that if you had committed suicide and I'd learned of this, the news would have devastated me. You expressed exactly what I was feeling when I spoke of the pain inside me and have reminded and reinforced the knowledge of how important we often are to so-called "others", so-called "strangers". We imagine we are insignificant or wrong or forever spinning our wheels in the same rut. That's two lives you saved, friend. : )

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    1. Gosh, that's such a wonderful thing to say, and I'm so pleased that you've travelled so far on your own journey. Remember, though, that it's you - not me - who has made the changes and adapted to a new perspective on life. I am thrilled for you. :-)

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  96. Les......the wood, trees and woodpecker were all there for you. Your awakening/realisation is like an exciting new beginning where you suddenly start to see everything differently. That beautiful woodpecker dropped a penny into the ocean of consciousness that washed away your fears. :-)

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  97. Wow- amazing story and so well written. Be blessed today and always.
    Psalm 46:10

    He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;

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  98. Reading this experience was as if someone has been seeing deep inside of me. That experience is me but I have not found any Woodpecker yet.

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  99. WOW! This story is so moving. I'm glad you heard that woodpecker....banging his head against the tree. So metaphorical. You write beautifully.

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