I do not write for the recognition because I would continue to write regardless. It is a creative outlet while it clears my mind and settles my thoughts both. But still, the recognition, it fills me on so many levels.
I am grateful.
I am grateful that my writing is seen as good. I am honored to be honored by you. There are many incredible writers out there, creating and blogging and sharing their thoughts in beautiful prose and poems. Honest and heartfelt masters of words and phrases. You have many writers to choose from. Thank you for reading what I write each week.
I am blessed.
I am blessed because I do write in the hopes that what I say may touch your heart. Or open up your mind. That what I say may move you in some way. That what I say may make you think or inspire you. Or make you laugh or cry or ponder something in a new or different way. I am blessed because I am able to give something of myself to others in this way. Thank you for opening your heart and letting me in each week.
I am connected.
Something I said triggered something in you enough for you to take the time to share your experience of my writing with me. Whether in agreement or to challenge my thoughts, to share a memory that reappeared from deep within you after reading mine, or to express in kind ways the beauty you found in my words, when you leave comments on my blog or email me in private or share my posts with your friends my writing becomes a community of thoughts and ideas. How can I not feel this connection with you.
And so, on this, the Monday after Thanksgiving day, I want to take pause and take in how good this feels. That I can write because it fills me, and yet can share these writings with you and they can fill you, too.
Thank you for reading my writing today.
I have been thinking a lot about the pain that surrounds us these days. Whether the violence that has hit upon every shore of every country, the silent weeping of birds and beast, or the deep, soft murmur that echoes from the earth as her essence is ignored and we soil her skin.
At first, this pain, it pained me. To the extent that I could not take it in. It was too much. The news hurt my soul. The information was toxic to my spirit. My skin, like the earth, was tender. And so I shut it down. I stopped letting the information in. I checked out. And felt, for a short but sweet time (or so it seemed sweet in the moment of it) that I was separate from it all. And so safe.
But this is not my truth.
It was merely a temporary rest. A getting ready. For my opportunity to save myself. I know this. I know this. From deep down inside myself I know that this is true.
Because what is really going on, whether man against man, against beast, against earth, it is a trigger for us to tap into our higher selves. To rediscover our connection to each other and to spirit, god, one. Call it what resonates within you. but let it resonate within you. Because this is what this time is. It is not about saving others. It is about saving ourselves. It is about finding our true essence. Embracing our beauty. Seeing our potential. Our power. Our grace. Our love.
And so when you see the news on the television, in the papers, on the ever-in-use computer, see it for what it is. A wake up call. Our wake up call. A kick to our soul's ass into getting going again.
The world - earth and animal and air - it has aligned again to move us to see the work we need to do. Because we have lost ourselves. And the little reminders, they are not working anymore. We need something big. Something our bodies and our minds and our egos can not ignore. Something that shocks us so we can get out of our own way. So that we see again. So that we wake up. And so the universe - spirit, god, one - it is waking us up.
If we believe, as I believe, that we are here, in this physical body on this sweet, soft ground called earth, to reach our fullest potential - find our true power, embrace the light within ourselves - then we can see clearly that all of this, the mess of it, the pain and sorrow and loss of it, it is here before us to move us forward towards the place where we are journeying.
And at this moment when we rediscover ourselves we will remember each other. And see (again) that we are not alone on this journey. That we are connected. To each other. That we have been connected all along.
All of us.
I watched a movie on Netflix last week called Twinsters. It is a documentary about two women, adopted from South Korea, by separate families, and raised on different continents who find each other through social media and discover that they are identical twins. This writing today is not about this movie - though I do recommend that you watch it, it is very good. It is about a quote from the movie that one of the twins says towards the end. It is the twin who grew up in France and she says Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien, The best is the enemy of the good.
It was around a time in the film where there was so much joy and connection yet still some unanswered questions (I don't want to go into detail in case you want to watch, not that it's a thriller or anything and I will ruin the plot but still....) And Anaïs, the French twin, recognized that looking for the the things that are still not settled is taking her away from the incredible things that she already has (My words, not hers).
And this idea, it stuck with me the entire week. And over and over again things came up in my life that resonate with this phrase. Or perhaps because this idea was so deeply settled into my mind, things came up over and over again. Regardless, there is a strong message here.
Because I think that we tend to miss the things that we have because we are always striving for better.
Here's a story, a number of years ago my husband and I were looking at videos of when we were first married. We were up at this farm in New Hampshire that his family owned. It was fall. And I saw myself on the screen and I looked.... well, I looked like I always wished I would look (I know, perhaps not the most deep and spiritually grounded an example but it gets the point across so well!). Because you see, I missed that I looked like that. Strong and fit. Lean. My hair was great. (I may get that haircut again...) But I missed it. Because I wanted better. And so I missed the good. And that is really sad.
Whether it's how we want to look or what we want to do in our careers or how are kids are doing or as simple as how beautiful the day might be, we seldom take the time to appreciate that what is - it is exactly enough. And that even if we can get stronger or make that promotion, or the sun shines brighter in the sky and the wind dies down, this stronger, more successful, warmer place is a new thing, and really has nothing to do with the "good" that we have now.
And so, in keeping with my theme these last few weeks of truly being present in each moment I will add this extra piece. That not only will I settle deeply into where I am is really good.
My husband and I went to a couples workshop yesterday. I so did not want to do this. I don't really like these kinds of things. First off, I have a really short attention span. And so sitting for a day of talking about our relationship and our feelings and better ways to communicate - maybe for an hour or so but an entire day... well this is a bit too much for me. Plus, I don't really like to talk about our relationship and our feelings and better ways to communicate. (Which is very interesting to me since I really love to write this blog which is basically writings about my relationships and my feelings and better ways to communicate.) And, to top it off, I find it hard to be in a room with people when there is intention in the room. I pick up all their feelings and get really overloaded. And I knew - absolutely - that the room was going to be heavy with intention.
So I didn't want to go. Participate. Do this thing. But I went because it was really important to my husband and my husband is really important to me and sometimes that's how it works.
So once I got over the not wanting to go and had made the commitment that our Sunday would be spent together in this way, I disengaged from the emotions that I had created around it. I let it all go. Not consciously, which in of itself is kind of interesting since I usually have to work on letting things go and this time the letting go, well it just happened by itself. I just stepped away. There was no investment in the event. And no expectation. I was going and was just present and aware. And that was it.
And the day, it ended up being pretty fantastic.
It was up at the Ojai Foundation and, as anyone who's ever been up there knows, this is an incredible place. Lovely views, intricate winding paths with places to sit. And a beautiful building where we met - soft and round, in a sweet pale stucco with a high ceiling which held golden wood.
It was cold when we go there but the room was heating up. And as I walked in, to find my place - our place, as my husband would sit next to me - I didn't feel anything thick and needing. There was no judgement in the room. And no worry. It was... well, just what it was. Nothing more. It felt how you feel when you are in a pool of water that is the same temperature as you. Where everything is neutral and the space contains and welcomes you because you match it just right. This is what it felt like walking into the room.
And this neutrality continued even with the other couples in the room. I didn't pick up all those emotions that seem to seep into my skin and settled there uncomfortably when I am out in the world. There was no overload of energy. These other couples surely had their own thoughts and feelings and perhaps worries and wonderings about what was to transpire during the day, but I was in this peaceful place and didn't take that on. I felt clean and open and aware without the usually having to dumb down my intuition and replace my open heart with walls of protection.
It felt good to be open. And surprisingly, I was not surprised that I was. Though thinking about it now and writing about this here - I am actually surprised I was not more surprised at how accepting and available I was in this place that I originally didn't want to be in. (Wordy but true.) And so the day began in this place where anything is possible.
And so everything is possible.
And now, today, I am thinking about two things specifically. First a reflecting back on the actual skills we learned and have committed to incorporate into our marriage. A new way to communicate where we hold space to share our thoughts with each other and mirror back to each other in a way the reinforces that we are heard. Sounds simple yet I think we - meaning me, but also meaning the greater we, as in you, too - seldom take the time to listen because we are so ready to respond. And so learning a new listening skill is a very good thing.
The second part of my reflection sits in the fact that this event was so perfect because it was allowed to be just what it was. Because I went into this day without an agenda or an expectation. This is a theme that I have thought about a lot lately - and have written about here a number of times. The idea that we miss the potential of every moment that we live when we set an expectation about how this moment should be. And what was so lovely for me yesterday was that this letting go - this not planning or worrying or visualizing - it just happened. And I think this is because I have been practicing. Practicing not worrying. Practicing not expecting something to be a certain way. Practicing being in each moment as I live it rather than wishing for something to have been different or hoping that something will be a certain way.
And this practicing, it is becoming muscle memory. A way of being that is, without having to think about it first. It feels very solid. And very peaceful. I will continue this mindfulness and centering into what is happening as it happens. And catch myself when I wander back to what was or rush down my path to what may be sometime soon. Because this letting it all just unfold, this is where I believe the true experiences live. And I don't want to miss a single one.
So I have talked about this before here. Written about my empty nest, my home being empty of offspring. And the writing was real and true and I felt the feelings of "empty nestdom." And I feel that I had begun the transition to "older parent with adult children" with ease and grace despite a slight ache deep in my belly along with a sense of space and privacy that I had not had since......well, twenty-five years ago.
But there is a shift. Because this dynamic I have with my kids, it is happening within a new place; a whole new level of empty nest as my kids move into homes and apartments and life choices that truly mean that they have moved from my home fully. Now, boxes overflowing with memories are no longer stored in my home but instead packed along with their clothes and books and bedding. All three of my children are jumping into this next stage of their lives where they are moving into a permanence away from me.
Sure I am still a mother to my kids and am, in fact, quite busy with that still. I am apartment hunting and dress shopping and proofing college transfer applications and obtaining insurance and internet access and flights back east. I am still supporting choices and working through struggles and listening and laughing with each of my kids, separately and when we are all together.
And I am learning from them, too. As I always have, but now not through the lessons I learned each day as I mothered my children deep from my heart to help them grow to be just what they are, but in a more external way. As one adult to another. A mutual nurturing of heart and soul. And body. An exchange of knowledge about food and health and workouts. And about commitments and passions and focus. And about compromise. And privacy. And balance.
And this shift, both their leaving of my home fully and the leaving of their childhood fully, it creates a shift in me. One that I know is there, but that I am not yet fully clothed in. A future that holds great moments.
When I am ready.
But for now I am happy sitting in this place of little expectation and not much of a plan. It feels really, really good to be here. This space that I am in. It is a very calm place to be. A neutral place of letting things unfold. Because I have no desire to do anything. Not really. Not right now. For right now. And that is what makes this space that I am in at this moment pretty fantastic.
I call it my in-between place.
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Rower, Runner, Dog and Cat lover.