getting re-acquainted with possibility

Ok. Clearly it’s been much too long since I’ve posted here, because: 1) my automatic log-in to WordPress had reset itself, and 2) I had absolutely NO recollection of my log-in information. :(

It’s been hard for me to write in the space lately… so much is happening, shifting, changing minute-by-minute these last few weeks. And it occurred to me this morning that the reason it’s hard to write here is that it’s hard to blog about being a person of the present when most of my waking hours have been focused on envisioning and planning a bold new future for my daughter; and putting old issues to bed by giving them a name and letting the past go.

So much of where my mind and heart have been lately has been about flirting with new possibilities, unforeseen opportunities for my daughter and coincidentally for myself (and my time). It has been terrifying and exhilarating. I feel like in just a few short moments, a space in my heart opened up and shouted out a “Hallelujah!” – and I’ve been ashamed to acknowledge it… First, that I feel guilty for the relief that’s flooded me; and second, that I had stopped listening to that nook in my heart for so long that I had forgotten it was there. (More on this in future posts, I’m sure.)

So on a Thursday afternoon, with plans for the future put aside for now, I’m sitting on my front porch listening to bickering birds and squirrels in my neighbor’s yard, watching a steady stream of garage sale hunters pile around the corner, and enjoying the warm sun on my feet.

And I feel hopeful. Content. Present.

Full of possibilities and excited to experience each moment as this beautiful summer unfolds.

 

the gratitude filter

sometimes looking back is the only way to appreciate how far you’ve come, how hard you’ve worked, the gifts you have received.

look back in gratitude. look back in wonder. look back in appreciation of all the gifts and miracles that arrived and then carried you on your way.

don’t bother looking back in regret – everything up until now has gotten you to where you are in this moment. you get to choose where you go next.

the magic of receiving gifts is in unwrapping them and knowing that they are meant for you.

april love

April and I may not have started off on the right foot, but I’ve definitely come around.

After a very, very long (cold, cold) winter, I’ve been down with a bit of Spring Fever. So naturally, I was a bit impatient for the glory of spring and warm weather; but there’s something refreshing about snow on a Tuesday, and then sun and 75-degrees just a few short days later.

Here’s what I’ve come to love about April, even though it’s almost over:

  • Early sunrises with a chorus of chattering birds.
  • The squirrels are out foraging and the birds are busy building nests.
  • The bounty of sun, fresh breezes, emerging buds and early bulbs – without having to worry about how many times I decided to skip the gym and go to Starbucks (read: sweaters are still necessary).
  • It’s perfectly acceptable to wear black or dark colors and not look like I’m going through an existential phase.
  • Starting the day on the front porch with a cup of coffee, wrapped up in a cozy quilt.
  • Cuddling under an extra blanket on the bed, but not running the furnace to keep the house warm.
  • A new rainbow umbrella.
  • Sparkling puddles and big fluffy clouds.

I love that April is a beautiful reminder that everything changes: day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute.

That transition is chaos and it can become something spectacular.

so grateful four

Four things I find myself grateful for today:

Slow start to April: my feelings last week were much more ambivalent about gloomy, 40-degree days, and more than a few accumulations of snow – but I’m appreciating the chance to ease in to Spring.

Vicky Papaioannou: I found her channel on YouTube last week, and have felt re-inspired in my art journaling (even if I do want to buy every product from Faber-Castell).

Lovely cashier at Target tonight: cheerful, helpful and genuine eye contact. I don’t interact with very many adults throughout the day and she was lovely. (She wasn’t wearing a name badge or I would name names.)

Art Saves, Desire to Inspire and The Art Abandonment Project: you all showed up in my mail box last week and filled my weekend with beauty, encouragement and affirmation.

uniquely glorious

“tear off the mask, your face is glorious.”  rumi

How hard is it to embrace your own glorious-ness?

Why is it easier to admire it in others, but not give yourself the same grace?

For a really long time, I’ve worked really hard at fitting in – worked hard at looking just right, but just like everybody else. For some reason, I’ve thought that being like everybody else would bring me closer to connecting with others. “Don’t stand out too much, don’t be too different – people don’t like people who look like they’re trying too hard.”

Or another way of thinking about it was that the more “me” I allowed myself to be, the more I felt that I was separating myself from others, building a barrier – a moat between me and others. And after spending so much time alone, I really wanted to figure out how to cross the moat. But it doesn’t mean that I need to be less me to be liked by everyone else. Because that’s where the magic happens: loving yourself for the uniqueness of you, so that you can love the uniqueness of others and still love the humanity you have in common.

So I really struggle to let the outside match the inside. And truthfully, it’s scary to let the “real” inside, out. But otherwise it’s just another mask.

And all this “unique” contemplation was kicked off by a new pair of glasses. Yes, glasses.

Are glasses the mask or the glorious face? I’m trying to figure that out.

 

to tell the truth

I was reading this article in the New York Times, about the cost of white lies… Not the big whoppers, but the little lies we tell every day. The lies that probably no one ever finds out about, but become woven into the “story of us” that we have to keep up for other people. And it got me thinking…

What if we were 100% honest? All. The. Time. No matter what.

I’m not talking about saying crappy, unsolicited things to friends and strangers in the name of honesty… I’m talking about telling the truth when it’s so easy to tell a white lie, or withhold information that someone will never know in the name of “easier conversation.”

It’s easier to put on your snarky hat and “honestly” criticize others, but can you really tell the truth about yourself? To reveal the unvarnished, unpolished, uncool, unprofessional you? Your mistakes, your wounds, your fears, your needs, your dreams.

It’s not about putting the information out there in an effort to change someone’s behavior, or with expectations that anything will change – but for yourself, for your own integrity… Sure it’s scary as hell to let it all hang out. Not as an exhibitionist – but as a human being who makes mistakes. Who makes bad choices, who has a bad day, who is learning in life.

It would make me sad to think that the lasting lessons I’ve taken from my biggest hurts, biggest mistakes, biggest failures is to act like they didn’t happen. To not give myself the grace to learn. To grow. To start over, and start over again. Not in an effort to be perfect, but to be a curious student of life – willing to take risks, speak my truth, share the lessons – honestly.

How much energy have I wasted in life “revising the story,” so that I don’t look like the imperfect, insecure, real person that I am – so that I don’t have to field the crappy comments that are sure to come my way when my truths are out in the open?

When we decide to tell the white lie instead of the truth… who are we with holding the information for? Where do we want to spend our energy… standing in our own truth or maintaining the lie of how perfect we are?

 

building a trellis

“…when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” When Harry Met Sally

 

OK. So, I haven’t met somebody new – I’m completely and blissfully married to my high school sweetheart, but this quote has really stuck with me.

For a while now I’ve been doing some heavy gardening in my life: lots and lots and lots of weeding, and lots and lots more tilling. All of this weeding and tilling has been done with a blind faith in an uncertain future, an unclear purpose – but they have felt necessary to clear away a space for a new garden to grow.

I began this new year searching for seeds, searching for purpose, open and receptive to begin a new chapter. And week by week, month by month – I have found words and teachers and guides. The precious gifts of intention, whispers of purpose, and inspiration for action have found their way to me.

Now I’m finally ready to plant these very precious seeds; but first I’ve needed to build some trellises… In the optimistic hope that these seeds will sprout and grow and thrive, but also with the wisdom that things will only grow as much as you make room for them.

So, my laundry is clean, but not folded. My dishes are washed, but not put away. My coffee table has been taken over with notebooks and yarn and crafts and artwork. mydesk

But for the first time in a very long time, I have felt purposeful.

I am clear now about the direction I want to go, and I feel hopeful that I am building a trellis for this work that will be flexible enough for all of my most important parts to grow and thrive. This is the work that feels worth doing for the long-haul – worth the short-term sacrifices of sleep, quiet solitude and extra bedtime stories with my kids.

I feel certain, in a way that I never have before, that I am building something that will give me room to grow – instead of cage me in.

And I want it to start as soon as possible.