The sun heals me. The rays breathe life into my body, my being. It fuels me, recharges me, fills me with life. And I remember there is light on the other side of our harshest winters. I love the way my skin looks when it is sun kissed. Bedazzled with freckles, deepened and darkened and rich with warmth.
As much as the sun is a source for centering and grounding and new direction, I also find much healing in water. A water sign at heart, I merely have to dip my toe and I feel connected: to the waters of life, the flowing streams of my ancestors, the way life runs through my story.
I could spend my life encapsulated by this earth. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll do that.
My book club recently read the popular book The Midnight Library by Matthew Haig. First, let me say that I highly enjoyed this read. It focuses on the regrets we have in our lives. The times we want do-overs, and the repercussion of how those lives would play out. It definitely has given me a lot to think about! And I feel ripples of it still. I love the idea of parallel storylines, and paths untraveled. But I have to constantly remind myself not to live in the land of “what-if’s”. This is a book I recommend, 100%. So, if you are reading this: GO PICK UP A COPY. Or ask me, and I will lend you my copy. We were on vacation when I read it, so it is one of the few that does not come with Shannon’s underlining and annotations (you can decide if that’s a pro or a con). There are so many iterations of who we are, and each day we get to make choices that continue to grow us into ourselves (deeper and deeper). We are always us or self, but we are also constantly evolving along the way.
I know I have changed, grown, and evolved over the years. I know that 2020 really pushed me and made me dig deep. There were moments, in hindsight, I’m not proud of. There were situations that I wish I had handled differently. There aren’t many actual regrets though. Because I know what I lived through, and the choices I made, taught me things and got me to the place where I am today. And all things considered, it’s a pretty great place to be. (I sound some kind of enlightened, though I don’t actually feel that way).
There are times in my blogs that I write about other people. I generally try and keep names or too many specifics out of it. Anonymity is important I think on the internet when the source is secondary (or further removed). But there are times folks know I am writing about them. Or have asked me if I am writing about them. Sometimes they are correct, and sometimes they have read too much into what I have said. This is one of those times that someone may know my words have them interwoven. And I’m okay with that.
I was talking with someone last night about…life. About the twists and turns and crazy happenstances and things we don’t see coming. About processing and progressing and just continually wading through the sludge. One thing they said to me was about wishing we could meet people at earlier points in our lives. It took me right back to The Midnight Library. And where there have been points I’ve wished this too, I reminded them that we wouldn’t be our same selves at those points. And so it wouldn’t be the same interactions as now. I find myself often slipping into counseling techniques and thoughts with my interactions these days (that’s positive and negative, to be honest). There is so much I would say to this person about what they are going through. So. Damn. Much. But I know that anything I say would not come to them without my unique spin on things. And that would be unfair. It’s really, really, really difficult to see clarity in situations that are not yours, and not be able to help the person traverse through them. It’s tough to sit back and watch it all unfold, even when you know that is “best”. As much as I am a bottler, it’s hard to keep all of the emotion and thoughts bottled inside. People have to make their own decisions. They have to do what is best for them. And if you care about them enough, you will let them do just that, no matter what is to come. I will always be full of a million questions. That will never end. I will always care intensely for those that cross my path. I will always dive in, head first, to those relationships that feed my soul and resonate deeply in my bones. Always, no shame.
Connection. Community. Intuition. Knowing. Seeking.
“When you can step back at moments like these and see what is happening, when you watch people you love under fire or evaporating, you realize that the secret of life is patch patch patch. Thread your needle, make a knot, find one place on the other piece of torn cloth where you can make one stitch that will hold. And do it again. And again. And again.”Anne Lamott, Stitches
Hey man (yo)
Do you think they’re listening
To a thing? (no no no)
I wonder what’s on their mind.
We all should (go)
Break down the walls being built around us.
We’ll make a (show)
Make it for our sons and our daughters.Nothing’s gonna change my mind,
I’m walkin’ a different highway.
Nothing’s gonna change my mind.
I’m travelin’ a different line.
Oh, nothing’s gonna change my mind.
You’ll find what you need if you want it.
Nothing’s gonna change my mind.
I’ll find mine.
We are all doing the best that we can. Day by day. One step at a time. Slow and steady. Letting things burn slowly. It can be difficult. It isn’t easy. Sometimes you have to just sit back and let things unfold. Sometimes you have to be proactive. There is a good mix of both that are necessary in our lives. And right now, I’m leaning into being okay with the down time, the silence; just sitting back and letting it be. Just. Be.
Let me “college” nerd out here for a second. Do you remember when you (or your child, maybe) were applying to colleges/universities and there were two options in addition to the regular May 1st deadline? Early decision meant you were bound to go to that school if you got in and your deposit was non-refundable. Early action meant that you applied at the same time as ED but you could pull out and be refunded if you wanted even after gaining admission to the school. I think life has some similar themes about it. Our actions versus our decisions.
I just finished reading “The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig. I’m reading it for Book Club and one of my friends from the group told me it gave her a new perspective on life and the universe. And she thought it would resonate with me as well. It sure did. There have been regrets in my life. Evaluations of which things I could have done better or which things I would have done differently. My actions I can change, I can choose differently. My decisions I can’t change, they are set in stone. You can learn from the past. You can take a new path. You can shift; evolve. You learn from where you’ve been, you do the best with the info you had at each individual moment. You move forward and grow, continually, into yourself. And there are so many iterations of who that you is.
There are things I regret. But less so now. There are things I have played over and over in my brain thinking I’ll get to a different outcome or better understanding of what the hell happened. But it doesn’t matter. It won’t change, and I can’t glean anything else. And so I will make that best choices here and now and moving forward. I will be me.
Oh boy. This one is tough to write, it’s tough to admit. But as always, writing is cathartic and sometimes you just have to get ish out on “paper”. And so here it goes…
This morning was not what I expected. I slept well. It was a lazy morning. But damned if that wasn’t overshadowed somewhat quickly and without warning. A punch. Straight to the gut. Part of me felt excited; most of me just felt sad. Cue the instant grief. Cue the instant reaction in my body. Cue the throwing my phone down forcefully. Cue the brink of waterworks (that never actually came).
I’m not one to ignore others. I don’t write people off easily. I don’t know that I ever truly stop caring about someone no matter the happenstance of our situation or how long we’ve been part. It’s just not in my nature. But it also doesn’t mean that I constantly think about them. There is a time when people flow to the back of my brain and no longer hold residence in my consciousness.
But when they resurface, whether in person or virtually or whatever, they definitely get yanked from backstage and thrown into the spotlight. And today that instance came with lots of emotions, lots of feelings, no questions but a few wonderings. I remind myself that it’s okay and necessary to show up and feel what I am feeling. It is also imperative that I don’t get stuck in the land of “what if’s” because those aren’t real. I’ve grown. I’ve moved forward. And I show up differently these days. I will be responsible for my words and actions of the past; I won’t be defined by them. I choose to do better. I will extend olive branches and lean in to being me in each moment.
And I will listen to my own needs and not fault others for their needs. So when I felt overwhelmed and jittery and uncomfortable this morning, I laced up my shoes and went for a jog. Fresh air, body movement, and processing. All of which were good for the soul. I think a nap is in my future. And maybe a bath. Self care is essential. Boundaries are essential. Keep showing up even when it’s hard. Even when you think the odds are against you. Just show up. Name what you are feeling and keep going forward.
Today I take back what you took from me. I take it back, and I no longer let you have presence or precedence over these things. These. Are. Mine. It’s been a long time coming, and some of it I have avoided. But today I am facing the last few pieces head on with a brave face. Perhaps it’s ironic that a big piece of this is allowing myself to watch the “real people” version of Mulan. Because there was (and is) strength found in Fa Mulan and the stories that are told about her. This irony is not lost on mee. I am a warrior. I am tenacious. I am my own. And I own the strength and fire within me. I own the magic that lives within me.
There are no words. Instead I’ll leave you with these photos. You can’t say I’m not hers (and she’s not mine). Just look.
Twelve hour days are not my favorite. But I pride myself on being able to jump in when things seem chaotic. And I LOVE every opportunity to be with my kids in person. So I’ll take it. (And now I’ll crash).
Sometimes what you need is a break. Yesterday I didn’t post, at all. It was a busy, productive, rewarding day. And I chose to spend my energy elsewhere. I know I committed to posting every day during Lent. But this week I need to listen to my emotional and physical needs. As such, I don’t plan to post again until Holy Week. Too much time to myself is needed as we head towards the anniversary of mom’s passing. Introspection. Grace. Time for self. An energy assessment.
Give in to rest. It does not diminish you. It does not make you any less. Acknowledge what you need and be straightforward with where you are.