anxiety · friendship · humor · inspiration · life lessons · mindfulness

Why Ask Why?

“Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connait point.  French.  Pascal.  The heart has its reasons , whereof reason knows nothing.” — Madeline L’Engle

When my sons were little, ‘why’ was their favorite question.  You all know the exercise – the repeated inquiry that dissects a question into the most inane and discreet detail; the exchange that lasts longer than one’s patience and ultimately resolves itself once the child loses interest in the game.

But age hasn’t tempered this query for me.  I ask ‘why’ all the time – just not necessarily a loud (I say enough things a loud to perpetuate worry in those who hear me).  Why do I know there’s wind despite my inability to see it?  Why do I persist in my efforts to understand the puzzle of human behavior?  And, with all that persistence, why can’t I at least figure out my own?  Why do we establish expectations that are constructed as a house of cards?  The only difference is that I have now discovered the answer.

Because.

These aren’t the questions for which there are more concrete answers.  Reason doesn’t dictate the posing of such questions.  Facts don’t satisfactorily assuage either, for these are just the surface results of queries that are too complicated to form in any sensible way.

Why does the heart want what it wants?

Because.

Because within the human condition is faith.  Faith explains that which we believe to be true that we can’t see or explain.  But we know.  We know that there is such a thing as love whether or not our personal histories have experienced it, for our hearts ache for it sight unseen.  We know that there are miraculous moments in a day – from the subtle connections that make you feel like someone just read your mind to the complicated ties that allow friends to ‘just know’ when something is up.  The brilliance of a cardinal’s color on a leafless tree.  Why did that one star begin to twinkle more brightly just as I was thinking of someone who is no longer here?  Why?  Why does the sunrise evoke promise and the sunset occasionally resemble the saddest colors in the world?  Why was I lucky enough to learn that some of the most simple days are the happiest?  Why do some people snort when they giggle?  (Ok, I threw that one in there just to see if you were still with me).

Because.

And one of the nice things about being older is that you bring all the ages you have already been with you.  So you know that ‘because’ can suffice.  That there is a place for complex debate and study and philosophizing and a place for simple acceptance on faith.  So today I accept the awesomeness of being here without further scrutiny.  It just is.  And if you are wondering why that in and of itself is ok with me?  Because.  Have a great day all.

th (4)

friendship · inspiration · leadership · life lessons · mindfulness · motivation

I Loved The Shoes, But They Didn’t Fit

In my other life, I wore heels everyday.  Work days, weekends – it mattered little.  I also drove a Jeep Cherokee.  I loved feeling like I could see things that I would otherwise never notice.  I traveled tall.  My shoe collection was legendary and even Casual Fridays involved four-inch heels that I would walk in endlessly – back and forth, staircases, multiple floors, the streets of DC and every other city I needed to be in.  I was a physical example of over-compensation.

Never mind that my back would curse my name each morning when I got dressed.  “Ha” to those who wondered how my stride was even remotely normal and not some mincing step more analogous to those who have had their feet bound.  I rarely wear them any more, but believe me, when I do I’m painfully reminded that they don’t fit my life.  One of the step-sisters insisting that Cinderella’s glass slipper really did fit.

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And this is why I won’t be going back to the barn.  As much as I delighted in warming my face against a horse’s flank, found comfort and connection picking dirt out of their hooves, brushing their tails and singing to them.  No matter that I felt love for Elmo and developed a woman-to-woman understanding with Valentine.  And as much as I enjoyed chatting with my rider yesterday, a young woman with a smile that was bright enough to change the weather – the metaphorical shoes didn’t fit.

Honestly, it’s too fresh to recount.  Suffice it to say, I don’t take kindly to being yelled at, belittled or demeaned.  I don’t enjoy other people commenting about the unkind nature of any diatribe – especially when it’s directed at me, because I fall silent and don’t commiserate.  Let me stress – neither the rider nor the horse were in any jeopardy – this was just about me and the instructor.  As plebian as it sounds, I bore the brunt of her irritation and/or she just simply didn’t like me.

If I had a thicker skin, perhaps none of it would matter.  If I believed that personal attacks are a profoundly effective way to get someone’s compliance, I might have been fine.  Unfortunately, I’ve been there done that, and have a higher expectation of those in charge – regardless of the environment where they bear that mantle.  I’ve had my confidence rended and discarded, spent years trying to find those shreds and re-form them into something resembling me.  Perhaps that is why I counsel leaders with a conviction that is so fierce.  Anyway, let’s just say, the shoes didn’t fit.  And that reality hurts.

“If I turn my gaze away from you, dear Earth, please do not feel hurt.  I will come back and kiss you again.” — Rumi

None of this has deterred me from my wish to spend my days in a way that substantively helps others and nurtures my soul.  Hopefully the equine rescue farm will be better.  Some connections to Walter Reed may help me in my hopes to work with wounded warriors.  Perhaps I can also figure out what I should do with my blog, as this first year of posting  comes to an end.

But right now, I want to turn away from the day.  I need to do battle with the self-doubts that are speaking in full-voice about all that I am not.  It’s a short-lived pity party I promise – and I hope you don’t mind not being invited – I rarely serve anything, and the conversation is hardly lively.

And yet, before I left I made sure to kiss Elmo and Nyles and Val – give them carrots and whisper in their ears that which I wanted them to know.  That they were doing great things, with grace and patience and kindness.  And I was so happy that they had come into my life albeit for this short, but meaningful time.

th

discretion · friendship · inspiration · life lessons · love · mindfulness

Where To Next?

“It is the peculiar nature of the world to go on spinning no matter what sort of heartbreak is happening” –Sue Monk Kidd

It is taking more effort than it should to get behind the wheel of the Karma Truck.  And yet I also know that there is nothing worse for any piece of machinery than to leave it idle for too long.  The same is true of the heart.  I haven’t been sleeping well, unable to release this sorrow of incalculable proportion.  I admire and envy those who are mobilizing in word and deed to address the gaping hole in the safety net for people with mental health concerns, others who have driven to Newtown with the intent to help however possible, the anonymous individuals who are doing something – anything – to remind us above all else of the power of shared humanity.

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The heart forgets little – and perhaps remembers too much.  Moments of grief are greeted by past moments of mourning.  These thoughts huddle together commiserating, taking up space and time.  Demanding their due, yet if unchecked, unbearably relentless and too oppressive to manage.  I need to take the keys back and get this motor started.

“If it is true your life flashes before you before you die, then it is also true that life rushes forth when you are ready to start being alive” — Amy Hemple

There are certainly times when we need to crawl inside ourselves and heal.  Moments when the most elemental activities seem Sisyphean.  And there are times when you have to purposefully pull yourself back into life.  I am blessed, I am grateful and I need to come home to that which I know and all that I don’t.  I still have tears to shed – I’m clearly not done.  The fog that has socked in this region for the last two days is beginning to lift; I saw a couple of stars through the clouds when I was out with the Sirs earlier today.  I said a little prayer and breathed deeply.  There is something to be said for remembering that there is grace in most things, if one is open to its presence.  Perhaps I’ll only make it around the block today, but I’ll surely drive towards the sun.

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friendship · humor

A Moment Of Inanity

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This is a quetzal

I think it’s quite special

With colors so spectacular

There is no apt vernacular

 

So would you ask a quetzal

“Polly, do you want a pretzel?”

Or would you offer this cool avian

Something healthy vegetarian?

 

In it’s native Guatemala

Perhaps you’d start to holler

“No food for you as you well know

If no shoes, no shirt,  no dinero”

 

At 3:15, one can’t expect a post far more germane

More witty, cogent, thoughtful not to mention more urbane

Perhaps it’s best I bid the quetzal ‘adios’ for now

And leave you with a sleepy smile, returning to my bough.

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This is but one of a gazillion reasons why David is such an inspiration. He find the perfect balm for today.

Live & Learn

Saturday mornings are normally reserved for work-out inspirations (for me). I’m finding it difficult to wind up this theme this morning and to shake “sad” so we are going to mix it up a bit. Here’s “Happy.” A three to four minute clip to take you away from dark to joy, dance, song, spirituality, humanity and LIFE.  “You never feel happy, until you try.”  Enjoy.

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