anxiety, friendship, humor, life lessons, mindfulness, motivation

Pick A Card, Any Card…

I always wonder how magicians do it.  Being quite naive and slow to track a sleight of hand, I’m one of those excellent candidates that others shake their heads at, wondering how I could have missed it.  I miss it every time.  So when in the audience, I never volunteer.  I’m too easy.  Andy figures out all of these tricks – it’s part of that male mystique of his that requires the provision of an acceptable answer.

Lately I feel like I’m the one trying to figure out the scheme.  And as usual, I’m not exactly blinding anyone with my brilliance.  Rather, I’m letting each moment happen and have surrendered to the limits of my intellect.

In the past few weeks, there has been a health scare with my son (he’s totally fine – but if you think I could string two coherent words together at the time, you’d be giving me way too much credit).  I stayed awake – certain that if my vigilance failed for a moment, something awful might happen.  I’m not sure I was breathing, yet I must have been, ’cause I’m writing to you now.  As soon as I heard he was ok I saw myself as a puddle on the floor.  No longer with any form or substantive thought.  It doesn’t matter whether or not he understood my reaction for it wasn’t/isn’t about me – he’s the child (even though he’s an adult), I’m the mom.

One of my sons completed his MBA.  This is his second Master’s degree – both completed while working full-time at one of the most unforgiving consulting companies when it comes to time and billing (let me take that back – all professional service firms are unforgiving when it comes to time and billing).  Yes, I whooped when they called his name (but at his request, I didn’t yell “Go baby!”).  These men o’ mine are no longer men o’ mine – they are husbands first.  And I wanted my mama lion role back (with no disrespect to either one of my lovely daughters-in-law), mourned the loss of the role I know well.  Chuffing at the opening of my lair…

Andy’s parents are moving to CA to be closer to their daughter and her family.  The weather will be kinder. the opportunities greater for my father-in-law to golf, my mother-in-law to get involved in some activities.  Andy’s up there helping them get organized until he makes it home today.  We’ll go back up together on Wednesday.  I’ve been here before; there’s nothing about it that’s easy.

My cherished friend going through the ebbs and flows of possible transitions – not knowing from one moment to the next whether she’s going-along-to-get-along or passionately caring about the life choices ahead.

So I wake each day with a hint of worry attached to my coffee cup.  My shoulders a bit more bent.  Roles change all the time, relationships morph because that’s what relationships do.  The earth always moving beneath our feet and relying on our sense of balance to remain upright.

And yet…I am acutely aware that everything is ok.  I caught two blue jays yakking it up yesterday afternoon (wow are they loud).  The early morning stars shone with such clarity I wept at their beauty.  I gratefully accept the morning’s invitation.  Somewhere inside I am as full and fortunate as any one person can be.

I am going to take a page from some of my fellow bloggers and take a bit of a hiatus.  It’s not good-bye of course, just some time to fiddle with the idea of blogging, maybe change the paint on the karma truck, rotate the tires, shift gears so to speak.  It’s time – we’ve been on this road together for a long time and rather than lose the company, I’d prefer to pull over and park this baby for awhile.  Get outside, renew, re-think, restore.

And maybe, just maybe when I get back, I’ll be able to tell you just how the magicians do it.  See you soon.  Much love…m

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anxiety, friendship, humor, inspiration, life lessons, mindfulness, motivation

Living In The Bubble

courtesy of flickr.com
courtesy of flickr.com

I’ve decided to live in my awesome bubble today, so if you feel like fomenting trouble, please move along.  I’m occupied with silliness.

It’s been a long time since I woke up feeling the need to be silly.  It started when I took the pups out and saw that the only thing the moon was revealing was a smile.  Which made me smile too.  Bogey began to chuff at … nothing.  His bravery is impressive when there’s nothing to challenge it.  My hero.  It wasn’t one of those banner sleep nights, so you can toss this up to that slightly frantic goofiness caused by too much caffeine over too short a period of time.  No matter – I’m in the bubble.  At least until I crawl back into bed.

“Be happy for this moment.  This moment is your life” — Omar Khayyam

Smart guy, that Omar.  He got me thinking.  For reasons one could ascribe to astrology, biorhythms, synchronized moments in time, etc – some of my friends are struggling at the moment.  Feeling overwhelmed, too lonely, disappointed, histories that they want to get over yet keep repeating, selective memory retrieval that prohibits touching grace.

Join me in here for a minute.  Seriously.  I am thinking that it’s never too late to create the relationships you always wanted; the ones that hint at why you’re dissatisfied with the ones that you currently have.  What is the unrealized fantasy that pulls on your shirt sleeve as you struggle to move forward?  What does it look like?  Create it.  Live it.  Remember the kid that lives inside us all is waiting for you to rectify history.  Fix it.  Be the parent that you didn’t have.  Speak to yourself as if you were speaking to your most loved friend.  Get silly, get loving, get over these hurdles that others may have put there, but you have allowed to remain.  Risk being happy.  No one will hold you accountable for that state of mind every moment of every day.  The onus isn’t as great as the weight of being an indifferent bystander in your own life.

My intent is not to make any of this sound easy or trite.  My intent is to dilute the ‘buts’ and ‘can’t work’ to a manageable trickle instead of a waterfall.  To engage the muscles that stretch most when moving in joy.  To help you find your ‘tickle’ spot and wake it up.  And if all of this is just too much for a Sunday morning – I hope at least that you smile, that you savor one moment in your morning.  Catch yourself grinning.

anxiety, humor, inspiration, life lessons, mindfulness, motivation

I Want To Be A Cowgirl

“I want to be a cowboy, but only long enough to barge into a saloon and bellow ‘Where’s the yellow belly that stole my happy trail?'” — Jared Kintz

courtesy of wikipedia
courtesy of wikipedia

I used to occasionally catch a western with my dad (typically while he was changing channels and got hooked by something John Wayne or Lee Marvin or Clint Eastwood was doing).  My love of horses made it impossible to watch any of the scenes which intimated that they were uncomfortable or angry in anyway.  But galloping through an open field?  I’d watch and put myself in that saddle.  Slamming one’s body into the swinging door of a bar and with one look rendering a crowded room silent?  Oh yeah.   There’s a new sheriff in town and her name is Mimi (ok, I have to change that).

I also wanted to be the next Barbra Streisand, but that’s a story for another day.

And come up with the formula for world peace – I’m still working on that one.

“Where’s the yellow belly who stole my happy trail?”  How awesome it would be if one could point a gloved finger at that varmint.

You know where I’m going with this – who would you point your finger at?  Ain’t no one there, darn it, unless one is looking in the mirror.

We steal our happiness all the time.  That interlude between moments that is so easily sabotaged by our confusion or displeasure, asserting that we are the victims of circumstance, a person, a poor choice.  The thought that I am that yellow belly is anathema to me.  And yet.  Once again the duality of our humanity makes itself known.  We are both fearless and petrified;  hell-bent and heaven seeking.  Bartender, just leave me the bottle.

The older I get, the more I realize that this is the town I rode into.  The trail is far more littered with wildflowers than dead bodies (figuratively speaking – I am a cowboy without a gun).  I have undermined my sense of self-worth far more than anybody else, the amount I have gambled reflects my own fear and ambivalence, my delights have been incredible, my pain has been fierce.  And they’ve all been mine.

Every cowtown I’ve ever lived in has offered food, shelter, employment, sunshine.  So I’ve had the ridiculous luxury of feeling lousy over things that are dreams for many in this world.  So why would I self-sabotage my happy trail?  Because sometimes it’s the easier choice.  Sometimes, it’s far easier to think “yeah, but…”.  The problem of course is that there is no happy ending with that script.  One rides off into a barren field, head down – defeated by one’s self.  And that just isn’t the way any movie should end.

So I get up on my horse, settle my butt into a well-worn saddle and look at the horizon with a delicious sense of the possible.   I nicker to my horse and we ride..while I sing “People”.  Must be the reason why I never made it in show business.

inspiration, life lessons, mindfulness, motivation

This Is The Only Moment

This morning, Bill @ drbillwooten.com touched off a train of thought with another one of his fantastic quotes – this from Ernest Hemingway – “And if there’s not any such thing as a long time, nor the rest of your life, nor from now on, but there is only now, why then now is the thing to praise and I am very happy with it.”

Assuming that one is living a life of relative physical and emotional comfort, I think being happy takes guts.  It seems to be far easier to ascribe one’s frame of mind to the actions or inactions of others, the elements of living that remain decidedly out of our control and/or historic wrongs that we suffered from which it seems likely we will never recover.  I know you have met people who have affixed a figurative piece of velcro to the back of their hand and permanently placed it against their forehead.  Lots of sighs.  Slews of “if onlys”.  Eeyore on steroids (and I say that with affection, for I am a huge Eeyore fan).

images

There’s a lot of conversational fodder in looking at your life and finding happiness contingent upon something or someone else.  Life as a perpetual “if….then” statement.  The operative word for me is ‘perpetual’, for arguably there are times when we are anticipating, hoping, planning, etc.  But all the time?  Are we always waiting to react?  Are we never responsible for initiating?  If one believes the latter, then what in the world can we claim personal responsibility for?  What do we get to claim as ours?

Happiness is a challenge, for it means you own it.  It’s on you.  No one else.  Your boss can be impossible (I’ve had those), people may not offer what you are hoping for, someone may ride your bumper during an interminable rush hour.  Maybe your kids don’t get you or you don’t get them.  Perhaps the list of irritations far outweigh the list of delights.  I get it.  But I own it.  My lousy moods are mine – rarely do I blame someone else.  My happiness – which can certainly be fostered and enhanced by the phenomenal people around me – is also mine.  Because at the end of the day, I’m the one in this moment.  Our perceptions of the present moment are not the same, even if we’re sitting here having a cup of coffee together.   However I interpret this time is my job.  And I’m ok with that – because I can adjust and recalibrate – I don’t want someone else to do it for me.

When I was a young adult, my mom would repeatedly admonish “You never listen to me.  Well, you listen to me, but you end up doing what you want to do anyway.”  She was right.  I asked her many years later whether she really would have wanted to take responsibility for my actions – a question answered by her silence.  It’s easier to point a finger out, but honestly?  You’re the one who makes your day.

Why do I post this today?  Because I needed the reminder.  Because the morning broke grey and indifferent and I felt my body concede, bending to the power of a day that didn’t give a damn.  Joints in active rebellion.  One look in the mirror and all bets on a good hair day were off.  The Sirs decided to bark passionately at absolutely nothing and my head began to feel like it was in a vice.  The kitchen still looked post-apocalyptic.  This was my moment.  And unless I kicked myself in the butt, the day was going to continue to spiral down with alacrity.  So Bill’s quote brought me back to baseline.  If this is all I’ve got, it’s fine by me.  And though I wish that all your moments are golden, I know that some may not meet that threshold.  So when they don’t, consider that this is all we know for sure.  Right now – and it’s yours.  For that reason alone, it deserves at least a smile, and perhaps a shake of the head.

 

anxiety, inspiration, life lessons, mindfulness, motivation, parenting

Stuck In The Mud

That feeling of spinning your wheels, your body rocking with the car thinking it’s going to help in your efforts to dislodge it.  Wishing someone would come along to give you a push, yet recognizing that you haven’t seen another car for miles.

The karma truck is stuck in the mud.  I think it’s ok though – either I’m on the verge of getting back on the road or I’m making peace with the fact that sometimes you just have to put the damn thing in park.

Why so stuck?  Who knows really.  A friend of mine was describing this blog to his wife and said I write about ‘all this touchy-feely stuff’.  I explained how my initial motivation was to print out a year’s worth of posts and give them to my sons. Ok – it’s been a year and a half – now what?  My intent is not to hand them a tome.  I will never curate with the best of them, nor will I write with the best of them.  My sister told me that writers have discipline – I’m sure she’s right – she’s a truly outstanding writer.  I don’t think of myself as a writer – I feel like I’m more of a gusher, spewing forth foam and fluff and occasionally a stream of water that catches the light.  So you can see why I’m a little mired.  What is this blog to be now?  I’m trying to figure that out.  Filter out all the nonsense and distill my thoughts down to the most basic.  What do I want this to be?

“I do not know much about God and prayer, but I have come to believe, over the last twenty-five years, that there’s something to be said about keeping prayer simple.  Help.  Thanks.  Wow.” — Anne Lamott. The woman is onto something.  [If you have never treated yourself to a book by Anne Lamott, please give yourself that gift].  Getting to the fundamentals.  Every morning when I’m out with the Sirs, there is a silent exchange between me and the stars.  First I whisper my gratitude, for to neglect to recognize what I have been given is folly and hubris and stupid.  The list is long.  Then I quietly marvel – how can you not marvel at a sky wallpapered with stars?  Or the words “I love you”?  Puppy licks (even from an especially mischievous one).  The intensity of the yellows and the oranges that inform the landscape on the mountain?  And finally, I say “Please”.  And I cry.  Every time I consider the request, I cry.  I feel a little like Holly Hunter‘s character in “Broadcast News“.  My therapeutic cry.

Am I sad?  No.  By the time I get to ‘please’, I’m overwhelmed.

And so we come full circle…I am more than shmaltz and less than Dostoevsky.  I am sitting in ‘park’ despite an urge to rock this baby out of the muck.  I’m old enough to know that we all have moments like these and young enough to feel impatient and itchy.  It feels good to write this to you.  It’s been too long.

humor, life lessons, motivation

Practically Perfect

“They say that nobody is perfect.  Then they tell you practice makes perfect.  I wish they’d make up their minds” — Winston Churchill

Oh Winnie (we’re on informal terms), I am with you pal.  Accepting that we are all so imperfect (even you Win – you had a weirdly shaped head and drank more than your fair share of alcohol – I’m just sayin’…and what about that temper, hmm?),  able to choose the road less traveled with the right intention and the wrong shoes, discovering once lost that we’ve reached a dead-end (while walking without a compass – I still don’t know how to use one, but some people find them handy).  Striving, reaching, folding inward…reflecting upon the answers to questions with a million possible choices.  Perhaps we are lucky enough to find a perfect moment in between all the others, and arguably that’s pretty damn good.  We all know that nothing holds up under intense scrutiny – a perfect rose, an exquisite smile – if gazed upon for too long morphs into something that is slightly wanting (and occasionally a little weird-looking).

I accepted this reality a long time ago – and yet, I’m still searching.  And I’m an idiot.  I have been on a quest for the perfect pair of jeans, the perfect cosmetic blush, the perfect pen for decades (decades,  I tell you).  Straight jeans, boyfriend jeans, jeans with spandex so I can look thin and not breathe, dark jeans, bleached jeans, expensively ripped jeans, bootcut jeans.  I have a long torso and short legs (imagine trying to dress a fireplug), and still wonder if all jeans require that there be a gap at the waist that permits you to catch a lovely breeze while you’re walking.  A pair of jeans that are well-worn and soft, comfortable to a fault that don’t provide the opportunity for me to end up with a self-inflicted and seriously painful wedgie.  Jeans that will close without holding my breath and a zipper that moves easily without the need to lie down on the bed to ease its movement.

I’ve  just about given up on this one – I buy ’em bigger these days, because I just can’t abide by things that hug me so tightly I begin to feel light-headed.  How do I look?  Probably like a representative from Munchkinland who didn’t make it into costume in time.  I am completely aware that Vogue isn’t calling anytime soon.

Make-up is just one big come-on and I fall every time.  Each color is “wonderful for any skin tone”, “gives you that natural flush”, “just apply on the apples of your cheeks and you will look instantly refreshed”.  No I won’t.  I look like a frightening marionette or my application is so light that people ask after my health.  “Coral” looks  like I’ve got navel oranges affixed to my cheeks; pink as if I’ve strategically stuck on cotton candy so I can grab a taste throughout the day.  Brown?  Don’t ask.  If I pinch my cheeks (as some fashion editors recommend) I hurt myself and am left with two welts.  So why am I still bothering?  Hope my friend, hope.  It’s stronger than reality.

Which brings us to my obsession with pens.  Those who remember me from my work days know that my preference was always to use a fountain pen.  Italic nib, so I could write pseudo-calligraphy and remain questionably legible.  I wanted a pen that would float along the page, no sound of scratching, ink flowing evenly and with the sort of fluidity that the end result would almost have to be equally flowing and beautiful.  I also thought it would improve my illegibility, transforming it into magnificent penmanship.  Cheap pens, expensive pens, I have committed to so many, only to discover that I am fickle and that my expectation keeps changing.  I really understand that there may not be a connection between the loveliness of a pen and the words that I write (a bitter, bitter pill to swallow – “I coulda been a contender”).  But I believe there is some writing instrument out there that is going to be close to transformative.  David (davidkanigan.com) wrote of the “Perfect Pen” yesterday and I felt my heart begin to race.  Could it really be?  And it’s available at Office Depot?  No specialty store?  No secret password to gain egress to some high-end pen shop?  You know where I’m heading today.

And yet I know that I will like the pen.  I will not love it, for it is not a fountain pen – but perhaps it will inspire sentences that leave you breathless, wondering with awe how I could even conjure such flights of fancy and delight.  I think I’ll wear my two-sizes-too-big-jeans over there and just keep hitching them up (true I probably walk like a short Walter Brennan but people give me a wide berth) and mix the corals, pinks and browns together before lightly dusting them on my cheeks.  It may seem that my face needs a good washing after that, but what the hell.  Totally unkempt woman walking into Office Depot in search of perfection.  No one will believe it.

discretion, friendship, inspiration, love, mindfulness, motivation, Uncategorized

Beautiful Blessings Remain

Last week, my wondrous friend Lori (donnanddiablo.com) sent me one of John O’Donahue‘s exquisite blessings.  I used to consider myself well-read – until I met Lori;  moderately well-rounded – until I started following David Kanigan (davidkanigan.com), a tad lyrical – until I found Bill (drbillwooten.com).  I also considered myself to have a modicum of some other qualities that have been brought into some question now that I am an avid fan of many of your blogs (and I could go on, but you know from my comments how highly I think of you very, very talented people who enrich my life so often).  Creative, courageous, innovative, funny, unbridled – some of the adjectives that come to mind..

Anyhow, Lori and I are connected in ways too cosmic for me to fully understand.  Our emails cross each other in the cyberspace almost daily, each of us thinking of the other simultaneously.  She can intuit when something’s wrong, and I will feel a shadow across the sun if Lori is troubled.  That I can sense something is ‘off’ with Jo for example, seems to come with breathing – we’ve known each other longer than we have known ourselves.  But Lori and I began in tune without ever having met.  I find it incredible and awesome.  I feel this way about all those I love – each is a blessing.  Corny?  Mea culpa.  Is there a way to say this without sounding corny?  Probably, but this is a reflection of my limitation with the language nothing more.

I hadn’t heard of John O’Donahue.  How I could have missed such beauty?  So I share this with you – though it is Lori who should be thanked for this introduction.  After emailing with a friend of mine earlier this morning, thinking about how we test ourselves and occasionally torture our thoughts and hearts, it seemed only right that I pass this along to you.  I hope you receive it in the spirit with which it is given – with hope in the sunlight.

A Blessing For The New Year

On a day when

The weight deadens

On your shoulders

And you stumble,

May the clay dance

To balance you.

And when your eyes

Freeze behind

The gray window

And the ghost of loss

Gets into you,

May a flock of colors

Indigo, red, green

And azure blue,

Come to awaken in you

A meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays

In the curragh of thought

And a stain of ocean

Blackens beneath you,

May there come across the waters

A path of yellow moonlight

To bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,

May the clarity of light be yours,

May the fluency of the ocean be yours,

May the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow

Wind work these words

Of love around you,

An invisible cloak

To mind your life.

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discretion, friendship, inspiration, leadership, life lessons, management, mindfulness, motivation, training, work life

Sometimes I Get The Message

There was a comment waiting for me this morning that was posted on my “About Me” page.  It was from a manager with whom I used to work at the firm.  She moved on to greater professional opportunities years ago, and we keep in tacit touch on LinkedIn.  And though I remember her in detail, from her reluctant smile, that once shared lit up her entire face to her ardent wish to ‘do the right thing’ for her department – I never really expected to receive such a gift.

“Mimi, I saw this recently and thought of you.  So many times as a leader I reflect on your teachings and I am so very thankful to have them in my toolbox.  Thanks for the Lollipop and for the ones I’ve received because of you.”

And she forwarded along this Ted video.  And I cried (no surprise there).

www.ted.com/talks/drew_dudley_everyday_leadership.html

And the bottom line to all of this?  Be transparent, bring joy, offer people the best you have and if you can’t give them your best, certainly don’t bring them your worst.  Sometimes the farther one travels up the professional food chain, the more likely it is to see people getting by with the most off-hand and dismissive of efforts – after all, there is so much one has to do (yes, this is sarcastic).  I am humbled and honored that Vivia took the time to send me this.  I am appreciative of the reminder that this is really what it’s all about – period.  And my lollipop of choice?  Tootsie pops, hands down.

anxiety, discretion, humor, inspiration, life lessons, mindfulness, motivation

You’d Think I’d Know By Now

I recently received a comment about one of my posts, which I have let drive me crazy.  The person (whose blog I read regularly and enjoy – particularly for the  fabulous photography) wrote candidly that he didn’t read my posts frequently because he found them “too sweet”.  Now before you say anything – this isn’t a referendum on whether he’s right.  He’s right – I’m not the type to disabuse anyone of their feelings and after obsessing about this for days now, I see his point.

I assure you I’m not all that sweet.  Well, I’m sweet, but I have as many snarky moments as the next person.  And I can be sarcastic.  And if you’re a friend or relative of mine, I can be an absolute lioness – with both chuffing and growling sounds perfected.  You get my drift, though believe me I could go on and tell you all the reasons why I can compete with the best provocateurs, devil’s advocates and cynics.  Just ask Andy.  But I digress (again).

What gets me is how much I let this thought consume me.   I have held onto this like Archie covets a new bone.  The circuitous breeze in my head blows relentlessly and none too gently.  “Have I become saccharine?”  “What do I want this blog to reflect?”  “Is it honest” “Am I still thinking like Pollyanna?” (answer to this question is  – yes).  “Do I have anything new to say or have I become Mimi One-Note?”  “How much do I want to put out there”  Of course, the answers change direction depending on the time of day, the state of my hair, and whether I have eaten recently.  As of this writing, I’ve decided that I’ve got to let it go.  Must be time for lunch.

I began this blog with a thousand different ideas about what I wanted it to be like and then zeroed in on a year’s worth of entries that I could print out and give to my sons – a somewhat morbid, but well-intended gesture for them.  I’m now well into my second year and I can’t see giving them a flippin’ tome, so what am I doing now?  Honestly, I have no idea.  Given that I’m a big believer that certain answers come with time, I’m giving it time and just moving forward.  What I do know is that I’m as transparent as I feel I can be.

On Monday we were out to dinner with friends of ours who have had a really challenging year.   Her son was diagnosed with a serious illness, she was just laid off for the second time in less than a year.  The company he works for is on the brink of going under.  And yet, there we sat genuinely aware that we were all beyond lucky.  First and foremost, her son is much, much better – and that offers a perspective like nothing else.  We live in far better circumstances than most people in the world.  We laugh – a lot.  We know love.  We’re more aware that the concept of happiness is not something that is a given, rather more like snatches of sunlight between the cracks in a day.  The key is in noticing those spaces.  I’m trying to look for them, choosing to find them.  I don’t want to miss my chances, for the weather changes with little warning.

Lately, I’ve been acutely aware of time speeding past.  When the hell did I become 59 when I still hold on to such immaturity?   I’m not ready to age-out of life just yet and would prefer to be in the game with some well-preserved naiveté and faith in a whole bunch of things that are bigger than me (note to David Kanigan – no height comments here, pal).  I’d rather be acknowledging the spaces in-between and delight when I find them.  Pollyanna?  You betcha – though I don’t do braids.

images

anxiety, discretion, friendship, inspiration, life lessons, mindfulness, motivation

With Props To Ashton Kutcher

It’s kind of hard for me to give props to someone I don’t know much about nor have followed for his artistry or contributions to humanity.  To me he’s a cute guy who is starring in “Jobs” – and that just opened here yesterday, so how familiar should I be?  Oh yeah, he was married to Demi Moore – someone else I haven’t befriended (well, in fairness she hasn’t befriended me either, so…).

Anyway, this video is traveling the circuit that arguably could have been the Borscht Belt circuit before technology.   Although he was reaching out to a screaming bunch of teenagers (and skip the first 1 min 44 seconds unless you like to listen to hysteria), the message is ageless.  As we weave our own stories, jumping in and out of costume changes as we try on new iterations of ourselves…wondering how to make our next chapters meaningful while we re-define its definition…This is for us too.  Happy Saturday all.

discretion, friendship, inspiration, life lessons, love, mindfulness, motivation, Uncategorized

Dozing Through Life

“The universe is not short on wake-up calls.  We’re just quick to hit the snooze button.”  – Brene Brown

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There are some days when I think I have done absolutely nothing of value and  can’t understand how the hours got away from me.  At that point my self-talk is particularly harsh – ‘Idiot, you wasted a day’, ‘is this how you define living?’, ‘you have no excuse for such inertia’, ‘what are you waiting for?’  (I did censor these thoughts –  I usually throw around a few expletives in my head too).

And even though I self-flagellate with impressive vigor, it’s beginning to dawn on me that I’m missing the point.  I’m not snoozing through life – I’m wide awake, acutely aware and learning how to be in this skin without apology.  I believe that my senses are calibrated more sensitively than ever before.  I can find a chirping wren in the top of a tree,  discover the mystery in a song I’ve listened to a thousand times and never really heard.  I am increasingly attracted to people who have a curiosity about anything other than their own navels.  It dawned on me the other day that there are some people who think of me fondly and/or with friendship and have never asked me anything that would suggest they really had any interest in who I am.  And that’s ok – as long as I’m asking myself the questions that matter,  I don’t need to be queried.  I like inquiring better.

I am aware that life delights in such elemental ways that I can’t wait to wake up in the morning.  The rich silence in the pre-dawn hours punctuated by the occasional grumbling of a bullfrog, the decadent smell of fresh coffee and the morning air fresh from the nights’ rain.  I’m awake.  I’m getting the message – there is no dress rehearsal, so make sure you pick up your cues.  Life isn’t waiting for you to begin, it just wants you to notice.

anxiety, friendship, inspiration, life lessons, mindfulness, motivation

In This Moment

“In these bodies we live and in these bodies we will die

Where you invest your love, you invest your life” — Mumford & Sons

 

Such a simple concept, yes?  Hard to argue, pointless to debate – and yet.  There is no doubt that I have exhausted this body with thoughts and actions and feelings that had little to do with love.  There are years when I succumbed to the pressure of living to work, displaying outrageous disconnection between value and true purpose.  I don’t think I’m unique.  I think we remember what is in front of us in the moment.

It’s been a challenge to get the karma truck in gear over these last few weeks, and I’m not sure why.  Feeling that perhaps my thoughts are becoming trite and overdone like a delicate Jenga edifice of clichés.  And this morning something clicked, the starter turned over.  Back on the road.

I had a particularly challenging consulting project that is now over.  The participants were awesome, the conversation engaging.  The untenable weight was a result of the politics behind the engagement and I agitated beyond anything remotely sensible.  The details don’t matter – the phenomenal emotional toll that was exacted each time I received vitriolic emails and disparaging comments from the company that had arranged this program – was far more than I should ever have permitted.  The client was thrilled with me and I was happy with the terrific group with whom I spent many hours.  And that’s where I should have been able to insert a full stop.  It’s like trying to separate egg yolks and whites – it takes practice.  I still conflate the relevant and irrelevant; arguably giving way too much attention to the latter.

With the luxury of time, I watch people around me as they approach the tender reality of savoring what really matters.  There is the obvious – our families and friends, a firefly playing hide-and-seek before becoming invisible in the daylight, a newborn fawn nursing vigorously and then falling over his/her legs in an initial attempt at play.  Finding the delight in every story told to me, by people I may never see again, and others who I will know forever.  Holding on to curiosity and expanding the vista to include more and more and more.  I’m not ready to narrow the perspective – this body has room to breathe and absorb and take in and wonder.  This body has room to rest and rejoice, listen and learn, commit and walk away and commit again.

Such simple, unassailable truths – yet coming to this post, I was close to breathing into a paper bag.  The anxiety of insecurity, the constant questioning of whether or not I’m getting this right.  It’s done.  It’s written, and I’m on the road again.  With time however, to renew.

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