humor, life lessons, mindfulness

From The Top Of The World

“Well, there is narcissism in all of us, of course.  I mean we are the protagonists of our own lives, so naturally it feels like we’re at the wheel.  But we’re not at the wheel.  That just happens to be where the window is located” — Jean Marie Korelitz

I’ve been up at the mountain house since Sunday.  It’s good to be back, though the first few days without any connectivity to the outside world was a little daunting.  No phone service, no Internet.  I thought that would be fine – and it was, except when the night encroached and I was reminded that I am a very little, inconsequential person in the great big scheme of things – and the mountains are a fairly imposing backdrop from which to consider this.  What serendipity has brought me to this place in time.  And yeah, there were occasionally shout-outs imploring the universe to keep me safe.  So far, so good.

On some level it appalls me that silence can be unrequited, when it is so necessary and valuable.  I’ve been struggling a lot of late with the outline of this next story line in my life (made even more difficult by the fact that I have yet to figure out what I want to be when I grow up).  Itchy, out-of-sync, closing off more parts of me to see if I could get to the essence of what I want.  The reality is I need this silence right now (though it is good to be able to converse with you again).  With all the noise going on in my head, something had to force me to be still.

I have not arrived at any great conclusions, though I feel like I’m on the cusp of…something.  And I’m feeling a bit less anxious about not being able to touch it.  When you can’t avoid yourself, you have to figure out a way through the mild panic and self-deriding thoughts that circle around as a cyclone.  Stepping outside myself to look inside and provide the reassurance that it’s ok.  Let life carry me – for that is what it’s going to do anyway.   What hubris to think that because I want answers now that I’m supposed to have them.  They’re en route – like the spring.

I marvel that the buds on the trees, the flowers, etc are so insistent on blooming regardless of the temperature.  They’re straining to burst forth, determined to honor their rightful time in the sun.  A part of me wants them to be a bit more self-protective and wait until the temperature proves more accommodating.  Another part of me is cheering them on, encouraging them to claim their rightful place.  They’re going to bloom, in their time and on their schedule.  I am learning a lot from them.  The hide-and-seek exercise that transitions us from one season to the next, and the incoming season is always ‘it’.  And always wins.  So with this thought, I toy with a new season in my soul.

It’s all good.  Learning to give myself a break, give myself permission to stare at the clouds, read a book in one sitting, make some tea and just savor.  Savor my husband, my children (when they allow me), the cocoon I am ensconced in on top of this very large and imposing mountain.  Make music in the silence and write a verse that has yet to be sung.


friendship, life lessons, mindfulness

When The Heart Hurts

“There comes a time when the world goes quiet and the only thing left is your own heart.  So you better learn the sound of it,  Otherwise you’ll never understand what it’s saying.” — Sarah Dessen

Perhaps it’s just the uncertainty of the sky this morning.  Long drives over the weekend punctuated by emotional family moments that are both joyful and sad.  Certainly too full to be explained without further reflection.  Maybe it’s just a day when the heart has to ache.  The uncomfortable nexus where what we feel meets what we give and/or receive.  Feeling the summer’s departure and perhaps not being ready to say farewell.

There’s a chill in my body that seems centered in my chest that radiates into my arms.  As if they need to stay close to my body and not approach the day outstretched with anticipation.  Sometimes you need to just hold yourself.  Wrapping yourself up in whatever warmth you extend out; trying to retain that heat.  And if one were to ask what’s wrong, the best one can do is shrug, perhaps whisper “I don’t know”.  I’m just aching for what I miss.  And I’m furious that given all that I have, I should even think of feeling anything but grateful.  And yet…sometimes, even Pollyanna sounds insufferable to herself.  Let it be.  Tomorrow I may fly again.  Tomorrow I will marvel.  For today though, I am chilled.  And I will listen to my heart, not diminish its longing or sorrow or misgivings – for days like this shouldn’t be denied, or they will last far longer if ignored.   Time to grab a sweatshirt, accessorize appropriately and just accept the day for what it is.

courtesy of The Story People
courtesy of The Story People
anxiety, discretion, friendship, inspiration, life lessons, love, mindfulness

Those Damn Curveballs

I’m not even a baseball aficionado and even I know what curveballs are.  They’re the frustrating pitches that start straight and then curve into a ridiculous arc making the likelihood of a hit far lower than if the pitcher had thrown straight.  

My friends have been getting thrown curveballs lately and it’s messing with their batting average and more importantly their spirits.  I have read about people struggling with the darker moments from their past, spoken with those who are feeling concern about emotional u-turns that keep occurring despite smarter GPS systems in their heads, significant losses and little gains that don’t really offset the enormity of sorrow, relapses, physical challenges, regrets…And I can’t fix any of it, because I wasn’t given that extraordinary power (though I fancy Tinkerbell as one of my favorite characters – I just would like her wand though).

I had no intention of writing about this today – I was going to write something about management.  Once again, my heart over-ruled my head – it seems to do that a lot.  Be forewarned, I don’t have any magical answers and I doubt my words can change hurts that run so deep.  I can only be here.  We can only be here for those we love and care about.  I do know that it is important to honor pain as much as one should embrace happiness.  They are flip sides of the same coin and for reasons I can’t explain, sometimes the coin lands on the wrong side.  We lose people we adore and have to recalibrate our balance so that we can still hold them in our heart while railing that we can’t hold them in our arms.  Our bodies refuse to comply with our directions to always stay strong.  Hearts get broken and the energy just isn’t there to find the paste and glue.  Or it’s the wrong kind of Elmer’s and doesn’t work on major organs.  So what to do, how to cope, how to head back to the dug-out after striking out despite your best efforts (that’s it for the analogy, I promise).

Some days the best we can do is breathe.  Just breathe.  Get through the day and notice that there is nothing required of us other than that.  Listen to the wind as it weaves it’s way around the tops of the trees.  Cry.  Cry some more.  Eat a little bit if you can.  And every time you begin to judge what you’re doing, anytime a ‘should’ pops into your brain – invite it to leave.  Now isn’t the time.  There are no ‘shoulds’.  There is just this moment, and this is the moment that you have to get through – no more – until the next moment.  Letting our thoughts go is a hard exercise, wondering is a human condition – and often elicits wonderful thoughts.  No wondering today – for the answers aren’t going to offer solace.  Life is.  That is all for today.

And if you have the energy, as weird as it may sound – do something good for another person.  Nothing huge, a ‘thank you’ will do.  Perhaps “can I help you with that?” as an older person struggles with his/her groceries.  Let someone who appears to be in a hurry take your place in line.  Buy a sandwich for a homeless person.  In the throes of despair the one thing that hints of the promise of a better tomorrow is generating kindness.  It takes us out of ourselves, even briefly.  And the effect of gratitude and appreciation reinforces the goodness of who you are (regardless of what you may be thinking of yourself at the moment).

“When you carry out acts of kindness you get a wonderful feeling inside.  it is as though something inside your body responds and says, yes, this is how I ought to feel” — Harold Kushner

It may seem counterintuitive – we want people to be kind to us when we’re going through our own hell.  Yet this is the only way I have found to make  a positive impact on my own spirit when it’s overwhelmed with struggle.  In college we would call it ‘doing a solid’ – a solid, small act of goodness that brings us back to the reality that what you’re going through does not define you.  It is depleting you perhaps, but doesn’t come close to touching all the goodness that you are.  And in that moment of giving, I guarantee you that you will feel slightly lighter.  For a little while, you will be lighter.  Breathing, kindness and the smallest of smiles.  That is what I wish you for today.  I will save the big, over-the-top exuberant, life affirming wishes for another day – for I know that day too will come.

And in stereo-typical Jewish mother language, there’s something to be said for a little chicken soup too.  Try and have a sip – it’ll help..