Today I’m thinking about freedom and the choices that I make everyday. Those choices are born on the backs of the men and women that fight to keep freedom within the borders of our hearts. I shudder when I think about the wars being waged in this world, but I also understand that wars have been fought since the beginning of time to keep peace. I wish it didn’t have to be that way, but that is not my choice. What is my choice is to be thankful for the freedoms that those wars have afforded me. And to remember that my freedom comes at a price that others have paid.
Is March going to come in like a lamb and out like a lion this year in the mid-country of the Colorado foothills? Maybe February will go out like a lamb and March will come in like a lion? This is what I love about Colorado: yesterday it was 50 degrees and sunny. As I walked along the 16th Street Mall during my lunch hour in Denver, all of the restaurants had their outdoor patios open and people longing for a breath of spring were sitting outside basking in the sun of a February day. Today it was 20 degrees and snowy. Today at lunchtime everything was buttoned up tight as a ship in high seas.
The yin and yang of the weather is one of the most wonderful things about this area. Kind of like life in general, change is the only constant, and there’s something so marvelous about that. I like not knowing exactly what to expect. I like waking up in the morning and looking outside to find out whether it’s snowed a foot or a bluebird day. If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes. And if you don’t like the course your life is on, it’s bound to change. Just give it a little time…a little faith…a little patience.
There is a freedom in embracing the reality that the only constant is change. Then you can bask in the glow of uncertainty, and maybe, just maybe, find unexpected joy around every corner.
So, I’ve been thinking a lot over the past few days about what the act of writing means to me. And I’m realizing that on the days that I take time to write, even just a few lines, I feel more present in my life than on the days that I do not. I feel more centered and grounded, better able to cope with the hectic pace of work, a long commute, a hundred things to do each day. Because the act of taking a few minutes to release the thoughts swirling in my head and to explore my world creatively leaves me feeling like I’ve done something positive for myself and my surroundings.
It is also important that I allow time for a creative writing expression to balance the dullness of all the technical writing that I do for work. If all I do each day is write the following: “I’m here, I’m still me, my career does not define me,” I am doing a lot in that moment for myself and my family. So how do I hold on to this realization and not let it slip away into the atmosphere for another month or year? I’m thinking that setting a goal for myself might be a good place to start. I don’t want to be bound to a certain number or rigid schedule, but just setting the goal to write more, in whatever capacity that takes, is a good start. Journaling at night before sleep, jotting down a thought in the middle of the day, posting on this blog…those are all things that make me feel happy, creative, and whole. From a small goal, something bigger?…a year of daily blogging….perhaps. A whisper to mull over for a while. And a start. What about you? What’s your creativity goal for 2012? To write, to paint, to dance, to dream? Do share. I’d love to know.
A BLESSING FOR ONE WHO IS EXHAUSTED:
by John O’Donohue*
When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight,
The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
Now become laborsome events of will.
Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.
The tide you never valued has gone out.
And you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life.
You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken for the race of days.
At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.
You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.
Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.
Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.
Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.
Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.
Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.
My, oh my, a long weekend has just passed by, with visiting family and lots of winter fun. How wonderful to spend a few days with my little brother and his family. What fun we had – sledding down the icy driveway, ice skating and hot chocolate in Boulder, a mountain drive up to Ned for IPA and wings. Adult card games and a hot tub soak under the wintry sky. Laughter and fun. Watching the cousins start a rock band and careen around the deck on the tricycles. Learning new things. Here are a few pics, made fun with the groovy Pixlr-o-matic tool that I just discovered:
And here is the kids’ theme song for the weekend, Down by the Bay:
After two months of temps in the high 90s nearly every day, I am ready for a touch of cooler weather. I’m waiting for that first crisp morning when I grab the extra blanket that lives at the foot of the bed all summer. That feeling of breathing deep gulps of pure bliss. At 8300′, we usually get about two weeks of solid fall weather before it slips away into full-on winter. I’d have to say that those are my favorite two weeks of weather all year. I get a shiver of excitement just thinking about it. Until then, I’ll relish our dwindling ‘some hot’, but tonight I’ll dream of Fall.
And nothing says Fall like markets with handmade goodies, cider, and antiques. Here are a couple that I will try to get to. I’m sure Fisher won’t mind going as long as there are a couple of yummy food vendors and a park nearby where he can run off some energy.
Maybe there’s a great Fall market near you too.
“A bad day’s when I lie in bed and think of things that might have been.” – Slip Slidin’ Away, Paul Simon
Sunday afternoon. Slip slidin’ away into a lazy day. Another birthday come and gone yesterday. Early 30s has slipped away. Mid-30s has snuck up on me like a sidewinder. Not fast and furious, but a sleek and seductive primal force sidling into my life. I’m starting to think that my thirties are all about moving slower and sensory reflection, taking the time to think about what I want the rest of my life to be, settling in and being content. Overall, age at this point can best be described as both irrelevant and obnoxious. A birthday is only a day on the calendar to mark the passing of time, which is obnoxiously showing its power in the number of gray hairs on my head.
I never dwell on age, except for that one day of year on which everyone wishes me well, the day that I eat cake without guilt, and have both dinner made AND dishes done for me. That’s the only day that I dwell on the fact that another year has passed by and left its mark on my body.
Someday I will look back on being thirtysomething and laugh my ass off at the fact that I dwelled for even one second on getting older at this age. But I’m allowed an occasional moment of self indulgence too. I think I’ve earned that. And if my older self disagrees, well, I guess I’ll just chalk it up to immaturity. And that’s allowed once in a damn while too.
“The only time you really live fully is from thirty to sixty. The young are slaves to dreams; the old servants of regrets. Only the middle-aged have all their five senses in the keeping of their wits.” – Hervey Allen
Sunday evening in a quiet house. Less than a month to go before we pack up our little family and head to Florida for much-needed vacation. I am so in need of a week during which I’ll do absolutely nothing but lounge on the beach, drink summer cocktails, and play with the kids in the pool. Doesn’t that sound like heaven? It does to me. In this corporate work life I lead, time off is all too scarce. A week is precious.
A week to turn of the constant noise of email, IM, phone calls, and people knocking – got a sec?
A week to focus only on family and play and rest.
A week to refresh, renew, resurface.
A week to breathe deeply and fully.
Vacation here we come. In the meantime, we have 3 weeks and 5 days of busy days, work travel, friends coming to visit, toddler field trips, learning, and playing to achieve. Just a month in the life. Tomorrow another Monday, we’ll go from there.
Thinking about water, and the ebb and flow of the tide. Thinking about renewal. A new season approaching. Once again, it’s been entirely too long since I’ve posted on this blog. I have a 26 month child now. As usual, work and home are not balanced enough, but I’m trying mightily. I realize now that it will always elude me because I will never be able to be home enough to assuage the mama guilt. It will always be hovering in the dark place that I usually don’t speak of, but I should. I should share more, open myself up more to friends and family. When I do that, I am reminded that I’m not alone in that dark place. It is shared by all the mothers and sisters and daughters who never feel that they do enough, or care enough, or work enough, or ARE ENOUGH.
It is such a common feeling among women. We always try to be more to everyone around us. Sometimes, when we are trying too hard, a manifestation of stress and fatigue bears down in a physical way. Lately for me it has been god-awful headaches. So my new commitment to myself is to try to be more to ME. More centered, more attuned to my needs, more calm, more creative. More ME. To begin is enough.
So today I took myself down to the Horseshoe Summer Craft and Flea Market. Thank you Denver handmade purveyors for inspiration and whimsy. A morning at the market and picnic lunch in the park with my lovely boy. Now THAT’s more me.
“I don’t know who I am or what I am without you. All I know is that I should” – Missy Higgins
Toddlerhood and motherhood are all about discovery. Who am I without mama? Who am I without baby? Toddler says ‘Wow, maybe I really am my own person, with my own feelings and frustrations and goals.’ Mama starts to think ‘Wow, maybe I really am my own person, with my own feelings and frustrations and goals.’ Maybe motherhood is not the only thing that defines me anymore.
There is a glimpse of independence, a startle of recognition – Baby no longer…toddler is he. And now the hard work continues. How to encourage independence while still coddling? How to teach bravery while longing to keep him sheltered? There again – the subject of balance. How to be everything and nothing all at once?
Learning and discovering this new role for me and this new person for him is something of a wonder. I’m fascinated watching the whole spectrum of human emotions wash over his beguiling face in a matter of moments. Glee – confusion – frustration – hurt – sad – excited…WOW! Nothing is held back, nothing is fixed. We can discover everything about living life in the moment from a toddler. There is no reflecting back, no thinking about the future. There is only now. And now I want to be held, and now I want to get down, and now I want to be held…all in the course of a minute. It is truly a wonder.
So, where does that leave me as mama? I’m still trying to figure it out. I know it’s not to constantly coddle, and I know it’s not to let him dangle over the balcony, but somewhere in between I can figure out what he needs, while discovering who I am again. And I think maybe, just maybe, toddlerhood and motherhood are about both of us transforming into something new.
Leaves are falling.
Mist on the mountain.
Open the door.
Chill in the air.
I’m a mom. You know how once in a while you have a moment of clarity when you realize something all over again that you realized a long time ago? That happened to me this morning. It’s mothers day, and my husband – wonderful man that he is – gave me a card from my son, who’s of course, at 11 months, way to young to get me a card himself. It was a cheesy funny card, and as I opened it and read it, it hit me. This card is for me. I get a card and flowers and brunch out today. I’m a mom.
I’ve been a mama for 11 months of course, and even before that. I’ve even written here on this blog about the first moment that I became a mother. But today, another moment arrived. It’s here. He’s mine. I’m a mom.
~Happy Mama’s Day~
Friendship, real lasting friendship, is a rare gift. If we’re truly lucky, we will have a people on this earth who will be our friends until the end. No matter the distance between us, or the events of our lives, they are still a true friend. I have but a few, but those that I do, I cherish with all my heart. There isn’t much I wouldn’t give them if they needed it. Nothing that would keep me from helping to make life easier for them. Why? Because they would do the same for me. An ear to listen. A back to strengthen. A smile to brighten. And laughter, always sweet laughter. In a word, they give me solace.
Solace is defined as to amuse, allay, soothe, comfort. THAT, my dears, is true friendship. Those in our lives who amuse and comfort us, usually at the same time. Who gives you solace when you need it the most? Who is always there for you no matter what? This is what I will teach my son about friendship. True friends aren’t the people that are around when it suits THEM, but the ones who are selflessly by your side when YOU need it. And for that, you do the same for them. Always be kind to your friends. Cherish that rare gift. Give them solace and let them do the same for you.
So sorry, dear readers, that it has been over a month since I last posted on this blog. Day-to-day life rolled over me, leaving me spent and exhausted. In April, we vacationed in Florida visiting friends and family. Baby Fisher had his first trip to the beach, getting sand here, there, and everywhere. Played with his cousin while his parents kicked back a few cold ones. Then, back to the grind of daily life. Work has been treacherous of late – long hours and not enough time to play or dream or write. I’ve been able to take a breath again today, and say hello, dear blog, let’s reconnect. I’ve missed you.
It all started with a wish. Or a dream. Or both. It’s the whisper of hope that life can be sweeter. That wishes do come true. That if we plant both feet solidly on the ground and believe that we can experience wishes fulfilled, it will be so. We can will our lives to be different, to be contented, to have meaning.
My wish for my son is to live a life full of passion and the belief in promise. That he will work hard and play harder. That his focus will be fixed on the experience, whatever it may be at each moment in life. It’s not the end game that makes life sweet. It’s not even the path to get there. It’s the way we navigate the path. It’s how we choose to treat our people and surroundings. Because they are ours to keep or lose – decisions abound. Do you tread lightly? Do you give graciously? Do you love joyfully? These are the questions I will ask my son as he navigates his path through life.
Do I tread lightly? Do I give graciously? Do I love joyfully? These are the questions I will ask myself as I navigate my path. I will try to light the way by my actions, by my intentions. I have a lot of work to do, that’s for sure. I need some navigational assistance here. But intention means something to me. It’s a start. And that’s good enough for today.