Day #5

Today was busy.

The hustle and bustle of family and food. Macy’s Thanksgiving parade to watch. Pies to cook. Places to be. And oh the roles we play. Wife, sister-in-law, daughter-in-law, daughter, sister, niece, cousin, aunt, mother, friend were just a few of mine today.

We talked and shared, laughed and cried. We ate and then ate more. We connected in superficial ways and meaningful ways, and all the ways in between. We drank wine and dissected ads and solved all the worlds problem. Family togetherness…fleeting but beautiful in all its bursts of color.

And then the Love and I came home. It was already dark and cold outside.

“I didn’t get to walk today,” I said.

“Well, let’s go.”

And we changed shoes, bundled up, and walked. Not long and not too far-but enough. The dark and quiet after such a full day was enormous in my head. The moon and the stars twinkled at me and the cold chill made my skin come alive. As I walked, I thought about a piece of advice recently shared with me.

She said:

“Imagine you are sitting on a bench holding balloons of all that labels what you are: mother, wife, friend, worker, etc. Now imagine letting go of each balloon until they are gone. What are you left with?”

Just me,” I had whispered then.

A couple's shadows cast upon the pavement.And “Just me” I whisper now. I look at our shadows, long in street lights. I see the most stark version of myself staring back at me. The version without color, accomplishments, superego, or beliefs. It’s just me. I am grateful to be at a place in my life where I can finally enjoy just me in just this moment.

Happy Thanksgiving, my gentle readers…

Day #4

gray-boots-in-leavesHe came and took her away from me today.

Granted, “he” is her father and this is “his” holiday per standard visitation. But it felt like he took a part of me and drove it six hours away.  I love my current life. I am a happier, freer, and more loving person since my divorce from man and establishment.

But some days…

Some days I feel heavy with losing out on so much of her childhood. Some days I hate that I miss any holidays with the child I grew to spend holidays with…

So I walk solemnly…

at first…

but before long…

the leaves tickle my toes, the sunset catches my imagination, and the playful animals scurrying about make me giggle. We have real, adult conversation, and we stroll. There are no mouths to feed, no schedules to keep, and no agenda but my own. And the road just keeps walking us along.

A lot like life…

Day #3

heart-shaped-rockLove.

It’s the one thing that when all else is stripped away, I still believe. And I know it comes in all different shapes, sizes, and colors. I’ve witnessed the beautiful, the magical and the absurd. And love has found its way to me… it came unexpected and surprised this broken heart.

But that has been some time ago and as I walk hand-in-hand with my Love today, I ask him: “Well it’s almost Thanksgiving, what are you thankful for?” He looks at me sideways and grins, “Well, you, of course.” And I know he’s teasing but I also know he is speaking complete truth because he tells me every day in a thousand different ways. He loves so hard and thoroughly and playfully. I never go one day without laughing, smiling, blushing, and feeling certain my heart will burst with joy.

Seriously, everyday.

We continue walking and I push a little harder (because it’s what I do),”Why are you thankful for me?” He walked in silence hand still tight on mine. “Because I can just be me with you.” And isn’t that all we really ever want?  I feel inexplicable happiness with this statement because it means I am his soft-and-safe place. To be silly or to cry or to be angry about the cards that have been dealt… it doesn’t matter because he knows I have the empathy and the courage to stare all of him in the face and just love.

And love is all I know for certain, so it’s what I choose… every time.

Day #2

ducksI ponder friendship as I walk.

My friendship skills have seem to decline as the years have passed. It was just so EASY when were younger. Our friends were essentially picked for us; they are our mom’s friend’s kid, or the other girl in the class that likes green instead of pink, or whatever. And time… you have all the time in the world to devote to these beautiful connections. No pesky jobs,  or needy kids, or significant others to prioritize. And although I seem to have outgrown friends, I have not outgrown the need.

Therefore, I bumble through.

I have friends… kind of… I have those that find me when they need to vent or dump. I have those that spend time when time is easy but never when it needs to be made. I have those that surface love me but cannot dig too deep, and finally, I have those that just have too much on their shoulders without adding me. And these lovely souls waft in and out of my life–enriching experiences–but never devoted.

I once asked my husband why he didn’t need friends. He said, “People are just so damn fickle.” And I am inclined to agree. Friends of decades-and-the-most-intimate-moments turned a silent shoulder to me when I made one decision for myself that they could not understand. Friends of deepest-darkest-secrets disappear because another one has stolen their heart. Friends of good-times-and-bad-times lose their way to my door when my door is no longer their need.

And a part of me feels betrayed… angered… shamed… but more of me feels sad.

As I walked today, I became mindful to these things.

And I noticed: leaves whirling in tornadoes together, turtles sunbathing in a pack, geese talking amongst themselves, ducks huddling together to stay warm against the wind, families playing together at the park… and roots.

Everywhere roots!

I once read that dying trees will send energy out through their roots to other trees. There is a massive root system under the ground that connects trees and if we could see the root system we would not be able to distinguish one tree from the next. I feel we, as a human race, are like this; all connected but separate. We look different, we bloom different, we need different but fundamentally we are the same and intertwined. I know this because … empathy.

At times, and especially with those close to me, I cannot always separate their feelings from my own. They weep, their heart is broken, they hurt and my soul carries that burden. They celebrate, enjoy one of life’s gifts, they smile and my soul soars on dancing clouds.

Connective-ness is not always fair or pleasurable–but it is the essence. The thread that interweaves itself through the tapestry of our lives , holding us together and ripping us apart. But it keeps us warm at night… you know?

Day #1

puppies in truck

As we walked with leashes in hand and dogs excitedly sniffing each new trail, I thought about present living. It seems to be everywhere right now for me. I’m reading a book about mindfulness in play therapy. I’ve had friends post about it on their Facebook pages. I keep running across quotes on Pinterest. Articles keep finding there way to me. I was at a conference this week where intentional living was the key note address.

This is a topic that enthralls me because I am by nature a doer. I love the experience, live for the next adventure, and enjoy trying anything new at least once. I’m one of the rare birds who actually enjoys change. I get bored easily and find it difficult to sit still. But in all that living, I often forget to weigh down those moments with my own presence. My brain is often on to the next thing before this experience is completed.

So, as I walked today, I tried to just “be.”

Instead of letting my mind organize the rest of the day or obsess over my 10-year-plan, I looked around and allowed my senses to do my thinking for me. It is late November, so the backdrop of all the world seems brown: dead trees, dead leaves on the ground, mud everywhere due to recent rain. The sky was overcast and the gray hung like a blanket tucking in all the brown. But it’s funny when you look … you notice. The shock of white mushrooms, the delicate purple berries, and the dancing green bushes in the breeze. The weather was mild and humid with just enough breeze to kiss the skin with coolness. The birds singing, my puppies panting, my sweet husband’s voice. All brought peace and joy to my heart.

The earth was grounding under my feet, the pressure of my husband’s hand holding mine was intimate and complete. And when I let my senses do the “thinking,” I let go and, for a while, truly lived.

In the past few past few years of my adult life, I have unlearned so much (another story for another day). At this point, about all I know for certain is that I’ll die one day. I’m not afraid of dying; I’ve made peace with it being inescapable; however, I want to live. Truly live. Every day.

So my challenge to myself is to walk every day for the next 365 days with the intent to be present. My hope is that quiet time with body moving surrounded by nature will produce insightful thoughts that lead to intentional living.

I suppose I will write these down … let’s see gentle reader, where life takes us ….