Words

Words mean so much.

I’m in a graduate counseling class in which we are learning to lead different types of groups.  The experiential component of this course involves us both leading and being a member of a group throughout the term.  It has been a wonderful and eye-opening experience.  I have learned about myself and about how others approach the world and themselves.  The sense of safety and belonging of a trusting group of peers is hard to match.

At the end of class each week, the classmates that were observing the group chime in on what they observed and give feedback.  Tonight, and on other occasions, the sweet souls in my class have said such meaningful and kind things about what they observe me doing and saying as a group member and leader.

It has taken over three decades, but I am now able to take a compliment…and actually believe it.  I’m also more accepting of constructive criticism.  Perhaps it comes from years of tempering my perfectionist tendencies, or from arduous self-work and diligent mindfulness exercises.  Whatever the impetus, goodness it feels good to hear the sweet words of another human and accept them–without reservation, without judgement, just acceptance.

I will eternally be indebted to this group of classmates for their kind words, generous disclosure of their feelings, and their shared participation in this journey towards something greater.  We are expanding as professionals and individuals, but none of it is done in isolation.

And that my friends is the lesson I have learned.  True self-work, for me, cannot be accomplished in isolation.  My soul yearns for connection–to be seen, to be heard.  Anxiety and self-doubt cannot win.

In my life, I have stumbled upon the inner beast of self-doubt, calling it out of the shadows and exposing it to the examining light of non-judgemental inquiry–and what have I found?  That beast I have been careful to avoid is no beast at all, he is a child, he is Me, and he only wants to be seen. Heard. Known.  Fear is an illusion, it is only the lack of awareness of the ever-present Love that is available inside, often pushed into the shadows of our subconscious and neglected.  Love is a child, and this child is waiting to play.

 

Day #141: A Love Poem

His strength secures me,
His sexiness thrills me,
His intelligence stimulates me,
His love overwhelms me,
But it is his gentleness that sustains me.
It is like a hand at the small of the back–quiet, unassuming, but always supporting.
I love the gentle kindness that illuminates crystal blue eyes,
That hugs away the stress,
That seeks to share, and at times, shoulder my burden for me.
I love the way he gently uses words
To teach,
To soothe,
To exalt.
But never to harm.
There is so very, very much to love about him.
But it is his gentleness that anchors this heart to him.
Any my heart is his forever…

Day #140: Sometimes Frozen Yogurt is a Spiritual Experience

She placed her hand in mine as we walked from her school to the truck, “Are we going to Goody’s?”

“Of course,” I smile, “It’s play practice day.”

Sometimes routines are nice, I think, especially ones that include frozen yogurt! But honestly, it all felt so good…the familiarity of this afternoon.

We went to the gym after dropping her off, and cross trained. I did a newer elliptical machine for 45 minutes. It was different, so different, from running. I had no pressure on my knees, my shins didn’t feel like they were on fire, and my lungs were operating with the wheeze breathing that often accompanies me on a run. And I giggled to myself as I realized, “Different is okay too.”

Life really is an oxymoron. Just when you think you have it all figured out, a curve ball comes and you haven’t a clue what to do with it! Sometimes it curves toward you, hits you square in the shin, and hurts like hell. Other times, you swing at it anyway, make a solid connection, and knock it out of the park. The aliveness comes in the breath in between the knowing…the dash where hope clashes with reality and we hide our face but peek between our fingers, because in all honesty…we need to know what happens when our familiar grinds against the unknown…it is both thrilling and terrifying–but it’s all the business of living…

“Close Up Strawberry Ice Cream” by rakratchada torsap via http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Day #133: Time Makes a Fool of All of Us

April Fools…sometimes I truly feel like life is one big joke…you invest so much in this space in time…and then it’s gone…

A marriage…

A child…

A job…

In living present one gives all they have to the day…and it’s beautiful and vibrant and so much more authentic that way…

But every once in a while I mourn the days gone by…the people who have walked in and out…the baby that has blossomed into girl…every so often I resent the time and energy “wasted” on ideals that didn’t pan out and loves that fizzled…and today I feel terrified at how time goes so quickly and can never be retrieved…how the next twenty will go fast than the last…

I’m incredibly thankful for this scientific miracle of my own creation…for this one opportunity to exist…to be in this space with 7 billion others at this time…but damn, does it have to be such a short stay?

So much more to do, my dear friend!

Blonde girl with victorious, clenched-fists holding a rewards card.
How fast they grow.

Day 116: Hold on Loosely, Time is Gonna Pass

Sunday was a rest day…time to breathe and time to be…time to clean house, do laundry, buy groceries for the week, get homework and grading done for my classes. My dad and step-mom were in so we met them for lunch. My mom got new puppies so we walked to her house to see them. They are so cute and so sweet! Then, of course, the little love came home so there was dinner and bedtime shows and books and conversations…

So after all this “resting”, I am ready to snuggle up next to my Love (I don’t think it will ever get old that I get to sleep with him every night!) and drift into the sweetest of dreams…

But this is what I’ve noticed lately, my dear readers, time never stops and life never slows down. Not because you want it to or need it to, and sure the hell not when you think it should. No matter what happens — divorce, loss of job, even death — life is the quiet marcher who continues on without fail. So it’s not so much time that we get to control, it’s our attitude toward it. Do we bemoan how it was spent? Do we fail to take advantage? Do we hold it loosely or tightly? Do we thrive or survive? I think we probably do it all in different seasons…but I ask you to ponder your relationship with time as I leave you for the dream world.

A brunette smiling in the warm glow of a bedside lamp.
Bed is Good!

Day 114: Kindness if Free, and Courage Can Change Your Stars

Today I ran five miles and then headed to dinner with little love. We were meeting a friend of Adalie’s who moved to Mississippi around Christmas. It’s her birthday and all she wanted was to see her friends and go watch the new live-action Cinderella.

I sat watching he movie as enthralled as the little girls. The story line was true to the original version but the twists were truly beautiful. The focus on kindness and courage was like a refreshing drink to this soul today. My life feels unsettled which often makes me grumpy and less courageous. I know it was just a movie but the principles rang true in my heart. When we choose kindness and courage, life has a way of working out, maybe even a little magically. I hold this thought like a treasure and a shield right now.

My other favorite truth that sang out from the movie was toward the very end. Cinderella was about to introduce herself to the prince as a servant girl and not the mysterious princess. She stood at the mirror and said something along the lines of “the most courageous thing we can do is stand in front of the person we love and allow them to truly see us.”

I felt my cheeks dampen with tears and my heart swelled with gratefulness for the Love I have who sees me in all ways and has chosen to love all of me. I will never get over that miracle…

I highly recommend this movie to little girls and little-girl-hearts alike. After all, who doesn’t need a reminder that kindness is always free and courage can change your stars…

A smiling, blonde girl wearing a costume crown and holding a Cinderella doll.

Day #107: The Time You Enjoy Wasting, Is Not Wasted Time

Friday… that is such an amazing word… it always fills my heart with the joy of freedom and the hope of sleeping in!

And after an intense few days of caring for the mostly-better little love, it was a slight relief to drop her at her father’s house. They had extra-special things planned this weekend so I knew she would be happy and exhausted come Sunday when she came home.

My Love and I went to the gym and ran our five miles, we took a dip in the therapy pool (warm temps feel amazing on sore muscles), we went to dinner with his parents, we came home and snuggled and read and just relaxed. It was nothing and it was amazing all rolled into one…

As we were talking to his parents about future plans… at one point his mom quietly stated, “Don’t wait till retirement to do what you love.” And I realized, while there are, of course, goals and experiences we long for, these lazy nights are perfect. Holding hands, his scent in my nose, good conversations, tangled up as we read… no matter where life takes us… us is enough… and that is both rare and amazing.

Day #104: Some Days are Way Too Much

I am having an introverted day and even the thought of sharing my thoughts and feelings here feels like too much energy.

 
I ran another 5 miles today. Struggled through some, soared through a little. Mostly I hated the loud music in my ears but needed the tempo to keep me going. The lights in the gym were so bright and people were everywhere. It was taxing in more ways than one…

 
My little love came home from her dad’s house and said so many words in the first five minutes I thought I might completely lose it. But managed to successfully navigate her to bed without sticking socks in my ears… or her mouth

 
Another load of laundry… another dishwasher full of dishes… now to put away the laundry and take a shower…

 
Then into my blissfully dark and silent bed with my Love in his solid weight and warmth against me… and that will by far be my favorite part of this “way too much” day…

 
Good night my gentle readers…