Day 113: Pat Yourself on the Back

I dropped something on my foot yesterday and today it looks terrible. The whole top of my foot is bruised, swollen, and generally extremely painful-looking. But in actuality, it doesn’t really hurt. I rested today just to be sure there were no major injuries but I am fairly certain its bark is far worse than its bite.

I am feeling unsettled about plans and future and security. The logistics of change are much scarier to me than change its self. And I’m trying to remember that just as with my grotesque looking foot that it easy to look at something and it seem a much bigger deal than it is.

I have had a lot of change in my adult life and I have survived it all. It was always scary in the in-between but it has always worked itself out and usually to my advantage.

So here’s to bruised lives… colorful, sensitive and reflective of the active, risk taker that always chooses life. And here’s to discomfort without prolonged pain because it teaches us we are stronger than we know.

And finally, here’s to us, gentle reader, for trying at all…

A very swollen and bruised foot.

Day #97: Weird Day

School was out today due to the snow but it warmed up quickly so the snow didn’t stay for long. The theme of my day was flexibility.

I wasn’t planning to take off work today but with little love out of school I really had no choice. So we spent the morning getting laundry finished, house work done, and of course, a little coloring was in order.

Little love then had a play date with her favorite friend at school this year. They played beautifully and I was able to get my cloest cleaned out. I took them to lunch and it was from there that things went a bit awry. On the way home, having a strained esophagus, little friend threw up all over my backseat. We got home, got her and the car cleaned up, and the girls went back to playing.

Weird day!” I thought.

We then went to the gym to run a bit later. I took 5 steps into my run and felt my calves seizing up on me. I tried running slower, I tried running faster, I tried walking… the pain would not stop. So I hobbled my way through my hardest run yet and made it three miles. I was disappointed but decided it was better to be careful than injured. So I went and stretched for a long time and did some ab work.

The night ended with a quickish dip with my Love in the therapy heated pool to hopefully loosen those muscles and a quick dinner at Chickfila.

We made it home and my legs and back continued to scream at me so I took some Tylenol and after making sure little love was tucked in and passed out, I hit the bed myself.

Not the day I was expecting or really even wanting, but it was the day I was given and while it wasn’t perfect it was full of love and lovely moments.

And that’s all I really need…

Blonde girl coloring with 101 Dalmations movie playing in the background.

Day #52

Today I ran! Double!!

We have decided that due to a ski trip we are planning next month, we should probably work on strength and stamina before we go. Also, we really want to run a half marathon this spring. No time like the present to start training I suppose.

I am no real runner. We trained for a few months back in April and May and June last year, ran a 5K, went on vacation and have only played at it since then.

I have a love/hate relationship with running. I love it because I feel so alive and strong after doing it. I love feeling the muscles in my legs loosen and stretch over the first mile. I love feeling the sweat start beading on my forehead from exertion. And I love the sense of empowerment that comes over me when my power songs come on.

I hate it because it’s hard. It’s work. I spend half the time feeling like my lung is collapsing, my heart is exploding, or I am going to puke my guts up.

But isn’t this true of most things in life?

Either way it feels good to be back in training, adding up the miles and increasing the clean energy in my head.

Day #27

Today I again made no steps of my own, but I did observe many journeys of others.

The in-sync, out-of-sync rhythm of two young girls trying to figure out one of the biggest mysteries in life… how to get along.

The trudge of a down-trodden friend desperately searching for anything good in the universe and anything worthy in herself.

The march of a determined husband going to war with birdhouses (that he eventually won and did so brilliantly).

The tiptoe of the broken-hearted as she walked on eggshells with an ex-lover that is gone but not forgotten.

The dance of a lovely jazz singer with sparkles on her dress and a shine to her eyes as she bathed us in the sounds lovely Christmas carols.

I did a lot more sitting today than walking, but I sat with the journey and bore witness to others’ resilience. I was reminded today that the strong are beautiful in their weaknesses.

I was reminded today that we all have the choice to overcome or be overcome

A happy smiling woman holding a sleeping kitten.

Day #12

Maybe it was the dreary weather for the third day in a row. Or maybe the lack of energy in my bones.

But today just seemed dark from the beginning.

Now I’m not a person who spends much thought or emotion on the darker side of things. I’m a glass half full kinda girl. I avoid scary places, movies, and books. I love parties and romance and magical thinking (such as fairies have to be real somewhere!).

But today I heard stories of manipulations so vast they steal souls, and saw hints of abuse haunting a little girls eyes. I witnessed a shell of a man who’s only wish is family. And I walked at dusk…

My mindset while walking was grim. I was alone and it was getting dark. I was a little nervous because I was at a public park. I was pissed that as a woman I felt the need to look over my shoulder to make sure I was safe. I kept my phone close and my keys closer. Some days no matter how hard I try to sugarcoat it, it’s just a shitty world at there.

But I walked anyway and the path led me around and back to my car and safety again. I never stopped walking and I never let the fear drive me to madness. And I never once thought about quitting.

I realized as I sat in my warm, safe, happy-music-car…

that this was much like life…

We go out into a scary world, bump into terrifying truths, and occasionally are ripped to shreds by horrific events, but the path continues and its our choice to lay down and die or to keep walking, even trudging, to a place of safety.

I am one of the lucky ones. I have a lovely home with food and warmth and laughter and family. No matter what darkness comes–I have a safe, soft place to land.

But not all are so lucky, gentle readers–maybe not even you. And so, I plead that we tread lightly with one another. Because your walk in the park might be another someone’s darkest trails…A gravel path vanishing into a spooky dusk background, with barren grass all around.

Day #9

“Too much burden will halt your progress. Loosen up so that you can be swift.” –

Alissa Reddy, The Art of Mindfulness for Children

I watched her eyes well up with tears because Mistletoe did not come back this year… he sent a girl elf on the shelf instead. She had been begging for a “girl elf” for two Christmases.

The pain of letting go…

I watched her panic searching for her phone, her clipboard, her anything to take to her after school program as we are walking out the door for school. I encouraged her to breathe, to be creative, to think outside the box about what she could do this afternoon, instead.

The pain of letting go…

I watched her fall to pieces over the realization that her lunchbox sat happily at home on the couch. Even as I assured her I would go back and get it. Even as she nodded in agreement that it wasn’t a big deal.

She cried. Nothing about this morning had gone according to plan.

The pain of letting go…

It was wet and cold so I needed a new walking plan. Instead of my usual scenic route, I headed to the mall to do a lap. It was noisy and distracting and not at all my norm but I rolled with it. And as I did, I thought about my girl-baby and hoped her day was going better. I thought about her rigidness and anxiety that often flairs into panic and irritability. I have been reading a book about mindfulness for children and one of the goals taught is the art of “letting go” as defined by the author Alissa Reddy:

“Letting go entails leaving situations as they are and allowing events to unfold as they are supposed to.”

My beautiful strong princess is not good at this, but I wondered as I walked if I was so much better. Expectations often give way to disappointment, schedule often becomes law, and roles often box people in until they have no room to be themselves. I watch myself take life so seriously-over and over. There are chores to be done, mouths to be fed, money to be earned. I spin plates and plates until it is comical that I think it is achievable. Then, always, one little thing breaks or bobs or goes off kilter, and it all comes crashing down around me.

The pain of letting go…a child sleeping with a stuffed owl