Thank you note to where I am now……

Dear where and how I am just exactly now,
(dear reality)

I want to welcome you.
And apologize for the cold shoulder I’ve turned
instead of the warm embrace
that I offer now.
Honestly I’ve been scared to accept you
because you’re a really uncomfortable place for me
and it’s habit to dodge and resist something
that feels as dangerous as you seem.
I want deadlines and answers and,
honestly, I feel pretty homesick for the whole idea of “safe.”
Even if it always was an illusion,
the concept felt comforting and,  well,
you don’t.

I wasn’t able to have this conversation with you earlier
because I sort of froze up,
hunkered down from the fears and flares that keep flushing up sudden
like pheasants exploding from a field.
You’ve rattled me,  and I thought if I waited you out a little longer
you’d go back to wherever you came from and
then I’d cozy my mind into taking a breather
from the hornet’s nest of dread
that feels sometimes suspended from the dark corner of my imagination.

But here we are instead and clearly you’re here
until you aren’t.
And I haven’t even thanked you for coming
because, honestly,  I’ve resented the intrusion.
But I’ve been watching and listening and have to admit
that there is something beautiful about what’s happening here.

Like an awkward yoga pose
that holds and holds until I’m shaking and tottering;
there’s just no way to be smooth about you.
The fact that I’m feeling even more uncool than ever,
more uncertain,  more vulnerable,
is something I accept.
But here you are still,  and there’s something that I love
about how you’re pressing on my entitlement issues
until I have to feel them angry rising.

I never wanted or asked for this,
never was cavalier about the virus,
yet here I am.
Why can this land for me as somehow not right?
Why do I feel that maybe I should get a different road?
One that lets me feel large and in charge,  or at least safe.
What if here and now,  exactly as it is,  is happening
for me.
( not that some puppet master is playing me to build character or teach a lesson
– I don’t believe that –  but this storm may be raising the water levels
in some rivers that my soul will thrill to see).

Maybe I can learn to un-freeze
even in this,
to find the beauty in the breaking.
To shake off the fear (as many times as it takes)
and live wholehearted whatever cards this deck serves up.
Death comes to us all,
but I don’t want to turn my life in
more than once.
So I’m thinkin’ maybe stop un-living some of these hours,
especially since the glass is getting heavier on the bottom
every single day.

I want to meet this moment fully.
“May I meet it as a friend.”

“The moment in which the mind acknowledges,
‘this isn’t what I wanted but it’s what I got,’
is the point at which suffering disappears.
Sadness might remain present but the mind is free
to console,  free to support the mind’s acceptance of the situation,
free to allow space for new possibilities to come into view.”

– Sylvia Boorstein

Thanks for having a listen;  I appreciate the gift of your witness.
Just to clarify (writing words down = always the risk of misunderstanding):
I’m navigating the challenge of living fully and unafraid in fearful situations and times.
Not suggesting anyone ignore risks.
(I’m masking.  And distancing.  That’s not even on the table.)

52 candles….

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It’s my birthday this week and I’m plunking
52 fresh candles in my lemon blueberry cheesecake,
deep down ridiculously glad to be alive in 52 (new)
glad and grateful ways:

~for fresh skies and new trails to hike,
~the soul sweetness of being with safe people,
~the resistance that enables us to fly,
~the grace to listen slow,
~wiggle room….the beauty of spaciousness,
~creating art for the simple joy of it,  and
~clean libraries,

~for our fascinating weaknesses and imperfections
~good coaches and coaching,
~for healthy intimacy….the real stuff that isn’t illusion,
~audio books when my hands are happily covered in paint,
~golden moments in the sun,  warm and wrapped in light.
~the large,  friendly quiet of the early morning,
~the sleepy sighs of dogs plopped and snuggled
at my feet,
~the hoo hoo hoooo of an owl in the woods,

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~when sometimes into life’s overwhelm come soft days,
thickset with grace,
~sea kayaks and coppertone air and  summertime dreaming,
~those times when you feel like a bird with a big song,
~the first flutters and tenderlings of Spring,
~the shepherd psalm,

~song lyrics and movie lines that make your heart leap,
~thank you’s….all the creative ways that appreciation
gets expressed,
~the beauty and honor of Native American culture
and each baby step toward restoration of these noble people,
~how “the Lord lives among pots and pans”  (Teresa of Avila)
~Melody Beattie and Brene Brown and their brilliance shared,
~ poetry and prayer,

~for the cool breeze of friends who are shade in the swelter
and help to stir my dreams vivid and shining,
~the simple beauty of spending less than I make,
~the poignant power of well chosen words,
~every laugh that shakes my children’s bellies,
~that we are not our pain,  not our problems,
and there are exciting,  interesting things in store for us
and  we get to  cooperate with the universe by taking good,
tender loving care with ourselves,

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~the big heart-massage and brain de-clutter of morning pages,
~hot steamy baths,
~the whoosh of satisfaction when all the gardens tucked in for a long winter’s nap,
~cutting into a really juicy  lime,
~the beauty of timely support,
~the gorgeousness of vulnerability,
~the way the pain and loss of tragedy reminds me to love out loud,
to say it,  write it,  grow it,  guard it,  live it,  show it
and dance all over the fear that I’ll be rejected or look a fool
….I’d rather put my love out there than hide it away unexpressed,

~for the freedom to get hopping mad,
~the gift of solution,
~the joy of just turtling along,  free to mosey,
and also the thrill of zooming
and that we mostly get to choose,
~the sweetness of new season,  new rhythm,  new dance
with the same partner,
~the deliciousness of coming uncaged,
~for the gnarly,  stretchy stuff….that life without tension
goes shallow,

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~people who are generous with a smile,
~learning to forgive ourselves for what we didn’t know
before we learned it,
~for how much easier life gets when we accept the apologies
that we never got,
~sunny stone walls to lean against warm
when icy winds blow,
~after-storm clarity
~and the deep breath of relief when we let love come near
our unloved places
and get some healing done.

~for naps and sweet, sweet sleep when it comes
~and for another year to sing into the wind
that life is precious,  love is treasure,  time is currency
and it is pure gift
to be here now.

There they are…..the 52 new candles flickering in my heart this year.
I’m so grateful to be able to serve up a slice to you,  friend.
Love and thanks for coming around to help me celebrate.
You make my life richer than I can say.

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“I decided that the most subversive,  revolutionary thing I could do
was to show up for my life
and not be ashamed.”
-Anne Lamott