Life is not a straight line. It's a downpour of gifts, please – hold out your hand

Thank you for being here. I'm so glad you're here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I'm Still Here

Artwork found here

You know how the longer you go without doing something, the more anxious you get about it/the bigger deal it becomes/the more the resistance builds?  I know this feeling well.  Those of you who come here often know that I haven't been here much this summer.  It feels a bit like I've been caught in a whirlwind I can't seem to spit myself out of--it's been busy and full and fun and, at times, intensely sad.  

There's been me throwing a big surprise 40th birthday party for my dear husband, a wedding, lots of time with friends, a trip back east to visit my family, the daily dose of cooking/cleaning/washing/folding, etc...a rushed visit to a Portland hospital to visit my dear sister-in-law who we weren't sure was going to make it through the day (thankfully, she did). And tons and tons and tons of fun, and not so fun, time with my sweet (and not so sweet) kiddos.  

What there hasn't been is time for me to sit down in quiet to paint or write or blog.  There has been very little exercise or conscious eating...there has been very little of me connecting with and nourishing me.

I'm well aware that this is a pattern for me.  When things get busy, I tend to forget.  I forget to breathe deep breaths (which I realize I don't need quiet or anything else to do).  I forget that, in the midst of nothing or anything or everything, I can still pray and ask for guidance—I can still listen deeply and tune in to love.  I know that, in the middle of the 40th b-day party planning, in the midst of my (sometimes long, sometimes trying) days with my girls, there are numerous moments to be creative, to tune in deeply, to be fully present, to let myself off the hook, to give and receive love.

But I also know that it's important to have time just for me, to do the things that shift and fill, that leave me feeling nourished and fed and loved.  What I see clearly now, today,
as I have a few moments to myself,  is that the busier, the noisier, the faster I go—the louder the scared voices get, the more overwhelmed I feel, the more things feel impossibly complicated and too much and just out of reach.  I start to focus on what isn't happening, what I'm not getting, what feels wrong and wrinkled and fat and gray and achy and foggy and messy and undone and overwhelmingly trying.  Instead of slowing down and breathing, I want to run my fastest and hide and bale the heck out of here.  

But then, right in the midst of my kids bickering and fighting and insisting and not saying thank you, right in the midst of feeling utterly alone and fucked up beyond repair, right in the middle of wanting to run and hide and bale, something beautiful happens… 

Something beautiful, like I go out on my back deck with my cup of coffee and I just sit and remember to take a deep, deep breath.  And then I see a hummingbird flittering around on the snowberry bush, little wings all aflutter and filled with light—worry-free and asking for nothing.  And for a moment, the scared, flustered, I-must-do-this or that thoughts stop and a wave of something like peace seeps in.  

Something beautiful happens, like I stop thinking about what isn't happening/working and instead think about what is happening—like the just-right morning breeze coming through my open kitchen window, like my husband's caring arm on my shoulder, like my little girls all healthy and feisty and sometimes sweet, like the jasmine scent that blows my every thought away.  Like the way my seven-year-old actually wants to massage my feet in the evening while I read to her.  Like the way, right now, that song “Hallelujah” is playing and it brings the tears and breaks my heart open wide.  

Something beautiful happens, like I go to the hospital to visit my precious sister-in-law, who has life-threatening, advanced stage pulmonary hypertension, and look on as my husband leans in to hug her close— careful not to knock the dozens of tubes hooked up to her—and hear his words that say something like this:  You are so strong. You are amazing and brave.  You are doing such a good job.  I love you so much.  And  I watch as everyone in the room turns to tears and softness and broken-open-hearts.  And then I remember and say thank you for life just as it is, for deep breaths, for family, for the struggle that brings out a love so heart-achingly tender and beyond-words beautiful.

Something beautiful happens, like, right in the midst of feeling hopelessly overwhelmed and achy-tired-defeated (and expressing this via text to my dear friend, Brooke), I receive a text back that says this….

Can you just give yourself the biggest hug right now, and tell yourself you don’t have to do anything to be loved.  It is free.  Every bit of you in my life has made me access something magical—a love that is real.  You have to know how important you are.  You have to know how the universe loves you and wants you to see and feel how much.

And, like magic, like the miracle that is always wrapped in love, her words reach deep, deep into my heart and burst it back open.  And then I know I can do it—I can call bullshit on the fear-based stories that were taking the breath out of me and come back to what is real and now and perfectly just right.  Like magic, I remember…Oh yeah, I just need to breathe and begin and trust and allow.  I just need to get the hell out of my own way and let something magical flow through.  I just need to quiet the thoughts that tell me I should or shouldn’t.  I just need to allow myself to be my flawed, fucked up, beautifully human self.  I just need to focus on what I can give (to myself or others) rather than on what I'm not getting.  

I just need to be willing to say that I have no idea what’s next and keep showing up for NOW...and continually remind myself that I don't need to know what's next in order to breathe and show up and show up and show up for love.  

I don’t need to know what’s next in order to show up for love. 

Just love, that’s it. 

*          *          *

P.S:  My presence will continue to be fleeting here these last few weeks of summer.  Thank you for sticking around....I so appreciate you.


  1. Julia
    once again, you have spoken my truth
    with so much compassion
    and LOVE
    thank you!

    keep breathing
    keep letting your big amazing love flow
    keep seeing the magic
    keep enjoying each busy moment of this full on season

    with time for pauses in between it all
    moments that can be so very BIG
    that sustain us
    that define us


  2. Christy. I feel so much love for you in this moment. Thank you so damn much for showing up here with me.

    Thank you so much.


    1. I am so happy I can give a little something back to you....your own words continue to mean so much to me! Glad you can feel my love over the miles!

  3. Wow, my friend. What a beautiful post, that like all of your work, helps us to not feel alone. And every time you show up as you, I feel the world is healed just a little bit more. Imagine if everyone showed up this way. Imagine how you are an instrumental part of giving people permission to do so! And celebrate baby! Wahooooooooooo! So glad I could send you some healing words, and that you could receive them. That is huge! I meant every one of them! love youxoxoxoxox

    1. Dear Brooke, what a difference you make in my life. I'm so damn thankful we have each other.

      Thank you for turning my day/life around.

      Love and more love.

  4. Pause- Perceive- Accept- Integrate. Virtuous spiral.

    1. Yes, Clare. Yes. I so appreciate your presence here.

  5. Replies
    1. And Hallelujah!

      Big hugs to you, beautiful girl

  6. Oh Julia - you took the words right out of my mouth!From the depths of my heart I say thank you! XXOO

    1. What a treat to find you here this morning, Dani! So happy my words resonate.

      I hope you're enjoying your summer and are feeling healthy and good.

      Sending you love on this August day.

  7. I am so greatful for you my sister, you so often voice what is in my heart about so many things. You are so loved.

    1. I love that you are my sister, Amy--lucky me.

      I love you a ton.


  8. Ahhhhhh... Breathing, accepting, loving. Thanks for pulling me over here today and for the reminder. Love to you.

  9. Hoolie! It's you! It's been far too long...I think a date is in order. I hope your summer has been fun and full and peaceful.

    Love to you.

  10. Showing up for 'love'. I think it's the hardest and most important work of all. And - you're doing it. I can hear in your words that you're right there just where you need to be. In this moment. Present and aware. Showing up.

    1. Marcie, I so agree. It is the hardest and most important work of all. And the very hardest can be to love ourselves through it all--even when we can't seem to get it right and we're flailing all over the place. This is my greatest challenge. I notice that when I feel the love for ME, I can give it to others much more freely.

      Thank you for seeing that I'm doing it--your seeing helps me to see.

  11. Lovely... and I needed the little cry you induced. You are loved, my friend.

    1. J, you have this way of opening my heart wide with just a few simple words.

      I'm forever grateful that our paths have connected in the beautiful way that they have. I just really, really love you.

  12. Julia,

    I'm so glad that you are who you are. What a blessing you have become to those of us who only visit you here, and I can imagine how blessed those two little girls are to have a Mommy who shows up for them.

    Sending you peace and blessings...

    1. Deb, how many times, in how many ways, can I tell you I adore you. You just have this sweetness and strength and Real-ness about you that feels like a big hug. I feel completely seen by you and what a gift that is.

      I have missed your beautiful blog/you and look forward to catching up when a bit more space opens up...

      I'm sending love to you today, I hope you can feel it.

  13. Julia...thinking of you and yours
    this has been a summer I too will not forget, I
    have lost my oldest brother, my dog and one of my cats
    in those moments when we remember to breathe
    it is good to feel the blessings that we have.

    1. Oh, Luna. I'm so sorry for you losses and so happy that, despite the heartache, you can still see the goodness (or at least know it's there).

      Thank you for coming here today and leaving a bit of yourself behind--I really, really appreciate it/you.

      I send you love and blessings and giant, healing hugs.

  14. Raw and Astonishing, and just what I needed to read, thank you ♥

    1. I'm so happy that it was just what you needed today--knowing this makes for a bright beginning of mine.

      Thank you for taking the time to connect.

  15. Julia,

    I so appreciate you and what you have to say here. I'm a teacher so life gets crazy for me every year at this time. I just want to remember to breathe!!!

    Sending you warm wishes and bliss today!


    1. Yes, breathe, Miriam. I am amazed by how healing and filling one single, conscious breath can be.

      I used to teach too so I completely get the importance of breathing!

      Thank you for stopping by. I so appreciate you here.

  16. Julia, you my dear just described the human cycle. The peace and knowing slowly disappearing as the cares of the world mount up. The old voices coming back, demanding the impossible while belittling and bullying until you feel useless and ashamed. And then the hummingbird shows up, a feathery copter of speechless beauty, hovering over a bloom, and in that instant you remember who you are.

    You are indeed beautiful and lovable—gifted beyond measure, and a treasure to all the people you touch. Thank you for this fucking amazing post. It reassures me that all is as it should be and that I, in my imperfect state, am beautiful and worthy of love.

    Sending love and more love!

  17. are a magical word weaver. And you have a gift at touching my (and others) heart in the deepest kind of way. I sure hope you can feel the love I have for you because it's one of those things way beyond words.

    Thank you a million times for so freely giving from your beautiful open heart. I am so deeply honored to be on the receiving end of your preciousness.

  18. Aah, I soooo needed to read this tonight. Thank you again, Julia.

  19. Julia,

    I love and so appreciate you. And you are, like all of us, HUMAN, and that means we get busy, forget, do it imperfectly, open our eyes to the miracles, experience heart-bursting joy, and everything in between.

    I love you for all that you are, and for being a powerful teacher, and an inspirational friend.

    Much love, and I know that the time is coming when you will be able to take those deep breaths, be just right, just with yourself, paintbrush in hand and know that in this moment, all is just as it is supposed to be.

    Your donkey reminds me of this every single day of my beautiful, wonderful life.

    Elloa xx

  20. I have nothing else to say that hasn't already been said. That was one of the most beautiful posts I've ever read. And it's exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you for being you, and please keep writing!

    1. Thank you, Joann. Sending so much love your way.


What are you thinking/feeling? I'd really love to know...

♥ Julia