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.
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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.