which means it was pretty quiet there. and i got to spend a few extra minutes talking to the woman who checked me out.
i knew she had been on a retreat so i asked her how it went.
and she filled me in on a couple of the most moving stories that she had listened to.
this wasn’t what you generally think of with retreats – you know, the yoga-mindfulness-softer people kinda thang. this was for families from DC who had been involved in the harsh inner city stuff – violence, shootings, gangs, death, death and more death. AND healing, redemption, forgiveness, growth, empowerment, change.
yeah, it woulda been an amazing event.
she shared some of the inspiration she got, which in turn gave me goosebumps as i stood there holding my groceries, giving me inspiration as i headed back to my gentle world.
i talked to a close friend yesterday. she is just coming out of a tremendously difficult situation. she is now in group therapy and was filling me in about it. ‘i am really seeing how none us is really that different, we all need the same things.’ she said.
i can hear her voice in my ear now as i think of these stories that were just passed quickly my way in the grocery store.
there but for the grace of god go i. i have been double dipped in a vat of perspective. these are no small gifts i’ve been given in this version of living that i have been handed.
i think i really needed the reminder. and THAT feels like a good thing to take into my weekend.
i know. i know. she’s quoting mark nepo again. forever mark nepo.
what can i say?
but this one hit so perfectly, i couldn’t believe it. and you know how it goes – had to share it.
it’s from ‘things that join the sea and the sky.’ ‘After a while, the piano parts my tiredness like a veil and I feel possible again. Now I don’t know whether to put my glasses on or keep them off, whether to bring things into focus or let them come apart. Either way, the sky is calling behind its clouds, like the stars of truth that burn behind our thoughts. Each time I get up and begin again, I’m a dark thing unfolding in a wash of light. I watch the others fall and rise around me.’
honestly, sometimes i think this guy is my brother. i feel like he speaks my language.
so i had a thought this morning. and i posted it on my facebook page.
let me just cut and paste it right here –
i took a walk this morning. i don’t know where i’ve been, but i was back today. lookin’ at the stars, talkin’ to myself, and bumping into beauty everywhere. there was one tree that just made me stop and stare and just wonder – it stands in a spot where it catches the sunrise every morning full on. just bam, arms…or um….branches….wide open catchin’ every bit of the burst of color from the start of the day. and now? it seems like the tree that wanted to start the party early. it’s changing more than any other tree. and it’s full of sunburst colors. i kid you not. i couldn’t get over it. made me think about us, ya know? if we stand there full on catching the beauty of the day, do we become it as well? what a thought to start the day……..good morning!
so i’ve been thinking about this. especially now as i’m climbing outta the hole i fell in.
i sit here and try to figure out where i’ve been. and i can see some of the zig zags i’ve been doin’ along the path.
a friend wrote me over the weekend. she was struggling and she shared some of what was going on. i wrote her back knowing full well i wasn’t thinking clearly. yet also knowing that whatever came out as i typed would be something that i would need to hear myself.
and sure enough, i wrote something about balance. how even in the pit, i needed to find balance.
balance keeps coming up for me. and a weird question popped into my head as i typed here. ‘is mindfulness balance?’ maybe it’s a tool to help with balance?
i don’t know. but i think that i lose the ‘standing there full on catching the beauty of the day’ when i lose the balance. and it’s a circle. cause the more i don’t stand there opening, the less balanced i am.
and this is what i want. i want to do what this tree is doing. i want to stand full open catching the sunrise. i want to turn into the colors of the sunrise. i want to start the party early and be full of light.
i don’t think it was a growth spurt. but more like a – back against the wall, you WILL get this lesson, or break – spurt.
yeah. that’s what it felt like.
no. that’s not right. it didn’t FEEL like that. it just felt like my back was pushed up against a wall, and i was gonna break.
i didn’t realize there was a lesson to get.
altho, there always seems to be a lesson to get, doesn’t there?
i honestly feel like i came close to breaking.
but i’ve got some pretty good survival instincts. and just when it really hit one heck of a point for me – i turned. pivoted. cried a lot. and found my way again.
and now i’m going up.
because that was hard.
so i’m being extra gentle with myself. i took myself to my favorite grocery store, just because i like food. and i took the beautiful route, because i find it healing. and i realized that i figured out some really important stuff that i needed to figure out thru this tumble thru this pit i just did.
and i actually got excited about that. gingerly excited. i’m still a little raw. gingerly rawly excited.
yeah. cause what i really want is to grow. and i think i just got shoved up onto the next level in the climb outta the muck that blinds me. which is way cool, isn’t it?
so, yeah, i know this is vague. deliberately. cause the point isn’t what i found. not yet. for now, the point is that if you’re pinned up with your back against the wall, feeling like you might break, i wanted to remind you – you’ll find your pivot point. you will. and you might end up kinda grateful for the whole thing.
which is nuts, isn’t it?! big sigh. what a journey.
today’s quote of the day is a quote called ‘home.’ it is honestly one of the first bone sighs i ever wrote. it might have been the second? ‘i matter’ was the first.
at the time, my marriage was falling apart. i wanted a divorce and i knew i was exploding everyone’s lives. i was a stay at home/homeschooling mom of three sons. it was one heck of a hard time.
one of the things we had in our medicine cabinet was tea tree oil. i used it on so many things with the kids. i thought of it as my little miracle medicine.
on this particular night, everyone was asleep and i lay there in the dark hurting. hurting in such a deep way i didn’t know what to do with it. it felt as if the pain was just gonna devour me.
i figured i needed to do something to help myself out. i needed to kinda save myself. i was feeling desperate. so i visualized taking my heart in my hands. (yeah, i know. could be gross. but it wasn’t.) i took it and held it and brought it with both hands to the kitchen table. the kitchen table is where i worked on everything from arts and crafts to schooling to taking care of wounds. i set it there and asked myself ‘what would be tea tree oil for your heart?’ i was wondering what my miracle medicine would be. cause i sure felt like i needed one.
and i got an answer. friends. lean on your friends. wrap yourself in their love. go to them now.
at the time, i was feeling incredibly isolated. and to top it off, i was always the one people leaned on. i wasn’t a leaner. so this was definitely an idea that i hadn’t really thought of. but i heard it. and i soaked it in. and i told myself i would. i had a couple – and only a couple – of friends who i knew i could count on. i would go to them. i would just be with them. i would allow their love in and soothe my heart with that love. i was so alone. just the thought of it felt good.
i went back to bed. i felt so much like i had been guided by an inner wisdom. that something inside me was there for me and helping me.
i grabbed a pen and paper and wrote this –
‘her ache echoed inside of her stirring her inner voice. it was then that she remembered she wasn’t alone~ and once again she turned inward towards home.’
and then i fell asleep.
i love that story. i guess because i love the trust. and i love that i got an answer. and i love the answer. and i love the listening.
it’s gold in the middle of one heck of a mess. and when i remember it, it reminds me that the gold really is there.
two very different men are inspiring me in the mornings lately…
mark nepo and marcus aurelius.
two very different marks indeed! mark nepo is a poet thru and thru. his words soothe me. and ol’ marcus aurelius, well my gosh, is so NOT a poet. but i dig his straightforward thinking.
i read a little snippet from each of these guys to kinda give myself a kick start into a good day. mark had me in tears as i read a couple beautiful stories that just moved me. and marcus had me nodding, eyes wide, saying ‘oh yeah…’ and nodding in agreement.
and since marcus is shorter today – and seems really helpful, he’s the one i wanted to share with you here –
‘Choose not to be harmed – and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed – and you haven’t been.’
yeah, a straightforward kinda guy, huh? i really like that. good food for thought as you move along today.
the losses and grief. the victories and joy. the getting up and moving forward. the serenity and peace. the struggle and frustration. the whole darn mix of everything.
i watch my mind. sometimes it’s in the game. sometimes it’s not.
i watch my heart. sometimes it’s wide open. sometimes not.
and the tears. they seem to have a mind of their own.
and the magic that is everywhere when i look.
like the fact that someone just recently shared the bone sigh ‘the challenge of living’ on facebook. and because of that, i saw it. and this morning i stopped to read it. and knew it was meant for me right now.
and i couldn’t think of anything better to share today – “to allow the sorrow and weight of life and yet to dance with an easy and open heart. to ache in your darkest depths and yet to laugh from your light filled center. to know the reality of humanity and yet to believe in the magic of the stars. to act with love in the middle of the fear and to hold each moment as the gift that it is. this is the challenge of living.”