ripples

standing in the shallows
trying to catch a clear glimpse
of my reflection in the surrounding pool
if i could just see into my eyes, I would know –
the way forward
the right path
the answer to the question
i’m too afraid to ask.

just when the water starts to settle
a pebble drops from my hand
i didn’t know I was holding one
it wasn’t there a moment ago
and yet plop
the image distorts –
self sabotage.

finally it begins to settle
nearly there, nearly there –
out of nowhere
my nearest, dearest struts by
in an angry huff over some inconsequential slight
stirring up the sand that lay still beneath my feet
no truth to be seen now –
just murky chaos.

slowly the sand settles out
there i am
coming into focus –
a cold raindrop lands on my shoulder
another, and another,
the water’s surface a shattered mirror
life throwing down a deluge.

how can i expect to see
me through this mess?

decisions

My inability to make a decision, any decision, is staggering. Is it that I truly can’t think for myself? Or is it that I’ve become so accustomed to sussing out everyone else’s needs and desires, so committed to seeing them fulfilled, that I’ve forgotten how to suss out my own?

Being in this constant should I/shouldn’t I state is exhausting. Why can’t I simply know my own mind?

Two paths lie ahead. Only one can be taken. Both are attractive, with just the right amount of uncertainty thrown in to make them intriguing. Down which road will I find my destination?

But this isn’t a yellow wood and I’m not Robert Frost. This is my life. Or could be my life, if I could just be brave enough to commit.

I’ve been standing at this crossroads for years now. The path to the left varies. It changes with my mood, my current interests, with my season of life. The path to the right never varies. But it is never taken, either. There is always a reason to hold off, step back. The time is never right.

I feel like time is running out.

showing up

Settling into savasana at the end of a long and sweaty yoga session, something happened that had never happened to me. Tears pricked my eyes and I felt an overwhelming rush of emotion. You hear of people crying in yoga class, but that hasn’t been my experience. Until now.

It’s not that I’m a stoic automaton. A good yoga session leaves me feeling peaceful. Centered. Connected. Grateful. But tears? And this huge wave of emotion? This was all new.

The instructor had commented, much more eloquently than I can remember and type into this post, that we should be grateful to ourselves for being here, for showing up for ourselves on a Monday morning at 9AM. Only a small percentage of people want to do that. An even smaller percentage of people are able to do that.

Old me, drinking me, would have been part of the majority, not showing up for myself. I would have been at home, nursing my second (or third) cup of coffee. Pretending I didn’t have a headache. Beating myself up for yet another broken promise to myself. Acting like I was fine when I was really falling apart.

Attending a 9AM yoga class was unfathomable for old me.

Old me would have made excuses to cover up the reality. It’s too expensive. Why drive to the studio when I can (but most likely won’t) do it at home? My kids need me. Any excuse, every excuse to cover up the reality: I was hungover. Embarrassed. Dull-eyed. A shadow of myself.

New me shows up. She drinks herbal tea instead of pinot noir. New me puts herself to bed when her body needs it. She wakes up with the birds and doesn’t need a hefty jolt of caffeine to make her feel even semi-human. She is clear-eyed and embraces the day. She keeps her promises to herself and others.

New me makes it to yoga at 9AM on a Monday morning.

…. that’s what hit me. I show up for myself now. I am so grateful that I made this choice, that I did the work, and that every day I recommit to this path. My life is changing before my very eyes. Not because I won the lottery, or because my world is suddenly perfect. My life is changing because I made the decision to stop treating myself poorly. I started treating myself with love and respect. I gave myself what I needed, not what I wanted.

And here I am. New me. Showing up for myself. Showing up at 9AM on Monday morning. Shedding tears of joy, tears of gratitude, and tears of relief.

live life like you mean it

What does that even mean? For me, it means living like I enjoy life, and like I want to continue living. It means treating my body well. And my mind well. It means doing things that nurture me.

 

Living life like I mean it means starting my day with yoga, and maybe ending it that way too. It means drinking clear water and delicious teas and strong coffee. It means fueling my body with food that makes me feel good and light and healthy. It means sunshine on my face and deep breaths of fresh air. It means long walks, and sometimes short. It means making sure I get a B-12 supplement and putting lotion on my dry skin and doing planks. It means getting my eyebrows done because that makes me feel prettier.

 

Living life like I mean it means reading good books that make me think, daring to dream, and daring to think about me. It means conversations with other women that make me feel good about being a woman. It means taking the time to breath deeply, to concentrate on the moment, to step back from stress if it’s causing me harm. It means doing the work instead of numbing myself. It means writing because writing makes me feel like me. It means figuring out what else I need to do to make me feel like me.

 

Living life like I mean it means loving my boys and relishing this time with them. It means cuddling my dog and laughing at his antics. It means loving and understanding and accepting my husband for who and what he is – he’s just another human with his own baggage trying to live his own life the best he can, after all. We’re in this together. It means making our house a home, and seeing the value in that, and not being ashamed to claim that. It means not calling myself “just” a mom or a housewife. It means accepting where I am and what we’ve built, and being happy with that.

 

Living life like I mean it means cutting out the things that are doing me harm. It means remembering that wine isn’t my friend. It means acknowledging that the extra weight I carry isn’t just emotional, and if I want to live a long, happy life, I need to lighten the load. It means leaving the chips and the cheese on the grocery store shelves.

 

Living life like I mean it means doing the hard work of acknowledging when I’m hurt, or am hurting others. It means standing up for myself when I’d rather back down, having tough conversations that I’d rather avoid, and taking up space when I’d rather hide in a corner. It also means listening to others when they stand up for themselves, acknowledging my part in problems and making amends, and making space for others when they want to come in.

 

I don’t believe in an afterlife. I don’t believe in reincarnation. I believe in this one life. This is it. I’ve been living this life for 45 years. I don’t recall when I stopped appreciating it. Stopped meaning it. But if I only get one life, I need to live it full out.

 

Like I mean it.

 

Tea and Honesty

Tomorrow’s the day, I said yesterday for what must be the thousandth time. The last of the wine will be gone tonight. Tomorrow’s the day I stop drinking.

And so it is.

It’s ironic, because today has been a day filled with tears and worry and deep, deep sadness. My heart is aching for a loved one I’ve let slip away due to my tendency to isolate myself, and who might be slipping away for good due to a cataclysmic medical issue.

My evening wine ritual was my way to relax, unplug, to numb. I’ve known for some time that to give up that ritual would mean facing all the feelings I’ve been escaping from.

But I wasn’t expecting to have to face feelings quite as strong as these quite so soon.

But I here I sit. With a cup of tea and all the feelings.

 

sacred moments

that first sip of coffee

stepping onto my yoga mat

kissing my sons’ cheeks to wake them up

communing with the robins and the juncos

deep, healing breaths of fresh air

the spring sun on my face

chaos and laughter and hugs

warm sourdough, fresh from the oven

fingers positioned on the piano keys, just so

picking up a crochet hook, yarn in my lap

my family around me

being present

peppermint chamomile tea

cool pillow, warm blankets

the end of a well spent day

you might think

you might think~
that at 45 I’d have it all figured out.
that I’d know what I want to be when I’m grown up.
that I’d know my skin tone and color palette and how to put on eyeliner.

you’d be wrong.

you might think~
that by now I’d have found my voice, my passion, my raison d’être.
that I’d know my strengths and weaknesses.
that I’d be comfortable in my own skin.

I’m working on it.

you might think~
that I’d know what serves me well and what doesn’t serve me at all
and I’d be smart enough, strong enough to make the right choices
to make the hard choices
and just step away.

it’s a process.

you might think~
that I’ve given up, sold out, resigned myself
to a half-lived life and taking the easy way out.
that because I have lots of day sixes but rarely day sevens
I’ll never be free.

I pray that you’re wrong again.