Three Hundred Sixty Five: One. Part II.

“A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.” – Graham Greene

Thursday, January 1st

I finished my New Years Eve post three minutes ago. I want to wrap this blog up tonight. Tomorrow is today, and there are things to do. A new year to bite into. Fireworks to watch. Hugs to share.

Does it feel different? Do I feel different than I did three minutes ago? Sure. Any passage of time changes us. We have existed more. Received additional stimuli. Molded new memories. This year, I will put on another pair of glasses to get a different focus on the world. I need to shift my perspective of things in order to grow, even if the things themselves don’t change so much.

I hope that whatever you’re doing today, these days, is giving you what you need.

Bye.

 

Three Hundred Sixty Four: The End

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”  – Mahatma Gandhi

Wednesday, December 30th

This quote came to me in the middle of my bullshit bath. Lose yourself. In the service of others. Lose myself in the service. Doing what I do best in helping others binds me to humanity as a whole and separates me from my ego. Find myself by losing myself. 

One answer begets a much larger question. So is life.

Last night, my husband’s friend passed away. And end to the livity of a dear one. Now the world continues as something new, working in a minutely different way now that he is no longer here.

Several years ago, I attended a motherblessing for a friend very much pregnant who had just lost her grandfather. One of her friends shared that those that are in the process of bringing forth life are intrinsically linked to those who are finishing their dance. They are both more acutely aware of the true gift of life.

This has been a wonderful year. Thank you for sharing some of these moments with me.

What would you do with the next year if…?

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Three Hundred Sixty Three: Fluidity

 

“What makes a river so restful to people is that it doesn’t have any doubt – it is sure to get where it is going, and it doesn’t want to go anywhere else.” – Hal Boyle

Tuesday, December 30th

Tonight my husband found out that one of his elders – a Rasta gentleman who has been a mentor and a strength – is on his journey towards forwarding on.

Death has always been at an arm’s length from me. Someone dear whom I know was living and now he or she isn’t. I haven’t seen the rapid decline. I haven’t felt the true deep sadness of their passing. Tonight has felt profound. Profoundly sad. More than that, I have felt the profoundly grace and integrity in this man’s choice to react to his illness in the way that he has. There is a quiet, calm, and compassionate way to die. And doesn’t that hold us to the world in somewhat of a stronger way?

Are you afraid of death?

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Three Hundred Sixty Two: Way to Change

“Things do not change; we change.”  – Henry David Thoreau

Monday, December 29th

Every waking day is an experiment, isn’t it? Will we live our next 24 hours the way we lived the last? Will we chew on the same thoughts and make all the same jokes? Will we drive to work via a new route or finally get the ball rolling on that project that we’ve put off forever? Every single day holds the capacity for change.

Is change comforting? Does it need to be?

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Three Hundred Sixty One: Kindred Friend

“We are kindred spirits, you and I… One day you will realize you don’t have to fight your nature. You can live your life freely… I want to be there when that happens.” – T.T. Escurel

Sunday, December 28th

Today I had a date with a dear old friend. She is older, more experienced, and has done more soul work and emotional and physical therapy to untangle life’s sorrows. She is a friend and a mentor. I wasn’t expecting our visit today to mean as much as it did.

We went to the farmer’s market to find a bottle of our coveted ginger beer. On our way to the pet store we ended up getting into a deep conversation in her car. Impromptu, we talked about our holidays. I started telling her about my brother and I let out a flood of emotions that I still have wound up inside about it all. It felt good to get it out, and I started to feel a sense of how I’ve closed off certain channels this year. Tai chi and qi gong have always helped me to move those energies around and through me, but over time they’ve just wadded up inside. Sometimes you just need to get the obstructions moving and then the rest just moves through on its own in due time.

It was a relatively short visit and we were both wiped out by the end of it. Baring my emotions is had work, and was it ever worth it. I feel clean. Does that even make sense? I feel clean from the inside out, like the real obstacles in my life were the words unsaid and the truths ignored. It was time to air them and move on. There are only a few people who I trust sharing my deep and honest truths, and I’m glad that my friend held my heart with gentle hands today. It’s hard not to feel like change is coming now.

What do you do when you need catharsis?

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Three Hundred Sixty: Calling Myself Out on My Own Bullshit

“Kindly remove your shoes from my bullshit.” – Jarod Kintz

Saturday, December 27th

Lately I’ve been a difficult person to be around. A combination of premenstrual syndrome, cabin fever, and a general lack of self-care adds up to not-so-nice. And I can explain my way around why I am justified to be this crabby or tired or achy, but at the end of the day I know that I’m letting myself get bunched up.

So I decided that when the kids were in bed that I would have a nice long bath. A therapeutic soak. I give thanks to water each and every day – something so seemingly inert is so utterly vital to our wellbeing. I laid down in the water and let go. Really let go. And my mind went where it needed to go as my body did.

I like calling myself out on my own bullshit. I have the validation of noticing the problem, finding the solution, and putting it into practice. It’s a very rewarding feeling. Now to follow through…

What external activities help you to get into the head space to call yourself out on your own BS?

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Three Hundred Fifty Nine: The Importance of the Arts

“A broad education in the arts helps give children a better understanding of their world…We need students who are culturally literate as well as math and science literate.”  – Paul Ostergard

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people. Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have lots of dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solution without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.” – Steve Jobs

Friday, December 26th

Today was the first time that my children attended a ballet. The Nutcracker. And it blew their creative little minds.

I sure need all the help in keeping my school-aged daughter inspired by the arts. She and two of her 1st grade friends claim they hate art. My husband and I know that she appreciates it; she always has a crayon, paper, and an idea in her hand. We strongly suspect that she does not like the art teacher. Linear. Explaining too many techniques for little minds that just need the free space to explore media.

Although ballet is a product of endless structured classes and many practices, the mix of live orchestral music, choreographed dramatic dance, and lore is a wonder to a young child. It was a spectacle, and I honestly took more joy in watching the children than watching the stage. My son kept leaning over to his Dad and I and saying, “DID YOU SEE THAT?” or “WOW! THAT WAS COOL!” A mind full of wonder is a powerful thing.

I have one and a million goals for the upcoming year, but exposing my kids to more diversity within the arts is definitely high on my list.

What would your world be like without the arts?

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Three Hundred Fifty Eight: Christmas

“‘Waking up to you is like….presents on Christmas morning.’ His mouth curved. ‘For your convenience, I’m already unwrapped. Batteries not required’.”  – Sylvia Day

Thursday, December 25th

Christmas was a day delightfully devoid of smartphones, tablets, tvs, and blogs, and it was absolutely perfect.

The kids woke up early but got a good night of sleep. They were ready to engage in the sport of opening gifts. The rest of our extended family was sleeping elsewhere in the house, so we had to keep the restless youth at bay. There were lots of wiggles and giggles as they had every ounce of our attention.

I loved this uncharacteristic direct link between my children and I. It really is true that kids need less things and more moments with the people that we love. We all need that. I know this, but it is hard to put into practice day after day after day. Another goal for the days to come.

Under what circumstances do others have your sole attention?

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Three Hundred Fifty Seven: Holiday

“The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing others’ loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of the holidays.” – W. C. Jones

Wednesday, December 24th

In choosing the quote to top this post, I finally came across a powerful realization – that the way that I see the world for myself is quite drastically different as I envision it for my children. I am parenting through this disconnect, trying to provide them a life of enchantment while so fearful that the world will hurt them like it seems to wound all of us in some way or another. And so, in my adult world I am quite used to stories of pain and feeling a sense of accomplishment in helping my loved ones stay afloat and get back to the shore.

It is heart-wrenching to know my kids are seeing a world that isn’t always fair or kind or honest, and that even something as simple as a beloved holiday is full of drama and misconceptions just as much it is imbued with history and meaning. Adults explain it as a time for generosity and gift-giving when it doubly the time to build up walls between people who do not share the same beliefs. This holiday is the root of many of my warmest memories of childhood. It is also where I learned where many adults work out their childhood wounds. I need to train myself to find my own joy in this season, and focus on sorting out my own internal stuff instead of worrying about what everyone else is thinking and doing during the holiday season.

Are there times of the year where the collective pace or atmosphere of the world is too distracting?

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Three Hundred Fifty Six: All in This Soup Bowl Together

“Give yourself entirely to those around you. Be generous with your blessings. A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.” – Steve Maraboli

Tuesday, December 23rd

I had just got the kids into the bathtub when I saw a text from my dear friend (who is in the middle of an ugly divorce.) She knows she can safely “shout” every terrible word in the book over a text message to me without judgment. She needs to get it out and to be heard. I don’t know if misery loves company, but it certainly needs compassion.

She was the friend who rolled out the red carpet for me on my birthday – made me a thug-life birthday playlist, bought me treats, welcomed my other friend warmly into the fray, and chauffered us around town from dawn to dusk. She’s a gem. Sadly, she’s a gem whom is losing her shine amidst the stress of the divorce proceedings.

What the hell do I know about divorce? Very little, it seems…and honestly, I’m happy to be ignorant in this department. So when I spout off what I think might be helpful, I don’t know if it’s any help at all. Sometimes I humor her with crude jokes or extremely derogatory comments about her ex. I may not know how to counsel someone through the grief of a lost relationship, but I certainly know that laughter is a necessity. Not all the time, but the pain must be punctuated with…well, puns. (Harhar, get it?)

When I am in the middle of a terrible argument with my husband, I stop for a moment and wonder if this would be the start of his bitter resentment against me. That is terribly morbid, but I am the sort of person who gets ahead of myself…and sometimes it has helped me to preserve my relationships. I’m not always the one to apologize, but when my love’s hand is reached out asking for forgiveness I always accept it. And I’m learning more and more to let down my guard and be compassionate instead of needing to feel “right”.

This year has been a game-changer for me. I’ve been called on to support my loved ones – through breakdowns, break-ups, suicide attempts, cancer, family passings, the passing of beloved pets, and more. We all have, because we aren’t living in a bubble. We’re in this together. The older we get, the more people we know and the closer we get to the beauty and strife of the world. I’m finding that by pulling myself further away from the media and the onslaught of information that flies at me every day, the more energy and compassion I have to share with those closest to me and help them make it through the tougher moments in their day. And the tougher moments in mine.

Do you feel better or worse after helping others through tough times?

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