On a walk, I glimpsed a woman who looked just like 30-years-ago-me and rocketed down memory lane. In a flash I remembered (in really real way) what it felt like to be 25 and “on my way.” Almost as quickly, I realized that, while I recognized her, there is no way she would recognize me - there is no way she could have dreamed of the life (my life) in store for her. And this realization is exciting – thrilling even. I appreciate (from the depths of my heart) the reminder that I truly have no idea what life has in store for 60- or 65- or 85-year-old me. 30 years later, my horizon remains as filled with possibility as it did then.
Practicing to do a hard thing such as compete in an iron man, swim across the bay, or hike the Appalachian Trail requires us to show up and do hard things every day. It's important to remember that we’re not training so that the hard thing becomes easy. We are training to become a person who, in Kara Lawson’s words, “handles hard well.” When we know we can handle hard stuff, we are more tolerant of failing and more willing to try again. We trust more in our strength to face our doubts and fears. In short, we are more resilient.
What do you wish you c/would start but can’t/won’t because you are daunted by how long it c/would take you to do it? What if you took a good, hard look at whatever deadline you’ve created in your head for this thing you want to start and gave it a kiss goodbye? What if you decided to shift your focus from “done-ness” to doing? Rather than being focused on the finish line, could you choose to celebrate the fact that you’re doing what you wanted to do? When your inner narrator says (and s/he will), “This will take forever! A lifetime!”, what if you were to choose to reply, as you show up and do the thing, “Luckily a lifetime is exactly how long I have.”?
One of the hardest thing for us humans is not knowing. For me, the process of allowing new information to rearrange stories that have been mine for as long as I can remember can feel a lot like standing up after sitting cross legged for too long. Though it hurts to move when my legs are asleep, the only way forward is to press gently and slowly through the resistance of my body. Once I’m moving again, I always feel better. (Same goes for the mental process, by the way!)
Tomorrow it will be two years since my brother died. It feels as if these two years have been a compression chamber of sorts. Somehow more life, more emotion, and more growth have been squeezed into these 730 days than in any other 730 days of my life. Sitting here at my keyboard, on the brink of this anniversary that I will never celebrate, but will never not mark, I want to share with you a choice we all must make - to choose to accept grief as the sister of love. We must dive into it and allow it to take us on its journey. This takes courage, gentle determination, and steady patience, but grief can lead us to a heart-space we never dreamed possible.
I don’t like messes – physical or the less tangible kinds. I prefer order in my environment – bookshelves organized, laundry put away, gardens weeded, to do lists filled with more checked off tasks than not. In short, messes make me uncomfortable, antsy, and agitated. I am learning through my practices of yoga and meditation that many of life’s messes, though uncomfortable and sometimes painful, can be the fertile soil of growth and change – but only if I resist the urge to clean them up.
I loved bike riding on our recent bike trip for a surprising reason. I loved it because it created the same state of mind that has kept me unrolling my yoga mat for 20 years – one of being 100% engaged in exactly what I’m doing for every moment that I’m doing it. In other words, I traveled to Croatia to accidentally discover another mindfulness practice.
Do you remember the opening line of the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral? Hugh Grant opens one eye as he is fumbling for the snooze button on his alarm clock to see the time and exclaims, “F*#k!” I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard before a movie even got going. In real life, harried is not a funny (or fun) way to start a day. Yet, more mornings than I care to admit, I wake up feeling like there is not enough time in the day. Almost as soon as I open my eyes, I feel harried and hurried. While some days are legitimately busy, most are not. Most mornings were I to take a “get some perspective” pause, there is plenty of time. Time to spare, even. What's a gal to do? Read on.
“I was thinking about the GPS in my car. It never gets annoyed at me. If I make a mistake, it says, ‘Recalculating.’” Have you ever considered the spiritual role model your GPS could be? Calm. Even keeled. Gracious. Creative. Endlessly patient. Even (especially!) when finding solutions to some ludicrous mistakes and wrong turns. Can you imagine accepting your mistakes and wrong turns with such poise? Can you imagine extending the same grace to your partner or your children? What would it take (short of being a piece of technology) to navigate life with such a certainty that all will be well? That all that is needed is a moment to calculate a new route?