When an old friend smiled and said, "Life is being very lifey, isn't it?" he packed loads of wisdom and mindfulness into a five letter, made-up adjective. Lifey is a skill we can practice. When we accept that life is being lifey, we are able to maintain the same even keel when when our kid is injured, or our parent is sick, or we’ve lost our job, or our partner is leaving us as when we’ve gotten the promotion at last, or when we’re head over heels in new love, or when the kids are all getting along. A perspective of life being lifey, in good times and hard times, holds life lightly; trusts that life will change; and understands that life is a series of moments – all of which can be relished.
My husband went fishing over the weekend. He loves this annual trip, and his excitement makes me happy. I will confess that just the thought of having the house to myself for two whole days also makes me happy. Or at least it used to. This time was different. Or maybe it was me that was different. Rather than relishing my time alone I was a little astonished to find I was lonely. It turns out that as my life has changed, so have I. Going forward I will change the way I approach these weekends home alone so that they are a happy break that "who I am now" rather than "who I once was" will enjoy.
Fun is, in a shocking twist, FUN! As someone who loves to work, and who loves her work, discovering pickleball has been a lesson in fun that feels really important. It is good to take a time-out – to hop and bounce like a kid, to focus on something silly, to play with friends, to set aside goals, growth, and gains for some good, old-fashioned fun. Anyone want to play with me?
Having kids in their twenties feels like someone has installed a revolving door on my home. No sooner does one move out than another moves back in. Each time the door spins I feel a surge of resistance to all this change. With practice I am slowly learning to to trust the revolving door of my life - to release my natural resistance and choose instead to welcome each change.
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!)
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 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?
We live every moment at the frontier of what we know and what we don't know. It is at this frontier that we explore the growth and possibility of our lives. Living here - as I learned as a child from Laura Ingalls and her family - requires grace, courage, focus, and a willingness to embrace the reality that none of us know where we are going and that is wonderfully OK.