Do Over Day

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Photo Credit: Pixabay

It’s been one of those days.  There were moments, more than one, when I wanted to hold my hands up to the sky and ask, “Can I erase the last 24 hours and have a do over?”

But that’s a fool’s wish. To wish that life could go backwards and erase, then place before us a new scene all fresh and sparkly clean, is not only futile, it’s self-limiting. Life has a way of serving up our greatest lessons in a bowl filled with needles. They prick us in the exact spot that needs to be healed. They find the wound that was already there, even if it has been buried for a long, long time, and dig in until we bleed fresh.

It’s not always obvious why we’re being pricked and prodded at. Or, why it may seem like we’re being asked to walk over a pile of red-hot coals in order to get to the next leg of our journey.  But, when we allow ourselves to dig down to the essence — that spot that is rubbed raw and open from the wound — we can find a bit of the light behind the story we have just lived.

Today was one of the most challenging days of my life. Maybe not in the top ten, but I’d safely put in in the top twenty-five. It could have been much worse than it was. And, in retrospect, it perhaps wasn’t all that bad after all. If someone else had lived my day, she or he might have considered it less than great, but not all that bad in the greater scheme of things. Just a part of the life of a parent, they might say. To be expected, but not by me.

The events of the last 24 hours brought me out of my individual cocoon of dormant life. Threads were pulled until the raw exposed body remained and I was faced with the choice: Do I find another wrapping to hide inside, or do I face the elements head on. Here’s the thing about these choices, there’s really only one option. If we hide, life will simply find another way to unwrap us, and chances are, it will be a harsher exposure than the one we face at the present moment.

To hide is to put off the inevitable. We are here to learn and grow, and quite often that learning and growing is not just for our sake, but for others as well. Our lives weave together in a sophisticated complexity that our minds cannot wholly grasp. Sometimes it’s better not to ask the full depth of they “why,” then, but to accept the growth that is offered.

Therein lies the beauty. The raw self exposed begins to heal. Air breathes through the freshly opened wounds and the light that feeds life spreads its golden filaments to repair what was once broken. Now I find myself peering inside the wound(s), trusting the network that I cannot wholly understand. How my life is woven to others. Some I barely know, some I have known since conception. I find myself seeing the love that has already woven its threads through the hurt and the pain. I find trust and strength that I didn’t know was there. There is a vulnerability that feels both uncomfortable and embracing.

It could have been worse, much worse, and I am grateful that is wasn’t. Today has been a reminder, above all else, of what is constant and unchanging, albeit difficult to hold onto at times. And that, simply, is love. No matter how difficult we make it for ourselves to find it, it is always there. That constant pulse of life threading through all of us. Love. Pure and simple, yet infinitely complex in its reach. And so I breathe it in with each inhale and trust that it is always enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slow Time

It’s been a week of slow time. Minutes unhurried as they spread languidly into hours that stretch the boundary of day into night. I find myself shedding worry easily. It falls like dead strands of hair ready to let go with the lightest tug. I do not miss its absence, but find myself welcoming the lift of its weight as it releases.

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I needed this week beside the lake, where my eyes can travel the surface of water to meet the rise of Earth before it gives way to sky. Clouds pass by winged travelers. Sea gulls catching gold on their wings, even though the ocean is miles away. They too care not for time or place. Blue dragonflies skim the horizon in search of mosquitos. A cormorant puffs out its chest on the raft we have just anchored as though we have brought it just for him. Another displaced traveler. Or, maybe not. I allow myself to believe I belong somewhere else most days. My home an hour away, holding a calendar of scheduled dates I choose not to think about while I am here. Trading it for this slow time beside the water.

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Most days, I slip inside the fluid molecules to swim. The build of heat releases and the body cools as it finds the memory of origin. I realize how much I need its enfolding.  When I return to land it is to feel the soft, sticky floor of pine needles beneath my bare feet. My soles will be blackened by the end of the week. Tattooed by the reminder of slow time that will inevitably speed up again.

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This week I have found myself thinking, when thoughts slip through the moments, of how much we carry and do no need. How even when we are meant to be relaxing and letting go, we pull out the phone to snap and share. To preserve and even boast, as though we must believe that our time is better than someone else’s. Forgetting that the less we carry, the freer we are. Forgetting that when we let go of all these attachments, there is no separation.

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When I open the artificial screen, I feel its drain. The body constricts. And, so I close it in favor of the easy breath outside doors and windows. Here, where light arrives from sources beyond our grasp, and I can soak in the vast expanse of being. Just being. Present sometimes with just the self, and sometimes with my beloveds and their companions. I find that it is not so challenging, here in this slow lake time, to be a parent to teenagers. To be wife. To be a woman in this stage of life called middle age. I find that it doesn’t matter what I do so much as how I present. That mostly, it’s this letting go. This slowing down, that matters most. This living in time and not through time.

The Hummingbird’s Visit #YogaPoetry

While sitting on the porch this afternoon, I had a visit from the resident hummingbird and found myself pulled into the stillness of the present to bear witness to life. While it is all too  easy to try to take over life in our hurry to live it, sometimes it is worthwhile to allow it to take over us. If even for just a few moments.

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Sometimes it is enough

to watch the circle of life

and listen to the rise and fall of its notes

How the sky screams the hawk’s warning

before a spirit lifts from the body of a chipmunk

to rejoin the infinite expanse

Hidden in the green, the house cat

skulks as though it were in Africa

The dimensions of size and place lost

to the memories of cells

In the stillness of the moment

tense is erased by the rhythm

of the breath’s own steady rise and fall

inviting the heart to find

the harmony of the dance