The Dreaded Bonk and the Ladybug

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So I have hit my wall but in this case it is in this torturous mental marathon. I have an enormous life changing deadline looming out there in just under 72 hours and been pushing myself pretty hard to meet it; to succeed but that little voice keeps telling me to quit. It is as if my mind have seize, cramped from over exertion. I took a walk, no improvement; I had a cup of coffee, still just as tired; so I decided to peruse facebook, a mindless activity. As I scrolled through my timeline I once again saw the same picture filled with “words of wisdom” this is the fourth or fifth time it has cycled through my news feed. It has also been topics of conversation so much so that I blogged about it last week. The quote said, “One of the hardest decisions you’ll ever face in life is choosing to walk away or try harder”.  I reposted it with a snark about not missing the message but this is so true. I feel like I am facing a few difficult decisions in my life at the moment, all related to perseverance or patience. As I was trying to focus my thoughts, to gain some clarity while looking out my office window a ladybug lit on my window, walking in a unique pattern but continually in my sight line. I had a visit from one a few weeks ago as I was again allowing my thoughts to wonder to this topic.  Both visits reminded me of a very tearful day in June where I was so scared, trying to decide what to do in a difficult situation and one landed on my hand. I almost didn’t notice her at first through my tears. Watching he crawl along my hand I found such peace and clarity, knew exactly what the right choice was; maybe she arrived today for a bit more inspiration with a touch of clarity. Maybe I shall continue to try….

 

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” ― Mary Anne Radmacher

 

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An Unwanted Visitor

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Sitting here waiting for the sun to rise the night noises are my constant companion. An unwanted from my sadistic friend Insomnia; she has once again arrived at the most inopportune time and is outstaying her welcome. I am sitting here thinking of a moment when I was a child and had to be pulled from the water, that felling of no matter how hard you fought you could not stay on the surface, the fear because you know what failing in that moment means, and becoming too tired to fight any longer. I wonder what one’s last thoughts are, when then go below the surface for one last time.

I am so tired

…tired of fighting so hard to stay above the surface

…tired of being the strong one

…tired of smiling when I feel like I fell like I am crumbling

…tired of reassuring others when I am so unsure

…tired of my anxious mind always thinking, trying to understand

…tired of feeling like I am damaged

…tired of not being enough; pretty enough, good enough…

…tired of not having a place to take respite, if only for a moment

…tired of keeping this all inside, to myself

…tired of not knowing whether to continue or just give up

…tired of struggling so hard to keep my grasp on hope.

“Faith begins where Reason sinks exhausted.” – Albert Pike

Tears and Salsa

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Had to run an errand and decided to stop and treat myself to Mexican food for lunch. It has been a difficult few days, too many responsibilities and too little time with a few plot twists added into the mix. While waiting on my food, I was perusing blog posts and came across on that I typically enjoy and I found myself fighting back tears. I have been incredibly nostalgic over the past week, thinking of my upbringing, people I have lost, those in my life now, what I am grateful for, what I want to ensure I leave behind. I have also thought about how my life has made me who I am and wonder what I have imparted to my children, overtly as well as indirectly. I have spent a lot of time considering the parts of myself that I have lose on my journey, the parts I have let be damaged by others, the scars that I will always carry, the strength I have gained by surviving, and the courage to keep moving forward. Sitting there in that moment reading her words I fell so full of my own, reminded of all the things I have wanted to share but have not been courageous enough to say, thought of the words and deeds left undone, the things I have wanted to do and may never get to experience, my overwhelming need to be held tight, and all the gratitude in my heart and I was overcome…. I suppose lunch with tears and salsa was what needed to be served.

“…I gave you painted air – tears I couldn’t weep – truths I couldn’t speak – all the words that caught in my throat…”

― John Geddes

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

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So there have been some interesting conversations over the past few weeks and the question keeps arising whether directed at me or I am asking someone else. It is interesting that friends, acquaintances and even my brother have been skirting this topic be it about life, work or relationships.  That is a questions we ask of others from the time they are old enough to carry on a quasi-conversation. “Wat do you want to be when you grow-up?”  We go through phases, teacher, astronaut, policeman, fairy-princess…. At some point we choose a career path and pursue it, along the way we may stumble into a relationship or lose sight of our dreams.  We find ourselves all grown up and what do we want now? Do we get too old to dream? Is it appropriate to say what you want when life offers you the opportunity for a do-over?

So this was asked of me the other day, directly. Like the grown-up version of what do you want to be when you grow up. Do we often think of those things as you  age? At 12 do we say I want to be in a healthy loving relationship, I want to be like Ward and June with the white picket fence? I gave up on my picket fence dreams over a dozen years ago and am enough of a realist to know that isn’t a possible reality, irrelevant of the effort but I believe one can have their version of happily ever after.  I am not comfortable being that open with others and the conversation shifted but I left thinking. I want to be comfortable, knowing I can continue to provide emotionally and physically for my children until they are all grown, I want to be content with as many happy and joyous moments as there are ones filled with sadness and strife, I want to have the courage to always greet each day with openness and not fear, I want always be empathetic, kind, respectful even when life is difficult, I want to have a good circle of friends who laugh often and deeply, I want to see the sunrise and the stars shine in the sky, I want to have open wandering conversations with the people that matter to me and on occasion I want to sit in the woods and listen to the sounds or rest at the shore and feel the ocean lap against my feet.  But I think she was meaning on more of a personal level, my ideal relationship if I were to infer from the rest of the discussion.  I have a “never again will I tolerate” list and of course I have a list of things I would like, which include the classic items required for a healthy relationship but I pondered how I would even respond if this circled back through the conversation.

I want someone who knows how I take my coffee, whose presence makes me smile even when I am frustrated with life or even them, I want someone whose hugs make the world right and keep me grounded for just that moment, I want someone who sees it’s a not-quite-right day and stands with me through it, I want someone who can call shenanigans on me when needed, who will walk with my on my journey when it is sunny and on those gloomy difficult days, someone who doesn’t need to solve my problems for me but can hold out a hand when I need to get up after I have stumbled, someone who will always be on my side…. There are details and nuances that need to be shared with that person; much more than words can explain. When one considers how to answer that, it really isn’t for others but the two who come together to make it what they need, for it is theirs to create.    I suppose it is the easy stuff to say too I want to be accepted, respected and loved wholly by who would be my best friend. Seems like a steep order in some ways but in other ways it is what I am willing to give and so much more.  I just think of a friend’s Dad, the first time I met him he was sharing stories of his children growing up, of his wife and tears came to his eyes. In that moment I could see he loved her that day as much as ever and even almost fifteen years after he lost her and that love lived. I think of my grandfather, after he was widowed he looked for the characteristics of my grandmother he loved the most; often commenting on how I was like her in this way and that offered him such comfort. That is the type of love I want.  How do you explain that to someone?

 

“I no longer believed in the idea of soul mates, or love at first sight. But I was beginning to believe that a very few times in your life, if you were lucky, you might meet someone who was exactly right for you. Not because he was perfect, or because you were, but because your combined flaws were arranged in a way that allowed two separate beings to hinge together.” ―Lisa Kleypas

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions…..

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I am the type of chicka who commits to doing something, who is all in, be it work, relationships, friendships, passions, volunteer work if I begin something it is with all my heart and soul.  I struggle to walk away. When you have me, you have my whole heart, all my effort, all my compassion, empathy, and kindness.  I do not believe in half-assing anything for that means we shortchange ourselves; you undermine the gift of opportunity. I think this is a direct result of my mother’s encouragement, knowing what I can do, encouraging me to achieve it and more. If we only meet life half-way we lose out on the experience, what was meant, we do not encounter our truth as it is intended, growth is stifled, and we can suffer.

When I was younger it 168had everything to do with being hell-bent on not losing but now it is only focused on doing what is right, what serves a greater purpose; the vanity of youth has long since left me. I know people who wander through life following the path of least resistance, who at the first struggle just up and leave. I know others that have mastered futility and will persist at a lost cause to their own demise. Do you know where you fall on that continuum? I often think that I would not battle for a lost cause, but how do I know? I would hope I would dig my heels in and work through the muck and mire of something that was important to me but can I be sure? How can I discern between mere doubt of an anxious mind and true fruitlessness. Sometimes we are faced with the choice to free ourselves or we suffer and other times our simple choice turns into a lifetime of regret.

At any given moment on out journey we are faced with the decision to try harder, to continue forward or to walk away. All those wonderful inspirational quote about walking away when it no longer serves you, about not owing anyone anything, but what if there is a purpose we do not see?  Are we making the choice to stay out of fear of the unknown?  We are creatures of habit, preferring predictability, averse to fear. Do we throw in the towel too easily? Some of us are concerned that things get difficult means it will never be easy again, others of us are fear the past will replicate itself, judging the present situation based on the measuring-stick given to us be another. I have faced all of those situations in my lifetime. The reality is life is one struggle after the next, one long string of choices, one set of opportunities to say, “Should I stay or should I go.”

So I now find myself at this intersection. I have two paths before me, both foggy so the outcome is unclear. So the trick is to still the mind, to turn off all the rational arguments on which choice is best, to not fall into the comfort of predictability, to turn away from guilt and toward love,  to not let the noise of the outside world influence my thought,  to let that little voice speak with veracity and conviction because those words are typically my truth.  So in my moments of peace, in prayer, I still hear wait, I feel the need to be patient which contradicts those logical arguments and all the noise the world.  So shall I stay, try harder or shall  I go……

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” -Elizabeth Appell

My Egret Moon

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I have been quite reflective about my journey, even more so as of late. I think of the time in my life when it was the most difficult, when there was no one who was there and I had to navigate that darkness alone, all the despair.  I think of a friend who probably knew but would never say anything, how she and her husband would arrive to offer support, to help with my children so I could complete my degree, I think of the time I move to a new town alone, and often hear a single profound sentence that helped me move forward, the friends that understand and accept, and the people that push me to continue to grow.  There have been many people that have impacted my life, some close people and others absolute strangers that I will never again see.  No matter my desire to be independent and self-sufficient, we are not an island unto ourselves.

 

A few summers ago in a small shop on a tiny oceanfront island a virtual stranger gave me some great advice.  She was a wonderful shop keeper, with a storefront filled with beautiful artwork and charming knickknacks. Over the few years I had visited, she shared bits and pieces of her life, clearly a wise woman full of a lifetime of experiences to share. I bought myself a bracelet and as we talked during the sale, I mentioned a small struggle for that was the morning I had cried on the beach at sunrise, the day I gathered my courage knowing as scary as it was going to be to have one final battle, it was time.  She shared a bit of her story, shared how important it is to be with people who value and cherish you, and to listen to your heart.  I had since connected with her on social media and recently decided to offer up a thank you. It again served me well to be reminded of what I already know.

 

Last night she said, “.it just comes down to listening to your heart…and that, my dear, can be a very scary journey.” So so very true. That morning on the beach years ago, I had listened to my heart, that voice that directs you, the one we so often ignore, the one that we logically argue with, rationalize away. How often times would be much easier if we just listened. Why do we not embrace it? Why do we think there are times we know what is better only to arrive at regret for not listening? Why now when I know what my heart says do I find such struggle in listening? It is scary….

 

“Use your heart. Understand. Learn to see things in the now, not as they were or will be, or as they might or should be, but as they are, right now, in this moment. The heart sees the now; the mind only sees the next. If you can’t learn to see the now, you’ll never see what’s truly there, and then where will you be?” ~ E.J. Patten

 

 

 

ENfLMxB    I remember reading this when I was probably 7 or 8. Shel Silverstein had it right. We just tend to lose this perspective in our grown-up world.