Splendid

Good Sunday to you Travellers,

I thought before I hit some heavy topics this week, I’d come back for something I think is always important. The thing that balances us, saves us, floats us along and creates buoyancy in our souls.

The tiny little life boats that we need in our life.

IN FACT, I want to challenge you in the next week to take a mental tally of all the little things that made you smile or warmed your heart or made you laugh out loud. These things that are the bread and butter of life. Everyone has them and in times like these, they become all the sweeter.

Let’s begin with a small victory of mine, THIS SONG. If you open it as a second link, you can listen while you read this, which would be lovely. Or if you would rather, just promise promise promise to listen to it after you are done reading my words.

This song was the closest thing to “our song” that Dave and I ever had. After the divorce, I had to put it away, which is fucking criminal, because Sade is easily one of the greatest singers of the past 30 years. It just made my heart hurt so much to hear it then.

But now, now that he’s gone. Gone gone, it’s like a link to something good that once was and will forever be. I remember telling him when this song was playing when we were first dating, that he was a gift to me. And no matter how the story has ended, it still remains true.

No matter how much pain his suicide has caused, the memory is still as it was.

The best part though is the end, when she introduces her band. There is just so much love and warmth and comradery in her words. It’s just the best. Listen. You’ll see what I mean…

Ok, and the fact that virtually no one is holding a cell phone is this video. I have secretly hoped that this viral pandemic would bring us all back to the value of being present in reality. Nothing is better than the real, even in pain. It’s real. Reality is still the sexiest filter.

Three things this week that I can’t show you, but want to mention in terms of just being sweetness.

First. A good friend came over and hung out in my hammock Monday night. We talked for about four hours, and he’s one of those people who is on a path to change his life and I feel lucky when he gives me glimpses into who he is. And he also enjoys things like hanging out in hammocks under big trees, so it was awesome.

Second. Last year we met a stranger when we were walking in the early morning hours. The best kind of stranger. The ones you say hello to and exchange a few kind words and then reencounter occasionally. The kind that feel reassuring in a way I can’t put into words.

This one is a man who I’m guessing is probably in his 80s, possibly over 85, he’s pretty spritely. He has a walking stick. He jokingly asked if I was walking the dogs, or were they walking me. We may have encountered him half a dozen times last year. Tuesday morning, I saw him walking our way, and he said the same thing. And there is a sort of happiness in seeing older people thriving and surviving that is different than seeing my peers or younger people. It always make me smile. It makes me less afraid of aging.

Third. Lou has a hot spot, which if you’ve had a dog you probably know what that it. The part that really made me giggle was when I gently wiped the spot, and then dried it before we put the ointment on it. I said to her, “Now bend your elbow and hold that there so it dries.” AND SHE DID. I don’t know if Lou is just extra smart or extra perceptive. I don’t know if it’s the dog in me or the human in her, but she just does these things. And it’s the best in a very distinct way.

Now, lemme show you some things:

It’s called Tatsoi. It’s a veggie for salads. I’ve never had it before or even heard of it till this year. I bought it on a whim and a recommendation from a new nursery I went to. It reminds me of Bok Choy in it’s texture and taste. And it’s just lovely. Trying new things is the best.
So this is Charlie’s new thing, the lazy leg hang in the air, just don’t care. It’s whatever lies beyond fully relaxed and it makes me smile so big. I can’t help but feel at times that he may be more comfortable with only one front leg instead of two. Because he can move in so many ways that four legged cats can’t…
The last chocolate chip cookie. I’ve written a few posts on here, but THIS ONE has always stayed with me. Read it. My words about how I was lucky to have me for my cookie baking abilities after my divorce. It was the first time I ever thought such a thing about myself. In my whole life. But this photo is actually about the smell. I’ve been smelling my food alot lately before I take a bite, especially sweet things. Homemade things. People seem to just inhale food in this day and age, I say take it slow. Stop and smell the cookies. This bag smelled like heaven.
LILACS. Do I need to say more? Speaking of using your nose wisely. Lilacs are the quintessential smell of warmer days to come. The floral gatekeepers of summer. They look like teeny little purple parasols, just barely opened. And the scent is BIG, WAFTING and just says WELCOME.
I have a terrorist squirrel in my midst. He has twice destroyed and consumed my baby chard. I guess it could be a girl, like a mean girl squirrel. But this squirrel has met it’s match! I got this flower yesterday to plant in the hole that little demon made, and I made myself laugh when I saw it in the sink like this…I thought wouldn’t that be wonderous to have flowers growing up from your drain. Just randomly. I know it’s not practical, but it would be grand.

I’m sure you have these little strange moments too. I can’t imagine we are not all equally gifted each day, but you have to be present and pay attention.

Go pay attention to your life. Look. Feel. Roll these things around in your mind, or put them in your mental pocket.

This is how we survive.

And lastly, I just want to send some kind of hope to those of you who are in India. I’m not sure if the news is accurate, but it’s heartbreaking watching from afar to what’s happening. We feel your fear as we have felt it too. God speed to your safety, recovery and whatever world lies beyond this for all of us.

The learning curve

Good morning Travellers,

I awoke this morning to THIS outside:

I’m not sure how the rest of the world is going, but here in Kansas, we no longer have seasons apparently. We just have the day we are going to have, without rhyme or reason. Snow in April. You’re welcome.

This little glitch however goes very nicely with something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, learning.

When we are young, our lives are charted by learning milestones. First it’s about our movement. You learn to roll over on your belly, you learn to pull your knees under you to crawl, you learn to sit upright, you learn to reach out to something higher than you to leverage yourself into standing, you learn to fall down and get up. Fall down and get up. Over and over again. After you walk and fall down enough, you will learn to run. Ride a bike maybe. Swimming. Climbing on things. Hopscotch. Jump rope. Throwing a ball. Catching that ball. Running faster and jumping. Dancing. Chasing other kids.

Scholastically we learn about going to school, time, what day it is, words, how to spell, how to do math, how to read, meeting other kids and the realm of socialization opens to us. We learn what we like and what we don’t. What we are good at and what is difficult for us. We learn to keep going or quit.

We learn to brush our teeth, then we lose them and grow new ones. Most of us sort of enjoy that part.

We learn about naps, snacks, bedtime stories. And as we grow up we have birthdays that we excitedly celebrate with fun parties.

We are learning. And that continues with some expectation until college. Then in early adulthood we learn to be on our own, get a job, find a mate, have some kids, buy a house and then well, then what happens?

THEN WHAT HAPPENS.

I’ve felt very strongly for the last five years or so that the fulfillment you are seeking in adulthood has everything to do with mirroring your childhood. Hear me out…

Everyday you are learning, if you so choose. That snow in that photo is teaching one of the oldest lessons in the book: Adversity breeds survival. While I have moved my little garden containers into the garage to protect them and tarped the remaining larger containers, the rest of nature has to fend for itself. And it will. You can complain about the snow or revel in the fact that the natural world will carry on. Adaptation is learning. And it is a marvel to watch and learn.

I’ve spent the last 6 months revisiting my training methodology and what service I really want to offer clients. And learning is the center piece. Not how you look or will look. I’ll talk more about that more in depth another time, but what I want to say is this…

At the heart of our beings is our nervous system and this life is about learning to master it. Your nervous system is your hard wiring AND IT CAN BE CHANGED. It can be expanded and strengthened. Learning a new behavior creates a new neural pathway. Learning new movement creates new neural muscular pathways. It’s a challenge because our repetitive behaviors are like muddy ruts that we have traveled so much that we are stuck in them. Doing something new is like paving a road that has never existed.

You can learn. And learning tastes like a kind of satisfaction that I think most of us have forgotten in our youth.

Remember what it felt like to ride that bike for the first time? And then what it felt like to ride when the training wheels came off? Or what it felt like to read as a child? Maybe like me, you learned to play an instrument. I played piano and at 5, I thought those pedals on the floor were going to make something serious happen when I could finally reach them. That was exciting to learn.

And I remember learning the hard things too. Injuries from sports, broken hearts from boys, friends who weren’t your friends after all, and all the times I did things that I wasn’t proud of either.

We were learning, good and bad. And we expected it then, so why don’t we expect it now?

What would happen if you created benchmarks in your own life for learning?

What if everyday you look for learning especially in the craptastic stuff?

What if you used therapy as a way to learn to create a better life?

What if you learn to be more of something like compassionate or a better cook or a new hobby or working out or eating well or read a new book?

Just think about all the things you could learn today.

New skills, or just everyday lessons. Like with the snow outside my door. If you are dating, try hard to figure out what are you learning. If you are married, learn something new about your spouse. If you have kids, good grief, there’s a fountain of learning. Same with pets. Dog and cats are far more complex than they are given credit. And old dogs CAN learn new tricks. They are wired just like us.

But mostly learn about you. YOU. Do you know you? Do you know how wonderous your body is and this life?

Who are you?

I recently learned that not only is a tonsillectomy as an adult a horrifying surgery, because one of my closest friends had it done. FYI they BURN your tonsils out. But I learned that I actually am a person who gladly takes care of her friends even when it’s inconvenient. And I’m grateful for it. For her. And for learning this is a part of myself that I think I forgot or maybe I’m a better person than I’ve led myself to believe.

Necessity is the mother of all invention. And we invent through learning and learning creates invention.

Learning is what I feel life is about. If you can learn to take any situation that meets you and examine it for the lesson you’d be surprised how it changes. Learn to embrace hardship. That’s a big one. THAT IS A BIG ONE. Hardships have ALOT of lessons you may or may not like, but it’s still learning.

Learning will change your life. And it will change who you are with the people around you.

Consider my words. Look for learning today. Everyday.

All learning is important.

Limited Magic

Happy Friday Travellers,

I’m still struggling to figure out where to begin talking about Dave’s suicide and my feelings about it in a way that will hopefully be helpful and insightful versus just a lot of loud words scrambled around on the page.

I do not under any circumstances wish for my words to resemble Shakespeare’s line from MacBeth “Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.” Because right now, that’s where I’m at. And in the moments, where my thoughts and feelings have felt organized in a more eloquent way I’ve been nowhere near pen and paper or keyboard. But I know it’s coming..

Until then, perhaps a more intriguing and lighter dish befitting a Friday morning…

I was thinking this morning about how the conditions were not quite right for a walk. Abit too cold, it was 39 degrees and abit soppy wet from all the rain, which would prevent us from walking our usual route. In case you didn’t know, dogs are creatures of habit, just like us. And when I deviate from the regular path, it seems to cause abit of a dust up.

This got me to thinking though about how many elements have to come together or into fruition to create really great moments in life. You know what I mean, those moments where you stop and take notice of something particularly exquisite. And think, remember this...The times when life is fully realized for the gift it is.

Maybe it’s A particularly delicious fruit. A really transcendent emotion. A kiss. A first embrace. THE first cry of your baby. THE first time you meet someone. A conversation on a phone late at night. THE way the sunlight sneaks through and shines. THE stars in the sky. THE weather on a particular day/night. THAT sunrise. THAT sunset. A look in the eyes of someone you love. ONE act of kindness or compassion or curiosity satisfied. A moment of realization.

Just ONE moment where it’s magic. And it is magic, don’t sell it short, because most of life is mundane and practical and required living. For these moments to occur, everything aligns, all the senses and your soul. And like magic, it’s gone almost as quickly as you realize it’s here.

And we cannot control it or force it or replicate it, that’s why it’s magic.

These things don’t happen often, not the REALLY REALLY good ones.

I’m not even sure if other people can see these things or it’s just me. But I hope you do.

Dave always said he couldn’t.

And I’m not saying they are always joy-filled, but rather life-filled. They feel full in every sense. Full of the gravity of being human. Full of my life. They make life really real.

And I feel somewhat certain that these things belong to this place, Earth and wherever we go next, I don’t think these exist, not like we sense them here.

And I just so happen to have few in photos, so I’m just gonna roll them out now.

Since you aren’t me, you really can’t feel what they meant to me, but just know that what I am showing you is magic.

REAL MAGIC.

You do believe in magic still, right??

Life’s little luxuries

Buenos Dias Travellers,

Yesterday afternoon around 3:45 pm, I laid down on my bed. Alone. So quiet. Just laid there. On my back with the windows open. Eyes closed. The weight of my body sinking into the mattress. There was just a whisper of a breeze and the sunlight slinking in the spaces between the curtain panels. The dogs were lying on the floor breathing in a slow rhythm that kept time with the whirl of the ceiling fan. Outside there was an orchestra of birds, some singing, some pecking, some tweeting, and a distant dog barking. It was like the world was lying down for a nap.

It was absolutely luscious in every way. The kind of moment we attempt to replicate again and never quite capture.

Continue reading “Life’s little luxuries”

V.A.C. #2- Put it in writing

Good morning Travellers,

Behind the little door for day #2 would be a tiny little drawing of you writing in a card. What kind of cards you ask? Holiday greeting cards…WAIT, don’t leave, hear me out..

It feels to me like our human world is slowly being stripped of all it’s tactile experiences in favor of digital ones. For example, I know the art of penmanship is something of the days of yore and people choose emails and texting as their primary  form of “written”communication. CDs, cassette tapes, and vinyl records, have largely been replaced by ITunes or downloads. We shop online without touching the clothes before we buy them or talking to other people in a shop. We forgo movie theaters to sit on our own couches at home and watch movies. Even DVD rentals are falling under the tires of streaming service giants. We are literally losing our sense of touch & decreasing our real life human interaction. What becomes of humans who no longer touch anything but flat screens?! What becomes of us when we no longer interact in a three dimensional world?

Today, after work or whatever errands your days requires, I’d like you to go to anywhere that sells boxed greeting cards and find your favorite ones and buy a box. I think my box of 16 cards cost $7 plus tax. They came from Target. Then you’ll also need stamps. You remember stamps? We used to have to lick those things…again, a change in our tactile experiences.

Option #2 is making your own cards, if that’s on your menu, do that instead. The messenger isn’t as important as the message here.

Now make a list of the people who you really appreciate in your life this year. We’re not sending obligation cards to your aunt you never see, or form letters. These are for people sitting front row to your life, not the high balcony spectators. And you don’t need to feel guilt for anyone not being on your list, this isn’t a contest, this is about sharing your sincerest appreciation and gratitude. AND lastly, set one card off to the side…

I have tell you  that I have received cards/letters over the years of my life that I’ve saved simply for the words someone sent just for me. It’s preserved kindness, and there is an energy in penning letters versus typing them on a keyboard. When you hold writing from another person in your hands, it’s a kind of magic, someone touched this and wrote this…and the words are there for all of time, just for you to see whenever you like…

For each person on your list, write a very specific message of why you appreciate them and their presence in your life. Give it some real thought, use as many words as you need to, take your time, maybe do 3-4 cards an evening, it’s only the 3rd of December!! But do mail them by the 12th…

I think this time of year can really cause people to reflect more on what they don’t have versus what we do have. I spent a great deal of time agonizing on Christmases for the family I didn’t have or the overwhelming sadness I felt. Worrying about gifts, buying and receiving in somewhat equal measure. In truth, it’s quite possible that the best gifts we have in our lives are each other. When I look at my four fur kids each day I think there’s nothing money could buy that’s better than them. And yea, I adopted them so technically they were a purchase, but really I see that more like adopting a child. Children & fur kids are not things or possessions, they are fellow Travellers.

I think looking outside ourselves for the blessings in our life is HUGE for our overall health. I think taking time for others is also good for us. Your mental health and physical health are so very deeply intertwined and it’s important to take care of both during the holidays. And oddly, I find that expressing kind words to other people makes you feel good inside too. I think humans were actually meant to be a kinder species than our current form, don’t you? Which brings me to that card you set aside…

I’ve never actually done this before and I’m not one of those hippy hippy love yourself gurus, BUT I think it behooves us to show ourselves some gratitude as well. SO, inside that last card, write a note to yourself, whatever you want, BUT it has to be kind and full of gratitude. Something you’ve done for yourself this year that made a HUGE difference in your life. EVEN IF IT’S ONLY ONE THING. TRUST ME, YOU’VE DONE AT LEAST ONE GOOD THING FOR YOURSELF THIS YEAR….write it down and then read it out loud to yourself, put it in it’s envelope and pack it away in your Christmas decorations. Over the course of a year, you’re going to forget that note just like I forget certain cute ornaments and next year, you’ll find it again… I think that written words preserve time in a way unlike any other art from. And the hardest lesson I’m still working on learning is to get on my own team. All of life changes but we will always be with ourselves…

Happy writing Travellers…and how about this morning’s sunrise with a Christmas tune

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Functional Meditation #1

Good morning Travellers,

I’d like to begin with a little explanation of what this is and what the end goal is.

Because I think it’s advisable to have some sense of direction when setting off on an adventure versus wandering in the desert for a century…

I’m a practitioner of functional movement. Functional movement is using exercise to not only strengthen the body, but to also make us more effective and less strained by everyday life tasks. The movements are multiple muscle group based, use a good deal of core action and have a practical nature that makes everyday life better.

I’m attempting to apply the idea of functionality to meditation in a similar fashion. My goal is to make it this an accessible and practical skill that will ease the stress of everyday life. Something you could use at anytime, anywhere. Standing up, sitting down, laying down, with music, without music.

Continue reading “Functional Meditation #1”

I’d like to redefine

Good Saturday to you Travellers,

Do you ever want to change words? What I mean is the way the word sounds to you, the way it rolls off your tongue or it’s pronunciated cadence seems to defy what Merriam Webster and all of humanity before thought it should mean? Like it just seems completely fucking wrong? Everyone was wrong, and I laugh because it’s absurd, but I am the kind of person who likes to take words and make them my own, do you ever do that? When I was little I can remember my mother frequently saying she wished she had written down all the words I had invented to better serve my own language. I blame Dr. Suess, because he pretty much looked at English and said, yea, I’m just gonna have to make something up….

There are two words today I’d like to make the case for reassessment , LANGUISH and LANGUID…just look at them, they are virtual twinsies, like the exact same, but one is missing an ear, otherwise the exact same…if you positioned the hair correctly they would be identical, would they not because you couldn’t see the missing ear, now could you?

Continue reading “I’d like to redefine”

The inventory

How’s your morning Travellers?

Do you ever wake up and move gently thru your morning routine in such a way that it feels, well I’m not sure what the word is, it’s more of an audible, “Hmmmmm..” and the the corners of your mouth turn up in a smile. Not because your life is perfect but just because it is. You’re alive and life is here all around you…and the sun is coming up and your garden is blooming and full. Your little crew of a family seem content as well in their own ways…

The greatest thing about this place, right here, where my words come to live is that I don’t owe anyone anything here in this space. There are no expectations other than the ones I might place on myself. And my expectation is simply the truth. We should all have such a space, shouldn’t we?

Continue reading “The inventory”