Labyrinth

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I stepped into the labyrinth path not sure of what I needed, wanted, or why I was walking. I started slowly. One step at a time trying to listen to my breath and the wind. I was in pain and didn’t realize it. For a while I have been floating through my days acting as if I was happy and ‘in a good place”. And maybe I was. But there was pain. Pain that had not been introduced or acknowledged. It was small, sharp and tender. I have spent many hours in reflection confronting my pain and joy in hopes of embracing it all. It wasn’t until I stepped into the labyrinth, stepped in with a yielding heart did I notice this piece of myself. I had been praying for a door to be shown to me. A door to the next path of my journey. A new career, a new life, a new something to be presented to me so I could run to it and through it.

I tried to envision myself available and ready to be presented with this opportunity. I attempted to let the Universe know I was ready to leave what I knew as my daily routine and fly to something exciting and new. (Oh Universe, you are more clever and interesting than I give you credit!) As I walked I visualized a room full of doors that could be opened and I prayed that my walk, my weekend of meditation would rescue me from my current path and light up a new door. I thought about it flashing and flying open with a beautiful flourish and glorious light and music that I would dance my way into my true self.

I had been in this mindset where I didn’t like my job and the people I work for or at least the policies that dictate my day. I could feel a dread of returning to work after a holiday and it was not the typical “not wanting to leave vacation land” dread. It felt deeper and sadder. I felt like I was willingly digging myself into a hole that I would claim I was stuck inside. I was beginning to understand that I was walking myself to my despair. I was sad.

I stopped on the path and looked around. I took in the sounds of the meadow coming alive in the afternoon sun. I prayed again “please, please, please show me what is next, what is great, what is true.” I expected to get insight from the wonderful person that was Leading my workshop. I thought she would say or do something and tell me or even command me to try something new. I thought she would save me before I buried myself. The birds flew very close to me. The bees rested on my skin and I didn’t flinch. A mothy butterfly thing fluttered on my breath causing me to walk again. As I took each new step, I felt the pain again. A tiny piercing but gentle pain was awakening deep within my body. Tears started to swell in my eyes and drip from the corners down my cheek. At first I was confused, but I let it happen. I didn’t wipe them away, I let them go where they needed to go. I began to cry without understanding of why. I brought my mind back to my little pain. It was like a whisp of light and emotion somewhere deep in my shell.

I heard a voice. Or maybe I heard myself. But the words of Rumi rang out clear and soft, “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”

My breath latched on something sharp like a crack and then poured out with tears and a warm, fluid light. This sounds so unreal even as I write it, but I swear this is what I felt. My mind showed me images of cracked glass, shattered Earth and then a small flower bud with small bits ripping open to bloom. At that image, I understood something with out words. I was the shattered cracking beauty ripping to bloom. I began to laugh and walk faster. I talked to myself about allowing myself to crack open and bloom. Could I do it? Could I be brave? Along my walk ,I saw many small flowers trying to open in the sun and my chest ached. ACHED so intensely I actually stumbled and cried out. I am fairly certain there were others at the Labyrinth when I entered but in that moment it was only me. Only me.

Then my walk became more steady and directed. Only me…became simply me. A glorious Me. The meadow around me seemed a few shades brighter or more vivid. I tried to clear my eyes, thinking it was the tears distorting my world into a technicolor land of OZ, but it was real. I thought back to my initial concerns. What did I hope to achieve from this weekend and meditation? I was hoping for a door, an escape into my new life. I wanted to be shown a door to the next Me that I would love. A door. I focused on this image I had been obsessed with, a door. As I neared the center of the Labyrinth a door was presented to me in my mind. It became more clear but somewhat frustrating. I kept trying to see it open up and show me the new world that would make my life better. To my confusion, it did open but not out to something. The door swung in…it lead me inward. Inside this door was that concentrated ball of light trying to escape.

I stopped in my tracks and blinked several times. I shut that inner door and took some breaths. What was happening?

The way to my true self is through me…the place I have not wanted to go. The place I have tried to transform and escape. I thought back to the flowers beginning to burst open. We never think of those places of green ripping to reveal such vibrance as glorious pain. Maybe pain is not the right word anymore. It is more like a release after a strong hold. I began to pray and walk with energy thinking about myself bursting into bloom. I wanted to embrace the idea that I too could crack and allow the light to enter and escape. That light can fill me and the world to be part of a one.

Leonard Cohen says, “There is a crack in everything, that is how the light gets in.” I have spent so much time trying to fill the cracks. Now perhaps I can focus on being the shattered, cracking, beauty ripping to bloom.

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Love Letters

I didn’t know I had a really good idea about connecting families, stories, and souls until I charmed my way into Tanglewood for free one evening with a couple of new friends. I was on a little weekend getaway by myself. This is a very new experience for me and I must say it is wonderful. I met some ladies staying at the same place as me and we were just down the road from Tanglewood, the Summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. On a glorious Saturday evening, we decided to hike down the road and sit in the parking lot to have a listen. Instead, I calmly marched us right up to gate and explained we would really like to come in. As if I was Obi Wan waving my hand in a Jedi mind trick, the security guards produced tickets and opened the gate. Voila. My new gal pals were giddy and convinced I am a witch. I am not a witch. Not in the least.

Our evening was delightful and as we laughed our way into the night, we began to swap stories and anecdotes of our personal lives. During the show I had been writing in a journal and one of the ladies asked me about it. I told her it’s my daughter’s book and she looked perplexed. I began to tell her the method to my madness. I found myself revealing a passionate writing process taken up by my family. I hadn’t set out to boast, expose, or instruct. However, we spend a short while walking and discussing the beautiful gift our family has created. One of the ladies asked me if I would mind if she shared my idea with some new moms she knows. She said it was something she wished she had for herself…I told her to share it with everyone. It was then I knew I should write this down and give it to you.

When my doctor told us we were pregnant with my oldest child, I began writing in a journal. This was a bit different than a personal journal because it was written to my baby. I just let myself stream of conscious work out whatever was happening for me. I knew enough of myself to not create any harsh deadlines or rules. When I wanted or needed to say something I wrote it down. When I was worried, I wrote it down. When I went to the doctor or had a discussion with my husband, I wrote it down. Not every day. I have several journals filled now and my daughter is currently five. I tell her anything. I talk about stuff that might be hard to say or I don’t want to forget. Sometimes I tell her things that are trivial. I just write. Someday I will give her these books, they are for her.

Much to our delight and surprise, when my daughter was two and a half, we found out we were pregnant with a little boy. I wrote about it in his sister’s journal. I felt sad I wasn’t making one for him. I gave it a lot of thought and knew what I am honestly capable of and two emotionally raw and real journals is NOT practical. I decided to write him a letter on the day he was born, March 17. Then I made a deal with myself that I will write him a letter on the 17th of every month until I can’t. He has 30 letters tucked in a box so far waiting patiently for his reading pleasure. They are not all long and some are written on cards or even postcards. They are my monthly check ins with him, with me, with us. It fills me with joy simply thinking of it.

The third part of this ritual came from my request but is not carried out by me. Right before my daughter was born, I was filled with the hormonal charged nesting and sentimental swirl that many mamas experience. I began to become nostalgic for my own grandmothers who both died many years before this. I had questions and requests for stories that could not be satiated. I came up with something I longed for, something I can’t have for myself, but wanted so dearly for my kids. I asked my parents and my husband’s parents if they would be interested in writing a letter to their new grandchild. I let them know it wasn’t mandatory but would be greatly appreciated. I asked them to consider for my daughter’s birthday every year they are alive to include a letter, a year in review from their perspective. I let them know I am not going to read these letters but shall have them kept for my kids. They will have a letter for every year they share this Earth with their grandparents. To my surprise, they now also do it for my son. My mom has included recipes and pictures I think. The letters come with their birthday presents specially marked and someday they will be able to reconnect regardless of distance or existence as I say. I was really touched when my husband decided that he would write a yearly letter to the kids on their birthdays as well. He gets pictures printed and includes them with his “Year in Review”. They must be the luckiest kids I know. Just imagine having letters marking your journey along with your grandmother’s journey from her perspective.

That’s all it is. A writing commitment of love. Now, I have heard many a mom rant that they don’t have time to scrapbook or lament how  they kept baby books for the first few months until chaos of life took over. Trust me, I am not super-pintrest-coupon-hacking mom. I made a commitment that was honest with what I could do and it has become so rewarding and magical. Think about it, can you take 10 minutes to write a card one time a month? Or perhaps spending a little longer on a letter but once a year is more suited to your lifestyle. We are caught up in the memes, tweets, and insta-gratification of our digital lives. How nice would it be to cosy up and read a letter to you from someone you love that you have missed for oh so long?

So that is my great idea. Take what you want, change it, make it fit you, and give a bit of yourself.

Connect

I am finding it difficult to find a pathway, a direction that feels genuine to me because I am living life trapped in a body, in a framework that does not feel authentic to my goals. Whenever I try to focus on feeling better about my body or my life and try to “get myself back on track”, I feel disappointed and flustered. Several times a day I can walk past a mirror or glass windows and see my reflection. I am almost always taken off guard and shocked or disgusted by what I process or behold. Several times a day this can happen. Almost as if my brain refuses to accept what I am on a surface level. This is not good because I can never be in the moment if I can’t be who I am in the moment. I am in a constant flux between loathing or promising change, never acceptance.

Tonight I am trying to recommit to myself. I am trying to have a conversation of love and hope towards myself and what each new breath can offer. I do not want to waste time on empty promises or punish myself for being me. I am taking breath and attempting genuine love. This is not easy. Even as I type this, I pause for another breath in and try to think about something that I can celebrate about myself. I am sad that I have to do this but I must accept that this is where I am – it is me…for right now. I want to remind myself tonight before I set my brain towards sleep, that I am an agent of change and I can bring positive change to myself. I deserve the investment of time, planning and care towards committing to being in a perpetual state of positive change and flow.

I have heard so many times the phrase “be kind to yourself” and have often dismissed it as an excuse for mediocrity. I have not been able to wrap my brain, heart and soul around this concept of self kindness. I am trying. So, tonight, I am going to embark on a little journey of being kind to myself. I am combining my discipline of daily writing with this concept of acceptance and self love. I am going to tell you that I didn’t do much along the lines of losing the weight I desperately want to lose. I didn’t give hours of my day to my art. I didn’t make plans or devote myself to getting ahead at work. Yet, I did stay calm during several times I wanted to lose my temper. I celebrated silly jumps into the pool by my five year old. I curled up and became a cushion for my two year old to nap and recharge. I said please, thank you, and my pleasure more times than I can count. My kids went to bed happy, safe, and fed. My parents are smiling and reliving every wonderful moment they had with their grandkids today. Here I am in the middle of it all, reminding myself that I am worthy of a pat on the back. I may even rub my own feet before I sleep. I help bring happiness to the world around me and it is silly not to allow myself to feel some of that, take some of that, own some of that for myself.

Quick thought: I would never tell an Iris it is not beautiful because it doesn’t look enough like a daisy…

Pick Me Up

I am so tired. I am drained. However, I sit here in a sea of paperwork and to-do lists ready to soldier on.  This is what I do. I am trying to put my focus in other places, places that serve my soul. I am giving attention to the to-do lists that fill my heart. Even though I have not had a good night’s rest and I am hungry, I am moving forward with energy. I am finding energy for the things and the people I love. I am finding energy for myself.

 

Always Learning

Every day we have a series of opportunities to learn more. This can be down to learning a trade, skill, craft, discipline. It can also be about learning/discovering more about yourself. I love to learn. Love it. I say this because I forgot that about myself for a brief moment. I forgot how much I am a lover of learning. I have always been able to say this about myself but for a brief moment I forgot that this is truly a huge part of me. Recognizing this, reclaiming this brings the focus back to where it is needed. Love, Learning and self are at the center of a new journey.

Last night, I bought new shoes.