February 21st, 2016 in
Spring comes and I feel with it the awakening it is meant to encourage. I am pruning off what has died with me over the winter: anger, death of relationships, conclusions.
But even with a lighter spirit no longer confined to what was dying, I still feel the fear of lightness. The spring air sweeps in but where are we going next? Age old questions, as if seeing into the future provides any real answers. The answers are only with you today, present, shifting with your thoughts into what you make it, where you carry it yourself.
But spring is bringing new moments for togetherness, for me present again in this lightness. Marc and I realizing the need for more time together even just in our morning commute.
“It’s time to get going.”
“You did well waking early,” I say. Then the rhythm of caring for the dog, showering, dressing, packing, and walking out the door into the car for a quiet few minutes together in our morning ride. To begin together, to begin the day with love. He drops me off at the office, drives a few more blocks away, parks and we go off on our days, two different paths still entwined in our rhythm.
“I really need this. Can we do it monthly, bi-monthly?” A friend asks. Monthly we agree. How could we ever be so busy for months we don’t speak or see each other, stretching out the loneliness of a space for talking, listening? We talk about relationships, new dates, about family histories and family present. Now our moms treat us as sisters or friends, our jobs weighing down with new demands, and still our friendship after fifteen years later finding space to carry on.
I am realizing how much more I need people in my life. The writer needs both energy, excitement, life to draw inspiration from, and quiet time to reflect, digest, and create. We always need both. I ask for more meetings. I make more efforts to be there, but this is with limits too.
Weekends we work too much. I am drinking coffee alone in the home. Today, spending the day with family, but fighting my fear that I am not there enough for others, groups, meetings, customers, it must settle down or carry on. I have not felt this anxiety so much, as if there is much more on me to succeed, to be there together for everyone. It is of course just fear.
The spring temperature jumps this weekend, the sky stretching flat blue across all ways and all I can think about is feeling new. Somewhere in the mix on top of the tangled endings put to bed, reaching up like bare branches in the tree, ready to swing with spring.
When I think about holidays I think about tradition. I think about the deep and intimate moments, the light and funny quirks. We repeat these traditions each year because we are here.
It’s been a challenging couple of months where I’ve been thrown into a tumult of change. I have found myself able to best move forward with care. Self-care. Routines. Repetition.
There is sense of strength in the tiniest actions: to wake up, to write, to exercise, to sleep. To show yourself that even when mind and spirit might be caught up in an emotional flux, you are still here.
You are still here. Physically, you are still here. That is what the beautiful steady pulse of routine reminds us. That is where moments of forgiveness and fortitude in the self form; you will survive. You are still here.
In noticing these tiny actions we help to ground ourselves away from the anxiety of change. We ground ourselves in a sense of self, in a history and context that is only ours, in holiday traditions.
I find myself visiting my mother for a Saturday to make candies. I am reminded of the array of childhood Christmas’ where we spent time making these same candies. Peanut butter and sugar rolled together, dipped in a molten pool of thick chocolate. There was nothing more fun for me.
Rolling grape leaves. Finally, a woman, invited to join the Aunts at the table. Finally able to taste and appreciate the cumin and the lamb, the spices and the Lebanese in me.
Then, on Christmas Eve, always Oprakta, a giving of thanks and kisses to dozens of Polish relatives.
Christmas morning. Breakfast at dads, perogies and sausage. Next mom’s for presents then onto grandma’s house. No variations. No change. Steady the course again please.
Because I am here. My family is here. We are still here. The routine and the special traditions are actions that dig open channels, space for gratitude and grace, and when all are gone it is a special way to trigger us into the years of love and family when we are still here.
I had a dream that there was a heat wave. Suddenly, what felt as real as yesterday, I saw myself turning off all the nobs for heat in the house. I opened the patio door and let the warmth in.
It was hot, summer hot, and I could feel it entering the house from our wide patio doors. It was the cleansing of light I felt, a freshing feeling in that moment, doors open, air inside, seeing everything in front of me.
Change is afoot. It comes through in sweeping winds the kind that bring force and might, strength and fear all at once. As it slows down and life settles one can see the terrain differently. I am now, I think, approaching this change with the door opened, not forced, accepting and wanting to see what is well-lit on the terrain, the truths of what was and what is.
October 11th, 2015 in
Each year the arrival of a birthday coming meant time to measure up.
I used to measure myself up against a chalkboard wall of goals: Do I have money? A career I love? Is my book going to be published yet? I imagine others would ask too: Married with kids? House I own? Check, check, or writing hard criticisms down against the pinned-up self.
But now I’ve realized standing against that wall of goals is not how I want to measure growth. My growth happens in tiny, smaller ways, in the day to day of life that is harder to see and pick out on the pointed end of a stick.
Really for the past two years instead of hounding these questions, I've been working on developing a daily creative process. Each morning writing in a journal. Morning Pages. Each morning publishing on the blog. Michipreneur. Each morning spending an hour or a half hour, or whatever I can, on my creative writing. It is a breather, a way to mediate before starting the day.
No I have not done it every day this past year. We all don’t exercise, sleep right, and care for ourselves perfectly every day. But I've worked on it and most days I have followed it. And most days I am happier. I am writing all the time. I have moments in a flash where an entire story or essay will flow out, and other days of quiet reflection, peace and understanding of my world and what I can create with it.
And the results? What would be checked off on that big black board of life’s goals?
Well there are some. I am more focused and ready to tackle a day. I come to work without stress. I have had more work published this year. I've even had an idea for a book and wrote the first draft. It’s a byproduct of each and every day creating, growing, and taking care of myself. I may have even experienced a bit of creative momentum. Almost every month for the first half of the year a story or creative piece was accepted for publication.
Sure every year may or may not be like that. But it doesn't matter. And it doesn't matter if you miss a day or two. Just get back to it the next day. Your creative process will keep you focused, keep the mind open and the black board slate clean and ready for creating instead of measuring.