Day 195/365 Why NOT you?

Earlier I was thinking about what I would write about today, and I thought of something my Uncle Ed said to me once. As I’ve mentioned about Ed before, he has been an active member of AA for over fifty years. Often at the AA meetings, people get up and tell their stories.  Uncle Ed has heard a lot of stories about people living through very difficult times.

He said to me once,

“When someone says, Why did this have to happen to ME? 

I say…

Why NOT you?”

In other words, what makes you different from everyone else? Why do you think you should be immune to pain?

So, I considered writing about that tonight, but ultimately I discarded the idea. It seemed darker than I wanted to be.

Sometimes when I am feeling blocked I go to my treasured box of “365 Gathered Truths” and I randomly pull out a card from the box. It is full of quotes and poetry. Often I am inspired.

I blindly reached in and pulled out this card…

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Whoa.

First of all, how fascinating is it that I would pull this card out of the box after I had dismissed a similar idea?

Second, what a beautiful way to turn a dark thought around…

We are all given sorrow AND joy, and we must embrace each as it arrives…for without receiving one we cannot expect to receive the other.

 

Day 192/365 Short & Sweet

Last night Beau and I were laying in her bed together. We shared a pillow, gazing at each other, our foreheads practically touching. I brushed the hair back from her face with my fingers.

“It’s funny about LOVE,” she said, sleepily.

“What do you mean?” I asked, always intrigued by her mind’s inner workings.

“It’s just…it is such a small word for something SO BIG.

It feels like LOVE deserves a bigger word.”


As usual, she’s right.

That one little word is…everything.

Day 189/365 Impermanence

Most of last week was wet and windy, as a tropical storm sat off of the coast. The sun was elusive for days. Autumn seemed to be making its presence known, as a chill in the air beckoned us to pull out sweaters and jackets.

Then suddenly the weather turned, the sun shone brightly, and we found ourselves with an 80 degree Sunday at the end of September. There wasn’t a single cloud in the sky.

The wind that had howled for days was reduced a mere whisper. The only evidence of the stormy week we’d endured were the crashing waves and the smattering of tree branches strewn across roads and lawns.

It was a perfect reminder that just as things can unpredictably go from beautiful and serene to complete upheaval, the same can be true of the reverse. Storms move on or dissipate, and we are left with calm in their wake.

In nature as in life, nothing is permanent.

There is a rhythm throughout our lives. As a friend wrote to me recently, “the pendulum swings back and forth…”

Stormy to calm, harmony to disharmony…

I suppose the true challenge in life is to appreciate the beautiful moments while they are being presented to us, without being resentful of what we’ve endured to get there, and without being fearful of the next approaching storm.

To stand boldly in the sunshine, because we know it won’t last forever…and to stand bravely in the darkness for the very same reason.

New to this blog? See what it is all about here.

Day 186/365 The Beautiful Bits

When I started this blog, I began by writing each day about somebody or something that made me feel grateful. I hoped that with each entry I would inch away from depression as my default emotion, and closer to living fully in gratitude.

Gradually I opened myself up and explored more about the range of emotions I was experiencing. The combination of exploring emotion through writing, practicing gratitude, and (of course) time for healing…

It was working for me.

With the arrival of the Elephant (whose ass is about to be kicked, by the way) I have experienced some set backs. When you’ve made a lot of progress, the last thing you want to do is start again from the beginning.  Yet, today I realized that the beginning is exactly where I needed to go.

I realized that my friend was right when he advised me to find the golden threadsthe small things that make me happy. I realized that’s exactly how this blog began…as a daily practice in recognizing the golden threads….

Holding them up to the light.

So today I held the intention of noticing the moments in which I felt happy. There were many…

Nuzzling the soft, warm cheeks of my children to wake them up for school.

Sitting for a moment on my porch with a warm cup of coffee cupped in my hands, watching the white caps on the bay…my hair swirling in the wind. 

Sharing laughter at the bus stop.

Having a good send off for my girls, with “I love you’s” and hugs.

Seeing pigmy goats in a field I passed on my drive to work (I don’t know why, you guys, but they made me happy).

A mother stopping me in the hallway of my preschool, clearly overcome with emotion, to tell me how wonderful our school is (her little one started two weeks ago). 

Watching a new, quiet little girl delight in stopping at my office door to visit my dog, Louie. As with many children this has become her new morning routine.  She smiled widely as he gently assisted her by removing any remaining breakfast crumbs from her face and hands.

Listening to the chatter of a preschooler, full of dimples and sunshine, who was waiting in my office for her dad to pick her up.  She told me that a good name for my next dog (ONLY if it’s a girl) would be “Tinkle Little Thtar.” (Can you think of a more perfect name than that?)

Delicious, fresh, warm bread made by the preschoolers, smothered in butter, and delivered to my desk.

Being greeted by happy daughters at the bus stop; Ruby proudly bearing a gift of artwork.

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Roasting a chicken for dinner. The smell reminds me so strongly of my mother and my childhood home….so many days coming home to that smell permeating the house. It will always be one of my favorite meals.

Sharing a “virtual” laugh/cry with Alexis over a video of my dad “Moonwalking”.

Belly laughing with the girls over Diesel’s reaction to Beau’s violin playing…

Seriously?

A glass of wine, a piece of chocolate…

Yes, I cried in my car this morning on the way to work, but…

You know what?

I bet…if I try my best to focus on the beautiful bits…on the golden threads

I bet most days can be good days (and I bet even the shitty days have some beautiful bits if I’m in the right frame of mind to notice).

{And now for some dancing…}

 

 

Day 185/365 Box of Wishes

“These are antique candles,” my mother said as she placed the half melted candles into the top of the cake.

I laughed, thinking she was making a joke.

“I’m serious! They belonged to your grandmother.”

I looked at the box…

“15 cents”

Yup, definitely antique.

“They used to make candles that lasted a while,” she said. “Not one-and-done like they are now. Imagine how many wishes have been made by your family members on these very candles.”

It was a kind of magical thought. Wish-granters that were honored by being placed back into their box for safe keeping – until the next wish. 

How many people had wished on them?

For what did they wish?

Did their wishes come true?

I guess we will never know, but…I do know two things for certain about these Harvey heirloom candles.

I know that every rendition of the “Happy Birthday” song that these candles have heard (um….endured) was surely appalling. (It makes me smile just to think of it).

I also know that whichever of us have leaned forward over these very candles, considering a wish…

Whomever it was that looked around the room at the candlelit faces of our family, gathered together and singing hideously, but with so much love…

I bet they felt lucky – whether their wish came true or not.

Day 184/365 My Dear…

My whole Saturday and Sunday too
I was thinking about ways not to lose
I lay down my weapons is what I’ve done
Too late to hide, feet too soft to run*

This weekend…I wallowed.

I laid down my weapons.

I waved my white flag…mostly from my couch, in my pajamas, subsisting on bread and chocolate, coffee and wine.

I slept A LOT. I allowed my myself to feel angry and sad and sorry for myself. It was a pity party of one, and I was the guest of honor.

When my kids got home last night, I was so happy to see them. I played games with them and I cooked us a good meal, but honestly I was still inexplicably exhausted. I found myself counting the minutes until I could seek the safe haven of my bed once more.

And then…

This morning my inner voice whispered to me…

You needed that. I understand.

But, my Dear…

It’s time to pull yourself up.

You can do this.”

I believe her.

My inner voice is very wise –

She has been through a lot.

 

 

*Lyrics by The Wood Brothers

Photo by Alexis Harvey

 

 

 

Day 183/365 A Witness

I am not an addict…but somehow I imagine the way I feel today must be somewhat similar to how an addict feels when she has relapsed.

I was doing so well. I’ve worked so hard. If you have been following this blog from the beginning, you know that I started it six months ago because I needed to pull myself out of a depression.

I can’t bring myself to do it, but if you were to start reading at the beginning, I bet you will (or have) witness(ed) quite a transformation in me from March to August. I had my small relapses, but I think the growth was mostly upward and onward…

{I think so, anyway. Like I said, I can’t bring myself to go back and read it. Not yet.}

By August I felt vibrant and grateful – even optimistic.

I hit a speed bump at the beginning of September.  I thought it was the change of seasons that brought it on, but looking back, I think it was intuition.

I felt the Elephant  coming before I could see it and name it…like tremors in the earth on which I stood.

Boom…boom…boom.

Then, rather than a monkey on my back, it was the Elephant that got me. I have relapsed into a place of complete fatigue and helplessness.

The worst part is – like that relapsing addict, I feel ashamed.

I know better.

I am stronger than this. 

I have so many reasons NOT TO BE HERE…AGAIN.

But, the Elephant…the Elephant wrapped its trunk around my legs even as I tried to run.  I’ve toppled to the floor, and now he sits squarely on my chest.

“Don’t forget to breathe,” they say.

Fittingly, as I sit on my porch writing this…a dog is howling as if he is truly suffering.

I’ve already investigated…still in my pajamas, soaking my slippers in the wet grass as I trespassed; compelled to make sure the dog wasn’t trapped and wounded somewhere.

He wasn’t…not really. He was just…alone. We locked eyes through the window. He stopped howling for a moment, considering me. Then he resumed his sad, wounding song.

There was nothing I could do…his pain was coming from a void I couldn’t fix nor fill.

Back on my porch, I am forced to listen to him in his grief. He won’t stop. I think about drowning out the sound with some music, but somehow that seems disrespectful.

So we sit here, Louie and I, witnesses to this dog’s suffering. Louie occasionally whimpers in sympathy.

Sometimes that’s all you need…

Someone to hear you – or to witness you in some way…until such time as things in your world can make sense again.

Thanks for witnessing me.