I have shared before that when I started this blog, I really didn’t know why I was, other than I thought I was supposed to, to support another creative endeavor. I started with such uncertainty and trepidation. It took me a long time to really feel at home here, but something in me said to keep going, even when I wondered, “What’s the Point” ?
What’s ironic (and irony is never lost on me…) is that I have had to put that other endeavor on the shelf, indefinitely for now, perhaps permanently, but yet this blog remains and has come to be something central to who I am. It has allowed me to become more honest with myself. This honesty breeds direction, understanding, confidence and contentment, within myself.
I trust myself more.
I have learned to pay attention and attune myself to the quiet subtle moments that are rich with insight and import.
Stories once long forgotten are sometimes my teacher in these moments.
I can now sense the shift that occurs within me when the writing needs to happen, and how much I miss it when too much time has gone by.
I would have never guessed that this blog would persist, and that the other project, the original activity, would recede. If you had asked me then, I would have for sure predicted the inverse relationship between the two. I have written about the stunningly rich community we have here, how blogging really takes place in the comments and this amazing opportunity to develop and share a voice.
We have all talked about how these elements have impacted us as people, as writers, as friends – in ways we could never have predicted and likely would have never even believed if someone had tried to tell us. To be seen, to be understood, to be accepted through this, is a gift of epic proportion in my estimation.
The days I am kept away from blog-land – reading and/or writing – are not preferable in my opinion. When I am here, when I log-in to Word Press, I feel as if as if I have walked into a room full of friends – the virtual community is real. It’s the online Cheers, where everybody knows my name. And so much more.
The power of two. So, its somewhat confounding to me to think of where this all began and realize that time has snuck up on me; and sit back and appreciate that over two years have gone by. Over 200 posts I have written. How is it possible that I have had over 200 things to talk about? Two road trips have been taken with you along for the miles. I have met two of you in person and wow the looks I get when I share that. And I know that two is not the end of that list!l
My life has changed, my kid has grown. This blog has changed me, in ways I could not have foreseen, but were necessary. I have grown. There has been a Freshly Pressed in the mix but to be honest, the honor is far greater when one of you is moved enough to share something of mine in your own space. That we know each other’s lives and stories because we dare to share them here, is moving to me, and something I hold closely. I love how we have a sense of the essence of each other even though we have never met. We get each other’s humor; my days feel much more complete when I see a response to one of my comments and the reply simply says: “laughing”. Somehow a connection has occurred in that moment.
This feels like a second home in many respects.
So, I am sticking around, it is just way too much fun here!
But, I now have a much better idea of what the point is. What the point is for me. When I started, I chose the name PaperKeeper because this blog was meant to play second fiddle to that other endeavor. As time has passed, I have a better understanding of what I want to do here, why I am here. That it is really about this endeavor.
I am ready to make some changes, and here’s how that is going to do down. We are going to start first with:
A new look – it’s time to spruce things up around here. Times have changed, so we have to update our wardrobe and hair style. In the next few weeks, or maybe days, you will notice things looking a little different. Everything on the inside will stay the same! I have some ideas for new types of posts, but nothing radical. It will feel just like it does right now.
And then, once that step is taken, the next phase will be that this blog is getting a new name! I have been thinking for a long time of what I want this blog to be called. It needs to reflect why I am here, not why I thought I was supposed to be here. It’s probably been over a year and I was waiting until it just came to me. I am a ‘I will know it when I know it‘ kind of person, and I percolate in the meantime. The best part is that a great friend of mine helped me see what was already right in front of me. The new name will be revealed soon, but I will give you a hint, I have used the phrase around here already! If you think you know, no spoilers!
And, then the last step will be a new address. The www will change. No more paperkeeper.wordpress.com. It will be http://www.somethingsomething.com! WP assures me that everything will be seamless, but course, like with any move, it’s making me a bit anxious. I want you all to come with me, of course, so when I get ready to load the truck, I will tell you ahead of time what my new address will be. If anyone has gone through this, please let me know if you have any good tips/tricks you learned in the process.
It’s going to feel a little like being in WITSEC at first; new look, new name, and a new address, but the important difference is I won’t be in hiding, or without all of my friends! One step at a time, but change is exciting, its keeps things fresh and new. It seems impossible to convey my gratitude to all of you for making this everything that it is.
Amazing. Remarkable. Safe. Challenging. Fun. Home.
“My mother… she is beautiful, softened at the edges and tempered with a spine of steel. I want to grow old and be like her.” - Jodi Picoult
My mom was just that, soft and nurturing, yet small and oh so mighty. We went toe-to-toe in my childhood and adolescence – my strong will matched so completely by her inner strength; a power that I suspect she never quite fully realized. It’s what I channel to this day as a mother of my own mini me.
To grow old and be like her would be an honor.
My mother lived what unconditional love looks like; she was forever my number one champion and the evening she quietly slipped to the other side marks a most striking contrast; a before-and-after moment in my life, unparalleled by nothing other than the birth of my own child. The stories I could share to make this clear are endless. My mother knew me in ways I am still yet realizing. She saw me in a way I can’t even quite yet, standing here in the middle point of my life. She accepted me despite my many attempts to push her back, because I always needed one more test to know that she really and truly was always going to love me.
She always passed.
Today marks the day she left our world, sixteen years ago. There will come a day, when I will know more years without her than I do with her, but thankfully we are not there yet. Even if so, her essence, her spirit really, is etched deep within; she is part of me. If life is aligned as it should be, we do not forget our mothers, and I think that we never stop needing them. At least I don’t, and in fact, the older I get, the more I realize just how much I need her. I wasn’t yet a mother myself when she passed on, and it’s my deepest sadness that we didn’t get to share this profound part of our lives.
Anticipating this milestone, I have been thinking of her more than usual, if that’s possible. Not too long ago, I unearthed a box of old journals – a Pandora’s box of memory and emotion.
In the box, I found – among so much else – something I wrote in October of 1995, while taking a creative writing class. It reveals, and reminds me of an exquisite part of her character, her everyday presence. That look between us in our photo above. Her gift of constancy; I always knew I was at the top of mind for her. What I wrote 19 yrs ago - which turned out to be exactly two years before we started to say our goodbyes, my memorial to a most gracious soul - is really my post for today.
Here’s to you mom,
you are missed
in every way,
in my every day.
The root word of courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of it’s earliest forms, the word courage has a very different definition than it does today. Courage originally meant
“To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.”
-Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection
It seems that lately, the notions of bravery and courage are all around me, all around us, really. Sara Bareilles, in her song, “Brave” implores us to “let the words fall out“; Katy Perry sings in “Roar” how she ‘went from zero, to my own hero” and Brene Brown writes in her book “The Gifts of Imperfection”
“Courage is a huge theme in my life. It seems that either I’m praying for some, feeling grateful for having found a little bit, appreciating it in other people, or studying it. I don’t think that makes me unique. Everyone wants to be brave.”
Last weekend, I knew I had to get away, get some space, get out of my routine and environment. Shake things up a bit. I sought out a location within driving distance but one that doesn’t hold too many associations or memories. One that would set the stage for exploration and the distractions that come with needing to pay attention on how to get there and where things are and what to do. One that would invite engagement with new people. One that would make my camera as happy as my soul. I drove nearly four hours to the rugged coastline in Northern California, a place I hadn’t seen in thirty years. (I am still not entirely certain how it is that I am old enough to have a nearly adult memory that is from thirty years ago? )
The time away was everything I needed it to be and as things often go, so much more. In the midst of my explorations, I discovered the opportunity to go horseback riding on the beach. Without hesitating, I signed myself up for the adventure and didn’t give it much more thought.
Until I was sitting up on top of that beautiful animal, that thousand pound beautiful animal. And I recalled that the last time I was on a horse was in 1991, in the high Sierra’s on a very narrow rocky trail at 10,000 feet elevation. My mind immediately recalled the white knuckle feeling of that day, certain that horse was going to fall off the side of the mountain, with me attached to the saddle. Exhale. I am here to tell the tale!
My inner anxiety showed up and dammit if I wasn’t nervous about whether or not I could manage this horse. Immediately, I began the self talk: “Bon, these horses carry new riders every day”; “Bon, their insurance policy would be astronomical if these horses were dangerous“; “Bon, just be in charge of the horse, it needs to know you aren’t nervous“, “Bon, it’s only a few hours, for crying out loud, you’ll be fine“, and on and on.
I am saddled up on my horse, who by the way is a beautiful mare named Cloud. I am loving this, of course, because, wait for it, Bonnie & Cloud? Get it? Bonnie and Clyde? Close enough. I figure, it’s meant to be. Our trail guide begins giving some instructions to the small group of us, a family of four and me, as to who would go first and so on. I am instructed that Cloud likes to ride last, because, well, she likes her space. I realize in that moment, that Bonnie & Cloud are going to get along just fine. I planned this weekend’s get away because I really needed some space, and I get matched up with Cloud, who needs her space? Check. Then the barn owner says, ‘Cloud knows her job very well, she’s completely reliable and could do this with her eyes closed” Again, I am totally getting Cloud and I am pretty certain Cloud gets me. Who needs online dating; just sign up to go horseback riding.
The ride is gorgeous; we follow a meandering wooded trail, fresh from the deluge of the prior day’s storm. It’s not long before the view opens up and all we see in front of us is beach, ocean, waves and the gorgeous blue sky.
We make our way down onto the beach and follow along for awhile. My nerves are melting away, replaced with a smile on my face, really kind of a silly grin, that because we are of course, way in the back, no one can see. We have our space.
I am free.
Once out on the sand, we move along at a comfortable pace. We stop, take photos, enjoy the view. Along with people walking along the beach, reading books and walking their dogs. Tiny dogs, tiny barking dogs, tiny barking dogs yanking at their leash who spook a horse over a thousand pounds, who’s rider is an 11 yr old girl. Victory, the horse, can’t take the barking and rears and kicks and the young rider can’t hold on- she’s up and over and in the air and then on the sand before we realize what’s happened. I am behind her parents and they remain calm as she gets up, brushes off the sand, looks to her mom for reassurance and then gets.back.up.on.that.horse. Just like that. And we resume our ride.
I am impressed.
I am thinking about my 10 yr old kiddo. Would he have gotten back on? Would I have gotten back on? I know many adults who wouldn’t have. I tell her mom, riding just in front of me, as much. I am of course thinking about this as we ride, thinking of how this experience will be part of that girl’s life forever, grateful on her behalf that this is now part of her, something she can can lean on in other moments that scare the shit out of her. That she saw what she’s made of, even if she doesn’t realize it yet.
I make a mental note to be sure to tell her how impressed I am.
As we make our way back, we are on a pathway shared with walkers and cyclists. As a couple ride by on their bikes, Cloud becomes skittish and abruptly turns towards the surf; I can feel all of her energy underneath my saddle, and I think to myself, “oh shit, here we go…” I think about the 11yr old and something in me just calmed, and took the reins and pulled back gently. I think I probably said something to Cloud (and I am certain she understood me!). And thankfully, she opted out of her wild idea to go galloping down the beach. A woman always reserves the right to change her mind.
All the while, in my delightfully solo spot in the back of our little group, I am pondering a difficult conversation I know I need to have, and my trepidation about having it. Thinking about being brave. Frustrated that I have to ponder it so much first. Thinking about telling about my heart. Wondering if I should. Thinking about an 11 yr old girl who got back on the horse. Another cyclist approaches; I turn around and tell the guy; ‘my horse here, she doesn’t really like bikes today…” but he didn’t hear me and before I knew it, Cloud was jumpy again. I was prepared, feet in the stirrups, reins in hands and ready to run if that’s what Cloud needs. Sometimes we just feel like jumping out of our own skin. I get it.
When we returned to the barn, I tell the owner what a great experience it’s been. We laugh about Cloud’s aversion to the bikes; she sees those bikes every damn day. It reminds me of the phrase we use sometimes when dealing with things we don’t like, “yeah, I know, but I don’t have to like it!”. I comment about Cloud and say something about what a sweet horse she is; how well we were matched and the owner roars with laughter and says, “Oh, Cloud is not sweet. She’s strong, she’s reliable, she’s great with riders, but sweet? Don’t let her fool you; but, she is brave.“
I am perplexed.
My face said it all, I am guessing, because the owner continues: “…that she prefers to ride last says it all. It’s the most dangerous place in the line – the most vulnerable to threat. She needs her space, but she can handle the risk“.
I took this gift, this experience, with me and headed back down to the ocean. I thought about the 11 yr old girl some more. I thought about the match up with Bonnie & Cloud. I thought about the conversation I needed to have.
I thought about what it means to be brave.
Everyone wants to be brave.
I had the opportunity, a few months ago, to experience my friend making her Bat Mitzvah. While normally completed at the age of 13, my friend made the choice to take this step as an adult, as a mom herself. Not being very informed about the Jewish traditions or religion, there is so much I didn’t understand. The prayers, the stand up and sit down, when to sing and the book of prayers being read from right to left. She chose as her theme, Resilience and shared a story from scripture and then her own journey where life required resilience time and time again. The Rabbi concluded the ceremony on the note of grace. God’s grace. And how when things do not go the way we expected or envisioned, that it is ‘chesed’ or the grace of God that allows us to find our right place with life.
I spoke with the Rabbi after the service concluded to tell him that his words had a real impact on me; and to ask him about this word that I can hear him say in my mind, but cannot replicate. He says it again, but in it’s both beautiful and foreign way, I don’t have a place for it in my brain, so I asked him to spell it for me…and he did: ’chesed‘. We talked about that indeed life does not always go the way we think it should or the way we once thought we wanted. But to be reminded that there is always grace – even in the what we do not get – well, it moved me. I have felt that grace time and time again, despite difficulties, and frankly, in that moment, I felt overcome with gratitude for it’s recurring presence. When I shared my reaction, and my wanting to know this word for ‘grace’ he looked at me inquisitively and asked me why and what else I was thinking about; I shared that during the prayers with which I could not follow along, I instead read the prayers and messages printed in the margins of the side of the prayer book. His probing look remained, as if to say, why? I said that what I got from those was the message of living with an intentional way of being in this world and how that matches what I have thinking about for quite awhile now.
These thoughts have stayed with me and I have found myself scrappily, and like one trying - urgently grabbing and hastily casting off each wrong one – to find something in an unorganized closet, reaching for thoughts and in fleeting moments of understanding, trying furtively to piece them together.
I will be honest and say that at some level, I envy those who are so sure of where they belong. Who know the post code and zip code of their spiritual home. To be so sure. To know its name. I am certain of a few ‘hoods where it is not, but to have the spiritual coordinates to plug into my GPS would be really helpful. In the early years of my career in higher education; part of my job was to facilitate the faith formation classes for students; in my faith of origin. I was present and involved as young adults claimed a faith for themselves, asked questions, explored and challenged their own belief systems. Unbeknownst to anyone, perhaps even me, my own quiet questioning began then as I found that I quietly envied their desire for the certainty.
In the years since, it has been a long process of accepting that I cannot call my faith of origin my own; a process that has included some anger, some disappointment, some really honest assessment, some tantrums. And finally, acceptance. But that began to beg the question of if not that, well then what? Faith is important to me; just in what form? I was asked that day at my friend’s Bat Mitzvah if I was going to convert. My answer was a quick, automatic ‘No’…I cannot replace one with another. I need to assemble it.’
I have been trying to answer that question of ‘well then, what?’ and I listen attentively to what rings true for me in the world; and slowly, and only recently have I begun to piece it together. Loosely. So loosely.
I have lightheartedly – over the last few years – referred to this questioning, this seeking and these feelings of being a spiritual misfit, as belonging to the church of human kindness. As I have come to see the importance of making intentional choices to live kindly and to have that as a guiding principal. I find that I look in so many places for guidance, signposts and honestly, just honest to goodness resonance. A sense of place.
It’s an interesting task to attempt to assemble a puzzle when you do not have all the pieces laid out on the card table. When it is a matter of waiting patiently for the pieces to reveal themselves and only then learn how and if they connect to each other.
A few pieces have revealed themselves to me in recent months and my experience with my friend’s Bat Mitvah revealed yet a new piece of my puzzle. I felt it snap into place with a few others I have found lately. It felt good to make the connection; living intentionally.
The prayers and messages found in the Jewish prayer book? To me, all about living intentionally.
As I promised the Rabbi that day, when I got home, I looked up the word ‘chesed’ and found that yes, it implies grace and mercy and so much more. But in further reading, I found that it also spoke of kindness, between parties who share a covenant.
The word [chesed] is used only in cases where there is some recognized tie between the parties concerned. It is not used indiscriminately of kindness in general, haphazard, kindly deeds; this is why [author] was careful to avoid using the word ‘kindness’ in respect of God’s dealings with his people Israel. The theological importance of the word chesed is that it stands more than any other word for the attitude which both parties to a covenant ought to maintain towards each other.
One to one, each of us, is it too much to think of, that we in fact do share a covenant with each other?
In the days and weeks, and now months, after experiencing my friend’s Bat Mitvah, the impact has stayed with me.
It occurred to me that the sense of familiarity and a recognition of something that I have been stumbling towards on my own – without knowing its name – provides a comfort of unexpected measure.
That is a piece of grace that fits perfectly.
During what we know as the darkest days of winter, one of my closest friends took me out one early December morning to see the geese. This might seem a bit unusual but the back story is that years ago I fell in love with Canadian geese after reading James Michener’s “Chesapeake’ while living not far from the eastern region of the Chesapeake Bay. I was mesmerized by how Michener’s geese became prominent characters in his epic generation-spanning story.
My friend is a professional photographer with a specialty in avian photography. You should see this man’s work. He knows where all the cool birds hang out; and I doubt there is a bird he hasn’t met. He knows of my affinity for these beautiful creatures and their V-formations and for the last few years has been inviting me out to see them while they make our area their winter home. It finally worked out with our lives and schedules.
I will be honest; I was hoping, expecting really, to see them in the hundreds of thousands. I wanted that immediate, dramatic visual impact. The wow of what that would be like. The images I could capture. As it turned out, the geese had chosen a location other than the spots we picked; we weren’t invited to their morning party. We certainly saw some geese, just not hundreds of thousands
I had my camera with me of course. We talked, I snapped. We walked, I snapped; my shutter punctuating the easy, comfortable conversation between my friend and I. We are like family to each other; I asked him a deeply personal question at one point in one of our many meandering conversations and as soon as I asked, I offered him an out, letting him know I understood the depth of what I was asking and that I understood if he didn’t want to respond. His reply to me was: “you’re a part of me”; and proceeded to answer my question.
I kept taking photos, sure that in the early morning, dreary overcast light, and no geese to speak of, that my attempts to capture anything were futile, but far be it from me to lay off the shutter when that camera is in my hand. I had to move on in my day when we got back; I put my camera away, changed and resumed my busy day. The holidays were upon us and combined with life, work, shopping, wrapping, baking and the kiddo, I totally forgot about my images from that morning. I think too, that I somehow, at some level, assumed I would be disappointed when I went back to look at them; kind of the one eye shut with a sideways grimace, thinking to myself: ”That’s all I got? Bummer.“
I just went back to my photos from that morning a few days ago, and while smiling at the memory of the time shared; seeing the images after weeks had gone by, I also remembered something important.
We can tend to set ourselves up with our expectations.
We go into a situation or moment with our minds made up of what it is supposed to be, or look like, or turn out like. We often forget to just let ourselves see the moment for what it really is. Just because it looks different than we expected, is it less than? Is it not as good?
Perhaps it’s in some way so much better than we expected. Or maybe even better for us in ways we just simply cannot see yet? I don’t know the answers to these questions, I just know they are important questions we can ask ourselves in these moments. That disappointment can cloud our ability to see what is, when we are more focused on what is not.
I don’t think it is a matter of placing value on the outcome: good, better, or worse. I am thinking that it is more about somehow finding a way of allowing ourselves to see things as they are.
In reviewing my images, I noticed a few things I didn’t expect, didn’t think was there…
…I could see that the dreary, cold, overcast morning lent itself to a beautiful palette – a dramatic monochromatic background.
…I remembered that in the fallow season of winter, when all signs of life feel dormant; there is something to behold in the stark contrasts of the landscape. That something is happening even when we don’t see the obvious signs. Life is preparing for, well, life.
…I could see that the absence of geese in large amounts, reminds me that sometimes there is beauty in flying solo.
I realized, with a new perspective, that if we are open to the possibilities, that sometimes we learn that what we didn’t expect to find – can be just as beautiful as what we had in mind – in just a very different kind of way.
In looking back at this morning, seeing through my images from a day that finally came to fruition, spending time with my good friend, safe in his trusted presence, I understand in a new way how sometimes we need to not only be open to what is right in front of us, but also be willing to step away for a time, and then come back to look at things with new eyes.
It’s more than possible that when we find what we didn’t expect, it can be just as beautiful as what we had in mind. That what is beyond our mind is limitless.
C’mon, take a walk with me…click on the images below to hang out with all the cool birds….
What might this day reveal to each of us?
I love how this conversation has just continued and continued, here and elsewhere. It’s amazing to me how something so small can make such a difference.
More words came in over the last few days, and well, it’s not like me to carry on with out them.
So, here is “In YOUR words, part 2″
In a word? Amazing. All of you.
When I shared my word for 2014, I asked you if you engage in the process of choosing a word to guide your year also, and if so, what is it? I hoped that a few of you would comment and share a word. And you did.
What I didn’t count on was your amazing response, on so many levels, to the reflections I shared about the impact of choosing “Give’ as my word for last year. You each gave me so much in your comments and to say thank you, I wanted to reflect back to you your answers to my question:
what is your word?
This is what you said!
Wow! Holy words batman, check us out!
We are a formidable bunch and 2014 has no choice but to stand down to the likes of us and let us move throughout this year with a healthy focus on presence and wonder; listening to our inner voice when it reminds us to be confident and accept what life brings our way; urging us to thrive so that we meet discovery feeling flat-footed and ready to dream, to be filled with hope, and just be better all around. 2014? Here we all are. Ready.
I am unbelievably grateful to be in the midst of each of you and your words.
Wishing all of you
all of this,
as we move step by step into this year filled with so much good and so much possibility…
This time last year, to the day, I wrote about how I had begun engaging in the process of choosing a word instead of resolutions to guide my year. I was resolute about giving up the habit of making new year’s resolutions; and how they had little sticking power in my experience. For the year of 2012, I had chosen the word ‘nudge’ and at the end of that year, I realized, with stunning clarity, how big changes and new understandings had their genesis in a word of such gentleness. To be nudged is not dramatic or even perceptible in some cases, but over time, a series of nudges allows for great change. I let myself be pushed.
As 2012 rolled over into 2013, I began my reflection on what word to choose. I invited ‘Nudge‘ to come along for the ride, with me, into the year 2013 and asked her to help me with my new word of ‘Give‘ which again, I must say, chose me. It was a word that admittedly, kinda made me a little nervous! I tried to say no and convince myself that it was a different word that just hadn’t appeared yet.
I was wrong about that; ‘give’ just wouldn’t give up. It wouldn’t go away. I know, only now, that I really needed the push in that direction.
It turned out that it was the right word after-all. And for reasons I couldn’t have fathomed. I assumed that the idea was for me to be the one to do all this ‘giving’ and I was ambitious enough to initiate the task of composing a long list of ways that I could give during the year. I will be honest, though, and tell you that deep down, I was squirmy and uncomfortable with this task and as such, never really was completely successful in accomplishing that mission. I was just too embarrassed to tell you.
Instead, I found that in quiet, ordinary, every day life, I would hear the word whispered to me in simple moments: give that car the room to merge ahead, wave them on nicely; give that person your full attention – remain quiet and let them talk; spend a few moments in conversation with the building custodian when leaving work, give that compliment to the woman in line ahead of you with the gorgeous hair; tell the person who helped you that they made an impact; express gratitude to the ones who are there for you all the time; give a moment a chance to happen instead of taking over.
As I glance back over my shoulder at this last year; I realize something important was quietly occurring all along. I see that in giving we also receive, and that I had some big lessons to learn about this. I was afraid of the word ‘give’ but not for the reasons I thought. It’s not always easy to receive. To allow in love and support from unexpected sources, when you are expecting judgement and shame? Being able to receive the giving of that is large.
Were there moments when I did not give, or give in? Of course. It would be disingenuous to pretend otherwise. The push-pull and tug of war of me-vs.-them was ever-present in so many moments. But I can also see, now, that the times I remembered to give, are ironically when I also received the most in return. Peace, Gratitude. Understanding. Laughter. Knowing.
It felt different. I wish I had written down every time I commented how the Universe just seemed to have my back, when I was most vulnerable and most uncertain about what was coming next. I’d have shoe boxes full of notes to myself.
I didn’t complete a check list of ‘giving moment’s that I thought I was supposed to do, and yet, I think I am able to accept that. It feels far more authentic to weave the idea of giving and receiving into quiet, simple and gentle moments. At first, my logical brain needed it to be a project: linear and attainable. My spirit needed it to be fluid and meaningful, never finished but instead, simply a way of being. Sometimes it happened in the hardest and most painful moments. Sometimes it was just something so simple. When friends I had not met in person would text, when I somehow needed it the most, and say, “you got this, girl!”, or listen fully to every detail of an unraveling of one life and the beginning of a new one. Or when my son showed me his resilient and adaptive soul, over and over again. Or when honest conversations brought me closer together with those I already held close to my heart. Or when giving myself over to the snail’s pace of a 93 yr old mind with dementia and I receive more stories, more layers about what I know as family. Or when giving in to a moment and a new friendship is formed before my very eyes.
Yes, it seems fair to say that the word “give’ chose me for reasons I could never have anticipated and I feel changed because of it. The year had not yet concluded when I was presented with the loudest whisper of all, when something inside me said ‘we have to help her‘ and we did. Again, I was on the receiving end and was graced by my beautiful friends and their unbelievable generosity and compassion, but more importantly, by their faith in me and willingness to take my lead. But even more so, I received the gift of making a difference in not one but two lives. A mama and her still-on-the-way baby boy. I received the gift of being richly rewarded and affirmed for taking a risk.
Nudge and Give were working in tandem and what an awesome team they make.
A new year has begun and it’s time to choose a new word, or perhaps be open to what chooses me. Like when naming a child or a pet, it takes time to see if the word and the year are a good fit. This one just won’t leave me alone; it even started showing up early.
For 2014, I bring along Nudge and Give, they have been so good to me and by now we are such close companions. We travel well together and this year we add to our growing word family:
done on purpose. deliberate. intended. conscious.
In the process of reflecting and writing this, I came across this sentence: You have to want it more than you are afraid of it not happening.
Bam. There it is.
And yes, just like other years, it scares the shit out of me.
What will this require of me? What path(s) will this lead me down? What changes will I need to make? What sacrifices? How will I be challenged?
How will I be changed?
There is only one way to find out. Let’s go.
Happy New Year and what is your word? I would love to know.