Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Many The Miles

I ran into a neighbor yesterday. One look at her and I could tell there was something wrong. Really wrong. I asked her if she was alright, and when I hugged her she broke down sobbing in my arms, lost and fragile and broken.

It's not like I've been having a great few weeks, but I've never been in that place.

I've let in some thoughts that have interrupted my flight path, so to speak. Like I was originally heading up the mountain, but suddenly veered off course to the bottom of the Grand Canyon without realizing it, got halfway there and thought, where the heck am I going? How did I get here? 
And, frankly, I haven't turned around yet, but at least now I'm thinking, maybe the valley will be interesting. Possibly even beautiful. I can always head back up when I feel like it...
In other words, I'm conscious again. I wasn't for a while. I was flying on auto pilot. Not good.

As I was relaxing this evening, one of my current favorite songs on repeat on my iPod, steam rising around me, trying to un-knot my {really sore} back muscles, I began to ponder what it is I've been doing over the past couple years {yes, it's been almost two since the beginning of the beginning. That March date is forever etched in my mind} to keep myself from the breaking point that my neighbor seemed to be dancing so awfully close to.

I came up with a little list {oh, and we know how myorganizedselfthankyouverymuch luuuuuvs lists, don't we!?}.

One: Notice my children.
I am still no where near where I want to be with this. I wish I were more present every.single.moment. And I hate that all their crazy fighting/rough housing/silliness wears me out as much as it does {I do not want to be worn out by my children}. I am so grateful for our tiny apartment - it forces us together constantly - but at the same time it forces.us.together.constantly. Yet I am trying - really trying - to take note of their growth, their interests, their needs on a daily basis. I spend more time than I ever used to with them - one of the ramifications of returning to work after having been home with them for a decade: I don't take them for granted as much. Noticing them helps me live more in the now, and hopefully not miss the small things {like the fact that I bought B some new pants just a couple months ago and they're already getting short on him, or how J's face is changing. It's not as little-boyish as it was even a few weeks ago}.

Two: Get Outside.
This is still my favorite place to be, my go-to for healing and clarity. It doesn't matter if I am ice skating or hiking or climbing, just get me out in nature. Let me be wrapped in the Colorado air, enveloped by the Rockies, kissed by this state's ever-present sun. All I crave is to touch the earth, get lost in the trees, get lost under the sky, get lost under the sun... and all is well. Yesterday I went on a 6-mile hike with a co-worker and my eldest, and it was delicious. He complained a little yesterday (it's so long, Mama!). She complained a little today (I knew I was going to feel it today!), I just reveled. Yesterday, today, forever.

Three: Feel Everything
Making sure I am aware of everything that goes on inside my head and my heart has become habit. It makes the joys more joyous and yes, the pain more painful. But I haven't yet walked away from an experience or a relationship that I couldn't say I didn't learn from or wasn't grateful for. Mistakes become wisdom, challenges become positive changes, goodbyes produce strength with grace.

Four: Live How I Want To Be (Not How I Am)
I wish I could fathom what is behind having so many people tell me how strong I am. Most recently, my cousin. My cousin who is a fighter pilot {or was? She just retired, but do you ever stop being a fighter pilot? I certainly didn't stop being a teacher for those 10 years I was home with the boys}, a person you would think could recognize strength when she sees it. The funny thing is, although I see it in the choices I make, I don't often feel it.  All I know is that I make choices, and often present a front of being strong. It's funny, too, that I abhor {really. That is not too strong a word for it} pretense of any kind. But that really isn't what this is. Rather, it is living the reality I want to see played out in my life. It is speaking the positive and not giving the negative any ground. It is acting the part of the person now that I want to be later, and yet it is not acting. An imcomprehensible dichotomy.

Five: Know I'm Beautiful
I was driving home today, I must have been listening to an upbeat song. Yes, I was. I remember now. Josh Groban's You Are Loved was playing, and I remember thinking, well, of course I am loved. I am beautiful. Even if no one else loves me, I love myself. 
I know others find me beautiful, both inside and out. I had a friend comment to me a few months ago that, "You are so pretty and have a great personality that I can only imagine how many guys are knocking on your door!" Another one said yesterday, "Don't forget you are a really special person." When I joked, "Short bus special?" he replied, "Ha ha. No, as in exquisite."
I have my German/Russian/whatever it is side to thank for my youthful looks {I got pegged for "twenty-nine max" the other day. I'm forty-one}. My mom looks young, too. I just happened to be lucky enough to be born into a good gene pool. But that's the outside. I also feel very beautiful on the inside. I really, truly like who I am, and I love being able to say that because there were a lot of years when I couldn't.

Point Four and Five come together quite well in this comment by Gabourey Sidibe: "People always ask me, ‘You have so much confidence. Where did that come from?’ It came from me. One day I decided that I was beautiful, and so I carried out my life as if I was a beautiful girl. It doesn’t have anything to do with how the world perceives you. What matters is what you see. Your body is your temple, it’s your home, and you must decorate it.”

Six: Talk To People:
I'm very blessed in this area. I have so many people who will listen to me. One friend from Texas in particular that I talk to quite often. I'm also developing some good friendships at work (honestly, if that's the only reason I was put there, it's reason enough. My co-workers are amazing). I have a couple people - one the neighbor I mentioned above and one a friend I hike with - that I have so much in common with, we understand each other without finishing thoughts sometimes. Friendships take a long time to develop, but they're coming.

Seven: Do Something Hot
Ok, this really is just for the winter months, but a relaxing bath and/or a hot cup of cocoa sometimes do what nothing else can. 'Nuff said.

Eight: Read Good Books
My boss handed me a hardback a couple weeks ago that is turning out to be a life-altering tome. It is a book so engaging, so accurate in its truth, so deep in how it is touching me, that my instinct is to devour it like a hungry animal. However, I am forcing myself to read it slowly, so as to not miss anything, so as to digest its every word and phrase, homonym and synonym and soul hymn. Once I finish it, I will purchase my own copy and go through it again, perhaps even slower, and mark and comment and catch myself even more often the second time through saying, "Ah, yes. Yes!" Each page I turn has brought healing and hope, confidence and affirmation of what I have already been living. Out of all the above items, it is the main thing that has gotten me back on my game within the last week, reminded me that I know who I am, and it is I alone who control that.

Back on my game. Because, as Sara Bareilles wrote {this was the song on my iPod I referred to above}:

There's too many things that i haven't done yet
Too many sunsets I haven't seen
You can't waste the day wishing it'd slow down...

I made up my mind when i was a young girl
I've been given this one world
I won't worry it away
But now and again I lose sight of the good life
I get stuck in a low light
But then Love comes in

Lesson Learned: Live like the person you want to be. Before you know it, you will be miles down the road, having successfully navigated around potholes and accidents and wrong turns. You will not have arrived, but you will be well on your way.