Family Grounding

No matter what happens in our life, we always return to what we know, what is in our bones. And family is in our bones.

“Peace is the beauty of life. It is sunshine. It is the smile of a child, the love of a mother, the joy of a father, the togetherness of a family. It is the advancement of man, the victory of a just cause, the triumph of truth.”  – Menachem Begin

I have recently written a lot about family, and escaping, so to speak, all the responsibilities that I have inherited.  Taking a break is, more than anything, about taking care of yourself.  Everyone needs a break at some point, we all need downtime, rest, to unplug and get out minds off everything that is stressful.

But at the end of the day, we always return to what we know.  And family is what we know.

And this weekend was very much centered around family, my nephew in particular.  He has come up to Atlanta to go to college, and it adjusting to life and everything that is such a large area.  But all work and no play is not good for anyone.  So it was off to pick pumpkins at one of my favorite places: Burt’s Pumpkin Patch.  At first it may seem a little corny but it is indeed quite an adventure.

First the is the 1+ drive of talking and listening to music.  Then there is getting there and seeing every kind of pumpkin and gourd imageable. Until I went there, I had no idea there were so many, of so many different colors and sizes and shapes.  And there are hundreds.

And then it was off to Merciers Bakery, where they have every kind of friend pie deliciousness imaginable. We had to stock up on them. Next was a burger and beer at a local tavern.  I Truly do not know who had the best time of the two of us.  It is magic to watch someone see and experience things for the first time.  It is fun to see their eyes light up when they discover the fun of something they never knew existed.

No matter what is going on in life, family always seems to keep  me grounded, reminding me of what is truly important. Family is the cornerstone of the foundation of life.  And no matter how far I go in my travels and adventures, certainly family will never be so far away that they can not be found.

The Rex Factor

I remember a conversation I had with one of my best friends.  As we talked about life, love and the pursuit of happiness as we often did, he mentioned to me that people handle life is a myriad of different ways.  He and I are the kinds of people who cannot sit still when we are figuring things out.  We must go, explore, be active.  That does not mean that we are not grounded, quite the contrary, we very much are.  We know from where our roots grow and are nourished. It just means that sitting at home being a hermit is not for us. At least not at this particular time.

And as I make my holidays plans I am reminded of our conversation and of our friendship.  His name was Rex, and he was my mentor.  He was my first boss in radio, and we just clicked upon first meeting each other.  Never anything romantic, but fast friends and confidants.  As he was my mentor, I was his confessor.  He knew and understood me in a way that few have, and we would talk about random topics and theories of his into the wee hours of the night.

My friend passed away a few years ago and I miss him very much.  I could use his wisdom and point of view on life right now, on how to navigate the chapter, on how to motivate, encourage and inspire others. On how to be a leader – he was one of the best leaders I have ever met.

And no doubt he would understand my reasoning for traveling during the holidays, my need to be free for a while, and the desire for breath.  The need for fresh air in life and hopping on the back of a bike.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Country

As my nephew and I were driving to the mountains in search of the perfect pumpkin, I spotted my ex driving in the opposite direction with his latest Tinder floozy. And something very unexpected happened:  Nothing.  I felt nothing.  No anger, no sadness, no resentment, no hurt or pain, just…nothing.

It is often thought that the opposite of love is hate, but I disagree.  I think the opposite of love is total indifference.  And finally, I am there.  And that realization made me smile.

To be honest, I dreaded the first “sighting”, because I knew it would happen at some point. And then it did. And it was extremely anticlimactic –  I just did not care.

In life there are some milestones that we celebrate, even ever so quietly.  And when you realize that you have moved past a time or event or relationship that was very hurtful, it is one of those times. I am free from all which was holding me down and back from that situation.

And so I celebrate this small milestone.  And I enjoy the life that is to come.

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The Flurry

Life is cyclical. We all know this and yet sometimes we forget.  Our lives are constantly changing and evolving.  One cycle it will be crazy busy, another will be slow, one will be filled will projects, travel, love, or whatever.  The next might be the opposite.

It seems my life is currently in a flurry stage – where there is a flurry of activities, planning, working and a  lot of creativity.  Lately I have had a surge of energy, getting everything ready and set not only for the holidays but for the next year.  There is unpacking and settling into the new place, there is getting travel arrangements set for the holidays, there is making sure all the writing projects that I take on can be done before the end of the year.

And to be quite honest, I am looking for ward to the end of this year.  This year, 2017, has been hellacious.  It has been long, heartbreaking, gut wrenching, exhausting year.  And I know that just as life is a cycle, 2018 will be a great year.  I have spent this year grieving and rebuilding, figuring out my next move, next contract, next everything so that 2018 will be smooth and lovely.

And finally, I see the light at the end of the tunnel and am ready.  That is where the burst of energy and creativity is coming.  Just like a runner who gives the winning burst of energy right at the finish line, I am there.

And I know the decisions I am making now are good ones, even though I am running and warp speed.  When it is the right, it will give you peace.  You conscience will be clear.  And I pray, so much, and listen to God’s voice, listen in the quiet hours of the night as I look inward for direction.

And as the end of this cycle and the beginning of the next, I will probably not want to leave the house.  I will be ready to rest, in warm slippers and blankets. With hot chocolate and a good book.

But for now it is the flurry, making sure the road is good and clear for everything in the future.  Life is what you make it.  And I will make mine spectacular.

My Holiday Promise – To Myself

I have been the responsible one for a while now.  I took care of both of my parents as they died, took care of all arrangements and have taken care of everything since then too.  I am tired.  So this holiday season…I have made a promise to myself: I will only have fun. No responsibility.

When faced with the choice of staying at home, trying to hash through all of the family holiday stuff, and moping, constantly being reminded of the what I have lost, or getting out of town and having fun, seeing old friends and meeting new ones…I choose the latter.  Maybe next year I will be different, but this year I am not moping.  So I shall celebrate that I am alive, and here, and want to have fun.

I have had enough of the doom and gloom. I have had enough of doing everything myself, had enough of being responsible and taking care of others.  This year I do what I want. And I want, I need, a break.  I need to live life for myself, I need to be selfish and say that everyone else will just have to figure it out for themselves.

Thanksgiving will be spent in Texas seeing friends.  I have never been to the fine state, but have been given tips on what to see.  I cannot wait.  It will be good to just BE. New Years Eve will be in New Orleans. I was there for New Years a few years ago and had a wonderful time.  I have many friends there and, though my preference is to have hot, passionate sex on New years Eve (did I just type that out loud?), if that is not possible, I might as well party with my friends in the Big Easy.

I am not sure about Christmas yet, as that is the tough one.  Where ever I am it will be good. And there will be love.

And so I promise myself to just BE this holiday season.  To let life happen and enjoy  it. And if you are reading this and would like to join me, hop in the car, there is always room for more. That is the thing about life, there is always room for more if it. So join me, won’t you?

Cowboy take me away

This weary soul needs a break

This forever holiday

I am not sure how much more it can take

 

So let me be free

let me scream with delight

all this wonder let me see

The season by the starlight

 

Let me wilt and cry all the tears

Let me separate from the sorrow

Feel what I have missed these years

It’s just your arms I may barrow

 

Let me be vulnerable and let go

Let me enjoy NO responsibilities

of the sadness of the last days

only want the possibilities

 

I want to need without shame

Let me be weak so I can be strong

I need to feel  like it won’t be the smae

Replace grief with joy and song

 

Oh let me see over the horizon

From wanderlust to sunset

I need you see, I am no island

Take me away so I can forget

 

Let me snuggle under the blanket

of your friendship and care

Laughter, smile, and good times

Memories and stories to share

 

Yes, cowboy take me away

As I shed this life, this skin

I am free of it all, starting today’

I know now that I can win

 

The Feast of Fall

It starts about this time every year.  It is a restlessness for the Fall.  Winter is a time of hibernation for me – long cold days wrapped up in a blanket by a fire. So the fall is a time to get out and enjoy life before the winter sets in.  I start wanting to go, to see, to travel.  I start getting restless for all the things that I want to do before the cold sets in.

Because Fall is wrapping up the year, it is crisp mornings and cool evenings.  It is wine and conversations, it is the start of new friendships and adventures.  It is a cabin in the mountains, wine tastings, good hikes and fresh air.  It is laughter and pumpkins and festivals and snuggling on the couch. October is wonderful.  It is one of my favorite times of the year as it is the in-between.

And maybe that is why I feel restless, because it is the in between the lines of life.  After the summer but before the holidays. And I find myself in between as well.  Past all the rough, but before all the amazing.  It is a time of set up….Where I am ready but God and the Universe are setting everything up for forward movement.  And I get impatient.  When I decide I want something, I want it then, I do not like to have to wait.  Sometimes patience is not my best virtue.  Maybe it is a byproduct of being a passionate red head.

For me, I want to explore, to adventure, to climb, to go, to kiss, to see, to eat, drink and be marry.  I want to experience life again, with a whole heart, open eyes and big smile.

For now I just enjoy this time, when I put another blanket on the bed and sleep under it’s wonderful weight.  When I set up the fireplace, and prepare for the feast that is coming into my life.  I know that it will be delicious. The hardest part is finding which direction I should go.  Which direction is love, happiness and Peace?  I have found it within, now I do not want to go without in the world.

And so pour some wine, talk to friends and remember to be present in this moment, right here in front of me.  Because I do not want to miss any amazing moments now because I am looking ahead.  And that is where the balance lies.  This is something on which I am working. I tend to get so busy working on the further that I forget to relax in the now.

So maybe this restless in between time is for me to slow down, relax, take a breath and enjoy the hard work which I have done.  I have climbed quite a long way up from where I found myself just months ago.  And now I breath, before taking risks and throwing myself completely into life.  Join me in the adventure.  But hang on tight, because it is going to be quite a ride.  But then again, Life always is.

Authenticity

Merriam-Webster defines authenticity as real or genuine, not copied or false, true and accurate And this is one of the many things for which I am thankful. In life we hear the term “authentic” thrown around a lot.  But even with the definition, what exactly does it mean in life?

To me it applies to the kind of people I have in my life and how I want to be myself and with others.  It means that nothing and no one in my life is fake. No one is pretending.  The older I get the more important this is for me.  When I was younger, I am not sure if I didn’t notice it is as much or if it has just gotten worse and more widespread with social media.  Indeed, it is easier now than ever to pretend to be something you are not.

If you are depressed, you can slap a few pictures up on Facebook and voila!  You and happy and life is perfect.  Put a filter on a selfie, and suddenly you look better than you do even on your best days.  I refuse to use filters. Don’t get me wrong, I am a very vain woman, and I am acutely aware of my flaws.  But to cover them up completely and make myself unrecognizable for the sport of it.  No thanks.  Our flaws are what make us our most beautiful and out most human.

Truth be told, I want people who flawed in my life.  I want the authenticity of imperfection, of vulnerability. Why? Because I am light years away from being perfect.  I am clumsy and can fall, trip, stumble, fumble or spill at the drop of a hat.  Most of the time it is funny, sometimes embarrassing and most of the time needs up in laughter.  Well, at least it is not boring.  I love when someone is authentic and imperfect around me.  When they are vulnerable and admit some silly thing about themselves.  IT makes them relatable and human.  Because we are all acutely aware of our flaws.  And it is nice to not have to hide them for acceptance.

I want to know when the people in my life and having a hard day, or are lonely, or are scared or are depressed and why.  I want to know when they are sleepy and what kept them up?  Was it a hot night?  Or was is worry?  Because we are all in this together, so I want to celebrate the good and be there in the bad. That is what makes life, life. And that is what keeps it from getting so lonely.

I have also long said that those who are fake will hurt you more than those who are authentic.  Why?  Nothing is wrong with sparing someone’s feelings, but to lie about intentions, motives, outcomes, or facts?  Who has time that?  It causes more drama than it is worth.  People who live like that are manipulative and usually have their own agenda.  My agenda?  TO be the best person I can be today, hopefully better than yesterday and to be kind to my fellow humans.  There are a few other things, like win an Oscar, travel the world, etc. but you get the picture.

Don’t hide that from me, your authenticity and vulnerability.  Let’s laugh, cry, win and lose together.  Because we are all broken in our own beautiful and magnificent ways. Our imperfections and cracks are where the light comes in and shines to highlight our many facets…throwing off brilliant colors of light.  We are the prisms of life. So, let’s shine authentically, beautifully, brilliantly, and let our imperfections be the beacon of others who are trying to be authentic too.

Everyday Joy

I have a theory about life. (I have several theories, but those for another time.)  One of my theories is that you must enjoy the small every day moments.  I thought this long before The Secret came into fashion.  The reason behind my theory is simple: The big moments in life don’t happen very often.  We don’t have life changing events every day.  So in between, you must find the beauty in the ordinary, the perfection in the routine and love in the mundane.

To do this you must have a love for life in general, and you must be present. That means putting the phone down and participating in the conversations, noticing the people and things around you.  It means taking the time to appreciate what is in front of you.

While it would be great if wonderful, amazing, life changing things happens every day, but the fact of the matter is that they don’t. Or would it be great?  I don’t think it would actually. Because at some point, we need the dust to settle, even after those wonderful moments and events.  Because life is truly found in the quiet everyday moments.

We must get into the habit of falling in love with life every day.  And that does take effort, at least at first until it becomes a habit. A habit to take a moment and look around, enjoy a beautiful day, or your favorite song on the radio, or a good meal or glass of wine.  A perfect sunset, or crawling in the bed with clean sheets after a long hot shower.  It could be as simple as a phone call and good conversation with a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Or seeing some pretty flowers by the roadside.  Magic can be found all around us, in those quiet every day moments.

And when you notice the little things, something else starts to happen – they start to build up.  And soon you notice even more little things.  It may sound simple. And it is.  But there is a saying about the best hiding place being in plain sight.  That is because what is in plain sight is often over looked.  Think of all that we miss when we only look in the distance, or look in complicated places.

“That which you seek is also seeking you.” – Rumi

Part of moving forward for me is getting back in the habit of seeing that everyday joy.  Of purposefully and internationally seeking it.  And it will be there, to meet me. I am the happiest when giving of myself to others, and while that is being set up by God and the Universe, I will see the miracles in everyday life.  That will keep me happy, focused and striving to be better every day.  It helps feed my wanderlust for life and appetite for curiosity.  Seeking the everyday joy feeds my sold and makes me smile.

Thankful: I Got This

When we go through a particularly difficult time, re entering life as “normal” may e quite overwhelming.  And does normal even exist anyway? The point is that getting back to whatever normal is, may take a little bit of time.  It can fell like learning to walk again.  First you don’t even know if you can do it, then you try and it is awkward and painful, you are clumsy.  Then slowly, with practice and effort, you are almost ready to take a few steps. And slowly, with even more effort, blood, sweat and tears, with heartbeat after heartbeat and so much effort that you doubt if you will ever make it, you take your first step.

Then another, then another, and then another.

And isn’t that just how it is in life?  Just when you think that you can’t do it, you find out that indeed you can.

It seems like forever since I have felt like I have been in a rhythm and a groove in life.  And now, finally I can say, I got this. There is joy, there is excitement, there is a renewed optimism for the future.

I was walking downstairs yesterday after a restful day and a very good weekend.  And I had the Ah-ha Moment. “I got this,” I thought.  No matter what is going on, I’ve actually got this. I can do this. This after months of healing and processing.  I am finally here.

I have no idea what is going to happen.  The saying goes that man plans and God laughs. But with prayer and meditation, I plan to follow the path God has for me.  I plan to follow love, and joy and adventure.  I plan to build a wonderful life.

There will still be bad days. as there always are, but I know that it is just a temporary bump in the road.

But no matter how optimistic we are, there will always be things that need improvement, things that we need to work on.  I need to get the house unpacked.  And my office must be organized.  And it is very obvious that I am rusty when it comes to dating. The good thing about that one is that practice makes perfect. And I know the kind of man I want. Because I am ready for kisses and conversations, and smiles and arms around me. But whoever is interested in me is going to have to make it quite obvious, or may completely miss the signs.

And there is working out and staying active. Feeling better about life means having more energy for taking care of myself. It is time to hike again, run again, and actually use that gym membership.  I have boxing gloves that have not been used in quite a while (of course I have to find which box they are in). And free weights that will tone my arms and back.  It is time for the toned curves to begin.

It is time for a good fire and the crackle of the logs.  It is time for long talks and laughter and making memories in this new house that will be a wonderful home.

And it is time for trips. No big trips until next next year, but some short trips for fun and adventure. I am ready to try new things in new paces.

Mostly because, all because, I am ready to be happy.  I don’t want to hold back, on anything. I want to feel the wind in my hair, the warmth of the sun on my skin and the wonder of the rain on my soul. I want to hear happy whispers and taste wanderlust and touch a heart. I am strong, capable, and ready. I have lived through this, I have made it past the fiery pits of Hell, I have climbed back up to the surface, And I will thrive.

They say that we must love until there is nothing left and let God put our broken pieces back together, that He tears us down to rebuild us and make us stronger.  My mother used to tell me that every time we love, and our hearts are broken, that it carves out deep space within us where we can love even deeper the next time. I am ready.

And I know that I’ve got this.