All the places I could start.

I could start by mapping out the storyline. Recounting the most recent details.

I could start after I sleep off this cold, after the fever subsides. When I have more energy. After I make it to a yoga class to remember myself. It's been six months since I've been to a yoga class.

I could start after I meditate a bit more. There's this pain in my left shoulder that I think has been there for four years. Not entirely sure. I notice, now that I pause deeply to notice, that I hold my left shoulder and my right jaw with a certain tension. I could start after I relax all that.

I could start after a shower. I haven't had lunch. Maybe after I read some of one of these books and after I catch a little bit of this sun.

I could start by recounting these two amazing conversations with two of the best of women friends that remind me to live, that I am loved, that there is much to celebrate, that there is purpose to this path and that there is value in my careful attention to the details.

I could start with the details. But I am not interested in a recount of the details. I'm simply uninterested in the same kinds of details right now.

I could start after I take this upcoming workshop. I so can not wait for this workshop. It's called Writing & The Body and it's by two women I completely admire. I could tell you that at the same time I left my job, at the same time I step fully into my calling, all the book draft I'd had was lost this week. I think. I could start after I go to the Apple Store to try to recover it.

I could start with that story of how things fall away when we don't need anymore what we thought we needed. Sometimes it's a bigger message. I could start with a celebration that I have exactly what I need, here in this moment.

I could tell you my interpretations of the Universe.

But I don't know where to start in my next phase of creation. Not yet. Not today. This is transition. This is messy. This is me remembering what it is like, if ever I knew, to have wide open opportunity without a career map or a to do list. This is recalibration, and of the sort that I asked for, but which feels so unfamiliar after so many months of a certain kind of momentum, and so many years of momentum before that.

This is me wanting to connect with you, but to say, there are so many places we could start. Each little bit is an opportunity. Some little bits are distractions.

I am orienting.

This is the start. And the next moment is a start. I could tell the story in a thousand ways, but I am living it.

Each moment right now is a different start. It is a discovery. I am starting to create a new map. It's what we afford ourselves the opportunity to do when we leap. Which I just did.

I said "yes" to the life I want. Now I start it. Now.

(Feb. 2018)

All is calm, All is bright... and getting brighter still.

As I sit this morning, writing, I remembered this old post from a previous, private blog. This is a repost, written Christmas time, two years ago.

My tree this year still went up the weekend of Thanksgiving, because if I'm going to put one up, I'm going to enjoy the thing. But this year, only cloth ornaments, because - kitten.

The reasons "why" behind the actions continue to relax as healing as continued as the norm, thankfully. Creative efforts now go into developing Embodied Breath, but not for lack or perfectionism. Rather, to evolve a project from a place of purpose and passion. Less busy work, more true heart work. (On my knees grateful.)

This year, my Christmas tree is pretty much just a tree. The need to handcraft is almost entirely relaxed. Any sadness of lost tradition and ornaments now on his father's tree at another house, I didn't even think of until now.

Ode to the process... Deep bow to our internal evolution...

Keep on, bright ones.


December 2015...

...I feel I need to write one more explanation of this endeavor before I dive into the grit of the blog (and subsequent book).  If I begin posting about the day I gave birth to my first child, at age 19, and how that event left a mark on every decision I've made ever since, readers may be a bit taken aback.  Thus, friends, a soft overview written from this cozy couch position.

Pictured above, my Christmas tree.  Clearly, since I've used the word "cozy" and already have a tree erected and fully decorated by December 6th (truth: it was up November 28th), I am a fan.  I'm not a fan of Santa or Jesus or even family tradition, I am a fan of my Christmas tree.  How, one may ask, does a Christmas tree have anything to do with this blog or a memoir of post-nineteen year old birth?  Perfectionism, dear ones.


To put it laughably mildly, giving away a child seriously fucks with the course of your life.

Thereafter, there is no normal.

For me, the manifestation of this entire event was to strive.  Implicit was the understanding that if only I had had it together, I could have raised my baby.  And so if only I could get it right from here on out, I'll be able to feel whole again.  And so it went.  Through three college degrees, a marriage, and a second child.  None of which were a mistake, hear me now, but that is to say that this shit really played out.

So as I look at my Christmas tree, it seems to exemplify the the undertones of perfectionism that pervaded (note: past tense) my daily life for approximately the last fifteen years.  I don't quite feel the same drive to succeed now as I had (much more to come on this topic) but the evidence of this manifestation is all around me, and for one example, on this tree. Ornaments: hand-felted, ceramic, sewn, drawn with my child's sweet toddler-sized skill and hand. Ornaments purchased at the Ten Thousand Villages post-Christmas sale annually with more religion than I bring to Christmas itself cover this tree.  The tree is sweet, and perfect, really, and all of these treasured ornaments still bring me a lot of joy, even if I can now take a step back from the domestic striving that created it all.

Now, I do love beautiful things, and I love to create.  A marriage of craftsmanship and perfectionism is likely at play even now, because if we're going to create, let's have some standard of quality.  In fact, even this season, my son and I crafted real-deal Cone 6 clay ornaments, let's be honest.  It's the reason why that has shifted now.  Before, it was to feel whole.  Now, it is to create beauty.  And this blog (and subsequent book) is to tell the story of the changes that allowed for that transformation.

I also make beauty, and finding it, a priority, and I'm absolutely appreciative of this.  I love the simple way pothos flow over the rim of a small white pot in my kitchen.  I love the quilts I've made, for their heirloom quality and memory and purpose.  I love even my magazine pile, for it's haphazard nature, invitation, and promise.  I love what I've created in this life, all things considered.

My son told me this week that my husband's (still working on that "ex" prefix) girlfriend and he have matching corncob pipes.  They also have matching interests in motorcycles and large trucks, and matching sales jobs in a gear shop with a bar.  He always had wanted less responsibility than I had forced on him.  I was spending our relationship playing out trying to fill the hole in my heart, and he... well, he was looking to be loved in a really fundamental way that I didn't yet understand.  Apparently, in his defense, the new girlfriend has formed negative opinions of me based on what she knows of our relationship.  If only I could have been more fun.  You're so right.  If only I could have thrown more darts with whiskey in hand instead of evenings spent at the sewing machine.  But it's not so simple.  Because to say all of this is to essentially, at the core of it, say "Why couldn't you have just gone back to normal after giving away that baby way back when?"

We certainly lived out the manifestation of that single event of childbirth and adoption throughout our marriage (my daughter, let it be known, was not his).  Me, desperately trying to make sense of what in the world was meant by "enough" and him living that down alongside me.  Bless him.  May he be throwing darts in pure whiskey-induced bliss alongside his current love if that's what they choose.

I have now come to realize that absolutely nothing and absolutely everything is actually perfect, from the way life plays out to the ways we mistakenly attempt to shape our lives.  It is real life I intentionally choose to allow to unfold, observing interconnectedness of past and present with reverence.  In this way, ornaments can be ornaments, quilts can be appreciated as art, and blogs can be a healthy creative expression of life lived.  Beauty is there all the time, whether or not we choose to simply see and enjoy it, allowing it to unfold, or attempt like hell to manifest it.  And bless us, whichever path we choose.

Sit down, then rise up.

I totally stole this title. It's a slogan for something online I saw - don't remember what - but I repeat the slogan to myself and find a great deal of inspiration in it. Sit down, then rise up. Sit down, gather yourself, breathe, and then, be of service in the world.

All around us, there are causes - causes to fight and causes to cure. Things to stand up for, indeed, really worthy things. Since the election of You Know Who, I've been watching so many of those I love keep standing up, keep fighting, keep using their voices. I think, "bless them" and I don't know what the answer is. They seem tired and worn.

This comes with a little true story.

My body, it's been through some fight. It's been through some flight. So, the notion of continuing to rise up and stand up for another cause specifically in a fighting stance, well, I don't care to do that anymore. At one point, a few years ago, I couldn't do that anymore. My adrenals had tuckered out and my body couldn't metabolize stress. I was so out of balance that I was knocked on my ass. The lifelong fighter literally had to rest. The pendulum had swung in a direction I wasn't used to. I had always had more energy, and I always had more fight left in me. Until I didn't, which really turned out to be a good thing!

So many of us, and I use a collective "us" with intention here, SO many of us are taxed from the inside out. We are walking around in beat-up nervous systems and just downing another coffee and calling on the adrenaline to get us through another day. Another fight, dare I say it. Dare I equate so much of what we do to the essence of a struggle. I just did.

I've got so much to say on this topic and over time, I'll say more. I'm not telling you what to do here - I'm not an answer-giver, I'm a thought-seed-planter.

Where can we choose to sit down before rising up?

Where can we insert some breaths, or even a few minutes on our asses before we are falling on them, just to collect ourselves? Maybe it's before we turn on social media. Before we read the news. Before we blast our opinion into the world.

Where are we bringing a fight when maybe we could be bringing a softer part of ourselves, and in turn, be heard as we disassemble a polarized rhetoric as we present our piece with a calm unfamiliar to many?  Imagine for a moment, if instead of speaking with fervor about your most impassioned topic, you spoke with a soft tone. Conversationally, your intention to tone-down would actually most likely cause the other to tune in.

Before we act, we must pause. Any way good intention is being brought, by all means, bring it. I'm just saying, before we rise, a good sit is a good idea. It's where we touch base with our reserves, our energy stores, our innate wisdom. Imagine, people with regulated nervous systems in collaborative action... We'd change the world.