The perfect end to a long and eventful day.
The perfect end to a long and eventful day.
Happy Friday, everyone!
They drove this stretch of the 101, headed for the same destination. Were they anticipating a quiet weekend together? Was he well enough to drive? These are the questions I ask myself as I navigate the windy highway that hugs the evergreened shore of Oregon coastline. I give thanks for these people I never knew.
Their daughter is the girlfriend of my not-quite ex-husband…does that make me a daughter-in-law of sorts? The borrowed beach trailer is where I call home for the night, my temporary yet oh-so-sacred place of quiet contemplation. The family lineage that allows me to be here today brings me right back to them every time. These people whose love graces me, these people that I never knew.
I go to the same church that they went to. The friends who still hold them dear are the same friends I love. Their beloved daughter mothers my beloved children. My children sleep in their house. They are woven into my life, their generosity, their joy, their love. I give silent thanks.
The spotlessness jolts me as I enter. Gleaming cream pleather upholstery on the pristine built-in furniture. The kind that won’t jostle about when you’re pulling this 20-foot home-away-from-home down a slalom-run of highway. Lush sage shag wall-to-wall and teal accents. The bed is made up without a wrinkle. I wonder when the last time she was here.
I’ve had this feeling before, this urge to re-construct the life of someone dearly departed. To know them and keep them alive in my mind so that I may appreciate and be imprinted by these people I was not destined to meet. So it was with my nearly-father-in-law, dying two short days before dinner reservations would allow the hug I still dream about receiving. I carried a quarter of his genetic material in my womb twice, dreamed of his jovial smile & the mischievous twinkle in his eye, studied hundreds of photographs, all with hopes of simulating that dinner missed. I look at his son, examine the sons of his, ours, wonder which parts might be like their grandpa’s. While we were married I wished desperately for a father-in-law, another man to love me, tease me, validate me. I wanted to thank him for whatever small role he had in making the incredible guy I called my husband. This is all still true.
And so, I court their ghosts. Follow the same white line, trace the corners of his smile on my son’s soft faces. I make up the good parts of the story and hold it close to estimate the length of his arms wrapped around me. I eat at their table and imagine their good times, wine and her amazing cooking, their love palpable in the warm air. I sleep with their ghosts, enveloped, entangled, in the memories of the people I never knew.
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” ~Mary Oliver
Every fall I spend a night or two away, alone, gathering the highlights and disappointments from my previous year, extrapolating lessons learned, re-committing to my values and the roles I play in my life, and setting goals for the year ahead. This process is outlined in Jinny Ditzler’s book Your Best Year Yet, which is a contender on my shelf of Top 10.
Lately I’ve been working on checking in with my inner voice more often and doing what it says without question.
Things don’t always make sense–the just are. There are things our gut knows long before our intellect catches on. Every day, all day, an intelligent agent is sending us messages. We hear them in our heads, feel them in our guts, discern them in our hearts. They come to us while we’re sleeping. Albert Einstein had his best ideas in the morning while shaving.
Don’t trust your instincts. Obey them. What is, is. And what is must be acted upon. This instinctual wisdom is readily available to all of us. Tune in. Pay attention.
At first I feared mistaking my reactive self for this inner voice, as the former can be pretty loud and persuasive. I worried that without my mind as a filter, I would heed the direction of this one who shouts orders fueled by fear and anger. “You have to finish the dishes before Bekah gets home so she doesn’t think you’re a slob!” “No, child of mine, you can’t stop to get another snack right now, we’re on our way out the door!” Miraculously, somehow, this hasn’t been an issue. It seems that my inner voice and my inner dictator operate on very different frequencies, and when I’m listening for the truth I’m not tuned into the wavelength of fear or obligation.
It’s surprising how fun and easy it is to let my highest self be my guide. Sometimes it means I rake leaves in the morning sunlight, other times it has meant that I take a bath or sit on the couch. I keep catching myself thinking, ‘If I had planned what I was going to do next, it wouldn’t have been this, but now as I’m doing it–it’s exactly what I need to be doing!’ As a super-productive, busy-pants, high-achiever, my life has historically been so ruled by my prioritized to-do-list, it is fascinating to eschew that logical way of approaching tasks in favor of a more heart-centered and inward-focused way. I find myself doing the next right thing each time, with much less energy expended (I’m not engaged in mind-battle about which item is the most important!), and I feel so listened to and cared for.
How does your inner voice speak to you and what does it feel like when you do or don’t listen?
Do you know that feeling when all of the little bits and pieces of your life start to cooperate, each snapping into alignment with the next, and suddenly you find yourself shooting like an arrow, breeze blowing back your hair, sailing toward your target? I hope you do…it’s so exhilarating. Right now I can taste it. I feel the pieces clicking, I feel the breeze beginning to tousle my hair, and I have the sense that I have only just begun.
Last night I began a class at church that I’m super excited about: Spiritual Economics, based on the book by Eric Butterworth. The premise is that what we focus on grows, thoughts become things, and so as we affirm our abundance and prosperity we engage with the natural law and it grows in our consciousness and in our life. It’s like, if I’m down all I can see is the crappiness all around me. The kids are fighting, my body aches, I’m tired, and I don’t have any money. But when my lens is bright, when I am in a good mood, when I’m thinking positively–I see all the examples in my life that support my view that life is good. This idea might be a stretch for you, or it may be a given, but applying it to prosperity, finances, and my sense of security in life is a fairly new concept for me. I think this class is going to challenge me. I’m ready for discomfort and growth (I’ve learned they usually travel in pairs).
One of the things I love most about taking classes like this is connecting with the other participants. If you don’t already know, you will soon learn: I am a personal growth junkie. I am driven, above most else, to become a better human being. The balance that I’m learning this requires, the acceptance and love of exactly who I am in every moment and at the same time the holding of the sometimes ginormous-feeling vision of who I have the potential to become, is often like a high-wire act. At times it’s effortless. At other times a fruit fly could knock me over. These classes, and more specifically the people that surround and support and show up every week for each other, make all the difference. They steady me and give me courage to stretch and grow even when it’s difficult and uncomfortable.
If you want the Spiritual Economics Cliff’s Notes, check out this video explanation from Brian Johnson:
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