Tuesday, July 11, 6:29am, Haskovo, Bulgaria.
Sounds and sights from the balcony…A row of black socks on a clothes line,
One red wall amongst brown,
The sound of pigeon feathers, flapping wings,
A sheet with yellow and white stripes stretched out to dry….
I’m sitting in a kitchen in a tiny old apartment in Sandanski, Bulgaria. It’s about 1:32 pm here, sunny and warm outside. My cousin-in-law is sitting on the bed next to me (beds in kitchens are occasionally a thing here, really cool), and we’re listening to retro 80’s music on my phone while working on our computers. I haven’t felt this relaxed in a long, long time. We came here a week ago, just me and my two girls. A special 6-week vacation to stay with my husband’s family (he is back at home, holding down the fort like a champion, making us all miss him awfully). It is also a chance for me to disconnect from all the maddening stress that had been stalking me for many months at home. The combination of being sick and having sick babies for weeks on end, since February, with barely a breather between each new illness, and my constant companion of allergies so fierce they make my brain feel like cooked squash, was wearing me …
No one ever said it would be easy. But good grief I didn’t think it’d be so hard.
Just life. The grown-up part of it. Now. Being post-30, with children, attempting to continue to make your own path.
Thoughts and words for a new year
“The night before my 40th birthday in July earlier this year, I set my alarm. I knew precisely what song I wanted to ease me into my extraordinary year of 40.
I had forgotten that the song starts with a few measures of a brassy and slightly drunken sounding version of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, but since I’ve spent the last 39 years conquering insecurity, fear, and doubt, a triumphant war song seemed more than appropriate….”
Let us rally. Let us move onward together, let us UNITE. Let us be kindred spirits and let us be kind and decent and rational and move through this world with love in our hearts and on our tongues. And that includes embracing the man who is our new president. He is human too, as flawed as any of us…”
“…Yes, I am supporting Hillary for a lot of reasons but one of the main reasons I am supporting her is because she is a strong, strong woman. It IS TIME for a woman to be leading this country…”
“For my entire adult life I have held back many of my deepest beliefs because I didn’t want to be the cause of a schism between me and my conservative extended family members….It has taken me over 30 years to learn that my voice matters, and that it is worth saying out loud.”
“…ultimately it’s about how you define success or failure. For me, success is found in the process; success is found in the satisfaction of completing a task or reaching a goal, no matter how tiny….”
“I was teaching a class the other day and we were holding a warrior standing pose. The women in the class looked at me like what the eff? Why are you making us do this?… We laughed about how people think yoga is supposed to be all unicorns and sunshines and roses.”
Thoughts on self, desires, motherhood, and a palazzo in Italy….
“In a nutshell (pistachio, if you will, because I like idiomatic specificity), I discovered last month that I am as relevant now as I ever was and that my time is better spent listening to and helping people who have never been given relevance to lose.”
I still feel frustrated and small in the grand scheme of things sometimes….But if I give in to that cynicism, then I am discounting….the power of my own impact, and closing my eyes to a vast mystery of faith.
We say we want to know why, but do we ask the right questions?
“About three weeks ago I paid a professional to…wait for it…make me a blonde.
Oh, friends, I was going to write about how liberating it is, how fun it has been to look different, how confident it makes me feel, and all the heads I’ve been turning! I mean, relevance-shmelevance: THIS BLONDE IS on FIRE!”
“Nine years and eleven months ago I was married, trying in vain to conceive, living in Los Angeles, both of my parents and my grandmothers were still alive and I had never flown over seas before even though I’d been dreaming about it since as early as I can remember…”
My Mom has always been there and even though we have had the typical mother/daughter tension, I am realizing at this moment that it was usually during the times when I didn’t love myself and found it hard to understand how someone could love me unconditionally. I still will not understand the depth of her love until I have one of my own but I know that I am one of the lucky ones…”
“I was very uneducated for my first birth. I knew I wanted a natural birth but didn’t know my facts–I ended up with a c-section with her as she was breeched. Right after having her I knew I wanted a vbac (vaginal birth after cesarean), and automatically began to research and educate myself…”
“…In the middle of our conversation Martha Burgess walked in to pick up some books she ordered, and the rest is history. Our friendship began that day. She looked me up and down and said, Yeah you are one of us…It will be 10 years this coming November since that day…”
“As I have gotten older, I have come to appreciate not only my mother’s will and grit and sense of humor, but the fact that she is always there at the end of the battle. It doesn’t matter if that battle is between us when I was an angsty teenager or when the battle was losing someone we loved. She is there…”
“My mom will do anything for her children. If you are feeling down, she will break out in song and dance in the middle of a grocery store just to make you laugh. I think of her, and I smile knowing that she is the perfect balance of business and motherhood. She works hard for what she has, and I feel proud to call her mine…”
It’s so hard to find the words to tell you how grateful I am to have you as my mom. How does one tie up with a neat verbal bow so much love?…
“I’m afraid to let go of my work-life because I don’t want to fall behind… I don’t want to let it go. I want to be that super-mom who can keep running her business from home and stay on top of everything like a mythical goddess. But that ain’t gonna happen…”
beauty lives in the space we give
like a wrapped gemstone
we step back and allow the wind to unfurl its ribbons and the tightness of the wrapping
unfolding unfolding unfolding…
I have re-written this piece a hundred times. I sit here with sweaty palms and a lump in my throat.
This month is all about creativity. Creativity. Hmm. I love to craft, doodle, I attempt to sew, I can design skin care regimes.. but are those the pieces of me that I want to share?…
Creativity (noun): “The use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.”
Oh, it sounds so simple doesn’t it? The use of the imagination… there are no rules, no boundaries, no foundation, no precedent… So why is it, then, that many of us become so disengaged with creativity once we grow up?
Once there was a nice lady.
Her favorite place was the Cozy Nook.
The nook was a corner full of twinkle lights and office supplies, two of the lady’s favorite things. Early in the morning, she’d wake and go straight to the cozy nook. She’d draw and write and pray and ponder. And the time in the cozy nook would refresh her and fill her with wonder.
At the time, I thought all of these situations meant that I was failing and falling and making the wrong decisions but now I see all of these “roads not taken” as the ones that led me here to a life that I am totally in love with (and falling more in love with everyday). I had to feel what DIDN’T work for me to find out what makes me soar.
“Sometimes I wonder how we are still married when so much of our time is spent apart.
I never wanted to marry someone in the military….Until one day at work – I saw you. I refilled your coffee, you smiled, and I was yours. “
“Making the choice to truly be alone and take an honest look within meant I disappointed people. This meant not being everyone’s best friend. This meant saying no. A lot. But I’ll tell you something, I freaking loved it…”
“…After all, isn’t that what attraction really is? A dance of power?
Wanting someone who is just out of reach. Or being just out of reach to someone else. Overpowering someone with your desirability. Or being overpowered by someone else’s desirability…”
.. isn’t it funny that when you aren’t looking your life becomes exactly what you wanted it to be, by the fate of your very actions…
“I challenge you to mindfully make at least 10 deposits into your Spirituality Bank Account throughout the month of February. We are going to do this together and I’m going to give you some suggestions, but first, let me tell you about my trip to INDIA!…”
“What I realized… was that I didn’t pursue my dreams because I didn’t know what the heck those dreams were. Instead, I was on a journey to DISCOVER my dreams through trial and error…”
“…I sat down and she said “You’re a nurse! You passed! You’re done!”
I didn’t completely comprehend what she said. It took a minute for my brain to process the information and then I realized I was finally a nurse.”
I am writing this after a walk and an online yoga session with my teacher, Annie Carpenter. My mind is still and my body at rest. The constant barrage of thoughts and worries have subsided and settled like little flakes at the bottom of a snow globe. On January 1, I was asked to think of one word to focus on for 2016. Of course, my immediate thought was “what’s a word that would cause some sort of improvement?” There must be a word to make me better, right? That’s what New Years Resolutions are all about! But, the inner experiences I have been through this month have urged me to see this concept of intention and focus through a different spiritual lense. I continue to wrestle with perfectionism. God bless. Sometimes I think this is my most important life lesson! This week it was brought to light in a variety of ways…when I put sink dish soap in the dishwasher and bubbles exploded everywhere, when I lost out on a job, and when a …
Goodbye diapers. Adios, spilt milk. Peace out temper tantrums and soiled linens. You will not be missed! Welcome acne and blemishes. Oh hello, cellulite and pores. It is so nice to see you dark circles and sun spots! I cannot wait to get my hands on a face. Five months ago I left my life as a stay-at-home mom to pursue my passion of skin care. And now I sit here just one week shy of graduating from the school where I found my new love – esthetics. It seems unreal. Before school began I requested an orientation. It was the very first step of putting my foot in the door. I needed to bring in my application, take a school tour, and possibly put down my very first payment. But I couldn’t even find a babysitter. My husband and I had just moved across the country three months prior; asking family wasn’t an option and we didn’t know anyone. After weeks of searching, finding a sitter seemed impossible. I had been on the waitlist …
Blahhhhhh. 11 Jan. 2016 I had expected to write something full of thrill and excitement and joy for this month’s theme, but then I never end up writing about what I think I’ll write about. This morning I suffered a minor emotional breakdown. Overwhelmed. To the max. Cried, hugged on my husband, and slowly started to feel better. Life is freaking hard to deal with sometimes, no? To be honest, I should have expected it. I had been so on my game the past few months. Full of energy and positivity, multitasking like a bandito, staying up late and waking up early and getting. it. done. But what I forgot is that at some point the great big Burnout will occur. It’s inevitable. In fact, it’s just simple math: Overwork + Lack of Sleep + Overstimulation in the form of Crazy-Whirlwind-Housecleaning/Reorganizing + Financial Stress = Emotional Meltdown waiting to happen. Add in a full dose of pregnancy hormones and whoooaaa buddy, look out. (Funny side note on those hormones… throughout this pregnancy (5 months thus …
Do you love champagne? I do! Do you love to dance and party? Me, too, in my own adorable introverted way! Do you love to kiss cute people (or one very special cute person) at midnight? Yes, so do I! I love New Year’s Eve and I love our social traditions and rituals but I’ve created one of my own that I’ve been performing for most of the last decade and I’ve got to warn you, it’s pretty powerful. Before I share my step by step ritual with you so that you, too, can perform it, I want to tell you something personal about me. Come closer. Closer. Good. I’M TURNING FORTY IN 2016!!! What the heck does that have to do with powerful New Year’s rituals? Good question. I’ve been honing and shaping this ever-evolving ritual since the age of thirty-two when I basically hit zero and found myself starting completely over and now here I am on the cusp of a new year AND a new decade. Be it twenty, thirty, forty or …
For as long as I can remember, I have loved the days between Christmas and New Years a tiny bit more than any others. Even though Christmas Day is undoubtedly my absolute favorite day of the year (the family is gathered, baked-goods and gifts abound, a fragrant Spruce covered in twinkling lights and useless yet adorable baubles in the living room– what isn’t there to love?) Yet there is something almost magical about the handful of otherwise ordinary days post-25th. The excitement and jubilation of Christmas has passed, and with it go the stress and pressures which inevitably build up in the weeks preceding it. New Years is still on the horizon, plenty of time to make plans and clean up the general chaos that piles of gifts bring about. These precious days are almost like an extension of the year in a way, like you’ve been given a little extra time before the ball drops on the new year to relax, revel, and then get your act together. Today I scoured our bathroom. (Small house, …
A book about one woman’s experience through pregnancy, labor, and the early days of motherhood– Honest, open, and full of wisdom and truth.
This is a new series I’m doing, where I write stuff. That’s pretty much the gist of it.
I don’t know about you, but I have never needed encouragement to think more or live in my head. “Dig in…analyze your every thought…value your own opinion more…focus on yourself…” all unnecessary statements. I never forget those. They come easy. I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to do these less. For awhile, I was succeeding somewhat. I was on my medicine, following through with commitments mostly, anxiety was at a low. It’s hard to discern whether living in my head is a cause or effect of the anxiety. (I don’t mean I could reason my way out from under the anxiety, i.e., mind over matter, I just know the two are linked somehow for me). People have different issues that go along with their anxiety I guess. Mine aren’t very interesting or unique…people-pleaser, overwhelmed easily, food issues, difficulty with communication and conflict, blah blah blahty blah. You’ve heard it all before. Anyway, this is a time when my issues came to a head, and I had to make a hard decision. —– …
I’ve worn hard hats, head to toe hazmat suits, cowgirl boots and one time for about fifty minutes, I wore nothing at all but quickly decided that wasn’t the job for me. I’ve served pizza, diner food, Italian food while singing show tunes, and scooped gelato. I’ve filed, transcribed, answered phones and worked at the front desk of a trendy hair salon. I’ve cleaned vending machines early in the morning, sold a dating service over the phone, worked in a bread factory and packaged dried fruit. But of all the jobs I’ve taken over the years in order to supplement my income as a singer, actor and writer, my favorite, by far, was babysitting. I really only ever babysat for people I knew who were also pursuing the arts in one form or another and I’ve written a letter to thank them because now that I think about it, it must be really hard to make art and raise kids. Dear parents pursuing careers in the arts, One of the greatest gifts I received while …
Ever since I did my first triathlon at age 13, I said that “someday” before I turned 30, I would do a full Ironman triathlon. Someday was July 26. I traveled to one of my favorite places in the world, Vancouver, British Columbia and competed in the Ironman Canada. Over 15 years ago I committed to making my personal challenge, and over nine months ago I joined Team In Training, to give birth to my dream. An Ironman is a triathlon that consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run, a daunting task. It takes months of training, focus, and determination. Throughout this journey I have met incredible people, reconnected with old friends, raised money for a cause I believe in, and pushed myself and my teammates to achieve our dreams. During the training season, we each swam over 175 miles (1/2 the distance from here to San Francisco), rode our bikes 2,221 miles (that will get you from LA to Chicago) and ran over 662 miles, for a grand total of over …