Saturday, October 24, 2015

Loving Tea and Lighting Candles

I have come to love Saturdays.
They have led me to loving tea and reading in bed and lighting candles.

This is my day of listening.
Listening to my breath.
Listening to music.
Listening to the ceiling fan in my room spin around, endlessly, effortlessly.

This is my day of learning.
Learning about Mumbai, India in my latest read, Shantaram
Learning to be human again and reenergize after a long week.
Learning to find that sweet spot between duties, obligations, deadlines and rest.

Oily, messy hair but a heart full of love and compassion for my space this day, my Saturday.
This day is beauty.
And I feel like myself today more than ever.

Here's a thought: Sometimes, just sometimes, we work too hard. 

We get so caught up in the stuff around us, all those external components that make our lives busy or make us feel important and useful, and we connect to those things. But then we become dependent on, enslaved to, and tied up with these things, until all the sudden, we become those external components without even realizing it.

Our identity is found in our stuff.
You know... the meetings, the committees, the certifications, all of it.
The stuff that makes us "really involved", "really invested", really "well known in the community".

We lose ourselves in what we are “supposed to do”, what people “expect” of us, what we "told people we would get done". 

But, who are we really?
Like, on a Saturday when we actually choose to pull away from everyone everywhere and just be alive in our own skin and listen to our own breath and relax?

Let us be real today.
In every way we know how.



Monday, October 19, 2015

The Watch Guard, Part I

I see wrinkly hands glowing in the dark. They are attached to a man with chapped lips, long wild hair and missing teeth. The man’s spine looks to be permanently bent over, never to be aligned into a straight position again.

The man stands next to the wooden door, the door we have all come to know as the entrance to the Unknown. He looks no one in the eye until he calls their name among the darkness.

His voice sounds like rock against pavement. There is no melody or song to his voice, just rough sounds from a hard heart. Standing in line, I stare at the back of a man’s shiny bald head to keep my mind awake.

I can’t help but wonder, how does this scary old man in the dark decide who gets to go on? 
I have never been told. 

I just know I have been waiting with hurting knees and headaches all my life. Just standing in line, waiting for my name to be called. I don’t even know what I am waiting for, to be honest. Or what is beyond this mysterious, ugly door.

The watch guard is an honor, people say. But I don’t think so. It feels dirty, to accept some people, to call their name, look them in the eyes, and let them through, while others stand and wait. To be the one thing that stands between a person and an opportunity, to be the ultimate gateway between life and death.

My fingers curl by my side, my breath gets shorter, faster, and I feel my heart beat out of control against my chest. For a second, I think I can almost hear its beat and I feel my cheeks burn with embarrassment.

Name is called.
Steps are taken.
The door opens.
The door closes.

And I wait.
And I wait.

And I wait.



Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Poisonous Touch

Stress is a poison.

It’s like swallowing thorns or smashing your pinky finger in the car door. 
It eats away at your inner peace, leaving you with nothing but twitching eyelids and scattered thoughts.

I used to say I never let stress get to me, that I was always this carefree, worry-less soul that no storm could shatter.

But when I start to lose balance with love and grace and courage and play and creative flow and freedom and compassion, and I forget what it feels like to laugh at mistakes and turn the page and try again and pray and sing and run... it scares me.

Stress is a poison.

It has tangled me up in a web of sorrow and regret. It has frozen little ounces of anger, piled them on top of each other, and made a mountain of ugly, heavy lies.

You will never get it all done, my stress mountain tells me.
You are embarrassing yourself.
You are wasting your time.

And then I forget to notice.

I forget to notice my breath, the leaves turning yellow outside my window.
I forget to notice the warmth of a hug, the promise of a kiss.

Stress is a poison.

Yesterday I rode my bike. I sat up my hammock in the forest and reminded myself that it was Saturday and I am only 27. I found pleasure in the ants, the rough bark on the trees, the smiles of kids with dogs that passed. I even laughed a little bit when I got lost on a windy trail and had to ask an old man and his family how to find the nature center.

Yesterday, I noticed.


And for a small moment, at least, my stress mountain was just a small hill in the corner of my eye.