muscling gratitude

August 31, 2016 § Leave a comment

I’m out of shape, easily winded and tender. No matter my regimen, I am perpetually on the other side of fit. It has been years since I moved unconscious of appearances, confident in my strength.

Still, I move determinedly; slowly and sometimes clumsily, but forward.

Yesterday, I was pedaling after the retreating image of my husband’s more capable form when we rounded a stretch of trail that presented an unexpected distraction. Graceful and hesitant, tucked into the shelter of trees was a fawn.

In that moment, I forgot the temporary aches for awe.

Gratitude has a way of tempering negativity, shifting our perspective from a scale that measures the burden of our worries and insecurities to a truer gauge of our abilities and gifts.

Some days I muscle through gratitude, consciously. Other days it comes unexpectedly, drawing me further from myself.

auld acquaintance

August 30, 2016 § 1 Comment

The past and the present do not feel so neatly defined in the curious spaces of social media, old friends and once forgotten memories trailing sentiment and nostalgia between the quieter experiences of my days.

I have watched friends shed the awkwardness of adolescence as they flourished into entrepreneurs and parents, artists and academics. They are politically passionate and community oriented. Travelers and therapists, writers and athletes.

There was a time, in the arrogance of adolescence, I considered myself better than the experience of my environment, suffocated by a short sightedness that could not perceive the commonness of my confidence.

I thought I might change the word, trampling the mundane in elegant armors of elaborate degrees. Instead I have watched from the sidelines of my own doubt as others raced past my hesitation. Disoriented by a restless admiration for the certainty I no longer posses.

Contentment has made me comfortable within a new dream, appreciative of a gentler experience of joy.

The youth that was so eager to escape the company of her classmates, is suddenly curious to make their acquaintance, anew.

around here

August 29, 2016 § Leave a comment

The past week has been one of hopeful change, individual growth and familiar routines. Our children have settled into their school days and I’ve recognized new efforts at independence and accountability.

Our son is navigating complicated course material, struggling with doubts and nurturing his confidence with frustrated efforts at self-care. He’s asking for help, expressing worries, taking time to pause between assignments to connect at home and reach out to friends. It is an imperfect practice of resilience, but he’s gaining greater control over academic and emotional challenges.

Meanwhile our daughter is becoming more independent at home, taking greater care of her self and the space she consumes. She’s accommodating new expectations and seeking greater responsibility. Demonstrating small gestures of appreciation that communicate a greater awareness for those around her.

While our children are moving more independently through change, my husband and I are honoring time together; exploring new bike trails and swapping recipes while we draft ideas for our home and schedule plans for the year to come. Without the toxic behaviors of extended family, we’ve settled into gentler practices of parenting that more genuinely express the values and goals we share for our future.

Collectively, we’re nestling further into our community even as we gather quietly around simple family dinners; celebrating old friendships even as we cultivate new relationships.

manifesto, an exercise in living bravely

August 28, 2016 § 1 Comment

Last February, as part of my Living Brave coursework, I was tasked with creating a personal manifesto that acknowledged intimate values with a commitment to self. In the safest possible place, scrawled across scratch paper in the margin of my days, I sounded out a beginning.

I considered painful lessons and tender hopes, forgiving errors in judgement while relinquishing remorse; hesitating in my doubts to name my certainties. All the while considering the shape of my legacy, the life I wanted to honor with integrity and passion.

It is an imperfect practice, the work of living outside the armor of disinterest; settling among your fears to better tempt fate with dreams come true. Some days I fail colorfully at kindness, other days I muscle grace by the skin of my teeth. Most days, I find the truest path to joy is marked by conscious gratitude.

Every day I want to wake up to a promise to live wholeheartedly.



mindful distraction

August 25, 2016 § 3 Comments

This summer has been a season of intentional distraction and meditative mindfulness. Choosing to move against the grain of familiar comforts for purposeful discovery and greater connectivity as a family.

I let the laundry gather, the beds rest unmade, meal times draw later. I set aside my laptop and pen for my camera, loosing myself in a different lens.

We wandered further from our new home, long hikes and touristy distractions. There were no extravagant vacations, no elaborate wish lists or daily demands. Only a promise of presence in togetherness.

Our children looked past landmarks to discover love letters carved in old wooden bridges and beautiful stones along unfamiliar paths. We mapped our days by destination, loosing track of time as we sought magic with each small adventure.

As the school year demands we readjust our leisure for a more regimented practice of individual endeavors, I’ve been working to recognize opportunities for continued consciousness. Making new plans to reserve time for a greater practice of discovery and celebration for small moments. Together.

A gentler appreciation and more purposeful joy.



August 17, 2016 § 3 Comments

I could measure the moment in minutes or miles, dollars or degrees. It was a hot day in an empty parking lot, only the space of regret between the water park and home. My teenage son was vacillating between the underwhelming energy of the nearly vacant park and a newly recognized wish to chase stolen moments of summer down winding slides.

He wasn’t sure we should splurge on a day’s fees for a moment’s indulgence, but the cost of passage was more an investment in joy. A lesson in listening to the little voice of intuition.

It isn’t easy to show up to our wants when we cannot hide our tenderness. Wanting to play with the exuberance of youth in the long limbed expectations of a cumbersome sense of maturity. How often do we dismiss joy in the name of reason?

Without ceremony I asked only what he might regret more, squandering a dollar or missing an opportunity? So he flew, up the stairs and down the slides in a tireless parade of contentment until there was no more pull to march the long, curving path to the top; only a restful readiness to return home.

misplaced memory

August 6, 2016 § 4 Comments

A while back I wrote on the loss of a special piece of paper, something carefully crafted to preserve a sentimental corner of our old home to weight our new home with familiarity. It was the growth chart we had carefully tallied against the door frame between our kitchen and laundry room. Small lines in varying penmanship that marked the passage of time in the progress of height.

Last week, as I vacuumed an overlooked corner of our home, the previously presumed lost piece of paper was found.

Even as I held the list, my mind argued the impossibility of its reality against the fiction of my memory’s certainty. I could replay my error like scenes from a movie that rolled slowly from frame to frame. The folded piece of notebook paper that I plucked from beneath our charging station; admonishing myself for safe keeping something I had not, for weeks, recalled referencing. I labeled it unimportant and shuffled in among so many other displaced items as I breezed through in a moment’s urgency to sweep away the chaos of clutter.

I can still feel the grit of dust and the course chafing of paper against my fingertips, the irritation that ruffled my patience. The satisfaction of crumpling my frustration in the a tidy ball and, later still, the sense of loss that I had been so reckless in my dismissal. The urgency with which I had mentally retraced my steps, unfolding a page and mourning dates and names that guarded a sense of us that could not be translated from numbers to words.

Only, my memory is wrong. The evidence rests in a piece of paper that tells another story. Old lines on new walls now guard the past with presence.

Which makes me wonder of the page I was so certain of. There are no other numbers I have missed, papers I cannot place. Maybe it was nonsense rightfully recycled into waste, but the exercise in mindfulness was not lost to error.


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