Thursday, October 17, 2019

Back to Breath

My body isn’t used to this. The yoga instructor makes it look so easy, bones and muscles untrained and underused attempt new angles often needing a little or a lot of help. I’m holding my breath. As if on cue, she reminds me to breathe. Deep inhale in, slow exhale out. Yoga reminds me to breathe. Amongst all the busy and strange new things, settle in and breathe. I forget again and again. I push legs and actions into new places, busy brain scurrying, while forgetting the most important thing…just breathe. So much distraction, cars flurry by heading to work, school, wherever. Unfocused thought. Gal next to me is nailing this flow while I’m looking like a clumsy toddler, unbalanced and unsure. Comparison.  Upcoming to-dos, what am I making for dinner, did I shut the garage door? Distraction. What am I doing, I’m out of shape, arms too short, booty unbalanced.  Self Doubt. Bring it back to breath.  Let all the distracting chatter spill away….I feel my feet, secure, cushioned by my soft ivory mat. Toes released from their grip, wiggling free. Big toe and pinky bones finding their base, settling in. Just this. All is good, breathe in. I am good.  Breathe out.  He built me for good.  Breathe in.  Goodness follows me all my days.  Breathe out. He is good.  Breathe in. Getting better every day. Breathe out. I’ve got this.  A giant dump truck bounds by the window…what’s He carrying? Squirelly thought… back to breath.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Refill the Tank

True confession:  I’m a gas light gambler. The light stares incessantly, but surely there's one more trip in the tank. Bypassing opportunity to be refilled, I press forward. The needle wavers, slips into the thick bottom line nearing the big E, but still I pursue one more thing, one more day, one more task.

Needing rescue, hubby or friends arrive, red tank in hand with life giving nectar, just enough to lead me back for a complete refill. Filled once more, fresh vows never to do it again, and yet...

there’s the light once again, sending it's alarm, encouraging me to stop and be filled.

I’m in control, I dictate my day.  

Ignoring the alarm, I press forward, working harder, going faster until the final drips are spent and I’m at the gritty bottom.  On the thick tank bottom sits the sediment, the waste, the useless and harmful by-products. The dregs were never meant for intricate parts, they drift in and render everything ineffective requiring a bigger rescue than a roadside fill-up.

The better alternative is to pay attention to the alarm, obey its suggestion and  refill the tank.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

The First To-Do

Stumbling upon loads of undesirable images and mindsets in the Big Book of Truth lately… flailing arms, tossed about on the waves, simple minds, little faith.  All aptly describing me…not in my youth or many years behind but a mere 5 minutes prior I was easily all four. 

Fresh from an overnight away, a few days to rest and rejuvenate, preparing for the busiest of seasons, I should be fully restored, ready to attack tasks with a full tank.  But no.  The tank immediately emptied considering the to-dos. Where to start? What’s most important?  Am I focusing on needless details?  Should I even carry this line? How does that work into existing stock? Will son manage picking up the pre-ordered dinner? Tightening began small, like the rag I twist on cleaning days, lodged right between collarbone and breast. Squeezing and twisting, the tightening now affecting inhales. Breathe. What to do first?  Walk with me, that still small voice whispers.  I don’t have time right now, I should have walked fresh out of bed.  I’ll walk tomorrow.  Walk with me, it insists. This is the last thing I have time for right now, but I lace my sneaks and trudge out the door, tightness still heavy over my heart. 

One step, then another, heaviness slipping in drips. Breathe, the voice speaks again. Breathe again.  That’s better. My weekly verse now returns as the long list of distractions fade:  those who receive the rain that often falls and produce a crop for those it benefits will receive the blessing of God. Long breath in:  Receive the Rain.  Slower breath out:  Produce a crop.  Receive the Rain, Produce the Crop. Receive, Produce, Receive, Produce.  There, there.  Breathing returns to normal, mind clear once again, the inclination is to sprint home applying my new-found calm to the long to-do.  But no… more steps, more breaths.  Receive, Produce, an ever present cycle that requires a constant return to Receiving. However, my default key seems stuck in Produce.  Work, to-do, check-off, new list, more checking off, bigger notebook, more lists. Figure it out, work harder, dig deeper when the very first thing needs to be Receive. Top of the list, the first to-do: Receive. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

A Brand New Day

I may or may not have eaten not one but two Brown’s chocolate chip sugar cakes this weekend. And a beer, chased with a few or more Ritz Sourcream Toasted Chips.  Not all at once, obviously. But today is a brand new day. Super yummy on the tongue, neither left me feeling super fabulous… Emotionally.  Physically.  Clearly, my body and mind craves something more. Something rich with cell-pleasing nutrients, something that satisfies on more than one level.

I fell into easy, fast, surface level satisfaction more than once this weekend.  See, Tim was out of town…moving Maya into her college dorm in far, far Florida. Maybe I was feeling guilty for not being there, for not offering in-person goodbye hugs.  Maybe I succumbed to not feeling more guilty… Maya is super self-sufficient and this is year two, right? Were my mom instincts off? Should I have been there instead of here, eating delicious Brown’s chocolate chip sugar cakes dipped in decaf iced coffee? Gluttonous. Oddly unsatisfying. Likely because I was trying to fill a heart shaped void with a round shaped cookie. The curves just didn’t fill the pointy edges.

So, here I sit, Monday morning, Maya settled into her first new dorm evening, Tim half way home and headed to work.  Me sweaty from my new walking-water-writing routine and just realizing what I had done. Half the healing comes in the knowing. So, I sip and I sweat and I type. Filling myself with something a bit more satisfying, Realization, Awareness, Grace. Today is a brand new day.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Water, Walk & Write

Sleepless night, woke with worry.  Made for a groggy, heavy morn.  Five more minutes turned hour and the single ring of the doorbell pulls me from dreams. Walking to the window to spy the early morning visitor, my driveway and street is completely empty.  No one at the door.  Ok, Lord.  I get it…time to rise and shine.  But still, I don’t wanna.  Yet my three daily W’s await:  Water, Walk, Write.  So, I begrudgingly slip on my walking clothes (aka not my pajamas), tie my sneaks and start to move my legs. One foot in front of the other, then again and again.  

Not an overly long loop and definitely no fast pace.  Just some quiet time to listen and think without the visual of house to-dos surrounding me. Something in the movement forward is purging, shedding off the worry, the sleepiness, bringing clarity, refreshment. Adding a little bouncy pep, my head a little higher, eyes up instead of down, I continue forward.  

Sneaks on pavement, breath in lungs, how ‘bout some gratitude? Thankful for uplifting time shared with another boutique owner yesterday. Offering so much insight, stuff I knew, but didn’t implement. Hearing it from another owner solidified things…iron sharpens iron.  Blessing prayers over her and her business.  Up ahead is a neighbor with a soon-to-be married son.  The beginning of a long life of ups & downs together… Prayers for a married heart, solidarity, compassion, sacrifice. Not  always roses and baby’s breath, marriage is all things wrapped up together good and bad and loving each other still.  Up ahead, a new graduate just returned from along trip abroad and heads into her debut college days. Prayers for provision, for eyes to see opportunity, excitement, perspective. Another beginning.  Baby steps into a long life of learning and growing and stretching.

Worries long gone now… just a faded echo. Thankful for legs to carry me, for fresh breath in my lungs, for a heart and mind that can chat with the big guy over neighbors, friends, and loved ones. Back home, a mild sweat and breath increased, next up: Water and Write. Pouring myself a big, icy glass of water, I sit and begin to tap letters into words. Looking forward, out the window, the rain begins to pour.  More perfect timing.   Now He’s just showing off. 

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Wish & Worry

Maya leaves in one week… less now, six days. College, year two. The in-person visits will start to diminish. More content to be with friends, the edges of her grown up life are starting to emerge. Even this summer, filled with potentials and  lists, somehow scurried away unaccomplished. Where did the time go?  Living weekend to weekend, limited life. Just yesterday, her entire head fit into my palm, her hands curled around my tiniest finger. Completely dependent on me then, dependent on me still but in less glamorous ways. We’ve raised her for this…the spreading of wings, the learning to adult, seeking her unique balance in doing and being.  It’s the steady letting-go that breaks then heals my heart. No doubt she’ll do great things, her skills and scrappy nature will give her wings. It’s the spaces between now and then that shorten my breath… the tinier, seemingly insignificant things, yet the exact moments that define souls:  who will become her tribe? Who will break her heart? How many breaks can her heart withstand? Which partner traits will she begin to prefer and gather? What truths and lies will she retain?  What’s her threshold for seeking more, better, best? Academics secondary, it’s the moments in between that build foundations.  The chance encounters, the belly-laughing spells, the curb-sitting heart to hearts, pillow tears, the long walks home, party invites, party exclusions, late night pizzas, spontaneous excursions.  All necessary moments to build her up and break her down... the exact moments I wish and worry.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The Deeper Stretch

It’s quiet, house still, the Starlings pulse and flow nearby, the air conditioning units on 24 hour shifts with a mid-summer heat wave, back tight, hips loose from long overdue morning yoga with Maya.  Pulling me in very necessary yet strangely unique directions and encouraging long deep cleansing breaths.  My breath typically short and shallow while the entire organ sits with unused potential.  Even now, oxygen sinks down deep only when forced, intentional, with purpose. That deeper breath encourages me to slow down, notice, be present. Those last few seconds of expanding inhale stretching out skin and lung, new and unused spaces suddenly filled.

What other parts of me are short and shallow? What other resources sit untapped? What areas are left dormant, only utilizing surface level potential?  My brain? My heart? My soul?  Do I only think the thoughts given to me? Could I create something new, instead? Am I only allowing tiny bits of heart pumping feeling to emerge and be shared with others when a vast resource sits untapped? 

How does one reach down deep and utilize all of self? I imagine the same way a long deep breath is drawn… slowly, with purpose and intention. Like yoga, limbs, bone and organs must move in directions not typical. A far left reach followed by a deep turn to the right is required. Often off center, tipsy…nothing a quick giggle and a return to center can’t fix.  No giving up, only giving in. New movements feel awkward and often breath returns to shallow, but then you sink in and slow down and breath returns as a new normal is found. Not wanting to waste a single thought, thing or moment as I seek the deeper stretch.