27 January 2015

three years later...

After three years, nearly 1000 hours of class and practical hours and a 3 1/2 hour exam... I have completed my final Pilates certification requirements. I'm done!!! 

14 January 2015


One sunny afternoon back in college, I sat beside a bright window, tucked in a booth across a table from a man whom I'd just met. 

"Who are you and who do you hope to become?" he asked. 

I glanced over his head to rest my eyes and ponder for a while, looked down at the table, then raised my gaze to meet his warm brown eyes. As thoughts came to mind, I shifted in my seat, averted my gaze and without interruption, I shared scattered thoughts. A slow, steady stream of words followed. And when the spaces between my words stretched into a comfortable silence between us, he finally responded. 

"You've spoken for nearly ten minutes," he stated simply, "but told me only what you do." 

And so, I suspect, began my undoing. 

So, what do you do? I've been asked this dreadful question more times than I can count in the decades since then. And I still don't have a good response. 

"Um, laundry... dishes... Pilates... (insert awkward silence)... Um, I don't..."

The thing I began to consider that sunny afternoon on my college campus is the unsettling realization that doing isn't really the point; doing can and often will be undone. A lifetime later, I'm still trying on the idea that the question of what I do is of little consequence to the deeper question, the real question I wish to answer with my life

"If we want to live a wholehearted life, we have to become intentional about cultivating sleep and play, and about letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self worth," Brene' Brown writes. This is not the tale I've been told. In a culture so focused on and fueled by doing, I think it is a tale worth telling, however. 

Laura Hillenbrand, the author of the gripping story of redemption and survival I'm reading right now, writes of a moment of clarity in which two men drift  in open water -- starving and still. 

"One morning, they woke to a strange stillness. The rise and fall of the raft had ceased, and it sat virtually motionless. There was no wind. The ocean stretched out in all directions in glossy smoothness, regarding the sky and reflecting its image in crystalline perfection..."
"Louie found that the raft offered an unlikely intellectual refuge... Here drifting in almost total silence, with no scents other than the singed odor of the raft, no flavors on his tongue, nothing moving... every vista empty save water and sky, his time unvaried and unbroken, his mind was freed of an encumbrance that civilization had imposed on it. In his head, he could roam anywhere, and he found that his mind was quick and clear, his imagination unfettered and supple. He could stay with a thought for hours, turning it about."

The consequence and promise of this moment at the center of the earth takes my breath away. These men were wasting away on a raft in the middle of the ocean after more than 40 days at sea, yet in this moment, thirst, hunger and fear abated; doing ceased and beauty remained. 

It's a new year and the dawn of a new day. I think I'd like to sit with this for while. 

07 January 2015

right here

"I am watching myself change because I have changed the place I'm in." 
~Laraine Herring

Cozy on a comfy couch, in the company of four of my favorite persons on this planet, a dear old friend asked Paul and me recently, What are three things you love about where you are? 

I looked to Paul, Paul looked to me and the question hung heavily on the silence in the room. Paul broke it with eyes locked on mine. "I'm waiting for you," he explained. So I closed my eyes and tried to feel my way through. 

The first jumble of thoughts that came to mind spilled out of my mouth all over the floor. Regretfully, my words hardly gave justice to the warmth within me. And long after the conversation veered elsewhere and our friends packed up their car and drove a thousand miles away, the question remains. A week later, I'm still considering. 

*Joy.* A sequined Christmas pillow across the room sparkles with this message, and I can feel it thick in the room. I smiled to myself in the shower this morning at the quickening of my heartbeat and the hum of anticipation of another day. We are a week into a new year, our Christmas tree still winks beside me and each time I look up from my screen, a sparkly reminder speaks to me about my intention for 2015.

And with time, space and room to think, to feel, to gather my thoughts and to capture them, I'm back to comfy and cozy and this question of love, the sweet spot where the choice of joy begins. I'm not sure I could have seen it from where I sat six years before now, but I really do love where I am.  

I love...

  • Summertime in Seattle
  • Summertime on Whidbey
  • The Maxwelton 4th of July parade
  • the water
  • the mountains
  • the omnipresence of green
  • the color of autumn
  • the cozy of winter
  • the hope of Spring
  • that most days begin with a good stretch and end around a wood stove
  • that I've learned to love grey 
  • that I really, REALLY appreciate a sunny day so much more
  • that I really, REALLY appreciate a snowy day so much more
  • this dreadfully uncomfortable chair I call home
  • that Paul's eyes sparkle in a different way here
  • that my kids are down-to-earth, playful, and mostly still kids
  • my *Joy* pillow
  • the library
  • the ferry
  • our home
  • our boat
  • camping at Chelan
  • the pace
  • that the ladies at the grocery store (and the bank, and the post office) know my name
  • getting away
  • coming home
  • walking
  • teaching Pilates
  • my handful of new friends
  • the unexpected turn of events with my hair
  • the simple
  • the subtle
  • the sublime
  • Whidbey SeaTac Shuttle
  • the suitability of an occasional latte
  • my gym
  • the Island County Fair
  • Dock Yoga
  • deck yoga
  • The Bayview Farmer's Market
  • the blanket of clouds that rest upon the Sound in early morning
  • Double Bluff Beach
  • Double Bluff Beach Club
  • sunsets at Maxwelton Beach
  • Ebey's Landing
  • Mukilteo Coffee Co. 
  • who I have become 
  • where we are headed next
  • that I feel grounded
  • that my family and my spirit feel alive and awake
  • that I've made friends with myself
  • that I feel connected, yet free
  • this middle ground where the highs aren't so high and the lows aren't so low. 
  • Wednesdays... and Mondays, and Tuesdays, and Sundays, and Fridays... and, well, Thursdays and Saturdays
  • that I've been able to write and to read and to write and to read... and to dance.

And yet it's not all daisies and roses in this place . Your voice is but a whisper where it once was a shout. I feel cold and sad sometimes, I miss my family and friends, the sun doesn't always come out tomorrow, and the climate of my relationships is different. But I feel weepy and warm nevertheless. I know you are here beside me.

This is the beginning of a list that could go on forever; this amazes me. And it feels so good to be right here, right now -- to feel joy about what is at this time of year fixated on what is to come. Thank you for bringing me here.

To 2015.