Or getting more sleep… :)
Or getting more sleep… :)
My soul is feeling things these days that I can’t quite name. On one level there’s joy and glad anticipation of what life holds ahead. And there’s gratitude for what’s in my life and in my arms each day already.
On another there’s a kind of grief going on. The shifting nature of life – the way friendships and life seasons and circumstances come and go: I don’t always have peace with this.
This week my practice when I feel these tougher feelings is to put my hand on my heart and send love to whatever part of me is feeling them. To tell that part of me, “I’m here. I’m listening. I’m sorry you’re feeling blue.”
It doesn’t make the feelings disappear, but it helps life feel softer and kinder, which, goodness – isn’t nothing. Grief needs soft places to land.
I’m sending you love and linking arms with you in a special way if you’re feeling this mix of things, too. I’m glad we’re in this being-human thing together.
This image was part of last year’s Santa Pause experience. If you’d like to receive images like this in your inbox each day this season, come see what Santa Pause is all about. Registration stays open through THIS SATURDAY.
Sending love to you this Thanksgiving week, and deep wishes that you find moments of stillness and enoughness in the midst of all your plans,
P.S. If you need a little hand-hold for upcoming family time – which let’s face it, isn’t always easy, no matter how much love surrounds it – I made this book for you.
P.P.S. Santa Pause begins officially THIS SUNDAY, with introductions heading out on Saturday. If you’ve been meaning to sign up, or want to learn more about this chance to gently nourish trust this holiday season, now’s the time to go here.
If I could circle with you and the beat of many drums, I'd want to dance a dance of fierceness and love and determination to make a new world together. A world where fear is only background noise and not what guides us. A world where trust loosens all our hearts and the soil of our imaginations and unleashes wave upon wave of new leaders and new businesses and new relationships and new movements and new art that all get how connected we all are, how crazy able we are to address complex challenges in win-win ways, and how our planet needs this of us.
Rise up in the life that you're currently living - not the life that you'll be living someday when you get everything in order and figure out your purpose and the kids are all raised.
Rise up in the specific and maddening relationships you're navigating today.
Rise up in your work place and on the bus and in the quiet of your living spaces.
Rise up and say,
Enough of being stuck; enough of being wilted; enough of being numb; enough of avoiding the work I feel called to; enough of being gripped by jealousy and bitterness and victimhood.
Rise up and say,
Today, in this moment, and the next, is my chance to let trust be my guide. Is my chance to soften all my muscles and my fight-ready fists as many times as I can think of it and open up my hands and heart and mind to love and inspiration.
Today is my chance to call on strength and trust in ways I often don't think of doing and pour these into things that help and heal and re-order.
Today is my chance to be a trust warrior on behalf of Earth and on behalf of the people that I love and on behalf of my own heart that's so ready to live beyond the walls and containments that fear has created there.
And tell me if there are ways I can support you doing so.
If words and images like these (above) soften and center you, I hope you’ll consider joining me for Santa Pause. Let’s support one another in bringing peace to our hearts and our planet.
I want to tell you that this table and this chair
comfort me in these moments
when the sky is dark
and the kids are asleep
and my yearning surfaces
- that mystery that rises up
like mist does in the valley where I grew as a child,
covering homes and streets and eyelashes
with wet and cold,
making strangers of familiar roads
and everything slow just when you want to get there fast.
I sit here with yearning on my eyelashes,
my eagerness to arrive
and order in my home
a wardrobe I like and that fits
knowing to my bones that I’m enough
and the trust that makes everything – everything – feel softer and more kind:
that eagerness for arrival
a misty cloak around all possible routes away from here.
But this table, this chair
they hold me.
Their strength and solidity:
“You are here,” they say.
As though the trees they once were whisper
of the earth their roots once knew
the sun their leaves once lifted toward instinctually
the growth that held no angst for them to do.
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Join me this December for a daily pause on all things Santa. A lovely group is gathering and early bird pricing lasts through this Thursday. Learn more.
While I tend to much behind the scenes this week (get ready for a new design here and a new offering!), I want to share a project that’s been such a joy to be part of (and includes the image above!).
Christine Valters Paintner of Abbey of the Arts is a deep, soulful woman doing wonderful work in the world (formerly based in Seattle, now in Ireland). In addition to so much else, she’s created a Monk Manifesto, whose eight principles are a rich resource for reflection and meditation – whether you consider yourself a monk or not, or religious or not.
I was honored when she asked me to create images to go along with the seven principles of that manifesto and again this month when she invited me to illustrate an eighth principle she recently, heartfully added – one of my very favorites (hint: it has to do with DANCE)!
Come see the visual meditation she’s put together of all eight principles + illustrations, accompanied by the beautiful music of Trish Bruxvoort Colligan. And while you’re at it, check out all of Christine’s work (courses, books, etc.)!
This weekend I ran a 10K race and announced it on Facebook, accompanied by the picture above.
And as I thought about that posting, I realized how little it actually communicates about my lived experience of training for and running that race.
I realized that for every victorious picture any of us sees, there is SO MUCH MORE to the story. More that would give the context necessary for you to feel more human after seeing that picture, more at ease with who you are, more confident that your own life, with its thrilling victories and frustrating defeats, is beautiful.
I hope that sharing this much more of the story behind MY picture can be a reminder to you to assume that there’s this much more behind EVERY picture, and were you to know it, Facebook would be less a slough of deflating self-comparisons, and more a celebration – a *hallowing* – of how human we all are, and how very much not alone.
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My knees have given me grief since high school, when a combination of falling twice (in a row!) on a tile floor with all my weight landing on my knee caps (darn the laces on those boots!!!) and playing volleyball left them always tender.
Every time I’ve tried running even short distances, I’ve felt pain under my knee caps, and assumed I would never run. Lifting weights and power walking became my exercise habits of choice when ever I’d *have* an exercise habit.
A few years ago I decided to take my yearnings for more nature in my life seriously and actually seek out hiking places in my surrounding area.
My joy was IMMENSE at taking this step. I bought my first real pair of hiking shoes and smiled ear to ear for a week…And then carried my son on my back on a hike and my knees were in pain for weeks. WEEKS.
I felt like my joy – the realization of this long-felt yearning – had been ripped away from me.
I created a whole ritual to try to work through the grief of what I assumed were knees that could not hike. You can read about that here.
Fast forward to last May and I decided to try running really slowly. Really gingerly. My knees felt that a little, but with time, I realized they were feeling fine. That I was growing muscles around them that seemed to keep them supported.
I made the switch to barefoot shoes – shoes made to feel like you’re running barefoot – mid-summer, and that only made me more able to run. I could run down hill with those. I could run longer distances.
I could run!!!
I felt like a new body had been given to me – one I never ever dreamed I’d have. New *knees* is what I mean specifically.
So when my friends asked if I’d want to run a 10K with them, I thought…YES. Why yes I do.
This had never once been a goal in my life, but geez. With my new knees? WHY NOT?
So I worked up to more and more miles, and more and more speed. Speed for me started at 14-minute miles for 6-mile runs, then slowly came down to near 10. See? I’m not a rabbit, folks. I am a tortoise.
But I was proud of myself. And just tickled to my bones that I could run.
And then the day of the race came.
It felt great to be in the throngs of runners out there. I didn’t feel nervous. I felt nestled in. Happy.
I ran a great first half, keeping to my 10-minute mile pace.
And then just after 3 miles my gut started cramping. I got chills repeatedly. And I realized my body was working up to diarrhea.
(Thank god I didn’t have to mean that literally.)
So for the next 3.2 miles, I ran and walked and sent peaceful, calming thoughts to my intestines while trying to imagine all the scenarios that could happen under these circumstances.
I could find a bush and just let it go, flashing the rest of the 4000 runners who passed by.
I could knock frantically on someone’s door and ask to use their restroom.
But how would I know if it was REALLY urgent? At what point do I have *just* enough time to get to a house where someone is willing to let me in?
This was the question that circled round and round for at least 2 miles.
I finally made it across the finish line without accident, bee-lined to a restroom, and rejoined my friends who had run their personal bests: 8-minute, 45-second miles and 6-minute, 45-second miles, respectively. Mine were 11-minute miles.
I sat on a curb for a long time, feeling shaky, covered in chills.
I was genuinely proud of myself for doing the race and for all I knew went in to preparing for it.
I was ashamed at how much slower than my friends I had run.
I was aware that there wasn’t any need for shame.
I was mystified at why this had happened.
I was disappointed that I hadn’t been able to run my own best race, or even what I knew I could run a few days before it.
I was compassionate toward my gut and the suffering it had experienced, shedding a few tears in the shower at home afterward at how my body is what it is, does what it does. I’m grateful to it. I feel tender toward it. And not always at peace with its reality.
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Is there a story behind a picture you’d like to share? Have you ever been going down the road of deflating self-comparisons after seeing a picture, heard some back story, and done a u-turn into something more like celebration, camaraderie, or joy?
Last week I wrote a meditation on bodies for Trust Note subscribers. The topic hit such a chord that readers asked me to post it here publicly. May our body conversations continue to grow and deepen and change us. Truly.
If you’d like to be part of the weekly conversation sparked by Trust Notes – a conversation aimed at helping us say YES to our lives, in all ways – sign up for Trust Notes in the sidebar or come see what folks are saying about them.
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I feel moved to talk about bodies today.
There’s a part of me – and maybe you too? – that groans a bit at their mention. Not this again, that part of me says.
That part of me is tired of living in a culture where bodies are a type of currency, and the more bodies look a certain way and can perform certain functions well, the higher their value.
It’s exhausting to be bombarded by this message so constantly.
It’s exhausting to try to resist or ignore it.
It’s exhausting to try to do just enough or hide just enough to raise your value just enough to feel like you’re just enough.
So when someone says let’s talk about bodies, that exhausted part of me wants to walk the other way. No thanks, she says. Enough of this already.
But there are other parts of me that have something to say on this topic, and these other parts can already tell that the exhausted part will unclench and relax and feel so much better if they speak. So here goes:
Bodies are amazing homes. They’re amazing classrooms for learning. They’re teachers and probably our single most important gurus ever.
They show us what we’re afraid of.
They remind us that things constantly change.
They are an open invitation to make peace with that change.
They invite us to accept. To acknowledge our lack of control.
When we feed them good things and begin to move them after periods of doing neither, they show us viscerally what forgiveness looks like. What it means to forgive and move on and even bless those who’ve done us harm.
They humble us.
They embolden us.
They show us how much deeper we can dig inside ourselves than we ever dreamed possible.
They remind us that there are limits, and that we ALL have them, and that there isn’t any shame in that.
They are windows into deep, healing joy; transforming pleasure; the necessity – when it comes to so many of the physical and non-physical things that we want – of surrender and release.
In countless ways they support our evolution.
Something about naming all of that takes my thoughts around bodies to a different universe from the conversation about bodies constantly taking place in the images in media I see, the preoccupations of the people around me, and the air that I breathe.
The value of your body isn’t remotely tied to how closely it matches the age and shape and functionality and tautness of Barbie-like people.
The value of your body goes so deep, so high, so vastly wide inherently. In every life stage.
Tears are in my eyes as I write that.
I’m sending love right now to your body. To the parts of it you’re proud of and the parts of it you feel you need to change or hide. To its capacity to do so many things, and to its frustrating, perplexing limitations. To all of it, I’m sending love.
I’m sending love to you, too – to the soul of you. And heartfelt wishes that you learn to open and soften to what your body can teach you.
That you lay down your drive to keep it looking and functioning like a certain age rather than another.
That you discover more and more pleasure in relation to and through it.
That you learn to grieve consciously the losses that it makes you aware of
and discover a quiet, potent joy on the other side of that grief.
Oh, the love that I’m sending you! It has me in tears.
Yours in this life-changing work of tending trust,
P.S. What lessons has your body been teaching you lately? I’d love to hear in the comments!