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Not that long ago in the treatment room, my acupuncturist took my pulses and told me that my chi was stronger and more balanced than she had ever seen it. And its true, I was feeling more full, more peaceful, more aware of the great abundance in my life than I have perhaps ever. The situation of my life was not all that different than it had been a few months ago, but I am so fully aware of the gift of it all, it was not a surprise that my body began singing that tune. I felt so blessed that the Universe and I had worked together to heal some cracks in my heart so that I could begin to store a reservoir of energy to face whatever life would throw at me next.

You know what happened then? I immediately began to wonder when the next shoe would drop and tragedy would strike. I was certain the Universe had brought me to this pinacle of joy, only to rob me of it. I admit this sheepishly, but to be honest its true. I have programmed myself to believe that opening up to goodness means a sure fire punch in the gut is coming. I sat with that a while and got curious about it.

Max went on a long planned overnight trip this week to an indoor water park a few hours away with some of his best buddies from hockey. The trip is well chaperoned by people I love and trust deeply. For him, it was a holiday dream come true–an amazing adventure laid out before him.

Over the holidays Max and I had lots of opportunities for mom/son time. We spent hours reading together all snuggled up by the fire. Just as I would sink into the goodness of being his mother, fear would start to creep in. Foreboding Joy.

With this trip on the horizon, this trip so exciting and marvelous laid out like a gem I got fixated on the fact that this trip–this beautiful gift of a trip would be the thing that did us in.

I was certain that something was going to go wrong–horribly wrong. A car accident, a drowning, a bully or a sick man who would lure him away. He would bump into sharp corners of some sort and be wounded horribly. He would not come home. All these things do happen after all to families every day and the truth of the matter is we never know when life is going to shift and change or throw us a curve ball. We don’t know when we or our loved ones will breathe their last breaths. I tried to hold these facts without dwelling on them. I breathed and focused on the present moment. It seemed to help.

One night Max crawled into my bed, his room was so cold. I was awake and as I snuggled him and watched him sleep I felt that fear start to rise again. That panic that he would be taken from me. Visions of firey car crashes warred with my internal reassurances that he was traveling with a paramedic. I wondered whether it was my mother’s intutition that was telling me to not let him go, to slam the door on this opportunity and keep him safe by the fire with me. I then wondered whether this was my own difficulty sinking into the kindness and the adventure presented to him. This war was taking me nowhere good.

So late that night, I made a different decision. Instead of stepping on that rollercoaster, I stepped back and asked myself what on earth could this fear be pointing to. As I looked at his giant puppy ten year old self sleeping in heap and stealing my covers it was clear.

I love this child so very much, so deeply, so completely and with such abandon that my heart is completely and utterly exposed. And that is a very blessed thing. Being Max mom is the greatest joy of my life, a job that has new challenges and new twists and turns, a job that is ever changing. It is a job that I love with a passion so great, I sometimes think I will explode. And that is a blessed thing.

It was not his trip with the long list of possible (though not probable) tragedies that could occur that was scaring me. It was being this vulnerable. I sat with this fact for a long time. I wrapped my arms around my boy and I slept on it.

When I woke up, I realized that my vulnerability is what is saving me, what is healing me. When I sit, open in the classroom, letting myself be moved, I am practicing being vulnerable. When I marvel at all that I have, kissing each ordinary blessing in my life, I am being vulnerable. This vulnerability is terrifying and it is a treasure. It is what is opening up the deep well of energy and chi and goodness that I am drawing from. It is what is allowing me to sink even deeper. Its not a surprise that as I wake up to vulnerability I found myself struggling with it too.

What a treasure it was to stumble upon this. I have bumped into the work of the marvelous Brene Brown before and yet as I sit in my pajamas waiting for Max to come home, it resonates at a level so much deeper than before.

I am aware of how I protect myself from this vulnerability by refusing to open up entirely to the love and goodness in my life. How quick I am to slam the gates around my heart and what it has cost me. And I am making it decision, right here, right now, to practice vulnerability, over and over again.

The Ted Talk takes 20 minutes but it may just change your life.

**Thinking with love of K. and others who are sharing this journey with me. We are all walking it together. Holding hands will make it easier.**

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Sometimes in order to learn something deep in your bones you need to forget it. Only then can you realize that you knew it always and this learning was really a remembering, a reawakening, a recovering of wisdom ancient and old.

This is wisdom you always had, though you thought that someone had to teach it to you so that you could really have it. So you go through the motions and you bring your good school girl self to the classroom and you listen with new ears and see with new eyes. And you flail and throw yourself against it until you are tired. And maybe then you are still.

In doing so, the school girl realizes she is really a wise old sage and that even if her mind wasn’t sure she ever had it, her bones always knew she did. This wisdom is woven into the very essence of her/of you/of me–of all of us.

You only needed to get your mind out of the way.

So you told yourself you didn’t know. You came at it in new again so your body could demonstrate that you do know. Everything that you need to know is already here. Its just a matter of remembering. Its just a matter of allowing heart, your bones, your blood to speak what it has always wanted to say if your mind would simply let it.

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Christmas morning found me in my pajamas, cooking pancakes and bacon and brewing a pot of coffee while Max and Juan played the boy’s new video game downstairs. It could have been a scene from the movie I used to play over and over again in my mind during the early months of our separation, the movie entitled, “If Only It Could Work Out”. So funny that we ended up here even though we haven’t really ended up anywhere near what I thought “here” would look like. Two separate homes. Custody agreement and child support.

Its been almost 7 years since we separated. Max doesn’t remember what it was like to live with his dad and sometimes he cries that he just wants to know what its like to have both parents in one house. I know that feeling of wishing my family to be whole too–that sense that THIS is not how its supposed to be. That sense that families are SUPPOSED to be together in one house or that parents are SUPPOSED to work it out for the sake of the children or that we are SUPPOSED to be rewarded for hard work with “happy ever after”. I once held onto those old stories too.

And yet, if life has taught me anything these past seven years it is that there is no “supposed to”. There is simply life, marching on, throwing curve balls and opportunities to learn new ways of being. There is no happily ever after but if we can let go of the SUPPOSED TO there are plenty opportunities to be happy right now.

The definition of our family is constantly shifting. Truth be told, every definition is really simply a story, made up, self constructed. We are just three people, two adults and one wise, funny, brilliant and gorgeous child doing our best to make it through life peacefully. Connected to one another in a thousand different ways that matter. (Disconnected in some other important ways too!) Juan and I are both profoundly awake to the fact that whatever we did to one another in marriage and divorce, the best thing we ever did bring this amazing child into this world. We have found a way to let the rest go so we can both bathe in that sweetness. We have found a way to dance a new dance so we can both be with our son and witness his glory on this most magnificent morning.

We have done Christmas lots of ways, but recently have found a way to a shared Christmas morning. Of being together the three of us around a tree because there is no where else any of us wants to be right at that moment than together. Next year it could be different.

I called the boys to the table and served up the breakfast on the Christmas plates that someone had given us a few years after our wedding. Its lovely to have this ritual now, this simple way of celebrating life, despite what it threw us.

Next year may bring new challenges to navigate, new rituals, new dances. Truth it, despite every tradition faithfully executed, its always new. Each of us is always showing up new and that means new dances every time. And so while this Christmas morning was pure sweetness, I simply breathe and let go of any attachment to the fact that this is the way it is supposed to be.

After all there is no way it is supposed to be. There is only just the way that it is. There are ten thousand ways to be a family–joyously, painfully, brokenly, messily, lovingly a family. Every one of them is perfect.

Every glorious one.

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Hello….Hello…Is anyone still there?
I know its been awhile. Its been a wild and wooly fall and I’ve missed you.
The last several months I have had to let go of a lot to make space for this dream I have been living. Unfortunately, some of what I have had to let go of is writing–or at least writing that isn’t being handed in for a grade.

But I haven’t given it up completely. And so today, with several final papers handed in, and others printed out, stapled and tucked safely inside my school bag I can take a breath and return to this page. Hello again. Have you missed me?

Our life has been turned upside down and inside out by my decision to go to school. Max and I both have had to learn new ways of being. Homework side by side, he now needs to wait for me to complete my thought on paper before I can look up to help him. Each minute of our waking time needs to be used wisely for work, or school, or chores and so we linger less at community gatherings and leave lots undone. The house always looks like a bomb went off and sometimes we have to reach into the dirty laundry basket for clothes. Mornings are a bit harried as we both have school that starts exactly at nine. There have been more life solutions that feel as though they are held together by duct tape. Max has had to do more on his own. Its been a change.

And yet life is change. Life is always changing and school has been a gift that has called me to witness it shifting so.
*****
When I decided to go to school I imagined that I would blog about it frequently, sharing pearls of wisdom that I had taken in and digested. Looking back now I can only smile at that intention–the hubris inherent in it. This school is nothing that I can distill so neatly. For what I am learning, along with history and anatomy and theory is the art of being. And that my friends is the Dao that cannot be spoken.

I am finding myself being completely broken open. Sitting quietly in a chair with tears streaming down my face, only to be laughing in the very next moment. I am being moved beyond words. I am noticing a softening in myself, a loosening of places that have always felt tight. I am smelling things as though for the first time, and digesting ideas (some long cherished) so completely that they no longer live in my brain but reside in my bones.

I am doing it all in community, in a group of people who don’t rush in to fix me when I cry. They don’t ask me what is wrong or try to fix my messiness because they know that I am perfect exactly as I am, tears and drippy nose and all. In fact, knowing that we are all perfect exactly as we are is an entrance ticket to this world I inhabit. Don’t dare pick up the mantle of healer until you know that there is nothing to be fixed. Instead be there to fertilize the soil, bear witness to the flowering, assist with the pruning and kiss it all. That is how the healing happens.

As the fall has shifted to winter I have experienced exhaustion, fatigue, a sense of desperation and terrible gut wrenching fear. And as each of these have surfaced I have let them move through me completely. No need to stuff, repress, reframe or even understand. It is simply energy in motion. I have faced some really dark places–moments of intense loneliness and moments when I thought that I would not be able to keep carrying on with this schedule and yet even in the darkest hour never have I regretted the choice to walk this path. I have never doubted walking this way nor have I doubted that walking this way will lead me home..

I have learned that I can keep going if I simply do what is in front of me without worry about what comes next. I have also learned that when I give up the fight with what is (the worry, complaining or stress over what to do) and simply focus on what action I can take to keep moving that we keep marching ahead. And I have learned that putting lots of reminders around to keep me in practice.

I have often operated from a place of deficiency–no enough rest, not enough time, not enough money, not enough support. I have been a fight with the “not enoughs” for so long. So now, I write this message on my hand and remind myself to pay attention to the abundance of ways that I am being held by the universe. The squeeze that has been this trimester, the relentless pace and constant shifting has been teaching me to find space in the chaos to breathe. That space is the place I call peace. It is always there. Finding that peaceful space to inhabit no matter what comes, that is the art of being.

On Sunday as I was pulling out of the Trader Joe’s parking lot, the power steering in my new car gave way.

At that moment, I became profoundly aware that I had a car. A car that is transporting me to school every day. A car that allows me to take Max to hockey and to carry a trunk full of groceries home in the heat. My chest, neck and shoulders all began to tighten as I contemplated what the next few days would be like without the use of this precious car. That tightness could have been a springboard to a whole downward spiral of panic.

Instead I used it as a bell. A call to make a different decision. Instead of contemplating its loss–what if I celebrated its presence? This was something I am learning in school. It was a chance to practice. The truth is dwelling on the problem would only have given rise to panic and my panic would not have served me. It would have not helped me solve my problem and was about to cause me a whole world of suffering. So I decided to chose a new practice of gratitude.

I started from where I was. I was able to turn the car using a bit of muscle. I could take it the two miles home. The frozen chicken in the trunk would not melt. I was grateful for that one small detail. I was grateful the whole way home, at every stop light, I noticed how far it had carried me. Whenever panic began to rise in my throat I told myself. “I have a car–a car that serves me well. It is taking me home.” Those words changed the whole way I held my body.

Surprisingly, I was feeling calm when I got home, not in the funk I might take on when my carefully orchestrated reality starts to unravel. I made a phone call to a friend and found myself blessed once again. For I had a friend who would loan me her car for a day or two while my broken one to the shop. I had a way to school and it only required one phone call. How easy!

The next morning, I made a call to the magic auto repair garage in my neighborhood. Milo the Magnificent made a quick decision that the car wasn’t safe and even though they were booked (and it required me to rush out of the house at that minute) they would take my car if I could get it there quickly. He didn’t promise me an answer anytime soon but he wanted to be sure it was off the road and safe at their place until they could take a peak. I may have felt panicked about what the visit to the garage might do to my carefully planned morning schedule but I decided to make a different choice. As I walked into the garage that morning, I declared myself joyful. It was a beautiful morning. I had mechanics who care and my car had given me an excuse for an early morning walk through the neighborhood.

When they called just a few hours later to tell me about the expensive repairs that were looming, I did not despair. Instead I chose to focus on how pleasantly surprised I was that they had looked at it so quickly and grateful that I had cash in the bank. I had a car. I had the cash. I am lucky. Lucky. Lucky.

When I went that afternoon to pick up my car, I didn’t feel tense, sick or even the slightest bit resentful, even though I was handing over hundreds that I hadn’t planned to spend. Instead I felt nothing but gratitude–for the car, the mechanics, the cash.

When my power steering hose (and another belt or two) gave way, I never imagined it would be a gift. It woke me up to a present moment both abundant and blessed.

I have a car.
I have a generous friend.
I have an efficient and fair mechanic.
I have sufficient cash.

The world is beginning to show up new. Full. Rich. I am lucky indeed. I am so grateful for the leaking power steering hose that reminded me of this. Life has showing up as abundance and it took a broken down car to point me to it. I am so glad I can finally see.

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The books arrived this week, in a brown box that sat on the coffee table. I took a deep breath as I opened them and spread them out, fingered the crisp binding, the smooth unblemished pages, held them to my nose. So many tiny choices over so many days, months, year have led to this pile of books on my table, the books that tell me that no, I am not making this up. I am, in fact, going to school on Tuesday.

Netter’s Clinical Anatomy, the IChing, The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine. These are classics–books that connect me with learning that is old, very old and rooted in intuition and science both. I am walking in a long line–following wise ones ahead of me.

I can exhale. And lean into this. I can do this.

I promised her that I would do this, before she died, I promised her I would live and wouldn’t be afraid. That I would keep moving forward, keep moving into the next adventure, keep walking onto the path before me. And even now I am not entirely sure what comes next. Don’t know where this next step will really take me. So instead I flip through textbooks and then pile them up, then spread them out on the table again.

This summer has been an up and down one, filled with thousands of tiny decisions and many big lifts and a hundred and one changes to our life, all in service of moving forward on this path. I had no idea how to get there, still don’t really know what I am going to do next, so I have been focused on putting one foot in front of the other–a to-do list that has unfurled like a scroll, each step revealing itself after the next. I have so many stories swirling round my head, so many half-written pieces that have had to wait–will still have to wait while I have moved urgently forward with my list of tiny tasks–ordinary simple engines.

Even now I am furiously packing, more tiny to-dos propelling me forward, always forward, preparing for a long weekend in the woods, to finally slow down and rest in the company of my tribe around a campfire and sing and let it all sink in before I step through the gate. One last mad dash to the quiet hollow that is my church deep in the Monongehala. But I stop schleping tarps and guitars to the car because that pile of books has begged me to stop and recognize its significance. Its weighty presence telling me that yes I am here, where I am supposed to be. I have taken my place in line, in a long line of healers. I don’t need to wait until I can sit in the moonlight to let it sink in. It is true now. It has always been true.

I am scared to feel the joy of this moment–so afraid that it will all come crashing down, or a rug will pull out or worse yet that it will really be awful and I will have realized that I have made a very big mistake and I can’t turn back. And yet that scary feeling reassures me–tells me in no uncertain terms that I am going exactly in the right direction. Not wishing and dreaming but moving forward. Moving forward. Moving forward. Step by step revealed as I take it. Feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Walking in a long line through the dark, through the light, through my life.

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This week, I finally let her go. Turned her over the insurance company that had deemed her totaled even though it was only a fender bender. But she was old and belched smoke, and was scratched and dented and taped up in so many places she wasn’t worth saving. Thats what they said. I knew it was true, even though I resisted it. I had known it for over a year now but I was finally willing to admit it. She had been struggling through the last six months. She always came through but each time her effort made me realize just how unsure each trip was becoming.

In the weeks since she had been declared beyond hope I had shopped and searched for a new old car to replace her. At first overwhelmed I became excited and empowered as I searched for a car good enough to actually replace my lovely old car. I found one at last, a sleek wagon with lots of room for hockey equipment and carpools, fuel efficient and well cared for and so I called my adjuster and told him it was time. And as if to bring that message home, that night her front left tire went flat.

Many people aren’t attached to their cars–even their fancy, pretty, cars that can do all sorts of wonderous things. They trade them in after three years for something even better without a thought. That always struck me as more sane. But sane I am apparently not. For me, the older and more beat up my car became the more I loved her.

My car was simple and by no means anything to talk about but I loved her for what she did for me and what she witnessed. She brought me places safely. She carried me long distances and short distances and kept running, no matter how badly I treated her. I have to admit I kept coming up with excuses to go back out and run my hands along the back seat one more time. Even inanimate objects can love us and she loved us well.

Thanks you old girl for the 13 years you took care of us. Thank you for bringing my baby home safely from the hospital, for rocking him to sleep when he wouldn’t rest. Thank you for all the countless trips to preschool, for providing me shelter when I needed to sob in the driveway and get out my stress and sorrow before coming home to be “together and strong” mom. Thank you for seeming to expand almost magically to carry all our gear camping, for being a home to Max’s smelly hockey bag. Thank you for being a canvass for my bored toddler, for delivering me to work, to the doctor, to my loved ones. Thank you for being there when I needed to rush home, rush to school, rush to Max. You made it possible for me to rush. Thank you for carrying us without consequence through snow storms and ice storms and rain storms and for never dying in the heat–even when you had several non-working sparkplugs.

We will forever be grateful for the small and simple ways you made our lives easy, for the ways you allowed us to solve problems. I will not forget you. Nope. Not ever. I am grateful for the goodness your brought on all four wheels.

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It is possible. If I have learned anything in the last 10 days, than I have learned that even though things may seem very stuck for very long, if you keep putting one foot in front of the other, if you keep taking small steps, things can start to happen. If you knock on the door long enough, it just may open. After months, years, of feeling stuck no matter what I did, I am finally starting to feel some movement in my life and I am still awash in wonder that yes–it can happen! It is happening! Its happening NOW!

Some of the biggest and most important shifts, the ones that really get things going, they are the small ones. The most unlikely of events can set a whole amazing chain of events in motion. The lucky break with the insurance adjuster, the paperwork that finally gets done, the deals that once sealed open up new pathways. Small shifts that create new spaces, new paths to walk down. It need not be an earthquake to move and shake. Sometimes big movements come from the smallest of shifts.

In the space of ten days I have learned how to be my own fairy godmother. I have learned how to save myself through my own divine magic–not through big dramatic changes but by tiny almost inconsequential actions. But I have also learned that I have lots of help and support in weaving my magic. Masters and assistants have presented themselves at every turn, the minute I declared myself the magic-maker all sorts of help showed up.

Here is what I learned:

Be fierce when it comes to protecting your heart.
Do a lot of very mundane things. Even if you don’t think you have the energy. Print, file, search, sign. These little movements create big waves that carry us far.
Listen to your intuition and start paying attention to how much you really do know in your heart of hearts if you only dared listen. All those times you said, “I knew it…” They weren’t coincidence.
Believe in your own ability to release and heal. It doesn’t need to be dramatic or big or torture. Its OK if it is, but understand that it can be easy too. Embrace it when its easy. Its no less valuable to simply just heal.
Hold someone’s hand. Even better, hold their head in your hands.
Marvel at the miracles of babies. Remember when they weren’t even a thing and recognize how the universe makes huge changes in no time at all.
Recognize yourself in strangers. Listen to what they say when they recognize themselves in you.
Say what comes into your heart, especially if its kind.

Lots of big but small changes over here. In the space of seven days I have welcomed a new housemate, signed my student loans, completed a level of Reiki certification, let go of my old car and am almost there on finding a new one. I feel as though i am being swept away on a tide of goodness and grateful for the ride.

Tell me something good, or maybe something sticky. Tell me anything at all. I will tell you more later.

Its been one of those summers. Transition and excitement and change and full catastrophe living. In some ways its the price to be paid for living the dream. Its exhausting dodging all the curve balls that get thrown this way. Like my car.

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Not that long ago, I declared on a summery eclipse night that I was ready to let go of my old crappy Mazda and make the space for a reliable energy efficient car. My sweet car wasn’t always old and crappy. She has served me well for 12 years. But the repair bills have been higher and more frequent than I’d like. I use packing tape to hold one headlight on and the body–well–the body has seen better days–to many urban parking garages. Twice this summer, the Universe has prompted me to let her go–first when someone backed into me in a pool parking lot. And then again on Tuesday on the way to Max’s swim practice when I got into another fender bender. The insurance company says her current worth is likely less than the cost of even the minor (but necessary) repairs and so more than likely when I meet with the lovely insurance adjuster, he will tell me that I am driving a drivable “total loss”, cut me a check and take her from me at last.

Unfortunately, the money I will get wont buy me a good car and I don’t really have much cash for a new used car. I knew a new car was on the horizon but I had been hoping and praying that this baby would last as long as I needed her to while I lazily flipped through Consumer Reports and diligently put the right amount aside. I didn’t want to face this problem urgently. Do we ever want to face any problem when its urgent?

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This has been another blip in a long line of summertime happenings that have left me feeling panicked about my financial plan for the fall. Just when I had it all figured out, practically to the nickel, a new car throws everything into a tailspin. This despite pulling out every trick I know to figure out how to live on just 60% of my old income (or rather add to it) and create some cushion in case life gets nutty.

What’s almost comical is that I can’t quite seem to catch a break. There is a long tale of woe about a car my folks want to give me that ended in heartbreak and rust. And just a few weeks ago, not long after I declared myself ready to get rid of the car, I got a phone call. I had (hold onto your hats) won a car–a hybrid no less. Never a winner, I had won a sweepstakes I had entered at a hockey game some 8 months ago. I barely remembered doing it. I never thought much about the car. Really I just wanted to get Max a Red Caps towel to twirl at the game so I filled out some card, barely noticing the shiny Hydrid vehicle being hawked, trading the info I assumed would go to a marketing firm for a terry cloth freebie. Yet, here, as my old car was falling apart, a new one. The entire time I listened to the spiel I kept interrupting trying to find the catch. There always is a catch with these sweepstakes–a timeshare to buy or a vacation to take. And then, it came–the kicker. For some dumb reason, in order to win you had to be married. It was in the fine print on the damn card I didn’t care about filling out but did. I explaining to the kind man on the other end of the phone that I was no longer married. He then politely hung up.

*****

When I was trying to decide to go to school so many people told me “Leap and the Net Will Appear”. I am not sure exactly what I thought it meant. I suppose I thought it meant something like a Fairy Godmother would appear out of nowhere who would secretly behind the scenes pull a few strings to conspire along the way to smooth the way and make it easier for things to fall into place. Interestingly enough though, this summer has been an exercise in the exact opposite. Every little step along the way seems three times more difficult–like walking into a blizzard wind. Each problem has required me to stretch myself. Learn something new. Go to some new uncomfortable place.

I am beginning to believe that, “Leap and the Net will Appear” means
“When in a free fall-the Universe may toss you some rope and whisper that its a pretty good time to learn to weave.” The magic must come from within.

******

Living on the edge, pushing toward my dreams means full catastrophe living. Being willing to walk on the edge and embrace the worse case scenario with calm and confidence and the full belief that whatever disaster comes our way, I will discover a way to solve that problem. It may involve my brain, my intuition or maybe just hard brut work but I will magic my own way out of it. Bibbity, bobbity boo…
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And yet, at the same time, I know that the law of the Universe is that we are all interconnected. I am deeply powerful, but I am not alone. I will find allies and guides and and even net weavers who will support me, magicians assistants and wizened old mentors. I need to open to the resources that will appear. Friends and family who know how to buy cars, or rent bedrooms or market wares will show me the way. There may be partners who want to join me on my journey who won’t solve my problems but who will invest something (money, heart, ideas) into my quest. I have to keep believing that the resources I need to weave this net will appear and that I will know exactly what to do with them when they show up. Even when in freefall.

Bibbity.

Bobbity.

Boo.

It was supposed to be a week of productivity. Of completing all the lonely projects, the ones that linger like forelorn orphans around my table, staring at me from piles, begging for attention. Our life has become hurried in the last few years and like so many mothers I am collapsing into bed leaving many things half done, wishing to duplicate or triplicate myself.

Its been even crazier since I decided to in fact make acupuncture school a reality. There has been so much to do to get ready, to take the steps I need to free myself up. Nothing has come together easily. I say that not as a complaint but rather as a way to explain my absence from the places I normally haunt. I click down the to-do list mentally and it never seems like much but in the execution, in the moment it is everything. Like lifting a boulder over my head–every ounce of strength going into each task. And yet, I am aware that while I am busy being productive, our life is flying by and

I suppose that is why, I am here instead lingering at the pool, using my vacation to remember again that my life is more than the sum of completed to-do lists. It is feeling the hot blanket of summer on my skin, watching my son frolic for hours in the water, it is breathing and resting and taking a cat nap and then picking up my book. It is feeling how cool the water feels when I dive in. It is experiencing summer.

Earlier this week, I gathered my soulsisters up and we traveled to Baltimore to hear music. An old college friend was coming through town playing in a band, in a dive bar, in a gritty part of town. It was a week for for greasy chips and mussels in garlic butter and Belgian beer with orange slices, live music and finding a way to shrink 20 years into a blink of an eye. A week to touch the me that is fearless and sees life as a a wide expanse of possibility.

It will soon be time to click through my to-do lists. There are swim meets, and chores, and a room to show to potential tenants. There are playdates and bills to pay–all of them as real and rich as my time basking in the sun. But for now the scent of sunscreen and the energy sapping heat is the only thing before me and so I sink into it.