Saying yes to this time, this moment

butterflywoman     How many of us really live in the here and now, not dwelling in the past or worrying about the future, just living in this time, this moment?   All of us get caught up in stress, in worry, in imagining all of the hundreds and thousands of things that have either happened to us or might happen someday.  That stress and that worry can drive us crazy and lead us down paths of very unhealthy and unhappy living.

I know I can easily fall into the “whys?” and the “what ifs?” of life.  Why did this or that have to happen to me?  What if something awful happens in the future?  Why did I make that stupid decision years ago?  What if I can’t make things work out in a year or two or three?  And on and on the list of obsessive negative thoughts can go.

One of the magically wonderful things that happened for me when I first dropped into Cuckoo Luckoo Land 17 months ago, and for most of my steps forward since then, is that I made the choice to pretty radically live in this time, this moment.  The personal knowledge that life truly and completely can change in the blink of an eye led me to commit to living a Year of Yes.    How could I focus just on thinking about the past or the future when I learned to the depths of my being that I can’t control the past and I definitely don’t know how much of a future any of us really has.

I wrote the day before Russell died of my desire and commitment to living in the now. I have been learning how to stay in every single moment finding gratitude for the littlest of things. It is much easier to abide in Hope if I stay right here, right now, being simply happy for the little achievements.  It’s not an avoiding scary possibilities or avoiding learning more, it is simply not letting those scarier things take hostage of my brain and soul

That commitment has extended beyond the first year of living without Russell.  I have set new habits for myself and find it easier than every before to move myself back into a Now Focus, even if I find myself spinning out about the whys? and what ifs?  I anticipate that this new habit of Living in a Yes to Now will continue in some way, shape, or form for the rest of my life.  There is profound joy and peace that can be found in staying in this time, this moment.

At the beginning time of this commitment to the now I made choices to invest in things out of pure need for myself and for my kids.   Saying yes to things that made us feel some joy, some hope, some peace has been fairly easy to do.  As I begin to experience a new awakening, an unfurling of my wings, and an unfolding of my dreams it becomes clearer how these early investment choices have been so critical to my healing.

First and foremost,  I made the choice to make my number one priority self-care for myself and my children.  Anything that is a potential path to healing our wounded hearts gets a quick and forceful yes.  Counseling, massages, chiropractor, yoga, YMCA membership, spending time with family and friends, good food, and anything else that feeds our souls and our bodies we say yes to.  We are learning to listen carefully to the quiet workings of our inner self, saying yes to the things that feel right to us.  Healing our hearts, while caring for bodies and spirits has been one of the best decisions I’ve made.

Second,   I have encouraged us all to say Yes to a variety of adventures.  There have been camps, trips with friends, trips with family, new classes, horse shows, new instruments, my mentorship, and so much more we have said yes to.  As we explore new dreams, new ideas, new hopes for our lives I see each of us become a little more strong, a little more balanced and a little more at peace.  We’ve each done more traveling and said yes to more new things in our lives than in many previous years combined.  Adventuring with each other, with friends and with family has brought great joy to our lives. There’s a surrealness in not being able to share our adventures with Russell.  More importantly I feel immense gratitude for the new things we’ve all experienced and the people we’ve been to share them with.

Third, I chose very early on to say Yes to new things at Avalon.  Only in the last few days as deeper unfolding of my dreams for the farm and completion of projects is occurring have I realized why I’ve made some of the decisions to invest (both my time and  my personal money) in the ways that I have in the past year and a half.   There are so many dreams, from early childhood through all of my life up to the present, that are twined in and around themselves in connection to Avalon.  I know I have much more to write about this web of dreaming.  For now, in this time and in this moment, I simply, finally know why I’ve made the decisions I have made for the farm.  I couldn’t bear the thought of one more thing so intimately connected to my heart and to my core self dying.  The Magic of all that Avalon is and all that it can still become has had to survive with me.  I’ve needed it to survive for me and for the community who have been part of my healing web.

As much as I sometimes wonder if I should have, could have done many things in the past differently, I am 100% confident that the choices for healing, for adventuring, for dreaming that I have made this past year were all the best things I could have done for myself and my kids.  I will continue striving to say Yes to Now, to living in this time and in this moment.  I will continue to encourage my children, as well as all who cross my path, to make similar choices.  If all we can really be sure of is this very moment we are in don’t we all want to have that moment be one filled with joy, love, gratitude and the awareness that we are listening to what our hearts are saying yes to?

I end this writing with the same mantra I did almost 17 months ago. It is just as true for me today as it was back then.

To the depth of my being: 
I remain hopeful for healing (and living a life of joy).
I remain grateful for so many reasons and people. 
I remain filled with love.


Attraction – Cracking Open a New Door

door This time, this moment: Living out loud in every moment.  That is my goal, my mission so to speak, for my blog.  From the very beginning of this current life path I am on that started with Russell’s entry into the hospital I have done my best to live this mission everyday.  The path has been raw, vulnerable, and hard to speak at times.  But in walking it I have found a profound new realness to living life.

When I stay committed to this mission of living my life out loud in every moment I find the path before me to be very clear.  As I honestly state what I am feeling, thinking and dreaming it’s as if the fog lifts and the sun brightly shines my way forward.  It’s in the times that I hide away my truth or hold back from speaking the musings that float up inside of me wanting to come out that I feel like the path and my life become foggy again and almost impassable.

Interestingly much of my journey forward through Russell’s sudden illness and death and then the grieving since has been fairly easy to live out loud.  Oh I can’t always speak it but I’ve been able to write it.  My inner muse awoke with passion when I dropped into Cuckoo Luckoo Land 17 months ago.  She remains awake when I slow down my racing mind, take a deep breath and listen from my heart about what she wants to say.  I like it when she is awake as there is such a sense of rightness, of “yes this is what I most want to do,” when I listen and allow myself to drop everything to write.

This past week I’ve had several shout outs from my muse about things to make note of. None of them have been so compelling as what she kept nudging me with this morning.  The entire time I was at the airport dropping my sons off for their flight to camp in Oregon I could hear her whispering to me, inviting me into a new place of pondering.   A story is what she wanted me to tell about the door that was opened just a crack on own flights home from Asheville last weekend.  I kept trying to tell her to hush thinking nope I don’t need to or want to tell that story.  It’s not important.  Blah, blah, blah.

My muse was persistent though as I thought back to last weekend and realized that it is about a significant shift I need to speak and share.  The story isn’t that big of a deal but the door it has cracked open is an important tiny, bitty step in a new direction on my grieving/healing journey.    The story is a bit of a ramble so I hope you bear with me to the end.  Smile!

In a long, way too long to tell the whole thing here, adventure at Chicago O’Hare airport last weekend there were hundreds of people who spent the night in the airport.  Several of us from the same flight temporarily bonded together as we encouraged each other to find new flights or other means of transportation to St. Louis after our flight was cancelled at 11:30 at night.  We rallied together to talk, laugh, hug a few who were crying and basically shake our heads at the surrealness of hours of delays, followed by a late night cancellation and getting stuck in an airport.

One of the people in this little cluster of folks who connected was a man about my age with a great laugh, super positive energy and a willingness to help.  He and I chatted at various stages from the cancelled flight’s gate to the United Airlines service desk to the point of heading to our new goals of getting to St. Louis.  We both offered support to a young woman who came almost completely unglued when the flight was cancelled.  We helped her figure out a new plan before heading in different directions – me to the American airlines area for the night and him towards the rental cars as he tried to get a car to just drive home.  It was a nice reminder that there are others in the world who can find humor and the positive, while also supporting others, in the crazy situations that pop up in life.  No other thought beyond that.

After an exhausting night sleeping on the floor of O’Hare’s airport, I got on my flight back to St. Louis where I promptly fell asleep for the entire way.   After we landed in St. Louis and we were waiting to disembark I felt a tap on my shoulder.  I thought maybe I had dropped something and I looked around. Well, there was the guy from the night before smiling and thanking me for the tip about switching airlines to get home sooner.  It was funny as we chatted like long-lost friends about the goofiness of the night before.  I told him about losing my new boarding pass and trying to find blankets. He told me about trying to rent a car and deciding not to when he found out it would cost $750 for a one way drive to St. Louis.  We laughed and shook our heads.

As we got off we said goodbye and good luck. Again, I didn’t think much beyond that.   Then, we saw each other again at United’s baggage claim as we tried to find our bags.   Several others from our original, cancelled flight were there and we all got talking about our adventures.  This guy and I got laughing about what had happened.  Part of the silliness was being so tired but it was good to be laughing rather than crying.  Others joined in as we all talked in general about where we were from and what we did, desperately all hoping our bags had somehow made it to St. Louis already.  I finally got my bag, said goodbye and good luck, and headed for home.

As I talked and laughed with this guy I had a sense that I was kind looking at myself from the outside in because I knew something felt different. But I was wayyy too tired to figure out what and why it felt different.  I just knew it was and left it at that.

Throughout the past week I’ve had moments of pondering the niggling sense that something had shifted during that 15 hours or so at O’Hare and then finishing up at Lambert.   I now know what it was and my muse insists that I write about it as part of my commitment to living my life out loud.  I had personal interest and an attraction to the guy I kept meeting along my journey home.  There was something about him that piqued my curiosity and my interest beyond just this is a nice guy.  There was something about him, about the energy of who he is that I felt drawn to and that prompted thoughts of “I wonder what his name is? I wonder where he lives? ”  The fact that he shared he with me he had the young woman in distress the night before “Just close your eyes and take a deep breath. Everything will be okay.” was enough for me to think “Hmmm, who is this guy? I’d like to know more.”

For the first time I felt enough of an attraction to a man who I was willing to contemplate, to consider the possibility that someday I might want to date.  Ack, there I said it!  Truly some of the most terrifying words I’ve written on this whole long journey.  Writing about the rawness of my grief has felt far easier than writing that I felt attracted to someone.   If my muse hadn’t been so persistent I am quite confident I would never have written this story.  But if I am truly going to commit to living my life out loud than this is part of my journey right now and I feel compelled to share it all.

There are so many layers to the opening of this door that I am barely aware of them all.   Question after question has arisen for me as my awareness of how this guy opened a door for me has grown.   Questions like…

“How could I be ready for this? I can barely doing anything besides work, be with my kids, watch silly sitcoms and occasionally see friends.”

“What would I have said if this guy had asked me out?”

“How does one date in their late 40s, almost 50?”

“Do I have to start wearing makeup?” Followed by “Why would I think that?”

“Should I take my ring off? But wouldn’t that be disloyal to Russell?”

“When will my kids be ready? and How will I know?”

“How does a widow date?”

“What could I possibly talk about?”

And on, and on, and on the questions go.

I don’t know any of the answers to these or the other questions that pop up around this.  I do know that I am not ready right now for dating nor do I think that I will be anytime soon. There is so much I am still sorting out and that I am trying to put into place for myself and my kids.   I do think I am ready to be curious about the possibility of someday wanting to date again. I am willing to leave the door cracked opened at least a little bit.

Who knew a cancelled flight and a floopy night in an airport could lead to such a long rambling story?   And who knew a nice, friendly guy could open up a new door for me?  I guess, maybe, the story and the telling of it was a big deal.  Most interesting!