Crossing the Bridge: From Here to There


Life doesn’t really happen in big leaps.  Don’t get me wrong.  I do firmly believe that we have to take big leaps of faith throughout our lives to get to the life we dream of living.   But those big leaps are really just one moment in a long line of choices and actions that stretch behind and in front of us.   They are scary to make for sure because going into the leap we have to take such deep breaths and tap into such radical trust that all will be well, even when we can’t see the other side.

What I am finding after having taken the big leap a few months ago to make the choice to step away from being the owner/manager of Avalon is that this transition time is wayyyyy harder than taking that first giant step towards a new dream and a new life.  I’ve never, in all of my life, made a decision to end one job to head towards another one that then created such a HUGE transition time.  The maximum was probably 3 weeks for past jobs.   This transition, from the moment my decision became public to the day I’ve set as my last day, is 4 months.   The swirl and dissonance and herky jerky movement this is creating for me is almost unbearable some days.

This is what I experience happens when we take those big leaps to move from the here of our life to the there of our life we dream of.  You want to be there, in that place of new possibility and joy, but you are here, in the place that no longer resonates as deeply into your heart as it once did.  Once you make the decision to step onto a new path the amount of testing and resistance that arises out of that part of you that doesn’t’ want to change is HUGE!  It can feel as if the universe and everything around is conspiring against you.

What I really think is happening is that your excited, dreaming self is wanting to run to the other side right now.  Your fear, stay in the comfortable self is trying to tell you to stay.  And every single thing in your life becomes an opportunity to get crystal clear about what you really want, what you really dream of, what you really believe in and how committed you are to the big leap choice you have just put out to the world.  Everything becomes layered with more emotion, more thoughts, more confusion, more possibility, and on and on and on.

The journey, then, from here to there is more like crossing a shaky, way too high in the air, questionable rope bridge than a mere leap from one side to the next.   Every step is a question – will you stay shaking here on place in this very uncomfortable limbo land; will you turn and run back to the “safety” of what you know; or will you keep stepping forward inch by inch no matter how scary it feels knowing that your deepest self is already on the other side waiting for you.

All you can do; well, I should really say all I can do is breathe and hold onto the pockets of joy and complete sense of rightness that will pop up every step of the way.   Staying in the excitement of the new path that is unfolding is far more enjoyable and life giving than being consumed by the fear within and swirling all around you.   Trust that the bridge will hold and you will get to the other side if all you do is simply keep moving foward.


Door of Locks


It’s story time. I LOVE reading and have several book series I read over and over and over again as they speak to my soul and continuously entertain me. The following story (condensed a little) is from “Belladonna” by Anne Bishop. This resonates on a very profound level with me. It’s about choosing where your heart needs to go; very powerful stuff!
Now the Door of Locks was hidden in a garden that lived in the heart of a magic hill, and the hill was the country home of the spirits who resided in this part of the land…. When one reached the garden, which was protected by high walls and a barred gate, a spirit would appear and ask “What do you seek?”

…the correct answer is “I seek the hope that lives within my heart.” Give that answer, and the garden’ gate will always open….When you’re ready, the spirit takes you to the Door of Locks.

There are one hundred identical locks on the door, and while you’re standing there, trying to fathom it all, the spirit reaches into your heart and takes out a key, and says, “Every lock leads to a different place that lives within you. Some are dark places, some are light places, some are full of struggle and sorrow while others will shower your days with joy. Choose a lock. The key will fit any of them. Choose where your heart needs to go. Choose.” (LOVE THIS!)

And that is what you must do – CHOOSE. Now, some people are hasty, ignoring the spirit’s warning about the nature of the locks and thinking that since the locks all look the same they’ll be the same. And some people don’t ask for the lock they truly want because it’s high up in a corner of the door or too low to the ground and they don’t want to be inconveniencing the spirit and they figure a lock that’s easy to reach will do just as well.


So you choose wisely, and you choose well, and you pick the lock that matters the most to you AT THAT MOMENT. Then the spirit takes the key that was plucked from your heart and slips it into that lock.

It changes you. It doesn’t matter if you end up in place you didn’t know existed or in the place you’ve lived your whole life. It changes you – and you will never again see the world in quite the same way.

“Here’s where you belong. Right here.”

Ahh, NIA tonight was a wonderful, celebratory time! My sister, Becca Caplan, joined us for the first time and I loved having time with her. We danced to some of my favorite songs, including “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” from Dirty Dancing. Lots of playful silliness and joy!

Our final song of the night was “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” As I laid on the floor for our final, restorative stretches I thought of the many mornings I played this song for Russell over and over again while he was in the hospital. I wasn’t sad thinking about it, simply aware of this special time I had each morning with him. As I relaxed deeper into the floor, softly singing along, I had the amazing and rare experience of actually hearing Russell’s voice in my head. I imagined him smiling, saying very gently and also with complete surety “Here Lara is where you belong. Here in your body, in this time and in this moment, is where you belong. The rest of where you are meant to be and what you are meant to do next will come when it is time. For now here, RIGHT HERE, is where you belong and where you need to stay. Belong to yourself, for now that is enough, more than enough.”

I nearly gasped out loud as it is rare that I feel his presence so strongly. I am aware of him much of the time, more often with smiles these days. But hearing his voice so vividly in my head, ah that is an amazing gift of a moment.

Once again I am stunned at what dancing at NIA and opening my heart to feeling what the music and movement pulls forth from me.

Feeling deeply grateful and a little bemused at finding both Russell and another piece of my self in the rainbow!

(Written May 31)

Where do I belong?


phoenix.jpg       The question of “Where do I belong?” has been a very live one for me lately.  I’m betting that it’s been somewhere in my thought process ever since Russell died.  But over the last 2 months it’s been pressing closer and closer to the conscious, awake part of my brain.  or maybe it’s that I have been becoming more conscious and awake, hmmm.

For as long as I can remember I’ve felt deeply grateful to be part of lots of communities that I felt I belonged to.  I’ve spent much of my adult life being part of groups of people that I connected with in some way or the other.  Belonging to something has always felt a part of my life, starting with my family.  Somehow I always find ways to be part of vibrant, exciting communities.

In the past 5-6 years I’ve felt most connected, like I most belonged to, a few very loving communities – my family first and foremost, my WOW group, friends with a few people I have known for decades, a family faith sharing group, and Avalon.  All of these to varying degrees have been threads of love and acceptance that have supported me through a lot of ups and downs.  In each of these groups I have experienced a very deep sense of belonging that included the freedom to truly be myself.

What is becoming clearer to me day by day is that I don’t really know where I belong anymore.  Oh I still feel in all of these groups and many more that I can be myself, and that my journey is always seen as important by others.  I still feel a great deal of love pouring forth from tons of people supporting and loving me.  I still experience people welcoming me and wanting to spend time with me.  I even am increasingly feeling fairly settled and content with portions my life.

But there is also a very real thread of my reality that the very places I’ve spent the most time and have felt most deeply connected to – specifically at Avalon and with my closest family and friends – now feel just a little off most of the time. It’s as if I’m there but not there, looking into the party through a window from the outside.   Some days it feels very off and disconnected from me, leaving me with feelings of “I just don’t fit here anymore. This isn’t where I belong.”

I still want to belong in those places that have been home for me.  I want to feel like I fit there.  I try to do the same things I used to do that brought me such great joy.  Some are good, lifting my spirits and easing my heart. These I allow myself to rest in loving the feelings of contentment that flow through me.   Other things feel like nails on a chalkboard and leave me cringing and wanting to flee as far away as possible.  During these times I realize I need to rethink my life, structuring it new ways.

The biggest change isn’t the communities and groups I am part of. The biggest, most mysterious change is me.  I don’t feel I belong because in many ways I don’t anymore.  I am not the same person I was 15 months ago.  In many ways I really did burn to ashes like a phoenix.  As I am reborn from these ashes some of the basic, core parts of me remain but there is much that is new or will be new.

I find it challenging to be patient with myself as I am reborn. It’s very, very uncomfortable to feel like I might not belong in some places in the same ways anymore.  My fear that maybe I don’t belong at all in communities I’ve loved for years wakes me up shaking at night.   When I give into the fear I go to a very dark place.

Thankfully, some very wise folks have caught me in some “I don’t belong” spinouts lately.  Seemingly out of nowhere these spinouts have left me stunned and crying as words just fly out of mouth.  These women have gently and bravely given me the messages “Yes you, as you were before, don’t belong anymore.  Because you are a new you. And it’s okay to be figuring out where and how you fit now.  We still want you here with us. You do still belong here; you’re just learning in a new way in how you belong.  And that is okay!”

To be able to speak in shaking, trembling and terrified words of my sadness over feeling I don’t belong at the places and with the people I most love is a deeply powerful thing for me. It’s speaking my deepest fears out loud to someone and having them say “it’s okay. You will find a new way.” that is freeing me to keep step by step inch my way forward to a newly created life, a newly created me.

I may not know where I feel like I belong.  But I am deeply, profoundly grateful that there are others in my life who say with words and actions, we love you and want you to be part of us in whatever way you can.  What a gift that is to me!