Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 16,331: Things I've Lost

I love Rob Brezny's Free Will Astrology. My forecast for the week of June 24 puts its finger squarely upon what I've been sensing upon the horizon but not quite capable of putting into words:

What have you lost in recent months, Libra? This week begins a phase when you will have the potential to not exactly recover it, but rather to re-create it on a higher level. Maybe a dream that seemed to unravel was simply undergoing a reconfiguration, and now you're primed to give it a new and better form of expression. Maybe a relationship that went astray was merely dying so it could get resurrected, with more honesty and flexibility this time around.

The first question took my breath away. I hadn't given myself permission to look at the changes this way, as loss, and yet there has been this pervasive sense of grief that comes with circumstances that feel beyond my control. The unraveling of dream. Yeah, that sounds about right.

I suppose that reconfiguration and resurrection are not without some measure of discomfort, mostly because I have a tendency to hold steadfast to old forms. Those ships may have sailed, but you'll find me on the shore watching and waiting for their return. I miss a lot of great opportunities that way.

There's no going back. But last I heard, it's not only okay but perfectly safe for me to change my mind. So why not muster some curiousity about what would happen if I release the dreams and plans that I had set for myself at the beginning of the year? They don't particularly feel like a good fit anymore anyway. What if I metaphorically or quite literally put a match to them and let them burn? Maybe from those ashes will arise what is now meant to be for me.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 16,330: On Vacation

We arrived home from vacation Saturday night and I have a feeling it will take a few more days before I finally stop grieving. Funny, considering it took me about 4-5 days to finally pry my shoulders from my ears and let myself relax. When I was setting goals and launching dreams at the start of this year, I had absolutely no idea that I would find myself in such a tangled mess halfway through it. Uncertainty and me, you think we'd have our shit together by now. If we can't be friends, then can't we at least make peace? A temporary truce, perhaps?

Time away did make me feel better, but then it made me feel worse. It's like when you've been outside in triple-digit heat and then, with much anticipation, re-enter your air-conditioned home. Such a welcome relief. Yet you know that sooner or later you will have to suck it up and thrust yourself out into the oven again. Having had a break brings temporary relief, yes, but it doesn't necessarily make things any easier in the long run. For me, it typically triggers considerable flailing.

Vacations are vacations because they're, well, vacations. If we were on vacation every single day, then it wouldn't be a vacation. Or would it? I know that I'm not alone in visiting blogs wherein their keepers do an impressive job of conveying the impression that every single day can be lived like a vacation day. And maybe you, like me, pine to know their secret and maybe even try on their shoes if we can't walk in them. Just for a little while. Just to get a wee whiff of what that gift might be like before giving up and going back to the day-to-dayness of our reality.

Yes, just like what we read in magazines and see on TV, we can't know if what we read online is true. I am 100% certain that these portrayals, inspiring though they may be, can't possibly be 100% accurate. We're all capable of painting a much prettier and more palatable picture of ourselves and our circumstances when the image is intended for public consumption. But just imagine if it's true, mostly true, that it is possible ... that it has been done, to a greater degree than lesser.

I don't see any harm at all in believing in the possibility that there are those who have cracked the code. In fact, it is this very belief that keeps me afloat this first week post-vacation. I am entertaining whether the secret to it is more of a state of mind rather than a state of affairs. I am marinating in and buoyed by this idea.

For the time being, just knowing that, surely, others have figured it out ... how to make their lives one ever-extended vacation. It gives me hope that the way has been paved and strung with lights to guide the way. Let's see where it leads.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Day 16,317: Book Fairy Tale

Ever wake up and know, in a juicy, deep down kind of way, exactly what you are supposed to do that day? It’s so exciting to feel that wave of inspiration start to build and then realize that you are completely powerless against the force of it. So you surrender, ecstatically, and let whatever wants to unfold lay itself before you. You willingly and gratefully obey.

The package arrived in March when winter still had this area and my attitude in its icy grip. Raising my hand to be picked as a Book Fairy sure seemed like a great idea months before, but now that it was time to do the deed I doubted that the weather and I were up for the challenge. I tangled myself up in infinite possibilities. Indoors or out? Weekday or weekend? Bustling location or isolation? It didn't take long to work myself into a suffocating lather of perfectionism.

Outdoors. It felt to me like the package must be left outdoors. But then there was the matter of the weather and whether it would cooperate. I wouldn't risk the book getting ruined due to my poor planning. I selected the ideal spot in my mind's eye and watched the forecast for a window of opportunity that, based upon impossibly strict criteria, could never come to pass. Foiled. Week after week, the package sat. I felt like a fairy failure.

Christine, bless her heart, was so patient. More so than I was with myself. Instead of crafting a fun adventure, I was making mountains of molehills. There is nothing that disappoints me more than disappointing someone else. And yet I couldn’t muster the courage to move beyond procrastination and just leave it somewhere, anywhere. I wouldn’t let go of perfect. I couldn’t move beyond the worry of what-ifs.

Until that day. THE day. Suddenly, I knew exactly where it needed to be left, which wasn’t even on my short list of potential locations. And I knew that it absolutely had to be left there that morning and no later. Julia Cameron calls these marching orders and I have to say that there is no better description. Do it. Do it now. Do not deviate from the plan.

So I grabbed the package, my camera and keys and made my way out Roundbottom Road to the labyrinth at the Jesuit Spiritual Center at Milford. This special place may be a 20 minute drive from my home but may as well be a world away. This is where I go when I need to press reset. I take my troubles to the river that meanders beside it. I walk the path inward. I walk the path back out. I am always better for having taken the journey. The labyrinth is always on.

Beyond the busyness of birds, it was so quiet and still. The sun would push the clouds aside to shine through the leaves of the sycamore trees that give the labyrinth shelter. I removed my shoes and began to wind my way to the center, as I have done countless times before. I gently placed the package in the center, a bit giddy in the process, and slowly made my way back out, following the same path that brought me inside. Alone and yet not alone.

What I realized on this particular visit is that what had been keeping me from rising to the occasion and what finally brought me to and through it was a matter of trust. I can’t control the weather nor can I control what happens to everything all of the time. Perfectionism is a joy killer. I need to make peace with what is my responsibility ... and what isn’t. This applies not only to Book Fairy business but all areas of my life.

Sometimes on this journey we are called upon to be a bridge ... to take care of one small facet of a larger project. And as we take gentle care of the task at hand, to the best of our ability, we need to trust that all of the variables are being handled on our behalf. Something much bigger than me let me know precisely where that book needed to go and when it needed to be there. Although I wasn’t able to hang around to see who eventually found it, I know in my heart that it was discovered by the right person at the right time and in the right way. They traveled the same journey to the center of the labyrinth that I took to leave it for them to receive.

And I trust that, right now, it is in very good hands.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Day 16,316: Trusting the Tide

(Photo from Archives: 6/8/2008)

This photo was taken two years ago while on vacation in Florida. In the middle of a moonless night, a mama sea turtle emerged from the waves and, inch by ever-loving inch, by instinct alone, made her way to the soft dunes to lay her precious eggs. After they were safely buried, she was slowly and steadily beckoned back into the sea. Upon sunrise, her tracks were the only evidence of her delivery.

The bus stop for our neighborhood's elementary school is at the stop sign which sits at the street corner by our front yard. When my daughter was younger, I was out there every morning with her, along with about a half dozen sleepy children and two or three other cup-carrying moms. We rarely went straight home when the bus pulled away. Bus stop therapy was often the best part of our day.

I considered us friends, even though we had little to no contact beyond our time together each morning. But, sadly, when my daughter moved on to middle school and we weren't together at the bus stop anymore, whatever bond we had forged swiftly withered from lack of time and attention. Sadly, for years now, we have been reduced to little more than drive-by waves.

One of these moms has cancer. I see her through my living room window, escorting her children to the bus stop as she has done every morning for years. She wore a hat at first, but now emerges bravely bald like a superhero. Part of me has wanted to race out there and say something, anything. Offer my support. Congratulate her courage. Just plain cheer her on. Instead I let my cowardice win. Again. I mailed a note instead.

As she moves into and through chemotherapy, I wonder if she feels like the mama sea turtle. Forging forward. Inch by inch. Through the darkness. Against intimidating odds. Looking for a soft, safe place to rest. Trusting the tide. Doing whatever needs to be done for the best possible odds. Not only for her babies' future, but her own.