Category Archives: love

On Being Presented with the Same Lesson Over and Over

I’ve never surfed. The closest I have ever come to standing up, balancing on something was when I tried out my son’s skateboard. I balanced for a second and then the skateboard moved forward, leaving me behind, in the air pretty much like Wiley E. Coyote in the air after he has run off the edge of the cliff. I know what that landing feels like. I really don’t know how WEC kept it up. One fall like that was enough for me.

I’ve never surfed. I lived minutes from the Pacific Ocean in Australia, and had many friends who surfed. Why didn’t I try? I doubt if it even occurred to me.

I’ve never surfed, but I realized today that several issues appear as GIANT waves any time I admit them into my consciousness. I’ve been running from the waves. They’re BIG. I cannot hold them BACK. They will knock me DOWN. Is it time for me to see what surfing these waves would be like? Surfing is the process of riding a wave to the shore. Surfers love the waves, don’t they? Avid surfers often say the bigger the wave, the better.

I’m nowhere near the ocean right now. There’s not an ocean wave within 400 miles of here, so I can’t go try it. But maybe I can imagine what it would feel like to ride the wave, to be on top of it, to go with it toward the shore.

What do I see as I imagine this? I feel the powerful movement of the water beneath my board. The sun is out, shining as it does every single day somewhere in the world. I understand the wave is something that is exhilarating. Every wave has its crest and then gets smaller and smaller as it moves toward the shore. Surfing the waves is the opposite of standing on the shore, watching the waves come in, dreading their size, fearing their power.

Same lesson, different day. The School of Life keeps pulling this old chestnut out and presenting it to me. Apparently, I’ve yet to learn it.

Seems like the most important thing in this situation is to keep focusing on what is, rather than what has been. To say yes, and, even if it’s through tears. And to keep getting back up and back on my surfboard and trying again. Dude, I’m a gurfer (girl surfer). Yes, only in my mind, but that’s a start.

You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf”
Jon Kabat-Zinn

The Grace of Reaching Out

created by Kepler, February 2015

When I awoke yesterday, I was completely dismayed to discover that my wicked bad sore throat was back in spades. The idea that I was getting better was completely decimated. In desperation, I reached out and asked for help.

I let three lovely someones know that I was in pain, struggling, and in need. All three immediately responded. Throughout the day, I was blessed by my angels putting Kepler on the bus, rubbing my feet, making me smoothies, soothing me with a warm cloth, picking up the slack for all the driving I was supposed to do, washing my damn dishes, getting Kepler off the bus, and speaking words of support and love. 
Even writing that paragraph is difficult if I focus on the fact that I was in such a low position, one where I could do little more than receive. 
On the other hand, I love it when I have the opportunity to do something for someone who truly needs me. I know the women I reached out to; they all have giving hearts, and I believe they treasured the opportunity to give. 
So, I accept it. When the critical voice scrapes across my consciousness, I remind myself that I believe in interdependence; that we all need a little help from our friends and family; that the presence of need means I am human, not defective. 
With the space provided by my mom and sisters, I could finally think about turning down the intensity and volume of my everyday existence. Remember I mentioned being overwhelmed. I noticed that every nook of my bedside table was full to overflowing. Before bed, I decided to calm that space down. The drawer is slightly larger than an iPad box. It’s pretty tiny. Here’s what I pulled out of the drawer: mail, 3 pocket knives, a shot glass, jewelry, nail clipper, lip balm, unopened medicine spoon, earbuds, 27 vials of prescription eye drops that i do not use, replacement earbud pads, lightbulbs, trash, glasses cleaning cloth, a key, ink pens, wristwatch, lifesavers, a 2 oz bottle, mouthguard, a little black mysterious thing, and a scrunchy. That is a ridiculous amount of stuff to have jammed into that tiny drawer. 
Now that I’ve solidified my reputation as a packrat extraordinaire, let’s just focus on the fact that the sheer volume of what I had stuffed in that drawer is kind of a perfect little picture of what I’ve been doing with all my “too much.” Stuffing it here and there. And there. Here’s more. And under there. 
Everyone needs the space to clear their space, and I’m sure that means different things for different people. This illness has been a time for me to slow down long enough to notice the pot I’m boiling in. 
For someone with as strong a Meyer’s Briggs “J” as I have, I LOVE the journey. I love the opportunities that arise to learn. I love sharing my journey with others.

What are your tried and true methods for clearing YOUR space? 

Before Midnight

That’s the title of the film I went to see today with my husband of 28.5 years, at our favorite theater.

Before Midnight is the third in a series of three films. Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight; they came out in 1995, 2004, and 2013.

In 1995 I was busy with a two-year-old, a one-year-old and a new baby, so I missed that one. In 2004, I was … I don’t know, but I missed that one as well. A friend posted on Facebook that she was excited about this new one coming out, so I took notice. I thought it might be important to watch the first two before we went to the theater (it was), and Amazon Prime came to the rescue last night. We rented both of them and watched them one after the other.

Each film is about a period of time in the lives of Jesse (American) and Celine (French). The first film covers their initial meeting and the subsequent twenty-four hours they spend together in Vienna; the second is nine years later in Paris; the latest one took place in Greece.

Before Midnight captures my life exactly, except for the glamorous Greek scenery. Celine and Jesse are parents now and are vacationing in the Lower Peloponnese mountains. Tres magnifique.

Celine and Jesse got into an argument, and when she said she had not yet recovered from the birth of her twins four years prior, my tears started flowing and continued for the remainder of the film, the 20-minute trip home, and for awhile at home. I know a lot of things about a lot of things. Before Midnight bypassed my busy monkey brain and delved down into the deepest parts of me.

Sometimes we laugh at our younger selves — those bold, confident, optimistic selves who have the world at their feet but don’t know it. My younger self was sure about a hell of a lot of things.

Life is fragile. Love is wonderful, but it is hard work, n’est pas? I highly recommend this movie, especially for long-together couples who are still intentional about continuing to kindle the flames of their love.

Jesse and Celine are beautiful, and I am in awe of the truth and wisdom in this film. I want to travel, to speak what is true for me, and to banish fear from my life. Before Midnight spoke to my deepest heart.

Here is a very good review of Before Midnight.

Have you seen it? What films have spoken to your deepest heart?