autumn days

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Infinite Possibilities

When my mind and heart have been processing so much, it is hard to find the focus around which to begin.  Our world is changing.  Most of us know the density of darkness and are reaching for the light.  We search for human connection and building bridges to higher ground.  My focus now is to keep my own energy positive, inclusive, and solution-focused.  My prayers are for moving toward our most benevolent outcomes, especially when we can feel so divided in holding onto specific results.  My goal each day is to fill myself with so much radiant light of unconditional love that it leaks out into the world around me.  Yes, my adoration of adjectives and togethering is a bit much for some.  I like to think my love for humanity (both personal and general) softens others in ways that benefit the world.  When buying lunch for the stranger behind me in the restaurant's drive-thru line, I feel a softening between humans with differing opinions.

I often feel like my life is a theatrical performance and I am merely an enthusiastic member of the audience.  Lately, my life has been like a musical.  This is one way I build my energy.  I sing wherever I am.  I talk with myself in public.  I find myself funny.  Though you will find me singing and dancing through some of my days, my life contains plenty of dark to contrast the light.  My darkness helps me search for even more light.

In some way, my intentionally high energy level and appreciation in challenging moments and relationships has led me to more instant manifestation.  When I am feeling aglow with the wonder of our world, more high vibration possibilities present themselves.  Last week I was taking a bath while a friend watched our wee toddler.  I was in the bath meditatively sending love bombs to people I love who are ill.  As I got out of the bath, my friend called to ask if she could bring wee Charlotte to me so I could have more time by myself at home (instead of my leaving early to pick her up myself).  Other pieces of my puzzle began to come together and my heart overflowed to others.  There were so many awesome ripples from that one meditative bath that I cannot now recall them.

When M was dying, an extraordinary woman came into our lives to help us.  Shari is a friend of a friend of a friend and is now a member of our family.  She generally comes for several hours each week to do so many things a wife does: childcare, human jungle gym for children, play, laugh, hug, rub my back while I cry on the floor, dishes, laundry, shuttle children, prepare dinner and lunches, sell my goods on Craigslist.  I tell her often she is my favorite wife.  She loves on my children while I run errands, send emails, shower, and have dinner with other adults.  Shari has been spending time with her mid-western family the last couple weeks and I've been on my own in parenting.  It's a little hard to get along without a wife once you get used to having someone around to spot you.

In Shari's absence, another friend's friend's friend came to love on our children.  This young woman from South America loves beautifully on my children while I get time to sort tax forms and run errands.  I also get to practice my very rusty Spanish.  New Spanish words are bending my brain in awesome ways.  This new friend is working for us in her extra time to help her sister buy a home.  And in my own zany ways, I let her know how much I appreciate her presence in our lives.

My family has planned and build our dream home perfect for our family of five.  Now that we are a family of four, we are completing and selling the construction home.  Just as I was ready to pay for home upgrades and staging, we received an offer on our home.  Awesome.  That buyer slowly backed out of the buying process, and in their place was another buyer.  Just tonight we've had a counter offer accepted!

What amazing lives we get to lead when we open our hearts to ourselves and one another, when we find delight in the moment.  There is such beauty in maintaining some unattachment to specific outcomes and watching our own stories unfold before us.  I am so grateful for the awesomeness that flows through my life, in and through and out, like breath.  I am so grateful for my lungs that open and fill me with radiant joy in each intentional moment.  I am so grateful for the infinite possibilities of our humanity... and the freewill to move toward the light together.

My Heart as a Pendulum

While my family has really enjoyed homeschooling, this year we are partaking in the beauty and routine of public schooling.  My oldest daughter loves school, religiously completes her homework, and refuses to miss a single day for any reason.  My son is having a hard time moving with the flow of the class and remaining engaged in activities.  Both are making friends, gaining academic skills, enjoying the routines, and say their day at school was "GREAT!"  They are also both clear in their pleas of homeschooling next year.

In public school, they miss their homeschooling community, the more flexible flow of our days, the free time available after completing required tasks, the mid-week spontaneous vacations.  They also miss their daddy and the comforts of being home to rest and process at their own pace.

My heart moves like a pendulum on this issue, back and forth every week or two.  In talking with many friends, I see homeschooling as a definite possibility.  A clear and simple routine will need to be in place, more chores, along with built in breaks for me.  A babysitter will be able to back me up so I can run errands, manage business details, exercise, and get out without children.  While I love the connection in homeschooling, public school is a definite reprieve for me.  I need that routine and time with our wee toddler while the big kids are accountable to other adults.

Tonight my son had an upset stomach.  I asked him how long he has had diarrhea.  "Since the school year started."  Oh, my heart as the pendulum swings the other way.  (I remember the feeling of stomach knots when I was a public school teacher.)  Parenting is such a balance of taking care of ourselves and our children.  The fine art of this challenge is finding the sweet spot where most of our needs are met and we come together in the middle to love on one another.  I am still searching for this sweet spot.  It is out there.  I can feel it when I cuddle up with my sweet children and listen to their hearts beating in rhythm with my own.

Creating a Home

When I was a little girl, I'd always wanted my own apartment, to live where and how I chose with my collection of plants and animals.  Three years into my relationship with M, I set off to find my own little apartment... cat in tow.  It was such a thrill to easily fit all my worldly belongings into a studio apartment and to immediately paint the walls a bright yellow.  Next to the big open windows I taped handmade cards that brought me joy.  I hosted craft nights and invited friends to join me there for dinner and movies.

Then I was ready to settle into committing to live with another human.  As M and I lovingly created a home, yellow paper lantern walls and all, we experienced some resigned compromise.  When we purchased our current home with his mother, her decor went into place immediately.  Our personal pieces took longer than planned.  After the first two pieces went up, it was another five years before we hung more, and three more before we painted a wall.

When M's mother died several years ago, all her decor stayed in place.  Now that M has devastatingly died, I am slowly shifting our home from his mother's tastes into my own.  Bookshelves now stand where wall scrolls hung.  Our books and photo albums are out of boxes and into rooms where we seem them each day.  Large photographs of great-grandparents are now in our prayer room.  Figurines and vases are slowly finding new homes.  Framed photos of M dominate our prayer room.  Photographs of our family of five fill the other rooms.  (No post-M photos are part of our collection yet.)  I am dreaming of painting walls vibrant blues and greens to match my mother-in-law's large Mediterranean painting.  I envision owning hand-blown sea glass light fixtures, crafted 90-minutes away at the Oregon coast.  I dream of renting out this beloved home so I get to go explore the world with our children.

While I would give much of what I have to go back to the day before diagnosis, I also finding pleasure in making my home my own, in releasing other people's treasures, in dreaming of the possibilities in the recreating of a home... and a life.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Playing In Dreams

About two months after M died, I had a dream of him.  I was looking down at our children playing at my feet and looked up to see M turn and walk away.  The image was too brief to see his face.  He has been gone now for 16 weeks, a short enough time for me to still be counting weeks.  Even now I can only access videos of two weeks after we met and the last two weeks of his life.

In the weeks before he died, I saw the clock almost twice every day show me numbers that reminded me of when M and I first met and fell in love.  In those moments of numerical assistance I reminded myself to recall the love we shared in the beginning, the lightness and playfulness we shared with one another.  In the last two weeks I've begun to see these numbers again.

A few weeks ago I began to meditate in deeper ways, while also asking to see more of M.  I finally got to see him in a dream.  In this dream, our children were again playing nearby in the woods by a creek.  M and I watched our children play from inside the dim house.  I got to hug M, to feel his skin, to smell him.  I could almost hear his voice.  There was a tattoo across the entirety of his bare chest.  I imagined it would be an image from his favorite sports team.  To my surprise, it was a cowboy on a bucking bronco.  One hand was holding the cowboy hat down while the other held a circling lasso over his head.

I awoke and laughed at the absurdity of the tattoo image, at the relief at finally seeing him again.  My M was never a fan of horses, rodeos, or the Wild West.  What was he doing with a bucking bronco on his chest?!  Each week I translate another layer of meaning from the tattoo.  At first I thought the dream was suggesting I go to a rodeo.  Then a neighbor told me the tattoo sounded like a university mascot that had the same initials as my M's favorite team.  Last week I explained the dream to my masseuse.  He helped me remember how I swooned when M wore a cowboy hat.  He helped me see the tattoo as a reminder of M's playfulness.  The people I now draw into my life are playful.  M used to be quite playful with me.  In the density of our lives, I had really missed that humor.  This tattoo helps me remember the playfulness that drew me to M.  

Now I get to rewrite my story by intentionally recalling playful memories.  The silly jokes.  "We are going to the nose farm... to pick noses!"  In our early days, he would talk with me on the telephone for hours until he worked all the different angles of reason to have a date with him that same night.  His pickup lines were timely and hilarious.  His favorite Spanish phrases were: Hoy es miercoles! (Today is Wednesday!... every day of the week), De donde es el bano? (From where is the bathroom?), and creative Spanglish like "closeto".  That man had me in stitches laughing so hard during labor with our third baby that I could no longer feel contractions and could hardly breath.

He was especially playful with our children.  He pretended his hands were named Handy and Lefty in order to brush our daughter's teeth.  His feet were named Footy and Righty and sometimes tried to brush teeth too.  In Berenstain Bear books, M's Papa Bear voice was often quite high and squeaky, while Mama Bear's voice was baritone.  He read happy stories in sad voices, so each night our daughter shouted, "It's a HAPPY story!"  He spontaneously told complete and silly stories for our children on long walks.  With other's children he had running jokes he would bring up each time we saw them.  He pretended their favorite objects were his and that he had forgotten to take it home the last time we visited.  He was a silly child-magnet.

In going through M's mother's seven boxes of family photos, I found so many playful photos of M.  I've been hanging my favorites on all the kitchen cupboards.  One is of M at a table of all Asian people; M has his arm playfully around a little Caucasian boy who is obviously not a part of their group.  Another is M wearing his mother's fancy coat, her arms wrapped tightly around him.  In most pictures of M and his mother, they are leaning together, cuddling up in the ways that comfort parents and children.  One of my favorites is of a toddler around the age of our youngest child, his arms wrapped firmly around his mother's face; she is unable to see, yet her smile is luminescent.  This is my M with the first great love of his life.  I am privileged to get to be one of his great loves, to have known the depths of his playful spirit.  

I miss my M so deeply, as I always will.  It brings me comfort to be able to hold onto him in these ways.  Photos in the kitchen, chest tattoos dreams, remembering the laughter and lightness of our time together, and the gift of getting to raising our beloved children.  It's a HAPPY story!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Choosing Health

The love of my life, M, died of lung cancer 12 weeks ago.  He was the young father of our three young children.  M ate well, exercised, had a variety of well-rounded routines.  Then why did this happen?  After asking myself this question too many times to count, I have come up with my own translation of events.  M had a family history of cancer.  His parents and grandparents died of cancer.  Each generation seemed to die younger than the last.  M's branch of the family tree has been the hardest hit at the youngest ages.  His parents were the first to die in their generation and M was the first in his.  This genetic predisposition is just the beginning of the challenge.  M and his parents unknowingly lived in homes with radon and worked with chemicals in an old building for much of their last 15 years.  I blame these exterior factors for the loss of my beloved at a tragically young age.  Perhaps I choose to blame these things because they are outside of my control.

After testing our 10-year-old home this last summer and autumn, I discovered my children have unknowingly been exposed to harmful levels of radon for their entire lives.  They also carry their father's genetic predisposition.  This is unsettling.  As the remaining single parent, I have also been exposed to this deadly gas.  I also worked in old buildings.  We are not alone.  Many people I know go to school and live in old buildings with possible.  Our metropolitan area also has substantial air quality challenges (large company emission levels allowed for small companies) that have led to cancer in people we know and love.  It is a true privilege to make healthy choices for my family.  Not everyone gets these choices.

Why bring down our energy by talking about death by everyday poisons?  In my opinion, once we know about a problem, we can finally do something to rectify the situation.  Ignorance may be bliss, but it can also be deadly.  After finding radon in our home, I had a mitigation system installed.  I am comforted in knowing our levels are now far below "safe levels".  I make a point of providing regular doses of fresh fruits and vegetables for my children.  They have plenty of physical exercise and outlets for their emotions. 

I take comfort in knowing my children live in a newer home and attend a newer school.  I take comfort in knowing their school doesn't have asbestos in the walls or lead in the water.  I take comfort in knowing my children eat healthy foods, drink a lot of filtered water, stay away from plastic dishes, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, hang out with friends often, and regularly spend time outside.  I take comfort in trusting I am strong enough and resourceful enough to handle the raising of these extraordinary children in our changing world.  I take comfort in knowing it is a gift to get to live life fully with these people at this time.  I take comfort in knowing I continue to choose to be here with my children.  I take comfort in knowing I am doing my best in the roles I have been given.  I take comfort in loving this wild adventure we intentionally choose to share each day of our blessed lives.

Time for Ascending

I get to take a class year on the ascension process.  For me, ascension means to raise our personal vibrations, resulting in benefits for everyone around to witness the shift.  In my new class, I have homework.  Daily homework.  For one year.  Each day my task is to find one way to raise my vibration.  Thankfully these little challenges can fit into small moments.  This project is simple and complex at the same time, as is much of life.  Here is my log so far.

Day One: I sat quietly, breathing in through my heart, and out with love for my whole being.
Day Two: I made a financial contribution to something that feels good to me.
Day Three: I called my electric company to shift my power from natural gas to wind power.
Day Four: I loaded up my porch with unloved goods and invited strangers from "Buy Nothing" on Facebook to take everything home.
Day Five: I picked up cereal and a sweatshirt from a neighboring strangers home and left them love notes.
Day Six: Blog about how I love the privilege of being alive in this life.

My mind loves to focus upon how to I can raise my vibration each day, hold onto that vibration, remind myself to breath, to spend most of my time around others that help me feel good, to focus on the beauty in our world.  What wonderful homework!  Feel good homework.  My favorite kind.

Extraordinary Times to Be Together

Dearest Reader,

After an exhausting day yesterday, I spent a little time on social media.  A bit too long.  One article led to another on where our country is heading.  Together.  There was a great growing of fear involved in this reading. 

My oldest daughter asked me before she went to sleep what that noise was.  I blamed it on the heater outside our window.  Then at midnight my youngest daughter awoke beside me in full screaming.  After a few minutes of unsuccessful attempts to soothe her, I went to the other bedroom to let my other two children get back to sleep.  That is when the thumping began.  After my wee one was back to sleep, I went to investigate which neighbor was doing wild activities at this wild hour.  The thumps were coming from near my living room. I opened the curtains to find a wildly swinging bird feeder banging against the house in another before-a-winter-storm wind dance.  I opened the door, cats went flying in the excitement, and couldn't get the blasted thing off its string.  Towing out a chair to reach up higher, the second bird feeder that was standing still began to hum as if possessed.  I found this unsettling to be out in the dark alone with such an unusual noise after reading too many articles.  Finally both feeders were freed of their hooks, the noises seized, and everything was brought inside.  On my way back to bed, the cats flew across the room as if thrown, all in their continued excitement.  I again wondered why I was up in the middle of the night after such an exhausting day.

Instead of bed, I chose to spend a little time in our prayer room.  I went to talk with my late sweetheart M.  I told him I wish he were here.  I wish his parents were here too.  I wish we could talk about how our world is changing, the things shifting within our country, and how to plan for what is moving through our lives. 

I find myself at the keyboard, my bare feet pushing library books around on the floor, cats on the table licking bird feeders and brushing past my ankles.  In this moment, I feel alone in protecting my children.  In this moment, I let fear run through me.  I le myself acknowledge the fear of the changes moving in our direction, of the subtle yet vast movements that shift beneath the colorful world drama.  In our country we are being tested, individually and collectively.  We see history repeating itself in various and unsettling ways.  It really doesn't matter who we voted for or where we think we stand.  It matters that we see we are in this together.  We all feel fear and unsettling winds.  We are all awoken from our comfortable routines and expectations.  We share the same air and water.  We all want our children and grandchildren to live full, healthy, joyous lives. 

Admitting to my fear is a big step.  I am able to witness its flow through my body and mind.  Now that I know where it lies, I can do something about it.  I turn to see this from a different angle, a new and intentional perspective.  I see we are all in this together.  I see we are finding new ways to open our hearts and to connect with one another.  I see we are all moving toward standing up together to make way for a future we all desire.  Stable jobs, a clean planet, nourishing food on the table, a predictable income, healthy children, free will, an occasional vacation, and safety.  Even if in my mind, envisioning the coming together of those who love this country and this world we get to share soothes my soul and gives me something to ease my fears as I return to holding my children through this long night.  My trust in the buoyancy of humanity is my guiding light as I make my way back to that cozy bed.  I am thankful for these midnight musings.  I am thankful for the brilliant gift of getting to be alive on this planet at this extraordinary and challenging time.  I am thankful for my children giving me more reason to take a stand and speak from my heart.  I am thankful for getting to raise and protect such extraordinary children.  I am thankful for this world we get to share and the freedom to get to talk about it all here with you. 

Blessings and buoyancy,