andthenibegan

Jo.

When I can’t sleep, which is often, I try to bring back all the colors and shapes of loving you, back into my bones and breath, and hands. Back to my mouth, open, to my chest, open, to the curve of my shoulders, the slope. I try to soften. So I can find you…back when my body moved like this, and so did yours, and in this space we’d say the words, where you built a whole world for me.

The first time I love you tumbled out of your mouth, your words felt like they were tumbling down the stairs. I love you, you said. I love you. I love you. My response was to hold my breath, as the rest of the words tumbled down to the landing, gathered at the bottom. Like you do when you are a family, and someone is missing is now home at the front door. Because loving you back was coming home. And loving you back was knowing you were the family I was waiting for, and I wanted to open every front door to pull you in at the hips, to draw you in, like water, to say to you, my mouth close to yours that I love you too, that I had been missing you for so long.

And now. I have been missing you for so long.

We were both so brave then.

When I cant sleep. As was last night, and the night before, and the night before then. I think of that night, when absolutely all the stars covered the sky, as if the stars themselves brought friends, and took the stars by the shoulders and said here stand here, and here do this, and yes, you’re doing great. Perfect even. And so the stars covered the sky, and a blanket covered me, and then you came, to cover me too.

We were night 8 in Mexico, our trip was over, and we were just beginning.

It had been so long since I laid next to anyone, and I didn’t know where to put my hands. So I rested them on my belly, the softness from which all things are known, and you spoke to me on this clear night, your lips right by my ear, and it wasn’t long before you fell asleep.

And in my loneliest hours I will gaze into that blue twilight space that is indescribably night and I will make out the shape of you, as you were then. Safe enough to fall asleep next to me right in the middle of telling me some story, and long enough to dream.

I didn’t dare move. Something in me understood you needed to rest. And something in me understood that I needed to remember, I was worthy of falling asleep next to. That I was worth staying for.

I remember most everything about that night, but I wish I could remember so much more. Because so far in all my nights, that was the best one of my whole life.

It was before anything became important enough, or our hurt became deep enough, and how it would come to be that on some of our nights together you’d wake up suddenly, and it’d take me a moment to adjust but I could feel you in that foggy place trying desperately to move from the nightmare that shook you awake.

Now that I was worth losing, all your thoughts moved towards the moment I would.

You’d turn away from me, shrug your shoulder away from my hand, meet all my words with ‘no’ and fall back into a fitful sleep.

I’d lie onto my back and place my hands on my belly, the softness from which all things are known, and know I was losing you.

We’d call each other back into this vision of a life we were building, we tried desperately and frantically to call each other back home. A back-deck with views of trees. Mexican blankets, cool temps, bare-feet, messy little bed-heads, with little scratchy morning voices that called us both, mama. We’d call each other back home in moments of utter courage, grounded in love, airplanes, midddle-seats, face-time, and playlists. You’d tell me I didn’t have to work so hard, that when you are two people, then there’s two of everything. You told me to go back to school, that you knew I loved to learn. You told me I didn’t have to do everything on my own all the time. I told you, crying and tired, it was all I had ever known. That I wanted to believe you, but could not.

I felt you everywhere, always, but you were always wondering if I did.


And anyway, we were losing each other.

We were the confusion of daylight saving time, times 3, only every day, 3000-miles too many. You, always available, something so foundational to who you are. And me, wishing for solitude, and space, and complete hours with no dings, or rings, or anything, it’s foundational to who I am. And compromise here felt more like battle-lines, and right/wrong, and we’d retreat further away.

The vision of us kept feeling like something that happened once, instead of something we were. And you no longer felt like moving here to California was something you could do. We would say that in x more months, than maybe. Or that I could come. Or that we could choose a spot in the middle. I still pictured where we would be when I would ask you to marry me, no matter how much we kept hurting each other, it remained what I wanted more than anything.

Your fear: people leave. Is all you could see and create.

My fear: I don’t belong. Is all I could see and create.

And we. We became two people who were so rarely bringing out the best in one another, anymore.

I miss you so much. I miss you everywhere and all the time. And the relief I had when I found you, is many times not worth the pain of now having lost you, but I know that given the chance I would have never said no to trying. I would have never not wanted to know you and love you.

I know now from you what I have never known, that we are absolutely not meant to go it alone. That no life, and no one, and no set of circumstances is ever one where alone is the best. You know more about me than anyone on the planet. There are things I have said to you, I have never said to anyone. You are the keeper of so many moments where I have felt deep shame, and you are the hand that has fit most with mine, and of all things I miss about you, I miss holding your hand the most.

I wish I could right to the center of your fear, the place in which you were certain that in this big life I live that there’s no way that I would choose you, that you couldn’t be it, and you’d ask me out of curiosity first, which grew to urgency, and then finally accusation ‘how could I love you?’ — what you don’t know yet about yourself is how could I not…or anyone. Anyone who has known you for even a moment. I wish you could stop creating chaos, it’s not at all what you want. I wish you could be calm inside, and stare out on so many more horizons, and never once have to ask why someone loves you, and never once wonder how the horizon line goes on forever and ever.

I wish I could have found so many softer words to love you with, even when they didn’t work, even when you shook your head no, and held your hands up, no. And hung up the phone, no. And told me to leave, no. I slipped from water to fire, and I wanted you to be hurt too. There was no air left, just the elements in which things burn away.

I wish you would have let me love you as big as that giant night that held us that first night. I know I was ready to. And what I wish you for you, and us, now is that you hold no blame for how we fell. No wish for it to be different. To know, ‘this is the only way it could have gone.’

I wish I could find you again. I wish I could hold your hand. I wish we’d heal. I wish we’d make each other better, we weren’t. It got to be where we were out for blood, my pain, your pain, and who’s was worse. I wish I’d open the front door and you’d be there. You were supposed to be here by now, living here. We should be making dinner right now, you should be singing your favorite songs, I should be loving you from across the room setting the table, Moose should be at your feet waiting for food to drop, you should be here. You were supposed to be here by now.   

I wish you’d know how truly sorry I am for leaving. But how I had to go.

It was never a lack of love. 

Over dinner last night my friend tells me that if it is sent from God there is no way it could ever be missed. Her ‘how we met’ story as she’s backing out her car, and he’s  pulling in his car, and her windows open just enough for him to say something about the cross-fit class. But isn’t it funny how we know we’re falling in love and we’ll say anything, because it’s a god like force that nudges us to say something about what’s in front of us, the sound of our own voice, it’s like were practicing. Were practicing being brave, were practicing talking into 2-inches of an open window, were practicing because something inside of us knows what we don’t yet know yet, that in saying hello now, one day we will be saying I love you. And isn’t that something. And isn’t that God.

And so, we were given one another, I truly believe from a force so large. In the years that led to us speaking into our 2-inches of space of being brave, of being the most single person in the history of single…I would often close my eyes and wonder everything about you. I would know that the person I would love was living on the planet now, and I wondered all about what you were seeing, and what you were doing, and how you were. I would wonder how I would find you.

And then I found you. In Mexico of all freaking places. And turns out that what you were looking at in all the moments I wondered about you, were places I knew so well, we are from the same hometown. And you knew what I meant when I started talking about breakfast at Jines, and Cobbs Hill in the Fall, and Rochester Winters, and Wegmans. There is knowing someone, and then there is knowing someone and all the places in which they came to know themselves. There is no way to explain the years of growing up.

And it was worth every moment that you weren’t ever mine. Because no one I had ever met before was worth not knowing you. I have been making space for you, forever.

And in this god-space where you were that I now know to be a loneliness deeper than I have known before, which means though that I know myself deeper than I’ve ever known myself before. And no, I don’t want to feel like this always, or even much longer, but to know ourselves truly comes with the complexity of seeing that we are not who we thought we were.

Love is startling like that. Love will shake you awake like that. And love will show you who you are, and ask you if you’d like to stay. Love will insist that we are honest, and will shine a light on the places we are not. Love will ask you how and why, and if how you are living, is working.

You are everywhere. Because I am everywhere. I cannot seem to feel anything, but everything, and the belief that you should be here when I get home later is one I cannot yet lift the sadness from.

We receive what we are asking for, always. 

And so, I do not regret the bravery it took not just to not be alone, cause that’s not so special, but to not be alone, with you. To fall in love with you. To speak into the inches of space and ask to be loved, with you. In my extraordinary life, this is the most extraordinary thing I have ever done. You, are the most extraordinary human I have ever known. I know you. I have known you forever.

I must have been asking to God to show me just how brave I am. I must have been asking God to show me that I could feel at home with someone. I must have been asking God for a horizon line that did not end.

One of my favorite authors Danielle LaPorte she’s got this line….’only and ever grateful’ — my dear friend said it to me the other day, and now I say it all the time. Out loud because I like the way it feels when I say it, out loud because our thoughts become things.

Only and ever grateful.

only

and

ever

grateful.

To everything, to all of it, to the whole horizon line: grateful.

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That summer 8 years ago. The key under the rock. The ways that we healed.

The Fall I decided I did not want to spend a life proving things…I was not welcomed home.

 

When I called my parents, to tell them that I would no longer be continuing on as a PhD student at Penn State, my mom shared this. ‘well you’re not coming back here. you gave up’ She hung up, before I could. I remember sitting down in my apartment, looking around, wondering what had I done.

 

It wasn’t too late. Nothing was in writing. I could have gone back to my advisor. Apologized for my behavior, excused it based on any number of things, I would have been excused, we all would have moved on. Maybe I would have sat in the back the first few weeks of the semester, instead of the front, like I always did, kept my head down, done my work, and done it well. I wouldn’t ask questions like usual, I would give up understanding, I would have kept my mouth shut. I’d accept that behavior is predictable, and I’d measure against variables. I’d be the first one in the lab, and the last one out. I’d prove my results. I could have done all the things, you do when shame is the driver. For me, the expression is to say nothing, to shut up. I’d show you. I’d run 5 miles in the morning. 10 miles on the weekends. I’d do it all perfectly. I promise you, I’d show you.

 

But if I could have done that. I would have. I was totally done proving things.

 

Instead. My sweet friend Juan came to get me. Everything I owned fit into a 2001 dodge caravan. Everything. Somehow, through my connections, I found a place to live back in Rochester. For $350 dollars a month, my friend knew a friend, who’s husband was working on a special project down at Hopkins. He’d be gone for the summer. Their dog Cleveland, he was sick, and Gail needed help, someone else in the house. She’s a writer, a professor, she needed someone else in the house, she’d be gone a lot this summer…to write.

 

It was in one of my favorite neighborhoods in Rochester. A beautiful colonial home in the heart of the city. A front porch with a porch swing. Old wood floors and crown molding. 232 Barrinton Street. I fell in love with that home, as the summer went on.

 

The key is under the painted blue rock in the backyard…is what I knew.

 

My things were unloaded by the door. ‘Did I want help’? Was the question. ‘Oh no, no. I can do it I said. I can do this’.

 

I’d be there by myself for the weekend…directions were left for Cleveland. A note was left on the kitchen table. Cant wait to meet you. Heart. Gail.

 

Cleveland shuffled over to me when he heard me come through the door. The shuffle of an old man. The movement of a full full life, and zero commitment to hurry. He looked at me. Cataracts. And certainly nothing to prove. I reached down to pet him, and he shuffled away.

 

These old homes from the early 1900’s they had maid quarters…and yep, that’s where I lived. The kitchen would be shared. And my entrance was up the stairs, 3 flights, to the attic.

 

I walked up the final flight, the heat of an upstate NY summer, thick air, and a sky that from May to September, is always ready to shed and rain. 3 rooms. My bedroom with a queen sized mattress on the floor. A bathroom, with a claw foot tub and a small window. A 2nd room that had a small desk. My office I guess…for the things I was no longer learning.

 

A few trips up and down the stairs, and that was it. Everything I owned, in these 2 rooms. My things barely filled one corner.

 

What I can tell you about that summer 8 years ago…is this summer changed the direction of my whole life. There are a handful of moments that have saved me…and this, the one that began with the key under the rock. Is one.

 

As it is always….always, there are no coincidences or accidents. No, you see, life is far too brilliant for that. Gail and I were put together that summer, in a sisterhood, in a bond of two women, failing, healing, on our knees in desperation, in total separate parts of the house…but slowly the weeks went by, and Gail and I became inseparable. Together, most nights on the front porch, she in the adoriandack chair, and me, swinging gently on the swing.

 

hours and hours spent here...

hours and hours spent here….

Countless bottles of red wine. Preparing dinner in the kitchen together as NPR played. The measure and rhythm of 2 women who needed each other like air. When I couldn’t breathe…she was there. When she couldn’t breathe…I did. For her. Loud, so she could remember what it was like to breathe as a right and privilege, and sometimes…survival. We would laugh. Hard. We’d catch our breath somewhere between the kitchen hallway and the front porch, and I remember t We would celebrate the new beginnings we would each have that summer, a fire that is built from a woman’s hands, to burn down the bullshit, the pain of having given up…the realization, that no. Nothing can be proven.

 

What I did not know when I walked in the side door that first day, is that Gail’s world was coming undone. The conditions I had understood her husband to be gone, were not so. The fact was, he was indeed gone, out-of-state, and in this time, he fell in love with another woman. He would not be returning home. The house would have to be sold eventually. But for now…Gail and I were left to find our way to the porch, night after night.

 

It’s not that anyone was trying to keep the truth from me. It’s just that no one could say it out loud yet. And so, I found my way to that room in the attic, and I did not know. That this summer we would save each other.

 

Summer would move forward, and there’d be berries in the backyard to place in a small bowl with vanilla bean ice cream. July would move into August and Cleveland would pass away. We’d toast to him on the front porch, and were not at all concerned about the dog hair, that found it’s way into the history of the floor. Gail went away one weekend on a writer’s retreat. He was coming back to get a few things that weekend, in a truck. She looks me in the eye, and says this:

 

‘Lyndsey, whatever you do. Do NOT let him take the kitchen table’

 

I didn’t ask questions. I just knew that I would not let anyone remove the table out of the home so help me god.

 

It was a Sunday morning when I heard the truck pull up. I flew out of bed, the mattress on the ground. It felt urgent. I peeked outside, I could tell it was him. I stood at the top of the stairs for a while, hesitating. I didn’t know if he knew who I was. I heard footsteps, I heard the door opening and closing again and again. I heard then, footsteps in the kitchen, and I made my move.

 

I went down 3-flights of stairs, clumsy and loud, and saw him, crouched down by the pots and pans. He didn’t see me. I walked over to the table, and literally, I laid half my body on it. It was very weird, but I didn’t know what else to do.

 

He looks up.

 

‘Oh, you must be Lyndsey’.

 

Me. Short reply. ‘Yes’. Half smile. A mild giggle. Bed-head.

 

Both of us. Acting very strange and staring at each other.

 

He. Picks up a few pots, puts them in a box…walks in my direction. I grasp the sides of the table.

 

‘You cant take the table’, I said. Flat. And stared at him. Studying his face. His beard. His glasses. His shoes. Pissed at him. Knowing he was the cause of when I could hear Gail cry or, mornings when she wouldn’t wake up till morning was late.

 

He stared at me, curious. Amused maybe…

 

‘I wasn’t going to’, he said.

 

‘Oh GOOD’. I said. ‘Because it belongs to Gail’.

 

I mean who the hell knows WHO that table belonged too…but I saw it my only job to protect that table. An old butcher block from so so many years ago, I knew her sons had been around this table, I knew it from the family photos in the living room, I knew it the way there were indents where hands were placed, the burn marks where soup simmered, as dinner was served, and wine was poured, as kisses were snuck across, and above the middle…family.

 

He left shortly after, and I loosened by grip on the table. I went to make some coffee in the French press just like gail taught me…grind the beans, boil the water, stir it with a wooden spoon, not a metal spoon, to be patient and wait.

 

When she came home that night. I proudly stood by the table, like one of barkers beauties in the showcase showdown for the price as right, I gave the ta-da!!!! hands, and she smiled. And hugged me. ‘Good work’, she said. And we went to the porch.

 

Gail never had any daughters. And I had a very strained relationship with my mother at the time. I was so ashamed I had given up on something that meant so much to her, but not much to me. Gail helped me see that summer, that my mom, was doing the very best she could.

 

‘But she wouldn’t let me come home’, I’d say, and sometimes I’d cry.

 

‘Yes, but look at what happened, we would have never ended up together, and Lyndsey, I needed you here. You are home’.

 

When I walked in the door for the first time. When Cleveland was still alive. When Gail was a friend of a friend, a writer, who’s husband was out of town. When I had about 600 dollars in my bank account, and countless stories of how I failed. Before either of us told each other the truth…I said I’d be there for 3 months. Tops.

 

I was there for 9.

 

I was there when Gail began to date again, and we’d pick out the perfect outfit.

 

I was there to tell her about my hilarious dates. And we’d laugh and laugh.

 

I was there when I got my first job in pharmaceuticals, and could afford far more than a room in an attic…but we just weren’t ready yet, to leave each other.

 

I was there to meet all her beautiful, glorious women friends. All creative artists. Writers, painters, poets. And these women would come onto the porch, and I’d sit in wonder, and these beautiful women, with their long hair and stories of travel, adventure, love and lust. I’d hurry up to get another bottle of wine from the kitchen because I didn’t want to miss a moment. And when I would go to bed before them, I’d keep my window open, so I could fall asleep to the conversation and comfort of summer, of creative woman, breaking open the world with their ideas and words, waves of laughter, some tears, but heartbreak was not a shameful thing on this porch or this house. Heartbreak was the inspiration for art.

 

On the second floor, in the spare bedroom, these women would stay. Never more than one, and never more than a few days. I’d hope they’d have coffee with me in the morning. They were always so gracious with me. And I did not see yet, that I was one of them. A creative woman, with a story to tell. A passionate woman with fire, stories about how I would travel the world. A writer. What I didn’t know then, is these woman were showing me, who I could be.

 

As you know, this past month. Creatively, I have felt completely ignited. I have been up since 5am today, generating all the things I want to share. Having conversations with people, filled with passion and truth.

 

I am so aware…that 8 summers later…the lesson has repeated itself. I am SURROUNDED by absolutely beautiful, powerful, creative, nurturing, inspiring, making-shit-happen, WOMEN.

 

 

I am constantly being put in touch with this person, connection that trail blazer, to that game changer, having a conversations, that leave me in the wake of passion and desire….to go further, push harder, no force though…but a relentless pursuit to this big ol world.

 

I am not afraid of powerful woman.

 

I am drawn to them, to learn from, and to grow with.

 

I want every woman and man on this planet to be as big as they possible can…to make as much change, in this short time through, we call a lifetime.

 

I am frankly. Fucking pumped about what I see around me. Which is the urgency in which people are CREATING. Expressing. Telling the truth.

 

Everything I need to learn is put right in front of me. 8 years ago that summer, I learned what it means to be powerful and to lift each other up. To protect the kitchen tables of the people we love the most.

 

That there really is nothing to prove.

 

After all.

this is my dear friend Gail.

this is my dear friend Gail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

when beth died.

When Beth died.

 

When I met Beth, she had already almost died…3 times. She had hair down to her shoulders, and the most twinkly eyes I had ever seen. Green-Blue eyes. Over the course of our friendship, she would lose all her hair, twice, and when it grew back, it grew back different each time. So beautiful. Did I mention she had the most twinkly eyes I had ever seen? Blue-green.

 

I had just arrived to Atlanta, and was moving quickly in 3-inch heels, a dark-grey j.crew suit, my hair wavy and wild from a day of sales calls in rainy weather. I by-passed those weird walk-way things that move you faster, because I don’t like the way they feel underneath me, and instead took the long walk to find my name on a white sign to head to the hotel.

 

I sent her a text before I left…something like, at a sales training, be back in two weeks…we’ll make dinner then…love you.

 

She wrote back. ‘Extra-butter. Love you too’

 

It was a cowardly text I sent, I was a cowardly friend towards the end of her life. Because I knew and we all knew, she would die soon. But instead, I kept the image of her in my head from a month ago…when we were in her kitchen making dinner. Her two little boys played in the next room, and her husband worked quietly in the garage. Because Beth had almost died so many times…we all got used to almost. Her cancer started in her breasts, and then went to her bones…her cancer spread through her whole body.

 

Beth and I forged a somewhat unlikely, strong friendship built on the common ground of inappropriate jokes, rocky horror picture show, wine, and pediatric asthma. She was a highly specialized pediatric allergist, and I was a brand-new pharmaceutical sales rep. She was 16 years older than me. I loved her right away. And the feeling was mutual.

 

She took me under her wing is so many ways, reminded me always that I should be doing so much more than making money in my job, would stuff pamphlets about post-doc programs into my bag when I wasn’t looking, she was sure that I should take her place one day and become a doctor in her practice in Rochester NY. She never ever made me feel bad for what I was doing though…she just always thought I could be doing more.

 

Her sense of urgency around this, came from her own awakening. Working 60-hours a week in book-publishing, having graduated with an English degree. She remembers leaving her basement office one cold evening in Boston, and it was rainy, and she was miserable. On her way back to her miserable apartment, to sleep 5 hours, to wake up, and have another miserable day. The first night we had dinner together she says to me.

 

And I realized Lyndsey, that if I were to get hit by a bus that night, who would even care. I was alone. I wasn’t making a difference in my life or anyone else’s. If I were to die today, who would even care.

 

So I changed that.

 

I have been thinking about Beth so much these days and I don’t exactly know why…maybe it’s spring, and this is when so much is reborn, and it’s also when she died. Walking Moose this morning, I couldn’t even remember if I had gone to her funeral. Isn’t that crazy? For the last mile, I kept asking myself, did I even go? Was I even there? But then, when I let myself, I remember vividly her two boys in shirts and ties, the back of her husbands head, and being surrounded by hundreds of people. I let myself cry cry cry in the pew, so proud of my friend Beth, and how I had a permanent seat at her dinner table, and how many people cared….what a difference she had made. When she decided that that’s what she would do.

 

She had resisted going to medical school because both her parents were doctors and it felt forced, and she had this beautiful passionate wild streak, that just wanted to be free from expectation, I’m certain that this was one of many ties that bound us together. But she had such a strong passion for helping others, and a brilliant mind that put her top of the class, always, and so in her mid-20’s, she began. To lead a life that would make a difference in other. It was a road of course, medical school, then residency. But she didn’t care. She told me, once she made the choice, nothing was going to stop her. I have deep admiration for that kind of resilience.

 

There are a few stand-out conversations in my life. And I replay the one we had again and again and again…If I were to die today, who would even care.

 

I regret who I was for Beth, towards the end of her life. I was no one for her. Well no one I want to be anyway. And that’s a cold hard truth. I was busy. And I was afraid. Because I loved her so so much, and I couldn’t handle the way the twinkle in her eye became less and less. And I would search for it, search for it like a goddamn search party, I would look into her eyes, and she would be talking to me, and I wouldn’t hear a single word, because I just wanted my friend Beth to come back.

 

And I wanted to sweet little boys in the next room to have a momma forever.

 

And I wanted her kind, gentle husband in the garage to have his vivacious, passionate, outspoken, gorgeous woman back.

 

And I didn’t want to lose my unlikely friend, my friend Beth, who believed in me, more than I believed in me at the time. Who thought I should be a doctor, like her. Who would call me to gossip and laugh. Who would want all the scandalous details of who I was dating, she herself, double mastectomy, hysterectomy, the bag (I have no idea what this is called medically) that she wore underneath her shirt…I have nothing to give to him, she said to me one day over tears, everything is removed, mauled, damaged, I don’t feel like a woman anymore, she said…And this coming from a woman who is just so damn sexy, curves, wit, charm, all of it…and how she said how weird it is to sleep next to a man you love and feel that you have nothing to give.

 

We were 10-days into our 2-week training when I got the voicemail from her husband. I checked his message outside where we got reception, I stood outside in the sticky Georgia heat, drinking a super-cold diet coke, going through my messages.

 

Lyndsey…it’s Alain. (Beth’s husband) could you call me? Beth said you were away. Wondering if you’re home yet…call me back when you can.

 

I called him back immediately, heart pounding, knowing already what he would say.

 

It’s been a bad week Lyndsey. She’s in a coma now, you should come say goodbye.

 

Regret came over me, and over me, and over me. A month ago after dinner at her house…when we cried together…she went into the hospital, just a few days later. I stopped by one afternoon on my way home from work, and brought scrabble and gummy bears (contra-band, her favorite : ) …. I sat by her hospital bed, and we talked for a little while, I made some excuse about why I needed to leave early. I could feel in her swiftness to say sure sure, that’s okay…that I wasn’t the first person to lie to her. I went home and turned off all the lights and drew the blinds and turned off my phone. It was 7pm. That was the last time I saw her.

 

I chucked the rest of my coke in the garbage, walked inside, and took the elevator up the 11th floor. I pulled the trainer aside to let her know what had happened. She said, she was so sorry, would I like to leave today? I could get on a flight.

 

I said no.

 

And went back to my chair and said nothing.

 

I was too afraid. My friend Beth was going to die soon. And I was too afraid to do anything.

 

I went right from the airport to the hospital 4-days later. Her husband sat next to her bed, held her hand, and stared out the window. He didn’t see me, and I felt like such an intruder I remember…seeing a moment like that. He looked up, and smiled, so warmly. Lyndsey, he said, I’m so glad you are here. She’s still holding on, he said, and smiled down at his girl. You know Beth, she wont go down without a fight. I said yes, and smiled, and walked over to him to give him a hug. I started crying right away, into his chest, and he took his hand that was holding hers, so he could wrap both arms around me. I remember feeling like I should have done it better, that he should not have to comfort me…the entire way down the hallway I said to myself ‘I will not cry. I will not cry. I will not cry’

 

He looked at me with such sweetness in his kind kind eyes. And says, I’ll leave you two together so you can say goodbye.

 

I had never been next to anyone in a coma. In my then 28 years, I had not lost a friend to Cancer. I had never held the hand of anyone and not known if they could hear me or not. I had never been this close to death.

 

He left and I sat down in this wooden chair next to her bed, and looked around the room at flowers and pictures, and balloons, and felt so indifferent to it all. I looked at her for a long long time, her eyes closed, the rise and fall of her chest in the crescendo of the machines around her. I took her hand closest to the bed in both of mine, and I said to her, you look beautiful. Because she really really did.

 

She let out this moan, that I hate remembering because it didn’t sound like her. And it was this crazy moment where I was totally startled, but also had this wild fleeting moment of thinking somehow Beth was coming back, and that we would talk about how she almost died, but didn’t. I didn’t know this then, but in coma’s its not unusual at all for people to make noises, moan, open and close their eyes, etc.

 

Beth died 2-days later, at the age of 43 on April 30th, 2010.  5-days later I joined hundreds of life she had touched, and we honored her life.

 

Beth changed the entire shape of her life because she was not willing to live a life that called her to make a giant difference each and every day. Though it was driven by the fear that she could die tomorrow and no one would care…that part becomes irrelevant to the knowing that Beth chose a life bigger than her. The courage to become who she truly was, from a realization that this was not it, there was so much more. Through her time in medical school she met her husband, had two boys, touched and healed the lives of so many kids who couldn’t breathe.

 

She made such a damn difference. And I am so proud to know a woman like Beth. Who taught me so much in our friendship. Who taught me about not settling, about momentum, about not giving up, about listening to that small voice inside of you, and nurturing that voice till it’s loud, clear, and relentless. This is not all there is. But this life…is.

 

I think about her all the time. I haven’t stayed in touch with her practice back at home, or her husband….I wonder about the little kids that had their appointment with their favorite Doctor, Dr. Friedman, and what did the new doctor say to them.

 

I wish I could have one more conversation with my sweet friend Beth. One where I don’t treat her like she’s sick. One where I stay longer than I am comfortable staying, because it’s not about me, at all, it’s about us, and what we are creating together each and every moment as friends.

 

and you know, there’s no one in my life who I wouldnt wish for one more conversation with should they go…and I’m reminded then, to try harder. To not hide. To have the conversations leaving the people who I love so much, knowing they are loved. If I get real honest about it, the majority of my conversations are not this.

 

I talk to Beth usually when I’m walking Moose through the park. I talk to her when I go to the Ocean. One thing about she and I is we would constantly laugh till we cried. The woman was freaking hilarious. So I tell her things she’d find funny, and I tell her things I know she’d want to hear about how the past 7 years have unfolded since we became friends. I let her know that I am still a disaster in the kitchen, and say yes to extra butter on things, just like she taught me to. I let her know that no, I didn’t choose to go to medical school, but that I am working each day to make the biggest difference I can, and believe that most days, I do. I let her know that she is one of a handful of people that taught me about the power of believing in myself…and for this I say thank you to my friend Beth, again and again and again.

 

I honor you sweet friend.

 

And to you I say…don’t let your fears become more important than letting yourself love so hard, so free…so unattached to inevitable, which is all things end eventually of course, but who can we be for each other right now.

 

When Beth died she taught me that.

 

Right now.

 

Right now is all there is.

 

Thank you Beth. What a legacy you have left behind. And your twinkly eyes : ) I see you.

 

This is Beth in her monogrammed top chef coat. She LOVED to cook. And I love to eat. Yet again: another common thread.

This was her caption for it…like I said, always hilarious.

This is me in my very own, monogrammed Top Chef coat. I’m holding my two favorite Furi knives (not the orange handled Rachel Ray crap, mind you!). The coat was a gift from Kate. I sleep in it.

 

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30-cups of coffee, and the next 30-days.

For the next 30-days, I’m putting myself in time-out.

pause_spread

Facebook. Instagram. Watching TV on my computer.

 

Lately, I sleep with my computer next to me, like some weird lover that’s always offering to me strange information. Bing. Ding. Swoosh. Telling me, there’s more coming at you, respond.

 

My phone is on my nightstand. In the morning it does this. (chiming noise) at 5am, T, W, and Thursday. I wake up, the other days start a few hours later. Immediately I check something…my email, my texts from friends in NY, my voice-mail, shit, I forgot to cancel my dentist appointment, I need to book my flight to NY, oh fares are on sale, what was that hotel address, let me try to find it, did I remember to put that post up for work…

 

Not even Moose get’s out of bed. He know’s what’s up.

 

I love social media. I truly do. I love knowing what’s going on. As a visual person, I love seeing what you’re connected to. I love knowing what you love. And I love to like it.

 

I love to watch madmen and have scandalous thoughts about Don Draper.

 

I love instagram. My god is your dog cute. Your baby? Forget about it. That lasagna? I die. And obviously I want to show off moose, because, he is exceptional.

 

But I’m not accountable enough to call you and ask you about your dog/baby/lasagna…but I’ll sure as shit, like it twice.

 

I feel I am best in the world at connection, and lately, I’m falling flat.

 

Lately I am accepting sleeping next to a computer instead of a human being with a heartbeat.

 

I am responding immediately to the noises. Because dammit, you can count on me.

 

But when I’m this knee deep, I cant count on me.

 

Where am I.

 

Let me tell ya, lately I am walking into furniture, losing keys, credit cards, and other things on the reg. I am going for runs and slamming the pavement, blasting hip hop in my ears and flailing my arms about because I have too.much.damn.energy.inside.

 

For real, shoulda seen me on my run last week. Surprised I didn’t get pulled over.

 

‘Excuse me miss, what the fuck are you doing’

 

‘Oh, I don’t know officer, just trying to work some stuff out’

 

‘Um okay, well just look out for women and children’

 

I would not be stunned if this happened for me my next aggressive run through the park.

 

Meanwhile. I am good. Functioning at a high level. Doing great at work. Laughing daily, because well, this is me too. Going to my yoga mat most days. Running (albeit like a spaz) most days. Eating somewhat healthy. (never met a tator tot I could turn down). And Saturday night for sure was sponsored by dirty martinis. (yolo) Having amazing conversations with amazing people, like totally falling in love with the people in my life. If there’s anything I do AMAZING at…it’s drawing in the best people in the world. The best. Once I’m in it with you, I’m in it with you. And man do I love the people in my life.

 

This morning, I had a good cry. A good-old-fashioned-ugly-face-in-my-pajamas-at-10-am-cry. Talking to a beauty who is all things, a mentor, a friend, a lighthouse, all around just one of my favorite people in the world.

 

What are you doing? – she asks. This is after I sent her an email last night sharing what I was doing. What are you doing- both compassionate AND accountable…I don’t know how she does it, but every question she asks me sounds like both.

 

And that was it. Lost it.

 

Lost IT.

 

Couldn’t find it. Cried my way through it. Snorted. Oh yeah, snorted.

 

I’m real fucking uncomfortable I said.

 

Oh good, she said, stay there. And she mine as well have been in my kitchen with me, giving me the side-eye, because I mean that’s what I needed to hear ‘good, stay there’ not, you poor thing, oh, it must be hard, oh, blah, boo, hoo, etc.

 

Ps. Dont hang out with the boo-hoo people, you’ll never get anywhere. Hang out with the people that put you in the fire AND make smores with you.

 

It was like when my friend/life-coach/more extraordinary than an astronaut/mary beth larue tells me ‘lyndsey you keep choosing people who will love you more than you’ll love them…you are afraid to love hard, like all-in kinda love

 

An all-in-kinda-love.

 

I’m starting to understand.

 

And it’s what I want. Everywhere.

 

All-in, work. All-in, partnership. All-in, ERRRYTHING.

 

All-in.

 

So I’m going in people.

 

And so. I’m going out. To go in, I just gotta be with what is.

 

Hit reset.

 

Take my Nintendo game out, and blow on that shit so I can play again (please tell me you remember this)

 

When I did my 10-day silent meditation back this summer, I came out of there clear as a bell. I remember one day, like 3-days in of not saying a word and sitting in meditation for 14 hours a day. And I touched a flower petal, and I was like ‘oh my god, this is beyond beautiful’ I felt like I was on drugs. I took like 5 minutes and just ran my fingertips across this one flower petal again and again, and then, walked 20 feet, took both my hands and waved them across this lavender bush like it was a freaking harp, and I couldn’t stop smiling.

 

Was I losing it?

 

Oh heck yes. But what was happening was I was so aware. So heightened. So appreciative. So grateful.

 

Life doesn’t call for me to just go running back into silence every time I feel I’m going overboard. But I can do something about that.

 

I want you to consider joining me on this. Doesn’t have to be today. But take a look at what you have, instead of looking at what everyone else has. I saw this quote the other day,

 

‘if you cant be grateful for what you have, what makes you think you’d be grateful with more’

 

In the meantime, these are my 5 commitments on the other side of this month.

 

1)   Coffee dates with 10 friends. (both in person or skype)

2)   book a vacation to big sur with friends

3)   website is live and rockin (Amy, Carolyn, I need you here)

4)    offer letter signed

5)   an amazing makeout sesh, and maybe even second base ; ) heyhoooo!

 

I’ll keep writing. Creating. Expressing. Photos. Art. Collaborations. Living big. Dreaming big. Feeling good. Feeling bad. Wanting more. Needing less. Loving harder.

 

All-in.

 

Love

Lyndsey

the absurdity of almost.

There’s an old tale told of the night the titanic went down.

As it’s told, on that evening, as the boat was sinking, and people are jumping overboard, there was a group of people re-arranging the furniture. Like this boat is going down, and this group of people the best they could do in that moment was to rearrange the furniture.

That story popped into my head a few nights ago, as I was for the millionth time, trying to figure out what to do with my couch/table/etc in my living room. And the thought that is the loudest when I’m doing this is ‘I am so over this.’ I’m over the white walls and white cabinets that I cant change. I want to paint the walls warm grey’s and blues, I want to spend an entire paycheck at restoration hardware on a big beautiful brown leather chair, a rustic overhead light, and a dinner that we cook together to celebrate nothing more than it’s a tuesday. A chair that fits us in flannel shirts , bare-feet, and 2 mason jars of red wine. Fire. Favorite songs play, and everyone fits. Dog hair, don’t care. Making out. Lots of that. Chocolate for dessert. Going to bed after sharing what we’re grateful for, so aware how close my heart is to theirs. Moose in the middle. Sleeping through the night and not waking up once.

I dragged my couch all over the living room. ‘it doesn’t fit’ ‘that looks stupid’ ‘I’m over this.’ I have decided it’s the space, that it’s small and oddly set-up, that it faces the wrong way, the way the light comes through in the morning, but not in the afternoon, and I keep wishing it was different…because it’s never the morning I need to reminded of light.  I keep throwing things out. Donating large bags of everything, frustrated at things, and wanting more all at once.

I’ve been so drawn to brick and wood and metal, and I want to spend days running my hands over surfaces with history. If there’s no story, I’m just not interested. If it’s a pre-fab cabinet that’s in one million homes, I’m practically insulted. When did the history of something stop being important. And well, when did I get so righteous. But it goes for people too…I only want to be around people with smile lines, and passports. Belly laughs and outward beauty. no makeup. no cover-up.….I’d rather stare at a white cabinet than just see part of you.  And for you, I’ll do the same. My history as it was, and then I met you.

And then I met you, and everything changed, are words I am dying to say.

Paul and I broke up just about 4 months ago. I haven’t been on a single date, and haven’t really cared too. I do solo, really really well.  Lately, my wanderlust has hit me HARD. Back-pack, sunglasses, cash. I just want to go. I want to spend evenings around an old farm table with candlelight and strangers who become forever friends in one night at a small local restaurant with fresh lobster and cold beer, people who want to, and have, seen the world.  I want to dance till 4 in the morning, in a short dress and messy bun, a combination of sweat and salt water.  Alive with the sound of language around me, accents and history, and no one giving a shit that they can’t understand the words. Because lets get real, the words don’t matter.

Tired and mildly pissed off. I left my couch in the middle of the room  for a few days, confusing Moose, and leaving me to continue to stare at this couch every time I walk into the room. It’s now back to where it started…and in many ways, so am I.

Lately I’ve been craving the wild and wonderful of partnership again. The second person to rest into in a big leather chair, trading off who makes coffee in the morning, those first, second, 50th dates where you lean in close over dinner, fascinated by everything about this person.

But instead, I day-dream about leaving. Always.

The thing is, life is really good. Better, richer, fuller, than it’s ever every been. But once you start realizing how amazing life can be, it can become a little tricky. I wonder what’s in this well…under this rock…behind her smile? Like that. My best moments are the ones when I am still totally full of wonder, but getting just how good it is…how far I’ve come.

You can see then where the universe is like, um no, not yet.

This week alone, I’ve been ‘almost’ asked out, literally 5 times. 5. All from people I would TOTALLY go eat pizza with.

On Tuesday, I was walking Moose, and I pass 3-super-tall, handsome men. I’m in my usual uniform, yoga pants, tank, hat (life is better on the water) hat. Naturally, most people will want to talk to a cute girl, with a cute dog, duh. That and, I’m always down to talk to strangers.

The one guy though…I mean, he was pretty hot.

When I saw him, my heads said this ‘oh hELLLOOOOOO’ but I managed to say this, ‘oh, hello.’ (play it cool, Fryer).

So I’m chatting, and they’re funny, and they’re making comments about my hat, and ask me if I’m a professional surfer, to which I say, not only am I that, but I am also a competitive kayaker, so I really better be going….summer Olympics to train for and all.  #sochi

As I walk away, I can totally tell they’re talking about me, and the two friends are all ‘man, don’t be an idiot, go get her number, etc etc’ and so I,  work the Moose-card, and encourage him to sniff things for longer periods of time…and it worked.

‘Excuse me’ — I turn around, it’s the hot one.

I flash a giant smile, decide not to play it cool, when I’m happy, I’m happy. ‘Yes?’

‘I was just  wondering about your availability….’

Me….looking confused, but knowing what he was going for….offer confused face.

‘Um like, if you’re single or not’

I say, ‘oh, I am 100% single’

Hot guy smiles. ‘oh good.’

It got somewhat confusing in the about 15 minutes or so from there. Because then the friend comes over, I think to help the hot one that was kinda like losing his game in a hurry, and I couldn’t tell who was asking me out. But rest assured, it all gets sorted out, and I end up talking to Garrett (the hot one) for a while, he gets my phone number (good step), pets moose (necessary to be in my life), and also is pretty hilarious (non-negotiable).

He asks me the whole ‘what nationality are you’ question, which my friends and I call this ‘name that asian’ but I get that it’s kinda challenging to figure it out. And he goes. ‘oh wow’ which is a pretty common response by the way, because it’s a whole lotta everything (Korean, German, French). He goes ‘well you’re beautiful’ ‘and then he walks over to give me a side hug, drapes his arm around me (he’s probably like 6’ 2, or 6’ 3) ‘You’re fun-sized’ we both smile, I can honestly say I’ve never heard that before. ‘And voluptuious’ He goes, ‘you must get everything you want, huh’

We banter back and forth for a while, I find out he’s in medical school, 30, loves to play basketball, and is a quarter black, and three quarters Italian. Translation: hot, smart, not 25, AND athletic, hubba. hubba. So I close down the convo He gets my number and we part ways. As I’m walking down the sidewalk, I look back and he’s ducking his head back around the corner ‘just wanted to make sure you’re real’ he shouts. Smiles. Walks away.

Well I don’t know what happened, but he hasn’t called.

Almost.

This is one of 5 almost stories from this week. This was the best one, so I thought I’d share.

I am putting out almost.

I am almost.

As-lived.

I am almost making many choices, but not making any of them.

I am almost moving all my work over to a website, but not yet.

I am almost saying things out loud, but changing my mind because I am afraid.

I am almost booking a vacation, but instead I am working.

I am almost sending you that email I said I would.

I am almost adding a 5th mile onto my run instead of going home and eating a burrito.

I am almost doing handstand in the middle of the room.

I am almost meditating longer than 20 minutes.

I am almost saying the words out loud that scare the shit out of me.

I almost have my dream job, but not quite.

I am almost saying yes, instead of staying home.

I am always almost, always leaving.

Almost.

Almost is such a drag. It’s a non-stop cold shower. It’s powerless and cowardly. It’s the opposite of progress.  It’s an all consuming stand-still.  A freaking spiritual traffic jam.

I have a strong feeling that these next 6 months will reveal something powerful and beautiful to me.  Offer letter signed, paycheck spent on a single chair, dancing not with strangers at 4am, but the person I love the most, the person I cant imagine not loving for the rest of my life. The work I cant imagine not doing, the team that reminds me to be brave , the dog that reminds me to go for a walk and leave my phone at home. I’ll be the only thing getting in the way of that. What do I want? And then am I willing to do everything it takes to get it.

Not almost.

Am I willing to be vulnerable. Am I willing to slow DOWN. Am I willing to trust.

Yes and no, which equals almost.

So yes. Or no. But not both.

My friend has this quote at the bottom of her email, and it gets me every time…

‘I imagine that yes is the only living thing’ ee cummings.

Right?

I am imagine that YES is the only living thing.

The only living thing.

Of which all else is born.

Step 2…what am I saying yes to.

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Stay tuned : )

Are you getting truth bombs from Danielle Laporte? You dont want to almost get them…get them AND read her work. She rocks. 

I am Faith. And I am so big.

I am FAITH. And I am so Big.

she said.

And smiled at me. And wrapped her arms around me.

And I know her smile, and what she taught me, is  something I’ll never forget.

I take the same drive to work everyday…it’s about 18 miles, and takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on traffic. Everyday I pass this bridge that gives a view of the Sacramento river that is always beautiful, especially when it’s 7am and foggy. I always think to myself, I should stop and take that picture…and I never do. This week, I will.

Lately, I’ve been driving without music. And I love, LOVE to sing in the car. But lately I’m finding that there’s noise I am not aware of, until I am a little more still. So I am trying to be, a little more still. To hear this noise that runs me.

Don’t ask me if I’m meditating though…I’ve fallen off the wagon, checking my phone in the morning instead, scrolling through instagram feeds, and learning about days on FB. When I was in pharmaceutical sales, I had a lot of drive time between accounts, and I’d call my friends a lot…just to say hi…and I haven’t been doing that much anymore either. This week on my way to work I will call 5 people I love. I will say that. I love you, you know. So much.

I just took a picture of this bridge, and I wanted to call you to tell you I love you.  And then, I’ll say more than what the weather is, because I’m tired with these kind of conversations, and I don’t want to waste any more time talking about things like the weather, when instead, we could be talking about how we are creating today, to be amazing.

I want to create more of the good kind of noise.

A thought that was running me today, sneaks up on me every once in a while, it happened between the bridge and my exit. And I feel weird even sharing it, but the thought was around, when I have a baby one day…will she be healthy? Even as I type it, it seems harsh and cynical. But, this is not the first time I’ve thought this. My friend who is 34, without a current partner, her OBGYN looked her very seriously in the eye and said ‘Jennifer, have you thought about freezing your eggs?’ She went on to explain how women in their 30’s are considered to be AMA, (no, not music award recipients) but rather, of advanced maternal age. And then she filled her head, and hands with brochures of all the things that could go wrong. And I have a strong feeling, that even though I wasn’t there, she probably said something about the weather that day as my friend Jen wrapped her paper gown a little bit tighter around her, wondering, should she freeze her eggs.

‘Wow is it sunny out today, have you every thought about freezing your eggs’?

I remember she told me as we sat outside have a cup of coffee, and I burst out laughing, spitting out my coffee. ‘ARE YOU KIDDING ME, FREEZE YOUR EGGS?!?!?!’  I shouted. No indoor voice at all. But then Jen, she pulls in all close for a conversation, and she says ‘I think I should do it…the risk factors are getting higher every year.’

But that conversation I think about every now and again, when I am feeling afraid of being alone. That and all the other crap that reminds me of my age, and my singleness, and apparent status of AMA.

Today was such a great day at work. I work on a team I love, like cannot get enough of. At least once a day on this team, I am laughing until I am full-out crying, hitting the deck, trying to catch my breath. The people we meet on a daily basis are extraordinary people. It’s just the nature of what I am a part of; it attracts the most amazing people.

Today, towards the end of my day…I saw a little girl running around the store. She was super quick, and we were busy, so I just kept getting glimpses of her. This was a little girl with a whole lotta spirit. I played the very same way when I was 5. I was running to the back for something and on my way back, I saw her playing on the floor in back of the store, she had pulled out all the things in the bin we have with kid stuff and it was all over the place, and she was kinda just plunked down in the center of it, her back turned toward me.  I looked around but didn’t see her Mom around anywhere.

As I was grabbing what I needed, I turned to one of my co-workers, and totally judge-y, I said ‘there’s a little girl out there who’s taken like EVERYTHING out of the bin, shouldn’t the mom be like somewhere around?’

When I came back out and walked up front, the momma and the little girl were checking out. The little girl was putting multiple headbands on her head, and her mom was just totally in-it with her, laughing, putting more headbands on her head, laughing more, and the little girl was laughing so big….so so big.

This little one, she then tosses off all the ones she’s wearing and settles on a hot pink number (good choice), and she turns and smiles at me. Like so super big. And I can see at that moment that this little girl has special needs, and it wasn’t until this moment that I knew.

And she’s at about the height of my hips smiling up at me, and I am smiling the biggest smile back at her, because that’s how this kinda thing works.

‘Good CHOICE!’ I said. ‘That’s the best one’.

She says. ‘I know’.

I say, ‘want to go see what you look like in the mirror?’ And I take her little hand and walk her over to this giant mirror and she CANT GET ENOUGH of what she looks like. She’s dancing, and I’m dancing, and we’re both laughing. All the while, this little girl is wearing this pink headband like it’s a tiara made of  tiffany diamonds.

We walk back, and her mom super beautiful and patient, and did I mention so so beautiful is all, ‘do you want that one baby?’

And I ask the little girl if I can see it. ‘Ooooh, can I see it??’ And she plops it in my hands, and smiles up at me.

I take the tag off and put it back in your hands. ‘A gift’. I say. ‘From us’.

She immediately puts it back on her head and is really working it now. Super inspired by all this, I do the only thing that seems appropriate to do in the moment.

Dance Party. Duh.

So I went behind the register, and I asked her, ‘ARE YOU READY? Because in 5 seconds I am going to turn the music on REALLLY LOUD and then we’re all going to dance, okay?’ (100% agrees head nodding : )

So we did that. For about 2 minutes. We turned the music up REAL loud for 30 seconds and we all went for it. Me. This little girl. This beautiful momma. My beautiful team of amazing women around me. We’d take a short break (10 seconds or so) and then, boom, right back in.

I thought about the other guests in the store, and what they might be thinking in the moment, but I knew that no one would care, really, because if you took one look at this little girl just having her moment, you’d dance too.

At the end of 2 minutes I was out of breath, and happier than I can remember being in a long time.

Her Mom, beaming, keeps thanking us for the dance party(ies), and says ‘okay Faith, we better get going, say bye to the girls!’ And I reach over to get a huge high five, which she totally landed.

But then I say, ‘oh no, this just wont do, we’re gonna need to end this with a hug’.

So I walk around and I open my arms real real big, and Faith just ran right into them, her bright pink headband slightly sideways from all the dancing. I picked her right up and gave her a squeeze to match the squeeze she was giving me.

As I’m holding her, she looks at me, and she takes her tiny little hand and points at herself. She is smiling, and laughing, and so I am I, and she takes her little hand and points to her heart and she says.

‘I am Faith. And I am so BIG!’

I said. ‘You ARE SO BIG!’

She goes. ‘I AM SO BIG! I am FAITH, and I am SO BIG!’

I squeezed her in one last time, and set her down, her two little feet touching down. She smiled back up at me one last time. Her Mom whispers to me ‘thank you. thank you for truly seeing her’

And my response came so easy ‘she saw me first’, I whispered back, ‘thank you.’  And I made eye contact with this woman, and I swear she is one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen, the way she celebrated joy…moved me deeply.

My day ended shortly after. I drove home. And though I felt lonely, I didn’t feel sad. I felt full and hopeful. I felt loved. I felt lonely thinking of how I don’t really have my people here, like I have lots and lots of amazing friends I’ve made, and I love my co-workers, but I don’t really have like Saturday night friends, or game-night friends, my whole life since being here in California was mostly centered around me and Paul. But I’ve yet to make the kind of friends where I would walk in, and open their refrigerators, and start making dinner…but still hope. Still love.

I walked Moose when I got home, and as we’re nearing the end of the walk, I remembered this little girl who I danced with, who ran into my arms, and how she filled up my heart, and for the first time I thought about how her name is Faith, and I stopped for a minute, and thought about that alone. Faith.

I made dinner and I poured a glass of wine, and after about half a glass started to feel a little bit drunk, and decided I didn’t want to feel a little bit drunk. I watched half an episode of mad men, and fell asleep on my couch.

When I woke up it was 2 hours later, and I was tempted to just go to bed. It was 830.

Instead I decided to light a bunch of candles, draw a bath, and put Alexi Murdoch radio on. I was still sleepy when I got into the bath. And all the noise and the feelings came to me, when I really stopped to just be still, and within a few minutes, I felt so awake and aware.

I thought about this day. And these days I’ve been having. And how rich and full they’ve been. And how it’s been just one year in California and all that has happened. Of all that is happening.

I thought about all things Faith.

And I started to cry. And release. And it surprised me at first, but then I just let it not be wrong, no wrong feeling. And I cried, and I shook, and I hugged my knees into my chest and dropped by head towards my knees. I made myself as small as I could, and all these big feelings washed right over me. It felt amazing.

My heart then started to beat so fast. You know, when you can feel your whole heart in your whole body, it was like that.

But it wasn’t panic, it was rhythm. It was fear, and it wasn’t fear. It was all of me, and that I know for sure.

And I thought about her. And her big smile. And her beautiful momma. And the grace of them. Together.

And how she told me everything I needed to know today.  She taught me about faith and heart and soul.

I am faith. And I am so big.

I am faith. And I am so big.

 

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Side note, if anyone reading this, knows of a little girl named Faith with a tall beautiful momma who left lululemon Roseville CA today,  Saturday 1/24 with a bright pink headband, please tell her to come back in for a dance party. I sure hope I get to see her again.

I am a child of….

My guidance counselor in the 8th grade, wore Birkenstocks and striped wool socks, loose slacks, and long sweaters even in the summer. She rocked a poofy mullet, and though I never saw her playing the guitar like an indigo girl…I always imagined that she would be doing just that when I knocked on the door.

Soft knock…one, two, three.

‘Lyndsey’, she’d say warmly, come on in.  She knew my knock even without looking.

Kinda like people become regulars at the bar, in 8th grade, I became a regular in the guidance office that year. Lyndsey! All the secretaries would say and look up from their stacks of paper (this was before emails and all that) I cant even imagine what a day was like then.

My anger and reactivity began to surface in 8th grade…that’s what I can remember anyway. I remember crying at my desk for no apparent reason, the kind that has like the chair and the desk built right in, I remember running my fingertips across the metal cubby underneath my desktop and pulling out 25 cent erasers shaped like dogs and basketballs, or reorganizing my bart simpson pencil case, or looking around the room at all the other kids wondering what their lives were like at home.

It didn’t show up as anger, cause I would never yell. For a long long time I was terrified to yell, and have spent the better part of my 20’s and into my 30’s cultivating a voice that feels strong.

I would talk to Ms. Evans about everything and nothing. I’d sit on a big cushion and lean against the wall. I’d pick up her picture frames and ask her one million questions. She had many cats and a girlfriend. I’d run my hands over the binding of her books. I’d eat my quaker oats chewy granola bars, the ones with the chocolate chips.

Mid-year, she said ‘Lyndsey, I have a perfect group for you to join.’ It’s with other 8th graders. Realizing that I would get out of math class, I said heck yes. When I arrived to the first group, there was a semi-circle of plastic chairs, and about a dozen kids, most of whom I recognized.

On the table in the middle was a neatly displayed set of colorful pamphlets. I picked one up. ‘Children of Alcoholics’ I read to myself. ‘C.O.A’s’ And then, as though we were at some fancy luncheon Ms Evans proudly introduces each of us, and no one quite knew what to do…look up? Look down? What does one do with an introduction like that.

With different colored pamphlets of the same content, we fumbled and stammered our way through our own introductions, sharing who, in our family is an alcoholic.  We would meet every Tuesday during 6th period.

I found myself thinking about this group I was in a few weeks back, and smiled at the absurdity of it. Though we only do what we believe is best in the moment, I thought about those 12 or so kids in that group, and how we were brought together in our sameness…to confirm what already hurt…to only drive that deeper…to see on the grid, due to our circumstances, who were we in our family.

The funny one?

The enabler?

The achiever?

The self-destructor?

I cant quite remember what all the types were, but I remember identifying with some more than others, and wearing them like a badge.

They were scary pamphlets like this. imagesimages-1

I also remember thinking ‘I’m screwed’ I looked around the room and for most of the hour, kids would just cry. I remember thinking to myself ‘that I am not like these kids’ cause it horrified me to think that I was just like them.

Instead of understanding my life more, or this ‘disease’ as it was explained to me. I just got more and more pissed off. I identified further and deeper of being a child of… a child of….. a child of…. And what I see now is this has no ownership. It cultivates blame, and it feels permanent.

To be clear, my Dad who still is an alcoholic, is also one of the kindest, most compassionate, caring men on the planet. I couldn’t see that for a long time, because, of how wrong he was for not being who I wanted him to be. He never once missed a game, of which I played hundreds growing up, and he’s bailed me out of trouble more times than I’d care to admit : ) You know, like Dad’s do.  He’d always make u s homemade birthday cakes, and we’d take many many trips down to the lake to go fishing and pack watermelon, just me and Dad. Now?  Today, I love my Dad for who he is. A beautiful man with kind eyes and a generous spirit. A man who has left notes and 10 dollar bills in my suitcases before my many trips. Who has told me he’s proud of me, more than any other human being on this planet. ‘I’m proud of ya Lyn’ he’ll say. ‘So so proud of you.’

He wasn’t a white collar drunk, coming home in fancy black car and pouring bourbon into expensive glasses purchased on an oversees business trip. My dad’s a hardworking blue collar dude, who’d come home in his sensible car, and crack open a cheap beer. He’d turn on the people’s court and watch Judge Wapner. Then we’d have dinner, always as a family. After that he’d watch wheel of fortune, and then jeopardy. He’d go to the back porch often and grab a new cold beer, he’d tuck them right into the corner of the couch, and our little white dog muffin, would sit on the other side.

By 730pm, I avoided talking to him. I’d become enraged at his incoherence and slightly slurred words. I’d go up into my room and review my pamphlets, I saw how doomed I was, I’d tuck my pamphlet away and would go outside, I never had to let anyone know where I was going, cause no one was ever checking in on me. I’d rollerblade and pump my arms really fast and daydream for a different life, I used to skate all the way up to the top of the hill by the church we lived by. I’d fly back down the hill and do this many times again and again. I had no concept or concern for risk of injury. I just wanted to feel something.

I’d go up to my room and try to go to bed, but never could. At about 11pm every night I’d hear him come up the stairs like an elephant. I could never fall asleep until I knew he had come upstairs, almost right away he’d begin to snore. Sometimes, I would walk across the hallway and carefully open the door, just to make sure he was okay. Sometimes I’d do this a few times a night. Only then, could I fall asleep.

He’d always go to work. He’d make a pot of coffee, and drink 2 pepsi’s…never coca cola. I’d see him shuffling around in the morning in his worn out slippers and plum-colored robe, his hair was always off to the sides like bozo the clown ‘you girls are making me lose my hair’ he’d joke. ‘Da-aaad’ we’d say back, lovingly.  In the morning I could forgive him for all the things I was holding him responsible for but never told him I was.

By 730 pm I would be angry again.

My sister and I often joke and wonder, how in the world did we make it out of there alive. Our Dad, kind, gentle, but clearly intoxicated, and our Mom angry, inconsistent, and abusive but also so loving in so many moments. It was a confusing place to be a kid.

My fierce independence came from this, and my drive and desire to create a life where people feel heard and understood, a passion.

While in my mid-20’s I began a steady yoga practice, and here began a lot of deep introspective work. SO much different than therapy, which really, in it’s adult version was not so unlike sitting around in those chairs confirming that we are indeed victims. I did however see an amazing therapist right as I was beginning yoga who truly empowered me to be bigger than my story of the past. We get so comfortable leaning on ‘this is the way I am’ ‘this is what happened to me’ ‘when I was kid, I….’

In the most compassionate way I can think to deliver this…here’s what I have to say to that.

So what.

It’s a harsh question, but if you can move through it, then you can actually see people. You want to see people. You do.

For a long long time I could only see my Dad as an alcoholic, and this really limited anything else I could see about him, and frankly, me too. Instead I sought comfort in being sad for my life, and would point to this pamphlet as a reason to not be responsible.

I don’t know what it looks now…but do kids still get pulled into a room and are told what they are?  Lets give better tools.

Don’t we do this as adults anyway? We talk and talk and talk about our problems, we take on traits and labels from the partners we choose. We are so very powerless in this.

It’s so easy to regress. Which is why you must, and I mean must surround yourself by people that will keep you accountable to get out of  your own way.

I dont have a perfect relationship with my parents. My mom is not best friend. And I talk to my parents maybe every 2-weeks. For me, this is healthy and feels good. For a long time I got super emeshed in both of their so-called ‘problems’ and in this, this is all I could see in them…I could not see past or through or around or any of that. I could not see.

So what I’m getting to is that maybe you are holding someone in your life responsible, and it’s the only way that you can see them. And the only way you can identify with them is by the pain that they’ve ‘caused’ you…chances are, you do.

Could you just try to see that you are not a child of… a partner of…. a fill-in-the-blank of, the permanent state of this person. I am my fathers daughter. I am my mothers daughter. I am the product of 2-extroidonary individuals. What happens is…you can finally start to see the other person for how beautiful they are. It’s literally immediate.

I am.

Just try it…

I’m on a roll.

The bud

 

stands for all things,

 

even for those things that don’t flower,

 

for everything flowers, from within,

 

of self-blessing;

 

though sometimes it is necessary

 

to reattach a thing to its loveliness,

 

to put a hand on its brow

 

of the flower

 

and retell it in words and in touch

 

it is lovely

 

until it flowers again from within, of self blessing.

-Galway Kinnell ‘’saint francis and the sow’ from the book ‘Grace Eventually’ by Anne Lamott

I read this on the way home, way up in the sky, flying back to Sacramento. Having spent the past 12-days surrounded by what I can best explain as love, and in that, I have said it all.

I kicked it off with a 1-night stop to see a dear friend in Houston TX, we caught up over delicious Mexican food, and margaritas that had both jalapenos and blueberries in them…I’m still not quite sure how that works out, but it does. We stayed up past our bed-time, talking on the couch: me, her, her sweet wonderful husband, and rescue dog, we remembered stories that felt good to remember. We spoke them outloud, and used our hands at the really exciting parts. We laughed over new things that one day we will retell again, in the way that good friends do. The next morning we woke up, and sat around a square table drinking mugs of coffee, a cool-little spot with brick walls and lots of light.  The kind of place you sit and stay awhile with friends, lovers, or with the newspaper. Soon, I was off to the airport.

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On the plane, I sat next to a beautiful girl, and I knew right away that we would be friends. I knew this mostly because within 5 seconds of sitting down, she said something hilarious, and whenever that happens, I take note, hilarious people get me every time. After about 3 minutes of talking we uncovered that we share a mutual friend who we are both crazy about. They knew each other from Ohio where they went to the same college, and I knew her from living in our hometown, Rochester NY. Our minds were officially blown, and we immediately sent Jackie a picture. We did impersonations of what Jackie would say when she received this picture, and we were absolutely correct. After showing each other pictures of our dogs for the next 20 minutes, and then getting into real talk life conversations where we talked about everything from first cars that fell apart at stop lights, to our love of travel, I knew I had made a friend for life… It was instant like that. We parted ways at the airport, she on a very Mexican vacation with her boyfriend, and boyfriends family…and me…to a 8-day yoga training.

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I’ve been to Tulum now 5-times, and it is one of my favorite spots on the earth. It’s rustic and blue. Simple and decadent.

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Here’s what I know, spending 8-days among 75 human beings deep in the work of their leadership, authenticity and listening is a beautiful and necessary process to be a part of. It has filled me up and left me feeling deep gratitude for this path I am on. For all the wild twists and turns, for all the weather, for dirt, and earth, and sun, and for all the beautiful friends I have gathered along the way who show me love so that I may know too. Oh this beautiful life, I bow.

One of the most amazing parts of this trip was spending all those days in a row with my dear friend Cyndi. She owns breathe back in Rochester NY, where I first began taking and teaching yoga, I am certain that I would not be who I am today without breathe, and without her. It was at breathe where I began to heal a life that felt so dark and permanent. Over the 6-years of us, our relationship has evolved and taken on many forms. I arrived one day early so we could catch up, and for 12-hours we talked non-stop. Our relationship is magic, and its built on a mutual commitment for the other to grow.

My dinner date, Cyndi.

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I am grateful and inspired by the work of the Baptiste Yoga Institute, and very proud to be a part of such an amazing community of teachers who far beyond that role…are leaders. Leaders I am so inspired by.

One of my biggest takeways from this training is leadership is causing something to happen, that was not going to happen on it’s own. And that absolutely everything, without exception is built on our interactions with everyone…everyone. Now that’s a legacy right there friends…and that’s what it’s all about.

Training ended, and there were a handful of us that stayed through the day on Saturday.  What a perfect way to end a week like that. In the sun, in the ocean, among friends.

But oh wait, it actually gets even better than that, with a whirlwind pitstop in LA, which I don’t even quite know how to describe. I turned my phone on when I landed to this text  ‘meet us here, we’re going ice-skating.’

I came rolling up to the rink with my suitcase and backpack, and nothing quite beats a welcome on skates, really, you should try it. I was immediately given ginourmous hugs and warm smiles, and directed to the bleachers where I was further given the gift  of whiskey which inspired a grand finale of the flying V (mighty ducks any one?) which of course ended up in a mid-rink crash.

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Being surrounded by people who you love and inspire you in a way that you could never explain, is the best way to be in the world.

That night I got to snuggle this bulldog. Rosy. Until she left to go snuggle with her Mom and Dad.

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In the morning, we woke up, and we went here. And oh, the views.

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3-friends, 2-dogs, and 1-amazing hike.

Yesterday, I came back to work, I couldn’t make it 2-feet without another giant hug, a welcome home, a we missed you, a I-cant-wait-to-hear-about-your-training in a way that I know is genuine and real. My team. I came home to a team that loves me and I who I love back.

Today, I met a co-worker for coffee and a meeting a few doors down from where I teach yoga at yoga shala. One of the owners, Tyler, must have had the same idea. When he left he tapped me on the back, I was right by the door, I looked out the window and there he was just smiling back. And then he did the sweetest thing, he touched his heart. Just smiled at me, and touched his heart, and mouthed the words ‘welcome home’ the sweetness of that moment moved me.

I came home.

The poem I read on the way home pretty much sums this whole thing up…that sometimes we have to be reattach to our loveliness. To be retold in words and in touch…

Sometimes we just need to be reminded. To bloom.

Church On Sundays

Church on Sunday’s.

I was raised Catholic. Through the 3rd grade I went to Catholic school, and there was one time, and the only time, where I stood up at front to do a reading. It was the part in church, where you say something, and then you pause, then everyone else says ‘lord, hear our prayer’.  I was beyond nervous, and my little keds felt like they were not enough to hold me up, my side pony tail was not enough to keep it real, I blew through the passage…the verse…I don’t even know what to call it. And I shouted into that little foam microphone, in my big-little voice, and when I finally came up for air, there was everyone, looking bewildered.

‘Lord hear our prayer’? They said it more like a question.

I looked at my teacher, and her perm. I looked at both. She looked down.

‘Uh-oh,’ I thought, ‘I’ve disappointed god.’

I didn’t like the way that school smelled, it’s tight hallways, and everyone wearing the same checkered skirt.  I didn’t like how jenky the sports equiptment was, and how everything we did, seemed to be done in the basement.

I took up the clarinet, and that was a bad idea. I hated this instrument and the way you had to stuff this weird pipe cleaner thing down it to clean out the spit. I hated that it sounded like honking. Also, since we were pretty much poor, my clarinet came from a garage sale, the idea of which never stopped being gross. I wonder what would have happened to me if something would have handed me a drum set or a guitar…my guess is magic : ) I’ve always been more rock and roll.  When I have a little girl, she is for sure getting a drum set.  I’d like to buy every little girl in the world with spirit, a gold drum set.

My parents got called into a conference and my music teacher shared that it was probably best that I stop playing the clarinet.  ‘that I showed little promise.’ Thank god that happened, they got me a mitt and some cleats that day, and a star was born. My athletic pursuits became my most important pursuits, and I’ll always be thankful to Dr. Glick…that man with thick glasses and a moustache for calling it like he saw it.

I somehow campaigned that summer that we should go to public school. I don’t remember this campaign being all that hard. So off we went to kirk road, where we read the book socks, were never in a basement, and had a gym with a rope I could climb to the ceiling. I wore jams, and nike high tops. I developed my first crush on boy with hair gel, Matt Opperman. Life was so good. (ps, damn, do I miss jams)

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We continued to go to church, but only on holidays, I would try not to laugh at the part where you throw your hands up in the air and sing you raise me uppppppp (which I may be confusing with that Josh Groban song) but I don’t know anymore. At any rate, I remember thinking that all I was doing was repeating things back and nothing was really landing.

But. I had a lot of soul. Even as a little kid, people were always like ‘you’re an old soul, you’re an old soul.’ And I heard this a lot too… ‘man, you sure do have a lot of spirit.’

I watched the VHS sister act probably 400 times growing up. It was my absolute favorite movie. I would stand in front of the TV and clap my hands and sway at the gospel parts. I would shout hallelujah and mean it. I would pray that Whoopi Goldberg find her way, ‘you can do it whoopi…you can do it’ I’d whisper.

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So is this what they mean by soul?

I continued to become obsessed with anything gospel. I found myself drawn to the weird shows at 3am when, all I can describe it is ‘black church’ aka nothing like I had ever seen, people running down the aisles, throwing their hands up in the air, some of them passing out (later came to find out, this is called catching the spirit), and always, some fiery (usually small) man in a purple suit shouting into a microphone, stomping one foot into the ground.

Oh yes. This was soul.

I imagined how wonderful it must be to be in that crowd with a big ass hat on, jumping up and down.

I was 12.

Little did I know then, that I am very powerful manifester, whatever I choose to create in this life, I will. It’s like I have the universe on speed dial. But if I’m not listening, I’m stuck and feeling all womp womp, woe is me. I am un-inspired. I am eating tator tots. I am a huge bore to be around. I am not attracting any dates, partnerships,  or new friends.

And then I remember.  Whatever I am searching for in this life, I must ask for it. I must believe it is mine to receive.

I spent about 8 Sunday’s in a church just like the one I described…in Kenya…in the slums. Of my one million favorite things about Kenya, I gotta say, this just may be the top. So much soul. So much fire. So much passion. So much worship.

Amen.

How did I get there?

Great question.

Every day, when I got home from work, I’d gather about 80 cents and walk down the street to get everything I needed for dinner. Like literally everything, a giant thing of kale, carrots, fruit, and peanuts for a snack. There were two ladies at the same stand everyday, but one of them was my favorite right away.

Hellooooooooo, she’d say, in her semi-toothless, gigantic smile.

Jambo! I’d reply back in my trying-it-on Swahili, big smile back, genuine connection.

We did this everyday. And we’d have these great conversations with each other, even though we had no idea what the other person was saying. I looked forward to seeing her everyday.

Mama Irene.

One of other favorite things about the beautiful people in Kenya is it’s not uncommon for someone to be primarily referred to as Mama so-in-so, it’s always the name of the first born child. So in this case, Mama Irenes first born, was a beautiful girl named Irene.

In Kenya, it’s also not uncommon for the first thing for people to ask you is ‘have you been saved’ meaning, have you found Jesus. At first, I would have these terrible flashbacks of being a bad Catholic, and that damn clarinet, but I learned a strategy which was, just say yes.

I believed in something higher, I knew that for sure. But she has no name.

Mama Irene played it cool, but after about 2 months, or some 60 visits later, she goes to me ‘have you been saved?’ I looked at her, reached for the bag of kale I had just purchased, and said this. ‘oh yes.’

Long story short, somehow we concocted a plan where she is inviting me to go to church with her. Which entailed going up to the matatu station (think bus station, just much different, more on this later), paying 10 cents, and riding on down to one of my very favorite places, a slum called Kangemi.

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There is a whole lot of everything you could imagine in a slum, but, if you are not careful, you’ll miss the very best part, which is all the joy. It’s like NYC, there is always noise, and celebration, and kids running around, and futbol (soocer) matches on the dirt, and people selling everything you could possibly imagine, and coca cola in glass bottles for 10 cents, and music, and chickens running around, and families and more families, and lots of places to get your hair braided…I could keep going on and on.

(this little boy below,  his name is Bright….Bright : )

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But on Sundays, oh man, it’s like EVERYBODY is going to church! EVERYBODY is praying to the lord. EVERYBODY is singing aaaamen.

I would make my way to Mama Irene on Sundays. I fought the fear and uneasiness that I would get lost on the matatu. And I would take the 20 minute ride, then walk down this little alley and it was fill my ears and soul up with all the amazing sounds.

these are matatus…they could be their own post.

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Now it gets a little weird, being the only, and I mean only white person in a church in the middle of the slums. First of all, generally speaking, everyone thinks you are a millionaire. That part used to really frustrate me, because of my own guilt, of feeling like I should be giving more…and feeling that I was always being looked at as though I could. You gotta get over that quick though, or you’ll just grow angry.

But they’d always make me sit up in the front row. Picture a room that holds about 100 people, all singing and clapping, and then me and mama Irene up there in the front row, sitting up there with the other ‘important’ people that had come through that day.

Once you get over the weirdness of it, it just gets really good.

(pics of some of the beautiful sunday school kiddo’s before the service)

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The service was always in English AND Swahili, so there were TWO men, in purple (or other fancy suits) up front, preaching their damn hearts out, and the messages were always SO GOOD.

(the service always began with the kids gathering up front, before going to their own sunday school)

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Unlike Catholic Church where it’s not really appropriate to shout things out, or dance, or randomly run across the room to hug your neighbor, here, it was totally cool.

I wasted no time getting right into it, it was like my soul was like oh yes, this is what you’ve been waiting for. I jumped, I prayed, I shouted, I never got the guts to run across the room, but damn it, I sure did feel like I could. The very first time I attended service, they gave me the microphone, I have NO IDEA what I said, other than I spoke from the heart, and friends, it was GOOD. I was met with amen after amen, and I felt so at home. I marveled at the beauty of all that soul in one damn room. All the singing that would bring me to tears again and again. A room that could not have been more than 800 feet, with 2-floor fans blasting, and 2 beautiful men sweating, like pouring sweat, from all that clapping and preaching.

Lord hear our prayer.

There is ALWAYS a part where you would turn to your neighbor during the service, and you would repeat the words the pastor said. It’d go something like this.

Neighbor! (always sounded like Neighbaah!) you look SO SMART (pretty much meaning, you look fly), Neighbaah! Do not let your fears overcome you! Neighbaaaaah when things happen in your life, ask yourself, what is the lesson? And Neighbaaaah, never dull your spirit!’

After church, I’d always be asked to go have coffee with the pastor. We’d laugh, and share stories, and I’d pick up framed pictures on his desk and he’d tell me about these special people in their life. I’d say see you next Sunday! And then, when it was my last Sunday, I didn’t know how to tell him, so I still said, See you next Sunday! I was so sad. (mama irene with 2-junior pastors)

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After church, Mama Irene and I would walk back into the heart of the slums, into all the noise and chaos of a Sunday come alive, and one of the AYP boys would come by to walk me to where everyone else was, I’d throw on my futbol jersey and jeans that I had brought with me, and spend the rest of Sunday watching futbol, sitting on a patch of grass eating popsicles with the AYP teachers.

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If there were best days of my whole life so far…these were some of them.

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Lately, I’ve been thinking so much about that feeling…that, undescribable feeling of being free. Of choosing to be free.

I’ve been wondering, where is my courage.

I’ve been asking my courage, please come and show me, lets go on an adventure me and you (this is the convo I have with courage).

My life coaching sessions with the woman that makes me want to say ammmmmen! Mary Beth Larue have come to a close, and I’m not gonna lie,  I’m thinking to myself, uh-oh. Can all those beautiful things that I uncovered and unearthed stay here with me, like palm-of-my-hands-with-me.

And the answer is, of course they can.

It’s just up to me to see them through. I’ve been given beautiful tools. Having a highly accountable convo once a week, sure does help. But so does believing in the moments.

The ones with soul.

Of trading in your clarinet.

Of making friends and truly loving a woman named Mama Irene, who took me to church, who shouted Amen with me and for me.

That fear of not knowing, how in the heck am I going to get to that next step. Will I ever feel as loved as I feel now. Will I?

This family I dream of….these babes….their dreams…where are they? Am I doing right by my vision.

My vision with soul.

If I am afraid, then I am immobile. I’m not gonna lie, these past few days I’ve felt afraid and alone. Only in moments, but those ‘oh shit’ moments, today, instead of writing or reading the NY times that I was so pumped to crack into, I drank coffee in my bed and watched 4 episodes of orange is the new black on my macbook air, right in a row.

At about 3pm I saw a post with a picture of this amazing retreat center in the French alps, and I felt refreshed and inspired.

Oh yes, I remembered, manifesting is a powerful thing. This picture called to me, and I have to remember that comparing my life to everyone elses, sure isn’t going to create the alignment to get me there. I will. I do.

And then I sent my friend a message about photography, which I keep ‘meaning’ to take my camera out of my camera case, and I don’t, even though it’s very much a part of my vision. And she sent me a message to just get on with it already. Just point and shoot.

Oh yeah, just begin…

And then I went to Mercy Cancer Center to teach my nightly class with the beautiful warriors whom I love dearly, of the family we have become, and of the big belly laughs we always have. Earlier today, I tried to sub out that class ‘I just wasn’t feeling it’ but when I couldn’t find a sub, within 30 seconds of rolling out my mat tonight, I remembered that so often…

It’s just about showing up.

Showing up to our lives. Listening for, and creating what supports and lights us up. To the little girl, in her jams and nikes that swayed and clapped in front of the TV to the gospel songs in Sister Act.

To the me now, who sits here, so deeply inspired, so very much on the cusp of absolutely everything, who is getting stuck in where to begin.

Soul, baby. Where is the soul.

It’s up to me, just as it’s up to you. Find what feeds you. Connect to what’s honest. Ask for help…but not too much help. Fortune favors the brave after all.

one of my very very favorite quotes. ‘we have been in love with god, for so very very long’ – unknown.

Amen. 

my 10-year vision. November 2013.

Since I started with lululemon over 2-years ago, I’ve written, and re-written, and began again and again…this vision for my life. They inform the goals that I set for myself, and give me reason to reflect and ask myself ‘is what I am doing today, supporting this beautiful snap-shot of a day 10-years from now?’

The answers are uncomfortable, and awesome. Jarring and easy. When you move into this realm of creating, expect to ride some waves.

What I know for sure is from my very first vision to this mornings, there are themes that are always there: ocean. partnership. family. freedom. natural elements (brick, wood, light). ownership and art.

November 18th, 2013…with no restrictions of my life, this is what I see.

My 10-year vision:

In 10-years I am 42 years old, living on the coast in a beautiful old home. It’s a sweet Sunday Morning wrapped up in bed with my beautiful family. Our boys jump right into the middle, in their superhero PJ’s with the feet, messy hair, and giant-sized smiles. In loud, excited voices, they tell us of the dreams they had last night.

My super handsome husband, with his kind eyes, sexy beard : ) and gentle spirit pretends to be asleep, until our kiddos drag him right out to bed, chanting pancakes! pancakes! Their feet and 8-paws hit the hardwood floor, and they’re off…I close my eyes, and think about how much I love the sound of Sunday morning with my family.

I roll out of bed and walk barefoot down the hall to a simple, beautiful room filled with natural light, where I write, meditate, yoga, and develop my pictures. I wrap a blanket loosely over my shoulders and meditate to begin my day.

We gather for breakfast at our old farm style table, that my hubs and I built together, it’s solid and beautiful with so much history, this table, is just like us.  We cruise on down to the ocean after, surfboards stacked on our old jeep, I’m teaching our youngest kiddo how to surf.

When we get home, I’ll ride my bike down to the studio, and hang for a bit, always inspired and humbled by our thriving pipeline of classes, trainings, international retreats, and local outreach.  We are about to break ground across the street at a place I’ve dreamed of creating since I was 15, It’s called home. It’s organic coffee, wine, local art on the walls, live music, brick, wood, and natural light.

On Sunday night our best friends come over with their kids, we sit outside around the bonfire: flannel, mason jars with red wine, chuck taylors, music, white lights up overhead, and the soft sounds of people that absolutely love and care for each other. I am surrounded by extraordinary people, game changers, fellow entrepreneurs who see the world for what it is: giant sized and full of opportunity to do good.

10 years ago, I had a major shift, and  I truly started living into the question of ‘how do I want my life to feel?’ and sought to create the answers. My life feels complete, purposeful, free, full of LOVE and so authentic. Being a momma and a partner are the center of my world, and thriving here lifts me to thrive everywhere else. I am a powerful yet gentle force, I am remarkable in all that I commit to, I am just beginning. I am always just beginning.

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