Monday, January 30, 2006

month end

The dog woke me at 3:30 this morning, and after a walk in the dark, I decided that I would stay awake. Sleep is difficult lately. A few hours here and there seem to be all I can manage. Don't know if it's the coffee, or the changes in my life that keep real rest at bay and unreachable. But it seems okay somehow, to sit here before the sun rises. I am not tired, and I write. And I think. Staying out of my head seems impossible now.

As this month ends, I make preparations to move away from here. The ties that bind me to this place slip away, one by one, as if the Universe is removing roadblocks to make relocating easier. The fact that I am not cautiously fearful scares me. Should I be shaking in my cowboy boots? Should I be thinking of all the worse-case scenarios? Should I be hoping for the best, but prepared for the worst? Fear seems the logical choice, and yet I am fearless.

I often say, "I lead a charmed life." Things just seem to always work out. I think that from the perspective of others, who are aware of the difficulties in my past, this may seem false, almost sarcastic. But the truth is that I feel that way. Though I have been through difficult times, I realize now that it was just part of the journey to where I am today. I look back without regrets, but with a sense that it was the path on which I needed to walk.

I think that maybe it may just be my perspective...always looking at the bright side, the candle flame in the darkness, finding the one beam of light that shines when everyone else is looking for a flashlight. For this I am thankful. I prefer it this way. Difficulty seems to me to be a state of mind, not a reality. Once the decision is made, you fill your boxes one at a time, rent a truck and drive away. It's just a matter of doing.

Looking at the future, I know a new path will open up and that I will know the way. There may be some brush that needs to be cut away, and even a few big rocks that need to be moved, but I've proven myself strong enough - moving a mountain over the last year - a task I once thought impossible.

Things just are as they are. One day comes and then it goes. We do things to get us where we're going. And at next month's end, the doing will be done, sleep will come and I will rest easily in a new city under the same sky.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

new perspective

I took the my age it's inevitable for most people. Things begin to get fuzzy when you look at them too closely. I've been on the ragged edge of wearing bifocals for a year or two, but as I get more comfortable with growing up, and trying to do everything I can to make my life simpler, admitting the need for new glasses was a easy choice.

So yesterday I walked into Sears optical, sat in front of a cheerful technician, and tried them for size. Looking at myself in the mirror, I saw little difference from my old glasses. I tilted my head up and down and noticed the difference. It was slight, but certainly made the tiny words the tech held in front of me much easier to read. Okay...this would work. And with progressive lenses, no one would be the wiser. My age would remain my secret.

I got out of the chair took my first steps. This was a little more interesting. As long as I didn't look down, things were okay, but peering through the lower portion of the lens made my feet want to do unusual things. I figured it was a good idea to take a walk through the mall before attempting to drive myself home - let my eyes adjust a bit.

It was an adventure, and at times, while I looked through racks of clothes I didn't buy, I had to remind myself that I could read the price tag without taking off my glasses. Huh - this might be a good thing.

The drive home was effortless, normal, no looming vehicles or blurry road signs. And when I walked the dog later, I realized that my feet no longer wanted to do unusual things. Funnier than that, I realized that I felt much taller when I looked down, as the lenses made the sidewalk seem a bit further away. At 5'3" - okay, 5'2 1/2" - this is a totally new feeling for me.

My new glasses fit perfectly in the life I am rediscovering. With or without them, I have a new perspective. The world seem clearer, the simple challenges of life are in focus now, and I'm walking much taller. Who'd of thought that growing up would look this way?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


What to take and what to leave behind? As I make my preparations for the big move out of the state, this question continues to pop into my head. When it comes to my physical possessions, the answers are relatively simple. Take the dog, the desk and my coffee pot. Leave the clothes I no longer wear, books I've read and will never open again, and wrapping paper scraps. My emotional possessions are a little harder to sort through. I leave the state of Texas, bound for South Dakota. But can I leave the mental state I've lived in for so long for a more blissful one?

I'd pack a box full of possibilities and suitcase full of joy. But no matter how hard I search for them, they are nowhere to be found. Clues are everywhere, that they are here somewhere. I feel them touch me now and again. But they seem to taunt me. And I think perhaps they have made their way north ahead of me, and are simply tugging at my heart to join them there.

And then, I put the dragonfly bracelet on my wrist, and bam, the coffee tastes better, the morning seems more promising, and the dog's warmth penetrates the palm of my hand reminding me that no matter where I am, these possessions will travel with me.

Mindfulness is the key. Today I will be mindful of the possibilities and the joy - Aha! thoughts and bliss. I will remember that they aren't simple baggage to be carted around, but instead are connected to my very soul, and I need only be mindful to find them at any given moment. They manifest before my eyes, and I need only pay attention.

Frustration, pain and unworthiness I will leave here. They seem to have become quite comfortable, but I refuse to wear a bracelet that pinches my wrist. And though they, like possibility and joy, have been connected to this me in this space, I choose them no more, disengage, release them to the universe. They no longer serve me. They are way too heavy to carry, and can find a new home in which to abide or simply disappear. And when they come to visit, I will send them back to Texas, where they were so comfortable.

And in the sorting, I find comfort and no regret. I look forward to living a life unencumbered by my "stuff". Getting rid of the not-so-useful will certainly lighten my load. I will breathe easier and step lighter. I will smile more and brood less. I will manifest love and light and joy, and resolve to keep the stuff that has no use, both physical and emotional, from cluttering my new space.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


The rain falls this morning and I listen, thinking it's a good reason not to go. I'm good at that, trying to find excuses for not doing something that I know will please someone else. Today it's a birthday party for a two year old. His mom called and said, "it's been a long time since we've seen you." And she's right and I think it's better that way.

It's a strange relationship - me, her, him and the baby. And my role in it so nebulous. In my head, I try to figure out how she perceives me - the woman that her husband might choose if he were not committed. Be assured that it is not so. He chose you, and chooses you still. Again and again, and I am just the one who waited in the wings in case you couldn't go on - the understudy. You were always the star of his production, from the first time he saw you on the stage. And he such a proficient director - with props and scripts so perfectly managed and practiced that we all believed it real. I practiced my script, which was really yours, and tried to write my own lines. They played again and again in my head, just in case I got an opportunity to say them out loud in front of him. But I never got the chance and will not.

He is silent now, I went off script and exited stage right when he expected me to go left. I tried to explain but he doesn't hear and has no wise words to convince me not to leave the show. Or perhaps he has guessed, as I have, that I can no longer be the understudy, that there are other shows and one of them is mine.

It happened when I was practicing a one-woman show. I would write, direct and star with no one to edit my lines. It would be my voice that was heard, my face that was seen, and my internal critic who would judge its merit. And just when I thought I had it right, I was discovered by a man who sees the possibilities for a new production. It was one of those movie moments. A chance meeting really - serendipity, being at the right place at the right time. I recited lines unpracticed, and they fell perfectly into place. The plot thickened unrehearsed. Enough drama. A romantic comedy perhaps. He has named me co-creator and has given me top billing. In the months ahead we will talk and laugh and write a script that is ours alone. Act 2 is beginning to have form, but the ending remains a mystery. While we write, I'm trying not to get ahead of myself, to let the characters speak for themselves, and write their own truth - nothing contrived. Minutes become hours and days become weeks as time passes. Each of us shares our vision with the other, and wonder how it all will play out, how the characters will grow and change, and what sort of ending will take shape.

But for now, there is only an unfinished script, and the joy of the writing.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Dappled sun comes through the window and rests on the desk where I sit this morning. I watch it as it gets closer to me and wonder when the warmth will finally rest on my cold fingers or touch my face. And I wait for it.

Days are this way lately. They begin with the thoughtlessness of morning's first moments, when the mind hasn't had time to engage, and the nudge of the dog's wet nose. I reluctantly move from under the blanket, leaving behind the warmth that lingers there, and reach for my glasses. And slowly, the thoughts begin - plans for the day, appointments, phone calls to make, but first, the dog to feed and walk. The moment itself becomes lost somewhere in the waiting for the sun to come up and the day to begin, for the phone to ring, and to hear the voice that assures me the waiting will soon be over.

I think it has always been this way. There has always been something for which to wait - a change of heart, a change of career, more money, more time, more flexibility, a fighting chance. And now it is a change of location, a change of scenery, a chance at love. And I wait.

With the waiting comes the struggle to live and thrive in this moment, as I was gently reminded of this morning by a kindred spirit with lyrics from a song that showed up at just the right moment:

"No day but today. Forget regret, or life is yours to miss"

Seems a shame to wait for the next big thing when the sun's dappled light warms my fingers through the window above my desk, and the day is mine.

Monday, January 16, 2006


Is intimacy possible without face time? When this long-distance romance began, I thought it was possible, in fact, quite a good thing. I get my space...he gets his, and when the stars are lined up just right, we'll meet here, or there, or somewhere in the middle and have a great adventure.

Reality has set in. My phone and I have become intimate. My space is empty. His space is far away. And we've only managed a single starlit encounter. Between finances, work obligations, and simple logistics...face time has come to mean me looking at his picture on my cell phone.

My friends warned...long distance romances never work...they're just too hard to maintain. I disagree. They're easy to maintain, if all you have to do is keep the phone charged. But maintenance is not what I had hoped for. I want a growing, evolving relationship not dependent on Sprint and Hallmark. I want intimacy. I'm afraid what I've done is repeat past mistakes by becoming involved with an unavailable voice on the phone. Only this time, I don't hold all the cards. He has half the deck, and is holding his cards at another table. I can't read his poker face.

So what's a girl to do? Hold or fold?

I think I prefer football, and if I were the referee I would definitely call a delay of game penalty, but I certainly don't want him to give up hard-earned yardage. Okay...what's it going to take to score? I get out the play book...time for a quarterback sneak? A hail Mary to the endzone? I could get sacked...but at least I'd get a little face time.

Friday, January 13, 2006

lessons from bailey

I'm tired of psychobabble. It has recently found a home in my head, and I find myself posing every possible question that could ever be asked about new relationships. Then, after asking all the questions, I list every possible and probable answer. The result is that I end up just where I began. So no more questions please, whoever you are, speaking to me from inside my skull. Stop with the constant what ifs. What if the sky were falling? What if the sea dried up? What if tomorrow my dog got stuck in the chair and couldn't get out?

It happened you know. This evening I went to dinner with a friend. When I got back home, the dog was barking...lodged in a chair too small to accommodate his large body. I'm sure it was scary for him, and I think eventually, he might have used his front legs to push himself back out of the chair and onto the floor. It wouldn't have been easy. But he could have managed. So I help him slide his butt around so his legs could reach the floor. Poor thing. I really think his back legs were asleep from being in the same position for so long. Freed from the soft cushions, he shook his whole body with more energy than I've seen him expend in quite some time. And those back legs were pretty useless for a couple of minutes. He was a little wobbly. Then I produced a leash and mentioned the word "walk." He was all about it. Made his way up the stairs to the front door and waited for me to clip the leash on his collar. We walked out to the street and after a short while he was himself again. After our walk, he was a little reluctant to go back up the steps into the apartment. And I don't blame him. But he trusted me and made the trip, and now he is asleep, under the desk, peaceful and happy.

Which brings me back to the psychobabble. I guess in many ways I am kind of like the dog. When I hopped up into that soft, cushy chair, it seemed like a good idea. But I stayed there way too long, and soon, parts of me were numb, asleep, and I couldn't get out. I needed a little help, and just in time, help arrived. And so I'm walking now. I was a little wobbly at first, but the feeling is coming back to the parts of me that were numb. I feel more energy and enthusiasm then I've felt in a while, and I'm feeling like myself again. I am a little reluctant, in some ways to try the stairs...not sure where they might lead, or the problems I may confront on the way up. But I think, like the dog, I'll trust the hand that has reached out to me and I'll make the trip.

Funny how when you get outside your head and walk the dog...the answers become much clearer. Thanks Bailey...for the lessons in trust and unconditional love.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

distant voices

I really can't hear you anymore, dear soulmate. You promised you would always be there. Being busy isn't nearly enough of an excuse for your absence and lack of concern. And I was okay with that after I told you just how I felt about it. I could deal with it. Your smile has been replaced with one that is not nearly as difficult to secure. Easy in fact. And my smile is much more constant than it was when I wondered about you. And yet, after your long absence, you call as if you're thinking of me and wondering what I'm up to. Yet I knew, as always, you needed something from me. I accommodated you, and held my heart at bay. It's much easier these days you know. And I felt myself not at all connected with what you think or how you feel. And you asked the right questions so I might think you interested. It's that way with us.

Then I heard your VOICE OF CONCERN. The one that always makes me feel as if you really care. But I recognize it now, you see. And it, like all the empty words, is transparent. So I nod my head as I hold the phone, and give the right answers. It's that way with us.

And you say we need to see each other - maybe next week. And I said I look forward to it. But I know it won't happen. You'll be crazy busy, and I'll be here or there, doing what I do without you in my world. I'm very used to it and have become quite comfortable with it.

And so now I won't hear from you again, unless you need something. I will remember you fondly, but I can no longer ask, "What if?" It's a moot point. And I suggest you do the same. Without you tugging at my heart, I can focus now on "What is." And it's good. You won't believe it. Perhaps you can't or don't want to. But I know. And I'm off on an adventure without you, leaving "What if?" behind. And from my new place in the universe, I really can't hear you anymore.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

tuesday morning

Gray and misty, this morning feels different. Not sure why, except to say that I have dealt with some of the things on my "to do" list that I had dreaded. And so despite the overcast sky, I feel energized. This is good.

The cloudy sky puts me in mind of denial - the way the clouds hide the light of the sun. If allowed to shine through the clear mind, light is shed on all things, bringing them into focus. But when the clouds of emotional baggage and fear block the light, nothing is easy to see or define. I think sometimes we all see the world through the clouds, bringing our own baggage to each situation - denying things that seem so clear in the light of day. For some of us, the clouds are light and somewhat transparent, and if we think and squint just a little, we are able to see through them to truth. For others, the clouds are heavy and opaque, blocking the view of the truth.

I wonder what my clouds today are made of, and if I am seeing clearly, or allowing them to block the view. And I wonder how to make them light enough for me to see through. The only answer that comes to mind is a cool steady rain. I think that those whose clouds are the darkest and heaviest could use a good cry - even a thunderstorm - to heal them, lighten the clouds and let the light shine through. In the clear light of morning, the world might look fresh and new. And the truth not nearly so daunting.

But today I am hopeful, and don't feel the need for tears or healing. I think my clouds beautiful and white as they float across the sky. I breathe the air in deeply and open my eyes to an amazing dawn.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

in the silence

This is a hard time for me. I am somewhere between what was and what will be. And as much as I am trying to enjoy living in the "now" I'm finding it difficult.

The now isn't always great...but it is always. And I know that I can savor it or wish it would pass quickly. The eternal nature of the now is sometimes confounding. Can I sit in the silence and savor another re-run of Gray's Anatomy or smoke another cigarette, or make another list of things to do when I wake up "in the now" of the morning? When there is the expectaion that a future "now" will somehow be more fulfilling than this one, it's hard to appreciate the stars and the sunshine. They just don't seem to shine quite as brightly as I remember them in December's South Dakota sky.

And so I remind myself that this moment is perfect, just as it is. And I savor hope and my overflowing heart. And I know that this "now" will one day be remembered with a smile and a "remember when." That it will flow eternally into a dream realized. The stars I remember will be brighter than ever, and the sun will warm me on a May afternoon.

Friday, January 06, 2006

january something

Having a tough time keeping track of what day it is. One seems to roll right into the next, beginning just as the one before it, and ending as it usually does. When things are most chaotic, I seem to wish for a familiar routine, and when things are routine, something to break the tedium. Bailey gets his heartworm pills on the seventh. That's what my calendar says. That's tomorrow, one small change in our daily routine.

There is something to be said for small changes - those that don't rock your world. Ordering a cherry lemonade instead of the usual coke can put a whole new twist on your day.

This morning I drank my coffee on the step of my front porch in the sun instead of on the patio. Not a big deal, but I realized the world looks different from there. Heck, even Bailey noticed as he tried to sneak by me down the stairs and out into the world. I didn't need slippers, as the morning sun had been warming the wood for hours. Instead of looking through black fenceposts and jasmine, I saw the neighbor's front door, the cement sidewalk and the dormant heather surviving the winter tenuously. I wondered if it was as confused by the warmth of this January as I have been. Aside from the sound of the wind through the branches of the oak tree a few feet away, the world was quiet. A few birds, no air conditioners humming. And in that moment, I was able to stop and breathe - give thanks for the little nudge that urged me to open the front door instead of the porch door.

I think a break in the routine - one little change - gives us space to breathe and notice. While the jasmine on my patio is beautiful, I stopped looking at it one day. But my guess is that tomorrow I will see it, and be thankful for it, even if I do need to wear my slippers.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Today I revisited my old life. I ushered in the new year with a wish to be uncluttered and fresh. It started when I lost my rent check and tore apart my desk to try to find it. I didn't, but realized that I needed to get my life organized. Yesterday I spent the day in the office, tossing the things that no longer have purpose for me. I looked in every folder in the file cabinet and read every slip of paper with a number or note scribbled on it. I copied phone numbers I care about in my daytimer, and filed business cards that are worth keeping. At three, I thought I was done. Then I looked at two file boxes that hold the bulk of my writing, excluding morning pages and journals. And I thought, tomorrow I will go through that.

So today is tomorrow. I cleaned out every inch of my closet and my drawers upstairs resulting in three additional bags of clothing for the less fortunate and two full bags of things to toss. What remained was a stack of stuff from my old life that has no place in my new life. Yet these things were once precious to me. Photographs, greeting cards, notes and memories of the life I had before. Out of nowhere, I was hit with a great sense of loss. Have I really grieved this loss that I feel? My children, my marriage? As much as I am happy to be done with it all, a piece of me remembers that once it was my world - with all its misery and joy. And I thought it would last forever. When it got sick I'm not sure. But the disease spread quickly and terminally. One day I woke up dead. Numb - unable to feel the sunshine on my face or wind in my hair or water the thirsty plants. I had no idea how I got there, but knew I was buried alive, and I couldn't breathe and didn't much care to. But I began again, to dig myself from under the rubble of a marriage fallen in ruin and a life that no longer served me. The survival instinct is stronger than I knew. So I went through each picture and each card. Saved the most precious - disposed of the others and let the tears come again.

And tonight, I approached the file boxes stacked in my office. The first stack of papers was dated 2001. I read through the words I'd written back then, and realize that even that long ago I felt trapped and a need for freedom. There is much more to read, but I no longer fear it. I will just feel whatever it brings and let it go.

Tonight I said goodbye to that life for good. I know that the worst is over, and though I still have details with which to attend, I am alive. I breathe and feel the wind in my hair. I want my plants to thrive, and I have found love in a heart that was once numb. With a new adventure before me, I think myself born again, and it is good.