Friday, May 20, 2011

it's my party

Sometimes life just sends you a party. I love it when that happens. At the end of the day, all of those parties just add up to a pretty spectacular life, and I know I am blessed.

It all started when I got on a plane bound for Nashville. I have lots of family in Nashville, and hoped that somehow, despite the business I was here to do, I would be able to carve out some time to visit and reconnect with these people that I love. So I called cousin Marty, knowing that if anyone can turn an ordinary day into a party it's him. And as expected, he delivered. He spread the word that I would be in town and picked out an amazing Mexican restaurant as our meeting place. There was a plan.

After working the convention, I was looking forward to seeing Marty, his Maw, and at least a couple other cousins. But when I arrived at the restaurant, I was so surprised that there were about 20 of the most wonderful people in my life there to say hello and eat. We always eat. Beth came despite the fact that a recent surgery left her temporarily voiceless. Candy was there. Liana and Billy and their kids were there. I talked to Wendy about life and yoga, and Rachel about remodeling her bathroom, and Aunt Anna about her recent rebound from not being well. Every conversation was a delight, and I smiled real smiles and felt totally home in a city hundreds of miles away from Sioux Falls.

I loved my party and it made me realize that no matter how long or how far, family is what really connects us all. Somehow, even when the invitation is late, they show up. How cool is that.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


I miss you old friend. You were good with words and wrote compelling things that others might find inspiring, or at least entertaining. I sat with you in the quiet hours of the night, you at the keyboard turning keystrokes into stories and thoughts into poetry. Then one day you were just gone.

I long to see you again, find you somewhere in the back of my head. I wait, not as patiently as I may have done in the past, hoping you'll show up with a flash of inspiration that leads to something bigger.

Occasionally I think I smell your perfume, just enough to make me hope that perhaps you've returned. I pick up a pen and scribble a few words, but they go nowhere, and I know I was wrong. So I will wait.

You were here with me once and I know you have not wandered far. For you are as connected to me as my own fingertips. I think perhaps you need some rest. Your life has been full, and hectic, but such an adventure. Chaos and quiet they are the same to you and are the source of all that you put on the page. And when you're finished resting I will be here. I have time to wait, and no choice really. For without you I am nothing. Without you I cannot breathe.

So when you decide to return I will be waiting still. I will feel you in my soul and know the time for rest has ended, and I must write.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

keeping it real

In an effort to keep it real, I have to admit that I had a few hellish weeks. All segments of my life were in a state of severe disarray, and I let the tides sweep me away. I became all of the things that I most dislike. I was irritable, short, unmotivated, awful to be around, and unproductive. Mostly I was sad - for no apparent reason. Nothing had changed in any big way. I could blame this on a lot of different things, people, get the picture. The truth is I was not present to what was happening in my life - my almost-fifty-getting-fat-gray-haired-wrinkled-too-committed life.

And then I got present. I am menopausing. This is not an illness. I am not sick. I have no "symptoms." I am simply growing older. While I do view this as a natural and blessed cronish moment, I also realize that there are ways to ease the transition instead of fighting it and the bad behavior. My answer was at the health food store. After a few trips up and down the supplement aisle, I purchased one little bottle of black cohash, St. John's Wort, and a pineapple fruit twist for Scout.

I fully expected results, but not nearly as quickly as they showed themselves. By the following morning, I felt the monster inside of me shrinking. My patience was returning. I did not dread the day ahead. But mostly, I wasn't sad. Miracle? I think not.

While I do credit my menopause cocktail for relief, I also know that the arrival of warmer temperatures and the fact that I didn't have to drive to work and spend the day fighting copy contributed to my rebounded sense of well-being. More than anything though, I think that the simple fact that I got present and acted instead of reacted made the most difference. Instead of being swept away by my emotions and the events of the day, I made a decision to change things and take back control.

I talk a lot about being present. My menopausal awakening is a testament to the power of presence. Now, I'm not about to give up the black cohash, but I will remember when I get that edgy urge to growl, that I have to get real and find myself in the moment. From that place, I have power. I like it there.