Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Weds, Jan 25, 2012: Frolicking Foxes and Shattering Shells

With the fox experiences I've had recently, I was not surprised to encounter them once again on a blog I enjoy reading.

The artist is Kristiana Parn.  Her etsy site is here.  I love all of her work and the fun and whimsy she put into each piece... but I love the foxes most of all.    
 I still feel like they're a very strong totem animal for me.
 Lately, I have been so, so happy.
For a while in my life, I felt like I was trying to squish myself into something that didn't fit.  One of my favorite images for growth is a chick hatching from an egg.  I felt like that chick, squished into a little shell that didn't leave me any room to expand... but I kept expanding and growing and ended up cracking myself right out of that shell.  And now, there is no shell around me, and I can *feel* its lack like it's a physical presence suddenly absent from my life.

Having no shell feels free and light and panoramic.
Having no shell means I can feel the sunlight on my face again, the wind on my skin, its fingers in my hair.
That's one of my favorite feelings in the entire world.
Having no shell is dizzying in its enormity.
And every day, I feel like I'm floating, like my feet and my laughter are dancing over the earth.

I feel playful, which is perhaps one of the messages that the fox is bringing to me right now.  I feel playful and light and free, and I have laughed more this past week than I think I have in the past year.  Laughter comes upon me suddenly, sometimes in random places and sometimes alone, and when it bubbles up inside of me I make no effort to contain it.  I don't want to contain it.

I can breathe again, and breathing is easy: so, so easy.  I don't have to think about it anymore.  It fills me with joy.

This is reflexive happiness.
I don't have to think about it, or try for it.
It's as easy as existing.

A while ago, my friend Andy commented on one of my posts, saying, "Just being alive makes everything better than just okay by default".  While I was able to acknowledge the truth in what he was saying in my brain, I didn't feel it yet in my heart.

Now I do.
Everything is so much better than okay.
And I don't think I have the words to express how much better than okay everything is.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tues, Jan 24, 2012: Blossoming

Today, I was able to witness one small moment of an individual's personal growth.  It was a painful moment, and my heart cried with her, even though I truly have no idea what it's like to be in her shoes.

Doing the work that I do is often very difficult, always interesting, and sometimes so inspiring that it changes me.

We truly are all together on this journey we call life.  We all have so many lessons to learn: me, you, the kids I work with and their parents, my co-workers, my family, my friends...

I really feel like I'm learning a lot about compassion right now.  I'm just a novice.  But it's a lesson whose journey I am loving.

I wish that we can all be gentle toward each other, as we travel this journey of life together.  Everyone feels pain and longing, unhappiness and sorrow, sometimes.  Everyone needs a hug, sometimes.  Sometimes the smallest gesture of kindness can absolutely make someone's day.  Sometimes, just stepping back from our own problems and trying to understand where someone else is coming from is the greatest gift we could give.

I made several resolutions for new years (and several wishes, which I always do on special days).  This one was both a resolution and a wish.  I wish for us all to treat each other gently, and to treat ourselves gently.  I wish that I will treat others gently, with compassion, and treat myself just as well.  I think it's one of the best ways I have to honor what is beautiful in others - because there is always something beautiful there, even if what is beautiful is not obvious at the moment.

One of my favorite quotes from one of my all-time favorite books, Le Petit Prince, is, "On ne voit bien qu'avec le coeur.  L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux" (which for me translates to, "One doesn't see well but with the heart.  The essential is invisible for the eyes").  Sometimes I think it's so easy for us as humans to pass judgment on others or to pick out what is ugly or flawed about those around us.  I am just as guilty of this as anybody.

But I think when we start looking around us for what is ugly, that becomes our reality and dominates all we see.  Sometimes, what is beautiful lies much deeper and takes time and patience to see - time and patience that we often feel we don't have to spare for others.  But it's there, and we can see it with our hearts if our hearts are open.

The world that exists through my perspective is full of beauty so great it's almost unspeakable.  I am often lost for words.  I am often overwhelmed by it.  I search for it in my travels and in my pictures, and in the inner monologues in my head.

I love how beautiful life is, and how beautiful we all are: flawed and searching and joyful and perfect just the way we are.  I wish that we could all live with our hearts open to the beauty in ourselves and in each other.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mon, Jan 16, 2012: Pets and Cranes

 I went to pick up my last batch of stuff at B's house last night.  Just as we'd packed the last of it in my car, I started feeling like I was on the verge of a wave of sadness.  We stood outside for a minute, then B said, "Look, there he is again."  I looked, and the fox was trotting on the sidewalk, heading North and away from us.  Seeing it there made my heart feel alright again.

My animal family has decreased in size, but it's still fairly sizable.

There's Kaylee, who is 1 year and 9 months old, and hasn't left my side much since we moved.
 There's Severus, who is still young enough at 5 months old that I'm not sure he realizes what a massive life change he's experiencing.  Then again, maybe he just has a really flexible personality. :)
 And Pea (that's what I call Magnolia), 3 1/2 years old, who's taking this the hardest out of all of us I think.  She buries herself in my bed for most of the day and doesn't come out much.
 For some really weird reason, Severus LOVES Kaylee.  She loves him too, but that's not so weird because she loves cats.  He will often just plop himself right on top of her and they wrestle.  I used to be really nervous that Kaylee would hurt him (she has really strong jaws, bred for nipping at cows' heels!), but she is very gentle.
 Severus is so adorable.  Sometimes he goes into the bedroom and cuddles with Pea when she hides under the covers. :)
I finally hung my cranes up this evening, and I'm pretty pleased with the way they look.  It's nice to have them in my space again.
There is this beautiful version of "Oh, The Places You'll Go!" that was posted on a blog I sometimes visit.  I listened to it on repeat as I hung my cranes and thought about the waiting place, and the slumps, and the problems I have faced, am facing, and will face.

One of the hardest things I think about living alone is my struggle to keep a healthy perspective on my life, and one of the things I love about this story is that it reminds me that everyone faces struggles and trials.  It's a powerful truth that connects us all, and sometimes remembering that I am connected to everyone is exactly what I need.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Fri, Jan 13, 2012: And 1,000 Cranes Fit Into My Cooler

I was looking over my stats the other day and noticed that I have completed 349 blog posts.  That makes this one number 350!  I feel an unexpected sense of pride and accomplishment that I have been living my life in a way that is interesting enough to me to find 350 things I wanted to take the time to write about.  I wonder how many things I have found so interesting that I photographed them... I think too many to count.  My external hard drive may be the only one who knows the answer to that question. :)

I just want to say thank you to the universe for bringing so many beautiful experiences into my life.

On Friday evening, B helped me to move a bunch of my stuff, and I am now left with only a few more things to move which I hope to take care of today.  While my apartment looks like the aftermath of an explosion in a box factory, it feels wonderfully grounding to be all in one place again.

One of the last things that I did was remove my 1,000 cranes from the ceiling of the office room that I used as my space.  I forgot that I'd asked B not to move them, but looking back I'm glad I was the one to do it.  Energetically, it really felt like I was removing myself and my hopes and dreams from that space, and bringing all of those wonderful things to my new home with me.  It felt like I reclaimed them from his space, which helps to make me feel whole and complete inside.

The cranes, on their strings, flowed like water to the bottom of the cooler where I packed them.  It was really beautiful to watch them, and to hear the soft rustling sounds of paper wings brushing against paper wings.  They flowed and flowed, landing alongside and on top of each other, all of the energy and dreams and hopes and wishes that I poured into them resting nestled together like brightly colored jewels.  This is my energetic treasure chest.

I turned to B and said, "And 1,000 cranes fit into my cooler."  They fit perfectly.  And it made me feel complete.

I can't wait to hang them up here, in my new living room.  I want to see them streaming in through the big sliding glass door that graces one whole wall of the space.  I want to see them soaring and swooping among the rafters, and gliding along the bricks of my Lego wall.  But most of all, I want to feel their beautiful energy, and the hope that they represent, and I want to be swept along with them toward the dreams I whispered in their ears.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tues, Jan 10, 2012: Fox Magic

Last night, B and I broke up.

Just after we made that decision (literally, almost immediately afterwards), a red fox came into sight down the block, in the direction where I was looking.  I stood there for a moment, not believing what I saw, then pointed it out and we both silently watched it trot past.  It turned its head to watch us, then turned as it neared the end of the block and disappeared onto the playground.

In the time I have spent living in that neighborhood, I haven't seen a single fox, ever.

Among the many symbolic meanings of a fox, one is that it signals the patterns of the world are shifting in a beneficial way... that the process of creation is beginning (from Animal Speak by Ted Andrews, one of my favorite resource books!).  A fox is one of my personal totem animals, so I feel pretty connected to this message. 

This morning, I am deeply grateful to the universe for this message and its beautiful timing.

All along, I keep telling myself that everything is ok, that everything will be ok.  Last night, when I saw that fox, I finally believed myself for the first time in a very long time.  I finally *feel* like everything is ok.  And, perhaps more importantly, I remember at many points in my life telling myself that life gets better, always, and someday it will be better than I ever imagined was possible, and I will look back at everything that has happened to me and feel content because it brought me to a joyful place.  Not only did the fox help me to remember this, it also helped me to believe this again.

We have been struggling for so long, I feel like I have been mourning the relationship for a very long time now.  Soon, I know that I will be ready to embrace the happiness that has eluded me lately.  I want it, I deserve it, and it's a gift I feel I am finally ready to start giving myself again.  I hope that I make choices in my life that are in harmony with the desires in my heart, because if I do this I think happiness will be easy to find.

One interesting thing that I have recognized lately is that I think I might finally be ready to be in a relationship.  It's taken a really, really (reeeeeally...) long time, but I think I finally value the people in my life, cooperation, and relationships over solitude and independence.  This doesn't mean that I have plans to start being dependent on everybody. :)  It just means I finally feel like it's *worth* it... and I want it.  Previously, I have usually been fine with being single.  Now, it actually makes me a little sad.  And the fact that it makes me sad makes me feel like perhaps I'm finally ready to not be single.  I look forward to what the universe has in store for me. :)

Tues, Jan 10, 2012: 4:15 A.M. Alarm Clock Guy

The second installment of my "I just moved" adventures. :)

At 4:15a.m. on Tuesday morning, I heard the harsh beeping sound of the neighbor's alarm clock, over and over again, for what seemed like forever until he got up to turn it off.  I felt sad for him, having to get up that early, and rolled over to drift back off to sleep.

9 minutes later, the alarm went off again... and again 9 minutes after that... and again... for a total of 8 times that morning over the course of more than an hour, until he finally got up at 5:24a.m.

Yikes... it was not a good morning. :(  The alarm made me restless, and Pea picked up on that feeling again and started wandering around the house, yowling for everybody.  I was so horribly frustrated by the time I woke up that I had a great deal of difficulty having a positive attitude that day.

I wrote a note and hung one on each of my neighbor's doors, hoping that it was friendly and humorous enough to convince 4:15a.m. alarm guy to mend his ways.

And this morning (Wednesday)... I woke up for the first time at 5:35, when my own alarm clock went off quietly next to my head.  I'm so grateful to 4:15a.m. alarm guy that I'm going to write him a thank you note today! :)

Sun, Jan 8, 2012: Deflated...

I am writing this retroactively, looking back to Sunday.  Still don't have internet... :)

Saturday night was my first night living in my new apartment.  I packed up the animals on Saturday afternoon, which made everything feel really final.  I inflated the air mattress (luckily it came with a hand pump!) and made it up rather nicely to look like a comfy bed.

It acted like a comfy bed too, and I was able to drift off into wonderful sleep... until I rolled over at about 2am and found that my hips were resting on the floor.  I was restless for the remainder of the night, despite trying as hard as I could to ignore the fact that I was basically sleeping on the floor.  My animals were restless too, and confused as to why we were sleeping in this strange place, on this strange deflated air mattress, without B and Chloe and Valentine (his cat and dog).  Pea, who is good buddies with Chloe, chose this time to start wandering the house and yowling for her.  It was heartbreaking.

On Sunday morning, I woke up less than refreshed but was determined to be optimistic.  I did an ok job of it too, until I started looking around for the animals and realized that Pea was missing.  This would not be the first time she went missing, and I was horrified that I was careless enough to let her get away again.

After about 90 minutes of searching for her, both around my apartment complex and within my apartment, I finally located her hiding underneath the deflated air mattress.  I think she was so terrified and overwhelmed and horribly sad that she just couldn't handle being out in the world that morning.  We were both deflated.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tues, Jan 3, 2012: My Door Faces North

I am in the process of moving, in the hopes that a bit of space between B and I will help us to resolve things, however they need to be resolved so that we can both be happy with our lives.  All I know is, I've felt for a long time like I can't breathe, like I've been struggling not to drown and not doing a very good job of it.

Now, I feel like I have broken through the surface of the water and am gasping for air.  The breathing hurts, but the pain lets me know that I am still alive, and alive is a feeling I have not had the pleasure of experiencing in way too long.  So I'll take the pain, because it feels good to have the air on my wet skin again, and the sun shining down on me so hard that I have to squint to filter out some of its brilliance, and I can feel the waves and currents of the water tugging at my limbs, deliciously inviting me on to adventures I never imagined.

Everything is okay.

I spent today moving the first of my things into my place, and felt so terribly disoriented in space that I really didn't know if I was strong enough to do this.  So, I intentionally inserted my voice into the wild whirring of my busy mind, and said to myself, "My door faces North."

And somehow, that was all it took to make me feel grounded and make me feel okay.

My door faces North.  My windows face West, toward the beautiful mountains and the sunset.  The sunset light filters through a pine tree outside my bedroom and paints my bedroom wall with an intricate lace of sunlight and tree shadows.  I have a fireplace, a balcony, and a really fun exposed brick wall that makes the living room feel like it's half made of Legos.

My door faces North... and I'm happy to be breathing again.