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souls that have spent time here
- 22,423 have wasted their time here
the soft breath of my sleeping child
a kiss on my husband’s cheek
the first sip of morning coffee
the warmth from the body in bed beside me
the first snow of the winter season (even when it sometimes happens in October)
bacon frying on the stove (the sizzling sound and the smell)
my kid’s artwork
they way my daughter signs her name, with her Js backward
the memory of stolen moments
the sound of a scooter motor and wind through my helmet
the changing of the Pennsylvania seasons
the hustle and bustle of town when the students return for fall semester
spider webs draped across the forest, covered in dew drops
this list is not exhaustive. when I saw this quote, these are what immediately came to me. i guess technically some of them are “things” but they are moments and feelings. I think I’ll add to this list as they come to me.
i love you keep going,
Sometimes timehop can be a painful reminder of past events, but more often than not it’s an opportunity for me to be reminded of how beautiful life is with this little creature. So here’s just a few snapshots of recent photos and two that popped up in timehop today.
Life (with JoJo) is good. More the good.
The elephant and the gazelle
Four legs stomping across the savannah / or is it eight? / I guess we’ll just have to imagine / what it could be out there
Right now I’m wedged / between two rocks / the glacial movements thousands (maybe millions?) of years before / our four feet (or is it eight?) hit this path
Perched above the trail / it’s silent here except for the trickle of what water remains of this mountain / and the steel wings passing overhead (it still mystifies me)
There are footsteps / but not yours / and steady breathing / certainly not mine / yet you are here / on this mountain / like the time before when you were there and I was here
I didn’t come here because you did / I came because these mountains told me to come / because not running wasn’t an option / because you are with me wherever I run
I know you worry / but let me assure you: forgiving is easy but forgetting is not / I don’t intend to leave these woods broken and beaten / so do as Eddie says / just breathe / because no one knows this more than me
/ / /
26 October 2016
I first watched this video thinking it was mostly going to be about Jill Botle Taylor’s stroke and something to watch with my mom. But halfway through I was punched in the gut by the overall message:
“There are two kinds of people on the planet: people who bring your energy or people who take your energy away.” – Jill Bolte Taylor
Of course I know this already, but it’s powerful to hear these words from someone in this position of influence (both Taylor and Winfrey). So here are some thoughts on the points they made in the clip. (A longer version can be found on youtube.)
1) Take responsibility for the energy that you bring. What is the tone of your energy? Is it negative? Unsupportive? If so, can you change that? Also, ask yourself: Why is it that way? Why is my energy so toxic to myself and to others? Energy is everything. And if your energy is not good, you’re damaging yourself and others around you.
2) Take responsibility for the energy you allow in your space. You will undoubtedly encounter individuals who are not as thoughtful, reflective, and mindful of their energy. Therefore, the burden falls on you to keep unsupportive energies out of your space. This may involve a more drastic measure (see #3) or it may involve simply telling a person that you are not willing to take on their negative/draining/unsupportive energy. It’s hard to say that to people you love, but it’s critical that it’s said. Rather than being abrasive about it (as I tend to be), you could encourage the person to reflect on their own energy — see #1. Try to encourage a more mindful approach to the energy we bring. Additionally, seek out people who bring positive and supportive energy into your space. I can only speak for myself, but I am inspired and uplifted by positive energy and ambitious, joyful, loving, supportive people. I have a reservoir of positive energy and sometimes it starts to drain. When that happens I seek out those people in my life whom I know can refill that reservoir. (This is not suggesting it’s their responsibility to do so.) The more I’m around these sorts of people the more I’m inspired to make positive change for myself and for the world. I suspect others react similarly to the energies of people. So seek out those people. Just make sure you’re not stealing their good energy and replacing it with your bad energy. See #1.
3) You may have to do a clearing of certain people in your life. Once you realize how powerful your energy and the energy of others is, you’ll need to do the difficult work of clearing people whose energy is not conducive to your overall emotional, mental, and physical health. You are the most important person. That’s not a selfish concept, and anyone who thinks so doesn’t have their priorities straight. If there are people in your life whose energy is not supportive of who you want to be in the world: out they go.
4) You cannot continue to move forward in your life if you’re surrounded by energy that sucks the life force from you. This is sort of an extension on #3, but it’s worth elaborating on. Have a dream that you want to pursue? Do you have a significant other or friend that is reminding you how lofty or ridiculous that dream is? Well, chances are you aren’t going to go after that dream. You’re going to second-guess yourself. You’re going to question your ability to accomplish said dream or goal. You are your own person – yes. But you still need the support and love of others. And you have a right to that kind of energy. You may say to yourself: Well, so-and-so is just a negative or cynical person. They still love me and support me. Do they though? Because if they did, they’d recognize how their energy is destroying your spirit. They’d realize that their negative energy is keeping you stuck and not allowing you to move forward. You cannot carry the weight of someone else’s (negative) energy. When you surround yourself with people who suck the life force from you, your energy is drained and their negative energy is what fills up in its place. You are attempting to walk through wet cement. There’s little to no forward motion. Your mission: get out before it dries. Your life depends on it.
I’d love to hear your own thoughts on this! And remember: I love you, keep going.
Just recently, I’ve been having dreams about returning to school (as a teacher). I had these for nine years. I didn’t expect them this year since I’m not, in fact, returning to school as a teacher. The dreams are mostly sad and anxious. One of the dreams I was planning units with colleagues, but I was confused as to why I worked there. In another, I was teaching there until I got “caught” and told to leave. And, as my dreams tend to do, they are making me a bit sad and anxious in my waking life.
It is strange not returning to the classroom this year. There’s a big part of me that’s relieved. I have seen “memory” posts on Facebook about how anxious I would get about it all. Of course, though, there’s the excitement of a new year, new students, new challenges. I miss my students. I miss the students I’ll never have. I miss the connections with these young kids that I won’t get to make. That was the most powerful experience for me: I got so much joy and pleasure and energy from my students. They were beautiful humans and I wanted nothing more than to be their support system and advocate as they navigated young adulthood. And then I get a bit angry. Because maybe I should have fought harder when my employer asked me to resign. Maybe I should have said: Make me.
But at that time last winter, I was in such a dark hole, and the thought of adding another layer to my struggles just seemed unfathomable. I wanted to fight, but I didn’t have the energy. I knew it was unjust and that later, when I was healthy, I would regret not fighting. Maybe I was little sad no one fought for me. I was too weak to do it for myself, but surely someone would notice and speak up? No such luck. I learned a valuable lesson there: you’ve only got yourself and you can’t expect others to look out for you. It’s fucking cliche as shit, but man, is it true. I left that school and I don’t think anyone batted an eyelash at my departure.
Despite all of this, I’m in a good place now. A much better place (mentally and emotionally) than I was last year at this time. I’ve done some really incredible work on myself, as I’ve written about before. Maybe part of that “good work” was letting go of the job — not fighting the ugly battle that would have had to take place for me to keep it. So I’m feeling really good about myself these days.
I have a job that I genuinely enjoy. No, it’s not incredibly challenging being a cheese slinger, but it does take a level of skill, attention to detail, and sincerity to do it well. I think I possess these. I look forward to going to work. Even when I work my least favorite shift I’m still happy to be going to work. I know I’m going to see people I like and respect and I’m going to do work that is important and meaningful to customers and to a respectable company. I like that I can “leave it” when I’m done (except for my ever-growing desire for expensive cheese) and I like that I’m not burdened by “higher ups” telling me how to do my job when they have no idea how to do it themselves.
Sometimes I see former colleagues while I’m working at Wegmans. Some of them acknowledge me and some of them don’t. I always feel uneasy when they don’t, like they are ashamed on my behalf. Listen guys, I’m not ashamed to be working at Wegmans. I taught high school for nine years, it was an incredible ride, and it’s not what I’m doing right now. Right now I’m working for a great company that treats its employees really well. I’m getting a taste of retail, which I’ve only experienced second-hand from friends. I know in your eyes it’s “beneath you” to do what I’m doing, and maybe it’s embarrassing for you to see me in my cute work uniform refreshing the olive bar. But guess what? I’m really happy. I’m not lying around on the couch surfing the web, eating potato chips, drinking wine, and feeling sorry for myself. Because I could be doing that instead of working. And part of me was doing that when I had what you deem to be a “real” job. I’m better off now. So be happy for me. And say hi.
In addition to loving my job, I’ve got another really great thing going: trail running.
Trail running has changed my life. [This is it’s own blog entry, which I’ve been crafting in my head. But here are some quick thoughts on the subject.] It’s changed my life in ways I understand and in ways I’m still uncertain about. And I’m just breaking the surface of it, and that is incredibly exciting for me. I’m not running a lot right now, but scheduling runs is something that takes effort. I’m still learning the craft. But when I do get out there in the woods – it’s so incredibly moving for me. I love it and hate it. I keep trying to figure out when this bipolar emotion will subside, but I’m told they’ll always be a part of you that is telling the mountain to fuck off inside your head. I’m no good at it. I’m slow as a freaking turtle. I joke that I’m like an elephant pounding along the trail. I feel that way. I can feel the thickness of my legs when I run. I can feel my midsection jiggle. I don’t get very far before walking. I’ve only recently starting running up the vertical, and again, I don’t get very far. But I’ve never had more fun in my life. I feel so many emotions when I’m out on the trail. I feel powerful and beautiful and unstoppable and weak and degraded and courageous. Mostly though, I’m proud of what my body has done and what it is capable of doing. I’m proud of my heart for getting me here. I’m impressed by my will to do it. Because it’s hard and not easy. I have a history of giving up on things that are hard. I have a history of not committing. And I really believe I’ve committed to this. I thought about it the other day. I said to myself: You’re at the point where there’s no turning back. You either need to give it all up now or you have to seriously commit to it. I told myself I was committed and there was no way I was going back to not running. So here I am. Committed and loving it.
During the time in between resigning and getting hired at Wegmans, I did some volunteering in my local community. I got to dip my toes into community advocacy, and I really liked it. I want more of it. I started to discover what was important to me: being a part of making a difference and supporting those that are actively doing so. When I was a kid I wanted to “change the world” but as an adult I realize that this really means being a voice for change in my local community. I also started to take care of my physical health: I began making healthy eating choices. I started hiking in the woods and going for walks with friends. And then soon after, I started my trail running journey.
So there’s a lot of good in my life right now. It’s not perfect, but I don’t expect that. I still have a lot to work on. I’m still struggling with certain aspects of my life. But not in the same dark and hopeless way I was before. Now I feel alive and confident and capable of working on difficulties. I’m not scared or intimidated by the challenge.
Thanks to all those in my life who’ve supported me and helped me become a much happier and healthier soul. I love you all.
It is the untying of knots inside your body. Where blood begins to flow freely and your heart beats harder. It is the energy of love returning. It is a weight lifted and a deeper breath taken. It calms the pulse of anger and resentment. Stops it. It is an Autumn breeze across your skin. It’s a smile and a bellowing laugh you remember well. (One from you and one from them.) It is grace. It is self-love. It’s a hug to say hello and a hug to say goodbye. It’s a tight wrap of arms around a body. It’s the feeling of warmth inside from the proclamation of good health and well-being and happiness. It’s the glow from a smile. It is finding peace and letting go. It is remembering the good. It’s all we have to offer. But it is enough.