what-makes-you-happy

Do It For Love

I asked the kids the other night at dinner about love. Boyd was out for work and I was trying to prolong the family dinner experience – I often have this thought if I can keep them at the table longer without crumbling beneath the pure weight of the EMOTIONS at the table maybe they won’t do drugs or get pregnant in high school or battle an eating disorder or plagiarize or ever be lost or heartbroken or assholes because they will feel so secure and connected and attached and sure of their place in the world – because you know, they had a place at the table. Truth be told, I can’t wait for someone to say, “Can I be excused?” Because it’s weird if the mother says it first. And once one person asks, I can see the light at the end of the sibling-rivalry tunnel and I relax. All of the sudden, I feel totally fine about sex and drugs and lying and suffering – because…well, it’s part of life – and I would love to live mine without so many young people arguing and vying for my attention and creating a lot of ANXIETY in this fairly small, circular space.

Mimi responds first, “Love? I got nothing….”

I giggle. “I doubt that – give it a minute, I bet you’ll get some ideas.”

Myles slumps back in his chair, “Do we have to talk about love?”

“You can choose not to  – I’m simply asking a question because I’m sick of hearing y’all argue and I am genuinely curious about what you think. I want to have a conversation.” He groans.

“First of all, love is a FEELING,” Ryan announces. “God made it because he felt something for us – and he made more people so we could feel it for each other. Love is about being together and you can love anything you want to love.”

“And…” Mimi raises her voice. “There are different kinds of love and love makes you happy. You can’t hold it – it’s not 3-D. You can see it and feel it and….”

“You can’t see it,” Ryan interrupts.

“Can I be excused?” Myles says.

“Yep, you sure can,” I say. He smiles. I feel love.

“Yes, you can see it,” Mimi insists. “…you can look at it. When I see Mommy on the floor with Luca (our dog), I am LOOKING at love.”

“Okay. All right. Before y’all get into an argument about it – you’re both right. Love is a feeling AND love is an action.”

“Love means you’re connected,” Ryan says.

“And love is friendship,” Mimi adds.

Myles throws a ball against the wall and Mimi explodes – “stop it!” which makes me jump in my seat it’s so loud. “Not okay – you cannot yell like that in the house,” I have my hand on my heart.

“He can’t throw the ball in the house,” she snaps back.

“Well, he can…” I don’t have hard and fast rules about balls in the house so it’s confusing. I am sort of soft and slow with all of my rules, actually. “…because I’m inconsistent about ball-rules.”

“I know,” Ryan says. I smile again. I feel like I’m about to get the giggles. Ryan would do great with a consistent mother. I think it’s funny that she didn’t get one. Life is funny like that – for all of us.

Mimi explodes again, “MYLES! Stop with the ball!”

“Okay, calm down, Mimi. Myles, take the ball outside, please.”

“Fine,” he stomps toward the front door and we hear it slam shut.

A wake of silence rolls through the room and Ryan says softly, “I have another idea about love.” I nod. “When you make things for people, that is love. Like I made a card for Daddy the other day – I wanted him to know I love him.”

“That’s right. Your creativity is an EXPRESSION of love – it’s an action you take to show love. Do you know the word expression?” I ask the girls.

“Yeah, of course we do,” Mimi says sort of sassy but I let it go.

“Mommy?” Ryan stands up and puts her arm around my neck, “I think love is the most important thing.”

“It is – love is the most important thing. I like to think of it as Continue reading Do It For Love

Let Today Be A March

Let today be a march – let it be a big, sturdy step in the direction of who you really are. Let it be a slow and steady movement into the Faith, Hope & Love that is the foundation of your well-being. Go with purpose and believe in your own progress – go with fierce gratitude and radical commitment to what matters most to you now.

Remember love. Let every single thing – your victories and your mistakes – your certainty and your doubt – let all of it exist in the name of LOVE.

Decide that Courage is more important than Confidence.

And being alive means living life – not just getting life done.

Remember that you can bear the weight of your suffering – in fact, you must – you must actually feel it, name it, claim it and then it is yours and then (only then) can you lay it down. An offering.

This is the most precious gift you have to offer your family, to offer the world:

your own healing, the wholeness of your own heart.

You do belong here. Even when you feel unworthy or inadequate or afraid or alone – every broken piece of you belongs here. Isn’t that what you would say to your daughter? Isn’t that what you would teach your son?

Let today be a march – we move together steadily.

Keep in step with the women next to you. Friendship fuels the fire of what your heart desires – and we need each other to stay warm, to stay nourished.

A well-fed spirit changes the world.

Take every ounce of goodwill you feel and use it. Use it to build a bridge of Compassion that can carry you into the deepest truth of you – so you can recognize the truth in others.

And you can lead through Connection.

So, let today be a march and remember why we do this hard thing called Waking Up. Because on the other side of noticing, right there inside your close attention is the most sacred experience of your whole life: JOY.

This year is for being seen, being heard, and most of all for LISTENING. Listen to the wholeness of your life and be awe-struck, be rendered silent in reverence to the splendor of it –it is all so very broken and it is all so very beautiful. Can you hear it?

That’s the sound of your own heart, marching onward.

A Mighty Light

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I was scared to get married. Truly, terrified. Some women stop eating before the ceremony to look good in their wedding dresses. I stopped eating because Boyd doesn’t read poetry or talk about the meaning of Life. He likes to sleep with the house very, very cold and keep his space very, very organized. He is also clean and on time. He won’t see romantic comedies in the theater or drive around and listen to really emotional music. He has absolutely zero NEED to begin a sentence with I FEEL unless he is specifically asked how he feels. And those answers are pretty short. He actually doesn’t need to SPEAK that many words in general. Well, he does. But compared to me: barely.

I knew all of this in dating him – on and off for ten years. (Mostly on.) And I can honestly say that in the beginning, every single one of those preferences and personality traits felt like a breath of fresh air to me. He gave me a much-needed BREAK from myself. Laughter to my analysis. Lists to my collage. Two words to my twenty-five. Physical activity to my reading and writing. Queens of the Stone Age to my Acoustic Sunrise. But for life? FOR LIFE?

In the months before our wedding, everything that was initially so charming about him suddenly sounded like an alarm bell.

When I got to the chapel in New Orleans on December 11, 2004, my stunning, silk wedding dress barely stayed on my body. People said I looked pretty. That didn’t resonate with me. Frightened would have. Because I couldn’t shake my fear: this is probably not going to work. I’m going to lose myself in this man. Morph into HIS world. I will be lonely and cold and have to give up my passion for big, overcrowded bulletin boards with layers and layers of UNORGANIZED photos and musings and doodles. I will get… Continue reading A Mighty Light

Sound the Horns

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Oh, Life

I woke up to you this morning –

Again.

By the grace of God I find myself

Here –

Standing before the feast of what you have to offer.

 

The blue sky, the white clouds, the green grass, the soaring hawk, the fresh breeze, the light rising through those pine trees….

I set out into this day with intention: gladness of heart.

This is my prayer before I even know I am praying.

Just to breathe and say thank you.

 

I walk – because I can. Because today is a day and I am awake.

The moss and mud and sticks and dry leaves spread across my path like a red carpet.

Just to notice –

It is a ceremony of arrival.

The sun and all its beaming.

The Earth is aglow.

 

This place truly is a kingdom.

 

Sound the horns of Gratitude – today is here.

I’ve arrived somewhere I’ve never been and I am here to participate in my own unfolding.

Let the songs of the children sing,

Let the laughter of the friends ring,

Let the gathering of the family be a peaceful reunion,

Let every moment of this day feel like a remembering, a sacred communion.