incomplete thoughts on action

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Sometimes the only thing I know to do is write; even when the thoughts aren’t fully formed and even I don’t know what to say.  I went to Las Vegas a few weeks ago and one of my most favorite things about the city is how friendly and welcoming the people that live there are.  Our Uber driver said it best, “most people that live here are nice, and most people that come here are too.  They are here to have a good time.”

 

My heart-  just like your heart-  aches for the beautifully limitless lives that were lost, the people that were hurt, and for the grief that so many more people will now have to endure.  Like you, I am overwhelmed with sadness for the fear these acts of violence continue to create,  for our nation that feels increasingly divided.  I share your anger, confusion, and desire to make a change.

 

While I recognize that I am on the periphery- that I cannot fully understand the depths of the people’s pain whose lives have been tragically affected- devastations like today remind me of how fragile our lives are and how precious our time here together is. What I know is that one person’s actions impact us all.

 

I don’t have any simple solutions or answers, I don’t even have words. I have tears, sadness, pain and confusion.  But what I know is that:

 

It’s not enough to post prayers on social media.

It’s not enough to gossip about these horrific atrocities or share a news story.

It’s not enough to be outraged while sitting in the comfort of your home.

 

 

The only thing I know to do in my tiny corner of the world is to be good to people.  To hold the door open for strangers, to ask someone how their day is, to give someone the benefit of the doubt.  To not allow small frustrations or misunderstandings to take over the limited time I have with the people I dearly love.  The only thing I know is to ask questions, to engage with my community through advocacy, service, and voting.

 

I don’t want to say it simply, nor do I intend to offer a simplistic perspective on a very complex and multilayered issue, but I always mean it when I say ‘be kind.  offer love.’

And what I mean is do it when it’s hard.  When it’s uncomfortable, when you’re challenged and have to rise to the occasion.  We can do more than offer kindness out of a place of convenience, self-service, or to post about on social media.  Perhaps when you see a person without a home on the street and your first instinct is to look away, maybe you make eye contact and nod or smile instead.  Maybe you interject when you hear someone ‘jokingly’ make an offensive and racist remark, or you might gently challenge your family member’s outdated understanding on issues taking place today. Maybe you attempt to learn and understand why people are kneeling and commit to standing beside them. Kindness means acknowledging another person’s humanity, respectfully addressing other people’s behaviors, and empathically trying to understand the other side of every story.

 

 

What I know is that we don’t need to further separate from one another, we need bridges and common ground.  We need united conversations so that even when we have differing perspectives, we can still stand next to one another, holding each other’s hand. We must learn to express our emotions and disagreements in a healthy way, to dialogue about challenging topics while maintaining respect for the person that stands in front of us.  We need to have solution-focused conversations about healthcare, politics, gun control, social inequalities, and racism but we must first learn to do so without becoming hurtful or more divided.

 

 

 

 

 

We all want to be safe.  We all want to live full lives.

 We all want to be able to go to a concert with the ones we love and dance the night away.

 

 

 

And when things like today happen, don’t run away from the world, engage with it.  Change it.

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on staying

movingIf you know me at all, you know how much I love Oklahoma.  So I was just as surprised as anybody when we packed our life collections into boxes and moved to Utah.  Although I’ve lived in five different states and enjoy the adventure of exploring new places, I had a really difficult transition this past year.  The thing about moving to a new city where you hardly know anyone is that you get to spend time getting to know yourself and expanding your limits. There has been a lot of journaling, a few tears, and months of interoception, or looking within.

Sometimes leaving means saying goodbye to all of the things that are good in exchange for situations that are hard.  And sometimes leaving means letting go of your anchors in exchange for the sea.  Perhaps it’s the staying in a place you’ve outgrown that’s hardest, or maybe for you, the difficulty lies in letting go of your comfort and routine.  At different times and in different places, moving has meant has all of these things to me.  And this time, arriving here has been a new lesson in navigating discomfort, of staying even when things get hard, and re-learning that situations are as beautiful as you make them out to be.

What I know about staying- whether that be in a location, relationship, job, or even belief- is that we can find our comfort here.   That if we are lucky, we have strong support systems and beautiful relationships that bring us fulfillment and keep us tied to where we are.  Staying might mean working at a place that fuels your creativity, engaging in activities that fill your life’s purpose, or in developing a routine that is nourishing to your soul.  Staying can be as equally beautiful and transformative as we make moving on to be.  And in all the ways that staying can be wondrous, remaining in places, situations, and relationships that are no longer meant for you can also be difficult, limiting, and contracting.  Sometimes staying is a choice we make not because it’s best for us, but because we doubt our abilities to adapt to what might come next.

And when it comes to leaving, what i know is that change can be overwhelming.  All of a sudden, our fears begin to sneak in and make us question whether or not we’ve made the right choice.  Moving, letting go, or changing your direction often creates uncertainty about our ability to belong, to navigate our way, and to redirect our path.   I think we leave places with the expectation to grow, change, evolve, and accomplish great things, and maybe we go to new places and do just that.  But you might also crumble, fail, or change your mind.  You might find  the very thing you were running from is waiting for you at your next stop.

I don’t necessarily think either option- staying, leaving, letting go, remaining, – is better than the other. There’s not one option that is right and another that is wrong; there are only life experiences that show us more about ourselves, teach us lessons, and land upon our plate of experiences in ways only meant for us.  I’ve learned that we can only learn from what we are willing to open to- and that might mean in your hometown or across the country in a place foreign to you.

For me, moving here was a lesson in being my own friend which meant learning about my limiting beliefs and habitual thought patterning.  In the same way you get to know a friend, I started looking within my own heart; I hadn’t done that in a while.  I spent some time touring my internal landscape and uncovered thoughts patterns that based my worth on a sense of accomplishment and level of confidence on external approval.  Spending more time alone helped me to get clear about the types of relationships I would like to have supporting me, as well as the ones that tend to drain my energy and make me feel inadequate.

In moving, I found that I had a lot more time to fill up and so I reconnected to the things I am passionate about and wanted to improve upon.  I attended yoga workshops alone and invited strangers out to coffee.  I looked people in the face and smiled, I started conversations. I created a sense of community by doing the things that made me feel most alive and said yes to opportunities that were outside of my comfort zone. And in the midst of trying to build relationships with others, I also dove into the uncertainty of being alone and dedicated days to spending time with myself.  I shifted my perspective a lot and spent reframing difficult situations as opportunities and lessons.

If you find yourself in a situation with each option contrasting itself against the other, I hope you know that regardless of where you go, you’ll take yourself with you. That if you can find comfort in who you are, wherever you go will be beautiful. And that if you can be accepting of all of yourself, you’ll be able to be gentle when you stumble and forgiving when you fall.  You’ll be able to reach out to meet new people even if you are unsure.  And whether you stay or go, you’ll be okay.

You’ll land exactly where you need to.

And then you’ll fly.

p.s.  If you are interested in following my thoughts, movements, wanderings, and daily inspiration, you can find me on instagram! @todaywasmeaningfulblog

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p.p.s.s.  thanks for being here, it means a lot to me.

on vulnerability.

everything is full.

I’ve sat in a lot of circles this year; hands at my heart, eyes gently closed, feet pressing upon a hardwood floor. We always start off as strangers who come together in vulnerability, and end up as friends.

Last weekend I recognized that somewhere along the way, we’ve learned that it’s dangerous to be vulnerable, that we shouldn’t risk being seen.  Our voices have been quieted in many ways throughout our lives, and somewhere, we’ve learned to keep our pains silent and to suffer quietly in the secrecy of our hearts.  We’ve internalized messages that we are supposed to show up as nicely wrapped packages, organized, happy, and unflawed. We believe we’re supposed to experience life so effortlessly that we feel discouraged when things get hard.

We might have lived lifetimes of saying we are fine when actually, we feel lonely.  When we are actually scared, deeply unhappy, tired, anxious, or hurt.  We mask ourselves in busy-ness, numbing, perfectionism, over/under-eating, alcohol, and drugs.  And we wear cloaks of perfection or indifference to replace our deep rooted fears of being negatively judged, falling short, or feeling inadequate. We harm ourselves through the voice of our inner critic or avoid trying because of the risk of failure. We might resist vulnerability out of fear of what would happen if we opened up.

And while vulnerability can mean many things for different people, for me, it is about uncertainty, risk, and exposing the truest parts of ourselves.  Vulnerability is about our ability to sit with discomfort, name it, and grow in it. It’s about being seen for who we are, especially when it’s hard and when we feel like we are crumbling; especially when it feels like no one could understand.  And I believe this matters because when we close ourselves off to this emotional risk, we start to feel alone.  We feel like something is wrong with us; we feel inadequate, broken, disconnected, and not enough.

 

 

 

 

I think that if you sit on the floor with someone and listen as they talk about what they most fear, how badly it hurt to lose someone they loved, and how difficult it can be to live in their body and mind; we would begin to realize we are all the same.  We hurt in the same ways and seek the same sense of connection, approval, and belonging from others; the similarities in our hearts are greater than the differences that divide us.  And the more people I sit with, the more I realize that the cracks in our hearts are the areas in which we can allow more love in.

This is your gentle reminder that we don’t have to do any of this alone; that we all have a need to feel connected to and nurtured by others.  And what I know is that our relationships and connections to one another help us to stay anchored to the shore when the waves are raging inside and trying to tear us away.  I invite you to give yourself permission to be messy, to be a work of art, to change your mind, and to speak your heart.  I encourage you to make mistakes and learn from them.  To rest when things get hard.  And please know that you can speak your truth and still be scared.  You can feel alone and not know what to do with it; you can be sad and tired, and still okay.  You can be not okay while still holding on.  I invite you to open up to how you feel and honor who you are; mistakes, unknowns, insecurities and all.

 

 

 

 

 

and if there is no one in your circle yet, I would be happy to sit there with you.

we can start off as strangers and end up as friends.

the grandest adventure

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november 28, 2014 was one for the books.

in fact, it will go down as one of my most favorite beginnings of the grand adventure we are about to embark on.

there are so many beautiful words to say about this day and at the same time there aren’t enough words to capture it all. i can tell you that for a moment time stopped and the world slowed down; and i couldn’t quite tell if the experience was real or not real. and as magical and momentous as this day was, i believe that all of  the days leading up to this one special day are the ones that counti think it is easy to become so focused on the engagement and often accompanying ring that we lose sight of what the commitment signifies.  in this short month, i’ve already learned how easy it is to be tempted by the commercialization of engagements, weddings, and material demonstrations of love. and from my perspective, these things serve as distractions from what it really is all about.

what i know is that our love is much more than our breathtaking engagement story and undeniably beautiful diamond.

 

 

so i’m not going to tell you about our engagement, but i will tell you about our love.

 

because i’ve always believed that love exists in the details.

 

you might know that we fell in love on a rock in the middle of a lake the summer after we graduated from high school.  we spent those days making each other mixed tapes with all of our favorite country songs and writing each other letters. four years of long distance resulted in hours of telephone conversations, weekend visits, and leaves and seashells sent by mail.  neither of us could have ever guessed that our love would take us to 11 different countries, 24 states, and five different places of residence.  adventures of zip-lining in the rainforest and in between mountains; parasailing and snorkeling in the ocean, visiting wonders of the world, napping in parks, drinking lemonade on rooftops, and having picnics at the lake.  you might know that we broke up once during our eight years and that he sent me my favorite flowers on valentines day even though we weren’t dating.  you also might know what it feels like to have your heart ripped out from your chest when separated from your soulmate. it felt like that without him. but that experience taught me that love does not get lost. in all of the right ways, it will come back to you.   after 10 months we met up in costa rica and picked up from the very last word we left off on.  my plane was ten hours late and he waited at the airport for me, hand-picked flowers in his hand. and when we are cold, we always make sure that our bare feet are touching; i think that’s important.  i edit his papers and he makes me spreadsheets. you should probably know about our not-so-secret book club and weekly budget committee meetings.

i’ll tell you about the crooked smirk he gets on his face right before he says something ornery and the scar he has on his nose from his childhood. i’ll tell you that he’s the greatest of planners although not the best of organizers. i can tell you about his patience and the way his eyes go soft after hearing another person’s story. the kindness in his voice when offering assurance.

i’ll tell you about him and his thoughtfulness.

the warm cup of tea next to my favorite book that he has ready for me when i get out of the shower. the silly imitations he performs and the kiddish jokes he tells because he knows they will make me laugh. the formal requests he makes for brunch dates and surprises that consist of picnics, sailing lessons, and road trips. i’ll tell you about his heart; the meals he buys for the people he doesn’t know and the good deeds he performs without telling a single soul. the 13 hour drive he made to ask my grandmother for her blessing with our engagement. he’s shown me that there is comfort in sharing all of the senseless details of your life with someone, not because they necessarily matter, but because someone cares enough to listen to them all.  one month later and i can’t help but get excited that i get to spend my life with the boy whose named i carved in the cement outside of my dorm freshman year of college.

 

 

i know that love is different things for different people. but for all of us, i think love is something that challenges you to become a better person and makes it possible to live out all of the good you have within you.  one of the greatest gifts i’ve received from this relationship is the opportunity to realize my individual dreams while simultaneously creating a life with him.  while we compromise regularly, we are fortunate in that we have not had to compromise on the goals we are passionate about.  i believe that the most wonderful kinds of love are the kinds that help each person to become more of themselves. the relationship doesn’t change who you are, what you like, or who you hope to become; rather it helps you unfold into the person you’ve always been.  and in these 8 years i’ve learned that love is simple.  and through it’s simplicity we get to experience the complexities of the beauty this life has to offer. i’ve learned that love is not something you say, but rather, it’s something you do. it’s a feeling that you act on.  he’s shown me that at one point in each of our lives, our paths will cross with someone who helps to undo all of that heartache, someone who helps to make sense of your troubles, someone who adds color to the world and joy to your life. for me, it’s always been him.  and until then, i believe in patience and in letting love find its way. from what i know, it will come, and it will be magical.

 

this love is our engagement story. 

 

 

i’m glad my heart chose you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

you are my home.