Last night I dreamt of walking barefoot. Spring is on the way.
The air here in California is almost always intoxicating. It’s so sweet and soft. And it usually smells like trees or someone cooking. The breeze, which is never too hot, blows all day. This means that the leaves are continually talking and calling. They say, “Come outside. You know you want to take great gulps of this air and forget about anything even remotely like ‘inside.'”
I find myself looking for new ways to experience outside here; new things to do to make sure I get my daily dose of fresh air. The other evening, I went to a nearby park to play Ultimate Frisbee. I found the group online and it seemed like they were open to all skill levels. However, when I showed up, I saw people stretching and jogging to warm up. And they were throwing the disc pretty convincingly and wearing cleats. Eek! It had been about 10 years since I’d played Ultimate in college, but I wanted to give it a shot.
At one point, I was running toward the end-zone trying to shake my defender. Apparently someone threw the disc my way and the common “UP!” phrase rang out (letting everyone know a long throw had been made and the frisbee was in the air). Sprinting towards the end of the field, I couldn’t look around very well without slowing down. So, I started hearing “Right! Right!” from my team, indicating the disc was thrown to my right. Too far to the right! I didn’t make the goal.
But it occurred to me that my team was trying their hardest to guide us towards success! They could see the path that would lead to a goal. They knew which way I should run to score. It made me think, wouldn’t it be nice to have a team behind you? A team that was shouting the way to success even when you can’t see the way? Providing loud, verbal cues you can’t ignore or mistrust?
The first month of living halfway across the country has been all about adjustment. Sometimes I feel very lost. Which way do I turn to find success here? I’m trying to rely on a combination of intuition, serendipity, logic, affirmations, prayer, persistence and trial and error. I suppose this is the best tactic any of us can employ. However with mixed results, it’s hard to experience that overt guidance during my Ultimate game and not say, “I could use some of that in rest of my life.”
I am a Winged Thing!
And I’m out to play.
Zigging and zagging through morning sun.
Dodging trees and grasses, too.
Wind blows soft, but strong.
It helps me reach top speed
as I round a bend!
Then helps put on the breaks
as I float.
Peering into shadowed woods;
wake up, wake up!
It’s time to zoom!
All of the Earth is green and smelly
as I fly past.
Buzzing, breathing with the joy
of the day.
Feeling the connection of all things,
Have you seen “Labyrinth” from the 1980’s? A Jim Henson movie with a very young Jennifer Connelly and an awkwardly spandexed David Bowie? Well, it turns out that I am the Junk Lady from that movie.
The Junk Lady carries all of her possessions on her back. Her only job is to convince the heroine to do the same, so that she will forget her quest. Toy after toy is loaded on Jennifer Connelly’s back. “That’s what you were looking for, wasn’t it.” “Oh look at this little treasure; you love that, don’t you.”
As my husband and I traveled to CA to find housing, I felt my own significance dwindling among the scads of diverse people. With it, the need for possessions started to seem silly. So much to see and experience in life and yet we focus on getting things?
And then we started looking at “houses.” We started small (750 square feet!) and that’s when I realized… I am the Junk Lady. I could feel the bend in my back from the weight of all of our possessions. Our couch would not even FIT in that living room.
Practically, we realized we needed more space, for now. We aren’t ready to join the Tiny House movement just yet. However, I still want to take the lesson this move is affording us. I need less stuff!
As a culture, Americans want bigger, better, MORE. I know I’m not unique in having too much “stuff.” But I don’t want to be the Junk Lady! If my life is cluttered with things, my energy weighed down by items, that means less room for the truly valuable experiences in life: creativity, imagination, love, compassion, nature, mindfulness, spirituality, ideas, kindness, altruism, change, enlightenment, etc.
As I blogged earlier, empty spaces allow. And I want empty spaces to allow me to LISTEN, of course! What are the needs of the moment? What is the Universe asking of me? How can I serve the Earth and humanity with my time here? How can I be attuned to the will of a greater power and not just my own agenda?
This home-finding trip has reminded me that I want to be a leaf on the wind, blown about by the breath of the Beloved. I want to be the reed flute, making beautiful music with my life when played by the One. So, it is with these sentiments in my heart that I return to MN, determined to get rid of stuff. Determined to create more emptiness. Determined to be the Junk Lady no more.
So, it turns out that moving across the country can be stressful. The past few weeks have been tough. All of the uncertainty, doubt and overwhelming amount of “to-do’s” can feel like pure insanity. As such, I’ve turned to exercise and meditation for stress management. And even there, I often feel like I come up empty. This Rumi poem came along to help. I hope it helps you in your struggles, too.
“Do not expect to be always happy on this way.
You have been caught by a lion, my dear.
The friend dumps plaster on your head.
Think of it as an expensive perfume.
Inside you there is a monster
that must be tied up and whipped.
Watch the man beating the rug.
He is not mad at it.
He wants to loosen the layers of dirt.
Ego accumulations are not loosened
with one swat. Continual work
is necessary, disciplines.
In dreams, and even awake,
you will hear the beloved screaming at you.
A carpenter saws and chisels a piece of wood,
because he knows how he wants to use it.
Curing a hide, the tanner
rubs in acid and all manner of filth.
This makes a beautiful soft leather.
What does the half-finished hid know?
Every hard thing that happens works on you like that.
Hurry, Shams. Come back
like the sun comes back.
Every day with new
and powerful secrets.”
Once again, this Spring has found me out of shape. It was a stressful winter. Trips to the gym were few and far between. And my husband brought home way too many girl scout cookies (and beer). So, I’ve got a few pounds to lose and some toning up to do.
It doesn’t sound like a big deal, right? It’s pretty common in my life, actually, to go between very in shape (50 mile bike rides, 5 mile running events, etc.) and needing to lose and tone (hello muffin top). But my feminine brain does this freak out that screams “I’m fat!” And then I commence feeling horrible about myself. So, when Disney’s new Cinderella movie came out in March, it added insult to injury.
Disney’s new Cinderella, Lily James, who “sported a 17-inch waist in her corseted Cinderella costume, said her dress was so tight she couldn’t eat solid food during filming.” (according to examiner.com)
Eek, I don’t look like this! I don’t eat a liquid diet! I must be worthless and ugly if I don’t look like this perfect picture of a princess. And Disney hasn’t made it easy over the years with their images of cartoon/cgi princesses:
But let’s be honest… I’m 5’1″ and aging. There is simply no way I will ever look like a model, an actress, or this skewed version of a “princess.” Nor should I. It is past time that I love me and my body for what it is (and whatever it continues to morph into… square butt?). So, I decided that the shape of a princess needs to be revamped. (Can I get a HELL YEAH?!) And I’ve got some candidates that I personally look up to.
Malala Yousafzai – She’s a 17 year old, Pakistani activist for female education and women’s rights. When she was 11, she blogged for BBC. The NY Times did a documentary on her life when she was 13. At 16, she spoke at the UN to call for worldwide access to education. In 2014, she won a Nobel Peace prize (the youngest ever at 17) for her related work on child suppression and education for all. Oh yeah, and she was shot in the head by the Taliban, survived, and is still kicking ass.
Haley Bonar – This 31 yr old musician has been touring since she was 19 with her guitar, piano and organ. She has 8 successful solo albums under her belt (and a growing side band called Gramma’s Boyfriend). Her tracks can be heard on TV and film alike. And she contributes to multiple local projects (MN Women’s Foundation, MN Beatles Project). She is a performing darling of the midwest who’s completely captivating and passionate performances enchant audiences everywhere she goes. Oh yeah, and she’s a single mom and still rockin’ it!
Serena Williams – Currently ranked No.1 in women’s tennis, she’s been playing since she was 3 years old and won her first slam at 17 years old (making her the first african american woman to win a grand slam in the open era). Having won over $60M in prize money and 34 Grand Slams, she holds the record for most major titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles combined of any female or male player. And she has won 4 Olympic gold medals. She is a complete powerhouse and hailed as the “Queen of the Court.” Oh yeah, and she’s overcome personal loss (one of her sisters was fatally shot in an altercation), multiple injuries, media criticism/scrutiny, and long absences (ie. low rankings) from the sport and is still reigning supreme!