even the hardest parts

Sometimes life’s hard.

There’s grief. Loneliness. Worry. Disappointment. Sorrow. 

Even in a hopeful, happy life.

Could be it’s situational and driven by circumstances outside of my ordinary day to day.  Might be an old wound recently reopened. A good intention gone somehow wrong. Or maybe what I hoped for … dreamed about … counted the days until … somehow didn’t develop at all as planned.

Usually, I weep a bit. Slow, seeping tears. The kind that well up until the surface tension breaks, and they spill in a slow slide down my cheeks. Or maybe I turn away. Block the feeling. Avert my gaze. Deny it space or room to breathe inside me. I’m quiet. A little lacking in purpose. Adrift. Not much able to find comfort in almost any of the usual places.

I’m not sure what difference dawned in me today, but for today … I just want to feel the hard. Feel it all. The whole of it. Sit with it. Loll about in it. Inhale and exhale. Live through it and in it and on it and under it … until it’s over.

And done.

That’s what hope’s about, after all.  The certainty, faith, and knowledge life’s circle will eventually take a turn toward better. 

Because sometimes life’s hard.

And I want to live it all, learn it all, and love it all.

Even the hardest parts.

anniversary

you tend our marriage

as you tend our garden

careful

attentive

well-fed, watered, and weeded

you’re protective

preventative

dedicated

ever on watch

hopeful

always planning

scattering seeds

patiently working the soil

happy in every small shoot

proud of every bit of growth

nurturing our love

to be the most vibrant bloom,

the healthiest flower,

and most nourishing

plant in the garden.

pep talk

(In case anyone else needs a little encouragement today.)

You can do it.

Whatever — it — is.

So go ahead. Light a candle. Take a deep breath. Make space. Clear your calendar. Find an opportunity.

And do it.

Take the photograph. Hike the mountain. Paint that wall. Or a watercolor. Swim in a cool, clear lake. Chase the sunset. Follow a thunderstorm.

Ask for help. Seek community. A kindred spirit. Reach out.

Press your luck. Find your fortune. Act on the dream. Lose your way. Find it again. Follow your instincts. Take a chance. Roll the dice. Trust.

You can do it.

Which of your many thoughts just won’t go away? What keeps you awake in the middle of the night? Who’s on your mind? Where do you need to be? Feed the craving. Satisfy your thirst. Give yourself a little nudge. Get started. Be brave. Hold your nose. And jump.

Ready? Set? Go!

Write the chapter. Book the trip. Find that friend you’ve been thinking about all these years. Lose the weight. Schedule the appointment. Plant a meadow. Follow a new path.

Why wait ‘til tomorrow? Forget the forecast. Go anyway. Simplify. Streamline. Speak your truth. Believe.

Cheer yourself on. Pat your own back. Keep your own promises. 

Begin.

Dare.

Do.

the happiness list

I’m a list maker. A note taker. A sometime journaler. A writer in the margins. Scraps of thoughts. A wisp of an idea. The tinkle of a phrase or whisper of a word. I write them all down.

This is the summer of new adventures. I’m driving down roads I’ve never been down before. Exploring. Growing. Getting down to the basics of living a full life. Good health. Gratitude. Beauty. And happiness there for the noticing. Ah. The noticing.

Happiness, I’ve discovered, is not some designated point on the timeline of my life, some ultimate destination, or final achievement. It arrives in single moments – simple moments – and I’ve learned how important it is to be paying attention.

What makes me happy in the course of a single day?

Depends on the day of course. The season. Me. Responsibilities. What happys me one day is circumstantial to the life I’m living right there and then. Such moments pass quickly, easily-forgotten, and replaced by the next, newest, present breath, vision, or feeling.

Which is why I’m keeping a list.

For me, happiness is all wrapped up with a bow of gratitude, so maybe a happiness list is a lot like a gratitude list, but whatever I call it, I want to be sure my days, my newest adventures, and the smallest, happiest moments of my life are recognized and recorded.

Like a child emptying my pockets of treasures at the end of the day, here’s the happy list from just one afternoon in Vermont:

  • the lush green of trees bordering a hiking trail
  • the sound of rushing water
  • still pond reflections
  • wildflowers
  • a forest floor full of ferns dappled by sunlight
  • the smell of just mowed hay
  • sun on my face
  • Vermont’s state colors: verdant green, the deepest sky blue, barn red, and crisp, white clouds
  • the curve of fence posts up toward the horizon
  • baby sheep
  • curtains billowed by the breeze

I want to live a wonder-full life, awestruck and gratitude filled. Celebrating the regular alongside the unfamiliar and unexpected. Using all of my senses to experience the day I’m living right this very minute. Breathing deeply. Smiling. And satisfied.

What’s on your list?