Living Chapters is a project about taking risks, seeking personal growth, and saying yes to what life throws at you.
What would happen if you invited 12 of your most trusted friends to write your life story for the next 12 months of your life?
I am using my life to explore that very question by living out “chapters” written for me. Through this project I hope to take on new challenges, instigate change and become more open to whatever may come by following the guidelines, suggestions and ideas that emerge within each new chapter.
Looking at life as an open book, the participants in Living Chapters and I will create a personal yet collaborative experience to examine how we choose to navigate through our daily lives, as we make decisions, deal with discomfort, and address conflict.
Living Chapters is an experiment in trying out alternate life styles and choices in a quest for finding new ways of becoming a better person for myself and to others.
I invite you to follow along, reflect, and comment as the chapters unfold from month to month. Live out the chapters with me as I struggle and strive to learn something new. Let go for a moment and take on one of the challenges with me. Who knows where the story will lead you.
The one way to move forward is to look at how we have moved backward and stop making the same decisions.
It is now the time to really decide if we want to retrace our steps, or take a chance and evolve if we no longer desire to digress.
Now is the time to stop looking around and blaming the world for what goes around. Now is the time to just look deep inside and find your answers and cleanse your own mind.
It is not time to look at how others are reenacting. It is time to take a step forward, not backward and check your own reacting. Let us not make a mistake and look to the other to try to make things better for ourselves not each other.
It is not the time to give and it is not the time to take. It is the time to merge into each other – a tight-knit fabric we will create. It will endure if we are willing to let go of what is “right or wrong”. It will give and protect each one of us, if we accept harmony (the highs and lows) in this song.
We are not here to make judgments, we are not here to set others’ rules. We are here to hold our own boundaries and create synergetic tools that are used to work with each other and not to fight against.
We are here to live freely in acceptance not to denounce or to repent.
It is not the time to give anger and it is not the time to give hate. It is not the time to bring ourselves to a place of hierarchy and not the time to debate.
It is time to release history and let the same old story go. It is time to bring a new kind of light into this never-ending dramatic show.
It is time to really give one’s own energy and put the effort in. Let us make and create a story that would bring out love, not the need to win.
It is not that complicated and it is not that difficult. Just take a quiet step back and listen to your own mouth as it can do most of the work.
Our mouths are the tools that are leading us here and often taking us there. Our words are the vehicles that navigate us wisely or into danger without care.
We have the ability and opportunity, each day to begin and to start fresh. Yet we continuously return to what we’ve been told and what our egos tell us that is best.
We go back to the place where we are hurting on the inside when we lash out at the other. There is no filter that we keep when even when it comes to our own friends and lovers.
We tell ourselves that we are not the ones, who are guilty and don’t look back. When we finally are forced to, it is often ourselves that we do find the lack.
It is time now to begin and it is time now that we remain. It is time for the end of the fighting, the release of judgment and acceptance to begin to reign.
“And there is a place where we one day will delve, where there’s no more walking on eggshells.” – Alice Phoebe Lou Berlin Blues Song
This morning I got out of bed and knew that I absolutely was not able to do a thing until I was able to really listen to the birds sing. I needed to just lay there for a bit and be still. I knew that I needed to wait and really not only hear from my head but feel from my heart, what the day had in store for me. It is not always something that I normally think about when rising to meet the day, but hey… not a bad way to process the shift between waking and sleeping.
The process between waking and sleeping. This is something that I have been exploring deeply and something that my entire body has been engaging in in a variety of ways without my mind or thoughts even contributing anything really needed or worthwhile. My mind, over the past few years has gotten much better at stepping aside and allowing for the body to do the walking and the talking. My body has now taken a lead role in this formerly highly directed life path. My body is not telling me what not to do so much but what is needed, desired and wanted for a more fluid and healthy way of moving through my day.
What I mean by this is that I realize that my body will simply not oblige if I have it any other way. You know the story, you sit for too long and your feet start to tingle and you move for too long and your feet start to ache and you sleep for too long and you get to depressed and you stay awake at night and you begin to digress.
It is a natural cycle that we have built within us and we often forget that we in fact have little control. It is the energy within us that will bring us to the balance that we need and that we want, what we know to be true.
I was sleeping for a long time and I was not listening to my inner workings. I was instead allowing the outside world to lead my moves along. I looked to friends and looked to mentors and I looked to others who were doing, great things and asked them what they thought.
Would they help me carry on?
Yet, it was not really the best avenue, nor was it really the best path. For they had no idea how my own body would react. Would I cry or would I laugh when a new challenge was presented? I was left alone to listen, I had to make the decision.
I finally figured out that it was in fact, the only wisdom, I held within myself and that was kept within my heart. It was this tiny sound. And it was this little part, of me that I knew to be there. It was the part I knew so well. It was the little voice within me that was always afraid to yell. It was the little voice within that would often not say much. It was that voice that made me do all the things in which I knew I would excel.
However, it is time, to get it out and let it now be heard. It is not about success or failure it is about the way that we unlearn.
So this morning I will share the poet and I will share the dancer too. I have no instruction in either discipline. I have only the audience and the witness that is you. I am not the kind of woman that will need a laugh or a clap. Just do me a favor and please be your self proudly, stand up and speak out back.
** Special thanks and gratitude to George Polimenakos and Kamelia Ivanova for introducing me to the angelic and authentic voice of Alice Phoebe Lou who inspired me to move this morning.
In these last weeks of spring, I feel a sharp shift occurring and notice a great alertness begin to take hold of my senses. Is it because I am beginning to relax into and realize that the full cycle of life has begun again? It is now on the upswing moving into the rich harvest time. Anyone else feel it?
Are we a little less irritable because the light is filling our days for a little longer? Are we a little more centered because the ground is beginning to soak in water allowing it to regenerate its soil? Are we, ourselves, beginning to feel regenerated as well?
It seems as if we are like the earth itself. We are just about to give way to something new – we have not thought possible since the last cycle of Spring rolled on through. Is it going to be the kind of Season that we had hoped it would be? Is it going to be the kind of Season we expected? All the questions laid under a layer of dormancy, during the winter months. They laid in waiting for this time when they could really truly and fully come to the surface of the ground once again.
If we think about our own personal cycles like the cycles of the landscape, it may be easier to understand why we are constantly moving in ebbs and flows. Why does it seem that some days are better than others? We are fond of labeling the day with a preconceived notion of whether it was a good or bad day. Whether the people, the places and the things in our lives played a part in making our lives better or worse.
We often look to and rely upon these preconceived notions of joy and struggle to measure how we are doing along our way. We look to the joy to tell us that we are doing really well and we look at the struggle to tell us that where we are not doing well. Yet if we go to the ocean we are not labeling the tide as good and bad tide as it moves in and out, away and back to shore. It is simply ebbing and flowing. This is what we do too.
It is more apparent though in some people than others. Their ebb and their flow is rather dramatic and you can see vast differences between the back and forth motions in their lives. Again many inadvertently define it as highs and lows and others will call it the ups and downs. You may have even heard it as going with the flow or having a block. All of this is simply just the ebb and the flow – as above as below.
In this time of late Spring, early Summer, we will find that the seasons will show us beautifully how to maintain the balance between these ebbs and flows. There is always a fine balance between the two and you will not ever be in one without the other close behind your next steps. It is something that will be inevitable and it is something that we can choose to resist or simply accept and engage with in our own daily practice. How does the ebb complement the flow and how will the flow complement the ebb. There are many ways that this can be explained but the best way is to just think about it and decide for yourself. Are you even sure you know the difference between the two motions and how they play out in your own life? Are you aware of this cycle when it occurs? Are you putting labels or definition on the cycle as most of us do? Are you having a productive day or a day in rest are you having a day of alone time or a day of social gatherings? Are you giving yourself time for your home life or work life or an inner retreat? Are you out in the world getting ready to meet? It is not too difficult to see the cycle when you give it a peak. Just step back and observe and try not to seek. You will see that in a few short days you might begin to see, patterns of your own that resemble patterns of the sea.
You may not have a reason and you may not need one to, but try this out and see if it works for you. Give it a whirl and watch how you speak. It may come out in rhymes or it may come out in a way that you wouldn’t expect. It may come out in scientific text. The cycle applies to all that we are and it speaks to the way that we have come so far, to be at this point and to be here and now. We have lived within the cycle for centuries now.
It is not the way that we view our relationships and it is not the way that we often express our feelings and it is not the way that we are often comfortable revealing. But it is the way that we involuntarily move and it is the way that we will continue to prove that with each step that we take and with each step that we make, we will find the that the next will balance out it to equate the way that we are and the way that we will be. It is not really science it is simply the workings of energy.
There are many ways to attempt to write about personal experience and there are many ways to share through conversation and through media, how one finds themselves navigating though their own day-to-day world. I have taken a long hiatus from most of these avenues and I have been spending a significant amount of time just noticing on my own. I have just been waking up and really taking notice of all the little tiny details that are changing both within me and outside of me.
In this time I have learned a lot and yet I feel like I know even less than what I thought I knew when I began the process. There are so many things that are changing every single moment and every single day that I cannot claim to really “know” anything at all. Each time I observe something new it simply deviates the following day and then it will return to what it was the day before the next day. It is like a pattern that has no rhyme or reason and then cannot be even predicted to be unpredictable.
It is not the kind of science that most of us really enjoy or gravitate to. It is not the kind of science that leads to direct answers or beautifully formulated equations. It is not the kind of science that makes us feel better about finding a truth that was undiscovered for years upon years.
This kind of science is one of the inner psyche and one of the personal landscape. It is the kind of science that most would not refer to as science and yet it is still measurable and observable and can be proven with experiments and equations just as al the other theories have been tested before. There is a great amount of time that goes into the kind of work that I am describing. I am talking about the work of the science of the self or the science of the soul. Some like to refer to this as psychology but others who view this work from different perspectives call it philosophy. Some call it the making and appreciating of art. Some even call this kind of science spirituality. Others call it the science of anthropology. It seems we like to categorize these thing as to make specialties from the specific areas of study. However when it comes down to it, we are really doing the same shared thing. We are noticing.
I am not a scientist in any of these disciplines and will most likely not become such a scholar of them, however I began to study in my own way when I was just a little girl and have been perfecting this ever since. I have trained myself to really just look and really just listen and for the past few years I have been training myself in the area of absorbing sense and touch and feel. It is not a very hard thing to do but we mostly do not take time or energy to do such studies. This science of noticing may seem insignificant in a world where degrees and letters behind names are more important than sharing a moment in time, conversing with the wind or giving to the garden in the backyard. It may seem almost like a waste of the time we have to slow down and do such things. However, it is the essence of discovery and it is the foundation of the creation and it is the stepping stone for each of us to find the answers that we all seek.
The science of noticing is within the realm of the universal and the personal and will allow each of us to reach our own potential.
This first week of January each year is, for many, a powerful time of transition and expansion. For others it can simply be recovery from all the excessive work/play of the holiday season. Either way, its a good time to utilize the collective energy and effort to move and feel into a new shift or a fresh outlook in your own way.
A friend reminded me this week, that it is not always about the “what” you are doing and planning for the days ahead. Sometimes it is more important to focus on the “how” we are doing and feeling right now. Without understanding the “how” we are doing or functioning in the present moment, we may never reach or accomplish that long list of the “whats” that we want for the future.
A key to new starts and beginnings is to remember that we can do this at any time and in any moment. Pick your own calendar date, set your own intentions and let your own desires, abilities and capabilities lead you onward. It’s easy to get swept away on the bandwagon: “What are the best ways to spend our days?” It is still up to us to remember and distinguish the importance of how we want to spend them.
“Rescue yourself from saving another and knowing what is best for them and you just might find humility, kindness and what love truly means” – Amy Larson
I finally understand fully the concept of putting the air mask on yourself first before trying to help another. You’ve seen it, the diagram that is displayed on every aircraft, of the mother with her small child and the weird-looking plastic gadgets attached to a few strings. They magically fell out of the plane ceiling for the purpose of saving your life? This familiar awkwardly drawn diagram has become quite emblematic for me this year, as I’ve devoted an enormous amount of time to self-resuscitation methods. I am writing about it now as a means to accept and release any residual guilt or anxiety around allowing myself the necessary attention.
Last year I found myself in serious need of an air mask, yet nothing magically appeared above my head when I pressed the panic button. I was hyperventilating, living with an on call daily emergency, playing the role of the caregiver for my very ill and aging mother. This was a role that I had never thought I would intentionally choose. At this point in my life, I had specifically chosen not to have children, pets or even a home to take care of. I give great value and respect for my ability and desire to live a very simple and solo lifestyle choosing an existence that does not require an excess to sustain. For many reasons I was very happy living on my own. Moving in with my mom was a drastic change and shock to the system to be once again living under my mother’s “roof and rules” as an adult.
For the first time in a long while, I was extremely uncomfortable. I felt a stranger in my own skin. It was difficult to be with and see my mother sick, depressed, angry and in pain on a daily basis. It was also difficult to live outside of my personal habits and daily routine. The environment and neighborhood itself also was a new change. Moving from a tropical island to suburban PA took some getting use to. For the first few months, I did not fully process or understand what was even happening. I was going through the motions of being between resisting the scenario entirely and accepting it even remotely. I was definitely dealing with a state of denial.
I’m a person who thrives on social engagement but felt as if I was radiating a vibe of shear dis-ease. This made me not want to be around other people. I retreated, easily pointing out to myself the difficulties stemming from the surface situation. My living scenario was not the only problem though, there was something more deeply rooted causing me to struggle.
I was not unhappy because I was living with my mother or in suburban PA. I was unhappy because I, at that point really could not see clearly or accept truly what I wanted for myself. I made the choices that I thought I needed to (and was expected) to make. I came back to care for mother and play the role, I did not want to play. I was unhappy because I had made my choices out of obligation and guilt rather than love or compassion. Leading with my head instead of my heart, I handed over my power of decision-making to an external expectation rather than listening to my inner guiding compass.
Being faced with the reality of what I didn’t want, was not something that happened by mistake. It was not something that I was forced into by my mother or anyone else, it was something that I chose independently. I realized that I alone had made the decision to move in and that I could either accept the time together as a lesson and opportunity to learn or I could continue to squirm in my self-created misery. It was time to not only to accept my reasons for entering the situation but also time to prepare for and accept what my reasons would be for leaving.
If I chose to put myself in a stifling situation, I could also choose to take myself out of it. I needed to lead my steps with compassion first for myself before being able to be compassionate to my mother or anyone else. By allowing myself room to breathe, I stopped starving my own desires and needs. I started prioritizing my own health over trying to fix hers. This reintroduced balance back into my life, giving me enough strength, energy, and resources to meet my own needs and share with others.
It became very clear that I was not the one and only (and/or the best) person that could help my mom. It was also very clear though, that I really wasthe only person that could help myself. It was time to do some tending. So somehow, without jumping ship or suffocating myself, I settled into the act of seeking balance and eventually another solution for the situation emerged. In the act of acceptance and self-preservation, I found not only freedom from the struggle, but new solutions to the problem. The slight shift into acceptance and the diligent act of following through opened my airways and provided me with new survival skills that I am still utilizing today.
“If I have weaknesses, don’t let them blind me or camouflage all I am wary of. I could be sailing on seizures of laughter or crawling out from under the heel of love. Reach in the dark. Reach in the dark. To overcome an obstacle or an enemy. To glide away from the razor or a knife”
– Rhythm of the Saints Paul Simon
I spent the full year after living out and sharing chapters, refraining from expressing any inner experiences or written reflections publicly. With intent, I chose to withdraw socially. Engaging with only a few people, no particular community and retreating from professional pursuits. I directed my attention away from external obligations and focused inward with new intensity. What did this look like? What are the repercussions of a year focusing internally rather than externally? I am choosing to share, now a year later, as a means to help understand the answers.
Prioritizing this kind of time for one’s self is rare. If ever taken, we are taught that it’s selfish or unhealthy to do so. For me, I found the opposite to be true and landed upon some valuable lessons. I learned how to hear, listen to, rely upon and share with myself. Becoming my own boss, audience, motivator, accountability, critic, fan, and foe, I learned to accept my ebb and discovered my flow.
Without outside obligations to abide to, what would I do for myself on my own? Could I stay in step with my own beat while learning to live without evaluating or understanding everything I did and felt? Could I feel and be within my natural rhythm of time? Yes, in fact, I could. After finally releasing the reins, I stopped trying, flailed about and stumbled into my flow. What I found was an infinitely deep pool of water and words waiting to rush in. Meditation is the practice that directed me off the diving board.
At first, sitting with myself in silence was a strange and sometimes difficult thing to do. I had issues with the physical effects of sitting still and felt resistance in finding “the time” to do it in my day. The most difficult part of meditation though was simply facing my own thoughts directly without distraction. “Empty the mind. Silence your thoughts. Be in the present moment.” were the directives. I came nowhere near those outcomes in my first meditation experiments. Instead, I did a 180 and flooded my brain with thoughts at full force on high volume. All the questions and concerns I stored away bubbled to the surface and rushed into the room to sit with me in the “silence”. Racing questions with no answers were anything but calming or relaxing. How could I experience the present moment when all these questions from the past and future kept interrupting my here and now?
In my two years of practice since, I’ve learned to accept the thoughts and questions as a part of my present moment. The queries are no longer distracting, and I no longer seek answers. I simply listen in, welcome the thoughts and then let them leave. Living by a creek, I focus on the sound of rhythmic water to float these passing thoughts onward. Now, sitting in “my silence” is satisfying. Instead of distracting questions rising to the surface, there is a wide-open space of stillness that repeatedly is re-filled with breath and heart beat. In this rhythmic dance from past moment to future moment, there is constant motion and no time or room for hesitation or judgment in between. In these intervals of silent space, I now hear the answers before questions arrive. My moments in meditation conduct and orchestrate new movement and action in my day. And above all else bring creative energy that is flowing forth into spontaneous and free-flowing writing sessions.
I now spend hours allowing words to come as they want to, in ways they intend on coming out. I stop thinking, start breathing and feel into the process. Often I’m surprised by what emerges. I write about topics I had never thought about, and create characters I didn’t know existed. Thoughts move through my head and come concretely together on their own, in a way that is fluid and automatic.
I believe the origin of this flow comes from the space I have given it to grow from in meditation. I have broken down the walls where it once was contained and have not pin-pointed or directed a final destination or outcome. Releasing the reason to write, the specific audience to write for, and topics to write about frees me up to feel into my own natural current and move forward.
My sailor friend Jeffrey says, the key to sailing is to utilize the best of what you have access to: current, wind, tools and the structure of the vessel. Lean in and allow for the natural elements to do their work. Use observation and technical skills to make minor fine-tune adjustments to shift your direction along the way. This is something that I think I have been trying to learn my entire life. How do I release myself fully while making technical and observational adjustments along the way without heavy-handed control?
It’s a bit scary at first, like being on a sailboat alone without knowing how to utilize the assets and tools you have. Floating freely in foggy open water, not knowing if you will hit the shore or if you will be lost at sea. At this point there is no other option then to release into the current, utilize the wind and learn the tools at your disposal. If you don’t want to ebb, it’s time to learn to flow.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Did you ever feel as if you were about to explode with an extreme amount of energy held inside? Are you waiting to burst forth to begin the day or to start a new project? Maybe you feel you are going to break apart at the seams wanting to do something or be something that you feel strongly about yet… you hold back. Do you feel tied to what you are currently doing or the identity you currently project? Well in the past few years this has been my M.O. It seems a slow progression but I am and have been moving with consistent change and great fortitude – away from a former definition of who I was and toward a new rendition of me or as I call it an upgrade.
In 2011 I left my home of Baltimore City. With that move, I left behind a community I was deeply engaged with, a series of jobs and many relationships that I had been identifying myself with. All of which was wonderful at the time but became more a box to live within rather than a space to grow from. Since then, I’ve spent much time untangling from this former life, deciphering what is important to hold on to and what to let go of. Free from any fixed community, job, or home I’ve moved fluidly and freely, stripping away pieces of the past life I created. Much like participating in a detox, focusing on taking in the healthiest aspects only I have systematically worked to release patterns and ideas that were no longer serving me. Could I recognize details and facets of my inner self while balancing external obligations and expectations? This essentially was and still is the core goal of the Living Chapters experiment that I am still exploring and attempting to understand.
What I do understand though, is that it seems each year we try to out do ourselves. We compare our conquests and achievements as if they are the measurement of life’s success. “Did we make enough money? Did we make the right friends? Go to new places? Have enough fun?” What did we accomplish? And is there a way to prove it or show it off?
There are many things that we can all be proud of in our lives. We can all point to things we have done, have said or relationships that we maintain and develop. We can own many things and go to many places. Some people call this a list of goals or a bucket list. Others claim that these things are what make them unique individuals. Like the rest of us, I have done this too, comparing one year to the last looking back and keeping track. Not a bad thing to do really. We should recognize and share our core talents and skills. It’s called a resume! Heck I made a whole website that acted as my master accomplishment list. Yet I realize now, only two years after creating it, that this list no longer defines me as a person. It is simply a list of my external accomplishments and I need to stop identifying myself by pointing to it alone.
In this past year, I stepped away from building on this list and started developing lines on my internal resume. I am looking beyond my work, belongings or relationships as an indicator of my self-worth. I am looking outside of the accomplished tasks or my productivity of what “got done” as a way to measure my success. The first year of Living Chapters focused my ‘to do’ list internally but still operated on the “checking off the list” mentality. It did however provide a great tool to monitor external actions while developing internal ideas. My question and desired exploration now is how to learn to accomplish external ideas through internal change and action. How can one balance and value both internal and external accomplishments?
“You can not change your destination overnight but you can change your direction overnight” Jim Rohn
It has been a full year since I lived my every day by the words of a chapter writer. I put my trust and faith in the ones I loved most, I asked my friends and family to offer support and suggestions on how I could become a better person. Living Chapters in its first year was an experiment testing out living in a fluid and flexible way. It challenged me to let go of controlling each step of the journey and asked me to risk stepping outside of my known comfort zone.
In the early days of the experiment, the idea of letting someone else choose my path or make decisions for me seemed foreign or unheard of. The self-created structure of the project was a chosen as a way to pry myself out of my box and try something new. Now, free of the experiment’s rules, I look back and know that following instructions or chapters was not foreign at all. I have followed instructions and guidelines from the time I was born. I’ve been taught to follow rules, stick to the guidebooks and make specific efforts to not push my boundaries too much. This is what we are trained to do our entire lives. “Color inside the lines please and get your gold star!” Without the structure I find myself cravign and creating it in new ways. At first, I almost felt lost without it. What do we do without the recipe, road map or reference manual? We are told that if we follow closely and precisely, we will arrive safely and successfully. And we start to believe that arriving is the best (or only) thing we are destined to do.
I must admit that by the end of my first year of living through intentionally planned chapters, I certainly did not feel as though I arrived anywhere in particular… yet nor did I feel lost or disatisfied. After the experiment, I found myself wandering wide-eyed somewhere in the state of witnessing who I am and recognizing who I was about to become. After spending a year pinpointing my own patterns and following other people’s guidelines, I found where I was aligned and also out of alignment. I kept some of the guidelines that had been given to me and threw away many of the external suggestions. I created my own navigation system not out of any manual but from my own experience. This is what the first year of experimentation gave to me.
During the last twelve months, the real letting go has actually begun. Without the chapters to follow and without my old plan to abide by, I have started living my days allowing the current of life itself to push me along. It’s been a perfect opportunity to test out the navigation tools I acquired. Living independently, I have released my old controlling habits as well as any chapter guidelines. It’s been a year in which I could have never predicted planned or dreamed up. Most people would call it a transition – the time between stories, the time between chapters – when I was doing this and before I started doing that. I see it not aa a sabbatical but a departure from (what I am calling) my ‘former life’. I am not sure what else you could call it, but for me I am beginning to look at it as less of a transition and more of an adaption to a different way of existing.
It has been a time of many emotions: complete freedom, utter fear, confusion, gratitude and great pleasure. Shifting 180 degrees from living in one kind of pattern – the one of controlling, expecting and planning to a new pattern the one of free fall has been a valuable experience. I don’t find either pattern to be quite balanced but have learned important lessons from both. I am returning here to the blog to share with you some of the journey from the past year and some ideas of where I might go next.
Look here. It’s starts this way daily. You see the open space and hold the chalk in hand. How will you make your mark? This is the question I asked myself when starting Living Chapters back in June of 2013. And is still the question I ask myself each day only a couple of months after its completion. July and August 1st came around with no new extra-added chapter challenges to take on. (thank fully!)
In this post LC existence, I am finding myself busy catching my breath – balancing a new romantic relationship, searching for new housing, struggling to keep a job in a state I am not living in and economically scrambling to keep both myself and my mother out of overdraft status. While also testing out daily the lessons learned from the 12 month process. Can I be accountable to myself while wrestling with life’s own chapter challenges? I guess that depends on how I fill the slate these days rather than what is on the slate itself.
Putting my island living dreams on hold for the moment, I contemplate the choices at hand – regaining my wander-lust water side mobile Maryland existence or building a rooted life in rural Pennsylvania while I await support and stability for my mother’s life.
Transition often leaves me feeling unsteady, off-balance with one foot on the floor and one out on the ledge. One toe digging in the dirt and another dipping in the water, I hold tightly onto what I fear to lose and long for what has yet to come. Living Chapters taught me that letting go and following the flow is the best solution. Trusting in the daily ritual and setting honest intentions will reward. Enjoy the space in between. Cherish the grey moments. Transition is a time that is rarely savored for what it is. The time between seasons, a homecoming and goodbye party all in one. It’s a celebration of what has been accomplished and a rally for future revelations. Erase the slate, sit back take a breath and start again.
I may feel chaotic at this moment but also very capable nearing the end of this unique time in my life. Reaching this large fork in the road, I find truth – knowing that everything I have done and everything I have been up until now has brought me here and yet is now also choosing to leave me behind. A time of molting and shedding of my former skin, I walk forward and leave the delicate relic on my prior path.
Right before we become what we are meant to be, I believe, we go through an initiation, a right of passage. I think it’s that time for me – nearing the end of my beginning. Wrapping up my months of practice introductions, I am ready to unfold. This is the final introduction, not to any new chapter but to the next story in which I am the one writing the book. A beautiful blank slate, primed and ready.