flight.

I accidentally felt happy. For days and weeks after the visceral, physical breaking out of the cocoon I was bound up in, a feeling kept flitting in my side view. Brief and effervescent, blue and bright and entertaining. What was this? It was familiar and fleeting and then swooped back up and out and I laughed, a lot. Smiling in my kitchen alone, at the sun in the window I realized this was happy.

It was so long since I felt something similar to this—so many shedding skins ago, that I kept quiet. I didn’t want to shoot back into a caterpillar skin or reincarnate into trying and testing again if I spoke it out loud.

A few weeks ago I went to D.C. on a work trip, flying into air I used to be afraid of, settled in with a movie and few hours of silent shuttling sky, sitting in tandem quiet with a kind-souled fellow traveler. I wish I could explain what happened then, maybe someday there will be words for what it is when two people who have both found themselves as butterflies find the same draft of air. For now it is enough to know that while the cocoon may feel lonely, newly winged flight is not.

I spent the next five days waiting on couches in hotel libraries, trying on hats and wandering new streets, running to keep warm and crying from the cold. I came home and talked on the phone, met people in stores and smiled, sipped soup and felt full, bought bread and coffee creamer and wore warm socks on frigid nights.

I lived. And until then I thought what I was doing before was living, but it wasn’t. It was leaning toward what I thought would feel more, look better, seem easier somehow. I was waiting to live until living felt nicer. If I could go back and try it again, faster, better, would I? No. I had moments of great through every minute of my life as a caterpillar and cocoon. I had family and love and friends and a life that held me while I found my way to this. I hold it in my hands like a cup of warm tea, look across the steam and see sugared sunlight fall through leaves, see the shadow cast of light in an afternoon room, and I know that this life is magnificent.

It is magnificent.

transformation. part two.

“It is impossible for you to go on as you were before, so you must go on as you never have.”

Cheryl Strayed

I wonder what the first thing a caterpillar does when it winds it’s last sinuous thread, closing its senses off to the world of leaves and rain and birds looking for crawling things. I would imagine it exhales, once, twice. Its body no longer inching toward the next thing, does it know that if it rests it can never be the same?

I believed that the period of time I was feeling burned out, dried up, and spent, was part of the trying of a caterpillar life, but now I see, it was part of the dissolution of that life. We live in a world of trying, a circled, spinning, kaleidoscope of new books, videos and quotes to pull us to the next level, a culture of self-care striving, believing that taking measures to feel better will bring you back to when you felt something.

We want to feel the way we did when we hoped what we learned through myths and legend was true. There was a list somewhere, one naughty, one nice, and if we worked really hard we would earn gifts on a snow melted brown morning instead of coal. No one we knew actually ever got coal, but it was possible—the story powerful in its threat of not getting what we wanted, what we asked for, after twelve months of being watched by a man in a different shaded and felted red suit each year, depending on where you saw him.

This myth of earning beautiful things nearly ruined me. And yet, it was part of the necessary giving up; the exhale, once, twice. Right after I wound a last sinuous thread, a many months long respite from the noise of living. It began with signing out of all social media, stopping the news, no more magazines, or documentaries of unsolved murders and pretend tragedies, acted and scored to create danger, suspense and the locking of doors and windows against what might be out there.

I stopped shopping, for 40 days and 40 nights, the cease fire of credit cards and online wallets biblical in proportion. There was no more seeking the next color and shape of clothing to cover me from rain and wind, I wanted a new way to feel hooded and veiled. I wanted to be quiet, silent, warm.

I put my phone down, and then walked away from it. I silenced the ringer, changed the settings to not show the numbers of comments unanswered, and I remembered what it felt like to be unreachable.

And then, in this unreachable state, I rested—not knowing that I would never be the same.

(to be continued)

holding.

“Letting go is a death to holding on.”

Adyashanti

When we have stayed still longer than is comfortable, when the chafe of life wears a ringing in our ears from listening too hard, too focused. When we have sat on our hands instead of deciding, as if the decision is out there, something external pulling it into existence, always a few steps ahead, the carrot chase of it a constant question. When we have asked and asked, when will it be time, the answer is, ‘when you let go’.

Letting go let’s go of the one who holds on. The one who tries one more way, studies one more skill, thinks about how to work this better, figure it out, succeed. It’s letting go of the one who talks it out, who brings it to trusted friends and mentors, who thinks that hanging on means being there when the secret is revealed, the thing that solves it all.

Here is the secret; move when life moves you, stop listening to anything except the song singing you forward. Stand up. Know it is not out there, it is right here, and the time is when you say it is.

We have never wanted to go to bed before the show ends, we want to see how it turns out. We have believed the show is being written for us, a cliffhanger of what is coming, and we don’t want to miss it, as if the prize only given to those in attendance.

To chase the carrot on the end of the illusory stick, to wait for an ending written by another storyteller, is to be forever focused on something that does not belong to you. It was never yours, it was just trying to get you to live poised and hungry.

Letting go gives you hands free to till and plant and harvest, to be green from pulling weeds, not white from holding still.

you.

In so many ways I sought myself through other people, searching for someone to mirror back some understanding, acceptance, a place for me to rest for a few moments. Blending into another is hard to notice, hard to capture why I didn’t feel settled at the end of a shared day.

What I found was not what I intended; somewhere I had become the mirror, acting back what was given, shared, creating agreements and likeness where maybe there was none. I said things were okay that weren’t okay, because I wasn’t. I didn’t know what I was doing so I didn’t know why I was tense and tired. There are other words for this focus on the other; fawning, placating, pandering, people pleasing.

It takes energy to bend into ways you didn’t grow in, to mimic another’s preferences that aren’t your own means to be forever stretched and trying. Living outside your own self is surviving in a climate that you aren’t accustomed to, the thin air making it hard to fill your lungs with someone else’s share of oxygen.

It took me a very long time to understand that survival in any form does not feel good. If you have ever felt invisible, being seen seems worth the price of admission into a venue where for a moment or two, you belong. When you add technology, social media, texting and email, life can become a funhouse of possibility, the myriad ways to be seen and noticed revolving into a frenzy of shifting likes around the flickering fluorescent need that stays the same.

The need stays the same as you bend into ways to fill it, and it doesn’t ever work. There’s the truth; it doesn’t work because it wasn’t meant to work forever. Survival responses are born as a means to keep you alive, then. The same tactics, so necessary at the time, can keep you from living, now.

The best way to know why you do something is to stop doing it, even for a moment. Notice when you fight, leave, freeze and please. It could be the reason you are tired is because you have been doing it for so long. When you look back across your own life, you might see what helped you survive until now was never other peoples’ reflection; what brought you through these shifting floors and tilting hallways was you, always you.

new.

New moons are dark. No light found to guide a path or direct the way, no reflection from windows to see where the barns are, the dusted storage of past hopes and hurts kept alive and still. No wind shuttling clouds to the side of a giant lit circle of possibilities. No, the new moon is dark.

Something new has no light, not quite yet. What you bring to the darkness is yours alone, heavy and cool in a palm weighted by old dreams ready to slip under the surface of who you have been. The new moon lets you do this unseen, unwatched, the blackness a gift of private reconstruction on your own quiet stage.

How many ways we try to light this path that needs darkness in order to begin. How many lamps, lights, torches and companions we reach for when there is no agreement that can happen in this night. It isn’t meant to always share, some things can be left alone.

All day I have reached for my phone, and set it down, wanted to explain, or try, to anyone who might understand, and then, finally I understood. What I am going to bring to this night is mine, and there is no ‘me too’ that will change the uneasiness, no commiseration or trying to talk it out that will change the unknowing of it.

Sometimes others want to know what you are thinking, feeling, seeing when you talk, write or explain a day in the life of you. This new moon uncovers within you a knowing that some things are meant to be held, unexplained, all your own. Some things can belong to only you. Take them out tonight to this new moon and dance with them—alone, free and silent in your shaded unseen circle. All yours. All new. Let them begin.

stay.

The things we want to stay, wish to stay, hope to stay the same, are the very things impossible to keep. Someone else’s attention, fleeting and fierce, wanes in the natural course of their next thing. Pointing in a new direction for them feels like a loss of direction for us. Unknown and unkept, the movement into their next thing opens up our attention to something else, the familiar turn of life ever receding and bringing in newness from the tide of change. The sea glass worn by time and sand, it’s novelty beautiful and clear.

‘Let it go’ can be a trite saying, a prescription to feel better, said over and over to someone suffering from something lost. How can we let go of what we never had? The releasing isn’t of the thing we wished for, it’s letting go of the wish itself. The longing for better days, riding in on what we believe someone else holds for us. Letting go of what we think they hold, that’s the open handed prayer, the supplication and forgiveness rolled into one tumbled stone of tide sanded clarity.

Taking back your power from someone else isn’t exactly what it is, it is more taking back your part of the agreement you made to wait for them. No one else really takes your power, but at times your waiting does feel powerless. Removing them as the author of that feeling is the first kind truth.

Your power never left, it is the thing that stayed and stays. The power to begin again and again, thats the story waiting to be written.