Health, Healing and Patience

I’ve been sick for three months.  Sounds terrible, right?  It’s not been awesome, that’s for certain, though it’s not like I’ve been bed-ridden or in the hospital for weeks or anything.  I got a cough in September, just after my second book was published and launched, which developed into bronchitis, which in turn didn’t respond to antibiotics (since it usually doesn’t….being almost always viral..), and vaporizing eculyptus, drinking gallons of tea, trying to rest, and all the usual home “self-care” remedies just didn’t have much impact.  My family got tired of the incessant coughing, and for good reason – it’s hard to relax when your loved one is up half the night, especially when you live in a small house.  After too many days of cough syrup in an attempt to get the rest I needed to heal, I landed in the emergency room on Thanksgiving day – I woke up disoriented and with a pretty solid case of vertigo and nausea.  Turns out I was dehydrated, and after an IV of fluids, another clear chest Xray and a negative strep test, they sent me on my way, feeling less dizzy, but still coughing.  Continue reading “Health, Healing and Patience”

Lessons From a Singing 5 Year Old

“Hhhmmmm…..la la la la…….mmmm…..yeah, yeah yeah”

Silence.

30 seconds later:

“Ahhhhhhh, ah ah ah ah.  La la la la, la la la la la la.  Ah, ah ah ah ah ah ah.  The girl who has…everything.”

Silence.

15 seconds later.

“Joy to the world.   Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah..”

And so on.

This is the common soundtrack to our mornings.  My five year old almost always starts singing before she’s out of her bed after waking up in the morning.  She doesn’t discriminate with her choice of material – Disney songs, made up gibberish, hymns – anything is fair game and her repertoire is vast.  I don’t know that she even has a favorite song – singing is just something that brings her joy. Continue reading “Lessons From a Singing 5 Year Old”

Giving Energy and Paying Attention

There’s a difference between giving your energy to something and paying attention.  It can be hard to distinguish sometimes, since these days there are things screaming at us all the time to “look at me” and “pay attention to me” and so forth.  The media generally does whatever it needs to do to get people to take notice.  It is generally considered a good idea to keep up with what’s going on in the world, to be an informed citizen.  Etc.

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I’ve been struggling with an illness for the last 2-3 weeks – some days I wake up thinking, “oh yeah, today’s the day I’m not going to feel like coughing anymore” just to wake up, like I did this morning, at 3:30am with a cough that was just annoying enough to keep me from sleeping anymore.  I’m really tired, my five year old woke up crabby, and I let my energy go where it wasn’t helpful as I lamented not being able to go for the hike that I wanted to go on today.  The shadows were dark this morning, for myriad reasons.

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Continue reading “Giving Energy and Paying Attention”

Hiking Naked

Originally posted on Heidi Barr:
Knocked off her feet after twenty years in public health nursing, Iris Graville quit her job and convinced her husband and their thirteen-year-old twins to move to Stehekin, a remote mountain village in Washington State’s North Cascades. They sought adventure; she yearned for the solitude of this community of eighty-five… Continue reading Hiking Naked

The Magic of Real Communication

Every act of communication is an act of tremendous courage in which we give ourselves over to two parallel possibilities: the possibility of planting into another mind a seed sprouted in ours and watching it blossom into a breathtaking flower of mutual understanding; and the possibility of being wholly misunderstood, reduced to a withering weed. Candor and clarity go a long way in fertilizing the soil, but in the end there is always a degree of unpredictability in the climate of communication — even the warmest intention can be met with frost. Yet something impels us to hold these possibilities in both hands and go on surrendering to the beauty and terror of conversation, that ancient and abiding human gift. And the most magical thing, the most sacred thing, is that whichever the outcome, we end up having transformed one another in this vulnerable-making process of speaking and listening.  ~ Maria Popova

Continue reading “The Magic of Real Communication”

To Dance With Mountains

What would it be like to dance with mountains?  To sway with the majestic alpine wildflowers that dot the valleys, or to listen to the whisper of clear snowmelt as it cascades to lower ground over a bed of stones smoothed to perfection?  To kiss the pine needles, to breathe the scent of ancient bedrock mystery?  Or to walk in step with the peaks that have been stripped of life, or the valleys that have been clearcut and left for dead? The toxic rivers, the tundra fracked of life, the homeless topsoil that can’t hold on?  How do we love our failed expectations alongside our beautiful victories? How can our defeats, our poor choices, and our monsters co-exist with our grace, our goodness, and our love? How do we embrace them all and hear what they have to say?

Dance with mountains.
Continue reading “To Dance With Mountains”

The Blue of Longing

When I hear the words “the blue of longing,” I am transported to a dusty red four-speed Toyota that doesn’t have air conditioning, and I’m driving west across South Dakota.  It’s August and there’s a cassette tape playing since no radio stations will tune in without static.  After miles of corn fields give way to miles of grassy pasture; after the Missouri river valley gives way to rolling tall grass prairie; after I cross through the barren beauty of Badlands spires reaching toward the sky, after the signs for Wall Drug say, “wait, you missed it!”……after all of that I finally come to the place where the Black Hills loom in the distance, and I marvel at the sudden change in the horizon.  There is a reason these mountains are called what they are – when they appear in the windshield, it is like looking into layer upon layer of coal colored refreshment against the brightness of a late summer sky.  I am astonished at the majestic expanse that commands my sight lines and the welcoming darkness of what lays ahead.  Surely there is myth and magic to be found once I arrive at this oasis.  And then at some point as I continue on the westward journey, it’s gone.  Once I reach the point where identifying individual hills and trees is possible, the black has vanished and only the landscape remains.  They are just hills, now – beautiful and sacred as they always were, but the mystery that came with the space that was once between me and the place I sought is as gone as the distance that was closed to nothing.  And when I look up and out past the place where the hills give way to grasslands again, I can see hints of the next place that I seek, and the color that tints that desire to arrive.   The myth and magic remains just around the next corner. Continue reading “The Blue of Longing”