Sometimes, you just have to write.

Last year at this time, I was pretty much convinced that 2012 was gonna be the best year of my life. In many ways, it has been insurmountable. I have been to so many amazing places, stood at the top of so many amazing view points and seen the world from so many new perspectives. Outside the window of many, many trains and so many airplanes. From the tallest tower at  Angkor Wat, to the Southern tip of Europe, behind the handlebars of my little bicycle riding next to the Great Lake Michigan in the middle of the night, and finally through the eyes of my precious nephew. Sometimes I forget that God wants us to be forever filled with awe, just like children are. My friend, Michele, says that her friend calls her three year old son, her sponsor. I think that is perfect. Who better to get a better idea of how to live your life from than a three year old? Children are like the perfect sponges. They soak up what’s good and let go of what weighs them down. Unless you’re my two year old nephew, who can’t seem to grasp that he’d move a lot quicker if he’d choose between carrying his toy hammer or his favorite paint brush or better yet, if he left than both behind. But, that’s another story for another day.

What about me? What things should I let go of? What things can I let go of that are standing in my way of helping someone else? This is what sits in the front of my mind as I prepare for bed on this cold, winter night in Chicago. It’s been a good day and I feel very Okay with where I am right now. I’ve got a beautiful warm apartment and sweet little cat to keep my company while I sleep tonight. But, I keep learning so much new stuff about myself, so it’s hard not to want to get all this out before I lay down for bed. Today, I learned that I shouldn’t even attempt to run outside when it’s less than 50 degrees out. But, I should always try and get on my bike. Even if it’s just for a little trip around the hood. Biking in the cold is good for the soul, just like music. I also learned that my half-pigeon is getting less painful and so is my downward dog, but I’m still not any good at remembering to breathe my way through discomfort. I’m also not very good at drinking water, which is silly, because I love water.

This post seems like it’s kind of all over the place, but I’m tired and I should go to bed (First, I’m going to drink some water.), so I’m not even going to bother with editing it.

Have a blessed evening. Keep your head up, Keep your heart strong. And Breathe!

xoxo

 

Advertisements

Growing pains.

I had a bit of a meltdown on my birthday, folks. I cried for 12 straight hours. I thought that it was because I hadn’t exercised for a few days, but when I got to the gym and got on the treadmill, I bawled straight through a lot of happy, electronic music and three miles. The saddest three miles I’ve ever run, that’s for sure. After the gym, I went home and felt sorry for myself some more. I tried talking to people about it and then I tried praying about it and I thought I was better until I went to yoga and I pretty much sobbed my way through an hour long Vinyasa class too. WHAT.THE.HELL. Then I went to a meeting and I cried all the way through that as well. It felt pretty good to get all those tears out, but I was confused as to where they were coming from. I’m actually pretty pleased to be getting older. I feel like most of my really big mistakes are behind me and what lies ahead of me are some bad decisions, but mostly good and exciting stuff. Better bank account balances, stronger friendships, healthy relationships, etc. So, why the tears? Why so much sadness? And then I realized something very important…I was starting my new year off feeling pretty physically worn out, which is not the greatest thing ever. I was feeling pretty sick (ear infection) and was listening to the voice in my head that was telling me that I needed to get rid of my trip or call in sick. I know better than to listen to that voice, but I was listening in pretty intensely that day and my head was SWIMMING with all kinds of thoughts about what I would do at home with all my time off. It wasn’t until I got home and had a little time to myself that I realized what the true problem was….

In the weeks leading up to my birthday, I got started on this amazing journey of self-improvement. Working out, eating healthy, meditating, watching my spending, making lists of goals I wanted to accomplish, and praying everyday for God’s guidance in helping to make my life the beautiful painting that I know that it can be. Then the weekend before my birthday, I got off track with my prayer and self-care. I was going from one moment to the next without any pause, which has become perhaps the most important thing about my spiritual life. A lot of beautiful stuff happens in the pause and I have come to rely on it. Without it, my life is hectic, jumbled, stressful…unmanageable. As soon as I started to feel sick, I forgot about the pause and went straight to putting my trip in give away and accepting that if no one picked it up, I would have to call in sick. And that thought is what guided me for the next 24 hours, which lead to all of jumbled emotions, hectic behavior and all around sadness. All of which made me feel like I was giving in to something that was the opposite of all these goals that I have set for myself to achieve in the year ahead. Of course I posted these goals on Facebook and it wasn’t until I got a comment from a random friend that said, “What are you doing about these goals today?” that I realized that it wasn’t even 12 hours into my 33rd year and I was headed in a very bad direction. A direction that is the opposite of my core values and the opposite of the person that I want to be. The person that I want to be shows up for her life and is of service to others. That person would not call in sick when she knew she’d be feeling better in about 24 hrs. She would suck it up and pack her bag and go to work. So I took my trip out of give away, I packed my bag, I set my alarm, I went to bed, and the next day, I went to work. And wouldn’t you know it, I felt about 200% better than I had the day before because I was on my way to a job that I love where I get to make people smile. The best part is that it’s two days later and I still feel so much gratitude for that moment of realization that made me get my act together and get to work.

Something very important is getting drilled into my head with each growing pain, each new lesson that I learn. It doesn’t matter how many times I make a list of goals I want to accomplish, if I’m not being true to myself and living up to the values that I set for myself and others, I’m going to end up far off course. This applies to all areas of my life, too. If I say that I want to quit smoking and I keep smoking, I’m off course. (Three weeks without a cigarette today, btw!) If I write a budget for myself, I need to stick to it. If I don’t, I’m in danger of getting off course. More than anything, what I must remember is that I’m human and I’m gonna make mistakes at times. What is important is that I become more aware of how certain mistakes make me feel and that I remember that I’m the only person that is standing in the way of achieving the things that I really, really desire. It has become very clear to me that I have a tricky relationship with my job and that something that I need to strive toward in the year ahead is finding a healthy balance between my life on the road and my life at home. Maybe I’ll never find that balance, maybe I will. At least I know that the only thing standing in my way today is myself. What a beautiful thing to know!

“Be brave enough to break your own heart.” – Sugar (AKA Cheryl Strayed)

33.

Sometimes I don’t know how the hell I got here. Actually, that is most times. Most days I get the sudden feeling inside that I am living life on borrowed time and that I’m wasting it doing stuff that I know better than to do. Like wasting hours on Facbeook when I could be writing. Writing in my blog, writing letters to my friends, writing in my journal, or writing at all. Then there are the other tricky mistakes that I can’t seem to stop making because I always think that this time around they’ll be different. Mistakes like eating that last piece of chocolate after I’ve already had too much, or that last cup of coffee on my last flight of the day that keeps me from getting a decent night’s sleep, or the expectations that I have for other people that are completely unreasonable for me to have. Maybe I’ll do things differently in this next year? It’s possible.

Each year that I get older, I seem to learn a valuable lesson about myself and about other people. 32 taught me a lot, but I think the most important thing that it taught me is that all that love that I’ve been searching for my whole life is not gonna be found anywhere but inside of myself and if I want it, I have to work really fucking hard for it. And I have to keep the faith that it will be available to me when I’m ready for it.

I can’t even begin to find the words to process the feelings that I’m having in this last hour of the most intense year of my life. I’ve felt a black cloud hanging over my head all day today and I wanted so desperately to know where it was coming from. I had an amazing weekend with some fantastic people, so I should be feeling pretty damn good. But everything hurts right now and because I’m a good alcoholic, I was coming up with some great reasons as to why that was the case. (Read: Everyone else is the problem, not me.) It wasn’t until I sat down to write that I’ve realized that maybe I’m sad to say goodbye to this year, in which I learned SO MUCH and met so, so, so many amazing people. And maybe (more like, PROBABLY) I’m a little scared to welcome in a new year; where there are all kinds of new goals, hopes and dreams.

Getting older is scary. There are all kinds of new aches and pains and wrinkles and fears. But there is also so much good stuff to look forward to. I’m more excited for this birthday than I’ve ever been. Okay, maybe not ever. Turning 13 was pretty exciting. And so was 16, 18 and 21. I guess 30 was cool too. But I certainly didn’t know then what I know now. In the last year, I’ve learned so much about what I’m capable of fighting my way through and I’m looking forward to putting all of the skills that I’ve acquired to use in the year that lies ahead of me.  I’m looking forward to loving myself. Being kind to myself when I fuck up, when I make mistakes.  Being kind to others when they do the same. Learning new things. Going new places. Holding my new Niece for the first time in about a month. Being the best Lori that I can possibly be. I have faith that it’s gonna be a good year because I have faith in myself and faith in a God that loves me and wants me to be happy. All will be well.

And if I forget the important stuff, there are always writers like Anne Lamott, who give me Faith by writing words like this:

“All I ever wanted since I arrived here on Earth were the things that turned out to be within reach. The same things I needed as a baby – to go from cold to warm, lonely to held, the vessel to the giver, empty to full. You can change the world with a hot bath, if you sink into it from a place of knowing that you are worth profound care, even when you’re dirty and rattled. Who knew?”

On that note, maybe I’ll start this new year of my life with a hot bath. xo