Mind Mania

When I go “into my head” too often, that’s always a sign I need to recenter, meditate, and find a way to rest my spirit. I feel a creeping in of my ego. I find doubt. Anxiety. Manic or half-thought thoughts. Catching it is one thing, but taming it is a whole other.

In the last few weeks, I have been sloppy with my words. Sloppy, or just not wise enough to choose better ones. I have been exhausting (to myself as well as others) with my repetitive focus, and I haven’t left enough room for deep breaths. The necessity of patience and comfort with ambiguity feels like a slow death….and I know that’s a result of a narrow perspective. There is openness and light here if I welcome it.

My husband and I went back to another specialist and genetic counselor and, once again, had it confirmed that we’ve had the supreme package of bad luck with our pregnancies. We are at the point of diminishing returns for any procedures/tests we would opt to have (results < effort), but – despite the lack of clarity – we felt a strange sense of relief, knowing that we are still “normal” in doctors’ terms.

However relieved, this new chapter of our life has reminded us that a long period of waiting is ahead of us. Many families have waited 3, 4 and 5 years to bring their children home from Haiti. We are open to building our family in so many different ways, but that kind of openness is not enough; there is much more patience needed. We need to be open to a timing that is divine and does not heed to chronological ticks and tocks. Although we are grasping at anything to aid in that preparation, there is much beyond our control, sight, and wisdom. In some ways it is very comforting because the responsibility doesn’t rest on our shoulders; in other ways it’s driving us nuts as we think we are ready for more purpose and responsibility NOW! (And, even as I typed that last sentence, I know I will look back at it, shaking my head, thinking, “Why didn’t I enjoy the quiet!”)

I feel a shift is actually upon us, though. This tension and rattling energy feels like we are at the top of the roller coaster’s hill, about to fly down the other side, feeling the wind blow our hair around with happy smiles and shrieks of joy. I don’t know what is on the other side of this uphill exactly, but I feel it’s just a breath away. I hope this really is the case.

So, I will calm my mind with prayer, exercise, good food, and connection. I will live purposefully, and I will anticipate the goodness that is upon us – now and that which is a moment away.

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Dancing Lines

For the first time since starting this blog over a year ago, I went through and read all my posts. It’s funny how life and ideas prepare you for the next step. One thing that stuck out to me is how I said – before being pregnant, losing our son, losing our opportunity to move back to our favorite city, almost losing our dog (twice – he went back to the emergency vet last week), and another job scare – “Rock bottom is a dancing line. It changes positions as you get stronger.”

Rock bottom is, indeed, a dancing line. I have told my husband recently that I feel I keep bouncing off this rock, thinking I will be leaving it for a good while only to return to the hard, hurtful surface much sooner than anticipated. This sounds dramatic. I know I have a lot for which to be thankful. Although, I have to recognize the pain centers when they present themselves. I have to acknowledge that my life seems to be slamming against this rock over and over again, even if it could (always) get much, much worse. 

I have been trying to transform my painful experiences into love. I believe the only way to create love out of pain is to share my empathy, my understanding, and even my strength. I have learned how vital it is to recognize loss in another’s life. Loss of ego, loss of love, loss of hope…I am learning how to accept those losses in my own life and how to recreate my reality, knowing now that – not only is rock bottom a dancing line – but reality itself is a dancing line. What we think we know to be true is always changing and reinventing itself, so we constantly need to strive for an admittedly painful, yet freeing, complete openness to life.

Painful, yet freeing openness…as we try not to let our egos suffocate the truth (that we are, in each moment, always okay). Naked, taking deep breaths with everyone watching. I think, if I can master this, those dancing lines won’t scare me so much anymore.

Superficial Ponderings of the Almost Thirty

So, on my (now) short journey to thirty, I am exploring those ego-centered questions that drive women to do crazy things. Do I try to cheat the calendar by doubling my normal workout routine? Should I buy wrinkle cream with a high concentration of retinol…or should I just get botox like Kim Kardashian? (Just kidding!) Is my career/personal life/savings where I thought it would be (agh)? At the heart of all these superficial inquiries is the real question: Have I done well enough or, possibly, have I done well enough to own my age? Women who tell their age are queens; they have nothing to hide and rule their own dynasties. Why not be proud of a full, prosperous life if you believe that is what you have created?

My whole life I’ve always been good at most things (except ball sports – I am TERRIBLE at ball sports)…but never the best at anything. Never the best used to haunt me. In my teens, it made me feel subpar and depressed. When complaining to my mom about my plight, she once told me, “…but, J, it is very hard to be well-rounded. You need to be proud of being pretty good at most things. A lot of people don’t have that gift.” Even though I am pretty sure I rolled my eyes at the time, her sweet words freed me from a life of not feeling good enough. It allowed me to learn, early on, that moderation was a worthy goal. It taught me to appreciate people’s quirks and resist putting anyone on pedestals – or cast them downward in rank – because of strengths and weaknesses. I think when we detach our age from our ego, the number stops scaring us. Further, if we detach our ego from whatever is haunting us, our ghost loses its power.

So, I will not turn my body into a slave for my ego. I will embrace wrinkles and TRY REALLY HARD to embrace the cellulite found on my rear and my thighs. After all, my face is just starting to resemble one that has earned some stripes via laugh and furrowed-brow lines, and I can still do a mean, white-girl bootie shake. I mean, really, what else is there for which to aspire?

Countdown

As I approach thirty, I think of all the things I’ve done with my life and those still to come. I’ve fallen in love and have gotten my heart smashed into little pieces. I’ve fallen in love again and married the chips to my salsa, the wind to my kite. I’ve moved halfway across the world and then back home again. I’ve moved across the country – which was unsurprisingly fun – and then I moved across the same state, which I found to be surprisingly much less fun and much more of a culture shock than moving across the country.

I’ve defended not having kids seven years into my marriage. I’ve defended working moms. I’ve defended stay-at-home moms. I’ve cried from the relief of not being pregnant. I’ve tried to get pregnant. I’ve cried because I wasn’t pregnant. I’ve cried in front of those I swore I’d never cry in front of: employers, coaches, hell…a massage therapist (yes, during a massage…aren’t I a treat). Would you believe I actually don’t have a reputation of a crier or someone whom falls apart at a pin’s drop?

Well, the countdown is officially ON. I have less than one month until my 30th birthday. (!) So, of course there are some petty, superficial thoughts bursting through my brain as the crossover approaches. There are also some deep “this will take opening a bottle of wine with my best friend” thoughts. I’ll go from a celebrated, “the world is your oyster” twenty-something to a what-do-you-have-to-show-for-your-life-you-are-not-so-young-anymore thirty-something.

As I’ve said before, I believe in commencement. Even though it would be easy to say this birthday is “just another day” and glide, I prefer to mark the occasion – contemplating it to the finite point where my husband stops listening – and celebrate the tidbits & tribulations, triumphs & tales, of this unique life, my journey on uncharted (preferably seafoam green) waters.