1. Morning walks. This season is a weird one for walks. We have to avoid getting too close to the river because of ticks and mosquitoes, mud and flooding. Eric is also on summer break so our schedules are different and sometimes we are walking together — that last part I like but it also means I don’t take as many pictures. It is kind of fun to explore the various neighborhoods close by, to see what people have done in their gardens, to see the updates they’ve made to their houses, and to see their dogs or cats or kids.

2. Books, reading and writing. I sometimes wonder if it was a love I was born with, or even before that, when my tiny would-be-body had a heartbeat but before my brain started to develop. It feels like it’s always been there, no real beginning and no end. I’m particularly grateful for those writers who tell the truth, because as Andrea Gibson always says, “even when the truth isn’t hopeful the telling of it is.”

3. Practice. Meditation and yoga along with writing has been supporting me as I stay with some big difficult feelings.

4. Our garden. This week we put in tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, watermelon, pumpkins, and zucchini. We also have a few more strawberry and raspberry plants, and I got some columbine, one yellow and one purple. In between the rain, I’ve been slowly weeding and “cleaning up” and wow it does so much for my mental health, allows for a particular kind of ease and focus that is so beneficial and welcome. I’m looking forward to when the peonies start to pop.

5. My tiny family, tiny house, tiny life. So much love, so lucky and so grateful.

Bonus joy: music, birds at the feeder, how happy Ringo is helping me chase squirrels trying to get in the bird feeder, a new baby in the family, the satisfaction of a weed-free flowerbed, crossing things off a list, stickers, comedy, podcasts, TV, poetry, that corner of the couch, cooking with Eric, eating the good stuff we cook, a new treatment option for the pain in my knees, the quality of the close up pictures I can take with my new phone, the extended battery life of my new phone, shopping at a plant nursery, grocery stores, the massage chair, the pool, the sauna, making each other laugh, naps, texting with Chloe’ and Mom and Chris, lunch with Janice, pay day, having a clean office, a warm shower, clean sheets, a big glass of cold clean water, dark chocolate covered walnuts, ice cream, remembering, reading in bed at night while Eric and Ringo sleep.

Three Truths and One Wish

1. I’ve spent a lot of my life giving all my best away. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this except when I manage to leave myself with nothing, just scraps, crumbs, remnants. I was led to believe that everyone did the same and that resulted in a system of “give your best/receive the best from others.” I saw it as transactional in that way, karmic even, that you would get what you give (even to the point of it multiplying when it comes back to you, “tenfold”), or as the bible put it, “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

2. I had it wrong and got lost, turned around. For all kinds of reasons, you can’t count on reciprocity. Sometimes it happens but often what you are offered (if anything) isn’t exactly enough or exactly right, isn’t what you need, falls short. And even in relationships where it happens on occasion (you getting what you need) there are still seasons where the balance is off. Even in healthy, sane relationships there are times where one just doesn’t have the capacity and the other needs to pick up the slack — which makes me think of that great poem “A Marriage” by Michael Blumenthal. And of course there are those whose own suffering means they take but won’t give back in equal measure (if at all), won’t show up, won’t stick around.

3. I’m practicing being myself and giving my best. I can show up for those I love, for those with a need I’m able to meet, AND I can take the very best care of myself — which sometimes means a clear boundary with someone who disregards who you are and what you need. I can come home to myself, call my energy back. I can stay close to those who are here for me, and for those who aren’t I can love them from afar, wish them well and release them.

One wish: May you be surrounded by people who show up and are present even in the boredom and discomfort and not knowing, and may those relationships be mutually beneficial. For those who aren’t able to go there with you, to stay, may they find what they need elsewhere. May your tender heart recognize those who are steady and ready and respond accordingly, loving those who can love you and letting go with love of those who can’t.