Category Archives: Love

Wishcasting Wednesday

homeskyFor today’s wishcast, Jamie asks, “What risk do you wish to take?” I am immediately reminded of one of my favorite quotes, from Muriel Rukeyser,

What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.

I wish to risk telling the truth. Telling my story even though it’s often embarrassing and messy and hard, leaning in and letting go, loving myself, being my own best friend, “willing to be stone stupid,” showing up not knowing and unprepared, keeping my heart open, raw and tender, being vulnerable, willing to be wounded.

The truth today is that I am taking another sick day, and as soon as I finish this I will lie down and maybe stay like that the rest of the day, still tired and achy, tender and sad, feeling like I am right at my edge but finally willing to stop, be still, take care of myself, no matter what anyone else might think about that, even as I am working with feeling guilty, a sharp shame surrounding my suffering, my need to rest, that even though it’s my 20th wedding anniversary today a part of me still wonders “does he love me?” and needs to be reassured.

20 Years

us1992
Me: Don’t put the lettuce on the top shelf, it will freeze.
Eric: Well, clean out the fridge. There’s no room anywhere else.
Me: You can move something else to the top, just don’t put the lettuce up there.
Eric: The fridge is too full, there’s no room.
Me: Stop arguing with me.
Eric: Well, then stop talking.

From the next room, I hear Eric whistling, packing for a hike. He stops to whisper something to one of the dogs, “when you were little, you were so little, you were tiny.” I remember how I made him laugh last night – he was getting ready for bed and wearing my headlamp (he sometimes uses it for a reading light). I said “Eric Salahub prepares for his ‘climb’ into bed.” It was dumb, but he laughed really hard, which made me laugh.

The other day, following a car with the license plate “MIDWIF,” he said “mid-whiff?” and I laughed.  Encouraged, he read the license plate frame, which said “Honk if you are having a home birth” and said, in the goofiest voice, “I’m having one right now!”  It didn’t really make any sense, but I laughed. We find each other funny, even though I suspect no one else would get most of our jokes. It doesn’t matter, as long as we are laughing.

lovenotesOne time, I stayed in bed and cried for almost three days. Nothing had happened, other than I realized we were never going back to Oregon. The only time I’ve ever seen him cry was because we were losing one of our dogs, the cancer incurable – which has happened twice.

love“Tell me something good,” we say – even if it’s just “I love you,” even if it’s only that.

booklightreflectGetting in bed for the night, I notice the pattern my book light makes on the wall – broken, rippled and refracted light, as if reflecting off water. I told Eric once that it made me sad to get in to bed when the lights were all off, when it was so dark, that there was something depressing and lonely about it. Ever since, if he goes to bed before me he turns on my book light and leaves it on my pillow, even if it means he has to cover his head with the corner of a blanket to be able to sleep.

booksafeEric is gone at a conference, and I am alone. I use it as an excuse to binge. After dinner the first night (two vegetarian corn dogs, organic tater tots, and loads of ketchup), I make four slices of toast using white English muffin bread. As I wait for the toaster to pop, I think “I don’t even really want this toast, don’t need it, am not hungry for it, what I’m really hungry for is my husband, I’m lonely not hungry” but some other deeper, older part of me growls, I want toast. I spread thick butter on all four pieces, strawberry jam on two, and sit down in front of the television to eat them.  Our youngest dog Sam watches me eat, sitting in front of me, polite and intent and drooling, hoping I might share, or at least drop a piece.  I think, as I often do, “nothing can happen to Eric, I cannot be alone, if he were gone even the dogs might not be enough,” a desperate wish, a prayer whispered into space.

weddingusOn the morning of our 20th wedding anniversary, I am home sick and he emails to say he’s going to play poker on Friday. I’m missing him, feeling raw, even though when he left for work he’d told me he loved me and said “here’s to another 20 years,” and I respond to his email with questions, “You still love me, right? I’m still your favorite? You still like to be with me?” and he answers, “yes I do, yes you are and yes I do.”

He’s in the kitchen and I am at my writing desk in the back of the house, but I can still hear the radio. One dog is with him, the other sleeping at my feet.

The first time we talked, I was eating a candy bar from the vending machine, the caramel and chocolate melting sweet and thick in my mouth.

“You like Twix, too? They are my favorite.”

I swallowed. “Uh-huh.”

“I heard you’re engaged.”

I sighed and shook my head. “Yeah, that didn’t work out.”

“I know what that’s like.”

bedShoulder against shoulder, my cheek resting in the curve of your collarbone, my forehead against the side of your neck, your cheek tucked against the top of my head, skin and bone and breath, quiet and warm, comfortable and safe. Still.

Then you move, and I return to my side of the bed.

uscapefowlweather “It’s more like a poem,” he said, when I told him how hard it was to fit 20 years into only 750 words.

Something Good

1. Can We Gain Strength From Shame? Brene’ Brown on NPR.

2. What if forgiveness isn’t about forgiving? Thoughts on consciously relating to people who have hurt you. from Danielle LaPorte.

3. Danielle LaPorte Daily Truthbomb: “Forget about being impressive and commit to being real.”

4. Part of a community… from Seth Godin.

5. Shifting Tides by Dani Shapiro on Positively Positive.

6. A Letter From Fred by Green Shoe Studio, “A short documentary telling a poignant story of life, love and music.”

7. Wisdom from Elizabeth Berg on Facebook,

I just heard from a woman who was in my Chicago workshop. She greatly improved an essay she wrote by taking the risk to go deeper, then deeper still. She got to a truth she’d been hiding from, and it made all the difference. It was painful for her to write and to read aloud, but we all were stuck with the beauty of what she did, and even though we had not been through what she described, we resonated to her words. I think that’s because we’re all struggling with one thing or another here on planet Earth, and when we read about someone telling the truth about what they’re struggling with, it makes us all feel better. The Beatles were right when they said all you need is love. And I believe that part of love is telling the deepest truths about yourself, at least to yourself. It’s not easy. It’s something that for most of us is always a work in progress. But it’s worth it to try.

I get the image, sometimes, of all of humanity on a spaceship, in deepest darkness. But in the spaceship, the light is on, because of what we mean to and do for each other. And in that vast darkness, the light travels far.

8. Official video for Mary Lambert’s She Keeps Me Warm.

9. The perfectionism cure from Everyday Bright, “In this short video, I reveal the surprisingly simple method my daughter came up with to help us both overcome our perfectionism. I talk about how we eventually became comfortable with risk and, more importantly, with ourselves.”

10. 10 Times Calvin And Hobbes Broke Your Heart on BuzzFeed.

11. Ideaphoria: How to Enjoy The Wild Ride of Your Creativity on Scoutie Girl.

12. Got a big dream? Start with one room. from Alexandra Franzen.

13. How To Tell People What You Do — And Be Remembered on Forbes.

14. 6 Powerful Truths to Start Telling Yourself and 8 Things Unhappy People Refuse to Admit from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

15. The Five Languages of Body Love from Rachel Cole.

16. Chat & Chew with Kate Northrup – Money: A Love Story on KrisCarr TV.

17. Interview with Andrea Scher, by Carolan Deacon.

18. Unravel Yourself: Rachel W Cole on Inner Wisdom and Authenticity, an interview with Rachel on Achieve the Impossible.

19. Awesome free event from Omega: FIND YOUR OWN STRENGTH, Live Stream Event with Elizabeth Lesser in Conversation with Brené Brown and Joan Halifax Roshi, September 20, 2013, 8:00pm – 9:30pm.

20. Tig Notaro On Going ‘Live’ About Her Life on NPR, an older interview with one of my favorite comediennes. She’s coming to Boulder in December.

21. random thoughts: the need for analog on Chookooloonks.

22. Moments on Mystic Vixen, (it was her dog Henry I was talking about yesterday).

23. A Tiny Poem to the World from Kid President.

24. Rescued pit bull works as a therapy dog.

25. Read this, next time you want to give up on making a difference, from Marianne Elliott.

26. From Elephant Journal: The Cutest Damn Wedding Video, Ever, and “This is a young girl who wanted her picture taken with her makeshift hula hoop, playing at a dark & depressing charcoal factory in Manila. Hope is everywhere,” and Instructions for a Bad Day, and Eulogy for an Abandoned Black Dog.

27. The Last Séance by Deborah Thompson.

28. 20 Marriage Tips Everyone Needs to Know, written by a guy who just got divorced.

29. Why you shouldn’t be a writer by Rebecca Dickson.

30. 10 Ways to Create a Meaningful Ceremony from Pixie Campbell.

31. Wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook.

32. Ten Tough Truths About Cancer from the Atlantic.

33. From Happy Links on Rowdy Kittens, Where Bloggers Blog.

34. Bill Watterson’s Uplifting Advice To College Grads, Illustrated In ‘Calvin & Hobbes’ Style. on Huffington Post.

35. On Not Feeling Alone from Lisa Congdon.

36. Wisdom from Nancy D. Solomon, “You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.”

37. The Pursuit Of Bravery from Method & Scribe on Vimeo, (shared by Brave Love on Facebook).

38. From Susannah Conway’s Something for the Weekend list,

And,

40. Collaborating with a 4-year Old on the busy mockingbird.

41. “Downton Abbey” Season 4 Trailer Is Here! on BuzzFeed.

42. Into the Woods, a beautiful picture I saw on Reddit.

Day of Rest

Sweet, lionhearted Henry, a beautiful beast of a dog, died yesterday. Only one day before, his mom learned he had an inoperable tumor on his liver and was already very sick, too sick, and she’d have to let him go. I never met Henry, or his mom, but the pictures and stories she’s shared made me love him, and her, anyway.

Every loss like this is folded into my own. I almost can’t separate the sadness of losing my Dexter (or Obi before him) from the loss of every other dog loved and missed by someone, just like me. And certain dogs, for whatever reason and especially if they have cancer, touch that tender raw spot that I carry with me everywhere, always.

That’s what they don’t tell you about a broken heart — it’s not that it gets broken and then fixed, restored to its former state, but rather it gets broken open. Sometimes it feels like I’m walking around in the world not just naked, no clothes on, but with all my skin peeled off, my chest cracked open, utterly vulnerable and wounded, nothing to hide behind, no armor or mask or shield, no protection.

Oddly enough, this is an experience I chose. This is my path. You can armor up and numb out, run away or reject this way of living. It’s entirely possible through all sorts of means to disconnect from reality, to opt out. And yet, two years ago I made a distinct, conscious choice otherwise.

Committing to benefit others is traditionally called the path of the bodhisattva…the path of the spiritual warrior whose weapons are gentleness, clarity of mind, and an open heart. The Tibetan word for warriormeans “the one who cultivates bravery.” As warriors in training, we cultivate the courage and flexibility to live with uncertainty–with the shaky, tender feeling of anxiety, of nothing to hold on to–and to dedicate our lives to making ourselves available to every person, in every situation. ~Pema Chödrön, Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change

This is my path, to ease suffering, in myself and the world. There are days like today when I am feeling sad and a little stuck that I wonder if I can really do this, and yet when I give any attention to contemplating the matter, I understand that for me there really is no other way.

Day of Rest

I am realizing that path is everything, a direct route to dharma, the truth. For the past few years, I have been so caught up in doing, in planning what I have to offer, striving and struggling, that I forgot I don’t need to work so hard, that if I simply show up, practice, move the way love makes me move, the way joy makes me move, I am already there.

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
~Mary Oliver, excerpt from her poem Wild Geese

The truth is I am already free, what I seek is already present, I can be content now. I am already there, there is here, the exact place I long for is where I live. I can open my eyes, I am awake already. Awareness of how I want to feel, my open heart, the way I sink into my practice, soothing my spirit and letting my body relax, honoring my desires, is the path that will lead to the other, the offering. Instead of striving and pushing, I can relax into my life, my body, my self, my breath, this moment.

I am on the path, this is where I find the offering, and it’s not work, it’s like hiking, how the stillness and clarity and joy and connection come simply by walking the path. It’s easy, it feels good. Show up, do the practice, don’t abandon yourself. Trust what you want, what you love, the sacredness of an ordinary moment, the precious nature of your own heart, your messy and brilliant humanness, just as it is.

The place where you are right now, God circled on a map for you. ~Hafiz

Gratitude Friday

1. Generosity and kindness and love, between friends and strangers, enemies even, the way it can transform a moment or a life, how the benefit goes both ways, giving and receiving.

2. Fresh, local food. Strawberries, still in season. Watermelon, season almost done and being savored, devoured. Peaches, a moment of sunshine in my mouth. Tomatoes and cucumbers from our garden, still and so many.

gardensweetberries3. The surprise of a humming bird feeding on our Bee Plants, the happy return of the bees after they’d sprayed for mosquitoes the night before and I worried about them all night, the sweet way Eric rinsed off the plants at dawn just in case, the crazy loud commotion of their breakfast later that morning.

4. My new tarot deck. I am learning so much, feeling guided, helped, loved.

magicallittleme5. Morning walk at Reservoir Ridge. We had to make it a short one because as soon as the sun came up it started getting hot, but it was a good reminder that we live in a beautiful place.

Bonus Joy: Sam, what he teaches me about change, what he shows me about the confusion of my anxiety, and the comfort of his companionship.

#augustmoon2013 Day 22

Midday

lovebugsbirthdayToday, at midday, I was wrapping a present for my soon to be 15 year old niece. She told me when I saw her this summer, “I’ll be able to get my permit, drive a car — can you believe that?” How she got to be 15, how it is that she’s not still the tiny little girl who would pretend to read the newspaper while she twirled her feet or the one who would sing “I’m coming up, so you better get this party started” every time she walked up the stairs or the one who loved watching Scooby Doo and eating broccoli with cheese or scrambled eggs with ketchup and answered to Love Bug — this I can’t understand.

I told her in the card I wrote her that it was hard to believe she was already 15 because so much of the time it feels like I’m still 15. And yet, Eric and I have been married almost 20 years, Obi and Dexter lived their whole lives with us and are now gone, we’ve been in this house 12 years already, I’ve been at CSU for 13, and I’ll be 46 in a few months. Time goes so fast, life goes so fast, too fast. Taking a deep breath at midday and telling Jessamy that loving her is one of the truest things there is, it’s all I can do to slow it down.