When suffering constricts the heart, awe stretches it back out, making us more compassionate, more loving, more present.
~ Valarie Kaur, See No Stranger
…a ‘threshold’ appears first as a boundary and then once approached, you realize that it is only the limit of one layer of understanding while, at the same time, it acts as the doorway to the next, deeper layer.
~ Michael Chambers, English Professor
Imagine if a critical mass of us are being led by our deepest wisdom—perhaps that is how we take humanity across this threshold.
~ Valarie Kaur
I had forgotten, until I did it again, how hard the Breathless Body (HIIT) workout is. I managed to do only two full drills (out of eight). I was left breathless (that’s the point), sweaty, and somehow tired but energized at the same time. My legs felt wobbly, like jello. Even the warm-up is difficult. It will take time and practice to get to the third drill, then the fourth, and onward. I do remember a brief period of time when I was capable of doing the entire workout. It didn’t last long, but it’s an indication that it can be done. I had almost forgotten that a hard workout can be one way of caring for myself. Heart rate up, breath coming and going quickly, body moving, are ways of shaking off scattered and excess energy. My body settles into a deep sigh of satisfaction when I finish and I’ve caught my breath again. There will be sore muscles to remind me that I did, indeed, challenge myself and my body just enough to push beyond where I started.
I had forgotten how supple my spine becomes when I do the kundalini yoga practice I learned during my first year of sobriety. It opens everything up. The spine, the spaces between the vertebrae, the front and back of the heart, the chest, the shoulder blades. It’s almost like growing wings, an opening and closing, opening and closing. The breath work is energizing, good for a morning practice. This is also a difficult workout, one that I feel primarily in the abs and then the arms. I lasted about ten minutes. It was enough. I have another daily practice now, but it was good to go back to one that felt so familiar, one that I did almost every day for a year.
I had forgotten how long the month of January can be. Sometime around the middle of the month I remember. I remember, too, that February feels even longer and I marvel at how that’s possible given it’s the shortest month of the year. This remembering feels more like a ghost than a reality. Our winters are mild here. Today is sunny, as most days tend to be in comparison to the cloudy winter days of NE Ohio (where I used to live). It’s chilly, yes, but not nearly as chilly as it is in NE Ohio. We have more light here, being a little farther south, and that is what makes the remembering feel more like an illusion than what it truly is.
I had forgotten that I signed up for The People’s Inauguration, a 10-day event to help deepen the commitment “to do our part in healing, reimagining, and rebuilding this country.” I saw the email this morning and tuned in for the replay of yesterday’s kick-off and the taking of the oath (which I did as encouraged and filled it in with some of my core values). (You can find templates of the oath here.) After that, I did today’s practice with Valarie Kaur which was wonderful and wonder-full. The practice is about wonder and wondering, and finding wonder and wondering in our lives. (It would be unfair of me to give it all away. The event is free and you can sign up for it here, if interested.)
I have admired Valarie Kaur, the host of The People’s Inauguration, for a while, having listened to some of her talks, read some of her essays, and had her book (See No Stranger) on my reading list ever since the pre-order days. The only reason I haven’t read it yet is that I have been on a no-buy plan for a while. No buying new books until I read the majority of what is sitting on my bookshelves. I might break that rule to buy See No Stranger so that I can read it soon now that I’m reading again. I didn’t read much throughout this past pandemic year. I couldn’t concentrate. Now that it feels as if the adults are in charge again, reading, like breath, seems to come easier.
I had forgotten what it was like to get up in the morning and start my day without anxiety forming a knot in the pit of my stomach. I feel so much lighter that I’m almost giddy. I could float away with the morning clouds. I know that there is no “normal” to return to right now. I am not looking for that and like many others, I’m trying to reimagine a better future, a better country, where patriarchal white supremacy doesn’t reign and where we have compassion and respect for all beings, including the other-than-human. I am also resolved to settling in for the long-haul while remembering that joy and wonder and rest have their part to play. Joy can be difficult to find in the midst of uncertainty (and we are certainly in the midst of that!). Receive beauty as it shows up, in whatever form it shows up. Beautiful sunrises or sunsets, beautiful words, beautiful deeds, beautiful spirit within.
It is likely I have forgotten more than I remember these days. Even words are hard to come by at times. I’ll start a sentence and end up in a long pause, reaching around in my brain or checking the tip of my tongue for a word that has briefly disappeared. It reappears, usually in a short period of time. But I’ve told M that if he would like to finish my sentences for me, I really don’t mind. It will save us time and given how fast time is flying as we age, it doesn’t hurt to cache a few seconds or nanoseconds here and there for future use. The treasure of aging is time.
Thank you so much for stopping by and watching the sunrise with me today. How about we take in the sunset too? We can meet out at the dock this evening. Sunset is scheduled for 5:15 PM. It’s sunny and the temperature is about 50 degrees (F) or so, but you’ll want to bundle up. It’s cold and breezy by the water.
Please be safe, be well, be kind, and look for beauty in whatever form it comes. ♥
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,691) Conversations that yield gems of wisdom. 1,692) Family and friends. 1,693) M, always. 1,694) Saving M’s life yesterday. I might be exaggerating a little, but he could have been injured or worse if I hadn’t caught him when he fell from a ladder while trimming a tree branch that was quite high up in a tree. 1,695) The strength I didn’t know I had. (And the over-the-counter medication to deal with the aches that come with that strength…lol!)