Nameless yet extraordinary

oneIf I lean deep into the blood red curves and crevices that mold and hold my heart, I can see them, the winding spiral of stories strung like garland and sewn together with ache and love. It’s all there, layers upon layers of divots and dents, bursts and blooms, composted and collaged together laying fertile for the next planted seedling. I till and I till, waiting for that fresh smell of earth so good I could swallow it down in gulps.

Without really knowing why, I say “yes”. Yes to whatever comes, yes to the unknown, and I walk with eyes closed across a bridge lined with roaring waters. I smell salt, I smell the vast open space, the cool breeze and sun kissing my skin without promise, only trust. Trust is my word this year, and I have taken it into my belly without question, letting it grow and squirm and turn like a new babe waiting to be birthed. I do not recognize myself anymore, I am changed and I am good, so good.

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Magnificent things happen in nameless moments, like pushing a strand of hair away from the eyes just so we can see. We can’t help feel the most dramatic shifts, the ones that steal our minds and drag us through the torrent, the ones that make us grip firm with our toes and dig deep into the dirt that birthed us, the ones that burn our flesh free like the phoenix in promise for something new, but it’s the softness in the subtle that begs me to peel my eyes and watch more closely. I don’t need to fly too high or dive too deep to find the magic that exists behind nothing special. All things can end and all things can begin in every given moment, and that makes any given moment the most important one of all.

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This September, I will begin my journey into becoming a Sacred Passage Doula, or a death doula. It may be the most important thing I ever do, and yet maybe it won’t. Things–people, animals, cycles, relationships, jobs, seasons and so on… die all the time, and my little human brain cannot even fathom the whole of it. I am humbled by all that I cannot conceive and yet I am drawn to this work, to witness with respect, love, and compassion the passing of a soul from this life to the next. To embrace the ultimate vulnerability, work at death’s side by holding hands with the last breath of a human’s heart. Dang… The enormity of it overwhelms me, yet I believe my whole purpose is living this life so deeply and fully that there is nothing  left to feel except the”yes”–to bury myself further into the watery womb of connection and sync my breath closely with the sea of souls that push past in crowds or run and dance through the streets alongside me. This, this is a purpose well worth witnessing and surrendering to.

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Until then, there is summer, sun-drenched and heat brimmed summer, lazy mornings, long hikes, voracious reading and wet afternoons summer. Watermelons, sparklers, dancing with friends, and tubing kind of summer. The digging in the dirt, cooking dinner for the homeless, making trails kind of summer. An “I just turned 45 yesterday” kind of summer. A boy’s 14th birthday, a visit from my brother and nephew, a trip to California to house/farm/garden sit for a beautiful Songbird and friend that I can’t wait to meet in person kind of summer. This will be the best one yet…

Wishing you a wonderful summer, the nameless yet extraordinary kind…

XO

Misa

Winter

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I thought about her so much yesterday as I was writing this. Within seconds of finishing it, I received the call that she passed.

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A gnawing at the edges beneath my rib cage confirmed what I already knew. She looked so small, so crumpled in the wheelchair, breathing tubes in her nostrils, IVs and machines attached to her wrist. The sour air in the nursing home was hard to take, but watching the beautiful mind of my grandmother struggle beneath her 95 year old shrinking body of bones and skin was almost unbearable. Her strong blue eyes softened as she drew them up to mine, both of us crying now, both of us shriveling at the heartbreak of saying goodbye. I reached for her frail body and rested my chin on her bony shoulder. “I love you”, I whispered into her ear. Her tiny arms did their best to wrap around me one last time and she whispered back “I love you too, thank you for being a wonderful granddaughter.” And I clung, I clung to every last memory–our road trip through the Blue Ridge Parkway, our epic cookie making holidays, BBQ’s spent at her lakehouse, learning how to fish on her dock. She, the only grandmother I’ve ever known, was fading from me and there was nothing tangible I could hold onto except a fragment of her little, naked body under an ugly, blue, hospital gown.

And then I remembered.

I remembered the strong, proud woman that supported and encouraged me through the years, the woman who loved to sing, play the harpischord and survived 3 cancers. I remembered her love for crossword puzzles, pumpkin pie and rivel soup. I remembered her caregiving, generous heart and how she nursed my sick father until his last breath. I remembered that no matter how much aging or disease takes from any of our bodies, what remains is the impenetrable imprint of love on the all lives that we’ve ever touched and that touched us back.

I finally pulled back and looked into her eyes one last time, noticing they really were no longer blue, but a light, hollow gray. She smiled at me, reached for my hands, and we gazed at each other in saturated silence as all that was left to say hung in the air between us. I leaned in, kissed her on the cheek and hugged her one last time.

“Bye Grandma.”

“Bye Honey.”

I walked out backwards from her room, pressed my fingers to my lips and blew whatever I had left into the air, as if it could ever be enough.

***

RIP Grandma. I love you.

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A little bit messy

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I wish I could say 2016 has been off to an extraordinary start. Well, it has been extraordinary but not in the way that lifts me off to the moon in a surreal sort of ecstasy. This is more of the messy kind of extraordinary, the kind where I am desperately trying to grip the mane on an unbridled, runaway horse, trusting that she will take me somewhere I am suppose to go, I don’t know where.

My word this year is trust. Trust what comes next, trust I am where I am supposed to be, trust my children, trust my husband, trust the growth and the shedding process, trust the ever changing ways of evolution, from the magical microcosm within my cells to the expansive universe that I can only fathom in an elusive corner of my mind.

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To dwell too much in the woe of Mercury Retrograde would be self serving, but the parts I do want to share have to do with death and the parting of old souls, letting go and letting shit just happen.

My grandmother is dying. I leave early tomorrow morning to hopefully see her one last time in the body that is no longer hers. At 95 years old she has experienced and seen far more things than I could ever write about. I tried once to record her life story while we were on a road trip together, but in the end what we shared instead was a conversation. A conversation about life and living, sorrows and regrets, the things she will never forget, and the things that made her life worth living. What I know most about her is that our souls touched, connecting on a level beyond language and family. All the other details of her life don’t really belong to me, they are hers and hers alone.

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This week I’ve been locked out of my house twice, my old van’s radiator broke and the garage door cable snapped. Meanwhile, I’ve become the new director of operations in my husband’s business and I will start teaching the love of dance to children next week. My daughter turned 11 last week and we spent her birthday re-creating Alice in Wonderland, having our own Mad Hatter Tea Party while soaking in the wise words of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a.k.a. Lewis Carroll.

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A wise friend wrote this past week “The less you focus on how external things, people, or events, are affected, and more on how YOU are handling the letting go and it’s repercussions, and what it means for YOUR purpose, the stronger your spiritual evolution.”

Flux is a constant. Instability is constant. Death is constant, as is birth. I will grieve. I will let the tears flow, and then I will wipe them away. Love will pour in to the vacancies of my body, mind and heart because the messiness of vulnerability allows it to, because I allow it to. We are surrounded by love even when we can see beyond our nose, even in the darkest parts of midnight and the coldest moons of winter. Just extend your arm and reach, just a little further…

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Much much love to you

xoxo.