Life, death, and our entitlement to nothing…

“If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to. If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve.”
~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

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I am attached. To birth, beauty, wonder, awe, love and laughter, to all the precious awarenesses that electrify and fill me with aliveness. We are in a season energized with new life. We feel it when we walk in the woods, when the deep green around us permeates and feeds us to our bones. This fawn, and her mama, were in our backyard a few days ago.

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Deer are a common sight in Boulder. We love them, watch them, make way for them, sometimes help them, and protect them as much as we can around here. They are a symbol of the natural balance we work so hard to achieve, a gentle remedy that cures us of our own human-ness for the few short moments we watch them pass by. If we are truly conscious, we understand these little moments are the precious ones we live for.

The following day …

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She was lying under our apple tree in our backyard, near the creek.  I was stunned when I saw her. The thick weight of sadness grew heavy in my chest, and I could feel myself sinking deeper into the soft earth. I have no idea how she died, but her body was without injury and as beautiful as it was the day she was born.

Life and death are not so far apart as we think. We tend to think in terms of years, when we need to be thinking in terms of moments–precious, fleeting, impermanent moments.

After finding her, I ran inside, found my smudge wand, then sat down quietly beside her. I offered love, prayer, and gratitude to the Mother for the short time we had with her. I was reminded that despite what we might think we are owed in this life, we are entitled to nothing. Birth does not entitle any of us to a long, healthy life, it never has. What we are given are chances, chances to discover that life is fully lived in the moments we are awake and paying attention, and each one is a gift not to be taken for granted.

It is difficult to remember this every day, to not get caught in the nettings of our human mind and to-dos, to not be so hard on ourselves, to want more than what we already have, to not judge each other, and assume we have time to make amends. To embrace death so close to the bosom, and sit with knowing we may be far closer to our last breath than we ever imagined is intense, and exhausting. But I believe it is this very intensity that allows us to wriggle free. It is this vulnerability that allows us to dance with abandon, belly laugh out loud, and see the wonder and awe in anything and everything. It is this wide-eyed wakefulness that allows us to roar “YES!!!!” and say thank you, thank you, thank you.…”

With love,
Misa

EPILOGUE:

I soon learned that the fawn beneath our apple tree was not the fawn I had seen the previous day. Shortly after sitting down with this fawn, I felt the presence of something to my right. I looked over and it was the mother, the same mother I had seen the day before. She stared at me intently as I slowly backed away from her fawn and walked back up onto the deck. I then saw another movement out of the corner of my eye. Another fawn, trotted over to the mother, the same fawn I had seen the day before, and sibling to the one that had died. This mother deer had two babes.

They had come back to check on the one that no longer lived. I cannot accurately describe the emotions I felt in those moments. A spiritual and emotional concoction of compassion, sadness, awe, elation, revelation, wonder, reality, gratitude, and gravity. What I witnessed was the beginning and the end all at once, life and death in full bloom. The three of us held each other’s gaze, in curiosity, intensity, and for me, complete and utter love, compassion and reverence. I could only hope that their higher developed senses could receive and feel all I was sending.

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merging into one

familyhikeI wrote this piece several months ago when I first started considering the difference between Then–any then–the 12 year old then, the 20 year old then, the 38 year old then, and Now.  The process is inescapable if we are to shake ourselves loose of any attachment to the past and invite possibility. Combining MJ and Misa was a huge step for me, though when it came right down to it, it was only a click, one moment, one action, one decision. I actually submitted this piece to Bella Grace Magazine, but haven’t heard back from them since my first submission so I am posting it here, the birthplace of all the shifts that helped challenge and shape me, and will continue to do so. As always, thanks for reading.

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A beautiful hue of weathered, orange rust collects around my edges, an alchemical shift that coincides with age and time and an invitation for bitter and sweet to mingle between my teeth. I try not to move as quickly as I use to, preferring a slow of motion like Tin Man getting caught in Spring’s rain. I remind myself a hundred times a day (still not enough) to stay present, that the next moment is always uncertain, no matter how much I plan, prepare, and (try to) predict. Peering into the vastness that is my open heart, I see only tiny speckles of regret, not enough to sprinkle an ice cream cone. And so, let this be my crystal ball, my fortune cookie and soothsaying prophecy, I must be doing something right to sink with peace into the soft morning light.

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There was a time I felt all too well the vast chasm between who I was and all that I ever hoped to be. Most of us have stood in that place, ripe with feelings of not enough-ness and arms bundled with ways to hide those feelings. There is futility in trying to manifest perfection and uselessness in hiding from our darkest demons, yet to do such things is part of our endless education. We must begin somewhere to ever progress to anywhere, and to dance with those demons is the only way I’ve learned to overcome them. Through challenge and fire we melt masks and shed the costumes that once protected us. We expose a fleshy, soft vulnerability– our truth and our first birthplace of authenticity. And in the deepest, richest dirt, we emerge over and again, rooted further to the earth but with a greater capability to fly. We are something more now than we ever knew we could become.

“You have plenty of courage, I am sure,” answered Oz. “All you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty.”
~ L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

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Spiraling upward, I’ve had more than twenty years to reconcile the parts I once thought irreconcilable. To look back and acknowledge what we’ve created, and to recognize the thickened walls we’ve smashed to expose new truths are the irreplaceable moments that help harmonize our past with our present. We must remember to kiss the moments that marked our growth as they are the ghosts that made us real. Then, if we are so blessed, we can continue on to the next pregnant moment. The work to mend, strengthen, and fearlessly reveal our truths will never truly end as Ego is here to stay with us in this life, wholeheartedly essential to our human’s nature. We are, as ever, continued works of unparalleled art, in process and in progress. In knowing and accepting this with deep certainty, we allow grace and patience to arrive on seasoned wings, giving us gratitude for where we began, acceptance for the choices we’ve made, and love for what we continue to become. This is the absolute gift of merging into one.

“It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
~Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

With all  my love,

Misa

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Trust and the undeniable unpredictable

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I see it now, the limitless purpose of the moving, invisible finish line.

I clasp with weathered hands, squeeze, and hold firm to the Uncomfortable. Digging my feet into the earth, I relax my lips and draw in a deep, nourishing breath, giving in to the knowledge that the full opus of who I am may never be completed. Every, single moment is a surrender to the undeniable unpredictable. Sustained, crystal clarity is but an enigmatic shadow, like the glorious pink and purple sunsets I crave, fabulous yet fleeting until the next rising sun.

“Endings and beginnings are merely paired facets of an imagined stone curtain, behind which a plethora of opportunities await.”
~Ged Thompson, Liverpool Poet

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My daughter often asks me why good things have to end. Why playdates can’t last 3 days and why fantastical stories are only 175 pages long. She is too young to know the value of the darkness, though we tell stories in the dark, though we can only bask in the brilliant moon in the dark, though stars can only illuminate the way in the dark. Pain seeps through our soft crevices when we have to say goodbye to the things we love, to the things that make us happy, to the things that scintillate our earthly skin. But it’s never “goodbye”, only “until next time.”

“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”
~Frank Herbert

We are all extraordinary and the lives we paint are meant to bring shivers up any spine for the power and energy we emit. This is the shine of our radiant, authentic souls that only borrow our human body for the experiences we create. Only by diving through fire, dancing with ecstasy, and climbing through pain can true enlightenment–ever so brief– be touched. Then we must do it all over again–begin…again and again. I can accept this. I can accept this because this is the only promise I am owed. The promise that my life is meant to circle every color of the rainbow, every shade of light emitted through the living prism–birth, growth, death and rebirth. I am evolution for stagnation is a soul’s death beyond measure. The only thing required of me, the only challenge I must face with every pregnant, beautiful breath, is to trust, trust the undeniable unpredictable, love it even. Trust…trust that no matter what stops, what fails, what rises, or falls, that it will all soon begin again. There is no end, no finishing line, just one beautiful, sparkling spiral.

“A Woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and only herself ”

~ Maya Angelou

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Happy New Year and much love to you all….

xoxo

Unfettered

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Since I last wrote in this space, summer has settled in without hesitation. Spring was a wet blur and humidity has taken up residence here in Colorado. So much has shifted here, so much to tell you. The only perennial promise is the blooming of my beautiful children. Oh how they have changed!! When I began writing at Wander Wonder Discover my children were 5 and 7 years old. The girl is now 10 and the boy turns 13 next month. Our moments are a complete mix of magical, terrifying, mysterious, gorgeous, mind-boggling, boisterous, and ground-breaking moments. His entering into adolescence has prompted internal remodeling from me once again, reminding me that parenthood is meant to challenge everything we know about ourselves. What worked two years ago may not work anymore, and I sometimes feel I stepped into the Matrix. By the way, the walls are lined with ones and zeros.
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walk Maya

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Many of us soul-seekers have written about shedding skin, learning and becoming, moving closer to the likeness of our true, creative, and bare-boned selves. Rightly so as most of us have perfected the art of reflecting in these spaces. I have been thinking about this again as little crumbs of childhood insecurities have been surfacing lately. I’ve been wondering if we truly and completely can let go of these old ghosts. Like most scars, they heal only in tiny bits over time. Like grief, they may never really disappear, but just fall quiet until something stirs the memory in our fibers again. Each tiny bit of healing is a long-walked milestone though isn’t it, a secret passage to another well-earned ounce of strength. For this, I will take my crumbs. For this, I will walk as long as I need to.
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Since birth we are clothed with layers of layers of our imposing environments. We are meant to trust the things that nurture and love us. Often times though the things that serve us walk hand in hand with the things that don’t, and so we unintentionally absorb unkindnesses along the way. It is the way of this human life and for those of us that are aware, we spend the remaining years of our lives undoing whatever damage has been done. If we have children, we do our best not to heap our own layers of sediment onto them. It’s an ongoing process of “cleaning house”, peeling the ugly wallpapers and shedding light on uncomfortable corners that were once useful but no longer serve anymore. By doing this, we hope and pray that they have a better chance at knowing themselves sooner than we did.
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Even on this winding road of challenge and change, gratitude is always close by, scenting my days with the perfume of lightness and grace. I had another birthday last month and refined versions of self continue to emerge. Two missions set in January have been realized, dreams that required energy, focus, faith, and the complete rejection of fear. I’m learning there are several pathways that lead us to our dreams, but we need courage and resilience to find them. We are magnetized to the unfettered greatness within as long as we ignore the voices that ever tell us otherwise. Alas, never an easy task, but not impossible either.

I wonder as I finish this post, if the blogging platform has actually passed its time. The days of sitting, reading and writing post after post are long gone for me and I can almost feel my brain shifting to a quicker processing speed, needing shorter and faster accounts on everything. The poetry of long narratives in blogging might be fading, yet I want to cling desperately to them as there is still so much to write, recount and reflect upon. There was once such sweetness in reading and writing in these spaces everyday, sharing our lives with other blogging friends, and I can’t recall the last time I lavished in this. I miss it, I miss it very much. And just so you know, I miss you, too….

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much love to you
XOXO

Fireflies

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I watched through the window as I sat eating lunch with the boy. An older couple, maybe in their early 50’s, stood embracing each other like two vines entwined, both shiny and smiling, both happy and full of emotion. I swear an invisible hand reached through that window and brushed the beat in my chest. For a moment, they stopped long enough to look at each other lovingly and kiss, then they embraced again. How lucky am I to observe such tenderness, such mutual adoration, and how much of a sap am I that my eyes softened into blurry bits before I tore them away (feeling like the guilty voyeur that I was). I clasped that happy moment between both hands like capturing a firefly, even if it belonged to someone else. The light remains with me still.

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Mesmerizing, happiness is that fleeting flicker of light that travels across the bridge between our eyes.  A tireless hunt we engage in as we look towards our weekends, our trips, the things we own or don’t own, our accomplishments, our time alone, our time with friends. The fade eventually emerges though, waiting in the silken shadows beneath every coin.

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I don’t tell my children anymore that all I want is for them is to just be happy, because I am not sure yet if they know how true happiness is found. It’s not by getting what we want, this I know. As lovely and delightful it is to get what we want, this kind of joy is never the kind that lasts. Evident in the epilogue of when we get “stuff” or have finished a vacation or a long weekend, in the gray silence and dark blue void of sadness, like we’ve been cut off abruptly from our drug. This kind of joy is only the filling of an insatiable mug, a thirst that’s never quenched.

True joy and happiness has empty pockets, is without gift tags, labels, trophies or titles. We find it by scaling the deep ravines that are sure to collapse beneath our feet. We find it by knowing when to sway gently with the wind and the water that will slap us across the face, and when to resist the current that rages to knock us down. Somehow, the longer we endure, the more we learn to live. The more fears we face, the more truths we comprehend, the more obstacles we choose to leap, the easier happiness tends to make itself known. When this happens, the light we search comes alive in every direction, fireflies everywhere! Couples across the room in an embrace, a man in the poetry aisle wanting to share his favorite poet, an old green chevy hidden behind a tree, a log trapped in the gorgeous spider web of ice, children with sloppy ice cream dripping off their noses…

Fireflies, everywhere…do you see them?

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much love to you on this wintery day

xoxo