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.

***

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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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.

***

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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Tracing tracks

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I know, it’s still summer, but the season’s permissive laze and daze has snuck out quietly and left us. Autumn’s invigorating breath has found her way into our mornings and soon I will don my fuzzy slippers, robe, and plan soups for dinner. Like many, we are into school schedules and events, after school chauffeuring, teacher meetings, Fall trips and volunteering. I look back and remember where we last left the hurry. Tracing the tracks we’ve left behind, I touch with fondness the moments that made these last few months memorable.

I started teaching dance at a beautiful studio a little over a month ago, not traditional dance like tap or ballet, but heart-centered, choreographed dances that pull from all styles to inspire soul, emotion, awareness and freedom. It’s a dance made for anyone and everyone, no formal experience required. This is the manifestation of a dream–to call myself a dancer and share my love of dance by teaching. “Inconceivable” is what I would have told you 10 years ago. Truth: The rules we live by in this world can often feel unyielding, but to challenge them, un-define and re-define them, we can surprise ourselves by becoming something completely unexpected. My choreography now unfolds on a wooden dance floor spilling from a well of creative freedom that I knew existed, but never tapped openly until now. Teaching, leading a class, and exposing my heart and creativity to be judged and used by others has brought me to challenge and question the necessity of old insecurities. I see it now and I find myself peeling again.

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This month, in Issue 5 of Bella Grace Magazine, a piece I wrote was published. For a few weeks now I’ve let this soak in, and thoughts of my father have surfaced again. I am so different from the daughter he knew before he died 17 years ago, before I began healing, before I became wife and mother, before I began my climb out of the many shells that kept my soul hidden. Yet, somehow I know I am the woman he always knew I’d become. I use to resent the goals he once had for me, like the one where I would be an engineer or the one where I would go to military school, but I understand those really weren’t the dreams he had for me. What he wanted more than anything was that I just try for the things I wanted most, that I believe in myself, and find what true happiness is. And those dreams, Dad, have come true. Perhaps this joy is fleeting, perhaps the next big catastrophe is around the corner, but for today these tracks are very real, and they are, gratefully, all my own.

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The last thing I wanted to share just happened this past weekend over Labor Day, our family’s camping and volunteering trip to a wolf sanctuary here in Colorado. I will write an entire post on how deeply this experience affected me. Wolves, truly, are one of the best teachers this earth could have ever graced us with. The problem is that generally wolves are seen as a threat to man and livestock and, by stories, movies, and misconceptions, thought to be mean, menacing, and aggressive animals. This is false and documentaries such as “Living With Wolves” and The Wolves of Yellowstone serve to educate those who will listen about the gentle and social nature of wolves, as well and their importance to our ecosystem. But this is only a micron of what I personally learned from meeting a wolf, and, as I look a little closer, flows not at all surprisingly with the undercurrent of my latest lessons on strength of character and how true we are to our spirit. This, I will share in a new post sooner than later, but for now, a glimpse…meet Zeab.

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Much love to you
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

100 sails

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I am so happy to be sitting here in this space writing to you. I have thought of this blog often in the last several weeks, and of the many women that I have met yet haven’t met, thanks to the blogosphere. The many women and men who pour their hearts and words out and bring light to others by doing so. How grateful I am for each of them. As I think about what I want to write and share with you, I must say that change has arrived on a ship with 100 sails, and with it the call to act, to light fires and no longer rest in the cracked bellows of stagnation.

For years I have turned motherhood over and over in my hands until it has tumbled smooth like stone. Gratefully, I know this role will never end, not really. But I have turned another corner in motherhood and I can say with all sincerity that there is now room for something more. I have given my all to my family. I am a better mother. I am a better wife. I am a better friend. I am a better human being. And most importantly, I am not finished, far from it.

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In the last several months, I have spent time thinking and dreaming about what comes next. I have been in this zone before, yet something feels different. Maybe it’s the remarkable women I’ve been spending time with online and off. Maybe it’s the intentions I’ve set just a few weeks ago, taking the time to write exactly what I want and how I am going to get there. Maybe it’s been certain events that have called me to action, to perhaps get my OT license back, or get certified as a dance instructor, and to write my heart out and share it with strangers everywhere. Maybe I’m just getting older and there is no better time than now to take more risks.

The bottom line is the earth beneath my feet is shifting, the soil is ripe for planting, and I have more courage than I have had in years. I have no other recourse than to utilize this energy and give it back, give it back with all I have.

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“We can only appreciate the miracle of a sunrise if we have waited in the darkness.”~ unknown

I am obsessed with sunrises. They bring beauty, hope, energy, inspiration and a new painted canvas every morning. For just those few minutes, the sunrise is my silent meditation, and facing east I make my intentions to begin fresh and new, with faith and gratitude for that moment and the next.

January is nearly over and it was my springboard, so let it begin.
Won’t you join me? What are your intentions this year?

Much love to you
xoxo

A dream in December

December 24,2014

I want to share with you a story, a journey, a waking dream, one that I had this past week.

It begins with bare feet, mine, and I am walking. Beside me is Wolf. We are in a dense, dark green wood. There is a mist in the wood, one that lays like a thin veil hiding visions of future and past, bringing the present deep into the nostrils and down into the chest. The only sound that penetrates is our bare feet, lightly patting along the forest floor.

The gray and white Wolf walks with me often and I understand him to be one of my great teachers. We don’t speak, instead we break into a run. I am fast, so fast I feel the wind pull my hair behind me. My legs are burning but I feel no pain. There are feathers on my arms, in my hair, on my gown and legs.

I am air, I am wind, and I run until the pictures at the edges of my eyes blur.

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We come to a great pine tree, the largest and greenest I have ever seen. Wolf has stopped several feet behind me, watching with his bright yellow eyes. I am to climb and I am to climb alone.

I reach up onto the long, laddered branches of this great pine, and pull myself up. Though the tree doesn’t move I know its spirit, strength and age wills me to be nimble and quick. I climb and climb, all the way to the top without looking down, until the air is so thin I should not be able to breathe, but I can. I stand at the top of this great tree, above the entire forest. I see the green tops of pines, canyons of brownish red and gray, and a blue horizon overseeing all.

My arms spread but they are no longer arms. They are wings, powerful wings of gray and white feathers that stretch far into the East and West.

I hesitate to jump as a flicker of fear begins to burn, the first I have felt so far. I shove it back down into its pit. I am to soar and so I will.

When I jump, I feel elation and a freedom that doesn’t exist when my feet are buried in the earth. The breeze that whisps across my face also carries my feet and body as if they were hollow. No weight, no burden, just a lightness that I feel could last forever.

But something changes.

In moments, I feel terribly wrong and I feel myself sinking towards the earth. A rise followed by a sudden decrescendo– I am falling and my wings are failing. The ground comes to me far too fast and now I am tumbling, tumbling, encircled by dust and dirt and pain, not a physical one, but one of shame and doubt.

Dusted and broken, I am no longer made of feathers and lightness. I feel heavy knowing that I fell without knowing fully why. I stand bare, covered only in skin, before the edge of a cold, blue lake surrounded by white mountains. The air is fresh, cool and crisp, a gift to the senses. I see movement beneath the icy water’s surface and I understand that I am to dive in. When I do, the water isn’t cold at all, rather, the water is warm and welcoming.

Dolphin comes to greet me and we begin to swim. I grab her dorsal fin and she pulls me through the deep, dark blue. Once again my hair is pulled behind me through waves of healing and cleansing. The dirt is no longer embedded into my skin. My wounds begin to close and fade. We swim for seconds, minutes, hours, it doesn’t matter as time disappers. If only I could stay here forever, safe, enveloped, and protected, but I am not meant to.

I am out of the warm water now and standing at the water’s edge once again. Wolf is waiting for me at the shore. As I turn to thank Dolphin, she is already gone.

Wolf speaks and tells me a great and wise teacher is coming.

So I wait, still standing at the water’s edge. I feel the soft, comforting pebbles and sand beneath as a ripple of water tickles the tops of my feet. A large shadow looms overhead darkening the sinking sun’s reflection in the water. I look up and see an enormous blackness coming down from the sky, my heart stirs and the hairs on my arms stand on end.

Overwhelmed and surprised, I see a majestic creature of enormity and grandness. He is the most beautiful dragon I have ever seen. His wings are long and wide, and shimmer like jewels waving across a dusty sky. His face is wise and terrifying at the same time. He is dark and iradescent, made of colors that cannot be described should they even exist in our world.

He looks at me long before he speaks to me.

“You will learn to create fire, to brew it, bundle it and breathe it out with every ounce of energy you have within you.”

And so he does.

We stand at the water’s edge and he shows me how to inhale, to gather, suck in and swirl all the fear, joy, happiness, pain, anger, helplessness–all the emotions that serve and do not serve–to roll them up into a fiery ball within my hearth space, my solar plexus, the pit above the stomach and below the ribcage. Everything begins here, he tells me. We are energy, but only the diligent and perseverent can create more. To live on given energy is not enough as most often it is squandered and wasted with useless pursuits. We create energy and ignite fire to forge new paths. We create because it is how we survive and ultimately, thrive.

I watch him as his chest balloons upward and outward, burning bright red and orange, a brilliant glow of heat that flushes my cheeks and forehead. He opens his mouth and exhales powerful orange, white, and yellow flames, roaring with pure light and energy, surging forth with committment and purpose. The fire reaches out across the lake reflecting the light of its flames toward the dim-lit sky.

“The fire we create is not one that we should be afraid of, for without it, we are dead inside, cold and alone. The darkness exists because like the night sky, it serves a purpose and a teaching, sometimes even a restful place. But if we stay in it too long, it will consume and devour whatever energy we have left. Fire is an intense and ambitious source, but to work for you, you must summon it. You must create it with a sincere and humble heart.”

And with this, he turns, lifts into the air, and then he is gone.

I whisper “Thank you”.

Wolf and I walk back to the edge of the wood and we begin to run again.

I am tired, but I run and run and run until I am at the great pine tree once more.

I raise my arms up and grasp it’s hearty branches.

I begin to climb.

***

I cannot tell you what happens next because that moment still lies within my bare hands and feet. I am humbled by the teachings that continue to guide me and lead me to a better path. In the end though, it is still up to me to create the fire. It’s up to all of us.

I wish this for all in this new year. To create our own purpose. To dream of those that teach us how to run, climb, fly, swim, breathe fire and conjure pure energy.

I wish everyone much love and
a Happy New Year.

Hello and welcome 2015.

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Here and there

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All this is here and there in a month. The Great Escape Mustang sanctuary, the Eagle Plume museum and store, the Broadmoor hotel, the glories of Spring…. I am reminded often of why I named the blog as I did. Wandering never really stops and my thirst for exploring remains unquenchable.

In a couple days, we step out of school sneakers and into flip flops, water shoes, and summer break. Soccer practices and tournaments, piano recitals, school field trips and volunteering will now be replaced with summer camps, weekend excursions and barbeques. I welcome it. I welcome the laziness of pools, the saunter of hot days, tubing on the creek and badminton on our dandelion lawn. I am also wholly and heartily welcoming 43 on Saturday. I learned long ago that happiness can only be present when realized. I have all that I will ever need.

***

Below are the 3 baby robins we have been watching grow over the last few weeks. They each flew from their nest one morning last week and have yet to return. We were able to witness their first flight into the world and thus experienced the true meaning of “empty nest syndrome”. Flutters was the biggest, strongest and the first to fly, then Malcolm came next. Hiccup, the last, took his time, and though still unsteady and a little unsure of himself, made it across the lawn. We miss them, but this is the magic of birth and the approaching close of Spring.

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I just finished taking Pitch Perfect, an online class on how to pitch articles and ideas to magazines and more. It’s a wonderfully thorough class for any writer interested in taking their work beyond the blog pages or their laptops. As much as I liked the idea of monetizing writing or shaking my words onto widespread, paper pages across lands and oceans, I don’t know if I am one of those writers–at least not at this point in my life. Perhaps maybe never. For now, the blog is enough, and coming here to share words is joy and a category all its own. Thank you for that. Thank you for reading or even just stopping by.

much love to you
xoxo

The Mother magazine

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I am happy to share that I have an article posted on the Mother Magazine blog. The Mother Magazine is an online and print publication that focuses entirely on natural and holistic parenting. I hope you go and take a look!

Welcome April..

xoxo

moonlighting

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In the white and milky moonlight,
in the shallow and seemingly subtle cracks,
the stories lay thick in layers from one day to the next,
accumulating, unwritten and unread
like old magazines in the corner of the closet.

If I could close the door and crouch in silence,
hide with the dark and peel the vibrant colors off the walls and onto pages,
would the words be more pungent?
Could this be the yellow sulphur that leaps
to burn the eyes and nose?

They beckon, the calls, and
flit about like gnats on a hot, sticky night.
The tick tock of the mother clock
goes on,
spooling the yearn into a tight embrace,
saved for some later time
and some distant space.

A deeper question permeates—
if all I had was what I always wanted
would it really give me all that I need?

The sincere mother’s wishes are unfooled.
From nature’s pulse, a whisper beneath the lobe
“All you have is all you need
and the Want must stand alone.”

for all who moonlight and have a distant dream:
wherever you can, whenever you can, however you can

xoxo

Unhinge

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It’s 6:39am. All ten fingers curl around my mug made of clay, sun and moon. A soy latte the color of a soaken mudpie warms my throat before sliding down into my belly. On a perfect day, there is no rush, no urgency to shower or wake the children. I am free to tiptoe down the stairs to the yellow cave I call my own, the very yolk that encases and feeds my hungry soul. Three jars of colored pens line the top edge of my reclaimed, white desk and the sight of them brings a tingling to my waking fingers. I imagine a thumping tail, a wet nose, and playful fur sprouting from my current journal, as happy and expectant as any dog about to receive some attention.

These are the moments of quiet freedom, before I check email, before I give the cat his weekly sulphur bath and shot, or meet the accountant, or grocery shop or whatever it is that defines this human life. A soul’s life unravels in the quiet, unbuttoning of this skin, where nakedness is synonymous with the unfolding of wings, where thought is not led by the bully intellect but by the gentle voice of intuition. No pause she says, just flight.

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I have seen the flinted sparks of a once unfathomable future begin to glow in this cave. With guidance from this and this, and from one that lives and breathes the same spaces I do (thanks hon), I find myself believing, and suddenly aware of a craving that I now know has always been there. Fear can strap you to a gurney with arms, legs, and heart bound by your own beliefs. The challenge, always, is to find those beliefs that bind you and unhinge them. I find myself unhinging them continually because they cling, they cling desperately to a definition that existed long ago, because to redefine self would be stepping into a dark blue, unknown void. There is no preparation to be in this place, just an awareness that without all the heavy, soaked-in stains of our past, our skin suddenly feels wild, translucent, vulnerable, and unequivocally free.

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much love to you…

xoxox