this weekend i made an impulsive decision to drive to salt lake city to spend time with a friend. for the first time in years, i’m working an 8-5 job and have had the feeling that i’m losing my sense of adventure. truth is, i just needed to get out of town. so, after work on saturday, i began the drive through colorado, wyoming and finally, utah. the last few hours were spent in a whiteout, but once i pulled up to the house, the tense shoulders relaxed and the stress disappeared. the next 30-odd hours were spent laughing, drinking coffee, taking in a movie at sundance, eating good food, wandering around cities i’d never experienced. and i did with a person i love and admire, which is even better. impulsivity paid off this time.
i left at a god-awful hour on monday in order to make it to work by the afternoon. but just minutes out of the city, i hit a patch of ice and my car began to spin. it spun a complete 360 but i gathered myself and was able to gain control as i crossed the three lanes of i-80. the car spun another 180 and i ended up at the edge of an embankment, facing the wrong direction. no cars were in sight and i marveled at what i assume was divine providence – that i was unharmed, not a (new) scratch on my car and no one else was hurt. i gathered my bearings, turned the car around and continued the drive home. grace.
last night i was out with a friend and i was recalling the ways my life has felt like a shit show lately, BUT it’s also been filled with an oft unnoticed grace. in the midst of dealing with a less than desirable set of circumstances and consequences, i’m alive and i’m okay. and i’m choosing life. choosing life means walking through the pain and not ignoring it. and sometimes it means asking others to join us in that pain and lend perspective. another kind soul reminded me this morning that suffering is what happens when we avoid the pain. it’s unrealistic to ignore the pain and expect life to be grand. instead, choose to acknowledge it, muddle through it, trusting that there is grace at the end, enjoying the really beautiful moments on the way through. enough with shaming ourselves and others because of pain. to walk through difficulties with honesty and grace is ennobling and hopefully enriches our experience on earth. so, here’s to being a little more honest with ourselves and giving ourselves and those around us a little more grace than we think necessary.
i’ve had a bit of wanderlust as of late and a desire for home. i haven’t lived in norway since 2011, but still consider it home to a large degree. certain images, songs and conversations remind me of a familiarity, which if i was honest with myself, probably isn’t all that familiar anymore. but it’s the beginning of the year and i’m planning for the coming months. i’m a planner by nature and am learning that despite my best planning and organization, really beautiful moments and people seem to enter when least expected. a trip to norway in the spring to visit friends who are having babies and getting hitched is in the works and simply planning for it feels familiar and calming.
i ran across this TEDtalk today and it is filled with all the goodness and oddities of norway. it is a reminder that planning is necessary, but taking time to enjoy the ride is just as important. kinda like home.
a friend recently asked me to share on his podcast. the theme was “ADVENTURE.” i was pretty stoked to be asked and have never considered doing something like that. as i sat down at my computer at midnight one night, i realized it was impossible for me to just talk about adventure, but i needed to sit down and write out my thoughts. it’s been awhile since i’ve written with a specific topic in mind. my thoughts are usually a jumbled mess, but i was proud of what it came to be. it was a good reminder of what has happen the past 4 years. often i feel STUCK, but thinking through this theme reminded me that i have made really bold decisions and have essentially changed the course of my life these past years. so, sit down, relax and have a listen! (click on ADVENTURE below.)
i try to begin each day with morning pages – three pages of free form thought. i don’t pay attention to the penmanship, grammar or spelling. i don’t edit and i never go back and read. it’s torture for a perfectionist. the past week i’ve struggled though. i feel as if i am writing the same thing over and over and over again. but isn’t that life? the same scenarios, the same stories live their own lives within us. and i want to conquer those stories that are on repeat in my head – because they’re not always pretty stories. they are filled with lies. they are stories of others’ expectations, misunderstandings and hurt. the problem with the stories in my head (in our heads) is that they are not easily contained. they slip out mid-sentence or we base decisions on this reel of film that is ever-playing. yes, we should fill our minds with things that are lovely and true. but the world doesn’t play by those rules and life can be callous and hurtful and it never becomes any easier. and when those stories are planted there at a young age.. whew. it’s a tough one.
but i love morning pages because i become aware of those stories. and when i am aware, i can make strides toward changing my story. i am trying so hard to be brave and not sabotage the life i am meant to live. i want to live to the fullest – create and love and learn. i want to live out bravery. i make mistakes and i’m fearful that the next mistake is going to be The One – whatever it might be. but that cannot be a reason to stop living and moving. fear has no place in the life fully lived.
“Fear of the unexplainable has not only impoverished our inner lives, but also diminished relations between people; these have been dragged, so to speak, from the river of infinite possibilities and stuck on the dry bank where nothing happens. For it is not only sluggishness that makes human relations so unspeakably monotonous, it is the aversion to any new, unforeseen experience we are not sure we can handle.”
i’ve been traveling to new places and old. this weekend i’m heading up to the mountains to give snowboarding a go and then it’s off to norway in march. today was spent catching up on emails, studying and such. this playlist was the perfect accompaniment.
combined with a walk in the snow, this song was the perfect accompaniment to monday. it’s sad and not for the rosy, but it’s real. i appreciated it even more after reading an interview with sufjan by pitchfork. (click here)
it’s been a crazy week and i find myself looking for solace – in whatever form. today i let myself sleep in, which isn’t hard considering i live in a bedroom with no windows. i painted the walls white to give the illusion of light, but waking up is always difficult. i came upstairs, made a pour over, and sat down to eat bacon, yogurt and muesli. there is a window in our living room that gives off the best light. a small white desk sits underneath, cradling books, a lamp and several potted plants. i like to sit and read or write there in the mornings. people are always walking by, holding hands or walking their dogs. it is idyllic.
i sat down to enjoy breakfast and read. reading is a luxury these days because i’m often in my car, on the go. i’m finishing “small victories” by anne lamott. she’s my hands-down all time favorite author, perhaps because she’s seen hardship, death and addiction but she’s full of life, honesty and God.
i saw her speak at the end of last year and i’ve decided, now over a month into the new year, that i want to focus on living out what she spoke. she read a few excerpts from her books, answered questions and talked about life. she’s 60, has dreads and i don’t have a lot in common with her. someone stopped my friend and i after the lecture, asking why we came. she was a little surprised we were there and as we looked around the room, we saw why. most of the people there were at least a good two decades older than us – we were by far the youngest. the truth is, i think we were there because we wanted to hear truth – that life is shi**y, but it is good.
as for what she said:
* refuse to stop crying because God loves real
* when all is said and done, all we have is stories and compassion (barry lopez)
* practice militant self-care
* allow no scary people in your life
* listen to the questions and answers i have. they often hold valuable keys in how to live a good life
these are lessons that learned over and over again, throughout a life. but here’s to starting now.