20
Apr

I'm listening

When was the last time you said I love you...I'm listening...to yourself?

Lovies, mom has a small obsession with yoga. So much so that in 2020, I added an additional class. Because 2020 was going to be my year of clam and bright, my year of finding my distance and now, well, that's all I've done. I have found so much time to sleep. I have found so much distance. And although it's not all calm and bright, there is something about the world not spinning that has me feeling like somehow, we're all in it together. But yoga was her time. And for some reason, I'm struggling to find my ambition for it at home and I need to because now is the time I need to remember to breathe to keep it all together. My classes kept me together and kept me thinking. Like the one I got to attend months ago.

When was the last time you said I love you...I'm listening...to yourself?

That's how my new class started. When was the last time you said...I love you...I'm listening...to yourself?

There was a long pause before the last part was stated. Therefore, when she said the words when was the last time you said I love you, I'm listening? I quickly starting thinking in my head, this morning about 20 times. To you guys and hubby and Pearl girl...it falls out of my mouth all of the time. I love you drips from me so much that I have found other ways to show you the level I'm feeling it at that moment. I always always feel it and saying it is what I always always do.

We're so quick to say it to others and really mean it, but when was the last time you were that gentle and kind with yourself?

Never, the answer for me is never.

Lovies, there are so many times my mind and body are screaming at mom and she is just not listening. And when do I show myself any grace, love, a moment of pride...well never. The answer is never for me.

Because I don't listen well. I don't listen to warnings or alarm bells or signs. I see them, I acknowledge that they are there, I even introduce myself to them, but I do not listen. When my body is asking me to stop and slow down, I tell it to shut up. You're fine, this is how it has to be for right now and you can do it. I know you're tired but so what, anyone can do anything for a week, month, year, three years. Just keep going. Let's get to the other side. So, then, something revolts. My body reminds me who is really in charge and it takes things away. It adds to my plate and adds more worry and concern. It can come physically with shakes, emotionally with panic, mentally with forgetfulness. Each time, I "listen" in the way that I admit it's too much, I might even take a break, but then I double right back down.

And love myself? When does anyone ever take a moment to say, you did something, I'm proud of you, and I love you? Do people do that?

So, these last two months, I have been going through something. Something that the pandemic and crisis actually have nothing to do with. I am struggling with my pride. I am struggling with my sensitivity. I am struggling with how hard I worked on something and how I am being made to feel less than. And people can only make you feel less than if you let them. If you too feel like you didn't do your best. But, even if you feel you did the best you could, you still worry it wasn't THE best. But, being THE best isn't possible...doing your best is. It's all I ask of you, so it's all I'm going to ask of me too.

I did my best. I worked my ass of. I was good at parts, I learned from other parts. I made my own path, others don't have to follow and shouldn't have to follow. I did my best.

I believed in my work. I rolled up my sleeves. I worked hard. I lost sleep. I lost my mind, I found myself, I was afforded opportunities, I did my best. I was good at a lot of it, I wasn't the best at any of it. Things could have gone better, been better, but I loved it. I loved it. I loved me in it because I felt like I was good at it. It was my hum for so long. I did my very best.

So, Sabrina, I'm sorry. I'm sorry for all of the doubt and I'm sorry that you're being made to feel this way. I'm most sorry that you are allowing them to make you feel this way. I say this with kindness but stop it. Stop it and stand up for what you did, stand proud by it. Stop worrying what they are saying and why. Listen to me, it does not matter.

I'm sorry that you are the one taking the hit for nothing. I'm sorry you are taking this beating right now. I'm sorry that it feels this way, I'm sorry. I'm sorry you didn't listen to all of the warnings that it was too much. I know you did your best. You put everything aside for something you loved and believed in. And, I'm proud of you.

I'm proud of you for surrounding yourself with people who are so much smarter than you are. I'm proud of you for giving it your all. I'm proud of how you handled yourself and I'm proud of how you carried yourself. I'm proud of you for caring and I'm proud of your heart and your work ethic. I'm so proud of how much you cared, I'm proud that you always give it your all. I love you for the way you love. I love you for the way that you care. I love you for always being all in.

Sabrina, please start listening. Please learn from this. Please put it behind you and do what you always do, your very best. Set this up the way your heart knows you need to. You are not a child, you can rise above the rumors and BS. I'm sorry Sabina, I'm listening and I do love you.

23
Dec

Calm and bright

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright

Hello 2020. I have waited a long time for you. In real-time, just 365 days, but in my head, it has felt like a lifetime. I have prayed for you to come and I swear, I thought I would never get to actually meet you. I found my saying for you 2020. It's a saying this year, not just a word, and I am so thrilled with it. See, I am shedding the difficult but still working on expecting more out of myself and setting goals within my limits and reach. 2020, I am ready for you.

All is calm, all is bright

I started my year of change knowing it was going to be tough, and I mean really tough. Not only was I taking on such a challenging word for me, but this was the year I would start to close out my career, my work, my value. After 20 years, I was going to put aside who I have been and start over. I started a new company three years ago and this was the year I said I can no longer do both. I would set myself up to say good-bye to BBBSCR just as I am saying good-bye to you 2019.

But, that meant I had a lot of work to do. I had to really bring it. I had to replace my income, I had to network, I had to meet and meet and meet and I had to sell a company. I had to hire. I had to create practices and processes and I had to believe I could. I had to believe this is what I do now. I had to bring it, bring all of me. My days were b.r.u.t.a.l. My family suffered. I lost my mind. My agency lost its mind. My memory was affected. My body was tired. My brain was a fog. I lost words. I lost my humor. I lost hope. I lost compassion. I lost all patience. I stopped believing. I got scared. I was worried. Everything everywhere went wrong. I went from putting out fires to throwing my body on grenades. Explosions became my norm. I cried, so much. I panicked. I got sick in really strange ways. Doctors were worried. But, it happened. I f'ing did it. The day before my birthday, I turned a corner.

All is calm, all is bright

And sweet sweet girl of mine, the one who kept saying, mom, I'm so excited. Mom, I can't wait for...or I can't wait to do... Mom, I can't wait for next year. Mom, you promised next year we would have more time. Mom, you promised next year...sweet girl, all is calm, all is bright.

Yes, it is going to be a different year. Yes, I did make promises to you. Yes, I am going to live up to them. Yes, sweet girl, I am excited too. Yes, I too cannot wait. Yes, I too am thrilled at all we will be able to do together. Yes, sweetie, it's finally happening. But mamma is also letting go of a lot right now and she is sad. She is also having to retrain her body and mind to no longer be in a constant panic, and that will take reconditioning, But yes, sweet girl, I am ready.

All is calm, all is bright

I did not do a single thing alone. You were always there lovey. You have always always always been my coach...always. You have always been such a support. You didn't flinch, even if you were worried. You never doubted, even if you didn't think it could happen. You didn't say, are you crazy, even if you knew I was. You didn't ever say, let it go, even when it wasn't working. You didn't ever say, this is too much, for you, for us, you have to stop doing this, even if it all was. You just hugged it out. You told me it was going to work and you told me that no one even knows what I am going through because I make it look easy. So, you also lied, but that's okay, you lied to make me feel like I had a handle on things I no longer did. You took on so much around the house and with the kiddos, and you dug deep, you were their everything, you were our everything. Their morning, their homework, their afternoons, their coach, their dinner, the cleanup...You did it all and asked nothing of me other than, you go ahead and finish up your work for the day. You listened to me cry. You listened to the panic. You worried about my health and would hug me and say, it's going to work out Brine, we all know it is. And you would allow me to melt right into you, head on your chest, crying like a fool, shaking, melt into you.

All is calm, all is bright

And you sweet sweet sweet boy, you asked all the questions. Why are you quitting? What does this mean? What will happen to your old job? Will you still be a boss? Will you still work all these hours? Will you no longer work on the weekends? Will you be able to play with me more? Will you play with me every night? Will you read to me?

All is calm, all is bright

Sweetie, I didn't quit, I resigned. There is a difference and the main thing that is different is, I will never be able to fully walk away. I am still in love with everything about that place lovey, but it was time. Yes, they will be fine, better than fine...they will have fresh eyes and energy and time and balance. See, mamma just isn't that important. All she did was love them and who wouldn't step into that role and love them? Yes, I will still work, yes, I will still lean into work, but yes yes yes, you will see me and yes yes yes, I will play with you and read to you and have reading dates and yes lovey to time.

All is calm, all is bright

It's going to be really different, but I'm still me. I'm still running a company that our family is depending on. Things matter for a different reason now. Things are going to be calmer guys, yes, but I will also be providing light again. I will be lit up again. I will be alive again. I will be living again.

All is calm, all is bright

My hope is that I get some rest. I rest my brain and I rest my really tired body. I rest my nerves and hopefully, my mind, my memory, my words will all come back. I have my days set up the way I want them. I have some routine and schedule. I have meetings set. I have time set aside. I am starting to lift that damn foot off of my chest.

I have my workouts planned, I have my classes set up, I know when I'm hitting the mat and when I'm hitting the water and when I am hitting the road and when I am hitting the gym and lifting. I know when I am taking walks and I have time set aside to do that with you all too because you want connection and I do too. I have time set aside to write, and time set aside reading and I might even learn how to use a camera...like I wanted to when I was 14.

All is calm, all is bright

My hope is that I remember that I was once more joyful. I once carried more light so it's time for me to find that all over again. It will not be perfect, I will have to fight off some demons, I will still be me and like GR says, "accept yourself and expect more from yourself". I really am ready for you 2020, I have been for a while. I wasn't sure if I would get to meet you, there were so many times you seemed so far away I was sick at the thought, but you're here now. And welcome, it is so great to finally meet you.

All is calm, all is bright

13
Dec

Five Minute Friday - darkness

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on darkness.
Go.

It's starting to get really dark really early in NY now. As much as I find comfort and peace in the dark, a still quiet, even I get a little over a 4:30 sunset. But, regardless, the darkness has settled in. The sun comes up much later and sets much too early, so most of the day is without light.

I too am surrounded in a cloud of dark right now, and once again, I am reaching my darkest hour. Things are unraveling quickly, my patience could not be thinner, my ability to care about all of the details all of the time, that too is thinning. I am less kind, I am more hostile, I am tired, I snap, there is a lot of crying, there is a lot of what ifs, there is a lot of pressure and there is a feeling of a foot constantly on my chest. I am struggling to find my actual breath, the one I go to my mat for. Even there, the thoughts race and my breath is too heavy, I am too heavy right now.

And so, I have to start my climb back up. I have to find my way out and remember that everything is temporary and I am so close to the end of my year and leaving a 20-year career is freaking hard, and there are a lot of feelings that have to be processed, and people around me have a lot of feelings to process, and goodbye will be rough on only me. But, this was my decision. I asked to go. And, most importantly, what someone told me months ago...Sabrina, you're a good person. Regardless if you are running a nonprofit for kids or not, you are a good person.

I will light my candles. I will make sure my Christmas tree is on. I will watch the twinkle of the lights. I will work by a little light next to my office space, I will embrace these dark hours and know that I will find myself again.

It's always darkest before the dawn isn't it?

Stop.

9
Dec

Dear Big Brothers Big Sisters

Dear Big Brothers Big Sisters, when I first met you, you paired me with a spitfire of a little girl. A seven-year-old that was joy and energy and the best example of childhood that I had ever seen. And I knew I was home. I was where I belonged and found all I had been seeking. Because I fell hard and fast for you and all you stood for. 

Dear Big Brothers Big Sisters, when I first met you, I was on a mission to prove so many people wrong and I was doing it with a chip on my shoulder and hard edges. And you softened me. You were the example of something that I felt in my bones; that childhood is important. It deserves to be protected and defended and that is why, when I met you, I found my purpose. I found a new way to be, a new drive, a new commitment, I found hope...and who doesn’t need hope? 

Dear Big Brothers Big Sisters, when I first met you, I was also scared. You taught me how okay that is. I will always be the one to walk through fear, but you taught me to keep walking. I stand in front of you today because I found people that always, at every turn, believed in me more than I believe in myself and they wouldn’t let me stop. You gave me mentors, you gave me family, you gave me a future and you gave me love. You gave me opportunities and you gave me something to fight this hard for...childhood. 

Dear Big Brothers Big Sisters, thank you. Thank you for all you do for our kids, thank you for how you change our communities. Thank you for realizing that we don’t create potential, we defend it. Thank you for making me realize I could do this, I had potential and I needed a little protection too.

Dear Big Brothers Big Sisters, I treasure you, I will always carry you, and I love you.

20
Oct

Left Neglected

"I have had my head down, barreling a thousand miles an hour, wearing the flesh of each day down to the bone, pointed down one road toward a single goal."

In NY, the seasons have changed. Everyone is writing about how fall is a reminder of how beautiful it can be to let things go. How shedding your weight and letting a part of you go doesn't mean an end, but a different phase of life. But when left-neglected, you don't see it as clearly. You don't see the entire picture and you roll your eyes at people stopping to take it all in. Until you too enter this phase, until you too start to take in all that is happening and start to put the full picture together. As a family, we are all entering this new phase and it is with great beauty that we are stipping what has always been there. All that we have ever ever known. All that we have ever shared, all of it is about to change and be stripped away.

And the truth is, although I am tired and done, I really do love my life. I love my current life. I love what I have done, what I have been able to do, what I have been given the opportunity to do. I really do love the work I have been doing. I really do love the mission I was working for. I really do love my office and the environment. I have loved the pace. I have loved the commitment, my commitment. I love big ideas and the capacity. I have loved the amount I have had to dig down. I have loved those that I have met, those that get it, those that understand why. I was good at it, I was comfortable there, and I will miss this. I will miss this part of me, this work. I will miss this life.

"I walk down the long hallway, slower than I ever have, and feel like I've come home. The predictable order of offices as I pass by, the framed aerial photographs of major world cities on the walls, the lighting, the carpeting, all feel inviting and comfortable in their familiarity."

Not only am I scared of what this will all mean for us and our future, but I am also scared of what this will all mean to me. To who I am. To who I want to become, to what I stand for. To what I now believe in. To letting go and finding beauty. Because when left neglected, I didn't see things so fully. I didn't see me fully. It was as if I was seeing just half of the full picture. And now I have to find myself in you and the life we can create without all of this. All of this busy. Time-consuming busy. Busy to be busy kind of busy. Who will I now be without all of this weighing me down? What kind of mother will that make me? What kind of life will we now lead? What will we do and what will it mean for us from this day on? How much of my old life will I miss? How much will I rely on my old ways and keep leaning into them but it feels so comforting to live there? So familiar, so logical and productive.

"I miss my life here - the fast pace, the high intensity, contributing to something important...being effective."

But, I broke up with myself once before. I faced a fear that was bigger and more of a commitment than I have ever in my life made. I became your mom. And I had to change. I had to become something brand new. And for a few years, I had to get lost in the fog of you until I came out the other side...me but different. I'm still in here though. I'm just different and different things are important to me now. But my foundation, my me-ness is still right there. It's time to once again be lost but found in a new me, a new us, a new life, a new phase.

It's time to linger, to really really be there for you. To really find new joy. To find new meaning, new purpose. "You're still a good person, even if you don't run a life-changing agency, you're still a good person." But it's time to find out what good I can continue to bring to this world. It's time to find out what being committed to this new life means for me.

"For the first time in almost a decade, I stopped barreling a thousand miles an hour down that road. Everything stopped. And although much of the past four months have been a painful and terrifying experience, it has given me a chance to lift my head up and have a look around."

And when I looked up, I saw all of you. I saw a little girl reaching for me and wanting to be close. I saw an active boy that wants to play and then play some more. I saw a smiling puppy who loves to cuddle and run and feel loved. I saw a husband that doesn't need my stress, doesn't need my tension, just needs to be reminded of how hard we are all trying and how good it feels to be together. I saw a family we created. One I most likely have left neglected, one I didn't see as clearly as I needed to. One I didn't smile at as much I should have. I didn't see the full picture yet, I didn't stop to see how it was all changing.

So last night, you slept in my bed, a little scared from a bad dream. I looked at your long lashes and eyes as big as dad's. I saw my mouth, I saw you calm and I felt your breathing. No matter how old you both get, there is something so soothing, calming and loving about watching your children sleep. And I was overwhelmed by the gratitude for the life we picked.

"And I'm starting to wonder. What else is there? Maybe success can be something else, and maybe there's another way to get there. Maybe there's a different road for me with a more reasonable speed limit. Whether it's because I can't, I'm too afraid, something inside me has changed and wants something different, or a complex blend of all three. I can't say but I don't want to go back. I don't want to go back to that life. The same intuition that led me to you, is leading me somewhere else. And I trust it. I'm not going back."

I said a quiet prayer of thank you and a louder apology. In these years of little, there were moments I almost lost all of this. There were moments of busy that could have made us a statistic. There are countless times I have been careless with the responsibility I have in your safety and protection...too busy to do one thing at a time. So I said I was sorry for being so rushed. I said I was sorry for not taking this as seriously as I should and taking stupid parts too seriously. I said sorry to you feeling like you were left neglected. I said sorry to myself for being left neglected. I said thank you for babies I was so scared to have. I said thank you for a husband that believed we should. I said thank you for a husband that made me feel that I could with him leading this part. I said thank you for a family that never gives up and always comes back to us. I said thank you for Cole's energy and heart and even his ability to cry as easily as he does. I said thank you for Anna's mind, how deliberate she is, and even her ability to be stubborn.

I am going to trust my instinct on this new life in front of us and I am not going back. I won't leave us neglected.

29
Sep

41

Come and see
I swear by now I'm playing time
I against my troubles
I'm coming slow but speeding

I am growing more and more comfortable in my skin and more and more comfortable with celebrating a day that for 39 years made me so sad, so lonely, so sullen, so so blue.

So, this year, I once again celebrated. I celebrated me and I allowed myself to be grateful for my year. A year that has been really hard for me. A year that has been full of change and embracing change. A year that I set forth a huge goal and got there. A year that I decided to walk away from something that has defined me, given me worth and purpose. And I did it. A year that was so emotional because of my decisions and my choices. A year in which I reflected on 2 decades of work, 2 decades of dedication, 2 decades of opportunities and a full heart. A year in which I made a decision to be more present and slower with you. A year in which you taught me how gorgeous it is to walk slow. A year in which I have learned that I want to stop running hard and start running freely. A year in which I have learned how much we all mean to each other.

So, I celebrated me. I took the day off. I went to be pampered. I sat in silence and I watched the rain. I got a massage, I fell so much in love with massages. I laughed, I read, I slept. I sat in heat. I took the best shower. I bought a lovely coffee. And then I came home to family and framily. I read cards, I read gorgeous words, I was showered with love, I was hugged so tight, I was told you were happy I was born.

Do you wish a dance and while I'm
In the front
The play on time is won
But the difficulty is coming here

I will go in this way
And find my own way out

This is my decade, the one I was born as. And I am moving into a phase in my life in which I will be heading a new project. One I hope I get to ride out into the sunset of my career. One in which will bring me as much joy and love. One in which I still feel helpful and dedicated and determined. One in which scares me, because change scares me and because change worries me and because change makes me so sad. But I have done what I wanted to do and it is time for me to take this significant step in this direction.

41, you started out so strong. You went off the rails already with an emotional rollercoaster of hell on earth, because that is what life is. It's a wash and repeat of wonderful and awful and boring. And I am ready for all this year and this entire decade has in store.

I'm begging slow I'm coming here

23
Sep

Done

It's been a strange week. A week of a lot of lasts for mom. A week that has me so tired I can't seem to get myself out of bed no matter how early I go to sleep and no matter how many hours of sleep I get. A week that has me feeling weird and a little off. Not feeling like me, kind of overwhelmed and not motivated. Lovies, mom is at a stage in her life in which she is feeling very done and is grappling with the emotional ride of feeling like a quitter. I am taking a break from my triathlons and the training that goes along with them. I am taking a break from my half marathons and the training that goes along with them. I gave my notice to a career I have built and an agency that has defined who I am. And I am just so bone tired.

I am watching my to-do lists just pile up and run one day into the other. I am watching my home just come undone. I am watching my emails collect in all of my different inboxes. I am turning off alarms instead of getting up to work out. I am turning off alarms instead of getting up to work. Every once in awhile, I get a surge of energy and plow through something, even a tiny thing. But then the exhaustion becomes so overwhelming that I just feel like I am done. Period and end of story I am done.

Maybe my MS is in overdrive and the exhaustion that I feel is because I have this disease. Maybe my emotions are in overdrive and I cannot climb these mountains anymore. Maybe my lists are so long I can't imagine how to get it all done so I am shutting down. Maybe I am sick and I can't seem to get better no matter how much I rest my body. Maybe the disease has something to do with that too. Maybe I need more than a break, maybe I need more than a rest. Maybe I am so scared I am getting paralyzed. Maybe I am so sad I am being swallowed. Maybe.

So, I am giving it attention and calling it out. Yes, I am done with proving I can do hard things. But, part of what makes me tick and part of what makes me proud is that I can do. I have to find the right middle between doing and not leaning into the hard. So, instead of running as hard as I can in a half marathon, I go for an 8 mile run with my puppy by my side, both of us smiling and loving our route and taking in the scenery of how gorgeous it is to live here. Instead of working until my head hurts and it's taking me three times as long to do things, I get up when it's still dark and I plug away and I check off my boxes. Instead of doing it all, I set up systems for the kids to remind them that they are people and they too are ready for the responsibility. And instead of fighting, loving. Loving our time together, loving what we are grateful for. Loving all that we have worked hard for and have been lucky with. Loving how we are building a family of trust and openness. Loving our little family walks. Loving some time together. Loving our snuggles. Instead of being the mom that says no, or reminds you of to-do lists, being the one that reminds you I trust you.

And then, this morning, I set my alarm early again. My brain and body felt rested. I got up in the dark, I kissed my hubby on the arm and squeezed his hand as I whispered "I love you." I worked for hours and hours in the dark. I drank warm coffee, I wrote, I got things checked off my list. I sat in the amazing quiet. I got to hear my little puppers sleeping. I knew my little family was all snuggled. And I started again.

There are some things I am done with. My body, mind, patience, acceptance, they have met their limit. There are a lot of things I have left to do and creating a new normal is very much one of them. I knew how hard this transition would be on me. When you spend half your life being defined and feeling valued in one specific area, it's hard to say I am no longer that. But, it is time. For a change, for a bit slower of a pace, for a middle ground, for me to find out who this person is about to become. And one thing she will never be is completely done.

20
Sep

Five Minute Friday - challenge

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on challenge.
Go.

This week, I walked away from a 20-year career. After three years of planning and deciding and working towards this goal, I finally gave my notice and will end my long-time work at the end of 2019 starting 2020 new. And the biggest challenge isn't the chaos of the next three months or the transition or the work that this will entail...the biggest challenge is quitting. Quitting isn't something I do well. Quitting feels like the wrong word for this because it is the wrong word. It is a resignation from one amazing opportunity and life, to the start of a new one. But when you live in my head and in my world, all I can think of is, I quit. I quit my job, I quit my career, I quit on my love, I quit on my agency, I quit on those I have pledged to serve, I quit on the honor and privilege I have been given. I quit.

That is not to say I am not excited, that is not to say that I am not ready, that is not to say that the agency is not ready, that is not to say that this is what I want, that is not to say that it is needed. Because as I heard someone remind me yesterday, this is complicated and the emotions are going to be plenty and they can all live there at the same time. Excitement and sadness, resentment and fear, joy and panic, loss and gaining, all at the same time and it is complicated, that is for sure, it is very complicated.

When I came home, I was asked if I felt relieved, the secret was out, the cat was out of the bag and I don't live in secrets so doesn't it feel good to have said it out loud? No, it didn't feel good. I think because I also have a challenge of speaking feelings and not unraveling and crying and I couldn't get the right words out and I was left feeling like I didn't express my gratitude nor did I sound like an adult. So, embarrassed, I was just embarrassed. So yeah, it's complicated.

And now, I walk away and towards. Because I gave my notice, I resigned, I quit, I am leaving who I have been and what I have been attached to and how I have been defined and known. I have some sitting with it to do. I have some walking through it to do. I have some things to work through and on and figure out now. Because yeah, it's all complicated and it will be a challenge.

Stop.

14
Apr

Goo

Then I asked her "what am I going to do without you?"? and she responded, "you're going to realize it was always in you".

Years ago, I met someone. Every Sunday, I would show up to her class. I would rush in late, head down, never talking to anyone. And I would see her, hear her, follow her. I sat close to her for years and years, never looking up, never talking, but I felt a pull. She didn't know my name, she doesn't know my story, but she is so important to my life. And several weeks ago, she started hinting of a move and then finally announced her intentions of not just a move but a cross country move, and I slowly fell apart.

Little faces, it is mom's year of change. And a year of realizing there is so much I just have to roll with because I don't roll easily. I don't let go easily, I mourn every change. But it is starting to really feel like a season of loss and like I asked for this, I called it to me. I told the universe that this is my year to embrace change and how hard it is for me so the universe responded with moves, and people leaving in dramatic ways, and people slipping through my fingers, and the parts in my life that made me okay all of a sudden not being there and me having to rebalance and shift and dammit, I don't balance well so to rebalance is hard and how am I going to keep shifting?

Then I asked her "what am I going to do without you?"? and she responded, "you're going to realize it was always in you".

Just last month, I finally introduced myself. I finally spoke directly to her, I laughed with her a bit, we connected. Little does she know I was already connected. I am the girl that fully listens to her on Sundays, open-hearted, open-minded. My stubborn fades when I am sitting by her side. My hardness melts and I am not only softer, I am kinder. And mostly, I am kind to me, and I am rarely kind to me. I have cried with her several times. I have laughed from my toes with her. I feel differently when I leave her each week, better, I just feel better.

There are other things too. She has taught me what my body can do, she has taught me how to breathe, and more importantly, how to exhale. She has taught me not only can I do a hand-stand, but she changed my whole perspective on it, she took away my doubt. She has taught me how to keep what I learned with me all week. She has taught me about allowing joy and good in. She has taught me how good it feels to be part of a community that comes together each week, she has taught me how to meditate, she has taught me to put the lists away and be here for just this hour and a half. All from a woman that didn't even know my name.

Then I asked her "what am I going to do without you?"? and she responded, "you're going to realize it was always in you".

Little faces, these are the words she spoke to me just last week. And the tears started to roll down your mom's face, they didn't stop for a solid 15 minutes. Because I am in a season of such fear and not believing in myself and doubting my decisions and fearful that I am going to lead us into the dark, the unknown. Having to just let go and believe and how does a planner, a type A, an upholder, one that controls all aspects of her life her world do that? How do I let go and believe I have it in me and it will just come? And, god, what if I fail? What does that mean for our security, our future, what does it mean about our survival? How am I to believe that it was in me all along? How am I to realize that I have to now call this part forward, I have to affirm it in my soul. This is the actual change I seek.

She began her talk about "the goo". How when you are in the middle of a transition, whether it is sad or joyous, whether it is scary or exciting, whether it is a new beginning or the very end, every transition has what she referred to as the "goo" phase. A phase in which everything unravels and there is destruction and you have to mourn the old to get to the other side of the transition. She said it's similar to how a caterpillar has to become this butterfly. It slithers along, it goes deep into itself, it then destroys all that it is and knows, it becomes a pile of goo, only to re-emerge. Brighter, faster, able to fly.

And that is exactly what I do and exactly what change feels like for mom. Unlike dad and the two of you who all deal with change so so well, mom rarely stops to look and admire the butterfly. She is so stuck mourning the damn caterpillar. I am always looking at the caterpillar and sad for the loss, I am wanting it to come back to us, I am screaming at it to breathe, I just want it to stay the same.

She talked about how she, her family, and her entire community are in this goo phase and all I could think was, when am I not there? That is the reason I had to make change my word this year. I needed to force myself out of the goo phase. But instead, I have found myself stuck in goo, mournful of my year, mostly sad. And watching this woman fly like a butterfly has me on my knees giving CPR to the caterpillar and wondering, what next?

Then I asked her "what am I going to do without you?"? and she responded, "you're going to realize it was always in you".

As the tears continued to fall throughout her entire speech, I wanted to tell her I am part of the goo phase too and her leaving is leaving a huge hole in my heart. But, here's the thing. She's right. You have to go through the goo. It is an essential part of the process. Where things get difficult is when you linger there or when you stop moving forward because you are there. It's when you let fear take over and you refuse to move. Or when you think it's easier to stay where you are. Or it's when the sadness is so much you cannot see the beauty of the butterfly. That's what I do. I forget to see how gorgeous the butterfly is because I am so sad for the caterpillar.

But the three of you, you always see the butterfly. Yes, you love the foundation and Anna James, my little me, you long for the known and the traditions because you ache for it to stay the same. But you, like your dad, always see how gorgeous that butterfly is. See, your dad says things like, I'm sorry your instructor is moving. I know this will be hard for you and how much you loved her class. But, there might be someone else that takes over and you might like them too? That is looking at the butterfly.

So universe, I am trying. I really am. I am trying to embrace the beauty of the butterfly but at the same time, I need you to back off a tiny bit. The change I have called forward, I could use a small break. I get it, you are trying really hard to get me to keep flying through change but I am a puddle these days. I need a hint of stability because what I want is to walk away from a 20-year relationship and project that I have believed in down to my toes. A relationship I will always and forever believe in. A relationship that taught me more than anything the power of childhood. Because the change I want is to grow and fly. Please, let me become the butterfly and give me the stability I need to be grounded in the other.

Dear girl in my life, the one that just learned my name. Yours was not just a class, it was my church. Yours was not just where I went to learn a new pose, it was where I learned to get stronger, to believe in me. I know you are going home and I am looking at your butterfly with all its beauty. Dear universe, please allow me to keep believing in her words

"you're going to realize it was always in you"

and allow me to become my own butterfly.

10
Feb

Drive

It's a funny thing, ambition, grit, and drive. It allows for a hum for those who feed off of it, for those who need it as much as others need air/food. But it is also debilitating and at times, robbing of actual joy. It is also an exceptionally negative force and creates one more reason to feel lonely.

All week, I have been hooked on stories that follow people through the good/bad/ugly/gorgeous of their careers and the drive they had and have and the lessons they learned along the way, the lessons they are still learning, the lessons they know inside and out but cannot stop themselves, the reason why they feel so trapped in a box, why they love it, why they hate it, why they need it, why it is ruining important things in their life, and why it is their life. I have heard their side, I have heard those that worked with them, for them, speak up about how "interesting" it is to work alongside someone that has this drive. I have heard words like micromanage, all in, crazy, relentless and I have heard questions like are you successful because of or despite of? All week, I have related to, cried with, screamed at, felt sick for, been addicted to, and have felt ever so validated by all of their stories. Their determination has made them successful, leaders in their trade, trailblazers in their industry, the actual standard of how to do this and do it well. But rarely does anyone do this for success. It is the drive that is propelling and in charge. It is the grit and the never settling for anything other than greatness from yourself and those around you that makes them feel alive. And I find myself desperately searching for my own set of rules, a handbook of sorts to get through this.

There are what some call simple rules for doing and running and succeeding like never be afraid to fail (yeah right!). Take a chance, just leap, jump at opportunities. All of the words that make my heart go up and down, my stomach ache. But the rules for drive, those are much more complicated, much more in the gray, and very very personal. The problem is, the rules that we create, also become the chains that hold us down. And although personal, they do follow this weird little path that looks and feels and smells so familiar. It starts with pouring your heart, your you, into something and all you can think about, all you can dream about is the thing. You can't sleep so why bother? Go to work instead and just do what you are laying there thinking about doing. That hum keeps you alive and keeps your attention and keeps you going and in love. You get to a place of bone tired and you start to remember that you have others around you to turn too, others that can do some of the things right? But damn, letting go of that thing is hard because you know the thing, you took care of the thing, you nurtured the thing, you know so well how to do the thing, and you wonder, will they take good care of it as I have? And just when you think you can start to come up for air, you allow something else to fill that space and you are right back to where you started. And sometimes, the things that you gave up start to unravel and you double down. And the hum is harder to hear so you double down even more. And the anger starts to build and the person you are most angry with is yourself. Why are you here again? How has it been decades and you haven't moved the needle for yourself? You've moved the thing, but you are where you started, obsessing over the thing.

Drive is such a funny and exhausting but very much alive emotion. It fills us full and depletes us completely. And for those that feed off of it, we need to remember our balance. We need to remember how much we lean into work and how much it means to us. But for those that lean so heavily into work, we also have to remember that we can still get knocked off of our balance. Because the answer is not doubling down, the answer is not just doing more. We have to remember that when things get depleted, we have nothing to give those we actually love. Those we actually love, not just the thing we love. Those we actually want to nurture, not just the thing we have nurtured. We have to remember why we started, what our vision was, how important it is to us, how much we love it, how much we need it (more than it needs us) and why we also need to walk away from it to recoup.

Drive and ambition...for some they are food, water, air, life. In order to keep them alive in us though, we need to find calm within it. Maybe that means some of the rules have to change. Maybe that means celebrating success. Because although success isn't the goal, it is important to recognize the successes along the way. Maybe that means, looking for a line. Because although the finish line is never ever the goal, it is important to recognize milestones. Maybe that means stopping, looking hard at yourself and asking, for what and how do you want to be remembered?

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