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Tag: endings are also beginnings (page 1 of 2)

Fall in Utah

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”

- F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

The white curtain of winter will be falling soon, yet I’m still mesmerized by my first fall in Utah. The aspen trees have turned a vivid yellow, and the sun slips away before dinner is on the table. When it gets a little windy, the leaves pull away from the trees and dance a quick-step through the air until they settle upon the grass. I’ve already unpacked my sweaters and scarves to fend off the crisp morning temperatures.

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This is my first time experiencing fall as a living metamorphosis of Mother Nature rather than just a flip of the calendar; we didn’t really have fall in Southern California. And despite the chill and the shorter days that hint at the long winter just ahead, I enjoy seeing the trees and grasses changing from green to golden, the flowers folding into themselves.

20140914_170737It’s a reminder that all this life is cyclical, nothing is permanent.

It’s a reminder to enjoy the colors at their most vivid – so that when they fade, we will miss them with a bittersweet sentimentality rather than feel the regretful ache that comes with the realization that we failed to take them in when we had the chance.

It’s a reminder that what seems like the world right now may only be a prelude to something even grander.

Wish you were here,
Lis

 

 

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The Other Side

 

Hello again. It’s been five weeks since I last posted, by far the longest hiatus I’ve taken from my blog since I began writing.

I’ve missed it. I’ve sat down quite a few times to write but have only succeeded in penning a few sloppy sentences… Have you ever had a time in your life in which you’ve been tugged in every direction and it’s too overwhelming to try to hold yourself upright, or even to discern top from bottom, and so you just give yourself over to all the currents, surrender to the rise and fall of it all until the waters finally calm? That was my May.

Not that I’m complaining. To be clear, all the tugging was several commitments I willingly made, things I wanted to follow through with. Big, important things. I knew I would be overwhelmed, that there was no way to survive it all intact without giving myself over to the flux and chaos that is the inevitable outcome of taking on more than I should. But, as is often the case when a few big, important things knock at the same time, I wanted to rise to meet the opportunities more than I wanted to preserve my sanity – at least in the short term…

Now that I’m on the other side, I’m proud of what I managed to accomplish in just one month (Largest event of my career! Online journalism course through Cardiff University taught by the renowned Richard Sambrook! New website (almost done)! An out-of-state move!) – and I’ve regained enough sanity to realize it was not the sort of whirlwind that should be repeated. Because the real big, important things aren’t any of my exclamatory accomplishments; they’re my health and my personal relationships and taking time to scrunch my toes into the grass.

I am, in fact, scrunching my toes into the grass as I write this.

Which brings me to that bit I mentioned up above about the move: I’m writing to you from my new, grassy, tree-lined, bird-filled backyard in Salt Lake City, Utah. So I am, not only figuratively but also literally, on the other side.

It’s different here. Quieter. Calmer. The people aren’t in a hurry. And no matter where I am in the city, I can see the Wasatch Mountains rising into the sky – a constant reminder of the reasons I moved here: to work less and live more, to forego keeping up with the Joneses in favor of getting in touch with nature, to prioritize what makes me happy over what makes me money. And, yes, to preserve my sanity more consistently.

This is only my third day here, so everything is still awash in newness and possibility – it hasn’t been long enough for any of the shine to wear off. Which is just fine by me. I’ve been through a lot of breaks and repairs these past few years – I feel blessed to be living in the shiny and new for a while.

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Fast Getaway

Why do we prolong our suffering, insist on a rite or a moment of closure? Sometimes it is simply best to retreat, swiftly, without fuss, as soon as we realize it isn’t working. No carefully chosen words, no final piercing statement, no desperate attempts to mend something that is broken beyond repair.

Because, really, what’s the point? On the other side of all that fuss still lies The End.

We will make excuses, cling to hope, wait for that one crucial gesture to turn it all around – but it won’t come. And we know. Deep down, we know the exact moment it is really over. We just won’t accept it or admit it.

Next time – and there will be a next time – embrace the loss and uncertainty. Run toward it.

Because the faster we move through the darkness, the sooner we will find the light. When we learn to let ourselves fall hard, and grieve harder, we also learn to stand tall and, finally, fly again.

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Postcard from the Clouds

Maybe the ending isn’t important. Maybe the only thing that will matter is that I jumped in, soaked you up without hesitation, loved you so completely. I sit here empty-handed and yet my heart is full – brimming. Because I kissed and laughed and flew and fell, and because I found the beauty in all of it. Because I chose a passionate life, even when it hurt, even when it meant losing the one who had sparked the flame. I lived. Maybe I can’t take you with me but I can carry this spirit (our spirit) with me, reincarnated, and braid it into my wings… I may fly farther but I will keep it, always.

I wish the same for you. That you will find new wings. That you will remember us. That you will remember the lightness of love. That you will live, really live, and fly again after each fall.

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Falling, Faltering

I fell for someone recently. I won’t say I fell in the Capital-L Thing of All Things… But I stumbled into his arms, decided I was happy there, tried to stay.

He (is this where I insert an “of course”?) didn’t fall. And I was left clothed in foolishness - for being so honest, so trusting, so hopeful.

And… well, I feel like I haven’t breathed since he left. I am anguished over the spiteful things I said to mask my own gaping vulnerability. I am embarrassed I melted into such an insecure puddle of Stereotypical Female for a few days. I am disappointed in myself for not accepting the situation with more strength and grace. I loathe how silent and gray my days have been without his sweet spirit to carry with me. All these emotions are wrapped around my ribs, pulled taut, tied in such an elaborate knot…

This got me thinking about why we focus on the voids (This isn’t enough… I need this… I want this…) instead of the full, even brimming, parts of our lives that often accompany them. Because if I stop to think – really think, in that uncomfortable way of forcing myself to acknowledge every little positive – this is what I come up with:

Falling for him was a considerable step forward, because it proved just that -  I can fall. For a long time I didn’t think I was capable of ever doing so again, that I had reached some sort of lifetime quota of time spent smitten over a man. But no, that old feeling was there. It returned slowly, gingerly, less ostentatious than before, but it was there, longing to spread its wings.

And the more time I spent with him, the more my old brave self was unearthed. I began trying new things, taking risks, speaking and acting without constantly double-checking, tuning, censoring. The only reason he even knew I fell is because I dared to tell him - how bold, how unlike the Me of Recent Years!

So, as much as I feel the sting of rejection and loss, I’m staying on this path. I may have stumbled into him, I may have tripped us both up momentarily, but I know I’m heading in the right direction. In the past, I made mistakes because I was striving to please a man, to become worthy of his affections by disguising the parts of me that weren’t Made to His Specifications. But my mistakes of late – they’re the product of me putting my own happiness ahead of any man’s uninterrupted comfort, of me reveling in the tiny delights I find in uncovering pieces of myself. I’m making mistakes because I’m aching to live a passionate, brave, colorful, honest life – I can’t think of any better reasons to falter.

So, here I am, living, reawakening and, yes, faltering. I will tend to my wounds, wait until I can breathe again… and then I’ll go running headlong into my next mistake…

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Loving and Breaking

All these brave souls

loving and breaking…
loving and breaking…

Loving.

Breaking.

Gathering up the pieces,
trying again and again.

Reaching out
even as their hearts
are still crumbling.

I wish I was one
of them.

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Today

A memory flickers at the corner of my soul like the flame of a forgotten candle, a diminishing glow, burning and fading, burning and fading…

I imagine it will intensify, fill my vision with a final brilliant burst of orange before flickering for the last time, conceding as darkness settles over the room. And I will step outside, lift my face to the sunlight until night falls.

Soon, it will be tomorrow.

 

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Lost and Found

I used to wear a thin silver ring printed with the words “may your wildest dreams come true”. It was sort of a good luck charm, and sort of a reminder to hold onto the hope that I would eventually get to where I wanted to be. I wore it every day, absentmindedly using my thumb to twirl it around my finger.

A few weeks after I moved into this house, still raw and reeling post-breakup, I inadvertently dropped the ring down the bathroom drain. There I was, in a state of emotional, financial and physical devastation, and I had just dropped my lucky charm into the depths of a decrepit plumbing system – what a perfectly poignant illustration of my anguish. It seemed such a fitting mishap that I never tried to retrieve the ring. 

Fifteen months later, my circumstances have changed very little. I am still living here, working an underpaid job, far from a new love and the life I want. But I am profoundly different. I have taken back control and rebuilt myself, cell by cell. I have rediscovered my confidence, my balance, my idealism. And I have learned how to dream again.

There is a place on the horizon where this life intersects with the threshold of my dreams. It will take some time until I can cross over, but I realize now that I can cover the distance and arrive - surefooted, curious, ready to create and explore and savor a little piece of the beyond.  

I had thought about replacing my old ring now that I am dreaming and living and thriving again… But instead I have my eye on another ring by the same artist, possibly a year-end gift to myself. It says “learning to fly”.

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Blank Canvas

Possibility. The word dances on my tongue, fresh and sweet.Before me lies a new, clear canvas, an expanse of anything.

I am free to stop dreaming and start chasing.

I can write. I can travel. I can leave this life, build a new one. I can shed these dry, papery skins of old selves and loves and wounds and uncover a whole new me.

I am a whole new me.

I will not take much with me into the future; just a few dreams, a few mentors and an abundance of enthusiasm. Light hands will make it easier to reach out, reach higher, pick myself up, capture a fairytale.

…I cannot seem to find the right words for a closing line. Maybe because I am so preoccupied with beginnings. How extraordinary.

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