Sunday, September 16, 2012

the most important thing I have to tell you

I've come to realise that the thing I most value in life is kindness.

Kindness is respect and love, intertwined.

Kindness is choosing

to think outside ourselves,

being aware of the consequences of our actions,

thinking how others might feel about the things we say and do.

Kindness is choosing not to bring suffering onto others.

Kindness is compassion.

But kindness isn't soft, no sir. Kindness isn't pink and Hallmarky. There are no kittens and bows on my kindness card!

My kindness has muscles and steel and strength. My kindness asks me to rise above a moment when I'm tempted to be snarky to someone, or say things about someone behind their back.

My kindness asks me to say sorry, to own the moments where I've been wrong.

It involves choosing paths that are sometimes difficult or different from the norm.

My kindness has me saying no to choices that cause another living thing to suffer pain or fear.

Sometimes I think if all anyone ever chose in life was to be kind, the simplest path would open up in front of them.

You would see it, ribboning out. It would glow. And whenever you were faced with a choice, you could say, Which is the kindest? And so your life would be laid out in easy pieces, the yellowest, finest, brick-est road.

It seems so simple, some days.

But a couple of months ago I had to make a hard decision. This one was tricky.

In order to be kind to myself, I had to possibly disappoint and hurt someone else. For years, I'd let myself be part of a situation that caused me suffering because I wanted to be nice. I thought that was the kindest choice. I thought kindness meant I had to sacrifice my own happiness and wellbeing.

But that's not what I mean by being kind.

Kindness is recognising that sometimes the person you have to nurture is yourself. And if you're honest about that, if you take ownership of your own needs and wellbeing, and you are clear and you are gentle, then that isn't cruel. It's being true.

And truth is the white-hot core of kindness. Not the "truth" people use when being judgemental or pushing their agenda, knowing it'll hurt someone else. But truth that comes without malice or words that bite. Truth that's filled with compassion for others. Truth that respects, loves, and honours other living things with a fiery, steady light you can see for miles.

Kindness is all these things of beauty
held together in two hands,


Kindness is a living thing;

you can feel its pulse beating against your fingers,
along and into your skin.

Do you feel it? It beats as you beat.

It has your heart.

Friday, September 14, 2012

the time has come…

to really introduce my husband. He is the coolest, listening-est, kindest, most creative, dedicated and compassionate grown up I know…

and the funniest person I've ever met.

This video is of him, at juggling class.

He's been taking the class with my boy and my girl for a term (I'm planning to join them next term—it's too much fun to miss!),

and this was his final performance for the group.

Here he is,

The Breakneck Juggler.

I'm really glad he didn't actually break anything.

And I'm really, really glad I married him.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

kind of awesome

My boy started juggling in April.

He practises it for hours because he can 
(no bus to catch in the morning, 
no hours and hours of designated work in the day, 
no homework at night),

because this skill is honoured and treated as equal to
any other learning he might do,

and because it brings him joy.

So he has become 
kind of awesome at it.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

it is a beautiful day today

Spring is here. You can tell because the peach tree has erupted, quite suddenly, with bright pink blossoms.

Yesterday I sat in the sun on a bench with a lizard in my hands. He sat so quietly on my finger, his little heart beating. He didn't try to run; he simply soaked in the sunlight. We named him Maximus before we released him on to the grass. At some point I looked up into the peach tree and could see bees by the dozens, buzzing from flower to flower to flower, gathering. 

Yesterday, I went to my naturopath, and together we finally flushed out the seed of doubt laid by a doctor about 6 weeks ago. This doctor (not my usual), really pushed for me to get some Xanax for my upcoming flight. When I told him I had a natural supplement that worked well with anxiety, he said with a little smile, "Well, it's always nice to have a placebo." And when I said again, I would rather not take Xanax if possible, he said, "Well, once you're on that plane, it's hard to get off!"

I left his office, and let his words seep in as the days passed. I let his words grow inside me like a weed. I let them take root and I gave them power. And I felt fear, real debilitating fear, for the first time in months. That was my August, filled with beauty, busy-ness, laughter, and creeping, creeping fear.

Meanwhile, other things happened recently to try and trip me. Two other potential triggers to depression sprouted up like companion weeds. As though they saw one weed allowed to grow, and they thought, "Oooh! Open weed season! Cowabunga! Here we come!"

I watched these things build around me. Over there, one trigger. Over here, another, and right here beside me, my fear of flight. I could see how easily they could pull me under. The conditions were all there, ripe for a perfect storm.

But as my hardest day hit on Saturday, and as I saw the storm roil and ready itself, and as I named it and called it "Perfect" and spoke of it to a friend, I realised that wasn't what it was, at all. 

A truly perfect storm is nature's anomaly. It exists in science, or—as some see it—in the hands of God. It is completely out of our control.

But this—my situation—isn't. Words and triggers and history and loss are often out of my control, but my reaction to them is not. I don't have to let the storm rise, because I don't have to give it power. I literally just have to keep moving through the water. Just keep moving. Forward and forward and forward again.

I just have to breathe and watch bees gather pollen from the peach tree. I just have to plan for a trip and let sorrow pass through me, and listen and be a friend, and love always and be kind, and walk. 

I just have to watch my boy juggle and listen as my girl has drum lessons with her dad.

I just have to hug my mother when she walks in the door.

I just have to kiss my husband and put my hand on his back.

I just have to run my workshops and watch how the kids' voices tumble over each other, so excited to share.

I just have to have a cat on my lap.

I just have to see my counsellor and have him remind me how well I am doing.

I just have to skip rocks on the water.

I just have to see my naturopath and talk through treatment and feel calm and whole and hopeful again.

I just have to keep moving. Make my way forward, with my eyes wide open, noticing and finding the joy, always.

And the waves can't help but ease. The storm can't help but settle.

It's spring here.

The blossoms and bees are out. It's a beautiful, beautiful day today.