Monday, November 14, 2011

Acknowledging the Duality

Today I turned 41.

And I'm okay with that. Really. Or at least I thought I was. Until I woke up this morning with severe lower back pain. Ouch!

"Lindy", my body said, "I know you thought you were okay with this getting older stuff. But you really need to admit that you have some fears and doubts about aging. And the only way to get you to acknowledge this stuff sometimes is to make you a little uncomfortable. Now you know the drill. Deal with these feelings! Now!"

The week leading up to my birthday was phenomenal. I was feeling lucky to be where I was in life and full of appreciation for my supportive family and friends and my community. My place in the world here by the sea. I mean, I had my niggling insecurities about getting older, but I was determined to focus my energy on the happy, positive bits about being 41.

The weekend leading up to my birthday I did all kinds of fun things. I listened to live music. I danced with my friends. I got the world's most perfect buzz-on. I hiked with friends and family to one of the most beautiful spots on Moose Island. Twice. I felt loved, adored and appreciated by everyone around me. And I loved adored, and appreciated right back at 'em.

But today,  my actual birthday,  I was hurting.

This symptom was not exactly new to me. It has occurred before when I've been experiencing life changes. It even happened last year on my birthday. So this year it was right on cue. I decided to call my yoga instructor and have a little chat.

During this conversation, I took a deep breath and acknowledged that my body was trying to tell me something was wrong. And that I was so busy focusing on the positive that I was leaving no room to acknowledge the parts of me that were feeling less then positive.

My instructor encouraged me to embrace the duality that is me. To acknowledge that yes, I am blessed to be where I am in my life. But that there is always a flip side. There is sadness, pain, fear, grief and loss. And it's okay. This is me. These things, as well as the abundance of all that is good in my life, is what makes me who I am.

So I decided to spend the day contemplating and acknowledging some of the things that were causing me sadness. And here are some of the things I was thinking about today:

  • I am not always liking the changes in my body and my face. It doesn't matter that I am more comfortable in my own skin then I was when I was twenty. I even feel more attractive now than I did when I was twenty. But the fact of the matter is that my skin is losing its elasticity. My jaw line is softening. My hands look different. I have lots of cellulite. This culture is obsessed with youth and beauty. I am scared that looking older will make me invisible to the rest of the world. So no matter how okay I am with the changes, the rest of the world is not. I don't want to be invisible. 
  • Another year wiser, yes. But let's face it. I'm another year closer to death. And quite honestly, I like living. 
  • I try to be an authentic person. I want to be an authentic person. When I felt my back yelling at me this morning, I was scared I wasn't really the authentic person I thought I was. I had to entertain the possibility that life isn't about moving forward all the time. It isn't necessarily about overcoming things. It's about being able to move back and forth between the dualities of who we are. To acknowledge the dark and the light. I can feel lucky, blessed, and shitty, too.
So my birthday was pretty much spent just letting go and feeling some of the sadness, grief and fear that was obviously needing my attention. These are parts of me that need nurturing too, I guess.

And while this may not sound like much of a way to spend a birthday, in all actuality, it was probably one of the greatest gifts I could have given myself.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Sweet and Low Down

October has come and gone. Hard to believe it's November, especially with a day like today. Absolutely gorgeous. I made sure to take a nice hike with Patrick this morning after I returned from my commute to Machias. Nothing works out the kinks like knitting by the sea, the sound of the waves lapping the shore. The smell in the air a mix of ocean and woodsmoke. The sun shines warm on my head (which is clad in a ridiculous safety orange hat!). 

It's been a busy time. Halloween is serious business in these parts, so I spent a fair amount of time fashioning our family's costumes. What else has been happening around here?

  • Continued shingling of the mudroom and readying the house for winter.
  • Kieran is enjoying learning to write and identify letters. He'll be busying himself with one of his workbooks when suddenly he'll nonchalantly say, "Hey, Mom, wanna see something?" He'll then proceed to write a new letter while I practically shriek with delight "I had no idea you knew the letter M! I'm so proud of you!" It's a pretty fun game.
  • The boy has also taken to camping out in the house. Literally. The tent started out in our bedroom. We then moved it to his bedroom (after propping the bed against the wall to free up enough space). It has since moved to the playroom. He loves sleeping in there. And I figure, why not?
  • I made two pretty new pillow covers for the living room couch. 
  • I also knit myself a winter hat from some really yummy Malabrigo yarn. God, I love that stuff!
  • The chickens have really slowed down with the egg production, which is a bummer. 
  • I am loving, absolutely loving, Friday Night Lights. Have you seen this show? If you haven't, you should. I pretty much have a crush on every single character, male and female. Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can't lose!
  • I have become pretty attached to the idea that I should have a pair of Ugg boots. These are cool, and they would be so, so warm. Plus, they would last forever.  
  • It looks like some of my handiwork will be available at a cool shop in Portland. Stay tuned for more on that. 
  • My interest in the stars has actually caused me to crack a book. This book, specifically. Yes, I seem to learn best from the guy who wrote Curious George (you wanna make something of it?!). Heron, Kieran and I were out last night with our binoculars scoping out the sky. The moon was pretty bright so it wasn't the best time to be stargazing. But to see Kieran holding those binoculars up to his face with those little hands, exclaiming his own delight in the heavens above us, was truly touching. I love how interested he is in the world around him, and how he is obviously trying to figure out his place in it. God, how I love that child.
  • My birthday is just around the corner. Me and the girls are cooking up some debauchery for this weekend. I can't wait!

The hat? Kilter by Alex Tinsley. Love her stuff!

Damn, but I do look hot in hunter orange.

Yes, these are the types of views I'm subjected to day in and day out. It's a tough life, I assure you.

The wizard.

The sea witch.

The gorilla. Bananas Gorilla from the Richard Scarry books, to be exact. Yeah, he looks ridiculous, I know. But hey, I tried. And he was an awfully good sport!