This morning Steve took Ada to school so I could have a little more time to myself. As I walked the ocean path with our dog, I found myself feeling the tiniest bit guilty for how happy I was to be by myself, moving my body through space, listening to music that makes my soul light up. There’s still a touch of post-Benjamin fear in me that if I’m too happy when Ada isn’t around, she’ll be taken from me. I wondered at the lightness I felt, the sense of ease that comes most often when I am alone. We have fun together, our little family, but lately there’s been a cloud of stress hanging over us. Still recovering from Ben’s death, financial worries and emotional challenges have kept us from experiencing the ease I so desperately wanted at the beginning of the year. I believe that I can choose ease in any situation, it just seems easier when I’m on my own.
I don’t always take advantage of my time alone. I get stuck answering emails and trying to catch up on my favorite blogs. I’ve hardly sent a tweet in weeks (months?) and while my head tells me I need to do these things in order to keep up, my heart is telling me I am in a time of fallow. I am burrowing into myself, into the center of my life. I am deepening my connection to Spirit, I am spending time in Nature, I am journaling instead of writing publicly. All of those things are necessary and I have given myself permission to do them.
Still, there’s a desire to get more done. To have 8 hour days to commit to my work. To want to cross more things off the I-really-want-to-do-this list. To fast track my earning potential. Then I look at my daughter’s smile and her bright eyes. I listen to her conversation changing, her thought processes developing, her made-up songs and nonsensical words and I think how privileged I am to be able to witness this, to find joy in it. I realize how privileged I am to love this deeply.
It is hard for me to rest. There is a voice in my head that talks of momentum and reach and whispers should in every other sentence. I recognize that voice now and I know it’s not mine. I am seeing my stories more clearly and am working to love them and let them go. I need them less and less as I grow more into myself. There are stories about parenting, about marriage, about being liked, about making money. There are stories about sex and betrayal and wounding. There are stories about family and friends, about community and being left behind. In getting quiet, in meditation and dance, in writing and doing yoga, I am learning where the stories stop and I begin.
I think that’s why it’s easier to feel joyful when I am alone. There’s no one else’s story to get wrapped up in and I’m more able to drop my own. They’re fun to look at, to turn over in my hand like a piece of sea glass, marveling at how the waves smoothed the edges and churned it from beer bottle to jewel. But I am not that jewel, as pretty as it is. I am learning, slowly, remembering what I am. The waves of life, the waves of grief, have smoothed my edges enough that the light is shining through.
In those moments when the stories drop, the joy comes in and the ego steps aside, I recognize my beauty. I feel the warmth of my light. We are meant to be Love. We are meant to shine.
I’ve been listening to this song on repeat, and on this day, the 2nd anniversary of the first time I hit publish, it feels like a beautiful version of happy birthday to me.