On the same day as the shooting in Orlando, I turned 44. My husband, kids and I were hiking on a mountain top to an abandoned fire lookout, kayaking on a magical lake, and feeling lots of love and joy.
A day later, when I found out about the tragedy, I started feeling guilty about all the bliss I felt on my birthday. The guilt lasted exactly 10 seconds, because I realized that the kinds of feelings I experienced on my birthday are exactly what the world needs in the face of insanity, fear, hatred and death. We need love, joy, community, family.
I am so heartbroken about what happened. And as always in the face of unspeakable grief I am holding my loved ones close, trying to teach them inclusivity, that we humans are so much more alike than not and thus should treat each other like brothers and sisters.
Anyway. I am now 44, rapidly heading towards the half century mark. I think this would freak me out more if I didn't feel so healthy and strong. Honestly, I feel more vibrant than I ever have.
My hair is turning grayer, my wrinkles are deepening, my hands are looking like the appendages of a woman 20 years older than me (I don't wear gloves when gardening or washing dishes), but I feel wiser, deeper, and more seasoned.
I think ageing has a lot do do with our mindset. Our culture tells us that we will get aches and pains, that we will get sick, tired and ugly. Well, I have an issue with that paradigm. There's nothing that says we can't get healthier and more alive as we age, right? I jump on that band wagon! Jump with me!
The hike up the fire lookout was gorgeous. Wildflowers, sweeping vistas, ferns, gnarled trees...
|Don't worry, she didn't kill it. This butterfly was dead, and she was sad and insisted on a proper burial.|
On the way down, I lagged behind. Steve, who knows I like my space, took the kids with their chattering and noisy enthusiasm and led them down the mountain, while I quietly walked alone, blissed out. The afternoon light was so soft and pretty, bathing everything in golden light.
The backlit flowers seemed to call out to me to stop and admire them. I reflected on how much I've learned from flowers. Mostly it's about how to be fully present, to exist in a grounded way and letting their light and beauty shine unapologetically.
What I love about flowers (and everything in nature, really) is that they just ARE. They live fully in the moment without judging. Lupins don't look at a daisies and say "Gosh, I wish they weren't so different from me!". A rose doesn't lament that one of her petals is a different size than another one of her petals, wishing she looked different. She just keeps on blooming her butt off, spreading her gorgeous fragrance. One flower doesn't judge another: "Look at that bitch! Who does she think she is for showing off like that with her vibrant colours? I wish she kept it down a little."
I totally wanna live like that.
I totally wanna live like that.
That night, we slept in our friend's tiny cabin and went bicycling (me) and eating cinnamon rolls (the rest of my family), and then headed to Pearrygin Lake to kayak. Steve gave me a kayak for my birthday (!!!), so we naturally had to test it. The lake's surface was like glass and took my breath away with its beauty.
My son Luke must have rolled his eyes at me because I kept exclaiming how gorgeous it was. By the way, you know what the kids' present was for me? They cleaned out the fridge after I hinted how much this would mean to me. Have I told you how much I love these kids?
What are you holding near and dear these days?