unexpected paths, part 1

You may have noticed that I’ve been mostly in absentia for the last month or so. It’s been quite the series of events, and I’m still getting my footing, but here I am, with some beginning thoughts on recent events.

The condensed version is that I’d had a persistent cough for a while and had begun to be short of breath doing things like walking up the basement steps. (I might not be dancing full-time anymore, but I walk the trails regularly with my dog, and I still choreograph the occasional musical theatre production, so I’m in relatively good shape, so this was not not normal.) I finally went to an Urgent Care, where they took an X-ray and saw a bunch of stuff in my lungs that shouldn’t be there. The thing was, no one could agree on what it was. Fast forward…again, condensed version…it took three weeks, a lung biopsy, and a week in the hospital to finally diagnose me: Continue reading

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post du jour – the crab bucket ~elizabeth gilbert

pathwriter’s note: Liz Gilbert hits the nail on the head again and again, whether she’s sharing her own thoughts or the thoughts of others. This is her Facebook post from yesterday (12/1/14).

THE CRAB BUCKET

Dear Ones –

A few months ago, I was on stage with Rob Bell — minister, teacher, family man, great guy — and a woman in the audience asked him this question:

“I’m making all these important changes in my life, and I’m growing in so many new and exciting ways, but my family is resisting me, and I feel like their resistance is holding me back. They seem threatened by my evolution as a person, and I don’t know what to do about it.”

Rob said, “Well, of course they’re threatened by your evolution as a person. You’re disrupting their entire world view. Remember that a family is basically just a big crab bucket — whenever one of the crabs climbs out and tries to escape, the other crabs will grab hold of him and pull him back down.”

Which I thought was a VERY unexpected comment to come from a minister and a family man!

Rob surprised me even more, though, as he went on to say, “Families are institutions — just like a church, just like the army, just like a government. Their sense of their own stability depends upon keeping people in their correct place. Even if that stability is based on dysfunction or oppression. When you move out of your ‘correct place’ you threaten their sense of order, and they may very likely try to pull you back down.” Continue reading

time and space

Most of the time, I feel as though this blog and the things I write or post exist in a sort of bubble. Although I give a lot of thought to the sorts of things I post, I don’t usually give a lot of thought to what happens afterwards. I long ago stopped worrying about whether my readers commented on my posts or hit the “like” button. Somewhere along the way, I decided that the quotes and personal posts and re-posts of others’ words were like seeds—my job was to cast them to the wind and not worry about where they landed or whether they sprouted.

Lately, it’s been harder to write posts, mostly because I’m primarily making my living as a freelance writer these days, which means I log a lot of time working on my laptop and focusing my brain on writing. And then there’s the new writing challenge that’s been added to the mix: the fiction nudge. By the time I’ve spent the better part of a day writing, my brain is often mush, and sitting down (again) to compose a blog post is often beyond me—which means my blog writing has fallen by the wayside. Some days, even searching for and posting quotes has been a challenge, but somehow I’ve managed to keep the quotes going and even write something from time to time.

About a month ago, I had lunch with a fellow blogger, with whom I’ve built a friendship online the last few years. We’ve moved to locations only an hour or so apart here in NC, and, after talking about it for a long time, we finally met in the middle and had lunch. We greeted and hugged each other like long-lost friends, and we sat and talked as though we’d sat and talked like that a million times. Continue reading

quote du jour ~star hawk

Community. Somewhere, there are people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in out throats. Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power. Community means strength that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done. Arms to hold us when we falter. A circle of healing. A circle of friends. Someplace we can be free.

~Starhawk

quote du jour ~nouwen

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.

~Henri J.M. Nouwen, Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life

make new friends, but keep the old….

I had lunch with an old friend today. Our life paths diverged around the time I got married, and it’s probably been at least fifteen years since we’ve actually seen each other, maybe even closer to twenty, though we’ve emailed and Facebooked in recent years.

But Liz is one of those friends you can go years without seeing and pick up right where you left off. We hugged each other hard and expressed our amazement that it had been so long since we’d laid eyes on each other. The love and respect we’d always had for each other was right where we’d left it—no awkwardness, no small talk. There were catch-up questions, of course—inquiring after our respective mothers, etc.—but there was also “What are you doing to feed your creative spirit?”

How had I managed for so long without her?

Being with Liz today, seeing myself in her eyes, I touched back into a part of myself that I’d left behind on my journey these last couple of decades. It was balm for my soul, a homecoming of the heart. What a gift.

fast forward

When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for you to stand upon or you will be taught to fly.
~Patrick Overton

I read somewhere once that the Universe (or God or whatever you call the divine force) first speaks us in a whisper. If we don’t pay attention, it speaks a little louder, and if we’re still not listening, it ups the volume to a shout—metaphorically speaking, of course. And if we’re not moving fast enough on following the guidance of the divine, sometimes it gives us a little nudge. If we ignore the nudge, we get a big ol’ shove.

Well, it seems the Universe wants me to move a little faster with my big leap than I had in mind. It seems I need to get a move on, so I’ve been presented with a situation that’s requiring me to pretty much drop everything and concentrate on wrapping up the current chapter of my life so that I can move on to the next one. Note: this means saying farewell to “what is” without really knowing “what’s next”…except in a very general sense.

It’s a little scary. No, actually, it’s a lot scary. I really don’t know how I’m going to do what needs to be done in the time that it needs to happen, but I don’t really have much choice. It’s what’s in front of me. And once I do accomplish it? Well, I know the general direction, but the details that will get me from here to there? Don’t have a clue.

The ingredients for this venture? A LOT of faith. Good friends. Deep breaths. Repeating mantras (a LOT) like, “It’s all going to work out. It’s going to be fine. I can do this.” More faith.

Initially, I was a basket case. Today, I’m optimistic but nervous. I still get overwhelmed when I think about what’s in front of me, but at the moment, I’m hanging in there. As I said in an email to a friend: “One foot in front of the other. Deep breaths.” And as a fellow dancer once said to me: “Breathe and sway. Breathe and sway.”

So here I go—breathing and swaying, one foot in front of the other, full speed ahead.