Tis the season

This time of year stirs up feelings of joy, togetherness, generosity, and hope. Hope for a new year, a new way of doing things, a better version of oneself. Hope for better, more functional relationships, and of course, stronger thighs and tighter abs. This time of year also draws out all the ugly we repressed for the last 300+ days. Feelings of sadness, loneliness, grief, trauma, pain, addiction. I don’t know if it’s the placement of the moon, the winter solstice or all of the subliminal holiday messages of happy families flush with cash. Whatever the trigger, we all find ourselves in one or more of these emotions, states of being. Maybe we are reminded of those we lost – an empty chair at Christmas dinner, the movie we used to always watch with that person, the first Christmas ornaments that never were. Wherever you fall on this spectrum this holiday season, know you are seen, you are loved. You are better today than yesterday, and if you just raged on someone at Target for taking the last * insert whatever it was here * – good news! You can start fresh tomorrow. 

I say this every year, but if you know someone who goes to a dark place over the holidays – reach out. Leave a gift, a card on their doorstep, hug them in the grocery store, cry with them if they need it…notice them and their pain. You don’t have to make a big deal about it or go overboard. If they don’t want to cry, that’s OK too (they’re probably closet or shower criers – let them have that). The simple act of showing them love, letting them know you remember their hurts and their broken pieces, it means more than you know. If you don’t know what to say, it’s also OK to say, “I don’t know what to say.” It’s so much better than the awkward pause or disingenuous gestures.

Christmas in and of itself is JOY and HOPE – it’s also a call to be these things to others! Pay it forward, show kindness to strangers, give of yourself. As you sit down with family or friends (or dogs and cats) this Holiday – stop and breathe. Notice those people, in that space and show gratitude for however they showed up. Notice the breath in your lungs and what a privilege it is to share space and life with others. To share highs and lows, disagreements and redemptive resolution. This day represents promises kept, selflessness given, and the everlasting promise of eternity.  

Happiest Holidays to you and yours! Wishing you peace, joy, hope and continued growth in 2020!

words.

Do you ever feel like you wake up each and every day trying to catch where you’re supposed to be | where you thought you’d be; yet, as your head hits the pillow you feel the same weight of exhaustion and failure with which you awoke?

Do you ever feel like happiness is a concept, not an experience? You’re constantly clocking in and out of life but never embracing all its parts? You get so beat down with the day to day you settle for what was once thought temporary. You begin to convince yourself that your dreams, those magical gems that gave your soul fire, they’re just that, dreams, not tangible things.

Stick with me here – and no, this is not an infomercial for some emotional support group or self-help book that I read last month, or even a judgment of your current state. It’s more a free flowing thought process that has been tapping my shoulder, whispering – what the hell are you doing with your life…do you even know…do you even see yourself? I arrive to this blank page with zero answers, however, this deserves a conversation even if a conclusion is far from reach.

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This is what I know to be true based on my experience and my observation of many I know and love. Living a reactionary life is no life at all. If we are always reacting, we will never be in front of life, we will never dictate our futures; we will exist hopelessly. Be in charge, create your own path, take responsibility and ownership of your decisions. We all have ugliness and failures but, what if, just once, we viewed them as triumphs? Without them we would not grow, we would not evolve into better versions of ourselves. Obviously, we have to make that choice; choose to embrace the struggle, choose to walk up a mountain because, at the top, is a view we could never imagine. It’s a vast openness of possibility. 

I am IN THIS right now – I do not speak from a superior place, this is not a life hack. This is hard work, it is dedication, it is stepping out into the unknown. If you fail…ok. So what. Get up. Try Again. Take the risk. Do not apologize for being bold, being honest, or being an individual. I know I have a unique personality – I am not saying be like me or that fear is for suckers. I am afraid all of the time, but I do not let it define me, I will not let it dictate my future. I want authenticity, I want joy, I want a life well-lived, one I can look back on and think – holy crap – at all times, my cup overflowed, I was true to myself, I fought hard for what I have, and I am loved greatly.

So…I leave you with this – because let’s be honest, I’m just dissecting this and applying it to my life – because it’s brilliant:
“If you want to live an authentic, meaningful life, you need to master the art of disappointing and upsetting others, hurting feelings, and living with the reality that some people just won’t like you. It may not be easy, but it’s essential if you want your life to reflect your deepest desires, values, and needs.” | Cheryl Richardson

Image | quote found via Pinterest 

Old Kinderhooks

When people don’t know what to say – they ask, “how are you?” The struggle to answer is in deciding – do they really want to know or are they being polite? Then…how do I put it into words?

I don’t know how to answer. I know what I think, but words in the head are like voices underwater. They are distorted. Jeanette Winterson

Yes – that sums it up.

We are OK**. That is the simplest response. We have horrible days, we have easy days – we exist in survival mode and that, in and of itself, is both sad and a success. Everyone wants to know how we are really doing because in their minds, there is no comprehension of how one functions in this space. A lot of that stems from having a family and their attempts to metaphorically wear our shoes. The idea is impossible. Well, so is each day, but we do it. Some of those days are filled with bright moments, belly laughs and what feels like normalcy. Other days we struggle to make it through and the world throws cruel twists and turns. But, we are OK.

Keep praying for us. Keep sending sweet notes and silly text messages. Leave us voicemails or send a positive thought our way. We appreciate every sentiment no matter its grandeur. We are not crumbling under the weight of Birdie. We have not been consumed by the grief. We are still Mick and Misie. If we had an online profile it would look the same – we enjoy a good bottle of gin, a good belly laugh and making fun of each other. If you saw us we would look and sound the same, however, our minds and hearts feel greater depths and at times function inside those depths. Don’t waste time worrying about us or grieving our hearts. Use that energy to love those around you and fight for your purpose.

An aside:

I have been tentative to write. I was caught off guard by the response to my previous post. It was not my intention to come across boastful or as if I wanted praise for our decision to donate breast milk. I am not sure why I was uncomfortable with your kindness, it was unexpected and not what I sought. I do not see myself as brave in doing so, to me, it was a logical step. I do appreciate your kind words, however, it has nothing to do with me. None of this is about Mick or I – it’s all about Birdie. It’s about her life and how it can encourage, inspire and bring perspective. She inspires everything we do. everything.

**Old Kinderhook club – history behind the phrase O.K. as told in my favorite movie Silver Linings Playbook – not historically factual, but, I like it, and not just because Bradley Cooper said it.