Photo: It probably doesn’t look like much–just a little green, and a little water. That’s true, that’s all it is. It was a window for 30 minutes of time yesterday, with people kayaking, canoeing, and speed-boating by. 30 stories floating by for me to wonder about. Even more on shore I can’t wait to uncover over the next few weeks of summer.
I spent this morning doing yoga under a giant willow tree. I counted my breath, remembered some poses, thought about trees, atoms, connectedness. I attempted to move from one pose to another with the fluidity of water and failed miserably, but that’s okay because yoga is a discipline and a practice and I get to come as I am.
As I lay on my back doing a side stretch (knee to chest, hand gently pulling it over so that body twists just so…) I looked up into the cascading branches and marveled. What a gift to be there at that moment, surrounded by students, the week almost successfully complete. It was in that moment that I realized that camp this year isn’t only for the boys. I’d spent a week at camp, too, and had benefited from it in a real and tangible way. We need this yearly retreat, myself included, not just the boys.
I also learned, trying to do tree pose and having significant trouble standing with one foot off the ground, that I am completely misaligned. I’ve spent the past 6 months holding everything at bay. “I’ll get to it later” and “I don’t have the time” have been my favorite phrases. They weren’t untrue, but they were short-sighted. I didn’t make time for physical therapy after the ankle injury and it has come back to haunt me in a significant way. I can’t stand with my knees straight. I can’t lift my right (injured) foot off the ground and stay balanced on my left. I can’t put all of my weight on my right foot and lift my left too far from the ground. That twisting side stretch made my lower back make a little pop and give me a hard time. While it felt strangely great, I know that it’s a reflection of all of the very poor walking I’ve been doing. My new (supportive) shoes are helping, but I need to pay more attention to how I walk and then walk correctly more often.
On Wednesday, having had a really great morning session with my students, I had a moment of reflection and joy. I have deeply missed teaching. It’s a passion of mine. I love it and I do it well and it makes me happy. Students drive me crazy and inspire me at the same time. Students are different out here, but they yearn for the same things my former students did and they respond to truth and wisdom the same way. I think that schools can be just as holy as churches, and I get a lot of energy from them. Teaching my lessons in a lovely library classroom, I caught inspiration for a new short story that I’ve been working on all week!
Anyway, I saw this all to say, I didn’t know that I was in deep retreat and realignment until I was stretching my back this morning. I felt better, relieved, beloved… I also felt out of joint, reminded of all that things I’ve willfully ignored in order to keep going. My body is not in good shape. I need to spend time getting it together. I need to go to physical therapy, I need to do more yoga, I need to get in my steps every day (I did this week! Yay for me! My little fitbit is SO happy!). I need to willfully retreat from my head into my body and get my house back in order. This is the work. I’m here for it, hard as it will be. This is what pausing and listening can teach.
It’s a summer night. Still hot and sticky, but clear. These are still the long days, so there is a newness to the night, even though it is so late and so dark out. Tomorrow, the boys will get up earlier than I want them to. Tonight, well, tonight I have these humble offerings and gratitude for the time to give them.
There is one more hour in this Friday night. One more hour until Friday gives way to Saturday. I tell you all the time that transition points are the perfect time for wishes. The world is simply ready to receive a bit of input on what comes next. Just a little nudge can make a difference in the course of events. So here they are, my wishes for you, on this Friday night, at this late hour. I wish you time listening to yourself. What do you need, Dear Reader, and where do you need it? Where do you hurt right now? Where are you neglected? What can you do, what can you take up, to nourish yourself this weekend? Pinpoint the thing, Dear Reader, and take the first step toward finding the fix. I wish you time to read this weekend. Try for a poem, an essay, and a short story this weekend. All of these things are easily accessible, so do try. You don’t have to read them all in one sitting! We read to learn how to be a little bit more human. Learn to be a better human through someone else’s story this weekend, Dear Reader. I wish you yummy things: something cold, something grilled, something fresh. This is about that time when gardens are starting to yield with regularity and people are fully into their grilling repertoire. Fall into someone’s backyard barbecue. Get your hands in the dirt of your garden or someone else’s. Stroll into a downtown area and partake in some locally made ice cream. The gifts of the season are to be enjoyed and will not last forever. Reach out your hand, say please, say thank you, and then enjoy. I wish you good company. Wise company. Company that is full of great stories and lots of love. Listen and be delighted. Hug and be warmed. Kiss on soft cheeks and be known. Share and be heard. This life is not meant to be lived alone. These times, your times, are not meant to be held in solitude. Be in community this weekend, Dear Reader, even if it’s only for a little while.
I tell you that you are beloved every weekend because it’s a truth that I’m not convinced you’re told on a daily basis. If you are, then wonderful. If you’re not, I hope that you read these words weekly and know them to be true. I don’t type them to be flashy or cute. I write them because they are true. You are a beloved person. You were thoughtfully made. You have within you a light that shines brightly, a light that has purpose and meaning. Your life is precious and meaningful. You are loved not because of what you do or what you have become or how much money you have. You are loved because you are who you are, breathing and heart beating. Your potential is your own and it’s wonderful, but it’s not why you are loved. Your accomplishments are your own and are wonderful, but they are not why you are loved. You are loved without reason. You are loved because you are. There is someone who is thinking of you right this very minute, filled with gratitude, simply because they know you are here under the same sky they are for another day. If you know this, (and Lord, I hope you know this), I hope you’ll share this. Tell someone they are loved this weekend. Look them in the eyes and remind them that they are beloved. Be the shining light for someone this weekend.
Until Monday, take good care.