beginning again

“The reason to draw close to death when we’re younger is to practice finding and living in the soul. This grows our muscles for living. In the absence of the illusion of power and majesty, we see that the soul was right here all along, everywhere, and consequently we can once again feel charmed by the world.” - Anne Lamott

Oh happy day! I’m writing again! I have been writing but only in my journal. I never not write because I need it like air but sometimes blogging eludes me. What do I share? The answer is always what is true for me right now. Sometimes it resonates with others and that keeps me blogging.

How were your holidays? Mine, well…they were…interesting. I mean not as interesting as the bra currently hanging on my front door with beads spilling all over the straps. (For those of you unfamiliar with January in Tampa, it is Gasparilla season which means pirates and pirate wreaths - I’ve never had one which has been a joke between me and my new neighbors. I hung a bra on their wreath the other day because why wouldn’t you and then they created this one for me which I would have left up if not for my 9-year old- daughter feeling mortified by the thought of a friend driving by). My holidays were also not as interesting as the current “How hard has aging hit you” challenge on Facebook but interesting nonetheless.

A new favorite mantra as of late has been, “the magic is in the mess” which is glorious wisdom shared by Brene Brown. At times, my holidays were messier than usual. And although, I tried to practice my soul- saving, self- care tips, I ate too much, drank too much, and didn’t exercise enough. The good news is we had a “Worst Christmas Song” contest on Christmas night. My sister Kerry won with David Bowie and Bing Crosby’s rendition of Little Drummer Boy. Wow, what a song. There was also some interpretive dance which I pretty much want to do 24/7 because I don’t have to say anything intelligible.

But there was also an argument at the dinner table and I spent the night crying. Our mom, our sun, the one we orbited around is gone, and we are still trying to figure out how to move around. My friend’s mother (Thank you Sandi) sent me an email about the unwanted visitor, grief, making an appearance during the holidays. The author talks about missing her father and about as hard as grief is, that it is also a gift. “The gift he gives me is this terrible, painful bittersweetness that reminds me just how well loved I was by my father to be feeling such sadness now. This heartbreak is a monument, these tears a tribute.” We are fortunate to grieve because it means we know such profound love.

And we are fortunate to have books to read like Anne Lamott’s new book, Almost Everything about hope in the midst of…well everything. She writes about the heartbreak we go through as humans. Why do these things happen? Because this is what happens to people. It’s that simple. And that unfortunate. But still we have hope. And we can smile and frolic in the meantime.

Speaking of frolicking, I took my dog, Poppy for a walk today on Bayshore Boulevard. It’s an overcast, cool Monday morning. A woman with a bright grin and long silver hair asked me if I had seen any dolphins yet this morning. She told me she was walking because she thought they would be out on a crisp day such as today. I didn’t think much of it. And then ten minutes later, a dramatic splash in the water caught my attention. Then a dark smooth dorsal fin, then another one, and another one. They were zooming and thrashing around having their breakfast as seagulls flew overhead trying to get in on the action. I watched and marveled at their beauty and the fun they seemed to be having.. I continued onward and a friendly man with a mustache wished me a happy Monday. It made me feel good. I said goodbye to the dolphins, the water and my new friends, crossed the street, and headed home. In the trees, I saw a Woodpecker with it’s bright red head and closer to my house, I spotted a gardenia. One little gardenia. In January. I stopped and it smelled like heaven.

All we have to do is pay attention. To the mess and the magic. To all of the glorious beauty that nature throws our way and all of the signs that the divine leaves for us on our paths. The water seemed to shout today, “Hey, it’s magical out here.” And I shouted back, “Yes it is!” And then I said, “And it’s magical in here too!”