…but how do you want to feel?

30 Day Blog Challenge, Personal Narrative, Productivity, Temple Building, Women's Health

I’m home, after a day of inspiration. And like I’ve been for the past few months, I’m tired. I’m not bone tired or weary, but I’ve just noticed that I’m not as energized as I used to be. There are many very specific reasons for that, but they all boil down to one: change.

One day after work, I did handstands and cartwheels in this grass.
One day after work, I did handstands and cartwheels in this grass.

Over the past several months, I’ve changed a lot and so has my environment. From my zip code to my job responsibilities, to aspects of romantic and platonic relationships.

Personal goals and professional goals have shifted. Exercise habits have changed. Food. The amount of time I spend in the sun or the ways I engage nature. The amount and type of sleep I get. It’s all been one massive ball of change.

Some changes have been on purpose, and others were the result of circumstances. But it still amounts to the same thing: a whole lot is different right now.

It reminds me of the time I was a classroom teacher. At the beginning of every year, I started routines and rituals. I got to know my students, and in some cases new curriculum, new materials, new administrators, and/or new colleagues. All I could do was work my heart out each day and come home and sleep. And sleep.

Sometimes, at the start of school, I’d be asleep well before sunset (not kidding) and I wouldn’t move until daybreak. And that would go on maybe two or three weeks.  Suddenly, I’d get in the swing of things. I’d be on it. Everything would run smoothly at work, and I’d have plenty of energy to plan ahead, or dance, or date, or take classes, or whatever.

But it always took time. And even though it happened every year like clockwork, I had to be gentle with myself, and do what I needed to do to reach a state of equilibrium with my surroundings.

Except for exercise choices, which are primarily seasonal, my recent changes have not been cyclical. They’ve been positive, yet progressive and persistent. One month after another, there’s been a new spin on things. And I haven’t been very good at stopping to reflect. To do the inner work to harmonize fully with all aspects of my life.

Today’s keynote speaker, Akilah Richards, asked us to consider,

…but how do you want to feel?

And I took the time to sit with that this morning. I journaled about it. I sat in the sunshine. I mulled. I want to feel energized and accomplished. Cheerful. Not superficially, or for a few hours in the morning, but I want these feelings to pervade my day and influence my environment.

At the core I want to BE energy and BE productivity and BE good cheer. I’ve felt that way before. I’ve been those things before. I know how to be that person.  I’ll learn how to be those things again, in my new place and under my new conditions.

Clarity is a critical first step.

Mindful action will be the second.

Stay tuned.

Love, violence and transformations: A recap.

30 Day Blog Challenge

March was a great month of endings, beginnings, and transformations in general. I updated this space every day while in the midst of a whirlwind. The high energy and nonstop pace is in full swing for another couple of days, but I wanted to take a breath to share the top posts from last month.

So I just moved. And I don’t know about you, but for me moving is a special process full of resistance, excitement, and everything in between. I was slow to get started, but eventually, I did start packing. I’ve only spent one night in my new place, so no, I’m not settled yet.

I’m always fascinated by narratives and the power of story, and maybe some of you are too? This blog about knowing your family’s narrative, got a lot of attention.

Early in the month I wrote about the importance of telling your own story – if not to others, then at the very least, to yourself. I didn’t know that post and subsequent events in the real world would set the stage for me to share my own story of sexual violence. I’ve been investigating my rape narrative for nearly two years now, and I felt moved to share my side of things with the ex who violated me. Readers and friends asked me what I hoped to gain by all of this. I wrote this in response. I found myself writing so much about sexual violence in March, I added a new category. I’ve been quiet on the topic as of late, but I expect to be writing more about it in the coming months.

Violence of any kind takes place when there is an absence of love. I don’t believe individuals and subsequently, society, can truly be whole without a serious infusion of love

Here’s to healing.

Arrived.

Personal Narrative

NaBloPoMo April 2013
I have arrived. Yesterday was a long day of last-minute packing, goodbye lunching and driving. We made it in the wee hours of the morning.

The movers unloaded my goods this afternoon. I sent the men away with a few items as I began purging more remnants of lives past. I grew up in this house, but I haven’t inhabited it in six years. I’ve not been here, but my stuff sure has been. Old closets filled with old stuff. I won’t feel at home in my old house, until I do some serious clearing.

And so it begins.

Good vibrations.

Personal Narrative

I’ve reached that point in the packing process where the acoustics in my apartment have started to change. And really, the energy has been shifting all along in concert with my mood. Anticipation. Excitement. Stress. Sadness. Joy. It’s making the packing go slowly. Which is fine. Packing, moving, like anything else in life, is a process.

And on it goes.

2 days. #countdown

Dawn and endings.

30 Day Blog Challenge, Personal Narrative
first light
Dawn at Starbucks Bay.

It’s my favorite time of day – the dark before the dawn. First light alerts the world to the coming sunrise. This morning my cat is snuggled next to me as I write in my darkened bedroom. I have long favored early morning because it’s nearly silent, mostly still. Hints of noises and shadows of movements as many of nature’s beings prepare for the day ahead. Daniel once tweeted his praise for early mornings: the world is quiet, Spirit is loud. Yes. It’s a time of hope and possibilities. Beginnings. Today is also an ending of sorts.

Today marks my 30th post in as many days. I’ve completed my personal challenge. The last time I wrote 30 posts in 30 days I found the process wearing. I was glad to develop the discipline, but I felt it wasn’t a sustainable practice. The daily writing was (mostly) sustainable, but the writing daily for public consumption (while also fielding multiple obligations) was not. This time around, I dunno. The experience was very different and things evolved in a way I hadn’t planned.  I guess that’s reflective of life generally. What’s truly alive is not stagnant.

Tomorrow marks a new beginning. Blue arrives! In a few days, we’ll be heading home.

3 days. #countdown

Where to?

30 Day Blog Challenge

So I’m moving, that much is clear, but it seems the where to is a great deal muddier. The short answer is, back home. It’s second nature to call Atlanta home, since that’s where I was born and raised, but honestly, I feel funny about it. In the technical sense, it is or was home, but as I wrote in November:

What is home, exactly? A place or a moment that resonates. It’s gathering of old friends around a good game of Taboo. A visit to the tried and true corner barbershop one Saturday morning.  Sometimes home is less fleeting. It’s a city where sunshine runs rampant. A house you’ve built with your partner. Whenever, wherever your heart feels welcomed and your spirit feels at ease, is home.

Moments and people in Atlanta resonated that way, but as a city, Atlanta never felt like home. At the time I penned that post, I felt pulled to leave this place, despite the fact I am definitely home here. It seems I was in Tampa for a reason and a season, but not a lifetime; and here at the dawn of Spring, it’s time to make a new start in an old haunt.

4 days. #countdown

NaBloPoMo March 2013

 

Spring cleaning.

30 Day Blog Challenge, Personal Narrative

NaBloPoMo March 2013I’ve decided to travel home lighter than I left. There is at least one table, and possibly two that won’t make it across my “new” threshold. All the books (of course) are going, but all the clothes are not.  And that’s where things have gotten interesting.

I’ve had the pull to purge my closet since January. Time, location and will have kept me from it. That is, until today. The suits were the first to go. I bought several suits for a job I began over 6 years ago. My favorite two will make the trip, but the others, including three I’ve never worn, are being donated to Dress for Success.

Although I don’t desire those and many other items in my closet, forming the donate pile with those first few pieces was tough. It didn’t matter that they no longer fit my lifestyle, body, or personality. I got comfortable with them being there, just in case.

Just in case of what, I can’t say. But the truth is, they were taking up space. Physical space. Psychic space. They crowded out favored pieces. I even found the shirt I’d been seeking for months (months!). There it was, sharing a hanger with an outfit that no longer suited me. And despite the fact I don’t really need, want or even particularly like many of these items, I felt a pull adding each one to the pile. It was a weight. A mourning – saying goodbye I suppose. I took note of the feeling, but was resolute in my folding. It got easier. And now my closet is halfway empty.

I’ll have to start again. And really, that’s what I’m doing with this move. Not just starting a new phase of my life, but starting a new life. Professionally. Romantically. Everythingly. One should have the wardrobe to match, eh?

Still nary a box packed or even assembled, but that’s what tomorrow is for.

5 days. #countdown

 

Looking forward.

30 Day Blog Challenge, Personal Narrative

A funny thing happened on the way to work. No, not really. But I needed a way to start today’s blog post, and, why not? Nothing to make you chuckle, but I did find today worthy of note…

As I drove through the more rural areas of Tampa Bay, I was greeted by canopy trees! If you’ve never spent time in Tallahassee, Florida, you may not be familiar with the canopy roads. These are long streets lined on either side by huge oaks dripping with Spanish moss. They hang over the roads like umbrellas, providing shade for the passing motorists. Canopies! And although the sight in Tampa Bay did not approach that glory, it was lovely to see the familiar splendor.

It reminded me of Tallahassee, yes, but also of St. Pete which has its own share of mossy oaks, and of my first love away from home – Savannah. Memories of Savannah summers are incomplete if they don’t include the endless sightings of Spanish moss. And just like that, I had fond memories of Georgia, and found myself looking forward (finally) to the move.

7 days left. #countdown

More on moving.

30 Day Blog Challenge, Personal Narrative

So the corollary to “have you started packing yet?” is, “are you excited yet?”

It’s the same answer: No.

NaBloPoMo March 2013I was excited when I debated the move, weighed the pros and cons. I considered the risks of moving versus the risks of staying. Did I want to chase dreams and new possibilities, or did I want to remain comfortable? I was excited when I put in my intent to vacate. It was official. The chase was on! But as we approach the actual day, my excitement has waned significantly. There’s a good reason for that.

I don’t know if you know this, but moving simply isn’t that much fun. Especially moving across state lines. There’s stuff to do. Mail to forward. Utilities to turn on. Boxes to tape and label. Items to donate. And even though I can pack and unpack my residence in two days on each side, I can’t say it brings me great joy. And despite the beautiful things I have planned once I relocate, I really do like my current surroundings.

Regardless, uprooting moving is stressful. I tend to bury stress, hiding it even from myself. Unless I’m really checking in with myself, I may not notice the tell-tale signs. I get a little quieter, more reserved. Maybe I’m not as patient. Perhaps I don’t laugh as much. My sweet tooth demands more attention. Excitement during these final days is hard to muster.

Ask me again around 3/31.

#countdown

A word on packing.

30 Day Blog Challenge, Personal Narrative

NaBloPoMo March 2013

So I’m moving. According to my countdown app, in 10 days and 18 hours, the moving guys from Blitz will be loading up the truck.  Once people find out you’re moving, and D-day is close at hand, they start asking questions. Really, it’s just one question, but it comes in a few different flavors:

  1. Have you started packing already?
  2. How’s the packing coming along?
  3. Do you have a lot left to pack?

In order, the answers are:

  1. No.
  2. It isn’t.
  3. Yes, everything.

It’s part of my process. As one who has moved several times in recent years with basically the same stuff, I know I can pack in 2 days flat. One and a half if I’m really not feeling it. All of this includes a great deal of focus and plenty of sleep in between. I don’t believe in all-nighters.

I’d like to say I delay packing because I’m always busy, but that wouldn’t be true. Usually it’s more resistance. Stalling. Waiting until the last possible minute while I lounge around the house wondering when I’m going to start. My writing looks much the same way. In fact, once I start resisting and doing everything else, that’s when I know I’m almost ready to get words down.

But I digress.

This particular time I have been busy. In fact, I’ve barely been home long enough to unpack, wash clothes and repack, so forget about getting some boxes and packing stuff. But this weekend I think I’m going to get some boxes, at least. Maybe even tape a few together.