I go back.

I am sitting at my table making my million phone calls and emails (well not a million only 100ish)… and drinking my coffee. The girls are in the living room in their jammies watching “The Wonder Years”. I have my Pandora going… and just keep working. I love checking things off my to-do list… and today it is long. I have sadly written away most of my dollars to Verizon and Time Warner and to the one’s who keep my lights on… and I am chugging. I have a few seltzers, ½ my Nalgene full of water and 3 coffees. My leg is bopping and I am hoping to be done in time to head to Macy’s and buy a dress for our Anniversary party (the one I ordered isn’t purple at all it is RED)… and boom a song pops on and I go back.

Pandora Bob Segar is todays flow… and it is working. Sitting in my dining room the song Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac pops on. I am sitting in a neon, with crates of alphabetized cds at my feet. I am most likely on my way to an adventure with Shannon in her little neon. I can feel the car and the way those things turn on a dime (jeeps and grown up cars are not like those babies). I am sitting there talking about the things we talked about. I remember Shannon was totally going to name her daughter Rhiannon and I am sure had plans for a Paul or John or maybe a Ringo with her Rhiannon. I laugh because all these years later her kiddos have lovely family names. I remembered some of our adventures… I hoped my girls have similar ones at those ages. Cottage nights, riding the handicap buggies in the middle of the night at the grocery store… drive in’s, slumber parties, water balloons, movie nights… I felt back to that time and felt a little like that Erin while that song played on. It’s fun to go back to that time. I laughed at what we did for fun… while so many were out being crazy we were having our own kind of fun. I loved our kind of pranks and thinking of the funny words we used to say. We were our own kind of fun back then…

The next song was a good old CCR one and I was brought back to my childhood at our family cottage. I could remember the smell and the stairs, even the dishes in the cupboard. I remember roasting marshmallows in the fireplace and the burns in the old rug in front of the fireplace. I love when a song or thought brings me back to those times. It makes me happy.

I look back at those times and the simplicity in them- how powerful that simplicity is in my memory. I don’t remember all the big stuff, the expensive stuff. I remember the best of it those moments in life… I remember the few dinners out we had back then… Sunny Banks in Cape Vincent. Back to school dinner with our family was our one night out a year. I remember on our First Communion’s after pictures we would head to Ponderosa for a breakfast buffet for a family celebration. I remember our family vacation to Washington DC and my Uncle Joe’s house… I remember the camper we rented and the big pig (HUGE) pig we visited down the road, I remember my uncle’s macaroni and cheese. I remember getting one souvineer in DC and seeing the Air and Space museum, the Old Post Office and the Declaration of Independence. I remember feeling like the adults read EVERYTHING and took forever… but now I know kid time is pretty low in patience. It’s strange sometimes to think how BIG everything has gotten.

I think of my girls and the amount of dinner’s out they have, the fun trips they get… I think of the expectations of First Communions and proms… the hustle and bustle and planning in BIG vacations and I feel like we lost something. We lost the simplicity. We lost the creativity. I remember the night Matt and I and our 3 girls went to dinner for our own little Christmas in 2014. We sat there and enjoyed the dinner and each other, there was no stress and the girls just lit up. While sitting there Madeline looked up at me and said “BEST DAY EVER”. I poked Matt and said Madeline tell daddy. That moment I remembered that it isn’t the big stuff… it isn’t those crazy over planned trips with matching outfits and overloaded itineraries… it was the small stuff that was the BEST. I look back at my childhood and the simplicity and creativity of it all and I love it. I look back at so many simple moments as my Best Day Ever’s…

This morning I was just brought back to a lot of those reminders just like when Madeline said those 3 words- and reminded it is the little things. What a gift that reminder from Madeline was only a month before our world broke. She reminded me that night to focus on the little things… and I am grateful for all my amazing and my hard and little and big… I am so grateful for her. I am so grateful for the simple and amazing and creative… and I am going to get back to simple life…

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namaste.

Practice. I think practice is the best thing to call life every.single.morning. What would our days, lives and world be like if we woke each day, put our feet on the floor, stated our intentions and started our daily practice of life (with that intention in our minds through the day)? If we practiced life a little more… and maybe did a little more work on directing our thoughts to our intentions… maybe it would make the universe a little less scary, since it is going to rollercoaster us anyway.

Recently I got myself back to practicing yoga, a favorite term since it is so true. I have been trying and practicing pigeon pose for 5 years… I am still not good at it, my hips will not get lower. A couple weeks ago I got to practice yoga with the first person I really enjoyed taking yoga from. When I met Elex and was introduced to her power core class I was hesitant about the part of yoga that isn’t a work out. I had taken some classes before and it was very good stretching and it was quiet. It was a far cry from my boot camp and urban adventure obsession, and seemed to help me stretch my tightness from running. That was all it was to me. I thought little about setting intentions, really relaxing, being more mindful and hearing the words that were spoken through the hour of practice. I thought about my to-do list as I did downward dog and what to make for dinner while attempting chatterunga… I really just got to the end and grabbed my girls from daycare and went on my merry way.

I went to my first class with Elex as a gift from a boot camp instructor, a yoga and wine night. In that night I felt different, even before the wine. I felt calmer, quieter and I heard words that meant a lot to me at that very moment. In the weeks or months leading up to that class I had learned that my now ex-husband was having an affair with a friend. I felt broken and fat and old and boring. I looked at me, I looked inside of me for the reason. I wondered often if I was pretty enough, or if I had been skinnier… maybe I should have had a grown up job… I felt in me that it was somehow my fault- that I was not enough. That night, in a lovely loft, practicing very hard yoga with amazing and strong women… Elex said that I was enough. She said we are all here in the exact moment we should be. She told me I don’t need to be more, that I am enough. She adjusted my shoulders and child’s pose… and I felt calm and safe. I felt her words. I left that night and just felt a bit of empowerment and a reminder that I am enough. I started to understand that the affair wasn’t really about me…

A couple weeks ago Elex came to a fundraiser for Maddie’s Mark, she helped us host a yoga event at a friend’s loft. When I saw her I felt that comfort and bond from way back. She is like that, warm and loving and true and honest. I mean I super respect her, she has triplets and is calm and kind and loving. I hugged her and soon after she started. I was of course in the front, but I think sometimes it’s nice not looking at everyone else’s butts. Her words hit me again. That day the intentions were directed to me or from me… she told the room about Madeline and her impact on her heart and soul. She asked that the room send me energy or set the intention to gain strength from me. Do you know what it is like to be in a room full of 30+ people sending you energy and light or asking for your strength? It is entirely humbling to have people look at you as a strong one… I don’t see myself that way. I see me as me, a chugger and a liver… I see my normal as hard but pretty amazing. I don’t really feel strong most of the time, I feel tired or overworked… but I just get through. I think it is what we do, keep moving. Anywho, I was sitting ready for yoga and all these amazing people were sending me light and love and energy, some were asking for strength… and I felt amazing. I felt like I was supposed to be in this very spot. I felt that Madeline sent me a little hug, the kind she can send since she can’t wrap her arms around me and smoosh a big wet one on my cheek. Elex gifted me that morning, a gift of energy, light and perspective. I felt grateful and loved. I also loved when she told us how effing hard it was to hold plank that long… she has a great sense of humor…

After yogaing Elex and I were talking and she told me she had this appointment for shiatsu that she couldn’t make. She offered it to me and told me that it is life changing and that the therapist is the best. I took her up and penciled in one of those self-care moments that I need to do more. I went today for a shiatsu massage, expecting a Japanese massage with hitting like the movies. I got to the office and ran from my jeep (I was running on Erin time)… rushed in and was greeted by calm. I took my shoes off and did my best to relax. Somehow it was easier than normal today, or maybe she expected less relax from me. Either way I laid down and flipped when told to do so… I felt comfortable and warm in her room. She got right to work on my pressure points and my whole self. She talked some and asked about life and stress. I talked a little about my body and hurt and anger. I told her that I feel a lot of anger toward a person who recently moved. I told her a bit of the backstory for this woman and her role in my girls lives. I have wanted to yell at her and get my mad of my chest, but she runs away from everything. She asked me if I write, I told her often, and that I have written her a letter (which she never let me know she read). She moved away. I keep carrying mad at her and him, and it is almost like a physical weight I carry. This past year I gained a bunch of pounds… those pounds are mad and angry and hurt. We talked about the work to clear those pounds… but honestly we talked about letting go of that mad, that it is power for people who are not good. She looked at me and said “I have an image of protection”… you are carrying your anger and stress and mad as protection. She told me I am safe. I am enough. I need to let go of that heavy crappy armor and move forward. She told me many times I am safe and enough in those moments of massage. I felt it. I know she was right. I need to let go… in fact I need to practice letting go. I need to get rid of this heavy and hurting. I need to lessen the power that those people have had on me, they don’t deserve it and I don’t need it. I need to get lighter, in a lot of aspects. We talked about practicing, I think this word works well for my brain. I am going to practice moving on, letting go, setting intentions and getting to my strong self. I will fail, my muscles will give up and I will look silly in some poses… but I will get there. I will get right to the spot I am supposed to be in…

I am grateful. Today I set my intention to self care and feeling like me again. I need to get back to Erin… the Erin that loves herself as much as she loves others. I need to get back to Erin who cares for herself… and knows that she is enough. I want to get lighter and brighter and softer and more me. I want to live and breathe and move and love and grow and cry and feel… I want to empower me, not give my power away.

Namaste.

… this mornings epiphany

I woke this morning to a bit of clarity, maybe even a bit lighter. It has been a crazy whirlwind lately of rollercoasters. I would wake up thinking it would be better and it would instead be nutty and stressful. I have a good feeling that the issue we were having with another parent is done, at least for now. I went to bed last night so tired and drained. I had the day off but had to run errands and got stuck on the phone, I went all the way to the Y and fell asleep in the parking lot. I would have to say it was not my best workout the past week or so, but I am supposed to be kind to myself right?

I have been going to bed and waking up asking God and Madeline to help make these weeks easier. I would ask them to make this rollercoaster less bumpy and curvy and nauseating. I think I sounded a lot like this “Mads come on bubba, make this hill/mountain smaller… I am out of shape and need a training for this mountain… go easy on me”… and the day would progress and that damn mountain didn’t shrink. Some days I am pretty sure they made it rockier and steeper, but maybe I was just tired and complaining. I was pretty discouraged that God wasn’t making this easier, making this issue be resolved and for everything to be closer to normal. Even though He wasn’t delivering I was still asking and requesting a simpler path, a smoother rollercoaster. You would think something would give right?

This morning I woke up in my normal spot, snuggled with Lucy, with a clear thought that I was asking and requesting the wrong things. BOOM. CRAP. A segment from KLOVE popped into my brain, a pastor speaking about how in hard times we need to ask God for wisdom and strength. His little conversation on the radio talked about how when we ask for wisdom and strength God always delivers. I laid there in my warm bed thinking and processing. All these weeks of asking for a smaller mountain, a smoother ride and I was disappointed He didn’t take some of it off my shoulders, or maybe He did… I just felt overwhelmed by what I was handed- I was asking for the wrong things.

I laid in bed and felt my tired and stressed and basically begged for it to go away, for it to get easier. All the while He was giving me enough to get through, He was getting me to the next point more wise and stronger. My clear thought, my morning message, reminded me of a few things- I need to get through my mountains, complete my rollercoaster ride, I need to take my big pile and ask for the strength and wisdom to trudge through.  I need to trust that God knows what I need to do this. Every day I make it through whatever the rollercoaster was, some days frazzled and stressed, others calm and happy. I am reminded that I can do hard things, we all can.

Life is a compilation of hard things. We can do hard things. I think life is more colorful with all the hard things, getting through the hard things make us see the amazing better, struggle makes us stronger and more compassionate. Hard stuff helps us grow and see the world for all the amazing and broken that is in it. I need to remember that in struggle and suffering the best and most amazing moments. God knows I can make it through all of these days, these rollercoasters. I need to refocus and talk to God about what I need to get through… not to make it easier.

Madeline is my joy, my daughters are my joy. Motherhood gives me strength. Raising my girls, losing my daughter and living without her brings much suffering and pain. Right next to that pain and suffering and struggle is my joy and my strength. As time moves on I  have my joy- and need more strength and wisdom and growth to get to the next spot. I need to remember to ask for that, not for ease and smooth… not for simpler and less painful- He knows I can do this. He knows we all can. I don’t know how we do, how we keep moving and living and growing and breathing with all the hard and suffering and struggle, but maybe He is the how. I know for me I will take this morning’s message and carry it with me, in my heart and brain and soul so I can keep waking up in my comfy bed and putting my feet on my cold floor and getting up. I will ask for the wisdom to get to the next thing, the next place I am supposed to be. As per normal talkative Erin I will start asking for the right things and maybe, just maybe, I will start noticing before He bonks me in the head with clarity…

Loopty Loop…

Some days are full of crazy ups and downs, others are easier to navigate and don’t take so much work. I often think about how many little rollercoasters are in one single day. A morning might have hectic and busy, then a serious meeting, followed by a kick butt work out and the best conversation. Lunch might be fun or busy, afternoons productive or heavy. What I have learned is that I can not roll over and step off my bed and have any idea what rollercoasters my day might have figured in. I can not know beforehand how many speed passes God set up for us that day… how many tricky and curvy loops he threw in the day. I do know that I must roll over and step out of my warm and comfy bed, put my feet on my cold floor, probably yawn and attempt to get back in. I must stand up and start the day well. I start my day on a flat part of the rollercoaster and set my brain to prepare and accept the loops and curves and freefalls… rest between, use my tools, put my chin up and remind myself that I have made it this far, loops, curves and all. I have made it this far… keep chuggin’.

On hard days with lots of freefalls or fear of those falls… I spend a lot of the day counting down the hours to bedtime. I remind myself in the morning and in those moments that between wake up and bedtime it can be very rough, very difficult- but guess what?!?!? I can do difficult and rough… I always get to bedtime, until I don’t someday.

I am trying to remember there are many days with really nice, fun and simple rollercoasters. I like those days. I need to put a little snapshot in my brain or better yet on my fridge, for the days the rollercoaster is making me nauseous. Last week beat me up. Today I feel like I lost a 500 pound weight and the rollercoaster was pretty easy. I am going to bed with my chicks…

Some days you plop on the couch and crash with that good wholesome lack of energy- the kind you have after a day of yard work and play. Some days your brain is pooped from meetings and issues and things not working. Each day ends pretty much the same way, but one drains the body, mind and soul more. I would take a physically draining day over a mentally draining one any day. I can not wait for the days of sun and planting and pulling out our fairy garden and patio furniture. I can not wait for my hammock… it is the best.freakin.medicine for those mentally exhausting days. For tonight I sleep, feeling lighter and pretty good. I would have to say being on a cleanse (no dairy, no wheat, no processed sugars, no coffee and no WINE) has helped me get my butt to bed early. I think I head to bed to stay on track, and prepping and cooking and packaging meals is freakin’ exhausting. I forgot how good it is to cook, but how crappy it is to clean the dishes. My creative cooking chemistry brain is thinking of some ideas that are clean and fulfilling… I like when my brain is creative.

So… tonight it ends as it always does, in my comfy bed. Tomorrow I will wake up (after hitting snooze 4 times) and put my feet on the floor and stand up. I will stretch and touch my ceiling in my little bedroom, and start the day fresh. I will start the day well…