I like to get lost in the sound
and just imagine
will go on forever
Sometimes I focus
and take in the world
sometimes it disappears
as the beat or lyrics
take me away
To a memory
a new thought
we can travel
and begin to glimpse
Always moving forward
whether we notice
The season is about to change and I am feeling a deep desire for this spring to be a transition from the difficulties of the last few months. I thought I was going to spend this past weekend at a meditation retreat in Colorado, seeing what it was like to spend a weekend in my head. Instead, I spent it mourning and celebrating the life of a friend who left us too soon. I know that I cannot leave behind all of the feelings of the last few months. I still have a lot of people in my life struggling. I am struggling. But this spring I want to start looking at things differently, living the way we are supposed to live--with open hearts and big love.
So far, this year has caused me to grow in new and unexpected ways. I feel like a different person than I was a year ago, but also very different from just a few months ago. It is amazing how circumstances can change you. People often think of change or growth with a focus on altering things they don’t like about themselves: A situation you are in, your appearance, or a making a drastic or difficult choice. I have been there. But for me, at this time in my life, change comes with the ability to recognize the things I DO like about myself and accepting that the things I don’t like are okay too. I used to believe that because something was special or great at one time, it should last forever. Now, I see that some things are good simply because they are fleeting. I don’t feel easy about that, but there is something powerful in the process of letting go. In refusing to let what something was or could have been overshadow the reality that it is gone.
No matter how love is lost, you can never get it back as it was. Love and friendship are forever changed by an ending. Even if that person comes back to your life, you see them differently. Where they used to be shiny, they may now be rusted. You may now see chasms where you once saw depth. Or in the case of death, we see perfection where we once saw humanity. But we are different too: Maybe we are a little more shut off or a little more talkative. Maybe a little more protective of our hearts or a little more willing to put ourselves out there. Maybe we are a little shy or exceptionally brave. Maybe we are a little more of who they helped us to become. Through love, through pain, through loss, through joy. We are changed by how people see and treat us and the importance we decide to place on that.
As we go through big changes, we may put ourselves back together differently, but the pieces are the same. It would have been totally uncharacteristic for me to be this open with my thoughts or interests a few months ago, but damn it feels good to not be hiding all the time. Scary as hell, but good. The girl who was always a little bit of a mystery even to those closest to her is letting some things go and letting more people in. We all have outlets for how we handle change. For me, it is most obvious in the music I listen to. Music is directly associated with particular people, times, and places. It is a raw emotional connection that tells a story. I revisit good times and sad in my life through an album or song. Once a song is attached to a person, it is never not about them when I hear it.
Right now, I am consuming new music like food, reaching out for things that have no emotional connection to the past, just to the way I feel listening to it now. I am also taking a trip down memory road to the music I listened to when I was a teenager and change and angst were so palpable and I thought I had all the time in the world. As this spring is approaching there is so much about my life that is different, and I am starting to be a little hopeful. It feels so weird to have so much loss in my life and feel hope, but I don't think that we lose people to teach us despair--we can learn that on our own. When we lose people it is a reminder to hold close what really matters. To make time where you didn't think you had it. To dance and drink whiskey until late at night with people you love. To have a big cup of coffee the next morning with your best friend.
Sometimes the letting go is inevitable, but I don't let people go easily. I am having a hard time with it now. I do know that I haven't left anything important go unsaid. The people in my life now and the people I let go of, know exactly how I feel about them. I don't believe in hiding love. I think it should be big and fierce, and that there is always room for more of it in our lives. It makes us better people, better parents, better friends to love big like that. I am so deeply in love with the amazing community of friends who just show up to do what is needed and don't have to be asked. Their amazing compassion and love makes new people so hard--my standards are really high. So, as the season changes, I am hanging on to that.
May we have more joy, less loss, and figure out how to get our pieces in the right place.
How do we release love into the world
When holding on to it is all we want
Do we let it suffocate in our grasp
Or follow our breath and let it go
Lightly floating through the air
Away from us, but as much a part of who we are as the breath before
And the breath to follow
I say let it go
And remember to inhale
You never know whose love you could be taking in
And making part of you.
There is something about seeing the world with a broken heart.
How easy it is to forget that your feet know where to go and that many others have been where you are before you. Same place, same pain, same joy, same humanity. In a city like New York you see so clearly how life is rooted in the past, but changing so quickly that the future seems right on the horizon. On this trip, I reflected quite a bit on duality. How things can be both past and future. How we can seem ok, but really be devastated. How we can bounce back, rebuild or reinvent ourselves, and recover from anything if we are able to accept all the mess, let time move with us, and be gentle with our hearts.
This trip to New York was a spontaneous use of last year’s air miles (thank you 2018 travel!). I got the tickets with no idea of where I would stay, if I would be alone, or what I would do there. Luckily, everything fell into place: one of my closest friends was able to come with me, one of my favorite bands was playing, museums had exhibits I really wanted to see, a good friend had a place for us to crash, and my cousin had a day off to hang out. Things just came together.
What I didn’t realize was that I would be so busy I wouldn’t have much time to just be my introvert self in New York. I also didn’t realize how much I need that when I travel, especially when feeling a little heartsick and reflective. To just wander a city in silence, to quietly observe strangers around me, to just sit and read or write somewhere. I was perhaps a bit too eager to avoid processing some of the things in my life, so it was easy to fall into busyness. I try not to travel with too many expectations. I prefer to appreciate what people and places have to offer and keep myself open to those experiences. One of the reasons I love travel is that you can’t take it personally when places unexpectedly delight or disappoint you. Unlike people, places have no choice but to show you the truth of who they are if you look beyond the obvious. No bullshit, no need to impress, just a piece of earth filled with grit, humor, beauty, and endless possibilities. It’s why I choose to visit cities, rather than resorts. Take country drives, rather than tours. If you pay attention, you can even learn something about yourself.