When Grey Comes to Visit

Here I am again.

I haven’t written for sometime, partly because October was a slumpy month for me.  My mood was slumpy.  Not drastically dark, but veering towards grey.

I tried various things to shake it.  Chocolate, red wine, a hamburger (and considering I’ve been mostly vegan for nearly 2 years, this was a dramatic lunge at a solution for me).  Hot baths, a jog, coffee, no coffee, a trip to sunny California.  All wonderful, enjoyable things.  All able to make moments twinkle.  But the grey feeling, it slumped back in, sometimes through the back door, sometimes through the front.  But there it was again, either way, sitting and waiting for me on my own damn couch.  “Hello,” it said, “I am here again today.”

I am trying to make friends with grey.  I am fully functioning with it around but I am slightly uneasy.  I feel a bit put out, with grey sitting there on my own inner couch.  “I didn’t invite you in!” I growl.  But grey doesn’t care.  Grey sits there anyway.  It even puts its feet up.

Grey is urging me to figure myself out.  Grey.  I try to look at her as a sister, a friend.  Stop resisting her. “Okay,” I say, “what do you want?”  But she doesn’t tell me outright.  That’s the nuisance of Grey, she has her own private language.  So I start experimenting, trying to break the code: bring her a glass of wine, take her out for a walk, put her to bed early.  What does it take to help this grey sister out?  What does she need, what is she asking me to give myself?

I start to see her as chunk of my soul, my longing, and what does my longing want?  Maybe she is here to poke and pester me in a positive direction.  Maybe when I get it right, when I figure out the mystery of what she is longing for and I give it to her, she will turn to me with a big smile.  She will shimmer and change shape, change shade.  Her Grey-ness will quiver and dissolve, walk out the door, the front or the back, doesn’t matter. Maybe she’ll fly out the window and say, “Thank you for finding what it is I needed.”  And I’ll say “Thank you for showing me what I needed to step into a fuller version of myself.”  Without Grey nagging me,  I never would shift into a more complete me.

So thank you, Grey.  For coming to visit.  Stay on my couch as long as you like.  Until you leave, I will be here, curling in, listening, trying to bring my own sense of longing what it needs, expanding my life to include the territory of her secret language.

I know she’ll be back.  She comes here and there.  Though next time, she’ll have a whole new language I’ll have to twist myself to translate.  So be it.  I can welcome her in again and again, expanding whatever it was I thought I was.

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Life Lessons from a 2 Year-Old

There are days when I want a break from everything.

Like today, for example. When I want someone else to convince my two-year old to wear a diaper when we go out, because the resistance she puts up to it is LOUD, and I am out of creative ways to respond to her.

And can someone else please convince her to wear shoes and socks and a jacket because it is cold outside?  And figure out a way to fit her fairy wings on and fit her into her carseat, please?  Because that is what she wants.

And those plastic dress-up high heels she likes to shuffle around in, can you please follow her around while she wears them and make sure she doesn’t trip and fall while she runs down the wet concrete sidewalk in her sundress and fairy wings in the rain?

Yes, some days I want a break.  I want an imaginary second me to show up and deal with all the things I am too frazzled to do anymore. But of course, that isn’t an option.

What is an option is choosing in this moment to see her more clearly, to be with her more attentively.  To give more.  Go more deeply into being with her.  Surrendering.  This heals everything.  It even erases the desire to have a break.

My daughter: she is two.  She is marvelously self-assured.

She knows what she wants.  Her will is iron strong.

And matched with her iron will, she has these golden curls.  They fall down her back delicately, perfectly, so lusciously.

Her skin is golden, too.  And her smile is so big as she opens her arms to the sky and throws her head back when she dances and twirls (“My balleriiiiiiiiinaaa!”).  It’s just enough to make your own heart spill out of yourself and rush towards her in pure love.

It’s just enough to bring you deeper into this moment of being with her, willing to help her as she moves through the world.  Even if it means doing the illogical: high heels and fairy wings and a sundress on a cold, windy, rainy day.

Even if it means tending to all these things and so many more, day after day, minute after minute.  The creative work of being her caregiver.

But I do it.  I do it because I want her to fly.  I want her to keep her big laugh and carefree way of interacting with the world.

I want to support her.

I want to help her navigate the world in a way that feels true to her.

Yes, supporting her is far more important to me than convincing her to obey me.

Because the more helpful and respectful I am with her, the more helpful and respectful she is with me, with her sister, with the world.

So, l run back into the house and grab her fairy wings when she asks, because that’s a helpful and kind thing to do and it brings me joy to do that for her.

I help her find the high-heel shoes because I see how wonderful she feels when she’s wearing them.

I wash her favorite summer dress over and over because that is the one she wants to wear.  And I watch her put it on HERSELF (it usually ends up backwards and inside-out) because she feels so independent and beautiful in it just that way.

I bring her jacket along, too, because eventually she may get cold and ask for it.  Then I will help her put it on.  I won’t say, “I told you so.” I will just say, “Here, honey.”

And I dance with her–how could I resist?–as she grabs my hand, “dance wid me mama, you balleriiiina!”

I want her to feel that I am on her team.  That I am behind her 100 percent, helping her explore the world.

I want to help her with all the little things that feel big and important to her because I want to be a part of her big things, now and forever.  And her big things will just keep getting bigger and bigger from here on out.

She is fierce.  She is gentle.  She knows what she wants and how to move towards it, why would I want to be a damper on that ability?  It will serve her well her whole life long.

So I take a deep breath, I take a step back.  I try to see the world from her point of view.

And what a view it is:  fairy wings, rain drops, dancing feet, brisk air, special dresses, golden curls down her back as she spins and spins, delighting in the shear fact of her own big-hearted existence.

How precious I can be a part of that.  How precious that I can witness and assist.   And by being with her, I am reminded, by her example, how to know what I want in this world, how to be myself unabashedly.  How to access that carefree, big-hearted, fierce and gentle part of myself.  Thank you, dear one, for that gift, for these life-lessons.  Fairy wings, rain drops, high heels and all.

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