Friday, January 30, 2015

down the rabbit hole and back

Last night I traveled down the rabbit hole of Throw Back Thursday {#tbt if we're being all proper...because it's a thing...} which means I scrolled through years of photos on our server,and I let a few tears fall and smiled so big that my face hurt. 

Because seriously.... look at these toddlers!




So adorable. And squishable. And overwhelming for all of my senses. 

I scrolled and I scrolled, and then I got to the most recent years and I had to stop. I shuddered with disappointment because of the lack of photos. Instead of hundreds per month, we're down to.... well... lots less. And the quality, don't even get me started. The camera phone doesn't compare at all to the crystal clear photos of my DSLR. I couldn't even remember the last time I used my big girl camera. Last night I made a promise to myself to get out the big camera, and to capture photos like I used to. 

This morning I grabbed my big girl camera from the top shelf of a dining room bookcase. My boy was eating made by him cinnamon and sugar toast while reading a book on monsters. A perfect opportunity for the fancy camera, right? 

The batteries were dead. 

While I slipped the battery into its charger I grabbed my phone and took a picture. Then I looked through the most recent folders of digital photos, and I realized that even though I'm not taking hundreds of photos, I'm still taking photos. There's still documentation of the kids at every age, at every height, doing the things they do on a daily basis. It's not perfect, but it's something. 



I wonder about those days that were spent taking so many photos. It's funny how things change. Now, I need to snap fast if I want a picture of the kids - they move from one thing to the next so quickly, it's easy to miss it. And they're not right by my side, needing supervision every second of the day. I do revel in that. The freedom that comes as they get older. Their closeness granted me ample opportunities for close ups, but my sanity appreciates the breaks and the time spent in a book, or writing, or knitting while they play by themselves, read by themselves, or play with each other. 

There's also something to be said for not having the bulk of the DSLR between us. Now, when I'm immersed in a picture perfect moment with the kids, they really need my attention. They want me to listen, not to snap photos. We have conversations at the park, not just strolls to expend energy before naptime. They talk lots and have opinions and big questions... all of which need thought to answer instead of a smile and nod. It's funny how things shift, change. These subtle things that take me by surprise in motherhood.... 

Maybe now I'll keep the batteries charged in my big girl camera. It's nice to know it's there. But it's also nice to know that snapshots taken in haste between breaths with the smart phone are as good of reminders as any of moments spent immersed in life. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

year five... a year of mala

I don't know what I pictured. Maybe something that scene from When a Man Loves a Woman, where Meg Ryan's character is at her AA meeting receiving her chip {was it 90 days? A year?} and there's cheering and tears and of course a beige cardigan... didn't she always wear beige cardigans in the 1990's?

When I stopped drinking I certainly didn't picture that at five years sober it'd be just another day. That alcohol wouldn't be on my mind daily. That we'd be in the midst of a houseful of flu germs and the last thing I'd want to do is hear cheering because my head hurt so badly.

Staying sober for five years has been work, of course, but at this point it isn't the same kind of work it was in the beginning. Sobriety, at its very core has been an invitation to feel all the feels, to work through the uncomfortable moments to get to a place of peace and understanding.

But at this point I'm getting lazy. I'm not thinking about ditching sobriety, I've worked hard to keep my recovering alcoholic status, but I'm not actively working on myself like I was the first few years.Things have shifted, I've created new habits and routines that have made the act of not drinking easier and nearly painless for the most part. I've created ways of coping with emotions, with anxiety... a few of the reasons I drank. Not all are great habits, but I've kept myself safe. It's not about the not drinking these days. I'm not carrying my sober status as a cross to bear any longer, which is good. But at the same time, I've ditched a lot of the self work and introspection that came with carrying that heavy load on my back.

Last week a strand of mala beads that were hanging on my necklace holder caught my eye. I bought them last summer when I was in the midst of all things yoga, and wanted a set of beads to sit with while I meditated. They've been on the shelf for quite a few months now...  I looked at the strand of wooden beads and felt drawn to wrap them around my wrists. And that day I noticed more of the feels. I noticed my body more. The beads brought a kind of attention to my movements, an awareness to my inner being every time I felt the smooth of the beads on my skin, or heard them clink against the sink as I washed the dinner dishes.

And so I wonder, what difference can wearing a mala make? What if I make an attempt to wear these beads every day for a year? Will I be more intentional? Will my mind be calmer? Will I remember to meditate or do yoga.... walk the walk so to speak because I'm wearing mala beads? By wearing my intention, my meditation, on my wrist or around my neck for a year, what will happen? What difference could that make in my life? Is there magic in my mala?

And so I think it's fitting to begin on this, my sobriety date. To start fresh as I did five years ago, and continue on the journey. A year of mala.



I'm not sure what this will look like... maybe a few posts throughout the year for updates, maybe Instagram shots {I think I'll use #ayearofmala on the pictures} and snippets of what transpires, or a few journal entries. But I have a feeling that these little beads, this small intention, is a lot bigger than I think it is...

**if you've landed here because you're struggling with addiction, please know that you are not alone. There's all sorts of help available if you're ready. Here's a few places to start:
Alcoholics Anonymous
Women for Sobriety, Inc.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

2015... shaking things off


And so it begins, another year. 2014 was the year I spent dwelling on abundance, and low and behold there was much abundance. There was always enough of everything, if not more. Even when it didn't seem like it was possible. Food. Money. Shelter. Love. Patience. Health. 

I was searching for a word to assign to 2015. And then it came to me. Not a word, but an intention. A phrase. The kids both got mp3 players for Christmas, and having recently discovered the incredible world of Taylor Swift, my daughter bops around the house singing "Shake it off... shake it off..." her hips swaying, her eyes dancing, her tiny voice becoming not so tiny. 

This is the year that I will learn to shake it off. To not care what others think. To shake off the comments that aren't really about me, even if they sting. To shake off the slights that come by way of getting cut in line, or a rude person at the post office. Traffic. Misunderstandings. Bad moods. Bad vibes. Because like Taylor says... the hater's are going to hate, hate hate, and the fakers are going to fake, fake, fake, so I'm just going to shake it off, all of it. 

I might even swing my hips, and my voice might even grow while I'm at it... 

Are you focusing on an intention, a word, or a phrase this coming year? I'd love to know what it is! 

{Writing Naturally: Winter begins on Monday... there's still room to join!}