This Moment

Dawn has not broken yet as I sit sipping my morning coffee.  I love the early mornings, the quiet, the darkness.  It is a sacred time for me.

So still.

I moved about a month ago.  I haven't lived alone since I was in my early 20's.  There are no sounds of children in my home.  That is bittersweet.  I do miss their energy and hope to infuse plenty of that into this new space as they visit.   I am happy though.  I feel content, which is not a word that I could say has described me throughout my life. time passes and I keep doing the work necessary for growth, contentment follows.  I have typically always been someone with very high highs, and very low lows....this middle ground was foreign to me.  But oh how sweet it is.   I reflect on this I got here, how it feels.  Surreal.  My teacher, Gopi,  says, "all of your life, all of your hopes and desires, have led you to this moment right now."  Every time she says that, I feel warmth and happiness come over me.  Even when "right now" doesn't feel so comfortable, I know I am where I need to be.   I do not seek perfection but I do seek to be better with each passing day.  I have a desire to learn and grow and that keeps me on this path.  

Over a year ago, over lunch, Gopi was asking me questions about my life.  She told me to write down the things that I desire, very specifically.  I did exactly that.  As I sit here, I can tell you my life looks like those words, almost down to the minute details.  I don't believe that by writing it down, it became reality, but I do believe what we send out to the universe, God, Spirit, Mother, will come back to us if our hearts our open and we have good intentions.  And patience.  Patience and a willingness to do some hard work.  It is hard.  Sometimes.  But, what do we do in that pain?  Do we run?  My answer used to be, hide and isolate.    That is my default.  I would pull the shades and shut everyone in my life out.  That doesn't serve me anymore.  It could, if I wanted that. I am pretty familiar with that for sure.  My world became very small and lonely when I lived like that.  I am grateful for the teachers I have had along the way, too countless to name, however, my children are among them.  My children were the ones pushing me to do things for myself, by myself.  I will be forever thankful for their wisdom, beyond their years, in that advice.  My life has become so rich with friendships that sustain me.  Beautiful friendships.  I love my work, my clients and my students.  I always thought I wanted to be somewhere else.  The ocean, the mountains, the wilderness.  But I love where I am right now.  Right here in Lawrence, Kansas.  No ocean.  No mountains.  I live on a busy street.  I can hear a train in the distance.  But there is stillness and contentment inside of me that I would only get glimpses of when I would travel to different places, away, letting vacation be my medicine.  Now, I feel I am cultivating that inside of me.  Slowly.  What a gift.        Don't misunderstand me.  I still crave the solitude that nature provides.  I will be traveling starting next month and I have some amazing trips planned for this year.   But, I don't need to be somewhere else to have that sweet peace within.  It is right here,  right now.  

I still seek solitude, but in a different way.  I'm not hiding, I'm rejuvenating, contemplating, nurturing my soul.  




              Transformation.  Change.  This, we can depend on. Yet... 

I haven't always embraced the natural evolution of things, certainly not with grace. I like stability, dependability, routine.  I am an earthy type, definitely wanting the "groundedness" that comes from these things.  There is a certain amount of this stability that I can, and do, create for myself. 

This isn't really how life flows though.  Change is coming.  Always.  I am embracing what is here right now.  Trust me this isn't my norm.  For 20 and a half years I have been "mom".  That is the role that I knew, I know how to nurture, to be there for my children.  I can cook and do laundry, listen to their joy, their sorrows, be the unmoving rock for them.  I don't know if my children felt I was good at that, but I did.  It felt like I was born to be a mother.  When my daughter was born I remember thinking "my life now has purpose".  Finally.  And then my son.  More purpose.  I "could do life" because I knew what I was supposed to do.  No longer Casey.  I am Cienna's mom.  I am Indiana's mom.    Of course I still am, and will always be that to them.  But what else?   I decided a few years ago to "live the life I crave".  I don't even know that I knew what that really meant to me but I somehow started doing it.  I had this vision of the friends I wanted in my life.  The things I want to do.  All of this, and more IS my life now. 



Transformation.  It isn't just change from the "norm", from my routine.  It is a gut-wrenching, throw out the old, cry for hours rocking on my boat in the middle of the lake, talking to the universe, lay alone full of fear, walk- through-my-own-shit process and force myself to keep doing something to better my life.  Exhausting! and transformative.  Life-changing.  All this "stuff" on the outside, it's gonna change.  I can't stop that.  Can I keep up though, or will I let my own demons haunt me and keep me in that dark, lonely place (comforting as that is)?  That was really the question I had to ask myself.  Sometimes I wanted the answer to be yes to the latter.  Yes.  I do want to stay in this dark place because I know what this feels like and it is mine.  No one gets to enter into this world with me.  It is mine.  It has served me.  I know it well.  Now get away from me and let me be.  I don't need you.  I don't want you.  I am fine right here by myself.        But that isn't really the truth.  Not at all.  The truth is, I crave companionship, friends, community.  And I have that, I have more than that.  I sold myself short in what I wanted.  What my life is now is amazing.  I don't mean that there are no trials and tribulations.  Trust me.  There are so many of those.  Pipes bursting, flooding when it was -20 degrees outside.  Sickness.  My own and my family.  Life.  These things happen to all of us in some form but my life is still amazing.  I don't know what shifted other than me laying in the middle of the lake one day.  It was a few years ago, I was sad.  So sad-to the point that I could feel it physically.  And lonely.  I was crying and felt angry at myself, at the world.  Why did I feel so empty? I hated it.  I know why though.  I felt empty because I kept letting my demons win.  That's the truth.  I gave in to it every time and my world became very small.  I was "Mom" and that was the end of that.  I wasn't social.  I was doing nothing to nurture myself . I had this realization, or "awakening" if you will.  I remember that moment.  It was painful.  Nothing changed overnight, but I changed.  Day by day I made the effort to "do it different" than before.  No more giving in to my comfort.  I was scared really.  I knew that I was going to be one lonely woman for the rest of my life if I didn't confront myself.  That process doesn't begin and end in one instant.  It was a daily grind, and honestly, sometimes it still is.  But today, I have a freedom and a peace that I only dreamed about.  I have beautiful friends.  True friends.  Amazing friends.  I am "a part of."  I am not alone even though as I write this I am physically alone.  My daughter moved out last August.  That was difficult for me.  We did so many things together and one day...she was gone.  My son moved out several weeks ago.  He decided on a Tuesday and was gone on Saturday.  That was it.  I was following him to his new place with a load of his things and I thought, "This is it?  This is how it happens? I carry his things in and drive back home alone, to live alone?"  I felt sad.  No one prepares you for this "empty nest" thing.  It isn't overnight, or next week.  It happens in an instant.  Literally.  Two years ago this moment would have affected me differently.  Believe me, I cried.  I cried when Cienna left.  I cried when Indiana left.  But I am happy for them.  I have raised two beautiful, intelligent, capable children.  They should be living out with friends now in their lives. This is the natural progression of things.  They are young adults and have beautiful lives.  I want that for them. 


But here we are back to change.  Transformation.  My life is different.  It is so silent in my home.  My pets are needy and demand my attention since I am the only one here to give it.  My house was under contract and they cancelled at the last minute, now there is a new contract, with a new closing date.  I am teaching three yoga classes this week and seeing all of my amazing clients.   I am open to something beautiful and I choose to live my life and not hide.  I am embracing this change.  This new chapter.  That sounds so cliche but it is real.  Envision what it is you want.  Every.  Single.  Detail.  Live each moment as though that is what you have.  Do the things you are drawn to.  Find the support you need, whether it be friends or professionals. This is what I have done and my life has evolved...transformed into something I truly didn't expect.  It's like I always thought of myself a certain way but wasn't living my life to sustain that.  Once I began doing those things alone (my children pushed me into that sometimes), I made new and beautiful soul feels content.  I am happy and want what is next even though I don't know what that is. 

What I do know is this. 

I am excited and open and... I am leading with my heart, even though fear still lingers, I believe all will be well.  Like those beautiful little crocus peaking up through the brown landscape.  The seed that has grown in the darkness through the winter, emerging through the Earth, toward the light, a beauty amidst the dull landscape in the cold, Kansas air.  Beautiful.  Transformed through the winter.  This will be the last spring that I see these specific ones, in my neighbor's yard as I will be moving in a few weeks. 

Let us all be transformed in the darkness, moving toward the light....







Blueberries and bliss....


It is the middle of March.  We arrive at our destination in Fairhope, Alabama.  I found a lovely house on airbnb.  A house on stilts, in the woods, on an organic blueberry farm.  87 acres of beauty.  A private lake.  The pavement ended and the gravel road began....and there is was!  Better than I expected.  So perfect.  The house sat about 20 feet from the lake.  An enormous live oak tree with branches spanning so wide, some of the branches reached down to the ground.  It was truly beautiful.  I can't describe the peace I felt as I pulled down that gravel road.  A big exhale.  We arrived.  I had been looking forward to this trip with my children.  My son is graduating from high school in May and my daughter is a sophomore in college.  I don't know how many more "spring break trips" they will want to enjoy with me.  Unplugged, nature.  This is the kind of trip we enjoy.   I am grateful that I have children that are as excited to unplug and return to something more pure and raw with me.  

I had been stressed about many things going on in my life.  I needed this downtime...away, to relax and reflect.  To restore.  To be one with nature.  I reflected on many things.  Mostly how the simplicity is what brings me happiness.  I don't need much.  A cabin in the woods.  I could do this....forever in fact.  But, I don't live in Alabama, in the woods.  I live in Lawrence, Kansas.  I have a beautiful life and I love my work.  The chore for me then is how to incorporate THAT peace into a daily practice.  I have been practicing yoga and meditation.  I have my time in nature.  It is important for me to have solitude.  I can't do the busy life.  I have always craved my solitude, many people don't understand me because of it.  Often those close to me feel that I am pushing them away, when in reality, I am simply doing what my soul needs and craves.  I have gotten better at honoring that part of me.  Sometimes I have to leave things behind in my life that don't fit what feels best to the growth and nourishment of my soul.  This isn't always easy, but it always feels "right" when I truly listen to my own inner guidance.  This is what returning to nature provides me with...a more distinct knowing of what will nurture my life the most.  Sometimes my life becomes chaotic and I lose that connection and can't seem to hear that inner voice.  I am grateful that over time, I honor it.  I respect it as a truth for me.  



A Time of Renewal

I have never been a lover of the dark, winter months. I don't really like this about myself, but it's how I am wired.  My sister isn't affected as I am, I am always envious of that....her steadiness, her evenness. Happy in the sunshine, happy when it's grey.   I often wonder what makes one predisposed to the lethargy I feel with the short and cold days of winter.  Several years ago, a guy I was dating gave me a book, "The Mysteries of The Dark Moon."  I still haven't read the entire book (as is the case with many books for me).  I  open it and read bits and pieces.  It was a book that made me look at myself with more compassion, and to embrace the darkness, literally and figuratively.  In the dark, rich soil of the earth, a seed is planted, so much energy, so much life inside the tiny seed.  It needs that time, the sprout in the spring.  

I began "trying" to look at myself and my own life in a similar way.  In the dark months, I tend to isolate more, go within myself, I write a lot, sleep too much, eat a little more than I should.  I decided to use this time as a period of healing and introspection, instead of facing it with the dread that I had become all too familiar with.  Let me say right here, I have not done this with any sort of perfection, but I have practiced being a bit more gentle with myself.  I have dedicated time and energy to my yoga practice, more time reflecting on the things I would like to change about me and how to create the life I crave.  Over time, the winter months aren't feeling like something to "get through", but rather a time to embrace and reflect.  A time to let that energy go inward to grow something beautiful.  I have been more mindful about my choices, using the darkness as a source of energy.


And now....spring is close.  I hear the birds singing in the early hours before dawn.  Time for new growth, new life.  As I was walking my dog this morning,  I observed the tiny crocus blooming, scattered throughout my neighbor's yard.  I see the life.  I see the little buds on my beautiful (soon to be fragrant) lilac bushes.  I get excited.  The days are getting longer.   

My energy is stirring, ready to embrace what is next.  I am open.    I am living the life I crave.