I’ve become deliciously mindful lately,
Pausing often to honor scenes such as these,
Found literally in my own backyard.
A visual meditation, if you will,
That encourages me to breathe in deliberately,
Asks me to listen to my heart intently,
And offers an opportunity to be grateful–
For the fleeting kaleidoscopic tapestry
That replaces the landscape each returning autumn;
For the clean, crisp October air
That hastens a deep awakening;
For the magical way the world becomes a poem
With no words.
It is a gift with wings,
A venerable reminder that no matter the weave beneath my life’s pattern
I am part of this earth, these trees, such skies
Born of the water and soil that begets this seasonal fire
Fueled by the winds of awareness
Lifting me to freedom in an instant of knowing
How lucky I am–we all are
Simply to be alive.
The Stillness That Comes by Cath Edvalson
There is a stillness that comes in places like this.
It offers to settle deep inside me, burrowing deeper with each clear breath in,
Becoming calmer with each long exhale,
Taking residence while I linger.
And as I listen to the birdsong around me,
See the ripples of water lengthen,
Smell the rich, dense foliage of seasons before this one,
Offering a mere glimpse into the richness of time,
I marvel at the depth that can be found in a sunless sky,
At the intensity of green that can define a landscape,
At the harmony that can be found in shadow,
And I am overcome.
There is so much beauty in the world,
Sometimes all we need to do is just open the door
And walk through it.
Stop what you are doing.
Look at the world around you.
Inhale deeply, exhale profundly, listen intently.
This day, this hour, this moment–each breath a new beginning.
This beauty, this hope, this gift–there is no time but now.
Stop. Look. Listen.
Each day, each hour, each moment.
Stop. Look. Listen—
and learn to begin again.
My new mantra,
Hello! And welcome! I am so glad you have joined me. For the very first post of a brand spankin’ new blog is a super exciting thing, and I am thrilled that we are together once again.
Many of you know me from my days as the trends editor at Paper Crafts & Scrapbooking magazine, where, among other duties, I hosted the Moxie Fab World blog. Since stepping down from that role on the first day of November of 2013, I have taken some time to dive deep into myself, in a way that I haven’t done for a very long time.
In fact, I’ve been quite rudderless since my last post announcing my departure from the very most fun job I’ve ever had. And I’ve gotta say, it’s quite a thing to drift–out of a job that I loved, and to be perfectly honest, out of an identity that meant a lot to me–into relative “nothingness,” if you will. For my nest has been empty for quite a while now, as my two amazing daughters, Nicole and Rebeccah, are grown and living beautiful lives of their own 2,500 miles away. And well, while I love being the wife to my fabulous husband, Mark; a daughter to my mom, Diana; a sister to Eric and Larry; an aunt; a friend; and a Pom-mom to my sweet little Pomeranian, Oscar; I wanted to take some time to figure out what might be next for me. And I didn’t want to just figure out the what (if anything at all), but the why.
And, OK, to be fair, in the meantime I also turned 50. And while I truly believe that 50 is the new 40, and that I am definitely entering the best years of my life for all kinds of seriously delightful reasons, you’ve got to figure that there’s all kinds of mid-life stuff going on in there that’s muddying up the water.
And, OK, to be even more fair, I am very lucky that I was even able to take this time to begin with. My husband has a good job, we try to be very careful with our money, and we are financially secure. This is not the case for many spouses/families, and I am more than deeply grateful for the opportunity it has given me to dig deep.
As a result, I decided to make what I considered to be the brave decision to stop (for an undetermined amount of time), to look (lovingly and deliberately inside the deep, dark well that is my heart), and to really listen (training my ears to hear even the softest of whispers) to what it had to say. I put no time constraints on it. I placed no expectations upon it. I willed myself to be patient, allowing my new purpose in life to reveal itself.
Days quickly turned into weeks, weeks morphed seamlessly into months, and months ultimately totaled 17. As time passed, I found ways to connect, deeply, with my core self. I became more aware of my surroundings. I gave myself over to nature even more than I already had in the past. I learned how to meditate which in turn helped me to learn how to really live in the moment.
I also began creating for myself again, but this time in ways I had never tried before: I learned how to crochet. I started paper-cutting. I dabbled in programs like Adobe Illustrator and Silhouette Studio. Above all, I spent a lot of time chipping away at the assumptions we make about life on a daily basis, stripping them down to their very core, asking myself questions like this:
- Why is it that we tend to believe as a society we are only valuable if we contribute in some way? Like in a job. Or working for a cause. Or taking care of and/or nurturing others. Shouldn’t it be enough to just be? To simply exist and enjoy the world we are are so lucky to have been born into? Shouldn’t that be…couldn’t that be…enough?
- I have always defined myself in some part by my chosen career. Now that I didn’t have one, it felt like the perfect time to ask myself, Who would you be if you didn’t work at all? Would your world stop turning? Could you be someone without having to identify yourself with some kind of job? Plenty of people don’t work, and they are fine. They lead interesting lives. They feel valued and fulfilled. They are whole. Why couldn’t I be one of those people?
- Which for me, I discovered as I dug even deeper, was all centered on one Big Fat Question: Who would you be if you finally let go of your need to be perfect? Inside which, I learned, lies my desperate need to prove that I am worthy of–fill in the blank–respect, value, and most importantly, love.
Indeed, the real and most relevant question became: Who would you be if you could truly believe that you are enough, just the way you are?
All of which we will explore further as we spend more time together here at Hip & Hooray. Suffice it to say, I spent a lot of time with these questions, and little by little, I was able to understand that it would take the time it was going take, and that that was OK. I gradually found the faith I needed to believe that I would, indeed, become the person I was meant to become at this stage in my life. And though it wasn’t in my nature to think in these ways at all, I decided to uncharacteristically trust that everything would unfold exactly the way it was meant to.
And guess what? It did.
Because here I am. With a brand new blog. And an exciting new purpose. And I’m so glad you’ve come along for the ride!
Welcome to Hip & Hooray,
PS To learn more about me and what Hip & Hooray is all about, click here.