My 40th birthday will be in 40 days. I’ve already felt the significance of this birthday more than any other. And yet, it feels like it has nothing really to do with either wanting to hang on to my 30s or fear growing older. It has more to do with me feeling like I’m a conscious butterfly who can feel my own transformation (which coincides with some flippin’ amazing astrological times!). I crave retreat and reflection in what is otherwise overflowing life with more experiences packed into each day that I can ever truly share. It takes all my energy just to remain as present as possible.
As much as I feel like I’m called to write and film video, getting into a regular practice of blogging daily, go figure with three kids and an historic home that would keep even a slacker busy.
Now I have a new job on top of everything, and it’s hard to express just how extraordinary my first month plus of work has been. I’ve felt this deep and peaceful self-confidence about my work that makes me certain that I am doing my life’s work. I feel in the flow and more focused than I’ve felt in ages. As a Gemini, I’m used to feeling pulled in a million directions, but it’s as though I have this trust and knowing that whatever I’m doing is exactly what I need to do. I’ve stopped questioning and criticizing myself, and instead work with a smile on my face. I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal, and have already created a vision board. It will surely be added to over time, but it sure feels like an inspiring first step. And while I realize that all the seeds I’m planting will need lots of care and watering, I’m eager to see my work blossom.
Probably the most incredible and refreshing part of my work is just how much I’ve learned. When you get to nearly forty, it can be easy for even a seeker like myself to feel pleasantly surprised by all the connections I’ve been making. That feels like a whole separate post, but I’ll try to summarize.
Yesterday I went to training on trauma-informed customer service, and what it really brought home to me is that I have both the skills and the desire to not only transform others, but also my community, and that will happen by creating one relationship at a time. It also made me realize that all of my physical and spiritual self-care practices are as equally valuable professionally as they are to me personally. My personal work/play energizes and inspires me to serve. I also feel called to share how I am creating my unique mama bliss, and really begin to coach/teach.
On a completely different ending note, I feel like I would be avoiding an essential element if I didn’t mention just how much healing I’ve been experiencing. Yesterday marked six years since my father’s wake, which was really the beginning of my awakening. My heart cracked so wide open that as times I literally remember feeling as though I could hold the whole universe in my heart. I felt an unconditional love that I hadn’t felt since my childhood and every moment felt precious and serendipitous. I sensed my father’s soul watching me in the garden, where I worked almost every day. I woke up intensely feeling the miracle of the new day, and knowing that if I died that day that I would have been more karmically blessed than most.
And yet, I’ve realized since an intense counseling session, that my father’s death created a deep divide in my marriage.
Initially, I tried to not be too sensitive, knowing that I was in a heightened emotional state. But now looking back with honesty, that’s when things started to unravel internally.
Kevin and Wally were always very amicable with each other, talking about the Ducks, the budding microbrew scene, plus politely debating politics, public policy, and world affairs. They were both in the same boat of wanting to impress each other. There was still an undercurrent of jealously, and Wally was one of my closest friends before Kevin. College was the first time I ever lived with my father, and I took advantage of the time we had, talking nearly every day, going to concerts, listening to him play the guitar, making dinner together, and sharing in depth about what I was learning. In my first six months of dating Kevin, I worked to balance both relationships, and they each seemed to understand that the other person wasn’t going to go away, so they needed to play nice to keep me happy.
And, yet, I could always sense judgements, mostly unspoken from both of them. After Kevin and I moved in together and headed off to Portland and then Ashland, my visits with my father became infrequent. When it came time to propose, Kevin opted out of asking either my father or my dad for “my hand” (even though I don’t like this sexist tradition, I do remember sensing that he didn’t fully respect my hippie father figures). Wally not being one for formality shrugged it off and whole heartedly gave me his blessing and offered to pay for the eight piece swing band and the Caldera keg. Their relationship maintained a status quo quality. After our son and Wally’s first grandchild was born, he started to make more of an effort to visit. While I was thrilled, Kevin increasingly became annoyed that his visits were always spur of the moment, rather than scheduled. Wally picked up on the unwelcoming vibe, and didn’t like to see how hard Kevin was on Kieran, often expecting too much. Yet, thankfully, there was never any real bad blood.
And, yet, when I shared the news of Wally’s sudden death with Kevin, I couldn’t help but pick up on an unspoken vibe that he felt relieved that he had passed. It was as though now he could sigh relief, thinking that he would no longer need to compete for my love. Little did Kevin know how significant Wally’s death would become in my life.
After returning from Wally’s wake, Kevin seemed ready to move on. While he gave me space to grieve, it was clear that he didn’t want to be the one I talked to about my emotions. Instead I would wake up in the middle of the night and write, feeling like I was pouring out my soul. That grieving time was surprisingly inspiring and productive. I had a newfound energy and was ready to take action on any spark that lit my heart.
Blessedly, I found solace and soulful connection over pints at Secret Society with Bocky, a Irish tree planting buddy who Wally deeply admired and talked about, but who I never met while Wally was alive. Instead, we met the bar at the end of the wake, and as I stumbled back that beautiful night, I said to my sister. I think I may have lost my father, but just met my Godfather. Serendipitously, it turned out that three years later Bocky did stand up to serve as Teagan’s Godfather.
Back to reflecting on my marriage, I finally saw in this recent counseling session just how much of a rift Wally’s death has caused us. It grew unconsciously over time, neither of us realizing the source of contention. On top of waking me up to all the immense beauty in my life, I became vividly aware of the unnecessary strife that existed in our relationship and family life.
Being after midnight and almost 1300 words, I think it’s to call this story a night.
I don’t want to force myself into some artificial “challenge,” but I do want to put out the intention of writing every day for the next 39 days. The truth is that I have umpteen half-written blog drafts because of my perfectionist tendencies. But I know in my heart that I need to write for my own healing, not because it’s “publish worthy.” As a sign of faith, I’m even going to push publish without editing. I truly hope that this new creative reflection practice will get me out of my past ruts and transform my voice into the eloquent and powerful one that I know lives deep down and so eagerly wants to inspire the world, one person at a time.
Peace and love,