I fell in love with the song the first time I heard it.  It’s called Azawade by The Toure-Raichel Colletive.  It’s an eight minute, instrumental song filled with meanderings of guitar strings, graceful piano, gentle tapping percussion and some humming.  Right away it made me want to move and so I began to use it in yoga, on my own and also in my classes.  The song seemed to make me want to flow in my movements as if to feel every single beat of that music make its way into my muscle fibers.

A few months later, on a warm July day, two friends and I made our way to Athens, Ohio for an afternoon to meet up with another friend who lived there.  We went to a couple breweries and had a nice dinner and then tried to figure out what we were going to do with the remaining hours of our visit before heading home.  Well, the moon was full, the night had descended and it had come up in conversation that one of my friends had never been skinny dipping.  And so we hopped in the car and started the drive out to a lake that was a little ways out of town.  I was in the passenger seat and so the driver requested that I play some music.  I put on Azawade and we put the windows down.

We drove along winding roads, headlights marking the way and we didn’t say a word the entire eight minutes that the song played.  The warm wind filtered through the windows.  When we arrived at the deserted public beach area of the lake, we parked the car, walked onto the sand and then stripped our clothes off and we ran squealing into the water.  We swam around for about 20 minutes in the black water, swimming through the full moon beams that danced on the surface.  We laughed and did flips and handstands.  And then we began the two hour drive back home, the water from the lake rolling off our hair and the sand still plastered to our bodies.

For the days that followed that, whenever I heard the first few notes of the song Azawade, my mind would immediately drift to that night.  This song, that memory.  And I would feel a joy that was absolute both in that moment and in the present one.

And then, months later, Azawade wandered across my playlist while I was hanging out with this fella that I had been seeing.  We were in each other’s arms, whispering and laughing gently and our words seemed to dance along with the song.  Afterwards I told him, ‘I now have a new favorite memory that goes along with this song.’  For a while I made this the truth.  And then when things with said fella didn’t work out, the song became too painful to listen to and I began to skip past it on my playlists, turning away from the good memory that had gone bad.

Some more time has passed since then, and this morning as I unrolled my mat and pressed shuffle on a playlist, the sounds of Azawade began to fill the air around me.  My first inclination was to bolt, to skip the song.  But then something strange happened….I decided that instead I wanted to reclaim it.

And so I moved once more, following those guitar strings and gentle keyboard keys wherever they took me. I closed my eyes and began to move back to that night in Athens, that night where I bathed in a lake filled with full moon reflections and laughter.  It was a night where I felt absolutely sure that all was right in the universe.  And it’s times like this when I truly feel joy.

I began to think….How often had I done this—-allowed my light, my good to be overshadowed?  How easy had it became to just give away my happy to those who did not deserve it?

It was then that I began to think about glory.  Someone once wrote this equation out for me: Joy+Sorrow=Glory.  Sure, joy is awesome, but glory is one step beyond that.  But in order to get to glory, we must go through a little bit of sorrow.  And then glory becomes this whole new thing; it’s an appreciated joy, it’s a reclaimed joy.  And there’s no way to skip directly to glory by bypassing sorrow.  It just doesn’t work that way.

And so my practice this morning became one of glory.  Because there I was,  truly acknowledging all the little pieces of my history that this song had been the soundtrack to…..the joy and the sorrow.  And then I made a decision to let go of the sorrow and to choose joy…and I swear that song sounded sweeter than ever.



When my friend texted me the other day and asked me if I had any books to loan her about self-love, the first response that came to my head was ‘guuurrlll please’.  But they don’t make an emoji for that so instead I went to my bookshelf and found the book that I wanted to loan her and sent her a screen shot of the cover.  Now, this friend is an amazing, incredible person—beautiful to the core, smart, loving, caring and funny.  I love her.  Why would she need that book?  Well, for the same reason that she probably thinks that I am a pretty cool person too (I don’t think she would hang out with me if she didn’t) and I am the one that owns the book.  I think this book has sold quite a few copies.  It’s not just me and my friend that have trouble spreading and giving the love and care and worth to others that we also deny ourselves.

Not giving myself the value and love that I so openly bestow on the people in my life is at the root of the things that hold me back.  It’s what leads me to get involved in unfulfilling relationships with men, it’s what keeps me from truly seizing my place in this world.  It’s the thing that, once I finally accomplish it, will make me feel like I have finally figured things out.  So I strive.  And I know, in the core of my bones, in every tiny little muscle fiber of my body and the beat of my heart, that I know how to do it.  I just don’t always listen to all those things.

But it’s all about the journey right?

So, this book is called “When You Think You’re Not Enough”, which is a fairly cheesy title but it’s filled with pretty great teachings.  Before I let it leave my hands I read through it again as it had been a couple years since I had done so.  There’s a passage which says ‘Ultimately, self-compassion is a series of choices, a moment by moment conscious turning away from that which will harm your spirit toward that which will nourish and sustain you. It is choosing, in any particular situation and over and over again, whether you’ll treat yourself or beat yourself up’.  And I love this passage because it just seems so tangible.  When I look at this whole idea of loving myself, of creating this whole relationship with myself that is healthy and unconditional, it seems like such a big idea.  But knowing that I can make these tiny little decisions, these seemingly small steps that will eventually lead to miles….well that’s a little bit easier to wrap my brain around.

These past few weeks in my life have been a little trying and I’ve had a million little chances to practice these moment by moment dances of ‘turning towards.’  What works for me might not work for you.  We are all a tiny bit different in the things that nourish our spirits, but we are all the same in that we know, somewhere deep inside those bones and muscles and heartbeats, what ‘good’ feels like.  For me, going for a run makes me feel like I have all the strength I need as I urge my feet to keep moving step after step.  Getting onto my yoga mat allows me to clear the cobwebs in my head as I let the rhythm of my practice take hold.  Cooking a nice dinner makes me feel like I can truly take care of myself.  Sitting on the porch, listening to music and having a little cry makes me feel like I can access and then give birth to the swirling emotions in my head.  Sometimes it seems a bit impossible to do these things—-my legs feel weary, the mat intimidates me,  the cupboard is bare and my tears are stuck somewhere I can’t access them.  But when I’m able to turn towards, I feel like I’m getting just a tiny bit closer to this whole notion of taking care and loving me.   And my hope is that eventually, this tiny bit closer, this one little step, might get me to where I want to be.

And it’s a little bit of a cycle and a little bit of ‘faking it until I make it.’  Because it’s the times when I feel the most unlovable and unworthy that I have a hard time lacing up my shoes to go for that run.  But it’s also in those times when I most need to give myself the gift of something that I know will nourish my spirit.  It’s these gifts that slowly teach me that my joy is a battle worth waging. It’s in those times that I have to pick and choose the voices that  I listen to; tuning out the criticism and what ifs and doubts and listening to the one that is gentle yet firm in her belief that I am enough and deserving of my own love.  That voice is the one that gets me to’ turn towards’ and then when I do so,  that voice gets louder, little by little.  And then, hopefully, one day this voice will do most of the talking.  And it will probably say ‘guuuurrrlll please, what took you so long?’


What I Learned from Splash

These past couple of weeks have been a doozy of a time, folks.  You know what I’m talking about…those times where a few things happen that all individually might have kicked your ass but instead of spreading themselves out, they happen all at once and leave you shaking your fist at the sky screaming “Universe, what, pray tell, have I done to you??”.  And then I got the stomach flu.  Sweet.  Eh, I guess I needed a little cleanse.

But alas, all such circumstances led me to my parents’ couch last night, in PJs at 8pm and looking through TV channels for something to watch.  And I landed upon Splash.  It was about that time that my former roommate/forever lifemate texted me to check in.  I told him I was watching Splash.  He asked what channel it was on and I told him it was called Logo, which I had never heard of.  He told me it was a gay/lesbian channel.  I asked him if mermaid/human romance was gay.  He responded that the movie was campy and mermaids were gay.  I told him that I was inspired to crimp my hair like Daryl Hannah.  He thinks I should try it.  But I digress.

For those of you unfamiliar with this cinematic gem of the 80’s, Tom Hanks plays a human named Allen who falls in love with a mermaid named Madison.  Everything is perfect between them except that he has legs and she will only have legs for the next six days before she must return to the ocean during the full moon.  It’s always timing that ruins chances at great relationships, amiright?  And yes, the movie is pretty campy and it made the 1980’s seem like such a long time ago which is a bit depressing but I learned a few things from this movie.

  1. People aren’t always going to understand you when you speak your truth.  Allen begs Madison to tell him her name in her native language and when she does, emitting a high pitched squeal, all the TVs in Bloomingdales explode.  But she tried.  In doing so, she risked being exposed and vulnerable (not to mention an astronomical bill from the electronics department).  But she tried, he listened, and though Allen couldn’t quite understand, he still loved her and didn’t judge her for it.
  2. Wonder and beauty exists in the smallest of things.  Our eyes are just a bit used to tuning them out.  Madison has lived her whole life in the ocean.  So when she steps onto the streets of New York City, everything is absolutely amazing, even the flashing ‘don’t walk’ signs.  When Allen gives her a gift from Tiffany’s, she is absolutely grateful for and in awe of the turquoise box, not even knowing or caring that the true gift lies inside the box.  I started to wonder what my life would look like if I lived my life for a while pretending that I was Madison, seeing all the things of beauty in this world with a fresh set of eyes, scenes that I have taken for granted, moments that I glaze over in my rush to the next.
  3. When you make a mistake, do your best to correct it.  Enter the hapless scientist played by Eugene Levy who succeeds in exposing Madison so that he can become famous and then regrets his decision because he feels like a giant butthead so he helps her escape back to the ocean.  We all make mistakes.  We don’t mean to.  But sometimes we have the wrong goal in mind, or perhaps misguided priorities.  It’s cool.  We weren’t put here to do everything perfect the first time.  Or sometimes even the second, third, etc.    But admitting this little mishaps and adjusting the course of our sails is what makes us grow.  It’s what makes us grow into ‘better’.  But if we never admit that we failed, we never get the chance to rise and our little boat will just sputter without going anywhere.
  4. Choosing love always gets you the key to the kingdom.  Enter the biggest spoiler alert of this blog and perhaps the cheesiest lesson.  The movie ends with Allen having to choose between life on land with his loser brother and boring job or taking a chance with this woman who, let’s admit it, is out of his league.  By choosing Madison, he chooses a completely unknown future, a relinquishing of security, possible heartbreak.  But he trusts his heart.  He dives into the water.  And what awaits him is this underwater kingdom that he never could have imagined.  Totally worth it, right?  I mean we all look at his decision and we’re like “Duh, why wouldn’t he do that?”  But how many times have we all let a little fear of the unknown keep us from taking a chance at what could bring us great joy?
  5. Mermaids do exist.  And this is where growing up with movies from the 80’s could have totally set up for failure.  But alas, I’ll keep searching.



Junk in the Trunk

I have been neglecting my writing lately for good reason.  Last week, after nearly five years in my old apartment, I moved to a new apartment.  Though the move was just three blocks away, I still felt the need to purge.  So I spent the entire month of January doing so.  It felt very well timed…new year, new me and all that jazz.  Bags of clothes went to the Salvation Army, an old camera went to a friend, things went into the trash that needed to be there.  And on a cold day, I tackled the antique trunk that sat in my living room. In this trunk, I hold my memories—boxes of old pictures, yearbooks, cards and letters from loved ones past and present.  The goal was to make the trunk light enough to move so that I wouldn’t have to actually box up any of the contents.  Because I’m lazy like that.  But this trunk also contained all my old journals from high school; so this little purge turned into a whole list of revelations.

It’s probably far from shocking to hear that I have always kept extensive journals.  If you follow this blog, you know that I search to understand myself by taking pen to the page.  While some of these pages were embarrassing to read, others amusing, and some of them heartbreaking; for the most part they were pretty enlightening.  It was like teenage me was reaching through the years to be like “hey lady, do you FINALLY get it?”.  Well, maybe.  But here is what teenage me had to teach present me.

  1. Listen to people when they tell you who they are.  The stories that you weave for them in your head are filled with romantic notions.  One day you will see that they are exactly who they told you they were in the very beginning.
  2. Change takes place on the inside.  There was one year in high school where I spent an entire spring break trying to execute this grand makeover.  I highlighted my hair, spent my days in the sun in efforts to get a tan and went on a crash diet.  When I went back to school a week later, no one noticed and I was devastated.  Laugh if you want to.  I’m cracking up right now.  But how often do we all still do this? True change comes from the inside, as does true beauty.
  3. This too shall pass.  As I read about the great stresses of my life—pressures at school, worries about the future, heartbreaks—-well, they all had a way of working themselves out.  Sure, these stresses all deserved their fair share of thinking about but I’m pretty certain that teenage me who didn’t handle stress very well, gave them way too much time on stage.  This stems from the fact that I hadn’t yet learned to trust myself and I hadn’t allowed myself the beauty of learning from mistakes.  Also, it was pretty amusing to read about these crushing heartbreaks and read the name and be like “who???”  So, therefore, what about these things that I fret about now?  While they are important and I want to work through them in a good manner, well, some day they will be my past, faded words on a page.  It’s all about perspective…what truly deserves my energy  ? Because it’s a limited supply and I want to use it wisely.
  4. Leonardo Dicaprio is still #1 on my top 10 list of hot guys.  Yes, I had a list.  But I’m pretty sure the other 9 have changed.  After all, Ryan Gosling wasn’t on the scene yet.  Duh..
  5. Pay attention to what fuels you.  Teenage me absolutely came alive when she was dancing, moving with the rhythm of music when no one was watching.  And she felt better when she put everything down on the page.  These loves that we discover when we are young sometimes go dormant for a while.   But they are still there, waiting for us to return when we are ready to access that little place of joy.
  6. Life is precious.  And sometimes entirely too short.  Unfortunately, teenage me learned very early on about the fragility of life.  I lost my friend Brad shortly after he turned 16.  As I read through those pages I wrote during that time, I mourned all over again.  It seems like a long time ago but just like yesterday all at the same time.  Years later, on his birthday, I would get a tattoo on my back with the Chinese symbols for ‘seize the day’.  Every year on his birthday, I take some time to reflect on the life I have been fortunate enough to live, knowing that it is no small thing…ever.  And these days that we are lucky enough to live are a responsibility in themselves to live well.
  7. The universe will keep offering you the same lesson in different disguises until you truly, truly learn what’s meant to be taught.  It was so frustrating to read about some of my ‘ism’s’ from over 20 years ago and be like “wtf! why am I still doing that?”.  Our patterns can be difficult to break from, especially if we’ve been holding them close for decades.  But there’s always the chance to do things different.  The opportunity to do so comes about nearly every day.  I just have to make the brave decision to start a new groove in the record that plays in my life….in an effort to create a melody that better suits me.

After I revisited these journals, I ripped the pages out and tore them to pieces.  The empty spines and loads of torn paper went into the trash.  Because as it turns out, I discovered what I needed to know with this little journey into the past.  But it’s time to move on.  In this new apartment, I feel the surges of new beginnings and I’m ready to wrap up these lessons like pretty little packages—-packages that I don’t have to keep moving with me every place I go.img_3738


When it’s Time

It was on a bench in the middle of the UNC Chapel Hill campus where my ex-husband and I decided to get a divorce.  Though I knew the ending was inevitable, it still surprised me as the words were leaving my mouth.  Diagnosis was loss of love.  It was three days later that I sat in a veterinarian’s office in West Virginia as she told me that my dog was dying. She was 11 and I knew that I wouldn’t have her forever.  The diagnosis was bone cancer.

Of course I choked my way through sobs that evening as friends brought me bottles of red wine and then put me to bed at the end of the night with my beloved Maggie dog tucked beside me.  Of course I was angry at the timing of it all.  But somehow I knew that these two instances of loss were coinciding and colliding with each other for some reason.

Over the next couple of weeks, I talked to three different vets, friends of mine.  There were options to try to prolong Maggie’s life.  They all involved a possibility of more pain.  They were futile grasps at trying to delay the inevitable.  But of course I considered them.

“Have I done enough for her?” “Am I trying everything possible here?” “At what point do I just let her go?”  I said these words through emails and phone calls, looking at the big brown dog laying by my side and wondering what on earth I would be without her.

All the while I was seeking counsel from my friends about my marriage.  “Have I done enough for my marriage?” “Did we try everything possible?” “At what point do I just let it go?”  I had been in my relationship for eight years and wasn’t quite sure at that point who I was without it.

It didn’t take me long to realize that the universe was pushing these two really painful instances together so that I could survive them both in tandem.  Life was offering me the same lesson in two different packages.

In the end I decided that I would not take any drastic measures to prolong Maggie’s life; that the best way I could honor the time that we had together was to know when it had run its course.  I had to fight against the feeling that I was failing her somehow.  I had to come to the realization that the cancer had been present for a long time and that it would eventually just spread to the point where it could no longer be treated.  And so I loved her more ferociously than ever over the next few months and then one day when her eyes told me that the pain was simply too much, I nuzzled my head into her neck one last time and we said goodbye.

During the course of those few months, I was also working with my ex-husband on separation papers.  As we discussed the details, sometimes we would question if we were doing the right thing.  I wondered if we had failed each other.  But alas, a cancer had begun between us a while ago.  And I don’t think that either of us had it in us to fight it any longer.  I cared about him enough to realize that he would be happier without me.  I cared about myself enough to realize I would be happier without him.  Though separation is this super scary thing, our relationship had simply run its course.  So perhaps the diagnosis wasn’t loss of love.  Perhaps it was love that led us to this point of realizing that the proudest thing we could do to honor the life of our relationship was to realize when it had run its course.

I saw my ex-husband for the last time less than after a month after I put Maggie down.  Her last lesson to me was in how to say a graceful goodbye.  My ex and I hugged in the parking lot at a bank in Colorado and thanked each other for the time that we had.  By then, life was already carrying us on different paths, the traces which had been set years before.

Sadly, the lives of dogs are finite things.  We tend to just ignore this fact when they first come into our lives.  All we can see is love and newness.  We don’t think too much about the fact that they might not be with us forever.  No, we love them with everything we have because if we didn’t we would be deceiving ourselves.  And when their time comes, it is not because our love wasn’t enough.   It’s simply because it’s time.

I am slowly beginning to realize that relationships are much the same way.  The life span of some might be very, very long and only be brought to an end when one person passes.  Some are shorter than that.  And I’ve never gone into a relationship thinking about the end of it.  No way…. there’s too much love and newness going on and I don’t want to deny myself that.  So I love with all I have.  I work to be comfortable with the recognitions of when the relationship has run its course.  And at that point, I work to realize that it wasn’t a failure, it wasn’t because my love wasn’t enough.  It’s simply because it’s time.



All That Glitters

Today I would like to talk about shoes.  No, this is not going to become a fashion blog.  Nor will it ever.  You’re talking to the girl who tries to avoid wearing actual pants at all costs (this might be one of the top reasons for me choosing to be a yoga instructor; and the invention of the fleece legging is the only thing that makes winter bearable for me).  No… I would like to talk about the ridiculous gold glittery shoes shown in the picture below.  I wore them once to a party until the pictures were taken and I had a few glasses of wine.  And then for the safety of myself and others, I promptly took them off.

That party was two years ago and they’ve been taking up space in my closet ever since.  And it is time to let them go.  Ah, but you know me too well to think that that’s the end of the story.  I’m also the girl who blogs about the meaning behind painting my dresser and buying a red leather chair.

I set upon cleaning out my closet with a vengeance today.  Because I need to.  And because it’s the new year.  And I’m a firm believer in the fact that clearing out and tossing ‘stuff’ is wonderful practice in non attachment and letting go, two things that I had set intention to working on in 2017.  So here are the reasons that I let go of my ‘stuff’.  Feel free to read between the lines here and see what I’m really truly working on letting go of.

  •  All of those things that when I put them on I just don’t feel like I look good.  They dull my colors rather than brighten them. They make me feel ‘too much’ of this and ‘not enough’ of that.  There’s simply no need to hang on to things that don’t make you feel good about yourself.
  • Those things that had simply become too worn or faded over the course of time.  Perhaps they served me well some years ago but those moments have come and gone.  Wearing them, with their pills and their stains and their small little holes is just a reminder that maybe I need to retire them and admit that it’s time for something new.
  • A few things have simply become too big for me.  We’ve outgrown each other.  At some point the waistline of those pants fit the waistline of my body.  But things have changed.  We no longer fit together.  Perhaps someone else can fit into these things a little better.  And I should give them that chance instead of just keeping them in my closet just so I know they’re there.
  • Clothes kinda work like a little memory bank don’t they?  We can put on a dress and remember the music and the laughter from the party that we attended wearing said dress.  Sometimes it’s fun to wear these things over and over and see what new memories they can create.  Sometimes this revisiting of the past just gets too sad.  And while a gentle reflection that might lead to a little melancholy is alright from time to time, there comes a point when you just have to eliminate things that keep causing sadness.


So now I return to the ridiculous gold glittery shoes.  I put them on today and walked around the house a little bit wearing them with my yoga pants (see first paragraph).  “These aren’t so bad,” I thought.  “Maybe I should keep them just in case. They are pretty.  And they look good with that one dress.  Letting them go is hard.”

Then I walked into my bedroom, still wearing the shoes,  stepped on something and nearly broke my ankle.  Well played, universe, well played.  I get it.  Letting go is tough and because of that we can try to talk ourselves out of doing so in a million little ways.  Because we see it as a failure.  But canned foods aren’t the only thing with expiration dates (I just figured this one out while clearing my kitchen cabinets yesterday).  Relationships, habits, ways of being in the world…..they all have expiration dates.  And just because they’ve passed doesn’t mean that they have failed you, its just time to move on.  Letting go is not giving up on something.  It’s simply realizing that it no longer works for you.  And if we try to hang on past the point of expiration, then we are just setting ourselves up for broken ankles.

Anyone want these shoes?



The Gifts of Rewinding

I think I am not alone in my love/hate relationship with social media.  I hate it when I sit on my couch scrolling and scrolling thinking that everyone has it sooooo much better than me.  And they definitely have their lives more put together.  And lord, let’s not start with the political climate that exists on there these days.  So I won’t start.  What I will say that sometimes I do love it.  Especially when it delivers these little nuggets of reflection that I’ve found in a couple of things circulating these days.

I’ll start with this whole ‘your year in review!’ that has been floating around on Facebook the past week or so.  In case you haven’t reached this blog through Facebook or you’ve skipped over this little video, I’ll explain.  It says “Hey so-and-so, take a look at your 2016!”.  And then it shows pictures of you smiling  with your smiling friends.  It’s comprised of pictures throughout the year—maybe weddings, maybe nights out, maybe vacations.

More than a couple of people that shared their video commented something along the lines of “hey, here I thought all of 2016 was just a big ol’ suck fest but I forgot that all these good things happened!”  I was telling a friend about my observation and he told me about this bit of science called ‘the negativity bias.’  It’s the notion that, even when of equal intensity, things of a more negative nature have a greater effect of one’s psychological state and processes than do positive things.  I suppose that this little working of the brain did us well when we were cavemen and we had to remember that we should be scared of vicious wild creatures for survival.   But we’ve evolved.  Right?

Right….so why is it so easy to want to throw away an entire year and all that it contained?  I’m guilty.  I’ve had more than my share fair of blows during this year 2016 so believe me, I’m more than ready to hibernate these next couple of weeks and come out again when the ball drops, hoping for new and different and good.  But here Facebook shows me this little video and I see these moments that I wouldn’t want to erase from my memory simply in the name of pretending a whole year didn’t exist.   What if we slowly tricked our brain into evolving to this place where we know that bad and good are simply just words?  Pain and joy and heartbreak and ecstasy are all just emotions on a continuum…..and for any of them to exist, all of them must exist.

And then there’s Instagram.  Yesterday I just started seeing a bunch of friends post these side by side pictures….2006 vs 2016.  I decided to play along and since my Facebook account nor smartphone existed ten years ago, I dove into the storage closet to find my photo album from that time.  I had to think really hard about what was happening during that time.  I was living in Aspen, I was getting married, I was traveling back to West Virginia to attend my ten year reunion, I was managing a shop that sold ski apparel and I hated to ski.

When I moved the little pictures side by side in a photo app, the physical differences jumped out immediately.  I’m in much better shape now thanks to yoga (and, as I like to joke to others who comment on my weight, a steady diet of heartbreak…but alas, I digress) and it appears that maybe, just maybe, I’ve finally figured out how to do my hair and makeup like a real girl.  But there’s something else.  I look at a smile, forced, on the old picture I pulled out from the album.  The picture I used from 2016 was from when I attended an adult prom fundraiser with friends.  It was a pretty spectacular night and there’s a brightness to my eyes and an authenticity to my smile.

And it’s then that I know…..I think maybe I have figured a few things out over the years.  Sometimes it’s hard to get wrapped up in this idea that I’m wading through life and kind of just swimming in place.  I wonder in fact if the path I’m on is undulating or just circular.  And then I see that smile.  And I know that I have arrived at that smile because I have worked really hard to get it there.  I have made difficult decisions and taken a path that perhaps seems a little strange to others.  If that smile disappears for a while, it’s only because I made this commitment to live my life heart wide open and all in. But I refuse to wear a forced smile simply because I want to straddle the in between.

So this is where social media becomes this beautiful gift at the perfect time right now. Here comes Facebook saying ‘hey look, don’t forget about the absolute sweetness of life in the midst of a little mess’ and here comes Instagram saying ‘you think you can’t survive 2016?  Look how much you’ve survived since 2006.’  And while living in the past is something to truly be avoided, sometimes returning to it for a little bit of perspective is  good medicine.