Saturday, 14 April 2012

The Sun Will Come Up ......

As I listened - and, yes, I confess, sang along to - the familiar song from Annie this morning, I felt a smile building inside me and coming to the surface.  I had been revisiting my journals this morning also and that had set me on a path of counting my many blessings over the past three years.  It has been a long journey of self-discovery - a conscious decision to live authentically no matter what!  I have jumped into situations openly and lived life to the fullest while still giving myself permission to retreat into my still, small place when a respite was necessary.  I have made bad judgment calls, geat decisions and broken some debillitating patterns - all at the same time.  I have decided that that is life - the good, the bad and the ugly!  It has been such a wonderful, challenging and enlightening time.  I have dropped tons of heavy, ugly baggage.  I walk with a lighter step (although the PHYSICAL me is not much lighter!) because I am not carrying such a difficult load - I have started to figure out what belongs on my shoulders and what others need to carry themselves.  The very best realization is that being honest with myself about what I believe and what I don't believe has set me free from the bondage I placed myself in trying to be whatever everyone thought I should be! 

My weight loss journey is not just about the physical weight - although that is measureable.  It is about continuing to live authentically, staying open to what life brings me and making sure I am not shutting out the rays of sunshine just because there are clouds on the horizon.  It has more to do with facing my fears then the scale and a lot more about enjoying life's pleasures whether it is via a fork or a breath of fresh air.

My knee is on the mend and I am now able to walk up and down stairs - slowly - but like a normal person.  I have gained some strength and more awareness of how the body works as a whole and not just its parts.

 It appears that through a process of elimination and logical thinking, the former den on our second level is evolving into a room for future exercise and maybe some yoga.  Now there's a surprise that I was not anticipating!  As I learn to just let things be and accept what comes without so much effort and worry, the most amazing things pop into my life - and my house apparently.  I will keep you posted on where that might lead.

In the meantime, I am moving forward on my quest for good health - please, God, let that mean some weight loss!

AND, now the story that goes with the picture.....

It wasn’t that I was lonely really – or even unhappy.  I was on my own and giving myself a birthday gift – a trip to Ontario to meet my sister for an adventure.  The idea of traveling was growing in size and excitement as if I was heading off to backpack across Europe rather than fly to Toronto for a visit to Niagara-on-the-Lake. 

Details filled my days of preparation with what would fit into the overflowing suitcase and with anxious double checking of theatre tickets, passport, and Via Rail passes.  I took comfort in the fact I would be sharing this adventure with my sister and yet, even that worried me as I wondered if I would seem too backward in my travel experience or too uncultured or just too boring!  My head talked logic while my heart had its own dialogue of excitement and fear – all contained in a safe little box I had spent years or perhaps a lifetime building along with a lid that fit snuggly in place. 
I napped unashamedly on the plane to Toronto hoping that I wasn’t snoring but unable to stay awake after my late night of packing and unpacking.  I hid in my safe box behind my fatigue and only partially sensed my travel companions talking as strangers do on planes. 

It was the first lifting of the lid from my safe, comfortable and quiet life of saying no more often than yes to life’s opportunities - a simple bus ride that launched me into a week of subway trains and Via Rail and walking tours around the most amazing little town I had ever visited.  I settled into days filled with walking to the store, the theatre, the lake – anywhere we wanted to go.  Autumn leaves crunched into trails of red and gold, light filtered through stands of maples and sparkled on the snaking river or bounced off a spray of water hundreds of feet tall – higher than even the famous waterfall tumbling before my camera lens.

I threw a leg over the edge of my carefully structured safe box and immersed myself in play after play in the local theatres and hours of wine-enhanced conversation with my sister and niece - simple pleasures I had somehow placed on my selfish, some-day shelf in the corner of my safe box.  I took deep breaths of fresh, intoxicating air, air like I had never breathed before under the lid of my box and settled into a rhythm of self-discovery, family and fun. 

As I found myself clinging to the railing above the hundreds of steel-grated stairs below me, I moved back into the box I didn’t think I had packed – fear that drove me deeper into it recesses with the lid snapping on.  “No,” I said with a smile on my face and cold fear clutching my heart, “I really don’t like heights so you go ahead and I will wait here.”   My sister moved down four steps to the first platform, turned and said, “Just come down these four steps, Eileen – I know how you feel, but you can do four steps”.  My head knew the invitation was a ploy to get me started; my heart knew the smothering effect of my “no”.   I stepped down, breathed deep, and kept on walking.  The view of the river and the escarpment were lovely, but they didn’t measure up to the weight that lifted when the box lid blew off as I said “yes” that day.

Our final day loomed cold and windy and provided the invitation to shop.  The quaint boutiques provided much in conversation as we explored our very different tastes and remarked on our similarities stemming, most likely, from a childhood of shared memories - a foundation for friendship and camaraderie on that day. 

The hat shop was just one of many on “boutique strip”.  We went in out of curiosity and the need to stay warm.  I exclaimed I never wore hats and proceeded to touch and compare.  It only took one turn in front of the mirror to put us into a two-hour mood of laughter and encouragement as I threw caution to the wind and doffed hat after hat – blue, green, grey and safe; then,  red, purple, and outlandish and haute couturier and sporty.  We shared honest criticisms and giggles and our adventure caught the clerk’s attention.  Drawn to neutrals and carefully coifed hats of taste, I was surprised when the clerk handed me a deep pink wool boucle hat with a large velvety flower rakishly adorning the side.  I laughed and shook my head to say “no” and stopped – what happened to my yes?  I took the hat in my hand, popped it on my head, turned up one side and peered into a mirror.  The hat – this pink statement of uptown yet warm, cozy hat – sat on my head at an angle and made me laugh out loud, a sparkly-eyed , deep down laugh.  It rippled through my chest, warmed up my heart, bubbled in my throat and spilled all over me from my head to my toes.  A laugh that must have been buried somewhere in my safe, dark box;  a laugh that had been bouncing inside a shell taped together with words like “no” ,”you first” and “I’ll wait”; a laugh that needed to hear “yes” to a pink hat with a velvet bow.

I linked arms with my sister as we strode down the street wearing our new hats, laughing at the stares, meeting the eyes of those who smiled and realizing that the hat – the pink hat with the black velvet bow – was truly beautiful and stunning and large – too large to ever fit in my safe little box I had packed from home.

I like to think that when I packed that hat to fly home that I left my safe box in the hotel room or on the subway train seat, but when I stumble over it occasionally lying in my life-shadows, I no longer think of climbing back in – I just put on my hat and laugh.

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