The Longest Day

Yesterday was one of those “terrible, awful, no good, very bad days.” I didn’t think it would ever end. The clock slowly moved forward. I couldn’t for any reason talk myself into a different frame of mind. Even though I know both in my head and heart how very precious a day is. The lessons have been long and hard and I know they are far from over. I guess I just needed to be in that place. I needed to feel the intensity and the weight of everything. And it felt like EVERYTHING. It was overwhelming and I couldn’t see a way to take a step away from this spot. I felt trapped. I felt guilty. I felt defeated. I felt sad.

I managed to steal 20 minutes in my art room. My chest unlocked a bit. I can squeak in some air.

 On Thursdays we are invited up to the lake near our house for a potluck dinner with the most incredible people. The kids splash and play in the water and we end up sitting in these grand circles soaking it all up. Catching up from the week and waiting for the spectacular sunset that never fails. I wasn’t going to go as I have no poker face. None. I can’t do it. I can muster it a bit when need be, but yesterday it wasn’t going to happen.  I so needed out of the house. And, I knew my friends were a safe place to be. It would be okay. So I went.

I took in hugs, ate incredible food and watched the kids dance and splash and play together, silhouetted against the setting sun.

Photo by Christin Gallagher. Sunset at Long’s Pond June 20, 2013

I was quiet.
I was loved.
I was grateful.

I could feel my chest unlock a little more.

I love the solstices. I love these pivotal days. They are sacred to me.  I love how light is celebrated. I am a sun lover. I need it and thrive on it.

Last night, my sweet friend JOYfully, took me aside and said, “I have a solstice gift for you.” And she dropped a beautiful ochre ring made from stone into my hand with the most loving and proud look on her face. I couldn’t find the words to tell her how grateful I was for her and this symbol. This perfectly smooth circle. The color of it spoke to my core reminding me of the light. It slid onto my finger and I felt my chest open more.

I sat rubbing the ring with my thumb as I sat in the grand circle surrounded by this clan of good people. How did I land here?

Ryan then popped over with the tiniest little heart rock. A stunning venetian red color. He dropped it in my hand, gave me a kiss and ran off. I held it in my other hand. It was light as air, but had tremendous weight of love. I felt my chest rise and fall. I can breathe.

I watched a little boy play with my friend who is now an empty nester. Both feeding each other’s souls.

I realized I was completely and totally exhausted. So, I went and got hugs and kisses from everyone and filled up on their love. I now felt drowsy. My feet were heavy as I walked home, but my chest felt lighter.

I kissed my boys goodnight, slipped into my cool sheets and set intentions for today.. the summer solstice. The longest day. Bittersweetness on my tongue but love and light in my heart.

*my day started with the sun peeking in between the space of my curtains… half awake, my phone soon buzzes. It is my sister, Chrissy. She has sent me a text…

           “The sun woke me up at 5 this morning…. instead of going back to sleep, I thought of you and got up. Home you enjoy this longest day of the year! XO”

It is going to be a wonderful, lovely, no bad, very good day!!


Slot Canyon Oil on wood, 35" x 12" Private collection
Slot Canyon
Oil on wood, 35″ x 12″
Private collection

I am so sick of myself. This class I am taking has me looking at my life from every angle possible and I am tired of thinking about… me. Ugh.

If my coach through the Evolve class weren’t so frickin’ awesome, lovely, smart and kind making me trust her completely… I would have easily gone back to hiding under my rock. She has set my world off axis. She has me writing about fear. I did an exercise for her last week and it took all I had to put it all out there and then actually send it to her. Now I have another… and I am not sure I can stomach it. It is due on Friday and I have done everything to avoid it. Painted the front porch, went through the boys clothes, weeded the entire yard, scrubbed the kitchen for three hours, and even made a big dinner much to Chris’s surprise!
So today, I decided as the boys happily played “Wolf Den Hotel” in the basement, I would go work on a canvas that is literally haunting me. It is a puzzle that I just can’t figure out. I have spent hours putting layer upon layer and while I like the essence of it, it is just not coming together. So after another hour and completely frustrated I decided to just remove it from my studio. I went and shoved it in the other room as it seemed to tell me that it needed a break from me as much as I did from it.
AHHHH>>> out of sight! Good.
I grabbed a tall skinny panel and began to take some of the paint left on my palette and smear it.
Not feeling the brushes, I reached for my blades. I love my blades. I have had them for so long now. They are worn in well and feel like an old friend. I began to squeeze out insane amounts of paint, letting intuition guide my color choice. They are dark. They match my mood. They look like fear.
Damn. There is that assignment again.
Okay, fine. Let’s do this.
 I am going to paint my fear and give it a place to live. I am going to let it remain powerful, but give it some beauty.  I am going to let the glimpses of light shine through the darkness. I am going to learn to hold onto them.
 A swirl of thoughts and memories flood.
How I love to pull my blades across the thick, shiny paint revealing a bit of the layer underneath.
 I think of my friend who goes into the deep slot canyons of the earth year after year. His pictures are stunning and when I see them, I think there is no way I could ever… fear. But those perspectives……

I think of the fires raging in Colorado and the fear others must be feeling. What a quick frame of mind adjustment.
I think of swimming in the quarry in Richmond as a little girl. That dark, deep water and all of the unknown… fear. But how I miss water….. I want to jump in and cool off. 
Vermillion feeds my soul. To many I imagine it is a color of fear, but I find comfort.
I love to paint… I feel whole. I feel peaceful.
I put my blades down and let my fingers begin to dance in the paint. I feel connected. I feel focused. I feel so very grateful fear brought me to this moment.

Growing Pains

It is June 3rd. I am pretty sure yesterday was April 30th.
May is such a blur and all over the place. Time is such a funny and overwhelming thing to me. I think I have touched on this before. It is amazing to me how 30 days can seems so long and then whoosh.. in a flash it’s just gone. It freaks me out. I am so grateful for photos that prove that something happened and I didn’t just dream it all (or even better, have proof of why I am so exhausted and deserve some chocolate. hee hee).
May started off with a great snow storm.  In self defense, I filled my house with some fantastic friends from the neighborhood and their kids. These woman came armed with leis, margaritas, pink flamingo swizzle sticks and scary napkins with Telly Tubbies on them.

My snow angels!!

These were all great distractions for our spring fever now covered in 18 inches of snow. We sat by the fire all day while the kids ran the neighborhood. It was great. And now 34 days later everything is in bloom, green and thriving because of that dreaded snow that set me off kilter.

 Time. Patience. Perspective. All good lessons.

As I work through this Evolve Class through AIR I am finding that these three elements are ones that I really need to focus on to get to my goals and set up the life I am so itching to put in place.  I just wish that I could stop time for a bit so I can get organized, and focused in one swoop and be done with all of these pieces that are uncomfortable, unfamiliar, and tedious.

But then I would miss the perspectives I gain in my normal life. They are becoming more valuable daily for this shift I am working on. May was packed full of them.. big and small!

In midst of soccer games –WOW! When did he learn to be so good in goal? How his confidence is growing! Wonderful!

Ry making a save. It is easier to watch him in goal through a lens.

At end of school parties –What incredible teachers who pay attention to the whole child and not just test scores! Grateful.

Ms. Betsy guiding Charlie’s Montessori Preschoolers through songs. 

Trying to figure out how hard to push a child –Should I make him go back onto the track? He came in dead last in every sprint. Yes, push him- only to have him place 1st and 2nd in long distance races. He is beaming! Proud

Believe it or not, this is at the track meet where Alex lost in everything. He was so happy we were all there.

 A morning snuggle –with my youngest and a pile of books who is on the verge of learning how to read. Such curiosity!

A single glance- from my husband that says I love you. And one back that says I miss you and sorry we haven’t had 5 minutes to have a conversation in weeks. Grounded

Holding my newborn nephew-okay not so much daily normal life, but such an incredible joy and reminder of all that is important and that I really have no regrets (not to say that it was easy either…) having stayed home with my boys. Validation. 

Caring for my child with pneumonia-getting to spend extra time (even just to watch him sleep) with my son who is pushing and pulling and all over the place as he begins to find his own way. Connection.

Last day of school pictures-looking at them side by side with first day. How fast they grow! Bittersweet!

Digging in the dirt-my happy place. All is well here. So grateful for this space to breathe. Peace

Especially during this time in my life when I am reaching, striving and then recoiling and pondering towards a new chapter, it is good to remember that there are lessons at every turn. Choices. And remembering that even as I begin to find small successes with my art as well as falling flat on my face-OUCH!, I am making great connections and growing. The summer before I turned 14, I literally grew 6+ inches in less than 3 months. It hurt and was uncomfortable and awkward. It took a long time to appreciate my new perspective. But I can see over a crowd, never need a step stool, it will take longer for my boys to pass me in height – HA! and the best, I have a tremendous wingspan for big hugs! Growing pains hurt, but the new perspectives are well worth it.