The other day a friend included me in this message. I read and tried to embrace the following words as I began my morning.
“Today may there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.” – author unknown
I didn’t succeed. It’s hard to encourage my soul to dance when my lower back has hurt intensely for over four months straight. I took a Pilates class last week in an attempt to explore something new and consider strengthening my core. I liked, but didn’t love it. I might go back. Probably not. It made me miss having a yoga practice.
Yesterday I came across these words:
We are all moving toward good-bye. For some of us, the move is gentle. For others, it is abrupt, even violent. Either way it is humbling and forces us to enter an unfamiliar space.
Rilke’s words reminded me to wonder about and appreciate the people in my life. Rilke was an Austrian-Hungarian poet and novelist born in the late 1800s to a woman grieving her firstborn – a daughter who died one week after her birth. His writing has endured a hundred years. I didn’t know his work when I came across the poem above, but a brief Google search informed me that his work included “intensely religious, mystical poems that weigh beauty and existential suffering”. I read (and loved) Waiting for Godot in high school, but I’m not sure I really understand the definition of existentialism. That said, I think it might apply to all of us at some point along our way.
Words scratched onto paper and parchment or carved into stone still resonate today. Considering Rilke, my usual stream-of-consciousness thought process reminds me that my eldest son is learning to sing Edelweiss, a song known by lovers of The Sound of Music as the voice of Austrian patriotism. It brought tears to my eyes when I listened to him sing the lyrics to this song, a farewell to country, just yesterday.
I recently observed an olive branch extended gently toward a youngish man whom I consider an old soul. It made me recognize that goodness is possible and even probable in those from whom we least suspect it. There is a withered olive branch that I still need to offer, and yet another offered that was not received. It’s hard not to take that personally.
We are in the midst of my favorite season, but it’s been a tough few months. As I lingered in the sun this week with my boys after school, I watched men and women around me. There were smiles, appreciations of the sun, and recognition that we will soon and suddenly enter the season of rain and dark and drizzle. This week I was grateful to walk my dog while wearing dry clothes and count the hours until I slept, stretching as the pain in my lower back reminded me of just… hurt. And fatigue. And want. Ouch. Just ouch.
I dream anxiously when I know the alarm is set to go off super early, and so one night this past week I dreamed I was a Pilates instructor and had NO idea what the hell I was doing. I woke up frightened and sweating. But then I rose – finally – in darkness to join a small group of women for a four-mile run. I ran to let the truth wash over me in a way that made me a better, stronger person that the one I left behind at the door.
After attending my grandfather’s funeral last month, I got sick and stayed sick for three straight weeks. For a variety of reasons, it was one of the roughest Septembers I can remember in many years, and not necessarily due to being ill. Finally, I feel well again. Mentally stronger. I have much to do, but am feeling motivated. I am eager to embrace what remains of Autumn, its foggy mornings and muddy rainbow colors that ground us in the season.
I hope I dream of olive branches and wishes and farewells tonight. And I hope I write about them tomorrow.