i have been away…

…but i have returned-in so many ways.

I have been doing A LOT of hard-thinking lately. The kind that makes your whole body and mind tired. But  also makes you feel stronger. I wanted to share some of the things I have been working on.

This story starts with a girl who has never been “afraid” to jump in with both feet. She traveled boldly, worked from and through her deepest passions, spent time both alone and surrounded-equally comfortable with both-and never, ever looked back -she didn’t have time to! Cut to that same girl, now a full-fledged woman- presently testing the waters with her tippy-tippy toes. one. at. a. time. In some ways, this woman is a foreign specimen to that once fearless girl. But the woman has formed and found her sense of self through all that forging of zig-zagged paths. She has been moved and made by her past choices and they all brought her to this current space of safety, love, creativity, and reflection. That girl with the adventurous heart must still live in the now more cautious woman somewhere- the tricky part is having the courage to find her and revive her spirit. This woman is  now because of the girl she was. {Remember that, cautious grown-up women!}

A friend recently said she has been described as a girl who could ” jump and the net would appear”. That resonated with me- I used to feel that sure and confident. That kind of confidence comes without planning- I don’t believe you can choose to live that way, you just do or do not. For example, I would think “hey, California sure sounds neat” then move there- or “man, L.A. really isn’t working for me” and leave that place! Of course this is the very, very,  edited, non-emotional, and abbreviated version of “how it all really happened” – the point is I had the faith/courage/adventurous heart to do it- without a job to go to, a place to live, or any general clue of what life would be like “IF”.

In my late twenties I still felt young and brave- the whole world of opportunity was still at my fingertips. I felt I could conquer anything I set out to explore. I was still bouncing from here to there, but without that feeling of sureness I felt when I was younger. I thought, of course, that I was that adventurous girl who could just “do whatever” and still find success and peace. But somewhere along the path I grew up and became unconsciously more cautious. {could be that finishing college, turning 30 and getting married in four months time had something to do with feeling a surge of crazy excitement while the growing sense of caution was setting in} I had become more expectant and started thinking and planning for my future. The problem was- I had no clue what “future” meant for me. I had a general idea- the same general idea I had had in front of me since I was very young- “I want to have/grow my own family.”  That was as much planning as I had done.  At this point I began to notice my zig-zagging path straightening out. It now included a husband and a home and 2 dogs and a cat. It also included specific things I wanted such as a community, and a purpose, a business for my art, a garden, being close to family and friends, goats and chickens, and stuff (lots and lots of stuff)! I realized I wanted to make a home and stay there- not move every few years to a new apartment, or city, or state. All this realization, all this slowing down caused some panic to set in. I was happy and content and comfortable, but this was not “normal” for me- in some strange way, it made me uneasy. Where do I go from here, what do I do now? What did it all mean and what will I make of my life now? I became overwhelmed.  And all at once, I realized I needed a break. I needed time to process this new path- this straighter and more specific path. I had been going non-stop for so long, only looking up and forward, and I hadn’t had the chance to swallow my past and most of all, this new idea of  “settling down”.

Then something happened (besides turning 31 and suddenly feeling like I am running out of time). I fell hard- literally-on my back. Suddenly I was forced to stop and focus and re-assess. They say, “be careful what you wish for”, well, what they say is SO true! I wished for time to just think and maybe strategically plan my next moves, time for acceptance, time to appreciate and time to honor this new-found woman in me. And, boy have I had that much-wanted (and much-needed) time! At first I was thankful for the rest (aside from the pain- the reason for all the time and resting). At first I was productive- I tried to teach myself to crochet, and succeed in teaching myself to embroider, I knit, sketched, read and journaled. Then I didn’t heal and I was forced to continue this period of just resting- staying still in one place and not doing. So, I began thinking more deeply. I began to break down a little. I felt alone. I felt afraid of my future for the first time ever. I looked back as I never have before. I was so terribly afraid that I had wasted time, that now here I am in my 30’s and I am getting old before my very eyes. I was mostly afraid that all I have worked towards (although not directly)- to grow my own family- might not happen (this may sound a little dramatic, but these fears are very, very real to me). I had to take stock. I had to look up, get out of the dark hole and see the light all around me. I have a wonderful husband who loves me fiercely. I have a family and friends and talent and ambition. And I have a plan.

One thing I realized  was that the kinds of zigs and zags I have encountered before are not so much “out of the question” as they are no longer what I want. This revelation was a powerful one. To realize, or remember that you have the power to make your life whatever it is you want it to be- THAT is powerful! I am no longer that care-free girl that jumps without a net- I am a strong and confident woman who can shape and choose and change as she pleases. I can choose the jumps I take and the nets as well.

These revelations has taken many months of serious inward thinking and tears and talking and is still a work in progress. But, I have made progress. I have used my time wisely and I have found a place of peace (for now) in knowing that I just have to plan a little more these days. My path with not necessarily fold out in front of me- unless, of course, I have my compass and maybe a map.  I need a community-family, friends, like-minded people. And a strong marriage. And the adventurous, care-free girl I was. And the powerful woman I am now. Those things will accompany me on this new branch of my journey.


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