The empty nest
How sweet it is...
The bedroom doors were open, the drapes pulled back, the sunlight streaming in, the beds made, the floors washed and garbage pails emptied. Towels were folded and stacked neatly in the bathroom. The toilet was flushed, the bathtub clean and the floors free of footmarks. No unwanted items were on the kitchen table or counters, or in the dining room or living room.
I walked from room to room, admiring the spotless shine in my house.
The last of my three children left for his new apartment today. And just after his vehicle pulled away, with clothes and a mattress tied down with bungee cords to the roof, I had the house cleaned from top to bottom. The other two left a few months earlier.
I luxuriated in my quiet and undisturbed state. Twenty-two years of working exceptionally hard with my husband to raise a family healthy in mind, spirit and body is an accomplishment. A massive workout too!
It is now my turn to come into my own and be free from the daily grind of high-alert sensitivity to children’s needs, wants and impulses. The chronic concern for the well-being and safety of one’s children, the hurts and arguments, the housework, shopping and cooking, the round-the-clock management of emotions and expectations and, the moments of blessedness, have been temporarily suspended.
Of course, I’ll miss them. I might even have a few off days not knowing what to do with myself or, of feeling terribly lonely. But for now, I’m into the benefits: the new meditation room, the reading room and the exercise room. And, that's just the beginning.
Is an empty nest a possible metaphor for a new beginning? For seizing a new opportunity? What new beginnings are you facing?
Keep you posted,
I have a lot of experience swimming in an indoor pool but much prefer a lake, even though I have a healthy dose of fear about long-distance swimming in open water.
What if I:
In fact, I've had a few real-life scares.
Nevertheless, I love swimming and playing in the water. I dive, kick, splash, paddle, flip and do underwater headstands, hold my breath and do forward and backward somersaults. I laugh from the inside out.
When I swim without keeping track of the number of strokes, or laps or amount of time lapsed, I fall into an effortless and synchronized rhythm of cardiac effort, breath and technique. I am soothed. The feel of water embracing me, the solitude and the flotation, is pure freedom incarnate.
Not all swims are equally perfect, but this weekend in a quiet lake, I was “one with the water”. I swam like my idea of a barracuda - strong, fast and streamlined, barely lifting my head out of the water for air. Then, I stopped.
I was gripped with an irrational fear that I had got too far from the shore and didn't have the physical strength to get back. I turned to face the dock and I was only 60 meters away and there were no waves! I had a stock market crash of self-confidence. I resisted the panic and did the "dead-man's float" to calm myself. Then, without any difficulty I swam back to shore.
What brings you great pleasure? And, possibly fear? Have you had any stock market crashes of self-confidence lately? What did you do?
Keep you posted,
Most of us talk to ourselves - endless and uninterrupted chatter between our ears that we can’t seem to stop. We are always thinking: explaining, justifying, rationalizing, wishing or hoping. We tend to repeat our same thoughts and responses, over and over. It's exhausting and usually, in any case, highly predictable. This chatter, if not addressed, continues in circles doing little more than amplifying all that isn't quite right with our life.
Moving attention into the present
The quality of my life and of those I coach, is much improved when we seize the present moment and take a break from the chatter. Clients tell me that they get closer to knowing "what to do" when they find a bit of quiet - a bit of space to be still. They experience insight into the reality of what they are thinking and feeling. This leads inevitably to greater confidence about important decisions and to accept the things they do not like or which cannot be changed. You can, with a little practice, slow down the ticker-tape speed of thoughts and experience the serenity of the now. A short course in meditation may be a helpful tool in this regard.
Giving ourselves the chance to slow down, quiet our minds and be more still allows us to tune to an inner voice - the heart and soul of us. The inner voice is different from the chatter. It is directing and propelling us towards becoming more whole.
Imagine a clear, wide-rimmed drinking glass filled halfway with water that you rock from side to side, hard enough the water jiggles just to the point of splashing out of the glass. The water becomes agitated. Stop rocking the glass and let the water settle. The water returns to calm.
- Unknown Monk
Do you have any stories about how you deal with the endless and uninterrupted chatter? About being in the present?
Keep you posted,
If the shoe fits, wear it
“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.”
― Marilyn Monroe
I had a few errands to do on foot.
As I was getting ready to leave the house, I remarked to myself, “it’s time you started taking a bit more care with how you look, especially when you are out and about, walking around the neighborhood and city streets. Dress up a bit more”.
I instantly agreed with myself and marched back to my room and changed out of my shorts and t-shirt and into my brown jeans and matching chic shirt. I changed my earrings to match the new look. I added makeup - mascara and eye shadow - and touched up my lipstick. I clipped up my hair.
As I was deciding between two equally comfortable walking shoes, the postman rang our doorbell, with a too-big envelope for the mail slot. I grabbed my purse and headed out.
I walked a few kilometers. I was in high spirits; life was shining with meaning, direction and I had a clear sense about my life. I was happy I dressed up. I happened to catch myself in a window reflection and thought I looked good and was pleased I had changed from my shorts, t-shirt and sandals. Montrealers were out and about, enjoying the sun. I chatted with old acquaintances.
All this was somewhat tiring and I still had a healthy walk to get back home. My phone rang. As I looked down to get it from my purse, I saw two completely different shoes – one camel brown and the other two-tone brown and black.
I had a moment of great embarrassment.
Then I laughed. Really, truly laughed. I wished in this pure moment of hilarity there was someone around to share the big cosmic joke. Here, on the inauguration of my new dress-code I catch myself wearing two different shoes.
At least they were equally comfortable. And both did match my pants!
Are there any lessons to be learned from this simple story?
What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Keep you posted,
My family, relationships, movement, nature, flexibility of mind, exploration of alternative perspectives & openness are central to my life.