No. 183: Returning.

I returned to the circus after six months off, and I could not have had a more fun return. Hopping back on the lyra, working on my juggling skills, and even learning how to flip in the fabric – it was a blast. The fear of not knowing how to do things didn’t creep back in, and it was just about trusting and letting go.

So much so, that I was able to do this. Ta da!

No. 180: Ice Cubes.

0I got a stomach virus on the trip to California, too. I hear what you’re thinking and I know, tell me about it. It was no fun at all.

I couldn’t stand up straight or keep down water. So like an old woman I hobbled down the hallway of the hotel in my bathrobe, hunched over at a 30 degree angle, to get ice in the ice bucket.

While there was little relief to be found, let me tell you, this ice was restorative. While my fever raged and I was burning up, the cool relief of something to munch on was so welcome.

24 hours later, I was tired and empty and exhausted – but I was ready to tackle the world again.

No. 179: Sankofa.

Sankofa: to go back and retrieve that which has been lost. 

I started my conference in California with a talk from Rev. Terry Hershey. And I couldn’t have asked for a more powerful way to kick things off.

I’ll allow him to do the talking, in an excerpt from his blog:

I just finished a weekend with 40,000 of my closest friends at the Religious Education Congress, in the Anaheim Convention Center. It’s an annual recharge event. A place to tell stories, give and receive hugs, listen to music, laugh ‘till we cry, and drink wine into the late evening.

I taught them a new word: Sankofa (in the Akan language of Ghana). It is often associated with the proverb, “Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi,” which translates “It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.” Or to remember. Or to recover. As an affirmation of the very things that make us human and fully alive.
When we practice Sankofa, it is possible to reclaim the fruit of the sacrament of the present moment – light, kindness, compassion, understanding, forgiveness, kindheartedness, tolerance, gratitude, mercy, second chances, hope, dignity, open heart, open mind – that has been buried or lost or dormant.

It is not easy, because we are broken people. We know that to be true. A lot of our brokenness has to do with relationships when life has gone askew. If you ask me what it is that makes us suffer, it is always because someone couldn’t hold onto us, or because someone hurt us. I know each of us can point to a brokenness in our relationships with our husband, with our wife, with our father, with our mother, with our children, with our friends, with our lovers.
Wherever there is love, there is also pain. 
Wherever there are people who really care for us, there is also the pain of sometimes not being cared for… enough. 

And there is the pain that comes from getting rid of those parts of us that feel inauthentic or false…..

Sankofa.
We all know of the many things that take us away from home… anger, distraction, self-importance, cruelty, vengeance, unforgiveness, discouragement, despair, disenfranchisement, alienation, heartache.
And what I’ve learned, in my own life at least, is that in every instance this new weight becomes the definition for our identity. It tells us who we are. And it requires that we focus on the periphery issues, on whatever is needed to impress, or manipulate, or achieve, or use, or hurt, or perform. And we are disconnected from our self.
Like Dia, we cannot undo these “bad things”. But we can allow ourselves to fall into the embrace of Grace.

See why I let him do the talking?

Thank you, Terry, for teaching us sankofa.

No. 178: Disneyland.

Image may contain: 1 person, close-upI went to Disneyland for the first time when I was in California for a conference. I wasn’t sure at first if I could justify the cost – especially since I’m heading to Disneyland in the middle of march while chaperoning a school trip. But I adopted a “when in Rome” mentality, donned some mouse ears, and went for it.

And I’m so glad I did. Even though Sleeping Beauty’s castle is smaller than I could have ever anticipated, it was a really fun time. From the thrill of riding the Haunted Mansion (which I don’t think I could ever tire of), to a lovely dinner at Cafe Orleans, to the coolest ever Finding Nemo submarine ride, it was a great welcome to California. Emily was even gifted a birthday beignet, just for having her pin on! I couldn’t have asked for a better time.

No. 177: Sweet Goodbyes.

I dropped my dog off at my parents on Wednesday so I could head to California for a conference early Thursday morning.

Let me tell you, leaving my dog is hard. And not “oh, I have to get her ready” hard. I have to get myself together more than anything else. I’ll be all ready to go, and then I’ll get a little lick on my angle or she’ll plop down next to me and I’ll be compelled to stay, again, just a few minutes longer.

But when I do go to say goodbye, I know it will make the returning all the sweeter. I treasure the moments of her head on my shoulder or her falling asleep in my lap. And knowing I have that to return to makes the goodbye all the sweeter.