Tag Archives: Awake

be heard

It has taken me the greater part of 5 years to understand what it is about talking to people that causes me anxiety. The truth is, I LOVE talking to people. I love getting to know that old man in the park who walks his dogs along the pebbled creek. I love catching eyes with strangers and smiling hello, nodding a quiet understanding of just how powerful that one smile is. I love the anticipation of connecting with a reader via Skype for the very first time.

 

And yet, small chat scares the hell out of me. What do you do for work? What do you like to do for fun? What’s your favorite sports team? Any question that avoids the thing we really WANT to talk about but can’t – who we truly are – seems to give me the most anxiety. At the deepest level, we want to share our story, to be heard, to be understood. Why aren’t we asking more questions that get us to that point?

 

Truth is, it doesn’t matter to me what you do for a living. That you do it well is all that matters. It doesn’t matter what you like to do for fun. Tell me what those activities do for your soul. It doesn’t matter what sports teams you enjoy. Tell me that you’ve grown up with sports since you were young and how that has brought you closer to parents and friends.

 

Go deeper than what can be seen, and I guarantee people will listen. They may not remember what department you work in and the million things you do, but I bet they will recall the look on your face when you talk about the years of hard work and struggle that got you to where you are today.

 

I can recall a conversation two weeks ago with a man named Isaac. He works at the local bookstore where I write and study — One morning he kindly asked what I was writing about that day, and I replied, “Spirituality.” He didn’t understand and asked me to go deeper in my explanation. Feeling unsure of myself, I told him I believe that each opportunity we have with one another is a chance to know God. I said hesitantly, “If I feel anything at all, it’s that God is here Now. In everything, the earth, the animals, the people. In me. In you. What do you think, Isaac? Are you spiritual or religious at all?” His eyes widened, his cheeks turned pink, and we chatted for 30 minutes longer. He dared to listen. I dared to be heard. I’ll never forget that feeling. I’ll never forget the look on his face when he shared his truth with me.

 

Tell me something that makes you uncomfortable, and I’ll tell you what it means to be human. We all share these powerful feelings: Doubt, hopefulness, fear, shame, guilt, joy, happiness. But instead we choose to talk about what we do. Where we traveled. What we built. What we saw. Who we met. We apply our pretty masks and put on a show for the world. Look at your social media accounts and all the edited photos you took in Mexico that you posted. Listen to the conversation you have with your book club friends about how well your kids are doing in college and how your husband just made tenure. I am just as guilty of it too, but you guys – WHY AREN’T WE TALKING ABOUT ANYTHNG ELSE?! Why do we feel so compelled to say what is ‘good’ all the time?

This is why small chat gives me anxiety. It feels inauthentic. I want to go deeper.

 

This is not to say that we should all go around to one another spewing our woes and heavy thoughts, no, that would be exhausting. What I’m wondering is how can we go deeper in the way we connect with one another?

This is usually the moment I give a word of advice to guide you today. But I challenge you to think of ways you can go deeper with those around you. At work, at home, in new places.

I almost wrote – How can we go deeper in the way we connect with one another without encountering uncomfortable feelings? And then I had to laugh…. We simply cannot connect deeply without uncovering uncomfortable feelings along the way. That is where the real work begins.

So my challenge to you today is to break out of your comfortable conversations. Get to that point where your cheeks blush and your heart beats faster. Dare to say a little more, anything at all! Say something that is meaningful to you, and I guarantee that those who listen will feel you deeply.

Dare to be heard.

Your soul will thank you.

 

Light and love,

Ki

ki and trees

Are you with me?

Today is the day I go back to college.

 

I’m not sure how I feel in this moment. Oddly, I don’t feel much at all. The sun has yet to rise as I type this. The house creaks, but everyone’s asleep. I’m sitting comfortably in my office, a cup of strong coffee sitting next to me. I read over the syllabus for my class today. It’s intense, to say the least.

Am I ready?

 

I think I’m a little numb today, body and mind tired from crying most of the afternoon yesterday. I’m not sure why I cried so much. I visited campus, met my sweet advisor, and signed up for classes — nothing to cry about right?! But let’s be honest, you guys know by now that the ‘simple’ task of meeting with my advisor was a big step for me. So as you can imagine, registering for classes, one of which starts TODAY, rushing to buy books, and preparing myself mentally for this huge step was maybe too much for one afternoon. But hey, I come by it honestly that I am impulsive and tend to make huge life decisions when perhaps I should breathe and remain patient. But we live with our choices, and we face our truths, and here I sit on the first day of classes blogging about fear when I should be skimming the first two chapters of required reading :)

Am I really ready for this?

 

I know what I know, and I like what I like. I love reading, but to read assigned material — do I really want to do this again? Do I want to learn APA formatting? Do I want to subject myself to criticism and a strict grading scale again? Is it in me to try this one more time?

It’s been five years since I was in a classroom (aside from my brief stint in Jewish education classes).

Am I ready?

 

———

 

Do you ever find yourself in moments of serious doubt when up until this point, you were 100% confident in your path? You know, like getting cold feet right before the wedding? Or that moment in the delivery room when your first born is on his way and you question if you’re fit to be a parent? Like packing your entire life into one suitcase the night before moving to a new country and feeling your heart sink into your stomach. It’s too late to go back now, and you wonder:

Am I ready?

 

I’m learning that we all have these moments. We all wonder about the next big changes in our lives. We all question those defining moments that could propel us onto greater paths, if only we’d lean into the fear. I think maybe that’s the key. Maybe we need to befriend what feels uncomfortable, to cozy up with what we don’t know for sure.

 

There’s a lot I don’t know about this next step I take today.

I don’t know if college is the right decision for me, but my gut screams to go back. I don’t know how great of a student I’ll be, but I value education and know that I want this degree no matter what anyone around me says about it. I don’t know how well I can maintain my anxiety, but I will practice ways to bring me back to that silent part of myself. I don’t know if I’ll graduate this time around, but I’m willing to try.

I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to admit that I don’t know what’s in store for tomorrow. I don’t know if the decisions I’m making today will benefit me in the future. I don’t know these things. I can’t know. I think that’s the difference this time around; I’m not 18 anymore. I’m not a freshman. I’m not that little girl who is certain she will graduate from Hanover, ease into grad school, and become a psychologist. Yikes, if only I could talk to that girl today and tell her that life isn’t so ‘certain’…

 

No, I’m not that girl anymore. I’m 7 years older. I’m an adult now (although it doesn’t feel like that most days). I’m okay with saying that I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I’ll start taking classes to find out (with the help of my advisor and the Career Center — remember, it’s okay to ask for help guys!! We can’t do all things on our own). I’m okay with saying that I don’t have my entire life mapped out, but I’m willing to take the first step. I must take that first step. One foot in front of the other. And you should too. Friends, no matter what new beginnings you’re facing, no matter what unknowns, you must take that step. To remain stagnant will leave you fearful and paralyzed. Movement is the only way.

 

I’m willing to step into the fear of the unknown.

One moment at a time. One breath at a time.

I’ll take that chance today.

Will you?

 

Let’s do this together. Let’s look fear in the face and continue pursuing our dreams. I am ready. I am ready. I am ready.

Are you with me?

 

Light and love,

Ki

lights in the wood

 

Only you

“You’re getting caught up in your thoughts again, aren’t you? I felt it in your writing. This week and last. You’re reading too much again, aren’t you? I felt that too. It’s easy to forget this, but getting swept away by our thoughts or allowing them to go is a choice.

Remember, do what you love because you love doing it, not because of this or that.”

Paraphrased from a beautiful friend of mine

 

What can I say? I have incredible friends. Beyond incredible. Beyond friendship. There are souls out there in this world, right now, whose hearts beat at the same pace as mine, whose eyes are open wide at the sight of ‘ordinary’ magic, whose ears perk as children laugh, who ‘know’ the exact moment I am crumbling and need a reminder to move slowly, settle into the moment, to get to know the people around me.

They remind me what it feels like to smile for no reason, to write because it stirs my heart to flutter, to meet strangers whose eyes pull me toward them.

My friends are the gravity that pulls me to my center — to what is most important, to the moments that social media does not capture, to the warmth of love that can only be felt, not posted to my blog.

These souls call me when they know I won’t answer the phone, only to leave a voicemail that renews my senses.

These friends leave me humbled upon taking my advice to break out of their comfort zones, encouraging me to do the same.

These people are extraordinary, reminding me that no moment is ordinary. Inspiring me to believe that something wonderful is about to happen.

They are hopeful. They are persistent. They are diligent. They are love. They are family. They hold me kindly when I cannot hold myself. They are the mirrors of a cracked and creviced Ki, who maybe, is quite extraordinary too, if only I’d let myself see it.

————————–

Whatever is going on outside of you, remember that you have a center too. You have an untouchable space that is perfect as it is. It can calm you. It can fill you. It can lift you up when the outer is pounding down on your doors of experience. If only you’d allow it.

That space is forever keeping you here. In this moment. Alive and well. You too, are extraordinary. Can you see it? Can you feel it inside of you?

 

I wish I could show you. I wish my friends could show you. But it is only YOU who can feel it. Only you who can see it for yourself. My little lights, please allow others to guide you back to that magical space. But most importantly, allow your heart to open to the beautiful being that you are. Truly, it is only you who can do this.

 

Get out of your head; get back to what truly matters.

Sometimes we all need a reminder.

I love you. Won’t you please love yourself?

 

Light and love,

Ki

light ki

Love is a verb

In this fast-paced, electronically obsessed day and age, I wonder: Have we lost touch with our ability to truly connect with one another?

Think for a moment: How are you connecting with your loved ones?

Do you tell them that you love them? Do you show them too? How?

I’m learning that proactive people make ‘love’ a verb

Love is something you do, the giving of self.

So what, then, can we do right now to show someone just how much he/she means to us?

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and I think, How can I make ‘love’ a verb this year? How can I make ‘what I do for others’ speak louder than a simple: I love you? Gifts and flowers and chocolates are lovely, yes, but what is most important is how we show our love day in and day out, right now.

 

Eat meals together

This is a fantastic time to laugh and spend precious moments (or hours) with the people you love most. It can be inexpensive too! A bottle of wine and a homemade pizza can make anyone happy (or maybe that’s just me). Regardless, it’s not about the food you’re eating – it’s about the memories you’re creating.

Send a hand-written letter (or a postcard, if you prefer a more concise approach – No worries, the simple gesture itself will speak volumes)

What else can you say besides, I love you? Get creative. Write a poem. Write 5 things you love to do with the person receiving your letter. Reminisce about an experience you enjoyed sharing together. Suggest planning an excursion in the coming months. Say whatever you want! I just mailed a 4-page hand-written note to a friend asking nothing but rhetorical questions to keep his mind thinking! It doesn’t matter what you say; it’s that you thought of this person and took the time to sit down and write to him/her that matters.

Smile – it benefits us both

You guys, this is the simplest thing you can do for your loved ones (and for the world). Smiling is linked with “feel-good” hormones (dopamine) in your brain to naturally make you feel happy. And hey, if someone smiles at you, why not smile back?

Pick up the phone and call

For many of you, like me, this is a foreign concept. I text, email, direct message, ‘like’ your photos, but calling?! Eeeek! And voicemail, what is that? But this is such a genuine way to connect with your loved ones. I personally have anxiety talking to someone whose face I cannot see. So for those of you like me, why not try using Skype? It is free, and really easy to use; you can even download the app on your phone. Skype is my personal favorite. With wonderful readers all over the globe, I can connect within seconds, share laughs and advice, and be humbly reminded that there are REAL people out there who are reading my words daily. In this case, we are using technology wisely, and it is a great way to connect with loved ones (and blog readers) afar! Get reconnected!!

My personal favorite: Be present

So once you’ve placed your phone calls, turn your phone off (or silence it) and listen to the people around you. I can recall a moment a couple of years ago, I met with a friend after 13 years of not seeing each other. We organized to meet with friends with whom we attended school as children, and during two days of catching up, I did not see him reach for his phone to check texts, emails, etc. Not once! He lived so beautifully in each moment, and it makes me wonder, can I do that? Can you? Can you forget about checking your phone for an entire weekend? What about an entire day? An afternoon? Challenge yourself. Let’s ‘check’ a little less, and connect a little more.

 

Make. Love. A. Verb.

Go out and DO something for someone else today and every day.

 

Light and love and action,

Ki

blog tree ki stuffs

Renewal — Let’s do it together

Although a sense of renewal

Is not quite the feeling

This first day of February, also a Sunday,

I begin. In bed. With books.

Exhaustion, I continue searching

For understanding yet to be understood.

Am I still too stubborn?

The silence between frustration and epiphany mocks me

So I sip my coffee and wait,

Slow living.

I was always a late bloomer.

Do other people wonder these things at 10AM?

 

Sometimes Spring waits for the chill to leave its lover, March

And my bones lead me out in April sun.

I frolic with all that’s been waiting too,

The perk of late Spring, ready to be seen,

All of us warm in beginning,

We sprout up

Like new grass.

One month into our New Year’s Resolutions – have you kept to yours? I know that I have been quite proactive, but the thought of ‘keeping to’ a promise made months ago seems oddly, like a contract.

Admittedly, I do not make New Year’s Resolutions. Although the impending new calendar year brings thoughts of how I’d like to keep working toward my goals

I just cannot help but think that making these ‘New Year’s promises’ to ourselves seems so fixed, so permanent, and a bit naïve. I wonder, in making these resolutions, did we leave room for reform? Did we leave a moment for spontaneity? Perhaps a detour on the path?

I know that when I packed for college and made resolutions to study diligently and to become a psychologist, I hadn’t a clue that I’d choose to create life within and sprout a family in Indianapolis. Yet at that time, I felt guilty for ‘quitting my dreams’ and starting anew. So, why then, harp on making resolutions at all? Wouldn’t you agree that many of us become so fixated on making plans for ‘what we think we should do’ only to end up losing ourselves on the path completely? We bite off more than we can chew in January, and then here we are one month later, perhaps disappointed in ourselves and exhausted.

This is the reason, at least for me, that making resolutions is quite dizzying. I focus so much of my efforts on achieving the final results that I leave little room for the process in getting there.

So, what can we do right now?

The problem is not that our resolutions are too big. I think perhaps the issue is that we don’t truly know what we want? Or how to get there?

——-

A friend asked lovingly, “Hey Ki, what is something you want to accomplish this year?” I immediately replied, “To publish my book!” Yet here I sit, unsure of how to do that, unsure if my book is polished and ready for publishers? I sit here with more questions than answers, and I am exhausted. I study, I read, I write, I edit, and yet, I’m so lost I haven’t a shred of an answer to any of my questions. Do you have many questions too?

Perhaps we need to connect more with ourselves than with our ‘end results.’ I truly believe that we can’t expect such grand accomplishments from ourselves if we haven’t built a strong relationship with our true nature. You know, that little voice within. Your intuition. That little flitter. That butterfly in your belly. That little thing that beams when you are TRULY living. Have you first connected with that part of yourself before making resolutions?

You’ve made room for new resolutions in your life; have you made space for quiet, reflective thought too? Or simply, room for a quiet space in your mind…

I know that I have only just begun tapping into that inner Ki. I know that I don’t really know what I want to do with my life. (But what 25 year old really does??) I know that writing poetic verses and spiritual prose allows me to feel beautiful, and in connecting with that free side of Ki, I am slowly learning to accept myself. I know that I really don’t know much at all, and that’s okay. I know that if my friend asked lovingly today, “Hey Ki, what is something you want to accomplish this year?” I’d instead respond, “To write for myself and only myself, and if that ends in a published book, then hell yes!! If not, then I will continue to write and sing my odd thoughts, and work my craft until I am no longer inspired to do so.”

——-

Let’s focus this year on reforming ourselves. Reforming our thought processes. Renewing our light. Connecting with ourselves in a naked, honest way. And hey, let’s be patient with ourselves too, okay? So you’ve made resolutions and not kept to them. That’s okay. Forgive yourself. Right now! Say out loud, “I forgive you. I love you. I am not my habits.”

As Stephen Covey says in his beautifully enlightening book **The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

“Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground.”

Let’s be gentle with those tender parts of our true nature.

Friends, there is always purpose in beginning again, even if you have to build yourself from the ground up. You don’t have to wait until the New Year. Your chance to begin is this morning. This moment. Right now. Let patience fill the space between frustration and understanding. We are all trying to find the way. But please remember, your way IS the right way, for you.

Just keep walking.

And if you have no idea what the hell you’re doing, have a laugh, and know that there are many people out there (probably more so than who truly want to admit it) who feel the same.

You’re not alone. Let’s figure this out together.

 

Light and love and PATIENCE,

Ki

ki light

I invite you to read Stephen Covey’s

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

**I have started a small book club with readers worldwide, and invite you to join! A friend of mine suggested I read this book, and in reading it, I am seeing my life in a whole new light. I am currently taking notes and letting this book soak into my brain. If you start reading it too, let me know! I’d love to hear from you. We can read and discuss it together!

 

All the little lights

I believe the Universe sends us signs.

Signals, open doors, messages from God, however you want to define ‘opportunity’ – this is what I’m referring to. The world, it seems, is quite magical then, wouldn’t you agree? Because no matter what you believe, no matter what religion you follow or don’t, no matter your opinions on anything for that matter – we all have moments of opportunity whispering to us each day. It is up to us to hear them and follow.

Sometimes these doors of opportunity are quite small and narrow,

With a tiny peek of light behind the threshold,

Leading us to question if we’ve even seen a light after all?

Yet other moments offer us an abundance of green lights chanting

‘Yes, GO!’ – an openness so vast that it would be foolish of us to avoid.

Whatever the case, all the little lights of opportunity are here for us right now.

 

Over the last few months, I’ve found that my inner light is quite dim. I reached out to a friend last week, wondering if maybe she needed a friend too. Perhaps her light could strengthen mine? In a matter of days, I found myself in her cozy home, coffee in hand, chatting again as we did when we were freshman in college. Five hours into the afternoon, we continued to reminisce and conjure up plans to explore Europe together. I left her home feeling renewed, brighter than the day before.

Last Thursday, I woke with a sense of relief, feeling grateful after Wednesday’s chat with another beautiful soul who resides thousands of miles away. In the comfort of my office (and with the help of modern technology) we laughed, shared stories, advised each other, and concluded 3 hours of conversation with a “See you soon!”

Again, I was reminded of the infinite light that is here for all of us now, if only we could see it.

After a sweet embrace and a kiss goodbye with my son on Thursday, I ventured toward a local bookstore where I write and edit, write and edit, write and edit, and reach out to publishing companies. It is a wonderful time for myself and my dreams, but some days it is maddening because I grow tired and feel as though my efforts are time wasted. I sat for a moment, my dreams trapped in a red binder opposite me waiting to be embraced by the world. To continue with this crazy dream of a book? Or not to continue? I wrestled myself for a few moments.

I greeted a café employee and ordered my usual. He was quite inquisitive for 9AM and smiled, “What are you up to today?”

“Oh, just work,” I replied nervously.

He seemed disappointed with my brief reply.

(Cue inner confidence after an awkward silence)

I continued, “Actually I’m writing a book. It’s good motivation to come here and see everyone else’s books. So I’m here three mornings a week. The coffee helps.” I forced a smile.

Eyes widening and without hesitation he chirped, “Hey, that’s what we’re here for! Here you go, it’s on the house,” and he handed over the coffee.

We chatted briefly about my journey and passion for writing.

He seemed intrigued, and wished me all the best. I couldn’t thank him enough.

I still can’t believe I embraced a stranger.

Or maybe, I can’t believe a stranger embraced me…

Again, my inner light was brightened.

 

Feeling energized and grateful for this small (huge) act of kindness, I set up my ‘mobile office’ and wondered if I should edit? Or just read and relax? Three hours to kill while Lucas is in school…

And suddenly, as if the Universe heard my plight, a direct message popped up on my phone from a blog reader:

“Hi, Kiley! I just wanted to tell you that I am looking forward to reading your book.”

Stunned, flattered, humbled, excited, I was ready to begin.

And that was it, that’s all it took for me to continue. As if chatting with friends who know my soul wasn’t reassurance enough, the Universe offered me just one more green light. One more, “Go, Ki!” One extra little light to show me the way. And I was (and still am) beyond grateful.

 

The Universe is opening doors right now for you! Are you looking? Are you listening to the whispers? Are you alert? Are you open? Are you ready? Whatever it is that you want in your life, you must first ask for it. Then be open to what is here for you right now.

If you want friendship, ask for it. Give it too.

If you want love, ask for it. Be it too.

If you want compassion, ask for it. Show it too.

If you want inspiration, ask for it. Spread it too.

If you want certain things to manifest in your life, you must first plant the seed. Embody them…

And then, without even knowing it, these things will nourish your life, all on their own.

Trust, and let go of the outcome.

Just be open to right now.

Continue, yes, it’s time.

If you need a green light, here it is: GO!

 

Light and love,

Ki

half ki face

“Just because” — a story of gratitude

A little boy wakes with his father before dawn. He sits sleepily on his haunches on the bathroom floor while his father readies himself for the day. The two remain quiet in the hushed space between them, catching glimpses of the other in the mirror.

His father lays him next to his mother before departing at dawn.

“I love you,” they say together, and the boy returns to sleep.

A patient morning light wakes the boy and his mother to stir. He runs to the window to find fresh snow this sixth day of January.

“This is my lucky day, Mom!”

“Why sweetie?”

“Just because.”

 

I greet today with that little boy in my heart. His eagerness to spend precious moments with his father, his willingness to remain quiet when others are not yet ready to speak, his ability to completely surrender to sleep – and most admirable, his unattached appreciation for living, for simply being here, rising again, today. What a magical way to live.

There are days like today when I am so overcome with gratitude for that wonderful little creature I call my son. There are days like today when my questions are answered in a mysterious and magical way, and I am again reminded to keep going.

The past few weeks have been an emotional and blissful ride. I found an editor who knows my heart and shares my soul. Friends and family continue to cheer me on as I fight myself on the road toward realizing my dreams. Dubious thoughts creep in often, pushing me to question the purpose of these wild and untamed dreams of mine. Last night I cried, I told myself I don’t know how to do ‘this,’ I shared my fears with a loved one, and I left my office in disarray for the night.

I woke up this morning to the story of the little boy — his simple yet profound way of living lifting a weight from my heavy head. His diligence in waking with his father every morning reminds me to return again to my office this morning. His open ears and patient way of listening teach me to remain open in the silence of now even at the most exhausting hour of our existence. His ability to surrender to sleep and then wake with curious and grateful eyes shows me how to truly live. Yes, I believe the Universe is speaking to me now.

We are only human. We tire, we doubt, we fall to our knees and ask for answers when it seems there are none to be had. I believe that when we ask enough questions and allow patience to fill the space between frustration and understanding, we are again called to keep walking our unique paths. We are again called to look outside in awe of what is happening right now… if for no other reason than “just because…”

Just because living is the greatest question, the greatest answer, the greatest privilege of being a human on this earth.

 

I hope you have the strength of diligence, the capacity for empathy, the eagerness to greet today as if it were your first chance at life.

I wonder what life would be like if we all marveled at the world today just because…

With love and light,

Ki

me and my guy

 

To my friends

With so much wrong in the world, I wonder what is right anymore. As unfortunate events continue to unfold in the world and shake up the minds of my generation, a few close friends have turned to me for advice. I think, me?! What can I give? What wisdom do I have within me? I don’t know anything other than what I live each day. I’m not a teacher, nurse, politician, world traveler. I’m not necessarily cultured, I didn’t even finish my degree for God’s sake! I’m a mom, a ‘kind-of’ writer, what can I possibly give to these friends during such a scary time in our world’s history? I’m probably the least qualified person to give advice, yet for a split second I am humbled that others look to me, so it’s time to do what I love to do: Remind the world that there is good everywhere, and it is up to us to see it and spread it like wildfire. I wake up each day with these words in my heart: You are the light. Be it, live it, spread it everywhere you go. The same goes for love. Be love, live love, and spread it everywhere you go.

So, to you friends, this is what I can offer you today:

I, too, am scared. What a scary time to live. What a scary time to raise a family. Ebola, ISIS, beheadings in our own country, terrorism, disease, cancer, abductions, and the list goes on. But let me remind you that you have a choice each morning when you raise yourself and your spirit from bed. You must choose life. You must choose to live. Live for the moments of true connection. Yes, that’s the secret. That’s it. Use every moment you have to connect with the world and the people around you. Get out of your head, and get into the world. Let the fear, the doubts, and anxiety pass, and plug yourself into what truly matters.

Spread goodness —

You don’t have to be a powerful person to spread a powerful message. It is up to each of us to harvest an inner love, an inner goodness, and we must spread this goodness, this light, to every person we know, to every person we pass on the street, to every person who serves us in restaurants, to every person who shows us hospitality, to every person with a beating heart. Can you imagine what our world would be like if we all did this every day? If we all smiled at each other? If we all cared just a little bit more?

Live spontaneously —

Plan for your future, yes, but don’t forget about spontaneity. Perhaps it feels impossible to be spontaneous when there are bills to pay and meetings to attend. At times, yes, you have to suck it up and go to work. There are evenings when you have to clean your house or go to bed early, but don’t forget to look for the moments when you can look into another’s eyes and connect with him. Get out of your routine, get out of your head, and tap into that universal energy which brings us all together. Go for a run in the park only to be surprised by an old man’s genuine interest in how your day is going. Ask how he’s doing, and leave the park feeling renewed. Call a friend half-way across the world and be surprised when the chat ends 3 hours later. Make a side note about how good it feels and how much you needed that spontaneous chat. Talk to the new neighbor on your street and find out that she’s from England and needs a friend, just like you do. Yes, all of these examples are recent experiences of mine.

Laugh and dance and yes, have a good cry –

I cannot tell you how good it feels to listen to a favorite song of mine when I am at my lowest. If you are a close friend, you know I love European dance music (which I’ll admit is a bit odd for a Midwest American girl, but hey! It’s who I am!) – There is nothing better than getting lost in the words, the beat, the rhythm, and connecting with that silly side of myself. It is good for my heart, my health, my soul. It is good for you, too. I really do believe it’s good to get caught up in our emotions sometimes. I believe in laughing until our bellies hurt. I believe in crying until our souls are cleansed. I believe in dancing ridiculously until my toddler asks me to ‘please stop, Mom.’ We are humans! We have emotions for a reason! It is okay to feel them — It is okay to let them move through us, so long as we remember to come back to what matters most.

Unplug, and Be present —

Turn your phone off right now. What would happen if you unplugged for half an hour a day? What would you do with that time? Would you pick up a book? Would you meditate? Would you take a walk? Would you say a prayer and send good vibes to other parts of the world? My, oh my, what 30 free minutes can do for your soul! I dare you to try it!

Most importantly friends, Be with the ones you love. Your presence is the only thing that truly matters. If you can give nothing else to the world, at least give it your attention. Stay current with what is going on around you, and keep those you love most close to your heart. Make a phone call to an estranged friend. Say I love you. Give hugs. Offer your time, your advice, offer your true self to the world. When the money runs out, when we’ve traveled the world and returned home, when the child in us is tired and needs a rest, all which is left are the people we love. Be present with them, that IS enough.

Cheers, friends.

coffee mug ki

Be

I believe there are times when life moves through me with such speed that I forget why I get up each day. Yes, there are days when I rise as scheduled and sleepwalk from moment to moment. In the next two weeks, I will attend two weddings, one birthday celebration, three soccer games, and one funeral. In a 14-day span, I will laugh, I will undoubtedly cry, I will cheer at the top of my lungs, I will be angry, and I will experience such blissful joy that I am again, moved to tears. My soul will be joyous, my heart will ache under a black dress, and my head will again come to know that life moves through us all, it’s fluidity an undeniable gift.

I do not know if I am prepared for this lesson, to appreciate the precious gift we have each day. It seems a bit difficult to appreciate life when mourning a man whose own life ended far too soon. I am feeling many emotions this week. A bride-to-be excitedly glows as we chat in anticipation of her big day. Hours later, grief glazes Danny’s eyes as his uncle’s final days flitter in the space between us. I seem to wear everyone’s emotions lately. I simply cannot avoid it. It is who I am. It is in my nature of being.

Perhaps it is a gift that I can find a piece of myself in others’ feelings and experiences. We all – sooner or later – try on these different hats of emotion as we experience life. Each one of us feels the same feelings eventually. Joy, sadness, grief, nervous anticipation… the list goes on. As new beginnings and abrupt endings course their way through us, we live every emotion, each day, every one of us.

As few of you know, I began a journey back in the spring that has led me to creating a story for my son to read one day, when he is ready. In this story, I relive experiences in my young adult life that perhaps he will relate to, maybe even find relief in knowing. I explain to him that all emotions are okay. The ups and the downs are good and healthy and human. Bliss and grief and happiness alike – in our own way, we feel it all in time. I write to him,

“Your sadness, I have felt – though perhaps not today.

Over lifetimes, trust me

We all feel the same way.

Be present with it all.

That is the lesson.

That is the gift.

Be with each moment.

Now is your time.”

 

For whatever you are celebrating, or grieving, this moment offers you a chance to feel the experience of being alive. Whether you are high, or have fallen so low, those around you are here now to guide you through. As you wake each day, step with risk – and land with trust. You were created to feel it all.

It is time to be who you are.

You are loved.

-Ki

blog tree ki stuffs

Thanks to Mark Nepo for guiding me daily.

And to a lovely friend who says I think too much and should just be… you’re right. Thank you for being honest with me always.

 

The good hurt

He just keeps running from me

A little bit more each day,

Our hands held one moment less today,

Our giggles lasting a minute shorter,

And I keep thinking, how do parents willingly do this every day?

It never gets any easier

Letting go.

I don’t understand this constant cycle

My baby boy walking and talking,

Hilarious and wise,

Laughing and stepping into moments

Apart from me and dad.

But I smile and clench the tears,

Biting lips until the coast is clear

And it’s okay to cry.

He’ll never know how good it hurts

To be his mom.

lucas on bridge

I’m exhausted. I don’t know how some moms do it… the ones with multiple. Hell, even the ones with just one, like me. My dog is staring at me like I forgot to do something, which I probably did. You do lose your mind after having kids… that is a fact. I look forward to this time of day though. 2PM. Nap time, or at least I think he’s napping. If he’s playing quietly, I’m okay with that. I just need a break. I can’t believe he’s leaving tomorrow. The next chapter begins, and I’m not quite sure I’m ready.

As I’m sitting here, eyes heavy from the early mornings, I know I need a break. Some days I pray for a relative to call and say he/she is on the way to steal Lucas for the day, but as I stare at the calendar above my bookshelf, I can’t help but feel the nerves swell and swirl in my belly. It’s time to let him go a little bit more. Preschool starts tomorrow.

This is how it goes though, I guess. The day comes when we need less of one thing, and more of another. There are periods of time, months, years, even decades when less of ‘this’ means discovering more of what is next on the list. I’ve had 4 years of unconditional Lucas, 4 years! An abundance of love, growth, challenges, and blind hope, on-call and alert 24/7… and it’s time I need a little less in that direction. It’s time he needs a little less of his momma’s helicopter love. Yes, I can admit I hover. It’s time we both work on ourselves, our own individual paths, apart from each other.

A little less time together doesn’t mean we will love any less, and it sure doesn’t mean he’ll forget me (though I worry). A little less will bring a little more of what we both need, whatever that may be. No, I don’t know where exactly my life is headed. I don’t know what is next. I don’t know Lucas’ path or how he will walk it. But we’re moving and learning and growing together, supporting each other.

There’s a lot I don’t know, and I’m relieved to say that. What I do know is that life is a beautiful cycle of less this and more that. It is certain to happen that ‘the plan’ of what life ought to be always blooms into what my soul knows it will be. Do our lives ever go ‘as planned’ anyway?

I hope you begin to see that every moment is beautiful during times of change and uncertainty. Just because you can’t see what’s next doesn’t mean something magical isn’t happening right now. Look for the good. Hope for magic. Open yourself to every step along the way. We all go through this. Trade less for more, more for less, let life move through you. Be fluid, be in the moment. Trust that in weathering this change, what is next will be more beautiful than you could ever have imagined.

Sooner than later, we find the answers. Keep going.

Ki