Category Archives: musings

Ghosts and cobwebs

Exiting and entering a relationship is never the same twice. I guess that makes sense since I’ve come to learn that the only truly consistent thing I’ve found in my own romantic pairings has been that they all leave a mark.

I ran a race on Wednesday, almost the longest day of the year, that I had also run two years ago. My previous experience had been as close to perfect as I would ever dare hope, the weather, course and company were ideal. I couldn’t imagine it ever being better.

Yet, on Wednesday it was.

Photo: C. Allen

The event was very different this year. We were sans guys, more relaxed (I think) with weather that was kind of misty, rather than sunny, but with fairly delicious air. It was wonderful in a new way. The trails in Minnewaska are lovely, wide with a fairly soft surface, and amazing views. Fantastic.

Photo: C. Allen

As I ran, I felt strong. My feet hurt a little, but my heart felt powerful and I enjoyed the run. Along the course there were parts that were familiar, and others that I didn’t recall from previous races. I started thinking about how the trail was kind of a metaphor for how I’m feeling these days, like there are parts of myself that seem familiar, while others I don’t remember ever encountering before. Ghosts and cobwebs.

Past relationships kind of stick with us in a variety of different ways. At least that’s been my experience. Maybe you wear the color (s)he always liked best and can’t help but to remember how you felt each time (s)he said blue was your color. Like those parts of the trail, that’s a ghost. It stays with you.

The cobwebs, though…those, for me, are the places of which I have no memory at all, because those parts haven’t been used in so very long. Maybe not even ever. It’s like virgin territory. Exploring this new terrain is exciting, but by a certain age, or level of experience, you’ve probably learned to pay close attention to where you step. Keeping one’s feet on the ground and trying to not fall down can be a struggle, but they’re good goals for a trail and a relationship.

A becoming-more-familiar race and a new romance seem to be just about the best way to experience ghosts and cobwebs.  And, like that solstice run, I’ll do it again.

Thoughts to share?

 

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Filed under aging, favorites, friends, musings, Observations, relationships, road trips, running, Uncategorized, upstate New York

Watching my mouth

If you know me, you’re probably expecting a post about my struggle to control my tendency to use colorful language or to share stories that may not always be appreciated by those mentioned. But, no, that’s not quite what this is about. This isn’t about what may come out of my mouth, but instead it is about what goes in.

But, first some history. I’m sure I’ve written before about the recurring dream I had for years. I must have, it was pretty profound for me. The dream is set in a rural area I lived in for a couple of crucial elementary school years. It was a place that had left me with idyllic memories, but in my dream the entire area had been poorly developed and settled with over-sized houses replacing blueberry bushes, fields and trees. The wildness that I had loved was gone.

I always woke up sad from that dream until the day I recognized that I only had that dream when I was faced with change or a decision. Once I had that realization, I never had the dream again.

The point of the preceding, is this: when we recognize why or how something exerts power over us, often it loses its hold. So, about my mouth…

I’ve come to understand that there are times in my life when my eating practices become a form of exerting control. It’s like I’ve been disappointed by the connection between my actions and the results in some personal situation, so I limit my eating to be able to observe the numbers on the scale going down, sort of as proof of the positive relationship between effort and reward.

Without exception, this only occurs when I’m feeling emotionally beaten up and it never really lasts for very long. After a week or two, my body demands more food if I’m going to make it run or bike or walk or paddle board or ski. I remember again that I’m more of an “indulge myself” girl than a “deny myself” lady and eat some ice cream, maybe even with hot fudge, and the scale goes back up a few pounds.

I don’t even know if it’s a bad thing, this temporary curtailing of my consumption. It seems to only make me eventually more appreciative of food than I had been, more thoughtful about what I ingest, which seems ok. There’s nothing wrong with paying more attention to what you’re interested and willing to swallow.

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Filed under aging, girlhood, musings, Observations, relationships, stress

Listen

Some people find it odd that “my” library is at the end of the wing where the music department has some of their classrooms. When the air conditioning is on we close the doors, but for much of the year sounds from the band room make their way to my desk and I love it. Wednesday afternoons the jazz band plays and it’s my favorite day of the week to listen. Our teachers are so good at what they do – exposing students to music, cultivating their talents, inspiring their efforts. It truly never ceases to amaze me.

This time of year, our students are working hard to prepare for various concerts and performances and the song selections include graduation favorites such as Pomp and Circumstance, a tune that never fails to make me feel nostalgic. Hearing this song is an audible reminder that the school year is almost over, that it’s time to mark both an ending and a beginning, and it is music to my ears.

The clear delineation of the calendar is one the greatest perks of teaching for me. I’m the kind of person who appreciates a new academic year, a new semester, a new quarter, a new week and a new day because each of these milestones comes with an opportunity to start anew. I’ve always loved flipping a calendar to an entirely new month of days and a brand new notebook never failed to inspire me to attempt to do my best work. There’s always a fresh beginning for which to look forward, something different coming our way.

In the past couple of days two people whom I’ve admired and been inspired by, found themselves unable to survive the thought of another day of living. They were in a place so dark and so sad that they couldn’t see that the next day, or even the very next moment, provided another chance to start again.

As we get ready to witness the commencement of another class of students and send them off to their next life chapter, I worry that we’re creating a culture where music and books aren’t thought to belong together, but success, depression and suicide are. What are we teaching these kids? When do they get to connect – with one another and not the WiFi network? We have dozens of devices designed to facilitate conversation but no one’s really communicating.

We need to slow it down and start listening better. This is a health crisis and we can do better. Listen.

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Filed under aging, beauty, Education, Europe, Events, favorites, France, friends, musings, NYC, Observations, politics

A is for apology

When my marriage ended, I wrote a lot about how I felt. It helped me to clarify and deal with the end of the longest relationship of my life and I felt entitled to that process. It was what I needed to do.

Afterwards, though, I felt guilty about some of what I wrote. I questioned whether I had been fair and if I should have been so honest about the pain I was in. I attempted to compensate for my regret by expressing the positive things that had come from the relationship. I began to shift my thinking to consider the possibility that the end of my marriage came because of needs not being met, not as a result of actions directed at or by either of us. I learned.

Or so I hoped.

My life is pretty public. Secrets aren’t something I personally feel the need to own, preferring direct honesty above polite bullshit, but it really is unfair of me to share my own disappointments at the expense of another. It isn’t kind and doesn’t serve a positive purpose. I don’t believe it’s necessary to tear down someone who once brought you tremendous happiness to make yourself feel better. It’s wrong and I’m sorry about doing it.

Sometimes things just don’t work out the way we planned or hoped. Maybe we’re told things that may or may not be true. Perhaps there are struggles beyond the circle the two of you have created, issues that need to be addressed that simply can’t be resolved as a unit. It’s hard to say and I probably shouldn’t even attempt it.

Suffice it to say that having one’s needs met and being loved the way we want and need to be loved is ultimately the purpose, I think, in having a relationship. When that’s not happening, it’s time to accept the situation and move forward. No need for scarlet letters at all.

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Filed under aging, love, musings, relationships, stress, Uncategorized, writing

The truth will set you free

Somehow I’ve always thought that phrase was an invitation for someone to unburden themselves by being honest, but recently I’ve begun to interpret it in a new way – the truth can also release a person from a situation in which they’ve been lied to repeatedly and consistently. Learning the truth about something, or someone, can be the key to finally closing and locking a door that has remained open for far too long.

Relationships between two people are hard, but when there are more than two people involved that degree of difficulty increases exponentially. While I will never attempt to present myself as a 100% innocent person, I can say without reservation that I work really hard to express myself with honesty and integrity. To not have that courtesy reciprocated is painful, to say the least, but what it won’t be is devastating. My life is too precious to be destroyed and I’ve got too much good stuff in my life to allow any individual to drag me down permanently.

It’s a funny thing with this blog. When I’m sad and working through emotional stuff, my stats go through the roof. Maybe I’m wrong,* but I really don’t believe it’s due to the fact that readers love my misery.  Instead I think the reason for increased readership during the exceptional times is because the things I share are universal – life and love are challenging experiences and sometimes they kick our ass.

But, life goes on.

I’ll continue to be proud of the partner I was to someone who apparently knew better than I did that he didn’t deserve me. My exterior will continue to reflect who I am on the inside – a woman who has lots of love, along with uncountable other positive and healthy attributes, and is perhaps willing to share all of that with a man who is worthy of those gifts. Freely.

 

*it obviously wouldn’t be the first time.

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Filed under aging, love, musings, Observations, relationships, secrets

Pigeon tears

I’ve taken a lot of yoga classes over the years, both locally and while traveling. My favorite classes have been the ones which are a challenge and push me to a new place physically. Thanks to soccer being suspended for the holiday weekend on Saturday, I was able to make it for the first time in weeks to one of my favorite classes, Aaron’s 11:15 Vinyasa, at The Hot Yoga Spot’s Latham location.

Despite managing to get there early and the light attendance, “my” spot on the left side of the room was already taken when I entered the studio. I unrolled my mat as I close as I possibly could to my usual space for a moment before changing my mind. No, I decided, I wasn’t going to force my way to a place where there wasn’t room. I picked up my stuff and moved to the opposite side of the studio. The universe was telling me that I needed a new perspective.

Yoga instructors seem to each have their own philosophies and the language they use can vary quite a bit. One message I’ve heard repeatedly, though, is about how certain poses can stimulate an emotional response, something I had never before experienced. I mean, of course, I’ve felt frustrated or encouraged by my practice, but never before have I felt the way I did Saturday.

The class was hard with lots of core work as well as flows that I found difficult. My chaturanga always feel like it needs work and I couldn’t stick eagle on one side and it was hot and I hadn’t slept very much…and I felt so damn tired of having my time on my mat co-opted by situations outside of the room, outside of my control. We moved into pigeon on the right side and I went into the pose with surprising ease. I bowed low, and rested my forehead on my mat, breathing in and out through my nose, releasing.

The tears came so fast that I didn’t have time to even consider leaving the studio. All I could do was let the fuck go.

I’m not really a cryer, but those tears weren’t going to be denied. As I silently shed hot tears I was powerless to stop, my heart and soul surrendered to sadness. I couldn’t change the circumstances which had caused my sorrow, but I could accept the situation for what it was – a position that I entered willingly which had stretched me to a place I had never before been, but that I had the strength from which to move on. Class over.

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Filed under aging, Exercise, love, musings, Observations, relationships, secrets, yoga

Honestly

1c3d5d14-6ab0-4ae5-8dde-c2cc8c589765-40021-00000afb6a0bf1f3I recently said that the characteristic I most needed in a companion was happiness – someone who simply was happy. While that’s still an important part of the whole package (and I’m not settling for less than the whole package), I’ve come to realize that the very most important thing that must be present is honesty. Hiding the truth only causes pain and wastes time – two things I’m committed to avoiding in my life. Eventually, the truth will be revealed and the hurt from the lies leaves far more damage than honesty, and way more heartache than deserved. Lies just might be the favorite instrument of people who aren’t capable of playing fairly.

I read something that has me thinking:

Three things can not hide for long: the moon, the sun, and the truth.

Yesterday the sun was blazing and my deck, complete with new cushions and plants, beckoned.  I have a complicated relationship with the sun (go figure) and spend a lot of time and money protecting myself from its damaging rays, but it had been a really hard day and I just needed the comfort of home and the warmth of the sun to help get me into a better place. An hour spent lounging on chaise with a book can be a good investment in mental health.

Rather than taking a run, as I had planned, I changed things up and took a bike ride with a friend instead. It was a good choice. The company was welcome and the weather could not have been better. We rode along the river, where the air was wonderfully fragrant, in a positive way, and stopped by Nine-Pin for some tasty cider. As we rode back up the hill towards Center Square, with the half moon hanging in the sky, my calves burned but I felt better, more capable of looking forward, than I had before the ride. Again, getting outside improved my mood and helped me to feel more positive.

Not attempting to hide from the moon, the sun, and the truth but instead learning to live with each of them, is on the top of my list of goals for Summer 2018. I think it’s going to be a good one.

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