Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Sands of Time (Revisited)

2103 has been a challenging year. Most of my challenges have been typical of those things we all go through on occasion but have more impact when they pile up all at once. You know what I'm talking about, I'm sure. House, vehicle, and relationships can all go wacky for us once in awhile. When your house, car and friends all seem to need you at once, it can be a bit overwhelming. I won't bore you with it all. But the most significant event this summer was the death of my Mom. That alone made all the other crap this year insignificant. I miss her and will for the rest of my life.

The Sands of Time
In Memory of Jean Brenda Hill Martin
December 6, 1918 - June 8, 2013

"Time is like a handful of sand - the tighter your grasp it, the faster it runs through your fingers." ~Henry David Thoreau.

These days, there is not much space outside of the time I spend with my mother. So I have found that what I am compelled to write about becomes an extension of my conversations and reflections with Mom. The two of us are spending a lot of time looking back. That's where she's most comfortable. The further back we go, the better her memory. Ask her about an event or person in her childhood and you'll get minute details. Ask her what she had for lunch the minute she finished the last morsel, and you get a shrug.

Mom grew up on the Atlantic Ocean in Winthrop, just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Her summers were spent with family on Cape Cod. Her only move was to Michigan and the shores of a much smaller body of water but still huge in its own right, Lake Michigan. This is where Mom has spent the last 72 years of her life and where I grew up.

The other day we talked about spending so much of one's life on or near a beach. There are many wonderful and interesting things about beach life. Watching wildlife, digging clams and flying kites have been some of our favorites. But in our conversation, Mom seemed to want to focus on sand. We agreed that our beach days will always be part of us and will forever most be defined by sand. Oh, such a tiny thing for such a long life!

We concluded that our hair, toes, belly buttons and many other unmentionable crevices will always contain at least a few grains of sand. A total cleaning is not possible. We'll both die with sand in some crack. Likewise, we'll forever have sand in our beds.

We are still astounded at how possessions can get lost for a long, long time as the sand shifts and inches forward and backward with the wind and the waves. And often, with that same shifting, the treasures are unearthed and things long lost return.

We agreed that sleeping on the sand makes the best nap. Long after the day has cooled, that patch of sand is still quite warm having absorbed the sun all day. Warm sand, properly piled and molded, will allow for rest so deep you'll drool in your sleep and wake with sand plastered to the side of your face.

We sighed as we remembered the experience of standing at the water's edge and wiggling our feet in the sand. Better than any foot massage we've ever had, our feet emerge baby fresh and buffed.

I serve up this reflection about sand as an opportunity for you to remember the environment that forever defines you and your relationships. Search for that place in your own life journey. Your eternity is as simple as a grain of sand.

"To see the world in a grain of sand
And Heaven in a wild flower
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."
Auguries of Innocence ~William Blake

"They dined on mince and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon."
~Edward Lear

Peace and Love, Deb

Friday, January 25, 2013

Hello Sunshine

Now that the Winter Solstice is behind us here in the north, we are moving toward the sun once again. Already I have noticed the difference. Daylight hangs around just a little longer. I have the urge to get out of bed a little earlier in the morning. And I more often see sunshine during the day. The overcast dreary days of December have dissolved into some occasional bright light in January. Just what is that globe hanging in the southern sky that makes me squint on my walks?

I welcome January. This year I celebrate my 60th trip around the sun. “Not a big deal” I say to myself on some days. On other days it feels shocking. Just how did I make it to 60 when so many of those I idolized have not? Not that 60 is old. It isn't. But I'm a Boomer and some of us lived hard.

Most days, I don’t feel a day over 40 until I look in the mirror. So I just don’t look. Or at least I look without my glasses on, for those glasses too have become a more permanent fixture on my face. For some reason, others' photos of me are often more flattering than what I see each morning when I roll out for another day. I look at those photos and wonder how the photographer did that. Smoke and mirrors? Why can’t my mirror reflect that? So I choose to believe the photos others take of me must be the way I look through their eyes. That gives me just a little of the joy that often comes when we delude ourselves and become the figments of our imaginations.

I've noticed a shift in the way I talk about myself these days. I have pretty much dropped all titles and labels and credentials. My education matters less now than it did a few years ago. I expect that importance to decline even more. When people ask me what I do, I often can’t find the words to even describe what that is. At any particular time I may call myself a retreat leader or a coach or a guide or just one who likes to reflect and ponder. Sometimes I’m a writer, a player, a fisherwoman and an explorer. I've worn all these titles in the past but they used to be capitalized. Now they are barely more than a word to me. I'm enjoying using whole paragraphs instead of a few titles to express who I am and why I do what I do.

Still though, I remain someone who loves to grab people by the sleeve and take them into nature and discovery. I find myself acting on that urge often when I’m talking with someone I know will be awed by what nature and just a little risk has to offer. “Let’s go,” I say. “Come with me. I have something to show you. By the way, bring your hip boots!” And then I take them. And then I do some coaching. And then I know I’m right where I’m supposed to be.

So there are parts of us that remain who we are and what we love, whether it’s a business endeavor or not, no matter our age. At my core, I'm someone who wants to take you on an adventure, internal or external. I’m glad to be hanging my Tilly and my bandana on that until I discover what’s next for me.

Hello, sunshine. Now sit. And tell me a story. What's next for you?

Peace and Love  

"Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got." Janis Joplin