I’ve been feeling incredibly blessed lately. As you know, we moved here for Bunk’s work. His job was actually a two year contract. You can imagine the excitement and the anxiety of modern day nomads not knowing where they would go after two years. Bunk conducted a national job search this fall and got a great job in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We’re moving there in June! I’m super excited for a million reasons. I think it’s going to be an amazing adventure filled with open sky, landscapes, enchiladas, new friends, deep breaths, art, and culture.
As I wrote about on my birthday, this move will be another series of lessons in embracing and letting go. While I am thrilled about our move, it’s still very sad to me that we are going to settle in a place where neither our friends nor family live. I’m actually pretty sure that no matter how much I love Albuquerque or how at peace I feel there, I’ll always feel loss about it. It will come out in the little moments and in the larger life events. It’s all just a part of it.
Our trip to Belize was remarkable. Every day was a mixture of cultural explorations and nature adventures. We had the opportunity to make tortillas with a local Mayan woman, Mrs. Bo, in her home, visit Eladio Pop and his family on their cacao farm, and go to two Mayan ruin sites. We jumped off of waterfalls, hiked, kayaked, snorkled and went spelunking. Our guides and others we met were incredibly open to all of types of questions. We talked about everything from the diabetes epidemic (Belizean’s call it “sweet blood”), to the issues around the surprise upcoming election, to a more recent trend towards Protestantism, and to the rituals of daily life.
On one of the hikes, I was talking with a fellow tourist about the concept of time. She said that she once learned that two of the ways that cultures look at time are linear and circular. In a linear society, there is always a feeling of pressure and loss. Time can never be recovered or revisited. Time thought about in a circular way leaves room to connect moments and feel the presence and meaning of the cycles of nature.
The feeling that I’m losing time has become such a huge part of my life even though I fight against it. I’m constantly playing with the concept of time, I’ve been trying to slow down and relax more in the midst of the energetic frenzy that is New York City. Sometimes, when I’ve had a particularly busy day and I’m heading home thinking about all of the things that I have to do, I’ll intentionally slow time down by stopping to talk to someone on the street or visiting a local shop. Time becomes connection as opposed to a task list. With this new framework I learned in Belize, I wonder how I can expand my understanding of time to include the circular as well. Let me know if you have any ideas!
We just got back from a spectacular trip to southern Belize. I’ll write more later, but here’s a little glimpse!
Every February 1st, a song by one of my favorite folk singers comes into my head – February by Dar Williams. (You might remember it from my post last year.) I fell in love with it the first time I heard it. It’s a song filled with identity, forgiveness and beauty. Here’s my favorite part:
And February was so long that it lasted into March
And found us walking a path alone together
You stopped and pointed and you said, “That’s a crocus”
And I said, “What’s a crocus?”, And you said, “It’s a flower”
I tried to remember, but I said, “What’s a flower?”
You said, “I still love you”
My word for 2012 is trust. Trust is huge. It comes with a past, present and future. It’s a lens to see the world. I’ve often heard that there are two types of people – those who trust right away and those who are more wary. If I had to align myself with one, it would be trusting right away, but with a healthy dose of curiosity and cynicism. However, what I’m talking about is bigger. It’s an understanding of the universe. It sounds trite, but life is such a mixture of positive and negative experiences. Trust, for me, is that all will be well. It means that I have the tools to figure things out and that I’ll approach life with a positive outlook. I’m going into this new year with the trust that life will support me with all of its complexity and richness.
I hope that my blogger friend Elizabeth doesn’t mind, but I’m going to borrow one of her great ideas. This past year, she posted pictures that represented trust to her. I love the idea of not having to search for trust. That it’s naturally all around and that I just need to keep a mindfulness about it. I noticed these flowers last night on my walk home. They are a mixture of fragility and strength in the middle of winter.
Song of the day: All Will Be Well by the Gabe Dixon Band
Just a note on last year’s word. The year did indeed insist and I met it with a full heart.
I’ve been asked by a university to give a talk. At first when the director asked me, I actually told her about other people that might be good to contact instead. She said, no, I want you to come speak! It took me a minute, but as she started describing what she wanted me to talk about, I realized that yes; I’m the right woman for the job. I do have experience and have things to say about journeys in life.
It’s so hard to see yourself sometimes. I spend so much time thinking about what I want to do or accomplish, that I forget about the life I’m living now. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. It’s only lately that I’ve begun to wonder if that’s even a goal that I should have. Maybe it’s perfectly fine to just be curious and explore without a specific destination.
We must be willing to get rid of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
I love markings of time – anniversaries, birthdays, holidays. I’ve come to realize that it’s because the marking of time provides a structured opportunity to be in the space of that occasion. This year, my birthday was no exception. In fact, I felt pretty contemplative. It was raining and after work I walked home on the Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge was empty except for a few tourists. It’s so rare to be outside in NYC and have that kind of space around you.
So, I’m officially in my mid-thirties. It’s hard to imagine that even the bare outline of my life that I may have sketched when I was younger does not look like my life at all – in a wonderfully crazy way. I’ve learned that I can’t even begin to wrap my arms around the things that I thought I could control. The thing that keeps running through my head is the constant letting go and embracing.
When I first met Bunk, I fell hard. However, I had a really difficult choice to make. I had always dreamed of marrying someone Jewish. I thought about it for a long while and realized that life is not just what I make and create for myself. Really living is a partnership with what comes – life presents opportunities and our choices define how we lead our lives and allow the possibility for exploration and joy. The decision to be with him really marked a change for me in how I participate with life and how I interact with the present.
On some level, this letting go and embracing happens in each moment. It was so nice to just take some time to remind myself of this process and how much more rich life is when I acknowledge it.