The sun also rises…

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It happens every morning, in my experience, and life continues upon the planet. It all comes to us unbidden, with no effort on our part, each wake/sleep cycle delivering its allotment of STUFF TO BE DEALT WITH. And we do, amazingly sometimes, we do. Imperfectly we stumble in the dark of our own ignorance, giving it what we’ve got, and we deal. Humans astound me in every direction, but most of all in our capacity for resilience and new energy in the face of NO. “No” is no kind of answer, so we press on. This staying-alive stuff isn’t for sissies.

But here we are on a beautiful winter morning, with fog hanging in the trees and people showing up to make the day happen. The girls who own the salon in the next block have pulled up in their SUVs and claimed their spots below my window. All three are young moms who do whatever it takes to juggle careers, commutes, kiddos, schools, daycares, home, family, laundry, food for everybody, every day, and my 4th-floor remove isn’t the only space between us. They’re paying a price I never had to pay, that of running my own business while raising a family, and although I could tell you hair-raising tales of woe from past sacrifices, I sit here knowing I’ve been a spoiled girl all my life and at this point I’m merely trying to absorb the lessons coming my way before I run out of time. This I know:

“A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy;

a wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim.”

-Maya Angelou

The first month of the new year has already shown us that it’s going to be more of the same, so what do we do, boys and girls? Right. We deal. We deal with what comes to us until we get it right. Wish I had an easier answer, but I can’t start lying to you NOW.

Dancing my heart out here, boss, keep the music playing.

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I’ve seen other versions of the following, but this was a good laugh yesterday:

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Rain, rain, do please stay…

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Such a lovely HumpDay, watching the rain come down, hearing it hit my windows. It never puts me in a wrong mood, in fact it’s totally healing to this farm child’s heart. Water… what a concept. Falling from the sky, flowing beneath the surface of the earth, carving great canyons upon the face of the planet, maintaining a link back to the womb. Life-giving. Indispensable. It will always feel like a friend.

Rain as a metaphor for life.

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Enlightenment and acceptance go hand in hand…

And then we can put actual truth in place.

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Rain reminds me of other soft things, other comforts, among them the inimitable Velveteen Rabbit. Less than three weeks into a fresh year, we’re all too aware how same-same human existence really is, and we feel the toll it extracts. All the stoicism we can muster, our entire store of patience and forbearance, our determination to smile and “keep sweet,” none of that keeps stark reality from our door. So we have to be willing to let life wear the rough edges off of us, keep receiving the love bestowed upon us, and agree to be REAL, come what may. And it will.

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Eat the bear, lest he eat YOU…

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A thing about life is that it stays unfailingly real, provided we aren’t in the business of lying to ourselves. It comes to us hour by hour, laden with the dull and the unexpected, and every day’s “BEST” on our part will look different from the day before. I see myself these days as far less Pollyanna and more Realistic Optimist. Life will do that to us… so each day has to be a stand against cynicism and discouragement.

I know I’m not alone in feeling a little beat up by recent and current events, so here are a few tips for dealing with the effects, the aftermath, and the immediate future.

In pain? Keep going. Fall down? Get up, keep going. Get sick? Get well, keep going.

When the world feels unfriendly and all indicators point to a negative outcome, our self-talk can turn ugly and destructive. A good thing to do in 2023 is NOT THAT.

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Word on the street is that, like all of life, it does get better.

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Don’t we get so tired of crying sometimes, though? Don’t we just finally think “ENOUGH!” ??

End of story.

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Girls, women, friends, it’s my responsibility to let you in on an important secret to the working out of any and all angst in life, no matter what you’re going through… when you’re desperately in need of an ear, a shoulder, positive therapy…

HAPPY 2023 to us all.

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Doing a Vitals Assessment…

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Here we are, boys and girls, middle of Week Two, HumpDay, also known as “just make it up, nobody will notice.” How’s your YEAR looking? Yesterday, mine hosted a milestone when I saw my spine surgeon for my one-month-overdue one-year checkup and received my walking papers, signed, sealed, delivered, they’re mine. “Go your way and be well, my child, if pain intrudes again, call us.” I’ll miss seeing him, this kind, young, very tall, very skinny man who almost-casually handed my life back to me. In giving him shit yesterday about his weight, I learned that it’s the same number on the scale as when he left high school. Big deal, I can still wear all the earrings I had back then.

Last year, for all the reasons, will live in infamy in my head until memory fades. 2022 began in a complete fog of pain and opioids, followed by months of hard work. Somewhere along the way I had a second MOHS surgery for basal cell carcinoma, precisely in the middle of my forehead, thank you Ruth Buzzi for the shining example. Fortunately I had a beautiful Middle Eastern surgeon who uses her skills to safeguard women and our spirits, and I’m no scarier-looking than before. In October I fell, destroying my glasses and nearly breaking my orbital socket. The right side of my face and neck were rainbow-hued for too long, and three front teeth are still numb from that little oops. On December 23rd I tested positive for COVID for a second time (first was before all the vaccines), so 2022 ended in much the same way it started… in a fog of pain but minus the opioids, which I really could have used.

So MERRY CHRISTMAS, everyone, hope it was swell. Having totally missed it two years in a row now, I know it all happens whether we’re here for it or not. It’s the days ahead of us that count now, and I’m happy and relieved to have a fresh year to work with. Clearly, time is of the essence as I have a ten-year window to reach this goal:

Goal #2. I’ve already impressed the hell outta 5-year-old me.

That little farm girl is proud of me for growing a backbone over these years of existence, with their never-ending onslaught of real stuff hitting the fan. She’s impressed that I finally found my voice and that I no longer silence it under pressure. She’s living vicariously in the freedom I give myself to be me, and she’s a far happier child than I remember being the first time through.

If you don’t give in, life will try to kick you to the curb, teach you a lesson “once and for all,” and wash its hands of you, so all you can do is hang in and work toward better days, because sometimes life doesn’t know beans. 2022 taught me crucial lessons that will be helpful to have on board going forward, one being that, sometimes, briefly being selfish is the answer. It’s an effective shield if wielded judiciously.

Guard the pieces that comprise the real YOU. Don’t give those away indiscriminately.

I’m taking at least two solid truths forward into 2023. First of all, this… I hope to never lose sight of it:

And its corollary:

I hope 2023 finds me doing the things that make the process of staying alive a better proposition for everyone around me. Happy New Year to you, I missed the last two celebrations but I’m here for it all now. Let’s hold hands and do this thing…

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The view from here, Week One…

Maria Alfie – Marbles III, 1983, oil on canvas

We survived it. If you’re reading this, you got through the intro to the 2023 dance, along with plenty of other brave souls. And if you’re like me, always going the extra mile, you may even have been recognized for your efforts.

The fresh new year is already bringing its daily load of challenges, and that will likely continue unabated, so remember…

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Life comes at us without letup most of the time, and we each deal in our own way…

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I found this yesterday and it’s so perfectly said that I sat here in silence for a full five minutes letting the truth of it permeate. It’s exquisite:

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I did an uncharacteristic thing yesterday and clicked on a Facebook link to a “psychic reading.” Turns out they know me there.

Worth sticking around to find out.

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So here we all are, putting one foot in front of the other because we weren’t offered another option, doing our best, hoping for the right outcome, human-ing like our lives depended on it. We know we don’t have it all figured out, we’re simply trying to get there in time to catch the last train.

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A message to 2023:

The past decade has extracted a toll while providing growth and insight.

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“In this universe we are given two gifts: the ability to love, and the ability to ask questions. Which are, at the same time, the fires that warm us and the fires that scorch us.” -Mary Oliver

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Each new odyssey around the sun comes with its own unique set of events and circumstances, none of which humans are privy to before it happens, so if we want to continue our existence we DEAL, end of story.

BEGINNING of story… here we go. You’ve been warned, bright new year.

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Hello? Anybody else here yet?

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Don’t let me startle you, I’m just over here in 2023 snooping under rocks, checking the temperature, looking at the trends two days in. What I’m picking up so far is that it’s still all about the little things, the crucial details, the fleeting, precious parts of life that we can’t afford to lose sight of or we lose our way.

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There are unlimited ways to have fun in life… and to BE fun! Amirite??

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This seems important to carry into the year ahead.

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As we skeptically eye the blank slate before us, it helps to remember that every new beginning feels this way, and very little of it hinges on us except in the most important ways… one to one, where we have the capacity to make a difference. We don’t know what the year will bring, but experience does tell us a few things: there will be wondrous amazing happenings; there will be heinous horrendous happenings; there will be everything that happens upon the earth with sometimes distressing regularity; and we will deal with it. All of it. Welcome to life.

A word from the truly wise to send us on our way:

“Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?”

― Rumi

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P.S…………..

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