reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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after the first half of the concert.

bcatForgetTheFirstHalfwe went to a concert a week ago or so. it was a group of us and we were all excited about going. the band we were going to see is creative, talented, sincere and full of energy. what’s not to like about that?!

we caravanned in three cars. well, we dan-a-vanned, actually, with dan leading the way. he is a GPS guru and, if you can keep up with him on the highway, a great person to follow going somewhere.

we got there, full of anticipation and excitement. sat in seats one row from the very top, able to look out at the whole audience. many of us have gone to concerts together before; we try to do fun stuff especially as the winter sets in.  we laugh a lot and that is a very good thing.

the concert started with an infomercial….on video and a live push as well. i thought perhaps that was it….one infomercial is plenty when you have purchased tickets to an event that is not a fundraiser. but that wasn’t the case. with the exception of two warm-up artists who played maybe 3 songs each, the whole first half of the concert was full of infomercial preaching and over-done talk-talk.

by the time we got to intermission, it was easy to be annoyed. the first half of the concert was over. we hadn’t seen the band we had come to see yet and now we had sat through what seemed to be agenda….i have yet to figure out why this was so. what symbiotic relationship is there between these infomercials and the band we were there to see? do these organizations host the whole concert tour? do they underwrite the concerts in venues of their choosing?  do they play the band’s music? no matter how dedicated the band is to these efforts, was it appropriate to take up most of the first half of this concert with this rhetoric? i was sitting in my concert-seat trying to figure out this stuff. is that where the band would want me to start?

so now, here we are, at the second half. and i have to say, i am not “feelin’ the love.” it took me a good portion of the second half to get back to open-hearted listening of this concert, to actually hear the music and embrace it.

because: the band concert i had come to see was colored by the first half of the concert.

and then – there’s life.

wow. i can’t think of a better metaphor than this concert.

WE are colored by the first half, the first part, the beginning and middle of life as we step into the Next of life. “of course we are,” you say aloud to me. cognitively we totally get it. we shouldn’t bring into Next what colored us from Before. we have to draw the line in the sand. lessons – yes. anger, frustrations, disappointments, prejudices – no. each Next is a fresh start.  for that matter, yes, each new day is a fresh start.

d and i have been doing a meditation that was offered free with oprah and deepak. it has been about awareness and making every moment matter. now, i am all about moments (that whole thready thing and all.)  but awareness is a much bigger responsibility than we realize.  it’s so much easier to react than to stop for a few seconds (or however long it takes) and be aware. sometimes i find i should Stop longer than i stop.  awareness can be slowww in arriving, particularly if i stubbornly hold onto all the negative stuff.  we sometimes cling to that stuff as if it were a lifevest.

now…i am thinking:  in those moments, when i can feel myself reacting (strongly or negatively or angrily or with preformed disposition) to something, i realize (metaphorically) that i am at the (in-real-life) concert and i am looking at the second half through first-half-eyes. it is becoming an amazing tool for me to stop and think – what about the first half of the concert is getting under my skin for this Next?  am i aware that the second half can be even just moments after the first half?  it’s not always years or decades that separates Before from Next.  it can be minutes.   it’s shocking how blind we can be to what we carry forward, one minute to the Next.

the Next is full of good and hope and moments and not-what’s-lost-but-what-is-still-there-ness (thank you, ptom). stepping over the limen, the threshold, is necessary.  leaving behind the first half of the concert, the part that colors us and clouds our clear-eyed-hopeful-stepping-into the second half, is absolute.

holding on, letting go

itunes: kerri sherwood


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the faces of my life.

IMG_1991“…in the nighttime of your fear…” the lyrics of this hymn jump out at me. how many times have i been awake in the nighttime…wrapping my arms around fear of some sort. how many times have i been awake in the daytime with ‘the nighttime of my fear’? being awake with fear makes every muscle aware, every hair stand on end, every emotion close to the surface. and the fear doesn’t have to be physical…sometimes it is fear of the unknown, fear of change (no! really?), fear of differences that set you apart. any way you slice it, fear becomes visceral and, as carol used to always say, you can taste the adrenaline. in these moments, there are voices i pine for, people i want to be near, reassurances for which i yearn. how many times have i told david i wish i could just talk to my sweet momma. how many times have i asked my dad aloud – hoping for a sticky note to float down from heaven – for his words of wisdom. i’ve asked my brother wayne for car and fixing stuff advice; i’ve asked my friend richie for a tad bit of his sense of humor in a tense moment. the list of people on the other side extends out, in ever-larger concentric circles, as i realize how much i miss their words of wisdom. the faces of my life. and then, often in an awakening moment of grief, i realize that there is indeed wisdom and reassurance all around me.

the ukulele band rehearsals are at our house in the summer. most often outside on sometimes-warm-sometimes-cool summer nights on the patio, last night was inside with impending storms in the area. i had broken my little baby toe earlier in the day and was limping around a bit (and maybe whining also.) betsi and jay offered advice, carol and helen grimaced with me, remembering breakages of their own, david jokingly spoke of designing steel-toed flip-flops. a posse of people making my little toe feel better. there were conversations about dietary/lifestyle changes, inexpensive backyard solutions, growing herbs, new albums out, nitrate-free bacon, up north… really, anything you might want some solid talk-talk about was possible. the faces of my life. “…we are pilgrims on a journey, we are travelers on the road.   we are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load…”

in conversation with susan or linda or jen or heidi, we talk about loss of a parent or we talk about children growing up and away or we talk about where we are in life…they have been there when i’ve cried…they have shared tears with me. they have laughed with me till it hurt. powerful moments of empathy. with david, the sharing of raw emotion, the frustrations and the bliss of being “too close”, the tears and the laughter are full spectrum. the faces of my life. “…i will weep when you are weeping; when you laugh i’ll laugh with you…”

we were standing on the opposite side of a stream from where we needed to be. three times while we were in the mountains this was where i found myself.  (well, metaphorically, i suppose that would be countless times, but who’s talking in metaphors?) the first time, david crossed over, using stones and a wayward log that had fallen. even now, my feet tingle thinking about it. he quietly told me that i could do it and reached out his hand to me so that I could grasp it as soon as i was within reach. his eyes, unwaveringly gentle and reassuring, convinced me to work with the fear i felt and move forward. “…i will hold my hand out to you..” IMG_2744one of the other times becky, david and kirsten (the girl) had already crossed the stream. it wasn’t a huge chasm, but it was enough to make me think about going the “other way”. and yet, it was their faces on the other side that helped the nugget of fear i felt go away.   the faces of my life.

” …i will share your joy and sorrow till we’ve seen this journey through…” our time on this beautiful earth is forever and fleeting. both. this journey is filled with design of the universe and gorgeous wisdom and warm reassurance. the faces of our lives. on this side and on the other side. they will hold us in ‘the nighttime of our fear’. they will hold us in the moment.  we are never alone.

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