Can I Come Into the Out Now?

into the out

DreamWorks brought us Home, an animated film about an alien race called The Boov and their attempt to take over the planet. One unique Boov, named “Oh,” has no intention of cooperating with his species—he’s lovable, friendly, and kind: nothing can rob Oh of his innocence. I sat on my plane to Bali last year captivated by Oh’s adventure, smiling at his energetic sweetness and his silly speech patterns, glad that cartoons could still put a smile on my face when all else was failing (apparently, cartoons also now give me access to spiritual experiences, deep insights, and entire blog posts). Tip, a young girl taught to be cautious of the Boov, gets frightened by Oh when she runs into him in an imitation 7/11 and, with the swift application of a broom stick, locks him in a foggy fridge full of milk and sodas. My lovable purple friend smears the fog so he can see, tries to convince her of his kindness, stares at her naively and says, “can I come into the out now?” Tip responds, “NO. You CANNOT come into the out now.” Tip was essentially testing Oh— once he proved himself to be an ally, he was allowed into the out. And, immediately, because I have an uncanny ability to relate everything back to myself, I thought: I am Oh, and Tip is Lyme disease. And on my trip to Bali, 32,000 feet above ground, not traveling for adventure or fun but to have all of my blood cleaned with high hopes of returning healthier I thought, yeah i’ve been banging on that cold glass for a long time. Have I learned my lesson? Proved myself? Can I come into the out now?

Like most people, I had lived most of my life taking simple human-being-on- planet-Earth pleasures for granted—like going outside. Running myself around on almost-empty was my permanent state : my fuel light blinking, functioning on the remnants of caffeine and youth. My time was strategically overflowing with things I didn’t care THAT MUCH about, leaving me consistently unfulfilled. I couldn’t sit still and focus— I couldn’t be inside “home.” Home was where the bills were, home was where the trauma happened, home was where my email was and my to-do list was and sitting with myself was, and the mess, the laundry, the audition to prepare, the writing I wanted to attempt—every corner holding space for quiet “me time” and meaningful activity that made me itch like I was having an allergic flare. NO THANK YOU. I’d rather be in flight where I felt free…from self. Home was simply a place for sleep, a shower, and MAYBE a morning cup of coffee.

Living in NYC, I worked three different jobs while also attending school and/or acting class. Leaving my apartment in the morning, multiple bags— the pounds added up equaled my body weight —would hang from my shoulders: my purse, my acting bag, a catering tux, a school bag, a couple of books (one was never enough), my iPod, my journal, my moleskin planner, and a camera. I spent all day, everyday, either in conversation or blasting music through headphones to overpower the thoughts in my head until I turned 20 and abruptly decided that I should PROBABLY be the next Dalai Lama. I know, shocking turn of events. It’s no surprise, that when I decided to go away on a TEN day silent meditation retreat to begin my training to be the next leading authority figure on spirituality and silence, I left eight days early in full-blown-panic deciding that stillness just wasn’t for me. I vowed to get back on track with my lifelong aspirations. And I did… until I got distracted by a man and decided I should probably move to Hawaii.

Hawaii gave me a whole new challenge— how does one make the most serene place in the States excitable and frenzied? I maneuvered, quickly learning that Hawaii was more about staying busy in nature, not so much with jobs and concerts. Hawaii is where I learned to hike, to hike barefoot, and to be the asshole person who scoffed at anyone who wanted to pause and take in the views . Hawaii is where I trained myself to get up 2.5 miles of steep switchbacks barefoot and run back down in less than an hour. Needless to say, I had minimal hiking companions.I found companions elsewhere: I was in a book club, writing class, an artist’s way group, volunteering at the humane society, working a couple of jobs, acting, auditioning, volunteering wherever I could within the theaters, nurturing friendships, half showing up for my relationship, beaching, camping, learning all sorts of new ocean activities that intimidated the fuck out of me, hosting guests as often as possible, developing myself spiritually, and STILL there was time to spare. Too much time. I had to leave.

When i got to Los Angeles, well, fuck man, that was just a nasty combination of NYC and Hawaii: I had never kept SO BUSY in my life. In Los Angeles, I had all of the outside to explore AND all of the city to experience. There were new people to meet by the thousands, so many attractive men that I didn’t want to blink, countless hikes to explore, an acting career to develop, and I had bills to pay in the meantime. The apartment that acted as my home for a year, got no love. Maybe a frame or two hung from the otherwise empty walls, a futon acted as a bed in the living room so my roommate/best friend, Jessica, and I could stop sharing a bed. An unmade bed sat in the bedroom next to the dull Ikea dresser that I hastily put together one night (so hastily that the top was on backwards and I was “too busy” to ever fix it), an out-of-place bookcase (also put together incorrectly) sat in the middle of the living room, the bathroom was filthy, and I think there remained a couple of unpacked boxes in a closet. My turquoise blue work desk that I purchased in an attempt to actually stay home and do work, sat in a dark corner collecting dust, and a bulletin board hung above it. A bulletin board with all of my untouched ambitions attached to it. I didn’t care what my house looked like or felt like because I was never there—it was just a pit stop: pee, shower, shave, change, and bye. Bye Jessica, bye inside, bye ambitions on the bulletin board that I’d rather not face.

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How’s this for symbolic? It wasn’t taken as a joke.

The behaviors I’ve listed are entirely unhealthy, but they are also a testament to how much I love being alive—feeling the sunshine, climbing things, seeing friends, meeting new people, playing games, and even working! I was lucky enough, up to that point, to take it all for granted. It was terrifying for me to get so sick that my well-honed ability to distract and disassociate came to a screeching halt. It was jarring as fuck, I hated the inside so much. The inside of the house and the inside of me.

I spent a year and a half feeling like I was trapped inside of one of those russian stackable dolls, inside of LA, my street, my apartment, my bedroom, my bed, and finally my body. I spent that time staring out of my window memorizing colors and sounds— observing how blue the sky was that day, how green the trees were, how the green would change from forest- green to lime-green as the sun made it’s way through the sky. I listened to the obnoxious blender indicating my neighbors’ breakfast time, the birds indicating the late morning, the people’s doors opening and closing indicating their busy lives, and then I’d hear the musicians across the street indicating their evening band rehearsal. That was the sound I hated the most. They’re a great band —it made me miss feeling alive like nothing else did.

And then there were those days where I got to go outside and take a short walk or something. Those days when people around me would say things like, “doesn’t it feel good to be outside?” Let me tell you what I felt like on those days. I felt like everyone who was breezing passed me on their shirtless afternoon run, showing off their tanned and toned bodies, were MOCKING ME, unfairly and falsely deciding that those people had no ailments of their own. Well-steeped in my own self-pity and fucked up perception, it felt like I alone was living in a post-apocalyptic world only allowed to watch people enjoying the sweetness of planet Earth, but I couldn’t partake in any of the fun. And that thought process often hurt more than staying inside. When I did go to a party at night, I just felt jealous. Jealous and tired and like it wasn’t worth all of the effort just to “get out.” I watched most of my friends continue on, flawlessly complaining about the normal 20-something pain: broken hearts, confused hearts, financial problems, working too much, PMS, career goals or lack thereof, or the flu, and all I could think was “I’d give anything to work too much and have the flu.” I just wanted to be able to get coffee with a friend without feeling like it might kill me, I wanted to be well enough to celebrate my birthday, I wanted to be able to hold my head up without support, to dress myself, climb the stairs, smile, and cook for myself. And if I couldn’t have all of that then what I wanted was to SLEEP, but no matter how tired I was, my emotional and physical anguish was too great to let me sleep. Never mind running, hiking, yoga, and traveling, I just wanted to sleep.

“Life happens for us, not to us.” -said by many.

After much resistance, I did what I was so frightened to do: I changed. I let life happen for me. No matter how hard I tried when I was fully-functional, I couldn’t get into certain healthy habits that I deeply longed for, self-discipline was always just beyond my reach…almost teasing me. Through these awful couple of years, the person I’d always wanted to be started to magically show up. I got my priorities straight, and that bulletin board of untouched ambitions, they’ve been touched. More things have been added, more have been accomplished. My space is getting more and more organized and loved. I do the things that are most important to me instead of avoiding them—less distraction, more production. I had a friend look at me in my frazzled state a few years ago and say, “you really do constantly need adventure, don’t you? I just wonder when you’ll realize that the adventure is right in front of you— you’re on it.”

I feel more authentically alive and adventurous sitting at this cafe, writing this piece, than I ever did while cliff jumping, rollerblading, or driving to Arizona just because. I’m sitting up, feeling the muscles in my neck and how capable they are of holding my head up. I’m drinking coffee, easily able to bring the cup to my lips, feeling the breeze go through my shirt, and I’m crying because it feels SO GOOD. I feel present. I’m not suffering, anxious to get home because I truly CANNOT sit up for one more second. I’m not wondering if I’ll be able to walk to the car, I don’t have a vibrating sensation of anxiety and depression bolting through my body. I don’t want to SCREAM. I’m not in a post-apocalyptic world watching others enjoy the sweetness of Earth. I’m enjoying the sweetness, and since I’ve tasted the other side (which is basically a stick of liver comparatively), I guarantee this is all the more delicious for me. This is definitely adventure enough.

I went to the beach a few days ago to ride a bike. I biked three miles and it was hard. Three years ago, I would rollerblade about ten miles by the beach and then I’d do the rings, using a tremendous amount of upper-body strength, pulling from my bicep, crunching at my core, and swinging free while the skin on my hands rubbed off from the metal. Of course I was performing such intense physical activity while my deeper desires sat at home on my desk, lonely. So, I didn’t only enjoy being outside a few days ago, I also felt so fulfilled knowing that I wasn’t there avoiding anything. I was there to enjoy a day outside. I walked to the rings, and I sat on a ledge to watch the athletes do their thing. I wasn’t jealous, observing the tanned, toned, and topless people walk around on the sand, I felt grateful for my perspective. Most of those people had no idea that in the surrounding area there were likely many trapped inside, looking at the colors of the trees from their window, listening to the birds sing, just wishing they could sit up, wishing they had a happy- enough- thought to crack a smile. I don’t need the rings, or trapeze, or my rollerblades. I get to be in the out now!

I wasn’t ready on my way to Bali last year. I was still too antsy to get back to my “old life.” I hadn’t yet refined the skill of sitting still, resting, self-care, and focusing on reality rather than fantasy. I needed more time to finalize my priorities, my habits, I needed more time to grow accustomed to my new self. I was still shedding. Now I’m beautifying my new skin. It felt, for a long time in this process, like I was sitting at an airport waiting to meet my new updated self, but her plane was like crazy fucking delayed. Some days, now, it feels like she’s arrived.

With fun and love,

Jackie

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Stand Together Yet Not Too Near Together: On Romance

182. %22The Caves. The day I finally made it%22_

“…But let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”

Khalil Gibran, The Prophet:  On Marriage

Ian, my partner and main care-taker who I started dating just a few months after getting sick, just left on a six-month long trip. GASP. I start round 4 of IVIG today and he’s not here. DOUBLE GASP. Shocking, I know. To ease the blow, I’d like to address the question I continue to meet: “Oh my god, Ian’s leaving for six months… WHILE YOUR SICK. ouch. You’re OK with that?” In short: “abso fucking lutely” (to quote Big from Sex and the City). I have the relationship that I’ve been dreaming up since my days as a school girl, if you can believe it. Yes, he’s “leaving me” to go on his trip while I’m sick. HA. That’s one way to put it. Here’s how I see it: Ian is living his life, he’s leaving for six months because he has an epic dream to fulfill and Lyme Disease doesn’t steal dreams – neither do I. You know what else I keep from infiltrating my life and controlling me/ my dreams/ my relationship? Fear. I choose to see this time apart as a blessed time that I get to have my own evolution, focusing solely on my recovery in mind, body, and spirit. I imagine that when he and I meet again in a few short months, we will be all the more equipped to love one another wholly and truly. I wasn’t always this way. I just reread that sentence and was like, “who wrote that? Not me.” I got to this particular relationship after a grueling trek, escaping the many booby traps set for me, and learning my lesson the super fucking hard way.

My undeniably defective childhood really worked in my favor — it was like receiving the “Everything you Should Never Do: Rules for Life” handbook. I’m forever grateful to own that book. I flip through the metaphorical pages for reference every single day. Like all of us, as a child, I was a victim of circumstance. I was in an abuse cycle with no freedom or insight to choose otherwise. I look back on my childhood only with a deep sense of relief that it’s OVER; that I can wake up in my own bed and choose who comes in my front door. When I tasted some personal freedom at the age of 13, I was quickly addicted to the power of choice. I do not want to be held down by anyone or anything. I run away when I feel controlled. I watched my Mother suffer, making faulty choices, under my Father’s tyranny. We all suffered, and I vowed to never be a pawn in a dictatorship dynamic again. I would never marry someone I didn’t love (like my mom did). I would never marry someone like my dad. I would never raise a child in a home like that.

The only sure-fire way I knew to get around my nurtured instinct (which was to date alcoholic assholes) was to date “safe” people. I moved all the way to Hawaii with my low-risk-assessment investment. I moved to Maui (arguably one of the most romantic places on Earth) to participate in a passionless romance. We bickered like an old couple in a scenery that demanded loving with abandon. He was wonderful, sweet, soft, safe, and everything my Father wasn’t so I spent nearly four years convincing myself to stay, and I grew to love him very much in that time — like he was my big brother. He was my excuse, in fact, for why I was unaffected by my childhood …see, I’m dating a totally normal, nice man, I don’t need therapy. I could have settled and stayed, but it would have been out of fear. I knew I wasn’t happy, and I was the great protester against the restrictions that fear conceived. I wanted my freedom, and I took it. I left for Los Angeles, ready to grab the big-life I craved by the balls and have my fucking way with it. I left vowing to NEVER end up in a passionless romance again — safe or not — it wasn’t worth it. The next person I was with, I decided, I would crave and love and feel an intense physical desire for.

I got what I wanted. I met a charismatic man who met the criteria: I craved him, all right. I was addicted to him, obsessed with him, unable to exist without his validation. The ups and downs were more extreme than my previous experience with hard drugs. At last, my childhood trauma caught up with me, and I had met my Father in age-appropriate, rock-star form. Our turbulent relationship held the potential to completely destroy my life. I almost did everything I vowed never to do: marry someone I didn’t truly love, marry my Father, BE my Mother, and raise a child in an almost identical setting to my own loathed childhood. I suffered so badly in the cycle of abuse and insanity that I still wake up almost everyday grateful that it’s over. It’s over because I fled. I got the fuck up out of there, this time deciding that if my only options were “passionless,” “abusive,” or a horrifying combo of the two, then I would happily live out the rest of my life SINGLE.

Totally defeated, I sought help. What was wrong with me? I had a lot of work to do, and for some reason– that I can only describe as grace –I was prepared to change. I wouldn’t even go on a date, let alone flirt with a person of the opposite sex for about 4 months. I had spent at least ten years using sex and coquetry as a way to legitimize my existence and suddenly, swiftly, I was different. I began dating. This time, I didn’t throw myself into a mosh pit of men. I sat and observed, confident and patient, waiting to be asked to dance and then, if satisfied, perhaps we’d dance again. No rush. I had a sense, a deep intuition, of what I wanted. “I want a man who I want to do everything with; and a man I don’t need to do anything with,” I stated over and over again.

ENTER: IAN

Fun fact: Ian is actually only in my life BECAUSE of Lyme Disease. We share a mutual bestie who suggested we meet (platonically) since we had similar struggles with chronic pain/illness. If Lyme brought me him then it’s all been worth it.

I was undeniably attracted to him and intrigued by him but what really won me over was his uncanny ability to leave me the fuck alone. Here was a man who did not pester me, that wasn’t needy, jealous, or controlling. A man who knew how to ask me out, to take me out, to compliment me, respect me, show me kindness and love, and then disappear for a few days because HE HAD A LIFE, and I wasn’t prematurely at the center of it. We dated for three months before we committed to one another. I knew I was falling in love with him one sunny day in June, just a few weeks before we had “the commitment talk.” I knew I was ready to venture into a relationship with him, but I didn’t know how it would go. With help from my friends, I lived in the day and not in the future. I was present for each new development staying “properly invested” as my dear friend Laura would say.

How it has gone? Better than I could have EVER imagined. The love between us is fierce and grounded; stupidly romantic and entirely “realistic.” A friend once told me that “maturity is delayed gratification.” I have spent the last couple of years with Ian endlessly gratified because of the solid foundation we slowly built. Don’t get me wrong: He’s a super annoying MAN: he has a poor memory, he’s messy, and he has this ridiculous tendency to rob homes of all of their coffee mugs. My own cabinets have been depleted of mugs to which he responds, “drink coffee out of a bowl!” No. And, oh my god, all of those things bring a goofy hormonal smile to my face. He’s just my favorite human. So how have we had such a successful relationship in the midst of illness? Why hasn’t he left me after all of the crying I’ve done, and all of the fun I lack? How is it that just when I believed I was at my least lovable and least sexy, I found the true love of my life, and a man who makes me feel sexier than ever? And– WHY IN THE FUCK AM I OK WITH HIM LEAVING FOR SIX MONTHS?

Ian is no stranger to chronic pain and though he is one of the most active people I know, he, too, has been through various struggles of the body which has been a breeding ground for compassion. He also just so happens to be naturally good at putting himself first while simultaneously being a present, and caring partner. I remember the first time I cried in front of him. I broke down, saying things you pretty much never want to say, “Do you think I’m pretty..?” etc.. He held me for a while, comforting me, “You’re so beautiful and great and special and smart..” and he kissed me everywhere, and then he LEFT. Hahahahahaahah. He left me in tears. Thank God. Ian has taken such great care of me while never losing sight of his own personal goals and ambitions, and I have taken great care of myself while being a supportive girlfriend, and never losing sight of my own personal goals and ambitions. It’s hard for resentment to grow in a garden like that. I have a support network that extends way beyond Ian, and, more often than not, he is NOT my first phone call when I am in crisis. I, personally, have to be aware of my tendency to look for my adult partner to fill the role of “parent.” My first step is always to meet my own needs. Talk about freedom: a life where I meet my own needs/ parent myself.

So when this long-term trip came up, a trip that he has been attempting/planning for over 3 years ( before I came into the picture), I got on board to support him (sometimes ungracefully). I want to be a catalyst of my partner’s growth, not a hindrance. I remember once when I was itching to get Ian to TELL ME WHAT TO DO about a career path. I said, “You’re supposed to tell me to keep acting. You’re supposed to tell me that that’s what I’m best at and I shouldn’t stop. ” Blatant Subtext: I need validation. He looked at me, obviously unwilling to give in to my childish demand and said, “I will support whatever makes you happy. That’s what I’m supposed to do. I trust you.” A world where I get to do what’s best for me and not try to fit in the mold “he’s” prematurely created for me to make him happy? Genius. And I long to do the same for him. I trust him, and I believe he needs to do this trip. This doesn’t mean that I’m not afraid. I have fears by the dozens: What if he gets hurt, what if he meets someone else, what if he falls out of love, what if I fall out of love or meet someone else, what if he doesn’t want to come back, etc.. It’s just fear, “story-time” if you will. Control is an illusion anyway so I sit powerless, in the certainty of uncertainty — enjoying the journey, watching it unfold — taking care of myself and wishing him the best trip.

I recently had a life-changing energy healing session, and this particular Reiki master said, “if I had a prescription pad and needed to prescribe a treatment for Lyme Disease, I would simply write ‘love yourself’.” Love starts with self. “Give your hearts but not into each other’s keeping,” as Khalil Gibran writes.

Fun and Love,

Jackie

PS: If you’re having struggles with your relationship, I suggest you reach out  Here

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Read This

L1130949Since the beginning of time, unclothed people of all races and all places were preaching what the Beatles put into pop music centuries later: “All you need is love, love, love is all you need.” Today the message is everywhere. It’s in the cliché, framed decors from Target, hanging in the hallway of many suburban homes, reading something like, “Love is patient, love is kind, love never hurts..” It’s spray painted it on buildings or tattooed  on flesh. We hear Ru Paul every week on Ru Paul’s Drag Race say, “If you can’t love yourself, how IN THE HELL you ever gonna love somebody else? NOW, she knows something about love (if you’re not watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race, get on it people, it’s the ONLY reality show offering a colorful spiritual experience). There are countless books on the subject of love, yoga teachers are preaching it (probably in Sanskrit so you don’t understand, but you’re all “Namaste” anyway), the person guiding your meditation is like, “send love out reverberating through the room, the city, the world” And you’re probably like, “MMMMM love… I’m starving, my legs are numb, I need to do the dishes, I want a manicure, oh I should check my bank balance. Bring it back. mmmmm love…I have to pee” I have a friend who completely beat Lyme Disease say, “people always ask me what got me well, and, the truth is, I think love got me well. Love heals.” Love heals.  Good news: I, too, am a lover of love. I, too, believe that love heals. In fact, I KNOW it does, and it’s not all that complicated.

It was just a month ago. I went north to Ojai, CA, for the day to meet my boyfriend, Ian, on one of his cycling routes. Ojai is a picturesque, lazy little town. It’s encased by beautiful mountains and populated by the down-to-earth wealthy – each shop on the main strip closes by 5 pm which is when all of the locals eat their home cooked vegan meals, read, and go to sleep. The non locals are there to camp, to visit the hot springs, to hike, to “adventure.” I have a really hard time in “adventuring climates” these days. I was a pro, low maintenance adventurer – all I needed was my hiking boots and I’d figure the rest out as I went. One time, I  hiked in a pair of children sized CK boxer briefs because that was all that I could find on a whim, but I had my trusty hiking boots. They were my companions, my symbol of freedom –  freedom to go and be wherever, whenever. It looks DIFFERENT now. Those boots are gone and my new ones are 6 months old and still look new. The mountains mock me, I swear. They tease me like childhood playmates, “Hahahah ,You’re not well enough to enjoy this giant playground. You just stay in your TIME-OUT and watch all of the others have all the fun.” I mourn the girl I once was.

I know enough now to know that ANY “getaway” has the potential to cause this deep sadness which, in effect, causes more symptoms. I feel my cells get tired from the depression and I watch my body, piece by piece, fall into the darkness of the STORY, “I’m never going to get better. I’m never going to be spunky and fun and ABLE again. I want to climb those mountains and I can’t. This is some sort of cruel joke. I want to be free. Please let me be free.” And, every time I create this particular story, that’s when I start to cry. Gets me every time. I mean, who wouldn’t sob with a story like that rolling around in their brain? My mission, on this trip to Ojai, was to avoid the story and just enjoy the sunshine.

It was a FAIL. I met up with Ian already fatigued. I felt ugly and isolated from all of the smiling tourists. I felt isolated from the sunshine. Ian is annoyingly unswayed by my little tantrums and suggested we get food. With my head down I was like, “whatever. sure. I mean, fine. I guess I should eat. I hate everyone.” That’s what came out of my mouth, and in my head, I was like, “Please stop this train. You don’t need to go into this feeling,” and I’m praying and I’m talking to my inner child (YUP- IT WORKS) , and I was considering just leaving because maybe I just couldn’t handle it today. Nothing was working- I went down the rabbit hole quickly and ungracefully. By the time we sat down to eat, I had reached that tear- jerker part of the story that I mentioned earlier, and I was crying. Mostly anxiously sniffling and feeling the sweat on my palms build up while I stared out of the cafe window, watching the world I didn’t feel apart of. Ian got quiet which made me MUCH MORE ANXIOUS because now I’m like, “great AND he’s going to break up with me because I can’t pull myself together and I’m no fun to be with and I can’t climb the mountains with him and I’m the worst.” And, THAT , is precisely when I start weeping. That is ALWAYS the final sentence in my tragic story. There’s no further to fall. Now, as far as my head tells me, I’m going to be sick forever AND alone.

I had maybe managed to chew and swallow three fork loads of a NOT gourmet salad in-between tears. I kept my head down, shamefully, and asked for a to-go box the next time the waitress came over. My head was wild with thoughts, “do I go home? do I fight through? HOW AM I EVER GOING TO BEAT THIS ONE? I’M IN TOO DEEP.”

The to go box was gently placed in front of me by a smiling waitress, “here you go!” I opened it to find a folded, uncolored coloring page- the kind that the diner offers to children with the hope of keeping them occupied. Written in big letters with crayon, it said, ‘READ THIS.” I really love surprises, so I unfolded it intently, and it read, “DON’T CRY. YOU ARE LOVED.” I immediately broke into hunched over, uncontrollable sobs. The world had reached out, put its arms around me, and gave me a great, big, warm bear hug. I felt safe enough to cry in its shoulder. The sunshine I had felt isolated from radiated around me. I smiled, first while crying, and then calmly. I glanced towards the waitress with my hand on my heart, “thank you,” I mouthed.Image-1-2

The mountains looked beautiful. I took photos, including that self-portrait of me up there, with my wings, in the woods. I interacted with Ian gracefully and lovingly – we even found time and energy to play hot lava. Near the end of the day, I said, “that note saved the day. Have you noticed how much lighter I’ve been since I got that note? That it was ALL i needed?” It WAS magic. He said, “Yeah, I should have thought of doing that myself.” Yeah, no kidding, Ian, get it together. Just kidding- that dude is a rock star of the love.

I make it a practice to never under-estimate the seemingly tiny things we do that can have an impact like that. That one little note made me smile, which made Ian smile and will likely make YOU smile. Maybe your heart will feel lighter now, too. Maybe you will have a better day. That waitress, I don’t even know her name, is still saving the day with her love. It works, and sometimes it’s that simple, “All you need is love, love, love is all you need.”

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