We did it

I’ve shared little bits about what we’ve been working on and how we’ve managed to marry work and play. Today as Sean is away, the big girls are at school readying things for a holiday party and Finley is at Nana’s, no doubt playing family with elves, bears and kittens.

Our tree twinkles at home and the weather is flirting with snow. I am under the weather, but grateful. I have friends who are looking out for me, family who has gathered ’round and my spirit is lifting. I am ready to let the sorrows of this year rest so that the triumphs and laughter can rise and soften the files of 2011.

Also, I can finally say that the site is live for our shop here in downtown Glens Falls. I am responsible for the words (and typos if you find them, sigh) the designs were all a collaborative effort and a whole lot of fun.

The truth about the truth

Holidays bring out the ache in even the oldest wounds, don’t they? I actually love twitter and facebook for that, they remind us through bite sized exclaims and updates that we all hurt. I’ve seen people talking about Christmas cries, aided by The Family Stone and Love Actually, and others talking about confronting estrangement, again. Before you know it your own worries are benched as you reach out to someone to day, “Eventually it will be more ok than it is today.”

I think we tend to get really angry at ourselves for not feeling all-consuming gratitude and goodwill during the holidays.

How shallow?

How weak?

Just get over it!

No, how normal! The truth is with a time so chock full of expectation and memory, a little internal turmoil is inevitable. As yet another cheerfully addressed envelope arrives in your mailbox and reinforces your failure at not having sent any and as you drive past another street with house after house decorated fancifully for the holiday and as the wrapping paper rips and the tape picks up pet hair and crumbs, stifle your rant. Or let it out. Either way, trust that you aren’t alone.

Truth is we’re all faking it, but just when you least expect it, that forced smile is going to get hijacked by real laughter. I promise.

Pushing Serenity

Growing up I loved the idea of a journal and often tried to work my feelings out on paper, but it never came naturally. Even as I was peppered with gentle, chiding from my maternal grandmother, “Write it down, Amanda. Carry a pen and a little notebook and just jot things down. Nothing fancy, just words in a book that is always with you.” Living up to her advice, she always kept them near. Several of them sit in a little cabinet in our house, it’s hard to tell now if it’s her handwriting or the smell that stays blessedly trapped within the pages that helps me remember.

I started blogging in 2004 and I do revel in this space and what it has given me. I like thinking about what my grandmother would have thought of these words I’ve been putting down. Looking back I know that it’s offered catharsis but, it doesn’t stop me from grinding my teeth at night. Or during the day. A sweet friend asked on twitter the other night, “how do I learn to let go of things I can not control? tell me, please.” I don’t think a single one of us has hold on that answer all the time. Maybe time and patience, and then more time, more patience and, perhaps hypnosis can get you there. The thing that works for me, that brings true oblivion, is muscle fatigue. Motion.

I used to resent hearing that I should go for a run or hit the gym, but it’s true. Saturday I went to the gym around noon. I set myself up on the incline bench and looked up at the bar. I loosened my shoulders and stared at the ceiling. My mind can play tricks on me, “There are too many meat heads,” or “my shirt is riding up, I can’t do this.” I wiggle on the bench as if to shake off the doubt and distraction. These arms have carried plaster, cradled babies and protected memories. They can do so much. I can. The din of the gym fades away and it is just me. The pattern on the bar presses against my palms, my chest rises and I lift the bar into the air.

Up. Down. Breathe.

Up. Down. Breathe.

The burn is slow and steady, my arms begin to tremble and still I lift. All the worry and untold hurts are forced from my mind as I work to keep the bar from slamming into my face. My increasing fatigue tickles at something. I stare through the bar and up to the ceiling, pressing to keep the bar even through each repetition.

Nine.

Ten.

Eleven is a struggle. As my elbows bend and I bring the bar down to my chest, I take in a deep breath of air and push toward twelve. Every centimeter is a battle that I win and as I fully extend my arms the ceiling lights up and I smile. Ear-to-ear, meat heads be damned. I replace the bar and rack my weights. Walking across the room I am proud of myself. Each step is more purposeful and full of gratitude. I am at peace as I move toward the door.

These times at the gym are almost always revelatory, why I fall out of the routine defies logic. Do you stick to what keeps you sane? Happy? Where is your serenity?

Sharing

I spend a lot of time online for work—

Twitter

Google+

Pinterest

Facebook

LinkedIn

Then there are the sites I frequent for inspiration, research and, let’s be honest, oblivion. I thought as we hurdle through the holidays it might be fun to just have a little fun. Here are a few things that have made me smile.

Cycle of customized apology Have your speakers on, but not too loud if you’re at work, unless of course you like blushing.

Gorgeous, sweaty revelation Searching for a way to push through an emotional plateau? You aren’t alone.

A different Disney Do you realize how precious your perspective is?

Beauty for eyes, ears and soul Mesmerizing.

Sorry, this one is a departure, but her words have stayed with me and the beauty of the message is perfect for the season.

A way home.

Have you found anything amazing lately? Silly, inspiring, absurd? Won’t you share it?

Gift for this Friday: Leave everything bad that happened outside your door and give yourself the weekend to heal. You deserve it.