hard work

(accidentally published the unfinished take on this one. i added other thoughts)

last year I was watching my niece and nephew playing. he, Finn, was banging one toy with another one. when she, Siobhan, came over and tried to bang with him, he stopped and turned to her.

‘no Siobhan, this is my hard work. you need to go find your own hard work.’

this exchange has stuck with me so much, these months on the road. it’s easy for me to attend to and support the hard work of others, but every fiber of my being has been shouting that nephew wisdom to me – ‘you have your own hard work!’

and I am in it.

I’ve been on the road since January. at first I was in ‘hurry its a vacation’ mode, doing a lot, moving quickly, maintaining contact with a lot of people and feeling driven.

then I moved into, ‘transformative trip’ mode…I need to fix my self and heal everything and come home perfect and with all the answers.

recently I have shifted into, ‘gratitude’ mode.

gratitude for my friends, for those who envisioned and supported this trip, for my amazing family, for the places I work that gave me this time, for the wisdom flowing through me that has come from just listening to myself and each person and place I encounter, for the ocean and mountains and volcanoes and night skies and yoga and the writing and the new friends, and the remaining month and a half of time I have to reflect, and most of all: for the space to practice gratitude and perspective shift for the life I already have and the things I already know.

my hard work is believing I deserve all the gifts and love and blessings bestowed upon me; balancing my gifts and my insignificance in the same hands. it’s walking the labyrinths on my arm and in my head and heart, knowing each familiar new twist is the only way home.

its accepting that I will not know the future and I will misinterpret the past – my hard work is being present.

and then finding the wonder available in that moment, the whole of life, universe and existence in each little moment. feeling whole myself, and of the world. I am not separate from the things that awe me or break my heart – I am awe striking and heart breaking and learning. again, and again, and again.

I remember the absolute purpose and joy on Finn’s face, shiva boy destroying one toy with another, giving the task everything he had. he gave his all to his hard work, and when he was done, he let it go and moved onto the next piece of hard work – playing baseball in a basement in a Minnesota winter.

this is what I am learning to do: attend to this hard work: loving my body and my self. bringing my shiva self to work on the societal norms and sexual trauma that have made that so hard for me. giving my all to that until my shakti self can absorb it all into the whole, reform and rebirth that experience and energy into wisdom and creation. and then letting go, attending to the next hard work: being vulnerable.

each kind of hard work has a stance, a way. Finns way is to smash things with his love, curiosity and vision. Siobhan’s way is to observe, demand, risk and evolve.

my way, right now, is radical gratitude, which shows up in my self-love work, my vulnerability work, my every communication with all the people I love.

my current mantra was given to me from a 70-year-old yogi last week: shanti, shanti, shanti.