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Archive for the ‘Life Questions’ Category

33!There was a cold front here in Austin this weekend.  The high was 91 on Saturday.  If you are not from Texas you are most likely rolling your eyes at this, but if you are you know that in August in Texas you are a prisoner to the heat. Maybe it was the heat, maybe it was hormones, but I was feeling down in August.  Yesterday was my 33rd birthday, and last week, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to celebrate it.  I was fatigued from dealing with the boys by myself everyday, being hard on myself about my post-baby body, and tired of existing in yoga pants and t-shirts that usually had day-old spit-up stains on them because I had time to do everyone’s laundry but my own.  (Yes, feel free to insert the sound of a violin playing here…).

One evening, after collapsing into bed, I picked up my copy of Simple Abundance by Sara Ban Breathnach and flipped to the corresponding day.  In that day’s essay, she was discussing the idea that there is an inner artist in every woman and the art we create is living an authentic life day to day.  She wrote, “women are artists of the everyday.  The world does not acknowledge or applaud everyday art, as we must.  We are the keepers of a sacred truth.  We must cherish this wisdom and pass it on to those we love.”  Amazing.  And just what I needed after a day of exhausting minutia.

I am trying to appreciate the art in everything I do. From singing songs to my boys, to cooking a meal, and yes, even folding laundry.  I am also trying to appreciate the everyday art and beauty in the world around me.  Today, I had a thrill of excitement because on my trip to the grocery store, I discovered that the pumpkins were on display!  I love all things Fall, and I think it is surely no accident that my birthday falls on the cusp of autumn.

Pumpkins!

This weekend, I also came to appreciate how blessed I am to have wonderful friends in my life.  They celebrate with me, drag me out of my shell and into the world when I need it, and listen to me when life is sometimes too much to bear alone.  They are amazing women and everyday artists who are striving to live authentic lives each in their own very different way.  I am looking forward to an autumn (and a 34th year!) full of friendship and family, with beauty and possibility around every corner.

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                         “The Road Not Taken”

                        – Robert Frost

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,  
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;         
 
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,         
 
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.         
 
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.         

                   I came across this poem on a blog I regularly read and was again completely impressed by the universe’s power to send a message at exactly the right point in time.  Not that this poem is a new message for me — I have read and re-read this poem countless times since being introduced to it in grade school — but very often I need to be beat over the head with an idea repeatedly before an “oooohhhhh” moment kicks in. 

                   I think this poem is regularly abused.  I like to picture Robert Frost groaning with his head in his hands when people use his poem and message to justify making some irresponsible decision or to avoid doing something unpleasant or burdensome.  Not that I am completely innocent of mangling this poem’s message at convenient points in my life (I mean really, isn’t it a less traveled road to study for the Bar exam by the pool with the assistance of a margarita?)  But right now, I am struggling with an important decision, one that will affect not only my life, but the lives of those around me and two lives that are still waiting to begin.  Perhaps I am dramatizing the momentousness of this decision, but this is what it feels like sitting on my shoulders at this moment. 

                  So while I hesitate to sound cliché by invoking Frost’s wisdom, I really do find myself struggling with the idea of the “road less traveled.”  After all, if you read the poem closely, it’s not like there was a signpost that indicated the “less traveled” road.  In fact, he says that the road was “just as fair” as the other and that they were worn “really about the same.”  So for all my waxing poetic about taking that less travelled road so that my life will be fantastic, how the hell do you know which is the road less travelled?

                   But wait — Frost doesn’t say that taking the less travelled road will make your life fantastic in every way.  All he says is that taking that less travelled road has made all the difference in the life that he chose to lead.  Either path I choose at this cross-roads has good and bad that comes with it;  both are “just as fair” in many ways.  What I think Frost was saying is that you have to choose  a path with your heart, and not by contemplating how others will perceive you or how you will nicely fit into the social structure.  You also cannot choose this path by attempting to predict what lies around the bend because this will always fail.  I am a huge believer in intuition.  If you are very honest with yourself and genuinely listen to what your innermost voice is whispering to you,  you will choose the road less travelled because it is your path and yours alone.

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