Part of an altar card I made.

I had an astrological conversation this morning with a friend that got me thinking (again) about my own celestial pie. I’ve got quite the messy soup of contradictions in my “top three” astrologically.

There’s a part of me that is inescapably Aries. It’s my rising sign. That’s the part of me that you shake hands with – it’s how people view me. A gal I went to college with even told me that she’d thought I was “formidable” (yeowtch) ….until she got to know me better.

Formidable? Yeah, maybe. I can come on kinda strong. I know that. In recent years, I’ve even tried to temper that with some of the other attributes that I carry around on me. But most of the time, resisting that Nike-like “Just do it” impulse is like swimming against the current. And I’m not sure I should try to temper it as often as I do.

The older I’ve gotten, the more I realize that even though I’ve been perpetually torn in opposite directions by that astrological mish-mash, it’s also been my saving grace.

My Sun sign is Sagittarius – the zodiac’s idealistic, philosophical dreamer (watch out – this zodiacal model comes complete with a soap box, and they’re not afraid to use it!). It imbues me with an impulse to learn, learn, learn, learn…and learn some more (the scholar of the zodiac, I alternate between periods of monkish rectitude and study, and the firey impulsiveness of animal side of the Centaur). It also gifted me with a superhero complex – as in, hey world, I am totally here to save you (um…whether or not you particularly want to be saved).

That kinda meshes with the Aries Rising – it helps me take that tactless Sagittarian energy and impulsiveness and make it, well, worse, actually. It also keeps me believing that I truly can go out there and make a difference for myself, and for others, in the world. Mostly because I don’t always stop to see the logical barriers to my idealistic plots before I set out to make them happen. I’ve gotten my heart broken that way more than once. But the nice thing about Sagittarius is that it figures that even though it may not have worked out well this time, there’s always another opportunity lurking around the corner.

And my moon sign? Pisces. And it’s in my twelfth house. For the uninitiated, that pretty much means that I am among the most ridiculously emotional, empathic, and tender little spirits out there. But no one knows that – not right off. And sometimes they never know it. Moon in Pisces people are so sensitive that they can literally feel the emotions of people around them – and then have to figure out if it’s something that comes from themselves, or if it’s just atmospheric. They have extremely high expectations for others (due in part to a nature that lends itself to extreme idealism and hope), and even higher ones for themselves. On top of which, you’ve always gotta be careful with Pisces – it tends toward illusion and delusion, it tends toward rose-colored glasses and naiveté. So you must perpetually ask yourself if the landscape that you’re looking at represents reality, or if it’s tainted by emotion, delusion, hope, or fear. Yeah, wow. That sounds like a freaking barrel of laughs.

Compounding that, is the fact that my moon is in the twelfth house – the realm of the underground, of death and rebirth, of Pluto/Hades. Of the hidden, the obscured, the murky. The unspoken. The intensely intuitive. The shadow realm. My emotion-based moon sign of super-sensitive Pisces hanging out in the shadow world of deep inner knowing and revelation. Sounds like a blast, right?

It hasn’t been. It has been perplexing, disturbing, contorting, and upsetting. It has also allowed me to become intimate with the unseen, the forgotten, the disenfranchised – and to love that side of humanity.

My outlook on astrology itself is complex (as is everything when you have this kind of make-up). Aries thinks, “What utter bullshit. Get over it and get going.” Sagittarius thinks, “There might be some use in this – let’s learn everything that we possibly can about it, and then we’ll tell everyone about it…whether they want to know or not.” And Pisces thinks, “That is so totally true. Deeply true. All of it. Now, how can I use this to set my personal standards for myself even higher….and to better understand my fellow human beings?”

I’ve learned to become grateful for this particular configuration, though. It’s taken me down some odd back alleys, and into some strange places, but I wouldn’t have ended up there, if I hadn’t had the inclinations that these three signs give me toward those things. And every step has led me here, to this place.

So, I’m happy to keep letting Aries do my blocking for me, and Sagittarius do my learning and philosophical meandering for me, and Pisces to do all of its agonizing and rhapsodizing, beneath the radar. The trick is to just let them all mesh and blend and smear into one another – to temper themselves, essentially. Still working on that bit.

Well, I suppose that’s enough navel-gazing for one day (that would be the Aries talking, just in case you wondered – it gets impatient). I’m off to conquer the world, save the world, and bleed for the world – all in one breath – again.

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Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. (Samuel Ullman)

If that’s true, I’ll never have a wrinkly soul. To my delight (and sometimes to my chagrin), one of the ways that people tend to describe me to someone I haven’t met yet is thus: “Carolyn? Well, she’s, um…enthusiastic.” Like a terrier (which is what they kindly leave off).

When I was a little girl, I truly remember thinking that life was going to be way too short to do all that I hoped to, to feel all that I longed to, to take part in all that I dreamed of. The result was that I ate life up with two spoons instead of one, and gobbled all that I could, whenever I could. When I start to recount where I’ve been and how I came to be standing in front of a newer friend, invariably, they say, “Just how old are you?”

Good. That means that I’ve crammed a lot in there. And all of it was fueled by enthusiasm. It was fueled by gusto. It was fueled by passion, longing, desire, and interest.

I’ve found that with each passing year, there are two things I’m most grateful for. The first is that with age, comes a refining of where I want to spend that currency. Even I possess finite amounts of energy, vigor and enthusiasm (even though I don’t like to admit it), and I become less and less inclined to waste it on things that don’t inflame me, invigorate me, invest back in me, and intrigue me. The second is that I am infinitely grateful for whatever that year held – even if it’s not right away.

I would not change a moment of what I’ve done, what I’ve said, what I’ve chosen. Not even the ugly ones, because some of them have led to the most unanticipated and beautiful outcomes.

So today is another birthday. And I’ll celebrate it in my usual fashion – quietly and without a lot of fuss. I’ll look forward to eating dinner at my folks’ on Sunday (the usual request – spaghetti and meatballs and chocolate cake with chocolate frosting). And I’ll make some wishes and dream some dreams.

I wish that the coming year is

Joyful

Full of new friends

Deepens relationships with treasured friends

Brings me wisdom

Brings me two scoops of life for every one I have requested

Full of passion and enthusiasm

Just as beautiful as every year that’s come before, and every year I hope to follow.

Mostly, every year I wish that I never stop loving life. I wish that I am never weary of people – but that I continue to be endlessly fascinated by them. I wish that each experience deepens me in some way. I wish that all the joy, sorrow and triumph of my days leaves its mark on my spirit. I wish for a life that is round and full and burgeoning. And, I wish to remember that (in the immortal wisdom of the Stones): You can’t always get what you want, and if you try sometimes you find you get what you need.

Do, or do not. There is no try. (Jedi Master Yoda)

You know, there are few things in this life that irk me like folks who say they’ll do a thing, and then don’t do what they’ve said they will. There are few things that irk me like people who say that they’re trying – when they’re not.

I will be the first one to admit that I have exceedingly high expectations. Those start with myself, though. I expect nothing of others that I do not first expect of myself, and I hold no one to higher standards than I do myself. You can look at that two ways, I suppose. Either that I will be in a perpetual state of disappointment, or that I am in a constant state of expectation – which is really optimism, which is really faith.

I have an intense amount of faith in people. I believe in them. I believe the best about them. And yes, I am continually disappointed. And that’s okay. I had an interesting week, and I had some unique opportunities to have that faith affirmed in the most spectacular ways – ways which surpassed even my high hopes.

No matter how discouraged, disgruntled, disgusted, disappointed I have been by people, I have also been delighted, entranced, and bemused by them. I am often simply enamored by them.

I really do take a step back each time I find myself facing that disappointment, and figure out whether I am being fair or not. Sometimes I am being fair, and the only thing left in that case is to figure out how to call them on their transgression. Other times, I’m the one who’s being unreasonable – and if that’s the case, I’ll be the first one to say that I have been, and to apologize.

I have also reached a point in my life when I realize that my tendency toward high expectations is as much a part of me as the shape of my hands and the thickness of my hair. Ingrained, essential. And despite the frustration of being disappointed from time to time when people fall short of the mark I’ve drawn for them, I cannot be another way.

To stop expecting them to dazzle me with their brilliance, their kindness, their humor, their irreverence, their passion, is to stop expecting to be perpetually surprised by life and all that it holds. Because the thing is that so often, people exceed my expectations.

I really don’t see the point of ‘try’ – I’m no Jedi Master, but there really is doing a thing or not doing it. I can be straining and trying to lift a thousand pounds – but the fact of the matter is that unless I’m lifting those thousand pounds (doing it), I am not doing it. There is no try. And that applies to me, too. No, I’m not always clear on where I am with an issue, or how well I’m doing a thing (or how abysmally I’m not doing it). But I look at all of it, take it all in.

This week, I’ve been dazzled by the enormous potential for people to astonish me with their love, their generosity, their humility. And I’m inspired by it. I’m moved by it. My faith is invigorated by it, and renewed. Because I’ve seen folks out there not trying, but doing.

Oh yeah — May the force be with you. 🙂

My dad makes Ebenezer Scrooge look like a shiftless spendthrift. He’s always been that way (unlike the many people currently hopping the frugality bandwagon whether by choice or necessity). Maybe it has something to do with being one of the six children born to my grandparents within a nine-year span.

He remembers his mother digging through the couch looking for change to buy groceries, and when he met my mother, he told her that they’d been too poor to have lights on their Christmas tree – which was a fib, but she believed him because they’d really been that poor.

Anyhow, my dad is the one in charge of the grocery shopping at their house, and I’ve christened him the Coupon King. I have often stood in amazement as he reviewed his receipts and tallied up all that he’d saved (this was before the receipt did that for you).

We did have to explain a few things to him, though. For example, only Oreo cookies are, in fact, Oreos – anything else that merely resembles an Oreo cookie, but is not in fact an Oreo is just a cookie. Same thing for Ritz crackers. Everything else is just a cracker. Not that we didn’t eat the generic cookies and crackers, but we had to explain to him that, really, no they are not quite the same thing.

I inherited some of that frugality from my father, and I’ve done my share of coupon clipping and sale shopping. In the course of many shopping trips, I discovered which generic things were just peachy, and were not equivalent to the name brands.

One of the most recent episodes involved the Dollar Store and the purchase of toothbrushes. I bought a pack of four toothbrushes there, which came to twenty-five cents a brush. Great deal, right? Um…not so much, actually.

I could have used these toothbrushes to scrub the rust off of car parts. No matter how gently I brushed my teeth, I ended up with a bleeding mouth. I even started to wonder if there was something wrong with my teeth. The frayed branches our ancestors used to scrub their teeth were gentler.

When the first two wore out, I announced that I was trashing the two unused brushes. I was outvoted, and encouraged to just use them “because they’re already here and paid for.” (I should have just shut my mouth and threw them out without saying anything. Lesson learned.) I plopped the two new dollar store toothbrushes in the holder with a sinking feeling of dread. (I usually enjoy the whole new toothbrush thing – it’s one of those small pleasures in life, like when you sleep on just-changed sheets or have the first glass of milk in the carton. I’m odd.)

Well, I couldn’t hack it. I marched out and bought new toothbrushes. I’d have paid ten dollars a brush at this point just to use something that didn’t abuse my mouth. I tossed the offensive cheapo brushes in the trash with glee and perched the new, soft bristled brushes in the holder reverently.

That night, as I brushed my teeth, I was in transports of delight. Mmmm.

I learned something from this – to temper frugality with common sense. It doesn’t help if you save a little upfront, only to end up paying through the nose (or in this case, mouth) later on. I’m only glad I came to my senses while there was still some enamel left on my chompers.

This is not my kitchen, and if it were, I'd have a freak out.

I have been sucked into a vicious cycle. I’m not sure how it even started, or why I continue to show up for it, or how to resolve it in a way that I am satisfied with.

I am a busy person, and end up with piles of (organized) clutter, because it’s something that’s in progress, or being worked on. That, to my way of thinking, is the stuff of life. It’s normal. It can be dusted, if it takes me too long to get back to it. It poses no health hazard, and though it may be an eyesore, it’s a temporary one.

On the other hand, I have a thing about wanting/needing a simple level of sanitary conditions around the house. I like the kitchen to be clean, the dishes done, the sink scrubbed, the counters washed. It grosses me out otherwise. I like the bathroom to be clean, the toilet scrubbed and wiped, the shower stall clean, the floor swept, the counters wiped. Otherwise, I am grossed out.

Apparently I have a much lower threshold for ‘gross out’ than Jeremy does. Enter vicious cycle. I express preferences. He verbally acknowledges said preferences. I assume that we’ve reached a certain level of understanding and that action will follow. I end up frustrated when the action that I assume will happen does not happen in the time frame that I find reasonable. I get angry, I express preferences to him angrily. He does what I asked.

I think that one of the most anger-inducing aspects of the entire circle is that I am not the one who’s causing the unsightly and upsetting unsanitary conditions to begin with. Jeremy eats more and more often than I do, and he fills the sink with “soaking” dishes frequently. Those are not my dishes, and not my messes – and how long does he think it takes to soak off macaroni and cheese, anyhow? I am not the one who leaves shorn beard hairs clinging all over the sink. I am not the one who stands up to go to the bathroom.

And yet, since my level of ‘gross out’ is lower, I see all this stuff, and I have to address it. When I see it, and I end up addressing it, after he’s said that he will address it, I understandably become angry and then I angrily express that to him. Then he, chagrined, goes to take care of it. Or, he sees that I am in the process of addressing it and attempts to take the dishrag from my hand and take over. Oh, no, no, my friend – your opportunity to take care of it has passed.

I made casual mention of this phenomenon to my boss the other day – a man who’s about my age or a bit older. He said, “Um. That never stops. You don’t grow out of it. That’s just how guys are.” He’s a jokester, so I was standing there, expectantly waiting for the punchline, when I could see he was all seriousness. Ugh. Dismay.

So, I’m on the ‘Path of Mastery,’ and I’m relatively enlightened (a good deal of the time) – so, I can see that I have a choice here: continue this ridiculous merry-go-round of anger and disappointment that’s getting us nowhere fast, or step off and make a new decision. That new decision has to take the shape of either me upping my threshold for ‘unsanitary messes’ (not likely), or just doing it when I see it, and shutting up about it (also doesn’t feel great).

I suppose, too, that the short answer is that I could become more tolerant of the people with whom I choose to live. But, that’s a two-way street – and my preferences for cleanliness should not always have to take a back seat and holler to be noticed.

So, until I figure out a way to jump off this carnival ride in a way that I can live with and that doesn’t involve me hollering every week of my life, I’m at an impasse. Though it is unfathomable to me, I can see that he truly doesn’t see it and truly isn’t bothered by it. Though it is unfathomable to me, I can see that he hasn’t gotten around to the mindset that I have: “If I look away from this mess now, I’ll just have to do it later, because there’s no one gonna come behind me and clean it up.” He probably hasn’t gotten to that mindset because I come along behind him and clean it up. There’ve been a few times where I was tempted to wait him out, but I just couldn’t do it – couldn’t stand the mess (cause I live here too).

So, long story short, this seems to be a phenomenon within the gender. I’ve gathered information from outside sources that confirm those suspicions. I am boggled by it. I am frustrated by it. I know that I cannot be the first chick who’s ever voiced these particular concerns about this particular set of circumstances. I also know that it’s not exclusive to the gender.

Knowing all that, though, doesn’t really help me in the now. He’s been making efforts over the past few months to address stuff before I see it and get tweaked. Usually, though, it starts with me prompting him – and that’s the step I want to eliminate. The same messes get made week after week. But what seems elementary to me may not be elementary to everyone.

Well, there are some dishes in the sink staring holes into the back of my head. And since I see it and it bothers me, I’m off to go clean it up.

I had to work on Thanksgiving Day from three-thirty to ten-thirty at night. By the time I had been there for an hour or two, I had a real good case of the saddies and was well into one of the best pity-parties I’ve thrown myself in a long, long time.

For the most part, I attend all the family celebrations and stuff – it’s always been important to me to do so. I don’t ever want to look back and say, “I wish I had….” when I have the ultimate ability to stop that from happening right now, today.

So, anyhow, I was well into a really sticky pity party. I was getting truly morose, and feeling pretty justified in it. I was up to my ears in it, when I started thinking about my parents. They always make sure that there’s a place for all of us to gather together for holidays. What would happen when they weren’t here anymore? (I make myself face this unpleasant eventuality from time to time, trying to get myself mentally prepared, even though I’m pretty sure no one is ever as mentally prepared as they think they are).

So what would happen if they weren’t here to issue the invitation and the space and time to get together, to sit around a table with one another and break bread? (The ‘What If’ game is such a lovely and effective addition to any good pity party. Guaranteed to suck you even further into the mire). I am extremely unoptimistic about either of my siblings taking up the mantle and organizing and holding any kind of gathering, so it would probably have to be me. Then I started thinking about how that would all shake down without my parents around as buffers and referees. Not pretty. Not the stuff from which hazy firelit memories are made. The stuff of nightmares, really.

Then I started thinking about what that would mean, if I didn’t get together with them anymore. If it was just me. If Wittler and I didn’t get married, and/or didn’t have kids. If I was truly all alone on Thanksgiving and on every other major occasion for gathering together with family and friends. (See, I told ya – this was a grade-A pity party I was throwing myself here).

And then, it shifted. And I started to think about how that wasn’t the case for me. I had people with whom to gather, though I was unable to for this specific holiday. People who would throw open doors and arms if I appeared today on their doorstep. But other people didn’t have that.

And that’s when I had to scrap the whole mood I’d been cultivating. There is nothing like choosing to walk the ‘Path of Mastery’ that will put the kibosh on a good pity party. You can’t stay in it when you start thinking about what it’s like out there for everyone else.

I started wondering about the really elderly lady who lives a few units down from us. I only ever see the home care nurses – no family – come and go from her apartment. Who did she gather with yesterday? I started wondering about the man who came to my counter – he made sure to tell me that he was alone by choice on Thanksgiving, how he didn’t want to gather with a ‘bunch of strangers’ and keep talking about how the turkey was great (valid). But he lingered there, at the counter with me, unwilling to leave. Wanting me to hear him and see him. Wanting connection.

I started thinking about them, and all the people like them, who are alone on days like Thanksgiving. Who are alone so much of the time. Of those who, perhaps, did not even have the memory of pleasant times gathered together with others the way that I did (warts and all).

As I broke off pieces of my cold pop-tart dinner, I knew that my mom was tucking away leftovers for me to take home with me tonight, when I go over there. I knew that they wished I was there, just as much as I wished I was.

Yeah – you can’t have a good pity party when you’re on the ‘Path of Mastery.’ You can’t keep feeling sorry for yourself, when you know that there are so many others who suffer worse than you do. Standing for a moment on another’s path, wearing their pinchy shoes, has a way of putting all your trials and tribulations in perspective.

Today, I am grateful that I have the ability and the inclination to do this. I am grateful that every single time I get myself well into a good pity party, there is something that taps me on the shoulder and says, “I know you feel bad, but look over there. Think about how that must be for them.”

I am grateful for empathy. I am grateful for the choices I’ve made, and the people who’ve chosen to walk a stretch of this path with me. I am grateful for perspective and sympathy. I am grateful.

If the only prayer you said in your life was Thank You, that would suffice. (Meister Eckhart)

I, like most people, tend to give notice to all the P.I.T.A. (Pain In The A$$) parts of life without even thinking about it. They’re there, and they prompt an emotional response, which – like one of Pavlov’s dogs, I droolingly provide.

I’ve been retraining myself to make it less ‘work,’ and more instinctive to recognize the moments of grace or kindness or joy in my life when they happen. To give them the same or better billing that the P.I.T.A. moments get. So far, it’s working.

Those P.I.T.A. moments are always going to be there. They’re a constant. To be human is to suffer, and that’s just life. But to be human is to also experience extraordinary moments of joy or clarity or beauty or love.

This was originally going to be a post thanking the myriad folks who’ve done me a solid somehow over the course of my life. And I started to make the list. But what I noticed was that the things I remembered best, and wanted to thank them for were all the intangibles, all the small things. Sure, I’m grateful for all the things that people have done for me or given to my physically, but more, it’s the acts of kindness, the small gestures, the smiles, the laughter, that have stayed with me.

I am grateful today for everything that has ever happened. I am grateful today for all that’s been said (and not said), for all that was done (and not done). It has brought me to the very place I stand today, and it’s a good place to be.

Wishing all of you the kind of peace that comes from liking where you are, and knowing that everything that happened was meant to get you there.

Happy Thanksgiving.



I’ve just got to divulge something here. Something I fail to understand.

I live with the King of Condiments.

When we moved, my brother looked in the fridge after we’d unpacked everything, hoping for a small smackerel of something, anything – and found…an ‘empty’ fridge. He exclaimed, “Where are all the bags of stuff I carried up that had to ‘go in the fridge right away’? I’m starving!” I directed his despondent gaze to the ‘frigerator door – and the array of sauces and syrups and jars and bottles and shakers tucked into the shelves. Yes, all five bags of ‘food’ went on the door shelves – the ones reserved solely for Condiments.

I don’t understand this incessant need that Jeremy has to decorate his food and doctor it up with a bunch of sauces and mustards and stuff. Maybe it’s ‘cause my folks are of German descent – a heritage that does not lend itself to savory and succulent cuisine. Maybe I’m culinarily unimaginative.

What I do know is that it is maddening to hear the rattle-rattle of a knife pinging around the sides of yet another nearly-empty mayonnaise jar, when it feels like I just bought some. And the inevitable cry that accompanies this discovery: “Babe! We’re out of mayo!” *sigh* Again?

I love that he loves food. I love that he enjoys and savors the experience of making food and devouring food. It’s novel.

I just don’t understand this whole conspicuous consumption of condiments gig that he’s got rollin’ here. From the rate that these jars go dry, his sandwiches should look like soup – that, or he’s eating far more sandwiches than I envision one single human being could manage.

It’s a mystery. And one I may not ever understand. In the meantime, I need to go add ‘mayo’ to my mental shopping list. Again.

Dig it – today I am trying to emulate Hildegard of Bingen and be as “a feather on the breath of God.”

I’ve struggled my entire life to find the right balance between two totally different outlooks, and unable to cling to one or the other. Either I adhered a little too tightly to the preferred outlook of those who had a huge hand in the way that I was raised: “God helps them who help themselves.” Or, I clung a bit too tightly to that whole “the lilies of the field” outlook: neither toil nor spin.

There’s gotta be something in between those two things. Something manageable, something I can maintain.

I’ve always been a planner, and that’s served me well in so far as I’ve gotten far and done a lot in the relatively few years I’ve been kicking around the world. I’ve asked myself more and more lately if getting far is as important as ending up where you hoped to be.

Because I’m not altogether certain I have.

And that’s okay, in a way. I wouldn’t take any of it back. Not even the most craptastical parts. (Which then begs the question that maybe wherever we end up, is exactly where we were meant to be, whatever it is. Which is like the chicken and the egg, and makes me feel like I can literally feel my brain turn inside out).

But that’s not really what ol’ Hildegard is getting at. She’s talking about letting go of all the anxiety we create around the idea of having to get anywhere, and letting go and trusting that you’ll end up wherever it is you were meant to be at the right time.

Because what really creates that anxiety? Nothing that really comes from within me – it’s all stuff I internalize that comes from without. All the shoulds and oughtas. All the expectations of those around me, spoken and unspoken.

So, yeah. Every single time I start to feel all wiggy about where I’m supposed to head next, I’m going to think about being that feather, just floating on the breath of God. Knowing I’ll get there – wherever there is – just when I’m meant to. And not a second sooner. No matter how much anxiety I generate about it.

Your absence has gone through me

Like thread through a needle

Everything I do is stitched with its color.

Separation, W. S. Merwin

I am watching someone go through a hard time. Except, I have always been watching this someone go through a hard time. She is the best architect of her own downfall, time and again. What do I do with that, when I love her?

I watch, and I stand back, and when advice rushes up my throat and bites at the back of my teeth, begging for expulsion, I swallow it bitterly down again. Because advice does not help. Guidance does not heal. Suggestions do not bridge the crevasse opening at our feet.

So I stay silent, and I hear her story. Again, and again, and again. The facts of the story change, and the faces in it come and go, shift, depart, return. But the story? That stays the same.

And I am finally coming to a place where I can honor the fact that it is her story. That if I can only love her, and let her have her story, I will find peace with all of it.

I am finally coming to a place where I can accept that my advice is really like unasked-for editing of a story that she is comfortable living. I need to let her have her mixed metaphors and incorrect tenses, because this is her story and she its author.

I am finally coming to a place where I can recognize and act on the knowledge that the choice to read that story with her is mine. I do not have to pick up the phone and hear the next chapter and verse of a plot which never thickens, and characters who behave in ways I predicted on page two. I can let the phone go unanswered, and preserve my peace when it suits me.

I do not have to allow her thread to be the color I paint my emotions with, my reactions with, my mindset with. Her presence, for so long, has dictated climate, and I finally know how to move out of that weather pattern kindly and compassionately.

I am finally able to see the thread stringing boldly through her own story, and though I don’t care for the color or the pattern she’s choosing, I can just let it be hers. I pick up my own needle, choose my own thread and color my days in way that I prefer.

My mistake was always in believing that we wanted the same color thread. My mistake was in believing that it was natural that she would want to sew me into her heart and her life in the way that I delighted to sew her into mine. My mistake was in thinking that we wanted the same story, that we longed for the same thread to color our lives, that we looked out upon the world and saw the same things.

We don’t, and we won’t. And I am finally able to cut the thread that bound me up so tightly in what she wove, and be at peace with it. I can finally know that I can love the beauty of the one who weaves, even if what she’s weaving is discordant with what I choose to create.

And when, inevitably, I find myself snagged up and tangled up in the old habit of matching my stitching to hers, I am going to pull out this blog and read it again and remind myself of what I know is true.

Come have a look through my kaleidoscope eyes. Come walk with me, as I make my way down the Path of Mastery (complete with fits and starts and pitstops and potholes). Our very impermanence is what makes us burn so brightly, and struggle so valiantly, and feel so deeply – it’s what makes us seize the day, and the moment. Come in, settle in, share a moment with me.

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"Who are YOU?" said the Caterpillar. This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, "I--I hardly know, sir, just at present-- at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then." (Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 5)