Savoring & Serving in October

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Last night 500 kids (we had less this year) showed up at our house: a dozen varieties of various Disney princesses, a peck of pirates, a mob of zombies, a few headless football players, and one large box of popcorn. Our little neighborhood is one of the few on our island with sidewalks and so it’s Halloween madness.

It’s my 14th Halloween in this house, and probably my last (Bob and I are slated to move to Colorado in about a year to be closer to his work).

I love the tenderness of “this may be the last time I don my snake hat and make spooky noises before opening the door.” I love savoring the smell of burning pumpkins, seeing the same kids, a year older, the adults calling to kids in the street, waving hi to friends with little ones. Chili on the stove. Flashlights bobbing down the street. The dogs barking barking barking. (Okay I won’t miss that.)

As Pema Chödrön famously wrote, “Since death is certain, but the time of death is uncertain, what is the most important thing?” Doing things for the last time – which we could be doing in any moment – is another opportunity to pay attention to what’s most important. To clear out the zombies, so to speak. Or love them. Being with my mom as she slowly fades, that’s another opportunity too, a more challenging one for sure. As is being with Lilly when we get to see each other.

I keep trying to open to the ache of being alive. I mostly fail. I don’t stop trying.

What else has been happening? I’m teaching the Life Navigation Course and it makes me appreciate my body of work so. My college roommate Sara is in the course and it’s so cool to have someone who knew me when I was 19 (!) see me now. Sara was like an older sister (she was in grad school and I was in undergrad) and to hear her praise my work is precious.

Otherwise, I’m writing. Five days a week. A book about learning how to let go of regrets and “burn down the barns of the past so you can see the moon of the present.” It’s part memoir and part guide book. It’s a long way from being a book you would want to read and… I’m writing!

Thanks for being connected, thanks for being someone who cares about living true.

Love,

Jen

WRITER’S RETREAT

A gentle heads-up that we will open the Taos Writer’s Retreats for registration on November 13th at 10am MT. The two retreats will already be about half full with alums (they get first dibs) so please, if you want a spot, be ready on the 13th. Info about the retreat is here.

BLOG LOVE IN OCTOBER

I wrote a great post for my TeachNow list and it got so many love letters, we made it a blog post for everybody to read.

I also wrote a popular post about my pelvic floor not being my neck. (Note: recruitment means which muscles you use for the job.)

Finally, my personal favorite of the month, also about a body part – what’s with me?

WHAT I’M READING

I bought Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan, started it, and realized I had already read it! Great book. Gave it to Bob who loved it, too.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Sweet read about love, family, and belonging. Great when you need a smart escape and if you love books about bookstores and reading (I do).

Overwhelmed by Brigid Schulte
Ms. Schulte makes a brilliant case for why so many of us, especially women, are overwhelmed and gives a tidy list of tools at the end. I nodded my head throughout and wished everyone who felt overwhelmed had the Life Navigation Course.

Tales of a Female Nomad by Rita Gelman
Rita’s courage to throw herself into the great big world, leaving a stultifying life of comfort, and in her early 50’s, made me start asking some very interesting questions about what’s next for me and Bob.

WHAT I’M WATCHING

The new BBC two-part series, Death Comes to Pemberley, is fun.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Obstacles and challenges will arise as you pursue your desires. Knowing they will, even having a little plan in your back pocket for handling those bumps with grit, humor & a few Gilmore Girls reruns, is far more helpful than pretending the future will unfold perfectly. Then when things go south, you can shrug, “That’s just life happening,” and keep going!

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