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Archive for April, 2012

There are certain things that I know that I need, that are non-negotiables for me- yet time and time again I find myself putting many of these things on the back burner as life crowds in.  And sometimes weekends away are just the thing to reset, reboot and remind myself of all that I had forgotten.

I recently spent the weekend with some of my favorite girls in Boulder, Colorado followed by spending some great time with family.  It was an amazing time and a weekend that came at just the right time for all of us for various reasons.

There were basics I needed to be reminded of…

It is fun to get away every once in awhile, to completely change scenery.

Hydration is really important.

Working out keeps me sane.

There is nothing better than laughing with my girls.

I needed to be reminded of how loved I am, and that even the things I think are insurmountable aren’t, and that I am not alone in facing them.

AND…

I needed to be in awe again.

I had forgotten how good it felt to be delighted and inspired by the expanse around me.

And how good it was to be delighted by surprises around every corner.

We Found Mater!

And how much fun it was to capture beauty with my camera.

And how much fun it is to spend time with family, especially when you don’t get a chance to see them as often as you would like.

And sometimes it is just good to not set an alarm clock, to be reminded that there is more to life than what you look at every day, and that there is an adventure around every corner when you are looking for it.

May you seek out beauty every day.

May you remember what it is that you are certain of.

And may you find something to delight you that leaves you in awe.

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A life worth celebrating is one that you attempt to carefully craft,

holding the balance and tension of love and loss,

growth and pain,

hope and despair,

laughter and tears,

realizing there is so little that can be controlled.

And in finding your way through,

being stretched,

feeling torn,

being held,

being guided,

sharing,

learning,

laughing,

crying,

growing…

I hope you are learning to dance in the midst of it all.

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Forest Light

The whole world is a series of miracles,

but we’re so used to seeing them that we call them ordinary things.


~ Hans Christian Anderson

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I shared with you one of my Erica Experiments-  about saying Goodbye to TV.  And the truth of the matter is over the past two years I have been engaging in several other experiments, and I am ready to be brave and share some of them with you.

Here is a short list of what I have been experimenting with:

living with more intention,

saying no more often so I can say YES to the things that matter,

prioritizing differently,

surrounding myself with the positive in a conscious way while embracing those difficult things that are real and need attention like grief and loss,

choosing to turn towards the light,

embracing my flaws and being able to love myself in the midst of, in spite of and because of my imperfections

being vulnerable and courageous.  

learning new language that supports me- speaking to myself life a friend- someone I love, value and cherish rather than someone I have to tolerate.  

learning how to truly accept a compliment

learning how to allow myself to celebrate my achievements instead of constantly looking to the “next” way to prove myself 

thinking about and shifting how I show up in the world,

learning how to see my gifts, learning how to share them,

learning how to fill myself first and how to give from joy and abundance not from feeling like I “have to” or from a space of lack, 

learning that I am worthy of love and belonging

delving more deeply into my relationship with something larger than myself (aka God, the Universe, the Mystery) and shared some of that in the Benedictions post,

taking big leaps with owning my dreams and saying them out loud  

living authentically and being willing to risk dissapointment

learning to tell the truth- to myself and others 

learning big lessons about letting go, about deep trust, about listening to my intuition, about holding myself gently and A LOT about forgiving myself. 

At first I share what I have been learning only with my trusty journal.  And then because I can’t help myself I would strike up a conversation with someone and when I would share my struggle, or my truth, or my learning more often than not they would lean in, their voice would get quiet their eyes searching mine wondering how I could see straight to their heart and and they would whisper “me too”.  Time and time again I realized that I wasn’t alone.

Our hearts our so similar, they are jagged and cracked, tender and bruised and yet they are so beautiful.

In spite of it all here we are- our hearts still beating.  We marvel in wonder at one another’s courage, bravery and we love them so fiercely- and yet we forget to offer ourselves that same fierce love.

And then quotes would be on my Facebook page, I would stumble onto a blog post, or another conversation and I would be reminded that these are things that we all struggle with, that we all muddle through, and so often we do it on our own because we think we are the “only ones.”  And yet, we have this amazing connection, we have all of these wonderful similarities, and so often we don’t reach out to realize how achingly beautiful we all are, how wonderfully tender and resilient we are… we see it in others certainly, but we often refuse to see it in ourselves.

I have a picture of myself as a child on my fridge, now with a picture of my niece next to it and it is striking the similarities.  And wonder when i stopped looking at myself with kind eyes.  When I look at pictures of Annabelle I see a purity of spirit, a tiny human brimming over with love, with innocence and joy.  I see nothing but beauty.  So one of my grand Erica Experiments has been to look at myself through kind eyes.

In pictures when I look with kind eyes I see it all in such a different light, so full of possibility, so tender, so adorable, and I don’t pick apart and analyze any of it.  I think the random curls in her hair are precious and part of the very reason she radiates beauty.

What if we all looked at ourselves with kind eyes.  So that has been my road to self-love lately.  Asking myself to look with kind eyes at myself and the rest of the world.

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I have always, essentially, been waiting. Waiting to become something else, waiting to be that person I always thought I was on the verge of becoming, waiting for that life I thought I would have. In my head, I was always one step away. In high school, I was biding my time until I could become the college version of myself, the one my mind could see so clearly. In college, the post-college “adult” person was always looming in front of me, smarter, stronger, more organized. Then the married person, then the person I’d become when we have kids. For twenty years, literally, I have waited to become the thin version of myself, because that’s when life will really begin.

And through all that waiting, here I am. My life is passing, day by day, and I am waiting for it to start. I am waiting for that time, that person, that event when my life will finally begin.

I love movies about “The Big Moment” – the game or the performance or the wedding day or the record deal, the stories that split time with that key event, and everything is reframed, before it and after it, because it has changed everything. I have always wanted this movie-worthy event, something that will change everything and grab me out of this waiting game into the whirlwind in front of me. I cry and cry at these movies, because I am still waiting for my own big moment. I had visions of life as an adventure, a thing to be celebrated and experienced, but all I was doing was going to work and coming home, and that wasn’t what it looked like in the movies.

John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” For me, life is what was happening while I was busy waiting for my big moment. I was ready for it and believed that the rest of my life would fade into the background, and that my big moment would carry me through life like a lifeboat.

The Big Moment, unfortunately, is an urban myth. Some people have them, in a sense, when they win the Heisman or become the next American Idol. But even that football player or that singer is living a life made up of more than that one moment. Life is a collection of a million, billion moments, tiny little moments and choices, like a handful of luminous, glowing pearls. It takes so much time, and so much work, and those beads and moments are so small, and so much less fabulous and dramatic than the movies.

But this is what I’m finding, in glimpses and flashes: this is it. This is it, in the best possible way. That thing I’m waiting for, that adventure, that move-score-worthy experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, daily life ticking by on our streets and sidewalks, in our houses and apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our dreams and prayers and fights and secrets – this pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of use will ever experience.

Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life

 So what are you waiting for?

What small choices are you making today that will bring you closer to stepping into the fullness of you, of your life, of the life that you are already living and is waiting for you to claim it?

We spend so much time somewhere else, in comparisons, in expectations (of ourselves and others) that sometimes we whittle away our lives not truly ever having lived.  We become to busy trying to fit someone else’s life or someone else’s expectations, listing to someone else’s voices telling us how we should live our life.

What pearls (with your name on them) are waiting to be cultivated?

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