woman in front of wall where wings are painted

As I set up my calendar for the month, I select a quote I’ve found that speaks to me. I write it in my planner and leave space below it to capture phrases I hear or read that speak to me and relate to the quote. I found this practice centers me throughout the month, and helps me be more present in my conversations, meetings, and readings. For March 2024 my quote was: “Every great and difficult thing has required a strong sense of optimism.”

I was present in March, and yet it’s a blur. When I think about it, it’s like my memories were captured in watercolor, and someone poured water over them. The memories seem muted rather than crisp and define. Everything has a soft edge and is fuzzy – blurred. But I do have the clarity of quotes, lyrics, and phrases that that caught my attention throughout the month to anchor me:

  • The rules of the road are to begin and to continue
  • The real gift of being a daughter of fire is that you remember always the world can be remade in an instant, if you have will enough
  • There are seasons for all things and there will come a time when the pieces that are not you will fall away easily, when you stop holding so tightly
  • Awe enables us to perceive in the world imitations of the divine—to sense the ultimate in the common and the simple
  • You are changing the world whether you like it or not
  • Only when fully in each moment can we draw strength from the oneness of things
  • The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks
  • One thing happened then another, and another
  • She was a supernova of joy
  • Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the weather is clear?
  • Not solving for, just being with
  • Each soul is a gust of God’s breath (unfolding in the great energy that surrounds us like an ever moving stream)
  • What we carry deep within, if we live honestly, with inevitably be worn outwardly
  • But what is grief, if not love persevering?
  • When the morning stars sang together
  • Where is your tender touch required?
  • It’s good to be in community with you
  • There is no end of things in the heart
  • Unwilling to be smaller than she is
  • Step into a soul-led path
  • I believe in kindness; also in mischief
  • Bet on your blaze
  • It is what it is, so let is be is
  • Anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is to small for you
  • Now all your questions about heaven end, and all mine begin

I think March was a testament that life goes on and simply by being present – showing up – you get swept forward and move on too. After months living at my parents, supporting mom as dad’s caregiver, and then his death, I returned to “my life.” As if returning would be a reset, the pause button lifted.

I sought to re-establish routines, but they felt like they belonged to someone else. I sought stillness to try to feel, hear, and honor the emotions that churned, and cried every day as my body worked to released all that flooded me. I sought to rest, but the franticness of months of adrenaline surges had short circuited my wiring – full restorative sleep never came. I sought reflection and attended a mindfulness art class in which yellow emerged for me, along with the words: snub winter, vibrant renewal, energetic hope. I sought connection and found conversations of hope, comfort, joy, and understanding. I sought identity … how to be a daddy’s girl and preacher’s kid when the person who made me both was gone. I sought solid ground, to step off the wobbly Jello on which I stood, and feel planted, rooted again.

Seeking moved me forward with sunrise walks with a friend; new restaurants with mom; a different take on Easter in Fort Lauderdale; a soul-filling half-day with an out-of-town friend here for work; an alumni event with my college; a good strong bourbon; a boat ride soaking up sun; Sunday morning chapel; watering my plants, sharing memes with work friends; mailing fun cards to my besties; fresh oysters and a locally made cider; a new pair of boots; donating to good causes; and hugs from my sweetie.

Searching showed me that delight and devastation can go exists; that I can savor the past and dream for the future; and that the next will come.

My exploration – while not done – confirmed that life, specifically living it, heals.

March 2024 Quote: Every Great and Difficult Thing Has Required a Strong Sense of Optimism

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