Release | 4.26.21

Release | 4.26.21

Go outside. Don’t tell anyone and don’t bring your phone. Start walking and keep walking until you no longer know the road like the palm of your hand, because we walk the same roads day in and day out, to the bus and back home and we cease to see. We walk in our sleep and teach our muscles to work without thinking and I dare you to walk where you have not yet walked and I dare you to notice. Don’t try to get anything out of it, because you won’t. Don’t try to make use of it, because you can’t. And that’s the point. Just walk, see, sit down if you like. And be. Just be, whatever you are with whatever you have, and realise that that is enough to be happy. There’s a whole world out there, right outside your window. You’d be a fool to miss it.” –Charlotte Eriksson

This month was all about giving release a bit of a pause. This word has been so mentally taxing at times that it seemed necessary to step back and give myself a bit of respite.  So in the midst of that pause, I allowed April to be about something other than me. Instead I spent my time immersed in memories of my maternal grandfather – Oliver Emil Huxhold. Thoughts of my grandpa are always close to the surface in April because of his love of poetry.

But, this month was a “two-for!” Not only was my grandpa a poetry lover, he was also an avid birder! He knew so many birds (and his bird book library was most impressive!) But when MS curtailed his outdoor time – by the time I was 5 he could no longer manage stairs at all – he began to identify birds by their songs. The best times ever were sitting on his lap listening and learning. His absolute “Holy Grail” of birds was the elusive Purple Martin. My grandparents lived about a block off Lake Macatawa on 11th Street in Holland, MI and sadly, as close as that was it just was not close enough to the water. We tried however, and I remember the spring we got him a Martin House for the back yard. My uncle installed a super long galvanized pole first and then installed the Martin house on top of that – hoping that the added height would help. Alas it did not and my grandpa grumbled plenty over the Sparrow Condo in his back yard! To my knowledge he never saw or heard Purple Martins in his life.

Steve and I headed to Erie to spend 10 days at Presque Isle. And wow. Just wow. I went outside a lot (I did bring my phone, but only to take photos) and I have so much to share with you all about our trip but for now, I’d like to share just one thing…the bittersweet achievement of my grandpa’s Holy Grail with the sightings of so many Purple Martins! I love Presque Isle, but I think my grandpa might have thought he’d “died and gone to heaven” if he could have visited it!

Purple Martin Heaven! (with a little Tree Swallow Annex off to the right side!)

And so in all that “outside” time, I really felt like I had company. My thoughts were full of grandpa and remembering all those memories and being immersed in them was exactly what I needed this month.

And, of course, Carl Sandburg has a poem for us! I think he describes them perfectly.

By Carl Sandburg

If we were such and so, the same as these,

maybe we too would be slingers and sliders,

tumbling half over in the water mirrors,

tumbling half over at the horse heads of the sun,

tumbling our purple numbers.
Twirl on, you and your satin blue.

Be water birds, be air birds.

Be these purple tumblers you are.

Dip and get away

From loops into slip-knots,

Write your own ciphers and figure eights.

It is your wooded island here in Lincoln Park.

Everybody knows this belongs to you.
Five fat geese

Eat grass on a sod bank

And never count your slinging ciphers,

your sliding figure eights.

A man on a green paint iron bench,

Slouches his feet and sniffs in a book,

And looks at you and your loops and slip-knots,

And looks at you and your sheaths of satin blue,

And slouches again and sniffs in the book,

And mumbles: It is an idle and a doctrinaire exploit.
Go on tumbling half over in the water mirrors.

Go on tumbling half over at the horse heads of the sun.

Be water birds, be air birds.

Be these purple tumblers you are.

We sat and watched the martins “tumble” around us as time just faded away and I began to understand my grandfather’s love of these beautiful birds and perhaps leaving a “Holy Grail” item for the next generation to achieve is the perfect thing to do…

I want to thank Carolyn for hosting us – make sure you stop and see what everyone else did with their word this month.

Thank you for reading and if you want to see my journey with release, you will find it here.

I will be back on Wednesday with some knitting and reading! (and I promise to get caught up with all your blogs soon!!)

Release | 4.26.21

Release | March 2021

Hello Monday.

I am joining Carolyn again to share my March update on my word. A word that I have again considered dumping… releasing release. Or maybe just curtailing release to be my clean out the physical closets in this house companion, and keeping release out of the emotional closets of my mind. But I am persevering, because I am reminding myself how hard Focus was and how challenging Intentional was. Starting something new is never easy and so I persevere.

I have spent this very long month with my thoughts. And this quote from Brené Brown in my head:

When you numb your pain, you also numb your joy. 

Oh boy. Yep, that is absolutely true. I am the master of saying nothing and numbing/ignoring the painful memories of an abusive and dysfunctional house. This month I have been opening the doors in my brain that I have kept shut and discovering that by locking those painful memories in, I was also locking in some good memories as well. I can’t erase the painful memories, but I don’t have to be numb and thus avoid all joy. It has not been easy and honestly, I considered just shoving all those memories – good and bad – back in the farthest recess of my brain and locking the door again.

But then I started reading Padraig Ó Tuama’s new book and this passage has become my new meditation, especially when I am feeling like shutting that door, locking it and throwing away the key:

To greet sorrow today does not mean that sorrow will be there tomorrow. Happiness comes too, and grief, and tiredness, disappointment, surprise and energy. Chaos and fulfilment will be named as well as delight and despair. This is the truth of being here, wherever here is today. It may not be permanent but it is here. I will probably leave here, and I will probably return. To deny here is to harrow the heart. Hello to here.
Pádraig Ó Tuama, In the Shelter: Finding a Home in the World

The emphasis is mine, but the power of that sentence is exactly what I need. It is just for today and it might not be tomorrow. Yes, it might be back, but just like that small determined child…I will survive.

And I have a list of things I can begin to work on releasing next month: the shame of being a victim of abuse, the guilt that it was somehow my fault, the embarrassment of being talked about, the worry of being judged.

Thank you for reading and if you want to see my journey with release, you will find it here.

See you back here on Wednesday with a knitting update!


Release | 4.26.21

Release | February 2021

I am joining Carolyn again this month to share my word update.

This may be the most exhausting blog post I have ever written. I started it on Friday, rewrote it on Saturday, deleted it on Sunday and started again…exhausting  to the nth power! And even then… hitting that damned publish button! February has just been so mentally difficult. Despite a plethora of recommendations, I had been avoiding Brené Brown for a very long time. Something in the things she said just hit way to close to home for me and I was not ready at all to even begin to think about why. But then February came… and I figured, how bad can starting be? Especially in such a short month…

Oh boy…how bad?

Apparently really bad because I listened to The Gifts of Imperfection…twice. And that was not enough so I ordered a physical copy and have been reading it, marking it, underlining it, writing in it ever since. There has been lots of anger, tears, frustrations, if only’s, and thoughts about how ignoring things just doesn’t work long term. This phrase really hit home for me:

“The universe is not short on wake-up calls. We’re just quick to hit the snooze button.”
― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

Yep. Exactly.

This month I began the work of not hitting the snooze button anymore and started to peek into my inner closets that are jammed full of all the things I don’t really know what to do with.

I started out by using a combination of Carolyn’s Being vs. Doing prompt for February and the worksheets that Brené has on her website for Wholehearted Living. Before I knew it, those pages were full so I moved to the margins and wrote more and then flipped over the paper and wrote still more.

And while I’d like to tell you that I have found a solution in all this reading, thinking, and writing. It just is not as easy as all that.

But what I do know is that I am not going to solve anything. I just need to find a way to release it.

If only the doing was as easy as the knowing what to do

I will be back on Wednesday to share some unraveling (fingers crossed that there is a finished sweater!!)

If you want to see my journey with release, you will find it here.



Release | 4.26.21

Release | January 2021

A New Year, a new word, a new day, and a new home for our monthly link up! I am excited to join Carolyn as she hosts us this year!

January word studies might be one of my favorite things. Digging into a word, looking at all the possibilities, releasing any preconceived ideas I might of had…it’s so much fun.

Carolyn opened my eyes to looking at the root word of my word… something I had never even thought of doing in words past. I looked up release and I loved what I learned:

release (v.)

c. 1300, “to withdraw, revoke (a decree, etc.), cancel, lift; remit,” from Old French relaissier, relesser “to relinquish, quit, let go, leave behind, abandon, acquit,” variant of relacher “release, relax,” from Latin relaxare “loosen, stretch out” (from re- “back” (see re-) + laxare “loosen,” from PIE root *sleg- “be slack, be languid”). Latin relaxare is the source also of Spanish relajar, Italian relassare.
c. 1300, “to withdraw, revoke (a decree, etc.), cancel, lift; remit,” from Old French relaissier, relesser “to relinquish, quit, let go, leave behind, abandon, acquit,” variant of relacher “release, relax,” from Latin relaxare “loosen, stretch out” (from re- “back” (see re-) + laxare “loosen,” from PIE root *sleg- “be slack, be languid”). Latin relaxare is the source also of Spanish relajar, Italian relassare.

release (n.)

 early 14c., “abatement of distress; means of deliverance,” from Old French relais, reles (12c.), a back-formation from relesser, relaissier (see release (v.)). In law, mid-14c., “transferring of property or a right to another;” late 14c. as “release from an obligation; remission of a duty, tribute, etc.” Meaning “act and manner of releasing” (a bow, etc.) is from 1871. Sense of “action of publication” is from 1907.

Yes, there is so much that I want to pick out… cancel, lift, relinquish, quit, let go, leave behind, abatement from distress, and yes, transferring of property to another! And that is where I began this month, spurred on by this quote:
Literal cleanliness and orderliness can release us from abstract cognitive and affective distress – just consider how, during moments where life seems to be spiraling out of control, it can be calming to organize your clothes, clean the living room, get the car washed. — Robert Sapolsky

So this month I have spent sorting and thinking. And while I still have more to do, the process of emptying closets, drawers, and  bins has been cathartic. Contemplating, cleaning out, and yes, releasing. Some things have been tossed and it felt so good! Some things will go to someone else…that sock post that so struck me… well, I have a stack of things that will be heading there shortly.

And some things… well, they just need a bit more thought. And that is okay, too!

Midway though the month it occurred to me that my house does not have a storage problem, I have a “things” problem. And so this month release seemed easy. It was freeing. And in doing some organizing, I freed my mind to begin to contemplate the hard work of release I have only just begun.

Again, thank you Carolyn for hosting us! See you all on Wednesday for some Unraveling!

Monday Magic | 1.4.21

Monday Magic | 1.4.21

Happy First Monday in January! There might be a wee bit of excitement in my house this morning as Steve returns to his “usual schedule” this week…whew! LOL

My day is full of so many things from laundry to Undecorating to OLW contemplation… a truly varied list. I am hoping that laundry becomes less “mundane” when paired with OLW contemplation.

This short poem that I listened to yesterday was so full! It is going to be my guide for a January of quiet contemplation. I hope you find something in these words to help your January get off to a very good start! See you all back here on Wednesday for some “first finishes” of the New Year!

Winter Is the Best Time
by David Budbill

Winter is the best time
to find out who you are.

Quiet, contemplation time,
away from the rushing world,

cold time, dark time, holed-up
pulled-in time and space

to see that inner landscape,
that place hidden and within.

David Budbill, “Winter Is the Best Time” from While We’ve Still Got Feet. © 2015 by David Budbill

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