Be Open To Your Story

I lay on the cool spongy floor soaking in the silence around me. The air is cool and the smell of rubber hangs heavily in the air. Someone next to me lets out a small snore. I’m always nervous during shivasana, which most likely defeats the purpose of it. I worry that I’m not doing it correctly. That I’ll doze off and not wake up at the appropriate time. And sometimes, I am afraid I am not relaxed enough. And that only stresses me out more. You can see where my issues lie.

But despite the fact that I am terrible at yoga I keep going back. Trying to escape my monkey brain and turn off the incessant chatter inside my head. Today, I managed to sink deeply into relaxation for a few seconds before my brain snapped back into action.

This time though, instead of the thoughts of tomorrow’s lesson plans, the kids’ after school schedules, and dinner that was waiting to be made, a single phrase began echoing through my head.

Be open to your story.

Be open to your story.

Be open to your story.

I felt the words being etched into my brain. I found myself grasping at them, knowing their value and so afraid I would lose them before I could process them.

Be open to your story.

Be open to your story.

Be open to your story.

For the last six years our story has been composed of passports and luggage. Travel and new experiences. Hellos and goodbyes.

But now we’ve decided to turn the page and write the next chapter.

We know the main characters will remain the same. But the setting will be different and so will the plot of every day life.

Our new story feels a bit familiar, yet exciting. Warm and comforting. A long deep exhale.

But I can already see I’m going to miss the chapter we are just finishing. The excitement of magical places, the hilarious stories about cultural mishaps, and the frequent correction of “Yes, India. No, not IndiANA. India”.

Surprisingly, at this point in our lives, staying overseas would be the easier thing to do. We get it. We know how it works. Our kids know how it works.

But, of course, we couldn’t just do the easy thing.

We had to be open to our story.

And right now, that story is beginning to unfold on Bainbridge Island. The small town living, clean air, open grassy fields, and camping are calling us.

Noah was 4 and Sophie 2 when we left. None of them have ever gone to school in the States. Being the new kid in a large-ish international school seems doable to them, but being the new kid in a class full of others who most likely know each other?

Downright frightening.

But it is September. We have several more months of international adventures ahead of us and a few more 20+ hour flights to survive. We have months to plan our Christmas trip home, when we can haul back some of most favorite things. The kids have months to begin to process the transition in front of us. We’ll even have a much longer summer than we’re used to, and when the kids are enrolled in their camps they’ll know the friendships they make could actually turn into something beyond a few days.

We’ve been clear with the kids that this move isn’t forever. Or it could be. Only time will tell. All we know is right now we need to reconnect in the States for the next few years.

Beyond that, well-we just need to be open to our story.

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Down to the Bones

I was hesitant to push publish yesterday.

Sharing your writing is much like appearing in public naked. Or so I’ve heard. Lately I can’t help but write from the very barest of places. No fancy fonts, beautiful pictures, and exclamation marks to cover up the truth of the story. 

And sharing yesterday-telling the whole world or anyone who’d read-that yes, we are in fact, going to be leaving our jobs at the end of the year with our three children in tow reaches pretty far into the depths of our story right now. 

Many of you asked where we are going. The truth?

We have no idea.

One day we have dreams that take us to a new school and city around the world. The next I’m mentally building my backyard chicken coop and looking up CSAs on Bainbridge Island. 

I feel certain we will know which decision is right for us as a family when it presents itself. Whether that’s stupidity or temporary zen is yet to be seen.

Back in 2007 during one of our first PD days back at school, we were given the charge, complete with chart paper and smelly markers, to share a quote that spoke to us.  I stood in front of my colleagues and shared my quote for the year:

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Less than a year later we found ourselves living in Brazil and teaching at an international school. As far away from the suburban cul-de-sac minivan life as we could be. Back then, I laughed at the absurdity of my previous motherhood years spent on Saturday Target runs and commuting to a job nearly an hour away. At the time, it all seemed so trivial compared to seeing the world.

We’ve spent 7 years abroad living the expat life. That’s a drop in the bucket to some and a lifetime for others. I’m not quite sure which it is for us yet. Two of our children were born in the States and our third abroad. This life has taught them about adaptation and versatility – skills that will serve them well in the coming months.

The years in front of us could go in so many directions. I’m trying to make myself relax into the priorities we’ve set for our family and envision us fulfilling those priorities rather than becoming focused a specific place for our next adventure. 

We are the guards of our family and to be sure, we will make the best decision possible. For them.HighResKasky-10

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Setting Sail

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My heart is heavy when I think about leaving our current school. I love this school. Nothing about it is easy, but there’s a constant reassurance when you have faith in everything you do. I am torn. Like all parents, I want what is best for our kids and us, and while our school fulfills that dream, India doesn’t anymore.

For all the mystery, celebration, and culture India can offer, it can’t do anything to give my children green grass, a place to play ball, and cleaner air. Things that are quickly becoming difficult to navigate for all three of them.

So what is one to do?

We will do what all parents do-prioritize the children’s needs, find a new normal and recalibrate as a family.

This is the rocky part-when we can still see the beach as we sail out to sea. Our minds telling us to turn around and head back to safety while our hearts tells us to take courage for the journey ahead.

Soon enough we will settle into the in between, but for now I find myself squirming in its confines.

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We’re here. But that’s about all I know most days.

We arrived last week and have survived the jet-lag sleepwalk that predictably lingers a few days more than you’d like. We’ve gone through the work meetings, set up our classrooms, and are enjoying the last rainy weekend before life kicks up into high gear and all of us are back at school.

Transitions are not my forte. There’s no secret in that. And this week is no exception. All my slow summer routines and reflective moments have been scrapped in favor of quick showers and frantic texts to coordinate playdates and pick ups.

We’re in survival mode, and that’s okay for week one, but I don’t want to stay here. I don’t want accept the tornado-like quality my life takes on when we all head back to school. I can give myself grace in that moment, but I don’t want to accept it as the norm.

The easy answer is we shouldn’t be here. India asks too much of us and throws us off balance in a way that won’t let us ever recalibrate totally.

But that’s not the truth. We can find our way. We always do. I will build in quiet early mornings. An occasional dinner date. Leisurely afternoons at the Hyatt.

But right now, that all seems very far away, but I know it is there. We just need the dust to settle and a little time to rebuild our India skin.

*Oddly enough, or not really at all, I wrote this post almost exactly a year ago. Same feelings different year. That let’s me know that this won’t last forever, even if it feels a bit dark and overwhelming right now.*

 

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Eugene Marathon 2014

It’s finally here! Eugene Marathon race weekend arrived at last. To be honest, since we arrived back Stateside in June this weekend has slowly crept off my radar and only in the last 7 days did it actually dawn on me that the time has arrived.

Originally I had planned to make Eugene my first marathon. I was determined and I followed my training plan religiously, but after putting in a 15 mile training run (on a treadmill no less!) I truly felt that the timing wasn’t right. It wasn’t my marathon time quite yet. And so I reregistered for the Eugene Half Marathon. That’s what I will be running on Sunday. My foot is thanking me profusely right now.

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By the time I changed my registration I had already registered for the Seattle Rock and Roll Half Marathon and the See Jane Run Half. Quickly my goal evolved from completing the Eugene Marathon to completing three half marathons in five weeks. So that’s where I am right now-determined to make my way across the finish line one more time so I can claim my place among the Half Fanatics. Seattle was a tough race physically, See Jane was difficult mentally, and I have no idea what Eugene will hold. I truly just want to cross the finish line in one piece and take in the magic of Hayward Field.


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I want to enjoy our last weekend in the States, indulge in a great dinner from a sweet student here, sample Voodoo Doughnuts, visit and an Ale House or two, and have some fun on a road trip with the family. For the first time in years, I don’t have a single upcoming race planned following Eugene. I’ve got some time to reevaluate and consider what I want out of running and what I can do from here on out.

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A perfect way to end my summer of half marathons.

 

 

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City Slickers

I’ve made it a silent goal of mine to stay on the Island as much as possible this summer. Except for a random twitching sensation that drives me to spend hundreds of dollars at Target every 10 days or so, I try my best to stay put. Since there are only two ways off the Island (ferry or bridge) it’s not too hard. Paul’s still has one class hanging over his head, so I thought taking the kids out of the house would give him the peace and quiet he needed to get some work done. I’ve been wanting to take the kids back to the Seattle Aquarium and, since it is just steps from the ferry terminal, it seemed like a pretty easy trip to tackle solo. We spent the morning at the aquarium and then hit up Ivar’s for fish and chips afterwards. A perfect Seattle day!


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Bring in the Crayon Box

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I like neat and orderly. I like predictable and scheduled. I like obedience and perfection. 

It’s amazing I’ve made it this far in life without constant soul-crushing disappointment.

As a child (maybe 8 or so?) I vividly remember my mother buying me the 64-pack of Crayola crayons-the huge pack with the sharpener on the back-at the grocery store one Saturday morning. I loved new crayons.

The smell. The pointy tips. The colors lined up neatly. 

I couldn’t wait to get started with them.

But first, I had to entirely clean my room. This wasn’t some sort of bargain my mom struck. with me. A “clean your room, you get the crayons” agreement. I, myself, felt compelled to clean my appropriately tween-disheveled room before bringing the perfection of the brand new crayon box in.

I had to do it first before I could fully enjoy the beautiful crayons.

Now, as an adult, I often feel like I am still swept up with “cleaning my room” before I can bring in my “new crayons”.  However, at 35, cleaning my room entails so much more than picking up my discarded outfits on the floor and organizing my Cabbage Patch Kids. It means unrealistic demands on my husband and children, predictable and appropriate behavior from everyone, including myself, in all situations, and a complete understanding of complex issues such as marriage and faith- just to get started.

I want every aspect of my life neat and orderly before I bring in the new crayons. My relationship with my husband and children, major life-altering decisions, and relentless forward progress in my story make up my crayon box these days.  And frankly, I just wish all of those things would stay out of my way until I’ve cleaned up my mess and I am ready for them.

In my struggle to prep the space in my life I’m missing out on the joy of using the crayons. And that can’t happen. 

I need to find the joy right here and right now in all my mess. To love fully, take risks, and embrace the beauty of the chaos. 

  beautifulmess

 

Etsy

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