When I first set out yesterday to write this post, I felt restless. I decided to follow my instincts and hopped into my car and headed to the ocean. I landed first in Portsmouth where I savored a gorgeous Tempranillo wine from Spain at a restaurant called Agave Mexican Bistro. Just a few doors down I stopped into a darling consignment boutique called Cheap Chique where I splurged and bought the sexiest shoes made in the mountains of Italy. Oooooh I think it is time for a pedicure before I step out into the world with these new shoes.
I was feeling pretty satiated from the food, wine, and recent purchases. I headed to North Hampton to walk the beach. (click photo to enlarge) My lungs filled up with the salty air and my body relaxed to the lullaby sound of the water moving in and out. Even as I write this I can hear the deep sound of the waves crashing. Mission accomplished! My restlessness disappeared.
Earlier in the week, I received a surprise package in the mail from California. Tucked inside was the handmade paper cross pictured above. Nance had been inspired by my cross making blog post from last year and has taken up the practice of making crosses using found objects. (I've since updated and reposted the CROSS MAKING post and contest.)
When I asked her about the cross she said that it reminded her of my word for the year, "embrace." Intrigued by this little paper treasure, I spent some time reflecting on it in my journal. The origami base forms what looks like wings and illustrates my own emergence from a 7-year period of hibernation. Like the figure I'm spreading my own wings. I thought about the cross and and my own crossroads. I posed the following questions in my journal, "Where am I heading? Who will join me? What will I do?"
I thought about the everyday crossroads in our lives, you know those little decisions that when added up make a difference in how we live.
"Do I eat the cake?"
"White or Wheat or skip the bread altogether?"
"Yes? No! or Maybe?"
Then I made another connection that this Wednesday begins Lent. For those of you who are Catholic you might enjoy this virtual Stations of the Cross that I designed where you can follow the Passion of Christ. Thinking of Lent naturally lead me to thinking about questions like:
"What crosses am I bearing?"
"Do I continue to carry the same burdens?"
"Is it time to let go?"
"Am I carrying someone else's cross?"
I'll close this post with sharing a few thoughts about the burdens we often carry. Take a moment to think about something that is weighing you down. How do you talk about it? Do you find yourself making excuses or using words that paint a negative picture? Every time we tell these stories we dig ourselves deeper into the pit of despair. I challenge you to try a couple of things if you are feeling burdened. 1. Stop talking about it. Talking can get you stuck like a broken record and you can't move forward. 2. Drop the excuses. Excuses don't help any situation - they will only serve to hold you back. 3. If you feel compelled to talk about it, reframe the story in a positive way, a way that will inspire you to take action, move forward, and make healthy choices. Identify the successes found within the situation, the skills learned, the knowledge gained. Change your focus not on what you have done as much as what you want to do and what you get to do.
As I look back on my cross, I see the man with his arm stretched out and I think "Go for it. Embrace life and all that it has to offer. Don't be afraid! You may not know exactly the course you are charting, but you do have wings. Step into your future!" I love that when I do step out, I have a new pair of beautiful shoes to wear.
A friend on Facebook posted this quote:
Today I will be open to the future rather than trying to create it through my expectations.
Do you have a word for the year? Consider making your own cross and incorporate images and words that reflect the meaning of your watchword. Download the Journey of the Heart Journal page and consider the crossroads in your life.
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