Intentions, Sophie and the Sea

It’s common at the start of a yoga class to set an intention for the day’s practice.

Different from a goal, which is something you work toward with a focus for the future, an intention is meant to give you a focus in the present.

Bruce Black, from Writing Yoga with Bruce Black, explained it far better than I ever could …

“… setting your intention is like drawing an arrow from the quiver of your heart.

You aim the arrow at a distant target, a reflection of your heart’s desire, and with care and mindfulness release the bowstring.

And as the arrow flies toward the target, it draws your heart toward its destiny.”

My intention was set; my arrow aimed at first-born (Sophie) who becomes troubled when I leave for my Friday night trips away (an unhappy agreement made during mediation to give her father more time to parent without my ever-presence).

She cries as I leave, and as I jump into my car and drive away, I can’t help but wonder for how long she feels the pain of my departure.

There is nothing I can do to ease her pain when I’m gone.

At the end of yesterday’s class, prior to a deeply personal moving meditation and an awfully good time spent upside down in playful inversions, the class returned to our backs for quiet savasana.

As proof that I’d set the right intention, the prettiest song came through the speakers above my head; a version of Sea of Love I hadn’t ever heard.

For Sophie I’d set my intention. Now and forever, Cat Power’s Sea of Love will be our song.

M.

Do you set intentions off of the mat? Does a particular song remind you of someone you love?

Advertisements

A Birthday on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is coming, but instead of being enthusiastic about the holiday itself, I’m excited about celebrating my daughters’ birthday; born five years ago on Thanksgiving day, 2007.

It was a wild ride – pregnancy with twins; months of bed rest, nervous ultrasounds, undetermined blood tests. Especially after several losses.

The fact that my turkeys arrived on Thanksgiving day was like a gift from the stars.

It came with a message that said …

“Here you go. Here is what you wished for. Here is the meaning of your life. These two 4-pounders are your daughters and they’ve been born on Thanksgiving day so that you never forget how grateful you must be for the gift of their lives on this Earth.”

And I was grateful. More grateful than for anything I’d ever received.

And while I was swimming in gratefulness, recovering from a nasty c-section, pulling my IV drip back and forth to the nursery despite pleas from nurses to rest, I was also arguing with my husband and begging nurses to make him leave. We had fought throughout the pregnancy. I never felt loved and I always felt alone when he came around.

We couldn’t get along, even at this most blessed time. Our paths were divergent despite the impending arrival of two growing babies with our DNA.

My divorce has been a long time coming. It is painful and ugly, and strips me of my will to smile whenever I’m in his presence.

But tomorrow I’m determined to (just) be thankful for my girls. They gave me what I always wanted. I wanted to be a mom.

My errands today will revolve around preparations for the celebration. A cake with mermaids will be picked up and their LeapFrog Tablet will be wrapped.

It’s a pretty neat present for a couple of five year olds; easy to get, picked out from Target.

I only wish I was able to give them the best gift of all; the gift of a happy family. Children with happy, intact families are the luckiest of all.

For this, I am ungrateful. Ungrateful, without thanks, and hoping that they never suffer from the knowledge of their unluckiness; the failure of their parents stripping them of what should have been their right.

M.

When your child/children were born, did you feel like it brought you and your spouse closer or did it put more stress on an already strained relationship? What will you be giving thanks for tomorrow around your dinner table?

People often ask how I managed to care for two babies at once. Look at those faces; pure joy, all the time. Their first year was the best time of my life.

Get Inspired

Searching for inspiration is tough when ho-humnity is the name of your game, and your job is to write things that people want to read.

It’s better, then, to turn off the part of the brain that refuses to cooperate and focus on the activities that generate tidings of comfort and joy.

Here is the plan:

1. The kids and I browsed Pinterest this morning and found a graphic designer named Sarah Walsh whose aesthetic interests (pins) spoke to my brain on the side that doesn’t use words. The kids became so inspired by Sarah’s Illustration Station board that they are currently, quietly content at their own art table creating what I know will be framable works of art.

Somewhere in this messy house of mine is a beautiful set of art pens (hidden so the kids wouldn’t use them, but where could they be?) that I must (MUST) find today. Expression through art is necessary in this time of angst (divorce, divorce, divorce).

2. Outside my windows is a dark grey sky; the kind that makes me wonder if the sun is ever going to rise. No matter, I will be bundling my bod (from top of head to tip of toes) as I exit for an early morning run.

It will probably be brutally cold, hurt on a cellular level, but the results will be warmed blood, a regenerated system, and hopefully some adrenaline to push me through my day.

3. Later today, I’m taking my kids to vote. The lessons that I hope they’ll learn will outweigh the irritation that might occur from bored kids pulling on my clothes or the uncomfortable squeeze and tight proximity of three inside a voting booth.

“Women have rights, girls. They have the right to choose who they think should be the boss of America.Once upon a time women weren’t allowed to vote. People with different colored skin weren’t allowed to vote. Ridiculous, right? I don’t know who is going to win today, girls, but I pray he is able to do a good job. We are lucky to live in the United States of America. We are lucky and blessed to have freedom.”

Freedom. The ultimate inspired thought.

What do you do when you are struggling for inspiration? Do you change your focus or just plow though?

M.

Sophie’s Girl on Swing.

Mediation – A Poem

Mediation.

Aggravation.

Horrendous, frustrating situation.

Back and forth around we go,

We’re not happy.

Does it show?

Mediators’ back upstairs.

Shifting, shifting in my chair.

Waiting.

Waiting …

Wait to hear.

Hold breath, she’s back, looks worse for wear.

My dear lawyer calms me down.

My crying eyes; mascara’d clown.

Angry, hearty, “No. No. No!”

Quieting, listening, onward we go.

Copy the paperwork.

Soon we will know … we hope …

Smiling, laughing, thinking some more.

Love myself,

But the kids I adore.

Now it’s dark, my will has tired;

I’m glad it’s this lawyer that I hired.

Sacrificing is the game.

Nothing will ever be the same.

Eating my feelings, such junk was consumed,

Over heartache and worry brought up in that room.

But we did it, we signed it; relieved that it’s done.

Still, ending a marriage is no kind of fun.

Are you divorced? Ever gone through mediation? Pretty rough, no?

M.

The final frontier of my declining healthy living habits (my resolve not to drink DC) was squashed by the drama that ensued in that room. It was a tiny Diet Coke, really, but went amazingly well with the bag of potato chips from under the lamp over there, and the pockets full of Butterfingers I’d stashed on my way out of the house the morning of mediation.

Judging Youth

When you judge a person for the mistakes of their youth,
You are not highlighting their ill-fated decisions.

What you are doing,
Which is far worse,
Is highlighting your own inhumanity.

Ever felt like this – whether you are the one judging or like you are busily fighting off the inhumanity; wielding off judgement with your mightiest sword? How do find your own humanity in either case? How do you find peace amidst the fray?

M.

CC Skye Pearl Peace Ring $230.00. I’ve been looking for a “divorce” ring. My left hand misses adornment.

What’s in a Name?

In Cheryl Strayed’s amazing memoir Wild she wrote about the moment she signed her divorce papers with the new last name that would finally match her true self.

No longer the person who carried her last name as a child, she was embarking on something new and was certain that her ex-husband’s surname didn’t fit, either.

What’s in a name?

For Cheryl, she ended up finding the perfect moniker in the dictionary. Once signed on the dotted line it became her new identity. Read the book and you see it makes perfect sense.

I’ve decided that I no longer want my domain name to be Running in Mommyland. It doesn’t suit me anymore. I’m not sure it ever really did.

In pursuit of a new name (a pen name so to speak) I configured many an idea into the WordPress domain search box.

The task proved difficult as sharing a name with the Queen of all media and PBS’s talking dog means that all obvious domain choices are taken.

I’ve had a few last names in my life. My birth mother’s name is Osmundson. My father’s name is Feldman. My married name is Merrill. None of them seem to fit so much anymore.

So who am I and what will I be?

I know I will continue to parent and blog and run and try to eat healthily and continue my quest for a happy and healthy life.

I will continue to share Merrill with my kids.

I will always be a mixed bag of emotions and trials and errors.

I will never have all the answers.

But I will find a way to write for a living.

I am willing to do what it takes to make this thing happen; to ensure a good life for my kids and me.

Martha wills it to happen.

Martha Wills?

Decide quick…the domain name is available!

What do you think? Any other ideas?

M.

From an aesthetics perspective, I like how the M in Martha mirrors the W in Wills. And please forgive the sloppy penmanship. There’s a reason my name isn’t Martha Pretty Handwriting.

This Old House

The Maine house is old.

It’s a good house.

A pretty shingled house.

It was designed by the famous architect William Barry in 1888 for his aunt, Mary Cleaves Lord Coleman. Her husband Walter Coleman had bought the two lots it would sit upon as a wedding gift to his bride, and though she died before it was completed, he spent many of his summers in the beach cottage until the end of his life.

Over time there were small changes made to the structure of the house, but to this day, the place looks much as it always did.

Once, a long time ago, my mother said she saw a vision of a woman in the doorway from my bedroom (back when it was her bedroom) heading upstairs to the third floor.

I’m a believer in such things; not sure what really happens when we die, but all things being possible, why wouldn’t old souls walk the floors of this historic old house.

One night last week I put the girls to sleep while the sun was still shining, tip-toeing downstairs for some time to myself; a great feat that I didn’t pass out in the sweet space between my daughters.

I wanted to watch my shows, my Showtime shows, whose exquisite writing allow me to escape in half hour increments.

To my delight, Weeds had begun again after a great big cliff hanger last season that had left me praying for Nancy all winter.

The episode (two of season eight) did not disappoint; my heroine didn’t die from the presumed gunshot to the head, but had come full circle from housewife to weed connoisseur to criminal mastermind and back to sweet Nancy.

The episode followed Nanc through the hospital during her recovery.

Upon the final scene, my heroine pulled and heaved to climb a set of stairs which was the litmus test for her discharge to freedom. Wearing knee socks and silver clogs (part of the reason I love her so much is her eclectic and always interesting shoe choices) she wobbled and grasped, careful in her footing and determined to make it to the top.

The camera held still at her back.

I held my breath and sat perched on the edge of the striped upholstered sofa.

Out of my mouth came the exalted prayer for Nancy’s survival. I heard my voice exclaim with hope and certainty, “Nancy! Don’t fall!”

And in the instant that the words escaped my mouth, before she turned to face the screen, came the smack of a picture frame (an embroidered sign carefully enclosed) that chose to leap from its settled place against the wall.

The splat of the frame as it hit face down on the built-in book shelves, which hold the television, the frame, and a hundred other dodads collected by my mother over the years, left an eerie absolution that I was heard. But heard by whom?

My mouth hung open as Nancy’s smile declared she’d won the battle. She’d made it to the top with determination, ferociousness and strength.

Mom, who happened to be seated to my left looked at me wide-eyed and stunned; the moment becoming powerful in the assemblance of the parts.

In every day there are signs that alert us to our paths.

Maybe if the frame had fallen minutes after the show had ended we would have chalked it up to the wind.

Maybe if it had fallen moments before we would have been irritated by the intrusion to our heightened excitement over our program.

But it didn’t. It fell at such a moment that no doubt could be explicated. It was a sign, literal and metaphysical, just for me.

My faith has been wavering as of late (as my divorce is imminent), but that moment let it be restored.

I am not alone, despite the nights that I feel utterly so.

And in that reminder came a new peace, albeit a temporary peace; an assurance and awakening to the fact that there is something greater than I that will be with me as I travel this path I have chosen.

The sign that fell. It’s message strangely appropriate, too.
The built-in bookshelves, the t.v., the frame and the rest of the inhabitants.
We brought home two enormous balloons from cousin James’ birthday party yesterday. At dinnertime we went looking for the red one that had seemed to disappear. We found it hiding up in the eaves of The Elms. Another sign? Ever since I saw The Red Balloon in college, I always wonder what a red balloon is trying to tell me.
I took this picture of a photo in the bathroom at the Edgecomb tennis club down the road. It wasn’t dated, but I’m guessing it is late 1800’s. I wonder if any of the players ever lived in our house, or visited it at least?
Pink screen door.
This old house. It looks bigger than it is. The inside is quite like many old cottages with small rooms and narrow staircases. A lot of the newer owners renovated cottages in the neighborhood making them bigger and more grand. I loathe the choice. Bigger and fancier is not always better.

Cracked Eggs

I’ve been sitting in front of a blinking cursor for most of the morning writing and trashing and then leaving to surf only to return to try, try again.

The one certainty to this mess of writers block has been the title.

It’s how I feel right about now; surrounded by cracked eggs, tip toeing over them, trying not to slip and fall.

My mother has taken the girls to the town parade and then to the grocery store and (if they are lucky) to the dollar store, too.

I should run. I should do something. Instead I sit here not quite able to do anything.

A decision has been made and my excitement over the future is quelled by the paralyzing nature of such a life turning event.

It’s not like saying that you are going to write a book or run a marathon.

A divorce doesn’t have a finish line (with kids involved) and it’s not something that can be held up with pride like one’s first published novel.

There’s no pride in seeing a divorce sitting upon your shelf.

There’s a strange thing that happens when you know the time has come. When the pain of the past is put away and the anger is gone.

As if fairy magic has poofed it away.

And my inner peace makes the decision less about flailing and proving my rightness.

I did the best I could and I gave it all I had, but it still might take a little time to sweep away the mess, to find my way around the broken shells and stickiness that have up to now caused me so much strife.

There’s beauty is knowing that underneath the goo is a shiny new floor (or in this case, a life).

A shining clean slate upon which new steps will be taken. Big leaps of faith. Less tip toeing. More stomping in the direction of an existence full of possibilities.

And there is this hope.

Hope and love.

Peace and acceptance.

Only now do I understand and for that I am more grateful than I am afraid.

XOM