Saturday, March 22, 2014

Winter turns to me a whole new perspective.

It's officially Spring!!

This winter in New York City has been long, cold, and truly has challenged my ability to "enjoy each moment." Especially moments where your face feels so cold that it might fall off; or during moments where you spend hours clearing the snow around your car, get stuck in the ice, and then spend more hours trying to find a parking spot later that night. Yes. I'm talking real refinement here. These experiences, day after day, really do challenge one to remain patient, calm, and joyful.

"Oh, Bianca." (That's me talking to myself) "It's really not that serious. At least you HAVE a car." 

Yes; and herein lies my constant inward battle of keeping perspective.

(A photo I took while trying to walk to work in January)

I was speaking with a friend the other day who is from Jamaica. We were drawing parallels to the weather and life (oh, there are so many!). She mentioned to me that in Jamaica, you never hear anyone say, "It's a nice day." She had never heard people say that until she moved to New York.

When she got here, if the weather was between about 55 and 85 degrees, she would hear people comment on what a "nice day" it was. She initially thought it was a bit odd. That was, at least, until she experienced her first winter here. After many many days of cold, bone chilling weather, her perspective completely changed.

Then my friend made this observation, "Isn't it interesting how those dark and cold days really do deepen our understanding, perspective and appreciation for the 'nice days'?" In Jamaica, nearly every day the weather is pretty comfortable (or at least in comparison to a New York City winter). Therefore, it would make sense that people who live there need not comment on it being a 'nice day' because nearly every day would be considered a 'nice day.'

So, my friend and I came to the conclusion that although we are both eager for this winter to be over, we also feel it necessary to acknowledge that this winter has deepened our perspective and understanding. Now, we can truly appreciate 'nice days' in ways that we wouldn't be able to otherwise.

It's all about perspective. 

My aunt recently posted something on her Facebook page that I read and have thought about quite a bit since. I know there are a lot of things to sort through when looking at Facebook, but this is really worth reading. Here is what she posted:

An ageing master grew tired of his apprentice’s complaints. One morning, he sent him to get some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master told him to mix a handful of salt in a glass of water and then drink it.

“How does it taste?” the master asked.

“Bitter,” said the apprentice.

The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, “Now drink from the lake.”

As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked, “How does it taste?”

“Fresh,” remarked the apprentice.

“Do you taste the salt?” asked the master.

“No,” said the young man. At this the master sat beside this serious young man, and explained softly,

“The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains exactly the same. However, the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things. Stop being a glass. Become a lake.”

~ Meditation Masters  


How truly profound. I've been thinking about how important it is for me to see things in that bigger "lake-like" perspective. When I narrow in on all the things that aren't going my way (cold weather, slipping on ice, not being able to find a parking spot, etc.), my cup of water gets smaller and smaller...or in other words, my perspective gets smaller.

However, I've also been learning that it is so important to still know what the salt and bitter tastes like. That deepens my appreciation and understanding for the sweet.

It seems contradicting. That's what I'm coming to find out about so many things! For me, it's been finding that balance between these oppositions. I'm learning how to let myself feel the bitter, honor it, acknowledge it, not feel "bad" about it, but just experience it, breathe through it, and maybe even cry about it. Then, the challenge is to not get stuck there. The challenge is to take that salt, taste it, and then put it in the lake and allow it to give you new and deeper perspective...allow it to help you see and appreciate 'nice days.'

Now I can truly say, "Today is a nice day," because I know from experience. :)

I'm going to go enjoy it now. I hope you are too!

With all my heart,


Friday, March 7, 2014

Just putting it out there...

I don't even know where to begin.

I have had this pull to write on my blog for months now. For some reason, I've neglected it...maybe for fear of what I might say. So, to anyone out there who's wondering where I am...please forgive me.

My 6th grade teacher taught us Newton's law of motion, which I now have discovered applies to all aspects of life. "An object in motion tends to stay in motion and an object at rest tends to stay at rest." That's the best excuse I can come up with I guess. I've been at rest...and it's been much harder than I had thought it would be to get back into motion again.

I've been just taking each day, one day at a time. Somehow, all those days have added up to several years, and I'm not sure how that happened. Tonight, I decided to finally sort through a pile of medical bills, receipts, doctor's instructions, insurance claims, and other random pieces of paper that are related to infertility treatments. My heart has felt sad today. I think it's a combination of hormones that are still pumping through my veins, and also just a realization, and acceptance perhaps, that this is my life.

I think years ago, when I started down this path, I never imagined it would become such a huge part of my life, and for so long! That may even be why I never organized these papers until now. Perhaps there was a part of me that didn't want to acknowledge that this was going to be my life...and for years to come. Maybe I was hoping this would be a quick one time thing...with no filing necessary. However, as I enter my third year of these treatments, I realize that I can't just toss these papers into a pile anymore without wanting to pull my hair out.

Tonight, after I finished sorting this pile of medical mess, I have to admit, I felt so good. Organizing papers is never fun initially, but when you actually make it through the process, it's hard to look at your work and not smile. "Someday this will all be behind me," I thought to myself as I looked at this bulging file folder of papers. "I mean, eventually I'll be like 50 years old, and babies and having children will not be what weighs on my mind and heart the way that it does now. At least I hope so!" I've been trying to catch myself when I say or think things like that. Whenever I try to wish time would move faster, or could somehow's a red flag to me that I am not living in the present. I try to remind myself that there is joy in now. But some days, it's just a little harder to find that and really feel it?

I took a moment to post a photo on Instagram of my pride and joy from tonight (the completed file folder of course). This obviously lead me to scrolling down the screen in order to catch up on what the rest of the world was doing tonight. I would stop and glance at the photos of blurry children bouncing on beds, and babies passed out from a hard days play. This always brings an odd sensation of joy mixed with a sting of yearning. The silence of our little one bedroom apartment suddenly seems deafening and without even realizing what is happening, I find tears streaming down my face before I can do anything to stop them.

I'm listening to a playlist that I entitled "Healing" because that's the kind of mood I'm in. I've listened to this playlist more than any other over the course of this year. There is a song on this playlist that a dear friend sent me last year after my miscarriage. It's by the Wallin' Jenny's and it's called "You are Here." The words haunt me because they are so true and so beautifully put.

You wonder why you wonder when
You wonder how now and then
How you became who you’ve become

You are here
And yet you dream of being there
Of being where you think the good life has begun

Every darkened hallway
Every fallen dream
Every battle lost and
Every shadow in between
Will bring you to your knees and
Closer to the reason

And there’s no making cases
For getting out or trading places
And there’s no turning back
No you are here

Um, yeah. Could those lyrics be any more perfect?! Seriously. I also love the last verse...

And every sign of love
Every seed that’s growing
Every sweet surrender
To that silent knowing
Will bring you to your knees and
Closer to the reason

Yes. Seeds are growing...both literally and spiritually. I am so grateful for that. Even if they are still struggling to make their way to the surface, they are under there, somewhere. I just know it.

With all my heart,