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in 2004, my then best friend – carrie d. – gave me a birthday card that quoted Hana Rose Zadra: ‘Reach for Your Dreams and They Will Reach for You.’

i loved these words.

they came to me as gentle white lowercase letters on a simple sky-metallic blue, heavy-papered card. inside she wrote a lovely note with good wishes for my next year, and a continued promise of loyalty and friendship, even as times were changing.  i thought about how appropriate her choice since i was about make a cross county move to what felt like the other side of the world to start my second career. i had so much hope and alot of dreams for this next chapter… i want to say that i was blind to expectation because of all the unknowns, but i don’t remember if i truly expected certain things to happen.

sidebar: carrie doesn’t know that i’ve carried this card with me through the 6 moves i’ve experienced since then (1 hotel room, 3 apartments and 2 houses), posting it to each refrigerator and reading it almost every day since. still love the words.

this morning i read the card again and i started thinking about the idea of hope vs. expectation.  in life, it’s so easy to get bogged down by the expectations we set for ourselves. we set these giant goals and then days (or moments) later, we get overwhelmed by the enormity of this big desire; so much so that the steps to get there seem too big to do. then the anxiety sets in and our bodies shut down.  hello again, emotional stagnation. then hello to all the ways our bodies like to express this upset.

i think about what happens at my clinic … when trying to conceive, the desire to have a baby is so strong that we get caught up in lab reports and vitamins and doctor’s plans and we hold fiercely to the plans we set for ourselves when we were 8. (i think our 8-year old dreams wreak havoc in many aspects of our lives actually. i still remember being concerned at 25 when i realized i wouldn’t be married that year as i had originally planned. ) trying to have a baby can sometimes blind us to our true fertility.  we are all born with  seeds of our own fertility – literally, of course, but also figuratively. if we had no ability to be fertile, we wouldn’t grow in any capacity. i think we often forget about what we innately have within us and instead rely mostly on what others define as fertility.  we start to see only those aspects we can measure with a stick. we focus only on the end of the road – the baby – and we don’t look inside to see the individual paths we’re really on.

to hope for something to happen at a journey’s end feels different than the expectation of what will be there at the end.  hope brings us an opening, where an expectation often closes us off to only that one wish.

expecting this one thing fails us by cutting off the rest of our visibility. with hope, we can reach out for our dreams, for what we want our life to be, for a better life, for stronger bodies and minds, for emotional balance, for fertile lives. we can hope with our hearts and eyes open to what life has to offer. hope can calm us and help us feel good about where and who we are.

when we reach out for our dreams and goals with hope instead of expectation, i believe our dreams will reach back for us.

for a long time now, i have been eluding my body. steering clear of physical exercise in all but the most superficial ways, i was definitely not relating to my physical-ness.  a few years ago, my body endured some trauma which changed my body in small but dramatic ways.  the memory and repercussions of those assaults and changes has stayed with me and, established many self-imposed physical boundaries.  those boundaries became barriers, reasons, excuses, and eventually total denial.  i lived in denial of my physical self for so long that i lost flexibility of body and spirit.  (for an ex-dancer that means a lot.) the stiffness was in my limbs, my spine, my hips, my back, my shoulders … it permeated into all my cells, into my brain, and into my heart. i froze up.

i was protecting myself. and then i was hiding. i stayed engaged with mental and emotional trials. content for some time with discontent. unwilling to stretch forward.

there was no profound event. the defrosting has come in waves.  at the beginning of this year, i did a lot of praying.  a lot of begging the universe to undo it and wake me up. a lot of spiritual arguing.  i sought and found many teachers along the way. i asked and listened – still in my head – but slowly applying their wisdom.  sometimes, so slowly that i forgot for awhile …  and then remembered … letting it all settle into my understanding so i could find a way to acceptance.

body is not separate from mind.  what we say to ourselves matters. we manifest what happens to us by the words we choose to hold onto, the story we create around what happens, and the people we surround ourselves with (or isolate ourselves from).

at the end of this year, the ice is melting and i am sitting in a pool of water. .. no longer frozen. i am not yet an ocean of movement, but december is warm.

by eddie vedder:  ‘better days’

i feel part of the universe open up to meet me. my emotions so submerged, broken down to kneel in. once listening, the voices they came.  had to somehow greet myself, read myself.  heard vibrations within my cells … singing ah, ah, ah, ahhhhh.

all

your life

you were only

waiting

for this moment

to arrive.

(sing it with me)

people come to me and tell me all the things they believe are wrong with themselves.  premature ovarian failure, high FSH, i have no desire, i’m too fat, i shouldn’t have said that, i can’t do this, i don’t know how to this, this, or this. i hear them and i hear myself too. everywhere people are talking about, singing about, yelling about what is going wrong. and almost everywhere we look – the same. the 24-hr ‘news’ cycle is really just the bad news.

the more we keep seeing and believing the “bad” things, the more those things will manifest in our present.  when you hold on to the idea that ‘i can’t do this’; the more your brain, your body, your cells, your arms, your heart and your mental reasoning will hold that idea to be fact.

every moment offers an opportunity to be aware of what we tell ourselves.

let’s be kind.

watter ripple

one moment, one new thought

A mountain

Instead of being a mountain, be the valley of the universe so all things will come to you.  –Lao Tzu

i love this quote and have been considering it for awhile now…

i love it because i get the sensation of rest and quietude… of not having to hurry anywhere, of a sunday afternoon baking some wonderful winter delight that perfumes the whole house… i don’t have to be Anywhere.  ah, awesome.

although it wasn’t that way at first… when i first read this quote, i was totally annoyed. it talked at me like a sexist version of a way to find “peace and harmony” saying: honey, you be the girl.  you wait there. Be the valley. wait. it was an order.   i thought: why can’t i be the Mountain? who wants to be the valley? aren’t we doers? i own my own business, my own house… what if i want to make a plan, set a goal, benchmark my points, write a list, visualize it in a powerpoint and share it all with my sister? exhausting, maybe… but my way if i wanted it.

slowly, i started noticing this Mountain-valley issue coming up often in my life.  for instance, my new house literally sits in a valley.  (it’s the only house on my block that is planted like that.  is it a sign?) and my boyfriend poked at me by saying i didn’t have to be the boss at home. and then my family wanted to have the holidays at their house. what’s up with that? christmas has always been mine to host.  everywhere it seemed the world was saying: bend, bend.

this all got me thinking even more (a Mountain issue i’m sure)…  how often am i the Mountain in my relationships? (at this point, i can’t help hearing the line from ‘When Harry Met Sally’ – when Sally is yelling at Harry at their friend’s wedding: “who’s the dog in this relationship? am i the dog? am i the dog?)  am i the Mountain because i am confident in what i want? don’t we all want things to go our way? where won’t i yield? then: what would happen if i let go a little? what if i rode along, so to speak, instead of being the driver?

so i relaxed into it a little … agreed to outings instead of planning them, cooked what the boyfriend wanted instead of what was best for him, stopped insisting on things with my mom, even relaxed my patient schedule a bit. and i played with my sister’s baby. ah, that did it.  he laughs alot and from what i can tell, it’s for no reason at all.  surprisingly, a 5-month old can be an excellent teacher. (who knew?) it was good, this rolling along.  and it doesn’t even hurt. even better, life is easier.

i’m probably still the Mountain in my bones but am learning to be the valley in my heart.  (practice, practice.) i may still be the one that feels i need to gather up the world and plan for all possibilities, and you know, rule it.  but i guess it’s also nice to sit on my deck and watch the trees.

sidebar: i’ve thought about putting a plaque at the top of my driveway naming my new house ‘The Valley’ ( like they do boats or plantations or ranches) but don’t think the meaning will come across in any profound way.  and naming it ‘The Valley of The Universe’ sounds a little pretentious and i don’t want to freak out my neighbors.

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