Posts Tagged With: friendship

be aware

I haven’t been writing much.
I could explain why, (school, feeling puny, environmental changes, emotional stuff) but that’s just kind of making excuses that simply boil down to: I haven’t had it in me.
I spend more time attempting to write than actually writing. I spend time considering what I’d like to write and paying attention to why I’m not writing.
It’s an interesting place to be. It’s also troubling. I truly enjoy writing. But can’t seem to make it happen. Not even in my journal. I’m adrift in a sea of paper, pencils, pens, and this laptop. (It makes for a crap visual when I try to write it out, but it was working in my head.)
Anyway, that’s were I am at the moment.

This morning I received this:

I read them several times before I responded. I needed to swim around in her words before I did anything else. For a solid half hour this is what I did.
She had it in her heart, she wanted me to know.
She said she felt compelled to tell me. That’s the word she used, compelled.
She did not know that I needed to read those words today. She just knew she needed to tell me.

How many of us each day think, Oh, I should tell so-and-so something-or-other and it’s only a passing thought? How many of us actually tell so-and-so the something-or-other?
Simply living life gets in the way. That happens to every one of us.
But when we stop for a moment, we can pay attention those little things that are so important in life.
One simple act of kindness can start the most complex change.
Now, this particular act of kindness may not change the world, but it created ripples in me. And that’s all it takes.

Sally shared with me that she was aware. That act of love is a precious and powerful gift. I am at once comforted and inspired by her love.

Being aware.
What a beautiful act of love.
Sharing your awareness.
What a beautiful act of kindness.

And, check it out!
I’m writing.

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Categories: love, me | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

faith in humanity renewed

Got a text this morning.

And we meet at our regular joint about half an hour later.

Then she says, “I need shallots and a romper, let’s go to Target!”
Um…yeah!

Only instead of going to Target, we go to TJ Maxx. It’s next to Target, and I know they have loads of rompers, because the girls got a couple while they were here in June.
After some successful (and not so successful) trying on, she found exactly what she was looking for. I found a new Kate Spade bag for $80 and we headed to the check out.
After a quick moment of debate, I decided I wanted a Coke. (It’s been a while since I had one, and to be quite honest, I was the teeniest bit hungover this morning.)
While Nora was checking out I ran to the cooler to grab a cold bottle of fizzy caffeinated goodness and the damnedest thing happened.
My ring got caught in the cooling fan in the top of the machine and ripped the diamond out of the setting!

Y’all!
THIS IS NOT A DRILL!

(I wear the wedding ring my mother wore while she was pregnant with me, and more recently, I’ve been wearing YBW’s mom’s rings. She was very specific that YBW should have them so he could give them to me. It brings us both joy that I wear them together.)

I reached into the cooler, and by sheer dumb luck the ring just happened to get caught in the fan. When I pulled my hand out, the setting was twisted and there was no diamond!

Let me tell you a little something about the state of the world. (at least where I live)
The folks in line behind us got involved, helping remove the sodas from the cooler, helping check under the racks and machine.
One lady checked out and came back to me with a shiny penny in her hand. “This is a lucky penny to help find your diamond.”
Another woman stayed with us as the store manager started trying to disassemble the machine. Yet another woman suggested we pray to St Anthony and assured me she would.
An employee who was meant to leave work at 3:30 stayed all afternoon while we tried to find it.
The assistant manager called Coca Cola to report the incident, stressing that the ‘customer was staying’ in the store until the repair person could arrive.

Nora had an appointment in Alexandria. She needed to leave by 4:00. (She’s a vet, and had a house call.) Of course we’d come together in my car, leaving her’s at the breakfast joint. So she had to take my car back to her car, drop off my key at her house before she could go euthanize some poor family’s animal!
She even arranged for her husband to come get me if YBW couldn’t.

Well, after she left, I called YBW and explained what happened. All I could think was how much I’d let him down, wrecking his mom’s ring that she, and he, wanted me to have.
Bless him, he left work and came straight to the store. He and I worked with the store manager’s tools to take apart the top of the machine and when I heard him say, “Here it is!” I nearly cried!

Here’s what I really want to say.
The actions of the employees and other customers renewed my faith in humanity. The kindness shown to me today was truly overwhelming!
I was panicked.
I was sad.
I was anxious.
Through all of that, my dear friend doggedly worked to help solve this problem. Strangers were on their hands and knees in a retail store. I received so much affection, and positive energy, and physical help from people I do not know, and will most likely never see again.
The sweet woman that didn’t leave the store until I found the diamond had tears of joy in her eyes. I said, “I’m going to hug you!” and she squeezed me tightly!

Y’all, there is real goodness in this world. There is real kindness in this world. The average human is more kind than one might imagine. Today that kindness surrounded and lifted me up. I know I’ll never be able to thank those people personally, or tell them I found the diamond. But my gratitude is out in the world and my intention is that it finds it’s way to them.
I have the phone number for the district manager so I can call and share my experience. I want someone to know what kind and helpful employees there are at that particular store.
I’m grateful for Nora. She is spectacularly calm in a crisis. She’s got a serious Rosie the Riveter ‘We Can Do It!’ spirit about her. God love her, she did not want to leave me there alone waiting for the repair person, but she had no choice. She made the situation bearable simply by being in it with me!
I’m grateful that my precious husband came and helped without being frustrated, or angry, or judgmental. He knew instinctively where I was emotionally and said, “I want to make this better for you.” I had a little ‘merp’ moment and replied, “I want to make this better for you!”
I felt like I let him down. I know it was a freak accident. He knows it was a freak accident. But I honestly felt like I let him down. Like I couldn’t be trusted with his mother’s ring. That his daddy gave her, and she wore for fifty years. And I have it for a few months and this happens!?!
I know he doesn’t think of it this way, but I sure as hell did.

For now, the rings and the diamond are in a zip baggie waiting to go to the jeweler’s.

I’ll be in Falls Church on Monday to see the acupuncturist, he’s literally right down the street from the jewelry store. I wanted to have them adjust the size a bit anyway, so now it’ll be a twofer.

Was it St Anthony?
Was it that penny really lucky?
I don’t know, but I will hold on to the penny, and say a quick ‘thank you’ to Anthony just in case.

I believe in people a little more after today.
I believe there is kindness in each of us, and if we’re very fortunate, we will be presented with an opportunity to express it.
My heart is a little lighter today.
My cup runneth over.
Today, my life was made better by the kindness of strangers.
There is a lesson here for each and every one of us.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

herbs, champagne, and a tiara

I woke to fairly heavy rain Sunday morning. And that means these herbs sitting on the porch for nearly two weeks waiting to be planted will simply have to wait another day. We were at the garden center the day before YBW’s mom went into hospital. Our shift in focus was unexpected but necessary, and I’ve been watering the herbs each day in hopes of keeping them happy until they can move to the big containers.

These plants are lemony scented geraniums, lemon balm, lemon grass, basil, lavender, rosemary, and lemon thyme. Used together, they’re meant to deter mosquitoes.
Now if only there was something to scare off the pollen…

Thing G told me he saw on the news we’re having the worst pollen season in several years.
Y’all, I believe it. I’ve not had allergy symptoms this severe since I moved from Virginia to South Carolina twelve years ago. Even though all the furniture and rugs are set up on the porch, it’s nearly unbearable to go out there for all the oak pollen. So while I’m eager to engage in a little porch life, looks like that will wait a bit longer.

I’m hopeful the rain will take care of that today, and I’ll be able to get out there later on this week to do a little planting.
But not tomorrow, because International Week of the Birthday continues with going to see The Kills at The Lincoln Theatre.

Yesterday on my actual birthday, I had breakfast at my favorite little dump diner.
When we returned home, I put on my tiara.

Spent the day watching baseball, and drinking obscene amounts of champagne with YBW, and Meredith and Beau’s Mommy and Daddy. We ate greek food and angel food cake with berries and homemade whipped cream.
I was truly celebrated!
This Mother’s Day I’ve spoken to Thing 1 and received texts and social media posts from Thing 2. I suspect she’ll call at the end of the day like she did yesterday.
YBW and I were planning to go see Infinity War again, but it turns out I napped and woke hungry. So now, I’m going to find him and make a dinner plan.

This late spring pollen won’t be around forever, and soon I’ll get those herbs planted and be ready to porch life my ass off!
I can hardly wait!

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our revels now are ended

My precious husband has joined me in the least cool club on the planet.
The Orphan Club.
We are adult children with no living parents.
Please send him healing love.

YBW’s darling mother died quietly in her sleep Wednesday afternoon. She was 87 and lived a life full of love and joy. In her last few years, she suffered with CHF (congestive heart failure) and her health declined rapidly in the last six weeks.

Today we went about dealing with the business of death. YBW, his brother and his wife, and I met with the funeral director and cemetery personnel. I used my mad organizational and list making skills to plan and coordinate. It’s my way of being helpful.

Tomorrow is YBW’s birthday.
We’re keeping our plans for dinner with friends in the evening, and celebrating with his boys Saturday afternoon. He deserves to be celebrated in the midst of our grief.

He is brave and strong, even though he doesn’t feel like he is. I watch him. I see what he experiences written on his face, in his body language. He is exhausted. He is anxious. But he is grounded in the love of friends and family. And he is grounded by me.

Our family is feeling quiet in our grief, but the love coming at us is truly overwhelming in the most beautiful way.

I am reminded of Prospero’s words in The Tempest:

You do look, my son, in a moved sort,
As if you were dismayed. Be cheerful, sir.
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.
Yes, indeed.

Categories: love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sundance knows all the things

Sundance sent me a package late last week.

The inside of the card says, ‘add vodka and soda and call it a day’.
That is so us.

She knows I’ve been struggling emotionally. So she sent a little something to say, “You got this.” and “I love you.” all in one.
How kind of her.
I look at that little red haired girl on the book and smile. She’s a little bad ass for sure!
Somewhere inside me is that little warrior goddess. The one that won’t take shit off anybody. The one that really does “got this”. She must be taking a nap or something, because she doesn’t seem to be showing up of late.
I wonder if I need to be all, “WAKE UP!!” or if I need to continue to be patient and know I’ll come out the other side of this low point when I’m meant to.

I have no choice but to wait and see.
I’m so tired of feeling this way.
YBW asks me, “How are you feeling today, baby?”
It would be lovely to respond with something other than, “I’m me.”

But I am me.
I’m depressed.
I am also a bad ass warrior goddess.

Sundance knows this with certainty.
She’s my anam cara. My soul friend. My soul sister. She knows all the things.
I am truly blessed.

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love and sadness deep in my bones

When there occurs a misunderstanding big enough to end a friendship, your initial reaction could quite possibly be to blame the other party. As far as I can tell, this is perfectly normal human behavior. You’re hurt. You’re sad. You’re confused. But then you’re angry.
For me, anger jumps in to protect sadness. I suspect that’s a fairly common phenomenon.
Blaming begins because anger is irrational. Anger is trying to make sadness feel better, so it lashes out. Well, let me assure you, that lashing out benefits no one.
Anger can turn a situation that’s tricky, but possibly repairable, into a situation that there is no coming back from.

In my experience, no matter how close a friendship, there is a line of truth you simply cannot cross. And that’s when you know that particular truth will create a shift in the other person.
Of course, we all long to believe if our friendships are close enough…that if you’re so close you’re “friends as family” there is nothing that cannot pass between you.
I’m here to tell you, watch what you say. Because you can wound deeply without knowledge. You can wound deeply without intent.

I recently experienced this scenario. And truthfully, it’s just a big bag of suck.
In a half-assed attempt to explain one of my long and delicate thought processes, I wounded a friend.
Without intent, my words were hurtful.
I believe I wounded his pride.
Pride is a double edged sword, too much or not enough can sometimes kill you…or others…

Each of us became frustrated. Then reactive.
There was no being mindful in this conversation.
I know the words “behaving like a petulant child” were involved…
When the conversation ended abruptly, we retreated to our corners to lick our wounds.
I honestly don’t remember who reached out first to begin the rebuild.
But after that, in true Robynbird fashion, I wrote a long and emotional email in which I completely over-explained my point of view.
To say it went over like a lead Zeppelin is…well…the truth. I have a tendency to overthink and overtalk my thoughts and feelings…normally my friend can sort through my words to extract the important information. But not this time.
Apparently, I triggered a hot button in him and anger came back via email. Blaming and (possibly deliberately) hurtful words on the screen caused two simultaneous reactions in me.
My hackles went up and I felt compelled to argue point for point. (and) I knew in my gut it was time to break the cycle.

This may seem terribly dramatic, to talk about a friendship this way. But here’s the thing, it was a terribly dramatic friendship. When I say “terribly dramatic”, I mean it this way.
We became friends with a quickness out of the clear blue. Differences in gender, culture, generation, time, and distance held no meaning. We were as close as siblings. (Not the ones you grow up with, but the ones you get to choose in your adult life.) We talked each other through some seriously tricky situations, and loved without question. If you’re fortunate enough to have this kind of loving friendship with a person of the opposite gender, you’re blessed beyond belief. That other point of view is invaluable.

I sat with my dueling reactions for a while before I moved forward.
When I chose to act, I was mindful. I used “I statements”. I expressed my love and gratitude for everything our friendship gave me. I wished him well.
I send only love and light to him. I’m hopeful he’s doing the same for me.

Can our friendship be healed from the hurt caused by this misunderstanding and our ridiculous reactions?
I honestly don’t know.
I do know this:
I have sadness deep in my bones.
But I also have love.

Categories: loss, me | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

think of a special wish

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My last night in Charleston, we opened the wish paper Jessica bought for me.
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How cute is this!?! It even came with it’s own little pencil for us to write our wishes.
“Think of a special wish.”

We went through the package and instructions a couple times to make sure we knew what we were doing.
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So pretty much you write a wish on the red tissue paper then wad it up into a ball before smoothing it out into a little funnel.
We’ve got this!

Jessica wrote her wish.
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And I wrote my wish.
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“Think of special wish.”
It came to me like lightning, the wish I would make. A wish for someone I love with a ferocity like no other.
After we wrote our wishes we made teeny wads out of the red tissue paper. And then, we took them onto the porch and turned them into these chimney stacks.
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The tissue paper flew and our wishes were released into the world and the ashes came resting back down near where they started.
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all it takes is a willingness

I got an email from my friend Jack yesterday. And while it said many things, this was the sentence that struck a chord in me.

Sometimes all it takes is a willingness to make a beginning.

I love the idea of this!
One must be willing before there can be a beginning.
It seems so obvious. But how many of us really have a willingness before we think to tackle a new…anything?

Some of us are resistant to change, that means a new beginning is something that causes concern. Some of us are quick to decide in favor of a new beginning, that means occasionally going off half-cocked. But, it seems to me the trick to truly beginning a new beginning is to have a real willingness to actually begin.
That willingness is what aids the concerned.
That willingness saves the eager from a misstep.
That willingness is what might even change your world.

All it takes is a willingness to make a new beginning.
This moved me so, and I’m going to ponder this for a while.
I encourage you to do the same.

My friend Jack is using his willingness to make new beginnings for his life.
How exciting!
To him I say, “Bon chance mon ami!”
To everyone else, I say, “Let’s consider this willingness, and what it can do.”

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

specific example of love and strength

I’ve known Catherine since I was eighteen years old. We developed a deep and everlasting friendship. She was a bridesmaid in my first wedding. She has woken up at my home on Christmas morning almost as many times as Thing 1 and Thing 2. She would have been the one to raise my children had something happened to me and their father.
We know each other’s families, have been there for each other through thick and thin. Laughed and cried together, and loved like crazy.
We sometimes go months without speaking, but that never matters. We simply pick right back up where we left off as though a moment hasn’t passed. So when I got a message from her Thursday that said, “Bob passed away this morning, will you please come to the service with me?” My only answer was, “Of course I will!”

Catherine was married to Bob for twenty years. They’d been married a year or two when I met her. They were a curious couple, but that old adage about opposites attracting seemed truly embodied in these two. The girls said their names almost as one long name: “CafferineandBob”. To this day, if I say something to one or the other of them about Catherine, they’ll say, “Cafferine Catherine?” To which I smile and reply, “Yes, Cafferine Catherine.”
As I say, they were happily married, and they suited each other. And they were an important part of our life.
But one day twelve or thirteen years ago, Bob disappeared. I mean that literally. He just left. No explanation. No information. He literally disappeared off the face of the earth. Left Catherine holding the bag of their life. She suffered from the unanswered questions. She suffered with the pain of loss. She suffered doubt and confusion. She suffered from the barrage of questions coming at her that she simply couldn’t answer. Then she suffered financially as folks came out of the woodwork to collect on random Bob debts. She was blessed to have good people around her. She suffered, but she had love and support to keep her safe and sane.
What that man did to her was inexcusable. I could never accept his behavior. I never forgave him for what he did to her. He had no idea what she went through. That woman is made of the toughest stuff. She moved forward in grace and gained strength from that pain, but never got hard. She has a deep and all-encompassing love inside her.

Then, a couple of years ago Bob showed back up. He’d been on a soul searching journey. He’d suffered great pain and loss and didn’t know how to deal so he simply disappeared.
He showed back up on the arm of the widow of his recently deceased cousin announcing they were to be married and wanting his things.
Catherine provided his belongings and promptly told them to…well, I’ll just say she bid them adieu.

She had real love.
She had real pain.

Bob was sick with cancer and died quietly at home Thursday morning.
Catherine not only went to his funeral, she spoke eloquently about love and life and peace. I have always been proud to call her my friend. But in that moment, standing in the tiny cemetery in the warm sun and cool breeze, I was witness to another specific example of the love and strength inside Catherine.
She is and extraordinary woman. How fortunate for me that we love each other.

Categories: death, loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

pretending the bed is a raft

I once had this book called Pretending the Bed is a Raft. It’s a collection of short stories written by Nanci Kincaid. I remember the stories were beautifully written but devastatingly sad. I’m not sure what happened to that book. A quick scan of my shelves and I don’t see it. It may have gone to the used bookstore during one of my annual book purges.
What I have to say isn’t really about the book anyway. It’s about the title.

Pretending the bed is a raft.
I love this concept! Let’s pretend the bed is a raft.
I feel like it’s a game of make believe we might have played when Thing 1 and Thing 2 were little. They would have wanted to be pirates on that bed raft. They would have had us all dressed up with scarves and eye patches and Thing 1 would have wanted to be the captain, but Thing 2 probably would have been calling the shots. I would have been the dutiful first mate, responsible for the safety of the crew while the captain(s) lead us into death or glory. I can hear Thing 2 in her ‘little old man’ voice saying, “Storms a-brewin!”

Pretending the bed is a raft.
I feel like I’ve done this my entire life, only I never used that phrase until I’d seen this book. It stated simply the concept I’ve always understood.
With absolute certainty, my most fundamental belief is: When the going gets tough, get in your bed.

I’m a big fan of getting in my bed when I’m feeling…well, anything actually. I mean, obviously when I’m tired. But, I’m thinking about all the other things I feel. Emotional exhaustion, frustration, or illness. These could all be considered fancy words for depression. Some people use ice cream. I use my pillows. Because nothing comforts me like my bed.
Loneliness and heartache send me straight to my bed.
When I’m craving peace and quiet. If I’m overwhelmed or overjoyed, I take to the comfort of my bed.
That bed is my raft in the seas of all feeling.

My perfect bed is a dark wood farmhouse canopy, made with the most crisp white cotton known to man. This bed is my cocoon. I bought it to keep me safe the first time I ever lived alone. Newly separated, children part time at my home, part time at their father’s, I knew I would need a haven that made me feel safe and sound.
This bed carried me safely through the feeling seas for many years.
Sweet Izzie kitty, so grouchy with everyone but me. She would curl up next to me in that bed and her soft purring would match my breathing and we’d sleep happily together.
My girls snuggling in that cocoon with me. Thing 2 coming in every night for months with her pillow and sleeping with me. Thing 1 didn’t sleep with me that often, she’s an active sleeper, making full use of her bed. But when she came for a snuggle it would be an event.

YBW was invited into my cocoon.
He invited me into his bed, he named it serenity.
The first time I came here, we went to bed and he told me to close my eyes…when I opened them there were stars all over the ceiling. He told me on the phone that when I came to his home, I would sleep in serenity in a sea of stars. He made that happen for me. We could be together in the cocoon or in serenity and it was lovely.

When I moved here, the cocoon moved to the guest room.
We bought new mattress and foundation and I began to sleep full time in his bed. I’d lived here for almost a year when we had a little mishap and broke the bed. I fell in love with a bed and took him to see it. He agreed and the new bed came home to our room. The bed we share is a beautiful dark wood, with a very high headboard and drawers in the footboard. It is made with crisp white bedding.

When I’m in need of pretending the bed is a raft, I don’t often take to the bed I share with YBW. I’ll go to the cocoon. It’s not that that I don’t feel comfortable or safe in serenity. It’s just different. I think it’s tricky when you share a bed with someone. That bed is our shared space. Where we have conversations. Where we make love. Where we occasionally keep the other awake. The bed is lovely, especially when properly made, but it’s not a bed I’m inclined to pretend is a raft. I think it’s because it doesn’t fully belong to me.

In the old days, my bed was a place where everyone just kind of piled in and we hung out. Small children all in it together with story books or soft toys. Grown up girls doing each other’s make up. Sometimes, if they were very lucky, little girls having their make up done. It was a place for snuggles and giggles and opening birthday gifts first thing in the morning. It was a place to simply be. And to feel loved.

My sister in law’s bed is like that too. We all just go in there and pile up on the bed. Sometimes the TV is on. Sometimes there are books or computers or tablets or smartphones. Sometimes we just all get in and talk and talk. Kids, grown ups, boys, girls. It doesn’t matter. We get in her bed and without even knowing it, pretend it’s a raft. It is one of those rare places I feel nurtured without having to do the nurturing.

When my heart was freshly broken, I came to be with Sundance. Her sweet husband went to sleep elsewhere in the house so I could sleep in bed with Sundance. She helped me heal as we talked quietly in her bed. We poured each other into that bed after we’d had way too much to drink. Her bed was a raft that I didn’t have to be in alone at the lowest point in my life.

I have a friend who has the unbreakable rule that no one is allowed in his home. He never shares his bed. I sometimes wonder if he feels like his bed is a raft in a safe way, of if it’s a raft in which he drifts, lost at sea. I respect the desire for privacy. For boundaries. No one in your sacred space ensures safety, but it seems to me a lonely life.

Pretending the bed is a raft means something different to each of us. Our bed means something different to each of us.
Your bed can be a haven. Or your bed can be the place where you live your life. Your bed can be a playground for children. Or a sexual playground for adults. Your bed is a place to rest your weary head.
You can share your bed or choose not to share it.
The bed I share with YBW is the place for us to be together.
But, my bed is a sacred place. The place I feel safe and sound. It is the raft on the feeling sea.
And even though it’s now the beautiful and comfortable place for our guests to lay their heads, it will always be my cocoon. My space.
If you’ve been invited into that bed, know how much you are loved.

Categories: around the house, love, me, on being a mom, peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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Living In the Sweet Spot

"You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present." Jan Glidewell

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