[belated] canada day.

Pretty sure there are few better ways to spend Canada Day… Than this.
On the water, on the shore, in a kayak. 

http://i0.wp.com/farm8.staticflickr.com/7314/28037829076_da730ee494.jpg?resize=500%2C375&ssl=1

maybe i could break clean, yeah, maybe i could break clean

when i’m on your shore again, i can fear the ocean
i can feel your open arms, like pure emotion
i’m finally free again, like my own explosion
when i’m on your shore again […]
well, it’s an abstract thought, 
but i’ve been thinking nonstop
bout the fact that my body’s made most out of raindrops…
with a saltwater heart,

oh maybe i could wash clean… all my landlocked dreams
yeah, maybe i could believe. 

saltwater heart, switchfoot

http://i2.wp.com/farm8.staticflickr.com/7288/28037824786_0ce8882034.jpg?resize=375%2C500&ssl=1

Moments of peace, calm, before what is proving to launch into a hectic week. Even if on the freshwater, not the saltwater. 
Embrace it.
Embrace this.

This beautiful country.
And the freedom that I have to allow me this chaotic, beautiful life.

A call to be still. 

soundtracking 2015 – march through july.

Back in February, I summarized the 2015 soundtrack so far. In reality, I didn’t add another new song until May—probably because other than travel, March was much a void, and in April I found more work and felt more of a semblance of normalcy—even just saying you have proper work plays into that—and as I’ll get into later, the stories for me happen in transition. I headed to Toronto at the end of April for goalball nationals, my first competitive coaching gig, and then returned in May for Clearing the Air. Then, it was off to Denver

My Disease – A Skylit Drive.

awaken to the eyes of glazed humor
the haze in my somber eyes it burns so cold,
the things you wish you could know

What I thought on those return flights from Toronto and Denver was this: Chronic disease sucks—the community that can arise from it, though, makes it better. If I didn’t have asthma, didn’t candidly share that experience, I’d be a much different person today—for better or worse. And, there’s humour in it that only “sick people” get, and a world that only we understand.

as he enters into the world,
as a ghost
the terror inflicted scrapes your bones
let him hold you close.

[Look… where… over there… fear me]
oh i see what you mean, step too close
see what i see—construct desire
the fine line between disease and what i need

it’s exactly what it seems
the horror i love, the evil that beats inside me:
it’s called my disease.

All of the above: it’s a blessing and a curse. I may have friends and adventures gained from having messed up lungs and other sorts of shenanigans going on in my body, but I still face the reality that everybody with chronic disease does every day. I don’t know what that day will bring, I don’t know what the next hour will bring. Even when my health is stable, there’s still the lurking thought of when will the stability end? It’s not encompassing, but it’s still there. The community of people, the friends I’ve made, makes that tolerable—but even in the good, the amazing, there’s still a kind of evil inside my body that I have to make a commitment everyday to coexist with so that I can continue to own it. A choice so that “evil” does not crawl into my mind and make me more cynical than I already may be somedays, and more importantly, keeps me seeing my circumstance for what it is, rather than what it could be tomorrow. I somehow got a reputation for positivity, and damn it, I’ll keep trying. While everything I chronicle here is the truth, like I said in 2013, there are still “stories I will never tell”, or I will never tell in as much detail as maybe they deserve–there are some stories I’d rather forget—even though I can’t.

The possibility to do good, why the travel opportunities existed to an extent, counterbalances some of that. But it doesn’t make the other stuff suck any less. 
 

Progress – MUTEMATH.

Progress was added to the soundtrack in about July, but really encapsulated April through August well. Work stuff started happening: I got a job with Tennis Manitoba (thanks for the recommendation, Sam!), as well as a more formal respite care provider position

pulling your confidence through
some courage is well overdue
i believe solely in all your promise
why waste a second in doubt
you could be helping out
keeping your head in the clear

I finally felt unstuck for a bit—looking for work is kind of depressing until stuff falls into place. Which can take forever.

[…] every moment of time’s just an answer to find
what you’re here for, what you breathe for
what you wake for, what you bleed for.

Certain things stick with you, no matter what, so every time I hear this song, I think of the above lyric, specifically “[…] just an answer to find […] what you bleed for”, and gently (usually) flash back to the whole situation of most of 2013, and, while maybe I haven’t figured out that whole effing scene, at least I can see how far I’ve come.

everyone’s counting on you
say for yourself what to do
life is a card that you lay down sometimes
to search for the best way of all
is finding the best way to fall
keeping your head in the clear

Sometimes I feel like I don’t know what direction I’m going. I wrote before that I was okay with this—now, I feel like I’m finding the best way to float, not necessarily to fall. Falling means taking risk, at least, means doing something—floating just seems passive. And I’ll admit it: some of the progress has been passive.

every moment of time’s just an answer to find
what you’re here for, what you breathe for
what you wake for, what you bleed for.
what you hope for, what you live for,
what you’re here for, what you breathe for
what you live for,
what you’re here for, what you bleed for
what you live for…

Every minute I’m given is another minute to figure it out; another moment to make a choice to be mindful of even the most passive of things… 

music, “jesus music” and not checking out

On Tuesday I wrote this bullet point:

I focused harder on the words in the music I was listening to […]

I have since not really relented on that point. Which I really, really enjoy.

It’s hard to do consistently: on a bus, in a store, walking and trying to be semi-alert so as to not be hit by cars while crossing streets. But, more often than not, I am trying to make this a more intentional thing. Let the music that’s in my ears so much of each day actually be a thing to check in to, not check out through.

Related, because of my friend Drew tweeting about Jon Foreman’s Shadows, I bought three CDs on Amazon tonight.

albums

I’m always excited about music. But It’s been awhile since I felt like this about it. I like that. I like the feeling of wanting to respond to music—be present with it instead of it just being a thing. And, while I got pissed off at the Casting Crowns acoustic album I have (to the point that I Facebooked a friend asking if she wanted it, and then someone else said they’d take it—really), I’m even listening to what I used to refer to as Jesus music again [and even the legit type, like worship music. Like JESUS CULTURE. One Thing Remains—after Jenny and Annie sang it on the livestream the other night]. Proper Jesus music.). The closest I’d gotten to that the last little while was maybe Flyleaf. And not even always Flyleaf. Last weekend on the way to the cabin, though, I was pretty sunk into the backseat when Great Love came on in my earphones. And, no matter how I’m feeling, that’s a song I find really hard to skip, because it always makes me want to open my arms and jump and twirl and just… appreciate God. (Even if maybe He is the only one keeping up with our conversations and I am mostly ignoring Him and yes I am trying to get better at that and also no I am not really interested in church at the time being unless that is ALL MUSIC. Is that a thing?) Even caught of guard, in the backseat as dusk just began to fade in, a honest-to-goodness shiver rose up my back and I was quickly almost in tears—this song does that to me repeatedly. Even putting it here, I had to listen to it once so I could type it, and two more times so I could feel it.

great Love setting the world on fire,
i am in awe of who You are,
and it’s Your love i’m living for

can’t you feel, i’m drawing near,
the place that broke your heart,
cut up and scarred.
the dawn is breaking,
my body’s shaking.
oh, the secret memories you keep
ignoring so that you can sleep.
i’m facing what you won’t tonight
the dawn is breaking,
my body’s shaking.

great Love, setting the world on fire
i am in awe of who You are,
and it’s Your love i’m living for
great Love that woke me up inside
You are the One i’m looking for,
and i am Yours forevermore

there i was, awaiting death for You,
when all i did was love You too
I’m facing what you won’t tonight,
the dawn is breaking,
my body’s shaking. 

This year, September 7th marks 10 years since Jesus wove His way into my calloused-and-messed-up-but-still-beating heart and showed me that His Love was greater. His Love is still greater. And, I think maybe I am closer to appreciating that this year than I have been the last three years. My story is born of shadows—and yet, I remember the powerful moment I read the Switchfoot song title The Shadow Proves the Sunshine and understood it’s meaning.

There are no shadows without light. There is no darkness without the contrast of brightness to make it exist.

suppose I wanted to hide from You and said “Surely the darkness will hide me, the day will change to night and cover me”. Even the darkness is not dark to You. The night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are the same [to You]. 

Psalm 139:11-12 [ERV]

Similarly, the other night I was listening to Evanescence before I went to bed. (Maybe there’s hope for Casting Crowns, actually, because I used to hate Evanescence until one day where Evanescence happened in church. Which is an interesting switch because given my current level of interest in church it’s interesting how that triggered a switch—but whatever.) And, listening to Tourniquet for the zillionth time it just hit me so damn hard laying in bed.

This is what I’ll leave off with tonight. This was a hard thing for me to swallow:

[…] [our drummer, Rocky] told me that [the song] is coming from a Christian standpoint, but it’s about suicide. It’s from the perspective of someone who has just committed suicide and it’s about the controversy in Christianity that if you commit suicide, will you go to heaven or hell? If all sins are forgiven after accepting Christ, why would there be an exception? [Wikipedia]

[my stance on this, as I’ve said before, is really more aligned with the Buddhist principle of the all paths leading to truth/the middle ground—and that there is no one answer that’s right. Also I don’t actually believe in hell for many reasons]

…and this, the song (this is actually a song I love to dance to, as I interpret it personally as rather analogous to my own testimony—it made me cry for both reasons. Every time I hear “Am I too lost to be saved? Am I too lost?” my brain screams no.)

i tried to kill my pain
but only brought more (so much more)
i lay dying and i’m pouring crimson regret and betrayal
i’m dying, praying, bleeding and screaming
am i too lost to be saved? am i too lost? 

my God, my tourniquet
return to me salvation
my God, my tourniquet
return to me salvation

do You remember me?
lost for so long
will You be on the other side
or will You forget me?
i’m dying, praying, bleeding and screaming
am i too lost to be saved? am i too lost?

i long to die

my wounds cry for the grave
my soul cries for deliverance
will i be denied Christ
tourniquet
my suicide 

tourniquet, evanescence

And that’s how music has been affecting me lately.
How about you? 

a season to be well.

A season.

Lower portion of tree with lake behind it

Another, to be well. To become well. To realize anew that this is not a passive act–I can exist, or I can live well and be fulfilled. And these fulfilled seasons are the ones I remember. The ones where I know myself and where I am headed and maybe even feel connected to the One who is coauthoring this story with me–the same God that Jenny Simmons refers to, in her book The Road to Becoming, as the Storyteller.  I am here to live a story, not a passivity.

I wasn’t looking
I wasn’t ready
kicking and screaming
tired of believing by myself
I never would have done it on my own.
oh but You,
You were never gonna let me go
You took me

straight to the Healer
You were my believer
when I couldn’t even see it for myself
and now I’m whole, I can feel it
now I can see it when I couldn’t even say it for myself
You said “it’s time to be well”

no man’s an island
we need each other
no use in hiding
no pain in lying to myself
cause I don’t have to do this on my own
with You, I don’t have to walk this road alone

You tore a hole in the roof and You laid me down
just to make me well, just to make me well
You tore a hole in the roof and You laid me down
…and He made me well, and He made me well.

–time to be well, jenny simmons 

Yes, I’ve lost time by circumstances out of my control. Yes, I’ve (even worse) neglected time. But these are chapters in my story, too. Just, the next one(s), I’d like to write more intentionally; explore plot lines deeper, know characters more thoroughly–connect with myself, my circumstances, and the people around me, playing important parts in this story as well as their own stories. In this next chapter I want to embrace the chaos through interacting with it. To work on embracing the moments as they come and appreciating the little things. To be grateful. To own my mistakes and say sorry. To practice more self-care and define what that looks like for me, and begin yet again to work at feeling things and feeling better in all ways: I know from experience I am happiest and feel best when I connect with myself in ways that don’t let my mind and body and spirit exist separately, but together. Things like exercise and meditation and how physical activity especially helps to make my ADHD a strength rather than another source of struggle, how both of the above allow me to use my brain and body in tandem rather than simply as vehicles for one another. And, as for the Storyteller, yes, it’s challenging myself to dig in to this act of spirituality as well. After years of struggle with this, I had a realization today, after I’d been toying with a little more interest in the Bible the last few days. I’ve always been candid that I do not believe in infallibility of the bible, yet attending church in previous seasons caused me to be frustrated by this fact–because I was supposed to believe everything in there and I didn’t. Today, I realized while reading The Road to Becoming: “What if I stop looking at the bible as a thing I have to believe every word of, and instead as another thing to explore?”

shoreline of rocks with lake behind, and row of forest/trees in distance with cloudy evening sky above. I am opening my eyes to exploring.  Really, everything above: from exercise and nutrition and writing and meditation and creating things and being connected–owning my life, in other words–is all about exploring. Discovering where the map for this season, this chapter leads me. Where I am going and how I am going to interact with what surrounds me. It is all about choice.

So why am I not choosing these things? Because it’s work. It means changing myself within my circumstance in tandem with accepting where I’m at. Yet, I know this is important, and that I should make these smallish huge acts of self-care a priority. I can create excuses but I can also create change. And I know my body, and my spiritual and mental wellbeing will thank me for one far more than the other.

I need, though, to stop trying to do this on my own. Because my excuses to remain stuck sound a lot less dumb in my head and I should be forced to admit them more often.

You took me / straight to the Healer / You were my believer / when I couldn’t even see it for myself / and now I’m whole, I can feel it / now I can see it / when I couldn’t even say it for myself / You said “it’s time to be well”

The people I’ve coached to make positive life changes… I have always told them to do it with someone. I have frequently volunteered to be that person. Time to take my own advice ;). Sometimes, an app is not enough–positive peer pressure can be.

the young want to change the world
the wise want to change themselves
the young want to change the world
but i just want to change myself.

spent, let it happen (spotify link)

For now, this season, I need to change myself.
Again. Continually.

Cabin to left side, flowers focused in foreground with lake and trees behind in distance, unfocused.
it is time to be well.
it is time to grow.

content in discontent.

things are looking up, oh finally.
i thought i’d never see the day
when you’d smile at me
we always pull through,
oh when we try.
i’m always wrong but,
you’re never right.

I have said before that I am often more content when I am on the road, away from home, than when I am here, in this nucleus of familiarity.
What happens, though, if the road gets familiar? The road feels like home. The lostness increases yet, is no longer lostness but foundness?

honestly, can you believe,
we crossed the world while it’s asleep?
i’d never trade it in,
‘cause i’ve always wanted this and
it’s not a dream anymore,
it’s worth fighting for.

My life has recently started making a bit more sense. I have work—and more impending work—and travel plans and a slightly straighter direction for my ambition. At least in the next two months with the road/the air in my future. I can no longer linger in my distraction, yet channel that energy into creative pursuits: writing, being, creating. Creating my life.

could have given up so easily
i was a few cheap shots away
from the end of me.
taking for granted most everything
that i would have died for
just yesterday

I feel like I write about the same things all the time—and I think, to an extent, I have been for longer than I have really realized.

we age more slowly when we move quickly versus standing still.

John Green 

Writing on the problem, the frustration, the constraint of stillness—of routine, of not embracing chaos. Lostness is chaos. Movement—or lack-there-of. I’ve reiterated—recently—about lostness. The joy, specifically in the past, of being on the road—or in the air. The chaos of losing much, if not all, routine.

The chaos is beautiful.

Because there is nothing to anticipate when you are lost, beyond becoming found. Lostness is uncharted territory. Unfortunately, it is also not sustainable—or, not self-sustainable. Eventually, you become found in lostness. It’s chaos no longer welcoming. I don’t want to get to that point.

I want to keep moving. Forward. Dynamically. (I suppose static moves as well, just it doesn’t go anywhere. The current does, but the static itself does not.)

I spent the evening watching a season of Roadtrip Nation. One time, my friend Tara said her sister wanted to have the experience of living in a van. Well, an RV is kind of like a giant van [sort of. If you are creative or squint or whatever]. Since that point, I shared that desire. Because that sounds awesome.

[…] we’re just getting started.

looking up, paramore.

There is a certain chaos associated with being on the road. [And, to a different sort of chaotic vibe, in airports. And in the fact that airplanes involve people being in the sky.]

Opportunity is finding its way to me, perhaps. But I feel like I am standing still. I need to find my way to it. And the typical road maps to that aren’t working anymore. So where do I find the atypical ones? Maybe, in that confusion, in that chaos.

And I hope, to a deeper level, I can make that chaos a part of my future plans. In exploring this lostness, explore my world, too. I can dream. Maybe I’m only now realizing the truth of that statement.

I can dream.

And that can
become
something.