What was poisoning me from the inside out was this cycle I was trapped in of pouring my heart and soul and time into a short, but excruciating list of things I was no longer in love with. My marriage, my racing, my career at the family business perched at the top of this list. So why persist? Because I am, if anything, obsessively persistent. Because I am hopelessly optimistic, truly believing in the magic of positivity and silver linings and second winds (I still am, but more on that in a few hundred words). Because I am NOT a quitter and giving up on anything or anyone feels like a slow suffocation. And, as I’ve mentioned before, the idea of starting over terrified me. Although in my rawest moments, it was admittedly what every cell of my being longed for. To start again. And after a series of divine interventions cleverly concealed under a shroud of heartache, that is exactly what I did.
That is what landed me here…
Exactly two weeks ago I rolled into Nashua, NH in my UHaul, with a trailer hitched questionably on the back, and my Subaru strapped on for dear life. There was something incredibly freeing and empowering about having everything I needed on board. More than once I considered the idea of just driving across the country, all gypsy like. But that would have to wait until I own a Sprinter van. For the time being, I was New Hampshire bound. On my own, hauling everything I chose to own. Departing Albany, NY much in the same fashion I had arrived in 2000.
And somewhere on that highway between Albany and Nashua, I found that adventure-chasing, big dreaming, story teller again. Something about journeying into the unknown, choosing a simpler life and responding to the needs of my heart seemed to strip off the calloused layers and reveal who God truly made me to be…. and who I have yet to become.
It’s not that southern NH is some enchanted kingdom. It’s not even about the possibility that I was destined to be here briefly, or permanently. It is of course about the proverbial journey. Case in point: I recorded a video of myself singing “Stronger” while at an exit in MA, about 90 minutes from my destination. It had already begun… The amnesia that I had lived with (and would have died with) was dissipating. And I had not even reached my destination. Why on earth would a Britney Spear’s song indicate the emergence of my soul?! Because as I drove a memory floated to the surface of my heart’s waters: I remembered that I love music. That I played piano and sang and performed for YEARS, and was relatively decent. More importantly, when I sang I became joyful.
And that’s not all. I remembered why I began running in the first place! And it was not influenced in the least by Ironman, or qualifying for Boston, or winning some race I was training for. I simply enjoyed running, especially in the woods. In running I found a quick fix for my appetite for adventure. And back then, it met my long term goal of becoming healthy and strong! You see, it was all about the becoming. When I lost sight of that, I lost myself. I lost my memory.
But in the two weeks since I settled into southern New Hampshire, my heart’s memory is being restored. I wake up every morning in an 800 square-foot apartment surrounded by what I need, and a few things I love. I can sit by my little pond after work and listen to the bullfrogs and scan the water for turtles and dragonflies, and watch the lily pads’ flowers fold their petals in for their evening slumber. In those moments, my heart is flooded with memories of how I adore anything Shakespeare. Yet, it’s been years since I cracked open my Grandfather’s “Complete Works of Shakespeare” or found a theater performing those beloved plays. So last weekend I bought a very understated bookshelf and placed that book on the shelf, along with my Grandpa’s copy of “Leaves of Grass”.
For six entire days I have woken up before my alarm clock sounded, excited to head into work. Fiber optic cables are not the most stimulating subject matter to be sure. But I am learning more than my brain can absord, relishing the challenge, and furthermore… I am getting paid to write. And I LOVE to write!
Shifting my focus from a finish line or specific destination to the journey and who I am becoming? That’s where the magic happens! The surface of my heart’s waters is cluttered with all the beloved things that are rising. Hills and valleys and stars and trails and snowflakes and sunshine and fireflies and poems and songs and campfires and two muddy wheels and…
I am still grounded in many ways. I’ve come this far, so should I not keep going?! The only answer I receive is WAIT. Remain in this haven where your heart is safe to remember, and your hip is safe to heal. WAIT?! But now that I DO remember who I am and what matters to my heart and what I am after, what benefit is there to waiting?!
Amnesia? Cured. Done! Let me fly already!
In many ways I am getting up, slow and unsteady, but rising an inch or two more into the clouds every day. Yet in many ways… not so much. I wait impatiently on the sidelines for this broken wing to heal. But how do you wait for heaven when you know you were born to fly? And for how long? A week? A month? A year?!
And from my heart’s waters rises… Wait. WAIT. Focus on the journey. On becoming stronger, joyful, grateful, loving, prayerful, compassionate, smarter, braver, kinder, more self-disciplined. And yes, patient. Wait in this place where it is safe to heal.
It’s Ok if you break your dragonfly wing and lose your spark. Just WAIT. When you get back up, you will rise as the whole dame fire… on eagles’ wings!