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The Coffee Break: It Cracked Today And So Did I

I lost it this morning over a coffee maker.  Not just any coffee maker, a broken one.  One that was a gift because coffee in the morning is something to enjoy and to breathe in and to slow the minutes.  It’s something I do on purpose.

I’d filled my cup pushing the button with the rim just as gently as every other time.  This time, though, it stuck.  Suddenly, I’m calculating, “How much did I make?” as I’m watching 5 cups of beautifully roasted morning peace spread itself across the counter.  I laughed.  Holly’s dad comes around the corner to find me next to a mountain of Bounty hoping for the best.  He helped me dry the mess and went back to bed before another trip out of state today.  I went to get the baby, admittedly quite pleased with my ability to laugh this one off so well.

I fed Holly her usual breakfast and returned to the kitchen to refill mine.  I pushed the button.  It broke.  This time, so did I.  In one fluid move, I reached for the paper towels to dry the counter and quickly found myself bringing them to my face instead.  I let out one of the most heartbreakingly long sighs I’d ever given and hung my head along with it.  The baby was happily playing in her crib as I could see her tiny feet kicking with glee at the sight of her own warped face in the plastic mirror.  I looked up and found my own surrounded by the frame of my favorite $12 mirror on the kitchen wall.

I had officially lost my shit.  I sobbed as quietly as possible as I dried my face and reached down to clean the other mess.  I found my way to the tool box, pleading with the powers that be to let the power of a Black & Decker screwdriver save the day.  Each twist of the Phillips head felt strangely exhausting.  Soon, I gave up and left the pieces, collected my own, and returned to a cheerful Holly peering up at me from her crib.

I lost it over a coffee maker.  Packed into a few minutes of silent chaos, it was so much more.

It was new motherhood and navigating it like it’s the darkest forrest intertwined with beautifully sun-lit trails.  It was forgetting the meeting last week and forgetting what day this one is.  It was balancing the challenges of parenting life along with the fun of it.  It was finding energy to work and energy to take time away from it.  It was looking in the mirror to find a messy pile of once-styled hair atop a bewildered face wondering if I accidentally gave the baby an extra drop of D3.  It was wondering what that might do if I had.  It was glancing into her room to make sure she was safe and looking into the next to make sure her daddy was still asleep after the thunderous tumble of the hairbrush into the fiberglass tub.  It was standing in the kitchen losing my damn marbles over plastic and metal representing my only purposeful break of the day.

It was the moment I realized that this tiny human, our tiny human, was looking at me- tear-stained face and all.  While I’m doing all I can to stop the world for a minute, she’s looking at me to make it turn.  And suddenly, I forgot everything.

 

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A New Heart: The One We Created Is Creating Me

I am a mother.

That’s still such a strange feeling and I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to it.  More importantly, I will work forever to be it.  I get to be a mother when I never expected to be one.  I was the crazy hippie aunt, you know?  The one with a martini on a Monday and the quiet corner of a coffee shop on a Sunday afternoon.

The past year has proven to me just how far the mind can go in polar opposite directions.  It’s proven to me just how far I will go to follow it.  How willing am I to forge a path through the unknown on a daily basis and how grateful am I for that chance?  I’m learning those answers every single day.

The first 7 weeks have given me life and taken some away.  I am working to not feel guilty for the rough times.  I’m working to quiet myself and enjoy the good ones.  I’m working to take in every moment of both.

This is the ultimate game changer, freedom fighter, heart breaker, and peace maker.  It encompasses every single challenge in daily life and compacts itself into one tiny being who dictates everything about our next move because that is her job.  She has all of the things she needs while we are endlessly guessing, second guessing, determining, repeating..

What does she need?

Do we have that?

How is she doing?

How are we doing?

How are we?…

We are tired.  We’re usually hungry because her timing is fine-tuned to interrupt every single attempt to have dinner in its original state before the reheating begins.

We are lucky.

We leveled up.

 

Holly Jewell Bauer

**1-7-19**

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Challenges: Our Very Own Freedom Fighters

The past few months have been a swirl of my one world colliding with itself like the front winds of a storm encapsulated in the form of one girl.  It’s been challenging and wonderful.  I’m at a point where I can be grateful for that and not at all intimidated.  It’s  great and extremely freeing.

Here are a few key things I’ve learned as each aspect of my life has taken a turn, executed the dismount, and nailed the landing before the next one.

  1. Challenges aren’t meant to be struggles.  They’re presented as opportunities but only if we take them as those.   We have to take chances and risk our own comfort in order to see them show up in the first place.  Here’s how:  Look for the one tiny white space hidden in the chaotic scribbles of something that seems insurmountable.  We’re going to go through some heavy experiences but the upside is that we’re alive to do so and those spaces between still exist.  They are meant to be there in the mess just as you are.
  2. Welcome everything.  Welcome the sad, infuriating, and negative feelings and events.  Welcome the elation, discomfort,  and wonder of things not yet known. Welcome the celebrations and rest following them.  Welcome yourself to a break. Welcome the air into your lungs and yourself into the space in which to breathe it.
  3. Accept that you will not be able to make sense of the day sometimes and accept that as being totally ok.  By doing that, you’re accepting the process that it is.  You’re creating the ability to keep moving.
  4. Be a mess.  Have it out with yourself or your closest person while keeping in mind that the ultimate goal isn’t anything other than learning from the experience.
  5. Look for more.

The only chances we get to free ourselves from the weight of worry and stress are in the challenges we willingly accept.   Like the tracks of a rollercoaster, they’re placed carefully there for a calculated reason.  It’s up to us to open ourselves to that free fall.

 

 

Keep The Change: Rest Through Restoration

FullSizeRenderMy friends and family heard me yesterday.  The weight of my purse was considerably lighter as the weight of losing my belongings pressed heavily on my shoulders.  But they heard me.
After losing my wallet, I went into a mode of repair I haven’t seen for a while.  Calmly, I listed everything that was in it along with contact information and logins to protect what was now lost.  It was a process made easier by precautions taken in previous years after having not only my purse, but everything in it stolen before.  I was relieved to know that everything aside from the birthday cash could be secured and replaced.
Throughout the day, I checked in with anyone who might have seen it.  I received phone calls offering help and anything to ease my worries.  I heard jokes and reassurance.  I heard empathy and support.  Somehow, the missing items no longer bothered me aside from the hassle of replacing them.
My people restored my faith in the power of compassion.  Instead of burying myself in a mountain of dismay, I got to be consistently reminded of who I have and how I have them.  I am eternally grateful.
Last night, I received a message from a restaurant letting me know someone had found and turned in my wallet.  I had called them twice throughout the day just to hear regretfully that no one had seen it.  Finally, someone showed up.  I immediately left to retrieve it finding every bit of what I’d left in tact.  Thank you to the kind people of Wheat State in Old Town.  (Try them!  They’re wonderful!!)
I was shocked but ultimately just peaceful.  I realize it’s just one bundle of belongings and it was just one day of worry.  But it unveiled so much of what I needed to see again lately.
I get to keep the change when it could have gone to anyone.  I get to figure out how to make sure someone else gets to feel this relief somehow.  Mostly, I get to move forward knowing that someone else wanted to do the same.
I have needed peace more than ever lately as I navigate yet another (particularly BIG)  interlude in the life and times of Darah Jewell.  It turns out, I needed to feel loss in order to feel restoration.
If you hurt, you can figure out how to change it.
If you’re ok, you can figure out how to change it for someone else.
If you feel loss, you can watch for who changes you.
Losing my change has encouraged me to keep mine happening.
Thank you sincerely, Universe.

A Whole Heart With Half Of A Table: Helping Through Hardship

I walked into a loaded coffee shop to sit down and get some work done. There were no tables available except for half of one across from this man. I’ve seen him sleeping downtown on sunny days and cold nights.  He’s usually on the move.  

I walked up to ask if he would mind sharing and before I could say anything, he offered it. I gratefully sat down and introduced myself as I pulled out my computer. I offered him a coffee or something to eat and he politely declined. All he could do was offer me help: plugging in my computer, making room for my bag, and asking if the shade was ok. He’d been listening to a sermon behind us. As it came to an end, he stood up, gathered his only belongings in 3 stuffed bags, tipped his head to me as he grabbed his cane, and off he went to his next destination.  

He never told me his name, but he remembered mine as he said, “Have a blessed day, Darah.”

The Risk We Take For The Change We Make: Overcoming Disappointment

Optimism is a peculiar thing.  It’s so great to have and helpful to keep.  But what on Earth are we to do when we’re getting scared of it?
Time after time, we each face disappointment in our lives.  The source can be anything from work projects falling through to plans with friends becoming no plans at all.
But then there are times where that optimism reaches far deeper than you realized.  That’s where it turns into risk.  Moving forward can sometimes be so painful and scary, you’d rather stay where you are and halt any chance of having to change anything.
Lately, I’ve found myself a little confused.  I’m going to be 34 and I’m starting again.  I’m absolutely comfortable in my own skin and know exactly what I love and what ways I take in the details of life.  I’ve found my passion and my courage to pursue it thanks to the help of people I love dearly.  I have so much acceptance from friends and family who welcome me into their lives without question.  It’s scary, though.  There are certain aspects of myself I’m having to make vulnerable in order to keep moving and evolving.  Things like the prospect of dating again and the idea that I’m back to a blank canvas looking to fill it ultimately with more love and hopefully a new location, or the opportunity to test myself.
Well, it showed up.
And I got burned.  Quickly.  Unexpectedly.  Really, though, it’s been a learning experience.  I wasn’t expecting to finally let myself get excited about a possibly new thing or connection with a person.  But I did.  Just a little bit-  Enough to have hope that I might be able to find some butterflies in there again. It was sad, exciting, new, unknown.. And then it was completely over.  The situation changed literally overnight and I was left to decide if “heartbroken” was OK.  Turns out, it is.
It’s perfectly OK.
But I wasn’t heartbroken over a person.  In fact, I respect him a great deal in the very short time I’ve known him.  I was disheartened over the fact that it took me so much to finally be alright with the idea of a little crush again and then finding out that I’ll have to rebuild that strength again so quickly.  At least it was a quick burn with absolutely no hard feelings at all.  I’m seeing it as just a little reality check-  an opportunity to recalibrate and check my levels.
Regardless of what is happening in our worlds, disappointment is real and, as it turns out, weighs about 19 tons.  We give the benefit of the doubt and even a little of ourselves to the unknown and it goes dark.  We’re left wondering what happened as we’re gathering what’s left of what we gave.
This is what I’m learning, though- Each time we are disappointed by a person or a situation, we’re given an opportunity to push ourselves a little further.  We know now that whatever happens next will be handled- expertly or terribly.  It will be handled.  We know it’s still going to work out alright regardless of if (or when) it all hits the fan.  Disappointment can shed light on things you’re already experiencing to make you that much more grateful they’re happening.. OR that they’ll stop.  Personally, this recent experience just leaves me grateful in general.  I have no doubt that I am the luckiest still.
Sometimes it’s exhausting.   It’s hard to think about it when what you’ve had for years is something you never want to replace.  I won’t ever replace that.  But I can move forward knowing how lucky I’ve been for every experience I’ve had.
In the toughest moments, look around you.  Watch for those who are unchanging and completely undaunted by the prospect of having to help you out of the dark.
They’re the ones who are pushing you forward even when you’re not sure another chance is worthwhile.  They will not disappoint you.

Help In Hiding: 6 Ways To Be Helpful When You Feel Helpless

I took a break from as much as possible yesterday to focus on using the feeling of heaviness the best way I could.  I still couldn’t.  The news surrounding so many recent events has had  millions of us shaken and confused.  For me, silence is key.  I want to stay out of the frenzy, inform myself as much as possible of the necessary facts, and figure out a way to help.
I drove into a dusty sunrise hearing chatter on the radio with updates of new statistics and speculation.  I knew the recent storms and violence shed a lot of blood and I was saddened by the fact that I cannot give mine.
Due to my heart condition, I cannot donate blood.  As I see Red Cross trucks setting up in the parking lots of various offices in the city, I thought about those who can’t use them.  Here are a few ways to help when you can’t give yours for a host of personal reasons.
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My view this morning was stunning.

1.  Pay it forward-  This does not require money as many of us do not have enough of that to give, either.  This can be in the form of helping someone carry heavy items to their car from the store.  Your act of recognizing another human as a fellow human is priceless.  This can even include going with someone who can donate blood-  Support is key.
2.  Donate time-  Many of our resources (time, energy, supplies) quickly dissipate once help is needed elsewhere.  If you’re able, donating time to spend with people who need company or kids who need distraction is more valuable than any check you can write.
3.  Volunteer at a shelter-  This is one I’ve always had a heart for ever since spending my first Volunteer Thanksgiving in one.  Serve food to those who are not only dealing with the heartache of a chaotic world situation but are also facing their own.  Sit down and share some conversation over coffee with fellow volunteers or guests.  You will be amazed at what you learn.
4.  Don’t click the bait-  In our world of instant information, news streams and media channels are running rampant with headlines and feeds.  There is a major setback to this.  The rush to get the first lead is a prime breeding ground for sensationalism and misinformation.  Help us save the unnecessary stories from polluting the real ones by stopping to consider if it’s correct, if it’s necessary, and if it’s going to help someone else.
5.  Call your representative-  This is one not many of us think about on a daily basis.  If you have concerns over policies regarding the response to catastrophe or the availability of weaponry.. Really anything-  Call your representatives and voice your opinion.  You may think that your voice won’t count or be heard.  But even 10 voices are really, really loud.  Be that guy.
6.  Inform yourself-  I cannot stress this one enough.  Informing yourself of current events and causes is the groundwork for making change happen.  We cannot move forward without knowing why we should.  It is crucial.