Importance of Celebrations

February 22, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Posted in Megan's Blogs, Our Love Story, Ramblings | Leave a comment
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Love & support brings us together.

Last week, we were on the go! Love and celebrations kept us moving forward.

Last week was full of celebrations, as February 14th was Valentine’s Day, Barton and I had met on February 15th nine years ago, and Barton’s birthday followed closely afterward.

Yet, not only was it full of celebrations, but it one of our fullest weeks in quite a while. I taught four classes during the week, Barton had a conference with several adjoining events, and a barrage of emails, conversations and other to-do’s filtered throughout the week.

After Barton’s conference, we headed over with colleagues to one local restaurant, Irregardless for a celebration dinner. Owners Arthur and Anya are neighbors, and we see them often walking the path of our neighborhood. Sometimes I’ll be out with the dogs, or Barton will be zooming off to one of his meetings. This night turned out to be especially joyous. We were greeted by Arthur and Anya, students from a local school were playing incredible jazz, we shared desserts, and had a night of great conversation full of laughter. As we were leaving, the hostess asked if Barton wrote for the paper because someone had left a note for him telling him how much his articles meant- later he put it up on his desk. What an evening!

Friday, finally we had a little time on our own, and we found ourselves just being present, sharing pieces of our week, of what we learned and ideas that we had. We chatted about the generosity of others for our Kickstarter project for Ink in the Wheels: Stories to Make Love Roll and talked about how far we could go with our project. It was a delight just to feel the quiet flow of conversation and connection.

Whatever else may be going on, whatever hurdles or craziness of life has creeped up, taking the time out to celebrate, I am learning, is so necessary.

I’m one who uses lists- I have my daily to-do list, project list, creative list- it goes on. And sometimes I have a tendency to see what’s still left on my list at the end of the day, what hasn’t been accomplished. Over time, this can be awfully daunting to only see what’s left undone.

As long as we live, we will have goals and visions, things we would love to do, places where we raise the bar for ourselves, or someone else raise the bar offering a choice on whether we will jump in or stay where we are.

Taking a breath to celebrate what we have accomplished is a vital part of the journey, not to wallow in its glory, but to pause for just a moment, become aware of where we are before moving onto the next step.

There are times when these celebrations are for momentous occasions, to be shared with others, and there may be times in our lives when we need to celebrate the simplest acts, where making it through the day is a grand step, and these private celebrations are not seen by anyone.

What are you celebrating today?

Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast

October 24, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Posted in Around the House, Megan's Blogs, Ramblings, The Nitty-Gritty | Leave a comment
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One of my mentors talked to me about how as creative peoples, we have a tendency to go until we drop, especially when we get inspired. It happens to me when I get on a writing kick- I’ll wake up at 2am, writing before a full day of work, and find myself crashing the next day at six or seven in the evening or I get so wound up I can’t go to sleep. I feel that if I don’t get it down on paper at that moment, it’s gone.

And I mentioned about how- no matter how early I get up, ten minutes before I leave the house, I tear through every room finding keys, papers, notebooks, lesson plans, phone, books. There may be times when I am working on two lists- what I need for the day and what Barton needs for the day.

I was reminded to slow down, on a couple of fronts. To prepare for the next day, not just in logistics, but also in projects. I noticed a huge shift when I found myself ten minutes late, and I was not freaking out at all. I moved from one place to another, and I found myself actually on time for the event.

I’ve also felt like I’ve planned projects out better, giving myself enough time to complete them, and while nothing seems to go as I fully expect, I’m able to adapt to necessary changes in flow or needs.

Yet, I’ve completely resisted the notion of slowing down that I know will smooth the day out even more. During this time of planning multiple events, creating new brochures and working on the best ways to reach new youth and families, I’ve been itching to get to the to-do list. It all seems to go too slowly for my racing mind.

On the days when Barton & I have worked together, we’ve been focused and while we may have only gotten one item off of the long list, we know that we’ve done it well, and that has been a great feeling.

Returning to Gratitude

July 29, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Posted in Megan's Blogs, Ramblings | Leave a comment
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Moments of Gratitude.

Moments of Gratitude.

For many years, especially in the period after my mother passed away I kept a gratitude list in my journal. Somehow in the years after moving to Raleigh, the practice got lost in the long list of things to do that always ran off of the day’s hours. After a particularly strange week of just odd things happening around us, I found myself steeped in a whirlwind of frantic energy.

Last week, I had travelled to the beach to write for the day and to return to a place of centeredness. While I was journaling, I wrote down a quick list of things that I was thankful for. Since then, Barton and I have started the day or ended the day in dialogue about what we have gratitude for.

The list has included everything from being together, a success of the day, walk in the morning to more general items like being alive (as an incident occurred a few blocks from our house), water, or surviving the budget for one more month.

What I noticed was that being in dialogue with our gratitude was very different from writing it in my journal when I was alone. I found that speaking our gratitude lists to one another allowed us to come into a deeper connection.

In partnerships or relationships, it’s easy to identify the things that aren’t done, the empty fulfillments, the statements of- you need, you should, or you haven’t. After years of being together, it’s still important to acknowledge the things a partner has done and fulfilled. I’ve noticed that when we’ve exchanged these bits of gratitude, there is a deeper appreciation for each other and our journey together.

What do you have gratitude for? Share it with someone this week!

The Importance of Togetherness

June 14, 2011 at 1:35 am | Posted in Megan's Blogs, Our Love Story, Speaking Engagements, Work | Leave a comment
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Tuscaloosa, AL

There is nothing that can prepare you for seeing house after house affected by the tornadoes in April.

This past week, I’ve posted updates about our travels to Tuscaloosa in my creative blog, Writing 4 Wellness. Yet, in taking a moment to step back, I am utterly taken back at how profound the time in Tuscaloosa was- because Barton came.

Originally, I was going to pack paintings and photography up in our little white Honda, cart it down, set it up, have the reception and drive home, and because of our budget, I was going to do it alone. But when Barton and I began discussing how we could support Tuscaloosa beyond the reception for the art show, it was clear that both of us needed to go.

I wasn’t prepared for how our trip would be a time of reflection and of honored time between us. Even as we drove into Tuscaloosa, we got off the highway at the normal exit I took to go to my mother’s old house, and as we made our way into town, Barton asked me, “Are you ready for this?” In that moment, I am so thankful I was not driving alone.

As I held a photograph up to the wall, Barton would give me directions- a little to the left, a little to the right. He was also keeper of the hammer, and in times where our energy waned, he provided comic relief as the hammer flippantly dropped out of his hand onto the floor and I became the character out of an “I Love Lucy Show” trying to hold the picture while reaching in vane for the hammer, just out of reach.

As the patterns of my photography and my mother’s artwork emerged on the walls, I found myself excited that Barton was present, able to witness the artist peeking out behind my written words. And to see how my mother’s creative spirit was very much alive and at work in my own life.

Even in the work outside of the art exhibit, as Barton and I led three creative expression classes and walked around my neighborhood with care packages to hand out, we bantered back and forth, playing off of each other, building off of the other.

Friday, the day we left was the most dramatic and intimate space held between us. It was the time where Barton and I were driving through the neighborhoods of Alberta (one of the hardest hit areas) alone- it was the time where we grieved the destruction and recovery work that lay before us in this town where we had been married and I had lived. And at first, I did not see the pile of children’s toys, until Barton took my hand, and we sat in the car a moment, crying together.

There are times when we must walk our own path set before us, and there are times when walking with another gives us strength, determination, and encouragement. I am honored enough that this time, this experience, we could share it together.

Honoring the Wholeness of the Other

May 25, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Posted in Megan's Blogs, Ramblings, The Nitty-Gritty | Leave a comment
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Barton and Megan at a local writer's conference.

April and May sure have been turbulent months with the ups and downs of local, national and international events. Our close friends, family and communities have experienced some dramatic events- multiple friends in ICU, car wreck, Japan earthquake and multiple tornadoes.

In the days after the Tuscaloosa tornado, Barton could not pull me away from the phone or Internet as I would be somewhere and think of an entire community in Tuscaloosa to follow up on, make sure everyone was okay. Even now, there are a few families I still have not been able to get in touch with.

In the midst of all of this, Barton and I both had a variety of project deadlines, workshops and community events to keep us running nearly every day. We’ve worked together as a team to keep going and not completely fall apart.

What impressed me the most about the past few months was how adamant Barton was that I take care of myself and how each one of us came to honor the other in our work, family and who we are as we strive for new projects and visions.

It’s easy to get caught up in who we want the other to be in our relationship, and when that person doesn’t meet our expectations, the connection breaks with harsh consequences. (My father, a psychologist specializing in couple’s therapy would have much to say on this topic, for sure).

Even with the chaos tumbling on around us, Barton and I both continued to redefine who we are, what new visions we see, and the very beginning actions to follow those paths. Several times, we’ve sat down for brainstorming sessions for new paths in our work, which has been energizing and exciting.

It was powerful to hear Barton’s support when I mentioned to him that over the summer, I needed a few weeks to work on more creative projects that had gotten lost in the shuffle the past few months.

And while Barton has been working on several creative projects as well, I have stepped back, letting go of the attachment to financial result. Realizing that by working on these projects, he is gaining creative momentum, energy and just plain fun, which will sustain him during the more work-related items.

By recognizing what each of us needs in discovering new visions and goals, and honoring those spaces, we are able to come together more easily, overcoming the challenges and hurdles the day throws at us.

Techno-Nutty

July 11, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Posted in Around the House, Megan's Blogs, Ramblings | 1 Comment
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Barton on his BlueTooth.

Barton on his BlueTooth.

Thursday morning, Barton was all giddy about adventure getting his new I-Phone. Since most I-phones are touch phones and use heat sensitivity and finger motion to work, he assumed he couldn’t use one. However, when I needed a new phone and as a Christmas present, he picked one up for me, he found out he could use it. In fact, he spent all night reprogramming all of the sounds on my phone- if only you could have seen my reaction when Barton called me the next day!

So when the newest version came out, Barton knew he could get a deal on an older, accessible version of the I-Phone that he could use. While we needed to communicate a couple of times that day, I had to be patient as Barton was still learning his new tool. Although his did test my patient as I was accidentally hung-up on, more than once.

That evening, as I was taking a break from the heat to set up a local community Summer Music Series, Barton leaned over to me and whispered, “This is just sad.”

I looked up and realized that everyone in the place was on a technological devise. Barton was playing on his new phone & I was checking to see if I had any new email or voicemails.

Over in the corner, a family was absorbed as well- the husband on a laptop, wife on a cell phone and child on a Gameboy. There are times when communication is so important, and I could tell you I wouldn’t know what to do without laptop or mobile phone.

Barton and I communicate during the day, probably more times than most other couples. I am figuring out logistics- when & how to get him & me where we need to be. And he is working on projects and may have questions for me as well. And I admit, there are times when I just call to say, “I love you.”

On the other hand, we have to be so careful not to get so absorbed in our technology that we forget how to talk to each other in person. Over the July 4th weekend, we put down the work and technology for a while, and it was great just to spend some time enjoying each other sitting on the back porch.

When we do get back to the computer or working on projects, we feel more focused and inspired to get clicking away.

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Time for a Dip!

April 12, 2010 at 1:23 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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 Last weekend, Megan and I went swimming together for the first time in who knows how long. It felt absolutely wonderful, not only because we had the chance to do something we both love and enjoy each other’s company at the same time, but also because neither of us has had the chance to swim in a while. Heck, I don’t think I’ve been in a pool since before we were married!

I’ve always loved the water, as does Megan, and though we’ve talked on numerous occasions about finding the time to swim together, this is the first time it actually happened.

We arrived at the pool with the intention of both of us swimming laps. We decided that it was likely best that Megan swim first; that way, I wouldn’t be sitting on the side of the pool cold, wet, and itching to go. After about a half an hour, Megan finished her workout and it was my turn to dive in, well, ok…

it was more of a slow submergence with the help of a chair lift but the truth is that I would have been much happier diving in. Anyway, once I was in the pool it took us a while to find the right depth, which is usually around five feet for me, and for me to remind Megan what I needed to help me swim. But after this was sorted out, I was off in a splash.

I’ve always wondered how it must look from someone else’s prospective when I swim as, the way I go about it is to have whoever is assisting me drop me. From there, dogpaddle a bit, which must look like a drowning rat attempting to wrestle an angry sea creature and losing miserably. Then as I find the need to take a breath, I drop to the bottom and push off the floor with my feet with enough force to thrust my entire upper torso into the air, fill my lungs, and start the process over.

Now, I used to have this refined to the point that I could swim a mile and a half with this method but after five years or more, I found myself gasping after only one lap. I can’t wait to go again!

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