A Thank You Letter to Miami

New BeginningsIn August 2006 my best friend and I stuffed my car with clothes and made the fifteen-hour drive to Miami. For the first week (hell, the first year), I was scared to drive in Miami, to make that fear-inducing left turn from 27th Ave onto US1.

Eight years later and I’m honking and running yellow lights with the best of ‘em (don’t tell my Dad). Exactly eight years later, my car is packed again and I’m heading home.

The thing is, home has a different meaning to me now. Virginia is my home, where my family and many friends are, where I was born and raised, where I want to raise my children. But Miami is also my home.

Miami is the second place I grew up. Not where I learned to swim or ride a bike, or attended high school (although I can tick off all of the names of the schools here and probably know someone you went to school with, bro). But in Miami, I grew up.

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Lessons of Loss, Lessons of Strength

*This post is four months old – just came across and published. Footnote will give updates.

My freshman year of high school a friend died suddenly. The guidance counselors gathered those who knew her into the cafeteria and we sat, numbly, trying to make sense of it. I remember watching people outside of the cafeteria walking, talking and joking. It felt like they were in an alternate universe. How could they be laughing when she was dead?

I couldn’t grasp it at the time. Looking back I realize that I’d learned my first lesson about loss: even when you are hurting the most, when you feel like you have a hole in your heart: life goes on. In my freshman year of high school, the world marched on, and soon enough, so did I.

2013 was a year of loss for my Daddy and our family. Grandpa, the stronger of his parents, got diagnosed with Leukemia and within two weeks passed away. Daddy cleaned out their two-story home and carefully went through 80 plus years worth of stuff, deciding which was important to hold on to and what needed to be given away. He and his sisters searched for a home for Grandma, who had been sick with cancer for 16 years.

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It’s My Birthday and I am Grateful

It's My Birthday and I am Grateful

This morning while working out (this in itself is a small miracle), I came across this gem. Isaac, I don’t know you but, as it’s my birthday, I decided to read about why you’re grateful on your birthday. And you inspired me.

As I was on the elliptical, feeling healthy and very blessed, with calls coming in starting as early as 6:45 am (and yes, Dad, I was really awake) and so much love in my life, I read your call for gratitude, and I’m in.

Today I am 31. Years ago that number would have freaked me out. Now I’m  actually more than okay with it (admittedly, most days I am). I have the most amazing life right now. I am grateful for so many things, and these include (but are not limited to!):

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Calling BS.

I’d like to call Bullshit on myself. The last post I wrote was all airy fairy, and I talked about how I was ready to loosen my grip and move forward.

That’s nice and all, but what’s really happening is a tad bit different. Maaaybe more than a tad bit.

For the past few days, I’ve been getting hot and cold. I don’t have a fever, but it feels like I do. I’ve been welling up with tears over leaving the people I so dearly love and remenicsing on my growth during the past six years. I’ve felt a combination of excitement and anxiety that is hard to explain.

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One day she woke up and decided to trust life.

There are so many good things going on in my life right now. There is a synchronicity that I attribute to the work I’ve been doing personally and spiritually.  That’s not to say that I don’t have down days or stress- I do (ask my trainer, who has me rolling out my tight shoulders daily)-but I generally feel a sense of “I get it.” A peaceful acceptance I didn’t have before.

So why do I keep waking up at 4 a.m. riddled with anxiety?

This time is what Gabrielle Bernstein, motivational speaker, author, and spiritual gangster, calls the magic hour. “This is the hour when the spiritual veil is lifted,” she says.  As a big fan of sleep, I’m not sure I ‘d give it such a positive name, but I can see there might be a higher reason for these wake up calls.

This morning when I woke up, after about an hour of trying to go back to sleep, I decided to write.  I wrote about what was on my mind, and it just came out. It came out a little messy since it was, after all, 5 a.m., but what I wrote helped to get out what has been bubbling under the surface of my calm(er) state of mind: fear of change.

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