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Breaking Open


Photo by Liz Frisbee

Lately, I’ve noticed that I’ve been agonizing over small decisions. The decisions are related to a wide variety of things, but they all have a common theme. This way, or that way? My organized, planning, wants-to-know-everything-for-certain mind gets into the mix and starts playing out every possible scenario for choosing one path or the other. I feel stuck, frozen in time, trying to “figure things out.”


Last night, as I was binge-watching the second season of Fleabag (amazing – I highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it), all of a sudden, it hit me.


It doesn’t matter.


It doesn’t matter whether or not I take an online yoga teacher training. It doesn’t matter if I finish my book this month. It doesn’t matter if I go on a walk right now or not at all. It doesn’t matter if I stay up late or wake up early. I put so much weight on everything being the “right” decision all the time.


Life isn’t about knowing what’s going to happen next or if this small minute decision is best for me right now. News flash to self: it’s not about fixing things, either. The pain and fear and worry and grief of the world and those I love is breaking my heart, and I’m noticing that I want to fix it all.


But, of course, I can’t. That’s why it’s so heartbreaking. All I can do is sit here and listen to the owls call. To make myself useful where I can. To go on daily walks. To make yogurt and bread and chaga tea and squash soup. All I can do it break open again and again and try to find joy along the way.


Because do you know what else is breaking my heart? The incredible chorus of spring peepers that serenaded me to sleep the other night. The rising and falling of the sap in the trees. The melting of the winter mountain streams once frozen in time, now flowing freely except for a few icicles still holding strong. The pounding rain. The warming sun. The beautiful green plants popping up through the soggy March grass.


These signs of spring remind me that even amidst massive, cyclical, inevitable loss, over and over, in all of the winters of our lives, we can still choose to love again. Again and again. Loss, love, loss, love. I’m amazed by our human capacity to keep showing up, day after day, for the rollercoaster that is our lives.


Yes, the world breaks my heart. It breaks my heart every day in big and small and painful and beautiful ways. It breaks my heart – open – so I can keep practicing loss and love, and what it means to be human.

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