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Don’t overwork it!

Don’t overwork it!   Abraham-Hicks

Did you know that the coyotes have been singing underneath our bedroom window?  It seems that way, at least.  For the past four nights, a chorus of coyote howls so clear and close that I can almost make out the lyrics, has serenaded Cam and I to sleep.  Their song is easy and loose and filled with spirit.  I don’t think they overwork their music.  I don’t think they struggle.

I’ve been struggling tonight.  I’ve been trying to make my words sing on the page.  I’ve been trying to write something clever and coherent, something that feels worthwhile.  In yoga, I say it all the time:  We are worthy.  We are enough.  We have nothing to prove.  And I believe it, that we are magnificent creatures, already more than enough, and our lives can be easy if we allow them to be.  It only gets hard, when we furrow our brows and clench at our pens and strive for some elusive form of perfection.

Tomorrow morning, I fly east for the weekend, back to Maine, to the land of my beginnings, for a new beginning with my mother who is two weeks shy of her ninety-third birthday.  I don’t think my mother struggles much anymore.  She, like the coyotes, does not overwork it.  If she can’t remember a name or an event, she simply says, “I don’t know.”  If it feels too hard to use her walker, she sits down and lets herself be wheeled.  My mother has thrown perfection out the window, out her west-facing window, the one she sits beside, watching the light that is perfect as it dances through the trees.  I won’t have to overwork it either.  I won’t have to fill the Dionne Commons, where my mother now lives, with my words.  She is not interested in clever and witty.  My song can be easy, the way it is supposed to be.

This past Monday, on Labor Day, Cam and I walked the shoreline of Lake Superior with our son and daughter-in-law who were visiting from Boulder.  The sky was a sharp blue and the air was crisp and clear and the waves splashed the shore, and it was easy walking and talking and  soaking it all in — the sand and the sun and the blue September sky.  We snapped photos of each other with the cobalt lake behind us.  And it was Shelly who suggested it.  “Let’s jump in the air!” she said.  So we did.  We jumped and we laughed and we snapped our photos of mid-air leaps.  We didn’t labor on Labor Day.  We didn’t overwork it, the jumps or the photos or the easy moments.  And later, that evening, when we pulled them up on the computer screen, these photos surprised us.  There was something in them, something wild and unleashed.  When we don’t overwork it, when we let ourselves go, there is a spirit, a glimmer, an inner howl as glorious as the song that the coyotes soon will be singing to me as I drift off to sleep.


Helen and Cam jumping at Lake Superior



Pete and Shelly jumping


























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