Wayne and I enjoyed a wonderful al fresco breakfast at Inn By the Sea in Cape Elizabeth this morning followed by a walk along the gardens and path to the beach.
Last year when Wayne proposed to me on the beach we were surrounded by piping plovers. I captured a video of it that you can see and hear here. Piping plovers are an endangered species so there are special dogs restrictions in place to help keep the plovers safe. I’m a volunteer beach monitor through a town government sponsored program. They are such charming little birds and I wanted to give back to them for their being a part of our engagement. My job is educate dog owners not in compliance and observe the plovers.
Twenty-four years ago I left Rasputins in Burlington, VT and way of “coping” after a humiliating, frightening, dangerous and FINAL drunk. The next day I opened the door to a church basement to begin a program of recovery that I’m still practicing today. Whatever illusory “liquid courage” I imagined I had back then can’t compare to the badassery of living sober.
What a beautiful morning!
What does it mean to be authentic? Does it mean that you have to share every passing thought, desire, opinion and passion with whomever will listen? Do you have to follow every fancy, eat whatever you’re craving because well, you gotta be you? Not for me, no. “To thine own self be true” is something I try and live every day which is not to be confused with self-centeredness, narcissism or lack of self-restraint. Sometimes it involves making life-altering choices; other times it’s seemingly inconsequential, however when such “little” decisions are strung together over time they look a lot like a lifestyle.
So why then do I sometimes feel like I need permission to be myself? And from whom does this permission need to come? What if it never comes to pass?
Rocky continues to have a penchant for rocks. Thankfully he lives not just in a free country, but in a yard that is free from the tyranny of “must be golf course perfection” and the owners of which celebrate chipmunks and all of their “decorating” glory!*
Rocky lives behind my house and began visiting shortly after Chippie passed away, likely because she could no longer chase him away from her deck. I chose his name after I saw an incredible feat he accomplished last week: The day after we had heavy downpours he did some admirable excavating from his burrow–there was a pile of dirt with large rocks mixed in, some of which were almost half his size! Can you hear the theme to Rocky playing right now? He and all the chipmunks have free rein. They are like the Queen’s corgis–they do as they please without any admonishment. The mounds of love and joy they bring us can’t compete with a little mess.
At our summer church in Kennebunkport a small group meets once a week in the rectory for Centering Prayer, a meditative practice founded in Massachusetts by three Trappist monks in the 1970s. We meditate for twenty minutes by focusing on a sacred word of our own choosing, then watch a short teaching by Thomas Keating on DVD.
The first time I went last summer I was very intimidated by the prospect of a twenty minute meditation! Sitting in a quiet room alone listening to the “noise” in my head is old hat to me and I often mistake it for being productive. Making mental to-do lists, planning, lamenting the past, worrying about the future can happen in the most bucolic of settings. Sitting with a quiet mind? It’s a challenge, but meditation gives me moments of inner silence, the benefits of which are deep and lasting.
We have a beautiful backyard once again! Last October 31st storm’s winds blew the top off of a large white pine tree in our backyard. Not long after that, a second gusty storm toppled another tree that landed on top of the tree that already had snapped. It was very difficult to find a company to remove the trees due to the fact that everyone was booked solid because of the widespread damage in the area. Then the snow came and mud season followed, so we needed to wait for the ground to get hard once again. We scheduled our cleanup about a month ago and finally it happened today!
I have a genetic predisposition to being at higher risk for skin cancer, so I see a dermatologist for an annual skin exam. I had a mole on my arm that looked different from all of the others and my dermatologist had said we should keep an eye on it. About two weeks ago I noticed that it was changing: it was darker and starting to have uneven borders. What really frightened me was when I happened to notice in a photo of me from 2013 that it wasn’t even on my arm! It’s not normal to grow new moles when you’re over forty. I called her office to be seen and she agreed that it should be biopsied.