Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How good it feels to feel.

When I was seventeen and just getting together with my first serious boyfriend, I remember saying that I would never stand for complacency.  That my only fear when we graduated from high school and got more serious by moving in together was that I'd fall into a routine and stop feeling.  That I'd blindly go to school and work and come home and make dinner and go to bed and watch TV and just get complacent. 

When I was twenty-one and breaking up with that same boyfriend, partly because of my own realizations of my dulled feelings, my near complacency. (And partly because I was twenty-one and had yet to see the world I needed to see on my own)  I remember that it was painful and sad and difficult, but that I also liked how it felt to FEEL so strongly.  I liked how it felt to be so sad.

When I was twenty-five and in the Peace Corps and alone a lot of the time on a cold, dark winter island (both literally and figuratively) I'd get so overwhelmed I'd collapse in a heap and cry and cry.  And usually after those crying sessions I'd catch a glimpse of my red puffy face in the mirror or I'd just realize how I sounded sobbing alone in the foyer of my apartment and I'd start laughing. And I would laugh until my belly ached and I'd  revel in the hilariousness of my dramatics because let's face it, nothing was really that bad.  I was just lonely and bored.  And then when I'd leave my island and take a seven-hour bus ride to see other volunteers, gathering in a pub or a restaurant and talking and laughing, I would feel the most profound joy.  Joy that was so loud and so big it was like my insides were exploding with light.  And I loved that time in the Peace Corps because of the range of my emotions and how good it felt to FEEL. All the time.

So now I'm married and I have children and there is a lot about life that is a routine. School drop off and pick up and workdays and dinner and bath time and bedtime and up again to start all over.  And all of us who are parents know the sameness of those days and the sometimes reminiscence of our twenties when we were free to do whatever we wanted and we didn't even know it.

But on the way to work this morning, after dropping Tad and the kids off and smiling because during the ride, Lucy asked what knees are for and Coen started talking about the intricacies of elbows, a song started on the CD player and I turned it up.  I heard the unmistakable sound of breakfast dishes clinking and thought what is this song? I know this..... And then it started and it was Jethro Tull singing 'Skating Away (on the thin ice of a new day)' 

Listening to it, the music took me back to a different time, hearing it not for the first time but with fresh ears because my friend Brian was going crazy over the way it starts and how cool it was.  But the lyrics kept me right where I was and I started to cry.  And my chest was bursting with emotion because I'm in love. And my kids are hilarious.  And my life does have routine but I'm constantly trying.  And so is Tad. We're trying to live a life together where we FEEL.  Every day.  And that feels good.

So as you push off from the shore,
Won't you turn your head once more 
and make your peace with everyone?
For those who choose to stay,
Will live just one more day
To do the things they should have done.
And as you cross the wilderness, spinning in your emptiness:
You feel you have to pray.
Looking for a sign
That the Universal Mind has written you into the Passion Play.


  1. Alie: your blog is very insightful, and it resonates with me. I hope you continue to find joy inside yourself and your family and friends, in both routine and non-routine activities. I think its great, actually very awesome, that you can be in tune and recognize this, as well as communicate it; rather than the alternative, taking it for granted. Keep on being optimistic. You're uplifting!