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Summer and the Joy of Nothing

by | Jul 17, 2019 | Journal | 0 comments

I have been very quiet lately. I haven’t posted a journal entry since I don’t know when. My social feeds have gained no new followers. My program outlines for the fall are not any closer to complete.

Everything I’ve ever learned about building a brand says this is the wrong thing to do. Constant and consistent visibility, especially in the beginning, is what keeps you on the forefront of people’s minds. But that advice is built upon fear, and I learned a long time ago to make my decisions based on love.

There’s a good reason for my silence: I just returned from four weeks in the United States visiting my family. We stuffed our suitcases with bathing suits and campfire shirts and flew from Mexico City to my homeland: Michigan. She was wearing her most gorgeous summer dress, with sweeping patterns of willow tree greens and cloudless blues, her neck and wrists laced with the glow of fireflies.

It looked a lot like this:

Leonie and me at Silver Lake.JPG

I had expected I would do some writing on this trip. At least a little. I thought I would share more about my feelings about returning to the place I lived for the first 22 years of my life. I thought I would tell you how nothing has changed there, how I was part of conversations that I swore began in 1992. How Coney Island restaurants still dot the strip malls in every town and serve the exact same food I ate with my grandparents.

I wanted to share all this with you, but instead, the weeks folded into one another. I spent my days cooking breakfast for nine and listening to the music of young cousins learning one another’s games. So I never had time to tell you how I fell in love with the kindness of Michiganders for the first time in my life. How I found their flat accents, easy smiles, and American cars so darned cute. I forgot to write about how spending a lot of time with my family in very close quarters is a wonderful opportunity for growth. Yes, my imperfect family still behaves imperfectly. Yes, they still make me crazy. Yet I feel little need to change the situation into something “better.” Instead, I swam in every lake I could find, creating new memories of Michigan summers that my three-year-old now carries in her heart.

Turns out I needed to be quiet for a bit.

More time away from doing could do all of us some good. Not because research shows that true, unplugged vacations lead to more productivity. Not because too much time on social media makes us believe that our life is less than theirs. Not because of blue light or EMFs. Just because She says so.

She being the one who is responsible for this:

Sunrise_in_the_weeds.jpg

One of the aspects I like most about the feminine is Her unpredictability. Another is Her quiet assertiveness. Here I go, thinking about all the things I need to take care of, making adorable little lists. And then, suddenly, I become taken by the sound of waves lapping the sand. Smitten with a red-tail hawk soaring into the river to spear its lunch. And then, there it is — the absence of doing in which She reminds me that I am my very best. Indeed, we could all spend more time here and come out feeling more alive, more refreshed, more embracing of the non-linear aspects of life that are where the magic is.

Just when I began to get comfortable, She reminded me that balance is the foundation for good living. I found a five peso coin in my purse and began to miss Mexico terribly. I missed the weirdness of being an ex-pat and the way Spanish feels slippery on my tongue. I missed writing for you and building one online program on the sweetness of daily routine and another on a woman’s rite of passage of bleeding. I missed my bed, the way my shower works, my rice cooker.

So we came home. Whatever that means anymore.

And I arrived refreshed. Having trailed my fingers in the waters of the Au Sable River. Having married the bland foods from my childhood with new spices. Having collected memories that I did not know I had left in old streets. Having witnessed in full honesty where and whom I came from. And now I walk ahead, my steps a little slower, a little more passionate. A little more ready for what’s to come.

That’s all I’ve ever needed.

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