Sunday, June 24, 2012

Lucky 11

My husband and I work hard at our marriage.  We've learned to communicate well (at least I think so), we don't let things fester, we don't expect each other to read one another's mind (well, he doesn't expect me to, but if I'm honest here, I do sometimes expect him to read mine).  We don't take ourselves too seriously, we laugh a lot, we try to make time in the midst of the busy-ness to "connect", to sit in one another's presence without a bunch of distractions (children, TV, computer, the newspaper) and just talk about what's going on.  Some weeks we are better about it than other and that is just the nature of marriage.  It's a move in and out of sync, and the times when you move out of sync, you are aware of it and do what you need to set it back on the right track.
Anyways, despite all of that, we probably don't make enough time to get away, just the two of us, without our little munchkins. 
It was our anniversary yesterday, 11 years and going strong.  We decided a couple of weeks ago we should try and get away for the weekend, or at least a night and we actually made it happen.  I always think it sounds good in theory and then get caught up in the details of making the arrangements and seem to get stuck.  So, I arranged for the child care and Sean took care of the plans, where we would go and stay.  We left home about 10 am on Saturday and headed south toward the Gorge.  It was pouring down rain, which didn't seem to dampen our mood in the least.  The freedom of being away and having one another's full attention and company is such a treat.  I think sometimes I forget how much I LIKE my husband. I always love him, of course, but sometimes I forget how much fun he is, how he can make me laugh, and smile and feel happy about life.  We stopped in at Maryhill Winery for some wine tasting.  The view is amazing and the sun decided to peek out from behind the clouds for a bit   We then journeyed on, over the Columbia River to Hood River where we spent the afternoon at a brew pub.  We sat at the bar and made friends with our neighbors, shared our pizza with one of them and left feeling full.  We walked around Hood River holding hands, ate Gelatto from a street vendor and talked about why some cities have what my friend calls "animation" and others don't.  You can feel when you walk into a place whether it has it or not.  I guess its the same with people, when you meet someone, its usually evident from the get go whether or not they have animation.  Certain places attract those kind of people and I think Hood River is one of them. You get that vibe, good energy, like people are doing things, things are happening.  I don't know exactly how to put words to it, but if you are the least bit in touch with know what I am talking about.
It was finally late afternoon and so we headed to our hotel back across the river in White Salmon.  We stayed at the same place a year ago, for our 10th anniversary.  It's a small hotel, very sweet.  It's across the street from a yoga studio they give you a free pass for, so they kind of get me with that.  The last time we were in White Salmon everyone raved about a restaurant Henni's that we didn't make it to, so after a nice afternoon siesta, we headed out for dinner.  It was delicious and serendipitous.  During our meal, we heard the couple next to us telling the waiter they were  celebrating their 59th anniversary.  The waiter remarked how sweet it was to see a couple still enjoying one another's company after all those years.  We congratulated them and told them we too were celebrating our anniversary.  As we prepared to leave, Sean got up and paid for their bottle of wine. He, of course, didn't tell me, although I had a hunch as to what he was doing.  He asked the waiter to not tell them until we were gone and we went on our way.  My heart of the many reasons why I love this man...his generosity, his kindness and his lack of ego. 
We were talking as we walked back to the hotel later in the evening about how we should have asked them the secret to their success.  As chance (and not many hotel options in that small town) would have it, the couple was staying at the same hotel, just down the hall.  We crossed paths the next morning as we returned from yoga class and the man asked if we were the couple from dinner.  He told us how surprised they were and that such acts of thoughtfulness make life better.  I asked him what was the secret to their long marriage.  "A little bit of luck, I think, and lots of support, from family and friends alike."  Lucky us, we've definitely got all that.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The dark and the light

For the last several years, I have celebrated the summer solstice by doing 108 sun salutations.  This year, my Wednesday night yoga class fell on the solstice, but for whatever reason, I did not plan in advance to change my class into the annual ritual.  When it dawned on me yesterday, that it was the summer solstice, I figured I could just base my class around sun salutations and find another way to acknowledge and honor another season of life.
As I sat down to prepare for class, I contemplated the significance of the occasion.  It happens every year.  I wait all spring for summer to come, for longer days, a more carefree season, more time with my kids, less of a schedule and what feels to me like more freedom.  There is something about these long days of summer that give me the feeling we have all the time in the world, time for all of it.
In actuality, the summer solstice is the longest day of the year.  As we usher in this season of warmth and light, the darkness is just beginning to set in. The summer solstice marks the days getting shorter.  The word solstice comes from the 2 Latin words, sol and stice.  Sol obviously means sun and the stice means in essence to stand still.  The solstice is the day when the sun stands still, if only momentarily.  We are reminded of the impermanence of all things.  Even the seasons, the long days, the light doesn't stay for long.  Eventually the darkness creeps back in.    As I pondered all this, I began to think about life and the parallels between the light and the dark.  Most of us want to live in the light, the place where we find clarity, where we feel brilliant, enlightened.  Inevitably the light creates a shadow, the darkness.  It follows us wherever we go.  The only time we can't see our shadow is when we are in the dark, the place most of us don't want to reside.
I guess what I am getting at is I see this ritual of honoring the sun, as a way to honor our own light our own brilliance, the sun of our own spirit that we can shine upon the world around us.  I found myself very emotional as I moved through my class last night.  One woman in the front row was full of tears and another came to me at the end of class and thanked me, "that was something special" she said.  I'm not sure what it was that spoke to me last night...the songs in my playlist all with a theme of the sun or light, or just the combination of bright souls in the room, our collective breath and hearts beating.  I left feeling very full, thankful for the times when the light illuminates the shadow and we feel confident, certain of our place in the world and our ability to bring light to the lives of others.  Happy Summer Solstice...I hope you find your light shining bright.