i release my grip; i tighten my grip. like the beating of a heart: systolic, diastolic. both are necessary. both are sometimes erratic and irregular . . .

for proof that i’m releasing my grip, you’d have to look back no further than yesterday. some 12 hours after ravaging our way through enticingly-shaped packages and stories of selection criteria, the floor was still covered with spent wrapping paper and ribbons. gifts were still strewn about the house, in nomads in search of a home. back in the day, we would’ve opened packages and after a short exhale, i would’ve scooped up the paper and mainstreamed the gifts, leaving only the tree (with only a scant 12-15 hours remaining) and tablecloth as evidence that christmas was different from any other day.

in november i spent 4 days with the in-laws and prepared no script. in august we went to visit my son in colorado, and the only items on the itinerary were flight times and rental car confirmation number.

we moved into a new house, and while many of the big projects have been ticked off the list, there are switches without plate covers and marble floors in need of polishing and entire rooms that still look like attics.

i am more willing to accept without comment that some members of my family are just not likely to follow through with their commitments. that some projects may never be resoundingly finished. that some people are just more comfortable seeing the negative side.

and in the releasing, there is a tightening . . .

i tighten my grip around my writing self, living into my promise to regularly carve out time for stringing words together. i am not yet satisfied with what i am writing, finding myself still reluctant to peel back the top and release the contents of what’s in the can, but step one: thanks to gwen bell, there is a writing rhythm in the making.

i trust myself more, increasingly confident that i can and will handle whatever appears. i become more comfortable asking for help when needed without feeling faulty or indentured. i accept tears as highlighting pens instead of signs of weakness.

though i am not yet fully brave, i do speak my truth more, knowing full-well that my truth may not be your truth, but recognizing that my truth has value, too. and as i grow stronger, i learn to speak without the watering down and protective padding of tacked-on qualifiers. and even when the conversations get rough and bumpy, i stay. i stay.

i tighten my hold on patience – around these things and more – because i am not done here. these are not gifts that have been unwrapped and fully assimilated into daily life. this tightening and releasing – this shedding of layers and forming of balance – this is a gift that is still giving and still in the making.

the stories are mine, but credit for the kindling goes to gwen bell and her best of 2009 blog challenge. today’s prompt: the best gift of 2009.

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