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Dear Readers,

Happy June! I hardly know where to start. You know the beginning of A TALE OF TWO CITIES? “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”? Yeah, that was May for me. It began with the trip to Greece which I almost can’t even describe for you. I was absolutely overwhelmed with the sheer beauty of the place. We spent a week on Mykonos where I passed hours just staring at the sea, feeling every single care slip away. I have never been anywhere I felt so instantly at home as Greece, and I have never been so sad to leave a destination. The only way I got on the plane was to keep telling myself that I would come back.

A week later, my daughter was in a head-on collision with a concrete construction barrier. She totaled her car but walked away with minor injuries, and I haven’t stopped heaving with gratitude since. We arrived on the scene before the state troopers even got there, and something about sitting in an emergency room with your child’s blood on your clothes snaps everything into perspective. (I threw that shirt away. I couldn’t stand the idea of wearing it again.) She stayed with us for almost a week after the accident, and I had a lot of time to think about how times of great bliss and great trauma are equally good at stripping away everything that doesn’t matter. On the island, we lived in bare feet, our days pared down to sunshine and sea and fruit. After the accident, we didn’t care about anything other than making sure our child was okay. In both situations, everything else became wholly insignificant.

And those are lessons I want to hang onto moving forward. We can work and pay bills and take care of responsibilities, but that doesn’t mean that we need to get hung up on every little stressor. Is it as elemental as the sea? Is it as traumatic as life and death? Then maybe it isn’t something we need to spend time worrying about. Maybe it’s something we need to attend to without letting it disturb our equilibrium. Maybe we can handle it and move on without losing our peace of mind.

This month, I turn fifty. All my life I’ve been trying to become the woman I want to be. Because of May’s sharp lessons, I’m closer to her than I was before. I’m going to leave you with a picture of me, swimming in the Aegean, on one of the best days of my life. For a long time, I kept my arms and legs moving, thinking I needed to tread water to keep from drowning. I’ve never been able to float on my back, but I had been swimming for a while and was getting tired. I hated the idea of coming in; the water was just too beautiful to leave. So I held my breath and rested my arms and legs, prepared to sink under the water for a minute before I had to start swimming again. And then something unexpected happened: I bobbed right back up. As it happens, the Aegean is salty—so much so that it will buoy you up. I only needed to lie back and rest. I turned my face to the sun and listened to the sound of the sea and my own heartbeat in the shells of my ears. Nothing but peace. I’m keeping this picture because it reminds me of so much: the joy of that day, the smell of the herbs growing on the hillsides, the taste of the sea. But also because that was the day I learned that sometimes bringing yourself to rest and trust that you will be held up is the most valuable thing you can do.

Happy June, y’all!

Deanna

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