When I went rowing with my husband yesterday, we had a good workout on our windy river, but this morning I felt a bit tired. I did a midday erg workout and was going too fast because I didn’t have the best mental focus, which left me without energy on the last interval.

I had been planning to row this evening with my women’s double partner Deb, and although I didn’t feel much like going out, I thought I’d better go anyway because I didn’t want her to be disappointed. In the early afternoon, Deb sent me a text that said she felt low on energy and wanted to stay home and rest. Then I started to wonder—why hadn’t I given myself permission to do the same?

Word-art that says, "May you have the courage this week to begin breaking patterns in your life that no longer serve you. Give yourself permission to pause and reflect today. And remember, taking care of yourself doesn't mean "me first;" it means "me too."

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to encourage self-nurturing and to “give the planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.”

It’s often windy when I go rowing on the river with my husband, and sometimes it can be a challenge to get up to speed during the faster workouts. That’s all right, though—we’ve gotten better at rowing in windy and choppy conditions, and it doesn’t feel as intimidating as it once did. As with anything, more depth of experience leads to feeling more confident.

Word-art that says, "When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind."

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to encourage self-nurturing and to “give the planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.”

This is Part 24; click here to read Breaking the Ice from the beginning.

Like the soft clouds over the California mountains, reflecting fragments of sunlight, the moment seemed bright with possibility. Mark knew better than to reach beyond it, though. Imagined futures, tiny and fragile, had to be held lightly in his mind’s grasp. They could fall away in sparkling drops of condensation at any moment, remaking themselves into different patterns.

A light breeze from the south carried the scents of wildflowers and meadow grass. In the corner of his gaze, wisps of blonde hair fluttered. Mark was resting comfortably on a blue fleece blanket, his head pillowed on the backpack in which he’d carried the blanket up the trail. Joanne sat next to him, talking in animated tones about her classes and her career plans. A bird twittered in a nearby stand of bottle brush, joining the conversation.

Girlfriend. The word felt fragile, impermanent—as if looking at it too closely in his thoughts might make it dissipate, burned away like the morning’s fog.

“I wonder if I’ll want to change my name when I become a TV show host?” Joanne took a sip from a pink plastic water bottle. “Although most people have no idea how to spell Dzeko, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Look at Mika Brzezinski—nobody can spell her name, but that only makes her more memorable. So, I don’t know. What do you think would be a good name for me if I decided to change it?”

The sun glinting from strands of her hair made it look like ropes of infinitely tiny jewels strung together by an alchemist’s hand.

“Joanne Diamond.” The imaginary white and yellow crystals in Mark’s thoughts vibrated in perfect resonance with each syllable as he spoke. “Joanne Topaz.”

The water bottle gleamed dully as Joanne set it down at the edge of the blanket. Its bubble-gum hue clashed weirdly with the bright red tufts of bottle brush waving in the breeze.

Looking at her prosthetic hand, Joanne gave a shrug that Mark couldn’t interpret. “Or maybe I could go with Joanne Cyborg.”

Mark had the impression she didn’t really want him to agree with that, but he had no idea how to respond. Had he said something wrong? Was she unhappy with him for reasons he couldn’t understand? Maybe he had somehow reminded her of long-ago bad memories without meaning to do it.

“I’m sorry,” he finally said, not knowing what else would do. The bottle brush waved mockingly at the edge of his peripheral vision as he tried to keep his focus on Joanne’s face.

“You don’t need to be. When I lost my hand, I was so young that I don’t remember it. Back then, my parents were antivaxxers; they believed all those conspiracy theories about vaccines on the Internet. I caught meningitis as a toddler, and my hand had to be amputated. My parents blamed themselves and felt much worse about it than I ever did. That’s why they always give me so much now. They’re not really as rich as you might think.”

Joanne glanced away for a moment, toward the trail they’d hiked up—and beyond it, the parking lot at the base of the foothills. At that distance, her new sports car was a tiny red dot. Mark hadn’t in fact spent any time thinking about whether her parents were rich, but he did like the car. It felt powerful, capable of making its way through the world regardless of obstacles, like Joanne herself.

“I think I’ll keep my name. I like being memorable and a bit of a challenge.” Joanne smiled, bright, joyful, sparkling with life; and Mark felt as a certainty that he had been forgiven his unknown transgressions, should any forgiveness be needed.

Girlfriend. The word still shimmered at the edges, as if it might suddenly wink out of existence; but it was starting to feel just a little more solid.

I’ve been feeling calmer and more settled this week. When memories of past difficulties randomly wander into my thoughts, I am taking a moment to ask myself, “Okay, how is this relevant to what is happening right now?” My internal voice does not ask this in a snarky or critical way, but with a more accepting mindset, like I am kindly opening a door to give my subconscious a fresh view and more choices. Maybe there’s no answer—but good things can come from just being open to listening.

Word-art that says, "The moment you accept what troubles you've been given, the door will open." -Rumi

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to encourage self-nurturing and to “give the planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.”

May 9, 2023 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

I woke up in the middle of the night, face down with my arms stretched out wide, in Superman position. I felt as if I had been flying. But unlike Superman, I did not have long-range vision to see everything on the ground. Instead, everything below me was foggy, and I had no idea what was down there.

Photo of fog over treetops.

That didn’t worry me, though. It seemed like a good thing, actually, because I was in motion and not stuck in some tiny, isolated spot way down in the trees. Maybe I didn’t know where I was going, but at least I had the potential of finding somewhere better. Super possibilities ahead!

For this week’s Nurturing Thursday entry, I decided to change things up by posting a word-art image that makes fun of motivational sayings, rather than quoting one. It’s a satirical twist on the popular advice to find one’s passion and follow it wherever it leads.

Word-art that says, "Find what you love and let it kill you."

Although I’ve often had an intuitive sense that I needed to find or do something more, I never felt that I had, or was searching for, one grand lifelong passion. Instead, my experience is that I’ve had distinct interests at various times, most of which reached a logical stopping point before I moved on. What’s more important, perhaps, is to find where we need to be in the moment.

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to encourage self-nurturing and to “give the planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.”