Thursday, January 9, 2014

Life on Hold

It's hard to appreciate life at every moment. Impossible really- right? I'm gonna seize the day...tomorrow. Or after I get a chance to take a nap. Or once it stays light out later. Or when it isn't so fricking cold out. Or after I pay off that credit card. Or get a new job. Or leave him. Or find a him.

I'll just wait until things slow down or I feel like it.

A few days ago my Dad, Ron Pratt was in the hospital for an unresolved GI bleed. Doctors were doing a barrage of medical tests, hoping to diagnose the problem. I had just dropped the boys off at Behavior Therapy on Tuesday and stopped at the mall when my phone rang, and it was my Dad. He let me know they found spots on his brain, Possibly cancer, he said. And my legs stopped working so I had to go sit down and think about life for a long, long time. And I haven't been able to breath or sleep or concentrate until today when I got word that there was no evidence of cancer.

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Doodle and my Dad

I could finally exhale. Beyond relieved. Grateful beyond measure. I went back and forth all day, thinking about the meaning of Life. Thinking about everything. Part of me is desperate to stretch my wings. The other part, the part that often wins is fear. Safety. How can I control every aspect of my environment and life to ensure nothing bad or scary or unsettling ever happens to me and everyone I love?

But that kind of restrictive living is the opposite of being alive. Because I learn over and over again that I'm not really in control of anything in life. Not the big, scary or unexpected things. Maybe the tiny unimportant things in the grand scheme of things that I hold to tightly to. The things that also, ultimately drive me crazy. The tighter I hold on, the less I live. Life is not a fragile egg. We can't hide it alone in a room, wrapped in bubble tape, hoping nothing bad ever happens to it. Life must be lived out loud. Jumped on like a trampoline. Thrown like a baseball. Life is breaking out of our comfort zone. Life is sharing our struggles. Life is eating too much chocolate and not feeling guilty. Life is noticing the things happening around us. Life is agreeing to love people, even though they may leave us by choice or by death- knowing it will hurt like hell. Life is noticing the moon, the sun setting, the grass blowing, the sound of snow falling. Listen, hear it, smell it, feel the details right now. Life should be picked like a ripe piece of fruit on the first days of Summer. Loved without worrying that it may never even love us back. Life is anticipation and disappointment and joy.

Life is hard work, like Speech Therapy

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Life is going outside of your comfort zone.

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Like Greyson does when he goes to school, surrounded by kids.

Life is finding joy in the simple things, like Greyson finds in the trash truck.

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Life is loving and connecting with others.

One of my intentions for 2014 was the find and befriend a quiet mind. I didn't know I was so bad at it until I tried doing it.  I totally suck at it. I'm constantly thinking, and it's exhausting. I've been reading, Taking the Leap by Pema Chodron, looking for guidance. She's a Buddhist Nun with an edge. It's the kind of book that must be read with a highlighter and post its and a quiet house while sitting behind a desk. I lick every page clean. I need it all. Pema suggests we pause, slow down, be quiet and still for a few seconds every time we think of it. Pausing is very helpful in this process. It creates a momentary contrast between being completely self-absorbed and being awake and present. It's called a mindfulness practice, or the gap.  In the middle of just living, which is usually a pretty caught-up experience characterized by a lot of internal discussion with yourself, you just pause. She says pausing becomes something that nurtures you and you begin to prefer it to being caught up.

Over-thinking about things that bring me stress is a terrible habit of mine, and I know it stops me from fully taking advantage of Life. Habits don't break overnight, but I will work to lesson it with time. 

I'm ready to stop thinking and start living. Thanks for the motivation Dad, and we are so glad you are okay. You are my own Super Hero.




  1. so glad to hear your Dad is okay!!

  2. I went to a monastery recently and one of the suggestions as you try to meditate/pray to help center yourself is to try to focus on one word and everytime you veer away from that word that you gently guide your mind back to it. Super hard but I think really helpful. Our minds are NEVER empty!

  3. So glad to hear your dad is okay. I also suffer from endless worry! I used to take huge risks but now I hardly recognize that girl. It has gotten worse as I have gotten older (not that I am old, I'm only 36!!) and it has gotten worse since I have had my kids. I guess it is true..the more you have, the more you have to lose. It is my New Years Resolution to STOP THE MADDNESS in my head! Maybe I will try reading Taking the Leap. Life is definitely a process!!! Good luck to you .. I look forward to seeing how it works for you!

  4. I am so glad to hear your dad is OK. I just wanted to write to let you know I love reading your blog. You and your family are truly inspiring. My son was diagnosed with ASD and this past Tuesday. Your writing, photographs, and beautiful boys give me a new perspective. Thank you for putting yourself out there.


  5. So glad your dad is fine! Good luck calming your mind, not sure us moms are particularly good at that one!

  6. I'm so glad that your dad is ok!!! Pema Chodron is wonderful, thanks for the book rec. You can ay also like books by Jack Kornfield, who collaborates with Pema and founded Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Great post, thanks very much for sharing.