Life Musings

“These are uncharted waters. Keep a fierce look-out,” and other sage advice from my sister

In a way, my sister grew me up. Although I am the oldest of three, we are all close enough in age that in a sense, we raised each other. I would like to think that this was something we shared equally but I’m almost certain that’s not true.

Tybee Island, Georgia 2010

For awhile, when we were younger, we shared a room. Two twin beds against separate walls, each with Holly Hobby blankets that matched the wallpaper. I think our room was painted yellow, or maybe that was just the sunlight that streamed through the windows.

When I got older, I got my own room and our younger sister moved in. But we still shared a wall and for days or maybe weeks we tried to create a hole large enough that we could pass notes back and forth. We had secret knocks and codes to talk to each other through the sheetrock and for a long time I would sneak into her room and ask if I could sleep beside her. Most of the time the answer was no, but sometimes she would let me sleep on the floor in my sleeping bag.

I have always felt safer when she’s near.

Father’s Day, 2018

Her love is fierce.

Also, we are nothing alike.

Slow and steady, her love is patient, considered. She is smart enough to learn from others’ mistakes. To trust her own inner compass.

I am the bull in a china shop. Determined, impatient, passionate and not so deliberate. I need to, can’t stop myself from making my own mistakes in spite of all the warning signs. And when everything shatters (as it inevitably does) she is there to help me pick up the pieces.

In her hands, each one is a prism.

When I need a stern talking-to, she is there. When I need to collapse into my own grief, she holds me. When I need to slow my roll, she reminds me with gentle firmness over and over.

She is my courage, my North Star, my strength.

Christmas, 2009

She’s also pretty damn funny.

The other night, we curled up on the couch and our conversation was so delicious and soulful I thought I’d share a few of the nuggets with you:

  • Joy and love are states of being big enough to hold all of the other emotions without exclusion. During times of grief and pain and suffering, moments of joy don’t replace but rather encompass everything else.
  • A heart of inquiry leads to wholeness. When we wrestle with our doubts and create space for uncertainty, our contradictions can be what makes us come alive. Having the courage to examine our fault lines and places of disconnect is an act that also makes us more trustworthy.
  • Being “worth the risk” and “having a positive outcome” are not the same thing. “Meditate on that,” she says.
  • Joy and despair don’t always have to be pitted against each other, but there’s a soul sharpening when they are. Nobody wants to go through life like a dull pencil.
  • Also, cool your jets (aka “Nice and Easy”).

And last, but not least, I quote the fountain of wisdom herself,

“My opinion is, that ship usually sails from the first moment. What you CAN do is steer the ship and keep yourself from running on the iceberg. You don’t have to go down with the ship. Steer that sucker.

Again, the goal is not to hit the iceberg. BUT. Don’t be Dido. These are uncharted waters. Keep a fierce look-out.”

P.S. She is not only a dancer, composer, artist, teacher, and many more amazing things, she is also a writer and has her own blog here.

Taking a break from working on the house and re-finishing floors, 2017

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