November 7th, 2016
I’ve always been a bit of a collector of intangible things.
Words – I have a list in my phone of words I feel deeply about, or words that simply thrill me because of how they feel like one could live in them, explore them, get to know oneself in the space of them. A few of my longtime favourites: Rambling. Mercy. Winnowed. Wildish.
Images – I take pictures with my eyes a lot. I keep these in a sort of ‘beauty bank’ in the back of my mind, to draw upon when I am in need of inspiration. Lately, it’s been the colours of the leaves against autumn skies; two sisters wearing bright pink sharing a streetcar seat singing made-up songs and laughing; the way my singing partner Eric looked across the room at his girlfriend when we were practicing our cover of “Islands in the Stream;” the intense yellow of free range egg yolk against the black of my cast iron pan.
Sounds – I played my David Gray “White Ladder” album recently for old time’s sake, to deliberately bring back an era. The fingerstyle guitar from my friend Brock’s songs came up in an iTunes playlist and it brought me back to when he played for me in my living room while I was recovering from concussion (fingerstyle guitar is now synonymous with healing). Snippets from the tight pseudo-sixties band that played in the background at a bar I helped close down the other night. The chest-warming ‘ping-ping-ping’ of messages after posting a snapshot of the retreat centre property on Instagram stories.
Smells – I’ve been known to be recently intoxicated by the smell of my friend’s newborn baby. Onions in butter. Freshly washed sheets. Have I already mentioned onions in butter? Onions in butter.
But, I often wonder if there is anything more intoxicating than the smell of sun on pine released from a footfall on a forest wander?
This week, my sister and I traipsed the paths that meandered the 94 acres of the retreat centre property I have my heart set on. I wandered off the path, a huge grin on my face, chasing that ‘camping smell’ till I found it and filled my lungs over and over like if I breathed in enough maybe some would last me when I got back to Toronto. I felt like the property itself was rooting for me to succeed. The trees seemed happy I was reveling in their scent and beauty. Somehow, I felt the space was pleased I was there. It is hard to put into words exactly what those inhalations brought me. Benediction. Blessing. The breeze may as well have been whispering: “We are on your side!”
Collecting these snippets has brought a richness to my life – a way of relating to it as a living, breathing, ever-changing thing with the capacity for much beauty. It’s only been recently that I’ve seen the consequences this collecting of little moments has had on my life in an intentional way.
There are times throughout this process where I am doing little things each day and they seem so inconsequential. Write this post. Admire a tree. Send this email. Appreciate this sound. Meet this person. Breathe in this pine. Plan this section. Freeze this moment of beauty.
I then recognize each tiny action has lead me to more significant moments so seamlessly that when I recognize them, I am so surprised I need to pinch myself.
I find myself renting a car and driving alone on empty highways laughing at my own inside jokes and cranking Classic Rock radio for my second property site visit. Pinch. I find myself sitting across from my lawyer at a marble conference table downtown hearing things come out of my mouth like: “My next agenda item after incorporation would be to draft Investor Agreements so that I can initiate that process.” Double pinch. I find myself seated across a brunch table with a woman I admire deeply who says she’s interested in investing. I had to take a big bite of my oatmeal pancake to let that one sink in. Swallow. Pinch.
Going after this dream with my whole heart has had a miraculous side effect – that of teaching me that our desires, if in alignment with a higher will and integrity of purpose, are within reach if only we show up, be present and do the work.
It’s been exciting to apply this to other areas of my life and see the differences in my relationships and the ease with which my head hits the pillow at night. Peace. There is a lot to be said for peace, which may not be the expected feeling when dealing with what are essentially the biggest-scale unknowns I’ve had to date in my life. Fear has been a most persistent bedfellow, but lately I’m treating him like: I’m just not that into you. Peace, on the other hand. Peace can stay. The night. Forever. No big deal.
But, if I can leave you with one thing it is this: following the heart will bring you this feeling of peace-despite-fear.
And, once you’ve felt it, there is nothing you crave more than to have it stay. So much so that even the hard, the ugly-cry-into-your-pillow-while-holding-another-pillow hard, is worth it. And, if I’m honest? I’ve had some of those lately too, because Resistance. But, thank God because those cries make ROOM. For beauty, for possibility, for what wants to be expressed to come out and have its say, no matter what form it takes.
Nurturers, what’s been capturing your attention lately? What are your intangible things? Reach out and send me an email. I’d love to experience how you see the world!