yoga with pets

Come Back

This isn’t one of those posts where I, the blogger, apologizes for an unexcused absence. I told you about my summer departure and I told you why I was doing it.

It was excused, planned, deserved.

I was losing my joy for writing. And that is something I cannot do. Not because I’m a so-called “writer” but because I’m not the same without it.

This was the longest break I’ve ever taken from my blog. It was hard.

I missed it. I missed all of you.

But the things I learned this summer were too good to pass up. There isn’t enough time in this blog post to share them all now, and to tell you the truth, I’m not sure if I can explain what happened to change me.

I will say this. I came back to myself.

The separation gave me the room I needed to consider it all. And, I do mean “all of it.”

For this summer, I think I finally grasped life—its vast, violet landscapes that stretch forever. There’s absolutely no way to see it all, smell it all, touch it all. It’s impossible to experience all that beauty in one lifetime.

I’m a Life Enthusiast. Not because I’m one of those chipper individuals, dishing out too many compliments for the hell of it or going with the flow when they should react.

I’m sparing with my compliments, but I love to give them—to make people feel good when it’s right. I can’t brush things off or go with the flow…it’s not my style. I care too much about what’s happening.

I want to take it all in, all the time.

meditation

I often feel like that little girl still, the one hell-bent on learning to fly. I loved heights and I used to climb everything. I often jumped from places I shouldn’t have, trying to transform my scrawny arms into wings.

I wasn’t trying to look cool, I was trying to cover more ground. I wanted to see everything and I knew that flying was the quickest way to do it.

One day, when I was seven or eight, I fell out of a tree. I landed on my back and I screamed so loud that my dad sprinted out of our crappy condo, dropping the wooden spoon he had been stirring the spaghetti sauce with on the kitchen floor. He scooped me up into his arms and everything was okay.

That was when I realized I couldn’t fly, and I was devastated. I had been practicing inside my mind, imagining that if I concentrated enough, if I kept trying, I could do it.

My husband scoops me into his arms now. When I try to fly and I can’t. When I try to do everything at once and I fall out of a tree.

Thank God, he’s there to catch me.

I learned to fly this summer. Not physically, but mentally, I soared.

I came back to myself, and though I didn’t travel anywhere the entire time, I discovered new people, places, and things. Even the people, places, and things I already knew seemed different.

mom at the airport

My mom and sister came to visit. And me, “the baby” of the family, saw everything differently as we drank beer and talked, as we found new ways to come back to each other in this part of our lives.

We are older, we have scars and memories, but we’re still family. No matter how little time we have spent together over the years, our laughs and hands are still the same as one another’s. We could be anywhere and do anything and still make it.

It was at once comforting and paralyzing to have this kind of clarity about my family.

salmon river

I went whitewater rafting for my first time. It was a team-building activity at work and I was scared shitless. I refused at first, swearing up and down that I was going to stay on dry land where it was safe…and smart. That day another coworker couldn’t make it, and I decided to face my fears.

Rafting on the Salmon River is no joke—you won’t see a bunch of wasted people floating along with straw hats and cut-off shorts. You have to have a guide and you have to be sober. The water is also 45 degrees, so you need to wear a wetsuit. (For anyone who wants to see wipeouts on the final waterfall we went over, there’s a carnage montage video you can watch.)

I saw the great Northwestern beauty of Washington from the water, gliding along the rapids, working with a small crew to do everything in our power to stay in that little yellow raft, far away from the sharp rocks and raging river. I found a way to come back to my adventurous self that occasionally said “hell, yes” to crazy things.

I took a chance on a beautiful experience that ended up changing me for the better. To think, I almost dismissed it.

What else? Oh, man. So many things.

I guess I should tell you all that I finished the first draft of my book. Writing novels is nothing new, but I came so damn close to never writing one again. Summoning the strength to move forward with another one was a big deal for me.

I found a way to come back to my writing, without expectations or judgment. And I explored something new, a dystopian/fantasy genre, a HUGE change from the historical fiction I typically do.

It flowed. It flowed like the raging river I was just talking about.

I was so unsure and I almost didn’t do it, then I got in the little yellow raft and I paddled until my arms felt like they would never be the same. I paddled because it was the only way to move forward, to keep going when everything seemed against me.

cat yoga

The featured image I chose for this blog post is a bit racy and strange, I suppose, since I’m practicing Yin Yoga in my skivvies with a cat on my back.

I wanted to use it though. This is me when I come back to myself.

I bow down in gratitude, pressing my face against the sturdy earth, because I need it to ground me. I don’t look fancy, and just like in life, comedy swiftly follows even the most serious moments (in my case, that’s usually being mounted by a panda cat).

My cat knows. She climbs on top of my back and sits there, purring. She feels my agreement with peace and she likes it.

I hope you weren’t expecting too much from me—some great revelation or wisdom. In fact, I’m more confused than ever.

All I can tell you is that I used to want to fly and now I need the ground. So if you find you’re in a constant state of flight, unsure and unstable, do whatever it takes to come back to yourself. Because that feeling of being grounded is rare and difficult to grasp, but it’s truly the best place to be.

48 thoughts on “Come Back

  1. How wonderful to read your words again, Britt. I love that the flight you’ve been on has taken you on such a fascinating journey and has landed. Toes in the sand, head held high. Feeling grounded feels good.

  2. Britt, it’s so good to hear what a great (hardly a big enough word!) break you’ve been on. And I’m pleased to see your Mom smiling and well. As for skivvies….why worry. Seen in my neighborhood last week, with my very own eyes, two women going to the supermarket in pjs, slippers and dressing gowns.

    1. Hey, sweet Gallivanta! The break was fantastic. Definitely tough during the first and third month when I felt antsy to come back, but a lot of awesomeness happened along the way. Mom’s doing great…it was wonderful to see her in Portland. We had a blast!

      Oh, goodness. That’s a scandalous outfit to wear to the supermarket. I can handle casual, but that’s a beddy-bye ensemble!

  3. Well you haven’t lost the gift of writing in the interim Britt – a wonderful, heartfelt post. Delighted that you’re both happy and productive – can’t wait for the new book, I’m sure it will be as brilliant as ever.

    Is that Ozzie Osbourne in the car? OMG I hope it’s not your mother…:-)

    1. Oh, good! I’ll admit it took a beer to get the post written, because I was a bit rusty with the personal blog. I’ve been on my business blogging kick so much that I stopped and realized…yay, I can cuss here!

      Aww, thanks! I’m really excited about this one. I’m going to dip my toe back in the traditional publishing waters again to see what happens.

      Roy, if my mom reads the Ozzie comment, she’s gonna come out to Jersey and whoop your butt! ; )

  4. You were meant to take that break and that break was meant for you. That’s just what I see here. It feels good to read you again, but most importantly, it feels good to read those words coming out of you.
    you did it all! the break, the book, the coming back to you, the yoga, the writing… the white-water rafting! I’m jealous on that one too!

    and I admire you. because it feels right now, what with the job in Paris and the new responsabilities there, that I can’t do any of that. I’m losing myself and I can’t find time to come back. You’re my tether…

    1. Feels good to be back, honey. I’m relieved, because it got pretty tough this spring. It’s so important to take a step back, as you know. It’s my own version of dropping everything and traveling the world.

      The tether comment is too sweet. I’m sure it’s hard to get into a groove with the job after all of the globe-trotting you did. But there are many ways to roam and explore even when you’re not leaving the day-to-day routine.

  5. Such a beautiful post, Britt. I’m so glad you came back to yourself. Self-analysis and self-exploration can be extremely difficult to do. It’s easier to just keep busy and pass the days in status quo, without thinking about the things that need thinking about. Sounds like you dug deep and achieved some wonderful things as a result. Whitewater rafting? Whoa, good on you! And congrats on finishing a first draft. To me, that’s the hardest part of the writing phase.

    Love your blog banner, too!

    1. Carrie doll! I totally agree with you. It’s alarmingly easy to fall into that routine. These past few years, my mind has started to alert me (hence, the blog breaks). I’m assuming the practice of Yoga and meditation has helped me learn this kind of awareness, because I certainly didn’t have it before.

      I’m with you on the first draft, honey. I like the technician part a lot more. Though the second draft is always overwhelming. Doing that now and I already considered chucking my laptop, then I realized that would be a bad move.

      Do introverts go whitewater rafting? 🙂

      1. I don’t know if introverts go whitewater rafting, but I know this one doesn’t!

        I hear you on the second draft. I’m plowing through mine now, and I’m losing steam. But we’ll keep truckin’ on…

  6. I truly have missed you, pretty lady! And such a great post on your willingness to take the next step! I’ve been waiting for my ‘writer’ to return. It’s there in my head but still have a disconnect to my fingers. It will come and you give me inspiration! Thank you for returning.

    1. All of this blog love is too much! I can’t take it. Wait, yes I can! 🙂

      So good to see you, Dannie. As writers, it’s impossible to be “on” all the time. A disconnect from time to time is natural for the creative mind. Don’t sweat it.

  7. Hello my dear Britt! I was always having ‘flying dreams’ as a child, but as I’ve aged I can’t seem to conjure those dreams anymore (I wish they would come back!) Now I just try to fly metaphorically while keeping both feet on the ground (I think this may be an oxymoron, but I like it) 😉
    You certainly are the original Life Enthusiast and I totally love you for it xxxxx

  8. Many people need that time away, some more than others. Glad (for myself) you’re back, though.

    Often what you say hits me right in the gut, doubles me over and makes me gasp for breath. And I smile. 🙂

    1. Absolutely, Tim! I’ve really learned how important that time away is. Especially in this crazy internet/social world we live in, it’s so important to disconnect.

      Guess I’m doing my job then. As long as you’re smiling. 🙂

  9. Good to have you back! I missed your voice in the blogosphere. 😀

    I know what you’re saying about family. It felt so familiar to hear your words express my feelings. Thank you!

    And I’m proud of you for pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. It does change you in ways that are so deep, it’s difficult to explain. But I’m thinking that the paddle boarder who went over that last waterfall was a little, um, extreme?

    I LOVE the pic of you with meow on your back. It’s perfect!

    1. Missed you, honey! It was very cool to see my family. Since coming out here, I’ve grown up a lot, so I’m noticing more and more how lucky I am to have such a great fam.

      Haha, yes! That waterfall was pretty crazy. They have a “chicken shit” dock right before the drop, but everybody went over the falls and managed to stay in the raft. Crazy, but fun times!

      The panda is a Yoga master. 🙂

  10. It sounds like your break was everything you wanted and needed it to be. Finding ourselves is never a “one time thing” now that I think about it. I’m glad you’ve been able to keep doing it successfully. Best wishes with the latest story and all those yet to enter our world through your words!

    1. Well said, honey. Definitely never a “one time thing.” In fact, I’ve been focusing on soul-searching during a specific time period, annually for the past few years. That seems to be working.

  11. Welcome back – we missed you! That video is crazy. I hope you’re not one of the ones who fell out! Sometimes we just have to hang on and enjoy that crazy ride.

  12. Welcome back, Britt! That sounds like a great break, and I’m glad you took the time to enjoy it. 🙂 Also – I think it’s totally okay to be confused. Healthy, even. It’s only when you stop wondering that you know something is pretty wrong… so cling to those questions for dear life!

  13. Brought tears to my eyes. So real. There’s something about it .. you.. that touches me on a level of..I don’t quite know. Melancholy for something buried down there. I SEE you girl.

  14. A hearty “Welcome Back” Britt! Good to see your words and thoughts flowing into my inbox again and it sounds like an extremely fulfilling break indeed! I’m looking forward to quite some more life enthusiasm from you and I hope you keep igniting some sparks of inspiration.
    I hope my very own “Welcome Back” post will make out there at some point when back from travelling and feeling the mood and inspiration again…
    Take care and keep savouring and creating “moments”!! 🙂

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