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Steve and I have just returned from a truly needed and truly magical weekend away in the Monterey/Carmel area. I could go on and on about the details of this weekend and what we ate and where we hiked and all that we talked talked talked about (with no! interruption from our three wide-eyed beauties (who I adore) which was total euphoria), and perhaps I will circle back and give you some of those details.

But what I really want to tell you this morning, what I’m starting to feel somewhat certain of, is this:

I am finally feeling like someone has released the valve and let out some of the air in the blood pressure cuff that has been squeezing my soul for the last four years. Perhaps longer.

For a very long time, some things were hanging together in a precarious way inside me and when we had kids, and the chaos arrived in handfuls, I began to feel uncomfortably intense inside all the time.

I think it’s been a bit of a come apart. A book, three babies, four moves (one to the Middle East and back). Makes sense, I guess. I feel like I’ve held it together on the outside, but on the inside things have felt Hard and Uphill, and I have been so totally Unsure.

The kicker, in my case, is that I was so totally convinced that someone else could be handling my life so much better, so much prettier, then I am ever able to.

What I can see now is the grace of the come apart. The invitation:

The amazing thing about life’s come aparts is that if we’ll keep our eyes open, we just might emerge a truer version of ourselves.

A truer version of myself is a gift I will receive with gratitude.

I believe the emergence from the come apart—the come together, if you will—began with one important step: choosing to be radically on my own team. I decided, in the midst of Hard and Uphill and Unsure, that I would be a companion to myself instead of a critic (no matter what) and that I would come around the table and sit next to myself instead of sending wary looks from the other side.

Being a companion to ourselves happens when we finally become more concerned with how we’re doing on the inside than how we’re doing on the outside.

Yesterday morning I took the three kids to La Jolla to the beach. It was 70 and totally socked in. I love the beach best when it’s moody and brooding like that, water hitting the rocks and spraying. I’m not a go-to-the-beach-and-sweat-in-the-sand-covered-in-sunscreen kind of gal. I like wearing yoga pants to the beach and tidepooling and scrambling down the cliffs.

I loved watching Luke and Lane make a nest for the seagulls out of seaweed. I loved watching Elle lay facedown across the tidepools so she could get a closer look at the tiny crabs scurrying and maybe lap up some sea water when she thought I wasn’t looking.

The internal chaos that I have felt has begun to dissipate. I knew it when Steve and I were in Carmel last weekend, and I knew it as I walked across the slick-with-algae rocks yesterday morning. I felt such a tender gratitude. I felt truer. Yes. And, amen.

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