Lightness of Being

I want to talk about lightness of being and those who bring positivity into your life, promoting presence rather than absence. You know them, because they show up. They show up when you are happy, they show up when you’re not. They lend a hand when you need help, even if you haven’t asked, they accept your help when they need it themselves. They don’t play games with their existence in your life, in good times and bad. Most of all, they see your worth and they make sure you see it too.

Those are my people. They make me glow.

We all know “I can’t deal with the negative, so I pretend to be positive even though I’m miserable” people — I’m not talking about them. They haven’t found what they think they can fake it ’til they make. I hope they discover what they are looking for, although, in all honesty, I don’t think they can without recognizing and respecting the twisty part of themselves that resides in everyone.

Notice I didn’t say celebrate. Because you will encounter people who clasp habitual skepticism to their chest as a defining component of their personality. There’s nothing cool about true darkness of being. It doesn’t make you appear more intelligent. I want to say, “Isn’t that negativity heavy to carry around?” It’s heavy just being near it.

What you do with that that darker part and whether you choose to turn toward or away from it, characterizes who you are. Depression is prevalent in today’s world, most people have experienced it at one time or another — that is a mental health issue and not the subject of this article. I’m talking about basic personality in how you approach life, whether you seek a route of optimism or pessimism. I say seek, because most situations can be viewed through either a positive or negative lens. That’s a personal choice, how you pursue the elements of your life.

I seek to enrich my existence with those who know, through trial and error, that life can be hell but choose to take what they’ve learned and make their human experience better. Not only that, they encourage that in others.

Hold close those individuals you stumble across on this rocky road called life who enhance the best parts of you — they are in tune with the internal lightness within yourself. They see the areas where others revered negativity, recognize that was never you, and usher in their own beams of brightness to echo your own making everything around become luminous. They become part of your compass helping navigate the rocky road into a path to a happier you.

They are interested in digging deep, getting to know you — the real you — and they reflect back the brilliance they find, whether you have always had it or you are building it out of obscurity.  They see you. Your internal beacon of light clicks up a notch, or several notches, with each kindred spirit who sees the good in you and celebrates that. 

So take the boost of beautiful brightness you receive, bask in it, and then go shine your light on others. Show them that you see all they have to offer, their worth. Make them glow.

 

New Spaces

I just sat down and fell in love.

I hadn’t been to The Bookmill, found in The Montague Mill, and was looking to escape my house while the septic system tank is being replaced. I’m a big fan of toilets and running water, so having no facilities for five hours is not something I seek to keep on my agenda.

Members of my writing group spoke of this space in passing, people online had asked if I’d ever been there. It was becoming evident that I needed to go check it out. I don’t live near The Bookmill, in fact it is about 25 miles from my home, but when you live in the country, that’s not so far.

I wasn’t prepared. I wasn’t prepared to fall in love with the space.

I sometimes get nervous going new places by myself for the first time. I push past the fear and go anyway, but it’s still there. Driving north toward my destination that initial panicky feeling rose but I squashed it: This is the purpose Tara, discovering new places. After you get there, it will no longer be anxiety provoking. It will just be another one of your places you go to write. Luckily, I’m very good at convincing myself to be stronger and bolder than I am.

I arrived before The Bookmill opened and a kind man was quick to inform me that it didn’t open until 10 am, but the Lady Killigrew Cafe, attached to the used bookstore, was indeed open.

I order coffee and precariously carry the overfilled cup down a small flight of stairs. Only one little round pine table is available near a window and I head toward it. As I arrive, I look out the window, a grin overtakes my face, and my chest fills with unexpected happiness. I am in love. And standing there like a grinning fool.

I hadn’t heard it — a small river. The Sawmill River flows over rocks creating mini rapids, the sound muted by a combination of closed windows on this chilly fall morning and The Velvet Underground singing Beginning to See the Light overhead. I want to cry and soak it all in at the same time, it is such a salve to the chaos my life has been.

I realize as I remove my jacket and sit that I have a thing for old renovated mills, always have yet never thought about it. And water. There is inherent peace near water. Reminders of things I like has become a daily phenomena, and I am loving it.

The Lady Killigrew cafe has large windows, typical of old mills, surrounding sashes are painted black, flanked by maroon linen curtains, and rise from floor to ceiling. The wood plank floor is worn throughout, and perfect. Outside is overcast, but bright. Wild flowers — daisies, orange marigold-like blossoms, purple trumpet shaped sprigs I cannot name — modestly sit in a miniature wine carafe serving as a vase on my table.  Mismatched chairs of a redder hue than the tables are worn in places that bodies rub and a local artist’s creations hang on the wall, one featuring the mill itself.  Thick pipes painted yellow hang from the wood ceiling, a sturdy floor to ceiling beam runs through the center of a long rectangle table in the center of the room.

img_3310

Conversations go in and out of my awareness as I write. A man in his 50’s is discussing the presidential candidates, states that Trump and his behavior, featured all over the news these days, is triggering his own tormented memories of youth. “I had no safe space,” I hear him say and I think: Me Too. Just not in the same way. This place seems like a safe space though. Yes, this is a safe space. And I had to push past fear to actively discover it for myself.

Someone grounds coffee beans and the music changes to The Zombies’ Time Of The Season. College age couples laugh over old photos on a computer, older female professors flanked with books about ethical and legal issues in counseling sit nearby. One stops a woman she doesn’t know and thanks her for the prayer offering at a peace rally she has participated in. I witness kindness. This is why it is important to go out into the world, I think. Witness the good in people being human. I like those who accept the frailty of others without trying to destroy it out of their own insecurities.

At that moment, I realize, I am holding space. Holding space for myself.

The sun breaks through the clouds and makes its presence known across the treetops, onto my little round table, and bounces off the coffee in my cup. One of the employees asks patrons if she can open some windows and my ears are flooded with the wonderful sound of rushing water. I was thinking I might be ready to leave soon, but now I can’t. My ears can’t get enough. I can’t fill up enough. So I just let the sound flow through me.

img_3312img_3314

I sit next to that window and try to remember, was it new spaces I’m looking for, or safe spaces?

Either way, yes.