On the road again… Let the music of Willie Nelson’s song, “On The Road Again,” run through your head—or better yet, listen to it as you read this blog—and enjoy. The last few weeks have been an adventure—of traveling down the road, hitting a few bumps, practicing gratitude and compassion—and celebrating the various stages of life!
Roger and I, along with Sterling, our precious silver lab puppy, began the trip from Iowa to Texas with a sad task ahead of us: cleaning out Roger’s Mother’s home after her death in December. What would that be like? How would we do it—both emotionally and pragmatically? Would everyone get along? Would there be tears? What would it feel like? I’m grateful to say that Rhonda, Roger’s sister, had everything organized so superbly that the process of cleaning out and dividing up Wanda’s things went smoothly and fairly. Roger’s mindset was that of honoring his Mom and Dad and gratefully “being with my brother and sister for a whole day—to cherish the time we’re together.” I admire and respect that about Roger—his ability to be in the “now” and be present in difficult situations. As Roger and Jim and Rhonda looked through boxes they discovered various mementoes, such as this letter from baseball camp,
anda and Hershel’s love for their family was evident in the “treasures” they had saved. Another song comes to mind now, “A Long Line of Love” by Michael Martin Murphy.
On the road again, we then drove to Dallas, TX to be with Justin, Jill and Brent for the day. What a blast that was hanging out as a family! It seemed like the time went by in fast-forward—but it was rich with conversation, laughter, sharing a few meals, and just being together. Nothing fancy, nothing spectacular—the extra-special moments of the ordinary.
Celebrating seasons of life is such an important part of living—to pause, to affirm, to reflect, to laugh, to share together. In this case we celebrated the beauty of my Mom, Gena Morris, at her 80th birthday celebration. It is quite a celebration when we can get everyone together! Fun times!
On the road again—this time, traveling with Mom and Dad to Lubbock, TX—with a stop at the Museum of Natural History in Seymour. An amazing museum with incredible dinosaur fossils found in the Baylor County Area. Daddy was loving it! Meanwhile I was loving the beauty of the car time with Mom and Dad—we’ve traveled that road from Lubbock to Seymour as a family countless times, and I reveled in memories of traveling back to Seymour to visit grandparents, ride our horses, and go to the lake after moving to Lubbock as an 8-year-old.
Amidst the crazy schedule, I had the opportunity to enjoy the richness of sitting with my high school friends and sharing our life together in the “today.” Thank you Katherine and Marianne. Friends to cherish forever.
In Lubbock, I had the honor of sharing Stop Breathe Believe at the Parkinson Symposium. What a privilege to share with this group of incredibly brave and courageous individuals who have to decide daily to show up to living life fully amidst a frustrating and debilitating disease! I loved, loved, loved getting to hear some of their stories. Parkinson’s is a disease our family is all too familiar with. Daddy is certainly a wonderful example of the power of the choice of our thoughts in fighting against a disease that can provide many opportunities for discouragement. Daddy’s attitude and his decision to exercise with fortitude have defined him as a hero in my mind!
On the road again—now think of the song “Just a Small Town Girl” by Journey.
I admired the glorious beauty of the Texas sunset on the Brazos River as I pulled into Round Timbers to spend the night with my aunt and uncle, Sammie and Bobby—who of course, spoiled me with Fried Fish Dinner. Bobby catches, Sammie cooks! Quite a team!
I was born in Seymour, TX and was invited to speak at the Spring Brunch for the women of the community. What sweet and nostalgic memories:
*sharing about the time my friend, Julie and I—at about age 5 or 6—were picking bluebonnets (the state flower of Texas) and a police officer drove by. Julie and I were alarmed and quickly ran into the house—afraid that we were going to be arrested because we “knew” that it was illegal to pick the state flower.
*having the opportunity to hug my deceased grandmother’s pastor’s wife. My grandmother’s pastor would stop during his busy schedule to share Communion with Tinie at her oak kitchen table, as she was unable to get out due to Parkinson’s disease. What a gift of love Pastor Hart provided!
*looking out at the audience and seeing so many faces that loved and encouraged me as a little girl: Mrs. Carter who taught me Sunday School; Marcia, the cousin I idolized because she was the high school twirler; my friend Julie, the one I picked the bluebonnets with and had not seen in 40+ years; my Dad’s secretary at the bank who would always sneak us an extra sucker when we came by to say “hi” to Daddy; my cousins Gena, Debbie and Mindy, for being the beautiful and courageous women they are; my aunt, Sammie, the best cheerleader anyone could wish for. So, what a thrill to be able to share with them about Stop Breathe Believe and the beauty of cultivating self-compassion in our lives!
On the road again…and this time for the road home….
After a long road trip, what a thrill it is to get to your home street and enjoy the “YES” of turning into the driveway. We captured it on camera as Sterling stuck her head out the window to celebrate the budding of the trees in West Des Moines.
And then, on the road again—this time back in Des Moines for a courageous week of sharing at a few professional conferences. Speaking to professional therapists is always scary—the “not enough” thoughts come out in full force when speaking to a group of colleagues! Here’s a shot of my colleague Nancy and me, putting the finishing touches on our talk.
Speaking is such a humbling experience at times! As Nancy and I were sharing at the Iowa Mental Health Conference about how we utilize the practice of Stop Breathe Believe with clients, I had to stop, quite literally! Yep, there was a slight “detour” on this part of the road trip as I frantically realized my notes were out of order. I had to admit it to the audience, re-set, and “go again”—and this was after getting started 15 minutes late due to “technical difficulties” with the PowerPoint. Take a deep breath, Dianne! Oh my! Lions, tigers, bears and technology—oh my! At times, I prefer to ditch the whole technology thing—but it is a “step into the arena of courage” moment for me. I want to be brave. And the green statement for that particular presentation, with its mistakes and the panic of the moment, was “Stumbling is a part of growing.”
So, what are the “road trip” lessons?
*I love this quote by Elizabeth Berg in The Year of Pleasures: “Now, on this road trip, my mind seemed to uncrinkle, to breathe, to present to itself a cure for a disease it had not, until now, known it had.”
*I cherish the silence of traveling along in quiet, and I love the car conversations with Roger—the unrushed, sometimes deep, sometimes reflective, sometimes ordinary, sometimes funny conversations. I’m grateful for the hours of conversation that afford us the vulnerability, the glue, and the sharing that binds us together.
*It’s a wild and worthwhile adventure to travel and connect with others…and yet centering and refreshing to be at home. I’m sitting on the couch as I write this, with the sun shining in on a quiet and calm morning. It’s exhilarating to travel, yet it’s wonderful to be back in a routine and see clients. Even Sterling, our puppy, seemed glad to get home to some familiar surroundings. I think she might have decided she lived in a four-wheeled, moving vehicle!
*Family is worth traveling for, worth connecting to—even as we are processing various stages of life, not all of them joyous. The time spent together is priceless.
*Sharing with others about the practice of Stop Breathe Believe is an honor and a privilege. It’s rather humbling at times when I “mess up” and model imperfection so well—but I’m just so very grateful for the opportunities to share.
May the practice of Stop Breathe Believe draw you closer to the real you as you discover the beauty and depth of who you were created to be. May you live fully alive today—whatever road you are on!
In closing, I will share with you the lovely words of an old Irish blessing—
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hands.