Category: Spiritual Exploration

In Love

Family Inspiration Simplicity Spiritual Exploration

In Love

As we approach our 9th wedding anniversary this month, I keep feeling pulled to explore what my marriage means to me. Reading Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage had me thinking more on this topic as I enjoy stories of love, partnership and relationships.

“However much we describe and explain love, when we fall in love we are ashamed of our words.”

-Rumi

When I try to put words to why I love Sean, it feels impossible, because it is. I start to say, he’s awesome, he’s funny, I love hanging out with him, he gets me, he puts up with my antics…but that’s not why I love him. I love him because I just love him.

“He’s your lobster!”

– Phoebe from Friends

Sean and I had some kind of magnetic energy since our senior year of high school. Love at first sight, if you will. However, we didn’t know that feeling was love then, having never been in love. I feel somewhat certain that he and I have had past lives together and hopeful that the relationship will continue on and on in future lifetimes.

I feel compelled to share my love story because I believe love changes things. I believe love changes EVERYTHING actually.

“Love is the remedy.”

-Zac Brown Band

This man, I call my husband, became my best friend when we were still kids. We entered adulthood together, found our way together and discovered many layers of ourselves alongside each other.

Sean was deployed with the Air Force and I spent a semester abroad in college, so three separate times our relationship spanned the Atlantic Ocean and when your love is young, as ours was at that time, that is brutal. The few times we said goodbye to each other, knowing it would be months until we got to see each other again, I sobbed uncontrollably at the airports alone.

One particular deployment Sean was stationed near Frankfurt, Germany and I went to visit him for a week. We traveled all over in our rental car, flying down the audobon listening to European music we didn’t know having the time of our lives. We drove through snowstorms, had our car break down and discovered adventures waiting for us in Berlin.

One of the stops on this road trip was in the Medieval town of Rothenburg. Super cute town but the time of year we went it was dead. Nothing to do, nothing going on. Zilch. When you’re 24 and ready to party, that’s a bummer. There was an Italian pizza place across the street and we went there three nights in a row and drank loads of their house wine and ate pizza as if it was the place to be. It was better than the clubs.

On our Honeymoon in St. Lucia, December 2008

I think we’ve had three chances to partner up in this lifetime and I’m happy the 3rd time worked out.

  1. We realized that both of our dads were in the same Roofer’s Union in Philadelphia and we both attended their holiday parties when we were kids. Too soon.
  2. Then when we were in high school, our worlds collided, but quickly divided when we went our separate ways to different colleges. Hit then miss.
  3. Finally, when we crossed paths again once Sean came home from a deployment in Cyprus, the time was then for us to be together. And we basically were ever since. Perfect timing.

I remember the day that my friend called me telling me he was really coming home from overseas. I was crossing Broad street in Philadelphia and I was on my cell phone and stopped in the middle of the street, nearly getting hit by a car. I was so excited and in complete shock.

It was in a driveway in Lawncrest later that night that he told me he’d basically drop whatever he had going on to be with me. Wait, what did he say??? It took more than a couple weeks for me to realize what had been said.

“Explanation by the tongue makes most things clear, but love unexplained is clearer.”

-Rumi

Someone once told me that couples who make it through the years still argue about the same things they always have, they just change the way they argue. It is something that has always touched me as we transitioned into parenthood and now as our family grows.

A note I wrote to Sean for something I was sorry about

So as Sean and I each journey on our own paths of self-awareness and even self-study I see that we have shifted the way in which we argue and it actually makes us stronger – disagreements and all.

“Then your heart changes your mind and it changes you.”

-Zac Brown Band

Gone are the wild days of driving around anywhere at anytime seeking all the adventure we could find. We did it all, I bet you have too. Often it was just us two finding fun at a Phillies game, out in Center City or going to Dorney Park. We’d drink a million beers talking about everything we could think of with Van Morrison in the background. We’d mention that strange feeling of love at first sight, or knowing there was just something different about the other one. We needed to be together.

“We were young and wild
They say nothing good’s
Gonna last forever
We were pedal to the metal
And always together
When I look back I just smile”

-Zac Brown Band

And together we were. I didn’t have a driver’s license for the first 10 years of our relationship – so we went nearly everywhere together. For TEN YEARS! Like everywhere. Then we both got sick of that. Haha.

Moving in together at 20 years old was fun yet challenging. Our friends were living in dorms or at home still and we were figuring out how to split the bills. The upside is that it gave us practice and by the time the wedding came, we had it somewhat figured out.

“Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.”

-Rumi

Sean has two hands together that hold me up in precisely the areas I need support. And I try to be that same support for him.

One time when I was going through a major transition, he didn’t recognize me but told me that he understood I was like a flower and I needed to grow. I didn’t think I could have loved him more than I did in that moment.

When I was feeling black and blue
I could always count on you
You always made me new
Always made me new

-Zac Brown Band

When we lived in Center City we would often wander the streets and go for long walks and talk for hours. We were bored and broke but we had each other. Those are some of my favorite memories.

Lunch in Playa del Carmen, June 2017

Today walks are for carrying scooters and yelling “Wait at the corner!!!!” to the kids. Our exchanges are checklists of family to do’s and asking the kids to please SHHHSH so we can communicate. Often we only have the chance to talk for real when we are both exhausted and half asleep. Our lives are different now but we still have each other and every once in a while when we do get to spend meaningful time together, it’s just as fun as it’s always been.

An Accurate Family Portrait

I am continuously blown away by the forces and circumstance that united us. I have much gratitude in my heart for this, my most precious friendship and partnership in this lifetime. Nine years of marriage has shown me love,

A Night Out in Mexico

compassion, patience, frustration, compromise and companionship.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our love story. I’d love to hear yours and consider featuring it on my blog. Email me at mslipbalm at gmail dot com.

With Love,

Marjorie Sarah

 

 

I wanna get lost in some corner booth
Cantina Mexico
I wanna dance to the static of an A.M. radio
I wanna wrap the moon around us and lay beside you skin on skin
Make love ’til the sun comes up, ’til the sun goes down again
‘Cause I need you

-Tim McGraw & Faith Hill

 

Difficulty & The Lessons We Aren’t Up For

Family Identity Inspiration Motherhood Simplicity Spiritual Exploration Yoga/Mindfulness

Difficulty & The Lessons We Aren’t Up For

Oh hello there again, Shit I don’t want to deal with
How’d you find me?
I’ve been hiding from you
Secretly.

I don’t have time for this
It’s early and there’s so much to do
I turn my head and feel a ping of realization
I have it all backwards here

Those things I have to do
Are not my lessons
They are the distraction
From the work

Right here, in the messy fears and tears of those plugged into me
Is the “to do”
The entire freaking list
Is screaming at me
They need me

I breathe and switch gears
How could I have nearly missed this chance again
The chance to show up
The opportunity to change the day

These are the moments I prepare so attentively for
Through mantras and silence and yoga
And they come and then I trip, with disappointment in my heart
But not this time

It wasn’t perfect
But I tried
Grateful for the opportunity
Maybe tomorrow I’ll be a little bit stronger

 

 

Photo by Arno Smit on Unsplash

The Woman I Hope To Be

Identity Inspiration Spiritual Exploration Yoga/Mindfulness

The Woman I Hope To Be

Listening to a snippet of something on NPR yesterday, I heard someone speak of the experience of your older self visiting you. “Wow,” I thought. I know exactly when that has happened to me – both times – yet I never had those words to succinctly describe the experience to myself.

Every day I wake, I have the option to choose my actions, choose my words, choose the food and the information I nourish myself (or deplete myself) with. Each day I can decide – what’s it gonna be today? Do I have the courage, the wisdom, the determination to fuel up or will I choose some form of food disguised as nourishment and some gossip disguised as conversation? The answer varies.

When I see women in their 60s, 70s & 80s who have beautiful gray hair, their eyes have evidence of frequent daily smiles and their yoga clothes tell the story of their lifetime dedication to their practice, I see who I hope to be.

The women who fondly smile at my children and next at me as they gently tell me how it felt like only yesterday that they were where I now find myself. The women who have made decades of wise food choices and have eliminated toxic self-talk and spent time attentively nurturing relationships they value most – these women are who I strive to be.

Not too long ago, it may have seemed more likely that I’d grow up to be more like the Long Island Medium* than a natural loving soapmaker.

I am neither, yet I will always be both. Labels can be limiting because we are all the sum of so many pieces of ourselves.

The future selves that have payed me visits and shared stories of life, love and loss left me feeling aware that no label or outward symbol, whether it be eyeliner or an organic cotton tee from Whole Foods, really matter in crafting how important the inner landscape of love is in defining your life as the woman you were, are and hope to be.

xo,
Marjorie Sarah

*The amount of hairspray and makeup I used to use is alarming. Thankfully, that has ended. CVS & Sephora surely suffered losses for many consecutive quarters. I hope they are doing well again.

Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash

Book Club: The Power of NOW

Books Inspiration Spiritual Exploration Yoga/Mindfulness

Book Club: The Power of NOW

Becoming Finders, my book club, met last night. There were laughs and wine and cheese and chocolate…all the staples you’d probably imagine. But there was also insight and listening and sharing and connection – which can feel like a real treat when you find it.

We chose The Power of NOW – A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle. A dense read with some very simple advice on how to stay in the “Now” as well as some lengthy mind-bending takes on the mind and the ego.

Tolle is described as a “contemporary spiritual teacher who is not aligned with any particular religion or tradition,” and I like that description because it feels welcoming to me.

I’m not even going to try to summarize the book for you, because honestly, I can’t. It’s engaging, challenged me in a good way and I definitely recommend it if you’re curious to learn more about how time is an illusion, how pms can deepen your spiritual practice or how spending too much time thinking about the past ages you faster than you may like. He pulls on teachings from various traditions. There’s a lot to take in.

I liked how the whole book was basically about mindfulness but I don’t think he used the word mindfulness once.* It seemed creative that he was able to describe mindfulness in 229 pages without using the actual word, however, the book was first written in 1999 and I don’t know that “mindfulness” was a trendy buzzword back then. *Please correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t recall the use of the word.

One of our group’s discussion questions asked if there was a single point or an “ah-ha!” moment for you in the book. For me, that came in chapter 9 which is titled, “Beyond Happiness and Unhappiness There is Peace.” He talks about cycles of life and the section was about success, failure, doing and sickness. Page 183 explains,

“Growth is usually considered positive, but nothing can grow forever. If growth, of whatever kind, were to go on and on, it would eventually become monstrous and destructive. Dissolution is needed for new growth to happen. One cannot exist without the other.”

Wowza. That slapped me in the face. I shared it with the group because we are a group of 6 women, and it often comes up how much we do and how busy we all are. Not in a competitive way, but it’s just our collective nature it seems. So I thought they could relate. I find myself growing a family, growing a soap business, growing and deepening all of the important relationships in my life through continuous work and dedication and lastly, growing fresh herbs in little pots on my porch. All of these things bring me joy, but they all simply cannot continue to grow at all times. I find myself feeling somewhat lost in the down cycle or the wake of a period of extreme growth.

“Your physical energy is also subject to cycles. It cannot always be at a peak…Many illnesses are created through fighting against the cycles of low energy, which are vital for regeneration.”  page 184

I actually love to do nothing, but I often feel like I’m forgetting something important that I should be doing. That makes me think: even though I love to relax, I’m not super comfortable with the idea of it quite yet. I’m so conditioned to do. A great opportunity that I get many times a day is through play with my kids. I actually enjoy playing babies or making up silly games and dances. When I can be in the flow of it, I’m allowing myself to relax. When I feel distracted, I realize that I’m trying to “do” my way out of something and try to refocus.

This book helped me be a watcher of my thoughts and observer of my self. I’m curious to see how the ideas are expanded on in A New Earth. I’ve already checked it out of the library…

Next week I’ll be taking a brief pause from writing as I soak up some sun.

Happy June!

Grad School Dropout

Community Creating Creative Small Business Identity Inspiration Spiritual Exploration

Grad School Dropout

When I worked in Membership Services for the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, I was surprised by the part of that role that I found to be the most interesting, which was interacting with the small business owners. I think about it and didn’t realize that I was so attracted to their work and their stories because they were small business owners.

The thing about meeting an entrepreneur that is absolutely my favorite is learning the story behind what they are doing. A real and interesting story that someone can share with me. Those conversations are so juicy. When I worked in the Membership Services role, I met with owners and creators of all sorts – restaurants, tour companies, event planners and shop owners. It was the couple that started their unique walking tour, City Food Tours, that made me smile with their passion and excitement when they talked about what they were up to. Or the college kids that started a free Philadelphia walking tour because they just loved it. I remember meeting owners in their welcoming tiny restaurants sitting and asking each of them the story of how it all began. That’s all I was ever interested in…how’d you birth this idea and give it life? What was your motivation? How is it going?

Those are my favorite memories of a career path that is now far in my rear view. I even remember writing my “Tourism” college papers on peoples’ motivation to travel. I always want to know the story.

So as I continue to grow a small business while nurturing a growing family, I think back to all those stories that I’ve collected and learn so much from them. Johnathan Fields likened being an entrepreneur to a spiritual journey and it resonated with me because all that is unnecessary must fall away to create space for what needs to grow in both business and life. They both feel like solo trips, where we find and connect with like-minded people, but ultimately I feel that we are all alone, together.

I used to think I needed a business degree to have a business. I’m a grad school dropout who felt a heck of a lot better about it after listening to this episode of freakonomics radio. There were pieces of grad school that I LOVED and the 1/2 of an MBA (which for the record = no MBA, but still) that I have has served me well because I met one particular professor who blasted a whole area of the universe wide open for me that I didn’t even know existed.

So my story of my little startup is still forming, and evolving and changing every day. Like everyone’s. But basically, I was really, really lost and then I stood still, and then I found this activity that makes me really happy and I turned it into a “thing” with the encouragement and support of some amazing people I get to surround myself with pretty often. Things have been rocky lately and last night I called my mom crying. It’s frustrating when you invest your time and energy in things that are supposed to make you stress less…and you still get stress. And then someone shows you love and you remember, yet again, where the path is. It’s a funny thing how everything comes to be.

 

Just for fun, here is some excellent advice, whether or not you consider yourself a “Young writer.” Warning, these words are amazing.

 

Yoga Made Me Write This Poem

Identity Inspiration Spiritual Exploration Yoga/Mindfulness

Yoga Made Me Write This Poem

Post yoga red wine bliss
Where is Sean, where are the kids?
Dinner is done, still on the stove
Listening to the latest John Mayer downloads.

The deeper we go
The higher we climb
Am I losing
Or finding my mind?

You see the path unfold
“It will,”
We’re told
But to see it, feels shocking, still.

What am I afraid of?
Nothing really
I know
Sounds silly

Well, wait, I’ve lied
Wrapping my head around certain things
I’ve tried
It’s tricky and sticky and it really stings.

A magnetic force field for love & goodness
Spins out of control
Did I ask for all of this?
Is that all?

Be careful what you wish for
It will come true and you will be you
Happiness holds mystery and love at it’s core
Keep your truth, never the score.

Namas Day

Community Inspiration Self-care Spiritual Exploration Yoga/Mindfulness

Namas Day

The first time I attended Namas Day, it was at West Chester University and Meadow was just 5 months old. I’d never driven to West Chester and Meadow was still nursing every other minute so Sean came along and agreed to hang with the kids so that I could take some yoga workshops. It was a SUNDAY in the FALL (he missed football for this). And that is where the love affair began.

Namas Day took my yoga practice to the next level. Not because I could do handstands (still can’t) or crow (still don’t). But because it shifted everything energetically for me. The sense of connection and unity that radiates from the entire event blows me away each time.

I’m repeatedly amazed by the teachers and their perspectives, I frequently break out in tears at the end of a class because the power of love is overwhelming and I also transformed immensely at one particular workshop the spring after the fall football Sunday at West Chester.

All it takes is one amazing human. One beautiful soul to challenge you to push you to your yogi edge and plant a seed and visually grow into who you know you are meant to be. That happened on my mat alongside a dear friend one warm April afternoon. I’ll never forget the deal I made with myself that day. It has altered my path in ways I could not comprehend prior to the agreement.

So I return for a fifth time this spring. We’ll meet in Philadelphia and bow and bend and laugh and cry. Together and alone. I’ll shop the amazing marketplace and sip kombucha with people that inspire and uplift me. I find myself wishing this event happened more often, but I’m sure it wouldn’t be as special if that were the case. It’s worth the wait.

Transformation in Progress

Creating Family Identity Inspiration Motherhood Spiritual Exploration

Transformation in Progress

Tomorrow is the big day. The day I register my baby for kindergarten. So many emotions.

When Brady was born, I shifted everything, as we parents do, and I shed all the skins that I wore and all the roles I thought I “should” be. A transformation that has shook me to my core. One that I thought was complete several times over, but I’m coming to find is a marathon journey that I am still on.

I’d love to carry a sign or wear a name tag that reads: Transformation in Progress. Wouldn’t you? Aren’t we all transforming every minute?

Now my days of caring for a precious baby are spent caring for a growing child and toddler. Soon those days will grow longer as Brady spends his days in a school desk and I’ll find a slower day with just me and little Meadow. Then she will slowly peel away for preschool – our first real separation. Ever. Much more on that in the coming years.

I’ve shed all those skins and roles since transitioning to motherhood and now I’m left with who I know I’m called to be. The real work of continuing to show up now that all the masks are removed lies ahead. I intend to follow my heart, my true creative nature to learn and share and create. It’s exciting yet unknown.

Creating Identity Inspiration Spiritual Exploration

Simply Inspired

People often tell me that I’ve inspired them. It used to feel like a burden when I heard those words, that I had to live up to the expectation that was placed on me. That I had to keep coming up with ways to inspire. But the truth is, motivation comes naturally to me and I believe it’s a marriage of my mom being motivational my whole life and the combination of several of my personal archetypes – specifically those of artist, lover, mother, pioneer, poet, seeker and student.

Archetypes fascinate me. FASCINATE me! Scroll through this link and I bet you may find some interesting stories about yourself too. It’s my intention to use them as an underlying theme in may of my blog posts.

I have an urge to share my spiritual journey and story as talking it out helps me propel forward again and again. Without your support, I am stagnate. We are all connected.  The journey of our spirit, of your spirit, its evolution, its development, the mystery of it all is what I spend most of my waking hours pondering and molding and holding and dissecting.

I’ve always been WAY more interested in the intangible and un-quantifiable than things you can actually see with your eyes and measure with logic. I’m also incredibly inarticulate with the spoken word. I believe there is a direct correlation between the two for me. I’ve often felt misunderstood. I see all this as an indication that I have much more development and growth in the area of my fifth chakra & throat and there is so much for us to explore together.

My intention is that I share with you so much cool information that may not have made it’s way to you through conventional learning methods but to know that it’s out there and to chew on it for brain candy.

I’ve been inspired and I’m hopeful to inspire you to find nuggets and gems to feel curious about and explore further on your own. The seeker and pioneer within me see the seeker and pioneer within you!