For the past few months, I have been working 53-hour work weeks. I work on an assembly line and they tell me we’re still behind. Yesterday was the first Saturday I haven’t had to work in a long time. This weekend is special because we also have Monday to ourselves. My wife is a teacher and she is celebrating her reprieve from her usual 9-month marathon of working long hours.
So, when we got some time this weekend, we practiced being together. I say practice because it’s not always natural when we are used to going different directions and being busy in our chosen vocations. Yesterday, we planted some things in the garden and pulled some weeds. We didn’t by any stretch complete this task — we just played with it a little. Laura cut my hair. I always say the same thing, “That’s a lot of hair for a bald guy!” It’s funny to me. We cooked several meals together and later, I read a chapter of a book I’m reading called “The Enchanted Life” out loud to my partner. While we were in the car searching for plants, we listened to another chapter. All-in-all we’re five chapters in this weekend and we find ourselves discussing it periodically.
Last night we started burning our old mattress. We love to sit by the fire pit in the back yard. The previous owners left it for us and I built a deck around it. I know it’s a labor intensive thing to do, but it’s something that kept us warm and occupied our time while we were being together.
This summer, we are visiting friends in Florida. We can’t wait to be in person with these online friends. In a way, it’s an experiment to meet people first online and then become closer in person. It is likely that people will be envious of this trip to a favored vacation spot, but to be honest, what we did yesterday was almost perfect. Just talking and doing little projects together doesn’t sound all that exciting – but, to us, it’s the thing we most look forward to when we’re doing our 6 days of labor.
Since I wrote the book, Being: A Journey Toward Presence and Authenticity, I have been discovering new ways almost every day where I can be where I am and who I am. I didn’t write the book as an expert — I wrote it as a practitioner. And I am practicing every day this intention to be present and authentic. The lessons I’m learning from nature alone are breath-taking and cause me to wonder how I ever existed any other way than this.
I avoid using “best friend” language when talking about Laura. She is so much more than my buddy and using that language minimizes what we have. I’m a normal person with normal weaknesses, but since the day I met her, I can’t imagine spending my life with anyone else. Cultivating that relationship is somewhat like working in my garden. The more often I work at it, the better the outcome.
Today, we’re going to record a podcast, have dinner with a friend and probably, burn some more of the mattress. I know it’s not a very aggressive schedule, but it’s enough for a day of rest.
Being and becoming sounds simple when we imagine it; but when we start to practice being where we are and who we are, we understand more every day of it’s depth and richness. This is especially true when I speak of being with the one I love most.
My last blog post was about story. I hope that as you read the book about my story, you will tell me your experience as well. What does your journey of presence and authenticity look like? Our stories really are sacred and all of them matter. In many ways, we’re all connected and we all feel this commonality that makes us collective.
Laura and I get to share our experience daily, but I hope that my written stories bring us closer together.
Be where you are, Be who you are,