On Compassion.

31 July 2017

I woke up unusually slowly this morning – my body felt stiff, my mind foggy.  I squinted into the early morning sunlight (I really must get some curtains…), looking around my seemingly huge bedroom (anything is bigger than the closet-sized space I had on the ship) that more closely resembles a thrift store drop-off location than a place of rest and calm and peace.  Plastic bins of clothes, bags and bits strewn around, a gigantic pile of cardboard boxes and packing material piled up in one corner against blank beige walls. 

And I thought why is it still such a disaster? Get it together, Kristin!

Barely conscious and having moved in 36 hours ago, 16 of which were spent sleeping, and I’m already berating myself for not having my bedroom oasis/new life in Boston neatly organized and put together.

Somehow compassion seems to come incredibly naturally when directed at others, and is nonexistent towards myself. What is that about?  There's something in there about privilege and probably a little guilt thrown in for good measure; like if there are people starving or desperate for healthcare I deserve to be hard on myself for the privilege of a job and a place to live and food, blah blah blah. But even if it was a friend in this same situation, regardless of the state of the world, I wouldn't say that to them.  I wouldn't even think it. 

So as I cleared the cobwebs and stretched out the lingering kinks from cross-country driving and packing and unloading, I asked myself overly critical self what I would say to a friend in this situation.

It’s always chaos in the beginning – I think it’s incredible that you have been there not even two days and already have a bed set up and clothes hung! AND you managed to feed and water yourself?  AND find your way around to the grocery store and the other big-box chain store AND thrift store in a city you’ve never been to?  You’re amazing! It will come together, give it a few days. Give yourself some grace.

So today I will take one step at a time and show my own self a little compassion.  I’m going to run along the famed Charles River and then try to find some furniture to get my clothes and stuff off the floor and out of bins.  It’s a beautiful summer day which I think will be better spent enjoying the journey, rather than being upset with myself for not being super human and waving the wand and getting it all finished already.  It’s a new experience, all of this, and I’m grateful for the journey.

Until next time….

Until next time...

26 July 2017

It was summer of 2002.  I knew I wouldn’t stay in my hometown and indeed, even with the economic difficulties resulting from the 9/11 terrorist attacks I had gotten a job offer in a tiny little town north of Seattle. I had never been there, didn’t know anyone and really didn’t have a great idea of what I was getting in to… but it was right.  So just over fifteen years ago, I packed up my car in my mom’s driveway with everything I owned and headed west into the next right thing with a little faith and a little fear and a whole lot of hope and trust and excitement and anticipation. 

Fast forward fifteen years, and I find myself doing exactly the same thing. I’m packing up my [rental] car in my mom’s driveway with everything I own, this time heading east to a city I’ve never been to, where I don’t know but a couple people and I don’t have a great idea of what I’m getting in to… but this time I have a little more faith and a little less fear and a whole lot of hope and trust and excitement and anticipation.

How on earth did I get to be so incredibly blessed??   

The last few months have been absolutely everything I hoped and needed.  France was filled with hiking and exploring and resting and reading and writing my thesis and enjoying a pause in the chaos of transition.  The last week I’ve been with family in Minnesota, with lots of time at the lake, quite possibly my most favorite place in the world.  I’ve got about a dozen half-written blog posts, thoughts about transition, about living in America again, about saying goodbye and saying hello and adventures and wrestlings and wonderings and dreams...  I’ll get to them sometime soon.

But for now, I find myself saying once again until next time to my family and my hometown; this place I’ve never wanted to move back to but always love to visit.  It’s eerily reminiscent of my first move fifteen years ago; I’ve leaped into the great unknown many, many times since then and thankfully I can say it does get easier.  I’ll be driving to Chicago tomorrow and will visit a friend I haven’t seen in over eight years; after lunch with a friend in Cleveland and a stop in Niagara Falls I’ll get to the Boston area next weekend and will have a week to settle in, take care of business, find my way around and figure out how things work before starting my new job at Harvard Medical School.

Thank you, dear ones, for being a part of my journey. Until next time…

The iconic Aerial Lift Bridge in my hometown of Duluth - taken this afternoon!
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