20151011_143655“Claritude” is the made-up word that came my way, as I ran on the trails out by Mill River this afternoon. It was too glorious not to get outside, with that crisp, cloudless blue sky and colors sunlit and spectacular peaking all around.

It had been a nice morning, leading up to this outing: Pantry organizing, Pearl and my dad making a trip to Costco for snowpants, Aviva lolling around on our bed and amazing me with what still feels, at moments, like newfound maturity.

The phone woke me early today. I was deep in a dream, and it took me a bit to shake awake. I stayed in bed a while before getting up for coffee, talking with Mani about a bunch of work-related things.

Clarity is a good thing. It comes and goes, like the moon comes and goes. It ebbs and flows, like the ocean tides under that moon. In its absence, sometimes I forget. Forget to step on solid ground. In its presence, I remember. Remember what it feels like to be ablaze, like the mid-October leaves in the brilliant sunlight.

I like the latter, a lot.

And I am sitting down to write a little tonight, realizing that I need to worship the ebb, too. Need to seek it out, even, when things are flowing fast and I’m starting to feel inundated.

The ways I sought out the ebb today, ironically, totally got me back into my flow. I suppose this may be obvious, but it’s one of those obvious things that’s easy for me to miss–my own hand in front of my face, or over my heart, rather than my two hands frantically waving down traffic as if life is some kind of emergency that needs first responders.

In no particular order, here are the things that brought me back into a state of claritude today:

    1. Emptying the top two shelves of the pantry and making a pile of stuff to get rid of.
    2. Wiping off the outsides and the inside drum of the washing machine. (Seriously–gross!)
    3. Being honest with Aviva about something I’d been worrying about talking with her about–and her meeting my honesty with what felt like appreciation and engaging in an actual conversation (rather than stomping off, being defensive, or other behaviors I admit I’d expected).
    4. The sunniness of our bedroom, and how it’s beginning to feel pulled together with its yellow theme.
    5. Filing the piles from a binder that had reached epic proportions of bursting.
    6. These words, from Albert Camus: Do not be afraid of spending quality time by yourself. Find meaning or don’t find meaning but “steal” some time and give it freely and exclusively to your own self. Opt for privacy and solitude. That doesn’t make you antisocial or cause you to reject the rest of the world. But you need to breathe. And you need to be.
    7. Running on trails alone.
    8. Stopping on a little bridge and watching the light for a long time deep in the water, and that one bird swooping out and back, over and over.
    9. Stretching in the grass while Aviva helped some small people with a wedding.
    10. Grocery shopping with V, and then getting absolutely silly in the car and cracking each other up. Her eyes, smiling and so gorgeous, and this incredible glimpse of her pure self.
    11. Feeling prepared for a new week, with good food in the house.
    12. Browning meat and sautéing onions and garlic and mushrooms and peppers for sauce.
    13. Preparing and eating a hot, hearty, home-cooked meal.
    14. Talking with my gorgeous wife about how hard it is to not think back on life before she was sick. And conversely, on the inexplicable-but-we’ll-take-it-optimism-or-is-it-intuition that she will get it back–her health, her ability to live an active, adventurous, creative, well-fed, traveling, living large life.
    15. Signing some messages with the words, “Love from Amherst,” as if to ground down in the here I am, this is the place where I live right now and from which I write and work and communicate.
    16. Appreciating that every single person everywhere must contend with being human. In its glory. In its pain. In its existential mystery. In its plain-as-day normalness. We all share that.
    17. An evening donut.

Claritude today grew roots in the things I did that touched me to my life. Away from the screen, where yes, so much connecting happens, and yet without being fully balanced in the three-dimensional world of trees and hands and faces and shelves, can become an illusory rabbit hole.

I also decided that this is my new favorite word. I mean, clarity+attitude — what could be better?

Tell me where you get yours. What are its ingredients? Where does it live? How does it feel? What takes you there?  I’d love to hear.

5 thoughts on “Claritude

  1. Lisa Sorensen says:

    What a gorgeous post of daily life made meaningful and rich with your attention and love. Your words and images sink right into me Jena, calming my heart, my respiration, as the feeling of connection that begins in your words ripples out into the quiet of the night here around me now. May it be a very good week. xoxo



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