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Presence and Play

It’s a drawing in and letting go. When your story is sometimes just handed to you, it’s both the  foot-stamping and graceful receiving of what is and using it to write your own script in life. Fancy verbiage for “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

Some times in life our choices and actions determine our outcomes,  and other times we simply get to deal with the things that we would rather hand back and say “no thank you….” Or maybe even “screw that; no flipping way in hell I’m taking that.” That’s where I am today; in the drawing in of what I don’t want and didn’t choose, yet  recognizing I can choose to still be present in my circumstances and the letting go of what I can’t control.

After a heart-hurting couple of weeks, I’m weary with all that’s on my plate. I seem to keep finding what seems to be the end of my strength and capacity, and yet, I somehow continue to get stretched to accommodate more to care for the needs of my family. I’ve stamped my foot too many times to count, shook my head and just wondered. The “why me ” question frequently crosses my mind. And yet, I’m learning to pay attention to the story in front of me and use it to write a beautiful testimony of life.

I found a break in my work week, so we hastily stuffed the car with camping gear and we headed for the mountains. Two nights with campfire on our clothes, black dirt staining our feet, and the river a few feet away whispering peace to our souls. I sat in the mornings, watching and pondering the flow of the river. As I dipped my feet in to the icy cold water, I was offered an exhilarating reminder that the simplest things can make us feel so wildly alive. I watch the water pass over the rocks, causing bubbles and waves;  I see the rocks are a disruption to the flow of the water, yet it continually happens. Turmoil for a moment and then the water calms and passes. The rock is slowly shaped and smoothed by the flow of the water; a metaphor for me and my story. We all will perpetually have disruptions of life that come along and we can let it shape us and make some lemonade or lemon tarts and let the flavor of life dance on our tongue and heart, or we can resist the flow and let the lemons rot.

Presence and play are two big ways I keep from drowning when the water sweeping over me seems to be too much.

In the past week, presence was hanging up our hammocks and just observing how each of my crew spent their time in theirs. Barrett mostly read, I slept and read, Brody chilled and swung, and Gantry bounced in and out and flipped himself out from swinging too high… Presence was laughing so hard when Brody ran his flaming marshmallow to the river to put it out and dirt on hands planting flowers. Play was plowing in to water two feet deep on our bikes after flying down the hill out of a parking garage. Presence is hearing my daughter talk about her new boyfriend and being excited for love and hearing hearts that hurt, and the sharing our campfire with strangers turned friends. Play is learning to ride the walls on my bike with my boys. Presence is loving in a moment of frustration… Identifying the child’s joy that led to exploring something resulting in what felt like a mistake to me. And presence is recognizing that it wasn’t a mistake. The presence is just being with someone and soaking in the moment. It’s the conversation by the river of life and God and love. Presence and play make fabulous lemonade.

The choice to remain in presence and play… It’s love and life right here and now; the writing of the story of our life intertwined with God, choices and the unchosen.

May you choose to be fully present in the good or bad of your circumstances today and still know that love and life exist right there in the middle of it all. Make something fabulous out of your lemons.


About Erika Barrett

Endlessly curious and a strange mix of too simple and way too complicated, I'm in awe of the beauty and glory this life offers, celebrate resourcefulness and finding simplicity in life. I am a certifying LifeCoach, specializing in helping others find a way forward towards crafting a life of joyful purpose. I'm also Masters Level Practictioner of Splankna Therapy, which is a mind-body-spirit therapy model. I'm a currently single mama to three beautiful souls, and I love to be outside, adventuring and exploring, laughing, playing in the water and hugging those around me. I'm a believer that life is rich when we become aware of the little moments placed before us and embrace them fully-the joy, sorrow, beauty, love and pain. Life is too short to be so serious, yet there is so much devastating brokenness all around us that feels crushing. My writing is about a journey into wholeness and restoration. For me, you and those around us. So won't you join me in diving into our experiences and hearts? Feel free to share a thought or many, and please, please, love those you're with.

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