In Search of Lilacs

You know that feeling when you're doing something really hard, when you're challenging yourself, when you're stepping out of your comfort zone?

That feeling when you have studied for weeks and weeks and weeks and your test is tomorrow and now there is just nothing to even think about because maybe you've studied everything you possibly can, or maybe you're exhausted, but either way, you have to just let go and walk in to that room and pack your entire bag except your #2 pencil and open the booklet?

I've been living in that gap lately — continuing to run and leap at the Next Level. I don't really know what it is, but I have some pretty good ideas of how to get there. They are involving all my strength to keep going keep pushing keep showing up when I want to quit or give up or take another nap. And how can I tell if I'm "not showing up" or if I'm taking care of myself by resting? How can I tell if I'm giving up or if I can't actually do that without some sort of harm to myself?

These are questions I'm grappling with.

Meanwhile, it is high spring in the Bay Area. I got a sunburn this week, which is something I am usually very mindful of — turns out I burn easily, and am very affected by the heat. It's taken me years now to adjust to the California sun, to say no to outdoor activities, to go into the shade even when the action is in the sun.

I haven't been able to find any lilacs, though. They are quite rare here. Maybe they like to be farther north? I am used to bouquets of them, bushes of them with branches heaving under the weight of their heavy blossoms. They aren't the kind of flower where passers-by stop to awe at their shape, but they do stun us with their smell: perfume and magic and stardust.

As a kid, I was taught never to pick flowers — except for lilacs. If you don't harvest the lilac flowers, the dead bloom will stay there into the next season. But if you do, another flower will grow back in its place. This is what I was always taught.

They were special, personal, friends — almost like they wanted to be in homes, on dinner tables, on windowsills, rather than stay on their bush and drop their petals.

Maybe they are just good at adventuring, at going out of their comfort zone, at wanting to see more than the place from which they grew. Maybe they know they need a leap, but don't have their own mobility, so they smell so good to encourage us with hands to take them.

Maybe that's why I'm craving them so much during this mid-air free-fall leveling-up process of spring.

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PS: Doing a really hard thing this weekend. If you think of me May 2-3-4, send a little sparkle my way. Will report back about leveling up.

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