In talking with a few friends this week- it seems that there are more than a few of us going through a somewhat similar experience.  To mention a few, one has lost the love of a lifetime to cancer, another to her career, one is just lost and left empty from too much work, another is fighting a life threatening illness , one is recovering from an injury and another is learning the balance of give and take.  It leaves one with a question louder than the rest...

What to do when the life one is living isn't the life one wants any longer?

I've never thought of exit strategies. It wasn't important because my generally positive 'it always works out for the best' easy going-Pollyanna-ish attitude trumped all else. If a door shut, a window would open. Just keep moving forward.  Truth be told- that has served me well, things have  always worked out for the best, in retrospect. I have always been pretty lucky following my intuition and perhaps naively, have never foreseen that running out.  My parents have had their moderate to conservative view on this and have done their best to educate their wild, passionate, risk taking and adventurous child.  Thing is, I do believe that anything is possible no matter their more 'realistic' take on things. That if we work hard and consistently put out great work in an honorable manner-  lovingly so- that the benevolent forces would care for us in providing what we sought after. But, there is so much more to it. So much more.

Where do you go when you realize that YOU are your problem? Sounds funny- but the fact is, we can get in our own way. We limit ourselves. A 'wherever you go there you are' situation.  I watched 'Eat, Pray, Love' this past weekend which gave me some comfort- she struggles with similar questions.  It is very true, I do not think we as Americans value the art of doing nothing, of meditation, of pleasure and pure playful enjoyment. I now get why one shouldn't 'run on empty'- as its bad for the vehicle. There are people I know who have the luxury ( or rather make the time) to allow themselves rest and play. People I thought would at one point hold me in their lives and teach me how to do so as well. At the time, it  seemed like another lucky answer to an out loud request sent upwards. What if you meet one of your  life teachers, friends and/or loves and they walk away?  Where is that window now? I suppose its strangely in the leaving. As well, they do as much to themselves and show their own work that needs to be done in this action. They also lose a teacher/friend and love in turn- but gain the lesson in the leaving too- at least we can hope.  How can one  be on top of the world then slowly one little tiny moment at a time end up at a very different destination several years later. Perhaps we can  forgive and teach ourselves how to take steps back towards the center with personal daily ritual. The answer is yes, of course, but it takes time and effort. It's easy to  lose balance, to break  the fragile glass jars that hold the different parts and pieces of our lives.  I guess we all go through it at one time or another in life. Falling or failing are not planned events. We get to a point when we really know who our true friends are and who they are not,  who we are and who we are not, allowing us to finally get more clear on who we most want to be from this point forward and whom we want to share that time with. Then the work begins, time to  gather the steam of ambition and drive, fill up the reservoirs once again to tackle yet another mountain. I think they go on forever- the mountain ranges of our lives. There are so many peaks we can choose from- so many- but only a few can be taken on in a lifetime.  I have no idea why I thought at some point life would turn into a peaceful beautiful calm mountain lake- but Im learning that the 'hike' is the 'lake.' My new mantra. The 'hike' IS the 'lake.'

I felt more adult as an 18 year old than I do today and have  been told forever that the 40's are the best years in ones life- well, I've always been a bit of a late bloomer in certain areas- and it's still very early in that decade of life.  So, I will champion that hope with my wiser yet still positively positive self.

Here's to change, curiosity, adventure, hope, forgiveness, pleasure for pleasures sake and a life lived with passion, all the while remembering that the 'hike' IS the 'lake.'

Today's playlist as it happened!

Redbird- You Are My Everything-Redbird

Nickel Creek- Jealous of the Moon- Why Should The Fire Die?

Nick Drake- Which Will- Pink Moon

Jerry Joseph & Wally Ingram- Civility- Civility

Daniel Martin Moore- It’s You- Stray Age

Suzanne Vega- I’ll Never Be Your Maggie May/Harbor Song/Song in Red and Gray- Close Up Vol 1 Love Songs

Bruce Springsteen- Thunder Road- LIVE

Kelly Joe Phelps- Not So Far To Go- Tap The Red Cane Whirlwind

Alison Krauss & Robert Plant- Killing the Blues- Raising Sand

Keller Williams- Under Pressure- Stage

Beatles- I Will- White Album

Gillian Welch- One More Dollar-Revival

Amos Lee- Windows are Rolled Down- Mission Bell

Alexi Murdoch- Orange Sky- 4 Song EP

Wood Brothers- Luckiest Man- Ways Not To Lose

Neil Young- Unknown Legend- Unplugged

John Mellencamp- Save Some Time To Dream

Aaron Espe- One Way Ticket- Songs From a Small Town

Dan Mangan- You Silly Git- Nice, Nice, Very Nice

Bruce Cockburn- Wondering Where the Lions Are- Dancing in the Dragons Jaws

William Fitzsimmons- Beautiful Girl- Gold in the Shadow

Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds- The Maker- Live at Radio City

Ryan Bingham- The Poet- Junky Star

Jerry Joseph & Wally Ingram- Paper Planes- Civility

Led Zeppelin- That’s The Way- BBC Sessions

Indigo Girls- Cedar Tree- Rites of Passage

Kenny White- Until You Learn- Symphony in 16 Bars

The Apache Relay- When I Come Home- American Nomad

Ryan Adams- Wonderwall-Love is Hell

Neil Young- Don’t Let it Bring You Down- Live at Massey Hall 1971

Jonah Smith- Lights On- Brooklyn Session

Lyle Lovett- Song for Julia- Road to Ensenada

Ray LaMontagne- Like Rock & Roll and Radio- God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise

Patty Griffin- House of Gold- Downtown Church

Peter Bradley Adams- Queen of Hearts- Gather Up

Mark Knopfler & Emmy Lou Harris- This is Us- All the Roadrunning