Saying Yes

For the new year I thought it was time to slow down – to say no more often than saying yes. Lean back, instead of leaning in. What, I asked myself, is the point of wearing myself so thin? Why do I need to run yet another marathon with students when I’ve already completed eight?

Friday night, I mulled this over with Joe. Should I run tomorrow? Should I train for the marathon? WHAT do I do? He listened, asked few questions and then he just shrugged.

Undecided, I ate an apple just in case and set the alarm for 5:30 AM.

In the morning when the alarm sounded, I rolled towards my phone and googled SRLA. Images of other runners warming up in the dark filled my screen. Joe, now awake says exactly what I need to hear, “It’s game time baby.”

Then Nicole texted, followed by Shanika. Two of my favorite women. SRLA coaches are all, heroic. In that moment, the physical desire to stay warm in bed dissipated. The natural thing to do then, was to get dressed in the dark, like I’ve done hundreds of times before, and say yes.

Yes, I’ll be there!
Yes, I will.
Yes, I do.

We can have spectacular moments without effort but when we do decide to show up, we are often rewarded. Yes can be a beautiful answer.

By mile 18, tired as I was, I was so glad to be outside. Glad that I chose to support my community of student and teacher runners.

Aloha

Kaanapali
Ka’anapali Beach

Maui is beautiful ~ I fell in love with every corner of the island.

We started the trip in Haiku, descended from the summit of Haleakala, drove the road to Hana, and then relaxed for a few days on Ka’anapali Beach. Every journey should begin with a Japanese poem, linger a while in a bamboo forest, and then end on the shores of the Pacific – it was just so wonderful! A longer post about each place will come next.

I am days away from starting the school year and I can’t believe summer is already over. I don’t need summer to continue endlessly. It’s my favorite time of the year because when it begins I feel like I’ve earned it and by the time it ends, I feel renewed enough to teach again. What I do want and need really, is a way to keep and bottle the feeling I have right now.

Japan was one of my favorite places because I lived in inaka, the countryside. Maui – the place and the culture – is nothing like Japan but it was the first place to create the same kind of happiness I felt there. Quiet nights punctuated with rain. Rainbows everywhere. Lush rainforest when you want it, sun when you want it. Life bustling everywhere even though everyone moves through life slowly.

So I know once school begins, I will begin creating and teaching non-stop until June. I love the intensity of it but this year, my goal is to always make time and room for this aloha I feel.

Names

Names.

So the other shoe did not drop. Despite a nagging fear of the unknown and of the known (what I do know of marriage), I got married and it was spectacularly beautiful and fun and the memory of it was all cool grays and warm oranges and lots of champagne and happiness.

ceremony (124)

The month before the wedding of course, I had to decide what to do with my name.

I kept my name.

Mostly, so people could find me again if they wanted to. And because some of my friends still call me by my entire name – Tabitha Pang, just because. And it always makes me smile. You know, I thought I’d want to lose that name as soon as possible, bring to a complete close, any connection to my father. But that ugly old wound will never close and you know when your mom tells you, don’t lose who you are, you have to listen to her.

Everything

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I aimed for a full 13 miles but stopped at 9 miles. Three times around the Rose Bowl with only an iced americano and water was not enough. Luckily there were several fruit trucks around, just for me. I chose a little of everything – jicama, watermelon, cucumbers, papaya, pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew, and oranges with a generous squeeze of lime, tajín, and a dash of salt. I sat under the kindest tree, on the grass, and enjoyed every bite.

The Other Half

I love silence. I love thinking about things, lingering on ideas and words. I love taking my time.

Last November, I had no idea if I’d make it through my life in one piece. I had no idea what to do. There wasn’t even enough of me to turn all of that into poetry. It was a wordless kind of pain. But this has been a very loud year. Full of sound. Full of change. And going most of the time, at full speed, in all directions.

The engagement. The new home. The new job.

All beautiful things. Beautiful additions to my life. Things I hoped for. And now here they are. Instead of having the stars in my life explode in my face, they are shining a bright light on me instead. It’s so wonderful, it’s hard to believe. Of all things, I am uneasy.

Unease, it turns out, is the other half of happiness.