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annakaehler

Please show me

Please Show Me

An Authentic Life, Change By September 11, 2022 No Comments

I just got off the phone with a friend who is going through an Enormous Life Event. It’s one of those rites of passage most of us will experience—the passing of a parent—with all its attendant emotions, requirements, and mind-splattering world alterations. In short, it’s an effing lot.

“I don’t know what I’m doing with my life,” she added shortly before we ended the call. I was standing in the park at this point, bare feet stubbornly planted on the dry grass despite those little flying things that persist in dining on my ankles.

“I know what you mean,” I said after a short silence neither of us tried to fill.

Her confession seemed simultaneously related and unrelated to the Enormous Life Event. And though I told her that I understood and felt precisely this same way at times, I also said I didn’t think this could be chalked up to her mother’s passing or a simple midlife crisis, that most convenient of ELEs. There was something else afoot.

I don’t know what I’m doing with my life.

I wonder how many times I’ve said this to myself as I’ve navigated our radically shifting world these past few years? Maybe it’s always been shifty, our world, but even that notion isn’t particularly relevant. What seems relevant now is that we’re noticing the shifts in real time. It doesn’t matter if it’s always been that way because it now feels this way: like awareness on steroids, in stereo. And I just can’t imagine a single person I pass on the street isn’t wondering… What on earth is going on?

These used to be existential questions, the kinds college philosophy students and doppio swilling coffee shop beatniks discussed in their intro classes. Now these questions are spilling out everywhere.

Maybe I’m generalizing here. Maybe your life and the world and any tidy idea of the future you might have had is still very comprehensible to you. Maybe it’s filled with streamlined purpose, meaning, and profound understanding. Or at the very least a jolly good time on your lake house jet ski.

This isn’t meant to be snarky. I’ve wished for the kind of existence that is a jolly good time on a lake house jet ski almost as many times as I’ve thought I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. So if that’s you out there cruising then I say truly, Brava!

But I’m not that girl, and I’m not quite the doppio crowd anymore either. What I am is someone searching in an almost addictive way because dammit how does one settle on the life of purpose and service and growth that is all neatly spreadsheeted, calendared, and worked out?

It has taken me some struggle years and the advent of recent Enormous World Events to rip the covers back on a couple of these delusions.

Delusion #1: I must work it out and add it to the spreadsheet.

Delusion #2: I will be able to figure out what to do with my life.

This is not depression or some Morissey-fueled angst talking. It’s actually relief. I really won’t be able to figure it out. God knows I’ve tried eight-hundred-million-and-three times from Sunday and I’m no closer. It’s not even stimulating anymore to pretend I can make proper life plans, execute them, and then repeat as needed. So how about no more pretending.

After ending the call with my friend I turned to walk home up the hill and got one of those little nudges that sometimes comes when I’ve allowed some bone-marrow-deep self honesty. Ask for a different way the nudge suggested.

Ok, here goes.

Please show me, Life. I’m ready for something else beyond the thinking and efforting and worry. I’m sure there must be something else.

And maybe I don’t know what I’m doing with my life can be kind of exhilarating if you jump in on this one with me. Maybe you’ve got some ideas on all of that, and I can take a load off for a while.

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inspire

The Great Receiver

Communication, Power, Writing By September 7, 2021 No Comments

By day I work in real estate, meaning I get to see and show a lot of homes. I never have the same day twice, and this suits my personality pretty well. Some days go above and beyond variation, however. Some days I get lessons in receiving that make it clear to me how connected we are, no matter what we are doing and even if we don’t always feel it.

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What if we can

What If We Can

Communication, Compassion, Oceans, Writing By August 29, 2021 No Comments

I took myself to Yachats on a little writing retreat last weekend, intent on spending some dedicated time with the page. The retreat would be short—a night at the beach in what turned out to be a very loud room, the Captain’s Quarters, with a very deep clawfoot bathtub that would not hold water no matter how passionately I argued with the plug. It would be a full blue moon that night and I had two whole days to myself, all ingredients for the perfect productive storm.

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Knowing

Knowing

Change, Self-discovery, Writing By August 7, 2021 Tags: No Comments

Summer in Portland—those longed for, beatific days promising dry weather for play—is as much a darling as dominatrix.

There’s the constant pressure to get outside, and then there’s the still, hot air when you do. We run for shade and we bathe our delicate Pacific Northwest skins in sunscreen from hairline to pinkie toes. Ahhh, we sweat at each other, glorious. And won’t it be an even more glorious fall?

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Inward-facing-dog

Inward Facing Dog

Self-discovery By May 23, 2021 No Comments

10 plus years after my first yoga class, I’ve started a solo practice. It happened sort of organically (okay, with a small tech fail assist). One morning my Wi-Fi gave out just as I was queuing up YouTube. I really wanted to practice, and so I did. Alone. Free form.

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kites

Brother

Change By January 17, 2021 No Comments

I noticed him as soon as we parked. Short and bent, his lank mane of greying hair and months-old beard spilled over a loose black rain jacket that appeared to be fashioned out of a can liner. I remember noting that he carried nothing.

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