When you have a name that is a bit unusual (and was even more unusual before a certain hurricane), it's a special kind of happy to meet someone who shares it. I had the privilege of meeting Katrina several years ago at a Mother's Plunge in Boston. Even in the brief exchange of words, I felt her calm & kind energy. Kindred spirit. I read The Gift of an Ordinary Day over the course of several months - a decidedly slow pace for someone who can typically consume a book in a day. There was simply too much (in the best way) to absorb, reflect on, and treasure. I bought a copy of that book for five women who formed the village that helped to guide my children through middle school & early high school. I was honored when Katrina featured a photo of that stack of books on her site.
I didn't read Magical Journey when it was first published in January of last year. It wasn't a conscious decision, but more a symptom of a year that probably wouldn't have embraced it. I think that the release of the paperback was a gentle nudge from the Universe saying "you're ready now." I know that Katrina shares the belief that "when the student is ready, the teacher appears." And appear, she did....
Magical Journey, A Apprenticeship in Contentment is described as "an intimate account of a year of loss, self-discovery, and growth." For me, it was 266 pages of sharing coffee and conversation with Katrina. It was me saying "yep, I get that" with tears in my eyes. It was me putting the book down because it was, again, too much in the best possible way. Katrina writes about her sons - one at university, and one heading off to boarding school. Both experiences resonate - mine centering around Hope being at university, and Austin transitioning to a 2-household life. She writes about the death of a dear friend. I'm thankful that I don't have that specific point of reference, but I have spent much of the past year mourning the loss of aspects of some friendships that I treasured. The central theme of self-discovery - of figuring out what now? and what's next? - is one that I am living every.single.day.
Growth begins in silence, evolution with a heartbeat, journeys from where we are: standing in one place and daring to imagine a new horizon.
My OLW shows up often, making me nod & say "okay, I hear you."
Before I can move forward in my life, I must take the time to go down into it, to deepen it. All I can do is practice.
I've underlined & starred so many passages of this book, but I'll end with this one. I gasped when I read it, and had to wipe tears away. YES. THIS.
...I think that I am finally ready to embrace the assignment. Lately, the weight that I've carried all fall and winter has begun to lift. What felt like emptiness just a few months ago now feels more like breathing room. What I first experienced as loneliness is slowly blossoming into an enriching, surprisingly welcome solitude. And even loss, I see now, is nature's way of urging life to take a new form. Life just as it is meant to be - always changing, and always inviting me to adapt and change along with it.
Thank you, Katrina, for being an inspiration, a teacher, and a friend. I'm thinking that a New England coffee date is in order soon.