The Bold Grey – My Book, and Yours


As many of you know, I’ve been working on several books over the last few years. The one that has taken up camp in my heart most recently is the one I ALMOST lost this week then miraculously found! Now it’s even more special to share with you because it’s 52,000 words (so far!) of MIRACLE! My working title for it is The Bold Grey. It’s my story of fierce WARRIOR living through the last 2 years. Yes, I am finally going to share what’s happened since I went “dark” 21 months ago, and I hope you’ll be inspired by what you read.

I’ve decided you’re going to help me write this book! Are you up for that?! I don’t want to do this without you. I need your feedback on what you want to hear more of as I go. Your likes will be votes for chapters and titles, segues and story lines. Together, we’ll write this story that I have been so scared to tell because it’s equal parts HARD and AMAZING.

So, it begins now, our journey together, with a short excerpt below on the meaning of the title, The Bold Grey. Watch my blog and Facebook for more excerpts coming very soon. And, hey, you know, this is a little terrifying for me, so if you feel so inclined as to cheer me on a with a little, “Ra Ra shisk kooom baaa!!!” or a like or a comment saying, “You can DEWWWW IT!!!!” I would gladly accept your happy cheers. Love you.

Excerpt from THE BOLD GREY
© Megan Aronson 2015

sit in darkness

It’s only those of us most willing to sit in the darkness – sometimes without a light – who can find the gold that lies deepest within the caverns of this being human.

So, to some I look a little crazy. I look a little dark. A little worn. A little raw and naked and messy.

But, it’s only because I’ve chosen a life with not one second un-lived. I feel every ounce of life deeply. There is no superficiality in my life. I can’t walk next to those who’ve never seen the darkness. They don’t get me. They don’t get it. They haven’t seen what I’ve seen. I’ve been to both ends of the spectrum, and everywhere in between. I see life in BOLD LIVING COLOR now. I see beyond the black and white definitions so many seek – I see the grey – the daring grey, the BOLD GREY, where life is truly lived. No ground beneath our feet. No sand between our toes. No certainty of the future. No promises of tomorrow.

And I boldly declare that scary grey space as mine – willingly stepping again and again into the next uncertain.

To you, whoever you are, reading this, all I’m asking for is this.

Seek to understand me. Seek to understand yourself through me. Seek to understand those around you.

I am tired of walking this road alone.

My commitment to life is this – to embrace ALL of it fully. I do not shun the dark, the ugly, the crazy, the messy, because those are exactly the parts of me, and the parts of this journey that make it worth living, that bring me to the greatest mountaintops to see the grandest vistas beneath. Come, walk with me, on this journey through the bold grey.

© Megan Aronson 2015

How To Save A Life or “Send Donuts, Legs & Umbrellas, Please!”

"No One Fights Alone" is the mantra for Brain Cancer warriors. I think it should be a mantra for life.

“No One Fights Alone” is the mantra for Brain Cancer warriors. I think it should be a mantra for life.

Written 5-15-15

I have so much joy in my heart today. I am beyond blessed. I am so grateful for my family and friends, the heroes in my life, the lovers and fighters who I see braving their own battles fiercely each day.

When times get really tough we have to look even harder for joy. Sometimes the best way to create joy when you’re drowning is to throw someone else a rope. A random of act of kindness, a pot of soup for a sick friend, a random doughnut delivery on a rainy day.

Glennon Doyle Melton, author of Carry On, Warrior and founder of Momastery says, “We belong to each other.” More than anything, these last few years of hardship have taught me that. And I know it’s not just me feeling it! Everywhere I look I see strangers and friends all fighting really insane battles right now. Divorces, moves, financial upheavals, breast cancer, brain cancer, special needs children, you name it.

frodo-and-sam_38056_1I think these crisis’ are happening to collectively shift us back into a culture of basic human interdependence. We have to take care of each other!!!! It unites us!!! It empowers both parties – the giver and the receiver! It creates a give and take that threads us all together as netting beneath the trapeze dances we’re dancing. Every single one of us at some point has needed to be reminded we are not fighting alone! Truly, we can’t go it alone, and we SHOULDN’T go it alone.

When we see someone drowning we should fight our way into their homes and hearts to let them know they’re not alone. A few amazing women have worked hard to let me know I wasn’t alone the last couple years and they have taught me how to be a better friend. My friend Corina is a great example. After our daughter Kama was born in November, some of my friends set up a Meal Train for us where one family brings a homemade meal each day for a couple of weeks. Around here, Meal Trains are standard. I love that about my community.

Baby Kama and I 5 days after her birth - Photo by Three Little Foxes Photography

Baby Kama and I five days after her birth – Photo by Three Little Foxes Photography

So, my friend Corina saw our Meal Train pop on Facebook one day, and not even knowing me decided to contribute. She brought a beautiful meal and secretly hoped knocking on my door would lead to a new friendship. She knocked that day, and she kept on knocking for months. She dropped the meal off when I was in bed recovering from hemorrhaging after the birth. Then, she came back to pick up her dish when I was in bed recovering from a week in the hospital with a life-threatening postpartum uterine infection and the whole house had the flu. Then, she came back and brought us chicken soup when we all got yet another round of the flu. 2 days later, she texted me, “Had a little more soup leftover, thought you could have it for lunch today. Mama’s gotta keep her strength up!”

She had no idea I literally felt like death for 7 months straight, that I’d faced a life-threatening illness in the hospital for a week, that I’d had only about 6 days without a cold or flu in the house over the last 7 months, and that I was also suffering from severe postpartum depression and anxiety. She just kept showing up because her heart told her to.

Because of that, we now have a beautiful friendship, which fills both our hearts with joy. She has become one of my greatest friends and teachers. And you’ll never believe it. Once I finally had a chance to open the door and let her in, we realized we had something pretty amazing in common. Remember Dana, from Safeway?

She’s his daughter.


We had no idea.

But, I’m not the least bit surprised. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

My BFF Ashley and her son Kayson

My BFF Ashley and her son Kayson

Corina, and people like my BFF Ashley have taught me how to really “show up” for others. Today, Ashley is home with her special needs “hero” and son, Kayson, who just barely recovered from complications after a minor surgery to end up with the flu! The flu can be very scary for a kid with special needs and I know that. I know that being Ashley’s BFF means one day I might be sitting at a hospital bedside holding my lovely Ashley as she huddles over her lifeless son. We try not to think about that, but it’s a job I willingly signed up for because she is a piece of my heaven on Earth and I’d do anything for her. She’s saved my life again and again by showing up for me when I needed to know I was not alone.

IMG_1825So today, I didn’t care what was going on in my world, when I heard “flu” I just put on my boots and my “messy bun” do and ran right over there to just show up because I know how it feels when one thing after another after another goes wrong, and your faith is wavering, and you just need someone to look you in the eye and say, “Hey, I know this sucks. I’m here. We’ll get through it together. You’re NOT in this alone.” I brought her a donut and another friend sent chocolates and I stood in the rain outside her door and I told Ashley she could have my arm or my leg if she needed it. She said, thanks for the donut, and I won’t be needing a leg today, but I’ll call you later if I need a margarita or a bag of sand to put my head in.

THIS is how we throw each other ropes. This is how we get through all the hard and wonderful things of life. TOGETHER.

Corina, my BFF Ashley, and a few other amazing loves in my life have fought hard to let me know I’m not alone. They have taught me how to be a better friend, how to show up for others even when it’s hard, how to be relentless in the persistence of SHOWING UP WITH A BASKET OF LOVE AT OTHERS’ DOORSTEPS. Sometimes, when you’re drowning, you don’t even have time to come up for air to figure out what you need or how to get it. It’s those times, you need someone to just show up and bring donuts, or toilet paper, or pizza or soup or kleenex!!!!! More and more, even when we are busy and tired and overwhelmed and sad and hopeless ourselves, we need to “suit up and show up” for every stranger and friend we see drowning, transitioning or fighting their own battle. If nothing else, to hand them an umbrella and stand together beneath it ’til the storms pass.

Get your boots on and your donuts out, and just show up at a doorstep today and see what happens. Or, just open your door and let the person knocking…in. That’s how you save a life…one knock, one heart at a time. ❤

Lean In, Baby, Just Lean In

IMG_0250I used to believe that bad things happening to me meant I was a bad person somehow. The truth is, the reason so much “bad” stuff has happened around me is simply because I love so many people so deeply and because, well, that’s life.

I used to be afraid to tell you more bad stuff was happening in my life because I don’t want pity, and because I thought for sure I was doing something to “deserve” all this bad stuff. On some level, I think I believed I had not become enlightened/empowered/aura-fied/chakra-fied/fully present/fearless/brave/spiritual/positive thinking enough to transcend suffering.

I wanted so badly in my journeys these last 4 years to find a way to transcend suffering. Continue reading

I Confess, I Killed the Metaphorical Tea Kettle!

It’s taken me awhile to have the courage to write this post.

I have a horrific confession.

Do you remember awhile back I talked about my lovely little tea kettle in my post “Accepting the Unacceptable – Part II”?

I had not paid enough attention to my poor tea kettle, and thus a thick residue had built up inside her, which I was unknowingly serving my family in their brown sugar oatmeal and tea.

I used the sweet tea kettle as a metaphor for our unattended pain. Her unresolved issues were affecting my family (what were we drinking?!) just like unresolved pain within us affects our lives and loved ones, whether we see it, or not.

When we don't take the time to look within, residue builds up, and seeps into our lives.

At the end of my post, I made a bold conviction to pay more attention to her, so she could return to her rightful place as the Sole Hot Water Provider in our home, and maybe even move her up to the front burner!

I had left her on the back burner – a reminder that she needed attention, yet still I didn’t feel inclined to get my hands dirty, grab the baking soda and vinegar, and go at that residue within. She just sat there, on the back burner for days, and looked on longingly as I warmed my water in the big, bad…microwave.

It was much easier to just forget about her, and just find a new way to get my hot water.

But, one day, I put a pot on the front burner to boil some frozen peas for the kiddos, and walked away…probably to this computer to check this blog.

Of course, I got lost in writing as I tend to. (Insert sheepish grin here) I don’t know how many minutes passed, but then I heard a strange sound, and smelled a strange odor. It sounded like a balloon slowly fizzing its air out, and it smelled like…something was burning!

I rushed to the stove, expecting to find charred peas glued to the bottom of yet another ruined pot (yes, I admit, this is not the first time this has happened). Instead, I found…this.

Look what happens when we put ourselves on the back burner and don't pay attention! =)

I left her on the back burner, and she got burned.

The fire within literally burned her from the inside out.

Poor, poor tea kettle.

In case you were wondering, as beat up as she was, she’d lost her ability to whistle awhile back, so that’s why I didn’t hear anything before it was too late.

Now, I don’t know what to do with her.

But, damn, I’ve learned a good lesson about putting myself on the back burner, waiting ’til later to deal with the hard stuff, and making bold claims on my blog about how much I love my tea kettle and want to take care of her!!!!

I had to come and share my story with you, with a grin and a giggle, as yet another reminder to take time EVERY SINGLE DAY to put yourself on the front burner, go within, and look at whatever is there.

In the last three years, more oft than not, what was “there” was hard for me to look at. There was anger, regret, pain upon pain, sorrow and fear. Not so pretty. But, living with those things inside of me, eating away at my life daily, slowly seeping poison into my life, was more painful, more detrimental to myself and others, then doing the hard work of sitting and looking at the hurts, and releasing them.

1) Sit still. Be quiet. Close your eyes. Take three deep breaths in, and out, slowly.

2) With your eyes closed, gently bring your pain to the surface like a bobber on a fishing line rises to the surface of the lake.

3) Sit, look at whatever arises. Ask yourself why you’re hurting/angry/scared. Then, begin to peel back the pain like the layers of an onion.

When my Grandma died last year, I could not understand why I was so upset over her death. She was almost 80, had been ill for awhile, and was ready to die.

It wasn’t until I sat with the pain and asked myself in that still, quiet time alone, “Why am I so angry about her death?” Then, waited, to listen for a response from within…that I heard the answer that granted me great peace.

“I’m so angry she’s gone! But, why?! She was old, she lived a long, full life! Why am I so affected by this death – of all the ones I’ve had – hers made the most sense so far?!”

And I continued with this inner dialogue, “Why am I not mourning her like a Grandmother? Why do I feel like I lost…a…best…friend?”

And there it was. The truth that had been hiding under all my hurt, anger, and pain. I was not mourning a Grandmother. I was mourning a best friend. Losing her had been like losing any woman in my peer group who I call up for coffee and cookies on a Tuesday morning.

4) Give yourself permission to grieve.

As soon as I realized this, I felt a huge heave-ho in my soul, and a gush of a release of the pain. I gave myself permission to grieve her like a best friend. I didn’t need anyone else to give me this permission, or to recognize this and validate it for me. I did that for myself. And, in doing so, granted myself freedom. I was able to work through the grief, consciously, and move forward, treasuring the memory of a woman who I was honored to call a friend and a Grandmother.

5) The last step was finding a new way to meet for myself and others, the needs she had met for me.

So, in her honor, despite my tendency towards hermitville after all this loss, I forced myself to work on being a good friend to others, and creating more relationships like the one I had with her. I have also worked harder at maintaining relationships with my remaining grandparents – and creating “friendships” with them, too.

I believe my Grandmother is still with me, so I gave myself one last permission – to keep talking to her like I always used to. When I get quiet, and still, I hear her replying, “Hi Boobala!” just like she always used to. So, in truth, I have not lost anything in her passing – in fact, I have gained so much.

These steps apply to ANY “negative” feeling you encounter in your life – whether it is a deep, devastating loss, or a less intricate tangle with a co-worker that leaves you riled up at work. Whenever you feel “against” something, take a moment to stop and look within, and you will find the true source of your pain which leads to healing, release, and gives rise to move forward with better understanding of yourself and others.

Now, as for that poor tea kettle of mine, I’m at a bit of a loss. I think the metaphor must end now – because frankly, I think I’m just going to have to get a new one finally! I have definitely learned, though, to look under the lid every so often though, and pay attention to what’s within (and, um, pay attention to which burner you’re turning on before you walk away, Megan!).

This Post Is Not Going to Amaze You

Warning: This post is not going to amaze you, blow you away, unveil any startling information about life or death, or how to go at either. This post is not going to make you want to create a viral video and spread it across all the 299 social network sites you belong to. You will not want to like it, tweet it, share it, digg it, pin it, +1 it, Stumble or Tumble it, or maybe even read it.  

This, right here, is going to be a below-average, unplanned, spontaneous, barely edited regular-ole’-Joe kind of post. 

So, hold onto your socks, they’re not going anywhere. 

I’m a writer, so I have pretty high standards for anything everything I put out into the world that includes words.

This includes my Memoir I’ve been working on diligently for 1.5 years now, Workshop Proposals, Press Releases, website content, newspaper articles, contributing articles for sites like Wandering Educators, text messages, blog comments, Facebook posts, Pinterest posts, and…it includes this blog.

With every flashy would-be Blog Headline that passes through my mind, I pin it like a Pinterest pin on the bulletin board of my mind and ask myself one question…

Pulitzer Prize material, or not?

Ha! I’m just kidding!

My standards are kind of high, though. Someone once told me, “There’s no such thing as a great first draft, only great editing.” I’m a writer, so I know that all good content comes in the tedious task of working and re-working, fine-tuning, and fine-tooth-combing your work to make it as good as it can possibly be.

So, where does this leave me in the great post-something-once-or-twice-or-30-times-a-day Blog world?

It leaves me wishing I could write faster, edit with more feverish fervor, hire SuperNanny, win the lottery and just lower my own ridiculous bar so I can just step over it and get on with blasting out multiple amaze-a-friend posts many times per day.

But, every time I write to you, dear friends, I want to be profound, dangit! I want to move you tears, knock those socks off of ya right into the next room, urge you to do something about something, or simply sink you deeper into the seat of your soul as you read. That is my intention, every day (or every other day, or once a week, or once every other week, or as often as I can!).

Every day I check my email inbox to find a plethora of consistent bloggers (like this guy or better yet, this gal who’s preggo with numero quatro, homeschools, and still blogs every day) dumping yet another gift-wrapped, neat little bit of their being into my email box, all nice and tidy, pristine and pretty, looking quite nicely edited, and even with fantastic photos to go with…and I think, what the heck is wrong with me? Why can’t I do that?

I wish I could post more! I’m sure I could make a full-time job out of delighting and inspiring you daily, but, we all know, “real life” comes first.

These two.

And a dream for this:

And maybe this:

And in between, a dream to have just one person a day come here, and feel…something…feel known, seen, heard, understood, deepened, or dare I say, enlightened?

And, profundity takes time, and work, and thoughtfulness. I’m not saying those who produce multiple posts a day don’t use all these tools – just that I guess I move at a slower pace???

What’s The Punchline? 

All this being said, in this amazingly wonderfully blaise, inadequate, ill-formatted and unplanned post…

I am making plans for what I hope will be a series of Posts That Will Amaze, Stun & Shock You (oops, sorry, the overzealous Circus Ringleader in me just urped out there!).

They’ll be comin’ right up, hot and fresh, just as soon as I can take 42 hours to edit each one ’til it’s perfectly, tidily, primly, properly, proportionately prepared for you.

And The Moral of the Story Is (Because we always have to have a moral!)

I’m sure you can tell, the tone of my posts has changed. Don’t worry, I’ll get all serious and deep on you again soon! For now, and for the first time in three very long years of pure, unimaginable funeral-ridden hell, I am sitting back and soaking up the rays of joy that are spreading ooey-gooey-cheesy sunshine into every crevice of my life.

I worked VERY hard to get to this place – to be able to get up in the morning and choose to see the glass half full, instead of feeling the weight of lack, pain, grief, and sorrow defining my existence. It took a lot of work for me to pull back the edges of the black cloud over me, and search for a rainbow in the sky somewhere above it. So, I do believe a bit of “Just for the joy of it!” celebrating is in order for a time!

I’m looking forward to sharing my upcoming series on the gifts in loss with you soon. First, I’ve got a little joy calling me. I’m throwing a birthday party for my son – a birthday party! I haven’t enjoyed something as silly and inane as throwing a birthday party in A YEAR! Can you believe I’m over-the-moon about Traffic Signal Rice Krispy Treats and Grape-pinned Apple Cars?! This is miraculous in and of itself.

Every day, I’ve been waking up, choosing to live, “Just for the joy of it! Just for the joy of it!” For a girl who’s got as many funeral dresses as Katherine Heigl had bridesmaids dresses in 27 dresses, this is pretty freaking fantastic, I think. So, page views, take a break for awhile if you must, I’ll be sendin’ some more amazin’ your way soon. We’ve got recessions to beat, tragedies to alight, awakenings to unfold, soul food to crunch, and much more…coming right up, on a hot soul-plate of somethin’, as soon as I can whip slow cook up some more homemade profundity for you all!

They do say, it’s all about quality, not quantity, right?!

(Goshdangit, I just couldn’t do it – I simply COULD NOT put this post out there without some prissy, perfecting editing and some pretty pictures! Dangit! The Writer Within wins again!)