The other day I was writing about an experience in my journal, describing how I responded at a family gathering when asked what I've been up to, how I've been spending my time.  I felt that I replied with more confidence than in the past, yet I struggled.  I gave myself a "B-" for my performance.

I was struggling to be true to myself and to explain to some extended family my time spent blogging, photographing, baking, training Charlie.  In the past I would have said, "oh, I don't know, I do this and that and the time before Olivia's school pick-up passes quickly."  I would have laughed and shrugged as a way of saying this conversation is over.

What I wrote in my journal is what I wished I had said:  "I write, I photograph, I bake, I take care of my dogs and Olivia, and through these pursuits I wander through my days trying to find meaning, hoping and striving to make connections."

When I answered my relatives, I wanted to account for the loss.  I wanted to say, have you forgotten it's only been a year and a half?  I needed to say that everything I put out into the world has Aaron in it.

The phrase, "wander through my days" startled me.  I understand it, I know why I do it, and yet it worries me.

It is simply where I am emotionally and have been since Aaron left.  I need a wide open space to explore creatively.  Write, photograph, bake, garden, paper craft.  A little structure is good, too much and I can't think or feel. I actively browse for meaning.

I need, however, to be shaping my finds.  Ever so gently.  Straight lines scare me right now, but I need a few for structure and support.  A few big trees in the meadow to lean my back against and take rest in the shade. Put up support beams in my house.

I tend to let myself wander until I am out of time, and then I look at the to-do list and declare myself a screw-up who needs a rigid schedule. A few weeks of a schedule and I remember how I dislike straight lines, and I break.

Wandering, exploring can be rich, but eventually a path (a curving one) needs to emerge and that's where I find myself presently.  I am going to give Susannah's workbook a try and see if it can provide some of that shaping I seek.  "Shaping" is my word for 2013, as in "yeah, it's really starting to take shape."

I hope that by next December this is how I will answer anyone who asks.