Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Lent Days 34-35: Feeling Supported

"I'm so glad you moved in here." Sally told me this morning.  Wow. Those words filled me with happiness and gratitude.  My doubtful self had been wondering if she might want to get someone else in here, someone who could pay more rent.  "We're a great fit." she continued.  "The only thing better was if you had a penis and moved upstairs with me."  I told her I'd work on that. What a great way to start my day as I walked out the door to work, with a chuckle and a smile.

I've been told that I have an amazing support community.  It's true.  If you're reading this post, you're very likely a part of that group for me.  Family, friends, work peeps, church peeps, I am blessed with a whole bunch of people whom I love and love me back.  (There are a few people out there that I love and who are currently NOT loving me back, but that's ok.  Love and Light to them.)

I think part of the blessing of my community is that I genuinely want the people in my life (and everyone, for that matter) to live life to their fullest.  Happiness and bliss and smiles.  I know these aren't "practical" or "doable" all of the time, but it's my focus for myself and others.  And do you know what?  It comes right back at me.  People share their love and sympathy when I'm hurting and are happy for me when I am doing well.  I know that some decide early on in their lives that life isn't worth it, that they're just marking time until "their time" arrives.  Well, what's the point of that? Suffering isn't a gift from or to God.  Joy is.  

I have been getting ready for the upcoming flight to Japan (FRIDAY!!!), being a co-parent during a difficult time and getting distracted (Game of Thrones) so I haven't blogged as much as I was.  I don't know how often I'll be able to connect while overseas either, but I look forward to checking in as often as I can/want.

Today is day 35 of my Lent experience/experiment.  I'm glad I'll be "off the wagon" in time to enjoy some sake in Japan.  I'm also hoping to go with E to a Karaoke bar.  (I'm not saying I couldn't sing karaoke sober in a foreign country, but there's nothing like a little liquid courage.)  One of my funniest memories of the last time we visited (1995) was when we went to a place called the "One Shot" bar.  We didn't know what to order, so we get two shots of Wild Turkey.  (Why we ordered American Whiskey in Japan, I don't know.)  The bill came out to $24 for the shots.  We couldn't really believe it.  And we did, indeed, have only "one shot" while there.  

I have been grateful for the sobriety and the time to focus on my relationship to myself during this time.  My head's been in a pretty good space overall and I've had some interesting insights into beliefs about myself and my relationship to "altered states" and being around other people.  I really needed this time.  Thanks again for the suggestion, Rev.  

Here's some gems from this week's "Simple Abundance" calendar:

The Universe is not stingy.  We are.  Some of us have very stingy souls.  Perhaps not in how we treat others, but in how we treat ourselves.  Yet how can Spirit give more if our fists, hearts, and minds are clenched tight?

Today declare to the Universe that you are open to receiving all the abundance it's waiting patiently to bestow.  Each day offers us the opportunity to learn that as well as giving, it is blessed to receive with grace and a grateful heart.

The time has come for us to realize that until we work on increasing our self-esteem by loving ourselves in small ways, we can't begin changing ourselves for the better in big ways.

Whatever you are waiting for--peace of mind, contentment, grace, the inner awareness of Simple Abundance--it will surely come, but only when you are ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart.  

It's been about a week since I have felt a release from anxiety.  It's a sensation that likes to live in my belly.  I know that I don't breathe as deeply when it is in residence.  I have to constantly confront the belief that if I don't focus on the "what if's", then I might very well be caught unprepared.  Well, I know better.  I really do.  Worrying on things that haven't happened can be like  prayer, says Rev,  a prayer that manifests in the "truth" of seeing life as hard, unfulfilling, surrounded by scarcity. Change my thinking, change my life, right?  So, with you as my witness, I will declare to the Universe that I am open to receiving all of the abundance that it is patiently waiting to bestow.  I know that any and all good coming to me is my birthright and does NOT take away from the birthright of others.

Thanks again to all of you who have posted, texted, e-mailed, called, messaged or supported me in person.  I am not alone and neither are you.  Underneath the layers of anxiety, fear, sadness and doubt is that Silent Watcher I keep mentioning.  Whether I forget about its presence or am able to breathe fully into acknowledging that it is there and it is constant, it is there and it is constant.

I'm going to end this post with a link to one of my favorite songs.  It's "Breathe" by Telepopmusik.  (If you like the song, I would highly suggest you create a Pandora station for this band.  There's some great techno-lounge music out there.)

Just Breathe
Just Believe
Another Day
Just Believe 
I'm used to it by now
Just Breathe

Thanks for listening.  
Love to you all.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Lent: Days 31-33: Emotions

It's been a few days since I've posted.  Lying in bed on Friday night, I felt shell-shocked from emotions.  It's not easy being human, being a parent, being a person who is "overly" sensitive.

As transparent as I've strived to be with my blog, I do have my dignity and a sense of privacy.  When there are situations that are personal and I can't write about them without bringing a bunch of other people into the words, I either avoid the issue altogether or wait a bit to see how it will all settle before attempting to share.

Things are settling, but the dust is still swirling and some of the pieces have not yet landed.  One day at a time, right?  Five days to go until we board a plane for Tokyo, me, the man I am separated from, and our son.  We will spend 10 days with my dad and step-mom, visiting and traveling and living a dream we've had since Jake was born, which was to take him to visit the beautiful country of Japan.  I pray that the week ahead will be nothing more than a flurry of work and packing and marking off my checklist.

Yesterday's Oprah/Deepak was about emotions.  They advised that nothing is more intimate than our emotions.  The current of our feelings have a major influence on every choice we make and that it is vital that we heal and train our emotions to be reliable and trusted allies in order to support our success.  I am aware of my emotions, but I am not my emotions.  How does one train emotions?  Perhaps recognizing them as they come and go, but not becoming attached to them and letting them change as they need to?  If anyone has suggestions, let me know.  I have heard from quite a few people that their comments still aren't posting.  If this happens to you, feel free to send the comments to my e-mail which is listed to the right on the blog site.  Let me know if you'd like me to post for you.  I am sorry for the complications, but I always am hungry for feedback.

Emotions as reliable and trusted allies?  These are new thoughts for me.  Emotions have run my life for a long time . . . 43 years or so.  I don't want to become an unfeeling person.  I have always felt that my empathic personality has been one of my strongest traits.  The trick is to have healthy boundaries, however, and not let the weight of the world suck me into the abyss.  Or, when I find myself at the bottom of the black hole, to have faith that there are steps up and out, where I can breathe the fresh air of gratitude again.

Below my emotions and moment-by-moment activities is a Silent Watcher.  It is my Self.  We all have It, I believe.  It's the connection I have with all of life.  This awareness is the foundation on which my spirituality is based.  I forget about it for most of the day, and then I remember, and then I forget.  I know I've said this before, but since I forget so often, it's good to remind myself with the printed word.

I do not know how everything is going to turn out . . . not with our son, with my separated relationship, with my other family members, with my friends, with the rest of my life, however long I am  here in this body.  But the Self remains constant.  Being aware enables me to see past the possessions and the emotions and even the experiences, which so quickly turn into emotion-based memories.  In the meantime, however, I know that I am here for a reason.  Rev Guy says that we are here because Spirit was in need of a human experience to express Itself.  Well, that's an honor now, isn't it?

In the past few days, I have stood up for myself and my son, prayed for Spirit to show me if my Ego's voice was too loud (and got an answer within the hour), hugged, cried, told people how I felt, and faced the human emotions of shame and "not good enough".  Peace comes, peace goes.  Intentions are set, sometimes there is follow-through, and sometimes procrastination wins out.  Perhaps I should look at procrastination as a form of cowardice and practice being brave a little bit more.

For those of you who pray, I am asking for some prayer tonight.  Peace and joy and a sense of security; faith that "it'll all be ok" and bravery in my endeavors.   I'll send some love and light your way too.  Ready? Go.

Feel better?  I do.

Thanks for listening and participating with me along this journey.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lent Day 30: Divestment

 to dispossess of property, to strip away, rid, free 

(paraphrased from the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary)

From today's "Simple Abundance" calendar:

Once you search within for your own special gifts of Spirit, your material desires diminish.  
Your soul divests for you rather than your conscious mind.  

I had to look up "divest", although once I read the meaning, my mind thought of various sentences I've read in books, usually when someone gets something taken away from them, stripped.  This word used in a meditational thought seems more gentle, supporting the way to Wholeness.

I've been reading (and listening) to various books on the Tao Te Ching.  One of them is The Tao of an Uncluttered Life by Karen Hicks.  In the intro she speaks of the different seasons of our lives, how when we're young, very often we're all about the acquisitions.  As we move into our middle and older years, we tend to be drawn to getting rid of the stuff we worked so hard to accumulate.  

Moving out of the house which held all of my possessions has been an interesting experience.  I have been discovering which things mean the most to me.  (Please note I am talking about "things", not people or the animals. Leaving them behind has cracked my heart.)  When I was getting ready to move out, I obsessed over my books, taking them down to the garage, sorting and labeling boxes (Fiction, Non-Fiction, Children's), with *'s marking the boxes with the most dear to me.  Part of me wondered about this focused energy with the books, the majority of which are self-improvement.  I guess that answers my question.  They represent(ed) my quest for peace, wholeness and wisdom. The books I've owned since childhood invoked strong emotions in me.  I deliberately did my best to get rid of the ones which brought up pain and sadness.  (A beautifully illustrated copy of Alice in Wonderland was one of the books which I let go.  There is not one happy character in this book and the pictures had haunted me since I received it as a gift when I was about 8.)  There are still some books left behind at the house.  I'll bring them over eventually.  I guess I'm still claiming my spot there with them.  (Also, I have run out of bookcase space here.  If anyone local has a two-shelf bookcase they don't need, let me know.)

I have my eye on some of the art that still hangs there.  I am very much into the paintings that were done by people I know or local artists.  I wonder what I'll do about the boxes in the garage that hold high school memories like the one full of prom dresses or the ones with cards and ribbons.  Do I really want to store things that I'll look at once a decade?  Maybe the resident racoon has gotten into them and will save me the struggle of decision.

I like things to mean something, not just be pretty.  I know that meaning is something I assign to it.  I long ago learned that giving up something gifted to me doesn't mean I am rejecting the person who gave it.  E used to tease me because when Jake was a baby and we'd be visiting with friends or family, if they had gotten him an outfit, I'd be sure to dress him in it to show that I was appreciative. It means something when someone gives something to me.  They thought of me and put forth energy and effort.  Things evoke emotions.  Pictures even more so.  What do people do with family pictures after the family has broken up?  We're not so angry that we tore them up or burned them.  Will Jake want them when he grows up?  He's not very sentimental.  Quite a few of them are in a box in the band room.  I guess the decisions will come to us in time.

I look across the room to the table that has been cluttered since the December holidays.  Why haven't I taken care of this mess?  I brought a file box and folders home . . . and there they sit, the papers who want to be organized inside are scattered around.  What am I avoiding?  I do know myself well enough to know that if I have company over on Saturday, which was a discussion among myself and some friends last night, I'll clean that area up in a hurry.  But why don't I just do it for myself?

3/4 of my room looks great.  I make my bed daily, don't leave clothes lying around and am fantasizing about putting my books in alpha order.  It's that last 1/4 that is drawing too much of my energy away from flow.  I don't need a lot more in this room.  I had turned down E's offer of a tv and dvd player as I appreciated not having the distraction or "stuff".  If I wanted to watch a movie up here I could do it on my laptop.  But I've reconsidered as having a space in here for Jake to veg out seems like a good way to entice him over more often.  This is where I live now and if some more "stuff" paves a smoother way between me and my son, I will happily have a little more. 

Thanks for listening.  

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Lent Day 29: Well, Einstein Said It . . .

What a great quote!  This morning when I opened the "Transform Your Life" app while still in my cozy bed, this is what I got.  Makes sense, right!?!  I believe in this wisdom wholeheartedly.  It's why I'm on this quest to "raise my vibration", to "change my thinking and change my life" and all the other themes I've been ranting on and on about.

So how does one go about changing their level of consciousness?  I guess first of all, we can accept that there are some things we can control and some things we can't.  The main thing we can change is ourselves and the way to start this is to be open to new knowledge!  Movies, books, music, conversation, "random" posters and events; the "answers" will start flowing our way if we just let them.

When folks respond to my ramblings and let me know about the synchronicity of their experiences with mine, I get a little tingle.  Our roads have converged, even for just a few steps.

Today at work the Library was closed again due to the testing schedule.  Once again I decided to plug into my laptop in the dark back room and listen to today's Oprah/Deepak meditation.  As the talking ended and the music for meditating started, I wondered how many more minutes lunch was.  I didn't have the schedule in front of me but I accepted that it would all work out.  As the meditation ended and I stood to leave the room, the bell ending lunch rang.  I smiled.  Of course!  I didn't worry about it, the nagging inner voice, which often signifies that I need to look further into an issue had accepted that the timing would be perfect and it was.

Here are some tidbits gleaned from today's meditation entitled: Success Frees Your Creativity

My creative Source brings me deep to the source of my thoughts, feelings and desires.  It is in this space that I create my present experience moment by moment.  Reconnecting to my inner self is the key to manifesting lifelong success.  I approach each moment with fresh eyes and an open heart, no longer defined by past pain or fears for the future.  The creative power behind all success is the primal creativity of Nature itself moving through me.  It is the power of my being to recreate the unique expression of life that is me at this present moment.  Being in touch with myself is the single biggest secret of success.

I am working with a friend who is coaching to develop and create work for myself over the summer; something that can carry on through the years.  I believe in my gifts of service to others in the form of organization.  As I was speaking about my ideas to an acquaintance this morning, he asked me if I had a business card, stating that I had "sold him" on my abilities to create personal systems for others. Cool!  Maybe I should get some of those cards made.  Why not?  (We had a bit of a laugh as I shared the messy table in my room that I've been avoiding.  Organize other . . . sure!  Organize myself . . . well, there often seems to be something else to do.  Ha ha.)

A few summers ago one of my Aunt's called me an "enabler" as I was helping her to pack up her house.  I took great offense to this and mustered my courage up enough to ask her about it.  I was so glad that I did as she explained that what she meant was that I was great at motivating her to get through tasks she had been dreading.  Ok.  I can live with that.  Finding out my true gifts and being open to the possibilities of using these gifts to make money sounds good to me.

Thanks for listening!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Lent Days 27 and 28: Just a Little Bit of Meditation Goes a Long Way . . .

This morning I awoke to then the news that our bank account was overdrawn.  This never feels good.  I'm glad I didn't know about it before going to sleep, but my dreams were a bit rocky so perhaps I knew it instinctively.

I carried around that feeling of unease all morning.

I had my alarm set to wake up early enough to listen to day 2 of the Oprah/Deepak meditation and even took my bath last night to shave off more time.  I didn't move very fast, though, and stayed in bed longer than I should have.  (It was just so warm and cozy!)  My backup meditation app wouldn't open quickly enough for my liking so I just set a 9 minute timer on my phone and did my best to bliss out in the quiet mind without falling asleep.

I rarely take a lunch break at work, but since the library was closed due to testing, I took my laptop to the quiet back room and logged on to today's meditational link.

The message was pretty simple: "Success Increases Love".  "I am here to bring more love into the world."  The Sanskrit mantra was "Aham Prema" which means, "I Am Love".

Deepak said that success is the ability to love and be loved.  I need to love myself on the road to success.  I invite love to flow through my heart.

"Find the seed of bliss within and follow it."  We were asked to focus on our passion.  My passion is service to others.  I know I fall short of this from time to time.  I have owed my mom some help at her place for WAY too long.  (Sorry, Mom!!!)  I fluctuate between wanting to help others and wanting to get the hell away from them. (Not directed at you, Mom.)  :)

Silence and solitude is bliss, but so is connection.

Yesterday's message was "Success is a Living Reality."  We were advised to view success not as an outer goal but to learn to experience it as an inner state of being that can be lived right now.  What is important to me?  Knowing this through self-awareness points my life in the right direction.
Again and again.

Today Deepak said to think about a person or memory in which we were filled with happiness.  I thought about a time last summer when Jake surprised me by taking me on a "gondola" ride around the patio area at church, whistling a song and using a pole to guide us.  He was fun and gentle and loving.  I think I was grinning like a dog who gets to stick her head out the car window.  Deepak said that these feelings/memories are our possessions and we can access them whenever we want to.

After the message follows about 15 minutes of quiet meditational music.  I breathe in and out, repeating the mantra and being nice but strict with my brain when it wants to jump to the "to do" list or other random thoughts.  I am happy to announce that once the meditation was over, the anxiety in my stomach was gone.  I'm glad I made the decision to "take a lunch" today.

Thanks for listening.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Lent Day 26: Onwards and Upwards

I am happy to report that my spirits were pretty high today.  I awoke, only pushed the snooze button two or three times, and had a great time on stage today with the band at church.

Today also marked the end of a short phase in my life, as I received some of my things that had been at someone else's house for quite a while.  They are just things and I could have lived without them, but it felt good to have closure.  I put everything away, not dilly-dallying and leaving the task for later, extending uncomfortable feelings which come from things that end differently than we had hoped.

They say our best teachers are the ones who bring out the the parts of us that we don't necessarily like to face.  I have no regrets and send love and gratitude to this person who was a teacher to me.

I just finished watching "Olive Kitteridge", a 4-episode HBO mini-series starring Francis McDormand.  She also played the main female role in "Fargo", which I recently watched.  It's fun when unplanned themes play out.  She's a pretty sensational actor and the parts she played in these two productions couldn't be more dissimilar.

I am a huge fan of character dramas.  I don't need a bunch of action to keep me interested.  I am fascinated by people and watching them on the big screen is less messy than knowing them in real life.  Olive Kitteridge is quick and rude and pessimistic.  In contrast, her husband Henry, played by Richard Jenkins is so nice he seems like a vulnerable sap.  I am continuously interested in what makes couples tick.  So often I see all the reasons why they don't match up, whether on screen or right in front of me.  I guess they somehow balanced each other out.

This show isn't for folks looking for a "feel good" time, but her brash comments were amusing and even though I guarded my heart against falling for any of the characters, I am glad I spent some time in their world, for no other reason than to be grateful for mine.

Tomorrow starts a 21-Day Meditation with Oprah and Deepak.  It's my fourth or fifth time doing one with them and I'm looking forward to moving forward in my awareness practice.  The theme for this one is "Manifesting True Success".  If you're interested in checking it out, here's a link:

So, I'm about to call it a day.  I am grateful for my life's experiences and for the chance to share them with you.

Thanks for listening.

Lent Days 24/25: Acknowledge and Let Go. Rinse and Repeat.

I didn't post yesterday for a few reasons.  Mainly it was because I was upset and I don't like to react in public, or in general, when I'm upset.  Things tend to be said that can't be unsaid when the emotions run high.

Instead of getting it all out in my blog, since the matter was more of a private one, I decided to go for a walk/run with Gypsy, the cool old dog that lives here.  We went decently far.  I was mindful of her age and that her physical health isn't what it once was as well as my foot, which has been hurting since Fall of 2014 due to running in cheap shoes, I think.  I didn't want to overdue it for either of us. After making it quite a ways up a long hill, I decided it was time to head back.  As we walked down I started noticing the tiny wildflowers by the side of the road.  I knew then that I was finally getting out of my hurt headspace.  I became attentive to all the different types of flowers along the hill, stopping and looking at them close-up.  I find it soothing to look at nature.  It doesn't care if I'm having a good day or not, it's just existing for its own sake.  I like this perspective.

Image result for tiny purple wildflowers
As you can see, I didn't take this picture, but these beautiful flowers look like some of the ones I saw.

After taking a long, hot bath it was time for a movie and guacamole.  I re-watched Fargo, which I hadn't seen in a very long time.  Violent but funny and endearing, just like I had remembered.  I went to sleep with a calmer heart.

While in the tub, I read some more in the Untethered Soul book, dog-earring the bottom of several pages worth re-reading in the future.  I'd like to share a bit of it with you.

"As you grow spiritually, you will realize that your attempts to protect yourself from your problems actually create more problems.  If you attempt to arrange people, places, and things so they don't disturb you, it will begin to feel like life is against you.  ... This makes life a threat.  That's why you worry so much. ... The alternative is to decide not to fight with life.  You realize and accept that life is not under your control.  Life is continuously changing, and if you're trying to control it, you'll never be able to fully live it.  ... But once you've decided not to fight with life, you'll have to face the fear that is causing you to fight.  ... When you have fear inside of you, the events of life invariably stimulate it.  Like a rock thrown into water, the world with its continuous changes ripples in whatever is held within you.  ... Life creates situations that push you to your edges, all with the effect of removing what is blocked inside of you.  That which is blocked and buried within you forms the root of fear.  ... Fear is the cause of every problem.  ... Life is surrounding you with people and situations that stimulate growth.  ... You only have to be willing to open your heart in the face of anything and everything, and permit the purification process to take place." (abridged pps 115-117)

 I don't normally include such long quotes, but this stuff is important to me and I wanted to share it with you.  The book also talked about acknowledging when"stuff" comes up and practicing the "let go" right away.  The sooner the better.  So I did that a lot today.  When I felt irritation or sadness arise, I noticed it and breathed some space into it.  Sometimes it dissipated right away, sometimes it took longer, but it always moved on and made space for the next emotion, whether it be something I wanted to feel or something I was ready to let go again and as quickly as possible.

I am not so quick to let go of the "good" emotions, I've noticed.  I really like feeling them and want to cling, but I think it'd be good practice to acknowledge them, like all the rest, and then let them pass on through.  I think this'll bring more peace to me in general.

Tonight I made a decision that was quite unlike my old self.  There was an incident with Jake in which I foresaw his reaction and made a conscious decision not to play into it.  He was displeased with my actions and let me know.  The amount of "bother" I felt because of it was so much less than it would have been in the past, I am amazed.  He's in charge of his emotions and actions, as am I.  I am learning healthier boundaries and will go to sleep tonight feeling lighter than I might have even a few weeks ago.

For this I am grateful.  Very, very grateful.

Thanks for listening.  

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Lent Day 23: Mothers and Sons

Hello, All-

With the help of my computer whiz student, we've streamlined the Blog layout a bit.  It should be easier to see the red comment icon on the bottom.  I also changed the settings so that comments will post right away.  Hope this helps.

I had a bit of an emotional rollercoaster of a day.  Work was great.  I was happy to be there and felt purposeful as I strode about campus.  Karaoke in the Library at lunch was fun.  There were enough students who wanted to sing so that I didn't need to, although I had "Papa Don't Preach" (Madonna's version) in the queue in case there was a lull in participation.  My favorite part was when one student asked if he could dance instead of singing.  Why not?  He pulled up a favorite song and danced his booty off in front of about 75 students in various degrees of studying, socializing and watching.  I had a new girl as DJ and she took to her role very well.  It was great to see her full of confidence and in her element as she pulled up the requested songs for potential singers and enthusiastically filled in on the mic.

By the end of the work day I was dragging energetically and was thinking a nap might be in my near future.  Jake had plans to ride the bus to the Library so I didn't need to give him a ride home.  As I drove towards his school on my way home, I was reflecting on the lack of feeling I had toward the situation.  I didn't feel overjoyed about not having responsibility for him today and being able to rest if I wanted, but I didn't feel anything negative about it either until I drove by three school buses with students from his school.  Knowing he was probably on one of them and maybe had seen me drive by, my heart cracked and I had myself a cry.

When I gave up my activities in honor of Lent, I made a list of the things I wanted to be cautious about, things that might take up places in my life in a negative way.  Food and sleep are biggies on my list.  I haven't been lethargic but I have been eating more.  What I didn't consider ahead of time was how when I'm busy, I have less time for feelings.  Having an afternoon free suddenly felt overwhelming.  I threw a load of wash in the machine, made a snack and headed to bed.

One of the books I'm reading is The Talisman co-written by Stephen King and Peter Straub.  It came out in the 80s, I think, and I've been off and on with it since December.  I am very sensitive to books with boys as main characters.  I am very protective of them.  This story is about a 12-year-old boy who is on a quest to save his mother.  I probably shouldn't have picked this book to read this afternoon, but I did.  His horrible experiences at the hands of sadistic adults and mean peers didn't alleviate my mood.  I lay in bed about an hour, in that zone between sleep and wake before deciding I'd had enough.

I'm in charge of my emotions.  I get that.  It's just sometimes hard to move out of sadness, even, or especially, when it's hard to pinpoint the source.  I brushed my teeth, started a load of laundry, did a bunch of straightening and listened to really loud and heavy music.  I started a shuffle on my ipod which included The Bronx, Gallows, Bad Brains, Clutch, Quicksand, Transplants, and other fun stuff.  I turned it up extra loud and just let energy take over.  I got out of my funk and started cooking, feeling better as I went.  I had a few more emotional minutes after spotting a pan in the cupboard that reminded me of a pan at my old house.  I miss cooking in "my kitchen" with "my equipment".  I made a lot of meals there and left most of it behind for now.  I tried to get in touch with Jake, who had texted me earlier for permission to walk around town, but I didn't get a chance to talk to him on the phone.  I hope to connect with him tomorrow, watch the latest episode of The Walking Dead and maybe take the dogs to the park.

With dinner we watched "Philomena".  I knew it would make me cry.  This movie  is based on a true story about an Irish woman who is trying to track down the son taken from her when he was young by the nuns at an abbey for unwed mothers and sold to adoptive parents in America.  I got the movie from the Library about three weeks ago and wasn't sure I was ready for it, but it was an excellent movie and my tears were nothing outrageous.

Throughout the day I visualized water running under the door of self-imposed limitations and other situations over which I have little control.  It's become powerful in my mind and I look forward to seeing how Spirit will move in my life.  I let go and let God with a heart of gratitude.

I will end this post with some words from a Healing Card pulled from my deck.
Wellness is our natural state. Disease is an imposter.  Memories are clever imposters, making it appear that an experience or relationship cannot be healed.                             If you believe that, how can you heal your body or protect your health?                                        Replace imposters with a higher truth.

Ok.  I can do this.  And I think I might be up for a little more boyish adventure from The Talisman. One thing I know about King's books is that even though horrible stuff happens to his main characters, things generally turn out alright in the end.

Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Lent Day 22: I Should Be In Bed, But . . .

But I want to spend a few moments blogging.  I'm liking this habit of expressing myself.  I feel connected to the folks who are reading it and I imagine you as I sit here in my chair.  I send love and blessings.

A few folks mentioned to me that they tried to comment to my posts but didn't have any luck.  I will work on making this easier for ya'll, because I love the feedback and insights.  If anyone has experience with Blogger and knows how to do this, please let me know.  I will have one of my students look at it tomorrow.  She is amazing with this stuff.  I will also see about making the font bigger.  For now, I know if you click the tiny red "no comments" button on the bottom of each post, you can post through there, although it won't show up until I have waved my magic fairy wand.  I set the comments to filter through me first mainly so that I wouldn't miss any.  I must be honest, however, and also say that I'd like to read any comments before they are made public.  I guess this is part of my "need to control".  I can live with this aspect of myself for now.  :)

I'm going to keep this post short, as I am beat, but my mind has been chewing on something I heard today on the Dr. Dyer audio I mentioned previously.  The title of the book is Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life and it is based on Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching.  I can't remember right now which chapter it's from, but Dyer talks about the power of water.  It is strong enough to shape rock, yet one can't just grab it with a bare hand.  The idea behind the chapter is to stop swimming against the tide.  He says to let our dreams flow freely and picture the as of yet elusive ones as behind a closed door.  The door represents the reasons we've told ourselves why we don't deserve whatever the dream is.  (Examples would be abundance, a great relationship, whatever.)  Now picture the water getting through the door, however your imagination wants to see it.  I pictured the door as representing a belief I have against being financially abundant.  My limiting thoughts have been that I am a fraud, that no-one would want to pay me the money I want for the skill set that I have, that I wouldn't be responsible if I had a lot of money, etc.  I started picturing water seeping under that door.  I smile and feel powerful at this image.  What are the doors in your life?  What stands between you and your dreams?  Spend some time visualizing the water getting through that door, however that looks for you.  I will, too.

Neither of these images matched the one in my head, but they'll do.  They both felt good to me, especially the one where the water is pouring through, not just seeping.

Goodnight and thanks for listening and giving such great feedback.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Day 21: So I Went to a Wine Tasting Class Tonight . . .

Yes, I did.  Our band practice was postponed and Sal had been invited to a friend's house, at which she knew only the hostess.  The group was getting together for a wine class and tasting party.  Since I found my evening free, I offered to drive her and be her date.

I guess I like to put myself in the path of temptation just to see how I'll do, although I gotta admit, the past few days have been a bit of a challenge keeping myself on the course of all these good intentions.

The guests were very friendly and I wasn't asked too many questions about why I wasn't drinking.  I was grateful for this because it's kind of a long story and not one I necessarily needed to share with folks I had just met.

At one point I felt very high maintenance as I sipped my grapefruit juice, avoided the beautiful shrimp main dish (as I am allergic to shellfish), and eyeballed the bread.  (I have been eating very little gluten for the past year + on the advice of my Dr. and have been quite happy with the results.)  To not look like such a freak with only salad on my plate, I gave in and had some bread.  It was the super-tasty kind with jalapenos baked into the loaf.  I put some butter on it and enjoyed every bite.  I acknowledge that I'm a bit bloated from it, but give thanks that I avoid gluten for minor health reasons, as opposed to some who would have such dramatic reactions.

As we watched the video on the wines being offered and shown how to sniff them appropriately, Sal asked if I'd like to smell hers.  I teetered, but figured if those glasses were going to get that close to my mouth, all bets would be off.

The group has decided to meet once a month.  By the time I get back from my trip and their next gathering is booked, I'll probably be back to my usual drinking self.  I'll let you know how that goes.

I'd like to end this post with some tidbits from Sarah Ban Breathnach's "Simple Abundance" calendar. The days I missed reading due to the weekend away from work, where I keep it, were really good. You might like them too.  

March 8
Grace is available for each of us every day--our spiritual daily bread--but we've got to remember to ask for it with a grateful heart and try not to worry about whether there will be enough for tomorrow. There will be.

March 9
Simplicity gains importance in our lives as we begin to make peace with ourselves, and gradually come to the inner awareness that we don't need to gild the lily.  Some of the trappings can be relinquished because the Real Thing is finally ready to be revealed.

March 10
To undo the damage we have done by remaining dormant for years, we must reconnect with our authentic selves.  We must treat ourselves gently with the kindness we would bestow on amnesiacs who need the patient reassurance of their true identities.

Thanks for listening.

Lent Day 20: The Halfway Mark

March 9
Eternity is not the hereafter.  Eternity has nothing to do with time.  This is it.  If you don't get it here, you won't get it anywhere.  The experience of eternity right here and now is the function of life.  Heaven is not the place to have the experience; here's the place to have the experience.                                                --Joseph Campbell

Assignment: Today, let yourself have some experiences of heaven here and now.

The above message was from today's "Transform Your Life" morning app.  I read it just before sitting down for a short meditation.  It was good to be reminded that the "here and now" is really all we have.  As each breath and heartbeat happens and moves on, so do we.  When our thoughts get stuck on the past or into the future, we miss the now.  Most of my day is spent planning on what is to come or what has already happened.  I forget about the now.  And then I am reminded.  And then I forget.  And on and on.  

Lots to say today and here it is 11:10 pm, feeling like it's earlier because I haven't adjusted to the time change yet. My first alarm goes off at 4:45 a.m.  Chances are, I won't be jumping out of bed.  Or maybe I will.  I'll try not to plan.  

First of all, I'd like to say that I was very stoked to receive two responses to yesterday's post.  Since they both came through as "anonymous", if you'd like to let me know who you are, send me a message on FB.  Seems like one was from out of country.  Very cool.  I am honored.  

Secondly, as I was at my "old" house today, I noticed a small dream-catcher that a friend had given me a few years ago.  I haven't spoken to this friend in awhile and I owe her an apology.  We used to run into each other pretty often in this small town but I haven't seen her in quite some time.  I have spent quite a bit of time thinking about her and what she might have to say to me.  I did her wrong and want to let her know that I am sorry.  (There's more than one person on my list of people I want to apologize to, but seeing this small token of our friendship today brought her to the forefront of my attention,)  I brought it home with me, along with my small collection of positive divination cards.  I pulled three Angel cards with her in mind.  I was talking to Sally, my roommate as I did so, and didn't want to be distracted from our conversation so I kept them face down until now. 

The cards I picked were Harmony, Music, and Freedom.  In my basket of cards I also had a small piece of paper with a beautiful calligraphic word given to me by a dear friend with many artistic gifts, including gorgeous writing.  The word on the paper is "harmony".

Here's what the Harmony angel card said:

"Conflict is resolved in a situation that was troubling you.  Know that you deserve this peace and happiness, and accept it graciously.  You are a peace-lover at heart and this card comes to you as a sign of a new harmony that dawns upon you.  Let go of viewing the situation as troubled, and see yourself and others through the eyes of your guardian angels.  In this way, you'll look past the surface and see the beauty and light that eternally shines within everyone."

Wonderful.  While I'm not in the position to seek her out at this time, I felt peaceful regarding the situation.  If/when we met face-to-face, it will be in Divine timing and, I hope, she will forgive me.

Today I kept Jake from school and took him with me for my therapy session.  I've been seeing the same therapist off and on for a number of years and he is great.  He is kind and funny and calls me on my shit.  While driving up there, I asked Jake why he thought I was taking him.  "Because I'm crazy and you think I need to talk to someone about it", was his response.  While I am supportive of him speaking to a therapist, I don't think he's crazy and I certainly know better than to have us visit the same person separately, however much I think someone like my  guy would be great for him.  I told Jake that actually I was taking him because I wanted to have a safe space for us to talk and to re-define our relationship.  I told him that I don't like the tension between us that surfaces so much of the time and that I know that when communication is down, stuff gets assumed and presumed.  

He said that the only real problem he had with his dad and me was that he hates his name and wants to change it.  I told him that I never really resonated with my name.  "So change it," was his response, of course.  "If I come across one that fits me better, I just might," was my response.  He also told me that he was pretty sure that I was bi-polar.  I certainly didn't want to hear that, but I could see where he was coming from.  He has seen more drastically emotional sides of me this past year.  I am not proud of the times I've cried in front of him or gotten seriously angry over "little" things.  I know that I am a very emotional person and that I quite often let those emotions take over.  This was another instance where my inner wisdom let me know that taking a "time-out" before responding, especially to him, is quite often a good idea.  

"And do you think I'm responsible for me and your dad breaking up?"  "Well, it was pretty obvious one day when you had me look something up on your computer and I saw that you had written that you were going to divorce dad," was his response.  Oh.  That happened?  I wonder what it was that I had written?  I had started to keep some Word documents as a type of diary at the beginning of our breakup, as I am a much quicker and neater typist than I hand-write.  So now I know the answer to the question of why he thinks I am responsible.  It was because I had stated it and he had read it.  My lack of discretion had planted the seed.  I was able to leave it at that.

The session with my therapist went well, I think.  Jake was present and responsive, polite and took part in the conversation.  We went out for a coffee afterward and hit a bit of a snag when I wanted him to complete the homework assigned to us.  "Work out some ways you can show respect to each other," was what we were to do. So I did my part, acknowledging what I had heard Jake say.  He would like me to react less emotionally, talk to him about stuff privately, not in front of his friends, and let him learn from his own mistakes.  Ok.  I'll see what I can do.  When I asked him to write down some things he could do to show me respect, however, he balked.  There was nothing for him to do differently, he said.  He used his logical arguments against me.  "If I 'act' more polite, than it's just an act."  Etc.  I was the one who was to do all the changing and our disconnect was all my fault, it seemed.  As I felt the negative emotions rising, I asked for a "time-out".  He was fine with that, busy on his tablet.  About 10 minutes later he said he was ready to go when I was.  When he saw that I was still upset, he asked me about it.  I told him that I felt sad and frustrated; that I had shown that I had listened to him and was willing to take steps toward a more healed relationship and when he didn't offer anything that he might do differently, I felt like he didn't care.  As we walked to the next store he suggested, "Maybe we shouldn't try to change each other.  We should accept each other for who we are."    Then he apologized and said, "Huggie?", meaning that he wanted a hug.  Right there in the parking lot.  I was happy to give and get one.  I breathed deeper.  I felt like I was living one of those "bits of heaven" mentioned in the morning meditational thought,  right there and then.  The rest of our day was smooth and friendly.  

Later in the evening during yoga, my ego and shadow sides were busy plotting and scheming as to what I would do when I no longer restricted myself from drinking and sex.  It was almost amusing, the amount of energy and the ideas that were flitting through my mind.  I know I have a very impetuous side and I am grateful for the cushion of time that is still allotted to me before I allow myself to take further action.  Probably some of these ideas that seemed so delicious won't seem so given a bit of time.  With the time change, I was able to go on a quick run/hike before dark.  The inner plotting continued, but I was able to temper it with a bit of prayer for wisdom and signs.  The hungry animal has gone back to her cave for now.

Guess I should stop for the night.  Or morning, as it is past midnight.  Looks like my evening sleep will be more like a longer nap.  That's ok.  It all works out.

I apologize for the funky background and print color.  I spent some time trying to fix it and decided to let it be.  

Thanks for putting up with it and Thanks for listening.  

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Lent Day 19: My Gratitude List

Kinda melancholy today, off and on.  Felt a bit alone, even when around those I love and who love me.  I acknowledged these feelings and asked them what they wanted to express to me, like a sad child who just wants to be heard.  The feelings wanted more assurance that I am indeed a part of the Whole.  Yes indeedy. I Am, even when my humanness forgets.

Driving home from a wonderful evening with some of my closest friends, sisters really, I started mentally writing my gratitude list.  I've been keeping a gratitude journal for years, one of the many positive by-products of Simple Abundance, that amazing book by Sarah Ban Breathnach that I wrote about a few days ago.  Pretty much nightly I list 5+ things that I am grateful for.  Sometimes I'm in a funk and don't feel like it.  On those nights my list might look something like this:

1.  bed
2.  dogs
3.  food
4.  health
5.  books

On other nights, especially when I've really been paying attention during the day, my list will be longer and/or more detailed.  Becoming accustomed to the positive habit of gratitude has helped shape me.  I notice the little things a lot more than I used to.  I "snap out" of bad moods quicker and my life is constantly full of blessings. These gifts are like little wildflowers that grow in the cracks of the sidewalk. I am determined not to be an annoying Pollyanna, but seeing the world through the goggles of abundance is alot more fulfilling to me than seeing the glass half empty all the time. When I feel sad or stressed or fearful, usually I am still attuned to the positive stuff.  

So here's my list for tonight.

I am grateful for:
1.  my girlfriends.  what an honor to have them in my life.
2.  steak for dinner
3.  a loving and beautiful spiritual community/family
4.  being a sister
5.  my parents
6.  dogs
7. making it through day 19 of sobriety, even when tempted by martinis made with fresh-squeezed blood-orange juice
8.  divine and virgin margaritas
9.  being taught through another social gathering that I didn't need a drink or any other substance to make conversation or to feel comfortable
10.  being a mom (and finding out that my son wasn't necessarily in on some negative choices made today)
11. music in my car, even when, or especially when the songs strike an emo chord in me
12. the chance to see my Aunt and Uncle today
13.  "drop-in's" at friends' houses.  How lovely to always feel welcome there.
14.  a safe journey home
15.  positive responses to my blog and being told to "keep writing".

Ok. I will.

Thanks for listening and Good Night!!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Lent Day 18: Complimenting, Not Completing

A few days ago a friend who had read my blog sent me an email and some links regarding the human quest for partnerships; love relationships.

Here is the first link he sent:
(I haven't watched the second link yet as it is a bit longer and I haven't had the chance.)
The link I posted is a 10-minute talk with Mooji, a spiritual guru from Jamaica.  I've listened to it a few times in the past few hours.  A vasana is a term for a subconscious thought that is imprinted on our minds and affects our behaviors.  They refer to these quite a few times in the video.

The man in the video is asking Mooji what to do about the persistent thought that he needs a love partner in order to be complete, even as he believes that he is complete in and of himself.   He feels caught between his desire to be with someone and his inner truth that he doesn't need another to live a fulfilled life.  Mooji suggests that this is an age-old dilemma for humans.  "Look inside one's heart", is his answer.  "You have to get over this thing, out the need, the neediness, and feel the freedom of your own Self."  He says that when we get sick of the persistent thoughts and let them go, a true partnership just might come our way.  We're here to compliment each other's lives, not complete each other.

This is very interesting to me, especially in light of the very vivid dreams I've had of late, of love partners, some real, some imaginary.  I know that if I were to start another relationship without doing more inner work, I would find myself in the same holding pattern.  So I'll live with the discomfort, and keep working from the inside out.

Along the same lines as the message in the Mooji video is the Iyanla Vanzant book I started re-reading today.  I had a copy of In the Meantime in the car as I had discovered that I had multiple copies and decided to take one to work for the BookSwap collection.  I brought it in with me as I waited to get my oil changed and found that both Mooji and Iyanla were telling me the same thing.

All of the relationships we have or are experiencing are for a reason, whether they "work out" or not. They are mirrors of ourself and our quest to feel whole and complete.  The belief that we'll find this in someone else, however, is a trap and false.  Iyanla shares how when she was in the presence of the one she loved she felt okay, but when he was gone, she didn't feel okay and spent years trying to find someone else who made her feel the same way.  Once she realized that she "was just fine the way (she) was, things got a lot better."  And then he came back into her life, 15 years later.

"Love is the only thing we need.  Love is our peace.  Love is our joy, health and wealth.  Love is our identity.  We go into a relationship looking for love, not realizing that we must bring love with us. We must bring a strong sense of self and purpose into a relationship.  We must bring a sense of value, of who we are.  We must bring an excitement about ourselves, our lives, and the vision we have for these two essential elements.   We must bring a respect for wealth and abundance.  Having achieved it to some satisfactory degree on our own, we must move into relationships willing to share what we have, rather than being afraid of someone taking it.  Joyful sharing and excitement.  Value, purpose and vision.  That's what love is about.  When we bring these things to the relationship, love becomes a great multiplier and enhances the experience of life.  When we do not have these things in place, the search to find love sets up the experiences we need to discover what is true about love and what is not.  The discovery process is called the meantime."(p.28)

Image result for in the meantime iyanla vanzant

So that's what I've got going on, folks.  I'm in the meantime.  I wonder what I'll dream about tonite.  I may or may not let you know.


Thanks for listening.