Archive | August 2015

The Best Laid Plans…

11902263_10155954294520475_2670064040292550733_nThis Sunday I needed to drive Baby Bub 65 miles up the coast to Dana Point so she could catch a ferry boat to Catalina Island. I’d gotten paid Friday and planned to pay my bills. I had finally designated this weekend as the one where I would decorate my new place, put up pictures, find a new clock and area rug for the dining room, put away the last of the “stuff” that needs to go into our outdoor storage room. I’d planned to hike a local trail with a new friend in town BEFORE Saturday morning Yoga class. My car was more than 2000 miles overdue for an oil change.

I had a half day off from work Friday and headed to one of the local malls to do an errand I had planned for Thursday. Anyone see where this is going with all the damn plans?  My feet hurt in the cute wedges I had on and they weren’t conducive for mall walking, so my first detour was Payless Shoes. I found cute flat sandals on sale for $10, that matched my outfit! They came in black for the same price so of course I bought them too. $20 plus tax later, I encountered my first true sidetrack. Anna’s Linens was having a going out of business sale! Hello, this was the weekend I was decorating and I needed a large wall clock. $70 plus tax later, I had my beautiful wall clock, 2 large standing metal vases in a matching accent color to the clock, 2 bunches of dried flora to go in the vases and a lovely small box also in another accent color to the clock. I had to carry all the household stuff and new shoes to the car before I could go back to complete the errand that took me to the mall in the first place. I got home and in the mail were my two $100 Visa reward cards from AT&T Uverse! I hit up the local K-Mart with a friend for picture hanging material. I left there with a fantastic cranberry area rug, placemats with color designs that tied the clock and area rug together, square linen baskets for my open shelves, a fabulous hurricane lamp, scissors, etc, etc, etc.

Oh, have I forgotten to mention how FRICKIN hot it was this weekend, starting with Friday? Seriously, it was 107 degrees on my drive home from the mall. Saturday was no better. It was definitely too hot to hike, no matter how early we started. So I suggested and  my new friend agreed, that we meet at a local park where we can follow the paths around it several times to get at least a mile or so in before the heat really kicked in. The park has some shade as well along the paths. After walking, I made it to Yoga class. Afterward I met some friends for a late breakfast, then got talked into a trip to Goodwill (God help me, please). I got out of there with a lovely squat vase in yet another accent color to the fabulous clock (!) and a woven basket, total out the door was $4.98. I went home for what I thought would be a short nap and then some serious picture hanging and decorating. Instead, I slept on and off until right after 6 p.m. I had dinner, went to a meeting, hung out with friends and I was back home for bed after 10 p.m.

Then it was Sunday morning. Baby Bub’s ferry left at 11:55 a.m. and we had to be there at least 20 minutes prior or they wouldn’t let her redeem the ticket waiting for her. We thought an hour and a half would be enough time. It would have been if there hadn’t been a traffic accident at San Clemente which caused considerable slowing. Baby Bub kept checking the estimated time of arrival on the map application on my phone. It kept getting longer and longer until I told her she needed to stop looking at it. The tension and stress level was high in the car. She and I often do not communicate well in the best of circumstance, imagine how well it was going then. I hate that about our relationship, truly. It feels like I’m being clear or she feels she is being clear, but either we’re not clear or we’re not listening very well. I suspect its a little of both on both our parts and something that certainly won’t get fixed during a car ride. We got to Dana Point Harbor, only she didn’t put in the actual address for the ferry so we ended up at the wrong area. We pulled up to the correct launch area well past the 20-minute window, but they allowed her to redeem her ticket and she was off to Catalina Island for a week as a volunteer camp counselor.

With all the tension and stress from the ride up to Dana Point, my  head started in on me about all the OTHER plans I hadn’t gotten to this weekend. I hadn’t paid any bills but was spending money left and right. I hadn’t hung up any pictures or put any rooms together. I hadn’t gone  hiking. I still hadn’t gotten an oil change for my car. I haven’t made my 9th Step amends to Baby Bub because I’m scared that our communication issues will blow up in our faces. I was doing a serious number on myself and feeling like an irresponsible, procrastinating piece of shit. As I drove along I-5, I saw the ocean to my right. I don’t really like the beach. I hate sand, it gets everywhere, and I don’t like the smell of the ocean either. However, I do love looking at it and listening to it.  The color and the waves are so soothing. Plus once I hit the interstate, the ocean was down a cliff and far away. When I saw a sign that said Viewpoint in 4 miles and Rest stop in 7 miles, I knew I had to pull over. I had to get out of my car and out of my fucking head!

11214366_10207704245506409_1213762267344658771_nStanding at the top of the viewpoint I closed my eyes and breathed for several minutes, ignoring the other people who had also stopped. This was my view point, my calming moment. A wave of emotion came over me as I started to soothe myself. I realized I had done plenty  and the weekend wasn’t over yet. I would continue to get things done, whether it was according to plan or not. There were a few other things frustrating me of late, but I let those go. I released them to the air and the ocean below. I smiled all the way deep down where I lived. I opened my eyes, took a few pictures of the view and took a few pictures of myself in front of the view. I stopped 4 miles down the road to use the restroom, took in the view there too and appreciated the 83-degree weather.

You know what? I also stopped to get lunch because I was hungry. When I got back to town and its lovely 106-degree temperature, I headed straight for an oil change. At home, I put up the clock, decorated my writing space and put some other stuff up around the house. I ate some dinner and went to a meeting. When I got back home I paid bills and went to bed. I didn’t do all I planned, but I got some of it done! The truth is I used to be really irresponsible with my money and my time, creating all manner of problems. But that isn’t me anymore. Sure I get a little sidetracked but things get done at a pace different than I imagined. THAT’S OK!

Do You Have Places of Healing In Your Life?

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I just asked my daughter Baby Bub that question. She said she didn’t know and it was kind of a weird question. But before she said it was kind of a weird question she said, “I don’t know, I just hang out with my friends, or with the kids from my church, or with my youth pastor at his house with his wife and kids.” At the age of 19, even though she is not quite aware that she has them, she has people, places and things that are safe for her. Healing places where she can be herself, learn about herself, have good, safe fun and blossom into the amazing young woman she is. At 19! I’m so happy for her and proud of that fact because it took me much, much longer to be where she is now.

The first time I recognized a place of healing as such was during my very first Narcotics Anonymous meeting 18 years ago. I was early for the meeting so I sat in one of the chairs in the circle. More and more women came into the room, hugging and greeting each other like old friends. I sat there feeling very much like an outsider, uncomfortable, scared and miserable to my core. Then a woman walked in, came over to me and said, “Hi, my name is Ellie.” She reached down and hugged me. I felt so welcomed, connected and suddenly a part of the group. Another lady handed me a reading called ‘Why Are We Here?’ and I accepted it. Although I didn’t know it because this was my first meeting, they all open with readings about the program. The leader of the meeting (the same one who handed me the reading) asked someone to read ‘Why Are We Here’, so I said, “My name is Tammi and I’m an Addict.” and I started reading about why we were there. I started reading about my life and what lead me to that meeting, that moment in time. It was too much, I could not finish reading and broke into sobs. I was absolutely horrified at my uncontrollable display of emotion. No one in my life ever liked when I was emotional. NO ONE! But instead of feeling censure, impatience or awkwardness from the group, I felt quiet acceptance, patience, and empathy. The woman next to me reached over and started gently rubbing the small of my back while I struggled to pull myself together. They just waited patiently for me to stop crying. No one demanded the reading from me to say they’d finish it. There was a little baby on the floor, probably six months or so on her belly in the middle of the circle. She suddenly let out quite a loud baby fart and the whole room erupted into laughter, including me. This helped me finally get my sobs under control and I finished the reading. After the readings, there is time set aside for any addict celebrating various lengths of recovery. A woman named Christine celebrated a four-year anniversary and she dedicated her token to me, the newcomer! I was so touched and amazed by her speech. It was the first time in my life that I’d been in a place that provided such unconditional love, acceptance, and support. It felt like coming home, a home I never dreamed existed and didn’t even know I needed. That feeling more than anything else kept me coming back to meetings and sticking with recovery long after the reality of life without drugs and alcohol set in. So I was thirty before I found my first place of healing.

Since I stayed in recovery, I learned who, where and what was healing for me and what was not. Over the years, the more I learned who I was and the woman I was growing into, I instinctively sought out healing places. Some I found by divine providence in my efforts to help or support others. Some I discovered by being open and willing to take and follow up on suggestions. The important thing is that I had the heart and mind to recognize them as such.

So what are my other healing places? Let’s see, we covered 12 step meetings.  I see a licensed Marriage & Family therapist every other week and she’s phenomenal. I started taking yoga classes at her suggestion about a month ago and it has been a wonderfully unexpected healing place! chakras-310119__180Yoga has given me a safe environment to challenge me physically, to uplift me emotionally and spiritually,  and to provide me with mental clarity.  I have a friend who gives massages out of her home. She and her husband built a lovely, soothing, peaceful room that truly provides the perfect space for massage body work! The people in my life that create healing places just by the simple connection of talking on the phone or hanging out are my sponsor/spiritual advisor and a few long time close friends.

I’ve created my bedroom into a quiet healing place for sleeping, reading, writing, listening to music, for praying and meditating. No television in my bedroom, sorry- not sorry. Believe it or not, I’m also making my Facebook page as healing as possible for myself and others. I like and follow pages that are spiritual, loving, encouraging, uplifting and provide hope, inspiration and connection. This floods my newsfeed with amazing posts that I can re-post for others to see. I can’t control what my friends post, but I can minimize or block exposures that are negative, unkind, hateful and divisive.

I think the most important healing place I am discovering and creating is within myself. This space inside of me where I’m not allowed to be an asshole to myself. A space where I build my strength, courage, love and light to share with others. A place of growing authenticity inside myself that instinctively seeks out people, places and things that nourish my spirit and soul. I hope you can say that you have such people, places or things in your life that heal and bring you back to center, that celebrate who you are. If not, don’t be afraid to find them or seek them out. They are there for you when you are ready!

This entry was posted on August 15, 2015. 3 Comments

Disengaging Auto Pilot, Surprisingly NOT A Bumpy Ride… So Far

plane-50893__180This post was written just under a month ago by hand in a notebook. It was a great day of gratitude, new shoes, and yoga! The morning began with day 2 of Oprah and Deepak’s 21-day meditation experience, Manifesting Grace Through Gratitude. It was 20 minutes of silently repeating a Sanskrit mantra “Kripa hum” today, or ” I am divine grace” with the centering thought “All good things bring gratitude.” I was no stranger to prayer and meditation as I had been semi-consistent with the practice over the last 10 years. But this specific meditation experience was helping too!

I currently work in a high pressure, multi-tasking production oriented cubicle environment. The kind that can truly drain your energy and beat down your spirit- if you let it. As you can imagine, my fellow pod people aka co-workers are somewhat amused if not mildly dismissive or mocking about my positive attitude resulting from those gratitude meditations (GRATITUDE MEDS!) and it was only day 2! It’s not like I became Suzy Sunshine, but I complained way less. I even caught myself (or co-workers pointed out my slips into bitterness), then I’d repeat my mantra. It caused chuckles, but it made me smile and kept the edge off my day, which was huge. For lunch that day some of my fellow female pod people (co-workers!) went to DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse because I needed shoes for a wedding reception coming up that weekend. For those uninitiated with this absolute shoe haven, it’s nirvana! I found some fantastic summer sandals and wedges, all on sale and super cute. Check out the photo below. I love shoe shopping because no matter how much you weigh you can always buy shoes that fit and look fantastic!!! Four pairs for $119.00,  I even picked up some Clarks flip flops for  my daughter, Baby Bub. I only bought her a pair so she can stay the hell out of mine! Girlfriend is brutal on flip flops and I love my Clarks!  shoes

After work, I rushed home because my intention was to try my first Yoga class on a recommendation from my therapist. I’ve done some beginning yoga using a DVD on my own in my home. I’ve shied away from actual classes because, as I mentioned in my first blog, I’m a fluffy girl. When it came to the thought of attending a yoga class, I was a fluffy self-conscious girl! I used to be an avid hiker who was a good 40lbs lighter once upon a time, but I’d really let myself go when it came to my weight and physical activity. My recent move had brought home the reality of my sedentary lifestyle. When the move was all over, my back was killing me, especially my low back/hip area. My therapist suggested I try a local yoga studio that had specific classes on hip work. Apparently we humans hold stress, negative emotions, and “old stuff” in our hip/low back area and there are yoga classes which can help release all of that. I contacted the studio and told them what my therapist suggested. They recommended a moon yoga class and a yin class with some great price specials for beginning students. My first class was on a Tuesday evening. It was the moon yoga and it was women only. They were so welcoming and inclusive. I felt comfortable in my double sports bra, oversized tank top, and yoga capris. It was almost exactly what every other woman was wearing too. The stretches were slow and steady. I could follow along without feeling awkward or like I couldn’t keep up with the class. My sweaty boobs tried to suffocate me a few times, but I knew how to wrestle my girls into submission. I felt so relaxed afterward, not too sore, but more importantly, I was completely comfortable with my body. My beautiful fluffy body!

Later that evening I had a healthy dinner of leftovers after class. While I checked out Facebook I came across a great post on You Are Not Stuck by Becky Vollmer (you totally need to check out her Facebook & Instagram pages). She didn’t get chosen as a speaker after auditioning for a TEDx talk. I clicked on the Youtube link to her to watch her three-minute audition and it was on point! She talked about how to facilitate the catalyst for your own change. She said to get your life off autopilot takes two things: intention and choices. I recognized the truth in her words because those two things had already been fueling the catalyst to change my own life. The fact that I was sitting at my dining room table writing this blog instead of laying on my couch zoning out on tv was a testament to that catalyst. Since I’d moved into my new place two weeks ago (six weeks as of this actual typing now) and the cable/internet wi-fi was set up, I’ve yet to watch tv. My brand new 43″ Vizio flat screen Smart tv. This was unprecedented and still is, but clearly indicative of my intention to change my life. My intentions lead me to make different choices which brought me here as I continue to disengage the autopilot and take the controls with God as my co-pilot.

This entry was posted on August 13, 2015. 2 Comments

#BYOB: Break Your Own Barriers

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In other words, step out of your comfort zone! As I mentioned in my first post “How Did I Get Here?”, the idea for this blog was suggested to me by a friend who was trying to help me out of a depressive funk. She thought it would be a good idea to blog about walking through my fears to accomplish certain declarations and goals I made that I was not living up to. I kind of liked the idea, but she and I were in the middle of a big community project at the time so the plan was tabled for a later date. However, the thought was in the back of my head, marinating. I loved Facebook and there were several pages and personalities that I followed who blogged really great stuff. Inspirational, motivational, uplifting posts that I related to in a big way.

The community project took front and center, then I accepted the #HowBigIsYourBrave/#LoveYourSelfie challenge. Life rolled along as I grew more confident and brave in my everyday life. Oh, yes, I also decided to MOVE from the apartment complex I’d lived in for 14 years too. I was cooking with grease and trying not to lose my mind figuring out exactly how to accomplish all of these life changes and events I decided to initiate or be a part of. Seriously, I was a typical couch potato, romantic novel reading middle-aged 40 something before I decided to finally start actively participating in creating the life I wanted. I felt so stuck and stagnant the last two or three years. Stricken with an ever increasing Divine Dissatisfaction with my job, myself, my life and how I avoided it with emotional eating and vegging in front of the tv. It was work, home, tv, eating unhealthy on a horribly massive scale, occasional outings with friends and social engagements. Just over a month ago I was complaining to my spiritual adviser how my body ached due to increased weight and decreased physical activity. My back, legs, arms, shoulders and neck were killing me the day of my move and well afterwards! And that was with a ton of help from friends at all stages of the move.

So here’s the thing about feeling stuck or stagnant. It’s a feeling, and you will see me write this over and over because I tend to forget. Feelings aren’t facts. The truth is I’ve been seeing a therapist since November of 2013. I found her through my Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at work to help me talk to my middle child, Lyndon who was 23 at the time. I was sending him to live with my sister and brother-in-law in Northern California. Well we had one session with my son before he left and the therapist suggested I continue seeing her since there were five more sessions available and I’d touched on some things worth exploring. Working with a therapist and a spiritual adviser is not being stuck or stagnant. It is doing the icky work of getting through my issues until I was at a place where I felt confident or fed up enough to finally DO SOMETHING. Or do some things about my life.

Now I am actively participating in creating the life I want. The life I firmly believe my Higher Power is calling me to live. I still have hiccups along the way. Fear, discouragement and frustration rear their ugly heads. But I ride them out. I have healthier ways of dealing with them. I’ve been telling my friends an incredible fact: since I moved into my new place on July 2nd I have BARELY watched television. It’s been so obvious that Baby Bub even remarked on it and anything that filters through to her awareness it pretty major. I don’t even have the desire to watch tv because I’m too busy writing, listening to Pandora on my smartphone or out and about with friends. My life has undergone a major reconstruction and this is only the beginning… Breaking my own barriers baby!

This entry was posted on August 11, 2015. 1 Comment

#BYOB: How Does Your Brave Show Up?

13My hope for you is the same hope for myself. That you, YOU, learn to be ok with however your brave shows up. My brave manifests in a variety of ways, but my three main courses of action are baby steps, Cha-cha slide or bold leaps. I have to be honest though, I’m not much of a leaper, bold or otherwise 90% of the time. My normal tendency is to baby step with a little Cha-cha slide to mix things up. I’ve worked hard on accepting this about myself. Truly I have since this is how I move through my fear and how I deal with change. Although the Cha-cha slide looks and feels a lot like being stuck or stagnant.

It’s a process and goes something like this… I begin feeling a low grade, background kind of dissatisfaction, pain or discomfort about someone or some situation that was previously fine or all good. I ignore or deny what I’m feeling or seeing for a while, expecting things or the person to go back to the way it was. Yet it doesn’t and leads to thoughts of change, just thoughts at this point. As I experience more dissatisfaction, pain or discomfort, it pushes me to the point of voicing complaints to anyone and everyone. After complaining (or even whining) about it I start threatening to make a change. Just threats and complaints, mind you! Inevitably the dissatisfaction, pain and discomfort is unbearable  to the point a DECISION gets made, an INTENTION is declared (some type of leap?)… Any of this sound familiar? Well if not, come along for the ride through my process cause now I’m starting to cook with some grease here! There’s a sense of relief. A decision is on the table and I start verbalizing a plan, maybe throw a TIMELINE out there. It feels great, empowering, energizing. So again I tell anyone and everybody. Ah but then reality sets in (hello Cha-cha slide!). How am I going to accomplish my intention, my goal? How exactly “Ms. I’ve-Made-A-Declaration” are we going to get this done? Coming hard on reality’s heels is of course fear.

Now I don’t know about you guys but fear or rather my reaction to fear is to contract within myself, isolate and shut down. Which leaves me alone with my head- running on fear, doubt and insecurity. Thus giving birth to feelings of inadequacy and incompetence. I can dwell in this dark depressive fear induced funk for quite some time, although, thank God, not nearly as long as I used to. In fact, I’m afraid I used to actually live and operate my life from this place but that’s a story for another blog. But guess what I finally learned over the years and eventually kicks into my consciousness? Feelings. Aren’t. Facts. Seriously, they’re not! And I can only wallow, stew and/or isolate for so long. So what happens next? Something else I learned and tend to forget. I finally remember to invite GOD into the process! (What a concept, right?) I reach out to my amazing friends and confidants that I’d been previously withdrawn from. The safe ones, you know? I get open and honest about what’s going on in my deliciously deluded yet divine mind. Small subtle shifts away from my dark delusions of insignificance that lead to baby steps into the light of hope, truth and possibilities.

Always, always, ALWAYS during these baby step phases God/Life/Universe more than meets me halfway because I am moving towards my intentions. To reiterate what this post is about, my normal tendency is to baby step with a little Cha-cha slide when dealing with fear and change. This is more than OK because baby steps and Cha-cha slides are still movement. And movement is life.

This entry was posted on August 8, 2015.