Archive | March 2016

Finding Faith In My Stories and My Voice

535090_10154048120323188_2633404241102317969_nIt’s midnight, Saturday morning and I just made it back from Los Angeles. I attended my 2nd Big Island Writers Workshop with Beth Bornstein Dunnington yesterday. I confessed to a couple of good friends that I was afraid  and intimidated about going to this one. You see, these workshops are not about teaching us to write or critiquing what we do write. It’s about discovering the stories within us and bringing them forth. Beth gives us a group of 10 prompts, 10 words or verbs and 3 sentences to choose from, then gives us 45 minutes to an hour to go to another part of the house or property to write. When the time is up, we come back together in a circle and we read our stories out loud to the group. When everyone is done reading their stories, we have what’s called a “speak back” session. This is where the writers recite back pieces and parts of anyone’s stories that resonate with them. It’s powerful what stands out for people and to hear what they speak back. It’s so safe, so sacred, and so unconditionally supportive. The workshop is from 10 am to 6 pm with a break for lunch at 2 pm so we get 3-4 pieces written in the course of a day.

At the first workshop in January, I went deep with the second prompt and I was surprised at the stories I discovered in each of Beth’s group of prompts. I was afraid I wouldn’t have what it took to go deeper or if I’d write as well as the first time. Plus I was intimidated when I found out this workshop would be at the home of actress, Catherine Bach. You might remember her from her most famous role as Daisy Duke on the tv show Dukes of Hazard. So I was battling some fear and anxiety to the point that my head was telling me I shouldn’t go. Thank God I don’t listen to my fear anymore. First of all, Catherine is beautiful, gracious, down-to-earth and a lovely person. Her home is amazing and there were great places to write on her property. I went to an outdoor upper garden/grotto area that was so peaceful with the sound of a running water feature in her backyard. It was the perfect spot to write. Oh, and my writing? No problem with quality or depth, AT ALL. The first prompt is the shortest writing time (25 minutes today) is a warm up. That also usually one or two prompts. Today’s was “What’s Underneath The Story”. For my second piece, from 23 prompts I chose to write “Here’s The Thing I Gave Away That I’d Like Back”. I ended up writing about something I hadn’t thought or spoken of in decades. It was a deep memory and an intense story which provoked fierce emotions.once-upon-a-time-719174__180

We took a break for lunch after the second set of prompts. One of the women at today’s workshop had also attended the same I one I did in January. We were Facebook friends and she is a television journalist. When the group started into Catherine’s kitchen for lunch, she and I hugged over my second story. She then asked if I’d be interested in coming on to her show (a podcast with CNN) to talk about my blog (THIS BLOG!) and how I am working on changing my life. I gotta tell ya, I was still recovering from the emotion of sharing my story, so I was seriously shocked at her question. She said she’d wanted to ask me at the first workshop in January, but she didn’t know me as well and she thought it might be weird. But she was adamant that she definitely still wants to do it. Wow. Not sure exactly when that will happen, but I’ll keep ya posted.

From the second group of 23 prompts, I choose to write two pieces.  The first piece involved writing on these prompts: “What I want my child to know”, “Addiction”,”Recovery”, and  “When you look at me can you see that…”. The second piece involved writing on prompt, “Something Else About My Grandmother”. At the beginning of this morning’s workshop, Beth told us today’s theme was “Finding Our Stories”. Today was about finding faith in my stories and a growing faith in my voice. Sometimes, well many times really, I wonder if this blog is really getting out into the world enough. And if it is, is it a good enough message that I am delivering. Then there are days like today when walking through my fear IS building my brave and God shows up big time as I continue to answer His Call.chalkboard-620316__180 (1)

 

This entry was posted on March 19, 2016. 2 Comments

Spring Awakenings and Energies

fruit-1133752__180I should have realized last week when I wanted a salad for lunch and I ended up having a greek salad with grilled chicken and fire feta. I even ventured to a Sprout’s Market not too long ago. And yes, that is a supermarket as healthy as its name, with tons of fruits, vegetables, and all manner of organic meats and goods. Last night I stopped off at the grocery store for ground sirloin to make spaghetti Tuesday night, headed straight for the produce department and bought strawberries (on sale!), apples, a grapefruit, an orange, cucumber, onions, bell peppers and a bag of spring mix salad. It’s been ages since I’ve physically craved fruits and vegetables. I made a salad with my leftover pizza for dinner last night. Then it hit me… Spring is coming! Every year about this time my body starts wanting healthier foods and home cooked meals. Hence, spaghetti on tonight’s menu and strawberry shortcake for dessert. What I’m especially pleased about is the soaking of the fruit in a vinegar cleaning solution and slicing up the strawberries without sugar as I used to prepare them in the past, to make them syrupy sweet.

I’ve been exhausted all week with the stupid time change. It’s affecting my sleep pattern for some reason, making it difficult to fall asleep without lying in bed, tense with my mind racing- about NOTHING! I continually have to force deep breathing and active relaxation, but then my mind goes off on a tangent and I’m back to tensing up again. As you can imagine, having been extra tired this week, work has literally been hell. My tolerance level and ability to effectively multi-task is pretty much non-existent. Management keeps scheduling department meetings that take us away from our desks for an hour or two, which is a large block of time with the workloads we are responsible for. I’m back to having thoughts of quitting and cashing in my 401K. Honestly, if I thought it was large enough to do what I want to do and work part-time, I would. But it’s not that large and I’m not that smart with my money. Which is a blessing really.cherry-732419__180

This is the restless, reawakening of Springtime that I experience every year, coupled with my soul’s restless, reawakening journey to my true self. How brutally cool is that? So here’s what the fuck I’m going to do about it. Eat the yummy fresh fruits and veggies I’m craving. Prepare the healthy home cooked meals I’m craving. Get the god damn sleep I need. Ease my way back to Yoga and hiking/walking because I still haven’t been back to class since I went down with the flu last week. Go with the new flow of Spring awakening and adjust to the new Spring energy. There is simply no other alternative.

This entry was posted on March 17, 2016. 2 Comments

Ready To Press Play Again

meditation-567593__180Is there anything better than reconnecting and recharging when you’ve been feeling disconnected and depleted? Especially when you can be honest and authentic with yourself and others about where you are. After posting my last blog early Saturday morning, my first call of the day was from my best friend, who actually said these words to me, “How dare you write about my life and post it to your blog”. By the way, she was one of the main folks I was feeling disconnected from as well. She is super de duper busy with a convention she helps put on every year at this time. So it was just absolutely perfect that she seemed to be going through something eerily similar. We talked deeply and personally to catch each other up before moving on to our busy Saturdays. Since I was resting and recuperating from the flu I was able to make it to an old 12 step meeting I used to attend religiously before I started going to Yin Yoga class last summer. The meeting felt just as good as Dawny’s morning phone call. I made plans with a good friend to try out a great new restaurant called the Breakfast Republic. It was a fabulous little place with fantastic food and I got to catch up/reconnect with another friend. The rest of the weekend went similarly. I made it to two more meetings, got an errand or two done, and did a couple of chores around the house. Light stuff that didn’t wipe me out like a few loads of laundry and cleaning the kitchen Sunday night.

Today I had an honest and productive session with my kick-ass therapist. I was up front with her about referring to our therapeutic relationship as the “long goodbye” in my latest blog. I told her things felt disjointed because we had not been able to get into a solid rhythm with regular appointments. She admitted she felt the same way. We discussed her new job and schedule, along with the fact that she doesn’t live in our town anymore. Plus we may need to switch our sessions back to Thursdays again starting in April. The truth is neither of us is ready to move on from our therapeutic relationship yet. So we will take things as they come for now. With that tackled I was able to talk with her about what else had been happening for the past month since we’d seen each other. I gained some clarity about a few things moving forward and explored a growing level of comfort and confidence I developed with the truths and insights from my writing and by extension, my inner wisdom. All the while admitting I still revert back to some familiar dysfunctional coping mechanisms like emotional eating and mini television binges. For this, my therapist reminded me to be gentle and compassionate with myself as there will always be the potential to go back to old familiar ways as long as I don’t stay there.

blue-308748__180This leaves me wanting to finish up my blog by taking it back to the A-Z Mindful Living email series with Ellie Hodges. I stopped at P for Pause. A great new friend suggested I “embrace” my P for Pause last week and that is just what I did. In a huge way that didn’t necessarily involve me completely checking out of my life or my activities. It involved me slowing down and participating in different activities at an easier, more manageable pace. At a more mindful pace. As I stated in my first sentence of the blog, I am feeling reconnected and recharged because I paused. Then I read what her email had to say about Pausing tonight and it was uncanny how much of it applied to what I’d recently gone through. I shared my experience about it in our A-Z Mindful Living closed Facebook group. Because I’m learning that ‘it’s never too late’ can apply to just about anything. How awesome is that?

This entry was posted on March 15, 2016. 1 Comment

Disconnect and Separation… Really?

“Nothing hath separated us from God but our own will, or rather our own will is our separation from God”– William Lawbeyond-809139__180

The support of friendships, guidance from counselors, and my willingness to trudge into a life of presence and awareness has fueled the momentum for the latest direction my life has taken. Because of that, I’ve felt connected, loved, and supported for most of this process. Yet there have been times when I’ve felt quite alone on this journey. For instance, when I drove up to Los Angeles for the book launch of “Shades of Blue, Writers on Depression, Suicide and Feeling Blue”. Or when I drove to Ojai for Jen Pastiloff’s New Years Manifestation Retreat. Or when I attended The Big Island Writers Workshop in Van Nuys. Each of those examples was an opportunity that seemed to dictate I face and experience them on my own. I did and each time it led me to a deeper understanding of myself and new connection with others outside of my world, thereby expanding it. In those instances, it was easy to see how being pulled to do things on my own helped me.

Recently I’ve been experiencing feelings of disconnect and separation from people I usually feel connected to in my life. It’s like I don’t belong anywhere anymore and that is just ridiculous. Even writing my blog posts makes me feel alone. In the beginning, I would call my best friend and use her as a sounding board because back then I was unsure and insecure about what I wrote. I still get insecure and unsure, I’ve just gotten better at ignoring that feeling while gaining some confidence in expressing my truth, whatever it may reveal itself to be. Tonight, it’s acknowledging I feel separate, isolated.

Let’s take stock then. I haven’t been to yoga class in a week because I’ve had the flu. There were some issues that arose in my 12 step community that has led me to feel uncomfortable and a little self-protective with some individuals. It also seems like my relationship with my kick-ass therapist has turned into the ‘long goodbye’. She was back in town, for a minute and we had a couple of sessions. Then I got an email from her informing me she ‘got the job’ and would be training in Mexico for 10 days so we had to cancel our last appointment. I’m supposed to meet with her this Monday if that doesn’t change. It’s like getting back together with a boyfriend after you’ve broken up and it’s just not quite the same. Even at work, I feel that way. Since my friend retired and they moved my other co-worker to a different cubicle, I’ve felt like the odd man out.

Which again seems ridiculous because I do have good friends at work who care about me. For instance, when I got back to work Thursday from being out sick, my dear angel friend, Kimmie left me a goodie package of amazing teas for me to drink. I’m signed up to do a 5K Race For Autism with two other good friends, Karina and Jocelyn, next weekend and we plan to go out to breakfast afterwards. My ex-husband called last night to talk because we never get to see each other now that the kids are grown and most of them on their own. Our middle son, Lyndon mentioned my blog to him so he wanted to talk about that and a few other things. It was good to catch up with him. He has some great plans for the future that may involve an opportunity for me when I’m certified to teach yoga and as a Life Coach. My youngest sister, Megan, called today to talk about Aunt Mungie’s funeral service and reminisce about Daddy’s side of the family. It was a great call because I hadn’t talked to her in a while.

Perhaps then, in Pausing this weekend, I should use the time to reconnect with myself and God? That usually then filters out into connecting to others in my life.mind-767583__180

This entry was posted on March 12, 2016. 2 Comments

Sick And Losing My Way

lemon-926722__180I am currently down with that yucky flu going around. I believe I caught it from someone at work because several co-workers came to work with it. Due to the fairly recent change at work from accrued sick time to PTO (paid time off) many of us just can’t afford to stay home more than a day or two while battling this particularly tenacious bug. So we end up infecting each other because we work in  a cubicle petri dish environment. I felt it coming on this past Saturday and it just got worse and worse. I spent most of Sunday in bed and dragged myself to work Monday and Tuesday. But by Tuesday, my ribs and upper back were killing me from a persistent, hacking cough and my energy was pretty much non-existent. I spent close to a quarter of that day in the bathroom, resting more so than anything else. After another night of alternately dosing myself with TheraFlu and coughing which woke me up when it wore off, I just couldn’t make it into work on Wednesday.

I know being at home sick is not the best time to assess my progress with “building my brave” or “working towards my work and life Mission”, but when your energy is this low, there is a certain level of honesty that you just can’t ignore or distract yourself from. Even before I got sick I could feel myself struggling with what to write here in my blog on a regular basis, with gathering the energy and enthusiasm with my yoga practice and most especially with continuing the A-Z Mindful Living email series. Which by the way, I still have not completed and stalled on the letter “P” for Pause. For whatever reason, since we switched the day of the week that we normally talk, I’ve only been remembering to connect and call my spiritual advisor every OTHER week. Like right now, it’s almost 9 pm and I just realized tonight is the night we should have talked and I can’t remember if we talked last week. I think we did. Shit… So it feels like I am losing my way. Actually based on my actions I am slacking. I’m feeling a sense of disappointment in myself and since I’m being honest, also a lack of faith and commitment. Not sure when or where it started but it’s here.

I am such a hot, sick mess right now that even I understand I need to give myself a break. But when I got over this flu? I need to call on accountability, responsibility and just plain willingness to get past this. Willingness to face some health issues I’ve been ignoring, willingness to be responsible for working on my spiritual conditioning and willingness to recommit. I mean, what else is there to do? If nothing else, my journey has taught me that going back is not the solution. It’s getting to the path again. boardwalk-801723__180

This entry was posted on March 10, 2016. 3 Comments