Days Like This

Good Morning!  I planned to write this blog post before any distractions clouded my mind.  I’ve already scrolled through Facebook, checked email, checked weather for today and Thanksgiving day in three different cities.  I’ve seen what Kim K wore to a party last night, #whocares, #cameltoe.  I texted a friend and drank two cups of coffee and here I go.

I sit cozy in my bed, looking at the clouds settle over the Rocky Mountain Range.  It’s a lovely cold, cloudy Saturday and I think snow is on the way.  I love these days.

I know what I want to write about today which is a true gift!  Everything I write is my honest experience and if can happen for me, it can happen for you.  I imagine a disclaimer typed atop each blog post, then I type it even though I cringe thinking about what my mother would say if she saw this.

If you have your shit together, this blog is not for you, but if you want to go somewhere different, jump on board!

The life you want is yours for the taking…..period!

I’ve worked intensively on what I really want in my life.  I’ve bounced around and lived small for a long time.  All of us carry baggage and it does take time to sort that history out and put it where it belongs…not in the driver’s seat.  Our sorted baggage belongs in a sacred place of wisdom which serves us as we move forward.

I know what I want.  I can list it off in ten seconds.  It’s memorized. I’ve visualized it, talked about it, yelled it out, prayed for it, and taken steps to get there.  I mean, I’m pretty clear about that.  I know what my gifts are and I want them to be used to enrich my life and the lives of others.

I know what I don’t want, that’s for darn sure.  My baggage is mostly sorted and some of that stuff, I wouldn’t keep in my wisdom place, I wouldn’t give it away, it goes in the trash.

So, I have all this knowledge and can not seem to get from here to there.  There’s this higher calling for me and I can’t quite grasp it.

Fake it till you make it only goes so far until what is comfortable for me lures me away.  For me, it has been alcohol, food, TV, sleeping, playing victim, and over dependence on others.  This includes, not keeping my promises to myself and cutting myself to shreds with my words, thoughts, and actions.

Underneath those beautiful dreams of who I want to be, lies a stronger emotion. A desire to checkout, shirk responsibility become a victim and swim in an ocean of self-pity.  I’ve heard it said that in a battle of emotions vs. intellect, emotions will always win.

So, here is what I do to cross the great divide.  I elevate my emotions to fuel the highest calling in my life; I feel what it will feel like if I am dignified and purposeful.  I create emotions around using my gifts to encourage others and bring joy to the world.   I hold an emotion of living healthy and active. I ask my self how I would feel if a diverse group of people were sitting around my dinner table laughing and enjoying intelligent conversation and good food?

What if I feel these emotions and start to  move in an intentional direction with very little baby steps?  What if I commit to the twelve step program that I know will arrest my addictions? What if I use a smidgen of discipline to start to let go of those deeply rooted escape mechanisms?

What if I just start doing what I know I’m meant to do and leave the rest up to the Universe or God, or my own higher power?

When my emotions around the better thing or the higher calling become powerful enough to align with my intellect and override the lower emotions…..doors fly open, teachers show up, the real me emerges and the angels dance with joy!

This is my experience and you can have it too.

I watched Bohemian Rhapsody last week.  I was very affected by the story of Freddie Mercury.  I grew up in the 70s and early 80s and loved the music but what struck me and what I can’t get out of my mind is that he KNEW he was born for the purpose of performing and writing music.  He knew to the core of his being—and he stepped out in that knowledge.  He couldn’t NOT do the thing he was born to do.  He impacted millions of people.  I believe the greatest height of living is represented in his life.   Even with all the turmoil, loneliness, and heartache.   We all have something to offer whether our reach is small and local or global.  What are we waiting for?  Now is the time!

Why You Gotta be so Mean….

So, here’s what I’m thinking about today.  I rolled out of bed, poured steaming hot coffee into my favorite mug, wrote my gratitude list and grabbed my computer.  My mind churned, I have to get a different job….my boss yelled at me and I need to find something else.  I’m being bullied at work…….again…..why does this always happen to me?

I spent about fifteen minutes perusing Indeed.com to look for a job as an escape from the one I have now.  A little more money, a list of job duties into which I could squeeze my skills and experience (fibbing just a little).  I ignore the things about it hat don’t fit, knock out a cover letter, and hit APPLY!  Thank God no-one that I currently work with reads my blog.  When I hit apply, my heart sinks a little….here I go again, making a change that doesn’t really get me closer to my dreams because I feel the heat at work.

The BULLY!  Strangely, the bully shows up in every job I take.  Have you ever had the same person show up in different forms in every place you work, or every group you join?  It’s so damn ironic.  Poor me….Poor Us!  It must be a universal problem.

Is there a lesson for me to learn here?  I can’t find the exact quote but Marianne Williamson and other spiritual teachers talk about the same challenge showing up until we learn the lesson.  I can testify that this is true for me.

The bully has consistently shown up for me throughout my life and has given me excuse after excuse for staying stuck or worse…..failing!  My ex-husband, my children, my mother, step-mother, bosses, co-workers, friends, teachers, aunts, uncles, all blocking me from my success.  I would like to thank all of you for your consistency and for not giving up on me….this is a lesson I want to learn now and move on from it.

It’s okay to look for a new job and to change jobs, but it’s not okay to escape the bully at the expense of my dreams only to find myself in another limiting situation with another bully to blame.

The problem is within me as is my solution!  Upon reflection, I see that I am my own worst bully.  I allow myself to be distracted by or overly dependent on people and their personalities.  It is by this distraction that I turn to food, alcohol, TV, or other escapism habits and neglect to take steps in the general direction of my biggest dreams, my highest calling.  I give my power away and then punish myself mercilessly for it.

Again, Marianne Williamson says the following in A Return to Love,

What is Hell:

  • We’re just disgusted with ourselves, because we think we should be better by now.
  • We’re always, even desperately, seeking a way out through growth or through escape.
  • We begin to realize that we ourselves are somehow the problem, but we don’t know what to do about it.
  • We’re not powerful enough to overrule ourselves.  We sabotage, abort everything:  our careers, our relationships, even our children.  We drink.  We do drugs.  We control.  We obsess.  We co depend.  We overeat.  We hide.  We attack.

Well, I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be in Hell any more.  I know just enough to see that I myself have the power to deal with the bullies in my life once and for all.

First, I must stop bullying myself.  I believe that people generally treat us with the same love and respect with which we treat ourselves.  I can honor my thoughts, ideas, passions, dreams, AND work well in the “job” I currently have.  I can silently bow before my teacher – the bully – and mentally thank him for helping me learn a lesson.  I can be curious and empathetic while setting boundaries for how I expect to be treated.  All this power at my fingertips!

That feels so much betters and I can start taking baby steps toward my dreams, actively turning over stones and having fun on the journey!  Whew, now that I have this settled, I’ll go enjoy this beautiful day!  I hope you do too.

Still I Rise

I feel as if I’ve written this post before but I can’t find it so here we go again.

To quote one of my my favorite ladies in the world, Maya Angelou…..

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave

I am the dream and hope of the slave

I rise

I rise

I rise

Dear Friend, don’t we all have nights of terror and fear?  Aren’t we all rising? It seems as if the world is going crazy and the news outlets report the impossibility of a happy and productive life.

Yet, we rise.  All of humanity rises.  Without the rise in the mind of our long ago ancestors, we would be living in caves, hunting and pillaging (some still are).

How do I live in a cave today, in the United States, where everything is possible.

I rise

I lived in a  cave  of “life always disappoints me”,  or “I’m less than”.

I rise

I even heard myself say to someone, I’m cursed, God doesn’t like me too much, and here is the proof.  See, see how bad my life is?

I rise

Life got pretty messy, pretty hard, pretty low.

I rise

I never lived through the slavery by another’s yolk, but I lived in my own cursed slavery of mind.

I rise

I went low

I rise

I lost a lot

I rise

I choose to rise

Please close your eyes and listen to our old friend Maya Angelou and RISE…. YOU RISE and WE ALL RISE

 

Surprise Visitors

Today, I feel awake to life, aware of the possibilities, awed in gratitude for everything showing up for me.  I did not get here easily.  I took the long way home, fueled by fatalistic thoughts and choices.  I wrote the below essay 9 years ago and I want to share it with you as a peek into part of the story of my life.  At the time, I thought I would die of fear, desperation, poverty and a broken heart, but here I am.  I sit at my kitchen table with a beautiful candle lit, a copy of my mock book cover in view, singing to the top of my voice……I’ve come a long way baby.

The day dawned gentle.  I secured a cork on the hook of my four-year old son’s red fishing pole.  Caleb and I stood on a wooden bridge that overlooked a beautiful lagoon on South Carolina’s Daufuskie Island.  Caleb smoothly cast his cork-baited line into the water. My nose twitched as the scent from the freshly cut grass wafted in the air.   Sweat gathered on my forehead and upper lip.  The lagoon permeated with warm serenity.  Massive oak trees draped in Spanish moss swayed gently.  Egrets, eagles and red tail hawks soared above us.

Nine curious turtles swam towards Caleb’s line.

snapping turtle

“Look mom, there’s Toady and Little Toady.”   Caleb found delight in assigning names to everything he encountered, including our chariot, a green golf cart named “Hunter,” which sat just a few feet away.  We cast a few times and then had to go.  My then-husband, had volunteered to deliver Meals on Wheels to four original Daufuskie residents twice a week but he was buried under work.  Once again, I would step in on his behalf.

Caleb and I loaded up the fishing gear, jumped in Hunter and took off toward the docks to pick up the meals.  Once the food was carefully placed between us, we drove towards Janie’s place.  Janie, well into her nineties, lived in a creaky hand built wooden house about 100 years old.  Chickens clucked and pecked in the front yard.  Clothes gently blew on the line and sheets dangled in front of windows for privacy.  The pungent smell of cow manure stung my nose on arrival.

Live_Oak_on_Daufuskie

Janie greeted us at the door and asked the same thing each time I came.

“How you folks like livin on `Fauskie?” she asked through a toothless smile.

Each time I hesitated in my response…

What could I say? Well, Janie, I moved from Washington, D.C. against my wishes to an island with a population of 200 and no bridge connecting it to the main land.  And no car.  I live with some of the wealthiest and some of the most impoverished people in America.  My children attend the new one room school house built near the “old school house” written about by Pat Conroy in ‘The Water Is Wide.’  PTA meetings deteriorate into strained discussions over the right to pack heat on the annual field trip to Sea World or are interrupted when a child discovers two giant poisonous snakes on the playground and the parents run out to kill them. Gee Janie, what could I say about living on Daufuskie Island?

I hated living there.

And I loved living there.  Who wouldn’t love living with daily views of breathtaking sunrises on one side and awe-inspiring sunsets over the marsh on the other?  And I’d grown to love Janie and the other islanders. Sweet friendships had been forged.

“I like it just fine,” I told Janie non-committally as I set her meal on the rickety kitchen table.

No, my problem was not engaging in life on Daufuskie, my problem was my husband!  He’d moved our family to Daufuskie Island and started a building and development business that was currently in a  downward trajectory due to the economy and unscrupulous business partners.  We’d sold our home in beautiful Alexandria, Virginia, and poured all of our money into the business.  I’d begged him not to try such a risky business but he’d turned a deaf ear. Days turned into months and then a year, and as our savings dwindled, I became increasingly scared and angry with him.

We’d fought the night before. Trying to protect the children from our argument, we went into the bedroom.

“Give it up, John.  We need to throw in the towel and do something else,” I’d cried.  My chest and neck muscles tightened as I fought back the tears.   “John, please.  This isn’t working. Why are you doing this to me and the children?  I can’t take this instability anymore.”

He replied calmly, almost condescendingly, “You’ve never trusted me, you don’t support me.  Just trust me, everything will be okay, I know what I am doing, this is going to work.”

I’d felt unheard and worse, unloved.  Truthfully, my marriage felt in the same downward trajectory as my husband’s business.

After delivering all the meals, Caleb and I drove home for nap and reading time.  We snuggled on the couch as I read Shell Silverstien’s, The Giving Tree.

“I have nothing left, I’m just an old stump,” said the tree” I read the words but my mind churned.

That’s me, always giving and always losing.  Yes, I can relate to that tree.  Why do I always have to give?  If I keep going like this, there will be nothing left of me!

Clunk, clunk, clunk.  The sound of footsteps on our covered front porch drew me out of my morose daydream.

            Who in the world could that be?  I wasn’t expecting anyone!

            I got up from our reading time to answer the knock at the door. Two women, dressed in navy blue business suits, stood, erect, unsmiling, at the door.  Something about their manner put me on guard.  When I opened the door, a wall of heat and humidity forced its way into my cool, air conditioned home.

“May I help you?” I asked.

The taller of the two, a trim brunette said coolly, “We are here to see your husband.”  The woman next to her held papers in her hand.

“Just a minute, I’ll get him.”  I left them standing on the porch and went to get my husband who was in his office.

My husband greeted his guests placidly and motioned for them to sit at a round table on the front porch.   I stood in the hallway inside the house and watched them through the front window.  My husband put his head in his hands.  He looked visibly shaken as he listened to whatever the visitors had to say.  The woman holding the papers pushed them at him and he took them. I rushed Caleb to bed and awaited my husband’s return.

What could they be talking about?  He was obviously upset.  Why is he shaking his head in disbelief?  Something is terribly wrong!

The visitors left. My husband entered the house with the papers in hand.

“What did those women want?” I demanded. He ignored me and went straight to his office.  I followed close behind.  He slumped into his chair, and put his head in his hands.  After a few moments he looked up and shoved the papers at me.  The words leapt off the page.

The United States Government vs. Your Husband (name omitted for privacy)

The papers in my hand made it clear that the U.S. Government had filed criminal charges against my husband for accepting football tickets from a lobbyist who had worked for the infamous Jack Abramoff, a man convicted of buying favors from Congressional staff members.  Evidently, the government was suing my husband because he had not disclosed the tickets as income on our financial forms.   John faced criminal charges.  He could even go to federal prison.

A train of thoughts raced through my mind.  Why hadn’t he declared those tickets?  Why hadn’t I known about this?  Were there other things he’d done, illegal, things that I didn’t know about? In his own state of shock, my husband couldn’t answer my numerous questions and accusations.  I floundered alone in a state of panic and unknowing. I muddled through the rest of the day trying to hold back tears in front of my three children.

Night time settled in.  He attempted to explain what had happened.   My husband  told me not to talk to anyone about this—that he was going to have to hire an attorney.  Tears flowed.  I couldn’t control myself. All that first night, I cried out to God for help. No answer came.  There was no communication, no comfort between me and my husband.  I felt betrayed, buried under the pressure of a business failure and a husband who wouldn’t hear or talk to me.

The burden of the U.S. Government was swift and sardonic.  Secrets, shame, hiding, fear engulfed my life and my marriage.

Were our phones being tapped? 

Would my husband go to jail?

How would we take care of our children?

How would our family and friends react to the news of these criminal charges?

Lawyers, trips to Washington, D.C., hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal and credit card debt piled up.  My marriage felt like it was dying.  Then, before I had a chance to talk to anyone about what I was going through, USA Today and The New York Times did it for me.  They proclaimed to the entire world that my husband was guilty.

He turned inward and I became a low functioning emotional wreck.  I thought to myself, this could not be happening to us—I must be living in a nightmare.  How can we stand up against the weight of the United States Justice Department?

We moved to a rental on the mainland and looked for work, but no one seemed willing to hire someone under criminal investigation.   Anger towards the government and rage towards my husband consumed me.  I went to a very dark place.  After paying attorneys we had no money for groceries or our household bills.  I recall the first of several instances when I’d left the grocery store in tears.  Debit or credit card wouldn’t go through. I left, three children in tow, with no food for our family. In my mind, we had become beggars.  Several months later we were indeed homeless.  Friends graciously offered to take us in.

The one thing I loved and that I could still do was to write.  I filled volumes of spiral bound notebooks with daily writings about what had happened—my feelings, prayers and thoughts—and my opinion of the political scandal based on my own work on Capitol Hill and the White House.  These journals became a sort of salvation for me.  I refused to read all the books people recommended to me on suffering because I did not believe anyone could relate to what I was going through.  Through my writing, truth and comfort came to me. There is no clear resolution or magical elucidation to my story.  I have not discovered a reason or balance for my suffering.  I make a decision daily to not be destroyed by this and my life isn’t over.   I will move forward with resolve!

Written today

Since this essay was written, life has changed drastically for me.  I am no longer married. My four year old Caleb is now 14 and I’m well….I’m getting older and happier.

My journey shows me that in essence the story is not really about what my husband did that hurt me but about my thought choices and actions.  I have no regret except the pain my children endured in the ensuing years.  My sense of victimization was not helpful and in fact hurt all of us greatly.  The good news is that I know now that I was never and will not be a victim.  I have choices, starting with thoughts, that lead to proper actions in distressing times.  More exciting than that, I have power of thoughts followed by actions that lead me now into much better circumstances.

I used to tell a friend periodically over email, “Still In the Storm”.  Those very words, that very thought, prolonged the agony and suffering that no longer needed to exist.  So very thankful I’ve learned and grown and I am happy now, no storm, no heartache…only love to carry me forward.

daufuski road

Live NOW!

The kind of rest you seek, you will find not from sleeping but from waking.” – A Course In Miracles

Did you see the moon last night as it started to peek over the horizon?  I did.  When the sight of the oddly shaped, enormous moon, hit me, I nearly wrecked my car.  The scene electrified me.  My heart raced.  I felt drawn to it.  I pulled to the side of the road like a drunk driver,  turned off my lights and tried to take a few pictures.  There were so many street lights and cars, my iPhone did not do it justice.  I drove fast to get away from the lights while the monstrous moon rose higher and became smaller.  I found a dirt road, pulled off, and took some more photos.  Something about that moon excited and charged me.  It had an energy, a life force that drew me to it….I almost cried.   It was huge when I first saw it but it became right sized as it reached further into the sky.  It’s morning now and I see it on the other side of my house, in early morning daylight.  It looks diminished but still beautiful.

I felt tired for a long time.  As a child, I recall sleepiness creeping up my neck and behind my eyes.  If I could only sleep.  As a college student, naps were vital to my survival.  As an adult, I mostly muddled through, collapsing on the weekends to excess food and television.  When I had time without my children, I needed to rest.  When I had a good week at work, rest was the celebration.   When going through a terrible trial…..or trials…..I thought, If I could only get some rest, I would figure this one out.  I just need rest. 

I used the need for rest as an escape.  As a sedative to not see what I was seeing, not feel what I was feeling, and to not do what I needed to be doing.  I just literally stepped out of life for a restful period of time.  As I felt life swirl around me, I stood in the center carrying the weight of the world on my back, my arms, my neck, my legs, and who wouldn’t be tired from that?

.Atlas

Over the past few years, I’ve done a lot of spiritual work.  Yes, I said spiritual work.  It does not come without effort on my part.  I learned that I can’t stand in the center and carry the weight of the world on my shoulders.  I am not that powerful.  I can’t make life perfect for my children, myself, my extended family, the neighborhood, the community, and yes the world!  I literally visualize myself taking a heavy backpack off my back and giving it to God. I feel the energy flow in.  I am awakening to God.

At times, I fall back on I need rest in an escapist way.  It is utterly nonsensical.  Last week, I worked so hard.  I gave ten presentations, met with five new companies, made goals for over 100 donors and took care of my son, made meals, went to a choir concert, dealt with a adult-child situation and much more.  On Friday, night, I had the choice to go to a small, intimate jazz concert or to go home.  Guess what I chose? Against my own intelligent thinking, I chose to go by the grocery store, grab some ice-cream because – hey I deserved it, plop down on the couch and watch a movie.

When Saturday came around, I argued with myself all day about going to a charitable reception that night because hey, I have the weekend to myself and I needed rest….right?  Well, one thing I’m working on is keeping my word.  I R.S.V.P’d for the reception so by God I went.  The reception was wonderful, I met some new lovely people, became completely inspired at the work of an amazing photographer from New York who takes beautiful photos of children who live with disabilities.  Then…….on the way home, the moon romanced me.  I gave thanks that I did not inappropriately “sleep” last night.  The unexpected reward inspired me.   As I continue to awaken, I look forward to many, many more moons.

IMG_3905

Autumn on the Pale Blue Dot

I hunch crammed in the back of a 1973 Ford Grand Torino station wagon with my parents, three aunts, two uncles, four cousins and two dogs.  We careen around curves and ascend the hills in the Great Smoky Mountains in western North Carolina.  While we try to affix our bodies into a comfortable position, my aunt screeches in incredible speed, “Luk, Luk, Luk, Luk, Luk,”.  She finds the first signs of autumn, a beautiful red walnut or poplar shines through the forest and we either roll our eyes in quiet resistance to her over-the-top excitement or actually join in because  after all, it is incredibly beautiful.

grand torino

My childhood was filled with crammed station wagons, drives in the mountains and “luk, luk, luk, luk, luks”.  Not always wonderful memories, but never the less, we lived!

Through a set of circumstances and decisions which I will write about later, I found myself single, with three children, living in near the Rocky Mountains, in Colorado Springs Colorado.  Keep in mind, my nick name in college was Southern Belle With a Cause, so living in the wild west was quite an adjustment.  The first few years were filled with denial that I was away from my beloved east coast, family, and friends. The last five, I’ve made efforts to ensure we experience various seasons in the mountains and make traditions of our own; even if they don’t look like my childhood traditions (which may be a good thing on some levels).

One of our new traditions is to drive up to Rocky Mountain National Park and see the autumn leaves and the Elk rut.  This is a wonderfully pleasurable experience.  First of all, the teenagers are with me in the car.  After the first hour of driving, I can count on everyone forgetting their puberty, electronics, and momentary troubles.  We listen to music and talk about life.  Secondly, when we enter Rocky Mountain National Park, we feel at peace.  There are beautiful meadows, streams of water, trees, and rocks to climb on.  We get lost in the beauty.  We watch the elk rut and then drive up to Bear Lake for a little hike.  The kids usually run up into the woods while I listen to the rippling of water in a little stream and find my zen moment.

Yesterday we took off for our yearly voyage.  It was a beautiful day and nothing but hope of family bonding was on my mind.  In Denver we hit a little traffic and I wondered if everyone else had the same idea for a day in the mountains.  As we ventured on, the traffic worsened.  I thought of turning around but no, we had a plan and we would stick with it!  I didn’t want my frustration to show so I kept the upbeat chatter going.  My daughter lay sprawled out in the back seat because she started her monthly and was feeling terrible.  We discovered The Elk Festival in full swing in Estes Park (the town you drive through to get to the park) and so our two-hour drive turned into four.

When we arrived at the park, we idled behind a long line of cars waiting for the gates.  I finally pulled up to the gate and handed the ranger my debit card.  She said, “it’s free day, enjoy!”  Of course it’s free day I growled to myself as we drove in with the multitude of cars. It was beautiful.  We didn’t see many fall leaves but the majesty of the mountains moved me.

Several herd of elk gathered in the woods and journeyed across the road.  We exited the car and traipsed through the field to  see a bull protecting his herd.  I glanced at Sallie. She looked ashen. She wobbled and then had to sit down.  She felt sick.  I looked for a place to hide behind a rock or tree to use the restroom but there were so many people, I couldn’t find privacy for what we used to call a “mountain tee-tee”.  Back in the car, my hope for the perfect day sank.  We drove to bear lake.  Sallie stayed in the car to ward off throwing up.  Caleb ditched me when I went into the port-a-potty. I walked around the lake alone.

I saw so many beautiful people from around the world enjoying the incredible scenery.  The accents were varied and faces exotic.  I saw one Indian family dressed in colorful saris.  The dad was dragging his big black roller suitcase behind him over the rocks, pebbles and branches that protruded from the ground.  He seemed so happy and it lifted me up for a moment.   But then, I felt lonely.  I walked alone around the lake on our family mountain day.  I passed parents and little children,  friends and lovers.  I indulged in a moment of I’m pissed that my day has turned out like this.

Back at the car (where Caleb had been sitting the entire time), Sallie reiterates she feels sick.  We pull out of the parking lot behind the long line of cars.  About an hour later, still in traffic, Sallie actually gets sick……in the car. We all go into warp quiet mode, the kind of quiet you can hear.

I whisper, It’s okay Sallie, here honey, here honey, some wet wipes for you, well be able to pull over soon, it’s all okay, I love you.  

After we stop and clean Sallie up, I feel relieved.  The traffic is a little lighter.  The sun begins to set and the muted hue comforts me. I feel peaceful.  We listen to an NPR story that mentions Carl Sagan…….then it happens…… the moment that makes the day so incredibly perfect.  Caleb says “Mom, I’m going to blow your mind.”  When he says that, I know I’m about to be the happiest mom in the world because we’re about to go heart to heart.

He says, “Mom,  I want to read you something that Carl Sagan said about the Pale Blue Dot.”

Pale blue dot?  I asked.  He says “the pale blue dot is a picture taken by the Voyager 1 space probe which was about 6 billion kilometers way”.  He calculates that into miles.  He pulls up a photo of the pale blue dot and then reads what Carl Sagan says about it.

With these words, I leave you with a memory of our 2017 autumn mountain trip – maybe one of the most memorable.  As he read this to us, I felt overwhelmed with gratitude that I get to live and love on the Pale Blue Dot.  No matter what, I live, love, hurt, rejoice, experience life from every angle and that is a privilege!

The Pale Blue Dot – Carl Sagan’s description

That’s here.  That’s home.  That’s us.  On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives.  The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, ever supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there on a mote of dust, suspended on a sunbeam”

pale blue dot

 

Inertia and the Overcoming of It

Inertia – The tendency to do nothing, or to remain unchanged.

Have you experienced inertia in an area of your life or even all areas of your life?  Some of us find ourselves in a state of inertia over a particular habit and become complacent as it spreads its ugly tentacles through all facets of our lives.

This photo showed up on my Facebook feed one day.  I started to disregard it.  I like to look at beautiful pictures of nature, art, or people who take care of themselves.  So when this meme showed up on my feed, I quickly judged the person who posted such a thing, and placed my finger on the screen to scroll up to the next post.  But wait! I glanced down, took a second look, and guffawed to myself,

That is you!  If you really want to be honest about your evenings at home, look at this picture and you see yourself.

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Now, you know……I am open to any teaching tool that God uses in my life.  I don’t care what it is.  If I am really honest, honest down to the bones, this picture would probably be more accurate with a big bowl of popcorn beside me and legs up on an ottoman.

Inertia is happens in my life like this….  On weekdays, I work really hard. I cook dinner and eat with my children. We clean up and talk.  I may throw in a few choice pieces of advise about life and how they spend too much time on technology…just sayin!  I check homework. Following this time of early evening activity, I stand at the threshold of inertia.

I literally stand in my dining room, look at the front door and say to myself,

I really want to see the sunset and take a walk.  Yoga would feel so good.  I could call a  friend while I walk or listen to my buddy Macklemore.  I need the exercise and it would feel so good to get outside.  I could write a post for my blog…it’s been over a week…but you know, I’m tired.  I had a hard day. I’m a single mom.  My kids are driving me crazy and life generally stresses me out.  So, I think I’ll just sit here and watch TV and maybe I’ll take care of myself tomorrow.   

Tomorrow echos in my head: tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, I’ll get to it tomorrow, after I watch this show.

I ask you to consider the power of inertia in your own life, however it shows up. Inertia guarantees stuckness (not a real word), it closes the door for discovery, it blinds you to possibilities.  Repeating the same self-harming activity over and over again when we don’t really want to is a serious hindrance to our spiritual growth and ability to thrive.

So here’s the good news!

On the other side of inertia lives my hearts desire, a much greater power! I dream of living a long healthy life.  I dream of family harmony and joy.  I dream of elevating the lives of others through my writing and my work.  I dream of financial soundness.

Every step I take towards the door in the evening, I get closer to my dream.  Every day of hard work I put in  with my employer brings me closer to my dream.  Every time I put down unnecessary food, I get closer to my dream. Every time I show up for a friend or even a stranger I get closer to my dream.

My hearts desire calls me live NOW.  I believe it’s impossible to fail because I’m just simply doing it.  My dream propels me to show up every day, to defy inertia in my life and hold on tight to the force pulling me upward.

A dear friend sent me a link to this song which represents where I am in my life right now, I hope you find yourself there as well.

 

 

 

 

The Sun Rises

Early every morning, when my son Caleb started to toddle and talk, he rushed into my bedroom to shout “The sun rises! Wake up, the sun rises!”.  His declaration roused me from my sleep, and started my day of mothering activities.  I loved his sweet high-pitched, joyful voice when he said those words.  The start of a new day brought many joys.

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He’s long since stopped bounding in with his declaration.  Yet, the truth of his words hugged me this week as I adapted to a big change in my life.

Due to a strange and unexpected twist I found myself leaving a job I loved at a place I loved.  I accepted a position in another amazing organization.   I did not imagine even two months ago I would leave this job, yet here I am, starting over in a wonderful way.

Throughout the last couple of weeks, I found myself in pain.  The pain I discussed in an earlier post that simply has to be dealt with.  No positive affirmation could relieve me at the moment of its grip on my heart.  I could not even explain it to my dear friends.  The why of heart ache is sometimes inexplicable.

I felt attached to the sweeping view Pikes Peak from my parking lot.  Every day, a gentleman smoked his pipe behind the green tress as I walked to my building.  I smelled the oaky, sweet aroma as I meditated, walking up the hill under the shade.  I loved greeting the two janitorial superheros in their purple shirts as I entered the building. They worked hard to keep our space lovely and enjoyable.  I looked forward to catching up with my office mates as we rehashed the night before or the weekend and worked together to get the job done.  We became a family.

Even though I left on a journey to an amazing place for an amazing opportunity, I felt a sense of loss.  I built community at my former place of employment.  I allowed myself to fully embrace my surroundings and more importantly the people I worked with.

I talked to a loved one on the phone and said these words…”I’m tired of starting over.  I mean, I’m 50 and I’ve been through a lot and I don’t want to start over again.”  As I heard myself say this, I simultaneously had a thought which became my answer to the pain.

The sun rises every day. It starts over every day.  It’s very old and it just keeps starting over.  It’s going to be okay.  Not only that but as every ocean wave goes out, another one comes in.  The ocean is very old and yet it starts over.  The waxing and waning of the moon is starting over.  As someone dies, someone is born, and hence life starts over.  Seasons come and go and come again.  A new storm cloud rolls in and the rain falls again.  A fallow field is planted and growth starts over.  A seed from a flower falls to the ground and growth begins.  A toddler falls down, gets back up and starts over.  Humanity and all nature is in a state of starting over.

Life means starting over at any moment, any age.  With every new dawn, a torrent of possibilities is unleashed.  I intend to embrace starting over and expand fully into my new journey.

Recreate your life, always, always. Remove the stones, plant rose bushes and make sweets. Begin again.     Cora Coralina

 

Strange Teachers

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.  – Buddhist Proverb

A ten-hour drive unfolds before us.  Caleb, Sallie, and I drive on the bare Kansas highway aligned with fallow fields.  It is Thanksgiving…….my Thanksgiving, and we choose to spend it with my ex husband’s family….I know, this divorce is not normal!  I am very excited to reunite with family that I love.

I welcome the cold, lonely drive.  It is restful and beautiful in its own isolated way.

Before departure, we drive by the library to pick out some cds to play in the car.  I choose books on tape such as Sherlock Holmes, Lord of the Rings, and so forth.  Sallie and Caleb pick out the music.

When I read the music titles and artists names, I shudder.  “I’m not going to listen to that!  The language is base, the message is dark, I simply will not allow that music to be played with me in the car.”

They implore me to give it a try because their music is extremely important to them and is a guiding force in their lives.

Much to my surprise and yes I had to yelp at the curse words, I  learned so much.  My friend Macklemore taught me that a dream can be birthed in me and 10,000 hours of sweat and tears can cause it to grow.

No matter what anyone tells me, I can live my dream.  stand here in front of you today all because of an idea
I could be who I wanted if I could see my potential
And I know that one day I’mma be him
Put the gloves on, sparring with my ego
Everyone’s greatest obstacle, I beat ’em
Celebrate that achievement
Got some attachments, some baggage I’m actually working on leaving

Now when I take my walks in the early morning or late evening.  Macklemore Radio goes with me.  I choose not to listen to all of it but in certain moments, I do hear words that call me forth to live in the presence of my dreams.

Macklemore_canRenai Blue suit  Who knew a loving friend could show up for me through this guy:)

Naivety and Three Pecan Pies

In 1742, Thomas Gray (pictured below) coined the phrase, ignorance is bliss. I prefer to say a little naivety and three pecan pies will take you anywhere you want to go!

Image result    This week, I will get in my new Nissan Rogue warmly called the roller skate, drive an hour and a half to the Pepsi Center in Denver to be a guest at Michelle Obama’s presentation to the Women’s Foundation of Colorado.  That’s pretty cool.  The even cooler part of the story is that I will embrace my precious friend and former Washington D.C. roommate Melissa who I have not seen in twenty-five years.  It is a miracle!  Melissa worked for the Obama’s during the Obama administration and now works with Michelle Obama.

Melissa and I met during a summer college internship program.  It was love at first sight. She was unlike anyone I knew.  She was from a distinguished Chicago family, Jewish, well-educated and well-traveled.  Melissa was scheduled to work for a democratic congressman. I was from a distinguished family in rural Valdosta, Georgia and partially from a less distinguished, poor, country family in Moultrie, Georgia.  I worshipped in a Southern Baptist Church.  My education consisted of having fun in high school and going to the closest possible college to my home.  I obtained a position in the office of a republican congressman from Georgia.

I knew nothing of politics.  At the ripe young age of seventeen, I developed a crush on a young man from Valdosta who worked in Washington, D.C.  I  just had to get to D.C. to be near him.  That was the extent of my political drive.

I found and applied for an internship program for the summer of 1986. I mean, why not me?  At first, I was not accepted into the program due to inexperience and a nonsensical, rambling essay.  Hello, I knew nothing!  Not to be put off, I contacted the manager of the program, an energetic, handsome New Yorker, and begged to resubmit my essay. He had mercy on me and said these magic words,

“If you’ll bring me three homemade pecan pies from Georgia, I’ll let you into the program.”

Hell yeah!  That was a no-brainer for me. My cousin and I stayed up all night, the night before I my departure, and made three Georgia style pecan pies.  I proudly carried them onto the airplane in a brown Macy’s bag all the way to the U.S. Capitol.   That internship led me to Capitol Hill,the White House, and to so much more.

Melissa and I were roommates and dear friends.  I learned early on that Jewish people do not buy Christmas trees and have tree trimming parties but again, who knew?  We chose different paths in life and seeing her again this week will be a highlight for us both.  The beauty in this story is  at such a young age, I did not see a limitation and I did not receive a limitation.  I receieved freedom to do exactly what I wanted to do.  I did not see less-than. For me, privilege was not the only mechanism to success.

I showed up innocently, 100% myself in my yellow skirt and pink top, delivering pecan pies as a gateway to a wonderful life.

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