Welcome to my Journey

Hello, and welcome to my Journey. Over the last few years I have been learning more about my personal journey, my Path and my Soul Purpose. The further I travel, the easier I find it to share my journey with others, and to learn from their journeys as well. The most recent evolution has caused me to expand my Universe and allow more people access to my travels, as well as allowing me access to more people, their travels and what they have learned as they walk their own paths. Feel free to share your journey here as we all have much to learn in our lives as Divine Beings having a Human experience.

Love and Light.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

January 31, 2013 Oy! These new habits are KILLIN' me!

I've been a bit under the weather for the last couple of days and haven't kept up with things as much as I should.  I was even home by 9:00 after dancing tonight which just never happens!!  After cleaning sandboxes and watching a little tv, I was all set to make it an early night (at least it was early for me) when I wandered into the kitchen to shut off the lights and realized that I needed to set up the coffee pot for tomorrow.  As one thing always does lead to another, I noticed that I needed to grind some more beans and since I was already in the kitchen and had to wait for the beans to grind, I may as well make tomorrow's breakfast after all, right?  Which of course, led to cleaning up the kitchen afterwards. 

So much for my nice, relaxed, ready for bed mood!  Now I'm wide awake so I might as well do my nightly post which I was ready to allow myself to skip tonight in the interests of getting to bed early.  But since that isn't happening anyway now that I've made breakfast for tomorrow, set up the coffee pot, cleaned up the kitchen and washed the cats' plates...  Well,  you get the picture.  But my point is, I've created these habits over the last few months and now, I just can't seem to skip them, no matter how much permission I might give myself! 

I'd read that it takes a month to make a habit.  But they didn't say anything about how, once you've made it, you're stuck with it!  Granted, these really are good habits for me to have established, but now, my darned self refuses to cut me even the tiniest bit of slack!  Even this morning, I set myself a reminder to get up early so I could wash my hair and made today's food last night.  Would you believe I was too efficient and got out of the house ten minutes early???   This efficiency stuff is downright insidious.  It creeps into your life and before you know it, you're all organized and ahead of the game all the time!  If this keeps up, I'll be going to the gym 5 times a week, dancing 4, getting up at the crack of dawn to do exercises, jumping on the Wii Fit every chance I get and reviewing line dances in my living room!  People are going to start asking what I did with Sheri! 

I'm even starting to get twitchy when there is stuff on my counters!  I am compelled to put everything away instead of letting it sit around for a day or two!  Even the cats are starting to get worried.  I don't leave all of that wonderful stuff around for them to drag through the house.  Tonight when I got home, I discovered that, out of desperation, Toby had opened up a kitchen cupboard and started pulling plastic containers out!  Poor guy couldn't find his toys so he had to improvise!  (little does he know, they're put neatly away in a gift bag stashed behind one of his trees!)  It's getting to the point where the only thing they recognize about me is cuddle time, and the way things are going, they're going to be dodging my feet more often than not very soon!  I really cannot wait to try out the Wii Fit now that Heather figured out how to get everything hooked into my TV.  This one is supposed to have new, extra special stuff on it too!  And the best part is, I don't have to share it or wait my turn like I did the last one that was in my house!  I just have to teach Toby and Dylan not to lie on the step thingie when I'm trying to exercise! 

Tomorrow night, while the kids are having game night with their friends, I will be Wii Fitting and working on the line dance Candy will be teaching in March.  I started looking through the step sheet tonight and the dance I learned on the cruise just a couple of weeks ago was only vaguely familiar.  Thankfully, the one she taught tonight, and which we flash mobbed, came back a lot more easily!  But I think if I walk it a few times, it will start to be familiar again! 

Egad!  The idea of jumping up and down instead of sitting and relaxing is getting me all excited.  This making habits stuff is clearly getting out of hand.  But at this rate, I will be bathing suit ready long before the next cruise.  Is that really a bad thing? 

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for my new habits.
2. I am grateful for reminders from my friends to slow down, relax and let go of stressful things.
3. I am grateful for my dance friends and fellow "cruisers".  (although, frankly, that makes us sound like a box of disposable training pants!)
4. I am grateful for my son-in-law who brought me aloe vera body butter for my poor, burnt cleavage!
5. I am grateful for the warm, soft bed that is waiting for me to crawl into and snuggle with my kitties.

Love and light.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

January 30, 2013 Rerouting

When is chicken soup not good for your health?  When you pour hot soup on your chest and leave a second degree burn in that little hollow some of us have!  Ouch!!!  I knew it stung and was staying kind of damp, but when I looked in the mirror this morning, there was a bright red, coarse patch on my chest.  Apparently, the burn cream I slapped on right after it happened was not enough to prevent the mark it left.  So I'll either have to wear higher necked shirts for a few days or face explaining just how klutzy I can be!

I find myself, today, working to reroute my thought processes.  I found myself, yesterday, regressing into thoughts of lack rather than of abundance.  This cannot be allowed, especially when I am blessed with so much!  I thought I had left the wallower behind me years ago, but clearly, it is more insidious than I realized and will creep in when I least suspect it, so diligence is required.  Once again, I must fill my jar with golf balls, pebbles, sand and water to fill every nook and cranny so that thoughts of lack will find no place to rest.  I must make it clear that for thoughts of lack, there really is no room at the inn!  My inn is sacred and full of positive energy and positive thoughts which are not to be besmirched by those pesky, whiny "I wish I had" kind of thoughts.  Today will see me devoting a lot of time to remembering how much I have and how very blessed I am!  Like any good relationship, holding thoughts of abundance takes some effort and it is clear by the reminder I got yesterday (aka Universal headslap) that I've been resting on my laurels too much and forgetting to reinforce my thoughts. 

Years ago, after I first watched "The Secret", I had a friend with whom I would chat online, and we were each others' support group in keeping thoughts positive.  Since then, I have learned (some might say the hard way) that the Universe is more than happy to be that support group and remind me when my thoughts turn dark.  I haven't tried to remain in a state of wallow following these reminders, but I am certain that if I tried, the headslaps would become more insistent!  I would rather not find out, though, and prefer to turn myself around quickly to avoid learning what the Universe might have in store should I prove stubborn in releasing those non-productive thoughts.  One thing is for certain.   As soon as those evil, dirty, ugly thoughts settled into my brain, I began to feel physically ill!  How's that for a not so gentle reminder that I was going the wrong way? 

So I went to bed early last night and slept late this morning.  Waking up with my head still throbbing  and knew that I needed a serious purge to get back to my positive, happy, productive self.   Thus, I sit here with a fresh cup of coffee in the Eeyore mug Heather got me for Christmas, nibbling on pear, cheese and chicken while I turn my thoughts towards everything wonderful and positive in my life. 

Not in any particular order other than proximity, I have a warm, comfortable home of my own which I don't have to share with anyone I don't want to.  I've satisfied the city's latest complaint by having my tree trimmed.  My cats love me and show me every day with their snuggles and purrs.  I have a wonderful relationship with, not only my beautiful, intelligent, sensitive, loving daughter, but also with the loving, sensitive, responsible man with whom she chose to share her life.  I always have enough money to pay my bills and have a few extras in my life.  I have a job which keeps my brain active as I continue to learn new things.  I am physically able to dance for several hours a week with wonderful people filled with positive energy and joy.  I am blessed with good health and motivation to keep myself happy and healthy.  Wow!!!  How in the heck did I find myself wallowing with all of this?? 

As I come to the end of a mostly unproductive day, at least if measured by tasks completed, I appreciate all of my nurse kitties who stayed close by all day, fighting over my lap and the choicest spots on the couch, and giving me the stink eye because I got up too often for their comfort, I realize that sometimes a day spent just letting go and rerouting our thoughts is as productive in its own way as a day spent crossing items off of our "to do" list.  The migraine that hit me in the late afternoon was further proof (as if I needed it) that I had wound myself up too tightly and needed a day of "doing nothing" to put things back in perspective. 

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that my body reminds me when I've pushed myself too far, even if those reminders are painful and uncomfortable.
2. I am grateful for my furry nurses who have not given up hope of teaching me how to relax.
3. I am grateful for my daughter who untangles my electronic challenges for me.
4. I am grateful for dance nights with good friends.
5. I am grateful for learning to put things in perspective and to prioritize what is truly important.

Love and light.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

January 28, 2013 Universal headslaps (Reprise) and karmic knots

As I look back on the unusual number of times I was awakened this weekend by disturbing dreams, I can't help wondering if the Universe is stepping up its efforts to get a message through this thick skull of mine.  In retrospect, the general theme of the dreams, regardless of the actual plot lines was sudden and tumultuous change.  In fact, I think that if I were to do a tarot spread right now, I would be less surprised by the appearance of the Tower card than by its omission.  Perhaps my actions were driven by this subconscious knowledge that my life will soon be following an entirely different path.

Along with the production of an enormous vat of soup, I stocked up on food for my furry children which, by itself isn't tremendously unusual as I always try to have a couple of months worth in the house at any given time.  I also emptied my freezer of most of the spoiled items last weekend and will continue the process this week.  In fact, I had so much space in the freezer that I was able to put the entire soup pot inside to chill!  

I'm finding that I'm watching very little TV, preferring to either work on tasks around the house, run errands, read or work on the computer.  My book-which-will-someday-be-written has also been on my mind a lot lately as I continue to try to figure out what it is I want to actually write about.  It even occurred to me that these tumultuous dreams are my imagination looking for an outlet.  They certainly are not only vivid enough, but are leaving their imprints on my brain! 

I came across a term someone coined today which resonated with me as to what might be causing my disconnect and crazy dreams, and which ties right into the emotional releases my massage therapist did for me this weekend.  The term is "karmic knots" and to me, it means those emotional stopping points where you are holding on to events without even realizing it.  What I've been finding with the treatments I've been receiving is that sometimes, it's not even your own baggage!  We can, potentially, be carrying some fear, disappointment, guilt or other unhelpful emotion which by all rights belongs to a parent or a sibling!  In my case, I believe it is a by-product of taking too much responsibility upon myself for how events unfold.    To simplify, instead of being "entitled", I'm an entitler, which is not be confused with an enabler (which I have, during parts of my life, been as well!).  Although I didn't realize these emotional suitcases were there until recently, I have no trouble understanding how they got there, if not the why as well.

Unlike being one of the many who feel entitled, or being an enabler, I don't believe that being an entitler is necessarily all bad.  Sure, in the long run, it makes life harder for that one person, but in order to end up as an entitler, one must first be very aware of their own responsibility for situations within their control.    But the key words here are "within their control".  Some of us take it further than necessary and take responsibility for our own actions and thoughts as well as anyone within thinking distance.  At that point, we acquire someone else's karmic knots and, frankly, deprive them of the opportunity to learn the lessons necessary to untie the knots themselves. 

I can only speak for myself and say that it took me a lot of years and many disappointments to finally learn that I can't fix things for another person, and the more I try, the less they try, and their lessons stretch out before them, often appearing to be more difficult than need be because I wasn't just getting out of the way and leaving them to it.  I knew on a conscious level that this was so, but the subconscious part of me, the fixer, the entitler and yes, the enabler overruled me for a long time which allowed me to stunt the development of people around me.

It's interesting though, that as I become more aware of such things in myself, I begin to notice them more in others as well, and, in fact, see that path I might have continued upon had I not started paying attention to my own cause and effect.   I see so many of these people struggling to carry, not only their own load, but that of family, friends and even strangers.  All this really accomplishes is to draw them further from their purpose, further from their own path as they take a lot of detours trying to help others who would be much better off figuring things out on their own.  But to be fair, this may be the path they need to tread in order to learn their own next lesson.  As I've seen mentioned rather frequently lately, we repeat the lessons life gives us as many times as necessary for us to learn them.   Some people are able to see that trying to fix things for everyone is a losing proposition a lot sooner than others.  Perhaps some have chosen a life path in which they spend their entire life trying to learn this one particular lesson because for them, it is one of the most difficult to fully internalize.  In which case, I suppose I'm happy for them that they are presented with enough opportunities to try to fix people.

For yet another topic change, I was reminded today that our own faith enables us to see things which others might not.  I was struggling to understand a post from a friend and finally had to admit that all I saw from the quote she had shared was a selfish, egotistical person who would only offer assistance to those who agreed to be like him.  My friend, on the other hand, saw the words as an expression of love in its purest sense.  Her faith allowed her to see something which was completely invisible to me.  The beauty of faith is that there is no right or wrong.  You believe or you don't as you see fit, but that belief is personal to you and should be respected by others who simply believe differently.  I am grateful for the gentle reminder to be open to different perspectives, be it an issue of faith or simply a discussion involving different points of view.  There is a lot to be learned by just listening to someone else's perspective.

My gratitudes tonight are:

1. I am grateful for lessons both old and new.
2. I am grateful for friends who exemplify Love.
3. I am grateful for opportunities to grow both Spiritually and Humanly.
4. I am grateful for increased energy and decreased appetite.
5. I am grateful for a warm, soft bed filled with kitties waiting to snuggle.

Love and light.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

January 27, 2013 Strange brew

I've been having a lot of crazy dreams lately, but the last couple of days, those dreams have turned, for lack of a better word, creepy.  I woke early this morning from one such dream, yet, no matter how hard I tried, I could not prevent myself from going right back into the dream from the point where I woke up.  In fact, I was almost to the point of just getting up, despite the fact that it was still dark outside.  Strangely, after surmounting numerous odd obstacles, like having to climb up a very tall set of industrial type shelving including some kind of trapeze actions to swing to the top (and this while carrying Toby along with me and having to figure out how to get him up there too!) the situation resolved itself, though not before having everyone terrified to use their electronics for fear of being tracked down, and equally afraid of going outside where there were machine gunners flying overhead.  From deep inside a concrete building we finally discovered that the person controlling all of the mayhem was right there with us.  But I still awoke uncertain as to whether or not she was really trying to protect us. 

I did have a rather productive weekend, though.  I started a pot of chicken soup on Friday night and finally got all of the veggies in on Sunday morning, so I have enough soup to feed me all week, plus plenty to share and I only have one pot left to wash.  So soup and a bunch of errands run and, of course, my monthly massage.  Not bad for a weekend's work! 

I've had a couple of reminders to figure out what I really want to do with my life and to find a way to do it.  I realize that it is likely to be difficult, but that the end result will be worth it, but I am certainly no different than others who fall victim to the fear of failure, the fear of making the wrong choice and umpteen million other fears that stand in the way of achieving a dream.  So I'm continuing to focus my intentions on writing, despite the fact that I'm less than prolific these days.  I believe that if I keep reminding myself of that intention, that I will continue to at least pound the keys a bit in the evenings until a seed is planted which is destined to be a tree, or even a small bush at this point.  I think that in some ways, my inherent hermit tendencies are warring with my desire to be more social and the result is a pretty lousy tasting stew.  The fact is, I should be able to reconcile the two and find a way to do both.  The how, however, is currently escaping me.  But at least I'm working out my frustrations with something that will nourish my body if not my spirit. 

I believe that, over the next few weeks, I'm going to be inclined to access my Spiritual side more than normal and that in the process I will find the answers I need.  This won't necessarily be a voluntary action, though, as my crazy, intense, insistent dreams are indicating.  Something is clearly driving me to make some kind of move towards my destiny.  It's just difficult to manifest something when you're not even sure exactly what it is you're trying to manifest.  At this point, I can't even state definitively if it is animal, vegetable, mineral or other.  But if my dreams get any more vivid and insistent, I don't think I'll be left with any doubts.  All hail the Subconscious, keeper of all things worth knowing

My gratitudes tonight are:

.1. I am grateful for an active subconscious which encourages me to find a path.
2. I am grateful for a rainy afternoon of hot soup and warm kitties.
3. I am grateful for an abundance of ideas and opportunities.
4. I am grateful for alone time.
5. I am grateful for social time.

Love and light.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

January 26, 2013 Happy Birthday Part for Mathom!

Crazy dreams, chicken soup, Mathom's birthday, mom and daughter lunch, massage  and imaginary heart shaped confetti.  What do these things have in common, you ask?  Each in their own way helped make up my day today..

The day began in the dark.  No, seriously, I woke up in the dark from yet another crazy dream and wandered into the kitchen to turn off the burner under the chicken broth I was preparing for my chicken-veggie soup.  I had been dreaming that a man wearing a velvet cloak had draped his arm across my shoulder.  I woke to Dylan draped around my head, purring like crazy.

So the soup was cooked and strained and put in the freezer to chill so I could skim the fat, but it took forever to chill (so I made my usual batch big enough to feed a regiment!  Does that mean it can't just chill??).,  But meanwhile, I had my monthly amazing massage, got a birthday present for Mathom and had lunch with Heather.  And I finally broke down and bought a used Wii and Wii fit game at Gamestop.  Now I just have to figure out how to plug yet another device into my tv!  I'm sure I'm up to the challenge, if I can just find the time!

Dancing at Borderline was fun, but the place was crowded early on, and some of those folks have no clue how to dance at a club where the dances are actually structured!  There were some interesting variations on line dances and two steps.  I'm afraid I offended one little blond chick who practically ran into me on a line dance.  As it appeared that she didn't know the dance, I politely asked her to go to the back as is the unwritten rule to avoid collisions.  She got very huffy, said she knew the dance but wasn't going to do it because of me.  Oh dear, oh my, oh Beachcomber.  Am I supposed to be bothered by her little temper tantrum?  And when she joined her look-alike blond friend and tried hurling visual daggers, and when that didn't work, insults, was I supposed to be bothered by that?  I simply sent them love and light, smiled as I danced and tossed imaginary confetti hearts.  I really hope they managed to have a nice time after that, and maybe even caught a little of my confetti.    When there are a large number of people who do not know the dances jumping on the floor and doing more getting in the way than dancing, I am going to assume the person next to me is one of those when she turns towards me instead of away from me in the first 16 counts of the dance.  I'm sorry, but it was a reasonable assumption given the crowd tonight.  And frankly, high school theatrics amuse me rather than offend me.  I stopped caring what others thought of me long ago, but I do value my toes!  (interestingly, the dance we were doing was "Toes")

Now that I've tied these seemingly unrelated events together in a neat and tidy package, I will share tonight's gratitudes.

1. I am grateful for a lovely, productive day.
2. I am grateful that I can sleep in tomorrow.
3. I am grateful for friends with whom we share our celebrations.
4. I am grateful for another full day ahead, and maybe even more dancing.
5. I am grateful for continued health, success and abundance.

Love and light.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

January 23, 2013 Short and sweet

This evening, after a night of dancing and chatting with friends, I decided to read a little and then indulge myself in a meditation with my favorite background music: the rain falling outside my window and a purring cat in my lap.   These are among the most soothing sounds I know.  The only downside to having a purring cat in my lap is that it's an invitation to other cats, namely a 25 pound moose who thinks he's a kitten, to climb on top of me and squash certain delicate portions of my anatomy.  This will, of course, bring a nice, relaxing, purifying meditation to a screeching, grinding halt!  Although I was finally able to get Toby to settle down and accept some chin skritches while refraining from plopping his ample derriere on Munchkin who is barely 1/3 of his size, the respite was short lived as he's a bit of a fidgeter. 

But maybe it was a good thing as it got me up and moving to fix tomorrow's comestibles before I reached the "I'm too tired" and "It can wait until tomorrow" stage which would have also meant another day without my morning exercises due to lack of time.  I dare not admit as much to my sweet, fluffy boy, however, or he'll think he has permission to roust me any time he wants to.    Bad enough he claws the bed or plays the mini blind xylophone in the wee hours of the morning, or digs at the covers until I let him crawl underneath!  He clearly takes full advantage of his fluffy cuddliness to ensure a thorough spoiling!

The next line dance cruise was communicated this week and being the forgetful type, I got my reservation in early.  I can't believe I actually committed to something that is over a year away!  I can't even remember the last time I did something like this.  But I had such a good time and look forward to repeating the experience.  Meanwhile, I can't even manage to decide whether to take another writing trip in May!  I guess I know where my priorities are!

As the title says, I meant to keep this entry short and sweet and so I end with my gratitudes.

1. I am grateful for the sound of rain on my windows.
2. I am grateful for a busy, productive week.
3. I am grateful for cat purr meditation music.
4. I am grateful for a solid roof over my head, a warm, cozy house and hot showers.
5. I am grateful for dance nights:  2 or 3 or 4 a week!

Love and light.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

January 21, 2013 Getting back on track

I hate to admit it, but thanks to the antibiotics (coupled, of course, with a strong probiotic) I am resuming the routine I began at the beginning of January.  Lunch and breakfast are made and in the refrigerator, the kitchen is cleaned up, coffee is ready to go and I'm waking up early enough to get some exercising in.  I'm sticking to my healthy fruits and veggies and lean proteins and counting my almonds so I don't overdo.  The next thing to add back will be regular gym dates, but in the meantime, I'm getting in at least 3 nights of dancing and this week it will be four! 

Interestingly, my company's battle cry this year is "lean and mean".  They might want to be careful what they ask for. :)  I'm definitely back on the road to lean and mean can be offered up as well, if need be. 

I see this year as one of continuing to establish better habits, as a continuation of last year.  I also see my world expanding as I get out and do things with friends and leave the kids to do things with their friends.  That is not to say that we won't still spend plenty of time together, but it is time we grew both together and apart. 

The cruise definitely opened all of us up to expanding our friendships, and I am thrilled to see that continue.  We have several non-dancing events planned for this year and hope to enjoy lots of group activities. 

I am, however, still realizing that my thoughts and actions are not always kind, so I want to remain conscious of that weakness and work to make the kind part of me stronger.  Paying attention, not only to the feelings, but to the needs of others will be part of that process.  I am also thinking about taking another writing trip to Sedona this summer, despite the fact that, at the moment, I don't have a clear picture of what it is I will be writing about. 

As I sit here, picturing my little writing hideaway from a couple of years ago, Munchkin is sitting on my desk, purring softly and in her own way, distracts me from my train of thought.  I know she'd much rather I get to bed so she can plaster herself against my back, but I feel the need to just follow wherever the muse takes me tonight, spilling little bits of this and that with no apparent connection from one paragraph to the next.  Maybe it's my way of preparing for the writing frenzy by getting all of the stray thoughts out and aired.  Maybe it's just a delaying tactic, despite the late hour, so I don't have to go to sleep quite yet.  Whatever it is, it appears to be disturbing to the rest of the household as they're taking turns coming in to check on me.  That's the only real downside to a possible writing retreat.  I get lonely being away from my furballs for too long, and the one I'm considering right now would keep me away for about 5 days.  I know they'll be in good hands with the kids just a couple of blocks away, but I do miss snuggling with them at night when I'm gone.  (although the twin bed on the ship was hardly big enough for me, much less my small horde.)

Despite a great deal of activity both at home and at work, I feel a sense of calmness right now as if my life is just meandering along at a slow pace, and I'm encouraged to enjoy it now because it is the exception rather than the norm.  At times, though, I am feeling restless and unable to settle on one task.  It's almost like my brain is the small child who tries not to go to sleep for fear of missing something important. 

But if my life is calm, my dreams are anything but!  I keep waking up thinking "Really???  What the heck was that???"  In my dreams, I am in the eye of the hurricane with a million unrelated objects hurtling around me while one thing or another touches down and makes itself known, although it doesn't really seem to fit.  It's rather like viewing the world through a kalaidescope where everything changes, twists, turns and distorts.  The brain tries to form a coherent picture, but before it can, the scene has flipped over or around itself and has again become unrecognizable.  I suspect that this will be how a good part of the year unfolds and only a quick wit and an accepting mind will adjust quickly to the twists and turns.  But it certainly won't be boring!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for my crazy, kalaidescopic life.
2. I am grateful for an abundance of new opportunities, both personal and professional.
3. I am grateful for new directions.
4. I am grateful for unexpected twists and turns in the road.
5. I am grateful for evolving friendships.

Love and light.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

January 20, 2013 Ponderings

I read something a friend posted today and it got me thinking.  The post dealt with a young man who learned a lot about himself by remaining celibate after having abused sexual relations, and he made a very valid point.  We all use sex as a substitute for intimacy at some point in our lives as we think it will fill a hole in ourselves and replace the love we truly need.  Eventually, many of us discover the futility of trying to replace love with sex, take a step back and take the time to get to know ourselves better...but many don't. 

I can relate to this young man's story as I followed a similar path shortly after I began divorce proceedings.  The real tragedy, though, is that, in doing so, I shortchanged my daughters.  But as time went on, I was very fortunate in that I started shedding bad habits beginning with smoking, and including that pointless promiscuity.  I've been celibate for well over 10 years now, and in that time, I've learned a great deal about myself, not the least of which is that I, like everyone else, deserve to be loved for myself and not for pretending to be what someone else wants. 

So here I am, I've made myself a better person and am finally willing to open up to someone else and don't remember how.  At times, I'm tempted to feel sorry for myself, at least until I read words like those shared by my friend.  The young man vowed to protect himself and others from sexual misconduct, to preserve happiness for himself and others, and to protect and respect his own commitments and the commitments of others.  I believe that making a commitment like this is enormous.  It is a big enough deal to protect those with whom you interact directly, but to commit to protecting those you don't even know takes a strength of character beyond most of our imaginings. 

But where, truly, must we go when we finally learn to love ourselves as we are (which doesn't mean that we stop improving ourselves, by the way!) and have reached that state of Joy where we can forgive and accept, if not everything, at least a great deal of it?  Should we not then open our hearts to others, including those we may never meet?  Should we not do what we can, with no act being too small, to make the world a better place for everyone on this planet? 

I know I have not yet reached the elevated state of which the young man wrote, but it is definitely something to strive for as I move along my path to pure love, acceptance and forgiveness.

But speaking of moving along my path, I once again stepped out of my comfort zone to meet friends at a little bar for some WCS.  I had a GREAT time!  Not only did I get to chat with some of my favorite people, I was actually asked to dance several times!  Kudos to the men who did their darndest to make sure all of the ladies got to dance, despite their being outnumbered by a lot!!  

Dance music tends to bring out a wide array of people from the die hard, "look at me" kind of dancers to the ones who are just there to have fun, but still take it somewhat seriously, to the drunken girls who get out on the dance floor with no regard for what dance is being done.  And we had a new one tonight which rather amused my friends and me.  I looked up to see a rather large woman dragging a bar stool from another room in the bar/restaurant.  As I watched, she continued to drag it to a table which was on the dance floor, and planted herself there!  I looked at a friend who was sitting at the table with me and before I could get the words out, she said "clearly, she is NOT a dancer!"  (which is a nice segue into my next topic).  We got a good laugh out of that one!

<segue>  And speaking of dance snobs...I overheard a comment which was partially made in jest referring to a certain group of people as dance snobs.  But as the thought has bounced around in my brain, I realized that, just like we are all prejudiced to some degree, those of us who are dancing 2 or more nights a week on a regular basis, who spend time learning new dances, moves and routines, and are always up for more dancing; we are all dance snobs in our own way.  We are quick to warn each other about someone who is ignorant of dance floor etiquette or who holds your hand in the vulcan death grip, or is otherwise likely to cause a partner injury in some way.  As line dancers, we are almost militant about insisting that someone who does not know the dance and has not even taken a lesson belongs in the back of the bus.  Granted, it is for the safety of all of the dancers since one person constantly going the wrong way is hazardous, especially during a dance that is fast and moves across the floor, but face it, we get a bit superior about it!  Case in point is the influx of strangers while another club is being remodeled.  We know who they are and clearly, the do not belong to our elite little circle, now, do they?  They don't understand the rules of "our club" and show no interest in learning them, so what good are they anyway?  As yet, we haven't stopped to think that maybe some of these folks might actually enjoy our music and dancing and decide to take some of the lessons and learn how.  Right now, they're outsiders and strangers who neither understand nor adhere to our unspoken rules and we look forward to the day they go back to their own club! 

Then there are the line dances that some of us just will not do.  Dances like Electric Slide (which I've re-christened the Sesame Street of Line dances), My Maria, and some of the other uber simple ones which are just beneath those of us who have mastered Juanita, Chill Factor and Chocolate!  (although Candy thoroughly kicked our snobbish little butts with Skiffle Time on the cruise!)  What all this boils down to is that one dancer, at least, is going to make a little more effort to accept and include the newcomers!  There just might be a gem in there somewhere!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the return of my energy which allowed me to get a ton of things done this weekend, including taking down the rest of the Christmas decorations before January ended!
2. I am grateful for an abundance of opportunities to leave my comfort zone.  The result lately has always been surprisingly positive.
3. I am grateful that the winds calmed down for just a bit today.
4. I am grateful for completed chores and getting my house in order.
5. I am grateful for continuing opportunities to learn, grow and become a better person.

Love and light

Saturday, January 19, 2013

January 19, 2013 Changing dynamics

I've noticed a definite shift in the dynamic of our dance crowd since the cruise.  Those of us who went gravitate to each other much more than we did prior to the cruise.  It's as if we have our own special bond which was formed even with those we didn't get to spend much time with.  I find it really amazing how a single shared experience can alter the dynamic so much!

But that's not the only dynamic change I've noticed lately.  Apparently, one of the local clubs is closed for remodeling.  As it is nothing like Borderline in music style, personality or dance style, I'm amazed that the displaced patrons, or at least some of them, have found their way to our little home away from home.  Tonight, there was even a group from Meet Up there, and on our very own Dark Side!  These people definitely stand out and to my possibly tainted eyes, look like fish out of water.  They aren't used to a dance floor which is used only for choreographed line dances and couples dances which require at least a modicum of knowledge of the dance.  Many of them even have to be told that we don't drink on our dance floor or stand around yakking on it.  The dance floor is just that, a DANCE floor, and as such, what is done on it is only dancing.  Drinking, talking, picture taking, necking and anything else they choose to do that is legal in public can be done either in the bar area or around the tables away from the dance floor. 

Tonight, I had to explain to a young lady that people who decide to try to learn a dance on the fly should move to the back of the floor and that, on a crowded floor, a suitcase over the shoulder is not an acceptable or desirable accessory.  Especially if the wearer has no clue as to how the dance moves!  Do they not realize that said appendage completely destroys their balance?  It takes them in directions that no man has gone before (and probably never should again!) 

I don't consider myself a dance snob, per se, but I do think that an understanding of dance floor etiquette is not too much to expect, and even better, an understanding of the underlying etiquette for a particular club.  Quite frankly the rules for a club where everyone just bops around on a linoleum floor in flip flops and sneakers is going to be quite different from a club where people actually LEARN how to dance, and wear suede soled boots or shoes to make it easier to execute complicated turns.  I am, however, extremely grateful that the number of drunk girls on stilts with suitcases has declined significantly.  In fact, they have become a rarity.  They really posed a safety issue, especially for themselves.  I don't know exactly why they've stopped either coming or wearing their treacherous attire, but hope that the club's management realized that it was a liability to them as it increased the risk of someone hurting themselves or others on the dance floor.

I guess this post has turned into a bit of a rant.  I am grateful when new people come to the club because it helps to ensure that the club will remain successful and profitable but it would be nice of they would treat the place as a visitor would to a private home.  While we were all on the dance floor, one of the Meet up ladies actually had the nerve to steal a chair from the table next to me.  It was pretty obvious, before we got up to dance, that all of the chairs were occupied!  What happened to the common courtesy of asking before you take something?  Some peoples' children! 

After all of this ranting, it might be hard to guess that I really did have a good time tonight!  Yes, it was overly crowded and some of the dances were a bit treacherous, but I did get to spend the evening chatting with friends between dances and even got to do a WCS despite a decided lack of men tonight, so it really was all good!  I think, though, that I stayed too late because I allowed some things to annoy me and that usually happens when I am tired.  But I was having SUCH a good time!  Most of the kids who were already there were even pretty considerate on the dance floor! 

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful to have a place to dance that feels like a home away from home.
2. I am grateful for the opportunity to get to know my dance friends better.
3. I am grateful for probiotics which counter my negative reaction to the antibiotics.
4. I am grateful that my lymph nodes are already starting to return to normal.
5. I am grateful for a quiet day or two to just read and veg.

Love and light.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January 16, 2013 Thoughts on positive energy

As I was adding a couple of deposits to my Joy Jar tonight, it occurred to me that what I was really doing was putting more positive energy into a confined space in a corner of my bedroom.  It left me pondering as to the results of such an action.  As I continue to add bits of positive energy to my jar, the energy inside will expand until it outgrows the jar and oozes out through the gap between jar and lid and starts filling up my bedroom.  As the positive energy continues to grow, and as I continue making deposits, I can see it growing so much that it outgrows my bedroom and moves into the rest of the house.  And while it's growing, some of it will be attached to me, and go wherever I go, leaving pieces of itself wherever I've been. 

But the random drops of positive energy aren't confined to my home, my jar and my deposits.  No!  Everyone who is sharing this project is causing the same reaction.  But what happens when several of us are in the same place at the same time, with our little positive energy tails following behind us?  Will we cause those places to positively explode with joyful energy?  Will our joy be contagious?  Will those with whom we interact take a little of that joy with them and start "infecting" other people and other places?  This brings new meaning to the term "viral".  Or maybe, we're the "anti viral", going around, curing all kinds of pain and sorrow. 

I felt when I decided to make an event of something which a friend and I found to be a fun idea, that it had the potential to raise the level of positive energy and joy in the world, but the more I add to my jar, and the more I find joy in the smallest of things, the more I realize that my poor little pea brain was completely clueless as to the actual potential of keeping a Joy Jar!  I had only an inkling of the amount of love this would cause to grow and thrive just by recognizing life's little moments of positivity!  We truly are dropping a pebble into the Sea of Souls and the ripple as each pebble drops continues to expand until, at some point, we will touch people we would never have believed we could touch, just by virtue of our ever-expanding pool of joy!  It will be like the Blow Hole we saw while in Ensenada.  The joy will flow in, under and through the toughest of surfaces and ultimately explode outward, drenching everyone and everything in its path with pure love and joy! 

Yes, the potential for love and Joy is immeasurable and infinite.  We focus on the positive aspects of our lives and run out of time to focus on what might go wrong.  As we find that little sliver of goodness even in the seemingly worst situations, there becomes less and less room for those moments of negative energy because we're filling the Jars of our lives with Joyful noise!  It reminds me, once again, of the professor who filled a jar with golf balls and asked his students if it was full.  Then he added pebbles, then sand, and finally, water until every nook and cranny in that jar was filled with something.  Our Joy is the water which seeps into every possible opening until nothing more can get in, and more importantly, nothing can chip away at the Joy!

I wish for all of my friends, acquaintances and readers I've never met, a Joy Jar so full that there is no room for sorrow or pain!

My gratitudes are:
1. I am grateful for my friends who teach me daily what Joy really is.
2. I am grateful for vacations, and coming home to my kitties who make it very clear that I was missed.
3. I am grateful for my job which keeps my brain strong and gives me more reasons to appreciate my leisure time.
4. I am grateful for an abundance of opportunities, health, joy and success.
5. I am grateful for always having enough.

Love and light.

Monday, January 14, 2013

January 14, 2013 She's baaaaaaaaaaaack!

For the first time in ages, I had three days with no phones, no internet and no TV (the last was by choice as it was available).  I danced on a moving ship which was quite interesting, stayed up late to dance some more, caught a show, sang at a piano bar, visited a blow hole, shopped in a bazaar and read a book I'd downloaded to my iPad.  In short, both my daughter and I had a fun, relaxing (sometimes), brain challenging weekend with a bunch of people we knew, but got to know better. 

Although my blog was not updated, I cam back with seven new deposits for my Joy Jar. 

The dances we learned were fun, some were very challenging and all were great workouts!!!  I am going to have to go back over the step sheets and solidify some in my mind and work through problem areas on others, but the best part is, my body held out far better than I'd hoped!  I was able to dance most of the 8 hours we had scheduled, plus a couple of more after hours without any serious knee pain.  Of course, I kept up my glucosamine regimen, my exercises, stretching and wore a pair of bracelets with magnetic hematite.  The most I needed was a couple of Aleve when I had pushed myself a bit too far!  I'm thrilled!  And that doesn't even include the miles and miles of walking around the ship, the miles of stairs we climbed both up and down, or the time spent standing.  We also walked for a couple of hours on the mainland.  I'd definitely say this was a non-sedentary vacation, despite our failure to make use of the ship's gym or take the promised morning walks!  I did find that I ate less than normal and stuck to my three meals a day with no snacks.  I feel like I may have actually lost a pound or two in spite of a couple of drinks and a thoroughly decadent chocolate melting cake! 

The organizers are talking about a 7 day cruise for next year, but I think the 3 day one was just perfect for me!  I had a blast but I'm also happy to be home with my own bed and my kitties to snuggle.   

I did, however, discover that my mad dash (and quite a few extra dollars) to get a passport was quite unnecessary, but as I know that everything happens for a reason, I suspect that the reason I got it will become clear at some point in the near future.    I know that, if the opportunity arises and the desire is there, I can now leave the country without fear of encountering difficulty returning.  Paris, anyone? :)

I did, however come home to one frustration which had to be dealt with right away.  I received a letter from the Post Office claiming that my dog was running around the front yard, barking at the mail carrier last week and that my mail delivery would be suspended until I made sure it would not scare the letter carrier again.  In the first place, I don't HAVE a dog, and in the second, the alleged perpetrator appears to be the neighbor's constantly yapping chihuahua.  I've tried to be tolerant about their lack of consideration for their neighbors, but this just crossed the line!  I had to write a letter stating that the stupid mutt wasn't mine, and they still tried to tell me that I was responsible for keeping it away from the mail carrier!  What kind of nonsense is that??? 

After a couple of phone calls, I contacted Animal regulation and after explaining that the dog has been a nuisance with his barking for awhile, but that his being the cause of my mail delivery being suspended was unacceptable, they agreed to handle the matter.  Meanwhile, the post office said my letter was perfect, especially as it included a statement that I had turned the matter over to Animal Regulation.  I didn't see any mail today, but I will certainly raise a ruckus if there is none tomorrow!  I at least get junk mail every day!!!   What makes this even more frustrating is that I was really trying not to be the bitchy neighbor but now they've taken it out of my hands!  Bad enough the City is getting on my case about one thing and another.  Now, it's the US government too!  Sheesh!!!  That remote mountain top is looking better all the time, but it has to have a decent vet nearby so my little darlings will be taken care of!!!

But all in all, everything worked out for the best and haven't had to work a full week since December!  That's worth celebrating!!!

My gratitudes tonight are:

1. I am grateful for a body that loves lots of exercise and activity.
2. I am grateful for the opportunity to get to know my dance friends better.
3. I am grateful for the chance to learn new things.
4. I am grateful for an abundance of opportunities, health and prosperity.
5. I am grateful for my daughter and son-in-law, for who they are and all they do.

Love and light.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

January 10, 2012 The day has come!

Tomorrow is the day!  We leave for our first cruise ever and I am totally excited!  I can't wait to just investigate the ship!  We'll have tons to do and down time if we want it (I really must check out the Shakespeare library!), shows to see, clubs to visit and of course, dancing to do!  I'm a little achy tonight from all of the dancing the last two nights, but a good night's sleep will take care of that!  Packing is pretty much done, though I keep thinking of something else I forgot to pack.  I'll just lay things out for tomorrow as I think of them.  I seem to have forgone my usual method of making a list, checking it twice, packing, then checking the list again!  But I'm sure that I'll have everything I need, if not everything I want!

I should have lots to put in my Joy Jar by the end of this trip!  I'm taking my little notebook with me so I can write things down.  I may fill up that little book on this trip, but I can always get another!   And by the way, here is said jar which already contains a few slips of paper with joyful thoughts.  I may have to squish them down to make them all fit by the end of the year!  That would be a wonderful problem to have, I think!

My plan is to get out of here by about 10, get gas and cash, grab a quick breakfast and head for the docks!  But we all know about best laid plans.  Heather needs to put her stuff in the suitcase.  I need to add the things I forgot, we need to medicate Loki and I need to clean out my trunk.  So it may be a little later than planned, but that's ok.  We're on vacation and don't have to stick to a strict schedule.  We'll be there in plenty of time to settle and explore so I'm not worried!  Besides, while we're at the dock we can text each other and figure out where everyone is at, so it's all good! 

I will have to miss posting while at sea, but I may write the posts on my iPad and upload them later.  I'll just have to see how my time goes! 

At any rate, I'm rather short of thoughts tonight so I'll just finish with my gratitudes.

1. I am grateful for vacation days and my first ever cruise.
2. I am grateful for my warm, cozy bed on a freezing night when I've overdone it a little.
3. I am grateful for my job which gives me the means to take vacations.
4. I am grateful for dancing which keeps me sane and happy.
5. I am grateful for positive energy which will use joy and love to heal the world.

Love and light.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

January 9, 2013 Cruisin' and losin'!

I started my five day dance marathon tonight with a bang!  Not only did I get some serious two-stepping in, but stayed for another hour or so with my friend, Dezi,, to get some line dancing in.  Little did I know that a comment I'd made on Facebook would come back to bite me!  I saw a video of some of the gals who call themselves ULD dancing last weekend.  The Wednesday night instructor happened to have joined the party that night.  They were doing a dance I have not done in years, and I recognized it and said so.  Said dance instructor came up to me tonight and said she'd requested it just for me!  Yikes!  I did manage to stumble through it, but it's a very fast, rambunctious dance which should not be done after 2 hours of two-stepping followed by some line dances, including Fake ID!  Sometimes, for brief moments (until my body parts start reminding me!), I forget that I'm not 30 any more!  But it's reminded me that I'll be packing the Tiger Balm for this weekend to help with muscles I fully intend to overuse! 

Between the dancing, the walks and the weight work in the ship's gym, I'll certainly find muscles I forgot I had.  The books I've downloaded will make for some nice R & R time, I'm sure!

While packing last night, I discovered that I couldn't find all of the travel size lotions, potions and cleaners I know I have.  I distinctly remember that they were all in a large ziplock back, but where that might have gotten to escapes me.  I tried to think back to the last time I traveled (DC last March) but the suitcase I used has since been used to stash Christmas presents and does not have the missing items inside.  (I know this because it now has most of my clothes for the trip inside!)  Usually, within a couple of days, I'll have my mental lightbulb come on and remember where I put something, but my lightbulb is evading me this time!  I may have to make do with either the full size bottles or something else entirely.  Or I could just steal from my daughter. :P  One way or another, I will get it all figured out.  I plan to finish my packing on Friday morning anyway. 

But the hour grows late and my meals for tomorrow are not yet packed, so I'll wind this little ditty up.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that I won't have to help move furniture on Friday.
2. I am grateful for yet another amazing night of dancing and visiting with friends.
3. I am grateful for 4 days of fun, sun and dancing.
4. I am grateful for the return of healthy habits.
5. I am grateful for an abundance of health, wealth, friendship and love.

Love and light.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

January 8, 2013 Gearing up for the cruise!

The second dress I ordered came today and I was all set to take it back because it was too tight in one spot across my belly, but I decided to take a co-worker's suggestion and get something to wear under it that would corral my excess baggage.  Once encased, sausage-like inside this elongated pair of shorts, the dress did, indeed, fit so I guess I'll be wearing a formal and heels for the first time in what seems like a hundred years!  But it's only for one night so I'm sure I'll survive.  I just need to figure out what jewelry I'll wear to set off the all black concoction.  And then there's the matter of the hair.  I'm pretty much inept when it comes to doing anything more complicated than clipping it back with a couple of barrettes so I'll probably just use something a little more blingy and have done with it. 

Meanwhile, the week is chugging by at a cheetah's pace.  Today was so nuts I literally forgot to stop for lunch!!  It was just as well, given the horrendous traffic this morning.  I took the opportunity to leave a little early so I'd get to my nail appointment on time.  Dinner with the kids and a fashion show later, I got some packing done (in between chasing cats out of the suitcase) and finally decided to call it a night.  If  do a little more the next two nights and Friday morning, I'll have it all done.  Just have to leave room for Heather's stuff as we decided it would be easier to take one big suitcase with all of our stuff.  We're sharing a cabin anyway so it will be one less bag to store. 

My friend, Dezi and I are real diehards, though.  We'll be dancing tomorrow and Thursday at Borderline, then Friday, Saturday and Sunday on the ship.  Will we get enough dancing in after 5 days straight?  We'll soon see!  One thing is for certain.  I will be spending a lot of time stretching to keep those knees limber!!  But I'm getting more and more excited about my first cruise ever!

The excitement is apparent in the weirdness of my dreams which seems to be on the upswing again!  I'm not dreaming any cruise related dreams, just very weird takes on a variety of subjects.  But the good news is, I'm sleeping really well right now.  Maybe it is in preparation for a couple of days in a strange bed, or maybe I'm just so relaxed and happy that I fall asleep quickly and remain that way until close to morning.  I'm also spending less time in front of the TV when I get home at night, so maybe I'm just exhausting myself more.  Whatever it is, I'm not going to complain!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for friends who give me honest answers.
2. I am grateful for the ability to find the humor in almost anything.
3. I am grateful for an abundance of happiness, joy and good fellowship.
4. I am grateful for my son-in-law who will keep an eye on things while we're gone.
5. I am grateful for my job which keeps my brain active and challenged.

Love and light.

Monday, January 7, 2013

January 7, 2013 Opportunities taken

Tonight, while performing my weekly trash ritual, I was given the opportunity to be kind and almost blew it!  Some people were working on a car across the street, in front of my neighbor's house.  I didn't pay much attention except to observe that their efforts to get the engine to turn over didn't sound very promising.  One of the women walked over and asked if I had a set of jumper cables they could borrow.  My first reaction was that I didn't want to lend them the ones in my trunk as I have had cause to use them too many times and didn't want to lose them, so I lied and told her I didn't have any.  But it ate at me until I remembered that I had a set shoved into a basket full of stuff I needed to go through so I dug them out and took them over to her, saying that I'd remembered I had a set after all.  OK, so I didn't really get rid of the first lie, but I did finally remember to act kindly and help her. 

Afterwards, I found myself thinking, "I hope she'll help someone else out somewhere along the way."  Acts of kindness do have a way of flowing out and around to other people, places and things, so I'm very glad my conscience got the best of me.  They got their car running and went on their way.  I'm so grateful for having been given and opportunity to be kind, and in the end, to keep from letting the chance get away from me.  So I am eternally grateful to these people for reminding me to be kind and help a stranger.

The 2013 Joy Jar party is gaining momentum.  People are inviting their friends and we're rushing towards our first 20 participants.  I'm very excited and love the responses we're getting as people join.  One woman said she's going to let her grandbabies decorate her jar.  I can't wait to see the pictures!  That is one jar which will resonate buckets full of love!!!  I added another friend as a host because she is doing so much to promote this little project.  She even got a couple of people from Kentucky to join, so we are officially spreading out past California!  I would love to see people from other states join, but what would really tickle me is if we could get at least one person from "across the pond".  Would that be a hoot or what??  Everyone who is joining has something wonderful to contribute and I know that I am going to learn a great deal from the people who have taken the challenge, as it were.

On another subject, I've been trying to convince my daughter that packing for a cruise does not follow the minimalist rules she learned when camping with my brother-in-law.  I'm so proud of her!  Today she admitted that she'd need her suitcase as she was planning multiple outfits to allow for sweaty clothes from dancing and probably 2 showers a day!  She's even bringing several pairs of shoes!  I simply must kvell!  My baby is becoming a woman!  (of course, I haven't even started my list yet, much less, put anything in the suitcase, but I did bring it in from the garage tonight, after having to move it to dig Heather's out).  Meanwhile, my friend is trying to tempt me with stories of Belgian waffles and chocolate lava cake.  I hope I don't disappoint her too badly when I opt for eggs and fruit instead of waffles!  I've gotten out of the habit of eating a heavy breakfast.  In fact, for me, a bowl of oatmeal is heavy these days!  But I am looking forward to morning walks around the deck to get the old heart rate going, and coffee al fresco.  (although, I may be particularly decadent and have a pot delivered to my cabin!)

This is shaping up to be an amazing week!  Tomorrow night will be the last non-dancing night until next Monday!  But I have yet to download any books or start my packing list.  It's as if I know it will all come together, and I refuse to stress over it.  I did laundry over the weekend, so I can start my packing tomorrow night.  A little at a time and it will all get done!  Even so, it still doesn't quite seem real to me.  I know that I'm leaving on Friday, but it got her faster than I expected, and my mind isn't completely convinced.  I guess it will be when I'm standing on board and the ship is leaving Long Beach Harbor.    So far, it seems to be mostly women who are going, but as it's line dancing, that will be ok.  I keep meaning to ask a couple of people if they're going, but get distracted by dancing and forget.  I think, though, that if they were going, they'd have already joined some of the conversations we've been having, but you never know!  And of course, there will be one or two other people on this cruise so maybe I'll make a new friend or two in between line dancing, working out, walking on the deck and eating!

My gratitudes tonight are:

1. I am grateful that the Universe hasn't given up on my ability to learn kindness.
2. I am grateful for friends who keep encouraging me to step outside of my comfort zone.
3. I am grateful for cold nights and warm, snuggly kitties.
4. I am grateful for advanced preparations so oversleeping isn't as much of a problem as it used to be.
5. I am grateful for an abundance of energy.

Love and light. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

January 6, 2013 Joy Jars! Spread the word!

I found the perfect jar to use for my 2013 Joy Jar today, and it was nothing like what I had envisioned.  I went to Home Goods and looked first at the clear, vase-like jars.  I even picked one up and put it in my cart, but continued to walk around the store to see if I found something I liked better.  When I first spotted the one I ended up buying, my first thought was "too bad it isn't red or burgundy".  But the more I thought about it, the more I knew that the jar I was pondering was the perfect one!  It has birds etched into a blue ceramic and on the lid is a small bird chirping. 

I posted a picture of it on Facebook and my wonderful, amazing, inspiring friend, Barbara posted a picture of the one she'd chosen.  Hers also fit her to a "T" and was ceramic rather than clear glass.  She also offered a suggestion which just shows how amazing and inspiring she is.  She said that we should encourage all of our girlfriends to start a Joy Jar too, and to put little notes chronicling our blessings this year.  I'm shooting for one a day, but there is no reason why there can't be days which have more than one!  My daughter also plans to start a Joy Jar and has suggested we open them next New Year's and share what we've written throughout the year!  What a wise child I have!!

So I am going to do my best to spread the word and encourage everyone to start a Joy Jar and try to write about one joyful thing or blessing they experienced each day!  If enough people are doing this, I just know that the positive energy flow will cause some amazing changes this year!

And speaking of spreading the word, thanks to my friend, Barb's encouragement, I created an event on Facebook, and I'm happy to say there are already seven of us planning to keep Joy Jars this year and maybe even share some of our joys!  Three of us already have our jars and have started, and I hope to see not only the posts of other people who have started, but also pictures of the jars they have chosen as they are sure to be as unique as the people who choose to participate!  Heather found a beautiful shell shaped vase which is totally her, Barb has a ceramic jar with pretty plants on it and mine has birds.  I'm becoming very excited about this because there will be that much more positive energy as we all make a point of finding at least one joyful event each day.  I can already feel my joy level rising!    So far, all of us are in California, but it won't be long before we see participants from other states.  I hope that as people join, they take the time to invite their friends as well!  This is carrying the concept of six degrees of separation to new heights! 

Imagine if only one person in every city in the world kept a joy jar this year?  What kind of an impact might that make on our wonderful but ailing planet?  Could we, just be keeping our joy on the front burner, raise the vibration and cause healing, not only for the planet but for so many of her people who are in pain or struggling?  The mind simply boggles!!  This is, indeed, a year of significant change and I hope that in my small way, I'm making a contribution.

My gratitudes tonight are:

1. I am grateful for the successful launch of our Joy Jar event, and anticipate that it will spread quickly, not only across the U.S., but to other countries as well.
2. I am grateful for abundant ideas, opportunities, successes, health and finances.
3. I am grateful for abundant energy to create and sustain new ideas and projects.
4. I am grateful for a lovely weekend of organizing, creating and reacquainting.
5. I am grateful for my wonderful, amazing, inspirational, supportive friends.

Love and light.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

January 5, 2013 Another intention manifests!

Without even realizing it, I am manifesting another intention!  A few days ago, my knees started giving me some trouble so I decided to get up a little earlier and do some of the knee exercises I'd gotten from my physical therapist.  One thing led to another, and I added some crunches and a few minutes on the foam roller.  Today, I added even more exercises and increased the reps on the ones I was already doing.  So I'm 3 days into setting another habit!!!  Now how in the heck did THAT happen???

I'm also pretty psyched about the fact that I've gotten my eating habits back on track so that when I shared a piece of after dinner cheesecake with the kids last night, I ended up going DOWN almost a half a pound today!!!  How cool is that??  Time to start keeping up my spreadsheet of weight and measurements again!

Today was a pretty amazing day (and I still don't have that darn Joy Jar!!)  I met an old high school friend for lunch and talked for a couple of hours, then headed home to get gas and run errands, only to find out that my daughter and I had practically been following each other around town and I was headed for the place she already was!  She found an amazing dress for the cruise!  She'll look sooo purty!!!

I brought a large paper bag full of vitamins and such home today and set it on my bed while I had an early dinner.  Suddenly, I heard the bag come crashing to the floor!  Clearly, it had gotten in someone's way as they looked for the perfect sleeping spot, or so I thought.  I walked into my bedroom to find the contents of the bag scattered all over the floor.  When I bent over to pick up the bag, asking who the culprit was, I found the bag to be quite heavy, especially since the entire contents were no longer inside.  Apparently, Loki felt that a paper bag had only one purpose, and it was NOT to hold my purchases!    Never let it be said that my cats don't have entertainment value!

I received a wonderful assortment of comments from my post on feminine energy so I need to think of something else to get some dialogue going.

Aha!  I have it.  The topic tonight is Tough Love.  Some people have perfect children who are star students all through high school and go on to some prestigious college, finish in four years, go on to graduate school and are offered a dream job when they graduate.  But in the real world, our kids struggle to find their way, some more than others.  At what point should a parent stop giving an adult child a financial safety net, kick them out of the nest and allow them to struggle and maybe even fail?

I raise this question because I have seen many extremes, from the child who moves out at 18 to the one who has married, divorced, had a couple of kids and still lives off of the parents at 45.  And it seems that, in this era of entitlement, some people have no conscience when it comes to living off of their parents for as long as they can.    Although I've had to sit back and watch my daughters struggle, one more than the other,  I am fortunate to have raised two fiercely independent girls who may not have made all of the choices I think they should have, but they live with those choices and have never come back and asked me to bail them out of something that was a result of those choices.  Somehow, they always find a way to work things out, and for that, I'm very proud.  But I speak to a lot of parents who throw their hands up in dismay because one child or another just can't seem to get it together without Mom or Dad pitching in financially.

It's not that any of these kids are bad, it just seems like there's a certain lack of ambition or motivation.  Could withdrawal of support give these people the motivation they need or would they, like one of my daughters, choose to live on the streets until they really hit bottom and decided to pick themselves up out of the gutter?

Which raises another question which I first encountered in speaking to an alcoholic who had turned his life around.  How far down must a person go before they hit the point which is low enough to either get them to seek help or somehow drag themselves up by the proverbial bootstraps and get themselves to a better place?    I've seen so many different responses to this question in the past, and realize that it really depends on the person, but as a rule, what motivates a person to wake up?  Health?  Family?  Living situation?  As we can only speak for ourselves on this one, I'll be interested to see what my readers consider their "bottom" or the point where they'll do whatever they have to to turn their life around.

My gratitudes tonight are:

1. I am grateful for strong, independent daughters.
2. I am grateful for wonderful friends who exude love whenever I see them.
3. I am grateful for a sense of humor, without which, life would be very flat.
4. I am grateful for the mind meld I have with my daughter, Heather which puts us in the same place without communication, or on the same wavelength so much of the time.
5. I am grateful for my wonderful son-in-law who has fit into our crazy, non-conformist family so very well!

Love and light.

Friday, January 4, 2013

January 4, 2013 Feminine energy. What is it?

Tonight's topic is feminine energy.  One of the people I follow on Facebook posed a question about what blocks women over 50 from finding love again.  I posted a comment about our strength being intimidating to men.  Another poster suggested that I'd carried a masculine role for a long time and probably needed to get in touch with my feminine energy.  The question I didn't ask there was "and how might one do that?"  I've listened to webinars in which the speaker suggested going shopping after work to get back to your feminine side.  My response to that was "YUK!  I'd rather have a root canal!"  Shopping is just not my idea of a good time and rather than make me feel more feminine, it's likely to make me cranky!

I'm assuming that what they mean is to go from provider to nurturer or perhaps to sex kitten.  I don't see either of these as strong qualities in myself.  To be honest, one of my favorite dance partners challenges my brain both with tidbits he's picked up here and there and with wit.  Frankly, the sensual side of me doesn't even get started unless my brain has been tickled. 

But I do girlie things!  I get my nails done, put on makeup, even a dress on rare occasions.  I can even get excited about a cute pair of shoes once in awhile!  But I'm not a giggler.  If I think something is funny, it deserves a good, hearty laugh.  If a man can actually carry on an intelligent conversation, I'm tempted to sit and talk for hours (assuming, of course, that we aren't near a dance floor where music I like to dance to is playing!) 

So I'll throw this one out to my readers.  How does a woman who is used to running the show get in touch with the Goddess within?  How do you shift gears from matching wits to being...I guess the word is "softer"?  And then there is the follow-up question.  Can you be true to yourself and, if you attract someone while in this feminine mode, will he even be someone you want to keep around for the long haul? 

I've often held the belief that if someone is going to be attracted to me, it will be to the real me and not some put on, pretend me whose only real purpose is to be attractive to the opposite sex.  But I have taken to watching the women who, though they may move from man to man, always seem to have a dance partner or a date, and talk easily with any of the guys without scaring them off by being too intense.  They all appear to me to be sweet and attentive and feminine. Three qualities I definitely lack!

I know that there are a lot of strong, capable women out there who still manage to keep from scaring the liver out of the male of the species, or just causing them to find someone else to talk to.  What's the secret?  And more to the point, how do you balance everything?

I look forward to hearing how people respond to this topic in the next few days!

My gratitudes tonight are:

1. I am grateful for thought provoking posts.
2. I am grateful for evenings out with my kids.
3. I am grateful for my willingness to learn new things.
4. I am grateful that I will be cruising with my friends in a week.
5. I am grateful that I am back to my healthy lifestyle and survived the holidays with minimal weight gain.

Love and light.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

January 3, 2013 An end to sloth

After several days of what felt like terrible sloth to me (though in reality, I did get a lot of things done!) I am once more back to my energetic, efficient self, and it feels sooo good!  I danced until about 10:00 tonight (it seems to be getting later every week!), then came home to scoop sandboxes, clean up the last of the soup pots and other assorted dishes, and make my breakfast and lunch for tomorrow.  This may not seem like much to the average reader, but for the last couple of days, I've tossed everything together in the morning, which, once I added back my knee exercises, put me out the door a tad on the late side.  As I tend to be a slow mover in the morning, I wouldn't have lasted long in this cycle, and my healthy eating habits would have suffered. 

I know myself well enough to realize that if I want to get things done when I get home from work or, in tonight's case, work and dancing, I have to do so before I plop my behind down on something comfortable like a chair or sofa or I'm likely to procrastinate myself past bedtime and into the next morning once again.  Forget the fact that I feel much better when I can dawdle my way through my morning routine, grab coffee and food for the day and scoot out the door, procrastination and sloth have a way of creeping in through the slimmest of openings, much like my 25 pound moose cat, Toby, can open virtually any cabinet or closet and squeeze his not inconsiderable bulk inside.  That is, of course, when he is not hogging my pillow with the excuse that we are experiencing unusually cold weather and his double layered coat and fur encased paws are not sufficient to keep him at a comfortable temperature in a house which rarely gets colder than 65 degrees!  But I digress.  

Efficiency.  I like to be able to get through the necessary tasks so I can truly enjoy the fun stuff.  And, as last night's missing post indicates, when I'm a lazy lump, it tends to affect everything!  Although I've gotten past the point where I feel guilty if I miss a nightly post, I truly do like to get at least a little something down, and, if nothing else, post my gratitudes.  I find that my outlook on everything in general and especially things which have irritated me in the past is far better when I take the time to think about and write about things for which I'm grateful.  As I've found over and over, it's impossible to be sad or cranky when thinking about my blessings.  I never have to look very far to find them, but I do have to open my eyes and my heart to recognize and appreciate them.  Tonight, I don't even have to open my eyes as two of them are making themselves known as I type.  Patches is doing her darndest to rub the nap off of my pajama pants and Toby is pushing his nose into my hand, making typing an interesting feat. 

I was talking to a fellow dancer tonight who adopted a couple of puppies last year.  He talks about them with a great deal of fondness (as all pet parents should!) and was describing how excited they get when he comes home.  Like my cats, his dogs come running to greet him when he walks through the door, though, in my case, they're crowding the kitchen door when I come in from the garage.  It reminds me of when my girls were small and I'd pick them up from daycare.  They'd come running up to me, exclaiming with pure, unadulterated joy, "Mommy's here!".   Children may outgrow that complete feeling of joy just to see their parent, but animals really don't.  Perhaps because they remain somewhat childlike, their needs and wants, much simpler.  While children grow up to want the latest clothes or electronics or cars, animals simply want to spend time with you, give and receive affection and maybe the occasional treat.  So your arrival home after being away all day is always a major event in their eyes.  Granted, they never really learn to pick up their toys or feed themselves and since they don't use the toilet, they must be cleaned up after, for me, that pure joy they express when I come home is worth every minute!  Their demands that I sit on the couch or go to bed so they can snuggle and purr are worth the weekly hauling out of the sandboxes, the daily scooping, the shlepping of 40 pound boxes of sand and 20 pound bags of food.  In fact, they are helping me because I get a little weight lifting in whenever I have to replenish their supplies.  I get some cardio in on trash day, hauling their sandboxes out to the garage, scrubbing them out, refilling them, sweeping and mopping the bathroom floors and putting the clean sandboxes back. 

And then there is the obstacle course I run every morning and night.  A trip down my hallway is always an adventure as little furry bodies run this way and that, winding in and out of my legs and chasing toys across my path.  I never know where or when a little cat ninja will pop out, necessitating some quick and fancy footwork.  They certainly keep my reflexes sharp and my wits quick.  I could go on and on about the benefits of a dog or cat (or any pet for that matter) but I'd be preaching to the choir for the pet owners and talking to dead air for those who choose to be petless.

Instead, I'll end with tonight's gratitudes:
1. I am grateful for my furry children and their unconditional love.
2. I am grateful for dance nights because they put things into perspective:  Everything is small stuff!
3. I am grateful for the wonderful people I encounter who teach me something all the time, often in spite of myself.
4. I am grateful for stretching as it loosens up muscles made tight from activity (and sometimes, inactivity).
5. I am grateful for Fridays which come between two dance nights, and are often spent hanging with my kids or friends these days.

Love and light..

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

January 1, 2013 Does coffee consumed late cause weird dreams?

Even though we left the bar just after midnight and got home about 1:00, I still ended up staying awake until 3:00 as a result of excess caffeine in my system.  Wouldn't you know, Toby started clawing the bed at O dark thirty and I had to lock him out.  Sadly, everyone except Dylan and Loki joined him in his temporary banishment.

But I finally woke at 10:00 to a very strange dream.  At first, I was part of a small team who was supposed to be checking a large number of sailors in before sailing, and we were given a ridiculously short amount of time to do it in, especially considering the fact that most of us were untrained.  I found myself, on several occasions, wandering around a 94 story building/ship trying to figure out where I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to be doing.  At one point, I was talking to a woman whose young children I already knew.  She commented that the job I was doing didn't match my resume very well.  When asked how she got my resume, she told me that she pulled it off of the internet.  What she had was clearly not mine, nor was her concept of what I do anywhere close to reality.  I finally told her that I was a corporate Controller and showed her my real resume.  This led to a discussion about what should and should not be included in a resume.  We saw one in which the person mentioned that they were taking anxiety drugs.  I was horrified and said that was something which should never be included in a resume.  A woman who was an HR expert contradicted me saying that for certain high pressure jobs, employers want to see that the individual would do everything they could to stay on task, no matter how intense the pressure of the job became.  Of course, I was completely baffled!

Ultimately, I got lost wandering around the ship and ended up in an area where the elevator only went to the 8th, 91st, 92nd, 93rd and 94th floors.  As I needed to get back to around the 27th floor, I had to go to the 8th floor first, but somehow, I kept getting off of the elevator to either talk to someone or wander more.  I finally did get back to my floor where everyone was in a room working on the check-ins.  By then it was after 5 and we had to have everything done by 11.  My own room was a mess with clothes scattered everywhere but instead of packing, I kept putting clothes on and taking them off, sometimes forgetting to put something on before running down the hall to see how things were going.  I realized that I'd forgotten the hard copy of my boarding pass and hadn't made copies of the luggage tags, and tried to get ahold of Heather to find out if I could download from the iPad to a flash drive so I could have some printed in the ship's business center.  The dream ended when I woke up while standing beside a tumbled bed pulling clothes out of the midst of the pile of bedding.

All I can really get from this is that, a week and a half before my cruise, I'm having a bit of trip anxiety. 

(Hours later)
Spent the day being about as lazy as I get these days.  I made an enormous pot of chicken vegetable soup, cleaned the sandboxes and took out the trash, cleaned up the kitchen a couple of times and dug into Animals Divine Tarot I got for Christmas.  It's definitely an interesting deck with symbolism from many cultures, along the lines of the Haindl Tarot but more mixed up.  It will be a bit of a challenge to read as I'm not familiar enough with some of the cultures it contains, but it will certainly be worth a try as I embark on my voyage to step out of my comfort zone to read from some of my other decks.  I think I'm becoming addicted to Tarot decks.  I'm counting the ones I can see from where I sit and I'm up to 13 or 14.  (I have two copies of the Spiral Tarot so I don't want to count that twice).  I'm pretty sure I have a deck or three behind the books on the shelf above my monitor and there's a suspicious velvet bag which, I'm sure, contains another.  I guess I should catalogue the ones I have one of these days so as to avoid duplication (except for the aforementioned intentional duplication).  My Tarot cards are definitely calling to me again, but I need to clear a space before I try to read.  Although I decluttered my desk fairly recently, I need to do a more thorough job so the junk doesn't interfere with any readings I might do.  I can definitely see myself spending more time on my spiritual side this year if for no other reason than to understand some of the craziness that is seeping into my dreams!

I haven't made any more sense out of last night's dreams, but sometimes I think that, although I remember them, I'm not meant to make sense of them as much as I'm just meant to think about something that might be confusing or worrying me.  It's as if the dream is simply opening up another avenue of thought, or it might even just be making my concerns seem so ridiculous that I let them go in favor of the good laugh!  Either way, I won't stop listening in case one has a really important message for me, as has occurred in the past.

So it's onward into a new year with new successes and new challenges.  I'm really looking forward to it with a heart full of hope and love and excitement!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for a huge pot of soup to feed me for the rest of the week and then some.
2. I am grateful for days spent in introspection and me time.
3. I am grateful for an abundance of opportunities, health and love.
4. I am grateful for energy in its many forms which will sustain and guide me through this year's many changes.
5. I am grateful for my friends and family who remind me how very blessed I am.

Love and light.

December 31, 2012 Happy New Year!!!

We had the greatest time with our friends, Dezi and Brian, at a little Irish pub in Santa Paula tonight!  It was the most different New Year's I've ever had (and that includes the year I went to a Greek Orthodox party with my parents).  Dinner was both delicious and fun!  The bar owner is a hoot and the service was superb.  The company was fabulous and we laughed and joked and sang and danced our way into the new year together.  Dezi and I got up and learned a little Irish folk dancing, then taught them a little line dancing in return.  Everyone was incredibly friendly and the mood was festive and light.  We were near the band, but it was never so loud that you couldn't carry on a conversation.  The music and dancing were amazing!  It seemed like only minutes before they were counting down to midnight, yet we were there for five hours!!!  We also discovered more mutual interests because we had time to just sit and talk, unlike our crazy, dance every dance mentality when we're at Borderline.

All in all, it was a nice change of pace, and I'm so glad we decided to change our plans and go someplace new and different.  We even took a route I'd never taken before.  Checking Yahoo Maps, I found that the canyon I usually take to get to the Fillmore/Santa Paula area was about 5 miles longer than the recommended route, so we had a little adventure on the way to our destination.  It was a cute little canyon road with a few twists, but no sharp drops.  And Santa Paula, itself, is rather quaint with old, clapboard houses and a Main Street right out of the 19th century (minus the horse drawn carriages).  It prompted Heather to suggest taking a drive out there one weekend to just wander around.  It's a little like downtown Ventura with rows of little shops and slotted parking right on the main street except that there are no parking meters. 

I don't even have my Joy Jar yet, and I already have something to put into it!   But I know what I'll put on the first note to go into it.  "Had a wonderful time, welcoming in the New Year with good friends, good food and an awesome place!" 

Brian said they have a trivia night there which he thinks is on Fridays.  We might just have to get a team together for one!  We might not win a prize, but it's sure to be hilarious.  We're also going to try to coordinate Ren Faire this year, and Miss Heather will finally get to make me a wench!  (better hit the gym really hard over the next few months!)  We also talked about going to the Highland Games when they are at the Ventura Fairgrounds.  Someone told me they'd gone and had a great time, so between the sturdy men tossing telephone poles in kilts (the men, not the poles) and the music, it's  trip worth adding to our calendar.

And speaking of trips, the line dance cruise is less than two weeks away!  That is sure to be a blast with the people I know are going!  Dezi has promised to properly indoctrinate me into the art of cruising,  This should be interesting!!! 

I am so amped up because I drank about three cups of coffee when I found myself getting a little sleepy, and now, I don't think I'll be able to sleep for hours!  Good thing tomorrow is another sleep in day!   But truly, I am so excited about this new year of ours.  We've survived the end of the world scare and people are really starting to look at things differently.  I'm seeing tons of great posts on Facebook with incredible positive energy.  People are kinder already, and that behaviour is only going to grow.  Sweet love and affection are becoming more and more common and at the rate they're growing, hate and cruelty will soon be overwhelmed.  This is a wonderful, exciting, exhilarating time to be alive!  I feel so blessed to be a part of this shifting in the world consciousness!  The Beatles had it right.  "Love is all you need".

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for an unexpectedly amazing beginning to the New Year.
2. I am grateful to have stepped outside my comfort zone...and found magic!
3. I am grateful for friends who expand my horizons.
4. I am grateful for busy weekends full of energy and exercise.
5. I am grateful for love in all shapes, sizes and colors.

Love and light.