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.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April 29, 2013 When our children move on

Now that my nightly fight to get a quarter of a Pepsid down the throat of my cat with the tiny kidneys is over (it only took three tries to get her to swallow a pill the size of a large grain of sand!) and she's sitting on a chair in my office giving me the stink eye, once again, it's time to try to get my thoughts in order and put something down here.

A conversation with one of my fellow bloggers got me thinking about the dynamics of our children moving out on their own for the first time (and, for most of us, hopefully, the last as well since most of us prefer to avoid the revolving door syndrome many parents experience when their children find out just how expensive it is to support themselves!)

Up until about a year and a half ago, my daughter and her boyfriend were living with me.  In December of 2011, armed with her low paying but full-time job and his GI bill, they decided to rent their own place.

At first, I was really torn up about it as, to be honest, I hadn't lived alone since I had moved in with her father over 30 years ago, and I wasn't sure I remembered how.  But once the deed was done, I wondered why I ever had any doubts.

Let me take a step back, though, and bring in the back story which will allow this to start to make some sense.

My daughter's twin sister moved out of the house in the middle of the night shortly after she turned 18.  A few frantic months followed when we didn't know where she was, but as time went on, we found that the house was a lot more peaceful without her, and proceeded to strengthen our relationship, and yes, our friendship as well.  Though some will argue that you can't be a parent and a friend, I will, respectfully, disagree.  My daughter and I enjoy a lot of the same activities, share many inside jokes and just enjoy each others' company.  That does not mean we share our whole social lives with each other, even though there was a point when we did.  She has her own, age appropriate friends as do I.  It's taken me some time to open myself up to those friendships, and admittedly, I have a long way to go, but I am making excellent progress!

Over the years, we developed a system, for lack of a better word, of letting each other know when we'd be late, where we were going, etc. out of respect for each other as roommates, if nothing else.  So it was rather refreshing for me to make a decision to go someplace and not have to check in with anyone who might be expecting me home.  

The first time I made plans with friends on a Friday night and didn't bother to mention it (seeing no real reason I should) it became clear to me that although she'd decided to move out, she wasn't as ready to cut the ties as she thought.  She started texting me, asking where I was and wasn't overly happy when I had to cut her off as the play we had gone to see was about to begin.

These days, she makes plans with her friends a lot more, and I, somehow, manage to find something to do with myself too!  We keep in touch, but we're no longer in each others' pockets and if we decide to have a quiet weekend in our own homes, we no longer think anything of it.  But it still gives me a chuckle when I think about the separation anxiety being more on my daughter's part than mine. 

I have to say that I love having the whole house to myself for the first time, ever!  If I put something away, it stays there.  If I use the kitchen, I clean up after myself and it stays cleaned up.  I don't have clothes and books and computers scattered all over my living room.  It is well worth having to take care of the trash myself and clean up after the cats and all of the little chores she used to share with me. 

And it's not like she is very far away.  After living across town for about a year, she moved back to an apartment right up the street from my house, so she and her husband are there if I need anything like helping give fluids to the aforementioned cat, or to join me at the gym, or for Sunday breakfast or errands.  At this point, I have all of the benefits of having her nearby without having to share my house with her!  It may not always be clutter free, but it's all MY clutter and I can live with that! 

The best part is that we have become better friends as the strain of living together was removed.

My gratitudes are:
1. I am grateful that I am comfortable in my own skin and living by myself is an adventure.
2. I am grateful for opportunities for new experiences.
3. I am grateful for friendships that continue to develop and grow.
4. I am grateful for an abundance of energy as I go into a month or so of crazy, busy days.
5. I am grateful for my writing which keeps me grounded even when my world is spinning crazily on its axis.

Love and light.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

April 28, 2013 In praise of Girlfriends.

I was a late bloomer in a lot of ways, but the one area which has most affected my life was learning to have and be a girlfriend.  I thought I was fine just being "one of the guys" as it simplified things.  No cattiness, no competing for a guy's attention...you know how it is.

But what I lost would neither be recognized nor missed until years later, when my marriage collapsed and my mother took her life.  Suddenly, I didn't know how to cope, but had nobody to talk to or learn from!

At the time, another single mom lived across the street and we bonded after the '94 earthquake.  She started teaching me the ins and outs of girlfriendship, but once she got involved with the man who later became her husband, her focus changed and as she was the only girlfriend I'd managed to make, I stood alone once again.

But life has a way of changing things, and today, after years of a world devoid of all the things girlfriends can offer, I can now say that I've made up for the lack in ways I would never have imagined.  I have some of the most amazing, wonderful, inspiring, supportive girlfriends on earth!  Not the least of these is my own daughter who, thankfully, has not followed in her mother's dysfunctional footsteps. 

The beauty of it all was that although I was left alone for a few years, during which I was able to release a lot of things which no longer helped to make my life what it is meant to be.  I released myself from toxic relationships, found a new, positive outlook, recognized for once and for all that doors close for a reason and it's up to us to figure out what that reason is while looking for a window, a door, a mousehole, a cat door or a rabbit hole through which to travel to the next place on our personal path.

Being left alone isn't always a bad thing as it gave me time to learn to love myself, seeing as how I spent so much time with me.  That isn't to say that one person wasn't always there through it all, and has become one of my best girlfriends.  That one person is my daughter.  And now that she has started a life of her own with her new husband, our friendship has reached new depths as she gets a better idea of why I did some of the things I did in the manner I chose.  She may not agree with them all, but she doesn't need to, any more than I need to agree with the choices she makes.  But we support each other and give each other that very precious gift, honesty.

Now that I've emerged from my self-imposed chrysalis, I find myself surrounded by the most incredible people!  These are women who have found their success, their abundance, their joy in many different ways and share their wisdom freely.  They are all well-versed in the art of being a girlfriend and are showing me the way with actions rather than words.  I know that had I not gone through the process I did, I wouldn't have been ready to accept the gifts these women offer.

They give me honesty, moral support, kicks in the butt, suggestions on how to achieve my goals...an endless list of wonderful, positive energy.  I know that wherever I'm going, I'll get there with a little help from my friends...no, a lot of help from my friends, much of which I doubt they even realize they're giving me, because it is a natural part of their beings.  I have so much to learn, yet, but such wonderful, amazing, inspiring teachers from whom to learn!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for my girlfriends.
2. I am grateful for all of the wisdom that is pouring into my life now.
3. I am grateful for the beginning of week 3 of setting a habit to go to the gym regularly.
4. I am grateful for opportunities to give back.
5. I am grateful for a quiet evening at home cuddling my cats after a busy weekend. 

Love and light

Saturday, April 27, 2013

April 27, 2013 Something different, aka, where it all began

Today, I'm going to do something so completely different from recent blogs, that you may think this came from another writer entirely, but I assure you, it's all me! 

On the advice of a friend, I started reading "The Quitter" by John Acuff and as I read through the part about finding your "hinge", I realized that, whichever way I cut it, writing is my passion.  When he asked if you'd even do it for free, I have and I would.

This led me to reflect on what really caused me to start this blog which began on Facebook in early 2009, later migrating here when I got frustrated with the format and lack of space.  And that something is what I keep referring back to as my "18,000 words of garbage".  But the fact is, it isn't all garbage, and it did have a really good purpose, so what I'm going to do today is share the first chapter of what I've tentatively titled "Live After Suicide:  Healing and Forgiving".  

                                                         Chapter 1: In the beginning…

My mother chose to end her life on December 28, 1993, less than a month before a cataclysmic earthquake rattled Northridge and quite a bit of Southern California.  Choosing to remain in bed when my father left for work due to some unspecified malaise, she sought to get rid of the pain with a bottle of sleeping pills.  She didn’t leave a note or a sign but left behind her 6 year old granddaughters, her infant grandson, my sister, my father and me.   And scores of unanswered questions.

For years, I was angry with my mother.  Angry because, as my father struggled with depression and the well-meaning questions from friends and family, she’d left him to find her cold body in the bed they’d shared for nearly forty years.  Angry because she left the granddaughters who loved her, even when she was making their mother crazy with her opinions on how they should be raised.  And angry because she left during a very difficult time in my life as I slogged through an ugly divorce.

My father followed her down that road nearly 10 years later, on September 11, 2003, exactly two years after the fateful World Trade Center disaster, and one day before his granddaughters’ 16th birthday.  As near as we can tell, he pondered the lung cancer diagnosis he’d recently received, wrote a note, smoked one last cigarette and put a gun I wasn’t even aware he owned to his head.  He did remember, before he left us, to send the girls birthday cards and checks, which arrived a couple of days after he was gone.   Through most of the ten years following my mother’s death, my dad dated a woman who was freakishly like my mom, in a shorter, more earthy kind of way.  The note he left was directed to her and gave her his apologies.  To me he left the job of cleaning up after him, and clearing out what remained of both his life and my mother’s, while my sister wondered why I couldn’t get the job done faster.  I never saw her cry.

My mother taught me how to read and how to bake Snickerdoodles, irritated me with her obsessive –compulsive neatness, loved my daughters to distraction while making me crazy with her “suggestions” on raising them.  And one day, quite suddenly, she was gone.
It came with a voice mail message from my father, who sounded like a man in shock, unable to believe where his life had led.  The details, though, came more slowly.  Wading through caramel slowly, in fact.   A question from the coroner had Dad searching Mom’s office for a how-to book on suicide.  He found it hidden behind some other books on her bookshelf.  Clearly, she’d had time to think before she acted.

From my dad’s family I learned how to cope.  And by coping, I mean keeping things in, not letting those around you see that you weren’t really keeping it together as much as it appeared.  That the strong, solid exterior you showed the world was merely a front for how broken, how shattered you were inside, the part which must never be shared.  From them I also learned to depend only on myself.  It wasn’t appropriate to expect anyone to take care of you or even for you to need anyone. 

That ingrained aversion to being dependent is, I believe, what drove my Dad to take his life.  He could not conceive of having me, my sister and our children watch his deterioration the way he had watched his mother’s, nor could he conceive of us having to care for him until nature took it’s course.  He was a very proud man, and, from his perspective, did the only honorable and loving thing he could for us.

Families of suicide victims face challenges in the grieving process which are quite different from those who lose someone to cancer or a car accident or even murder.  We feel shame, and with that shame, comes guilt.  It took me a long time to get past the shame, and to really understand why it’s even there.  I came to the conclusion that because Society has been as judgmental and uninformed about suicide as they are about homosexuality, it has become a subject that is only discussed in whispers, looking around to make sure nobody overhears.  One of the most common of those misconceptions is that family members should have seen it coming and gotten help before the unmentionable act occurred.   

This may be more apparent in the case of a youthful suicide as there are many studies and reports about teenage suicide, behaviour changes and obvious drug abuse.  But in truth, the percent of adults who attempt suicide and succeed far exceeds that of teenagers.  In part, this is because, as adults, we learn to protect ourselves by revealing only a small portion of who we really are.  When things are painful or difficult, adults often withdraw, but in the meantime, they continue to be responsible adults, going to work, raising kids, even volunteering.  They don’t share their struggles over finances or parents who are aging and need extra care, or marriages that are slowly imploding.   They can go through their life, their normal routine, being functionally depressed until one day it just overwhelms them.  Because they’re upholding their responsibilities, we tend to overlook or work around their moodiness, their overreactions to simple things, and assume they’re just having a bad day.  In cases where the crankiness goes on for a long period of time, people just write it off to the person’s nature and interact with them as little as possible, which, in reality, probably fuels the depression.

This societal insensitivity is no less damaging to the victim’s family as well meaning people ask why they didn’t notice or find help for the victim.  I remember watching people badger my Dad right after Mom died and wanting to look at them in disbelief, saying “He’s not a psychiatrist!  Living with Mom over the years, I’m sure he learned to overlook certain behaviour to avoid arguments, if nothing else!”  And in my Mom’s case, I had heard from some of those same relatives that the mere mention that she had a problem and should see a doctor would cause her to go ballistic.  I know for a fact that my dad never really learned to cope with her anger, except to withdraw into himself until it passed.  It’s like saying, “I know the stove is hot and I’ve felt the pain of a burn before, but I’m going to put my hand on that hot burner anyway.”  How many of us are stupid enough to intentionally repeat an action we know is painful, or at least highly uncomfortable?   Isn’t that the true definition of insanity?  Knowing what the result of an action will be, but doing it over and over, hoping for a different outcome.

And suppose we do notice and try to intervene?  Would our efforts be met as well intentioned, or simply as meddling, and quite possibly, make matters worse?  Mental health issues aren’t exactly table talk either.  It’s only in recent years that seeing a psychiatrist or a counselor hasn’t caused speculation about nervous breakdowns or schizophrenia and thoughts of that crazy cousin nobody every sees, or dear Aunt Agnes who’s “delicate” and who the children have learned to tiptoe around on the rare occasions she comes to visit.
                                      *   *   *   *   *  *   *   *   *  

Due to the nature of today's post, and it's digression from what has become a "normal" post these days, I'm leaving the gratitudes for later, except to say that I appreciate anyone who read through to this point.

Love and light.


Friday, April 26, 2013

April 26, 2013 In search of a muse

I began a new approach yesterday, whether or not it was actually apparent, of allowing my post to write itself.  I'll continue the trend this evening, so what follows may or may not actually make sense, but it will definitely be amusing!

Workouts are going great!  Tonight, I finished week two of my regularly scheduled workouts and I'm feeling great!  My daughter actually decided to join in, once I'd established a routine, so she finished week one tonight.  I'm glad she comes because we both work harder and tend to do more exercises when we go together.  And woe be to her who tries to bypass abs!  We keep each other honest, even if it's by humiliation.  I know I'm not going to be the one to wimp out on a few crunches! 

She keeps telling me that she's younger, but it was me who did 20 minutes on the evil stairmaster this week while she had to move to the bike because her knee was hurting.  (now who was it who had knee surgery just a few short months ago???)  These youngsters sure aren't made of the same stern stuff we are!  (Now, have I told her the story about walking two miles to school every day, in the snow, uphill, both ways, with a backpack full of books?)  The story isn't completely without merit, as I did walk for miles when I was in college, and had to climb a long hill to get back to the dorms, followed by a long, steep stairway!  OK, so it doesn't snow in L.A.  Is that my fault? 

It wasn't exactly in my best interests after being so good about working out, but the offer of company for dinner was too good to pass up, and the seafood enchilada, margarita and flan tasted delicious!!!  I've been eating salads all week, so I gave myself a treat!  And I ordered the smallest margarita they had!

I have to say that I am enjoying chasing my not-so-tough daughter around the gym, and she is being a good sport when I tell her that I want to do just two more machines!  We both know that our knees will thank us profusely when they don't have to shlep around a baby beluga any more!   Because this ain't our first rodeo, the muscles are responding and will find it easier to get back to their strong, toned state than it was the last time we were actually diligent about our workouts.  This is the last of the major habits I wanted to establish, so getting this one down will certainly mean...well, it'll mean I'll have to set more goals, like, maybe actually starting a real book, attending writers' conferences, sending out query letters, taking criticism and rejection...
I think my brain is starting to hurt now!  When Dr. Seuss said "Oh the thinks you can think" I don't think he had anything remotely resembling my twisted brain in mind! 

A friend raised the question of normal today.  What is "normal"?  Is there really a pattern of behaviour which sets the standard?  If so, doesn't that make us a society of lemmings, or worse, Stepford Wives???  Ever since I first read Alfred E. Newman's "Y B Normal" in M.A.D. magazine, I've taken his advice to heart. 

Anyone can learn the rules and follow a set path which was laid out by someone else.  But the ground breakers, the innovators, the free thinkers and the fun people just don't do that!  We bend or break the rules, ruffle feathers, step on toes and irritate the rule makers to extreme as we exercise our right to be individuals.  We are the ones who say "Don't tell me I can't do that, because I assure you that I will most certainly try it, just because I can!"

We're the same ones who hear "But that's the way we've always done it."  And feel an uncontrollable need to hurl on the speaker's shoes!    We just want to grab them by the shoulders, shake them roughly and demand "Has it ever occurred to you to ask why it's done this way?  Do you ever have an original idea that might, just might make the whole process better???  For heaven's sake, please grow a pair!!!"

OK, so maybe we'd leave the last part out (or maybe we wouldn't, depending on how provoked we might be feeling at the time).  But just as someone filled with positive energy will get the itchy twitchies around the cranky pants' of the world, so, too, will the free thinkers get the heebie jeebies around those who are happy to just stick with a plan, never deviating, never questioning, and worse, never thinking!  

Please, please, please, heed the wise Dr. Seuss.  "Oh the thinks you can think!  Please, THINK!!!"

<stepping down off of the soapbox noiw>

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that I am not afraid to ruffle feathers or to think for myself.
2. I am grateful for people who think and act beyond what is expected.
3. I am grateful for a mind which travels at 9000 miles a second, rarely staying in one place long enough to grow moss.
4. I am grateful for friends I can meet for dinner on a moment's notice (well, a moment plus the time it takes to shower off the gym stench).
5. I am grateful for a life that is full and rich.

Love and light.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

April 25, 2013 Thoughts on a Full Moon

Tonight, I sit at my computer, surrounded by cats (what a surprise, huh?) who are making sure I'm aware that I left them all alone with nothing but each other for 14 hours today!  14 long hours when all they had to do was eat, sleep, chase each other around the house and sleep some more.  I'm a terrible cat parent!  Just ask them.  They'll be happy to tell you in graphic detail!

While I'm trying to organize thoughts which are evading all of my efforts at making some kind of order, I am serenaded by the "sweet" sounds of my 15 year old calico, Patches, growling at her 8 year old brother, Dylan who still thinks that he's a kitten who needs to chase anything (or better still, anyONE) that moves! 

The truth is, my mind, tonight, is a chaotic mess of plans, conversations, ideas and to-do lists!  As I wander through the mental jungle of bills to pay, cleaning to do, a friend to contact to ask about writers' workshops, a couple of books I need to read and of course, writing  I need to do, it's no wonder I can't settle and that, once again, my dreams are keeping me up at night. 

What I did find interesting was that, in one dream, I was carrying around my own little bar stool and remember thinking how glad I was to have it as there were a couple of extra people at our table and now I had a place to sit!  What makes it so interesting is that we DID have two extra people at our table tonight, though we seemed to manage to keep rotating around so that someone was always either on the dance floor or wandering around visiting.  But having that little blip from a dream actually occur has me wondering if my clairvoyance is starting to wake up again. 

It's been a number of years now since I have had vividly detailed dreams which were actually precognitive, right down to the color shirt or dress someone was wearing.  In my teens and twenties, it was a bit disturbing, but now, I think I'd just find it interesting and would start watching for those dreams that were less weird and unreliable and more believable and plausible.

It has also been quite some time since I would know that the phone was going to ring, who would be calling and what they would be calling about.  I also haven't thought about someone I hadn't seen in awhile, only to turn a corner and there they were!  But on this full moon night, I can believe that anything is possible! 

In the Tarot, there are two cards in the Major Arcana which have always both drawn and intrigued me.  One is the Moon and the other is the High Priestess.  Both, in their own way, represent the unknown, the other side of the veil, imagination, subconscious, intuition.  There are times when the veil between what we see and what we sense are thinner than others.  The full moon is one of those times. 

If we allow ourselves to be still, let our minds quiet, take what comes to us at face value and turn off that computer which analyzes all it experiences, we might just tap into something which takes us far beyond what is reasonable and normal and into something so amazing that our conscious mind will refuse to believe that it is really there. 

I personally eschew the use of drugs or other mind altering methods which are frequently used to tear down the barriers, finding that if I get there while fully present, via meditation, I can actually bring back what I learn while I'm there.  Granted, some who manage to reach this remarkable place where the rules are not so hard and fast, may not want to remember what they experience as it can be, at the very least, quite disturbing.    The key, I think, is to allow rational, logical thought to take a holiday while visiting this lesser known realm.

I liken it to Alice falling down the rabbit hole.  If you try to make sense of what you're seeing by utilizing your normal experiences, it could, quite possibly, drive you mad.  If, however, you just accept that what you see, feel and hear are, without needing to understand why or how they got there, the only risk you run is of learning something new.

A child will watch in wonder as fireworks explode over their head, the shapes and colors simply causing awe.  They don't need to understand how they got there, just that they are there and are amazing!  So, too, should it be as we look behind the veil and see the miraculous.  Instead of trying to understand, we can just be amazed at the wonder of it all.

As adults, we draw further and further from our acceptance that there is magic in our world.  We outgrow fairy tales and dragons, focusing instead on earning a living, raising our kids, pursuing a career that brings us no joy, just money to live on.  A precious few hold onto the wonder, the imagination, the joy of being which was part of childhood. 

The more I focus on what brings me joy, what I'm passionate about, where I want to go, the more I realize that I, too, took the easy way out and became part of the norm.  It is high time I broke out of that, and sooner rather than later! 

So my goals for the next 30 days are:
1. Finish Writer's Digest.
2. Start working on something I can query, then submit.
3. Get a copy of "Quitter" by John Acuff which was recommended by a friend. (and of course, READ it!)
4. Talk to some friends about writers' workshops.
5. Put a plan in motion that will get me off the hamster wheel!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that I can still recognize the wonder in the world.
2. I am grateful for the vision which will see my writing published in the near future.
3. I am grateful for fairies and dragons and witches and flying monkeys.
4. I am grateful for the reopening of my clairvoyance.
5. I am grateful for an abundance of opportunities to play in the world where things don't follow the rules.

Love and light.

April 24, 2013 Another "be careful what you ask for" kind of day.

I should know better!  I really should!  I've had enough experience to know that if I'm having dream-free nights, I should just enjoy them while I can!  But noooooo!  I have to comment..even complain about the quiet! 

So what do I get for my troubles this time?  Dreams filled with espionage and murder!  Worse yet, I didn't wake up feeling horrified as much as unrested!  (And I really have to stop watching NCIS: Los Angeles right before I go to sleep!) 

I thought, though, that once awake, it would all just fade away like most dreams do, but not only did it stick with me, but my physical self seemed to react by being progressively more nauseous, light headed and headachey as the day went by, causing me to miss a dance class I really wanted to attend!  DRAT! 

However, I have another theory about today's physical ailments to toss out tonight.  Let me know what you think.

More and more, I'm realizing that the work I'm doing, while it can be interesting and certainly pays the bills, is not making my soul sing.  I'm just not living my passion, work-wise.  I am making small steps towards bringing more passion into my work life, but the going is slow, mostly because I, myself, am not moving fast enough.  So it occurs to me that perhaps the physical maladies are my soul's way of telling me that I need to pick up the pace because it's tired of waiting for the real fun to begin!  Essentially, my soul is sickening while I do work that doesn't feed it. 

Does this make any sense? 

It also seems that by dancing and exercising one of my passions, I've kept a lot of the sickness at bay, but only to a point.

Thinking back to the years when wasn't dancing because the girls' activities took up all of my time, I recall being depressed, defensive and exhausted all the time.  Bringing regular dance nights back into my schedule has strengthened my physical self, increasing energy levels and causing me to add more activity as time goes on, but is the same required for my mental self?  Is it time to add passion and exercise to that part of me which may be unseen, but is certainly not unfelt? 

The thoughts are now out there.  I look forward to the quest for the answers.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that I was able to fix my breakfasts and lunches for the next two days, in spite of a very jumpy stomach (talk about well set habits!)
2. I am grateful to my son-in-law who was able to medicate my cat alone while I slept!
3. I am grateful for dreams which sometimes just get my attention, sometimes, answer questions I have, and still others, alert me to something I need to know.
4. I am grateful for a job which leaves me time to ponder.
5. I am grateful for dance nights which restore my energy and positive outlook.

Love and light.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

April 23, 2013 I write, therefore, I am.

I didn't think it could happen, but yesterday, I just didn't feel like writing!

Most days, I can't wait to start pouring my thoughts out, but yesterday, after working all day on a very dry project, completely lacking in creativity, for work, the writer part of my brain was just exhausted!   It isn't that the project is completely lacking in creativity, because, heaven knows, I'm having to be very creative with regard to figuring out how much to write and how to say it.  I just don't feel what I'm writing.

I've decided that, today, I'll step away from the project for a bit to try to gain some perspective, then, much like re-reading things I wrote a week, a month, a year ago, I'm hoping that flashes of insight will emerge from what I've already written, in the manner of a phoenix from the ashes of a pyre of its own creation, and that I'll be hit with such an amazing and powerful flash of inspiration that, suddenly, the thing will virtually write itself!

Which could be part of my problem with the whole thing right now.  I'm so used to sitting down and letting my story write itself, my fingers leaving my brain behind as they take on a mind of their own, that to have to actually think through not only the content, but the format, is simply stifling my creativity to the point of catatonia!

Even now, I find myself pausing halfway through a sentence, forgetting what I was trying to say.

So this is what a mental block feels like?  Make it go away!  Please!!!

I have a vision of my mind as an endless system of tunnels going off in millions of different directions, but someone has forced an enormous boulder into the cave which is the entrance to the catacombs and that boulder has, temporarily, halted the flow of air and ideas.  I could remove it with some sort of explosion, but risk damaging some of the newer ideas currently making their way through the tunnels, sometimes stumbling over the ones currently lying dormant, and others, hooking up with similar beings who expand and flesh them out.  I dare not upset the delicate balance right now.

Even my dreams last night and my meditation this afternoon were unnaturally quiet.  Which begs the question:  Is this what I've been doing to my mind all these years, working in an analytical, logical type of job so I could make ends meet?  Is that why, when offered a task which requires more creativity than logic, my mind does its own version of a Free Ex gymnastics routine?  Has remaining in my self-imposed bunker been something of a purgatory for this artsy fartsy brain which would love to just sit on a bench watching people walk by and making up stories about their lives?

For the next few days, I think I'll let the child within come out and play and see what develops.  Perhaps those childish games will find a way to simply make the boulder disappear. 

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for bumps in the road and boulders in the cave entrance to remind me of what's really important.
2. I am grateful for mid-week dinners with the kids.
3. I am grateful for furry children and grandchildren who remind me what unconditional love truly is.
4. I am grateful that it only took a day to clear my head of writer's dread.
5. I am grateful for two nights of dancing coming up.

Love and light.,

Sunday, April 21, 2013

April 21, 2013 I'm my own worst critic

I should never re-read my posts a day or two after they're published.  Invariably, I find something wrong and just have to go back and edit what, to me, is a glaring error, or I won't sleep well at night!  Ok, so maybe it's not quite that bad, but I will sit here and fidget if I don't fix the problem!

It wouldn't be quite so annoying if I only did it to my own work, but these days, I find that anything I read gets the same treatment. 

(This could well be another of my infamous ADHD posts.  My brain has changed topics at least four times while I was putting my contacts in to better see what I'm typing!)

So back to the topic of uncontrollable editing..  As I've mentioned in earlier posts, I tend to pick apart everything I read these days, from the dialogue to the writing style, but this tendency gets especially obnoxious when I'm just trying to enjoy a good read, and a grammatical error pops up, or worse, a typographical one!  I want to tell my brain "Really????  You can't just let me enjoy the story without nit picking the technicalities?"

It's not as if I was an English major in college, or even something loosely related, like Journalism.  No, I was, after several false starts, an Accounting major, for heavens' sake!  We deal in numbers, theories and regulations!  Although we don't tend to suffer the challenges with regard to writing that you often find in Engineers and Mathematicians, grammar is not our first concern (OK, maybe if you're a CPA writing endless letters of opinion and such, but most of us don't need to be so particular).  Admittedly, I've always enjoyed writing and, except for one year of Honor's English when my mind was elsewhere, have always aced my English classes, especially when writing was involved.  In fact, it surprised me when I scored higher in Math than English on the SAT's!

But again, I digress.   SQUIRREL!!!

Sadly, my computer does not seem to be able to keep up with my multi tasking brain.  As I attempt to order some vitamins my local store has not had in stock lately, update my GPS for a trip into the wilds of Topanga tonight and open another browser tab to bring up Dictionary.com for today's English lesson, I'm experiencing temporary freezes, frightening in their similarity to my increasingly frequent "brain farts".

In searching for "editor" the definition was predominantly, "one who edits" so I tried "edit" instead, and found:


[ed-it] Show IPA
verb (used with object)
1.to supervise or direct the preparation of (a newspaper, magazine, book, etc.); serve as editor of; direct the editorial policies of.
2. to collect, prepare, and arrange (materials) for publication.
3. to revise or correct, as a manuscript.
4.to expunge; eliminate (often followed by out  ): The author has edited out all references to his own family.
5.to add (usually followed by in  ). 

My brain, it seems, likes to randomly perform the third definition of editing and has even been known to cringe when chancing upon blatant misuse of the person the writer is using in a sentence (one of my biggest flaws), misuse of homonyms or *gasp* "alot" when the writer really means "a lot".  
I can accept that I don't like seeing errors on my own published work, but to come to a full stop when I'm reading for pleasure?  Seriously????
So I ask you, good readers, is there a way to turn off this editorial function in the brain when the reading is for pleasure, or even for content, but not for grammar, spelling, phrasing or any other editorial function?  It's become extremely annoying!
I must add, at this point, that my function at work does include a certain amount of editing as, in addition to crunching numbers, I'm part of the proposal team, so this ability does have a certain amount of value.  It just needs to be directed to appropriate avenues and leave materials which have already been edited, approved and published alone, regardless of anything which might have snuck past the editor's pen! 

It seems that I'm not alone in suffering this editorial malady.  Chatting with my daughter while driving to a dinner party today, I discovered that she is also guilty of mentally editing what she reads (and if anything, she reads even more than I do!)

So I'll put it to my readers:  Do you mentally pick books apart while you're reading them?  Do you question why a writer put things a certain way or ask what possessed them to use such grammatically awkward phrasing?  Do you catch typos, spelling errors and missed or misused punctuation marks?  

If you do any or all of these things, fear not.  They don't make you a redneck! :)

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for friends, old and new.
2. I am grateful for being challenged to try, not only new recipes, but new ingredients as well!
3. I am grateful for opportunities to step outside my comfort zone.
4. I am grateful for animals who love you just because you skritch them or slip them a little food.
5. I am grateful for the simple things in life, and the time to appreciate them.

Love and light.

April 20, 2013 The forgiveness in the apology

Throughout the course of our lifetime, we offer up numerous apologies, but my question today is why?

From Dictionary.com, we have the following definition, but does it really tell us why?


[uh-pol-uh-jee] Show IPA
noun, plural a·pol·o·gies.
1.a written or spoken expression of one's regret, remorse, or sorrow for having insulted, failed, injured, or wronged another: He demanded an apology from me for calling him a crook.
Typically, we offer an apology because we believe that we have said or done something to offend or wrong another in some way.  But when we apologize, what is our ultimate goal?  Is it to receive absolution from the  offended party?  Is it to be granted forgiveness?  Is it a meaningless gesture?  Or is it just a selfish way to get something off our chest?
In the case of absolution or forgiveness, as those really only belong to ourselves,  so offering someone an apology may start the process, but in order to truly be forgiven, we need to forgive ourselves for our transgressions.  
Is it a meaningless gesture?  Only if it is insincere.  I see nothing wrong with saying "mea culpa" nor in indicating that you made a mistake and are learning from it, as long as you truly do take the lesson with you.  In many cases, the apology can clear the air after something has occurred which causes tension between two individuals, so I believe offering an apology does have value.  
Which leads to my last suggestion.  Is it a selfish way to just absolve ourselves?  Once again, I have to say, if it is sincere, the answer would be no, but to give lip service just to make yourself feel better is, in my opinion unconscionable.  It's like saying " I'm so sorry I stabbed you in the back...but I'd do it again in a New York minute given half a chance, loser!"  
So let's look at the concept of forgiveness.  Referring again to Dictionary.com, we get:


[fer-giv] Show IPA verb, for·gave, for·giv·en, for·giv·ing.
verb (used with object)
1.to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve.
2.to give up all claim on account of; remit (a debt, obligation, etc.).
3.to grant pardon to (a person).
4.to cease to feel resentment against: to forgive one's enemies.
It's all well and fine to have someone grant you pardon or accept your apology.  but until such time as you absolve YOURSELF of the misdeed, you will continue to live as if absolution from the more obviously injured party had never occurred.
I say the "more obviously injured party" for a reason.  When we say something unkind or break something belonging to another, or do any manner of apology worthy deeds, there are two injured parties, as opposed to the one we most often give our attention to.  In reality, we've hurt ourselves as well, on many levels.  As soon as the deed is done and we realize what we've done and begin to have regrets, we start beating ourselves up over it.  Even after we have apologized and our apology is accepted,  we are still not absolved because the most important person in our lives; ourself, has failed to accept our apology!  

That's right!  Until such time as we acknowledge to ourselves that we made a mistake but it's ok, our misdeed will continue to come back and haunt us.  Many of us are carrying around quite a few years of unforgiven deeds.   Some have buried themselves so deeply that a jackhammer couldn't dig them out, nor could an army of earth movers!  

And yet, three simple words to ourselves would bring us back to the surface, clean and shiny.  Those three words are:

"I forgive you".  
We must look ourselves in the eye and say:  "I forgive you for every misdeed, every transgression, every hurt, whether real or perceived, which you have ever done.  I love you and cherish you and wish you no harm.  I understand that by carrying around the resentment and blame, I am not showing loving behaviour.  So from this point forward, I love you and forgive you."
And why not?  We love and forgive our kids, our friends, our significant others.  Why can't we give the same to ourselves?  Why must we spend more time beating ourselves up than loving the wonderful caring, giving, amazing person we are?  

I, myself, focus on self-love and forgiveness just about every time I meditate.  I recommend it highly!

My gratitudes tonight are:

1. I am grateful for a fun, joy-filled evening of dance with my friends.
2. I am grateful for ideas which make me think.
3. I am grateful for having forgiven myself and set the pattern to forgive myself in the future.
4. I am grateful for the beginning of week 2 of sticking to my gym schedule (in spite of numerous aches and pains in places I didn't know I COULD have aches and pains!)
5. I am grateful for encouragement, wherever and however it might come.

Love and light.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

April 19, 2013 Recalibrating the internal clock and other ponderings.

My apologies in advance.  This post is a prime example of ADHD writing.  topic changes occur often and completely at random.  Despite the fact that I know where I'm going and why, no sane person will be able to figure out how I got the topics contained herein wrapped up together into one, not-so-neatly-wrapped package.  No matter.  Just sit back, enjoy the insanity, and be grateful that your mind thinks in a more linear fashion.   (unless, of course, you're also ADHD and then....Ooooooo!  Shiny!!!)

Recalibrating the internal clock
I just got my internal clock working again after Daylight Savings, but in the last few days, something seems to have gone haywire.  Much to the delight and amusement of my furry bed mates, I've been struggling with  getting up on time, usually sleeping an extra 20-30 minutes before my internal alarm screams "Time to get up, you lazy sloth!  Do you realize you've overslept again??"  The one good thing that came out of it, though, was proving that I can shower, dress, brush teeth, feed and medicate cats AND get out of the house inside of 30 minutes!  (at least, now that I'm doing most of the preparation the night before!)  One thing I can be absolutely certain of; my internal clock will suddenly be working just fine, now that the weekend is here!

Added to the mix is my inability to focus on anything for more than about a minute, which made it especially challenging when I was trying to do some technical writing at work today.  Needless to say, I didn't get very far with it, though I did, at least get something written!  The sense of unsettledness wasn't helped by numerous interruptions, but at least with the interruptions, I can say I accomplished something in my 8 hours of work today!

Keeping the Bliss Going
As I had hoped, my bliss challenge is having very positive results!  I'm looking for a chain reaction; something like, I share my bliss, someone starts feeling their own bliss and shares it with the people around them.  Bliss rubs off on someone else who shares it with their connections..and so on and so on...and soon, taking into consideration the six degrees of separation concept, our bliss should circumnavigate the globe in, say 30 days or less!  I couldn't ask for more, but I will be keeping my bliss turned up full blast, and continue to challenge myself and anyone else who is interested to keep the bliss going!

Finding magic in everything.
This is kind of a chicken and the egg situation.  Do I find my bliss because I see magic everywhere, or do I see magic everywhere because I've found my bliss?  The fact is, it doesn't really matter as long as both keep happening!   As of today, I've completed my first full week with my new workout routine.  I think that calls for a great big, country girl, Hell Yeah!!!  Better still, my daughter decided to join me tonight, and will go again tomorrow as well (gonna bust her chops with the workout that left me hurting most of this week!)  We are going to be healthy, fit and gorgeous long before the next cruise!  I think I'll get a "before" picture so I can put it together with my "after" picture in a few months!

Interestingly, when my daughter was driving to work and back today, traffic was miserable, people were rude and impatient and it was an altogether horrific drive for her.  When I left for work, traffic was light, people would actually slow down to let me in when I turned on my signal and the whole process repeated for my drive home!  I even found a primo parking spot at the gym!  Further proof that bliss and magic are a powerful combination!  I feel as if I could move mountains right now, but whatever I decide to do will definitely be highly successful.  The energy level surrounding me right now demands success, joy, bliss and Amazing!!!  There is nothing for me to do but continue to share the feeling!  It is definitely time to plan a little writer's retreat!

Searching for my "Bob, the fix-it man"
Finally, I am still chuckling over a post about a woman who left all of her broken things on Bob's desk where they always got repaired.  Someone today mentioned sharing everything, even her men, and I responded that the only man I wanted in my life at this particular moment was Bob, who fixes things.,  (of course, his name could just as easily be Paul or Steve or even Homer for all I care!  Just as long as he knows his way around a tool box!)   Unlike the woman in the post I mentioned, my list of things to fix requires someone who knows his way around construction and maybe a little engineering as well, but just as nothing has come simply in my life, my expectations are rather grand as well.  And while we're at it, he must love animals!  If my cats don't like him, no matter how good he is at what he does, he's outta here!  (pretty picky for a woman who just wants a guy around to fix things, huh?) 

I will take pity on my readers, and stop while I'm ahead...or sorta anyway!  I need to figure out how to put all of my gratitude tonight into five items, because five is the number I chose.  The rest will have to show up in later posts.

1. I am grateful for an abundance of bliss and magic which seems to be contagious.
2. I am grateful that I have succeeded in completing week 1 of setting a new habit to exercise regularly.
3. I am grateful for a weekend to spend with friends and family, doing things which feed my mind, body and spirit.
4. I am grateful for my healthy body which allows me to push it past its limits, even as it reminds me that I'm going past its comfort zone by giving me aches and pains.
5. I am grateful for how easily happiness and bliss are coming into my life these days.

Love and light.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

April 18, 2013 Setting the wheels in motion

I didn't realize, when I copied this picture, how appropos it would be as my day unfolded.

I've been reading "Writer's Digest" on the recommendation of a friend and have, so far, read through the section on submitting query letters.  As I proceeded to meditate this afternoon, an introductory paragraph started running through my head, and it became so insistent that I had to stop and write it down before my brain would quiet down and allow me to meditate.

What really surprised me, though, was the fact that the paragraph had to do with the 18,000 words of what I've deemed "garbage" in recent posts.  Am I to believe that my subconscious has decided that it is now ready to tackle the project and find a way to express my thoughts and feelings on the subject without the whiny tone it had taken, and which made me abandon, or at least table it in the first place?

If what I'm surmising proves to be the case, have I grown enough since beginning the project 4 years ago to approach it from a direction which will truly provide helpful information to others instead of just a chronicle of self-discovery as is its current status?  More, will my baby actually be allowed to grow to term this time, instead of being aborted when I discovered that the potential for viability was almost nonexistent?  

Although I have been giving a great deal of thought to pursuing my dream, my passion, of late, I had assumed that my first effort would be a work of fiction, despite the affirmations currently adorning my vision board.  It seems that, once again, the Universe has other plans for me, and won't hesitate to slap me around a bit, if for no other reason than its own amusement, to ensure that I stick to the plan.

At this point, I see that I have some serious reading ahead of me, as well as following up on some research ideas.  I definitely need to compile a list of questions to pose to other survivors of familial suicide as I would like to include not only my own mechanisms for coping and healing, but those of others who might have taken a different path, yet healed in their own way.  Of course, as this is a highly personal and sensitive topic, I'm going to have to approach it gently, as opposed to my typical direct, bull-in-a-china-shop manner, in order to find people who are not only willing to share a deeply emotional piece of themselves, but to allow me to include it, anonymously, of course, in my own story.

                                                         *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Yesterday I challenged you as well as myself to choose bliss today.  I'm happy to report that the day turned out even better than I could have expected!  I did oversleep again, thanks to my little, furry snugglers, but got a lot done at work today, gained some insight into where my new path is going to take me, and had a blast dancing, talking and laughing with my friends.  One of them has suddenly become extremely affectionate, giving really warm hugs and even kisses on the cheek!  One friend speculated that it was the beer he drinks, but as that is no different than before, my guess is that he's just becoming more relaxed with everyone and his true nature is coming out.  More power to him!  I think it's marvelous that he can express himself so freely!  Definitely someone I can learn from!

So tonight, fueled by all of this extra bliss, I believe I'll go to sleep early and get up on time tomorrow!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for days that are magical just for the sake of magic.
2. I am grateful for intentions of bliss which come to pass.
3. I am grateful for fun loving, warm, affectionate friends.
4. I am grateful for perfectly excellent nights of dancing.
5. I am grateful for epiphanies which clear the fog away from my path.

Love and light

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

April 17, 2013 A challenge to be blissful!

The way it started, today could have taken many turns, but I focused on nothing but bliss, so bliss is what I received!  So why can't every day be a bliss filled day?

I woke up this morning, having overslept by maybe 20 minutes, to one cat wrapped around my head, motor going full blast and scratchy tongue doing its best to exfoliate my nose.  Meanwhile, the "little" bugger I lovingly nicknamed "The Moose" for his diminutive 25 pound frame, was sprawled across my stomach, causing minor earth tremors the width of the bed while his mini counterpart was doing her best to hold down the fort from her vantage point on my left hip.  Having finally convinced them by way of a threat to their morning meal that I really needed to get up, I hurried through my morning rituals, giving silent thanks that my breakfast, lunch and coffee were waiting for me in the kitchen. 

Making my way out the door and into morning traffic with my daughter in my ear, I found that I'd reached that wonderful place where nothing was going to shake my good mood.  Not that it wasn't put to the test!  All efforts to change lanes so I could follow my normal route to work were thwarted by a blue mini van and a large delivery truck.  To my pleasant surprise, the alternate route I was forced to take was a blessing in disguise and the better choice this morning!

Humming my way down the freeway, I sipped my coffee and opened my sunroof to better appreciate the beautiful blue sky and bright sunshine over the hillsides where spring flowers were starting to take over.    Again, I found myself thinking how very happy I was. 

A meeting with my boss, conversations with co-workers and just about anything I touched today resulted in more bliss.  Even the dance lesson tonight, in spite of sore muscles from my recent return to the gym, was a fun pattern which most of the men seemed to get after a few tries!  More dancing, hugging friends and an  unexpected kiss on the cheek from one of my friends who seemed to be having a blissful day himself, and my day of bliss was topped with a cherry and just the right amount of hot fudge! 

All of this leads me to challenge myself to keep the bliss going for as many days as I can.  Further, it leads me to challenge anyone reading this to do the same, and pass it on!  If enough people take this challenge, we can raise the vibration at least in parts of the world, thus setting the stage for all manner of miracles!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that I can choose bliss.
2. I am grateful for days when the positive energy is flowing so strongly that my world is in perfect alignment.
3. I am grateful for continued opportunities to learn and grow.
4. I am grateful to discover that I've completed a large task well ahead of schedule.
5. I am grateful for cooperation.

Love and light.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

April 16, 2013 Where does inspiration REALLY come from???

In the last 15 days, I've experienced a dramatic upswing in readership and comments to my blog.  The reason, of course, is obvious, but the result has far exceeded my expectations.

It seems, though, that traffic increases most dramatically when I read and post on other people's blogs.  I've particularly noticed that some blogs provide a place for name and website when comments are left, but have not figured out how to do that here.  A quick browse through the help section yielded nothing useful, so I'll just have to hope that someone reads this, takes pity on me and gives me some guidance. 

Tonight, I decided to do things a little backwards and read a few posts before writing my own.  It wasn't that I hoped for inspiration, because I don't really plan out what I'm going to write from one day to the next anyway.  I just wanted to read what others were writing before I got sidetracked and didn't take the time.

I am certainly in the company of some extremely gifted scribblers, although, to be honest, I'm really only reading the posts which grab my attention in the first few lines, or with a catchy title.  I would venture to guess that most people do the same.  I also try to pay attention to people who leave me comments for a couple of reasons.  First, if they're reading my blog, we may have something in common.  Second, if they take the time to read my blog, I think it's only polite that I return the favor. 

I am, at the moment, particularly interested in posts having to do with writers and writing ( a real no-brainer, I know).  I enjoy reading about what inspires other people, but also what they do when their brain just seems to freeze up. 

There are days when I can't get my fingers to move fast enough to get all of my thoughts down before they escape into the ether, not unlike the futile attempts to hold onto dreams.  But there are those thankfully, rare occasions when I sit down to write, knowing that I have to honor my commitment to myself, and my brain goes "duh!" 

Those are the times, IMHO, when true inspiration really strikes, because that is when I disconnect my fingers from my conscious mind and just let them go where they will.  And where they go is often someplace I had never dreamed of.  Or, to be honest, where they go is most likely someplace I HAVE dreamed of, but don't remember on a conscious level.

I've always believed, and have been shown quite often lately, that there are some amazing stories buried in my subconscious.  The real trick is to mine them as I would any other precious gem, bring them out in the rough, then slowly polish them to their true brilliance.

With as much time as I spend writing these days, what I'm really learning, more than anything else, is what will eventually work when I write something more than "The Life and Times of Me".  I'm learning that when the time comes, and it will be soon, I will simply hole up either here or in some quiet, remote location, as yet to be determined, and send my conscious mind out for ice cream while my subconscious takes over. 

While I don't expect an Abraham, as Jerry and Esther Hicks found, what I do expect to find is that stockpile of stories which, up to now, has been content to manifest itself as dreams, taking me on many a nocturnal adventure from which I awoke saying "Hmmmmmm"

From my often non-Seuss-ical subconscious, I will find the truth in the statement "Oh, the Thinks you can Think..."  Though I won't find a Lorax or a Cat in a Hat, I've no doubt that I will find dragons and heroines, murders most vile and fantasies most fanciful.

I am sure to be amazed by whatever decides to flow from my subconscious to my fingers, and with each new discovery, the veil will be pulled aside just a little more until the day comes when conscious and subconscious will come out to play together.  That will be the day when Disneyland meets Dr. Doolittle and they dance to the music of Danny Elfman and Glenn Miller.  

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for whatever pushed me to join the Ultimate Blog Challenge.
2. I am grateful to the many wonderful people who are sharing their thoughts  which contribute so greatly to my own motivation and inspiration.
3. I am grateful for my ADHD which, while making it difficult to concentrate on analytical things lately, is taking me on a merry chase through my limitless subconscious world.
4. I am grateful for days like today when just about everything brought me bliss.
5. I am grateful for my writing which I'm coming to find really is my true bliss, or as people are saying these days, my wheelhouse.

Love and light