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, May 30, 2013

May 30, 2013 Hi ho, hi ho, it's back to work I go!

I went back to work today after 5 blissful and productive days off.  As expected, things were on the crazy side, and while it was nice to be missed, I'm not sure I got enough rest to make up for the impending chaos of the next few weeks!

The worst part, though, was that by around 3:00, when I'd finally managed to get the lid back on Pandora's box, I found myself resenting the fact that I was being kept from doing what I really wanted to do:  work on my manuscript!   In fact, the only thing I didn't resent about today was tonight's dancing! 

It's not that I dislike my job...it keeps me busy, and sometimes, even entertained.  And frankly, my furry children and I have become accustomed to regular meals, shelter from the rain and air conditioning when the temperature rises about 75!  So the day job stays, at least for awhile!  Like all writers aspiring to be authors, I not only have to complete my first book, but go through that lovely submission process until a publisher recognizes what a gem I've penned and actually offers me some kind of financial recognition of my efforts. 

Thus, I will have to develop a plan to balance day job, manuscript and recreation (and maybe even house  cleaning) so everyone is, at least, partially satisfied! 

I briefly considered returning to a past life where I was a hermit, but quickly realized that I've evolved past that state and would find that pair of shoes to be ill-fitting and uncomfortable now. 

The accountant in me is mentally crunching the numbers, even as I type.  I was able to crank out about 10,000 words in just under 9 hours of actual writing this week, but I also need to allow for research time, periods when inspiration is not as readily available as others, and time spent re-reading and restructuring.  So carry the ten, multiply by 6 and divide by the square root of 67 gives me...5,000 words a week. 

Let's give it a couple of weeks to test my theory (and my calculations) to see if this is a workable plan.  If I can make it work, I should at least have enough words in 6 or 7 weeks, although I might want to make it 8 in case more ends up on the cutting room floor than I'm currently anticipating. 

And yes, the Do Not Disturb sign is still on my front door! 

The good news is, I only have one more work day between me and my manuscript (I really like the sound of that!!!  In fact, it should be bold and emphasized!  My Manuscript!  )

The only thing I'll find even more satisfying will beMy New York Times Best Selling Book.   Now THAT has a ring to it, doesn't it????

Taking the Laws of Attraction into consideration, here, it might behoove me to make a little headline for my vision board as it will remind me of the commitment I've made to myself!  

<toddling off to set more intentions>

For now, as is my habit (and a wonderful habit it is, don't you think?) I will leave you with my gratitudes:

1. I am grateful that I've downsized my life to only having a cell phone because I can turn it off or leave it in another room when I don't want to be disturbed.
2. I am grateful for good friends to laugh with, share with, dance with and celebrate with!
3. I am grateful for my day job which gives me the means to pursue my dream job.
4. I am grateful for being needed.
5. I am grateful for being provided with an infinite number of lessons to teach me, challenge me and allow me to grow.

Love and light.       

May 29, 2013 A topsy turvy kind of day

Today was an upside down and backwards kind of day which is really rather fitting as it was the anniversary of my birth, and I'm a topsy turvy sort on my best days!

After writing for over 6 hours yesterday, I found myself wide awake at 3 AM!  I finally managed to settle around 4, but that meant sleeping until about 10 this morning, leaving nearly half of my day gone. 

Having had my bubble burst shortly after declaring that I was finished with my book at about 26,000 words, I spent some time today reviewing what I'd written, adding to what was already there, doing some research and actually adding in some facts.  I've bookmarked a couple of suicide prevention/information sites and created a quasi-bibliography (to be cleaned up later) to document my sources.  In short, a burst bubble does not mean that I'm ready to throw in the towel, just that I have to rethink my thoughts.

I'm finding it easier to set aside writing time now, though once my work schedule is again part of the picture, we'll have to see how I fare, but I really want to continue working on my book for at least an hour a day (read 1 1/2 to 3 hours depending on my progress), so there might be a lot more late nights, or a lot less time spent just futzing! 

Even today, I managed another 3 hours or so and about 2,000 words.  At this rate, I could REALLY be done in, oh, 3 weeks or so.....OK, so it might take another couple of months before I really get it all together, and that doesn't include edit/cleanup time!

But I'm really excited about how it's coming together this time!  What I already had really wasn't a bad start, but it was, to be honest, more of an outline written in longhand than a complete book.  And, I really hate to admit it, but Candy was right again.  At 26,000 words, it was still more of an outline.  It needs a lot more fleshing out, a few more chapters and some actual facts thrown in for good measure. 

I also found a list of books written from the viewpoint of the surviving family that I want to check out, both for content and to see which publishers are most likely to be interested in my little gem. 

At any rate, I need to get my internal clock back in sync for my return to work tomorrow, so here are my gratitudes:

1. I am grateful for learning experiences, however painful or unsettling they might be.
2. I am grateful that I'm finding it easier to get into the writing zone and knock out a couple of thousand words at a sitting.
3. I am grateful for the many wonderful people who are encouraging my efforts.
4. I am grateful for the amazing flood of birthday wishes I received today!
5. I am grateful for the mental energy I'm experiencing, despite the physical laziness I exhibited today  I'm also grateful that the physical laziness is short lived!

Love and light.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May 28, 2013 First day of my 2 day writing frenzy, aka, I've finished the book, now what?

Much to my surprise, I got into my zone quickly this morning and wrote for about an hour and a half, adding over 1,000 words to my manuscript.  But more surprising is that I stopped writing when I though I was going in a negative direction, but upon re-reading what I wrote, I wasn't doing that at all!  Sure, I mentioned some negative occurrences, but was finding the lesson, the forgiveness and the understanding in it all! 

After a short break for food, I wrote for another hour and a half before I had to get ready to go to a nail appointment and get groceries.  As my friend, Candy, had said, I found a lot of material in my blog, though it had to be fit into what was already there, or new chapters created, massaged and what not. 

Nails done, groceries put away, meditation done and I sat down to write again, only to find that this session lasted almost 3 1/2 hours during which I kept forgetting to go get water to quench my parched throat.  The only reason I finally stopped was that I think I've actually said all I need to, at least for now.  The book is now almost 26,000 words, and most of the original 18,000 were actually not the drek I'd thought them to be!  Although I still need to come up with titles for some of the chapters and send it over to a couple of people for editorial assistance, I really think that I've gotten it all down!  Not only that, in the two years since I put it aside, I had to change a lot of things because I realized how far I had actually come!  What I wrote two years ago was, in some cases, woefully outdated, much to my delight! 

But the real beauty of this is that I feel a huge sense of relief.  Relief, not only because I finally finished what I started, but also because I realized that I have come a very long way in coming to terms with my parents' deaths and relief that I can now start writing something else, though, for the life of me, my mind is blank of ideas.

I find it really interesting that, two years ago, I was completely stuck and could not write another word. In the last couple of days, with the help of about 6,000 words from my blog which I edited, tailored and inserted, I added about 8,000 words to my book, reworked, reworded and edited and have a document that is ready to be edited by eyes which are less intimately involved than mine. 

I also have another entire day in which to write, work out, and otherwise do things for myself alone!    I may just go back through my blog posts (and especially those whacky dream sequences) to see if there's a good piece of fiction to be had in there! 

Interesting to me that I feel like I fiddled and futzed all day yesterday, despite the fact that I sorted through 338,000 words of blog posts and pulled out the pieces which could, potentially, become part of the book.  I guess that would be a lot like doing research.  Some days, you have to do research and others, you have to write.  I clearly needed to separate the two activities, though I didn't really realize it at the time. 

I think that this first book was more of a learning experience for me.  I learned about the need to isolate myself , turn off Facebook and email during writing sessions(including my "do not disturb" sign on the front door) and the need to trust in what I've written in my blog. I also learned that I need to take breaks!  I learned to accept encouragement from friends, both old and new.  I also learned to be less critical of myself and what I wrote.  I also learned that I start way too many sentences with "And" and "But"!

But the most important thing I've learned is that I really can  write nearly 26,000 words on one subject!  (oh, and lest I not forget, I can and have written close to 350,000 words in my blog!) 

But now comes the tough part.  Letting other people look at it, critique it and give me suggestions on what I need to rewrite.  OK, maybe that won't be the toughest part as I still have to try and get the thing published, so I need to really do my research into who might even be interested.   Then, I'm sure, I'll get those badges of honor known as "rejection letters", an integral part of the shift from writer to author.  But if I've learned one thing over the last few years, it's that the rejection isn't personal.  They are rejecting the book or the idea, not me, personally.  Eventually, I'll find someone who appreciates what I've written (and edited a kazillion times) and my baby will be in print, or at least, e-book! 

For now, I'm going to take the evening off, clean some cat boxes, put out the trash, cook up the chicken I have marinating along with some lovely asparagus I bought this afternoon and bask in the warmth of a completed first draft!

My gratitudes are:
1. I am grateful to have completed the first draft of my book.
2. I am grateful that, in completing the first draft, I've discovered how far I've come in the last 2 years.
3. I am grateful for all of the love and support I've received while working on this project.
4. I am grateful for a day when I can do what I want, write if I want to, veg if I don't, or whatever else might tickle my fancy, and especially since it is my birthday!
5. I am grateful for catharsis.

Love and light

Monday, May 27, 2013

May 27, 2013 Part 2: I tried, but I just couldn't do it!

Today, I wrote my blog post in the morning as I planned to spend the rest of the day working on my book, going to the gym and running a couple of errands.  Yet, it's now 10PM and here I sit, feeling like there's still something I'm supposed to be doing.  The only explanation I can find for this is that I have become a blog-a-holic!  I can't go to sleep without my nightly fix!

What's a girl to do but write some more?  The trouble is, I've already used up the blog topics I'd stockpiled, so I have to find something else to write about tonight!

I did get a lot of work done on my book, though very little of it was actual writing.  In fact, the sum total of my writing today was 13 lines!  What I did get done was to finish copying my blog to a word document and start skimming through it for pieces I can use in my book.  I got maybe a third of the way through, but the first few months didn't really have anything useful.  I'm guessing the last 2/3's will take a bit longer!  Though I suppose it will help to do things in their proper order, despite the fact that today's blog hits was an amazing 95!!! 

I hoped to gain some inspiration from other bloggers, but my mind is too caught up in my book right now, I think.  As I sit here, fingers poised, my brain is going off in a totally different direction, organizing notes from my blog, attempting to get the chapter I have been rolling around into my manuscript document before I start chopping out some of the whiny, blamey stuff that made me stop writing in the first place. 

As usual, I start to write with a thought in mind, and new discoveries are made as the words start coming out.  I've already, in the 13 lines I've written, managed to drift away from the original thought I was trying to follow.  This should make for an interesting couple of days as I try to get something coherent written, despite the fact that I know I'll be going back to edit anyway. 

I think I need to learn to approach my book the way I write my blog.  If my ADHD takes over, I need to just give it free reign for now and do my cleanup later.  But it's really hard to do that when I have the thing all nicely laid out in double-spaced manuscript format.  Could it be that I'm intimidating myself with structure?  Do my structureless babbles promote better creativity and allow the thoughts I'm trying to convey to come out more freely?  Thankfully, part of my process right now is to go through my blogs and pull out those babbles because, as the blog's purpose originally mirrored the book, I have, over the years, injected a lot of my thoughts for the book into it. 

Some of the things I've pulled out so far are something of a stretch and the likelihood of their being included in the manuscript are slight, but as I never really know where I'm going until I've gotten there, it's possible that the ones I think are a stretch right now may really be taking me down a path which needs to be followed when all is said and done.  How do authors outline a story?  I can't even imagine having a complete book all figured out except for the details and dialogue!  I'm more of the "start the story and let it go where it wants to" kind of writer.

As I was reading through Writers' Digest a couple of weeks ago, the author discussed query letters and paragraphs which hook the reader.  The one thing I think I've actually accomplished in the last couple of days is to write that paragraph (not that I'm likely to leave it as-is, but I do have a start on it which makes me rather jazzed!). 

So tonight I'll do some more organizing and tomorrow, I'll try to give my brain the freedom it deserves to create without worrying about structure.  Perhaps I'll manage more than 13 lines!  (this from a woman who had promised herself, at one point, 2000 words a day!) 

I'm the type of person who typically reads three or four books at a time, jumping from one to another as my interest level dictates.  I'm beginning to wonder if, eventually, I'll be writing the same way.  I can really see me plugging along, then getting stuck on one set of characters so I use another set to clear my head. 

In the meantime, I got my gym workout in, re-stocked the cat sand and dry food and actually ate a meal today instead of just grabbing stuff out of the freezer or cupboard which could be eaten while I created!  Tomorrow I'll get a break mid-day to get my nails done and go to the gym which should leave me much fresher for the evening writing session.  (and maybe I'll avoid the blog withdrawals at the same time by waiting until tomorrow night to post again.  Of course, that will depend a lot on whether or not I have more crazy dreams tonight!)

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for 3 days of quiet time to organize, write and get my workouts in.
2. I am grateful for the company of my cats who do little more than hang close or rub against my legs when they know I'm working on something important.
3. I am grateful for air conditioning as the days are warming up again and I don't do well when I'm overheated.
4. I am grateful for epiphanies of which I've already had a couple today, and suspect there will be more over the next 2 days.
5. I am grateful for learning to avoid pointless arguments.

Love and light.

May 27, 2013 A season, a reason or a lifetime

I've always loved this quote:

" People come into our lives for a season, a reason or a lifetime"  but I think it's important to remember that we need to learn to recognize when the time comes to let the first two go.

Too often, we cling to people who are no longer good for us because there is comfort in familiarity or because we truly don't realize that what they were when they came into our lives is either no longer necessary, or no longer applies.

Years ago, in what I not-so-fondly remember as my "wallowing years", I woke up one day to discover that everyone with whom I was close had very strong negative energy surrounding them like a comforting blanket.  All of us spent a great deal of time complaining about people, events, circumstances and life in general.  No matter what happened, we saw the storm clouds, but never the silver lining.

At that moment of epiphany, I realized that my declaration when filing for divorce that life was to short to be this unhappy had not really gotten very far in the succeeding years.  But changing that meant leaving the warm, comfortable cocoon I'd woven for myself which included most of the people in my life as well.  I had to cut myself loose from several clients which meant finding a full-time job and giving up the idea of working for myself, at least for awhile.  I ended a rather turbulent relationship which, in hindsight, should have stopped before it ever started.  I distanced myself from several people I called friends, and I started dancing again on a regular basis.

During the next few years, I noticed that some relationships ended on their own.  One friend blew a situation way out of proportion and cut off communication with me.  Instead of regret, I felt relief and didn't bother to try to re-open communications.  We talk now, but only on occasion and as acquaintances, or someone we used to know rather than friends.  My dad chose to end his life, which, in hindsight I might have seen coming had I really known how sick he was.  My daughter, Jenni, moved out in the middle of the night, and cut off contact for long periods of time.  I hear from her occasionally, but when her energy gets too negative, I've learned to just pull away.  She also helped end a 20 year friendship with a woman who is the classic victim/enabler.  I see now, in hindsight, that she was in my life for a reason, but that reason had long ago ceased to exist.  When I happen to see her now, it's as if our 20 year history doesn't exist, we are so uncomfortable around each other.   She is still in her cocoon, and I am the butterfly, flying free and loving my journey!

It took me a long time to start forming new relationships as I tend to be somewhat shy and had spent too many years interacting with negative people.  I just didn't know how to develop relationships with people who are more like the me I'm becoming.  But as the butterfly emerges from her cocoon, I am slowly emerging from my emotional one and learning to talk to people more freely, but even better, to truly listen. 

I realize now that I'd learned to half listen to the people around me because I'd heard their complaints so many times that I'd practically memorized the litany.  But the people I'm comfortable with now have healthy, happy, active lives and,  as a result, have much more interesting things to talk about, and the conversation can take the most amazing twists and turns!  I have the opportunity to not only learn more about the people with whom I now associate, but to see where our paths cross and where, in our uniqueness, we choose different directions at the crossroads.  I no longer have to feign interest in what these people have to say because they are, in a word, fascinating!!! 

Right now, I don't recognize more than a couple of people who are here for a lifetime, but it may just be that I haven't finished clearing the fog from my eyes.  And frankly, it makes the journey that much more exciting, because there are new discoveries to be made around every bend!  What is especially gratifying  to me is that I find myself loved for who I am and who I can be, rather than what I can be to them!  My friends, today, know I have warts and annoying habits, but they love me in spite of (or maybe because of) those warts and annoyances.  And the ones who are truly my friends won't be afraid to tell me when I've crossed the line and inadvertently offended them.  I'm not perfect, and never will be, but as a work in progress, I hope I'll learn to be a little less abrasive as time goes on. 

In the meantime, I had put a moratorium on dating when I ended the last relationship, is it really more than 10 years ago???  I needed to work on me and I think, in that time, I've done a pretty darned good job of it!  My heart is definitely more open now, but I can't really be sure if it's ready to jump into that particular pool yet.  I can still see myself making excuses, the current one being, "I can't get involved right now as it will interfere with my writing!"  But the conscious me knows that the right person will enhance my writing and perhaps even make it easier to make the time I need.  And realizing that little fact is, in my eyes, a HUGE step! 

For now, I am enjoying the people who are in my life, and keeping the door open to allow others in as well.  I am no longer wandering the path alone, but can have company just about any time I want it, while still enjoying my time alone as well.

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful for my happy, positive lifestyle.
2. I am grateful for the new friends I've made and the ones I have yet to make.
3. I am grateful for an environment of encouragement, praise, excitement, energy and above all, activity!
4. I am grateful for 3 quiet days to write, exercise, and just be in my space.
5. I am grateful for the 338,000 words I've blogged in the last four years which enable me to finally accept the fact that whatever else I do, I need to write!

Love and light.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

May 26, 2013 Life moves on.

Both of my parents committed suicide.  Not at the same time and using different methods, but in the end, both of their death certificates indicate that they took their own lives.  It has taken me a long time to be able to say this, unemotionally, but even more, unashamedly.  I won't say I've completely come to terms with their decisions, but I will say that I've come a very long way from the initial shock, anger, disbelief and shame I felt when I learned how each of them had actually died.

Three years ago, I started writing a book about how I've come to terms with their deaths, in hopes of reaching others who have had the same experience and, hopefully, making the journey a little bit easier for the next guy.  Little did I realize that writing the book was part of my own journey which had not come as far as I chose to believe.

Today, the book has been sitting on the back burner for over two years because it started degenerating into a whiny, blame ridden piece of garbage.  But thanks to my daughter's encouragement in taking out my writing frustration in this blog, I believe I'm now in a better place to finish what I started.  I gave myself an extended long weekend, partly in honor of my 58th birthday, but partly to allow me a couple of uninterrupted days of writing.

My dear friend, Candy, who has known me since I made the bold proclamation (at the tender age of 10) that I was going to be a writer has been a driving force and a wonderful source of encouragement for several years, now..  I may have forgotten all about it, but 40+ years later, she was good enough to remind me that I had a promise to keep to myself.

Candy has probably been reading my blog longer than anyone, offering encouragement, suggestions and vast quantities of her amazing cheerleading skills, until, finally, I gave her the nickname, Miss Perky Pompoms, or MPP, for short.  I know she still expects me to make good on my promise to take her along on my first book tour, and frankly, she is best qualified to come, not only as my friend who never doubted me, but also as my PR manager, because she's so good at what she does!

She suggested, long ago, that I go back to my blog posts for inspiration because, in her opinion, I wrote a lot of what should go into the book in my blog.  The challenge, now, will be sifting through hundreds of thousands of words to find those gems!  (I've copied all of my posts through December2, 2012 into a word document, and have upwards of 220,000 words.  But I've been most prolific in the last six months, so I suspect the final number will be well into the 300,000's, if not closer to 400,000!  

Sometimes, the journey is two steps forward, one step back, and others, you go in a completely different direction for awhile.  My path has certainly been anything but straight.  I entered college as a Theatre Arts major, switched to Psychology and finally, 15 years later, graduated from a different school with a degree in Accounting.  It's not that I don't enjoy working with numbers, and I'm really pretty good at it, but it is definitely my vocation, not my passion.  Had it been my passion, I wouldn't have taken so long to get there, and would have continued on to obtain my CPA and a Master's degree, at the very least. 

But deep down, I think I always knew that it was really only a decent means of making a living.  In my current job,  I still perform the accounting and finance functions, but I also get to do something I love, even if the subject matter lacks a certain je ne sais quoi.  And writing all of the dry, technical stuff or following a set format gives me that much more reason to work on what is really closest to my heart. 

I know I'm not the first to find my heart's dream later in life, and I certainly won't be the last, but I hope that in some way I can encourage even one person to stay that path, follow that dream, and live the life they envision for themselves as a child.  That's when the blinders are off and limitations are beyond our vision, where, to be honest, they should stay forever.  Harsh reality blinds us, so often, to our true potential, and that's very sad. 

I'm reminded of a passage in one of the Mary Poppin's books when the babies are about to lose their ability to understand the birds because they've gone past the age when they just accept things without question.  ( I was going to get the actual quote, but the books I thought were safely on my shelf seem to have either disappeared or been misplaced).  At any rate, I find it tragic that we loose the ability to wonder, to dream and to believe because of something we call "reality". 

We, as parents, try to teach our children responsibility, and, I think, at times, we overdo it a bit and trample on the dreams.  I'm sure I was guilty of this with my own daughters, however good my intentions might have been.  But I won't waste time wishing that I knew then what I know now because the deed is done.  What I will do is try to get the word out to future generations that they can teach responsibility while still encouraging the dreams.

My gratitudes are:
1. I am grateful for friends who believe in me even though we lost touch for years and years, and who saw fit to remind me that, once, I dared to dream.
2. I am grateful for the time to follow a dream I let lay dormant for too many years.
3. I am grateful for inspiration drawn from any and every nook and cranny in my life.
4. I am grateful for the ability to shake off misunderstandings, miscommunications and ugliness, but keep the lesson.
5. I am grateful for children.  They teach us, annoy us, encourage us and infuriate us, but their presence can make us better people if we allow them to.

Love and light

May 25, 2013 Personal affirmations.

"I'm beautiful, sexy, sassy and delicious!"  I started using this personal affirmation after listening to a webinar a couple of years back, and I find that it never fails to make me smile.  What better way to start the day than with a smile?  How can a day possibly go down hill fast when you start it with a positive attitude!

Today was certainly not destined to disprove my theory.  Of course, how can a day which begins with a 90 minute massage possibly be bad??

As is her usual practice, my massage therapist had me draw a rune.  Today's rune was Othila which means Separation, Retreat, Inheritance.  Here is the description:

This is a time of separating paths.  Old skins must be shed, outmoded relationships discarded.  When you receive this Rune, a peeling away is called for.  Part of the Cycle of Initiation, Othila is a Rune of radical severence.  

The appropriate action here is submission and, quite possibly, retreat---knowing how and when to retreat and possessing the firmness of will to carry it out.

Real property is associated with Othila, for it is the Rune of acquisition and benefits.  However, the benefits you receive---the Inheritance---may be derived from something you must give up.  This can be particularly demanding when what you are called upon to abandon is some aspect of your behavior, a part of your cultural Inheritance.  For then you must look closely at what, until now, you have proudly claimed as your birthright.  Whether it is your attachment to your position in society, to the work you do, or even to your beliefs about your own nature, the separation called for will free you to become more truly who you are.  

Again, as usual, this rune was especially fitting, given my current place on my path.  I do, however, hope that I won't be giving up my job in the too near future, as I still have a ways to go before I get any writing projects finished, and my kitties have something against starving!

I did, however, start thinking tonight that I really needed to clear the air with a couple of people where I dance, and was mentally drafting a note of explanation if not apology.  Now, I'm rethinking that.  I'll have to put it out to the Universe to determine whether it's even a good idea. 

In the meantime, I have the rest of a busy, fun weekend ahead of me which I'll be spending with my daughter and some of our dance friends.  I'm delighted that the weather is much cooler than normal this year so the outdoor music event will be significantly more pleasant than in prior years! 

Again, I am reminded that my world, in fact, the world, is changing at almost a breakneck pace these days, and everyone can either keep up or fall off!  Even the ideas I've been having lately are coming so fast, they're running over each other and woe be to me if I don't capture them quickly enough, or they're gone!  I'm seriously considering investing in a voice activated tape recorder to capture those ideas before they disappear into the ether.  I must have had 6 great ideas for blogs or my book while I was in the shower, but only two of them finally made it to the computer!  But one of them, I believe, could be the paragraph I use in my submission letter when my book is finished!  It just screams "hook", at least from my standpoint! 

In the meantime, I'm compiling all of my blog posts into a single document so I'll be able to search for all of those gems I wrote which really need to find their way into my book, or at least a book at some point!  I've gotten up to December 2, 2012, and have over 220,000 words!  (and that is excluding the gratitudes!)  I suspect that by the time I get up to date, the number will be well into the 300,000's, conservatively speaking.  Of course, my darling daughter claims it's because I'm long winded.  But I disagree.  I just have a lot of important things to impart to my readers!  And now that my monthly average has gone from about 60 to over 1200, I have a serious responsibilty!  These thoughts were simply meant to be shared!

This evening was simply delightful!  We threw a little birthday/graduation party for a wonderful, amazing, beautiful, sexy, delicious lady and there was a total air of joy in our interactions with everyone around us.  We got lots of dancing in (thanks to our favorite DJ) who kicked it into high gear from the very beginning (I walked off the floor after the first line dance set dripping from every pore in my body!) which was especially fun because there were a lot of spectators who didn't really know from country dancing.  OK, I admit it.  I was showing off just a little, but the first set of dances was so much fun!!! 

So I did a lot of line dancing, a little two-step and a little WCS.  Overall, I think we all had a wonderful time, and are amping up for a full day of Cajun/Zydeco music and Blues tomorrow! 

Today's random act of kindness was simply to let people merge in front of me on the freeway.  Nothing very impressive, but it sure beats being a jerk and speeding up so they can't move over!

And on that note, I'd better get my gratitudes in before I POOK!

1. I am grateful for developing friendships with like minded people.
2. I am grateful for increasing camaraderie, despite tension in certain areas. 
3. I am grateful for the opportunity to perform Random Acts of Kindness.
4. I am grateful for my daughter who has grown into an amazing, thoughtful, kind, caring woman!
5. I am grateful for hugs, given and received, all day today, and I'm looking forward to more tomorrow!

Love and light

Saturday, May 25, 2013

May 24, 2013 Random acts of kindness go both ways!

A few hours ago, I had a wonderful idea for a blog topic, but I got involved in getting ready to go dancing and forgot to write it down.  So now, here I sit, topic-less.  (but I did have a wonderful time dancing tonight, so I guess there are trade-offs!) 

Sometimes, it would be nice if I could reshuffle things in my brain to bring the one thought I'm looking for to the surface.  This would also be helpful when the word I'm looking for is just on the tip of my tongue, but I can't get my tongue out of my cheek! 

This topic block could prove to be very annoying over the next few days as I have a holiday plus two vacation days and I'd planned to do some non-blog writing during that time.  If my brain is freezing now (or to be more accurate, losing things), my writing sessions could prove quite challenging.  (there I go again, having to sift through stubborn brain matter for a word!) 

I guess I shouldn't stress myself out too much over this as I've seen my blog traffic go from about 60 hits a month to over 1200 in the last few months!  If I'm not informative, I guess I must be marginally entertaining! 

(this is me, sifting through the last few hours, trying to find that errant blog topic)    "To Blog or not to Blog, that is the question.  Whether t'is nobler..."  No that wasn't it!
Illustration of a girl writer with hands on chin while thinking Stock Photo - 17430182I suppose I could steal a topic from one of my fellow bloggers and talk about random acts of kindness.  It's a subject I've found quite fascinating for awhile now.  I know that people have had "random act of kindness" days and such, but what if we got a random acts of kindness challenge going?  (please don't tell me that it's already been done.  I've heard it said that there are no original ideas any more.  The originality comes in the way you weave the story around the idea. 

What I'm thinking is that each of us makes a point of committing one random act of kindness per day.  It doesn't have to be something grand like helping a destitute mother of 8 or anything.  It can be as simple as lifting someone's spirits or giving someone with only 2 or 3 items your place in the checkout line.  How many times do you wish that bozo who just sped up as you were trying to merge onto the freeway would just give you some space? 

Someone has to set the example, so why can't we do it?  There's no doubt in my mind that if enough of us start letting people merge in front of us, take their 2 or 3 items and go ahead of us in line, and just generally realize that we don't need to be in such a hurry, the world around us will change for the better. 

I'll refer back to the Laws of Attraction, here.  If we give kindness and patience and courtesy, not only will it come back to us, but it will have a snowball effect.  There's a song which I believe is called "Chain of Love" which talks about a young man who stops to help a woman whose Mercedes has broken down.  She, in turn, over tips a very pregnant waitress.  The waitress, who was worrying about keeping the bills paid, goes home after her shift and tells her husband about the lady's generosity.  It turns out that he was the one who stopped to help her. 

My point is, if we are kind to the people around us, they will be more inclined to be kind to someone else along the way, who will, in turn, be kinder as well. 

What I am proposing is two-fold.  First, let's make an effort to do one randomly kind thing every day, and report on it.  But more important, let us report on all of the kind acts for which WE were the recipient!!!

Mine today was the other two managers at work chasing me out early to get my extended long, birthday weekend started!

What kindness was given to you today?  I'll bet you can think of at least one thing if you try!

And don't you just hate it when I start a post with a comment about not having anything to say, then go on to spout  700-800 words of "nothing"?  What can I say?  My brain runneth over (which is probably why I have so much trouble retrieving data from it!)

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for another fun night of dancing, and can't wait for two more this weekend!
2. I am grateful for 5 days of fun and frolic.
3. I am grateful for the kindness people show each other every day.
4. I am grateful that I can help ensure that peoples' kindnesses will not go unnoticed.
5. I am grateful for continued improvement to my body, mind and spirit.

Love and light.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

May 23, 2013 Changing the sleep pattern

I recently read that insufficient sleep can cause the body to retain belly fat.  As that is where I tend to carry most of my weight, I figured it was worth my while to try to alter my pattern a bit as I had gotten in the habit of staying up until 12:30 or 1:00 AM when I have to be up by 7:00.  For the last few days, I've made it a point to get to bed no later than 11:00 or 11:30.  Much to my surprise, I'm sleeping solidly until about 6:30 when I finally awaken needing to answer the call of nature.  When I stay up until 1 or even 2 sometimes, I find that I'm up every hour or two, so I don't get a full night's sleep.  I'm not sure at this point why going to bed earlier makes me sleep better, but neither I nor the cats I disturb when I get up several times during the night are complaining right now!  Dylan is quite happy to sleep, wrapped around my head, for a solid 6-7 hours without disturbance. 

So far, I've seen no major changes in my form, but it's only been a couple of days!  Even my thrice weekly jaunts to the gym take longer to show results than that!   But as every little bit helps, and if nothing else, I'm well rested, I believe I will continue as I have begun.

Tonight marks the beginning of another four days of dancing with a couple of gym workouts mixed in for variety.  The local Cajun/Blues festival is back and it looks like a large contingency of the dancers will be in attendance on Sunday (we don't want to wear ourselves out by going Saturday and miss our usual Saturday night dancing!) for music, fun, sun, dancing and delicious food!  Even better, the usual Memorial Day scorcher came early so the weekend looks to be pleasantly warm.  Bring out the sunscreen, the hats and plenty of water, and we're good to go!  Thank goodness, I'll have three more days to recuperate next week, as I'm taking a couple of vacation days as my birthday present to ME! 

I read a really wonderful post yesterday which talked about writing retreats at home.  I fully intend to make use of some of the suggestions, and hope to get a few thousand words (which are NOT garbage) added to my book between now and Wednesday.  So if my blog posts are not up to their usual standards, I hope my readers will forgive me as I use my words on another project which has been woefully neglected for some time now.  Who knows?  I might even start formulating an idea for a work of fiction (no romance novels, please.  I like to read them, but am dreadfully underqualified to actually write one!  I'll leave that to the experts like Nora Roberts and Catherine Coulter).

http://bestclipartblog.com/clipart-pics/clock-clip-art-7.jpgAs the clock ticks closer to midnight (or it would tick if I had an analog clock in the house!)  I'll stick to my latest promise to myself and wind this thing up (pun intended) so I can lay my weary head upon my pillow and soak up some zzzz's so I can tackle tomorrow's tasks and finish early in case the work day ends earlier than usual and the holiday weekend takes off with a bang and a flurry of dancing feet!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for 5 days off to play, write, relax and???
2. I am grateful for modern science which has come to the aid of one friend's daughter and another's baby cousin this week.
3. I am grateful for tomorrow's full moon which could bring some interesting surprises.
4. I am grateful for a weekend filled with dancing and friendship.
5. I am grateful that this is my massage week as all of this activity has my body craving some serious pampering!

Love and light.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

May 22, 2014 Tolerance: It isn't a one-way street.

I read an article today in which a reporter just assumed that the interviewee shared his religious beliefs and was very politely set straight as she informed him that she was an atheist.   It reminded me of an incident recently where I failed to "walk the walk".

We live in a world where peoples' beliefs are extremely diverse, where we come from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds, and where we might interface with people from a multitude of socio-economic backgrounds on a daily basis.  We enter these situations wearing all of the armor we've acquired along with our entire belief system and are not always as understanding and tolerant as we might be.

Bad enough that we don't give other people and their beliefs the respect they deserve, but too often, one side or another expects tolerance despite the fact that they remain judgmental.  Sadly, the biggest casualty in this confrontation is communication.

Our less than tolerant ways cause us to listen less and form opinions which may be wholly unjustified.   I don't mean that we stop hearing the words, but that we tune out what the other person is really trying to convey because we've shut down the listening part of our hearts. 

Since large changes begin with a single step, I'm going to take this gentle reminder as an opportunity to practice the tolerance I preach and truly listen to other people without interrupting or qualifying, but just opening my heart to what they are sharing with me.  While I don't expect to change the world with this tiny contribution, I suspect I'll see changes in my world. 

As timing is everything, this comic appeared on my wall this evening, taunting me until I promised to include it in my blog about making changes.  But seriously, folks, taking that first small step outside of your norm really can be a paradigm shift and it can be a truly enlightening experience!  But beware of falling back into your judgmental ways when someone makes a comment you disagree with. 

Tolerance is the word and requires allowance of disagreement.  In the process, you need to understand that while you're busy being tolerant and understanding and accepting, the rest of the world might well be judging you and finding you lacking according to their own personal measuring stick. 

This is the point where your tolerance will be truly tested.  Do you react because they are not offering you the same courtesy you offer them?  Do you lash out and stomp your feet?  Or do you calmly accept their right to their opinion, even if it maligns you, smile and walk away?  Clearly, getting into an argument over your disparate ways won't get you very far because both parties will stop listening, whether consciously or not.  Since your friend with the differing opinion has, in essence, already closed their mind to your viewpoint, slamming your head into a brick wall might have a better result. 

Tolerance, my friend, means knowing when to just stop talking!  And that, in a nutshell, is what I'm proposing to do.  This, then, is me, closing my mouth, and opening my heart to listen.

My gratitudes tonight are?
1. I am grateful to friends who shoe me the good, the bad and the ugly side of tolerance.
2. I am grateful for another opportunity to make an improvement in my life.
3. I am grateful for reasons to celebrate.
4. I am grateful for a reduction in aches and pains as my body becomes more fit.
5. I am grateful for nights when I wind down earlier so I get more snuggle time with my kitties.

Love and light.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

May 21, 2013 Exhausting day!

Today was one of those days which make it easy for me to go to bed much earlier than usual.  Started out with my vision acting a bit squirrely which gave me a headache.  Managed to get through the day's work and a con call but really wanted to get laundry done tonight, so I put it in earlier than normal, heated up a chicken pot pie my wonderful daughter made and brought to me on her way to work this morning, lounged in front of the TV for an hour or so with the cats, then made myself get up and make breakfasts and lunches before I found an excuse to put it off. 

It's funny, that no matter how tired I am these days, those darn habits guilt me into making sure the tasks I need to complete before sleeping get done!  And here I sit, trying to write something interesting while I'm yawning so big my head is nearly split in half! 

While driving home from work, I started thinking about the upcoming holiday weekend, which, coincidentally includes the annual Cajun/Blues music festival here in town.  It was then that I realized I wouldn't be able to go on Saturday at all due to prior commitments.  It's really just as well since I'm dancing Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.  Dancing on Saturday too would probably be just a little too much, despite the fact that my Saturday workout has to move to Sunday this week! 

Maybe that's what's making me so tired tonight.  Thinking about my full day on Saturday, working out Sunday morning and dancing on Sunday afternoon/evening!  It's a darn good thing I don't have to get up early on Monday!  (and if my daughter wants to do our Monday workout early, she's on her own!  I'll get there later in the day!)  Guess I'd better have "the talk" with Toby again!  He will be letting me sleep in, not only Monday,. but Tuesday and Wednesday as well!  I'm taking some much deserved vacation time in honor of my birthday!  My plan is to sleep in, go to the gym and work on my book! 

I apologize for the dull, dreariness of this post, but I'm literally falling asleep on the keyboard.  I'll do better tomorrow!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that I got the chores I wanted to done tonight.
2. I am grateful that I have 5 full days off work next week!
3. I am grateful for my continued progress towards a healthy, fit body.
4. I am grateful for plenty of dance time this weekend!
5. I am grateful for the warm, soft bed awaiting my weary head.

Love and light.

May 20, 2013 More on Lessons

Tonight I sat down, wondering what I was going to write, and finding nothing really earth shaking to write about, I sought inspiration on Facebook (yet again) and found this quote which a friend had shared.

It really fits in with the theme I began yesterday as I spend a lot of time talking about choices we make and the lessons we learn from those choices. 

I don't completely agree with the quote though, because I don't believe that any choices are necessarily bad, despite how they might look from the outside.  We make the best choices we can given the information at hand.  This doesn't mean they will all lead to a desired outcome, because sometimes, the outcome we get is designed to teach us something which will make us stronger and better prepared for future challenges. 

The difficult part about choices which lead to undesired outcomes is to take the lesson away and leave the pain behind.  Some of those choices, like making a wrong turn and ending up lost for a little while are easily released and often even laughed off.  But others, like choosing a contractor for my remodel have longer reaching ramifications and the most difficult part of letting them go is to stop blaming ourselves or cursing our poor judgement and figure out what the lesson was so we can walk away, better for the experience. 

When we fail to learn, those choices will keep haunting us until we finally figure it out and are able to move forward again.  In the case of my remodel, I have forgiven myself, but I'm a bit gun shy right now and have been putting off making some calls to get things moving again.  I think part of that is simply fear of making another choice which won't yield the desired results.  But that can be overcome by continuing to educate myself, and ensure that I have full disclosure as well as many references from the people I finally do hire.  I'm also realizing that the job is best broken up into smaller pieces and have actually gotten some things done along the way.  Granted, the house looks a bit like a war zone at the moment, but the ugly, dirty, smelly carpet is gone as is the room shrinking brick on the living room and entry walls.  Small things, perhaps, but definitely progress. 

I hope I can stand as an example to others to put aside the fear of making a bad decision, weigh the options and pick a direction.  And just because the direction you choose doesn't take you where you thought you wanted to go, it just might take you someplace even better! 

So, my friends, go forth and make choices!  You won't get anywhere by standing still, and there are many adventures to be had, just by taking that first step!  So, go forth and make choices, and may the Force be with you!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that I can find inspiration in quotes shared by my friends.
2. I am grateful for the things I've learned when my choices have gone astray.
3. I am grateful for another week of regular workouts which are making me feel much stronger, and as an added bonus, getting rid of some of those pesky aches and pains!
4. I am grateful for the calming effects of an after gym snuggle with my kitties.
5. I am grateful for new friends I'm making through the Ultimate Blog Challenge extension.

Love and light.

Monday, May 20, 2013

May 19, 2013 A time for lessons

It seems, over the last few weeks (ok, so it took me awhile to acknowledge it) that the Universe has determined that it is time to reintroduce a couple of my least favorite lessons.  Of course, if I'd just learn them and move on, they wouldn't BE my least favorite lessons, but my stubborn nature seems to require repeated whacks to my head in these areas, for some reason.  In fact, I'd say that the physical pain has, thus far, been insufficient in convincing me to just learn and move on!

The lessons in question include one in particular, and that one is patience.  I am, by my own admission, one of the least patient people I know.  My lack of patience is only rivaled by my ultra sensitive bullshit meter, and in the last couple of weeks, both have been tested to the breaking point (my bullshit meter has been out for repairs but they seem to be experiencing difficulty obtaining a crucial part!).  I have received several tests of late, as people who particularly annoy me are thrust into my path, and frankly, I'm failing miserably.  If this was a college course, the professor would have taken me aside by now to tell me that there was no possible way I could pass this course, and that I should consider dropping it until I'm better prepared to fulfill the stringent requirements.

But it is not a college course and, as with most things in life, there is a reason for me to learn, so learn I must.  But I don't have to LIKE it!!!

One of the traits I most value in other people (and definitely in myself) is honesty.  I can smell insincerity a mile away and it just grates on my nerves!  I can handle honest emotion, be it painful or pleasurable, and I can respect someone who puts a good face on rather than be "woe is me-ing" all over the place.  But save me from those who shake your hand, kiss your cheek and smile, all the while shooting daggers or talking crap behind your back.  Keep me far away from the glad handers and the propaganda spinners, the politicians in non-political jobs, the folks who have to try to make everyone like them by telling them what they want to hear, buying those who can be sold, and otherwise being about as sincere as a used car salesman.

But as with everything, it is not for me to control other people, but for me to control my own reactions to them.  I don't have to like or respect them, I simply have to remove their ability to piss me off or cause me to react in any manner. 

So, is the lesson really in patience and controlling my bs meter, or in controlling my reactions to other people and situations by understanding that what they do is theirs and theirs alone, not for me to react or judge or be emotional about?  I guess I'll explore that question in the days ahead.

In the meantime, dear readers, I'll put this question to you.  Do you have any lessons which keep repeating in your lives?  Are there concepts, the mastery of which, continue to elude you, despite your best efforts?  And if so, how do you adjust your behaviour such that the lessons ARE mastered and you move on to better things?

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for opportunities to learn.
2. I am grateful for inspiration from my friends.
3. I am grateful for opportunities to better understand myself,
4. I am grateful for improvements in leaving my comfort zone.
5. I am grateful for increasing clarity in expressing and going after what I truly want.

Love and light.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

May 18, 2014 Why I dance, Part II

Why do I dance?  To those who know me, this might seem like a question with an obvious answer, but in truth, there's a lot more to it. 

I remember reading the Peanuts comic strip as a child, and could never keep from smiling when I saw a picture like this one of Snoopy dancing with wild abandon, his joy apparent for all the world to see.  And this was, whether I realized it at the time or not, exactly where I wanted to be.

As I child, I was a major klutz.  I couldn't even walk across a room without tripping over my feet (and they have always just been average sized).

Until the great school psychologist fiasco, I don't think my mother thought much of it, figuring that eventually I'd grow out of it, or learn to deal with it after receiving my share of bumps and bruises.  But tell a young mother that her 5-year-old daughter is developmentally disabled because she has not yet learned how to skip, and suddenly, the klutziness takes on epic proportions.

Enter, Lee's School of Dance, where I had my first experience with dancing and pretty costumes.  I admit it.  I was hooked!  Granted, I didn't always like going to dance class because, frankly, Lee was not the most patient of women when it came to trying to work with the attention span of a group of 5 and 6-year-old girls.  (is anyone really ready for that challenge?)  But she did manage to teach us plie, releve, tour jete and a few other hard to pronounce ballet moves.  But what I really loved was tap.  How could you not love tap when, with ever step, your feet made noise?  I loved the time step and wings and of course, Shuffle off to Buffalo.  In fact, I was able, later in life, to resurrect some of these skills when I took up clogging.  But that's a story for another day.

What came out of my mother's attempt to teach me grace was my insatiable love of dancing, which, when not satisfied with regular doses, has been known to bring on depression, weight gain and full blown crankiness!  What did NOT come out of this was grace.  To this day, I still trip over or step on my own feet.  I still run into desks, walls, beds, doors or anything else that has the audacity to get in my way (the cats don't count because they get in the way intentionally so that I have to pick them up and comfort them, sneaky little devils!)  I have even been known, while walking barefoot and carrying a load of school books, to walk across a perfectly dry quad, only to manage to find the only puddle in the place, just as I drop the books! 

I finally accepted the fact that I was just not meant to be graceful, although I know it was one of the many ways I disappointed my mother.  Poor woman never did get the graceful, ladylike, doctor marrying daughter she so desperately wished for. 

Over the years, I learned that as long as I danced on a regular basis, I was a happy, reasonably well adjusted person.  But take away my dancing for any reason, and I slid slowly into the depths of despair.  (ok, maybe not that bad, but it sure sounds good, doesn't it?  Has a really gloomy ring to it!)  I can honestly say that, as I didn't dance much in the last few years of my marriage, part of my low self-esteem and lack of joy was directly attributed to that missing element. 

So I danced my way through my mother's death and my divorce, raising two headstrong daughters by myself and some pretty high pressure jobs.  At least I did until the girls' activities started taking up the time I would normally spend dancing.  And that's really where the trouble  began.  The less I danced, the sadder I got and the sadder I got, the more I ate and the more I ate, the less I exercised...do you see where I'm going with this?  I became a lazy, cranky, depressed blob who believed that everyone was against her and was in serious "woe is me" land! 

As I detest "woe is me" land and am particularly hard on those professional victims out there, I was pretty much despising myself by then.  But I was very fortunate that a girl friend got me dancing again, and the more I danced, the better I ate, and the better I ate, the more energy I had, and the more energy I had, the more I lost weight...until now, I've gotten myself back into the gym routine 3 times a week, I'm dancing 3-4 nights a week, and am dancing more dances and more hours as the days go by. 

So, to take poetic license with a current country song, "The more I dance, the more I dance"  and it's all good!  Which is an excellent segue into the latest quote I'm sharing with you tonight:

I am living proof that, when I stopped dancing, I was disheartened, dispirited and depressed.  I stopped singing and I definitely lost that sense of enchantment. 

I realize that everyone's trigger isn't the same as mine.  You might prefer singing or long walks in nature.  But whatever it is that keeps you in your joy will invariably also keep you singing, dancing and being enchanted as well.  Magic is hard to see when you're wallowing in the depths of despair!  But when you're sparkling, magic is everywhere! 

For me, when I am sparkling, my sense of smell is stronger, I notice little things, colors are brighter and jokes are funnier! 

Even on a night like tonight when I wasn't completely "up" when I left for the club.  One of my friends who I often say is the brother I never had, started teasing me as soon as he walked in.  I'm sorry, but there is just no way I can stay at anything resembling a low point when he starts ribbing me.  I just HAVE to give it back, much to the amusement of his wife!  Even his entreaties that she jump to his defense fall on deaf ears as she sits back to enjoy the show!  And tonight was no exception.  Within minutes, he had me laughing and the rest of the evening was a blast!  The music was good, the dances, the ones we loved.  We were all sweaty and gross by the time we left, but we also had huge smiles on our faces. 

So, my friends, dance like nobody's watching, love like you've never been hurt, sing like you don't need the money, because if it comes from the heart, it will always work!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for my mother's misguided attempt to teach me grace.
2. I am grateful for my wonderful, crazy, witty friends.
3. I am grateful that I am becoming stronger and healthier.
4. I am grateful for sunny weekends with many opportunities to be out in the sunshine.
5. I am grateful for so many opportunities to find my joy.

Love and light.

Friday, May 17, 2013

May 17, 2013 The Blessing of Friendship

I am blessed with some amazing, inspirational friends who are an endless source of positive energy.  But I am well aware that maintaining that positive outlook is like a relationship, it requires constant attention and effort.

To that end, I share this quote which was posted by one of those friends today.  A friend who, I know, has faced her own personal challenges and has triumphed because, no matter what life throws at her, she never gives up!  And in not giving up, she has attracted things which help her along the way, whether it is moral support, an extra dose of strength, encouragement, a caring family who recognized that all she needed was a leg up and she would do the rest. 

And she is truly right where she needs to be, doing what she loves, enjoying every moment with a child like wonder.  She is herself, completely, gloriously and unashamedly and the more I get to know her, the more blessed I know I am to have her in my life.

The fact is, we all have the potential to be like her, but we tend to close up when a choice we make doesn't turn out perfectly.  We take fewer chances because we're afraid of making mistakes.  But as I see it, there are no mistakes.  The choices we make which don't turn out as we'd planned are there for a reason. 

It may be that we weren't really ready for the perceived success of our plans yet.  It may be that there were a few more twists in our road and lessons to be learned before we could truly benefit from the outcome we envisioned.  Or it could be that the outcome we envisioned wasn't really in our best interests, and we needed to stumble, maybe even fall, and pick ourselves up again a few more times before we had a clearer picture of where we needed to go. 
But whatever the reason for a choice gone "wrong", the real key is to continue making those choices, learning from the outcomes, making new choices with the wisdom we've gained, and moving forward on our path.  And above all, remember that there are no wrong choices.  Each one we make and the resulting outcome are there for a reason.  Despite how it may look, each one brings us closer to our goal, to our destiny, our passion, our dream. 

Before we could run we had to learn to walk.  Before we could speak, we had to become familiar with how the language sounded.  How can we expect to achieve our dreams until we do the legwork first?    Or, like a business, you can't expect to be successful until you've learned how to run the business, the rules, the opportunities, the risks and how to measure your risks and put things in place to mitigate those risks.  You don't just launch a new product without, at the very least, finding out if anyone else is already selling it.  You don't take on a $100,000 a week payroll without the means to pay your employees even if your customers are paying slowly. 

Even with the best of preparations, though, you're going to encounter unexpected challenges.  You can't plan for every possible outcome because too many factors are out of your control.

So what do you do?  You build your network of friends, family and even acquaintances.  You learn from all of them.  Each one, even the ones you disagree with on some level, have something to teach you.  But even more important, you learn how to look at a seemingly unwanted outcome and, instead of seeing a failure, you look for the opportunity, the lesson..the phoenix rising from the ashes. 

Like the phoenix, you find the strength within yourself and draw some from those around you.  You take what you have learned and burn away all of the excess, the frustration, the pain, feelings of failure, and you come back leaner, stronger, smarter and better knowing that with each step back, you've taken ten steps forward and that, ultimately, whether it feels that way or not, you truly are closer to your goal than you were before. 

Although my day is not finished, and my normal practice is to post late at night, I'm feeling like I've said what I needed to here, so I'm going to end with my gratitudes and post this early.  Should additional inspiration hit before the day ends, I will likely just post again.

My gratitudes are:

1. I am grateful for the inspiration and energy my friends offer.
2. I am grateful for open windows.
3. I am grateful for unending possibilities and magic.
4. I am grateful for keeping up with my workout goals.
5. I am grateful for the way my world is expanding and I'm learning from more and more people in completely different situations.

Love and light.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

May 16, 2013 Finding our "Just Right" and releasing our "Just Right Now"

Oh, yes!  This is my life!!!
I am happy to say that I've finally learned to just laugh at it all and have had so many examples of things happening for a reason that I could be the poster child! 

We often moan and groan when something ends, be it a job, a relationship, a phase in our lives...  But have you ever taken the time to look back at a few of these seeming crises to see what happened afterwards?

I have to say that in every single one of my endings was an opportunity I would have certainly missed had I still been in the old situation. 

Sometimes, we hold on to something that is only ok so tightly that the Universe has to literally take a crowbar to us to loosen our grip of something we're only settling for.  There's a line from a Clint Black song that, once I heard it years ago, I really took to heart in relation to every aspect of my life.

"She doesn't want a love she can live with, she wants a love she can't live without."

Too often, we stay somewhere comfortable even though we know something is missing.  We're afraid to step outside of our comfort zone and into what knocks our socks off, preferring to just wear those comfy, worn out socks until they're practically falling off of our feet!   We almost need warning signs complete with flashing red lights saying:  "WARNING!!!  You're entering the rut zone!  Save yourself!  Let go now before you become a part of the landscape!  Find your joy!  Run, Sing, Dance, Fly!!!"  

It's like dancing.  Most of the time, I dance with people who are comfortable and fun, but every so often, I'll step into someone's arms and skyrockets go off!  There's an amazing connection and we move together as if we've been dancing for years!  Those are the times I wish the dance could go on forever, and I'll look for that particular partner for a few weeks, trying to regain that amazing connection.  So far, I haven't found one that continues, but once the feeling is felt, you know that, somewhere, sometime, that connection will occur, not just on the dance floor, but in that all night conversation you both hate to end, in the shared interests and the ability to be more than the sum of your parts when you're together. 

The same is true of a job, a home...anything in your life which has the potential to make you glow with happiness. 

We all know people who cling to their past, despite the fact that even the most casual observer can see that it is doing them more harm than good.  But the past is their security blanket.  They understand it.  They can control it.  There are no surprises.  It doesn't change because everything that was going to happen already did.    And worse, they completely miss the lessons they were intended to learn!

Imagine piling all of those old memories and behaviours into a boat, taking one last look and casting the boat adrift.  You wish them no ill, but it's time they moved on and time for you to move on as well.  By now, even the lessons have either been learned or they haven't, and in the latter case, they will come back in some other form anyway.

In my experience, decluttering my memories is at least as cathartic as decluttering my environment, and often moreso! 

But for tonight, I'm going to imagine that boat and load it up with a few stray things which are unsettling me tonight.  Once loaded, I shall bid farewell to those unsettling thoughts, leaving lots of room for my dreams and goals and joyful moments.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for challenging days as they make me appreciate the easy ones.
2. I am grateful for examples of arrogance as they make me remember to be humble.
3. I am grateful for imperfections because they remind me to appreciate the little things.
4. I am grateful for ugliness because it reminds me that there is more in the world that is beautiful.
5. I am grateful for quiet nights at home after long, crazy days out in the world.

Love and light.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

May 15. 2013 Degeneration or change of perspective?

I have a number of tv shows on my DVR, Bones, NCIS, NCIS L.A., Castle, Leverage, Rissoli and Isles...all of them, in one way or another, dealing with solving a puzzle with each episode.  I enjoy the watching the story unfold as clues are connected or technology is used to twist and turn the viewer's mind until the solution is revealed.

But lately, both Bones and NCIS L.A. seem to have found new lows in the realms of both evil and cruelty to the point where I don't even want to watch them any more, which leads me to wonder whether they were always this bad, or is my perspective changing such that I am becoming less tolerant of human cruelty, both mental and physical, even though I know it is just acting, as a form of entertainment? 

There is, of course, another possibility:  I may be tiring of TV in general but am opting out, one show at a time.  I stopped watching Once Upon a Time ages ago, though I have quite a few episodes on my DVR.  My kids keep asking me to catch up so they can talk about it, but I have, so far, been disinclined to start watching again.

My life has become busier now that I've added in a regular gym schedule.  More activities seems to attract more activities.  I insist on finding time to write every day, even if, so far, it's mainly just this blog, and I've started going dancing after my workout on Friday nights.  This really cuts TV viewing time down and forget vegging in front of the one eyed monster on weekends!  There are way too many things I'd rather do!

Whatever the main reason for my reduction in TV viewing might be, I know it's all for the good.  It fits well into my intention to live healthier on so many levels!  Although I must admit that the furballs are less than pleased with this change of habits.  TV time was their time to snuggle and fight over my lap!  These days, they spend more time headbonking my legs while I sit at my computer, or climbing on my lap in an ultimately vain attempt to get between me and my keyboard.  Scooby and Munchkin have learned to drape themselves over my left shoulder which allows them to get attention and me to continue to type.

All of this ruminating leads me to wonder:  have other peoples' TV viewing habits changed in the last year or so?  Are you watching more?  Less?  Different kinds of shows than you did in the past?  And if less, how are you occupying the time you used to spend in front of the tube?  Enquiring minds want to know!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for improved social awareness.
2. I am grateful for a routine filled with healthier habits.
3. I am grateful for communication.
4. I am grateful for shows of consideration in frequent and unexpected places.
5. I am grateful for inspiration.

Love and light.

May 14, 2013 It was bound to happen again eventually...

After days of lengthy, action packed posts, it has finally come back around.  The dreaded empty brain!  It's not that I'm not still making endless lists of things I need to take care of.  I simply don't have anything really earth shaking (saying that quietly, given the history of earth shaking in this area!) to impart to you tonight.

What this means to you, dear readers, is that I must resort to something I was accused of doing last night, and that is to let my fingers disconnect from my brain while they run rampant over the keyboard. 

DISCLAIMER:  I take no responsibility for what follows as it is a case of fingers gone wild with no adult supervision.

The body is quite satisfied with the latest habit to be formed, but as is always the case when success is achieved, it is already delving into the depths in search of another mountain to climb (figuratively speaking).  Where, then, can improvement be made, a goal set and a challenge offered?  My first thought is to try to get to bed earlier, but I dismiss that thought as simply ridiculous.  My current schedule is working, despite the fact that my sleep pattern is currently running about 6 hours a night.  But I determined, long ago, that that is optimum for me.  More and I drag myself through the day and less finds me looking for opportunities to close my eyes and power nap. 

So I find myself on the horns of a dilemma (and if you have ever seen one of those guys up close, it is hardly a comfortable or warm, fuzzy place to find oneself!), knowing that there is another habit just waiting to be formed if only I could see what lies before me! 

Sadly, it appears that even the fingers are not in an amok running mood tonight, so this one will be short if not sweet. And so, I shall sleep, perchance, to dream of my next habit forming endeavor.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for new habits to form.
2. I am grateful for abundant prosperity to go with my newly done, money green nails.
3. I am grateful for new opportunities to write.
4. I am grateful for improvements in communication.
5. I am grateful for cooperative efforts.

Love and light.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

May 13, 2013 Scrambled eggs? No scrambled thoughts!

A friend of mine posted this for me today.  I find the words both inspiring and comforting and right now, I can use all of both that I can get!

I have decided that I must really be in a turmoil over something, as, whenever I closed my eyes last night and today, my vision was filled with a whole passel of something or other.  First it was white bunnies with pink edged ears.  Then it was little yellow ducklings.  By today, it was just a bunch of disembodied eyes, peering owlishly out at me. 

But at least I can say that going to the gym on my specified days has become, believe it or not, a truly welcome habit, especially after a really Monday kind of Monday!  I actually kind of dawdled through my workout tonight.  Heather hadn't slept well and chose to skip the workout, so I was on my own.  I stuck my bluetooth in my ear, turned on my "Red Solo Cup" radio station on Pandora and went through my routine. 

Saturday's workout had alerted me to the fact that I needed to increase the weight now, but even the 5 or 10 pound increases were only slightly more challenging than the old weight was last week.  Are my muscles remembering their former strength?  Is that even possible?  I've heard of muscle memory, but I don't think that's quite what they had in mind when coining the phrase.  But frankly, I'll take improvement any way I can get it, and stronger muscles means that many more fat burning organisms in my body which will make it, and me by default, that much more efficient. 

While talking to co-workers today about the pool we formed to buy Powerball tickets, which, of course raises the question "what would you do if you won?", I found myself saying, "All I really need is about 80 hours a month of side work billed at $100-125 an hour.  I'd spend the rest of my time writing!"  But I do have to take a moment to imagine the possibilities if I was fortunate enough to win my share of the $350 million plus.  Here are my top 10, not in any particular order:

1. Finish the remodel on my house and give it to the kids.
2. Buy another house for me that has all of the things I've imagined, or just have one remodeled to include it all!   (Maybe even the writer's retreat I have been imagining lately)
3. Make a large bequest to Cat House on the Kings
4. Invest enough to keep me comfortable even if the remote possibility occurs and I don't have a book or ten on the New York Times best seller list (not that I give this even a modicum of a chance!).
5. Set up a trust fund for Heather, Mathom and their future human children.
6. Join a writer's group and attend workshops and conventions.
7. Take a trip to DC with the kids.
8. Make sure that I pay everything off and am debt free.
9. Hire a personal trainer to help get me back in shape more quickly.
10. Write, write, write, write write!

OK, so it isn't overly extravagant or imaginative, but frankly, my needs are pretty simple.  I'm not one for expensive clothes, rooms full of shoes or pricey jewelry (in fact, wearing anything that's too expensive just makes me nervous!).  I would just like the time and the space to do what makes me happiest.  My dream house would have to have a dance studio which would be used both for dancing and working out.  My cats would have rooms with lots of things to climb on and a catio where they could go to safely get some air.
I might have a second house in the mountains or a less populated beach town where I could go to be alone and write (although Dylan would have to learn to travel as he would have to go with me on at least some of my jaunts!)

But returning to the turmoil in my brain.  I've had to forcibly remind myself to stop making lists of things I need to do so my mind would stop going off on tangents.  Not that I've been wholly successful, but I was able to reign things in long enough to have a very nice, 40 minute meditation this afternoon.  (and surprisingly, my mind is calm, focused and much less active right now.  I'm not sure if it was from the exercise, the meditation or if things have finally settled into a more comfortable pace.)

I love reading Deb Dutilh's blog as she always gives amazing advice.  Her recent post on lucid dreaming really made me sit up and think.  Many times, a dream just rambles on, and I find myself stepping outside of it and just observing.  It hadn't occurred to me, at least until I read her post, that, at the point where I step outside of the dream, I can also take control of it's direction, or demand clarification of the message the dream is supposed to impart.  Just think!  No more guesswork!  If the message isn't clear, stop the show and demand a clear explanation of what is expected!  I can't wait to give it a try!!!

Now that I've traveled from one end of the conversational spectrum to another (I did say that yesterday's post was a gift, and it was also only the briefest of respites from the labyrinth I refer fondly to as my brain.) I will give my wonderful readers a break and bring tonight's ADHD experience to a blessed end.  (although I do want to exclaim joyfully that my blog which had about 4200 hits before I started the UBC in April is now up to almost 6600!  I can't thank my readers enough for taking the time for stopping in to see what's running through my brain!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that I have ample time to write.
2. I am grateful that I have ample time to exercise my body.
3. I am grateful for my wonderful readers!
4. I am grateful for the strength that is rapidly returning to my muscles (and my knees are even more grateful!)
5. I am grateful for inspiration that continues to flow unchecked.

Love and light.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

May 12, 2013 Giving you a sanity break

Y'all get a break from my whacked out dream world tonight.  Call it my Mother's Day present to you!

I was going to avoid the cliche and not mention the Day in my post, but my daughter and son-in-law gave me such a lovely one that I just had to share my gratitude for such great kids!  Dinner was yummy, and the movie they brought over to watch, The Hobbit, was really good!  I got my grocery shopping done somewhat early and got some new workout clothes on sale and with another 20% off at Kohl's (This 3 day a week thing is taxing my stock of cooler workout clothes!  I found that anything longer than bermuda short length and anything other than a sleeveless shirt was so hot it was uncomfortable!) so now I can keep up with my workouts without running out of appropriately cool clothes!

Was it only a few short weeks ago that I could actually spend an entire Sunday in my pajamas, drinking coffee, futzing on the computer, meditating and reading?  Was it only a few months ago that I could actually sleep as late as 11 on that same Sunday?  Boy, have the times changed!  It was all I could do to sleep until 8:30 this morning!  I woke up around 7, looked at the clock and said, "I have to sleep a little later after threatening to lock Toby out if he didn't let me sleep in!"   and managed another hour.  Sheesh!  Those endorphins seem to have taken up permanent residence in my body and have taken running amok to new levels of insanity.  (and speaking of insanity, maybe I'm ready for that workout now!)

A mere 3 weeks ago, I was perfectly happy to work out on Friday night, then come home and veg for the rest of the evening.  Now it's work out, come home and clean up, grab a quick bite to eat and go dancing.  Not only that, when I last tried to dance 4 nights in a row, I had to really pace myself by that fourth night!  Not so, this week!  I danced a lot, and, in fact, started stiffening up if I sat too long!  Moving is definitely better!

One of my fellow bloggers wrote a wonderful post this week about dreaming your biggest dreams and really making them happen.  Upon reading her post, I may not have consciously set my sights as high as she suggested, but I was getting there anyway!  (although I do have that being on the New York Times best seller list thing going for me, and I did promise my friend Candy that she could join me on my book signing tour!)

Meanwhile, I have found happiness, and find that it's better when you give it away.  That is not to say that every day is perfect and wonderful, but as the saying goes, it's not so much finding things that make you happy, but being happy with the things you find.  I'll add to it that, eventually, when you are so busy practicing happy, happiness just hunts you down.

While I was out shopping today, I found myself smiling at people and having them smile back.  We didn't need a reason. It was a beautiful, sunshiny day and Trader Joe's was selling lots of beautiful flowers destined for somebody's mom.  Why not be happy and smiling?  And so, I will close this little happiness diatribe with a song from my childhood:

The time to be happy is now.
And the place to be happy is here.
And the way to be happy is to make others happy
And to have a little heaven down here!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that my habits are yielding results beyond my wildest imagination.
2. I am grateful to be changing the habits that involved sitting around at night, watching tv and being lazy.
3. I am grateful that I am able to spread some of my happiness around.
4. I am grateful that I will soon have to come up with another new habit to make.
5. I am grateful for my first book on the New York Times best seller list.

Love and light.