Did I Do This?

The product you have in front of you is the result of years of practice. If you like what you see, keep going. Otherwise, it’s never too late for improvement.

Feel the breeze. Notice what you like and enjoy it. Make it happen again.

Permit yourself to be happy today. I have not always allowed myself to enjoy my current progress. I wasn’t where I needed to be yet. How will I ever appreciate more if I can’t see today’s beauty?

Today, find your sunshine.

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Softness Is Your Strength

Were you the child who was always helpful? Did you share your pudding cup or cut your sandwich in half when you saw someone who didn’t have any lunch. You noticed. Kindness wasn’t only a word for you. It was a reflex. You gave. Keep it up.

Nikita Gill

You opened your heart to people who lost everything and needed clothing and shelter. There have been floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, fires, and loss of all kinds. You gave. These are challenging times in which we live. Your gift was a comfort, and to some, you might have been their light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t lose heart. Keep the fire of love burning.

You’re beautiful people.

Do We Create or Channel?

I look back at work I wrote a year ago, and I don’t recognize it as my own. Yes, I know the piece. I wrote it. The characters are mine, and the art is authentic, but sometimes as if another person works through me.

I DO ME

Flow is the place we aspire to be. It’s a surfer’s dream. To lose the struggle and only know exhilaration and glory, man! That’s the ideal. We all want that, don’t we? Then why do I white knuckle it?

Losing control is not a feeling I enjoy. When I was younger, the coasting downhill on my bike was good. Not flying through the air and losing my sense of direction. But in my fear I find release. There’s a comfort—An “Oh dear gawd I’m going to die—Okay maybe not.” And relief that I didn’t. All is alright. It’s a time when I learned to let go of me.

The greatest benefit of being a solo performer is that it is seriously frightening, but at the same time very empowering. It’s just you and the audience. All the weight is on you to deliver the songs.

Zola Jesus

CRUNCH TIME

Some of the things I’ve done which scared the shit out of me, I leaped into them fully, feet first. I had an idea and started. Once I painted my kitchen cabinets. Yes, I researched the hows. I bought supplies. But I had no experience. I took the first step, then the second. Sometime in the middle, I realized there was no turning back. I was committed. I would finish this project. It’s at these junctures when you turn the music loud and get to work.

Holy

There’s a part of me still trying to prove she’s okay. The good employee. The daughter who loves her parents. But dammit I keep failing even those. Good is a lie. And honestly, my boss doesn’t want me to be kind. She wants a result.

There’s an ugly side of being too eager. In the middle of being the best is a gooey center of false perfection. For a goddamn moment, you think you’ve reached nirvana until reality slaps you in the face. All of the meatless meals and chanting won’t keep your lungs free from exhaust fumes. We work as we are able, living in as much grace as we are given.

One of my favorite YouTube creators recently shared that he is doing the 75hard challenge. I’d not heard of it before, so I went on the website to learn. It is WORK. If you want to feel you’re accomplishing something, here’s a plan for you. 

The Challenge:

Do 5 things a day for 75 days. No excuses, no stopping, no missing anything. If you miss something, or cheat, you go back to day 1!

  1. Strict Diet – No Cheating, not even one bite, and No Alcohol!
  2. Two Workouts per Day – At least one outside and both at least 45 minutes each
  3. Drink One Gallon of Water per Day – Nothing but clear, plain water counts
  4. Read Ten Pages per Day – Non-Fiction self help or business book
  5. Take a Progress Picture Every Day

On display

We wear badges and gather tokens without realizing it. I accumulated my own display and allowed them to become my story. Look at me, they say. Like certificates on a wall, I displayed my trauma, my failure, and my illness as if they were the only parts which had a right to speak. But there are other pieces, the loving and healthy portions, which had every right to be heard.

Society is complicated, and so are the problems we’ve inherited. And yes, I said inherited. I doubt any of you created the homeless situation or understand the dynamics of solving it. For more info read The History of Homelessness in the United States. If the solutions were clear, they would have been done. Instead, the homeless are hidden from sight, bused from one city into another, herded like zombies in The Walking Dead. No one has a fix.

I question whether trauma takes an emotional toll on society’s collective soul if there is such a thing. I’m speculating. What would that look like? Anxiety and unrest? Anger issues?

Let me know what you think in the comments below. What are your opinions on society? Have you tried the 75Hard? I would love to hear your stories.

Excerpt from BEING STRONG

Just the Taste

Earlier, I was eating an apple and enjoying it. I was just eating the apple, nothing else, and it was delicious. The Crunch. The Juice. It was a delicious apple. So much of my eating has become a duty. Just enjoying good food is difficult because we are all so uptight about eating healthy and not overeating. I’m right there in the mix of it also. Sitting down to eat a whole gallon of ice cream isn’t enjoying it. That’s a compulsion.

Documenting my food intake is entirely not my style. Of course like everything I do, I volley between a strict watch to eating whatever I want. Until I get in sync with my body though, I feel I need to be aware of what I’m doing. My main problem is when I start to watch, I also begin to grade. I judge.

Surely there’s a better way of staying healthy. A relaxed way. Somehow to respect ourselves and respect our food. With honor.

– excerpt from Being Strong
Find it on Amazon http://tiny.cc/1s4cbz

Boundaries and Bandaids

A friend of mine recently had a baby. It’s one of those smell the roses occasions when family and friends gather. And there together we hold a precious new life. That baby, who moments ago just forced it’s way out of its mother’s body with such ferocity to cause most women to scream was sound asleep. Some women curse and have such a personality change during childbirth their partners don’t even recognize them. Bringing the now docile tiny creature into its new environment was a fierce activity. Both mother and child become war partners together.

From the moment we are born, we have jumped into the mix that we call life. If you believe in reincarnation, then your birth was part of the big circle, and possibly a choice you made. If not, this is your one shot life! Either way, we all have a birth.

Life is full of trouble, step in that shit! -not the Buddha

With birth comes the family. If yours is like mine, it’s quite imperfect. And sometimes actually violent. They might show up drunk to your wedding or set you up with potential dates so you won’t be lonely. My mom pretends not to understand what I’m saying. I honestly thought she didn’t remember stuff or was deaf for the longest time, and now I’m guessing she was playing her form of gaslighting. Why It’s So Hard to See This Form of Childhood Abuse

As adults, we have a few bruises to our psyche. Life is the ultimate obstacle course that taught us how to drive, and we know of nothing different. We develop quirks to help us cope. Keep your mouth shut and don’t tell the family secrets. Always clean your plate. Be polite. Don’t talk back. Hypersensitivities usually develop when children are traumatized at a young age. You might say some are trained to be fully aware of their surroundings.

Listen to your life. Listen to what happens to you, because it is through what happens to you that God speaks. It’s in language that’s not always easy to decipher, but it’s there, powerfully, memorably, unforgettably

      – Frederick Buechner

The strategies that made us are not the best thing to keep us healthy. We need to put away our childhood coping methods. The new software is required. We must learn new ways of caring for ourselves.

Your best protection isn’t cowering indoors. That’s a recipe for insanity. I know you’re familiar with stories of people who have tried such things — the crazed few. Knowing your truth is your salvation. What makes you smile and brings you joy? Find a way to grow your will power. Do something for yourself every day. Yes, it’s right for you to be selfish sometimes. Keeping boundaries and healing starts with your core. Begin by building your values, and your limits will follow.

Portals and Spells

Magic isn’t candles and herbs. Enchantment whispers telling us we’re beautiful. And all things are possible. Or the opposite. It stops us where we stand to make us forget how dazzling we are. Someone else is prettier. All that was brilliant clunks like a piano out of tune. Ugly. We are ugly.

Trauma is a gateway

I watched a YouTube video to help me line up with the Universe. That’s a good thing, right? It’s the current “The Secret” guru-ish Vudu spell casting thing. But this one hit me at the wrong moment, and I was in the worst mood. Triggered. What the video was trying to say was, “Do these things, and you will be in a better position to receive.” It was good advice. Only, I heard, “You’re a fuck up. You can’t get it right.” This is bad magic. It’s the hurt that runs through the veins of scarred people and causes us to warp the words of others. The piano is out of tune, and it’s not our fault. Something is twisted, scarred, bent or broken, and we are a little off-balance.

There are ways of relearning, but it takes time and dedication. We must be patient with ourselves. It’s essential to surround ourselves with loving friends. Those who are kind are the only ones who should be allowed to stay. If you’ve made it this far in life, you deserve good friends. Let go of people who are cruel or who don’t support you. Learn to lean on those who are good. Remember you are probably better than think you are. Your vision is usually skewed. I know mine is.

Support

A good resource for healing – Spartan Life Coach Richard Grannon has been both a martial arts instructor and trauma counselor. His style is easy going. He knows his stuff.

Always Well Within Blog lists several good books

Kris Godinez deal mostly with abuse but also with trauma. She’s blunt and a straight forward person. She’s a writer and public speaker.

Chronic Pain

People talk of spoons. You only have so many spoons a day. To some, this makes no sense. Why spoons? What about being poor with no credit cards. No cash. And your tire is busted. You don’t have $10.00 bucks and some lint in your pocket. There’s not a credit card to charge it on because you can’t get one.

The story of pain is about restrictions. Woven inside it’s barbs are reminders to go slower. Ease up on the anger. And always remember to rest.

Another way of understanding pain is to know there’s something always in your field of vision. It’s like a floppy hat you bat away but it keeps crashing on your face.

The teen who started the spoon story had Lupus, which is a limiting disorder. On the outside, everything looks normal. It’s the inside where things are not functioning as they should. It’s as if you have water in your car’s gas tank. There’s sputtering and stalling.

Most who suffer pain, try to hide it, even though it’s with them regularly. I know it’s influenced many decisions. How hard do I push in exercise? Not to overexertion. If I allowed myself to become dehydrated and too hot, it could trigger a migraine and muscle spasms. I’ve taken a lot of effort to prevent those, so moderation is better.

There’s a strange way of focusing when you have limited resources. It frees you to decide on priorities. It also lets you say no at times. Unfortunately, there have been times I desperately wanted to attend events, and I couldn’t. Understand it’s not an Ace card up my sleeve. I never play it like that for a reason most apparent. When I need it, I want it to be real.

I try to live optimistic, thinking of my dreams, but I have to keep my limits in view, to know how much I can accomplish each day.

How do you handle your pain or other limits?

Cleaning Our Gunk

I’d put it off for a while. Longer than most people usually do, but I’m single and with that said there’s not anyone here to scold me or to please but me. I had a spare moment this evening when I opened the refrigerator, caught the awful whiff of the rotting unknown and decided to investigate.

It’s not that I’m untidy or filthy. Life had come at me hard like a WWE smackdown. When my sweet cat had become sick, there was some chicken in the fridge or possibly something had spilled or so I kept thinking. But I couldn’t face cleaning up. After Ms. Kitty lost her tooth, she didn’t get better. I realized she had a tumor which overgrew. A common thing in older cats and the vet couldn’t do anything. It was in her upper jaw near her eye. Within a couple of months, she passed in the night. I had her cremated.

I had been so busy and exhausted. My place was only partially maintained. I had a demanding Monday through Friday job as well as my writing. The weekend Ms. Kitty died, I had a Migraine episode. These are a frustrating fact of life. Take 3 to 5 days and toss them away. Can’t do anything. Body shut downtime.

I ignored my refrigerator. My house was quiet. I recovered. I grieved. Cried. I missed my cuddle partner. She’d been with me from the time I’d been divorced and through my kids growing up. Sixteen years is a long time to have a friend. I’ve not talked about her a lot. In my family, animals were for outside and you don’t cry over them.

I know what the stink was in the fridge– an old onion in a baggie. Ironically, it didn’t take long to clean once I started.

A couple of weeks after I had decided I’d stay cat-free, a lady I know sent me a picture of a kitten. You see where this goes. “Pattycake” had a sister also, Dottie. My place isn’t quiet anymore. They are adorable little furballs.

Make Peace With Your Life

When I read self-help books, I feel all jazzed. They excite me, but I find them lacking in one aspect, application. I’m thinking of one type in particular, which refers the reader to visualize their perfect day, to help make it real. I picture myself waking up at 8:00 in the morning and eating a healthy breakfast. Work on my writing. Hmmm. Sure, I can do this.

I know a man who cleans floors for a living. He’s a janitor at a middle school in town and has been for many years. He’ll probably retire there. He sweeps, mops, waxes, and buffs those things until they shine perfectly. It brings him great satisfaction. He likes the solitude. And the immediate reward. His art is not the Mona Lisa, but it’s his. At one time he was a contract painter for a local business, painting walls. He enjoyed that also.

I’m missing the feels

Why do I mention this? Because I have to remind myself, there’s a reason for work. Am I working for big dollars? Or hoping for fame? (good luck for either of those) Truthfully, I long for the same feeling as that man, and the same as anyone who finishes with an end stroke, be it an ink pen or a sewing needle. Yes! I did it.

Being satisfied in life is vital. It brings joy and meaning into our life. Some jobs have no end in sight. The gratitude level is too low. You need outside support or the chaos becomes more than you can bear. How do we handle these things? If you’re a mother or caregiver, the work can overwhelm you. Where can you find purpose? A caregiver for an elderly parent is one of the most thankless responsibilities, and our society undervalues caregiving.

We can only live one life, and that’s our own. Each day is ours to choose and a new day to live.