Rise Up

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.

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?

Healing With Fun

Flow states are those moments when we forget we are in a physical body, that we function with tasks and to-do lists, and that we require money and food. For a brief period, we are at one with the universe. Lost in the moment.

When I am creating, I am more comfortable in my skin. I become a better person. All creativity is a part of me. This is the greatest joy.

Everyone is talking about drugs which can take us into a state of mind, ecstasy. Is that what we need? I vacillate between wanting to face my demons head-on with the sword or to run for cover because I’m overwhelmed from their taunting. Shorter periods of flow is another option.

Jamie Wheal and Steven Kotler are two of the current writers and scientists studying how we function in a flow. If you’re interested in learning more, check out anything they have written or maybe their interviews on YouTube.

Dance, music, writing, art, conversation, playing, walking, researching a topic, cooking, being with friends, it can be anything you enjoy. The first people had orgasms and knew ecstasy. Possibly they had herbs too.

This is how we can to heal our trauma. With momentary lapses of forgetting, but not of who we are, or where we are. We remember ourselves deep within, the real self. We forget our surroundings. Letting go of the trouble that has spellbound us into thinking we are small.

We step out of worry into moments of love and enjoy real living, for five minutes today. We can learn to be in joy for ten minutes next week.

Be joy.

Midlife Awakenings

I think midlife is when the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close, and whispers in your ear:

“I’m not screwing around. It’s time. All of this pretending and performing – these coping mechanisms that you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt – has to go.

Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armor could help you secure all of the things you needed to feel worthy of love and belonging, but you’re still searching and you’re more lost than ever.

Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through you. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen.”

~ Brené Brown, quoted by Peter Freed in “Prime: Reflections on Time and Beauty”

Katharine Krueger ~ Journey Of Young Women

Learn to mentor girls, guide Girls Circles and offer Coming of Age

JourneyOfYoungWomen.org/Mentor-Girls

Art by Sylvia Pavlova

-this is a reblog.

Elusive

It’s the word you can almost remember, the rare bird a watcher is longing to see or for some it’s a word of praise.

I have conquered tasks most of my life with my simple method. Break a job down into steps. I’ve used this method over and over, and it works. Mostly. Big projects and small projects can be broken down into steps, and it’s easy to see results, which usually inspires me to keep working.

How do you eat an elephant, is the age-old question–one bite at a time. Then there’s my back up plan, persistence. And doggone determination.

Being a type A person makes me believe if something didn’t happen, I must take action and fix it. And my conflict lies with my elusive projects which I’ve repetitively set aside time to complete.

I’m finding some of them are taking longer to chew. Are my methods broken? Or am I trying too hard? The latter is becoming my belief.

In time management, the belief seems to be that all goals can be achieved, we can make our dreams real if we apply ourselves. The current trend is to get up an hour earlier than usual. For me this would be 4:30 A.M. The realistic version of my life, the body which requires sleep, the person who has a mentally challenging job, and the pain from disabling migraines, these are challenges adding to my obstacle course. Everyone has something.

To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float. Alan Watts

I did the caffeinated, early morning, get up one-hour earlier challenge. I spent more energy concentrating on getting up an hour before than on doing what I wanted to do.

Next, I worked on my projects during lunch breaks, a time hack I’ve read about over and over again. It’s good. Did I mention that I have a mentally challenging job? And that people come to my coworker and me often with questions?

Lately, I feel my the finish is elusive, like the word I can’t quite remember. My advice to myself, Chill out sister. Let it come.

Everything in life is elusive. Gloria Vanderbilt

Check out Londonlozi.com regarding the elusive half-collared kingfisher sighting in the picture.

Finding A Finish Line

I’m a sprinter, but at the age of 16, I didn’t understand pacing. All I knew was I was doing an eight-mile marathon with my boyfriend for charity.

True enough, this compass does not point north.”

“…Where does it point?”

“It points to the thing you want most in this world.

Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth Swann

Boundaries are essential in my life. My focus gets lost like Captain Jack Sparrows when he lost his true north. I have a terrible habit of getting lost on additional chores. Once I took some Nootropics to get my groove on for writing, instead cleaned and sectioned my sock drawer. While that’s not wasted time, it was time that meandered down the toy aisle and played too long with the glitter.

I will keep going from one thing to another unless I’ve created a list. I need boundaries. These aren’t always about motivation although sometimes they can be.

I’ll continue this discussion next week. For now, realizing my happiness has come from setting smart goals. Some of my life has been overwhelmed by things I cannot control. I can manage my smile. I say beautiful things to myself in the mirror in the morning. Do you?

Keep smiling.

Scarred But Not Dead

I loved frogs and toads when I was growing up. I’d capture them and hold them in my chubby hands. I loved their exotic skin and long legs, but mostly it was their soft underbelly where I could feel the beat of their tiny hearts.

We’re drawn to babies. Kittens, puppies, and youngsters of all varieties. Kittens pounce and attack, batting at fluff. Their playfulness can make even an old crank of a person smile. Because somewhere inside that cranky person there’s still a child. Life wore him down, and he forgot how to play.

accept yourself

as you were designed

– rupi kaur, Milk and Honey

I was driving home today and stopped at a red light, my hand automatically went to rub my neck. Tight muscles. When my fingers touched my pulse, I jolted with a thought. I’m alive. Corny. But the thrill was the same as touching the tiny animals, the frog’s pulse. I rubbed it again, and yes my response was the same. I’m thrilled to be alive. And to feel my pulse. Is this crazy?

Life is a strange and fragile moment. You can take machines apart and put them back together without causing much damage. Tinker with it until you get it running. But people and critters are not as easy to piece together again. We do surgeries, but we are hesitant because if the life goes out, we haven’t learned how to retrieve it. So, no, I don’t think I’m crazy for being overjoyed or even ecstatic about being alive. Being alive is fantastic and beautiful. And I don’t want to forget about the beating of life in all of us.

You have scars, wounds, and bruises. Don’t let them keep you from living. It’s possible you might need help or therapy, don’t give up on yourself. Don’t let anyone else bring you down. Be your best. Live.

image from Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Neuroticism on Board

I sat at the kitchen table and listened to my mom, the same one who ripped at me since I was a child about my friends and my clothes, were they too big or should I by a size larger because I could shoot up a couple of inches in height this year.

There was a time she’d read the letters from my friend in Wyoming. Janie had moved at the beginning of 9th grade. Her parents divorced, and she’d decided to move north with her dad. Not quite a Twilight story since there were no vampires involved and Wyoming has skiing. Janie and I kept in touch throughout our high school years by writing letters every week. It was the thrill of my day when I’d go to the mailbox and run back with an envelope in my hand. My mom would ask, “Is that a letter from your friend Janie?”

Yep. And being the teenager that I was, I’d go into my room to read it away from prying eyes. Janie would tell me about her classes and friends, about her guys and her after school job. I never thought there was anything different about her. She was me but with different parents. Well, she was able to do things I couldn’t. School dances, dates, and she had a real job. I never thought about it until my mom said one strange comment. “Your friend Janie seems a little wild.”

What? Of course, I was surprised. I never talked about Janie or read the letters aloud. I realized what had happened, and I didn’t have a lot of options. There wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it. She’d read my letters because I had left them out. And I didn’t understand the wild girl accusation. So, I dismissed it and hid them all away and anything else I didn’t want her to find.

The years passed, and many incidents like that one. I’ve put each aside. I didn’t give them a lot of weight other than thinking, Mom is strange, or where does she get these ideas? My mom believed particular women, like Kim with the red hair, were going to steal my husband. Then she felt my mother-in-law was actively plotting to take our money. The list goes on. It’s been a constant battle for me to shield myself from her jabs. They’ve felt like accusations. As if I couldn’t see the evil in others.

Here’s the truth: she stripped me of my self-confidence. I was always defending myself against the person who was supposed to nurture me.

I saw her last night when I was back at the kitchen table. I was doing some financial planning with her, my brother and dad. This time the neuroticism was not directed at me. I saw the blood red eyes of the monster. I saw my mom rip into my older brother, and it disgusted me. It was ugly, and I want nothing to do with it ever again. I’m not toying with it anymore.

No more putting it aside. I call it what it is. My mom is insecure. She is high in neuroticism. It’s a personality trait, yes. Even that can’t be excused, though. I’m glad I saw the monster.

Belonging

Socks that match, folded and placed in a drawer or cheese and crackers with a glass of wine, these things belong together.

My tribe, my peeps.

Some times I get morose, lonely, and angry because I wasn’t born into a family in which I fit neatly. I feel like a baseball bat at a football game in my family some days. We relate but it’s not a warm snuggle-in feeling with my parents.

I learned like many people, the belonging I need comes from outside of our blood family. It can be a spouse or friends. Building ties in groups we enjoy or online forums can be what we need to feed our mental and emotional hungers.

I have a small space and a few good friends. I pad my nest well. Pillows, blankets, books, and plenty of chocolate. And a lot of love for those around me.