The Call of Duty

I’ve had a busy week, with a running-on-empty feeling these last few months. I know you can relate. There’s work we absolutely must do and other chores we let slide.

My cat has been sick for a couple of weeks, and I delayed taking Ms. Kitty to the doctor. I work late. And it is difficult to take time out for anything and taking time off work for a pet, that’s ridiculous. But, infected teeth care none for employer’s opinions. Problems get worse when ignored. This morning I realized this shit was real. We went to the cat doctor.

Tonight I’m chilling with my old girl as she rests. Movie time with Ms. Kitty. Her tooth was already out of her mouth, so no extraction was necessary. She received antibiotics and some temporary pain numbing. All is well.

Thanks, everyone for all of the follows and support!

Love your people!

Ms. Kitty
Ms Kitty

the top image is from Tiny Buddha

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Queen of Hearts

I think of winter as silent and cold, a time when nature forgets. In the winter, seeds are dormant. Ever been there? Oh, I have. Silent, still, and unmoving. I was young and didn’t know much about life.

Growing up, I didn’t develop well emotionally. I had been asleep. It sounds cliche. Melodrama really isn’t my thing. But, there was a moment when something inside came alive, and the circuits connected. I awoke. That was when I recognized the brokenness surrounding me. And I wasn’t doing anyone good by living in denial. As it says in Genesis, 3: 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Well, I wasn’t naked, but my family wasn’t as perfect as I thought either.

“Images of the Goddess help to break the hold of “male control” that has shaped our images not only of God, but of all significant power in the universe.”

-Carol P. Christ, from: Rebirth of the Goddess

There’s a shame in my family, and it needs to be cleansed. I’ve been trying to heal through journaling, genealogy, therapy, talking with my family, prayer, and meditation. I sincerely hope to trigger healing in others. Hopefully this is helpful for others because I know I am not alone in this sadness.

We’ve had multiple decades of men in battle. Like bricks stacked upon each other, fathers and then sons have waved goodbye to families who wept for them. Women, whether they were mothers, sisters or wives participated as they could. For a family member, waiting would be agony.

Soldiers gave up personal freedom, hopes, and put their personal wishes aside for the call of duty. With their life on the line, and having to overcome fear every day, all they knew was to be strong. Survival was important. There wasn’t time for hope. It was mud, blood, guns, and keep yourself from freezing to death in the winter. Pay attention to their surroundings. Don’t get killed. Hoping and dreaming, that was for later. So, love was put to sleep. Remember the 1950’s? Duty was Queen. And she had no heart.

Generations of war created a lineage of patriarchy and abuse. Hearts were cold. There’s generational rape, molestation, child abuse, and years of silence. Shame. Try taking this history of pathology and develop a healthy person. Here I am, as well as my parents. I took my underdeveloped self and tried to create a healthy marriage with another. I say underdeveloped since I had no idea what love was. In my family genealogy, love has been asleep for a long time.

We know duty. Survival is our best skill. After that, we start having issues. And as most therapists will tell you, a person will gravitate toward what they know. Which is why people return to the same type of relationships over and over, like a reoccurring nightmare. Or you marry someone like your parents. We’re not only comfortable with the familiar, but it feels right. They fit you. They plug that void you need to fill. We call it love. Funny. Is it really love? Maybe.

I’ve been asking this question for years, what is love? Someday I might know the answer. I know what it’s not. Love is not pain. It is open and giving without holding the other person back from their potential. Love is not bullying, pushy, or brutish in it’s giving. Love is a gift. If anyone tells you otherwise, they are lying. If their “LOVE” comes with strings attached, then it is not loving.

Love your people today.

Arna Baartz -Artist (painting reposted from thegirlgod.com)

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.

Cursing the Darkness

I curse the darkness.

I know I’m supposed to believe. I’m supposed to visualize good things and make vision boards. But in the end, you’ll find me yelling profanities out my window-maybe not literally, but figuratively I do curse the depression.

You will not torture me!

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light…-

Dylan Thomas

There are three common responses to abuse. Fight, flight, and fawning. Fighting, raging, not trusting anyone, that’s how some handle life. They walk taller, live faster, and work harder than others. But a cockfight is not my first tendency.

My first response to problems is panic! I freeze, like a fawn. I’m a deer in the headlights, and my mind stops functioning. I swear that running would be healthier.

Depression, that deadly chill, is why I curse the darkness. It’s a night which can swallow me, and I hate it. But, I force myself to face its ugliness. I build massive fires to fight the chill.

I curse the darkness. I use any of the tools I have. I love music and watching movies. Writing and studying my ancestry are more than a distraction; they bring me joy. These are my bonfires. My friendships. My family. Memories of favorite moments. I’ve stockpiled a cache of fireworks for whenever I need them.

I refuse to live in the darkness of my fears.

Do not go gentle into that good night

Dylan Thomas, 1914  1953

“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

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.

The Fallow Time

Nothing lasts forever whether it’s my favorite socks or my longed for weekends. I’ve been studying ghost towns recently. Those once booming-with-life places that either suddenly or slowly settled down to rest.

The fire truck was questionable with a flat tire, but one township still had a hundred or so people living there, enough to keep active a post office and a fire station.

I’ve noticed in the ghost towns where no one is left, all you can see is the foundation of buildings. You try to guess if it was a house, a church or a merchant. An almost impossible task. Bring a psychic, maybe?

Nature reclaims the land eventually. Grass grows up from the ground where the model-Ts drove. Where beautiful dancers might have once swayed, their long legs moving to a rhythmic beat, now a tree is growing. We can be sad, or we can say it’s another season. The ground is resting.

Fallow years, similar to crop rotation is a technique which farmers have used for centuries to keep the soil active. Overstressed earth is empty.

We use the word to talk about any unused resource, and it started as a work about land. Fallow comes from the old English word for plowing and refers to the practice of leaving fields unplowed in rotation — when a field lie fallow, the soil regains nutrients that are sucked up by over-planting. Definitions of fallow.

Should we rest?

I think we push ourselves to produce when we are empty when our reserve is low. Is it possible to find time to draw in more nutrients and wait with the bodies we have instead of wanting a perfect body?

“I am the rest between two notes which are somehow always in discord.” R.M. Rilke | Poetry & Random Thoughts 

Primal instincts drive us. In cold weather, we long for comfort and sleep. We enjoy spending more time with our family. Physical tasks seem like drudgery. Our energy is low. We crave more food and alcohol than usual. People tend toward depression. It’s seasonal. Yes, Spring is around the corner.

Winter is the season for rest.

Embrace Your Wild

Some of life is without a right or wrong; a should or shouldn’t. Bedtimes can be suggestions. If a lifestyle isn’t working, you can adapt it, toss or edit it, remove the parts that don’t work.

You’re not locked into the same white walls or the same voting pattern of the past. Purple, yellow, or green are the right colors to use also.

For goodness sake, wake up and live a life that is comfortable for you! Let’s not waste another day mourning yesterday’s stupidity. Coffee’s brewing.

Wolf and Woman

The Jungle of My Emotions

I get caught up in the anger. My emotions of rage, betrayal, and wrongness engulf me. There’s no compassion, only my problem. Monkey mind is in control, and I struggle to make sense of the chaos.

Maybe you don’t have this problem, but emotions are painful for me. I was trying to negotiate a bill with my homeowners association which should have been a logical discussion. But I was PISSED. How dare they say this is my bill. They agreed to pay. With each thought, my temper guzzled a gallon of gasoline before striking a match. I had an ice cube’s chance in hell to win really. I’m one against the organization and the proof I was using was vague. But emotions are the fire in our belly that keeps us fighting even when the odds are against us. Yet, sometimes we win.

This rage is my jungle. I should know my way through it by now, but I don’t. A therapist will tell you to name the emotions. Instead of rage, get down to the baser emotions. Fear. Insecurity. Feeling utterly alone and vulnerable. When I was negotiating, I was taking it personally. She was attacking me and saying I was wrong. Backed into a corner, I felt powerless. So, I defended my territory.

Here’s my thought, over time, if I keep walking back through my jungle, I will have markers on my emotions, and I will see them and their triggers. My jungle will have paths with directional markings. But I have to be brave enough to walk into it with my eyes open. Face my demons. Lose some battles. But, someday, I won’t be walking around blind anymore.

“Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.” #StillIRise #MayaAngelou

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.

This Is Where I Live

This body, life has left some marks. These last few weeks I’ve been poked and tested but, it is the only one I have. It’s my living space. I have to treat it in the way that helps it work best. If I overstress it with high expectations or overwhelm it with too many activities, it will start throwing alarm switches until I listen.

This last week my body has started reminding me that while frugality is admirable, stinginess is cruel. Pushing myself again past my limits for my job and staying up too late, this creates pain in my muscles, and a massive headache.

A couple of years ago my washing machine quit so I had been “making do” until I could save enough to buy a new washer. While that sounds admirable, I wasn’t frugal for a purely financial reason. There was a massive chunk of ego that wanted to boast of how worthy I was! Quite a laughable thing once I realized what a tricky thing our psyche is. After taking a step back and looking at the situation, I went to a local home improvement store and financed a washing machine. Yes, I could have waited, but it was stressing me unnecessarily.

Have you ever tried to push a shopping cart with a broken wheel? That’s how it felt. I kept going, kept working because that’s what I do. I keep pushing because I know I can. I’m active and capable, right? But, when I took care of my needs, I realized how tired my enduring had made me. When I stopped trying to push the broken cart down the aisle, I could release the burden I was carrying.

Real

I have unrealistic expectations of myself, and I frequently don’t allow myself to live in the moment.

  • I choose not to kill my soul with harsh criticism and unrealistic expectations.
  • I choose to let joy and life flow through me so that when the time comes, I can also bring joy to others.
  • I choose to be a part of life in the now and not above it. The future is sometimes frightening, and I don’t want to face it, but there is always a way. There is still a simple step. It’s not always the boastful, shiny, impressive way, but there is a solution.
  • I choose to glean the joys of yesterday, and like seeds in the garden, I will sprinkle them with honor and watch them blossom.
  • I choose to honor myself, as I am, even all the jiggly parts.