Month: January 2017

Solitude or Social Life? Only Time Will Tell

A long time ago I loved my daily doses of solitude. By 8 a.m. all three boys were at school, and I reveled in the peace and quiet. Every stay-at-home or work-from-home mom knows that feeling. You can pee with the door open, eat in the living room, put family mayhem aside and do what you want. I don’t minimize the gratitude I have for that time. Solitude in small doses is so sweet.

But life evolves however it’s going to, with or without our input.

I had this big thing in my head when we moved home last summer about reconnecting with people – friends – from my past, as if they would welcome us with open arms and we would pick up where we left off.

But I forgot about one thing – time.

What a big surprise it was when I realized most of my peeps who were in my life here then – people I really cared about – are actually not in my life here now, although they still live in the exact same places. While I took a major road trip through four states and eight houses over 14 years, they just kept living their lives, while I was trying to survive mine.

I always knew I would get back here, and as much as my old stomping ground looks the same, it’s also completely different. Somewhere along the way my kids grew up and I lost my people. Time has a way of changing everything.

So I’m facing a solitude I really wasn’t expecting. And for a gal who thrives on a tightly-knit tribe, it feels a little too quiet. Although I am far from lonely. Being on the other side of extreme hardship, dreams coming true, marital bliss – it’s a wonderful place to be.

And since we’ve finally caught our breath and are savoring the simplicity of normalcy, Sir Husband and I realized we’re missing something important. A meaningful social life. We had some good times through the years, and yea, we miss our good friends.

It’s another adjustment, and while it comes with a range of emotions, adjusting is something I seem to do well. So just like when the kids were little, I am really enjoying the pause. Because I know without a doubt, it’s only a matter of time.

 

Trump’s Crazy World Is A Lot To Bear

I wrote a post recently about living in the gap – repercussions from my pseudo-nomadic life in search of peace, health and well-being. Humans are constantly searching for ways to relieve stress. “Seeking Relief” was tattoo’d on my forehead forever.

I never published the post – about the gap of solitude after losing a lot of friends I really cared about along my life’s complicated road – because that gap has suddenly shifted. It’s not personal anymore, and it’s massive.

Now I’m part of a growing gap caused by the insane situation of our country. The very foundation that I counted on to sustain me once I stepped outside of my own life’s extreme craziness behind closed doors, is now completely gone. The outside world appears to have gone mad.

Every morning and all day long it’s impossible to escape the latest disastrous news about our country falling into what feels like a growing dictatorship not only weakening, but removing the once-stable land I knew.

Sure, stability is perceived, but only the most asleep or stupidly stubborn people can truly deny the reality of our present moment.

I have tried to sidebar the politics in choice of focusing on my own life. I have tried to soften the external voices, neutralize my emotional reactions, and believe that truth and justice will prevail. But it’s not fast enough, because we are all quickly being engulfed in a dangerous sinkhole of “alternative” reality brought on by people who ironically imitate the very people I tried to escape most of my life.

What the hell with this life lesson?

For decades I lived disillusioned in a Twilight Zone, sane amidst insanity, only recently finally finding “relief.” It is possible – happiness, unconditional love, freedom from abuse, I have it. But that feeling of safety, the one all humans need to survive, it’s slowly slipping away.

I cried this morning when I heard the words of the president – not a president or a person I would ever choose to be affiliated – declare that he would make Mexico pay for a wall no matter what he had to do to enforce that – and I have been in this kind of situation before. A situation where a giant bully makes an insane declaration giving zero care, concern or consideration to the people who they are hurting – even destroying – at their own love of manipulation and extreme power. It’s a sociopath at their finest.

Yes it was on a small scale when it was personal compared to our now national and global crisis. But it drastically impacted my life, so much so the damage may never be fully healed for me or those closest to me. You just learn to live with it.

But I don’t know how to live with this. The “tools” aren’t working. I’m not sure the majority of humans know how to live with this. People are visibly frantic, terrified, upset, sickened, outraged and sad. It’s like a fast-moving virus blanketing our daily existence, rocking our lives and tilting our world.

I have a dear friend whose health is failing her – to the point she is not sure she even wants to live. When we talked about the impact of this new government on masses of people all the way to the nucleus of individual families, she said, “Well, when he takes away healthcare I probably won’t be around to have to worry about it.”

But the rest of us will.

So where do we turn? What do we cling to? How do we endure? How do we live in the gap?

Today I’ll simply take a cue from some classic Winnie The Pooh wisdom. Something that feels good. The sweet, silly old bear sits on a rock, sings a song and eats some honey while waiting for a friend to walk by.

“Things just happen in the right way, at the right time. At least when you let them.”  (Benjamin Huff, The Tao of Pooh.)

 

 

It’s Easy To Be Yourself If You Remember Who You Are

Last night my historian husband started singing a song (he does that a lot, just starts singing out loud, usually songs from the 1970s,) that he used to karaoke at a club he frequented way back in the day. This was before karaoke even existed mind ya, he used a beer bottle as his mic and people would clear the dance floor for him to croon. Then he stopped mid-song last night and said, Wow, I can’t believe how many people I have been during my lifetime. 

Did you ever stop and think for a minute about how many people you may have been in your lifetime to date? I don’t mean multiple personalities, although sure why not – our personalities can and do change to some degree depending on our situation. I’m talking about who you really “were then,” verses who you are “right now.”

He began reminiscing about those different people he was – during his formative years, as a teenager, a wild fraternity brother, a banker-turned-journalist, husband, father, husband again, step-father, photographer, writer, furniture-maker, antique car enthusiast, Harvard University employee and student, and of course a pseudo-karaoke star.

As he did that I was overcome with physical and emotional discomfort – not from his chronicled narrative, but from whatever is locked up behind closed doors in my own mind. Memories that I can’t see or hear, but I can feel. I think it’s called dissociative amnesia – the stuff is in there – I just can’t remember much after too many years of overwhelming stress.

I don’t know many people who lack some of their autobiographical memory. I try not to talk about it because it’s hard. I hate that I can’t remember much of my life, especially when people around me are reminiscing. So ironically, I try to put my amnesia out of my mind.

But I live with a walking Wikipedia. Sir Husband remembers pretty much everything, and most days I’m in awe and astonished not just by his vivid memories all the way back to his toddler years, but by the smarts he accumulated and maintained along the way. He actually remembers every word to every song he has heard throughout his life – and sings them, in tune. He recalls worldwide historical events in detail, like he was there. He even remembers what I was wearing when I was a teenager and he picked me up for school every day. Wow. I can’t compete.

I’ve been lot of different people in my lifetime too – but the things they did, places they went, the clothes they wore, I’m not really sure. They say our life flashes before our eyes when we’re changing realms, so I guess eventually I’ll remember who I was.

On the other hand, I do know who I am now, today, in this perfectly memorable moment. And I’m thinking that’s who really matters.

 

 

Coping With This Crazy World Takes Courage

I’m trying to ignore the world at large – as if that’s even possible. Sometimes a gal just needs to dive into her inner landscape and find a comfortable spot there, steering clear of external chaos. Honestly, I’m working hard at minding my own business, reaching for happy thoughts, figuring out how to jettison my fibromyalgia so I can get on with the daily task of living and enjoying life, but it’s not happening. Nowhere is safe, and “nowhere” is a pretty big territory.

Until now, chaos and drama lived behind my closed doors and I could escape it “outside.” Growing up it was the breathing life-force in the people around me, and I soaked up that thick air for far too long. It was out of my control as a child, then I stupidly married the very wrong man. When I wised up and corrected that giant error, I tripped into even more chaos with the love of my life’s ex, whose crippling horror was unmatched, until now. Thanks to a few million really naive voting people, the entire world is directly exposed to toxicity beyond measure with America’s new government. It almost feels like a sick, cruel joke-turned-worsening nightmare.

So how do you pay attention to the outside world and maintain your own sense of well-being?

It’s killing my journalist-husband – although he is sort-of out of the field, it’s in his blood because he feels like he’s been personally called-upon to help correct this huge political debacle, like our founding fathers.

But he can’t answer the question, plus he’s got a whopping case of PTSD from the chaos perpetuated by the contemptibles in our life. We’re both pretty tired. I literally just learned (after years of therapy, self-help books and a kick-ass shaman,) how to disengage from their debilitating chaos, and it feels better. Except not anymore, because everywhere we look/see/hear/listen in the real world is  c-r-a-z-y.

So how do you participate in life but disengage from it at the same time?

This is not one of the tools I acquired in my studies along the path to enlightenment. And I’m kind of desperate because we have a long road ahead of us if “we the people” can’t figure out a way to change the powers that be before our one indivisible nation isn’t shattered beyond recognition. Been there done that in my personal life, don’t really want to go through it anymore, and my shaman retired.

So that basically leaves one answer. No, not gratitude, although there’s value in everything and gratitude is key. I think the answer is courage. That’s it. Courage to rise to the occasion of life as one of my favorite gurus says. Courage to speak up, dream big, protect, love, lead, be creative. Do not be detained by the past, or afraid of the future. Courageously get on with the business of your life, despite the odds, and make plans to celebrate. 

Ok.

Really, Why All The Fear?

Fear-based living. Hate it! Every time I turn around there is some ridiculous, strange, scary, even unheard of thing being reported in the news or on my Facebook feed. People are dying, killed, missing, sick or will be – let’s face it, we’re all doomed.

I actually stopped watching the news and scrolling my social media feeds beyond what’s right at the top quite some time ago.

I don’t know if there are statistics out there on this but is it possible that the top of our feed has all that we need to see at any given moment? Like we see only what we are “supposed to” see for us and our lives? Or we flip TV channels and when we stop on one we see a commercial or news story that resonates with us – do you ever wonder if seeing that particular thing was “meant to be?”

And if not, how do we keep only what we need and discard the rest – especially in this new world of “fake news?”

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I popped on Facebook recently and the first post was that my town is on a local news magazine show for being a “super town,” where you get the most bang for your buck and quality of life – strong community, good schools, green space and urban slant. Great, that’s my home sweet super home. So I clicked the link to see the preview and in the sidebar were all these other stories:

Woman pleads guilty to raping two underage boys. (OY.)

Man kept stolen brain beneath porch, used it to get high, police say.  (REALLY?)

How you can buy a house for $1.00 in Milwaukee. (SURE.)

25-year-old dies while live-streaming on Facebook.  CLICKED IT.

They got me. I clicked one of the links and watched the two-minute video that did not show the actual death (thank goodness,) but told the story, leaving out the most important part. How she died. And get this – nobody went to check on her until 30 minutes after her live stream crashed!

I wondered if it was a fake story so of course I googled it, it wasn’t fake. I didn’t click any more, I closed my browser and felt kinda sick. I was sick anyway, my third round of some plague that keeps recycling in our family. This makes me pretty upset because I do all I can to stay healthy: self-care, yoga, meditation, eat right, take very expensive all-natural daily vitamins, I wash my hands constantly and Purell at every turn, especially during flu season. Why? I fear the plague. I don’t get a flu shot – it’s not one-size-fits-all (google it,) and until this year rarely got the “flu.” I am not even sure it’s the actual flu, or a reasonable facsimile. But I’ll check the top of my Facebook feed to find out.

Yep, we live in a world where fear rules and while I don’t want to, part of me resides there. I bet we all do and just don’t talk about it.

Seriously. She was 25! 

 

peace

Time Changes Everything, Most Notably On New Year’s Eve

Is it me or does New Year’s Eve come with a lot of pressure? Why the big deal? Yea, it’s the end of the old year – time moves on, just like it does every day. But we celebrate this particular end of time as if it’s truly the end of time so we better kick it up a notch or three. The build-up mounts in the weeks ahead, “What are you doing for New Year’s Eve?” If you say “nothing” you kind of feel like a loser.

img_2616-1I’m happy to do nothing and cozy up with my honey, a roaring fire, a good movie and a bottle of bubbly. But this year we went out to a jazz club I haven’t been to in over a decade. I was pretty excited actually. The millennial offspring had dispersed after a week of family time and Sir Husband and I were loaded up with Visa gift cards for our night out on the town. Zero pressure.

So there we were sitting in the dim light at our awesome tiny table inches from stage, drinks in hand, waiting on the show to begin while people poured in to the cozy space, and my phone lights up with img_2620a text from my youngest.

“Hey did you hear about the shooting in the nightclub just now? A couple of people dressed up like Santa started shooting everyone.”

BUZZKILL. And startlingly uncomfortable. OMG where? I wrote him back, silenced my phone, stiffened up and started scanning the room. It was on the other side of the world, but Jesus that can happen anywhere, even here, on our big New Year’s Eve night out – you know the important night of celebration and romance without the pressure of worrying about the kids. Shit.

This is what we’ve come to now in the world. Miserable, nasty, sick people think they can shoot you because they want to. You see it on TV and you cringe then disengage, going about your business trying not to think about that kind of horror in your own airspace. By the way, the Times Square ball-dropping celebration was surrounded by SWAT teams and homeland security. Wow.

Change is everywhere. I was surprised when we got to the club (I had frequented annually with my former husband,) to learn it had not only doubled in size, they moved it down a few floors in the building and eliminated the cityscape view from the walls of floor-to-ceiling windows. Bummer.

I said a little prayer in my head thanking the invisible Divine for keeping my boys and us safe while we all did something special on New Year’s Eve in our own respective locations, then I sat back and enjoyed the scene with the love of my life.

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Anyway, Happy New Year. It’s here with plenty of new pressures – like resolutions. Mine is to learn to really embrace change. Although you know what they say about resolutions. Statistics show…they don’t last.

 

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