Category: Intention

Searching For a Miracle and A Dog Named Dug

With all due respect to dogs, I’m totally a cat lady. I love cats. I can’t help it, I feel connected to them. But I also have quite a soft spot for most all animals. Both wise and helpful to their humans, animals are special.

And they’re also somewhat dependent on us. Which is why I kicked into gear for a dog named Dug. Dug, a black Labrador retriever, is our neighbor. We don’t know him, or his human family. But last week, that didn’t matter.

I was just getting ready to leave when I thought a bomb went off in my front yard. BOOM – car alarms blaring – people screaming. I have never heard that sequence of sounds in real life, and didn’t know what was happening beyond noticing a speeding parade of first responders appearing out of nowhere, zooming down my street.

We live inches from Boston’s city line, although inside a woodsy oasis of urban conservation land. It’s still the city, where scary things we try to ignore happen every day. But bombs going off? I was nervous, I couldn’t see beyond our tree-lined property and wondered if the BOOM came from the small private college across the street.

In spite of searching for any breaking news, it took hours before we learned what happened. An 18-wheeler had taken out a car, throwing both its driver and a dog into the road. Although the hit shredded the car, the driver was miraculously ok. The ambulance took her to the hospital, but the dog…where was Dug?

Neighbors, the police, animal rescue – we all searched for a dog we didn’t know, dredging through the muddy woods running alongside the busy road, batting away mosquitoes, removing brush and woodsy debris along the way. But nothing.

Was he injured? Dead? Lost? They said it would be a miracle if he had survived. My heart was breaking.

So I dug deep and tried to conjure up my best psychic abilities. We’ve all got intuition – surely I could locate Dug. I tried, without success, until dusk. So I gave my phone number to the police and neighbors, and tried to let it go. If only I could.

After dinner I stepped outside to shake out my kitchen rug, and that’s when I heard it – barking, loud, big-dog barking coming from the woods behind our house. Sir Husband quickly ran into the woods with our neighbor. The two of them called and called, hoping it was Dug.

As I stood at the edge of the woods trying hard to wait, my cell phone rang.

“We have Dug! He just came home,” said the unknown woman from the accident. “I don’t know how he got here but your search must have somehow directed him home, and he seems just fine. Thank you so much, thank you.”

I’d say maybe that was a miracle.

Everything is connected. Everything.

 

 

 

 

Anything Is Possible In A “How-To” World

Pretty sure we live in the “How To” era. It’s a virtual world of self-help everywhere we turn. How to feel – sleep – eat better, live longer, save money, fight fat – depression – chronic pain, change our DNA, our life, become happy, aware, creative, organized, joyful…or the biggy –  find peace.

Is it working? Maybe. Maybe not.

My kindred-spirited good friend told me she will never find that zen-like state of peace no matter how hard she tries. Why? Because of what she calls a History of Horribleness.

Yea, I get that. Kind of hard to feel the zen when we’ve endured a lot of crazy and it sometimes still surrounds us. Oh she’s happy, but the undercurrent of inner peace? Forget it.

And it’s not just dealing with whatever is going on inside our own life – family, job, health, finances – all our personal “stuff.” There’s crazy stuff happening in the world right outside our front door. Anybody else notice that the outside world is the same, pretty much every day?

We get so caught up in it – all of it. Why do they do this. What are they thinking. Why are they acting like this. What are they doing. When will they fill in the blank. Doesn’t matter who “they” even is.

Life’s intensity can often define the parameters, and it impacts us. We try to explain, understand, make excuses, deal with whatever is happening – from the world-view all the way down to our bird’s-eye view. But sometimes we can’t figure things out. Or know what is really going on. Or worse, change or fix it.

We can’t always choose the parameters. So, Zen is easily thwarted.

But life itself seems to be paradoxical. It’s the ultimate bliss and torture, beauty and heinousness. And we’re supposed to somehow both manage and accept the paradoxes to obtain a sense of peace. How do we choose the parameters?

From the unlimited supply of “how to’s.” And thank goodness there are plenty to choose from. Key word? Choose.

We can choose to see things differently, feel differently and act accordingly no matter who around us doesn’t. We can choose to flow through it all as if the horribleness is just part of it. We can choose to infuse moments of sucky reality with acceptance. We can stay focused on our personal intentions, hopes and dreams in spite of “them” or “it.”

We can “create” with whatever we “choose.” It takes some serious commitment, especially after a history of horribleness. But it’s true. Choosing changes everything. 

Loving that How To.

Bad News Does People No Good

The news makes me so sad. The state of the world, the way people see it and think about it and react to it – it’s hard. Perhaps it’s no different than any other time in history, we have learned about the chaos humans create…and endure. Chaotic times go back as far back as history remembers.

But it’s hard to fight for the calmness we humans so desperately seek when we’re surrounded by a deep unhappiness that spreads like a contagious virus.

I woke up to the news of United Airlines hurting a Chinese doctor because he would not give up his seat due to airline overbooking. He is an old man who just wanted to go home, but instead was sorely mistreated by airline employees. Ugh, horrible.

Or the story about children in several states being publicly shamed in school because they could not afford to buy lunch. Worse – denied lunch when the visible stamps on their hands say “I need lunch money.” And these children walk not just through a lunch line, but throughout their day in school, every day, stigmatized, humiliated and hungry.

So incredibly sad. And as we know, that’s not the half of it nor the worst stories “out there.” Some are too terrible to even absorb.

These are humans. People. Living, breathing, loving, and losing – people. The human race is losing. But haven’t we always? History seems to think so.

It’s easy to blame. We have a crippled democracy now, governed by a few who think it’s ok to hurt people and seemingly by no accident instill that mindset to ignite their cause. But it’s more than that. It’s the whole planet, all the way down to my street.

We live in an urban setting but ironically surrounded by nature that we see every day. Not just the usual squirrels or birds, but deer, coyote and wild turkeys. Recently traffic was stopped on my street because a large flock of turkeys was crossing the road – big, beautiful, slow turkeys.

One man continued to try to swerve his car around the long line of stopped traffic, honking, yelling out his window, flailing his arms and cursing at those of us who tried to point out that we were stopped for what looked and seemed so beautiful, so peaceful – creatures simply living their lives without concern about the turbulent world around them – but with great concern for each other.

You could see the bigger ones rallying the smaller ones, helping them cross the street. It was a Make Way for Ducklings moment right before our eyes. But the enraged man certainly couldn’t appreciate it. I think he would have run them over if he could. Sad.

I’m not sure what causes people to be so hateful. Whether we are optimistic or pessimistic, kind or cruel, observation over time shows we are who we are and that’s who we put out into the world.

There is beauty out there, sometimes it’s just really hard to see.

 

 

I Can Do A Happy Dance Especially In My Yoga Pants

I will come up with any reason in the world to wear yoga pants. Why? Not just because I love doing yoga – it’s great for the body and the mind – but because I love the pants. They’re soft, stretchy and even stylish, they feel good against my skin, and bonus – no undies needed. Nobody really wants panty lines. (No judging please.)

I have eight pairs (yikes!) all black and boot cut, comfy cotton/spandex blends, and I wear them with everything from boots with heels to clogs to flip flops. They’re fashion-forward, you can dress them up or down – in fact they’re making yoga dress pants now and even yoga jeans. Throw on anything from a tunic to a tee, a seasonal sweater if need-be, and you’ve got a winner outfit year-round.

Which got me thinking.

If yoga pants make me so happy every time I put them on, is what we wear – or what we feel good wearing – driving our overall happiness factor? Because so many people (myself included) walk around finding all kinds of reasons to be unhappy. All kinds of reasons. But seemingly…without reason.

Have you noticed that?

People get so comfortable in their unhappiness that they actually think they’re happy, but don’t know why they’re not. Yea read that again.

Then examine your own loop. We’re happy one minute for whatever reason – we love what we’re wearing or eating or watching – then the next minute something trips us up – the electric bill arrives, the internet blips out, the cat puked, or somebody in our orbit projects their own unhappiness into our airspace. Boom, happiness balloon deflated.

I only recently noticed this – or maybe I just ignored it – because it’s really easy to slip along the path of negativity. We always find reasons to be miserable in the moment some discomfort comes along. Then if we don’t catch ourselves and remember that overall life is actually really good (and yes, this may take some remembering as we ebb and flow through our day,) we might forget to be happy.

It happens, a lot. And ironically happiness the one thing everybody most wants in the world. I guess we forgot that too. I just heard the coolest thing in an online life-changing class taught by a guy who is seasoned in joy. He said we are wired to win – our default settings are perfect health, super abundance and yes, bliss. As in, we already have the winning lottery ticket, we just don’t really know it.

But I do, every time I put on my yoga pants.

 

 

 

“Sorry, Wrong Number” Doesn’t Work Anymore

I wish the national Do Not Call List actually worked. Turns out our home phone number was affiliated with a felon. I say “was” because after 10 months of harassing phone calls from bill collectors, lawyers and authorities, we finally changed the number. The irony is we don’t even want a home phone number – who uses landlines anymore? But we’re locked into a contract with Comcast that if broken, will increase our bill by way too much.

It’s a world of deception and there’s no way around it. Telemarketers, hackers, spammers, now I even get text spam. In the old days Spam was pressed ham in a can. But now, it’s all about marketing and breaking through the defunct barriers of privacy. How do we even know what’s real…or worse, safe?

“Click here for a major discount on Uggs.”  Ugh.

“Newly launched porn site.” No thanks.

“Make real money starting today.” If only.

Even my blog gets super-spammed in spite of my anti-spam plug-in. My dream of having a viral blog didn’t mean being solicited by bottom-dwellers. I get over 100 spam comments every week. Imagine if those were real, or shares or likes.

My latest blog spam – and tell me if this is just a fluke – is in Russian. It’s not even in English. At least before it was fairly readable in all of its misspelled, bad grammar, illiterate, illicit glory.

Some genuinely good info , Sword liⅼ I detected this. A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous. by Ingrid Bergman.”

Um, sure, ok.

Or…

I’m with PanjabPharm. we produce many items of quality drugs. Our engeneers have more than 20 years expirience in complex med researches. buy cialis online doctor lr6472hf3121.

Good for you!

And my all-time favorite came from Hot F**k:

Incredible points. Great arguments. Keep up the great spirit.

Thanks Hot F**k!

But now it’s this:

Как заработать в интернете уже сегодня Ребят, хватит сидеть без денег!) Я был простым бедным студентом, а теперь рублю 15-17 тысяч рублей каждый день вот здесь: [url=https://vk.cc/5DFvY9]https://vk.cc/5DFvY9[/url] (обучающая статья) Это РАБОТАЕТ! Проверено. Всем удачи!Имеется такая услуга – добровольное медицинское обслуживание (или ДМО).Она предполагает, что вы вносите небольшую сумму за то, что ходит на прием весь год не платя за каждый прием.Однако опросы показывают, что лишь 5% жителей Санкт-Петербурга знают о ее существовании. Почему? Потому что клиникам выгоднее сдирать с людей деньги за каждый визит. А если какой-нибудь сотрудник клиники попытается посоветовать добровольное медицинское обслуживание клиенту – это сулит ему увольнением.

Try that on for size Google Translator:

How to make money on the internet today Guys, that’s enough to sit without money!) I was just a poor student, and now the ruble 15-17 thousand every day here: [url = https: //vk.cc/5DFvY9] https://vk.cc/5DFvY9 [/ url] (tutorials) It works! Checked. ! Good luck There is such a service – voluntary medical service (or DME).She suggests that you make a small fee for that goes to the reception the whole year without paying for each meal. However, surveys show that only 5% of St. Petersburg residents are aware of its existence. Why?Because hospitals more profitable to rip off money from people for each visit. And if any hospital staff member will try to advise voluntary medical service to the client – it promises him a dismissal.”

Yea. It’s kinda scary. You just don’t know whose lurking on your devices.

Then there is the other kind of spam. Texts or messages from people you might know but don’t want to hear from. “Trolls, haters,” or my favorite terminology, “energy parasites and those addicted to chaos.” These are the people we know who feed on their own anger and misery and want to share it with us. Yuck.

Anyway, not sure there’s much we can do about any of this. It feels pretty power-draining, like we aren’t really in charge of our own life-supporting stuff like a phone number, or an email address or even a website. Comcast, Verizon, Amazon, and maybe even Russians own our privacy now, that’s almost a fact.

In the meantime I have a new phone number I’ll never use. But as Hot F**k suggested, I’ll keep up the great spirit. Hey maybe I can get some Uggs really cheap. Or some Cialis. You just never know when you might need it.

 

(Thank you Danielle LaPorte for your awesome words about energy parasites.)

For Millennials, Mom Doesn’t Always Know Best

Seriously, high school kids don’t wear coats anymore? It’s winter in the northeast, there’s snow everywhere, it’s cold… but I have yet to get my almost-17-year old in any coat, let alone a winter one. Makes me crazy.

He’s not the only one, I don’t see any of them wearing coats when I drop him off at school every morning. That’s the other thing. He goes to public school but our town doesn’t have busses for high-school kids. They have shuttles – busses for middle schoolers that will shuttle any high schoolers to the high school as a last resort. He won’t ride with the youngsters. Not to mention it costs $500.

No coat, no bus.

He wants to fit in, not stand out, not ride the bus with babies. I get that. But I don’t get the stubbornness. He’s my third and by far the most resistant to anything I suggest, say, advise or even insist. He simply won’t comply.

Not sure I can blame this on the millennial m.o., although this fits into the selfish stereotype. But I don’t see it as selfish, ego-centric or even lazy. It’s about this generation’s ability to make choices that they feel are best for them and be solid in that. They walk their own path and they stick to it, because they have the will, and the courage. They don’t let other people tell them what’s best for them. I can totally appreciate that.

Minus the condescending, not-so-nice, teenage bad attitude of course. Empty nest is just around the corner and is looking pretty good.

Maybe I’m just inexperienced in the ability to stand tall in my own resolute identity. I’d love to be able to do that without any guilt or lingering trepidation. I grew up differently. I had to do what I was told or the consequences would be painful. The innate hesitation therefore, is real for me.

In fact I’m still hemming and hawing about a story I recently submitted. It was a tough assignment, long, involved and I had to follow a complicated outline. I do better when I can write without explicit restrictions – you know – walk my own creative path.

Sure everybody has to follow rules, but the politics of working well and playing nice with others can be a little tiring. He said…she said…do it this way…that way…no my way… Honestly, I was not only a little grumpy, I was sad when all was said and done because the powers that be didn’t seem happy with the story. Yet I complied and worked hard.

But do you think my son (and I’m guessing his comrades,) are sad when they don’t comply, even if it seems sensible? I doubt it. Maybe he’ll grow out of it, although his older brothers didn’t. They lost the b.s. teenage attitude, and they do ask for advice, but they still do what they want in the end. Even if it doesn’t make sense…to me.

Imagine the freedom living like that. Although I’ll still be wearing my coat.

 

Maps For The iPhone Has A Mind of Its Own

I don’t have road rage…although some who ride in my car beg to differ. I have GPS rage. Maps is in charge, and I hate it. Oh don’t get me wrong – I love having global positioning at my fingertips to help me navigate the squiggly lines our state calls roads. Even George Washington grumped about that in one of his diary entries when he was passing through Massachusetts, but I find a squiggly grid of asphalt over horse tracks quite charming.

It’s that Siri wants me to go on the highway every single time I hit the road, even if I opt for the alternate route when she hands out the options. I type in the address, watch the spinning ball calculate, and most of the I time pick the back-roads option. Sure it may be a few more minutes in time, but it’s usually less miles in distance, and I just prefer a little more scenery.

But nope. When I pull out of my driveway and hear, “Starting out to <address>” and turn the way I know is the alternate route, all of a sudden I see a big REROUTING come across the screen. Say what?

Then when I hear, “Turn around when possible,” I know she wants me on the highway. So I defy her to stay on the back-road track and the big REROUTING game begins. She directs me toward the highway, I defy. She redirects, I defy. Back and forth back and forth until sometimes I trash my destination altogether just for the sake of defying her. Yea.

Sir Husband with his unbounded patience finds it quite comical, along with my irritation-turned-rage. It’s particularly bad at night, Siri really has the upper hand and knows it. It’s dark, my night vision isn’t keen and things look scary and confusing. She always wins.

I suppose it’s a control thing, I’m only a follower if I can maintain some personal control. Me against the machine, technology, Big Brother.

But, life’s idiosyncrasies prevail.

Because as I caught my breath after a particularly irritating rerouting adventure – in which I found myself on the highway before all was said and done – I learned that Siri is a real person. A woman named Susan Bennett, who in fact was not even hired by Apple to be the voice of Siri and beloved Maps. They took her voice from some previously recorded material she did for another company in 2005, and didn’t even compensate her.

I was feeling rage against a real person, well not really. But technically speaking, there is a human behind the device. There are over 700 million iPhones in the world now. She’s literally all over the map…and in my car trying to get me on the highway.

So I might maintain a little George Washington grump when I fight to turn right when pushed to turn left on a road that doesn’t even go in a straight line. But I know without a doubt, eventually Susan Bennett will get me where I am going and let me know it with her clear certainty.  You have arrived.

 

The Ups And Downs of A Blogger’s Heart

Blogging is not for the faint of heart. Putting ourselves on the line for the whole world to read takes some bravery. Bloggers share some pretty intimate details of their lives, our deep thoughts, values, what makes us tick, the nitty-gritty of our heart and soul right from our hands, onto the keyboard, then in one click it’s all handed over to the ether – unprotected, visible and out there.

Sure, people do that every day, especially on social media, throwing their thoughts into their bubble of friends and followers where they will likely be supported. If not, it’s easy to just delete a post when things get uncomfortable. Not to mention it rolls away in a matter of hours, noticed but mostly forgotten.

But writing your life’s topic of the day, or week, or month, and sharing it on its own website to be read, scrutinized, examined, dissected, or worse – ignored – by the world at large? Yea it’s tough.

Then why do it? Well, why not at least try doing what we feel we are called to do? I have a good grip on my life’s purpose – writing – and I not only love it, I do it, even when it goes unnoticed or not many people like it…see it…or read it.

Truth be told, I’m pretty let down by my blogging dream. Nobody really gives a sh*t about much more than the election and state of the nation now. I get that. Every single time I open Facebook it’s nothing but sickening information from that growing disaster.

And I care about how things make me feel.

So I try to listen to my gut, follow my instincts, and like most writers, question everything and then wonder why.

I had a dream.  Blah blah blah. Scroll back a few hundred posts and you can read all about it, every post offers a nugget of heartfelt wisdom. After all, my soul’s purpose is on the line.

But much like speaker-outers, protestors, commenters, and yes bloggers, in the spirit of never, ever, ever giving up, especially on our dreams, why negatively confirm that my blog feels a bit like a fizzled failure. When feedback is minimal and it seems like what I’m saying doesn’t matter…well then what else can I do but let myself off the hook of defeat and carpe diem?

Tomorrow is another day.

 

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.

 

Embracing Flaws Isn’t A Character Flaw

be-beautifulI’m not a fashionista, but I try to look stylishly acceptable. No trends, no bare midsection, and my skinny jeans are stretchy despite their designer appearance. My shopping store favorites are Nordstrom Rack and The Loft, so when I picked up a long tie die cotton skirt at BJs, it took me by surprise. I went completely off the rack. But I really liked this muted purple skirt, not to mention it was on wicked sale.

I don’t wear it often, hippie isn’t my thing. But I like to throw it in the mix when the occasion allows. We choose what we wear based on all kinds of things – comfort, style, weather, fashion, destination, dress-up, dress-down, how it makes us feel. But one constant for me is no wrinkles or tears. That whole Flashdance ripped-tee era wasn’t for me.

img_2442For no reason the other day, I decided to take a break from my yoga pants and put on the tie die skirt. It’s comfortable and the purple hues remind me of fall. Even color or seasonal attire is another fashion motive. I was completely dressed when I noticed a tiny hole in my skirt. When I looked closer it wasn’t just one, it was two. Like sharp little cat claws may have made the pin-sized rips.

This is when being OCD really gets me. I felt this urgency to take off the skirt and quickly sew those two minuscule holes before I went on my way. That of course would involve taking it off, pulling out the sewing kit, trying to thread the needle, stitching the small jagged holes, on and on. I didn’t have the energy, or frankly the time. So I took a deep breath and said to myself, learn to live with the flaws.

never-perfectAs if this was some profound realization, I was proud of myself for stepping back and consciously letting it go. Learn to live with the flaws. Is that even possible for a perfectionist? I had control over fixing it in that moment and didn’t. Yikes – imperfection.

This may seem ridiculous, but learning to live with the flaws is a big deal to me because it comes at a time when I’m feeling the flaws in a lot of areas. My perimenopausal body feels the flump. My gray roots grow fast. My worn and faded condo walls are in desperate need of paint. I’ve had some difficulty with some writing assignments for a potentially permanent job. I’m in desperate need of self-care when obligations are calling first. I’m feeling a little flawed in how to think about it all.

But after overcoming that tiny torn skirt situation and wearing it with the rips, I felt this sense of achievement and even a little bit free. Does this mean I might be able to ease up on stressing the gray roots? Or the chipped nail polish? Will I give up on picking up carpet dirt specs, or wiping fingerprints off the bathroom mirror? I may however draw the line at not making the bed. For now.

Whatever really, bring on the flaws and imperfection, I’m just going to be me.

self-discovery

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