Category: Uncategorized

Locking Down Our Destiny Is Pretty Hard To Do

Do you ever wonder what on earth you are doing here at this particular point in time? Are we here to evolve our souls or make an impact, or do we just live for a while then turn to dust? Because however you look at it, we are here now, making and breaking history.

The movie Slum Dog Millionaire (love it) tries answer that with a multiple choice question ~ “Jamal Malik is one question away from winning 20 Million Rupees. How did he do it?”  A. He cheated  B. He’s lucky  C. He’s a genius  D. It is written.

I’m an answer D’er. We have our own destiny, it’s already written and we’re here to fulfill it. The bigger question is, what is it? For some it’s obvious, for the rest of us, not so much.

Until this year I never really questioned my place and time in history, I was always just happy to be an American at a time that life in our first-world country was pretty okay. So I just went about my business trying to fulfill my unknown-but-written destiny.

Turns out our path to destiny comes with challenges we have try to work through, hopefully learning as we go. Doesn’t matter what they are – health, job, people, life – I was feeling pretty happy recently to have finally overcome (or so I thought,) years and years of rollercoaster challenges, thereby rocking my destiny.

Then things started getting tricky. Trump tricky. And all of a sudden some of those challenges I thought I was done with – bullies, narcissists, abusers, sociopaths, dangerous, angry humans – is happening on a massive, grandiose scale beyond what most people really imagined. Doesn’t matter what side you’re on, historical chaos ensues.

So the other day when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed by the state of national affairs, I asked myself, any idea why you are here at this particular point and time? Was this written? Did you pick this time to exist to experience this? Or are you just lucky? Because some might say experiencing hardship is good for the soul. Think about Moses and the Israelites. Or slaves. Or Jews in Nazi Germany. Syrian refugees. Was that good for them? Did they meet their destinies or their fates?

And now why, all of a sudden, do I feel like I need to re-examine my own destiny more closely? To dig deeper and lock it down? I thought I already did that. But thanks to our lifetime’s history-in-the-making, I get the opportunity to keep on keeping on my own path of destiny discovery.

Maybe that’s the whole point. Whether we are here to evolve, make a known impact, or simply turn to dust, wouldn’t we really like to know what on earth we’re doing here? I guess I shouldn’t work so hard at it. After all, I’m pretty sure it’s already written.

 

 

There’s No Place Like A Home For The Holidays

That Irving Berlin song – Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep – from the 1954 movie classic White Christmas – is a great little tune I’ve heard every holiday season my whole life. I love it, and it only took a few decades for its meaning to sink in.

We’re a week away from Christmas and winter truly arrived last week with a polar vortex that brought record-breaking, dangerously cold temperatures to the Northeast and we felt it. Really felt it. So much so that I shed a tear for the poor animals who live outside when I could barely get from my car to my front door without legitimately feeling pain. Although we live in the city, our home is on 23-acres of conservation land where all kinds of creatures make their homes – deer, wild turkeys, birds, fox, coyotes, it’s quite amazing. I worry about them in the brutal cold.

winter-storm-noaa

On the first day of the nasty vortex, grey and dreary, winds whipping over 30 miles per hour, I stood in the window and watched a flock of wild turkeys pecking for food around the front lawn. They had to be cold. There I was in my house, all decorated for the holidays and cozy, and I was overcome with gratitude. I not only have heat, but a big wood-burning fireplace we enjoy using several nights a week. It wasn’t just the warmth, it was everything. I was bursting with  gratefulness.

Finally feeling the peace, Sir Husband and I are finding this a lovely place to be – on the other side of hardship – dreams seized and nurtured. Sure we still have stress, but normal stress, the manageable stuff that doesn’t seem so huge when you realize you are overjoyed to have heat. And other things, like food, clothes, jobs, and a roof over our heads with indoor plumbing.

I never realized how valuable those things truly were until I was standing in the hallway after a holiday carol service a couple of Sunday evenings ago while it was still fairly warm out (funny that 40 degrees is now considered warm.) I noticed two people right outside the window sitting down on what looked like a ground-level ledge of the building.

161211carolservices32We were in a big, old Catholic church built in the early 1900s. It’s stunning actually, and the floor to ceiling windows reveal the fairytale-esque city square that looks like it’s right out of a movie. It was hard not to be mesmerized by the magic of this extraordinary church let alone the amazing voices of the choir performing there that night. And there these two people were, sitting there huddled together talking. I thought it was two college students since we were in Harvard Square. But when I looked closely I could see they were layered in clothing partially-wrapped in sleeping bags, next to them was a full plastic garbage bag – of something. They were homeless and settling in for the night.

I stood there wondering who they were and why they were there, tucked into the nook of a big, brick church trying to stay warm. They looked unfazed actually, I could hear them chatting as if it were two people talking over a dinner table at home. I assumed they would be there all night and wondered if this was their “home.”

While we were inside completely moved by the choir’s angelic voices singing beautiful carols in Latin, German, and old English by candlelight …  Silent night…holy night…all is calm…all is bright … they were outside with only the clothes on their backs and a garbage bag by their sides.

Count your blessings instead of sheep. Because baby, it’s cold outside.

count-your-blessings

Happy holidays ~ See you next year.

 

 

(*winter scene photo courtesy of NOAA)

It’s Easy To Say Self-Care But Pretty Hard To Do

If there’s one thing to be said about my family, it’s that we are adept in a crisis. I hate to say it, but it’s our strong point. Maybe that’s good, although it comes from a long history of crisis control, which is not a good way to live.

griefWhen a good friend unexpectedly died recently, first the shock of her death overtook us all. My boys jumped right in to support of her son – their close friend – who lost his mom, and I did the same with her whole family. It was natural to us.

Then I realized a few days later, that I “took it on.” I mean seriously took it on – as if she were a member of my own family, or close enough that I needed to participate in a hands-on way. I felt “attached” to it, an automatic internal response to deeply feel the situation as if it were my own. Pretty overwhelming.

Sure I was emotional – it was very upsetting. Back in the day she was one of my closest friends. But we hadn’t seen each other in a while, although was in my heart and recently on my mind. And as sad as I was, she wasn’t my family. I could feel my own sadness without automatically feeling her family’s sadness too.

I thought about her son – who is the same age as my son – and how my son might feel if I had suddenly died. Everyone does that to some degree, we put ourselves in others shoes and our empathy naturally surfaces when we hear about tragedy. But I’m so used to having tragedy in my life, I only knew how to respond as if this was my own crisis. I actually didn’t have to take it on the way I did.

calm-lifeWhen I noticed this for the first time the day before her wake, the message was loud and clear. This is someone else’s tragedy and I could feel it differently. At arms length. I could think about this situation from an outside perspective, and even respond to it that way.

No to mention, I also had my own personal stuff going on that required my attention at the same time. I almost couldn’t deal with the timing of her funeral and my personal needs on the same couple of days. My sons too. They wanted to go, but they had their own priorities that could not be ignored. And they were ok with supporting their friend from afar, that was the best that they could do.

There’s a fine line between self-care and self-sacrifice. It’s a tricky balance that often feels difficult to achieve depending on our life circumstances, and conditioning. Not to mention it takes practice.

I recently read a “doctor’s orders” prescription for self-care:

Rest when you are tired. Do something fun every day. Breathe deeply. Absorb the Divine healing stream. Mother yourself well. And of course – enjoy life. (Because sometimes, as we are quickly reminded, life can be too short.)

The paradox is that while self-care may feel selfish, it’s the only way to care for or help others in their times of need ~ the last and most heartfelt message I will ever have from my friend.

fullsizerender

When Sickness Gets You Down Try Some Flower Power

I’ve done fairly well avoiding the minor plagues my teenager keeps bringing home from school, until last week when I was bed-bound during a wretched sinus infection that took neti-pothold and wouldn’t quit. This one knocked me down. Almost flu-like, I was miserably uncomfortable and losing patience as the days rolled on, cursing the child for rarely washing his hands, or at least not using Purell. I wasn’t alone in this heinous fall bug, it blasted a few I know, and tried to hit Sir Husband too despite his manly-strong immune system and attempts to stave it off.

That’s the thing, I work exceptionally hard to keep illness at bay often without success, unlike my husband who doesn’t give it a thought and rarely gets sick. I’m a Germ Warrior. Un-closeted germaphobe, incessant hand washer, hand-sanitizer user and baby wipe Goddess, I also use all kinds of natural immune-boosting supplements and teas while silently chanting my way through each day with Louise Hay’s Heal Your Life mantras designed for whatever sensation ails me at the moment. I am a big believer in the metaphysical – the relationship between mind and matter. I get sick because I’m “thinking wrong.”

alisonI have friends who rarely, or never get sick. Besides what seems like extraordinary luck, their secret must be “thinking good.” The’ve got that happiness quotient – always optimistic, filled with gratitude, barely any stress – nothing seems to knock them off their game. I’ve tried to be like this but I’m not sure it’s completely in my nature.

So while I was bemoaning my viral misery to a friend, she came to my rescue with what she believes will not only cure sickness, but will cure the underlying root causes. She just returned from a long trip Down Under where she went to do some soul searching of her own and came across an Australian Bush person who believes flowers have powers and wisdom to share.

flower-power“…Each flower in creation must solve the specific problems it confronts in its ecosystem….The solutions flowers develop in response to the problems they face become part of the flower’s architecture…as well as its energetic vibration.”

So essentially – and I never thought of this simplistically complex situation of nature before – in spite of all the challenges of climate, seasons, soils, temperature changes and precipitation, flowers adapt. And that adaptation technique becomes their vibe. And that vibe keeps them healthy…blooming…alive.

Fascinating!  My friend learned other things, like the way these flowers adapt is a teaching mechanism for humans, and used in Oz as flower essence healing remedies. Nature is more than a powerful healer, it’s a teacher too.

jade-plantIn my feverish state I fell asleep reading the links she sent, and had a dream about a Jade plant – the plant that symbolizes prosperity and good luck. It was tiny in my dream, and I held it in the palm of my hand in a heart-shaped pot. It didn’t have any small, pink flowers like it does when it blooms, but I knew in my dream that it would bloom soon.

I’m thinking that’s a really good start.

 

fullsizerender

Stockpiling Starbucks Before A Storm Is Definitely Self-Care

img_3018Remember Hurricane Matthew a couple of weeks ago? It pummeled a heck of a lot. Storms can be so scary. But even when classified ahead of time as potentially historic events, they’re easy to downplay in spite of the build up and hype, because they usually come clear out of the blue. Literally sunny, gorgeous blue-sky weather turns ugly on a dime. You know it’s coming from the high-tech radar, the spot-on predictions and the images of the areas it’s hit on its path headed toward you, but it’s hard to appreciate because of the calm before the storm.

We were fortunate this one didn’t make it to our northeast coast, we are usually a storm hub. But even if it did, some of us are a little lax when it comes to pre-storm prep. I’m always perplexed at what we might need. Batteries, check. Bottled water, check. Peanut butter and bread, check. I’m not good at disaster planning, so I tend to draw a blank when I have to consider what life might look like in the wake of a violent storm. My brain just freezes up. Then as the storm approaches, I close my eyes and hope for the best.

Not my friend L though – she’s a seasoned survivor of sorts, a hearty lifelong New Englander, and high-level nurse who is used to major catastrophes. Not only has she seen a lot in her life, she’s endured a lot. So when Category 4 Matthew was predicted to hit her new Carolina coastal home where she recently moved, she didn’t bat an eye.

img_3164As the pre-storm prep began around her and people were not only rushing out to get their supplies, but evacuating for safe ground, she sat at Starbucks sipping her latte watching the hectic craze. Her husband calmly got the generator ready, stocked up on food for the dogs and secured the last jar of peanut butter on the grocery store shelf. L wasn’t worried.

Until Starbucks put a sign on the door – Closing early Friday for three days due to Hurricane Matthew.

This simply would not due. Recovering from a serious health issue, L sits in Starbucks every afternoon enjoying some quiet time. It’s her healing respite place, where for an hour she gets lost in peaceful relief. It’s her safe self-care spot.

Self-care is a big deal – and not something many of us take too seriously unless there’s an incoming storm. L only recently learned about self-care since she’s spent her life caring for others. Now it’s her turn – not even by choice, but by necessity – and it’s a new concept for her. It’s hard to shift gears, and takes practice, time and daily commitment. How could she tend to herself if Starbucks was going to be closed?

sbSo she stocked up on three days worth of her specialty drink – her preparation for the storm. Whatever it takes she thought – a hurricane is an invasion on her healing time.

That’s my life story – invasions on my healing time. When I finally opt in for self-care, it’s often usurped by someone or something that in that moment appears more pressing. It seems when we need to rest or recover, unless our issues are visible or in plain sight, it’s hard for people to comprehend.

Although she wasn’t particularly safe batten-down in her home, L made it through without any repercussions. She texted me in the thick of it, a cup of cold Starbucks by her side. “This is horrible. Next time I’m heading out if it’s higher than Category 1.”

Self-care…in the eye of the storm.

 

take-care-of-yourself

 

Our Comfort Zone Lies Somewhere Between Our Body And The Bus

Three nearly-grown babies and a whole lot of changes in life, I finally got some big news that for many years I thought I would dread. I officially hit the M-word. It’s like a big accomplishment – I would like a commemorative cake.

menopause-blocks

unknownWhen I texted Sir Husband to tell him I finally crossed into the No More Babies On Board zone, he sent me a text of happy, celebration emojis. That’s because he has seen how uncomfortable I have been inside my own skin. No need to list all the symptoms of the post-childbearing years, but I have not fared too well.

hot-flashes-1

Discomfort by definition can span the gamut from body to mind and everything in between – it’s all interconnected. So when something is off balance we feel it, and it often shows. That goes for anyone – comfort zones are personal, life changes or not. Our comfort can be challenged, sometimes every day just interacting in life, our job, or simply out in the world.

red-lineThe other day we headed to a city festival where parking is tricky, so we took the subway. It’s not that I never liked the train, I just found driving more comfortable. I’m in my own little space, I can control the music, the temperature or stopping if I need to pee. But the other day we took the train as far as we could to get to this festival, then we had to hop a bus.

bus

I never rode a city busy in my life. Sir Husband on the other hand, loves public transportation and uses it a lot. So I did the best I could. I got my bus ticket (they don’t take cash,) I tried to put it in the right slot on the bus (the driver had to help,) I grabbed two seats in the front and pretended to be fine. I had no idea where we were going or where to get off, or even what to do.

To make matters worse, we had gotten on the wrong bus, and by the time we figured that out, we were in another part of the city. I maneuvered toward ear-shot range of the driver (are you even allowed to get up on a moving bus?) and asked her where we should go.

“You’re on the wrong bus honey,” she said. “You need to go the other way.”

tstopSir Husband of course was fine, but cringed at my expressions trying to stay calm. We got off at the next corner and walked several blocks to another stop. While we waited there for what felt like forever, we talked about my strain. I’m not going to lie – I was uncomfortable. Riding a public bus was outside of my comfort zone.

When the right bus finally pulled up and we got on, I acted like I knew what I was doing. But before I even had my ticket in the slot (this time I got it right,) the driver looked at me and said, “Well hello again!”

It was the same driver as our wrong bus. She had made a big loop around the city and was headed back.

I don’t know what happened, but she made me laugh and smile. We chatted all the way to our stop – and she didn’t make me sit down. I was actually kind of bummed when it was time to get off.

See how feeling comfortable works? Even when it’s something we dread? You just never know. Discomfort may be in our body, but it’s also in our head.

fullsizerender

 

How Do We Know If Something’s A Sign or a Random Occurrence In Time?

Mr. Ex and I for the most part get along without much discord. After all the past is the past. Not that every encounter is a picnic, which is normal I assume. But the other day as we were chatting about a few things related to each of our recent moves, the call dropped. Neither of us had moved from our spots and there were no technical issues. The first thing I thought was whatever he was saying, the Universe did not want me to hear, so the cosmos disconnected the call.

“Do you equate every single experience as some kind of cosmic sign?” Mr. Ex inquired when I called him back.

pyschic signYes, actually I do. It just seems natural to me to assume that life shows me my Divine blueprint by offering cosmic signs. I’m not a psychic or shamanically-inclined. I don’t practice witchcraft or voodoo or shuffle Tarot cards. But I do believe that if we are in tune to signs we can gauge the direction of our life.

This isn’t uncommon – ancient civilizations, spiritual and religious traditions, native cultures, current cultures – all utilize the interpretation of signs. Dreams, black cats, rainbows, flickers of electricity, candle smoke, number sequences, birds, feathers, full moons and yes, a phone call dropping in the middle of a sentence – there are zillions of definable signs. It’s just if we want to opt in, or pay attention to what they might mean.

number signs

“Not everything is a cosmic sign,” Mr. Ex chuckled.

Hmmm…although over-thinking or over-analyzing it may be partially true. But when we note patterns, have repeating coincidences, see meaningful symbols, hear things that perk up our ears or nudge at us, when our intuition is zinged – these to me are signs.

secret language of signsI have thought this for a while, but I’m still fuzzy on knowing what these signs mean. So I got a book called The Secret Language of Signs. I just want to know what I’m supposed to know so I can successfully, productively and co-creatively get on with my life.

For example, why do I see the numbers 555 all the time? Or what are all of these blog technical issues that keep happening when technically they shouldn’t, does this mean I should stop writing my blog? Or when random job opportunities keep appearing should I explore or ignore them? Are they a sign it’s time to dip my toe into a new kind work? Recurring vivid dreams, is there something they’re trying to say? Why do I have plumbing issues everywhere I live? What do I need to know? I don’t think it’s a sign to go to plumbing school.

The first part of the book explains about signs, meshing the line between space and time, seen and unseen, mystical and concrete. The rest is a “dictionary” of signs and what they supposedly mean – spanning the gamut from literal to metaphoric to insight and intuition. The bottom line is that signs are supposed to ignite our inner knowingness.

read tea leavesWhen I told Sir Husband I think I’m supposed to stop writing my blog he paused and said, “No no, not yet. You may be misreading the tea leaves.” So I googled tea leaves and my internet crashed. Good grief. Ok, never mind.

 

 

the universe loves a believer

 

 

The First Day Of The Rest Of Your Life Takes Guts

This past weekend Sir Husband and I found ourselves in a coffee shop in a little village at a high-top table in the center window, where we sipped iced coffee and watched the world stroll by. We also had great seats to watch a wedding at the big antique church across the street.

IMG_3069Guests for this event were dressed quite formally for a Saturday afternoon. We watched the bridal party of eight bridesmaids in their mint-green long dresses laughing and swinging their bouquets around while lining up to parade in, alongside eight groomsmen sporting their mint-green silk ties. We saw the bride get out of her limo and try to get up the old, tall wooden steps in her lacy white gown behind her hefty crew, a couple of gals in long dresses carrying her train.

This was a fun thing to see, but for me with some irony. This was the same church where I married Mr. Ex. I too, hauled myself and my lacy dress up those old wooden steps behind my bridesmaids and their groomsmen many years ago. But somehow it all seemed the same.

Sir Husband and I looked at each other and laughed – we’ve both been down this road before. And unfortunately when we did it, we weren’t marrying each other. We were each the 20-something bride and groom in big, formal church weddings marrying the completely wrong people. We both even semi-subconsciously knew it at the time, but we went through with it just the same. Yea, we were kind-of dumb.

So as we watched the pre-ceremony hoopla in the front of this beautiful church, with all the beautiful people, underneath a gorgeous blue sky on a perfect, sunny, late-summer day, we couldn’t help but be cynical.

This is the first day of the end of their marriage were the words that slipped out of our mouths. It’s all over after this. Sure the honeymoon will be fun, but then life will happen, and eventually it will all fall apart…… said hindsight. We laughed, although we weren’t trying for any bad karma, it just seemed reasonable to say.

IMG_3063When I got married at that very church, if I had only stopped it all right then.

Why do we make decisions when we know deep down they’re wrong? Marrying Mr. Ex wasn’t the first huge mistake, there was a long line of many more. Like staying married to him for years in spite of all the colossal problems.

We can’t really know what lies ahead when we make decisions in life. But we can tune in to our instinctual inner guidance system and let it help show us the way. There’s such a huge amount to navigate, why do we take it all on? If I only knew at the time that I was well-equipped to choose a new path…but I didn’t believe I was, and also refused to pay attention to the signs. I am certain that’s a huge part of the cause of divorce overall, we don’t listen to our guts.

It only took 30 years to finally marry the right man. Better late than never I say – and this time I knew it was right. Nobody can truly predict the future but we may have more control over our destiny than we realize. It all just depends on our view.

100307debjeff1-copy

Hooray! My Boy Is Coming Home (If only for a minute)

This is my baby.

Actually, these are my babies.

My baby is coming home to visit for a few days starting tonight. We are so excited! He rarely comes home because of …

MitchCollege2 copy

This.

apple store

And this.

While he is here we will be busy…

harvard

Visiting his step-dad at his job.

IMG_1683

Shopping for his new apartment.

IMG_2034

Eating burgers and fries at Wahlburgers.

beer

And of course drinking beer.

It will go too fast, and then he will have to leave. We will be sad.

15528byeMitch1 copy

I’ll be back next week to write about it. All the adventures…experiences…and emotions that we have with special people in our life.

IMG_0135 copy

Until then…

%d bloggers like this: