Monthly Archives: February 2012

I Need a Time-Out!

Ok.  Last night I had a little bit of a meltdown.  I had a tantrum, a fit.  I was a bit curt with my favorite person, I slammed things, huffed and puffed around the apartment, and eventually had to take Emma for a really long walk to get myself down from the ledge.

I’m in the middle of some of the biggest changes of my life, and I don’t actually have much say in how things transpire.  Consequently, I am a little stressed at the continued situation of not having complete control over the major events unfolding in my life.  I am forced to wait on others right now; governments, agencies, organizations.  I am at the mercy of strangers and it makes me uncomfortable.

I took a moment to catch my breath last night as I crawled into bed, and I once again found that place in my mind that works so hard at reminding me that everything will be alright.  I tossed and turned a bit, but I woke up with a better attitude and a positive outlook on the whole situation.  I am throwing aside the worry, it doesn’t help.  I’m walking forward by faith and I know in the end, the results will be exactly what I have been waiting for all these months.

Yes, I had a tantrum, but I put myself in a time-out and I have regained my balance once again.

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Move

“Your address, your body, your bookshelf.  Shake out anything in your life that’s rusty, stiff, or stuck and get it into motion.  Take a walk, take a hike,  take a step  away from stagnating jobs, relationships, and life patterns.  Change perspective.   Move closer to people who meet you with authenticity and who nourish your wildest dreams.   Move away from everybody else.  You don’t have to move mountains; shifting a single pebble can work wonders.   Make your move – any move – now.   If you wait until you have more money, more security, more grace, more anything, you’ll never move anywhere at all.”    ~ Rachel Snyder

It’s time to move. Quickly, quietly, without hesitation.  Move.  That’s right, move.  I’m moving it all; life, perspective, career, love, dog, books.  I’m moving.  I’m packing up, purging out and pushing forward.  Making my  lists, I can see how close I am to my departure, and my arrival. My excitement is growing, my fear subsiding, my patience is fluctuating from day to day.

It’s time to move.  I’m ready to go.  I’m already there in my heart.


Insist

“When you must, insist.  Insist that you be given the opportunity to speak.  Insist that everyone be given the same.  Insist that they listen.  Insist that every viewpoint be given credence – no matter who presents it.  Insist on the truth; insist that people be willing to dig for it.  Insist that the people around you be civil and respectful of all beings.  Insist that they stop already with the jokes that aren’t funny and the compliments that compliment no one.  Insist on a square deal.  Insist that people look at you when they talk to you.  Insist on nothing less from yourself.  When polite isn’t quite enough and demanding seems over the top, simply, firmly, clearly insist.”  ~ Rachel Snyder

I insist that you be respectful.  I insist that you treat each other with dignity.  I insist you practice patience and compassion.  I insist you be your very best self.

Each day I insist my students practice the kind of qualities that breed tolerance and understanding.  They are not allowed to be critical of others based on appearance or preference.  They must challenge each other on the merits of their individual character, and leave behind the stereotypes and predispositions that cloud their judgement and reasoning.  They must.

To be a part of my class is a privilege and an honor, but it must be earned.  You must prove to me that you deserve to share in the experience I am going to give you, and if you are not interested in following the rules of my world, you will be dismissed.  My classroom is a haven for free thinking and self-expression.  No one will be criticized for their opinions or beliefs, and everyone will respect the differences of their peers.  You will encourage each other, and when one of you falls, you will help them along the way.  You will not give up on yourself or your classmates.

The rules are simple; be your best self, and expect the best from those around you.  I won’t have it any other way.


Flow

” Get our of your own way and let your life flow with the grace of a clear mountain stream.  Stop trying to orchestrate and manage your way through life.  Stop trying to swim against the current; the struggle will get you nowhere and will exhaust you in the process.  Flow into and out of your days without clinging desperately to worn-out ideas, deadened hopes, lifeless relationships.  Let go and let flow.  Spend time on the banks of a river, creek, or waterfall.  Feel the serenity and east of the effortless flow.  Remember how a stone that is tumbled and carried by the flow ends up smooth and polished, with no rough, ragged edges.  Be that stone and go with the flow.”  ~ Rachel Snyder

A few weeks ago I made a profound decision; I decided to stop worrying about my life and start living it.  Seems like a silly thing to have to consciously decide, but I was at a point where all I did was worry and fret about all of things going on in my life; a very futile activity.  I couldn’t live like that any longer, so I pulled up my big girl pants and marched into a new way of thinking.

I wake each day and realize that I am capable of handling any challenge my life has to offer.  I believe in being proactive, checking my perspective, and having a plan; always with the understanding that I might have to stop and turn on a dime at any given moment.  Rapidly changing my direction and adjusting my view is what my father refers to as life; the ever-changing sea of possibilities and pitfalls that we wade through on a daily basis.

My life is amazing, spectacular, and completely unpredictable.  I have a plan, my dog, a stack of journals, and my favorite person to keep me safe and cheer me on through each day.  I am going with the flow now; no worry or doubt to cloud my view.  I’m not afraid to stumble and tumble through some of my days; sometimes it’s just the way it has to be if I want to lose the rough edges.


Sift

“Imagine all the possibilities of your life in one large, glorious pile.  Now start sifting.  Painstakingly examine each grain, each morsel.  Do you want it?  Need it?  Does it serve you?  Decide what stays, what goes, what gets folded in together.  Sift slowly and mindfully.  It may take months or years.  Or your entire life.  Once you’ve sifted things into neat piles, start the process all over again.  Sift and resift, sift and resift.  Wheat from chaff, sand from jewels, truth from illusion.  Let the insignificant details fall through to the ground, leaving what’s solid, what matters, behind.”   ~ Rachel Snyder

Sifting through my life is a daily process.  I stumble over the junk and strive to search for the keepable items.  It really isn’t as difficult as you might think; you just have to muster up your courage and dive right in.  Sometimes I find things I’m not proud of and I stop and think about why I have kept them around; it dawns on me that having reminders of difficult times helps me keep my hands on the helm so I don’t veer off my current path.  The tough reminders have their own vault, one with gentle locks and peep holes; all intended to keep them contained and controlled until I need them.

The beauty of my life is neatly categorized and displayed in showcases of color and love.  I sit among those showcases and feel safe, surrounded by all the wonderful days of my life; and each day I continue adding to my extravagant display.  I take the hours and minutes of what I consider my finest moments and strategically place them into the appropriate categories; life, love, dogs, marriage, family, adventures.  I marvel at my accomplishments, not with conceit, but with wonder and awe.  I look at where I’ve been, where I am, and imagine where I will be in the future.

I continue to make space in my showcase for the future events of my life.  I clean out, sweep up, and rinse away what is no longer needed, and save space for myself and for those I love.


Sigh

Sometimes you simply must sigh.  When no words can capture the sweet, soulful breath escaping your lips, you simply must sigh.  Sound a little hum when you sigh.  Sigh when you know exactly what your friend means, yet words would cheapen the depth of her sentiment.  Sigh when you want to respond but you’re too weary, too spent to form words, much less sentences.  Sigh when you massage a woman, solely to induce her sighing, too.  Sigh when you hear violin music that seeps int your soul.  Sigh at funerals just to keep breathing.  Sigh when someone really needs more than anything to talk – and you need more than anything to listen.  Smile a soft smile when you sigh.  Never for a sigh.  When you can sigh effortlessly at just the right moments, you will know that you are a woman, sigh, indeed.”  ~ Rachel Snyder

Sigh. It took me some time, 43 years to be exact, to accept the importance of a good sigh.  It’s cleansing and renewing, kind of like standing under a warm shower.  The cobwebs disappear and breath comes easier after a good sigh.  My heart opens up and my mind regains its balance.  Sigh.

I believe the power a good sigh can help us recapture our power; the power to see ourselves in a truer light.  The moments spent pulling in a good sigh allow us the luxury of pause, in a world that often tell us to keep hurrying.  I need to pause from time to time and take inventory of where I am in this world, who I am in this world.  The daily woes of living can cloud our judgement, wear down our resolve, and steal our confidence; a sigh can give it all back.

The next time you feel yourself spiraling downward, stop and sigh.  Pump the breaks a little and recapture your power.  Sigh.


Bad Habit?

I love you; three little words that are taken for granted almost every day by thousands of people around the world.  I love you; a sentiment saved for those individuals that invade our souls and make our hearts beat faster.  I love you; first words of the day and last words of the night, every night.  I love you; to the moon and back, to infinity and beyond, with all I am and ever will be.

Okay, so why do we say it so much?  What makes it such an important statement, and why do we cringe when we find ourselves unable to say it in return?  Do you mean it each time you say it; do you feel it in your guts, or is it just a habit people engage in to appease their partners?  I don’t have that answer for you; but I have the answer for me.  Each time I say it, I mean it; from my gut, from every cell, with all my energy.  I mean it, or I don’t say it.  Even more than meaning it, I have to feel it.  If I don’t feel it, if it isn’t an uncontrollable utterance, then why bother?  I want to be moved by my emotions, I want to feel it bubble up inside of me and explode like a geyser, and then I want to see her face when the words escape past my lips and linger on her ears.

Habits take time; about two full weeks to develop a true habit, whether it’s a good one or a bad one.  Habits sometimes have a way of ruining the heart and shading the feelings we have for others.  Bad habits have the ability to make us less appealing to others, both physically and emotionally.  Good habits do the exact opposite.  Rarely do we find ‘good habits’ that cause a hiccup in the love beat between two people, but I believe it’s possible to fall prey to the destruction of what some consider a ‘good habit’.

Have you ever told your partner “I love you” without really thinking about it?  Do you say it because they say it first or because it is expected at certain moments?  Do you say it simply to avoid conflict and make things calm?  Pump the brakes people.  What’s wrong with this picture?  Saying “I love you” should mean something; every time you say it.  It shouldn’t be your continued go-to when things get difficult or uncomfortable.  It shouldn’t be used to end an argument or coerce cooperation.  You should say “I love you” because you feel like your heart will burst out of your chest if you don’t tell her how you really feel.  You should say “I love you” when you’re feeling vulnerable and you don’t know if you will hear it returned.

When nothing else can express what is racing through your heart and soul; you should say “I love you”.


Grateful

Gratitude; I feel it in every aspect of my life.  I wake up and I am grateful I am alive.  I’m grateful for the hot water in my shower and the steaming coffee in my mug.  Grateful for the cute kelpie pup that wakes with me each day and drags me out into the cold for an early morning walk.  Grateful for all the romps and rest I have shared with my special one, and grateful there will be more in my future. I’m grateful for Tennessee Whiskey and 12 year old scotch.  I am grateful for my run-down car that manages to transport me safely to work and home again each day.  I’m grateful for fuzzy socks and snuggly robes, comfy jeans and well-worn TopSiders.  I am grateful.

Do you think I’m nuts?  That’s ok.  I no longer base my attitude on the perceptions that other people might have of me.  I am grateful and I feel an uncontrollable urge to make sure I say it out loud every day.  I run through the laundry list of my daily life and I realize that I have an amazing existence.  I’m happy, probably for the first time in many years.  I’m relaxed and moderately stress-free.  I don’t spend my nights wrapped in worry, and my days flow more easily now.  My friends have noticed this profound change in me and have commented on how different I seem.  I simply tell them, ‘I’m just grateful for who I am and what I have in my life.’  Sometimes they chuckle and shake their heads, mostly as a sign of uncertainty about my sincerity.  It’s okay, I understand; not everyone gets it.

It is kind of cliche to say this, but the fact of the matter is this:  I woke up one day and decided, chose to be happy.  That’s it; I just chose to feel this way.  Now I run through each day with a smile on my face, hope in my laughter and love in my heart.  I have it all!  Don’t be fooled, I haven’t been like this for very long.  A few months ago I was still wallowing in the idea that I am lonely, broke, fat, tired, under-appreciated and often ignored.  It was, to say the least, a pretty miserable existence.  I was not happy, despite having so many great things in my life.  I was not looking past what I considered problems. I was not willing to accept the things I allowed to bring me down today, weren’t really going to be that important tomorrow.  As a matter of fact, the things people obsess and worry about now, are very seldom significant in the future; they are merely wasting hours and minutes putting their energy into something that doesn’t bring any kind of positive return.

I know it sounds a bit corny, and many people will poo poo on the whole idea; I don’t care.  I am happy. I am grateful.  I am living each day, eyes wide open, ready to accept what the world places in front of me.  I own my happiness, and I will continue to choose this path over my previous one.  I was a miserable human being for a lot years, and if making a conscious choice to be happy is all it takes for me to turn my life around, then I’m going with it.

Enjoy your Friday. Be grateful.


Eat Your Fucking Brussel Sprouts!

I am fed-up with all of the so-called Christian groups in this country acting like hateful asshats.  That’s right, I called them asshats.  I’m pissed off, so you’ll have to forgive me.

The most recent group to pop up on my radar is the One Million Moms. The One Million Moms (OMM) claims that they are “dedicated to saving our young people” and their mission is to save the children.  Ok listen, I’m all for saving children and protecting our youth, but since when is preaching hatred and bigotry a realistic way to help guide the young people of this country.  Yes I know, Hitler managed to indoctrinate thousands of young Germans with his Hitler Youth organization that touted propaganda and fear as a means of controlling a country, but this is not 1939 and it sure as hell isn’t Germany.

I live in America.  This country is supposed to be the melting pot of all nations.  What the fuck happened to us?  Why do we hate each other so damn much?  When did Americans decide to turn on each other instead of banding together and supporting each other in difficult times?  When is it going to stop being okay for people to treat each other like shit solely on the basis of who they love or the color of their skin or what language they speak?  Why is it so difficult to just shut your friggin’ pie hole and let people live their lives without having to constantly worry that they will be attacked or evicted or fired from their job because someone  doesn’t like  the way they live, who they love or what they believe?  I’ve fucking had it!

I see a serious lack of compassion and understanding from organizations that profess they are merely spreading their Christian love and values in an effort to make the world a better place.  These people hide behind a false god and use their religion as a weapon to degrade  those of us who might not agree with their way of thinking.  They preach a religion of propaganda that is intended to dehumanize the people they don’t see as being fit to receive the basic human decency that ALL people deserve.

I am an American, and I am also a daughter, a writer, a mother, a lesbian, a sister and a teacher.  I am  so many things, and I fail to understand how I can be singled out as having caused the downfall of this nation when I preach no hate, make no threats and encourage a sense of tolerance in all areas of my life.   What is it about me that makes me so dangerous in the eyes of the One Million Moms?  Why am I forced to defend my life when all I want to do is have an honest and fair existence like everyone else?   I don’t care if you’re a democrat or a republican.  I don’t care if you like me or the way I am living my life.  I don’t fucking care what religion you observe or what color your skin is.  All I ask is that you stop, take a breath, and think about what you are doing.  Think about all of the amazing people you condemn and dismiss on a daily basis simply because their beliefs are different from yours.  We can not all be like-minded individuals, we need diversity in our society in order to grow; both spiritually and mentally.  What we can be, is tolerant.   It doesn’t cost you anything, you won’t lose anything or have to give up anything if you consciously choose to be tolerant.

Look at it like this… Tolerance is kind of like brussel sprouts. They are bitter and mushy, and no amount of cheese sauce makes them any easier to eat. As kids, we push them around our plate and hope that they will just magically disappear, but something interesting happens once you finally get them down; over time, you start to realize how good they are for you, and you eventually go back for more until brussel sprouts are just a normal part of dinner.  Practicing tolerance is the same; it isn’t easy at first and you think you might not be able to handle all of the individuality you are confronted with, but eventually you start to realize that the differences you see in others are actually something to be respected and applauded.  Eventually you start to see those differences, not as a threat, but as something that’s actually good for you.

So come on America, eat your fucking brussel sprouts.


Easy

Since when does a relationship have to be hard work in order to be good?

Why do people stay in relationships that require so much work, so much struggle?

Why can’t people just accept the good things that come with being in love and move forward in a manner that continues to cultivate the reason it all started?

 

About eight months ago I embarked on an adventure in my heart, one with all the bells and whistles. We started our relationship as friends, and then one day, one kiss, I knew where I wanted my heart to live for the next 50 years.  I waited a lifetime for someone to take me as I am; no conditions, no demands, just me as I am.  Now I have this wonderful girl in my life, and I continually marvel at how easy it is with her.  I look at her and my knees go weak.  I hear her voice and my day is bright.  I feel her hand in mine and I am swept away. I don’t have the fear and worry that often accompanies the huge steps in every relationship; marriage, mortgage, moving.  Each step I have taken with her has been easy, and I have this feeling, way down in my gut, that it will always be easy with her.

Now before everyone starts chiming in with their two cents about “honeymoon stages” and the idea that all relationships start out with a rush of ease that never lasts, I want you to stop and think for a minute; what is the level of ease in your current relationship?  Has it changed since that first kiss?  If so, why?

All I know right now is this; I’m in love, and it’s easy. It’s so easy.