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The other day I told someone that I love to sleep with a stuffy tucked up under my chin. She laughed as if this was odd, which I didn’t really understand. Because I’ve been pretty committed to finding my soothing things for a while now, and it has become my normal to sit on the couch in the evenings with my weighted vest and blanket, my heated rice sock, my blue light glasses and hoodie, and … if I feel like it, my stuffy under my chin. If doing these things calms my nervous system and sets me up for a great night’s sleep and a good day tomorrow, then yes please. And also, who was the one that said we had to grow out of the things that make us naturally feel good? Who was the one who said we had to be like everyone else? And wait what, I’m not allowed to sleep with a stuffy anymore now that I’m fifty? Ridiculous.

When I think about what made me feel good when I was little, there was so much dancing, and so much singing, running through the woods as fast as I could dodging trees, coloring, trying to swing so high I’d go up and over the bar, jumping rope, kneading playdough, lots of cartwheels and skipping and wandering barefoot in streams and collecting treasures and being fascinated by all the tiny wonderful magic things that are all around us.

Is there a reason we stop doing the things we loved doing when we were children, the things we innately knew made us feel good?
Why, why did we stop? [continue reading…]

Ahhh, February. An entire month to celebrate love, how nice. It does feel like we could use as much focus on love as we can get right now, as many examples of love and loving as possible. One summer, a cardinal couple appeared in our garden and taught me a little something about love.

Before an enormous number of cats moved into our neighborhood, we fed the birds at multiple feeders in our garden. We sat at our window and watched and got to know them throughout the season. On this particular summer, we had the privilege of watching a cardinal family at the feeders. Actually, since they prefer safflower seeds and not many other birds seem to like those much since it’s quite a lot of effort, the cardinals got their very own, dedicated feeder to sit at for hours. We got to watch their babies grow up and see the dynamic of the adult male and female birds, who we cleverly called “The Boy” and “The Girl.”

I always felt they provided a nice example of a loving relationship. The Boy was just the most fabulous daddy and partner, cracking the hard safflower shells with his beak and feeding his family. And The Girl, an example of a strong, capable female who is still able to accept and welcome helpful, loving gestures, not necessarily for herself but for the one who is making the offering. She patiently sits and waits while he cracks the seeds and feeds her. Because he wants to take care of her. Because he wants to show her he loves her. Because he wants to feel like he’s doing a good job taking care of his family.

Of course, they both know she’s perfectly capable of feeding herself. But the way she shows her love is to accept his loving gesture, to receive the love he is extending to her in this way. This is how she shows her love to him.

And then there’s another kind of love The Girl showed me one hot summer day. [continue reading…]

Taking my cue from the sunflower, I follow the Light, when I’m not being stubborn and trying to go it alone, that is.

Yes, all too often, I look away from the Light entirely and become distracted following myself around in circles, not getting anywhere at all.

Somehow though, I always end up back here at this place – of remembering –
that the only way for me to live a life in which I am ACTUALLY living, is one in which I am Connected.

The Somehow of which I speak is, of course, the lovely . . . Grace. Grace, Who brings me back again and again when I’ve wandered off thinking I can do it by myself. [continue reading…]

Today I walked by some people who were talking about being irritated about the empowerment of a certain community of people in cinema . . . well, I began to seethe and give them a piece of my mind – in my mind. “Does empowering a group of people make it so that there is less power to go around for you?” I cleverly retorted. Etcetera etcetera. It went on and on, this fictitious conversation in which I told them what I thought of what they’d said. Oy.

Thankfully, by grace, I had had one of my more intentional mornings. And my awareness level was higher than usual so I was able to realize what I was doing to myself! And was actually able to nip it in the bud pretty quickly, I’d say, within five minutes anyway.

Because I was having a more aware day, I had the capacity to allow my brain to become un-hijacked and to remember that there is an alternative.

Because I was having a more intentional day, I cared enough to actually do something about what I was doing, rather than allowing it to continue.

So I did the practice. Because I’ve done it before. Because I know it. And because I know it works. Even if I don’t feel like doing it at the time.

[continue reading…]

I used to feel like starting over so many (many, many) times meant I could have, and should have, done better before. But I’ve grown to realize that I’m never actually starting out from the same place as before. It isn’t possible to do that.

There is always growth.
Did I learn something about myself,
how to *be me* a little more than before?

Then I’m starting from a new place.​​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​​Starting over with a new perspective, more experience, greater self knowledge, and hopefully a little more compassion for myself, is a gift.​​​​​​​​
 
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My parents built a box for me to live in.
Four walls, a floor, a roof.
My teachers, family and friends, my experiences, the world
Decorated it for me, decided how it would look. [continue reading…]

“Leave it,” my friend says to her dog over and over as we walk. Because the dog picks up a scent, or hears something running in the woods nearby, or just wants to follow any old urge to take off running in the direction of something enticing.

“Leave it,” my Friend says to me over and over. Because I, too, am picking up scents all around me that I want to chase – like the worry over this or the habit of thinking along these lines. Temptation to chase my way down a thought path I’ve been on again and again that’s never gotten me anywhere but that I’ve gotten so used to following, I barely even notice it’s what I’m thinking about. [continue reading…]

Off to tai chi class I go, not knowing that I am about to take away something completely unexpected. Yes, I’ll be learning a form that I have wanted to learn for a really long time, and I’m eager for the experience, but what I don’t know is that my teacher will say, on day one, in our very first interaction, something so simple that he’s said a thousand times before, that I’ll take away and manage to turn into my very own practice. [continue reading…]

Iwent to the ER during my first panic attack. Yep, picked the sleeping baby up out of his crib, strapped him into his car seat and my husband drove us there. Because, of course, I thought I was dying. It might be nice to say that I haven’t been there for a panic attack since, but I have. Several times. And then for me, panic ended up looking like countless appointments, tests, doctors, xrays, a surgery even. Because – panic doesn’t always look the same. And it moves around, the bugger, so it’s sneaky and it’s hard to figure out – always, always to figure out what’s real and what isn’t. [continue reading…]

Because I’m incorporating art making as a daily practice this October, I was eager to find this list I wrote in my journal the last time I was doing a daily art challenge. Dare I admit that it was in June 2015 and that I stuck with it for three whole days? Well, even that is part of the process, I remind myself.

24 life lessons learned through art: [continue reading…]

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