Advice · Advice for Men · Advice for Women · Argument · Creative Life · Girl Stuff · Guy Stuff Women's · Life · Life Lessons · Meaning of Life · Men's Health · Men's Issues · Men's Sexuality · Mens' Issues · Opinion · Psychology · Uncategorized · Women's Issues · Women's Issues · Women's Rights

The Once Every Six Week Crap-Out

a-crying-ladyMy Mumster suggested to me that I just flow through what she calls, “The Once Every Six Week Crap Out”. Being a ‘crap-out’, it’d kinda tough. Being in the middle of the bleak mid-winter makes it even tougher.

Tears have been a companion off and on for a few days, and I’m sure, given the shit way the morning started out, they will be again today. But that’s ok. I have tissue.

Focus is something I grasp at during these days of sacrifice. I say sacrifice as I believe that after a holiday filled with indulgence and excess, our bottoms and our bottom lines need some reigning in.

My tendency is to withdraw into myself and hibernate a bit, keeping my energy for planning wonderful things like Winterlicious dinners, allowing the characters I’m writing about to come out and play, and choosing something to accomplish.

To my gal pal who spent her birthday alone yesterday, I want to let you know you were in my heart. Been there, done that, and trust me, you’ll be better for it next year.

To my other gal pal who is working very hard at her profession, feeling guilty about money and family time, I am so very  proud of you.

To a few of my pals, don’t feel alone  in your intimate relationship. I’m with ya, and coffee and a good talk with a friend go a long, long, way. Call me.

To my Mumster who normalized the every-six-week-crap-out, thank you ever so much. It helps me in my practice to never forget the temporary nature of all things. It helps me just let go of all of the insignificant crap that interferes with the incredible woman I’ve worked so hard to become.

To my dear friends, I hope that your once-every-six-wee-crap-out is a catharsis of sorts, leaving you feeling purged of your demons and ready to step back onto the road of fabulousness.

 

 

 

Advertisements
Advice for Women · Art of LIving · Christmas · Christmas Gift Ideas · Christmas Lists · Christmas Marketing · Creative Life · Fearless Living · Girl Stuff · Graceful Living · Gracious Living · Healthy Living · Joyful Living · Lean In Girl Stuff · Life · Life Lessons · Life With Cats · Living · Meaning of Christmas · Meaning of Life · Mindful Living · Professional Women · Simple Living · Spiritual Living · The Art of Living · Uncategorized · Whole Living · women · Women's Issues · Women's Rights · Working Women

Christmas Burnout; Adapt don’t Change

bull-dog-christmas-lightsThis  year I gave up.

I gave up a lot of Christmas traditions that have become burdensome, and not joyful. Quite often when people expect you to do things it becomes less about enjoying it, and more about feeling pressured to do it.

So I gave up making my Christmas cake, I gave up buying gifts for friends, and I gave up my annual Christmas party (way too much preparation).  All of these things stress the clock and the wallet, and frankly, all of that stress over a long period of time can wear on a gal’s fabulousness. And I’m nothing if not a shining beacon of wonder.

What-the-hell and a giggle have been my signature move for years.

Not giving a crap has never been my modus oparandi, but appears to be the most freeing way to be in the world. I’m learning that from the people around me who are kings and queens of, ” I could care less about how you feel”.

I thought about faking that shitty attitude until I make it. But I can’t do that, because it’s just not who I am. I care. I’ll always care, and I’m proud of it. The rest of the apathetic world can just choose which side of my butt to kiss first and carry on. I will hang with goddesses of ethic and compassion.

Rather than giving up doing things that bring me close to my family and friends, and letting the burnout I’ve been feeling creep even closer to my bones, I decided to change.

Change? Yes – it’s as scary a word as morninghair (yes, it’s a word).woman-silly

Ok, so change is a big word. Perhaps I should say I’ve chosen to adapt rather than change.

I will continue to bake, but not necessarily what everyone else wants. Sure, I have a soft spot for my kiddo’s favourites, but I also have a hankering for some new mocha eclairs and candy cane fudge.  I’ve asked for a little more help with Christmas dinner, and instead of cooking myself into a coma, I’m doing my Christmas party way more casually. I’ve opted for an open house with chili and beer.

For those of you who care, but need a break too, consider adapting instead of changing the traditions that you hold dear. Leave enough time to lean in to your own sense of personal flair, and enough room to allow your giggle to bubble up and over into the mood of every day.

Advice for Women · Creative Life · Creative Writing · Creativity · Life · Life Lessons · Love Poetry · Meaning of Life · Poetry · Poetry Month · Professional Women · Romantic Poetry · Uncategorized · women · Women's Issues · Working Women

Missing Woman on verge of Being Found

ghost womanI was the first one who thought that she had gone missing.

There were traces of her everywhere, but she was nowhere to be found. I thought I saw her in the dress shop, trying on a short blue summer dress. She must have thought she would be going somewhere special with her new man. Two months later, I found the dress hanging in her closet, the tags still dangling from the sleeve.

When I was at the café where she usually spends leisurely afternoons, I thought that I saw her in line waiting for her coffee, but it couldn’t have been her. Instead of sitting down and spreading out her writing treasures like a Queen at tea, she slipped a sleeve over her to-go cup and left.

And then an invitation arrived. For sure this had to be her. Hosting an arts night, a poetry reading, a mouth-watering home cooked meal that would drag on for hours over conversation and the next, and the next, and the next bottles of wine. Alas, it was not. I assumed then that she was not in her tiny, kitchen conjuring magic and dancing to her music.

I took a stroll by the great slabs of patio glass, to see if I might find her there in one of her hippie sundresses with no panties on, legs stretched out on another chair so that her pretty, pedicured feet could take some sun. The chairs were empty, and she was not there. There was no small-town-front-porch hospitality being offered. I found that rather odd as it was a place of great joy for her, having spent many evenings under the twinkle lights with bottles of gulpable wine, good friends, and summer lovers.

She was not away for the weekend having a new adventure; on a farm, at the beach, on one of her road-trips with an unknown destination. But she had been here. I could feel her. Possibly just minutes before she had walked right by. Her clothes were in the hamper and her towel was still wet from the shower. The dishes were clean and the bed was made. Freshly made, with the pillows having been placed just slightly differently than the morning before. The cats were fed, there was food in the refrigerator and the bills had been paid.

Where on earth could she have gone?

Uncategorized

Nightmares: When Your Intuition Is Tired of Knocking

dreamylandscape

I’ve been having a lot of nightmares lately.

Which means something long-buried is coming to the surface. And that my darlings, means there’s a lot of psychological and spiritual work in my future.

Don’t worry. I have a pretty good idea what it’s all about. I’ve been ‘Team Jung’ for over 20 years now, and it seems to be working.

I pay attention to whether the water was murky or clear, churning or calm, the colours, the language, whether or not I could dial the number or sound came out of my mouth when I tried to scream. You see, in dreams it matters, because we like to gloss over these things in real life.

Nightmares have always been a sign that something is off. Not quite right. In the past, they have signaled betrayal, inspired me to pay attention to my intuition, and often times, to make significant changes in my life. Often (for me) nightmares are  premonition. You know, a little postcard before the main event. Sometimes they are my intuition tired of knocking and now shouting at me to pay attention to what isn’t being said. I think that’s the case this morning.

I woke at precisely 6:18am, stomach churning and teary eyed. It was a hell of a dream, with conversations and people in my life who aren’t exactly trustworthy or worthy to be invading my head while I’m trying to get my beauty sleep.

Secret keeping has been a common theme in the lives of some people very dear to me lately. Lies of omission are still lies. Being starved for self-care is a terrible form of self-neglect. Telling yourself something is ok when it’s not causes nightmares. Betrayal comes in many forms often defended by the betrayer.

During a conversation with one of my best friends, I said that  people who have never experienced great suffering, don’t know how to care for those who are suffering. Those who have never been betrayed are ignorant of the damage they do.

I’m wise enough to know our wee little human brains love living in black and white. I’m also experienced enough to know that we live in the vast, grey area that constitutes the majority of our mental and emotional landscapes.  I am also a woman who believes in the superior value of trusting one’s instincts over trying to rationalize everything.

Just because we have learned to value logic over emotion, doesn’t mean they  are equally important when it comes to their contribution to personal and global wisdom. We have been duped into thinking logic is king.

Nightmares remind us that our souls are alive and that we must shine light into the shadow side of our selves in order to experience the wonder of life. Without the dark emotions, we cannot celebrate the light and without the light, we cannot fully examine and understand the dark.

My nightmares are telling me to pay attention to what I know to be true. To demand that I have the quality of relationships at work, home and in love that I desire.

Sometimes before I go to sleep at night, I pray for a good dream. Good as in one that will let my subconscious unravel and teach me what I need to know at the soul level. Nightmares shake me up, but in a way that always puts me back on track to happiness, even if it’s a bit of a hike.

 

Art of LIving · Buddhism · Buddhist Writers · Fearless Living · Graceful Living · Gracious Living · Healthy Living · Joyful Living · Life · Life Lessons · Living · Meaning of Life · Mindful Living · Self-Care · Self-Help · Simple Living · Spiritual Living · The Art of Living · Uncategorized · Whole Living

Stop: When Your Body Calls Bullshit

strongmanEvery  morning when I wake up I say a little prayer.

First I say thank you for waking up to another day. Second of all, I ask that I be given the grace and strength to get through the day and do good work.

I pull my body from my soft, warm bed, and wonder at the rhythm of my crazy life, and how much my mind and body have endured.

Years ago I received the best piece of health care advice I think I’ll ever receive in my life, ” Our body’s natural state is one of health.”

I decided then and there that this was one sure truth in life, and that I would never forget it.

But stress is a curious beast isn’t it? Sometimes serpent like, it can twist and turn and wind itself along every peaceful neural pathway of your body and seize up the works.  Your body recognizes bullshit, and when it has enough of you trying to be Superwoman, it will let you know. It will succumb to the constricting nature of stress in order to get your attention.

Quite often my stress level reaches the emergency state without me ever even noticing. My life has been a series of struggles to get by, and enjoying everything that I can on the way. It’s a fine balance really, this being independent, but it seems to have been worth it.

Every once in a while I realize that my life is out of balance. I’m stretched too thin in every way, trying to be everything to everybody, somehow losing myself in the mix. The things that I do to relax, and that energize me fall by the wayside; writing, running, stitching, coffee and girl-talking.

Usually by the time I admit that I’m feeling fatigued, my body is one-step ahead, fully in the gnarled grip of stress. And when that happens darlings, I simply don’t half-ass it. Nope. My body completely raises the white flag of surrender and stops me in my tracks. It basically calls bullshit on my nonsense priorities.

When our ego pushes us too far, our bodies are a great barometer for forecasting our limits. Our bodies refuse us in order to maintain that natural state of health.

I had a wake-up call this week, and now I need to pay attention. Once again I will straddle the great teeter-tauter of adult life, and try to balance my physical, spiritual, creative and emotional needs again. All of this while trying to keep a single income household going. Yes, life can be circus like around here. It’s nothing if not entertaining.

No one ever said that life was easy, but I’m telling you right now, when you can slow down to appreciate all that you have, each day is a little celebration of joy.

If you share in my  struggle to find a bit of balance, I’ll let you in on a secret. Each week I try to make time for the elements of my life that bring me joy and replenish my energy;  spiritual practice, creative pursuits, physical exercise, social interaction with people who do not zap my energy, and rest.

Set these things in your calendar. Make time. Breathe. Get lost in the things that bring you energy and joy. I promise, just like your body, life will balance itself out, and it will be good.

 

 

 

Advice · Advice for Men · Advice for Women · Advice for Writers · Andshelaughs · andshelaughs writing · Anxiety · Anxiety & Depression · Art of LIving · Articles · Bereavement · bloggers · Blogging · Blogs · Break-Ups · Breaking Up · Breathe In Breathe Out · Breathe In Breathe Out Move On · Broken Hearts · Buddhism · Buddhist Philosophy · Buddhist Writers · Business Advice · Career · Career Advice · Coffee Talk · Columns · columns Dating Advice · Columns Relationship Advice · Creative Life · dating · Dating Advice for Men · Dating Advice for Women · Dating Advive · Dating Love · Dating Over 40 · Depression · Faith · Fearless Living · Fearlessness · Feminism · Graceful Living · Gracious Living · Healthy Living · Joyful Living · Life · Life Lessons · Living · Meaning of Life · Men's Health · Men's Issues · Men's Sexuality · Mens' Issues · Mental Health · Mindful Living · Personal Development · Professional Women · Psychology · Relationship Advice · Relationships · Simple Living · Social Commentary · Spiritual Living · Student Life · The Art of Living · Uncategorized · Whole Living · Women's Issues · Women's Issues · Working Women

Fear – You Show Me Yours & I’ll Show You Mine

storytotellFear is a slippery little fella. Sometimes you need to hang on to it so you don’t get damaged, and other times, you need to set it adrift on a flaming raft with an over-zealous shove and a one-fingered salute.

This past weekend, fear crept in and tried to snuggle up in my heart. Good thing I can be a cold-hearted, logical gal when I need to be. Good thing I have friends who remind me not to let my imagination get the best of me and conjure up all sorts of possible ways that my happiness can be sabotaged. Good thing I didn’t turn tail and run. Good thing.

Regardless of what we identify as being bountiful or lacking in our lives, we live within the comfort zone of the known. We live rooted in the identities that we have crafted for ourselves. We cling to our wounds until they no longer serve as shields.

The truth is, we often cling to our wounds long past their expiry date, and we do this because that is the only way we know how to go on living. We do this often without knowing we’re doing it. We fear leaving what is known and comfortable to seek what is meaningful.

During the past 48 hours I  have received calls, and had coffee with friends who have all experienced some sort of crisis rooted in fear. I was an addict. I’m drinking too much. I keep winding up in toxic relationships. Today I heard all of these symptoms, and I offered as much compassion and humour as I could. After all, being fearful is normal. We need to tell and re-tell our stories. We need to be the storyteller, and we need to be the witness to the life-stories woven by others. Change is scary, and we need our friends to walk beside us when we don’t know if we have the courage to take another step on a path that leads to goodness-only-knows-where-but-there-had-better-be-margaritas-and-a-bed.

Fear of feeling, dealing with the here and now, or not having someone to prop up an ego seem to have been  served up a la carte over the weekend. It’s  a menu everyone eventually gets served; long in the planning and very bitter. It keeps popping up on the menu until you get tired of the bitter aftertaste and are inspired to take over the kitchen.

brokenThe most curious of fears is the fear of getting what you want. It means letting go of an identity that was defined by lack of the thing itself; career success, loving relationship, independence, you name it. You have to be brave enough to break down the walls protecting your own kingdom of fear.

While trying to shake off the snug embrace of a well-known-and-outlived-it’s-usefulness-fear-of intimacy which had slithered it’s way into my mind, I had a rather synchronistic encounter.

After zenning out and treating myself to some self-care paraphernalia at an over-incensed and herbal-tea’d hippie hang-out, I wandered back to my car completely and utterly distracted. Rationalizing with oneself can be very engrossing, and I was neck deep. I was not going to half-ass this one. I was going to face this thing down even if it meant a haze of incense, tantra-drumming, and Buddhist-throat-singing loud enough to scare the bejeezus out of the neighbours. While I was getting all bad-assed and spiritual with this fear, I was being watched.

Two men of questionable intent approached my car, one wedged between the driver’s side door and the car next to me, pulled on my door handle and banged on my window while the other stood at the right side.

Thanks to good habits, my door was locked, and the car was started. Thanks to a friend who was texting an invitation for a drinky-poo, I was head-down-distracted, allowing these two men to target me.

Hours after I had safely pulled away and caught my breath from the initial shock, I sank into the corner of my couch and cried. I sobbed and relived those few seconds of that man’s face just inches from my own.

But why? I was safe in my own space now. I was ok.

I cried because the threat of harm pulled me back into the rational fear I had developed throughout years of abuse and  assault. It was like someone tossed me back into the arena to face another hungry beast after I thought I’d finally made it out alive.

What I did next was remarkable. I reached out. Well, I reached out the best I could. Via text of course, because I couldn’t bear to speak and have anyone hear my voice tremble. My pride wouldn’t hear of it.  “I kinda need you.”

It’s rather ironic that my fear of letting someone in was challenged head on by someone literally trying to get in.

presence.jpgPart of healing and kicking fear in the ass is learning that it’s ok to be vulnerable sometimes.  It’s a lesson that I have found extremely challenging. But with true self-compassion, vulnerability can be the greatest warrior in the battle on the front-line of fear.

There is a spiritual alchemy exchanged every time we offer support or receive it. This alchemy is grace in action, mercy in motion, the very human breath of compassionate and spiritual living. It is the greatest enemy of fear. It’s ok to kinda need someone, they kinda need you too. Trust me, if you show them yours, they’ll show you theirs.

 

 

 

 

Advice · Advice for Men · Advice for Women · Advice for Writers · Aging · Ancestors · Andshelaughs · andshelaughs writing · Anxiety & Depression · Argument · Art of LIving · Art Therapy · At Issue · Beauty · bloggers · Blogging · Blogs · Breathe In Breathe Out · Breathe In Breathe Out Move On · Broken Hearts · Buddhism · Buddhist Philosophy · Buddhist Writers · Canadian Poets · Canadian Writers · Coffee Talk · Communication · Creative Life · Creative Writing · Dating Love · Dating Over 40 · Depression · Fearless Living · Fearlessness · Friendship · Friendships · Girl Stuff · Graceful Living · Gracious Living · Gratitude Journal · Guy Stuff · Happiness Project · Healing · Health · Healthy Living · insight · Inspiration · jealousy · Joy · Joyful Living · Leadership · Lean In · Learning · Life · Life Lessons · Living · Meaning of Life · Uncategorized

Well Hello There Anger, You Curious Beast

rozSubtlety has never been one of my shining qualities, nor do I wish it to be. It makes for hearty discussions that can be uncomfortable yet rich. Being with people who can admit that they are afraid of the dark,  yet have the courage to explore it are the best kind of people.

I’m a fiery gal. There are no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. I am not for the faint of heart or the timid.

But I’m also soft-hearted to a fault, and love nothing more than to take people in, feed them, make sure they’re safe, and take care of them.

For many years, like many women, anger was not my friend. It’s ugly, and doesn’t accessorize well. It chewed me up from the inside out, and boy oh boy, did I suffer for ignoring it. Once my practice matured, I was able to let it in, give it room to breathe it’s fire, and finally burn off the dangerous edges.

This post was inspired by my incorrect perception. Some might even say, I was wrong. But let’s not get carried away now my sweet little peaches. Being wrong is such a bitch and entirely not sexy.

The human smorgasbord of emotion is fascinating, with a little of this and a dash of that sprinkled through the entire menu. What I’ve discovered, and I believe to be true, is that the  plethora of negative emotions are all rooted in the muck of fear. To be fearless about exploring those negative emotions, well, that my darlings, is interesting stuff.

I will be the first to admit that relationships scare the hell out of me. Commitment is a word I actually had an issue saying ( it made me stutter).  Yet, I’m a devoted, loyal, stick-with-you-to-the-end friend and colleague. What gives?

Well, after years of learning and practicing, I came to understand just how healthy it is not to deny myself all of the ugly-step-sister emotions; anger, jealousy, shame. They are all rooted in fear, and we, as human beings all experience fear and the offshoots of fear every day.

After a thoughtful discussion with my sweetie last night about anger, communication, and perception, I came back to an article by Jules Shuzen Harris, Sensei; Uprooting the Seeds of Anger, (Tricycle, Summer 2012 p44-47);

We’re going to keep getting angry. It’s going to come up. It has come up in our lives before, and it will come up again. This practice is about becoming more mindful, becoming aware of how we are getting stuck. With care and work, we find ways to get unstuck. But we also know that the moment we get unstuck, we’re going to get stuck again. That’s why it is called a practice – we never arrive. So when you find yourself upset or angry, use the moment as apart of your practice, as an opportunity to notice and uproot the seeds of anger and move into the heart of genuine compassion.

This passage speaks to me of impermanence, the Five Skandhas, and the importance of self-compassion as we practice mindful living/self-awareness.

When I first sought out meditation practice and the wisdom of the monastic teachings at a local monastery, what I really was doing, was running away from fear. I thought that I was doing something wrong, and that being happy all of the time was what being a spiritual being was all about. But, surprise, surprise, the Goddess-of-Everything-Delightful was wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Ick.

Denying oneself the full-spectrum of emotion is like plastering concealer over a nasty pimple. Eventually it wears off, and it just makes the problem worse.

Our daily practice consists in running away…We are afraid of the suffering that is inside us, afraid of war and conflits…But we do not want this fear to manifest, because it hurts, and so we repress it.  We try to repress our suffering and we invite other energies into our ‘lving room’ to fill it up so that the negative energies will not be able to make their appearance there…We should not adopt this boycott policy. On the contrary we should open our door so that our suffering can come out.  (Thich Nhat Hanh, True Love)

I have committed to my practice, and I feel it slip when fear enters uninvited, tracking mud through my heart. But I won’t pretend it’s not there. I will not kick it out, or wash away the dirty footprints without taking a good look at how it got in, and what I might do lovingly acknowledge it.