Pondering Mindfulness

were-not-held-back

Perusing my FB page this morning, I came across a mindfulness program, which lasts a year, for $27 a month. There were great teachers in the program. If I was rich I might consider it. But I’m not. So I won’t buy it, though I did sign up for a free video.

I will though, try to focus on being more mindful. More present in the moment. More in tune to the world around me. Instead of spending a lot of time focusing on what I want it to be, I will try to accept it the way it is.

Now, acceptance and approval are two different things. I can still work for change, and I think right now it’s important to do that, with a mentally ill president and a bunch of fools around him buying into his power and control thing. But it’s like the riptide, you gotta swim with it, accepting that you are in a riptide, and then swim out of it. Fighting the fact that the riptide is what is, could kill you.  It’s what Brene Brown calls “leaning into the discomfort.”

I have found myself so angry at what’s been going on. Angry enough it made me almost get into arguments with people who even agreed with me, because I felt they weren’t understanding it enough. And they were, they were as angry as me. It is easy to make that step, and it’s only a step, from anger to hate. And hate is never where I want to be.

So, first I must practice extending love. Teach with love, react with compassion. Find joy in the day even though. When I find myself ready to make that step from anger to hate, my foot poised above the step, I know then I have to take some time to myself, to remember who I am, what my purpose here is, and count my blessings. Again.

For instance, I read an article from the NYTimes, or maybe Washington Post, explaining how tRump and his policy wonks are gaslighting us. And I know they are, I have been gaslighted by my own husband and it’s terrifying when you realize someone is trying to make you feel crazy. Then I read another, from one of those two prestigious papers, telling how husbands are far more deadly than terrorists in this country.

And knowing that, I need to still find joy in the day. I sit on my sisters porch, I wave at her neighbors out for their morning walk. I listen to the birds, and smell the salt air, and feel the breeze gently caressing me. I have spent a week with my two sisters, and I know I am so blessed, there is so much to feel blessed about.

All I’m saying is, be mindful of your blessings, as well as of the things that need changing in this world. When it’s time to fight for the common good, fight. When it’s time to sit back and know the world is indeed a beautiful place, sit back and be grateful. Feel the gratitude for everything you can think of. Family, friends, the food in your fridge, the air you breathe. Gratitude.

I truly believe that love is the only power that can cure this world. Hate begets more hate, anger begets more anger, fear begets more fear. And love begets more love.

Like Marianne Williamson said, in The Return to Love, “We are not held back by the love we didn’t receive in the past, but by the love we’re not extending in the present.” I will try to mindfully react to things by extending love. More.

Love and light, all…..

On Not Having to Explain Myself

The other day, when I was at my sisters, she said, again, lol, how she didn’t realize how much it would mean to her to have me so close by. I think for me, it’s been different than for her. I KNEW how much it would mean to me, hell, I wouldn’t have moved here if she wasn’t here. I only knew her and my one friend from childhood. When you move a great distance, you think about those things.

My sis has lived here with her husband, in the winter for 8 years. She has a base here, close friendships. My appearance in her life was one more of them. But we both have realized how awesome it is to have each other. To have someone in your life on a regular basis who lived through your childhood together, who knew how you grew up, experienced all that you experienced. To have someone in your life regularly to whom you don’t have to explain who you are. It’s amazing really.

This morning, I was making my coffee, and thought about how all three of us, my older and younger sisters, and me, drink our coffee the same way. Cream only, and not too much of it. (Although my younger sister, now mostly vegan probably gave up the cream.) I thought about my little sister’s visit in about 10 days. Thought about how cool it will be to go out to lunch with both my sisters, just the 3 of us.

Of course, then I always think about how blessed we were to grow up in the Norman Rockwell life we did. Two parents who loved each other, in a small town in Iowa, in a 100 year old house 3 blocks from the Mississippi River. Days spent on that river together, where at least my older sis and I learned to water-ski, behind our 16′ boat. Minor league baseball games with my dad.

Mostly, and I’ve written about this many times, never ever going to bed wondering if our parents loved us. My God, what a gift that is to give your children. The people I know who did not have that foundation, that gift, of unconditional love have striven for it their whole lives, don’t believe it exists, and have built incredible walls and acted out in harmful ways to ease the pain of a child who doesn’t believe they are worthy of love.

I’m trying to finish up the stuff I need to get done with the house before my little sis comes here. I look at the diamond shaped window in my front door, and the round stained glass flower that this sister made for me which fits exactly in the center of it.

I feel so much peace lately. So much more than I’ve felt in years. My sisters and I hanging out together. The spark of a relationship that has the possibility of becoming something very special, without all the pain and drama and ugliness of my marriage and last relationship. A cute little house in a place where 60 is cold weather. And not having to go to work. Good, close friends. One of them who is almost like my sisters, who has known me forever, and to whom I never have to explain myself. It’s coincidental that the other day L was telling me a story from his youth, and said, oh yes, when I get together with my old friends, it’s still one of the stories we talk about.  Then he asked me, “do you have any friends that you’ve been friends with forever, like that?”  I told him “Oh yeah, in fact last weekend I had 3 girls staying with me and we’ve all been best friends since we were 13.”  He remarked how nice it is to have people in your life who knew you forever, that you never have to explain who you are to, who just know you.  It’s frigging amazing, really.

I have said so many times in the last couple of years, that I believe my purpose on this earth is to learn lessons and evolve my soul. I still believe that. The last couple of years though, I’ve added a caveat to that which is, that my lessons become easy lessons. I’ve had enough of the hard ones. I think I really have. Right now, it seems easy. I mean, the hardest thing that’s happened in a long time is having to set up a new cell phone, LOL. It feels like the Universe has listened, as if the intentions I set are manifesting.

Love and light to everyone.

Singing the Song for 2017

It’s New Year’s Eve. Time to reflect, to look forward, to enjoy the moment.

Reflecting….. Last year was a year of huge change for me. Never before have I had so many big changes in my life. Losing my mother. Retiring from a lifetime of work. Moving to Florida, to a completely different way of life. Moving my son away from me to Colorado. Ending a love affair that stopped bringing me pleasure a long time ago, and only brought me pain. And even so, it was a struggle to let go. But let go I finally have, completely.

All these changes were good. Every one of them. Even though I miss my son so much. I know he’s doing well, and happy, and making his own way. Thank God for cell phones, we talk every day. There are new people in my life, new friends, the budding of new relationships that bring a smile to my face.

I don’t deal with winter any more. That is such a blessing to me. I so hated being cold from the middle of October until the middle of April. Dressing in 4 or 5 layers, and still being cold. I hated dealing with snow, and the last few years we had mega amounts of snow up there, with only a few exceptional years. I hated driving in it, keeping the driveway clear and the walk ways, and being housebound.

Now…..when it gets cold here, it’s in the 50’s. And so far, for not more than 2 days, til the temperature creeps back up to the 70’s or 80’s. I can walk every day along the beach. I can see the ocean every day. The water here on the Gulf coast is warm, and calm, and soothing. Usually I am dressed in one layer, and more often than not, it’s shorts, or skorts (the skirts with shorts under them).

To be able to spend time with my sister on a regular basis is such a blessing. We are becoming so close. It has eased the pain of losing our mother last year. We joke all the time about how we channel her for each other. She and I have not lived close to one another since we moved out of the house around age 20. I’m going back there today, invited to her neighbor’s New Year’s Eve party which promises to be a blast, and it’s right across the street!. No driving with the drunks….

The future is looking bright. There is a possibility of a budding relationship. It is moving slowly, at a speed which, while sometimes frustrating for me, is a good thing really. I’m sitting back and let the universe drive the train. It’s fun to feel that way again, and actually have it reciprocated.

Financially I feel secure. Avalon, my home, my place of new beginnings, is coming along. All the big work is now completed. There are some jobs like tree-trimming, putting up a shed, landscaping that need to be done, but they will be done over the next few months.

Mostly, I have given up worry over things I cannot control. I have come to believe that the Universe has a grand design, which we cannot possibly understand in human terms, and that all will work out for the highest good of all. It’s not so much Pollyanna, it’s just that I agree with Marianne Williamson that the universe is self-organizing and self-correcting. It has been the way it’s worked for me, over and over again. I know that many people won’t agree with me, in fact, maybe most. It’s just the way it is from the perspective of my life. Not asking anyone else to believe it.

This year, I think I will try to do more giving back. There are a few things I’ve discovered here which I can get involved with that might make a difference in someone else’s life. I mean, I have such a happy life here. So free of drama and pain, so full of joy. I want to spread that around as much as I can.

Life is for living, for singing a joyful song. I’ve always known that, even though I’ve had a hard time singing so often. Through an abusive marriage, a failed love affair, a long period of terrible financial insecurity, I still always believed I could one day sing the song again.

I’m singing it now. It’s in my head, lol, I still don’t sing in front of people. But those close to me can hear the song. I guess this is why I trust that the universe is on it, organizing and correcting for the higher benefit of all. Because it’s taken me from terrible darkness, to the sunlight of Florida.

Love and light, everyone. Have a Happy New Year!

Really Settling In

Wow! Four nights of good sleep in a row, without any sleep aid. Last night was the best yet! 8 hours, with only one wake up for about a half hour. Awesome! So what is allowing me to sleep so well?

I think that I’ve let old things that caused me anxiety just go. I don’t wake up wondering about them any more, or even caring about them. New things, happy things, have come into my life, and when I wake up, I think of them and go back to sleep. I think I’m finally settling into my new life, and feeling comfortable here.  I am remembering that I named this house Avalon, a mystical place of new beginnings.  There was so much I wanted to let go of from my old life, and so much more I wanted to bring in with my new life.  It’s all happening.  I see that the journey from there to here was the way it was purposefully, bringing me to a much better, happier, fulfilling place.

For instance, tonight is open mic night. Both the friends I usually go with have been sick with bad colds, so I don’t know if either of them will go with me. But I am comfortable enough to go alone, because I know there will be people there that will be happy to include me. I have a circle of people here, and it’s a huge comfort to me, to have a base.

The big work on my house is mostly done now. I still have tree trimming and a shed to put up, but that’s not big stuff. No more workers in my house all day. I have to go curtain shopping for the windows now. The shades I bought will not work with the new windows, so I have to take them back and get something else. Right now my bedroom windows have tablecloths over them, and the living room has towels, lol. I’m going to re-install the blinds I had in the living room, they are fine for the living room. I had the same ones in my bedroom, but they let too much light in. I wanted the better shades I bought, but they won’t work. I think I’ll have to go for room darkening curtains. But that’s ok too. Whatever it takes.

When I was moving furniture yesterday away from the windows, the mirror on my dresser, big heavy mirror, fell off. Apparently the movers had stripped the holes where the screws went. So now I will need help getting it back up. I’m sure my handyman will help me with that. Thank God the mirror did not break. But it so aggravated me that the movers just left it like that.

I’m going to get going early this morning. To take back the shades, to look for curtains and a few other errands. I want to take a good long walk on the beach today. Tomorrow it’s going to get cold. Well, cold for here, lol. High of 60. By Sunday it will be back to 80, happily.

Lots of good things happening. I still pinch myself every day, I’m so amazed that I have this wonderful life here. Just so blessed, so lucky. When my sister and I were shopping, we were waiting in line to pay. She remarked that it was 3 PM. I said, “Oh good, we will have time to get into the hot tub for awhile and have a glass of wine before we go down to sunset.” Then I looked at her, hearing myself, and said, “It’s a rough life isn’t it? LOL.” She said “Thank you for reminding me…..” We both know how lucky we are.

Love and light, everyone.

Shopping and Sunsets

My sis and I spent the day shopping today. Neither one of us particularly likes to shop, but we both needed many of the same things, so off we went, hoping it would be more fun together. And it was!!

We first went for shoes. I have been wearing flip-flops for over 6 months. Except for the last month maybe, when I’ve switched off to shoes with arch support when I’m going to be on my feet for a long time. And my feet are telling me to quit the flip-flops. I LOVE flip-flops. They are like my trademark. But I bought a pair of athletic sandals to wear when I want to go for a walk. I also bought a nice pair of comfy open toed shoes too, in a kind of silver weave. My sis bought 3 pairs of shoes, lol.

Then I found jeans that fit me actually! I’m very excited about that. I’ve had to wear a belt for so long with my jeans because they tend to slide off of me. I keep tightening up the belt, now I’m on the 5th hole. So I now have 2 pair that aren’t made for teen-agers, but for adults. They are skinny jeans, but come up to my waist, so no more belt!! And they fit my legs tightly as skinny jeans do. Yay! So excited about that. I also bought some undergarments at Victoria’s Secret. I had them refit me because I wasn’t sure what size I needed any longer. It’s TMI to discuss but let’s just say I’ve lost enough weight to drop a couple sizes! And they were buy one, get one half price. We ended the day at Bath & Body Works because everything was on sale there, lol.

When we got home we went to the beach to watch the sunset. It was just amazing. The rest of this will be a pictorial essay on the setting of the sun over the Gulf of Mexico. I will let it speak for itself .

img_3152

img_3160

img_3164

img_3166

Hope you enjoyed the sunset.  Love and light everyone.

Just Wondering

This morning for some reason, when I was making my coffee, I wondered if my ex ever thinks about the times he would rage, and break dishes, and throw food all over the floor, and walk away from it, leaving me crying, scared and having to clean up. I wonder if he remembers ever, when he broke our whole set of 12 Norman Rockwell plates, which we’d purchased at $40 each from Franklin Mint. I wonder if he thinks about what he put me through ever. Or if he just pretends it never happened. I wonder if he ever regrets making us drive hours to and from my son’s hockey games, the whole time verbally assaulting my son.

I’d like to think he does, and regrets all the things he did to me and my son. But, I don’t think so. Most people would feel so bad, once they realized how out of control they had become, and how much they’d hurt people that loved them, that they’d have to make at least an effort to apologize. He’s never apologized to me, except once. He had started a fight with me the day before I was scheduled to have labor induced for my son. Big fight, almost physical, yelling, stomping. I went to my sister-in-laws house for the night and she came with me to the hospital, not him. He finally showed up at the hospital after I’d been in labor all day because his sister shamed him into it. After my son was born by c-section in the middle of the night, he apologized. It was the only time in our 40 years together.

Even S repeatedly apologized for what he did to me. Of course, it didn’t change him, so the apology was only sincere in the moment. But at least there was a moment when he could see what he’d done. And of course, then he went on to spew lies about me to his girlfriend,and tell her intimate things about us, which was very painful for me. Having to listen to the lies come out of her mouth and having him back them up was heartbreaking. But he knew it was wrong. He knew he was doing it to make her secure.

I have forgiven them both for all of it. Their own behavior is something they have to live with. My heart, my psyche has healed from it all. It was all a good lesson for me. One drawback to growing up in a loving family is that you are unaware that there are people out there who would do those things. The reason they do them is because of a flaw they perceive in themselves, not in you. But a loving family of origin also gives you a base of love to fall back on, a way to find your own worth again, and allows you to move forward. I was blessed beyond words to have that.

It’s coincidental, (if you believe in coincidences) that when I came out on the deck this morning in the still dark, and opened my email, the first one I clicked on, by mistake (I actually wanted to open the email above this one), was an email from the Daily Om. It was a lesson from the book A Course In Miracles about forgiveness, and how it is really our only function.

I’m an Aries, and one of my traits is I cannot hold a grudge. For me to be angry for a week over something is really stretching it. Luckily, I am also aggressive and persistent, and know what’s good for me and what’s not. Although with both the men I’ve loved, I accepted the bad behavior for far too long, and kept them in my life far too long. Even if it was just on the periphery. I can still say I love them both, which is important for me, not to hate those I loved intensely. I feel sorry for my ex, because even if he doesn’t face it consciously, he lives a life that demonstrates the effects his behavior had on him, being broke and all alone, and having no relationship with his son. S—I don’t know what effect his behavior has had on him because we don’t talk.  He’s disappeared. But I feel for him anyway, because the games he plays over and over keep away the people who love him.

It’s been a weird morning, thinking about this stuff. Funny what bubbles up. Maybe it’s because I had a date last night with a man who doesn’t seem to be a game player, or manipulative, or controlling. But I can’t say for sure yet, I’ll have to get to know him better to know that. But I think maybe it’s the contrast between him and my old loves that brought this stuff around this morning.

Anyway, it promises to be an extraordinary day today. It was 63 when I came out on the deck before the sunrise. It’s going to get up in the 80’s. People are saying it’s unusual to be so warm in December. I’m more than happy about it. I might be able to wear shorts to the artwalk tonight.

Love and light, everyone.

Uncomplicated Love

“Think of someone you love who is uncomplicated to love,” the meditation guide instructed. I thought, of course, of my son. And as thoughts are liable to do, immediately after my son, I thought of my mother. And then of my father. And then of my two sisters.

All of them, uncomplicated to love, and to be loved by.

I have never known different with my family. Even when we had our disagreements, our rough patches, I never doubted that we loved each other, and that if pressed, we would be there for each other. Ever.

How friggin’ blessed I am, is something I’ve come to know as an adult. Really not until I was well past the half-way mark of my life did I realize the depth of that blessing.

I remember back when I just assumed all families were like mine. It seemed incongruous that my best friend’s father (at age 12) could put belt marks on her legs, but he did. She didn’t make a big deal of it, so no one else did. I can’t imagine what it was like, to be a 12 year old, going through puberty, and have your father take a belt to you. I remember my own father, at times in his frustration with my misbehavior as a child, raising his hand. That, the raised hand, was enough to make me know I better stop what I was doing, or saying. He never brought it down on me. I think it would have killed him to hit me.

I was SO naive.

I have known and loved men who were beaten by their fathers, whose mothers stood by and watched, thus enabling the brutality of a child. I think I made it my quest to prove to them that they were lovable, that they were in reality, as deserving of unconditional love as much as anyone. I wanted to convince them that it is possible for someone to love them purely, with no conditions. I cannot imagine a more painful thing to live with than the belief that you innately do not deserve love and belonging. Would it not instill false shame, to think you weren’t worthy of your parents love? And shame is such a destructive emotion.

I was unable to achieve this. It took me a long time to actively give up the quest. And that in itself, is not a good basis for a relationship anyway. There is no common ground. But, I love them, still. And wish they could see themselves the way I saw them. I wish they knew that all the love they think they missed is inside them now, given to them as a divine right. No one can take it from anyone else.

My childhood friend, has somehow managed to retrieve a relationship with her siblings now. They are very close. She has held onto the friendships of her youth. She’s coming to see me, and our other friend who lives in Daytona across the state, in January. This group of girls is like my family. They reconnected with me after about 40 years, and we picked up where we left off.

I think though, that it is part of my soul’s journey to love others the way that I’ve been loved. Am loved. It’s always the underlying emotion, the baseline. If I’ve loved you, I will always love you. If I never see you again, I will always love you, always wish the best for you, always feel the pain I know you feel and always send out whatever I can to assuage it. I may not like your behavior, I may choose to withdraw from it, but the love I felt, only came through me. I did not create it, I just channeled it. And will continue to do so, actively or passively.

So this was my post-meditation blog. Kind of a deep, heavy meditation, and it seems I’ve been doing a lot of reflection and introspection around this broader subject lately. I hope I’m not boring….not bringing the kiss of death on myself, lol.

Love and light, all.