What Makes Life Happy?

Today I saw this meme on FB. From Writers Write. It describes me of late.

editing

Sometimes it’s a paragraph. Sometimes it’s a poem. Sometimes it’s a whole blog. But I find myself writing, editing, over and over, and then once I have fixed it as much as possible, deciding it’s a bunch of drivel, and deleting it.  Or saving it to “Unpublished stuff.”

So is that writer’s block? I don’t know. Really.

I used to just sit down here, and write about whatever was on my mind, as a way to find out what was on my mind, and look at it, and observe it. Doing that is a good thing, but not always something that should be published. I found that I got caught up in the drama, either self-created or created by someone else, but caught up in it.

That realization brought me to want to make changes in my writing, at least, in my published writing. But it leaves me trying each day to find a worthwhile subject. A positive thought, an idea which, while perhaps not new to the world, might be an epiphany to me.

The epiphany I’m having this morning is this. That not getting caught up in the drama, that allowing life to unfold at it’s own pace, doesn’t always bring the day to day profound thoughts that I dreamed about writing, once I gave up the day to day drivel. I’m not going to have an epiphany every day. Thank God, I realize. My head would probably explode.

My days are filled with laughter, friends, fun, and a time of reflection. And housework, and errands. It’s a wonderful life, here where the weather forecast for the next 10 days is sunny, and 82. It doesn’t make exciting reading, and it’s repetitive, but I’m so lucky to have it.

I had 3 friends over for an Easter dinner yesterday, 3 friends who would otherwise have been home alone. Which, actually, would not have been a problem for any of us. But instead we got together, they are all in my loosely formed “writers group”. We discussed writing, spirituality, lessons learned, and somehow interspersed those discussions with laughter, the kind of laughter that makes your stomach hurt, and tears roll down your face.

Tomorrow I’m going to my sister and brother-in-law’s over on the island til Thursday morning. Before tourist season, which hits my sister hard with revolving company, I was going over about once every 2 weeks. I’ve only spent one night there, the one I was with my son, in the last 2 months. Things are settling back down now, company is not so fast and furious for her, and I think we need some sister time.

This week I will be going to a play that a friend is in, and Sunday doing a fundraiser for the Veterans Art Center. And of course, open mic night.

These are the small things that I do, that make a nice life. There is nothing profound in any of it, but perhaps the joy I get from a well-lived life. It was not always that way. You know the saying “The best revenge is a well-lived life.” I don’t think it’s revenge. I think it’s just evolution maybe, that collectively takes most of our lives to arrive at.  At least, it has for me.  To be able let go of old hurts, and to let go of worry over outcomes, to find our passion, to spend time with people we love and enjoy, and put it all together in a place where we just want to be.  Doing the “living in the present moment” thing.

I know I’m blessed. I am so grateful that I’ve arrived where I am in time to spend some years of my life just being happy. I want to share it, and maybe help others find their way to it, if that’s possible. At least, to show that it is possible to just be happy most of the time.

My friends yesterday said to me, “Remember in high school where there was one person’s house that you always hung out at? Whose mother was the cool mother? This is that place for us, your house.” Is that not a cool thing to have someone say to you? Especially, these people who are collectively some serious creative genius. One is in a play at the community theater this week, and sings regularly at open mic night.  One is a sculptor and she’s making me a sculpture of Quanyin, the Goddess of Compassion for the alter I’m creating, and she’s also an writer who just wrote a one-act play which was entered in a competition, not to mention she is an actor and a teacher of acting.  One is a professional singer, who has encouraged 2 people I know well to get up and sing at open mic night, and she writes very deep poetry.  I am happy, and so grateful, to have a place that nurtures these friendships, and creativity.

I guess this blog is all about reflection, and understanding what makes life happy for me.

Love and light, everyone.

The Return of Summer

Florida has returned to warm summerlike days and cooler nights. This is my favorite weather here, so far. It was like this much of the fall, and into the beginning of winter this year, which everyone was saying was so unusual.  On Christmas and New Years it was 80°, and I had my bathing suit on.  We only had a handful of days or nights that were actually chilly, where the heat actually came on in the night. We’ve returned to hot dry days, and warm balmy nights.

We need rain, to be honest. Things are still very dry, I still need to water my plants every other day or so.  There are a number of brush fires inland a little ways.  My grass has not really started growing yet. There are large brown patches still. I’ve been watering them too, when I do the hibiscus tree in the front. Of course, if the grass grows, I guess I’ll have to see if my lawnmower still works, lol. The lawn has not needed mowing in months. Probably not since last October. That’s crazy, isn’t it?

My small town is having a Spring Festival this weekend. Yesterday and today. They have a carnival in the center of town, and there’s a stage. A few of the people who regularly perform at open mic are putting in performances there today, so Beth and I are going over this evening to watch them. Maybe eat some carny food. It will be mobbed, I’m sure, but really, the tourist season is on it’s last legs this coming week, I think, so it won’t be as crowded as it would have been a couple weeks ago.

I noticed the end of tourist season when I went for a walk the other day. There was no problem finding a place close to the water to park my car. The sidewalks were not crowded, and, had I wanted to stop at my favorite breakfast/lunch place, Stellas, there were tables available outside. I remember when I got here, everyone said there are two seasons here. Monsoon and tourist. Well….monsoon season is coming, I guess. I think that’s probably when it rains somewhere here every day. For about 10 minutes. It also means the beginning of hurricane season, which is a fearful time here, as it is in any coastal community on the east coast. I know the hurricane tides have often submerged our commercial district down by the water. My house sits on high ground, 20′ above sea level, and I have a new roof, and some new hurricane-proof windows, so I am not too afraid, except to think of being out of power for a few days in the heat of the summer.

Tourist season is short, really not much more than February and March. Here, in this small town, it’s not bad. We consider our town the best kept secret in Florida. Tourist season doesn’t make a huge impact here. It did make open mic night interesting though. People who were just visiting for a week would sometimes perform on borrowed instruments, and the crowd, which usually started small, would spill out onto the sidewalk by the end of the night. The restaurant would put out heaters, and we’d all be hovered around them by the end of the night, trying to warm our hands. It was short-lived. Now everyone is back to wearing summer clothes and drinking cold drinks.

I still love life here. I love the laid back atmosphere. I love knowing a bunch of people who just go with the flow, and live their lives following their passions, enjoying life instead of trying to direct it. Of course, we are all retired, and what a difference that makes in one’s attitude, not to have to join the rat race every day.

Tonight when I go to the spring festival, I’m thinking I’m going to ask any of my friends who have no family around for Easter, to come over and eat with me. Beth is already coming. I’ll see if any other members of my writers groups and their significant others want to come. Just seems like it would be nice. Easter is not such a big holiday with me, but all holidays are a good excuse to make a good meal! I’ll be going over to my sisters this week for a couple of days too, which will be nice.

Good things are coming, for sure. Love and light, all.

The Benefits of Fresh Air and Boundaries

It’s so awesome to sleep 8 hours, unbroken. I think the fresh cool air last night did it for me. There’s one woman who performs fairly regularly at open mic who plays a ukulele, and mostly sings what are kind of her own brand of folk songs. She spent a lot of time working with kids somewhere like Honduras or somewhere, and is just an old hippie like lots of us. Anyway, her last song is always this one called “Carry My Rain in a Bushel Basket”. She invites anyone who wants to to get up on the “stage” (which is not a real stage, just the back of the outdoor restaurant, under the trees) and sing with her. Most of the regulars do, including me. I can sing in a crowd, lol, just not alone. I tried to see if she was on youtube somewhere, because she has a CD of her songs, but there are too many artists with her same name, so I don’t know which is her. Anyway, I thought I’d just put down the chorus of the song here, the part we all sing with her. It’s positive and uplifting, kind of with that child-like innocence we all had at one time.

Carry my rain in a bushel basket
Let the sunshine through
Carry my rain in a bushel basket
Let the sun shine through.

Carry my rain in a bushel basket
Carry my rain in a bushel basket
Carry my rain in a bushel basket
Let the sun shine through!

At the end of the song there are always jokes about her holey, or holy, basket, and how much a bushel of rain weighs. Whatever, it’s a fun thing to do, to get up and sing as a small community. The first time I went up, I hid behind my good male friend, lol, because he’s a tall man. When it was over he kept saying, “You sang! I heard you sing!” LOL. He’s got a beautiful baritone voice and usually sings. Though he didn’t last night, I have a feeling he just came to see me, and hang out together, because I’d texted him earlier in the week. We are not romantic, mostly because he is utterly loyal to his wife who is in the final stages of Alzheimer’s, which is one of the things I admire about him so much. I think he just enjoys the female energy next to him for a few hours, as I enjoy his male energy. We are close on so many levels and we totally respect each others boundaries, which always leads to having a solid friendship.

Well, off to get things ready for my friend to come tonight. I am so excited, and so happy to have the temperatures get back into the 70’s. We will have so much fun. Life is good.

Love and light, all.

A Friend Request

Scott now wants to be friends on FB. We have never been friends on FB. It has certainly been his demise. It’s how I found out who Betty was, where she worked, that he was with her too when I thought he was only with me.  (And she thought he was only with her.)

Apparently it’s over with her if he is willing for me to be seen in his friends list. Wow, lucky me.  That has always been a temporary situation anyway.

All I can say is, NO. He is offering up sloppy seconds to me, again. I don’t want them. He apparently does not realize that if he were my FB friend, my son and all my friends would see it. All the people who had to watch as he reduced me to a pile of mush, and played with me, and used me. The same people who told me over and over who he was and to leave him alone. The last time I told my son that I thought he might come to our house in CT, uninvited, my son said, “Just saying Mom, if he shows up in our driveway, I will walk over to his car and punch him in the face.” He was not kidding. I told him, “no, I’ll deal with it.” He said, “Just saying Mom. That’s what I’m gonna do.”

My son is the one who had to see me reduced to a slobbering pile of sobbing mess after he did the prison whore. He also had to watch me then again, 9 months later, when I got the text that instead of us being together for the weekend, he was going to be with “someone else” (Betty) and that he was “busy and didn’t want to talk about it.”

When I saw Scott a year ago, after Betty had found out about me, my son said, “What the FUCK is the matter with you Mom? This guy made you cry more than my dad did.”

And still I talked to Scott through the move down here, on the phone, even though he was still officially with Betty, though I haven’t seen him in over a year. Until a couple months ago, when I just got so sick of the games he plays. The disappearing act he pulls, and then comes back as if it never happened. I just got so tired of being messed with.

And now he wants to be FB friends.

He had never been a friend. He has been my lover and my adversary. He has been my teacher of hard lessons, he has been a soulful connection. But he was never a friend to me. I was one to him. Every dark day that I knew about, I tried to help him. When she found out about me, and left him, (temporarily…but that’s another story) I was there for him. I loved him so dearly, more than I ever thought possible. And he used that love to bolster his own ego. To take what he could from me. And give back nothing, nothing permanent, nothing that lasts. We could easily have stayed friends. But he chose not to.

And so we are not. Not on FB, not in life. Not in any way. When I hear from him now, I feel dread, I feel a foreboding. Feel like the darkness is knocking on my door again. Do I love him, yes….always. Can I have any semblance of him in my life? Absolutely not, at least, not the way he is.

We can all change. It is hard hard work, to change and grow. If at some point he was able to convince me, look me in the eye, and tell me what he’s done, what inner work he’s done to change from being an egocentric, selfish man to someone who actually can be a friend, I might listen. I might then open the door. If he could actually apologize to me, and to my son, for his shoddy treatment of me, I might listen. But it would have to be heartfelt, sincere. I am good with words. I am intuitive. I would know the difference. He will say he has apologized to me enough. But what good is an apology when the behavior continues, unabated?

When I went through my divorce, I didn’t date for 5 or 6 years. I went inside, I learned to go deep, I learned to look at myself and forgive myself, but that also implies that I changed. And I did. I’m not angry with Scott (or my ex for that matter). I am just saying that I can’t have in my life what he has brought to it for 2 years now. (The first year, up until he did the prison whore was good with him, even after that, it was good. Then came Betty.) I have joked that he should go to the monastery for 6 months, like he often said he was going to. It’s a journey he has to take by himself. Even if I was inclined to help him, I would not. There is never real growth without real pain. There is help…but you have to seek it out. And not seek it from me. Not look to have the gaping wounds once again soothed by me so life can go on the way it has for decades.

So, I write this knowing he will read it. I don’t want to open the doors of communication with him, because it’s not safe for me. I know that somewhere inside there, I still love him as I always did, and that I would just be hurt again. I need to heal, I need distance, emotional distance to match the now physical distance I have purposefully put between us. He needs to heal too, and see himself. And acknowledge his soul and his spirit and stop feeding his ego, which is doing a good job of killing him, and hurting everyone who loves him. When he does that, when he can realize that he too is a child of God, as deserving as all of us, he’ll be able to love himself, and forgive himself, and then he’ll have something to offer the people he wants in his life.

I wish him Godspeed on that journey should he choose to undertake it.

Love and light, everyone.

Relaxing and Recharging

Last night I went to open mic, my normal Thursday outing. My friend who I’ve been friends with since I was 13 came over before hand and we shared the bit of pot roast I’d left here and not taken to my sisters. It was fun to hang out with her.

She had been gone for about 5 days, so we had a lot of catching up to do. I told her about L, my new guy. And how much I like him, how he makes me laugh, how sweet and considerate he seems to be. And that the feeling is mutual, it seems. There is no game playing going on that I can perceive, and I’m pretty sensitive to that now, lol. It’s wonderful to be with someone who is not afraid to be seen.

I had asked L if he wanted to go with me to open mic. But also said I knew it was a long shot, because he’s leaving really early tomorrow morning to go to Ohio for about a week, and is really busy setting up a new corp with his kids as well, which is why he’s going to Ohio. He couldn’t, but said when he gets back for sure he wants to go.

She got me up-to-date on her doings, and there are some pretty exciting things going on for her, which I’m so happy about. Also, she told me that when her show at the gallery was up, the one in which she put 7 of my necklaces, she had taken them to another gallery to show. And that I’d sold another one! Whoo Hoo! The money hasn’t come in yet but it’s so cool. I am selling more at the galleries for twice the price (I only get half of it) than I do on my Etsy shop for the normal price. Whodda thunk? But it’s motivating me to get some more pieces made. What a great way to make money, without having to go to work every day.

After open mic, she and my other good friend came over for some apple pie. Just a store made pie, but it was good, and I need to get it out of my fridge, lol. We talked til about 11, and they went home. I went right to bed, and slept 8 ½ hours. No sleep aids….It is so awesome.

Yesterday I had a message from Tim (the guy I just let go) and one from Tom, the guy who said he was going to call, and really led me on (“say hi to your sis, I know we’re going to meet”). I ignored them both, but the two messages made me think I should disable my profile. I’m really not interested in anyone besides L, and want to see where that will go. I think I’ll probably do that today.

Got a lot of errands to do today, and hope to get started on some more jewelry. Making the jewelry takes me off of the computer, which is good, because being off of it keeps me from seeing what our Tweeter-in-Chief is up to for awhile. It’s a good idea to get away from it for awhile, to refresh and renew, so that I can keep up the energy to resist.

For that matter, so does a night like last night, just allow me to recharge, and relax.

Love and light….

A Little This ‘n’ That

This morning is foggy here. First time I have seen fog, though I know it has settled over the bay at times, once enough to close the huge Sunshine Skyway bridge that goes across Tampa Bay. It’s quite warm for early in the morning, about 65 or so. Feels a bit like New England though, with the fog.

I had this peculiar conversation with a friend last night. It started out fine, but ended up with some kind of game going on that I just wouldn’t play. God, I hate games, at least in person-to-person conversations. Whatever, it was weird. I thought I was just being a friend to someone who wanted to talk. I keep thinking the friend had been drinking or something. IDK, but I hope I don’t hear from them again. Too much trouble, chaos. I don’t hear from them much, but this is a repetitive cycle with them, that I’m a little sick of.

I have been messaging with a couple of nice, kind, smart men, both of whom seem to enjoy carrying on a give and take conversation, unlike the date from hell I had last week.. One lives 25 miles from me (my favorite so far) and one lives about 5 miles from me. The one that is my favorite is very laid back. I need laid back. Both tried to reach me yesterday, and couldn’t. I was just busy with the cookies and the boat parade thing. But I’m going to call them both back today. I explained that I’m normally not this busy, and I’d really like to talk to them. Well, one of them I have been talking with. The other has messaged me a lot, and was gong to the gallery in St. Pete to see my jewelry.

I’m feeling good this morning, even though that weird conversation last night spun my head for a little while. Well, I took measures to keep it from happening again. I have a wonderful life here. People that are hell-bent for terror and chaos are not welcome in it.

Today I go for my therapeutic back massage, and then off to my sisters on the island for a little R & R and sister time. Kind of ridiculous to call it R & R time, that’s really all I have, lol. But just the same, it will be really nice to get over there again.

Love and light, everyone.

Off, But Not Quite Running

Nice to be sitting in my family room, sipping on a cup of coffee again. Yes, I miss my kid, but I’m not devastated by it. At least, not most of the time. Because I know he made the very best choice possible to live the kind of life he wants. I know he’s happy.

We were talking about when we could see each other again. He was saying to come maybe at Christmas, or in January, because he already has so many people coming for Christmas. I said, “Um…I don’t think I want to come in the winter!” LOL. He said, “Oh well, I thought you might just miss snow since you won’t see it any more.” I laughed and said, “Oh maybe some day. But I’m not there yet….” He laughed. I said when he can put together a 3 or 4 day weekend after he’s done with his initial training, he can come see me. I want him to see my little house, and my new life. So we’ll see. If I miss him too much maybe I’ll brave the snow, lol. But fact is, I hope to be working before Christmas too. We’ll just have to see how it works out.

So much to do today. And every day until I leave next Thursday. I woke up in the middle of the night making lists again, Grrrr. Finally I read for awhile, and managed to get back to sleep for a few more hours. I hope I don’t keep doing that all week! Geezus.

My friend Susan who is driving with me to Florida and I talked last night. She said she’s happy to drive us to the Tappanzee Bridge in NYC, because she’s from New Jersey and has been that way so many times, as long as I can navigate us through the other side of the Hudson River. We’ll have GPS but it always wants to put you on I-95, and we definitely don’t want to go that way. That would take us through all the traffic of NYC, Philly, Baltimore, and DC. Um, no. lol. So I’ll see if I can get the GPS to take us another way. The friend who picked me up last night told me to get the app WAZE, and it will show all the routes, and updates in real time for traffic and speed traps!

I can’t believe I’m gonna get back in the car for 2 ½ days, in 6 days. Yikes. It will be fun with Susan. We’re trying to pick audible books to listen to. She was part of my book club.

Well, off and not quite running yet. But I will be, I have to be.

Love and light, all.