Clutter holds energy, let it loose!

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Okay, this is not a how-to guide for decluttering your home or environment, although I could certainly write an article about that. I was born to organize and declutter. However for almost two decades, I lived with a man who was a hoarder. At the time, I had no word for it. It started slowly and grew exponentially as our my spouse and the relationship fell out of center. Every room had a path through it that was about two feet wide. Boxes, clothing, computer pieces, camera parts, papers of all kinds and other assorted flotsam filled rooms to bursting. Sometimes up to the ceiling! There was no rhyme or reason to it, and none of the items had any use or value.I could not staunch the flow, no matter what I tried. I could hardly live like this and combatted it daily. It crept under my skin during the day, and practically exploded out of me at night. It was like a thing that lived with us that was evil. But my spouse would have a week long fit, exploding in rage, if I were so rude as to mention ‘the mess.’ He didn’t see it that way and he felt I was nagging and unfair to him. Apparently I was the bad guy in this scenario.

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Suffering is optional

When you hold your own mind hostage, It’s like being in prison. It’s a lot of self-imposed suffering. I am guilty of this bad habit. It’s a bit like jumping to conclusions but bigger. It takes a while to dump it and change behavior.

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Case in point: A friend of a friend said their friend went to a family gathering thinking the worst; that no one liked them, that they would be shunned, ignored, that they were disliked. Yet the opposite happened and the opposite was true. They were welcomed with open arms. They were able to catch up with a lot of people they had been estranged from and had totally the wrong information for many many years. The person who was responsible for spreading the dark information about them in the past was now out of the picture. How many years did our hero waste in shame and fear, thinking they were unloved by their own family? Way too many! It simply was not true. They were holding themselves hostage and suffering for it.

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Why do lessons repeat?

Someone recently asked me why some lessons seem to repeat. The best way for me to explain why lessons keep coming up is to look to my personal experience in the trenches. My years before The Long Exhale were spent in the most demeaning and abusive relationship. It was so bad I thought I’d die, or worse, have to keep living that life. It was a hard knot to untangle. I felt certain lessons come up, so clearly in my face during those 18 years. I could not for the life of me figure out why they kept coming up, until I was out of it. Then it was easy to see why I had been banging my head against the same wall. Perhaps my story might help others.

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Do you really want to sweep that under the rug?

So you’ve had a blowout with someone in your life. This someone is very important to you, they may be your spouse, your live-in mate, a really good friend, or someone at work. You have been dealt a blow, and you feel very strongly about it. Perhaps trust has been violated. This is a basic foundation for any relationship. Maybe someone does not believe what you did or did not do. I’ve seen these two things happen to people close to me. They both handled it very differently, in their own way.

Some handle it with great emotions and a lot of drama because they feel slighted. Then they moved on feeling differently toward the person that slighted them. Some handle it by sweeping it under the rug, waiting for just the right moment to say something. “Oh, can’t do it today we are having dinner with friends. I can’t do it tomorrow, my spouse has a job interview and they have to be on their best behavior. Best to not rock the boat. The day after that is Saturday and I have worked hard this week, another argument is not what I want. Better put it off till next week. That feels better.”

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Eating my problems

For a long time, I have had problems during or shortly after eating. This is definitely in the too much information category so I’ll spare you the details. Suffice it to say there was a lot of intestinal upset and extreme discomfort to deal with. I spent years trying to figure it out. First with my doctor, then on my own.

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No, I am not allergic to anything, it was not any particular restaurant, food item, cooking oil, it was not dairy, nothing like that. I relentlessly checked and researched everything it could be. I wanted to get to the bottom of it. I knew there was something worth discovering besides the obvious physical relief.

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That damned coconut tree

Over the years I learned to handle drama and chaos as best I can. I teach classes on handling it, because I lived through so much of it and found a way to deal with it. In the years during The Big Change, I was able to piece together a road map for my survival. So far, so good. Life is as good as it can be and I’m a happy camper. But, I didn’t get this way overnight. It took work. It was fun at times, but still took some shifting and tweaking each time I encountered a bit of drama or chaos here and there.

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On being stuck in traffic

A good playground for being totally present and going with the flow in a chaotic situation is in heavy traffic. This was one of my biggest ah-ha moments ever. I had gotten off work early one day. It’s a rare treat to get off work early, so I ran a few errands downtown. I rarely go south of where I work, so a trip to downtown usually is a headache. This was the perfect day for it! After my errands were all run, I wanted to get home quickly. That should be easy at 3pm, right? Wrong! For some reason it was a very early rush hour and this really soured my mood. It takes an hour to get home as it is. How could I be stuck in traffic? It’s a lovely day and I want to be home quickly, enjoying the sunshine and my animals!

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Pay attention to dreams

For many years now I have been keeping track of my dreams. A private online blog is the best way for me to have a journal I won’t lose, and it’s easy to search. Spirit communicates to me mostly through visuals, although I have had experiences of taste, smell, hearing, feeling and knowing. Mostly I am a highly visual person with super detailed dreams.

After you track your dreams for a while, it will become obvious what to pay attention to, and what to dismiss. The disjointed, out of focus, blurry and gray dreams are what I call garbage can dreams. They are an amalgamation of recent events, worries and other flotsam and jetsam floating around in my psyche. The other type of dream for me to not pay much attention to are what I call spaghetti dreams. When I eat pasta, I eat a load of it. Then I have the same type of dream only going warp 10 and a bit more crazy activity. Those are a bit more fun, but just as disjointed.

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Compassionate or doormat?

Being compassionate and being ‘the wounded healer’ and wanting to help others is a good thing to do. But be careful you don’t overdo it in terms of being a doormat. You should never come away from an experience in compassion feeling used, spent, foolish, tired, or drained. And certainly you should never feel you have been taken advantage of.

Several years back, a local I knew and liked came knocking on my door in a rainstorm. Let’s call him The Farrier. I knew, as did everyone in town, he was recently on the outs with his boss/landlord. He had been kicked out of the place he had been staying, and lost his job. He was at rock bottom. I could not turn him away in the rain. Looking back, he had it timed just right, how could a person turn someone away in a downpour? Once I realized he needed more than shelter from this storm, I made it clear, this was to be temporary. I offered him three months stay, as long as he helped himself to get ahead in the world, not just lay around sleeping. He needed to earn his keep in working toward his future. I stressed it was more important that he work toward his future, than do chores around my home.

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The smallest adjustment

The other day I was out to lunch with friends at a small French café. The food was great, but service was slow. No biggie, my friends and I had much to talk about. However trying to pay with my debit card was frustrating. That new chip technology was the culprit. I didn’t want to put a $12 lunch on a major credit card that I had paid off an hour before. There was plenty of money in my checking account, so I insisted they try running the card one more time, please. I checked the card just before going to lunch so it was not a problem of not enough money.

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