Acting on a feel

Did you ever get little nudges and hints from the Universe? Recently I’ve been getting nudges to slow down. I have mentioned before that I usually get the Cosmic 2×4 on the head because I am simply not paying enough attention to fill-in-the-blank. I hear messages, feel and sense I must pay attention to something, and start making changes to accommodate. Sometimes my efforts are not enough. I’m dancing around it but not getting it. And I don’t realize I am not getting it because my nose is too close to the grindstone. When the Universe sees you working on it, but you don’t really get the core message, it will let you know. The following story illuminates this perfectly.

Starting the Work

I started slowing everything down. Work is as slow as it gets this time of year so there is no frenzied feeling. My right rotator cuff went on the fritz about 5 weeks ago and is not healed yet. So I cannot do any small projects around my house. That really bugs me but I can’t do a thing about it except let it heal. My personality and energy needs something to work on. I have a driving need to be productive. About 50 times a day I’d have to remind myself I can’t do this or that project. Sigh. I would often have people over to my home because I enjoy their company and the conversation. But it can also be draining for an empath. I put that on hold. I can’t walk my dogs due to the over 100 degree heat (unusual for this time of year). I can’t ride because my horses have since gone over the rainbow bridge. In this slow environment, I had cleaned and rid myself of clutter on ever single level. Every drawer and file cabinet and cupboard. Every molecule of things at my home is about as perfect as it can be. So there is nothing TO do. I had slowed down, or so I thought. This was a huge, huge shift for me. But was I really slowed down energetically and in my mind? Is this my best effort? 

Uh Oh

This past Friday as I left work for my 48 mile commute home. For the record, I’m not a speed demon. For two miles there is a stretch of road that is one lane per direction of traffic. There are no houses or businesses of any kind, and no intersections. If you don’t go faster than the limit, people will tailgate you, honk, flash their lights, and make it clear they are unhappy. I was going along and felt I was not fast enough to warrant a ticket. Didn’t see a soul on the road, bright sunny day. The Universe was still waiting for me to really embrace slowing down. However I wasn’t there yet and the Universe was about to show me just that.

Out of nowhere a police officer going in the opposite direction flashed his lights and I knew I had to stop. I always have my license, registration, and insurance at the ready. He dispensed with the ticket, giving me a few pieces of friendly advice. The ticket was not much money and I was guilty as charged. The good news is that I had recently received a rebate that would perfectly cover this ticket.

The Cosmic 2×4

About five minutes after the ticket incident I was thinking about why I attracted that into my life. After all I have been driving this road for almost 17 years five days a week. I go the same speed every trip, along with the flow of traffic. Why today? What’s up with this? What part of the Law of Attraction am I not doing right? Where’s the message? When it hit me like a cosmic 2×4 on the head I burst out laughing. The Universe sent a message that could not be ignored! It was so obvious. SLOW DOWN! Really slow down! Waaaaay slower than you think is necessary. Because you don’t know what slow really is! Explore this and take it to heart starting now. 

The Right Work (Fine Tuning)

The rest of the way home I went well under the speed limit not caring if I was harassed by other drivers. There was no reason to rush, so why not change the pace of my normal race to get home? It might be fun to really embrace slowing down. The rest of the weekend I slowed down my mind chatter by meditating, and putting on meditative music. I did a few sessions with my Mala beads, had no company over, stayed off the computer, and spent as much time out in nature as I could despite the heat. I read a book. Sat doing nothing. This was different. I can tell you, I’ll be doing this a lot more often. Slowing down in earnest gets me out of my head. I started with my environment, then my body, and the mind followed. This. Feels. Better. Slowing down means more than going slower. It’s being more mindful on every single level. But the payoff was about to happen and I didn’t see it coming.

The Payoff!

Along with signs to slow down, I had been also getting hints about acting on a feel. I had heard the person training a neighbor’s foal talk about this. It’s the way training is done with horses. Not by force, but rather showing the horse how to act on a feel. I actually saw the foal get it! I saw the moment when the penny dropped. The foal acted on a feel, got the idea, and acted accordingly. Isn’t acting on a feel part of how we receive intuitive hits? Isn’t that how we best manifest? Feel is what it is all about. I have been reading a book that talks about how important feel is to manifesting the life you desire. More so than I thought.

Ah HA! Now I am really getting why slowing down was necessary. It declutters your head so the rest of you can see things clearly and receive information quicker. Many small pieces were starting to show up because I could see them swirling above my head, and gather them to me. Pop, they would drop into my head and the big picture became clearer. Pop, pop, pop, more pieces keep coming! ❤ I love this! ❤ This is the first wave of  insights and messages about the next chapter of my life. Gotta love how the Universe works! So, the point is not slowing down per se, it’s what slowing down did for me. It allowed an environment where information could come to me, where before it could not get through the clutter. Now I get it! Now the real work can begin. This is a new way of operating for me, for the rest of my life.

 

Sometimes your body is wrong (but listen anyway).

Recently I was confounded by what I clearly recognized as signs of deep depression. What? Me? I’m the happiest person I know! It was more like being an observer of the physical manifestations of a feeling of dread. It was in the middle of my body at the core radiating outward. And it was really strong. That is the best way for me to describe in words, that awful sick feeling. Feelings like this had not surfaced since way before my divorce. Why were they coming back now?

My abusive relationship lasted just over 18 years. There was a pattern during that relationship I had already learned about. A pattern I could recognize and would never have to get suckered into again. After all I’m nine years into a happy single life. Surely I was not in another relationship like this? No I was not, but there was something of value in this body awareness I could not ignore. I wanted to investigate further.

The pattern is: abuse, silence, and several days later a gift given or a favor done to make up for it. Smoothing things over as if nothing ever happened. In this pattern you end up feeling negated in every way, feeling unimportant, and invisible. You feel punished, worthless, and you never seem to know why.  Ugh, I hate that. 

The pattern was tugging at my inner psyche and my very core. My body was trying to get my attention as if to say, “Hey remember this stuff? This was not good for you, and I’m making sure you notice, and recognize what’s going on. That way I can protect you.” Yup, that voice.

A good friend made the smallest infraction, and hurt my feelings. After this incident, he silently did a favor for me to make up for his small transgression. The relationship was important enough for him to make amends. I appreciated it very much and told him so, because the relationship was important to me as well.

The pattern itself triggered my dread, not the incident. That’s Important Thing number one to note. My body saw this pattern that looked a lot like the old abuse and went into hiding mode. That’s Important Thing number two to note. When I realized this feeling of dread was my body recognizing this old pattern and was only protecting me, the dam burst wide open. In a good way. Now things were making sense and I experienced a huge sense of relief. My body had been on high alert. At this point in my life I can easily say my body was over reacting.

In retrospect I realize this pattern had not really surfaced since before the divorce, and my body was in total denial about being in that same nightmarish life. It was back peddling so fast as if to say ‘Oh no you don’t!’ I have to thank my body for knowing to tip me off to the old pattern.

The body will hold onto trauma way longer than the mind will. Out of a sheer sense of survival. It’s doing it’s job.

In my mind, my friend’s infraction was small. But my body recognized the pattern BIG TIME and it was trying to protect me. It was getting me to hunker down in order to survive. My body was really sending me a huge signal that it felt something was wrong. Now that I’ve had this experience, I realize my body is still on guard. I can recognize this feeling, look to the pattern first, analyze the situation, have compassion for where I’m at, and tell my body all is well.

After this realization I can say with honesty when I look around, I see the beautiful and fruitful, totally happy life I have built for myself. I am living the dream! ❤ At the same time I realize some side effects of abuse take longer to dump than others. Some never go away totally. Trust your body if it is giving you signals, but be shrewd about why you are getting signals to see the origins. If necessary set your sails for a new direction. Thank your body for the message. Take notes and move forward.

The reason I write and share blog entries like this is in the hopes that other people might find some relief at knowing they are not alone in how they experience the world, how they handle trauma from old wounds, and how they pick up the pieces and move on. 🙂

Live long and prosper!

The End of Black & White Thinking

Well, I hope it is the end of black and white thinking! I had a great experience that will forever remind me to think outside of the Capricorn stick-in-the-mud black and white thinking mindset. Don’t get me wrong, us Capricorns are great for getting things done. We have great organizational and fiduciary skills, plus are very grounding for a lot of folks. We strive to accomplish, by simply and quietly putting one hoof, er foot, in front of the other, while keeping the end goal in sight. Ah but we can be stubborn creatures as well. Yes that word stubborn. That “thing” I have been working on as of late. Case in point follows.

I understand the Universe brings many things we don’t like or expect, and usually I can weather the storm. My Achilles heel is when things that are out of my control, regarding my home, crop up. I have put a lot of back breaking work into it, and let’s say it really gets my goat when there is a new problem I have no way of fixing myself. I have spent years updating an old living quarters into what looks fairly new and downright cozy. I owe no one a mortgage and my land is paid for. True to Capricorn style!

Electrical problems in particular are super frustrating and can be expensive. I love to get out my tools and fix things, but I’m not an electrician or plumber. Pluming is safer and in many cases easier to fix, almost fun. Not so with electricity, which can kill you or burn down your house. I have recently spent $1700 to replace outlets in three rooms and fix a few other minor wiring problems. This did not include new switches or any new fixtures. Since the wiring was old, and in one room tongue-and-groove paneling made the job harder, it took longer. I paid the going rate for a wonderful, honest, and hard working local electrician. Since he came out on the weekend and did not charge extra I will use him again. He was very educational, telling me everything he was doing and why. Plus he and his wife are local, each from a different reservation near my home. I like to support local people. But after the $1700 bill right near Christmas, a propane fill, and paying property taxes, I’d had enough of spending money on stuff I really couldn’t see.

Last weekend I was going to get some baking done. I went to turn on the kitchen light and it was dead. Here’s my thinking and actions: “Okay change the bulb. There. Oh, no light? What? Shit. Ugh.” Earlier that year I had one switch and outlet in the living room that the electrician could not get to go live. It was one me and my partner in crime, Bud installed long ago. We know it was working when I moved in. I assumed it was something-with-teeth in the ceiling chewing on wires for the casings. “Dang. Really do I have to hire the electrician AGAIN? He’s been out twice. That sucks!” I also felt a fury of rage inside me. Well it wasn’t rage exactly, but I was rootin’ tootin’ frustrated and mad. When I face something out of my control that I can’t fix, I jump to conclusions that it will cost an arm and a leg to repair. Grrrr and harrumph!

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My partner in crime was using my car to go to town to get parts to fix his truck. When he returned the car I told him about the problem. He said he’d look at it when he got a minute free. Thank God for good people! He came by and we took a look at it. He first suggested it could be the fixture. The fixture? (Well slap me on the forehead and call me silly.) Could it be that simple? The fixture was relatively new, only four years old, but I guess that’s the first thing to troubleshoot other than check to see the bulb is working and the breaker is on. Why didn’t I think of that? We looked at it, checked the wiring with my voltage tester, and it was not getting any power. Dang. We fiddled with the wires to reconnect them to make sure they were on correctly. Still nothing. Dang!

After the “Is it the fixture” comment, I realized how silly I was to not have thought of any of the things it could be in between ‘is the bulb burnt out’ to ‘hire an electrician’. My mind had immediately jumped to my greatest fear, spending more big cash on what was out of my control. I decided to change my thinking to manifest something more positive. This is not the first time I’ve been caught off guard by my own silly thinking. I didn’t think in those gray areas that life is made out of. When will I learn this? How many times would I have to go through this? Silly me. As we fiddled with the fixture and the wiring and testing the bulbs, Bud had another idea. He said, “Hey what about the wall switch for this light?” Brilliant idea! So we replaced it with a spare switch I had out in my garage. As we were about to test the light to see if that was it, we knew if that didn’t work, I would have to call the electrician back to my home. I changed my vibe to one of gratitude and positivity, and voila, the light went on with the flip of the new wall switch.

Boy did I feel silly. Have I mentioned that word yet? Yep. I have, because I was so, so silly. Now I have the visual, a light switch, and a positive memory of me changing my thinking. It was a memorable reminder of not having my head, or my vibe, or my trust in the right place, and the idea of how easily it was all fixed. Can you say Yay? I know you can. 🙂

The happy end to the story other than a changed noggin, and a fixed light, was the making of a large loaf of banana bread. It was naturally freely shared with my partner (who said it was the best he’d ever had), in thanks for helping me see the light. (Enough puns?) ❤

Those uncomfortable feelings that come with change

Being in a new landscape between point A and point B is very disconcerting. It’s downright annoying, uncomfortable, and I wish it would go away. Sort of. Lately I have been changing the landscape of my life. Getting out of the habit of visiting with my riding partner every day for coffee, dropping off groceries, horse medicine or tack, or what have you. They have all been excuses for me to have someone to talk to before or after my work day. An excuse to ‘play house’ when that’s not what is good for my future or his. This is not my new family. I’m pretending and I’m hiding. For awhile it has meant someone to bond with. Someone to talk to. But this is not a good choice for me going forward.

My riding parter and I have a totally platonic relationship. He’s a good friend, but that is where it ends. I do not wish anything more with him. To say I have been hiding inside that relationship as an excuse to not take chances with my heart would be stunningly accurate. It has been a nice place to rest, on a plateau, for awhile, to let my soul stretch out a bit. For the record, single life has meant a lot of enjoyment for me to do exactly as I please, when I please. After having lived with a controlling abuser for 18 years, it’s been a lovely ride being on my own! I have created an almost perfect life for myself. Almost.

I have known for a long time now that things need to change. I have still not made the change totally but I’m almost there. Otherwise how will I ever move on to the next phase of my life? When will I have time or opportunity to meet my new life partner? Don’t I have a dream of meeting that perfect man who has a great sense of humor, loves horses and animals, and has his own property? How will that happen if I am not getting myself out there or always at someone else’s home hanging out? Where is the partner I can wake up next to that has fun over a cup of early morning coffee as we both try and squeeze open our eyes to the supposed real world. Where is that guy I go on long rides with and can spend my remaining years with as a lover and friend? I know he’s out there.

The first part of going from point A to point B was drastically reducing my visits to my platonic partner. He has done nothing wrong at all. In order to change, I needed to refocus. Making the change was hard and yet in some ways it was easy. It meant a lot more time alone at my somewhat isolated home in the sticks. I made the change a few weeks ago with the plausible excuse that I needed more time to prepare for my job, more time to cut stress out of my life by meditating each morning, more time to prepare for my day. I had a stressful week the week before and it showed on all levels. This was mostly true so it felt like a natural way to break things off, with the exception of the one weekend ride we do together. Okay, that’s done and no one got their feelings hurt. What’s next?

This change would mean a talkative person who likes to converse, being alone much of the time and it was not something I was looking forward to. How would I handle it? I knew that I needed to face my fears before moving forward. This happens one moment at a time. To give you an idea of my mindset, it is important to know that in the past five months I have lost my soul dog, my first and most loved horse, Scar (which about tore my heart out) and two geese, one of which was with me for over 13 years. My little farm family was greatly reduced. Today I am hurting and still numb. Spending more time with myself at the core, at the center of things, energetically was a scary prospect because of my recent losses. What would I find when I went within? How would I handle it?

Once I spent some time alone and slowed down, something really good came up out of the numbness. I had this picture of my much smaller animal family and myself, all our hearts in unison, in a smaller orbit. It felt like a smaller but higher quality life we were all building together. Good juju. New. An unknown and unexperienced landscape.

The next month is being spent being alone and sometimes, doing nothing which is actually almost impossible for me. I crave accomplishing things at my property and home because it needs work, and my ego loves seeing progress. Doing nothing is much harder said than done but will get my human doing mind to be a human being mind again. I need to get back to ground zero, a new ground zero. In a way it is like getting to know myself better, as opposed to filling the time with activities that avoid the inevitable meeting myself at my brand new level of existence. This is a big part of creating a new inner landscape.

I am a big proponent of the saying, you are the author of your life. Authoring your life moment-to-moment can be the in-betweeny part that hurts like hell. It feels so odd, so new, and yet so darned uncomfortable. There are no way markers in this new landscape to know if you are on the right path, or lost. Hey maybe being lost for a bit is good? That’s also food for thought. Here is where great insight and change is felt and experienced. This is the time for me to stick with it, form a new alliance with myself, my new life and prepare for the next step. I can feel the runway is clearing for takeoff!

Comments are welcome and encouraged! Please click on the title of this blog entry so all you see is this one entry, and scroll to the very end to make a reply. 

Of snakes and men

On hot days I take my dogs for a walk in the river on my property. In the heat of summer most of the water is diverted for the purpose of local irrigation, growing crops of New Mexico chili, pinto beans, squash and corn. Irrigation for local farmers restricts the river from a five-foot deep rushing torrent to a creek that barely runs at all. It’s fun to take the dogs up the river and back, chasing minnows, crayfish and dragonflies. On the way back to the house, we run up the slope through the small forest of knee high plants with cabbage like leaves and bright white flowers.

On our run back to the house from the river about five weeks ago, I heard a distinctive sound. Your ear never forgets this sound after the first time you hear a rattler. I quickly yelled at the dogs to stay away, get away, and yelled ‘no’ very loudly. They were unaware of the dangerous reptile at their feet. My feet were bare as were my legs. I am no stranger to snakes and have a great respect for them. Their symbolism, independent strength and grace are to be admired. But anything venomous on your property is not a great idea when you have horses (who fear them), and dogs who love to play with reptiles.

I have had rattlesnakes on my property before, but since they were thick as my upper arm and five feet long, I have had to call in neighbors to deal with them. I called my riding friend a few houses down and told him what was going on. He said “You can handle it. Just take a shovel and do it.” I was stupefied. Me? Kill a snake? Oh, no I can’t do that. No, no, no! Every fiber in my being fought the idea. I hemmed and hawed and danced around and could not do it. But I still had a problem on my hands. I needed to act quickly.

I finally saw another neighbor next door. I said “Hey there is a rattler on my property and I am scared of it.” He said “Well just bring it over here and I’ll take care of it.” Huh? Bring it over? Say what? Oh, the sarcasm was there but, I was stunned at such a flippant and uncaring answer. I have been nothing but a good neighbor to this person. He has even said so to may face on many occasions. But for some reason he was playing with me and being downright rude.

In a panic, I called back my riding friend and said “Look I really don’t have the nerve to do this. I like snakes! This is a living thing and I don’t want to kill it, but it can’t stay on my property.” Since soul dog left, none of my dogs would know what to do, and soul dog would have handled it perfectly. Sigh. My riding friend did not come over, and I would never ask outright. I figure if I outlined the situation it was up to him to offer, and not feel obligated at the same time. He insisted that I could do it. He said I had to learn to do this sort of thing, if I was going to live in the Southwest. He continued in a friendly voice and said “Just suck it up and do it. I know you can do it!” I hung up, and did the deed, which made me uncomfortable on many levels. It made me sick to my stomach. I realized after I did it that this was the most difficult thing I had ever done in my life. It took more courage to do it than I imagined I had. By a factor of 10!

I took a walk to blow off steam, and on the way back I saw a snake curled up on the side of the road basking in the late afternoon sun. I went a little closer to take a look and saw it was a bull snake. Harmless and also beneficial in its appetite for eating mice. I wanted to make sure it was not another rattler in my area. There are a lot of mice on my property and I always welcome most snakes to live there to help with that ‘natural balance’ of things.

This was a tale of two snakes and two men. One man and one snake were dangerous, and the other man and the other snake were beneficial. Had my friend not insisted I had the courage to kill the rattlesnake, I would never have found that supreme amount of courage and guts it took for me to kill it. The ‘bad’ neighbor had been shitty to me, and I would rather have had him say “No, I can’t help you” or anything rather than his sarcastic and dishonest reply. My good friend had done me a favor, in terms of giving me courage, that he is probably to this day not aware of how much he helped me.

Courage can come from anywhere, deep inside you, even if you don’t think you have it.

Comments always welcome and encouraged. View this blog entry by itself by clicking on the headline, in order to make a reply at the bottom.

My 96 year-old inspiration.

The other day I was out running errands on my lunch hour. I had taken extra time that morning to dress a bit nicer than my usual blue jeans, cowboy boots and tee shirt. My ensemble included a long gray fleece skirt, a dusty blue shirt with lace detail yolk, a very long fluffy blue and white scarf with dangles I wound around my neck, a long silver daisy chain necklace, tiny blue lapis earrings, and an older soft jean jacket. Nothing stunning, but for me a nice change. Classy yet comfortable. Sometimes dressing up a bit makes your mood lighter, and you feel more confident.

I was pushing my shopping cart forward in the aisles, thinking the carts were a bit large for the aisle space. Not a big complaint but as a result I was very careful when passing other folks who were getting their shopping done. One such person was a sweet looking lady, very petite. I doubt she tipped the scales at 90 pounds she was so small. Under a black Tam o’ shanter hat a lovely bunch of wavy, black and dark blue hair came spilling out. The blue looked like the color you add on with foam spray. Nice touch. Her features were very fine and set amongst a lifetime of delicate wrinkles. If anything they added to her charm. There is no shame in aging I say. I thought to compliment her on her looks but decided to stop and let her decide which frozen item to get out of the case. I hate to rush folks, especially the elderly, or young mothers with children in tow.

After I moved on a voice behind me said, “My, your skirt perfectly matches your lovely gray hair.” I was astonished to see it was this sweet lady I had just been silently admiring. We struck up a conversation on the topic of gray hair. She lamented, “I haven’t got any gray hair yet and I’m 96!” Well folks, you could have knocked me over with a feather. I knew she was possibly an octogenarian, but to be out shopping and on her own, clearly able to fend for herself at that age really impressed me. To have all your faculties, focus, and beautiful style at almost 100 years old was impressive to say the least. I would also say she is an inspiration. Something for me to shoot for as I gracefully age (ahem).

On the topic of aging gracefully, as little as four years ago I had dark brown hair that I started dying blonde. It was a fun few years and it took years off my looks. But the upkeep and expense of dying long hair was getting to be too much. I’m a person that needs really easy, low maintenance habits. I held my breath and took the plunge and decided to accept my hair and features as nature intended. (I wear little to no makeup.) Still, when I see pictures of myself, especially on today’s video chat, I am wondering, who is that lady with the gray hair? Oh, that’s ME! Kind of makes me laugh. It takes some getting used to but I am really beginning to like exactly who I am. I will continue to be inspired by the sweet little old lady I met in the frozen foods aisle. If I have half her charm and style at 96, I’ll be doing just fine.

What have you seen recently that has inspired you? Comments are welcomed and encouraged. 

The wonderfully irritating way the Universe helps you change.

One way the Universe helps me change is wonderful, and it’s also very irritating! Sure enough, when you want to stop drinking caffeine, or stay clear away from carbs and you swear them off, the coffee and bagels of the world will follow you everywhere and it won’t stop until you are immune.

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Why does this happen? It’s my opinion that you are not necessarily being tested because the Universe does not pass judgment. It’s more like you are given chances to succeed at whatever you wanted to change. The Universe gives you many chances to try out your new whatever-it-is. And believe me the Universe knows the nano-second you make the choice. The good news is, this way you have a lot of different opportunities to succeed. If you don’t succeed every time, you might learn something from those trials. Maybe you will learn you are not ready and you need to give it a rest for awhile, and then get back at it. Maybe you will have insights from those trials. Be open minded.

Sometimes you can make a change lickety split, in the blink of an eye you just decide you are ready. I was able to do that the other day when I had a change of heart. Most of the time that doesn’t happen, it depends. When people say it just happened overnight, my belief is it really took years to cultivate that new way of being. With trying to eat a healthy diet it took me till the age of 59 to Grok the idea and totally incorporate it into my routine in a way that seemed totally natural. It probably felt natural because I had worked on this for most of my adult life.

When I started bringing salad to work every day, I was tempted with cookies and chocolates, birthday cake, bagels, banana bread, bars, candies and you name it. But by that time I was really so happy with the way I felt after eating healthy for months that those foods did not tempt me. Really it’s not an immunity as much as you realize the plus side of your goal. If it’s eating healthier food, you will learn over time what fuels your body. This is an important distinction to whatever you think you need to be eating. Trial and error will tell you what you need to feel your best.

If you want to have less contact with certain people, like needy, draining, or dramatic types, for sure you will be surrounded by that sort of person as soon as you make the decision. It happens so you can practice your desired skills. You’ll get good at extricating yourself politely but firmly if you really want to achieve your goal. You can do it without hurting anyone’s feelings, and you will take pride in your progress. Believe me it’s not mean hearted to cut down on the dramatic, needy or energetic vampires of the world.

I did the same thing with recreational drinking. I absolutely adore a glass of good red wine, and about once a month, a shot of Patron Tequila. Since I take heavy nerve meds that don’t go well with alcohol, I eventually stopped drinking altogether. For years I felt the energetic pull from the Universe to stop. It got to the point where I would experiment with it to see if I needed it for relaxing or partying. I got down to one glass of wine a night, and I realized even that did not make me happy at all and I still felt like crap the next day. I realized there was no benefit whatsoever. Sure enough the day after I swore I would not drink again, well meaning friends came over with alcohol and would not believe I was not going to have any. I had to make myself clear by saying this handy phrase:

“Thank you for thinking of me, but it is not in my best interest.” 

In fact staying sober during a party was very enlightening and fun!

Whatever you are trying to change, modify or kick, know in your heart that you will very soon get opportunities to try your new way of living. The Universe seems to know this the instant your mind is made up. Another apt phrase is to keep in mind is, “If you ask for patience, your patience will be tested!”

Comments are welcome and encouraged! 

A catalyst for change, from the heart.

There’s a fun song by Ray Charles called Smack Dab in the Middle. Have a listen, it’s a fun song. My question to you is, are you smack dab in the middle of your world? If not, why not? I know it sounds selfish and self-centered to make you be first. But isn’t that the best way to be able to assist others? I think I have written about this before here. The message is, you can only truly be of service once your own house is in order. Caring for myself first, I knew on an intellectual/informative level. Think Head. But the idea had not quite come home to roost. Think Heart. This post explains how I made the change from head to heart.

If you are the caretaker for others, be they human or animal, you have to be and think and do for yourself first. You can’t keep giving and giving without you at the center. Otherwise your well will run dry and when you try and ‘fix’ what is wrong you’ll be out of energy. You might not even realize what is wrong. That’s where I have often found myself of late. But I have felt so very connected to Spirit these past years, how could this be? (Chuckling to myself.)

The almighty Universe has a way of sending lessons when you need them, in the most unlikely of forms. Usually one after the other in quick succession to get your attention. I call that the 2×4 over the head. You’d think by now I’d be wearing a cosmic helmet! The last lesson to me came by way of my horse, Silver.

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In the middle of a rare sleet storm at 10:32pm my horse Silver went sick. I was surprised when my vet returned my call about a minute after I left a voicemail message. Off we went arriving in town around midnight. We left Silver in good hands. Silver went for two visits over a 10 day period until we figured out what it was. At first we thought it was colic, which can kill a horse. Turned out he has ulcers. At least ulcers are treatable and not fatal. So relieved, but that 10 days was hard on my nerves. It felt like I was walking on pins and needles, the feeling in my core was panic. Yeah, that’s not good. What’s up with that? Where did my calm demeanor go. You know, the one that comes forward when I give other people advice? (Oh the irony!)

Worries that compounded my situation were many. My elderly dog, Google, is my soul dog. His attitude is stellar but he’s near the end of his time on the planet, that is clear. My elderly mother is on my mind. I live 1200 miles away from her and I miss her. A family member who is dear to me has been diagnosed with cancer. The family is still reeling from the news. At my job, I work with good folk, but I have to be there in mind and body. All these things plus Silver’s problem added up to feeling totally overwhelmed and a little wobbly. Pema Chödrön would say it is good to get used to that feeling of groundlessness. Oh that’s hard to do. It takes practice. I know I should not let things I have no control over worry me a la Byron Kaite. But it’s hard to drop all that other stuff, especially if those involved are close to your heart.

During this ten day ordeal before we got the diagnosis on Silver, my friend Ren and I were texting. I told her I felt overwhelmed, drained, and in a panic. This is not my usual ‘from love’ space. It was a ‘from fear’ space, and she and her son could see this. She asked me a question. A real life changing question. She said…

“Got a hard question for you: Is Patty or are Patty’s Animals #1 in your world?”

In the past the answer has always been, my animals come first. I would brag to people my animals are fed in the morning before I eat. I pop out of bed like toast, rush to get outside to feed. I am out in my chore boots, PJ’s, bathrobe and coat before the sun is up, complete with headlamp so I can see the hay bales in the dark. I look like a walking rummage sale.

Is it necessary to eclipse my own life to care for others? Is this level of care really necessary? Well knock me over with a feather! By answering the question, I could see past events of my life with deep clarity. On the spot I was able to rethink my core actions and act from that new center of self-love. Wow. Powerful stuff. I had been putting everyone else first, and that had been so hard wired in me. There is nothing wrong with caring for your critters or other folk, but to not put yourself first means you can drain yourself unnecessarily. Your world will seem off center, like seeing from the perspective of being picked up by the tornado. If you come from center, you can be the calm eye of the storm. I knew my friends’ words rang true and it was a great catalyst for change. It was a large pivot point for living the rest of my life from.

There is a better way to live and still care for everyone. As nurturers, women are taught to give and do and make and cook and bring and organize and tutor and orchestrate and comfort and direct and teach and you name it. I needed to unlearn a lot of old programming in how to approach this role.  Ren told me when she made this change to loving the self first, she didn’t love her kids any less. In fact she loved them more, because she loved herself more. Folks this is a golden nugget of information, founded in love. I could work with this! I could still work with Spirit, love and care for myself, and then tackle what the rest of the world brought to my door. Wise words indeed! I am much indebted to Ren for this awakening in me.

I instantly was able to re-arrange my day on the fly, taking care of what I needed, before caring for others. It was a small change, that made a big difference, and no one was left wanting as a result. In fact everything felt better, more right, and more natural. So simple, yet so powerful. Now this lesson had come home to roost in my heart.

Before you go out into the world assisting others, keep this in mind. What base are you operating from? A base of self-love first, caring for yourself first? Are you really truly coming from love, or are you coming from a sense of guilt or a sense of duty? It’s a hard question to ask. But for me, it changed my life in an instant. You can do this too.

Comments always welcomed and encouraged. 

 

 

When is a good time for a change? Coffee time!

I used to have coffee almost every morning before work with a neighbor. Jokingly I would tell my buddy that I was there for coffee and conversation, but I really didn’t care much for the coffee. Companionship is something most single, older people desire. My platonic buddy and I have known each other at this writing for three years. We go riding on weekends weather permitting, and Saturday night we have spaghetti and watch silly TV shows together. Over the past year I had gotten into the habit of having coffee in the morning with him on my way to work. He used to be next door but he moved four houses down. Since our pups are litter mates, it started out innocently enough as me bringing my pup to play with his all day. Then I’d return to pick up my pup in the evening. It seemed easy enough since he moved so close.

One day we were having morning coffee and I was showing him pictures of a few items on my phone that I had purchased. I thought he’d be interested in them because earlier he had expressed an interest in similar items and he does not have the internet to look things up. As I was telling him about my purchases and talking about the lapis lazuli and coffee jasper I had purchased, he went through a curtain that is between the living room and the kitchen. I assumed he was getting another cup of coffee, so I kept describing the items and was telling him I was excited to be getting these in the mail soon. I ended my sentence by saying…

“…are you even there? No? Ahh I didn’t think so. Oh my.” Sigh.

My friend had gotten up while I was talking mid sentence, went to the bathroom and was gone for a good long time. When he retuned he sat down and just kept staring at the floor, or his coffee cup. He didn’t ask what I had been talking about. In fact it was if I was not even in the room. Sometimes I would end a sentence with a question and he’d just smile at me or stare at the wall as if he were oblivious. It was clear he had not been paying attention, or could not hear me, or both. A clear sign of not caring. Even though my friend’s normal nature is to be reserved and quiet, I felt this was rude behavior. I’d never do anything like that to him. So I excused myself and left for work saying I had to get there early. My feelings were hurt.

Since this was about the 20th time he had done the same thing over the past year. I wanted to make sure I was not at fault. Was I welcome? When it was time for me to leave he would say ‘do you have to?’ which showed me he wanted my company. Was I dominating the conversation? The next day I said almost nothing, letting him have the floor. You could have heard a pin drop the entire time. Over time I had dismissed all those other times I felt ignored. Was I nothing better than a babysitter? Over time I made hundreds of excuses for his lack of caring. But this was not working for me. Casper Milk Toast would have better manners. And in a way I felt I was being used to keep him company…while he was ignoring me!? That’s not good.

Conversations should not be one way. Otherwise you are just playing handball with the drapes. Our conversations had been mostly one way for a long time. My buddy is not the talkative type and can be reserved, and often very needy. But  wanted someone to talk with, not to.  This whole thing made me reflect on the status quo. Is it time for a change on some level? My intuition had been nudging me for some time, trying to tell me that I was spending way too much time there. Between going for coffee, picking up the dog after work, our riding and our Saturday TV night, I think my stop at his home were in the range of between 12 and 18 a week. I have a hectic enough schedule and wouldn’t it be nice to cut that down?

The energy of the current relationship felt wrong. I believe everything is energy and this felt like being mired down in the mud, not being in flow. Time for a change. Doesn’t have to be drastic either, let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water. Immediately after making this decision the energy seemed to be feeling better already. That’s my gut telling me yes, I made the right choice. That night I had a vivid dream of driving onto the wrong pathway. I had taken a wrong turn. I turned the car back around and it was easy to get back on the right path. This is a clear sign to me. Very clear, that I am making the right decision.

Rearranging my schedule to put me more in the center of my own life, taking care of my needs first was key. This would be new on an everyday level and on a life level. I had never thought of me first. I cut my visits back to weekends. Riding was the core of our friendship and that’s the only time I can do it. We’d keep our Saturday evening with spaghetti and fun TV time because we laugh the whole time. Laughter is good medicine. With my extra time, I could do more with my animals and my meditation. This would mean having a leisurely time getting out the door and enjoying the special energy of early mornings, which I love so much. Ah, yes, this was working for me! And it worked for my friend too. He needs to get out and meet other people, and maybe even hook up with a special someone. If I keep going over all the time, he’ll feel no impetus to change things, and that someone special would think he was already taken.

Putting myself first and making healthier habits was new to me. Brand new. But I am a firm believer in being the author of my own life. Check the energy to see if it all feels right. It was hard to make these changes, but part of the old me that felt loyal to a fault was gone. The thought it was okay to take time for myself was new and refreshing. This felt better on a whole new level.

Humans are hard wired to follow habitual routines. So that’s good news in developing a new habit. Just stick with it for between 10 and 15 days and you have a new habit. 🙂 Trust your gut when you have a feeling that you want to do that old thing, but you know you shouldn’t. Resist for a few moments, recognize that you want to change, and do your new thing. I found the resisting part to be the hardest. So I substituted a small activity like pouring a cup of tea or even kicking the ball for the dogs. It only took seconds of changing my activity to get past the urge to do the old thing. If you want to change, it won’t take long. Keep in mind that old habit will not want to die out those first few times you try and change your routine. Stick with it! Believe me, meditation practice will help you with tasks like these even though it doesn’t seem logical.

It’s healthy to make such assessments and change in your life. You don’t need an incident to wake you up. Check the energy. How does it feel? You can make small changes that make big differences any time you feel the need. Make sure you are spending time doing what is good for you, your growth, and then consider others. In a way I was enabling my friend to not get out and experience more of life, and meet new friends. This feels better all the way around. Why didn’t I do this a year ago? Let’s not go there, lol.

Comments always welcome and encouraged. You will have to view this blog entry by itself by clicking on the headline, in order to make a reply at the bottom. 

 

 

 

 

Flow is the answer

This is more a reminder to me as it is to anyone else out there. I was under some pressure lately and found myself learning a few new things to make my situation much better. It started with something that really upset me on Sunday. I recall thinking I had ‘the whole rest of the week to get through’ and how was I going to manage? I was feeling so tired and down. This is not like me. I’m usually feeling that flow of life.

Well, how silly of me. How was it I already forgot that living in the moment mantra of mine? How did I so easily get sucked back into the ‘waking world’ and pulled away from my Spiritual self? Why was I assigning a bad flavor and a tired feeling to this block of time, a whole week, that had not even occurred yet? When I heard myself utter that phrase about having to get through the next week and it seemed like such a burden, I realized I had it all wrong. The answer was, and always will be, to live in each moment. It’s not a saying, it’s something you actually experience, on purpose. It’s something you can do.

I found my first real mindful moment was when I was doing dishes. When you live in the moment, as in doing dishes slowly and mindfully, time does not exist. You might find the same thing happen if you sweep the floor. Lovely meditation! That was when I had my first epiphany of slowing down and living in the moment. When I live in the moment—each moment—I feel happy and contented. I can always have this feeling if I keep it in mind. But when pressure looms, or things go off track, that’s when it is most needed, and easiest to forget. The learning and realization comes in just after the down period of life’s ups and downs where you have some hindsight. But that doesn’t help in the moment.

Like many, I have the responsibility five days out of seven to go to work. Being single puts the pressure on for me to provide for myself and my animals. Some days I feel tired and it’s only Monday, and I wonder how I’ll get through the week. But I know that’s an illusion. If I buy into that mindset, I have just ruined my whole week. That’s bullshit. Don’t do that to yourself. It’s bad juju and negative energy. Same with having a bad day. Don’t say you are having a bad day. Maybe say, you are having a bad moment. Whatever it is that feels bad, make it small! Make that change and lighten up. You have the power to make the rest of your day great. With a little reminder there is no problem because living moment to moment is the answer to dropping all that fake stress. It’s gone, poof! My reminder will be one word. Flow. (Thanks Kristin for that insight!)

So, a note to self is in order. Take each moment of each day and don’t worry about the next. It will take care of itself. Remember to be IN each moment fully and don’t worry about what comes next. Wash that one dish mindfully. Really BE there. Get into the task at hand. Work on what is in front of you. Feel the flow, don’t fight the day. Don’t worry about the next thing. I know there will be times in the future where I will forget and be all caught up in the illusion of stress and worry and feeling rushed. I’m human just like you. Let’s all remind each other to live in the moment and stop stressing about the next moment, hour, day, or week. Just let it go and be in flow. Okay? Okay!