Archive | November, 2011

Day 334: the tao of pup

30 Nov

I swear Pup knows how to meditate. 

Every time I start a meditation he jumps up next to me and tries to crawl on top of my belly.

It happened numerous times this summer.
And, tonight, right after my bath while I was still all warmed and relaxed on the inside, and snuggled in on the outside, laying on the bed getting ready for a quiet meditation, a 60 pound Pup decided to join in.

The next thing I knew Pup bounded into the room and landed himself flat on my stomach.

That’s 60 pounds of pure pooch bliss.

Makes me wonder what kind of stress and anxiety meditation relieves for Pup’s head, heart, body and soul:

  • Too many tennis balls in his personal collection making it hard to choose which one to play with?
  • Too much sunning on the lanai?
  • Being told to get off the couch one too many times?

Who knows…
But I do know this: when I meditate it’s a great release of all the thoughts that creep up on me throughout the day, the stresses that lurk in the depths of my consciousness and the to-do list that always seems to get more line items than crossed-off items.

Tonight, this line stayed with me after my little meditation:
“Everything is perfect as it is.”

And it was.
Is.
Will be.

Even with a 60 pound pooch all snuggled up laying across on my belly — especially with a 60 pound pooch all snuggled up laying across my belly.

And, maybe that’s what Pup has been trying to tell me all along.

Day 333: walking on broken glass

29 Nov

My day started off with a crash.
A really loud one that only porcelain on tile can create.

Here’s a glimpse:
My favorite mug that my friend Susan gave me, photo taken just yesterday.

And, here it is today.

Crash. Crack. Silence.

NO!!!!!!!!
My heart dropped and mind and body froze watching the cup slip out of my hands, then bounce and crack on the floor, only to stare back up at me.

Instead of reading Keep Calm and Carry On, it now turned cockeyed on one side and screamed back “NO” in capital letters.

As I stood barefoot on the cold, tile floor of the kitchen in pink fluffy robe, I, dumbfounded, with nothing else to do, looked around for something to pick up the pieces.

Isn’t that always the case?

Turns out we have no broom.  
We both keep meaning to buy one at the grocery store but we constantly forget. It seems our need for avocados, carrots, salad and meat override the desire for a broom.

So, this morning, as I found myself on the verge of tears, with my favorite mug starring up at me in two separate pieces, I also found myself broom-less with no clue about how to clean it up.

And then that old Annie Lennox song rang through my head.
Won’t you pick the pieces up?
Cause it feels like I’m walking on broken glass.
Walking on, walking on, broken glaaa-aaa-aaaaass.

Lightbulb!
I dug through my art supplies and found a clean paintbrush.
It worked well enough to sweep the little fragments and shards of glass into one little pile that I could brush onto an old dustpan and deposit in the trash.

Even with the mess cleaned up I still felt like crying.

Then, later today, I found a little ray of hope.
Oprah interviewing Dr. Wayne Dyer.

In Oprah’s interview with spiritual teacher Dr. Wayne Dyer, he talks about how he practiced the Tao for one year. (Sounds like a 365 day promise to me.)

I was intrigued. 

What caught me, at just the right moment, was this:

“God has to be in you and has to be in everything that’s missing from your life.  So you are already connected to everything you need in your life. All you have to do is align yourself.”

I like that.
And, I feel like I understand it too, in a way that 333 days ago I never could have imagined.

So, maybe I lost a mug today.
MY FAVORITE MUG.

But, I have something even greater than treasures.

I have the friendship that brought that mug into my life (thank you Susan).
I know I already have everything — even when I’m not shopping! — and am connected to everything I need.

Plus, I know, deep down inside, we all have the ability to pick up the pieces.

As long as we keep calm and carry on.
Even when it feels like walking on broken glass. 

Day 332: under where?

28 Nov

It’s Day 332 of no shopping and it is officially decided.
The first thing I purchase in 2012 will be new underwear for down under.

My birthday happens to occur on Australia Day, but I am not referencing that southern hemisphere.  Rather, I am planning another celebration to help cover up my birthday suit.

New underwear it will be.
And, that’s all she wrote.

Day 331: inner peace and interior bliss

27 Nov

Nap Day around here.
In between meals and football games Pup and I took advantage of the last day of Thanksgiving Weekend and officially napped it out.

It was good for our bodies and souls.

It felt great.
I didn’t realize how tired my body was from the move, the driving, the unpacking, the settling in, while still trying to keep a somewhat normal human schedule, until I settled down to read a book and fell directly asleep.

If nothing else, I am certainly grateful for the time national holidays give us to catch up — with family and on some z’s too.

And, tonight, I think I experienced the antidote to Black Friday-Small-Business-Saturday-Cyber-Monday-Hurry-You-Are-Running-Out-Of-Time-Madness — otherwise known as the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

Simply Being. 

Sounds easy doesn’t it?
Actually, it is easy. It’s an App on my iPad.

Simply Being, Guided Mediation for Relaxation and Presence.
My friend Laura recommended it, and while this one costs a few dollars there are free versions too.  Plus, you can choose your length of meditation (Need a quickie?  Five minutes will do.  Need to chillax?  Take the 20 minute med).  You can learn more at MeditationOasis.com 

I also downloaded the Houzz App too.  It’s free.  It’s fabulous.  It’s all about interior design.  And, it has over 224,00 photos of inspiring displays of architecture and design.  Plus, you can keep your own Ideabook with favorite images and ideas.

Yes, it is clearly a new age for searching and finding both inner peace and interior bliss.

And, I am fully convinced that looking through my iPad Apps would tell you more about me than my Myers-Briggs score.

While I sometimes hover between a ESTJ and an ESFJ, my iPad has on full display my favorite Apps.

Likes: Pocket Yoga, O Magazine, Kindle, Evernote and Hulu+.
Hardly uses: NFL score, eBay, RedLaser, and Words Free.

Along with Nap Day, I guess we could call this App Day.
Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.

Makes me remember Sunday’s of long ago, when I used to drink coffee and read a thing called a …what was that called?

Oh yes, A Newspaper.

Day 330: don’t do the diet

26 Nov

A few weeks ago Justin almost drank a diet soda.  
It was the only thing in the refrigerator, we were moving, it had been a long day and he was thirsty.

I flipped out.  I pleaded.
Don’t do it.  Don’t do it.  Don’t do it.

The stuff is toxic.  It’s terrible.  It wreaks havoc on the body as it masquerades around in disguise as a zero calorie alternative.

Yes, I have become THAT GIRL — the annoying health conscious, oh-my-god-you-are-going-to-drink that?  — type of woman.

Justin, of course, did not drink it.

I have studied over 100 different diets, way of eating, and types of foods this year.  And, I can honestly say, at this point I am so confused about what’s in, out, good and bad I can barely plan my own breakfast.

Vegan? Not enough protein!
Meat? Too much inflammation!
Fish? Beware of mercury!

But, this, I do know for sure: soda sucks the life out of us.

On top of the nasty chemical aspartame, there is more to be wary of what’s inside diet soda.

Soda, especially diet soda, is a no-no, no-good, never healthy beverage.  Unfortunately, it’s the number one source of caloric intake for we Americans.  In fact, the average American drinks over 46 gallons a year.

I watched a video tonight, thanks to the share from Ms. Maria Dolson-Verroye on Facebook, and learned a few more facts about alkaline foods and how diet sodas make us fat.

My head may be spinning about just what’s good to eat these days, but the bottom line for me on soda is this:  Don’t do it.  Don’t do it.  Don’t do it.

Do this:  watch the video.
It does a body good.

If the video doesn’t play below, please click here.

Day 329: f*ing friday :: freaky friday

25 Nov

TGIF.
Today continues the weekly series, F*ing Fridays, which will coincidentally occur on Friday. I mentioned some of my favorite F words back on Day 5, including: Fearless, Fabulous, Fine, Fun, Faith, Freedom, Forgiveness, to name a Few.

Last week I dove into the word Few.

Today’s F*ing Friday is dedicated to the words:
Freaky Friday.

As in, freak out.

Today is officially Black Friday.
The biggest shopping day of the year.  Sales galore.

Did I want to be in malls, shopping centers and in the middle of a mecca of consumer sales madness?

Not really.
Because I have learned my lesson.

Mostly from this year of no shopping.  I know I don’t need it, even on the biggest boon of the sales year, I know deep inside I’m not missing anything.

I used to freak out on Black Friday, and the Day After Christmas too.  Waking early and rushing out into it all was my game.  Mama Sling was my accomplice.  Although, she was shopping for wrapping paper, bows and ribbons, and I was on the hunt for new shoes.

Even last year I joined my sister in a post Thanksgiving midnight madness jaunt through Walmart.  It was so not worth it.  I don’t think you could pay me for a repeat of it all.

Let me just put it this way — there were more police in the aisles of Walmart than on the snowy streets in my hometown.  Never a good ratio.  Not for rock concerts, picnics in the park, or even midnight sales at superstores.

Upon entering the store I picked up a Boise State Broncosfleece sweatshirt, and looked at the seam, you know, as a normal quality check inspection before deciding to purchase.I was just starting to think it could be a good gift for my little nephew, when out of nowhere a Walmart aisle cop told me to drop the merchandise.

“That is not to be touched until midnight.” she warned me with her beady eyes and official blue Walmart jacket.

I started to defend my actions, “But, I am just looking at it, beca…”

“No one touches the sales merchandise.  Not until midnight.”

I left empty handed.

There are some things you only have to do once in a lifetime, and, well, let me just say midnight at Walmart is one of them.

So this year, I stayed home from all of it.  Partly because of that terrible experience last year.  Why bother with the freak show of it all?  But, mostly because of The Promise 365.  Why put myself in temptations grasp?

So I stayed inside to avoid it.
Enter Freaky Friday.

This morning I went about my day as usual.  I had a few errands and arrived over at Debbie’s house in order to sign for a delivery while she is out of town.

As soon as I turned the key in the lock and opened the door a squirmy little creature with a long tail ran under the door and onto the tile …INSIDE the house.

I shrieked.
It ran even faster and then around the corner into the blinds.

I screamed at it from across the room.
“Go. Outside.”

It didn’t listen.
So I rummaged through the closets until I could find a broom.

Just as I held the broom in my shaking hands, standing next to the blinds about to thwart the slimy intruder, I heard Justin’s voice in my head:

“You can’t kill things just because you are afraid of them.”

Damn.  He’s right.
So I pleaded with the squirmy little thing and gently moved the broom in a sweeping motion as if trying to escort him to the door.

“Come on honey, go outside.  You want to go outside.  Just get out of the blinds and turn the corner and go OUTSIDE.”

It just stood there frozen, it’s tail moving back and forth.
Finally, the feet moved and he turned his body completely around and made a run for it.

IN THE WRONG DIRECTION.

He headed further into the house, under the TV stand and disappeared before my eyes.

I tried to call Justin.  
No dice.

I tried to call Debbie.  
Left a message.

So then, I sat on a chair with my feet up until Debbie called me back. She reassured me that it was okay, the little thing was more afraid of me than I was on him.  He would hide and ultimately dry up a sad and unfortunate demise.

“How sad,” I thought.  “And, I really did try to save it.”

A few minutes later Justin called back and I told him my saga.  He confirmed, it would hide.  It was more afraid of me.

So, I finally chilled out.
After a few minutes of breathing calmly my phone rang.  It was Justin again.

“You won’t believe what Pup just found crawling across the floor of our apartment.”

“No.” I said in disgust.

“A blue tailed skink.”

“What!” I screamed back into the phone.

Justin reassured me that he caught it and had it in a holding tank until I got home to see it.  Then we would release it together.  Oh.  Goodie.

I never found the lizard that hid under Debbie’s TV stand, and to be honest I didn’t look very hard either.

But, when I got home, this is what Pup showed me.

As Justin picked it up with his BARE HANDS and released it back into the wilderness I thought of another wild and unruly land where I could be — the mall.

Freaky Friday indeed.
I should have gone shopping.

Day 328: what are you thankful for? :: part 4

24 Nov

Monday kicked off a week-long series called “What are you thankful for?” — That’s right, ironically occurring just in time for a national holiday.

Part 4:

Today, I am thankful for:

Water.

What? Did you think I was going to say turkey?

Yes, indeed, turkey was just a Crock Pot and the push of a button away today before a feast was set before me.

But, when I really think about it, I am most grateful for water.

Over this past year I have been learning to drink more water.
Including my favorite, hot water with a little lemon.

But, tonight, as I relaxed in my lavender scented bath all I could think about was the power of agua.

I am actually known for taking long showers.
Almost famous for it.  I can’t help it.

You see, water is what gives me my best ideas.  There’s something magical about a hot shower, a long bath, bubbles. Add a candle and it’s like pure lavender scented heaven.

It’s a creative fountain of youth for me.
My mind lets go of whatever daily worries, bills, schedules, deadlines, what if’s and what if nots may be happening and just releases into the gentle cradle of water, where my mind regenerates itself and discovers new ways of thinking.

I think Ponce de León could have just taken a bath instead of setting sail.  As it turns out we both ended up in Florida.

The ironic thing?
We here have recently discovered a little surprise of our own in our 21st century apartment.  It’s handicap retrofit.

Which explains why the bedroom and bathroom doors are so wide and there is a slight concrete ramp to our front door.  Plus, the closet railings are very low.

None of this is an issue for the two 6-foot tall humans living here, except…

The very short bath tub.

My place of respite, my altar of worship, my fountain of youth is only long enough for me to sit up straight with my legs in warm water and my arms lined with goosebumps.

Believe me, I have tried all sort of ways to lay down in the tub, knees bent, legs flush to the wall, head cocked to the side.

The best I can do is alternate taking turns laying flat on my back, with legs in the air, so the warm water reaches my shoulders and then sit up straight so my legs get submerged too.

I’m not really complaining.
Well, maybe just a little bit.

What I’m trying to say is this — I am very thankful for water.

Day 327: what are you thankful for? :: part 3

23 Nov

Monday kicked off a week-long series called “What are you thankful for?” — That’s right, ironically occurring just in time for a national holiday.

Part 3:

Today, I am thankful for:

Technology.

As I write this post, I am feeling far, far, away from family and friends.
It will be just the two of us for Thanksgiving.

Which hardly a holiday it makes, since we both come from large family celebrations of cousins and babies, aunts, uncles and grandparents all circled around one table (plus the kids table of course!).

There is the far away in miles that I feel from my family of blood and birth, and then there is the far away in miles I feel from my family of friends — my tribe — the ones in my life who have been like adopted sisters, surrogate mothers, long lost brothers.

I miss them all on this night, the eve before family tradition and the annual breaking of bread, saying grace and giving thanks.

They are not here and I am not there.
But I feel close to them just the same.

Even though they are scattered from the West Coast to East Coast, from Texas to Delaware, Minnesota to Martha’s Vineyard, I have watched the festivities unfold on Facebook as if they were all right next door.  Actually, closer than next door, more like right in front of me on my computer screen.

Technology is amazing.
And, I am grateful for the connection.

And, then, there is the far away I feel from those I have lost, those who have moved on to the other side and left this world of turkey stuffing and Black Friday shopping.

Tonight, as I read Debi Lilly’s beautiful post, about how she and her family made a Tree of Life in remembrance of Grandpa Carl —  I was reminded of all the loved ones I wish I could spend Thanksgiving with too.

And, that, reminded me of another amazing technology at my fingertips.

If I close my eyes long enough, I can hear Mama Sling’s laughter in the kitchen.  I can see her waking up at the crack of dawn to kneed her home-made dough and place it upon the television set (the warmest spot in the house) where it would rise to perfection before being turned into the World’s Most Amazing Rolls, cinnamon rolls and elephant ears.

If I sit still long enough, I can taste Aunt Deenie’s pies, with that light golden crust.  Oh, the pumpkin!  The pecan!  The chocolate pudding — especially the chocolate pudding! 

If I breathe in deep enough, I can smell Grandma Mary’s baked beans, and honestly, everything else that came after eating Grandma Mary’s baked beans.

And, if I dig deep enough, I can imagine myself sitting around a table with all of my lost loved ones.  Sure, they would make fun of me for my new eating habits, lifestyle, and food choices, but they are so close I can almost hear the conversation around the table.

My mother would say: “What do you mean you don’t want dessert? You always ate dessert in my house!”

Aunt Deenie would look me up and down and announce to the room — “You are too skinny child, you need to eat more.” 

Just as Grandma Mary would wink in my direction and remind me to tuck in my tummy — “as every woman of a certain age should.” 

So tomorrow, while the table will be set for two, I will feel plugged in to everyone in this world who I love, adore and miss.

Because, really, they are all just a wink and a smile, and photo upload away.
Gotta love that technology.

Day 326: what are you thankful for? :: part 2

22 Nov

Yesterday kicked off a week-long series called “What are you thankful for?” — That’s right, ironically occurring just in time for a national holiday.

Part 2:

Today, I am thankful for:

My stubby toes.  And stubby thumbs too.

On Day 8, I described my hands and on Day 168 I described how my body was graced with malformed feet at birth.

How easy it is to deconstruct the body, scrutinizing what is there and what isn’t.  

Including what I wish could be different even though I know what can and cannot change.

I can so easily see the dimples in my cheeks — and I’m not referring to the ones on my face  — and I can’t look past the wrinkles forming around my eyes, or the red spots where capillaries have broken through the skin on my face.  Or, the blackheads on my nose.

The freckles on my shoulders from too many days as a sun worshiping teenager.

There’s the scars on my knees from my basketball days of long ago.

The constellation of moles decorating my abdomen, around my belly-long scar from surgery past.

The veins that pop out of my arm, exactly where the IV used to go.

There’s my tiny, yet almost muscular arms, that somehow got paired with my bulbaceous-ly wide feet.  It’s as if two body parts from two different people were mixed up in the laboratory.

And, then, there are these eyeballs that have been covered with glasses since first grade. Without them, or contacts, my world is a blur.

So it seems, I have my own set of deformities and bodily disasters.

But, given all that, I am thankful for every inch of my it —
because my body is my health.

It has carried me through this life and has so much more to give.

And, over the past 326 days, I have become even more grateful for the work my body does, if not supremely aware of how I have damaged and not taken proper care of it too.

Tonight, as I read an email from my friend Amy, who goes into surgery tomorrow morning, to remove a cancer she just found, I am reminded how thankful I am for my head, heart, and body — how amazingly simple, yet complex they are — yet still all know how to play nice together.

All beating in time, moving with speed, and still keeping me ticking.

Tonight, as I sit in gratitude for my body and health, I am moved by what Amy reminded me in her email tonight — the eve before she goes under the knife.

If there is anything we do need more of, it is joy.

“Don’t postpone joy until you have learned all of your lessons. Joy is your lesson.” ~Alan Cohen

Indeed, we don’t need more stuff.
We just need to take care of what we already have and be thankful for it — even if it is stubby, half-blind, scarred, dotted with moles and oddly mis-matched. 

Thank you Amy.  You are in my thoughts.
May good health be yours.

Day 325: what are you thankful for?

21 Nov

Today kicks off a week-long series called “What are you thankful for?” — That’s right, ironically occurring just in time for a national holiday.

Day 1:
I was so excited to write my post today I started making mental lists of everything I am thankful for.  It was such a great feeling and I was so content with my mental thankful list making — I almost forgot to actually post something today!

I suppose that is the power of gratitude. 
Just thinking about it feels good.  Sometimes you don’t need to do anything, but just think grateful thoughts.

I highly recommend.
When was the last time you made a list of everything you are thankful for — right down to the ability to breathe?

Actually, you don’t need to write it down to feel the full effects of gratitude, even a few minutes of daydreaming will do good things for your heart.

Today, I share this from my own daydreaming:

I am thankful for….
The wonderful people who have come into my life.

Some, for too brief of a time.  Like my dear Mama Sling.  I soaked in my mother’s love and support for a short 25 years, but to this day I swear, I would take a little of super-amazing-wonderful over a lifetime of anything less.

Others, I have met briefly but they have made an impact far deeper than they will ever know, and I will never forget.

And too many, I fear, I forget to tell just how thankful I am for their presence in my life — mostly because they are constants, consistent and all around companions.

That is why this week is dedicated to thinking about all the things and people I am thankful for.

Including you too.

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