Category Archives: joy

Half a World Away

Half a World Away

Go ahead, give it a click. Aurora is quite lovely.

Coincidentally (or not?, if you’ve followed my journey of signs on this blog), she happens to be my newest artist discovery. A childhood friend shared her and it appealed to me and now, I cannot stop listening.

Turns out, Aurora is also a city in Colorado where there is a job with my name on it.

Well, I hope my name is still on that job. Allow me to explain what I have been up to in these past weeks. On the 5th of April I attended the Teacher Fair of which I spoke in a previous entry. Here I connected with five or six viable districts who were in need of services I could excel at providing. I had some nice leads. As luck would have it, my offer came in a form other than what I expected, but that I have grown to love.

I have been offered the position, there is the matter of the contract remaining. So, it’s as if we are moving and getting our wish granted, but kind of  NOT, all at the same time.

So, we are digging through the boxes in the attic and purging our home of clutter and things we simply do not need anymore. We are excited about taking very little with us and starting over and buying new. Our attitude toward home furnishings has changed. We want practical and temporary – not lifetime pieces. We did that already and that beautiful cherry furniture served us well, but it is time to let it go to serve someone else.

As one can imagine, it’s been a busy and kind of stressful time lately. My current students are doing a great job reinforcing my desire to leave and I am just tired and nervous and scared and elated and re-energized – and…and…and…

ALIVE.

And thriving.
So! Here’s to making it SUCCESSFULLY through a THIRD OF A YEAR (Day 121, y’all!) without drinking! For all the craziness right now, I can trust one thing – myself. I can finally trust myself after years of second guessing. Could be age, could be new brain pathways forming in my noggin while detoxing…No matter – I can make big decisions and trust that I am leading my family, instead of being led by that saboteur, alcohol.

Cheers to new adventures!

(whatever they may be!)

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Physical changes

I don’t really know a lot about BMI and water percentages, but I got a new scale in the midst of tracking changes in my body during my first days and months of sobriety and I think I have some decent results. I decided to post here today as I currently have no shorts or jeans that I cannot pull on and take off without buttoning or unzipping. I am back to my regular size, but I feel petite yet strong.

But, that means the yoga pants I took out of the spring/summer bin are a bit big.

Body Data

I’m not sure if you can tell anything by these “before” pictures, but I can’t find the ones where I showed my big belly. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)IMG_0438IMG_0425Being good to my mind and body has been good for my soul.

 

 

 

 

Self-Care crunch

I am in a really big jumble right now. I have so many deadlines and responsibilities upon me, but mostly I want to focus on my inner journey and growth. I have so many creative ideas and juices flowing and it’s frustrating to have to set them aside when I have finally we reawakened them.

My husband and I have been on a tremendous journey the past seven years and we feel as though all of our hard work is about to break open and this change that we have put into motion is about to come to fruition and it is an exciting and scary time.

I can get overwhelmed in times like these, and I remember that I have forgotten my morning self care ritual of yoga and breath work for about two weeks now.

I had a nice morning off feeling my way around my home and the responsibilities and things that need done over this weekend and I believe that starting tomorrow morning I will be getting up and doing my yoga stretches and my morning breath work and we’ll see if this helps me to handle the forthcoming challenges and give me the energy to do all the good that I want to do.

There are deadlines for my current career as well as applications and job interviews for the next chapter in two possible locations. There are conversations with the distraught 13-year-old about not wanting to move. There’s blaming and there’s doubt and it’s muddy, but I am a Warrior of the Light and I will continue to be attentive to the signs that keep leading me along this journey.

I think it’s safe to say that alcohol has not been a contributing factor to my success in life and now it is time to break free of those chains and take my training wheels off for good.

Perhaps when I get through the deadlines I can get focused and carve some time for adding the regular writing into the self-care mix.

Day 110

I just had an amazing growth experience in Colorado and am still reeling from the amazing positivity and energy there. I visited some people dear to me and I felt welcomed and inspired.

According to Doreen Virtue, a popular spirit healer, “1, 11, 111, and 1111 in Angel Numbers all mean: ‘”Keep your thoughts positive, because your thoughts are manifesting instantly into form. Focus only upon your desires and not upon your fears.”‘

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I could not bear to be inside earlier today and I had so much to do. Sometimes, even with the best plans, deadlines approach faster than expected. I took on a lot this year because I thought if I could handle the administrative licensure while working full-time last year, I could do anything. I tell you what I know for sure, and that is that sacrifices must be made to follow dreams. I am thankful I am able to do just that.

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I have had much encouragement from the universe in these past months and I am watching and listening carefully.

I just returned home from some time at my mother and father’s house in Texas. My little brother hosted my son on a wild game hunting trip on the land he leases just 12 miles north of Mexico. It was a wonderful trip for my son and, as it turns out, for me.

I can hardly write for wiping my tears. I’m trying to be discreet as I am not alone and these moments are so personal to me and because I have so little control sometimes, I love for my moments alone to be alone. It just so happens that my study is in the heart of the house.

A house that I have grown to love so much. It cradled me in its arms and spoke gently to me. We grew together and it will be the hardest thing to leave behind when we pack up and head to Texas. Because we have to.

I believe it was Monday night that everyone went to sleep and I still had plenty to think about so I jumped into a Master Class through Mind Valley Academy to embrace my energy body. Since my session with Grace I have been chipping away at educating myself and the classes I’ve found are not lining up with my schedule. It was well explained and I was able to feel the warmth of my energy between my hand as Jeffrey Allen described. I coaxed that block from my sacrum and I replaced it with fresh new expansiveness.

While my mom was taking an afternoon nap and my sweet husband was driving our ten-year old around on the golf cart, I sat on the back porch rocking. I am interviewing for positions in education again this summer in and around Austin and I saw myself driving to the Lake on the weekends to visit my mom. Her respiratory issues are just not good.

She has taken such good care of herself almost her whole life and smoking, combined with toxic chemical exposure, has really  done a number on her ability to breathe and live.

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Cannot be any accident that I have discovered my breath this year. I rocked on her porch, strolled over to the pond and just let all of my thoughts and feelings wash over me. The bitterness from getting the raw end of the deal was absent. Suddenly I felt like I was the lucky one. My boys are 13 and 10 and my brother’s first son is not quite 8 months old.

So I redoubled my efforts and got a few more applications in to other districts while I was there. She had very little energy, having battled bronchitis for three weeks and so there were no big outings or anything so I had plenty of time to do it. Things were very low-key with my Dad and oldest being gone and there was plenty of down time.

I am back home now decompressing and processing the moments of the past few days, which included a digital video interview for a HUGE position in Austin and some crazy little details and connections being revealed that may or not be synchronicity, or as I always called it, as a young girl with a favorite book, Serendipity (1974).

I have been looking to purchase this book for myself for a number of years and I went ahead and bought a first edition, just like the one I used to have. Many of my childhood toys and keepsakes were missing from my grandparent’s basement when my mother and I returned from her first tour in the service. I have always been sad to have lost those things.

About three years ago my mother found “my” Raggedy Ann doll on Ebay, bought it and sent it to me.

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I will be so curious to peel back the cover and see the name of the original owner of Serendipity and that little girl (?) and I will share a moment of acknowledgment that “Knowing who you really are will bring you happiness” as is the theme of the book. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that my connection to this book has been steadfast my entire life. I look so forward to re-reading it. Perhaps the next time I head down this spiral, I will treat myself to my other favorite: Flutterby (1976), with the moral: “Be just who you are.”

At any rate, I am feeling a certain pull to the area. Perhaps a real connection to the idea that this is finally the real move that is due. It was no trouble at all to be present in my own skin without being inebriated or drinking at all. Maybe I am ready to surrender to the idea that my Mom is certainly not perfect, but she has done the best that she could for me. Maybe I can learn to forgive her for things that hurt me.

I guess she has probably had to forgive me hurts over the years.

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Independence Day 2016

I bumped into a yoga instructor and holistic healer on social media. It was a bizarre meeting, but we have many things in common and she is conducting a Nourishing Awakenings women’s nature retreat just a few hours from my home. Fire walking is involved and I am very seriously considering going. I contacted her about it and in our conversation it came up that I am trying to get my family to Austin and we’re saving money and all of that and of course, that’s exactly where she was on her travels as we spoke. Anyway, I have saved this much since quitting drinking…I continue to want to reinvest it…2017 word = truth. This could be my celebration of my SELF. My real self. This event takes place post 100 sober days…walking on fire…hmmmm…Just all seems so serendiptous.

We shall see – I have until the musical I’m directing closes this time next week to make a final decision, so the timing could not be better.

This post is a reflection of me at 81 days. Getting clearer and clearer.

Gong Sound Bath

You may have noticed I have been interested in all things holistic lately and engaging in the closest I can get to a toxin free life. I have worked to heal my mind through various talk therapies over the past thirty years. EMDR was a wonderful way to put a good seal on my childhood sexual abuse and the assault that took place in college. Now I am trying to finally remove myself from the family traumas of my youth.

I think a large step toward that came when I enlisted the assistance of a group on Facebook called SearchSquad to locate my biological father. They helped me also to craft a letter and made suggestions about how to send a self addressed stamped envelope and photographs. It has been almost 9 months and I have heard absolutely nothing. The first months brought a touch of sadness when the mailbox didn’t contain my SASE and then, after a while, I just forgot to look for it.

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Meanwhile, my relationship with my mother remains at a distance. I am allowing her the space to be consumed with her latest grandchild. My parents have somewhat recently moved to Texas, about two hours from my only sibling (yes, half brother) and his wife. They have married and had a child in these past three years. Prior to this, my parents had moved from Louisiana to my father’s hometown in Massachusetts. This cut our regular visits dramatically.

I have had a struggle with hurt feelings and longings for my family to be something that it is not, has never been and likely simply never will be. And it has been a bitter pill, indeed. So I continue to measure my words and stay aware of my expectations and ground them in reality. My breath work in this regard has been most helpful.

My husband and I have been considering a move to be closer, but this is such a complicated situation and there is a tugging that tells me to go on ahead and fly out. I booked my flight Tuesday to see what Colorado might offer and I could really use a few signs from the universe to the effect of whether or not we are heading down the right path.

Naturally, when I saw this Gong Sound Bath at a local holistic studio, I signed up and then in a fun twist, invited my husband and he decided to attend as well.

“Immerse yourself in healing vibrations at our upcoming Gong Sound Bath. Sound healing has been shown to relieve stress and tension, combat anxiety, help regulate sleep cycles and digestion, normalize blood pressure, and create feelings of overall health and happiness.
Aaron, a professional drummer/percussionist with fifteen years experience, has fallen in love with the gongs. The vibration of the gong impacts the body and its meridians on a physical and emotional level. Prolonged exposure to its sound can activate higher states of consciousness and trigger inner healing of deep emotional traumas. If you have wanted to experience a more meditative state, but felt some assistance could be of service, the gong could just be that friend (or tool) you were looking for.

Lie back, relax, and rejuvenate at our Gong Sound Bath. Blankets and bolsters will be provided. Please bring pillows, special supports, and whatever else you need to lie down comfortably for one hour.”

My husband seems to have really enjoyed it so I hope it resonates with him. (Yes. Sorry, not sorry.) I read that the effects can stay in your body for three days. I think that’s glorious. It was a carefree hour and I got completely lost in the sound, the moment.

I have linked the research I have done about sound therapy directly for you here, here and here.

I look forward to the signs that will eventually come…

Edit: Once I hit publish, I directed my attention back to the single piece of mail that had been placed on my desk while I was writing. A direct mailing for Planned Parenthood, an organization with which I have no real personal familiarity, but that arrived practically in my lap today. I was reminded of going to the local health clinic at age 15 or 16 to get my first gynecological exam and a prescription for birth control – you know, just in case, since I was the product of a fifteen year old getting pregnant…

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Keep the signs coming…I can take it.

Breathe in, breathe out

Heal the trauma and the decisions will make themselves…

Second edit: Even later after I published,  I looked down at my arm where I had put a temporary tattoo the day before. I had kind of randomly selected one of the quotes that didn’t resonate as much…”the universe doesn’t make mistakes – you belong”

Just going to keep listening…

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(yes, those “track marks” in the crease of my elbow are from lithium toxicity tests)

 

First Dream

I have taken a much needed day off work to keep to myself today – a “mental health” day if you will. I was putzing around and just realized that I think I had a glass of wine or a beer at an event I attended during a dream I had last night. I left a long day (and a week of Mondays) into evening at work to go home and address some personal issues with my son and his behavior affecting his education and I remember thinking as I got into my car, tuning out with a glass of wine would usually be in order about now. But I knew I wouldn’t and didn’t actually want to. The thought went through my consciousness as quickly as it came.

First of all, dreaming is pretty much a thing of the past. Well, it was, until now. How ironic that I should have my first dream in as long as I can remember after I spend sixty sober days and it is about drinking?

So many thoughts to process. Which rabbit hole shall I travel? The more I think about it, the more real the dream felt on a visceral level. I was ashamed of doing it.

These dreams are normal.

This forum has a thread of experiences posted by many others with drunk dreams. It seems to me that this might be common in these first months of sobriety. Looks like that is right on target. Textbook case.

I am looking forward to witnessing a blossoming dream world in my sobriety. I remember many years ago the revelations I was in tune with in my dream as a young adult, before I began to drink dreams away, unbeknownst to me all the while. I have been tossing around the reality that soon I will begin Julia Cameron’s “morning pages”. I have to wrap up the current youth theatre production at the end of March and then I will be able to explore it further.

Though I started The Artist’s Way on December 27th, my first day of sobrietyI quickly realized I would have to put it on hold until a prior commitment came to pass. I also wanted to firmly establish my morning  yoga and breathing ritual that I began attempting on January 3rd. Currently, I am just shy of a week of 100% mastery of that goal. I have talked about those morning routines here and here. I may elect to begin exploring the idea of morning pages before I conclude the play – perhaps when I have a dream that needs to be recorded. I want to make up for lost time now that my mind is healing, and I want to take full advantage of all of these rich experiences without getting completely overwhelmed.

I got the help of my husband to finish the shelving project in my study.

I just love this room of my own.

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New Imaginings

I wept at the beginning of yoga this Saturday. The instructor created a really great flow that happened to work well for me and I was more able to get out of my own mind and just BE in the pose and spend the time with myself. I cried in meditation too. After weeks of not being sad or anxious at all, really. I don’t know if I have managed to put a spell on myself or what, but I feel a gamut of emotions, but they just wash over me, like the tide. Eb and flow.

Nothing rattles my cage much and I think that my calm affects the entire home. I do not say that to be egotistical, but realistic. We ALL affect one another. I have worked so hard and studied so much to change and help my youngest son  and while that has been a noble cause and much progress has been made, I promise that my work on myself will go further.

I am intentionally creating a better life for myself. I had a vision of what I thought it would be and there has been a peeling away of many unnecessary layers in recent years and this is the last big one. Underneath this one is the truth of who I am. I have always known that I am a treasure to be sure, but trauma has a way of dulling one’s shine.

There are many resources available these days which link addiction and trauma and mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Of course, an additional connection I also share is the link between giftedness and all of those things. I think back to Grace saying I have been running from crazy all my life. It’s true.

No one taught me about my gifts.

No one explained “giftedness” to me. I thought I was supposed to be smart at everything and get perfect grades. When others in my class of “Talented and Gifted” kids succeeded in ways I could not, it never occurred to me to consider the ways I excelled in which they did not. Looking back at that now, it seems silly. But that is how retrospect works, I suppose.

I am grateful to be able to read articles like this one now. I feel like I have misinterpreted myself all these years. It looks like the work of Stephanie S. Tolan will be some interesting reading  for me as I stumble through this latest discovery. I find the link between my giftedness and low self-esteem as this article describes in studies. I visited her website, but found that my primary interest is with her blog, The Deep End.

I remember my giftedness being fostered when I was in Germany in the Department of Defense schools and I recall some off campus programming once my parents were stationed in Florida. Unfortunately, those exploratory courses (the two I remember best were about government, specifically electoral college and latex mask-making) gave way to honors academics. No longer were creative outlets or alternate teaching methodologies relevant or seen as appropriate offerings. Kids like myself suffered.

How many others are out there who also feared their gifts, not seeing them for their promise but instead seeing a burden? How many years did I keep drinking because I thought I had found a “delicate balance” and didn’t want to upset it into “crazy” territory? All the while, I was creating new, negative pathways in my brain and I had no idea. Why do they not teach us these things in school? How much of this can I teach in school?

Where can I go to turn this into a career? This is very much where my FLOW STATE gets rolling…theatre, drama, film, trauma, giftedness, writing, speaking, yoga, play, addiction, energy, therapy…I want to be able to delve into this more regularly. I wish I could teach workshops to teenagers or even elementary school kids. I have so many ideas and so much I could offer if I could just figure out the HOW…

Until I figure out what I am going to do for “the rest of my life,” I very likely will engage in Reiki training and yoga teacher training as early as this summer. I just booked my trip to Colorado Springs and Greeley to check out their teacher fair in April. My oldest is moving into 8th grade next year, so we’re cutting things close for our dream of moving from where we have lived for almost twenty years. We keep trying and had some interviews for Germany, South Korea (Department of Defense schools) and two positions in Austin, TX last year. Still working that angle again this year, but expanding to Colorado.

Worst case scenario, I see Colorado for the first time and also a former colleague and maybe even my best friend from seventh grade (we’ve seen each other since then, but not after 1991). Best case scenario: we have the possibility of a completely different everyday reality.

Cheers! I’ll drink to that!img_8375

 

50 days

So, I just did the math and it looks like I have saved a little more than $250 since quitting drinking. I never bothered much with regular bottles, went straight for the jugs or boxes or magnums in a pinch, so this total would be significantly higher if I had been buying anything of real quality.

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I kind of wish I had done the math a good bit ago, maybe I’d have quit then. But, I do believe that we are moved when we are ready and I do think I managed to hit the sweet spot in that regard. My original goal was to hit the mark that I hit when I let go of wine in the fall of 2012, which was about a month. Well, that is has come and gone and now I know that I have this.

When I went for my energy healing session and I shared my “big quit” with Grace, she said that basically one is “still drunk” until about 100 days. I have not had much success in finding research that explains that process, but there are tons of “100 day sobriety challenges” so I guess there could be something to it.

Well, I’m halfway there! And I feel like I am in a wonderful alternate reality. There is TIME here. Lots of it. I keep catching myself wondering why I am not rushing about and then settling back into the almost weightlessness of living.

There it is –The Unbearable Lightness of Being – again.

I shall listen and gather it for immediate reading…too bad I let that book go almost ten years ago…I’ll have to find it at the library. I have been overspending a great deal lately and though I haven’t taken the time to investigate my habits, I know that I need to just cut back on everything. I want to start a new bank account where I make deposits into our European vacation fund. It is my plan to finance a family trip abroad with money saved in sobriety. Unfortunately, I made a terrible financial mistake in the last year or two that is costing me about $8,000, so I will also need to reconcile that oversight. I accidentally took out more student loans than I intended and didn’t notice the deposits because I wasn’t paying any attention.

Financial things make me a little frazzled. I’m going to need to work to do better.

I was able to attend my Saturday morning yoga at the Park again, after two weeks of traveling and work commitments. It was an amazing workout for my sacrum and I was actually in a bit of pain on Sunday, so that I attempted, what is turning out to be, my afternoon 4 minute adjustment. Try it. I think it is amazing!

I was also able to try out the meditation class again and had further practice with the Bellows Breath and am proud to say that finally I practiced three sets of twenty this morning. I have been waking and doing some informal stretching and some pretend breathing, but it’s slowly evolving into a routine with real techniques and poses.

I keep reaching for yoga and breath instead of booze and I am so glad I am.

Some more reading for you: Yoga and Stress

Here’s to 50 more sober days!

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Seek Truth

On the last day of a 3 day Christmas visit at my parents’ home, I was getting some help from my father on a little shadowbox project. I needed a slot created at the top so I could slip ticket stubs and other memorabilia in the box to use it as a living memory box. We thought it was wood, but it ended up being made of plastic and a non-essential part melted from the tool. After further inspection, my Dad hugged the box to his chest and had a funny look on his face, like, “Ooops.” I smiled when I took a look at what the to-do was about. Just a little condensation that would quickly evaporate.   “Just giving me a hard time, huh? Like I don’t get that enough for real, right?”

“Nah, to make you laugh. I don’t see you do that very much.”

It’s the truth. I have been so exhausted from trying to hold my family together for the past five years. I’ve operated on lots of coffee, wine (and beer and gin and whiskey and just about anything else that’s available and flowing).

I used to drink a lot of colas. I replaced it with something more dangerous, but no one ever talks about Coca-Cola being a gateway drug. I have come to understand that it was, in large part, a sugar addiction for me with the side effect of being able to disappear.

A part of me is very angry that I lost so much time to drinking. I can’t change it and so I accept it. Every day is mine to be the best I can be now and I continue to focus on that.

I had to sit down and count how many days it has been. It’s not that I don’t think about drinking, because I do, but not really in any kind of fond manner. And frankly, not in any bitter way either. It is very much something that was not serving me and I decided to let it go. Because of that, I haven’t concentrated on how many days, nor have I mentioned it a great deal.

It’s been 6 weeks or 43 days. I am much less scattered and frantic. Might be all the TEA! I think the insides of my mouth might be raw from drinking so much warm herbal tea with honey – like as much as one can practically CHUG in an evening…okay, not really, but a lot.

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I need joy in my life, my Dad is right. It was my word last year and I think I made great progress finding it. I feel that by seeking truth throughout my life this year I will be even closer to that than I have been in a very long time.