Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
BY ROBERT FROST
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
I have been very emotionally & mentally bogged down for the past few weeks. I have only wanted to escape reality, hide and attempt to sleep.
I got on the dreadmill this weekend and just like last time, felt a small tear in my chest where light shone out. It always feel this way when I get time alone in my head. No agenda, just me and my thoughts. I got on the treadmill again tonight and within minutes, my mind was free, my soul was shining. I was listening to the music and feeling the connections to those songs. My connections. My mind day dreaming. My energy was bright and high.
For the past few weeks, writing has eluded me. Mostly because I have eluded myself. Stay busy and not allowing myself to get quiet. There is just too much going on in my life. Getting quiet has been very scary lately because change is coming and I am not certain how I feel about it. It feels like big change, bigger than I feel prepared for.
I am not sure I am ready to feel what I am feeling. I am not sure I am ready to share what I am feeling. It just doesn't feel entirely safe to say or feel what is churning inside me. It feels like a huge funnel cloud is trying to escape my body. I need more quiet time to see what is going to drop out of the damn cloud and to see the extent of the damage left behind.
The last time a tornado ripped through my life, I left the comfort of my 16 year marriage, my huge home on 5 acres and my occupation as a home schooling mom. Needless to say, I am scared. I am nervously excited to get a glimpse of what is coming. I am also terrified to see what will be required of me next. But I can't deny I hear something calling to me.
Each time I start feeling the need to hide or give up, I need to put on my shoes and walk. I need to keep walking until I figure it all out. I need more time in my head, alone and quiet.
I need more time in the dark, lovely woods.
"But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep."
There are tons of articles on the "how to" and the downsides of loving a writer, but most were written by the unhappy significant other.
So here is my version of So You Think You Want to Love a Writer.
Loving a writer is no easy life. It is messy and frustrating and very boring at times. Only you can decide if you can withstand the scowl long enough for her to gaze off the screen and notice you trying to get her attention. Can you fill your own life with enough joy to make it through the quiet nights when throughout the house all you can hear is the keystrokes. Can you love her when you know she is deep inside her head when she is just supposed to be relaxing. Can you live with being written about, even when you feel you aren't being portrayed nicely or accurately? Can you be responsible for your own happiness and know you are loved, even when your lover is distant. Do you have the fortitude to know in your heart that you are loved and not the cause of the silence?
It would be fabulous if you can, because she loves you very much.
Angels can scream and they are being very direct with the cards I receive from my Angel Cards.
Yesterday my Angel card was Listen.
"You received this card because the Angels wish to get their message through to you. "
Wow, sorry Angels, no need to get snotty, right?! I get it, "through to you!"
"If it seems they are not answering, it's because you're not listening to their answers. Retreat to a quiet place with the intent of listening to your Angels."
Again, wow & sorry Angels. Fine I am not listening. I am too scared to listen.
Today my Angel card was Daydream.
"You will more easily hear & receive our messages if you daydream regularly."
When the hell do I have time to freakin daydream? Guess I could have yesterday either of the two times my car wouldn't start and I have forced down time.
I remember being 11 or 12 and our minister was at our house, and was talking to me about my upcoming baptism. I asked why God didn't just clearly talk to me. He has the power to and has chosen to. I asked why when I prayed for direction didn't he just make the mobile hanging from my ceiling move. The minister told me That God didn't do things like that because it would scare the crap out of us if things started moving & if I started hearing voices.
OK, so that makes sense, kinda.
Yes it would freak me out, for a while & would probably lead to me getting irritated with the constant interruptions & I would probably get pissed at the lack of free will, but damn it would make the hard, scary, anxious days easier and it feels like their are so many more hard uncertain days than there are the easy ones where I am not asking for direction.
The two evenings I don't have the kids would be perfect "get quiet" times, but I seem to fill those nights quickly with extra hours at work to make up for leaving early the days I have the kids. Or I fill them up with errands I don't want to run with the kids. Or best yet, I piss them away being exhausted & going to bed before 9 p.m.
I have been so out of alignment with my soul for so long that I think I have come to fear being quiet & listening because I grew weary of listening to the hard things/choices I should have been making and didn't want to. Now getting quiet & listening feels like bad friend torture where you have to endure hours of "I told you so's" and "you should have's".
I need to make peace with quiet again so I can hear the answers I am praying for.
I heard Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love tell Oprah that one way to know if the guidance you are receiving is from God or your ego, is that God or the Divine is not about judgement. How weird is that to believe that when God talks to us it isn't in judgement. Boy that feels so contrary to the messages I got growing up. She says that the voice we hear that judges us or makes us feel bad for mistakes is our ego.
I love the idea that God is only love and only wants love & joy for us.
I love the idea that the hurtful, angry, judging voice that makes me feel wrong & bad & stupid is my ego, not God.
If I really want guidance, then I need to make getting quiet a big priority right now. Kinda sucks to spend so much time praying and asking for guidance, and then keep myself so busy and sick that I can't hear the answers I was asking for. I love starting mornings out realizing that I am my own biggest problem, not.
I know that when life is spinning out of control and the pressure is on that this is the most important time to stop and listen, but it is very hard to quiet the horrid inner dialogue to hear the guidance I am requesting. I am worried that like the past few years, I will not like the answers that come. That I will not want to heed their wisdom. That they will be the hard decisions that I have not wanted to make.
I am going to be practical and choose to set aside 30 minutes of quiet per day. Maybe as I get a few days behind me, I won't be so fearful of listening and daydreaming. Maybe the messages won't be as bad as I have feared. Maybe even if there are hard decisions ahead, I will make them because I know they are the answer to my prayers.
My question to all of you is, how do you hear God or whomever your higher power is speak to you? When you pray or meditate or get quiet to receive guidance, how does it come to you? How do you receive the answers to your prayers?
Melissa's How To Relax Guide:
Last night as I lay in my tub "relaxing" I was talking to Jason about how I don't know how to really relax. I know I need to, but I don't know how. I can't seem to master this relaxing thing. Tub time teeters on company meeting time some nights. We have to be very mindful to not talk business while I pretend to relax. I am really just trying to force my body to sleep by using the science of warming up my core and allowing nature to do her thing as my body temperature returns to normal. It is a sleep aide trick in every boring "how to sleep" idea I have ever read.
I know how to train for a 5k & 10K. I know how to meditate when I listen to a guided meditation that is timed. I know how to read a recipe so I can cook new things. I know how to look information up to learn a new skill, however this skill alludes me. I know how to go through the motions of faking it til you make it. I just don't get this relaxing thing so I am faking it.
Even my vacations are a hurried rush to take it all in, see it all, do it all and collapse into bed dog tired each night.
After really enjoying a prepackaged Mint & Rosemary Epsom Salt mix in my bath, Jason took it upon himself to see if he could duplicate it for me on a larger scale. What started with just lavender, mint and rosemary essential oils, has now turned into a whole shelf of essential oils to help me relax, sleep, headaches, my eczema and my stomach aches. Jason has turned my end of day bath time from just quiet time to a whole spa experience; candles, essential oils, and meditation music.
All of these things aide relaxation, right?
Now if I could just find the off button for my brain. I am trying so hard to relax. I really want to and I know the benefit to my health and my life if I could just freakin relax.
I have so much on my plate right now, big stuff, weighty stuff that the minute my world gets quiet, my brain takes this as "to-do list" time.
YOGA: (NOT ACTIVELY DOING YOGA ANYMORE)
For the first few years I was learning yoga, I hated the last 5 minutes or so of the guided mediation. It felt like such a waste, but I knew it would be totally rude to sneak out. Plus I knew it would show me as the fraud I was because I couldn't relax. I was a pretend relaxer. Then after several years and early in my 30's I laid in Savasana (Corpse Pose) on my mat listening to the instructor guide us all through the meditation and I realized that my mind was quiet. I almost bolt upright to announce I had finally had a moment of peace. I wanted a big high five that I had achieved yoga bliss. It didn't last long, but I got a taste for what could be.
A few years later, I had biofeedback and the control factor of it all made sense to my inner control freak. I could see my relaxation. I could own the reality that you can control your body. You can walk around pretending your life and body are out of your control until they hook you up and then on at least a basic level you have to see your role in allowing your body to spiral out of control on stress and worry.
MEDITATION: (NOT ACTIVELY MEDITATING)
I started regular mediation early this spring in direct relationship to the increase in my daily stress level. I found Deepak & Oprah's series of 21 Days of Mediation. This package works for me. Easy cheesey meditation! There is a quick little message and thought for the day, it is timed for me, I am given a mantra to mentally focus on and the music is wonderful. I could feel a difference in my daily life. I felt like I started just a wee bit farther down the zero to pissed off or stressed out meter. Like each day I my starting peaceful point was a little bit farther down than the day before. Even with tangible results, after meditating daily for several months, this ended up being one of the two relaxation programs that got dropped by me because they take too much time. I was trying to squeeze everything into a night time ritual and there is never enough time to relax before bed.
EFT: (NOT ACTIVELY DOING EFT)
The other program that got dropped was the EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) tapping. I found several great free you tube videos for tapping on stress relief and for helping with sleep.
So this past spring & into summer my night looked like this:
Have dinner, be with the kids, get kids ready for school and bed, take hot bath, glass of wine, 8 minutes of tapping, 20 minute guided mediation, a few minutes of reading, and then fall asleep. The tapping & mediation at night didn't lend itself to me feeling like sex. The tapping also sometimes made my brain very active. I had hoped that if I followed it with the mediation I could calm my brain back down. Again, I am a very active relaxer. I had it planned out right down to the sex, if I didn't fall asleep during the mediation.
The last tool in my tool box of relaxing is breathing. I know we all breathe, but not all of us do more than sustain our bodies through the slightest of inhales and exhales of the upper chest. In yoga, I learned about belly breathing. I loved listening to the teachers explain blowing up your belly like a big full balloon. The visual made sense to me.
Now I have an alarm 5 times a day that chimes a soft little gong to remind me to relax my belly, thanks to Gabrielle Bernstein's alarm clock app. It is like $3 and is the best most useful daily app I have on my phone.
All I know to do is actively try to relax, it does not come natural to me at all. Right now, all I can do is FRT or Forced Relaxation Time.
STRESSING: (I AM ACTIVELY STRESSING)
Then this morning we picked up all of our kids from the other parents & because everyone was off school! We had decided to take a drive out to the Paint Mines to enjoy the near 70 degree sunny Colorado weather. Jason made me stop twice before we even left the house to ask me what was wrong. My body must have been radiating angry energy. I told him the specific thing irritating me when he stopped me, which was something trivial like looking for shoes, but then by the third time he was making eye contact to ask me what was wrong, it dawned on me.
I am trying to relax on my day off. Days off are rare, and bad things happen when I take time off from work. Owners drop us because I didn't answer their phone call or email. Tenants have toilets explode or roofs that leak. I have a long career history of bad things happening when I am not there to keep the earth moving around the sun.
A day off means work is piling up and days of trying to catch up & get back to normal which most days means there is a huge pile of things that didn't get done.
I feel like I have made huge strides to shutting work off. I put my work cell down when I get home. I check it a time or two, but I am finally able to put it down. I am remembering to not check work emails after dinner because no one should be sending me emergency emails that need my immediate attention. At this stage of burnout though, I don't want to check my emails in the morning. I don't want to see who needs what or wants to complain about what or who needs me to hold their hand. I don't want to answer my phone. I wish everyone would just text me the one question they really need answered and then I wish they would let me answer it and move on. One conversation starts with what was supposed to be one question, but while they have me on the phone, they have thought of 5 other things that they need immediately.
I am responsible for too many needy people. I don't want to deal with them, but I know it is my job to. It is my job to answer their questions and find the time to make them feel special, even when they just want to yell at me for having to pay for the fixes to their problems.
So it astounds me that I get so stressed not being at the office, but I do. The thought of staying home causes me to get anxious and irritated. On top of it all, I am beating myself up for being burnt out. I am beating myself up for not having interest in my job. I can't afford to be burnt out, because too much depends on me giving 100 percent every day. I don't have time to figure out how to get my head back into the game. I can't even find my fucking head some mornings, let alone keep it screwed on and focused.
I am beyond beating my head on the wall. I have moved way past that torture or just lost the strength, and am now just sprawled out in front of the wall, staring into space pretending to be in Savasana. I am coming in to the office and creating a list of "what must happen today" or the "minimum I have to do" to make it through today. Either way it is a far cry from the pace I have kept for two and a half years.
Now enter the guilt again that I can't summon the energy to pick up the huge boulder to start back up the damn hill. If any of you have done an obstacle race in the past few years, you know how hard it is to squat down, pick up the ginormous large cement block, or log or ruck sack full of rocks, return to full standing and pick up that first foot to step forward. The weight alone is a huge amount, then take into consideration the awkwardness of the item. You put it on one shoulder, then switch it 50 footsteps later. You switch it again to the other shoulder after only 15 footsteps. Then you put it on you head and that only last 20 footsteps. Then you carry it with both hands in front of you for 25 steps. Then you accidentally drop it trying to maneuver it to the middle part of your shoulders which mean squatting down to pick up the weight again and your knees scream at you for fucking dropping it again. Rinse & repeat you do each one of these moves four or five times before you are back down the stupid hill. This is what my day feels like.
I won't lie, there are a few days when I have slept well, eaten well and have found my inner strength reserve and I lift up the obstacle and sprint up the damn hill and carefully jog back down. Some days a happy owner is waiting at the bottom of the hill and I get a big high five for saving the day for them. These days are all too rare, not because I don't save the day several times a week, but the owners don't notice because they just expect me to save them.
I won't lie, that some days, rare days, if I make it to the top of the hill, I just throw the obstacle down and see if it reaches the bottom or I stumble past it where ever it landed and I give it the fuck you finger.
On our way back from our fabulous day off outing, I check my email and find that my Angels are trying to help me figure out this relaxing & recharging concept.
Kate always looks so very happy and like she has it all together. I am hoping sweet Kate will give me the key to not being busy, however after reading her post, it appears I will have to tune in at a later date to read the actual how to stop the addiction. Today's piece is to define if you are addicted.
Can I get a "hell yea"?
Kate Northrup 8 SIGNS THAT YOU ARE ADDICTED TO BUSYNESS
She asks, HOW MANY OF THESE STATEMENTS DESCRIBES YOU?
These were just the FOUR I picked from the list. Kate says that if you pick 3, you are addicted to busyness.
Her wise uncle Phil said the following regarding her breakneck schedule:
“YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TO LEARN TO STOP VALIDATING YOUR EXISTENCE THROUGH ACTION.”
How powerful is that statement? Uncle Phil is crazy spot on with that statement. How can I learn to feel I am enough if I am not performing great feats and wow'ing everyone?
Kate asks, "How many meaningful conversations in the car with my husband have I not had because I was checking my email for the twentieth time that day?" "How many of breaths have become shallow from being caught in the spin of constant activity?" "How many precious moments of stillness have I missed because I fear what might come up during the pause?"
Too many moments have been lost. Not being fully present is cheating me out of precious moments that make the struggle worthwhile. Not being able to recharge and enjoy down time is keeping me from living life fully.
I am ready for new tools to help me refocus and become present. After reading what I had written, I noticed several items in my tool box that are collecting dust and not being used. Until I can read Kate's next post, I will try to squeeze yoga, mediation or eft back in and see if that provides some relief.
Come on Kate, publish the next piece please!
Stress Zombie in Colorado
On Twitter, Oct. 18, 2014
"Change is inevitable. The trick in life is not to try to avoid change, but to create the change. Then it's the change you choose." ~ Neale Donald Walsch @NealeDWalsch Author of Conversations with God
This is such a heavy thought to carry in my head. Choosing to create the change is scary, but it always feels better than the waiting & fearing. I have been known to wait afraid to make a decisions in hopes of life just forcing the issue out of what appears is my control.
At several points in my life, it felt safer, easier to see what change everyone else would create for me, rather than me just doing what I felt was best. Sometimes, I felt I just didn't know really what outcome I wanted. Other times, I just didn't want to expose myself for wanting a specific outcome that might not be too popular or the grown up expected outcome. It is hard to admit that sometimes what I want is the selfish option, that only serves me.
Choosing to create the change or an outcome means you have a 50/50 chance of success. It also means that if you make the wrong decision, then you are held accountable for your failure. Failures are typically very public, painful and defeating. I listened to a brief video posted on Facebook of Oprah explaining that she feels there are no bad decisions, no failures.
" You may think it's the "wrong track" you've chosen, a mistake, but they all lead to the right path. There are no wrong paths." ~Oprah Winfrey
I really like this concept of everything is as it is supposed to be to get you where you need to be. When I look back at the big decisions I had to make or that I allowed to be made for me, I do feel they took me exactly where I needed to be, each time. Even the times life took me meandering through the mountains and valleys and all seemed lost, I still ended up right where I needed to be to meet the next idea, person, or path.
Like most, I resist change, although life has given me very little consistency. Preacher's kid to military brat, change every two years or so has been status quo for as long as I could remember. "Change" and I have been close friends for over 40 years. It is time for me to accept "change" as one of my longest held friendships. It is time for me to embrace her as my partner even though she has weathered so many storms at my side. If I can see her as part of my life's journey and not as my enemy, maybe I will learn to enjoy her visits a bit more. If I could just accept that there are no wrong paths, I would enjoy each day so much more.
I think one of the first Ah-ha moments or enlightened moments most of us experience is when we realize that change is the only constant in life. I have to repeat that to myself like a mantra, "Change is the only constant in life." We hear it and it resonates, but then we spend the next decade fighting truly accepting this into our being.
I know time never stands still, and that each second that ticks by ushers in change after change, after change, but I spend way too much time clutching the door frame with hands and feet clinging to moments that have already passed me by. I need to surrender to change. I need to make peace with change.
I love the idea that my failures, and my victories are not permanent. That takes a little of the pressure off as I become an active participant in creating my life.
I have been waiting for the universe to give me permission to proceed with my life. Waiting for a sign that it was ok for me to be happy again. Waiting for a sign that is was safe.
Those signs can show up in the most unlikely of ways. Everyday you have the power to be someone's sign that they are safe and that they should try something. If you don't think one person can make a difference, you are very wrong.
I think too many of us feel that if we can't change the world with our one time action, then why bother. We are all thinking too big picture. In this crazy fast moving world it is easy to lose sight of the day to day impact you can make & the day to day impact you are already making in the world.
My girlfriend Theresa & I have been plotting & discussing & planning ways to find & live our passion & live the fabulous creative lives we were both born to live; aka day dreaming. One of my favorite things to do with my friends is eat. I love sharing a meal with people I love. It makes my whole meal experience go from nourishment of my body to nourishment of my soul. While sharing a meal with Theresa this summer we both agreed to hold each other accountable for starting one of our projects. She listed off some ideas for me to follow up on to get started.
35 minutes after leaving her, I had already researched Weebly, bought my domain & was setting up the basic front page of my blog. I had been waiting for someone to tell me it was OK for me to follow my passion and that it was OK for me to be a writer.
I remember writing and enjoying writing around the third grade, which is when I remember falling in love with reading. Having a library card was just about the grandest thing I owned and I could spend hours wandering the aisles at the library waiting for the right book to leap off the shelf; and twenty some years later I still lose hours regularly at my local library.
I have been trying to figure out why I haven't been writing for the past 20 years, what has held me back from being a "writer." I have a couple of my journals that I wrote poetry in during my late teens & twenties. It is all horribly sad and painful and yet I am so happy I documented my life in words that take me back to where I was sitting when I wrote them and to remind me how I used my quiet moments alone.
I also have found some of the emails I sent out to all of my friends & family every couple of weeks and months where I detailed my pregnancies and life as a new mother. My emails were the blogs back in the day. I had a personal web site where I posted photos so everyone could share my children's first solid meals & steps.
Blogging is the perfect medium for me because I can create what I see & hear in my head. The music & words & photos are easy to lay out in a share-able format.
Theresa gave me permission and told me I would need to tell her what I had come up with next time I saw her. I texted her after I closed my laptop and told her, "done!". My soul was so ready to get this started that all I needed was one person not telling me it was a stupid idea & not asking me why I thought I was special enough that anyone would bother reading my shit.
All I needed was one person, just casually saying yes you should try this idea of yours.
I have plenty of people who are asking what I am going to do with this and how do I see supporting myself with this? I have no idea. It fills my heart with joy and that is all I need it to do. That is actually a huge fucking job! I have existed for so many years with an empty place in my soul that I couldn't figure out how to heal, then a casual mention to research blogging and now my soul is overflowing with joy! Having this feeling of joy is priceless and a gift in an of it's self. It has raised my energy and is allowing me to reach out to people who need to connect.
I think many of us live unfulfilled because we have been told that if we can find our life's passion it should be something big enough to support us financially. If not, what is the use?
If our paintings can't sale for huge dollar amounts or be sold at all, what is the use of spending all of the money on canvas, good brushes and paint? Or if you can't win on a talent show or aren't good enough for a record deal, why sing? Because you have to, you won't know how fabulous your life can be until you own your passion!
Each of us is given skills and tools to make this world brighter and more colorful and funkier than it has ever been. Each time you share your joy, someone else gets to connect with you and it might be the connection that saves their life by inspiring them to wake up and live and share their own personal joy. Sharing your joy and passion is the best gift you can bring to each day on this planet!
Taking the first step by blogging, honoring my writers soul has given me the answer to my scared negative friends, most of us will not support ourselves & families with our passion. There is great value in finding your passion and having a day job. It is where you will draw strength on the difficult, challenging days life will hand you. It is what you will cling to and turn to when life is beating you down.
Honoring our passion & using our special gifts changes our experience on this earth. If you haven't figured out what your passion is, I recommend you start find people who have and hang out with them, often. Watching & listening to them tell you all the exciting and cool stuff they are a part of and doing should help you find one new thing to try.
You have to be actively living to find your passion.
If you don't have cool active people in your life, get some. Go online & find some local groups to visit. Try new things.
In Gabrielle Bernstein's book "Miracles Now" she writes that one of her Kundalini masters told her that "90 percent of the practice was just showing up to class or sitting on the mat." page 93, 94 Miracle Message #39 Just Show Up.
If you aren't ready to go out and try new things, figure out what causes are important to you. What topic has a group you can volunteer at? Groups that support people in need or at risk always need volunteers to help. Aren't ready for people interaction? These same groups also need envelopes stuffed, databases repaired, & filing and scanning.
If even that is too big & scary, remember that every day, all day you interact with people and the energy you bring is your responsibility. Choose to be aware of your presence and offer kindness.
For any of you who are waiting for the universe to tell you to proceed, this is the universe speaking through me this morning and it asked me to let you know that you are safe to proceed; you are loved and supported and will find the joy you have been searching for if you will just take that first small step forward.
If you are presented with a moment to tell someone to follow their dream, take it and speak the words to them. Be that voice of assurance that they have been waiting on.
What one small step can you take today towards your dream?
This piece was selected by www.herfuture.com as a featured Blog We Dig! http://www.herfuture.com/profiles/blogs/twinkle-twinkle-little-star
On my way back down from the mountains this morning, I am listening to Hay House Radio on my phone and the show is on Louise Hay and two of fitness her gurus/guardians, Ahlea Khardro & Heather Dane, that have been helping her take care of her body talking about the book they have written.
Louise is a very vibrant & alert & active 88 years old!
How happy you are and how fabulous your life is based on "how well you digest life." Ahlea Khandro
What a powerful statement and measurable testament to how well your life is going. Mine is a gigantic mess right now as is evident by the state of irritability my guts put me through every couple of days. I am endlessly bloated, rumbly, and suffering from loose bowels. My body screams at me when my life gets unbalanced & out of control.
Ahlea spoke about how powerful & sensitive our body is and gave a warning about the products we put on our skin. She gave a wonderful experiment of taking a peeled clove of garlic and rubbing it between your toes. She said within a few minutes, you will taste the garlic in your mouth because your skin allows the garlic to absorb directly into your blood. She cautioned that "if you wouldn't eat the ingredients in your lotions and potions, then you shouldn't put it on your skin." Pretty easy to understand experiment to test for yourself.
The other information that I took away from the show was:
I will be putting this book on my must read list as they also repeatedly mentioned problems with people who have had their gallbladders removed and the side effects and dietary issues associated. will also be reading it because so many of my "health issues" are autoimmune related, which the authors suggest is directly related to my gut health.
There are a ton of good articles on the web that go into depth about the second brain. Here are two that I found helpful:
Scientific America http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/gut-second-brain/ February 12, 2010 |By Adam Hadhazy
Psychology Today http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201404/the-gut-brain-connection-mental-illness-and-disease Published on April 6, 2014 by Emily Deans, M.D. in Evolutionary Psychiatry
"There is nothing better in life than feeling good and having a good poop." Louise Hay
While that sounds hilarious, it is brilliantly accurate. There is a great deal of science behind what makes a good poop. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/02/14/normal-stool.aspx I won't post it here, but they have several charts to show what healthy and non-healthy poop look like and a chart that explains what your poop color, shape and how it falls into toilet means. It is well worth a quick look at the charts and a daily check in the toilet to determine the state of your health.
The body is always trying to alert you to what is going on inside you. However most of us, myself included, are too busy to really pay attention. My body has to really scream at me in the form of hives, ezcema, irritable bowel, ulcerative colitus, loosing a gallbladder, putting on 30 pounds, and migraines. If you are like me, even when your body takes you down to your knees, once you are on the mend, you go back to your wicked ways.
The only symptom on the list that is really getting my attention and pissing me off is the weight.
I have been thinking a lot of not nice things about my body lately. I really feel like my body is letting me down, big time. Listening to this radio show this morning, brought into focus that I am letting my body down. It has done it's very best to tell me to slow down, breathe, sleep, manage my stress, eat slower so I can taste my food and know when I am really full, sleep some more, breathe a few more times and move. It is bloating me out, making me itch, making my head hurt and keeping on the toilet. Last summer it doubled me over in extreme gut pain and yet with medicine I am now able to ignore and keep that pain at bay. I am the one not honoring my body. Even moving feels labored right now, and this sucks after having been a runner and been light and kinda fast. Having watched my body lose muscle and gain fat has been awful, but it has been so easy to focus on anything other than what is happening to my body. It has been way easy to pretend I am ok.
When Jason and I tell stories of running the obstacle races, I get super sad when I see the listener do a double take at how someone in my shape could compete. Two years ago, I looked the part. This August, I even backed out of my annual 14'er climb for fear that I would slow my friends down or not be able to reach the peak.
Back in July when I decided I wanted to blog, I started a list of topics I wanted to write about. This list included: trust, forgiveness, love, relationships, friends, parenting, divorce, personal power, abuse in all of its splendid forms, rituals and self-care. I need to move self-care to the top of the list for right now, as it is the most pressing issue I need to focus on. I need to move me higher up on my priority list.
So here is my list of self-care items:
Sleep rituals & routine
One on one time with each of my children
In my head time either walking or running
Making the list is easy, making the items on the list actually happen with regularity is the challenge.
After my joking that I needed to get a Ouija Board to help my Angels be a bit clearer, I flipped to Miracle Message #57 I Surrender All from the book Miracles Now by Gabrielle Bernstein.
Then my Angels gave me the Trustworthy Guidance Angel Oracle Card.
I know I am on the correct path with my writing because I can feel the joy, however I have been at a fork in the road for a while now regarding how I currently earn my living. I am not sure if I am supposed to stay where I am and just keep working hard, head down, muscling through each day and pushing the success boulder up the damn mountain or if I am supposed to go down the path of getting an employee job doing similar work.
I have worked so hard here that I do not want to give up too soon, however I am burnt out and exhausted with the amount of work required to keep this machine working.
I am going to steal some quiet time today to meditate and listen some more for guidance. I am also go to spend some time listing off all of the things I need to surrender.
I will add my own specifics to the end of the prayer so I can get it all out of my head and focus on my day, but the only surrender prayer I know is the Serenity Prayer. This prayer is how I will start my day.
More and more, I am noticing how complicated my life gets because I don't seem to choose the easy path. I choose a mission, something or someone to fix. My phone is currently buzzing and flashing at me and the following is scrolling across her screen, "I told you so!" She is such a bitch!
In case you missed my earlier post with my phones nagging words of wisdom, you follow this link to the post from September http://www.strongstartingnow.com/blog/i-phone-gps
I have used Angel Cards, prayer, my opinionated I-Phone and mediation and I do not feel I am any clearer on what is the next best step for me! What do normal people do to make such huge decisions?
Yesterday afternoon I stopped by the house to check in on my sick boyfriend & then to do two quick home inspections before calling it a day. As I pulled away from the house, I thought that I should throw the address into to the GPS thing on my phone as I know the general location of the homes, but I can never remember the fastest route there.
I typed it in & she starts talking to me. She, my lovely lime green iPhone, starts taking me in the absurd path that requires me to turn around to get onto 17th, when 16th drops me off at the exact same location. 16th curves right into 17th a half a mile up the road. I do not know why she can't learn that I am just going to take 16th until I get to the main road.
I keep telling her "no". No I won't turn around. No I won't take this left. No I won't wait while she recalculates.
I can't prove it, but there are times when without me touching the phone at all, her voice gets louder, almost yelling at me.
After reaching the point where 16th street dumps me onto 17th street, I negotiate my way onto the main road. Here is where things got a little heavy. My lovely phone tells me to get in the left lane. Easy enough, right?
Not for me. I have plugged in the address & now feel the need to quickly check that it looks like she & I were both talking about the same end location, but she has made me pass the left hand turn I would have made if I were in charge, I am worried maybe she is fucking with me since I blatantly ignored her request for me to make any of the 6 left hand turns that would have put me on 17th street. I pick up my phone & try to make it show me the overview of where she is taking me because the left hand turn she wants me to make now will put me on the highway?!?
Being from Northern Virginia, I have no problem merging onto a highway at a proper speed, nor do I fear highways. However in my little town, it really isn't necessary for me to ever get on the highway?
After checking the "overview" of where she is taking me, I tell her that the highway is not the easiest route to get to these houses. I am telling her that the easiest route was to make the left back on whatever that streets name is and then it just winds over to Garden of the Gods, then you make a right & go over to Centennial and then I think it is just straight from there!
Her reply was dripping with sarcasm. "Melissa," she said, "you are terribly hardheaded. My way will get you where you need to be without having to make the two u-turns that you normally make as you notice too slowly that you passed the street you were looking for. If you weren't so vain, you would get glasses so you could read the street signs in advance of passing them."
She continued her rant with, "Just listen to the sound of my voice with both hands on the wheel instead of blindly grabbing at me trying to get me into overview mode to see where I am taking you. Melissa, you know you plugged in the correct address, so trust me to get you there in the projected time I have displayed."
As I turned onto the familiar road of Centennial, she told me in 1.4 miles to make the left hand turn to my destination. After she verified I moved into the left lane, she finished her psychotherapy session with me by stating, "You never take the easiest, most direct path, ever. Given the choice, which you always seem to think there is a choice, you choose the longest, windiest, most convoluted path to where you think your destination is. I am not certain you even know where you are headed most days. I think you lose focus and are missing the needed signs."
Her voice sounded softer when she said, "Things would be so much easier for you Melissa, if you would just slow down and listen to my direction. I will get you there at the projected time if you would just trust me and follow my directions." Then I heard her sigh and groan.
I thanked her for caring so very much & turned her off so I could go in and perform the house inspections.
Inspections complete, I said my goodbyes and headed to my car. I was going to turn her back on to direct me home, but then I remembered that finding my way back home using side streets and scenic routes, like passing Gardens of the Gods park are not the quickest most direct route home, but the meandering scenic path will always be my choice.
I plugged her in since she had used up so very much energy during her rant and I turned her off so she could recharge for tomorrows barrage of telling me to take a left onto 17th street.
For iPhone users- is there a way to change the voice in the navigation system guidance? Just checking!
Most of you don't know me as a Christian. Many of you know that I haven't gone to church since I was 14, nor do I plan to. I need the safety of my own mind for another decade or two, or three. I do however greatly miss the music.
We had a rough car ride to school this morning. My daughter chose not to eat breakfast since I wanted to limit the number of Girl Scout cookies she could have for breakfast. Mind you there is oatmeal packets, cinnamon rolls, pop tarts, cereal, frozen chocolate chip waffles, eggs, tortillas for quesadillas, cheese sticks, peanut butter & toast. I am listing everything off to ease my mom guilt for letting her go to school on an empty stomach. About 10 minutes into the car ride she asks if I can take her to Starbucks. As we had this conversation at home earlier, I reminded her the answer was "no". She then proceeded in a very sweet & weak voice to let me know in advance she was very sorry if she barfed all over my car. I told her I felt very bad for her in a similar sweet & weak voice. These morning power struggles always make me weary and are so difficult for me to shake off. Today was no exception. I did not make eye contact in the mirror, nor did I initiate any further conversation so it wouldn't escalate into a pissing contest. Massive guilt swarmed me. I try to make my kids happy. However, some days it becomes very clear that I am reaping what I have sown. Catering to their needs and whims is tiring.
We made it to school and while she had to take extra time and effort to get her physical body and school supplies out of the car, she was able to find the strength to get out of the car. She also waved at me twice before entering school. I exhaled. The day stood a chance at being ok. As I was pulling out to head down to work, a song popped into my head. Totally weird and random, but completely normal for me and my angels, now that I listen for them.
To many of you, it is going to seem that I am born again. I am not. I am just settling into my power again where I can relax and believe and explore and breathe again.
My family and my faith were mocked by my husband for our entire marriage, 16 years. This was done openly in front of my children. He doesn't believe, he is a man of science. That is how his children would be raised. He didn't want me to teach our children about God, but I did.
Slowly & quietly along side of Greek fables, children's stories about the Buddha and other classic literature.
Because my ex was absent four to five days a week, I was able to help my son through his Protestant Merit Badge in Cub Scouts without protest. It brought me so much happiness to teach my son about God and share with him the stories of how to be a good person. My son loves reading and loved the bible studies in the workbook. For a while he even borrowed my bible for a time to read on his own. I didn't present it as anything other than a historical collection of stories.
It is fascinating to learn about learned hate and prejudice. Children don't come in to this world with hate and prejudice in their hearts, this is a learned skill, passed down by parents and trusted adults.
For most of the past 3 years of divorce, my son has also opening mocked people of faith. It was hard to hear and hurt my heart to hear him parrot so much of his father's belief's. While I don't feel organized religion is right for me, I want my children to understand there are bad people in walks of life and faiths. Bad people do bad things in the name of religion, they always have.
My daughter has more of her own mind in this area. I believe she has a very strong connection with spirit. She is very receptive to prayer and community.
I have tried to show my faith, more than speak of it for the past two years. I have a strong community of women who share their families with mine. I try to make sure they see us caring for our friends and neighbors in their times of need and lending our prayers and good thoughts to them too. I make them aware of the tribe of people who have taken time out of their busy lives to help us over the past few years as I have struggled to make ends meet. I try to let them know daily how blessed I feel and specifically why. I want them to be able to find something, everyday to recognize as a blessing.
I want them to know about service as more than anything as I believe that service is where our lives come alive. Service provides us opportunities to find out passion and connect.
While I do not ask them to participate in my daily spiritual practice, both of them sit with me in the mornings throughout the week and watch me read, meditate, write and pray. They ask questions and enjoy the calm of the quiet time with me. On weekend, this time has the added benefit of snuggle time too!
While it is understood in my divorce process, that I cannot, on my own start taking the children to church or force religion upon them. I can allow them to see me and my practice everyday I have them. Initially this restriction pissed me off, but then I realized the blessing in showing through my daily life, how these tools help me cope and flex and stand strong in the face of the harshest of tornado's. Every day I have something thrown at me that I am not prepared for. New bills, unexpected bills, regular old bills, school items needed, scout items needed, a quick one, two punch comment from their dad or from my kids in their dad's voice.
While my daily practice is ever changing due to my stress level, it has been a constant in my life since January. I just couldn't take one more day of stress. Stress and illness took me back down to my knees.
This is one of my favorite Oprah stories. It is one of my favorite songs.
This year one of the many struggles I have had to focus on is surrender.
This is way harder than people make it seem. Every day I have to remember to surrender my wants, fears, desires and needs. They are too heavy for me to lug around with all that I have to accomplish each day. I have asked and am daily doing the work that keeps me moving forward.
I know I will receive all that I want because I am actively pursuing my passion.
God can only do for you what God can do through you. Iyanla Vanzat Peace from Broken Pieces page 102