Monday, September 30, 2013

Every Warrior Needs a Cheering Squad

"Despair compresses you into a small space, and a depression is literally a hollow in the ground. To dig deeper into the self, to go underground, is sometimes necessary, but so is the other route of getting out of yourself, into the larger world, into the openness of which you need not clutch your story and your troubles so tightly to your chest."
Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby.

"I shine when...." I sat with this prompt for days. The Spirits of Joy online vision book class ends today. Although I have other prompts still to do, I wanted to finish this one before the class ended. When do I shine? As I began to gather pictures that seemed to have something to do with this, I began to understand I shine when I find a light within my depths that allows me to see where and how to move ahead from confused darkness, that allows me to release troubles from the hold they have on me.

This light must must illuminate the ruins until I can find a door to go through.

Two weeks ago I felt like a small boat lost in a churning ocean. If I only knew how to swim, or if only I had a life preserver or a compass, I could save myself. It's horrible to feel lost, rudderless, small.

Then a new thought appeared. I'm not a rudderless helpless boat, I am the leader of a team. What a reframe! What a life saver. Though I don't know how to swim well enough to save myself in an ocean, I do know how to build a team. I do know how to find my own cheering squad.

So I've built my five part team for now. My husband is in some stage of dementia. He still drives, plays tennis, meets with friends, but his problem solving skills are weak. Changes will escalate. I know there will be other teams as he moves on. Today we're dealing with legal aspects that must be changed now. Later when our trust is drawn up again, we'll find an attorney our sons will be comfortable with.

Next there are back up helpers for "when the time comes" and my husband needs more help. I've already spoken to people who will move into action to help then. At this point this all seems so remote, and we know how relentless this illness can be.

There's a support team for me, for my emotional and physical health which includes a life coach and a caregivers support group to help deal with the difficulties my husband will experience and those I'll have difficulty dealing with later.

Family support: The very best part is that my sons have figured out how to be supportive and show their caring.

Friends: I need to experience the total joy of asking for what I want and need from my friends. It will be better to think of what I want ahead of time so when I'm wallowing in misery and sadness, they can step in. I am imagining everyone saying yes, once I figure out what to ask for. This is a challenge for me.

Baruch ata built me up when a part of me died and I needed to find myself again. I began to pray, to write prayers, to talk to you directly. Thank you for showing me the way again. You turned on the light. You told me to plan as much as I can, and then show up and be gentle with my husband and gentle with myself. This is a journey I can't go on alone. Amen

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Be a Warrior: Ask for What You Want and Follow Through

"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man."
Winston Churchill

The moment I saw the light between the woman and the horse, I knew I wanted that light in my body forever. There is so much energy on this page in my vision book, and it was such a surprise to find the answer to my soul's learning on these pages.

The answer to my soul's yearning from my vision page in the August Joy Up.
My fingers began Googling, and within an hour I signed up for a course of Equine Therapy two hours from my home. One month later I was just as close to a horse as the picture above, and inside I was just like that little leaping girl. It is the best birthday present I've ever given myself. When I sent in my deposit, I had no idea what Equine Therapy was until much later when I watched a video about it and thought, "Holy Shit! That's more than I bargained for." I trust my intuition and I trusted that this would be right for me. I thought it was probably about working through fear, and it certainly was. And so much more and so right on.

The Morning of the Second Day
I just returned a day ago. I don't want to write about the course and all I learned, just know that I was a warrior! Doesn't mean I fought anything or even myself. I knew nothing about horses, had next to no experience with them, didn't want to ride them, but I knew without a doubt to be with them is my secret yearning. The first two times in the ring I had no idea what I wanted the horse to do or how to do it. The next afternoon I was in a big arena with another participant and together as a team and using only non verbal communication we moved a big white horse through a variety of barriers. As we stood together at the end of the exercise, the horse came up to us and nuzzled our joined hands. I was brave. I asked for what I wanted, and I got it. I know I will be integrating the awareness learned from being with a variety of big horses forever.

Baruch ata adonai...Thank you for always telling me to trust myself and ask for what I want. I am much bigger inside, inside my silent and centered self, than I ever experienced before. I set an intention and showed up with all I had. We were blessed with a very rainy day. Cleansing rain and new strength. Thank you. Amen

Monday, September 16, 2013

Become a Warrior for Yourself

The Spirits of Joy assignment on day nine was to dream about a relationship I seek. It's where I left off in my blog last week: Choosing Myself I Feed Myself. After a few days of writing and looking for images, I realized I am looking for a new relationship with myself. "I am the heroine of my own truth. I feel it in my body. I allow feelings and space and feel them without fear. See myself. See my feelings. I have answers for me." The page is called: I See You.

Well, I must admit I was thinking about images like balance, free, strong. What I got this weekend was the opportunity to experience feelings of rage, fear, being overwhelmed, the feeling of my blood pressure rising. And so, there it is. The answer to my wanting. I got to practice feeling. I can assure you it didn't feel like practice at the time. Yesterday I had no perspective, but thanks to these pages I can look back and say to myself, "Oh, that's how feelings feel. I love you. I was doing homework!!" I don't mean to make light of it at all. There's heavy sledding coming up in terms of things I need to do, but I didn't stuff my feelings.

So now what? If I am the heroine of my own truth, then what do I feel, what do I do? What is the feeling I'll have if I see myself and show up for myself?  What if I open my heart and accept what I see? Then what? This was the next assignment. It took days of writing and thinking. Here's one thing. I've been playing with clothes, with putting together a wardrobe that makes a joyful and playful statement. I want to dress like I'm delighted with myself. All the time. I went to a party last weekend wearing my new "this is me" costume, and the evening was quite amazing. I had a fabulous time and talked to lots of people I didn't know before, people I'll follow up on.

It's not all changing the outside, I can change my inside, I can feel the way I want to feel by  doing  things I love on a regular basis. I can sing with groups of singers, dance alone, dance my moods, my longing, dance with abandon. I can meditate and live in the present moment, and especially lifesaving: I can limit trying to solve agonizing problems having to do with my computer or the telephone company to one a day.

How do we become warriors for ourselves? How do we hear our words of yearning and longing which whisper themselves in our ears so softly we merely feel the movement of air? How do we dream beautiful dreams that lead us on in our lives giving us internal and external purpose?  Once we know those dreams, we can make them happen! This is the amazing thing. I sound like an evangelist. Once we know this, we already have everything we need to make them happen. It is a process. My process now is doing vision books. Yours will be something else. How will you become a warrior for yourself?

Baruch ata adonai...I am here. Yesterday in my anger I felt overwhelmed. Overwhelmed and alone and afraid. I got a strong message about being a control freak. Do you really use those words? I call it examining the future so when I'm up against a wall I have an idea of where to turn. I think I need to soften a whole lot here and be gentle with myself. This morning my son, Scott, called to see how I am. He heard me when I asked for his help and he shows up. I am so grateful. Amen


Monday, September 9, 2013

Choosing Myself I Feed Myself

"If ever there is a tomorrow when we're not here together...there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart...I'll always be with you." A.A. Milne

This afternoon, when I read the title and first line of a poem by Kendra Ford, I read it wrong. The title is Closing Words and the first line reads, "I feed myself." What I thought I read was, "choosing myself I feed myself." I can see how I did it: changed closing to choosing and followed with the last word of the first sentence.  I've been chewing it over ever since. I love the combination: Choosing myself, I feed myself. Say it to yourself. "Choosing myself I feed myself." Close your eyes, take a cleansing breath, and say it to yourself again. Start with a cleansing breath and repeat one more time. Oh I do love it. 

This week I've continued on with a course called Spirits of Joy. Here are the cover and first page of my vision book. 

Spirit of Joy: Here we go! Now Fly!
I find this process enormously freeing. You can do it too. Want to find out what you're longing for? First look through a bunch of magazines and clip words and pictures that stop you. There's more to it, of course, and you can figure out what works for you. It's this process that helped me learn something about myself I didn't know. I love horses. In two weeks I'm going to take a weekend Equine Therapy class, something I didn't know existed before I made a vision page on the longing of my soul. It helps to have a prompt. The prompts I worked with this week are color (which brought me to cleaning out my closet and visioning a new wardrobe,) I am..., listen, something I'd like in my home, and something I want to have happen in the next six months. 

There's a lot coming up in my life that bit by bit will change it a lot. Choosing myself, choosing to feed myself, choosing to be brave in supporting myself, choosing to be believable to myself, and knowing what I want will help me maintain health and emotional stability now and in the future. (This change has nothing to do with my physical health.)

My thoughts about "choosing myself I feed myself" come from a mailing from Terry Hershey called Sabbath Morning which you can find at I highly recommend you link up with him. He writes a weekly spiritual shot in the arm complete with book recommendations, poems, things to think about and You Tube clips. It's fabulous to find Paulo Coelho and Pooh in one collection of writing. I was very touched by his inclusion of a You Tube clip of Pooh and Christopher Robin talking. Go to You Tube and type in braver than you believe.

This weekend is the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, the day of repentance. My soul searching has taken a very different course this year. The first thing I did was send a letter asking for forgiveness for a disrespectful act on my part. I learned a lot about myself doing that. Most years I go through my calendar and my writings and ponder how I missed the mark, how I was a disappointment to myself and others. Then I spend the day in temple searching for how I can do better. This year I've thought more about the ways I can support myself in the coming year, the ways I can be a light to myself, the ways I can feed myself so I can live with hope and peace and not with regret. 

Baruch ata adonai...In my lifetime my country has been involved in seven wars and is now pondering an eighth. I don't even know what to say. I've stopped and started many times. Help our leaders to be humble. Help them know stepping away from the brink leads to new ways of thinking. Help them search for peace. Help us all. Amen

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Cleansing Blessing of Being in the Present Moment

The view from my window: the sky's gorgeous layers of grey, dark and darker grey, and also white and brighter white. Quite monochromatic. Definitely a change in the weather common to the beginning of September and a welcome break from last week's heat. I took several pictures through the open window's screen which gave it an effect I loved. I tried three times to move the pictures to my computer. Nothing connected. So here's the first best thing about today. I chose to do nothing about it. What a blessed relief.

This is a perfectly ordinary Monday for me. I'm sitting at my computer first thing in the morning, wondering what I'm thinking and liking this idea of doing nothing. What if I acted as if I didn't have to do anything at all about so much that goes on in my life? What if I acted as if the me I meet this morning is just a perfectly fine version of me? What would happen if I didn't worry about my leg pain which really concerns me? What if I acted as if everything my husband does requires no help or opinions from me? What if I acted as though I'm not waiting for one single thing?

The kind of nothing I'm thinking of is a surrender to the moment, to living in that moment. I can choose to rearrange my mood by struggling with iphoto or my camera, or I can do nothing at all about it. Who really needs to see those pictures?  Last week my acupuncturist suggested every few hours or so, I check in to the present moment by taking a minute to notice the colors or shapes or sounds or textures in that moment. Nothing more. Just be in that minute. I choose to think this has contributed to sleeping better at night. For a few minutes a day, spread out through the day, I stopped the chatter. Yesterday a very bouncy song ran through my mind, you know, the kind of thing you can't get rid of? Then I missed it when it wasn't there, because it too became a moment of dodging the commentary constantly going on in my monkey mind. Now I sing it on purpose and enjoy the moment of doing nothing more than singing.

I like the Hebrew word dayenu. It means "it is enough." For today I am waiting for nothing at all. For today I'm celebrating what's right with the moment. It's another thing I'll add to my hourly moment of being in the present moment and doing nothing about it. Whatever I am is enough. Dayenu.

Baruch ata adonai...I sigh a great sigh of relief. I am here. I am just here in the cool breeze of this grey morning. I just am. Here. Amen