The Great Reset

Happy New Year

Time to reset the clock in a forward direction

It’s December 31, 2021. Happy New Year! What a year it has been for me and I am sure you can say the same?

I have been gathering a collection of thoughts, reflections on how this 2021 experience has affected the world. Now, more than ever, there seems to be a collective consciousness that can no longer be suppressed. Many voices are standing up and daring to be heard. I have watched thousands of friends, neighbors, strangers and influencers have epiphanies on what they value and  assess how they are living their lives. What was once worth sacrificing everything for has become meaningless.

There is a ton of information on what is meant by “The Great Reset”.  Some think it’s a shift away from materialism to minimalism. Others have linked it to an awakening of the population to what is really happening to our world and our way of life. However you look at this concept, you would have to have been living under a rock not to have heard about it.

The veil of needing stuff, status and wealth to feel satisfied doesn’t stand up to scrutiny anymore. There has to be more to it than that doesn’t there? 

After the euphoria of being “free”- no job and no responsibilities has worn off the practicality of how you are going to sustain your lifestyle into the future emerges. It’s all great to say that you are free to follow your passions and start living your dreams. It’s quite a reality check to understand if that is even possible given the current climate of economics, travel and unrest.

I heard an interesting quote about western society from an European perspective. In our culture we live to work where in Europe they work to live. I witnessed the cultural differences in Rome, where trying to find an open restaurant was virtually impossible before 3 pm. I worked hard so I could take numerous vacations, buy nice stuff and enjoy a privileged lifestyle. So I worked to live right? Not quite. I belief it’s about finding a way to live and work that you can sustain. We are living longer therefore we have to get creative about how we maintain our quality of life.

What I am learning is that my “all or nothing” mindset has left me with a glass half empty attitude sometimes. 

I can be a pretty intense person to be around. I take a lot of things people say literally. If you say you don’t like someone or something I take you at your word. If you say you can’t afford to do something I believe you even to the point of helping you pay for it, if I feel that strongly about it.

I have had an innate need to fix things for others. To overcompensate for what I believe to be smoothed over by my help or intervention. What I am realizing is that it was my way of distraction. If I spent my time worrying about your stuff I wouldn’t have to face my own stuff.

This last year has been mostly about me. A discovery of who I am apart from my work title, spouse, mother, friend or caretaker. 

There is an exercise we did at the ashram that involved a series of meditations to reveal our Life Seals. Symbols that are unique to our unconscious existence. The process was to bring those images to the conscious surface to help understand our cores. Some of the flow was easy to understand and find correlation to. Others were a bit harder. I struggled with separating my mind from my essence. How is my essence different from my soul or inner witness? Are they different or one in the same? 

Where am I going with this?

I have lined up on the screen questions to ask myself as I think about this last year and what I want for 2022. I want to share those questions with you as we all think about the coming year.

  1. What have I come to value now that I didn’t before?
  2. How am I going to maintain, nourish and grow my essence in the coming year?
  3. Do I see work as something to foster my life or something to replace my life?
  4. Can I have my cake and eat it too? Find work that has meaning while staying passionate about lifelong learning and helping others.
  5. How do I reset my clock for the coming year?

It’s not that I didn’t value time spent off grid before, I know now that those moments are the ones I reflect and cherish the most. The adventures in the van, the traveling with loved ones and friends, the ashram experience, hiking in the mountains and trails have been my happy places. I do admit though, I have missed being with industry peers. I have periodically peeked in on what’s happening in the learning industry during the pandemic. I am passionate about the exploration of how skills and knowledge can be reshaped. I am nervous about the fact I have been away from the industry for over a year. Do I still have anything to contribute of value? I won’t know until I walk into the field and see what has been growing there in my absence. What I value now is a sense of contribution to the community. My mantra to maintain me through 2022 is “how am I sustaining value here?”. I can use this in any reference whether it’s in my own life, relating to work, this blog, our podcasts, my footprint socially, economically, within the environment and with the development of the human race.

How do I reset my clock for the coming year?

The question is easy and yet complicated. Easy in the physical sense by action oriented tasks. Keep up with a healthy body through exercise and nutritious food choices. Sustain a curious and clutter free mind through meditation, yoga and self care. Be mindful of where you came from and where you are going. Remember the pauses as they are key to intentional course corrections when you doubt you are going in the right direction. Stay grateful for everything you have been given. It’s an imperfect, perfect life. To have the awareness and sense of need or desire to reset is a gift. To open the gift and take it out of its wrapping to get a true sense of it’s value takes courage and determination. We are lucky to receive this gift every year at this time. We celebrate and look forward to the possibilities as we say “goodbye” to the past.

I hope 2022 is full of life, love, curiosity and adventure for you and yours.

Cheers to “The Great Reset”

Namaste and light

Tadasana, I Am Firm, I Am Still

Me in the desert of the Atlas Mountains in Morroco.

Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, focusing inward on the spot between your brows. Spine erect while you line up your vertebrae one plate at a time until you come back to the space occupied by your third eye. Hands lay open at your sides, palms face forward inviting the light and energy to merge with you. 

Can you calm the mind long enough to feel the ascent into the clouds? As I do the pose I have help. I am listening to the mantra Hari Om on repeat. It helps with the concentration and release of tension. My body is eager to move. The stance triggers a memory response to start sun salutation flows, plank, cobra and downward facing dog. I resist a bit longer and focus on my breath.

Can I become a mountain? Do I desire to voluntarily stay put? Hmmm

Do mountains move ever? Of course they do. History is full of geological graphs showing the migration of large masses of rock from one location to another quite far away.

As I stand in mountain pose I sense the rock chips breaking away subtle at first then becoming more frequent. Thoughts collect to form solid matter and I think I can find stable ground and stance that will connect me to the earth beneath my feet. Can I sort through the rubble enough to arrange the scattered material into a foundation then add enough mortar to keep it stuck together?

What makes the mass crumble? I have watched avalanches from a safe distance, even seen some snow slides too close for comfort. I have been in flash floods that have moved the rocks beneath my feet on mountain sides and tested my skills to find purchase on a loose shale path. It’s a slippery slope when the material under your feet isn’t stable. I have fallen, even hurt myself and yet I am still willing and able to go back up and try again. I am determined or maybe just stubborn…lol.

Being a mountain can be a lonely choice of states. You may be part of a family of like minds such as a rocky range that traverses as far as the eye can see or you may have to stand out alone. Other beings depend on you for their existence and shelter. You can be covered in stuff put their by others such as plants and animals or thoughts and ideals you don’t own. Liquid flows around you, through you and sometimes even breaks you in half. It’s good to note the most harmless things like water can erode your foundations over time and yet is essential to yours and others existence. What comes to erode you that you may want to divert or eliminate? What helps you to grow strong and healthy be it mineral or mentally?

I hold the pose a bit longer. What am I trying to avoid facing by moving on or away from this place of stability and solitude? I do have an insistent desire to take flight, go anywhere most of the time. To keep moving. While in the pose I do feel a sense of calmness that replaces the anxiety.

Do I like being alone? I don’t hate it. I get my energy from the time spent in my own company doing things I love to do or doing nothing but standing on a mountain in Mountain Pose. We are made of compressed things forced together over time. The matter that forms us. Sound familiar? We have more in common with mountain masses than you may think. Sometimes we find ourselves up high on a ledge wondering how we got this point without awareness? At the peak we need to decide which directions to go from there. Often we get to the top of our goals only to discover that all we have reached are plateaus or a false summit. Just a ladder top that you can see multiple ladders in the distance waiting for you to discover their existence. Are they worth dying on or are we missing the point of the climb?

My mind wanders as I hold the pose a bit longer. My eyes are closed and my breathing has become deep and peaceful. I am sinking further into the mist. A vision pops up in my head, at first I brush it away then decide to let it come. 

I am back in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. I have awoken to the sound of the wind whipping through our tent. My bed is right by the door which is now ajar. It’s not quite morning but I am awake so I decide to get up and make my way towards the dunes. The predawn shed enough light for me to find my way. I pass the camels that have been hobbled in between the sand hills and push upward to the top of a rocky peak. I look out over the range and decide this must be what they mean by the place that heaven meets the earth.

I can see myself standing there in Mountain Pose. I can sense the pressure changing as the sky starts to illuminate. I have chosen an elevated spot to witness the beauty of the day as it begins.

I feel extremely connected to the universe when I occupy the mountain pose. I wonder why that is and then seem to understand the connection. The quiet solitude that comes from the stance. The sense of peering outward while planted on top of the world. Connected to everything yet a recognition of being alone.

Namaste

Looking in the Review Mirror…Part 2

Yesterday, I responded to two of the the “10 Questions to Process Before you Wrap up 2021” posed by Nedra Tawwab on her Instagram feed. Today, I’m going to look at the next three.

What do I need to accept about myself and the other people in my life?

  • We’re all doing our best. Sometimes it may not feel like it and I need to accept it’s my best at the time. I need to accept that others are doing their best, even if it doesn’t look that way to me because, like me, it’s their best at the time.
  • I need to accept that it’s OK to lean on other people. I pride myself on being independent. Others see me as a strong, confident woman. In many ways, I have a toddler’s attitude of “I can do it myself!” This past year has shown me it’s OK to ask for help – whether it’s to move furniture or cry on a shoulder.
  • Similarly, I need to accept that others want to help. The people in my life support me. They’re here for the good and the bad. Just as I want to be there for them, they want to be here for me.
  • 2021 taught my life is never what I expect it to be. When it started, I had no idea I’d be buying my own condo and rehoming my dog. Yet, here I am – on my own and dogless. I need to accept the adage, “The only certainties in life are death and taxes”.

How did I cope with uncomfortable feelings?

There were SO many uncomfortable feelings in 2021. There was the end of my marriage, moving out, buying a new home, no longer being Dad’s caregiver and his decision to move into assisted living, realizing I spent the last 10 years with a narcissist…it was quite a year.

  • I cried.
  • I talked things through with, and sought advice from, my partner and my friends.
  • I read blogs and listened to podcasts.
  • I journalled.
  • I went back to the gym when Covid rules relaxed
  • I sat with the feelings and thought about the possible root cause. I knew if I could figure it out, I’d be able to work through the feeling.
  • I worked with a psychologist and started EMDR therapy.

How can I better manage my reaction to my feelings?

  • I can start by recognizing the triggers that cause a reaction. This has been the focus of the work I’m doing with my psychologist.
  • I can accept it’s OK to have feelings of joy, anger, grief and that these feelings are valid. There’s no need to repress them and pretend everything is OK.
  • I can examine the cause of the feelings. Are they a result of my personal values?…memories?…experiences? What can I do more of (for positive feelings) or differently (for negative feelings)?
  • I can give myself a time-out if my feelings start to cause I reaction I’m not ready or able to control.

This blog took a long time to write. There was a great deal of writing and rewriting as I processed the questions. I don’t think I’m done with them. I feel them working their way into my head and I know I’ll be revisiting them over the next few weeks. I expect that’s part of the exercise Ms. Tawwab has posed. 🙂

Looking in the Review Mirror…Part 1

I’ve been following quite a few therapist-type people on Instagram this past year. One of the people I follow is Nadra Tawwab (@nedratawwab). Last week, she posted “10 Questions to Process Before You Wrap Up 2021”. I thought I’d consider her questions in our blog.

“What did 2021 teach me about myself?”

It taught me:

  • I am incredibly resilient. Life handed me quite a few lemons, and I continuously made lemonade.
  • Related to above, I can handle a great deal of change.
  • I am able to take care of myself – emotionally, spiritually, financially
  • I’m not afraid to ask for help. Sometimes it was answered, other times it wasn’t. Either way, I didn’t try to do everything myself.
  • I value alone time. I love to socialize, but I need to recharge on my own. It was wonderful to have a place of my own where I could have quiet.
  • I don’t really know who I am. For so long, I was a wife, mother, and caregiver. With those roles no longer my focus, I was at a loss. Who am I if I don’t apply a label? What makes my heart sing? These questions no longer unsettle me. I see answering them as a journey that will extend into 2022.
  • I have a tremendous network of support. I knew this, but it was a good reminder. I have friends who love me.

“Who showed up for me, and how can I nurture those relationships?”

I promise, I didn’t think of this question with the last bullet point above!

Many friends showed up for me – some in person, some via video messaging, some via text. In no particular order:

  • Vanessa and Selena – my co-blogger and co-podcasters. These women keep things real for me. They celebrate with me, support me, and call my out on my bullshit when needed.
  • Lana and Derek – my former neighbours and very good friends. I used to live across the street from them and our boys grew up together. They have always gone above and beyond. It was harder to move away from them than from my ex-husband!
  • Martin – boyfriend extraordinaire. His belief in my ability to become my best self is unwavering.
  • Nathan – my son – a self-proclaimed “momma’s boy”. 🙂 He’s been busy starting to live his own life, but still finds time to talk to his mom.
  • My dad – he’s always believed in me. All he’s ever wanted is for me to be happy and he supports whatever makes that happen.

There are so many more; too many to list.

How can I nurture these relationships?

Keep being me. All the people in my life are here for a reason. Just as I see something that draws me to them, they see something in me. The best thing I can do is continue to be my honest, authentic, caring self who makes time for the people important to me.

There are 8 more questions. I’ll get to them all eventually. 🙂

DodgeBall

Sometimes the lines are clearly marked to indicate which spaces are within a game to play and which are not. The rules of engagement are decided upon prior to the activity commencement. Everyone understands how to achieve the goal, in this case, be the last person standing that hasn’t been plowed by the ball.

I remember physEd and the eventual assembling of the teams to play. Back then we were less politically correct and called it “murder ball”.  The object of the game was to hit your opponents as hard as you could to leave a welt on the side of their leg. Kids can be pretty mean when they are left without supervision to set their own boundaries. I digress with my childhood memories of trauma in the gym. The point is still relevant though. As kids we test boundaries. It’s part of a natural curiosity and establishes an understanding of how far we can go without crossing lines. As we get older, we take those lessons into our relationships, careers and expand our domains. If we have learned healthy ways to deal with the balance of give and take we thrive with hopefully fewer people who want to leave welts on our psyche. I am under the impression that there are quite a number of us who perhaps didn’t have the most positive examples to learn these valuable applications from. The world appears to be in a state of dodgeball.

The point I am trying to make is about boundaries, not necessarily the game of dodgeball. We do play quite a bit of dodgeball as adults. We test our level of mental toughness while we decide which lines we want to draw and which we want to cross or erase. Lots of opportunities to make ourselves vulnerable to potential hits if we don’t set clear expectations or learn to communicate our feelings and wishes in a way that lets others know what we are willing to risk in order to survive. 

Like the game, the number of participants declines in our own personal spaces as we get older and more ingrained in our thinking and habits. Can you list your non-negotiable boundaries? For me, I can think of some that are easy to share: You can’t smoke in my house, I don’t tolerate physical violence. Those I can say with confidence to anyone.

 Some get a bit trickier though. I don’t smoke but on occasion I have been known to smoke a cigar with a good glass of whisky. I don’t tolerate violence but I do believe in defending yourself and those you love. See what I mean? We are already blurring the lines of established markers.

I believe in freedom of speech and expression. Where do you draw this line though when these days everything you say and do is up for discussion and review? Can you safely have an opinion without feeling like you have to defend your constitutional right to choose what you put in your body and what you don’t? Oh, I am sure that hits a few nerves in this politically charged arena we now all live in as teams get selected and filtered.

I have been watching and reading about varied opinions of our current political and social consciousness. Where have our boundaries gone? I no longer have confidence that I understand the rules of the game. As I try to sort out my own personal feelings in how I conduct myself, communicate intimately and more universally I find that I am more inclined to self censor. When did that happen? I have never been that outspoken as to join protesters marching for a cause. I have participated in passive activities like running for cancer funds or canvasing for charities. I am a lover not a fighter…that folks is another boundary…lol.

I hope you get what I am trying to say here? It seems harder and harder to stand firm in beliefs that no longer seem to hold elements of truth and compassion for others. In this big “Dodgeball” game we find ourselves now embroiled in, I am looking to see which side I am on. Do I need to pick a side or can I just sit on the bleachers? Do I have a choice? I think I do and yet choices seem to be setting more and more lines around us. It’s a curious situation don’t you think?

Timeout

What do you do about time?

Bunny taking a timeout on my back patio

I envy kids and the opportunity they have for a “timeout”. Most think of it as a punishment for misbehaving. You have to earn the timeout by doing something that is looked upon as going against a desired behavior. If we were smart as kids we would leverage them to gain space and moments of time for thinking freely about nothing. Staring at an empty space and concentrating on letting go of pent up emotions that no longer help us be our true selves. If I had little kids right now I would teach them to do just that with the hope they would thank me later as adults. Well, I can imagine that would happen. Reality might be something of a different scenario.

My kids are used to having a mother who thinks a bit differently about most things. I coaxed my daughter into taking a Tai Chi class with me when she was about 13 or so. The instructor turned off the lights and we were instructed to see if we could see auras. My daughter was a good sport about the whole thing. She wouldn’t say she enjoyed the class but she didn’t refuse to go either. I did see her aura and it was blue, now that I think about it. How fitting as she is a surgical nurse.

My aura was mostly yellow. My daughter did say she saw it but not while in the presence of others. She was thirteen afterall…lol.

I wish I could stop time now and again. Not turning back time. I don’t feel that would help me much as I have learned a great deal from how I spent my life. I just want a pause function to help me catch up. I know I am the accountant for my clock and yet some days it gets away from me before I realize “time is up”. I just can’t seem to catch a break some days and end up being late for everything. I have learned to accept these days and triage them rather than try to fix them. What can I cancel? What can I do today that will help me get back on track tomorrow? I forgive myself for getting off track. I don’t let myself off the hook. I know that I can’t change today but tomorrow is a different story.

I have never been one to “be on time”. It’s hit or miss for me. On occasion I am early and most often I am scrambling to just barely make the target second. I have studied time management, created and facilitated many workshops and courses on effective use of time. Here I am though, thinking about how I manage my time. My credits spent and my expectations of future use.

I used to create a three month calendar with important dates and times on it. I had a big bulletin board with project dates and deadlines on it as well as personal goals and estimated completion points highlighted. It was my measurement of time in a very visual way. I could look at it and see how my life was progressing. I had my major trips planned, my small getaways marked. Exercise charts, weight loss goals and eating schedules all planned out with details attached.

 In the last year I turned off all my tracking and planning devices. My Fitbit, my watch, my phone trackers, my GPS, my internal clock and anything else I thought would force me to keep track of my time. No quarter calendar with categories and goals. 

 It was a year of freedom. It was my “Time out”.

My year to just exist in whatever circumstances I found myself being drawn to. It’s been interesting to say the least. I started the year with a push to get the blog and podcasting going with Sharon. Then I found myself drawn to the ashram for almost three months. I went out to Vancouver after that to spend time hiking and getting to know my daughter a little bit better. After that I came back to buy the van and started planning out how I wanted to make it mine. My sister in-law and I spent some time hiking in the National Parks and figuring life together.

My brother and I worked diligently on the van for the rest of the summer and fall. We are almost done! I know my brother a bit better now and I am beginning to see life through his eyes, just a bit. 

I banked on having an unlimited amount of time to spend with loved ones and friends only to realize those moments kept in the vault and not used evaporate. They have no shelf life. You either use it when the spirit moves you to do so or you lose out on the dividends attached. Hard lesson to discover. I have been lucky enough to follow intuition often and redirect my time to focus on their needs and share what moments they had left. 

The year is ending soon. How time has flown by so quickly….lol. A whole year gifted to me to just be. I am looking toward 2022. Can I collect enough pauses, held breaths and brief suspension of knowing or caring to carve out my “timeouts”? Then use those precious gifts to extend that hold on my most inner thoughts and feelings?

Those “timeouts” are crafted when all I feel is joy and the gift of knowing I am alive and held in light and love by the universe.

Namaste

Council Of Community

I have decided to start therapy. For many reasons. I have had a couple of sessions already and it’s been enlightening. Betterhelp.com is trying something new by connecting people all over the world with a group therapy session. The therapist is an expert in the related field and you can choose from many topics and time slots. I thought I would give it a try.

What have I learned so far? 

There are plenty of others suffering the same kind of feelings, issues and trauma that I am in this world. Not surprising, just comforting to know.I can help by telling my story and being open to discussion. I get help by telling my story and being open. I struggle with being vulnerable. Trust is a topic I have mentioned numerous times on this blog and my lack of it. Somehow it’s easier to trust and be vulnerable with strangers than it is with your intimate network of support. 

The group I attended yesterday was on managing grief.  A question was posed about why join a group like this now? It was clarified with what it is about the upcoming holidays that makes dealing with death so much harder? Well darn, I hadn’t really made the connection between the time of year and my choice of groups until it was highlighted. 

Christmas is a challenge for me at the best of times. I am not a big fan of the whole concept or all it has come to represent. When the kids were younger I did get caught up in making sure they got all they wanted and more. I remember being young and the reality that there were seven of us to buy for. My parents did amazing by getting us each at least one thing close to what we had asked for. I look back now on the way I acted and wish I would have been more grateful for their effort. I guess that’s why we grow to have insight and awareness. You have to experience the challenges in life to understand the depth of selflessness. 

My sister, who passed away, loved Christmas. She went as far as to set up several trees in the basement of one of her houses. She called it her Christmas forest. We used to sit in her forest and drink wine. It was lovely and I miss her enthusiasm for the season. 

The grief session brought up memories I had not examined for a while. My brother in law died on Christmas morning in 2014. I was there with my sister and their family. It was one of my saddest Christmases and yet it was one of my most peaceful. As we sat in his room listening to him struggle for breaths, the sound of each breath was a gift. One more moment, one more opportunity to tell him how much he was loved. 

The Christmas before my mom died we decided to make cookies for everyone. I always tend to go overboard and buy enough ingredients to make cookies for a hundred people. Monster cookies are everyone’s favorite and thanks heavens the cookie dough freezes well. What a wonderful day I had with my mom. Doing what she loved to do which was spending time with her girls and making something to give to someone else. I baked my last roll of cookie dough last Christmas. It was emotional to let it go of something that linked me so directly with my mom.

The group was a big help to give me common ground with others who showed up to talk about the same thing. We were all there to gain support and realize our stories were different but there is an abundance of commonality to discover. Being sensitive to family who get upset when you try to talk about your feelings of grief is hard. Most people don’t want to talk about it let alone see you shed tears. If you hold it in then it becomes a waiting game. The level of the dam rises until the pressure can’t be contained anymore. Somethings gotta give.  The timing of the burst will happen at the worst circumstances. Releasing the pressure is healthy and required to heal the heart.

It was a good session. It was hard and at first, uncomfortable but necessary and freeing.

My heart is full of gratitude as the season unfolds. I am grateful that I have many memories of my loved ones who have passed. Many Christmases celebrated with them even though I would have rather stayed home and let the holidays pass by unopened. Those moments of sharing and expressing joy are my most precious gifts now. I can open them anytime, anywhere to help give me peace when I need it.

I would recommend Betterhelp.com to anyone who needs an affordable platform to get help dealing with anything. It has helped me to appreciate the value of having a community available to reach out to.

Ode To Max’s Joy 

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in taking life seriously that we forget about the joy. We become afraid to try new things or dust off something we used to love to do. Passions fade and auto-pilot becomes the norm instead of the exception. At these times I think a jolt of joy is needed to get moving again. It doesn’t have to be big or epic. I have been thinking about selfless service lately and ways to keep my body moving. Why the combo? The first one helps with a sense of positivity of action. Making a difference in someone else’s life helps to put me in a better headspace. The second has to do with the production of endorphins that help regulate my mental health. I know that exercise does my body good. When I am in motion, I can focus, think more clearly and sort out my busy mind. Some of my favorite meditations are done while walking or in a yoga flow.

I took my sister’s puppy for a walk today. It’s her first week back at work from a leave and the stress is piling up. There is something wonderful about a dog’s unbridled joy and curiosity to explore their surroundings. They sniff everything, they check out every nook and cranny. Run here then run over there (thanks heavens he is a small dog). Everything is there for them to discover. As we chased each other down the path it felt fun to just be in that moment. 

Someone said the older we get the less likely we are to try new things. I think the opposite is true. The older I get the more likely I am to just “go for it”. Our number of days gets shorter and shorter. If we wait we may never experience that euphoric feeling of letting go and running free. The collar gets tighter and tighter. The leash we are tethered to becomes short. Opportunity to go off leash and roam can be taken away at any moment. One of the most apparent lessons from COVID has been taking our ability to travel without restrictions for granted. It was so easy to book a flight, accommodations and a few adventures the day you wanted to take off. Now a large amount of the spontaneity has been curtailed.

One thing we can still do in abundance is selfless service. It doesn’t have to be complicated, just genuine.

Evergreen

I have been taking a creative writing class online the past few weeks. The class’s main objective is to find a way to pull your memories of life experiences and write about them. I was intrigued by one of the exercises. The objective was to go to a website that matched music to a certain year. Put in the year that you turned 13. A magical year am I right??? Pick one of the songs that comes up for that year. Listen to it and then take some time and write about what comes up based on the song choice. I scanned the songs and came back to one of my childhood favorites. I loved the movie “A Star Is Born” with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. I know this isn’t the original movie version nor the most recent. Let’s just say it has been worthy of a few remakes. Each time the musical score has been just as good as the movies. Ok back to the song. 

Evergreen. Such simple and straightforward lyrics. Appealing to a 13 year old girl’s desires and ideals of what love should feel and look like. The song still has it, even after all this time has passed. 

“Spirits rise and their dance is unrehearsed” 

There are no guarantees when it comes to matters of the heart. We put a whole lot of trust in another being without any way to know the final outcome. It’s what makes the dance so inviting. The thrill of taking a chance to have a partner that shares your journey.

“Time won’t change the meaning of one love”

I am not sure I agree with the songwriter here. Time does change or at least clarifies what love means between two people. The longer you are together the more density is added to it. When you are a teenager love means instant gratification, adoration, ego driven rewards. As time passes shared hardships, support, respect, feeling valued and heard all raise what is meant by one love.

“Ageless and ever, evergreen”

What is meant by evergreen?  According to many definition sources, the gist is that it stays constant in color no matter the season or conditions. Doesn’t falter and stays universally and continually relevant. Wow, that’s a tall order to fill don’t you think?

What if when we say “I do” we promise to never falter, never change our loyalty no matter what and pledge to stay relevant in each other’s lives?

The 13 year old brain thinks that would be very easy to do. Relationships at that age are mostly based on simple needs and wants. Add layers of experience, years of twists, turns and disappointments to the joy of having kids, building your sanctuary together and here we are many moons later. 

My 57 year old self thinks a little differently about love these days. I believe it is constantly changing. I am not convinced it’s evergreen. For me it’s more of a Larch. In a state of adapting and evolving to meet the current circumstances.

If you are interested in doing this exercise the course is called “Pulling Memory Into The Present” hosted by Ashley C Ford on Skillshare.

What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

I don’t alway get the answers I want but I do get the answer I need….

I have spent most of my adult life in a profession where it was my job to translate the needs, feelings and wants of others into easy to do actions. Help customers to first, identify what it was they really wanted and then guide them to fruition. I would like to say I was pretty good at it. I had a pretty loyal clientele and many happy business partners and collaborators. It worked in my personal life too. I helped family and friends many times to figure out tricky situations while we worked through possible solutions. I listened. I watched for clues for unexpressed feelings of what else might be going on under the radar. I think I am pretty empathic and intuitive most times when it comes to helping others.

Despite all of this knowledge, understanding of others and the ability to help others figure out their best way forward, I find myself stuck in my own cycle of failure to communicate. It’s very difficult for me to express how I feel and stick with it when others challenge my position.

I remember as a child of about 11 trying to stop my dad from belittling my mom. I saw how much it hurt her. I thought if she can’t stick up for herself then I will. I will tell him it’s not nice to talk like that to anyone.  I was met with an indifference. From my dad I expected it but I was shattered to feel it from my mom. She played down the verbal abuse and agreed with my dad that adults fight. It’s healthy to argue. Maybe so and yet the difference is in the words used. Calling someone stupid or lacking the ability to think for themselves is unproductive nor is it healthy. Years of reinforcing the narrative leave the psyche tattered and worn down. Having a front row seat has left me with my own trauma and scars.

It has also left me with an inability to trust my feelings. To be firm on my wants and the confidence to express them to those closest to me. Why is it so easy to facilitate for others and not myself? I have a narrative in my head that is pretty negative. It goes along the lines of “you should put others’ needs before yours as they are more important”. “You don’t deserve this or you are selfish when you push your desires on others”. I recognize that it’s ok to express yourself and want to have others respect and value you. The reality is the thoughts in my head are sometimes stronger than my desire to be right or even heard let alone take a firm position.

My sister and I decided to smudge ourselves yesterday then do a tarot reading. Smudging helps to clear the air with sage and then invite positive energy in with sweetgrass. It feels amazing and helps to get specific about your question and deepen understanding. The method we used is one of my favorites. It’s called the Celtic Cross ( my version). You arrange the cards in a cross-like formation with concerns and clarification(middle), past (left), present (top), future (right) and additional clarification or insights (bottom). The deck we used was the Archangel one my sister had. 

My last card was the Ace of Michael. What stuck with me was the last sentence on the card. “Clear up communication problems with others”. Well darn, it’s not like I haven’t been trying that my whole life sigh… easier said than done for me apparently.  

At what point do you just express yourself and then let the chips fall where they may. The key, I think, is to be prepared for the consequences of your desire to be heard and seen. You may get the words out but there is no guarantee they will be valued or wanted. What are you prepared to give up in order to live your life authentically?

Right now? I am not sure. Stay tuned if you are interested in helping me discover a way to communicate that brings me peace and a sense of well being.

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