Thursday, May 31, 2007

Lost and Found---Little Joys

I was going through my office megapile of "To Do" stuff today and I found my long-lost camera. Which tells you how often I revisit my office paperwork. A special friend had visited us this last week, and I have no pictures of the visit, because the camera was lost throughout. Despite numerous frustrating futile searches, I knew I would find it someday, though (since I knew I'd never taken it out of my house!), attributing its misplacement to menopausal fog, and sure enough, that's what happened. So here's a picture of me rejoicing that my lost camera is now found. Bonus: another rare picture of my husband happy, since I know he will be when he reads this and hears the news! I call this picture "soft eyes" because he is looking at the camera not just with happiness but with tenderness. I was so glad to have captured this moment and to have my trusty little camera back again!



~Picture by Me, Glad to Have Found My Camera

Reading


"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body."---Richard Steele

This is a picture of me walking the Dragon's Teeth Labyrinth on Maui last November. I'm currently laid up with a cold and my back is out too, so I'm remembering fondly Great Walks I Have Known, and this is one of them. I can read, though. I want to be grateful for what I can do, not focus on what I can't do. Life is a gift---every day.


~Picture by Hubbie Mark

Monday, May 28, 2007

Menopause---Out of the Closet

I want to thank Tinker for the title of this post, based on a comment she left on my blog today. Tinker is a blogger friend who is very creative...check out her blog here. She told me about a terrific menopause blog, called mymenopauseblog.com. It is truly about time that menopause comes out of the closet, as tinker said, and that we begin to celebrate this empowering passage! I am definitely getting into resources that frame aging as the wonderful process that it can be, instead of just a time to mourn losses. Yes, there are losses, as with every stage of life, but there are far more reasons to celebrate!



~Picture by Hubbie Mark

Memorial Day


I wanted to say "Thank You" to all veterans today, including my husband, my ex-husband, my brother-in-law, my late father, and my bio-dad. It is thanks to them and to their sacrifices that I am free, a freedom I usually take for granted. I cannot comprehend the amount of caring and concern that a military person has for others such that she or he would be willing to sacrifice their life for them. I admire them greatly and thank them today especially.


~Picture by http://www.freedesktopwallpapers.net/misc/american-flag.shtml

Friday, May 25, 2007

Menopause and Menstruation


I have another great blog to tell you about---musemother---which today had a beautiful posting about menopause. Women my age will appreciate this, but it is a worthwhile read for younger women also to appreciate what they have to look forward to. Menopause is an interesting time that can be celebrated, not endured. Via Jennifer Boire, the author of musemother, I found another interesting link to the Museum of Menstruation, which is of course, a virtual museum. Take a few minutes to visit...


~Picture by Hubbie Mark

TUT


I wanted to tell everyone about TUT---which isn't really at all what the web site looks like. It's a daily inspirational message "The Universe" which is such a pick-me-up. I love finding it amongst my emails. Today the message was:

"You are not on earth to make things happen. You are not on earth to spread the love. You are not on earth to make it a better place or to learn acceptance of the things you cannot change. You are not on earth to find your soul mate or your purpose. You are not on earth to put the needs of others before your own. And you are most certainly not on earth, Olivia Brown, to suffer, pay penance, be tested, or judged.

Did I leave anything out?

You are on earth, Olivia, because in your loftiest state of being, perched high above the wonderment, at the pinnacle of your glory, you wondered what it would be like, even fleetingly, to believe in limits.

You sage -
The Universe"

It is always personalized to me, and always something unexpected and uplifting that stretches me. Today I just laughted aloud! If you like finding little treasures in your day, I'd encourage you to sign up to receive the daily messages.

We have company this week and are enjoying the beautiful weather outdoors in the Pacific Northwest. It has been glorious. The garden is glorious, too. I lost my camera somewhere in the house, but I'm determined to find it today so that I can take some gardening pictures---until then here's one from Hubbie Mark.



~Picture from Hubbie Mark

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Peonies

Hurry, hurry, rush over to Abbey of the Arts and read this Mary Oliver poem that Christine has posted with spectacular peony pictures. Now! Go now, really! It only takes a second...go!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

This Day


"Nothing is worth more than this day."---Johann Wolfgang Goethe


I haven't been much in the mood to write lately, ignoring my Morning Pages and getting all discombobulated by "time scarcity" (the feeling that there's not enough time). Today I want to turn this experience around, and have a meaningful and time-abundant day despite a packed schedule. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Until then, I have some links for you from other people who have written some interesting things:
For a story to make you think, visit Joni's blog.
For a posting about the natural world called Sex Makes You Fat, visit Dr. Petty's blog.
For a very cute video, see CuteOverload for a predictable smile.
It has been a delectation for you to visit me today!

Make your day count!

~Picture from the Cloud Appreciation Society

Friday, May 18, 2007

The First Step



“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase."---Martin Luther King, Jr.


~Picture via Amy Wang

Ottimista Pessimista


“The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the perssimist fears this is true.”---James Branch Cabell


~Picture via CuteOverload

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Gratitude for Hubbie Mark

Here are some pictures of Hubbie Mark, who makes it possible for me to stay at home and blog :) A big THANK YOU to hubbie today!



“Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric."---Ernest Hemingway



"Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are."---Marianne Williamson



Here we are over 30 years ago in our engagement picture:




We married other people, divorced, had a second chance and decided to marry each other (to make a lo-o-o-ong story short) and now here's a particularly good picture of us from a couple of years ago:




Another big thanks for my hubbie: XXX OOO XXX

Unplayed Music


"Most people live and die with their music still unplayed. They never dare to try."---Katharine Hepburn

I so do not want to be one of those people, do you? Are you? This is something good to meditate on, and/or a provocative question to ask at your next gathering---just skip the small-talk and go for the gusto!

This inspired me to think about what in me is still unplayed. I know there is so much, which is why I so want to live a long and healthy life. I need time! I've been watching rentals of the HBO television series "Six Feet Under", which is the story of a family who lives over and runs a funeral home, and each episode features a death at the beginning. Subsequent episodes may have much or little to do with this death of a stranger (usually) but all focus on a theme, and I have enjoyed my viewing greatly, because it makes me think about living..and dying. I don't think that you can really think about one without thinking about the other, do you? If you get a chance, rent the pilot from Season One (there were five seasons, and all are on DVD for rental), and I'm betting you'll get hooked on working your way through, as I am.

~Picture by Hubbie Mark

Happy Camper

Well, it turns out that my knee problem has a diagnosis: patello-femoral syndrome. And a cure: exercise to balance the quadriceps and hamstrings. I found out yesterday that my knees are good knees with lots of cartilage and healthy ligaments. I'm doing physical therapy exercises at home, but now can be much more active. I could not be happier. So I'm on my way to recovery. Whoo-hoo! I'm thrilled :) Walking is such a great love of mine, and without it I don't know how I'd stay sane. I am grateful today for my good health.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Clitoris


"The clitoris has 8,000 nerve endings! It is the only human organ whose sole purpose is pleasure."---Dr. Christiane Northrup's Daily Inspiration


This is from Dr. Christiane Northrup's Daily Inspiration, and I thought that it was worthy of a special post. Can you imagine? The only human organ whose sole purpose is pleasure! This is worthy of meditation, and/or a good icebreaker or conversation starter at your next gathering ;)

~Picture by Hubbie Mark

The Joyous Expectation of Good


Well, this weekend that was supposed to be full of fun ended up being different than what I expected. I somehow injured both of my knees and was in incredible pain. I'm going to the doctor today to see what is wrong. So I sat the whole weekend with my legs up and iced and did sudoku puzzles when I felt well enough to concentrate. I also read the Sunday newspaper and napped. It was a feeble attempt at fun, but it was an attempt!

I read this in Julia Cameron's "Heart Steps: Prayers and Declarations for a Creative Life", which is a little book of meditative prayers. This one in particular spoke to me and maybe it will speak to you in your life situation:
"MY SOUL HAS PATIENCE AND CONTAINMENT: I am patient. I am able to live with ambiguity. I am able to allow situations to evolve and alter. I am able to await outcomes. I tolerate quiet periods of non-knowing while solutions emerge and present themselves. I do not force solutions. I expect the successful working-out of difficulties and differences. My heart is wise. It knows when to act and when non-action is the action to take. I trust my patient heaert. I trust the power of my containment. "Today I live in the quiet joyous expectation of good"---Ernest Holmes"

I feel like I'm learning the importance of perseverance when it comes to hope, as in continuing to hope when Id rather just feel depressed, and when it comes to walking, as in dealing with setback after setback as I continue to work to develop an active and healthy lifestyle where I can walk as much as I want.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Fun and God and Old Ideas

"On the one hand,we give lip service to the notion that God wants us to be happy, joyous, and free. On the other, we secretly think that God wants us to be broke if we are going to be so decadent as to want to be artists. Do we have any proof at all for these ideas about God? We are operating out of the toxic old idea that God's will for us and our will for us are at opposite ends of the table. "I want to be an actress, but God wants me to wait tables in hash joints," the scenario goes. "So if I try to be an actress, I will end up slinging hash." Maybe we won't. The universe falls in with worthy plans and most especially with festive and expansive ones."---Julia Cameron in "Inspirations: Meditations from The Artist's Way"



This does not jive with my childhood or adulthood religious training at all. Could it be that God/Spirit/the Universe wants fun for me? This is too wild, but I'm thinking, true. I love how Julia Cameron calls the plans of the Universe "festive" and "expansive". So often my plans aren't exactly festive and expansive, but more and more I want them to be.

"Only recently recognized as an addiction, workaholism still receives a great deal of support in our society. The phrase "I'm working" has a certain unassailable air of goodness and duty to it. The truth is, we are very often working to avoid ourselves, our spouses, our real feelings. In creative recovery, it is far easier to get people to do the extra work of the Morning Pages than it is to get them to do the assigned play of an artist date. Play can make a workaholic very nervous. Fun is scary."---Julia Cameron in "Inspirations: Meditations from The Artist's Way"

And I want to have fun. Even if it is scary, at first. So, thanks to E, I have a real weekend, omg---like normal people---for a change! I can't tell you what I'm going to do with it, but I promise you that I'm going to have some scary fun. I'll work really hard to do so.


~Picture by Hubbie Mark

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Celebration


~Photo via http://zazazu.wordpress.com

No and Yes---A Blogger's Celebration

NO to fear, depression, anxiety, gullibility, scary space, paralysis, judgement, unforgiveness, scarcity, betrayal, confusion, loss, lack of trust, powerlessness, and victim mentality. NO!



YES to love, Spirit, sanctuary, abundance, discipline, trust, extension, enjoying life, beauty, grace, trust, empowerment, responsibility, agency, trusting intuition, decluttering ("creating space"), new relationships, boundaries, respect, recreation, letting go, faith, fun, feeling good, freedom, forgiveness, openness to good, movement forward, focus on goals, shining, and blessing. YES!

Finally---The "Something Wonderful"

I wanted to tell you what the "something wonderful" was today. It is my first day that I haven't had to work for the family business at all in many, many weeks, including the weekends. Thus I finally have the time to think about what happened, and to process it.

In the last couple of months, I've been through a lot, and in the process I think I lost my way somehow, and lost the feeling that my life was my own. It started with the death of my dad in March. I next lost the closest friend I ever had, someone who was more like a sister to me, due to my trusting her when I never, ever should have. The financial problems that my husband and I'd had for a couple of years with the family business reached an excruitiating climax when we discovered gross mismanagement and other problems, necessitating my going to work there full time in April. I no longer had time to think, or even breathe, it seemed, and struggled daily over what had happened, the money we'd lost, and wondering if we could rebuild things. My husband and I debated about moving, alternative jobs, alternative life plans, etc. on very little sleep and eventually, fewer and fewer coping skills. I think I lived in fear, worry, and anxiety pretty much all the time, although I desperately tried to focus on the many things that were good with my life. I didn't blog much or even talk openly about our business troubles upon the advice of our attorney and other professionals, due to the way things had happened.

Then, last Thursday night, a good friend (D) suggested a business manager she knew of who might be available to help us (E). By Friday E was in the office and by Friday night he had straightened things out so that we had a sense of stability about our livelihood. I went into the office early in the week to facilitate the transition, but won't need to again, as our "white knight"---E---is managing everything competently and has begun straightening things out, as well as leading the other professionals we've hired to mop up our business disaster.

What this means is that we will get to keep our current house in the woods and our family business. It seems too good to be true, but it is---I have my life back, we will recover, and I've recovered my sense of ownership over my life now that I actually have time to think, to feel, and to take care of myself and my husband. It took a few days to really believe. Time is such a precious resource, and I will not take the time I have for granted again. I finally feel like myself. I now feel a sense of spacious and freedom and possibility about my life that wasn't there before, even before all of this stuff started.

I no longer want to procrastinate about really important things, like writing my novel, creating my art, and spending time with my husband doing things that are enlivening and joy-filled. And doing fun self-care things like yoga and blogging and socializing. Those are the things I really missed.

And I realized that for weeks I've felt like a victim, like something (money, especially, but my life, too, and my trust in people) was taken from me. I feel like I've gotten my balance back. And that nothing that really truly mattered was actually taken from me. So I don't feel like a victim any more. I feel like the lessons that I'm learning are going to be vital for me in creating the second half of my life (after I turn 50 this summer). So for me, this is all truly, truly "something wonderful".

~Picture of white knight from http://www.greatdreams.com

Monday, May 7, 2007

Something Wonderful Has Happened In my Life

Yes, indeed, what a great title, and it's true. But I can't write about it yet. I'll write about it very, very soon. Just wanted to mention it, as my whole life is different now. In a good way.

This morning I have to run off, and I don't have enough time to tell you yet. In the meantime, here are some pictures from the Nisqually River Delta. I went on my Artist Date last week there. I took my notebook of writings that I'm working on (the beginnings of a novel), and thought and wrote the whole time. It was peaceful and blissful. The park is actually a sanctuary for birds, and I contemplated the meaning of "safety" while I was there. I felt very, very safe. This was a good and needed feeling.

So I'm finally posting the shots for your contemplation of "safety". I know, I'm still stuck back in week ten and haven't even gotten to week eleven's discipline yet, but there are important things for me to do yet back here.






~Pictures by Me

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Good Links Wednesday

Here are some random and interesting things I've read today:

First of all, the bizarre mating habits of the anglerfish on the thinking blog. Read the whole article; I'm not interested in fish at all, but this makes me think about life and creation and ummm...our mating habits as humans.



Sometimes I feel like I'm a turmagent wife. Probably because some days I am a turmagent wife. This is a great new word. If you're not signed up for Word of the Day, why not?

Do you want to go to Hawaii really inexpensively? Here's a way to plan a trip for the fall or winter. It's not first-class, but, hey, it's Hawaii! A week in Hawaii for airfare and hotel under $500 or $600 doesn't come along that often. I've saved for three years to go on my 50th birthday trip this summer and my ticket alone cost more than that! And it's only $435 from LA to Waikiki for the flight, five nights in a hotel, a welcome lei, and breakfast the first day. Check it out.

This was sent to me by D. about aging. It's from The New Yorker. Did you know that for all of history until the past couple of hundred years, the expected life span for a human was only about 30 years of age? So "aging", as we do it today, is a fairly new field of study. Aging fascinates me. I want to be able to age well. This article is about some of the realities of aging and of the field of geriatrics.

Lastly, here is a movie recommendation for thoughtful people---The Great New Wonderful. It is definitely not a ha-ha funny comedy, as it's being billed. Nor is it light-hearted as the title implies. It's a sort of dark drama with comedic moments that is absolutely haunting. It's ostensibly about five New Yorkers and the details of their lives a year after 9/11. The characters were not involved in the 9/11 tragedy directly, but it shows how stress has affected each of their lives and the conclusions they've arrived at by the end of the movie. When I watched it the first time I thought "This is just dumb", but since then, I've never had a movie haunt me so much. The more I think about it the more meaning I find in it. It's one I'm going to buy. Have you ever watched a movie like that? I usually either love them or feel like I've wasted my time. So this movie is definitely different. It has to "sink in". If you have someone to watch movies with who enjoys discussing them afterwards (and your friend is pretty intelligent and introspective), go for it. I absolutely can't stop thinking about it!



~Photo of Anglerfish by David Paul/Mark Norman, ACF via the thinking blog
~Photo of Hawaiian gal by Me

~Photo of Forest by Hubbie Mark

That In-Love Feeling

"By the time we reach midlife, the challenge for each of us is to be able to access that in-love feeling in other ways besides looking to another person for fulfillment and gratification. The call goes out for each of us to expand our personal repertoire for accessing Source energy in our lives."---Dr. Christiane Northrup in "The Wisdom of Menopause"

I have tried and tried to explain this to my younger friends. Having been married 3 times, once to the true love of my life, I know that feelings of being in-love change. Dr. Northrup says it so well. Christians say that eros love transforms and matures to agape love, which is a similar take, but doesn't explicitly leave open the possibility that the passion of eros can be found in agape. It doesn't sound as fun.

Some of us are fortunate enough to be in a relationship where both people work for their entire lives to nuture the romantic aspect of their relationship so that it brings fulfillment and great joy to both parties for the duration of the relationship---but I believe that this is very rare (and I'm being optimistic here). Even for these blessed few couples, I think that there are enormous benefits to being able to generate additional endorphins from a relationship with Source or Spirit or God or the Universe. And for those of us with ordinary relationships, being able to generate these endophins is vital for our well-being and happiness.




What do you think?

~Picture via Cute Overload

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

May 1st


Today is May 1st, which I read is Beltane, the first day of summer in the Celtic or pagan calendar. As a young Catholic girl in Hawaii, I used to celebrate May 1st as "May Day" when in the public schools, we would sing songs, dance around a maypole and bring offerings of flowers and fruit to an altar of Mary. I guess pretty much everyone was Catholic or else they didn't mind. It was a huge deal. Probably it was the Catholic Church's way of linking a pagan holiday to a religious holiday, as was their habit. I didn't really understand what I was doing or why, because I was so young, but I so loved the flowers, the dancing, and the celebration.

Despite being almost 50, I'd love to celebrate that way today. Flowers, dancing, celebration, anticipating warmth and beauty and all that summer brings here in the Pacific Northwest.

~Picture by Hubbie Mark

It is Safe to Look Within

Yet another card from my Louise Hay card collection:





For someone very introspective, this card seems obvious, but if I meditate on it, I realize that it is harder for me to look within at my "shadow emotions" like anger or anxiety. It is harder for me to see beauty there, but it is possible. Most of all, it is safe! Hmmmmmm...something to think about today, for sure. What do you think? Is it safe for you to look within, and then, when you look to see beauty...especially with the more difficult emotions? Today, I want to link "safety" with "looking within" and with "magnificence and beauty" and with "anger and anxiety" as well today. This is a challenge, but I'm interested in what I'll find out.