Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sacred Life Sunday: A Sunday Adventure

This is a belated Sacred Sunday post!

I was inspired by Kelly Kikipotamus' visit to a church a few Sundays ago and wanted to do the same. I've felt more and more as though my church and I are not a match. I've been going since April, so for seven months, and what worked in the beginning no longer fits who I am, if it ever did. I no longer belong and I don't want to fit myself in. As much as I do enjoy Rick's Church of What Works, I want to go to a church IRL as well. Something in me keeps wanting that tangibility and physicality.

Sometimes I wonder if I ever will find the "instant community" that Kelly spoke of--anywhere. I change and grow so much. Yet still I long for friends who are local and for like-minded people with whom I can share common values.

This Sunday I was excited to try a place that is the closest match I've could imagine. But then I slept in, right through the service start time (10AM). So I decided to have a Sunday adventure instead.

LoveHubbie and I decided to go every weekend to our local Farmer's Market and fresh fish shop. But he chooses to work every day, even on weekends, and rarely has time. So this weekend I went alone. It was so fantastic. I decided to wait and see what I would see and what I would discover, and just let the day unfold. This has always been one of my favorite things to do.

First of all, I heard some bagpipes playing, quite a few of them. So I followed the sounds and saw this:

Olympia is an interesting place, but this was unusual even for here. It ended up that they were a group of bagpipe players rehearsing for a big holiday parade. I usually avoid such things (crowds), but for some reason I was up for it on Sunday. I didn't stand and watch the parade, but walked all around while it was going on, meeting people's eyes, everyone, connecting in small ways, sharing love. It was a delightful time. Hard to believe I could have such a nice time around a large group of people.

At one point I encountered an arts & crafts street fair. I bought a necklace and a small "baby" purse to go in my "Momma"purse, so I can offload what I need for a given stop and leave the Momma in the care and load the baby for the trip.

Here is the necklace. The pendant is made of felted wool by a local artist:

Here is the purse, also felted wool by the same artist. I'll show you my Momma purse so you can see how it fits:

Making the street fair come alive was a busker. He was playing in the freezing weather, and he was so joyful. I dropped a dollar into his guitar case and he smiled a big smile in gratitude. Then I noticed that there were only three one dollar bills in his case and a little change and the fair was almost at its close. As I walked away I thought of my wonderful friend Dwight, who is an Australian librarian and web designer turned traveling busker, and felt very wistful. A voice kept telling me to go back, go back.

So I turned around, went back and put all the cash I had left into his case, which was only about $7 or so. But still. I wanted him to know he made a difference in my day. He was overjoyed and received my message, I could tell.

I had a great Sunday adventure.

I was aware that it was the first day of Advent. I am entranced by the Church year, intrigued by the idea of darkness and waiting and the beginning of a season that culminates with a spiritual highlight--Christmas--that I don't really understand. This year the whole season means something different to me, something spiritual, but what exactly, I don't know. I feel as though this year I'm going to discover what it means and it will be something new.

In past years Christmas has been a painful time. I've written about my mother's suicide attempt and LoveHubbie's children before, so you know that I don't really celebrate Christmas much. We all know that Jesus was born we all are glad but the idea of a day to run around and give each other gifts because of it never made much sense to me. This year is different. The pain is behind me, the past, all of the old stuff. I don't know what this Christmas means, but I am excited to find out.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Blessing of Warmth

The brutal cold and harsh weather helps me to appreciate the beauty and softness of the other seasons. I am not a big fan of winter.

I am a bit down on this weather after having something like two weeks with either minimal heat or no heat. The repairman came over and over again (5 times) and the system would be fixed for a few hours and then break again. Apparently it is a complex computerized system with many components and the mother board is bad.

On Thanksgiving night, a different repairman, the manager, and the owner of the company came out to fix our system, and they did. We now have both heat and humidity. This coming week, an expert from Honeywell will come out to permanently fix the system so that our thermostats and zones will work as well, and to repair or replace the mother board. The owner of the company has a lot of integrity; he apologized for the big mess, for all of the problems that we've been having. It was a great Thanksgiving gift.

This time of coldness and personal discomfort taught me to be grateful for blessings. When you are freezing cold, it's hard to think, hard to be grateful for anything. Everything in your world narrows down to one thing--getting warm. Survival. The longer you are cold, the harder it becomes. I am glad that our time was short. But now I really feel for all of the people who have no way of getting warm at this time of year, and there are many. Homeless people, for one. But also the working poor, who can't afford heat. There are many people our country and around the world for whom being cold is the norm.

We are so blessed it so many ways. Ways that we take for granted much of the time.

Today I am grateful to be warm.

~Photo by LoveHubbie Mark, edited by me

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Love is the Answer

I wanted to write about a comment that Kim left me about my post from yesterday, which was about how Love is always the answer. She wrote that I could love: 

(1) My hurt parts,
This is in fact a blessing because I wouldn't hurt so much if I didn't love her. I can focus on the years of betrayal and my discombobulated sense of reality or I can focus on how much I love her and how grateful I am to know the truth and be closer to her in her pain.

(2) Through what she [Calley] is going through,
She has been suffering for years and will continue to suffer no matter what--if she chooses to stay where she is and suffer the consequences--or if she chooses to recover. I can love her and support her no matter what, while I at the same time take care of myself.

(3) The courage she had to muster to finally live in the truth,
Every time someone chooses the truth over lies it is a cause to rejoice. And choosing authenticity is choosing a lot of other good things as well.

(4) The fact that she has me to love her.
I am glad to be there for her and that I have a love for her that is stronger than this. I will stand by her close or far-away (if it comes down to that). I hope that I can stay close. 

Thank you for this great writing inspiration Kim Queen of Big Love, for reminding me that Love is Always the Answer

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Peace in the Drama

One great side benefit from the homeopathic HCG diet I've been experiencing is a general sense of well-being, a great difference from my normal base state of generalized anxiety. That has been the best benefit so far. The sense of peace and empowerment has been valuable this month as different personal stresses have come up.

I had written on my diet blog that someone told me a secret that shook up my world and my sense of reality. Someone I'm close to, we'll call her "Calley",  told me that she is in fact an addict. All of a sudden all of the stories she has told me over many years that previously didn't make sense and sounded oddly convoluted now make sense. She is an addict and has lots of other problems too (obviously). She was honest with me after lying to me (and everyone else) for years, which I am very happy about, but now I need to decide how to be around her--where I need new boundaries and how to stay safe. Spiritually, my life is now all about letting go, so I need to determine how to let go in this situation. I'm not sure where I'm going to go with this as I am still in shock and a bit dazed, but I have prayed about it and am confident that I'll know what to do as time goes on. Lots of addict drama here, but all is fine. Again, that peace and empowerment sense is most helpful.

Peaceful feelings--knowing that God is control--and feelings of empowerment--knowing that I will indeed be able to do whatever I need to do--these are so vital to me today.

I am grateful.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Spiritual Changes in November

Since I've been on this HCG diet, I've been more assertive and more interested in pursuing spiritual community. We belong to a lovely church. I have tried my best to fit in and just can't. I am always so different from everyone else and as nice as they are, I seem to have some sort of block in that I cannot relate to anyone without feeling as though they find me hopelessly strange. I find myself making excuses for being who I am. So I have decided to listen to myself and to God about what to do next.

Just today I joined two new online groups. One has been started by my blogging friend Heather Plett and is called Sophia Leadership. Actually it is not a group, but a web site, and much more. Visit Sophia Leadership here at the main site or also here on Facebook. It is a place for anyone who wants to explore the idea and the experience of feminine wisdom. My particular Christian tradition teaches me to not trust myself or my own wisdom, but to only trust Jesus. I disagree. I believe that in learning to trust myself, I use one of the greatest gifts I have, given to me by God, and in doing so I learn how to become closer to Jesus. I even believe that it is He who leads me to know and honor my feminine wisdom. This is a very radical idea to some, but I have come to believe this wholeheartedly.

Sophia Leadership is also for men, for anyone who wants to participate in feminine wisdom.

I really love Heather's logo. It beautifully embodies and expresses feminine wisdom. As some of you know, I am fascinated by the labyrinth. Heather's logo of course is not a labyrinth, but it is a spiral that is reminiscent of a labyrinth in many ways.

Another group I joined today is based upon the book "God in the Yard" by L. L. Barkat. It is a small group of women who are reading the book and doing the exercises together. I love the idea of going into my backyard and listening to God. I know that I will enjoy this process, no matter what answers I get. If I don't make a point of doing this instead of being wistful about it, I will never make the time for it. Find out more about this amazing book here.

I know I'm joining quite a few groups lately. I am doing this HCG diet and have a private blog for it (let me know if you want an invite), plus I am studying faster EFT, I've joined Kate's The Queen of Creativity Castle, and now Sophia Leadership and God in the Yard. All are so important to me right now. I know that it may end up that I don't have time or focus for all of them, but I'm hoping that there will be a good fit for me in as many as possible.

At any rate, I am in a spiritual growth mode. I don't know where it will lead, but I trust God. And myself.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sacred Life Sunday: Accepting Others For Who They Are

When we don't give ourselves permission to be free, we rarely tolerate that freedom in others. ~BreneBrown

Saturday, November 13, 2010

If You Want More On Homeopathic HCG

If there are any of you regular readers of happyluau who are greatly interested in my progress on the homeopathic HCG diet, I have a separate blog for that which is private. I write in minute detail about the previous day--what I ate, how it made me feel, problems and issues, etc. Only people really interested in this would want to read at such length about someone's weight loss journey, but if you do, please let me know, and I'll send you an invite.

I may make the blog public at some point, but for now it feels better to just keep it this way.

I'll be posting general updates here, if and when there is anything to report.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Lessons From Brazil: Lesson #4: I Need To Write

As many of you know, I got back recently from a whirlwind trip to Salvador, Brazil for the wedding of my beloved nephew and his wonderful wife. I was only there for a short time but it was life-changing. So I decided to start a short blog series called "Lessons from Brazil" to share about this trip, to help me to process it, and to inspire you.

When I traveled to Brazil a couple of weeks ago and fasted from technology, I wrote every single day, almost all the time I could, up to 6 hours a day. I wrote on all the planes, I wrote in my hotel in Miami, I wrote on my balcony in the posada in Brazil. I wrote every second I could get. I processed everything that happened.

I got a new Moleskine just for the trip, stamped it up, put washimatta tape all over it, and wrote in pencil. Writing in pencil is a pattern-breaker for me and so much fun. I'm definitely a fountain pen girl, so it was exciting to just write with an old-fashioned school pencil and keep sharpening it. I have continued this since I've been back, for much less time of course. I processed everything that happened to me, journaled about it all and asked myself other questions too--questions that would just pop up as I was writing. Here are some:
(1) What does it mean to live life as "valid" versus as an invalid?
(2) Will I go to ___'s funeral? Why or why not?
(3) Is it better to stand up for this person when they're railroaded by a bully when the bully will be offended and retaliate or is it better to handle everything privately behind the scenes?
(4) Do I confront ___ and ___ when they lie to me? Do I just let it go? Do I laugh and move on?
(5) What would it mean for me to "die with my song inside me"?
(6) How do I totally let go of my need to be a victim?
(7) Why does someone choose to live to hate? What do they get out of devoting their life to hate?

I would go back and answer those questions when I ran out of things to write in the main part of the journal.

Some of these questions are things that Chani and I would talk about. Now I journal about them.

I overdid it a bit on the trip but I'm glad that I did, because I have been resisting making time for simple journaling. I missed it. I do believe it is a need for me and not a want. Whatever it is, it is something I will continue to make time for.

Do you journal regularly, in addition to blogging?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lessons From Brazil: Lesson #3: Technofast

As many of you know, I got back recently from a whirlwind trip to Salvador, Brazil for the wedding of my beloved nephew and his wonderful wife. I was only there for a short time but it was life-changing. So I decided to start a short blog series called "Lessons from Brazil" to share about this trip, to help me to process it, and to inspire you.

When I traveled to Brazil a couple of weeks ago, I went on a fast from technology (a "technofast") for almost a week. This means no Internet, no texting, no Facebook or Twitter, no Kindle, no iPod, no television, no radio, no camera, and no phone. It was quite difficult in many ways. Mostly that I missed everyone. But I also experienced many "fasting" benefits.

The best part of being disconnected from the techno world was that I wrote like a banshee for up to 6 hours a day in my Moleskine in pencil. I wrote on the planes, I wrote in my hotel in Miami, I wrote on my balcony in the posada in Brazil. I wrote every second I could get. I processed everything that happened. I thought a lot. I could really be present with people, just be there without being interrupted by anything. I really experienced the sights, sounds, and smells of Brazil. I was really calm and peaceful much of the time. It was delightful.

I think we all need time to be unplugged, even just to enjoy being plugged in! Consider taking a technofast. For some people it may be just a day, or even just a few hours. Let me know what you experience. I'm betting that your time back online will be even richer for it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sacred Life Sunday: Blessed

On this beautiful Sunday morning, I am wishing you all a day of rest, peace, fun, play, delight, joy, and love. I am blessed and so are you. That alone is reason enough to have an amazing day!

~Photo by Sabrina Moran edited by me

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Lessons from Brazil: Lesson 2: Paper Products Everywhere!

As many of you know, I got back recently from a whirlwind trip to Salvador, Brazil for the wedding of my beloved nephew and his wonderful wife. I was only there for a short time but it was life-changing. So I decided to start a short blog series called "Lessons from Brazil" to share about this trip, to help me to process it, and to inspire you.

Brazilians in Salvador like to conserve paper. What does this mean?

This means that there is no "paper" option for bagging groceries at the store. There are no Kleenexes, napkins, and paper towels on every counter, spilling out of dispensers for patrons in restaurants and in hotel rooms. There is toilet paper, but you just use a small amount, and once you are done you put it in a very small container in the bathroom about as big as a woman's purse which is emptied daily. The few paper napkins I saw were one-ply and very tiny, a little bigger than a sheet of toilet paper.

Have you ever noticed how we throw paper products around? Here we even use paper plates, and some of us (I'm guilty!) eat off of them because I don't want to do dishes--poor me, I don't have a dishwasher! For many of us, our household shopping is done in multiple boxes from Amazon (guilty again!) because of the free shipping--this results in us having large trash bags full of packaging to dispose of in huge cans each week. We can't even lift the cans as they are so big and heavy--we have to drag them on wheels. In Salvador, they set their little plastic grocery bags out by the curb or on a little stand for pickup. People don't spend the money for large dedicated "trash bags"--there is no money to spend in such a way--it would probably seem silly.

We definitely have an abundance of paper products here, but I'm wondering if we could conserve more. It would be good for the trees and for the environment. Even though we recycle, I think we could do better.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

News from OTV, HCG, fasterEFT

Welcome to another installment of OTV, including news about The Queen of Creativity's Castle--a new creative community!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Introversion and a New Creative Community

Here is a great article about introversion from Psychology Today, for all of you fellow introverts and for those who want to understand us! I hope you enjoy it.

I found out about the article via the Queen of Creativity---Kate---who also has a new creative community called The Queen of Creativity Castle on ning. I have followed Kate's art on her blog for years and watched it grow and develop; she inspires me and I'm delighted to be a part of this new community. It you want to flex your creativity muscles, visit and consider joining in!

~Photo by LoveHubbie Mark with my edits