Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Summoning Up My Dream

In the last two days, a theme has repeated in my life and I've had an epiphany: I've been afraid to dream dreams--life dreams, hopes, visions--for a long time, maybe since I was a young woman. So I just stopped dreaming. I've been afraid to believe.

Then on Monday, Kate's birthday, Kate launched a giveaway for her new Safe Harbor Creativity Coaching practice. It's a huge giveaway of a month of coaching with her, and she is offering some cool specials as well. I was excited to enter. Part of the entry was to leave a comment about your creative dream, which also might be what you'd like to be coached about. I really had to think on that. I have problems and issues and am very aware of what they are--that's what I work on in therapy. But dreams--creative dreams? How long has it been since I've given myself permission to have those?

So I summoned up a dream and entered Kate's contest. I wasn't sure if it fit or not. I was surprised that I could come up with one and write it in the comment.

Then on Tuesday I was reviewing a new book by Danielle LaPorte from It hasn't come out yet (I'm reviewing an advance copy), but when it does this April, you should get it. It's called The Fire Starter Sessions. It is SO good! I was just in the introduction, and Danielle wrote about how important it is to commit to dreaming about your ideal life, to make it a regular life practice, refine it every day. I thought, "Whoa! What a difference from me? I had to think to even figure out what my dream might be! How could my life shift if I allowed myself to daily refine my dreams?"

The last tap from the Universe was Tuesday also when my therapist told me about a book she had been reading about the importance of rehearsing our dreams in our heads, suggesting that I may choose to do this. I knew for sure that this was a message I needed to incorporate into my life.

As if all of that wasn't enough, today, Wednesday, Cinner wrote a post about her dream. How our dreams can change morph as life changes us. I knew these messages were all for me.

Today I wrote my dream out. After sitting with its kernel from Kate's page for a couple of days, I expanded it a bit more and wrote:
My dream is to figure out a way to have the time, energy, and belief in myself to do the things I love as a creative career: art, writing, reading, and encouraging other people, probably as a life coach. (Note: I already am a certified life coach and have a master's degree as well, so this is a doable dream. The hardest part of this dream is the initial part!)

It took so much from me to admit this to myself. I haven't spent time dwelling on it or rehearsing it yet--more just allowing it, and letting myself dip my toe into the deep end of my imagination as I try it on for size.

What is your dream? Do you allow yourself to meditate on it daily?

Or are you already living your dream? I suspect that some of you are--I have seen this happen over and over in your lives. Please share.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The One Thing, The One Word

Today Oriah Mountain Dreamer had a wonderful quote related to imperfectioN on her Facebook page. It also dovetails with our themes--our words for 2012--this year. This is from one of her many great books, called "The Call":

"The call is about the finding the one thing you came here to say and saying it a thousand different ways- in your words, your actions, your choices- so you and the world can really hear it. It’s about finding the end of the one thread that glows luminescent for you and following it faithfully to the time and place- here and now- where you can weave it into the fabric of your life and so offer it to the world. It’s not about getting it right, not about living your word perfectly. It’s about coming into life-long relationship with the one word you long to know, the one word that seems at times to come so easily to others and yet has eluded you for most of your life. Out of our willingness to learn from our weakness, we develop a strength we can offer to others." ~ Oriah (c) 2003 from The Call

~Photo by Me of the field off our driveway one day long, long ago when the sun was shining

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Today, Allow ImperfectiON

Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor. 
~Anne Lamott in "Bird by Bird"

Today, allow imperfectiON and see how freeing it is! Does it free you up...or not? 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sacred Sunday: Releasing Unforgiveness, Abusive Mothers, Prejudice

On Sundays I sometimes like to do personal work on issues that are troubling me. Today I went for a long walk and worked on releasing prejudice, unforgiveness, anger, and hurt. There was a lot more than I thought to process, but I felt better afterwards. Such big things will take a lot of work to fully let go of, I'm thinking, but I do feel like I made a lot of progress today.

The issues I worked on today had to do with mothers emotionally harming their children. I've changed the names for privacy.

The first mother I focused on is someone I'll call Nelly. I wrote about her last month in my post called Enemies. I want to release the negative feelings and judgments I have towards her. Nelly is a pious fundamentalist Christian mother who taught her children that God had enough people doing good for others; she wanted her family to work together to help God deliver his punishments to others. She set about doing this vigorously as a life mission--a judgment-based crusade with Nelly as The Judge. She included in her crusade her ex-husband, oblivious to the fact that this would cause her children to reject a part of themselves as they rejected their father.

Today I worked on forgiving Nelly, knowing that she would have to be stunted emotionally to consider such actions. I wouldn't expect someone who is so deeply emotionally developmentally disabled to be able to do more. At some level she probably loves her children. She may even have no idea what she is doing. If she ever does wake up and realize what she's done she may not even be able to handle it.

My part in this is that I am one of the people Nelly thinks deserves ongoing punishment for my sins, administered by her and her children. I worked on expressing anger towards Nelly first, then forgiving her. I worked towards trying to send blessings and healing energies her way.

Now as adults not all of the children still follow Nelly's ways, but some do. It hurts me to see this way of thinking passed down. I am powerless over all of it, though, and can only send love their way.

Next came Minnie. Minnie is a very self-righteous woman, someone I grew up with and cared greatly about. Minnie and Nelly share a worldview in that they are both fundamentalist Christians. Minnie thought that it would be better to alienate her children from people who didn't have "Christian lifestyles" that measured up to Minnie's standards. This would protect them, she thought.

I was one of those people that didn't measure up in Minnie's mind. At that time I was a Christian, but just not the right kind. So Minnie made sure that her children had no contact with me. I disagreed with this and it hurt, especially since I was related to Minnie and her children.

Now as I try to forgive Minnie, I can see that her intentions were good. She was trying to protect her children from someone with dangerous ideas (any ideas that were different from hers) and with ways of being in the world that were threatening to her worldview.  I experienced a lot of hurt and sadness as a result of her actions, and continue to experience it even now because Minnie's adult children continue in her lifestyle as adults.

I followed the same process here: first anger, then feelings of sadness for the loss of relationship, trying to establish some empathy, forgiveness, then sending love.

Then came Queenie. Queenie is a mother who tries to control her children and everyone else. She also is a Christian, therefore many things are done because it seems to her that this is the way God wants it. She did some things to one of my family members that tore their family apart, and caused them to lose custody of their children because she lied. Queenie is a really hard person for me to forgive. I have a thing about lying, and really struggle...

Anyway, she has nothing in particular against me; it's just that if you don't let her run your life, you'll be very sorry. She bullies people into doing what she wants.

More of the same here for me: releasing resentment, forgiveness for so many things, struggling to send goodness her way.

Empathy helps. I have never done this type of thing to anyone, but if I really felt like I had to have control to the point that I would die or implode, I might. We are all capable of anything, I believe, given the right past, the right experiences, etc. I don't believe that I'm any better of a person than Queenie--or for that matter, than Nelly or Minnie. I just have had a different past and am a different person.

Then I focused on my own mother. She was verbally and physically abusive to us. I went through the same process with her because it just felt like I needed to. This is probably why I feel so keenly about mothers who hurt their children--because it happened to me.

Even though she hurt her children deeply, I'm sure she didn't want to. I'm sure she would feel devastated to know the damage she did. I remember her crying each time afterwards, telling me how much she loved me and how sorry she was. What a life to live--to beat and verbally abuse your children--to hate yourself, and then get up the next day and do it all over again.

When you are abused and you survive and you still love your parent, it shows you that you are strong enough to make it through, and that you have an amazing ability to love. I don't know that I have much love left for my mother (mostly just relief that she is gone--she died over 30 years ago) but I don't hate her anymore, which I think is a good thing. I know that she did many good things for us and did the best she could.

Lastly, I thought about another mother I know who I'll call Bunnie. I had a long conversation with Bunnie this week, and she is a different kind of mother than the ladies above. Bunnie loves her children--really loves her children. She had a difficult upbringing, but had a mother who truly showed her all the love she possibly could. She told her every day that she was special and made her feel loved and valued. Bunnie was truly mothered.

Bunnie has taken a different approach to raising her children. Instead of "protecting" them from family members with different beliefs, instead of lying to them to alienate them from people she disagrees with, instead of manipulating people to try to control her children's experiences, instead of insulating them from life with religious beliefs--she has loved them. She's had integrity in how she has cared for her children.

But she learned how to love from her mother. She was taught well. Nelly, Minnie, Queenie, my mother--none of them had that. All of them were repeating what they knew and trying so hard to get it right.

Understanding this, putting all of this in perspective really helped me in being able to forgive. Of course, I'm not done yet--this is a process that will take a long time, but I feel freer, as though I've made an excellent start.

Today's work also helped me to release prejudice towards fundamentalist Christians. I've written about this before. This is something I really need to deal with. All Christians are not like Nelly, Minnie, and Queenie. People like these three ladies are attracted to all kinds of groups and spiritual systems that can make them feel good about their actions; fundamentalist Christianity just happened to be the one they picked.

I used to be a fundamentalist Christian, and I was really doing the best I could. I wanted to be a loving person. I couldn't see that judgment and unforgiveness had no place in Christianity. We called it "discernment". We thought we were right. We thought we were righteous. We would project our feelings onto others--all of them that we had no room for--which were quite a few of them. The feelings that we did have, we were told never, ever, ever to trust. Still, there is no basis for me to judge a whole group of people based upon my bad experiences and my experiences with these mothers. They could have picked another kind of group and achieved the same results; it just was easy to pick Christianity because it was there.

Not sure why I wanted to share this all with you, but I did. I hope that there is something to be gleaned from it. I hope that perhaps I might inspire you to forgive those you want to forgive. Or maybe you have some prejudice against some group of people that you want to release. Or maybe it's just to validate that you are a mother who really loves her children, like Bunnie, and is not too emotionally developmentally disabled to show it. Maybe it's to be grateful that you are the person you are, someone not trapped in some weird psychological knot that causes you to act out in destructive ways and hurt those around you. Maybe it's to show more empathy to those people you know who are trapped.

Thank you for listening today, Sacred Sunday, xoO

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Post-Valentine's Day Reflections

Oh, so many of you shared such helpful things with me after my Valentine's Day post! Thank you for sharing with me how you see Valentine's Day. I wanted to summarize and highlight parts of your comments that really helped me here, not just in the comments, because really they are so good that they warrant a separate post. I did put some personal notes in the comments for each of you too though :)

Many of your eschew the cultural and materialistic demands of the holiday. It was interesting to me that this is true of people with good, strong marriages.

kate shared about some of the energetic factors involved; she wrote that when we stop needing something, stop striving with a strong attachment, then in some way we release the resistance and what we want can slip into our lives easily, naturally.

kate also wrote that it is unkind to oneself to allow our minds to entertain painful thoughts--things that cannot be changed or controlled. It is sort of an invited misery, as I see it. kate writes that it is hard work to practice self-love and self-kindness with the mind but it is worth it.

Angie shared how she and her husband have created their own way to commemorate their love by celebrating their first date instead of Valentine's Day. It's not as busy of a time and there are no long lines to compete with.

Patti lives the themes of the love celebrated at Valentine's Day all year long. She and her husband let each other know throughout the year, especially in simple ways, that they love each other. He doesn't like the commercialism of Valentine's Day at all. She shared a story of an elderly couple's love and how moving it was--I find that the most moving love story of all--a story of love that has endured through years of life's trials.

Kristine wrote her feelings about Valentine's Day on her blog and linked to it. She wrote about how competitive it can sometimes be and how she focuses on sharing love in general with everyone. I know that many of you do this. Love For All. I am going to definitely focus on this next Valentine's Day and be open to love wherever I find it and wherever I can give it in 2013. She also shared some memories she called cheesy, but that I think are super-cool. Demonstrations of love--I'll take all of them--no matter how expressed! I love what she wrote: "Every day offers the chance to love extravagantly." So very true! She also shared a link to this good-good-good Valentine's Day story--everyone go there--you'll love it!

Lori-Lyn wrote about how she can now enjoy Valentine's Day without wistful longing because of a relationship with her higher power. Even though I wrote about this in my post, I so quickly forget and let myself be taken back to be mired in thoughts of intense and painful longing. She also brought up that it's okay to have things be both/and--to be bittersweet. We don't always have to be one thing or the other.

Mary wrote about how it's challenging to get our self-love and love from a higher power to the degree that we don't feel that we need it from other's at time. I agree and feel as though I am just beginning on this journey. She and her husband, as many of the strong marriages of my friends, celebrate but don't need anything in particular as they already know that they love each other. This is a good place to be in.

Karen wrote about the support, loyalty and respect that her husband extends to her throughout the year, thus not requiring extravagant displays on a particular day. Isn't this what love really is---and how can there be love without them. Without support? Without loyalty? Without respect?

I have learned so much from all of you. I am so glad I posted that post because without it I would have not learned so much from the shared wisdom of each of you. Thank you my friends, for how you bless me on Valentine's Day and every day! xoO

~jpeg from

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Want to Go To Green Mountain

I am going to write a post about the wonderful comments you wrote on my Valentine's Day post and what I learned---so check back soon!

Instead, tonight I wanted to share with you a post about why I want to win Karen C.L. Anderson's big Giveaway for a trip to Green Mountain at Fox Run. Tomorrow (Feb 16th) is the last day to enter, so if you are interested, enter right now! Anyway, here is the essay I wrote about why I want to win:

"I think that self-love, self-acceptance, self-validation--the lack of these are the roots of my almost half-century of disordered eating. I have tried numerous other ways to approach my relationship with food and none have been helpful in any long-lasting or real way. Of all of the ways I have tried, constant dieting and food restriction has been the most destructive.
I have resonated with the work of Geneen Roth and Mary O’Malley on compulsive overeating. I have tried to apply their processes with varying degrees of success at different times in my life. I do believe that they have the answer, and I need to work with myself to learn to become skillful and mindful in the way I eat. Although I’ve read widely on self-acceptance, mindful eating, and intuitive eating, so many questions remain. I think that there are many things I need to discover for myself and many things that I can only experience with others. 
I enjoyed re-reading Karen’s posts about her Green Mountain experience and have a couple of reflections: 
Karen included in one post a quote from Darla Breckenridge: "Abusing food cuts our heads off from our bodies.” I think that this disconnection is what I’ve wanted somehow, or at least not minded. Unfortunately, it is also the reason I avoid yoga and meditation and most activities that involve my body--because the body becomes one with the mind and heart, and for me this still feels like too much to bear. But yet I want to go there…
I would so like to reconnect my head to my body, even though I also fear it! I know that I have been stuck in a destructive cycle of self-loathing for most of my life. I know that a childhood of physical and verbal abuse as well as abusive adult relationships have affected my ability to be whole. I am at last working towards reparenting myself, learning to value myself, and finding love, acknowledgement, and safety--especially from myself. 
I would see my time at Green Mountain as a chance to focus on applying what I know in a safe, supportive environment with others on the same journey as I am. I can actually practice there with support. I would love to take the classes and take the time to look within to find answers to my questions."
It's easy to enter the Giveaway, and the winner is chosen at random based on entries, so you don't need to write the best essay. I spent some time on this and posted it because I wanted to be clear about where I am currently with my problem with emotional eating. And of course, because I would be sharing it with you. Karen has links on her blog to several posts she wrote about it if you want to find out more.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines Day--How Do You See It? I Want to Know!

Here are two beautiful Valentines from two of my friends:

(1) From kate
This is the key, isn't it? To so many things...maybe to everything...

(2) From Lori-Lyn
So much love, as always, from Lori-Lyn.

These made me feel so loved! Many of you also had special blog posts for today. I celebrated too for those of you with "traditional" Valentine celebrations with your mates.

Are you like me? I love the valentines, so much. There is a part of me that still longs for the "traditional" valentine, and I wonder why?

My belief is that the Greatest Love that we need to find and cultivate in this life is love for ourself and love from our spiritual Beloved--these overlap in a mystical way that I do not yet understand. I would say I'm only beginning to realize and celebrate this Greatest Love

So that's the consciously held belief. Then there is the yearning, and the yearning fights with the belief. I want the hearts and flowers. I want the romantic dinner out at the lovely restaurant. I just want to be someone's special Valentine. I think I've wanted that forever. Maybe that is promoted by my cultural upbringing, Hollywood, etc. Or maybe it is some romantic flaw I have that is due to some odd personality weakness. I don't know. I just know that this is how I am, for whatever reason.

Valentine's Day is yet another holiday that I try to make into something meaningful, and succeed to some extent. I still struggle with feelings of being left out, though, as though like everything else, it's for other people but not for me. I feel that way about Easter and Christmas too. I wonder if it will always be this way.

How about you? Are you a slave to our culture's expectations for Valentine's Day? Do you truly find fulfillment in self-love and love from your Higher Power? Love from family and friends? Or do you yearn for a special and particular romantic love from someone? What are your thoughts? Is anyone else writing/talking about this?

Let me know, xoO

Monday, February 13, 2012

Just Needed a Laugh Today

After having gastroenteritis for a week, I now have that virus-thing that's going around with the dry cough, sore throat, moving to painful lungs and hacking, then continuing on to basic flu-like symptoms. I needed a laugh. Here is something from Ellen DeGeneres that is short but hopefully will make you smile too:

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sacred Life Sunday: Fragility

Today Oriah Mountain Dreamer had a few words to share on her Facebook page about the passing of Whitney Houston yesterday. She wrote:

"Read about the passing of Whitney Houston. The article I read said this: "She had the perfect voice, and the perfect image: A gorgeous singer who had sex appeal but was never overtly sexual, who maintained perfect poise." Could not help but think- "Death by perfection." Perfectionism tears at wholeness, leaves no room for the humanness. That kind of projection can kill a person. Just terribly sad."

"Death by perfection"--it's something to think about. What pressure must Whitney Houston have had upon her to be the perfect singer, the perfect mother, to have the perfect marriage? Perfection and striving are deadly indeed, but this is something that I didn't learn for a long, long time. I feel grateful and fortunate to know this now, privileged to be able to explore it here, and very, very sad for Whitney Houston and her family.

Life is so very short, and so fragile.

~Photo from Oriah Mountain Dreamer's post today on her FB page

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Goings On...Back Home

Thanks to all who wished my well after my bout with gastroenteritis. People are being hit like gangbusters with "sudden vomiting and diarrhea"...we had a cheerleading competition here in WA and the cheerleaders were smitten--not pretty.

I'm now back from Atlanta, and wanted to share a few pictures and movies of the snow here from the last few weeks with you. These are before the subsequent wind and ice storm, before all the damage was done, when things were still pretty. I hope that you enjoy them...

This is our back porch:

Here's our woodshed seen out of the bedroom window. Can you see the little towers of snow on the tops of the posts?

Here's my car covered in the snow:

You almost can't recognize the front of the house:

This is a 29 second video in which I try and fail to capture snow falling from the trees. It's still so beautiful...

It came out a little small, and the quality isn't what I'd like. I'll work on this :) It's impErFect!

And in this 26 second video you can feel the stillness...the only sound is that of the chimes.

Peace and love to each one of you...I am glad to be back and to see you here!