Floating

roses

New rose bush 2013

I can believe it is Sunday again. This week went by very rapidly. Makes me sad to think we are already at the end of May. My favorite month and time of year is June. Not because it is my birthday month, which it is, but because it is the most beautiful month of the year. The weather is usually perfect. The animals are visible and have babies. There herons are here and at the River. My plants are in and it is primetime for my favorite flower, the rose. A beautiful rose will capture my heart and my breath. I have several bushes, some I just put in last year and some have been here forever, and all are doing terrific.

open roses
I see a lot of growth happening with friends and myself. I have talked about this with my Spiritual Counselor who said this was a real phenomenon. It seems like the heavy stagnant energy that has been with us for a long while seems to be lifting. I know personally, I had a horrible winter which brought on some real moments of angst and fear. I felt lost and angry in all my relationships and felt I had fallen off my path and into a deep muddy gulch. I cannot express how grateful I am for the strong hands of support that helped me out and guided and worked with me to get back on my way. I highly recommend working with a mentor, guide, counselor and being with people who have similar interests to help facilitate growth and healing.

flying geese 1
Now is a great time for many to shake off the dust from their feathers and start to fly in the direction they feel is their path. For myself, I was stuck on having hard concrete path to follow. I have found it does not work that way. It is very difficult for someone like me who has been totally goal oriented and based her life on measurable achievement to refocus. This is a whole different approach for me to let go and float. I equate it to being on the air filled float in a pool or stream and just letting it take you where it wants to go. You do not fight it and you do not control it. I have discovered that when I let go, I automatically drift in a direction that really is amazing and where I wanted to go all along.

1 kid jump
The trick is to be in the right place to start. That takes lots of work to drop off unneeded baggage and things that weigh us down. It takes trust. That is the float or foundation that supports the journey. That has been extremely hard for me. Not so much trusting others, but to trust myself and to believe in myself. When my float is full of trust and confidence I move along but when it is deflated for whatever reason, I slow down.

geese to cove
We have to build at least a body of work to float on. This is figuring out the things you want in life and casting off the things that no longer work. I think of this as finding the right stream or body of water to float in or on. I am still working on this but as part of trusting, it is also forming on its own. I think we discover small rapids and difficult passages our whole life, but when the trust is there and the foundation is strong, the stream flows easily again and we prevail.

Annuals one of many flats

Annuals one of many flats

In upstate New York, this weekend heralds the summer with many traditions. People open their pools. The garden centers are mobbed as people rush to get their annuals and vegetables. Very few people grow from seed here as the season is too short. Farmers are turning their fields and planting. My backyard becomes my sanctuary. Even this space represents the feeling of this period of transition. When the snow finally left the yard, we did not have a lick of grass in most places. It was a mud pit and barren. With a little work and trust, it is now a lush green carpet.

I hope everyone enjoys their weekend.

 

The Garden views 2014

Well folks, it is finally here. Spring. I thought we would never get here. It is time to share my refuge and one of my sacred places. This is where I go in my head when I need to calm. It is so great to physically be able sit in my garden.

Dawn breaks

Dawn breaks

We had a long very cold winter. Some of my plants did not fair well. We had NO grass. We put down seed twice.

The bare yard before seed.

The bare yard before seed

We spent two weekends hand tilling and putting down seed. Mother Earth provided the rain. Boy did she. The canal by our house went over its banks. I have never heard of that happening from rain, but it indicates how much we got.

Rain that cause flooding

Rain that cause flooding

The dogs spend every moment they can outside. It took them a while to get used to the open door and freedom. But they run and play for hours. Their favorite thing is to beat each other up.

The doggies playing

The doggies playing

snarling doggies

The sound so fierce.

But in the end, they love each other. The Black and White one, Cookie, is the mother to Browny.

I still love you

I still love you.

I love to just sit and look. This is the view.

View to the right

View to the right

Neighbors tree

View to the left

I have started to plant my annuals.

Annuals one of many flats

Annuals one of many flats

The best part of my day is to climb into my chair and get quiet. Sometimes a dog will jump into my lap and snuggle. Other times, it is me and my praying tree, Elgin. I sit in the quiet sounds of the birds and wind. The bugs are not out yet. I do have to bring a blanket. Often I will slowly melt into the darkness. I look forward to many nights of thinking, prayer and reflection and meditation and the best: Peace.

Me in my chair: note feet.

Me in my chair: note feet.

 

 

 

The Steady Path

Spring on Lake Ontario

Spring on Lake Ontario

It is time for my Sunday morning post. I used to write every day and although I enjoyed it, I turned the limited time I have before work into my time for meditation. It was a trade-off that has helped me to start my day with a little more calm and being a lot more grounded. I also have begun my nightly ritual of sitting in the garden and ending the day out there. We have not had a lot of nice weather lately and I feel cheated when it is too cold or raining, especially after the winter we had. Sunday is a perfect day to recap the newest steps and thinking from the previous week.
I am trying to reach a state which is what this recent part of my journey has been about. Homeostasis: the tendency of a system, especially the physiological system of higher animals, to maintain internal stability, owing to the coordinated response of its parts to any situation or stimulus that would tend to disturb its normal condition or function. I have been diligently working in many areas of my life to achieve this very difficult and sometimes elusive state. I have been reading and from my fellow bloggers, there seems to be a lot of us who are struggling with this. I wonder if it is actually a natural state or being human is made up of highs and lows. I think that is true, but there is a degree of height and depth that needs to be maintained in order to be whole and healthy.
The one thing that keeps the pendulum from erratically swinging is trust. I suck at trust. Anyone who has lived a life like mine would have issues with that. And it is not from living in the past either; it is living in the present completely and being aware. I have had to learn forms of protection and I am learning to instinctively know true danger in the present moment and what is a trigger from the past.
The next step I have taken is to let go. This has been very hard for me as the lack of control is frightening. But, I never really did have control, only the illusion. I am finding this hard because I have always been a goal setter and a scheduled achiever. The big issue is to feel safe and comfortable with simply trusting that the path will be laid out before me and it will be the right one. It does not help that I turn 60 in less than a month. I do not want to waste my precious life only to end up… see; I cannot go there as this only demonstrates my lack of trust that things will be fine. It is so easy to fall into this thinking. I am struggling with my mortality and the concept of being the big 6 0. However, I have never been so aware and my past is no longer a weight I lug around. There is  freedom in the wisdom of letting go. Having a spiritual path is the greatest privilege of being human.
And speaking of traveling a spiritual path, I realized that although the last two years have been a concentrated effort working with mentors and support, this journey actually began when I was very young. At one point around the age of eight, I wanted to devote my life to God and become an Episcopal nun. I got very heavy into Christian studies at 15 in an attempt to find refuge from the storm of my home life. I joined youth groups and was very active in my church. My first real mentor was a priest friend who faded from my life around the time I was 27. He has returned to my circle in the past year as a support. When I was in my forties, I turned to a Pagan path and studied the ways of the Goddess. I have a blended approach now which has only been enhanced by the work and influence of my recent experiences and studies. I have been reading metaphysical authors such as Florence Shinn and Napoleon Hill for over fifteen years and belong to all kinds of email groups with varying degrees of spiritualism.
So I am not new to being spiritual. I am new to the healing and being more even. My path is actually very long and had many turns twists, pot holes, trenches, mud pits and mountains. There will be more of that as long as the Devine allows me to walk the path. The difference is that the holes are not so deep and the mountains are easier to get over. I am equipped with gear to get myself back on my way and the confidence to work through the ruts and tunnels…most of the time. I am human and have doubts, worries and fear still. I am very new to this trust thing and have to keep working until this becomes a solid piece of my knowledge and inner being. Most days I am up to the challenge. What is a new part of me is that I allow the down time to heal and gain strength to move on, as moving on is what I desire. And as the path I travel on steadies a bit more, I move on with my eyes and heart open, trusting myself, being aware and mindful of the great possibilities of life. Amen, So Mote it be, and Namaste.

 

 

Musings on Mother’s Day

SAMSUNG

It is the sign of the changing of the season when Mother’s Day rolls around. All the nurseries open and flowers are available to purchase for the eager gardeners. I am one of those people who wait all year for this. I used to take off from work and go to the nursery to purchase my annuals. I would walk around grinning and nodding to other shoppers who found this ritual to be a total renewal in the faith that life continues on. For some women, this is a time to celebrate children. I am not sure why we have to pin point a specific day for the honoring of child birth, other than to sell cards and flowers. I think it is more important to honor people all the time. But some would say that is my sour grapes speaking.

I am childless. Oh, it is not for lack of trying. I just never was blessed. I went through a lot of the fertility tests and did all the things that were supposed to help. But my husband at the time was not of the same mind, so we never delved into all the reasons why. That is to say in a delicate way, I am not sure if the issue was with me. When the conversation comes around and people are pontificating that they have no regrets, I pipe up that I do. This is the one thing in my life if I had a do-over, I would. I wanted children since I was a child. I had names picked out. I kept things for them to give them when they came into my life. There is nothing I can do to change that now, but I do feel I have the right to be regretful about this.

I have had wonderful children come into my life. I am still in contact with some of my favorite students who were mid-teens when we first met. Many of them now have their own families. I am very close to my two nephews and love them to pieces. But they are in Florida and only talk on the phone with very sporadic visits. I am hoping to end up living nearer to them at some point.

My husband’s family is pretty close and yet, there is a huge gap between his feelings of connection with them. We spent this weekend in the hospital because his father had a huge scare. He seems to be ok, but then, we are not being told the whole truth by his older brother. When we visited Dad without anyone else in the room, he told us he has end stage renal disease. He also said he is not planning on making his 94 birthday which is in October. I am not sure how severe the situation really is as he is not on dialysis and it has not come up in conversations at all.

The real issue this Mother’s day is his Mom. She has dementia and probably Alzheimer’s. Joe does not spend time with his mother and so we only see her with the family and she is pretty quiet but very nasty. This concentrated time this weekend really highlighted how bad she has gotten. The stress is probably what put Dad in the hospital. They have been married 64 years. She is totally dependent on him and yet is horrible to him. So the family is facing putting her in Memory Care where she will get the care she needs and my father-in-law (FIL) can get stronger and have a good remaining life. You can see the pain and guilt it is causing my FIL, but something must be done as she is becoming dangerous. She is wandering in the night, and has other issues. He deserves better care for himself.

My thoughts are how sad that this is how she is going to end her life. She has three children, none can help her now. She is horrible to everyone as the confusion of dementia is scary. Her children see her as a twisted monster, and not the mother who gave them life. She will spend her remaining years alone as even with the family close, she has no clue as to who we are sometimes. Yesterday as I sat with her, she was peaceful and enjoying our visit. But she was lost, and repeatedly asked where her husband was. When we were sitting with Dad in the hospital, we called and his sister put her on the phone so she could talk to him. His face completely changed and you could see and hear the love they still have for each other. This whole weekend has reminded me how precious relationships are.

My Mom died when I was 22. I have been without her for almost 2/3 of my life. There have been many moments in my life when I miss her. I am lucky that I have had great female friendships that have connected me with the nurturing part of my soul. I am by large, a nurturing person too. I connect with Mother Earth so strongly and get my strength from her. My garden is my refuge, my plants and animals are my children. So today, I honor the part of us all that sustains and gives us strength to grow, to love and be loved. I honor the Mother in us all.

 

 

Dealing with Weight….. part one

I am embarking on a new layer or spiral as part of my healing journey. It is probably the hardest piece of my life I have yet to face. It is dealing with shame and guilt and the result of that which has manifested in being overweight. And I hate that term, overweight. I am going to use large. Every day, we are bombarded with messages that say horribly things that only help carry the message of guilt and shame for people about their size; some who are not carrying an ounce of non-required weight. It has created an epidemic of anorexia and other eating disorders. In an attempt to be helpful, I am sure, the medical field has continued to propagate methods for quick weight loss that also create permanent health issues including death. Our society is so wrapped up tight on the perfect image that people in droves are allowing themselves to carved open and subjected to radical procedures such as stapling and banding their stomachs. The results often are newly induced problems like blood clots, the inability to process nutrients and food which then cause severe iron deficiencies, hair loss, diarrhea and more. And often, in time, the person ends up putting the weight back on. And why?

The issue is not in the fat cells. The issue is not the person’s consumption. If this was true, why is it possible for many people to eat the food they do and not gain weight? And do NOT tell me it is because they exercise. Yes that helps, but I know many people who eat whatever and whenever and do not work out and remain thin. My whole family was thin. I am the only one who is large and I ate the same foods they did growing up. I was not allowed to sit and watch TV and it was a rare day I could even sit and read. I rode my bike for miles, swam like a fish, worked in gardens and on friends farms, and when home; chores and yard work. I was not idle. At a certain point in my early teen years, my food was regulated by my mother as she harped on my size constantly. There was no running off to a fast food place to stuff something down. Everyone knew you when you lived in a small town.

And before anyone jumps on their high and mighty, yes of course, there ARE people who eat too much. But that is their choice. We radically are quick to judge a large person. People feel absolutely righteous in proclaiming their opinion on a person’s size. I cannot get with a group of women that without fail and within a short period time, the topic of weight will come up. Often, some zealous person will tell me about their success with weight loss, and leave the conversation with the question unspoken yet there, “what is wrong with you that you can’t….have you ever tried….?”

This does need an answer. But first, I want to address the feeling this produces so that other who walk this walk know they are not alone. And I am making a vow that I am going to reply from now on with, “What makes you think I haven’t tried? I have spent my whole life trying.” And that is the truth. I measure with strong self judgment everything I put into my mouth. I was just about to go into a litany of what I do to as if I need to justify myself. That is stopping also. It is no one’s business what I eat, when I eat and what I do with my body. But I am going to give some examples of how living large has affected me when it comes to the general public.

I stopped ever ordering milkshakes. When fast-food joints started offering them, I tried them and of course loved them. What 15 year old would not? I stopped when someone in line said, “should you really order that honey?” I have never had a milkshake since. I love peanut M and M’s. It was my favorite treat once a month when chocolate is the primary medicinal resolve for discomfort. I remember purchasing a bag and as I turned away from the counter some total stranger had the balls to come up and pat my stomach. I did not eat candy much because I had issues with the lack of strong enamel on my teeth and my hatred of the dentist. Even now writing this, I feel the shame this produced and continues even today when I go out. I am better about it, but not much. I apologize when I order desserts. I used to explain my purchases when I was at the grocery store. Who does that? I would feel the need to explain chips or a dessert and such to the checkout person even if was for a party. Really, who does that? Only someone who has felt the guilt and shame produced from being of size. I have never heard anyone say “oh I am purchasing this 24 pack of beer because I am having a party”, even if they are a raging alcoholic and this purchase was truly going to be consumed that night alone.

And do not tell me that this is self-inflicted. No sir, it is not. Next time you check out of a grocery store, look at the magazines staring at you as you wait. “Lose ten pounds by farting…. You CAN be thin, if you sew your mouth shut…” Ok, I am exaggerating the article titles but not by much. The media pumps this information everywhere. The diet industry is one of the biggest in the nation. I think it is great that there are things out there that do help people, don’t get me wrong. Changing your eating habits to eating healthy is critical. And the older you get, the more important that is. But trust me; people think automatically that if you are large, you do not eat healthy. That is such a lie.

Again, the general public is predisposed to speak their minds about what large people eat. I am not saying all large people eat great, but there are many of us who do. We also are experts on diets because we have probably tried everyone out there. I eat at my desk at work and we do not have doors on our offices. I do not like to take my lunch break because I like to stay focused and keep working. When I do take a break it is to go for a walk… ( ha, shocked huh?) I have done this for as long as I can remember. But it seems my coworkers have no problem to comment on my food. I used to eat salad every day with low fat dressings I make. It was rare day when I ate something different for probably fifteen years. I cannot eat salad that much anymore, so now it is a piece of chicken and egg or a piece of cheese and some prepared veggie or cukes. Without fail, it does not waver much. It is not important to me what I eat as long as it is easy, but it seems many people comment on it. “Oh, you eat so healthy”, they will proclaim in shock. I have had people stand in my doorway and go on and on about their diet and eating habits, like I give a shit. I have one woman who works near me who periodically stops in to see what I am having as if it is a test.

I must also comment on the diet industry, especially Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem. First WW: I have tried WW at least four times. Two were face to face meetings. The last time, I did lose some weight, but I was so put off from the experience I said I would never go back. The woman would weigh everyone in then make a big deal with stickers and hoopla about anyone who had lost five or more pounds. I can remember watching a fellow dieter fight tears and then leave the room because she was so humiliated and frustrated. The WW woman would then spend the rest of her time either talking about her children or selling the WW foods she brought. I have done the on-line twice, with little success. They last time I tried this was when WW decided to not count fruits and vegetables in the points systems. You could eat as much as you wanted “free.” I gained weight. I do not eat meat. I am not a big bean eater either. I took my diet to three nutritionists, who could not figure out why the pounds were not melting off. I spent six months on the strict consumption only to gain three pounds. Screw that! Other diets such as the ones that provide the food for you will make you lose weight, but they do not teach you to eat for life. Chances are you will put it all back on then some only in hopes you will buy their products again and again.

This post is long enough for now. I will continue with a series of posts about this topic as I travel through a new portal. I will explain this all later on.

For those of you who may completely get where I am coming from and may have your own personal history of weight issues, I encourage you to refocus. We are NEVER going to change the world’s opinion on this topic. But you can surely change your own opinion about yourself.

YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE. The failure is the judgment and lack of compassion of others. Hear me.

I am putting a link here to some very serious medical studies and I will be talking about this in the near future. But, take a look. Take the small assessment. For some, it may open a new door to healing.

http://acestudy.org/yahoo_site_admin/

test:

http://acestudy.org/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/ACE_Calculator-English.127143712.pdf

I am with you all on this journey.