Peaceful, easy feeling

wild chives

Summertime and the living is easy. I have been living easy all summer. My blog has been sort of dormant because, and this is a good thing, I am at a place I am calling “in neutral.” I am not stalled out nor am I running my engines at full blast, just I am not in gear. I can be at any moment, but I do not feel the need. I think it is important to take breaks and pause on any effort in hopes to renew interest and vitality to the journey. I am still working on things; just do not feel the need to go into it.

I have been enjoying the wonderful weather and my garden has been fabulous. Everything seems so strange because of the summer shift in so many areas. For example, driving to work in the winter with dry roads can take up to a half hour to forty minutes. In the summer, I am there in fifteen to twenty minutes tops. No significance except that it impacts me by not making me crazy before I am even to work. I have little patience for stupid drivers, people who are texting while driving, or apparent feel they are the only ones on the road. And of course, there are only a handful of school buses and that helps immensely. There is one bus driver who has to pick up kids on every driveway and street intersections on this one road. However, if he sees he has a car behind him, he pulls over. I want to thank him for that.

relaxing with the kids

I wish there was a way to take the easy style of people in the summer and blend it into the frantic craziness that starts to rev up around the end of August. I know “back to school” influences the drama which flows into the air even if you do not have children. The Christmas crap starts with the introduction of Halloween, which around here gets as much decoration attention as Christmas. And then after we all are exposed to the insanity of the holiday BS (sorry for those of you who like it but I am completely turned off by it now) we slam into the winter doldrums. This is an extensive period of time where bitching and complaining about the weather and greyness is an art form. Then after about four months of that, we come to my favorite part of the year where green returns and so does civility.

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I am not sure where everyone goes. My workplace is pretty empty. I work on the second floor with all the other managers and C suite. There was one day it was so quiet I played nature sounds on my computer out loud for the few of us there. It made the interior bleakness of the overly air-conditioned staleness much easy to take. There used to be a tradition in many manufacturing and other corporate places where they actually shut down for the first two weeks in July. I know many people who live only for those two weeks of vacation instead of incorporating the vacation attitude into their lives year round. One time we were driving around a state park up by the River and it was during a very rainy period of time including that day. As we slowly drove past campsites, people were wet and miserable and the looks on their faces were so telling. There was anger and disappointment. I bet they were fun to be around.

orange moon

Full moon at the River in August 2013

Friday night was full moon. I sat in the radiance of the slightly orange glow as wisps of vapors and feathered rainbow clouds drifted slowly across the sky. I am wishing everyone who reads my blog the peace and tranquility of the summer day and the connection of spirit in the summer night.

all photos jdemeis@2014

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A Passing Storm

storm and heron

It is pouring out and we have had a series of thunderstorms blow in tonight. I love storms, except blizzards when I have to go somewhere. It can snow if I can stay home. But I have a passion for thunderstorms. It fits my mood tonight. I am not sure why I am so stormy…ok, I do. But it is alright. I will get through this.

0mist on the water

When someone like me goes through trying to negotiate life in the present moment, it takes an abundant amount of focus and stamina to stay in the present moment. After all this time of working things out, I still struggle with memories that haunt me. They are a mere vapor as opposed to the huge specters they used to be. But every once in a while, I get hooked up by their gossamer tentacles. This most recent visit is my father’s voice. In this case, it is not something about me as much as I hear myself sound like him. It is very disappointing that I hear my father’s anger and hatred in my own thoughts. I do not vocalize it, but I hear it in my head. An example of this is when I look at people and his judgment would pop in. I am not like him, but there is this moment when I hear his critical comment on EVERY thing. I think, “wow, I hope they do not see that on my face.” And if you know me, you know my face shows everything.

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But there are times when I do make a judgment and then say it. I can be very opinionated. I gave up for a long time and went belly up. And people would roll over me as I suffered in silence. Now I do ask for my needs to be met and I also know when it is not my turn. But lately, I see there are times when I am too strong or too weak and finding balance is tough.

Rain coming up the River

My dear friend told me that she was going through a phase of weird dreams. This weekend, the phase hit me. I had very lucid and mildly disturbing dreams. But I wake suddenly and feel the fear that was plaguing me in my dream. It is very frustrating to start your day with the first breath of morning being one of sadness or fear. This morning I actually had tears spill out of my eyes and I cannot tell you why. I think I shake it off, but then I know I have not as the day progresses. I am in a freeze and it manifests in my physically.

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I am also in a learning phase again of my journey to connect more pieces of my mind, body and soul. I have come to a place of feeling blocked. All of this will pass eventually, but for now it is unpleasant. Much like the storms that are blowing through tonight, the day will break eventually and things will be better than before.

sunset view

All photos @Jdemeis 2014  taken at the River

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.

 

 

 

Letting go 2014

falls TSP

Yesterday was a beautiful day in upstate New York. I put all the laundry and shopping off my to-do list and my husband and I took a ride in the Finger Lakes. The trees on the outset were not showing any promise but by the end of the day, they had sprouted and lawns were greening up. We headed to an Amish store where I buy my oatmeal. We then proceeded to a state park I had not visited since 1986. I did not tell my husband about the memory attached to the park because I wanted to see what would come up for me there.
Back in 1986, I was married to someone else. And that someone else betrayed me by having an affair. I found out in the worse way and it destroyed me. I knew he was unfaithful, but I never had to really face it. There was no escaping it as he had to tell me he had the possibility of passing a STD on to me. The humiliation of it all was so great. At that particular time, I wanted to save the marriage and so we headed off to a park to walk and talk. This place has a falls that is magnificent. The idea of being in a neutral ground was mine. What happened out of this was to be with me forever.
We got to a place where there was an overlook. In those days, they did not protect everything from the stupidity of humans. You could walk to the very edge of the rim and look down. It was very high and dangerous. I am not one for heights. I walked to the very edge where a tree was growing and wrapped my arms around the tree. I lost all awareness of him or anything else except this one thought: If I let go and fall, all the pain will be gone forever. I was so hurt I seriously contemplated letting go. I have never shared that.
I did not let go, not of the tree and not of the pain. We walked the hiking trail (those were the days when I could hike for miles) and he continued to share his tale of lies. I asked too many questions and he fed me crap for answers. He continued to lie about the situation by declaring it was a one shot deal and it was over. I of course found out it was nine months in the making and he never ended it. In a last ditch effort to hurt me during our divorce, he sent me something in an envelope with her return address on it.
I worked very hard on saving the marriage. We remained married for another 16 years. They were not good years and he continued to lie. He became violent and very angry. He pinned all his errors on me saying I caused him to be that way. I should have sought help sooner, but I was too afraid and ashamed. It is this knowledge of helplessness and shame that I want to help others learn to survive by offering counseling. One day he pushed too far and I realized I was at the lowest point possible. He requested to bring his girlfriends into the home for overnights. I had moved out of our big bedroom into the guest room at that point. He left for a hunting trip and I went to a lawyer. He was served at work in front of all his asshole buddies who were also doing similar feats of crap to their wives. It was the beginning of learning to be a warrior for me.
But yesterday, with my gentle and kind husband, I could no longer walk to that spot as it was fenced. There was also no hiking to be done. I was just grateful we could walk even a very short trek to the current viewing area. The falls were there and not much else had changed except me. I was so glad I did not let go back then.
As we continued on with our day, we went to several other falls so I could take pictures. As we were driving I realized that I had let go. I let go of the pain and I let go of the shame. Being honest, I have not completely let go of the anger but it is truly a tiny part of me. I think it remains so I will continue in the fight to help others. My ex and I parted legally in 2002 and that was the last I ever saw or heard from him. We had spent almost thirty years together. It took over twenty-eight years for me to realize I had finally let go of that tree. But I did not fall, I learned to fly.

cu falls

The Present Moment Warrior

I feel like I am in a new arena of my learning. I had a pretty dark winter which is why I did not do much writing. Well I wrote, I just did not publish. This latest period of my life had been interesting though, but I am really hoping I am done with it and moving on. The stasis of depression was too deep.
Up here where I live, we have an abundance of grey days. I work in a grey office with no natural light. I have three incandescent lamps in my office so that I get some semblance of more natural light. I hate fluorescent which is what is predominant. The training rooms are the center most of the building, so they do not have any windows. I go in early so often and there is no daylight and up until recently, I leave in dark when I come home. And the snow is terrible. It is March 30 and it started to snow last night. We have about a foot on the ground and it is to continue all day. It was warm when the precipitation started, so there is a slick of ice on everything. My poor dogs where slipping all over the place and the little one could not get off the deck because the snow is too deep and heavy for her to navigate. backyard 3-30-14
I also have not been feeling the best. I have a condition brought on when I was given massive doses of drugs including steroids and chemo when I first was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis. The combination was too much for my right kidney which decided to stop functioning. I was able to heal it some but only have 40% usage and that will be it. It is better than none. But because it is sluggish, it produces stones pretty regularly. Nothing else causes it. There are stones lodged in it that hopefully will never pass as they are too big. My other kidney is just fine and clear. I have gotten to the point where it is just something I live with. I have produced over thirty stones I have captured. For the past couple of weeks, I knew I was in the process of passing a stone as I can feel them traveling. This baby had knives in it.

Kidney stones 3-28-14

Kidney stones 3-28-14

This is my present moment. But I am choosing to find alternative things to focus on and it is making all the difference. Interestingly along with the misery I was subjecting myself to there has been a wonderful current of hope and happiness. I am choosing to focus on that. Yesterday morning I sat outside and listened to the birds. I love that so much. We had a few that were eyeing up the real estate for homes as I have many bird houses. I passed not one, but two kidney stones on Friday night and they were big. The feeling of relief and no pain is marvelous and I am so grateful they are out. It is Sunday and I do not have to go anywhere and hopefully they will have cleaned up the snow and ice more so by tomorrow it will not be hazardous driving. Meanwhile, the dogs and my husband can kick back all day. I have chores but those too are ok because I do not have to go anywhere.

Princess LaLa snoozing

Princess LaLa snoozing

Village plows

Village plows

I am beginning to define my present moment as what is good in it, not what is wrong. It is a challenge when I am so used to being negative. My brain automatically turns to that and I must recode and process differently. In all my reading I found out that being negative is quite normal. We are preprogrammed for that to keep us safe. I just went too far with it. Not that I caused it. But understanding all this created such a sense of relief and release of guilt and shame that allowed me to move on. I also know that it is fine to embrace the sad and disappointment of life too. There has to be balance with expression from both ends of the spectrum. It is ok to be upset, sad and even angry if you know there is another end of the pole to reach. Until I had all the pieces of the puzzle there was no way I would have been able to put things together.
I understand so much more now. I understand I had to face a lot of junk from my past in order to understand my present moment. But it is not what defines me. The old voices are wrong, the people who choose to see me in only one light are wrong. But I do not have to prove anything to anyone any longer. (Could I say any anymore?) You could not have told me this two years ago or even a month ago. I had to reach this on my own.
I am congratulating myself and saying one more thing. It is not original, others have said this to me and I did not believe them. I am certainly no wimp. I am a warrior. And I am getting stronger and braver every day.

Safety

Snow in the pines

Snow in the pines

I am to a new point in my path. I am not going to spend time here on the long and short of it as it is not relevant. It completely boils down to one thing. Feeling safe. Simple, right? Not so simple for me. My safety issue is huge and has led to chronic illness, relationship issues and the worse component; extremely low self-esteem. Because this issue is so pervasive, it has been right in front of me all this time without me being able to see it. Others have, but that does not matter. I have to see it for what it is. It is a huge nasty beast that needs to be put to sleep.

This past week, I have been so off kilter. It started Sunday when the weather reports started their screaming that a storm was coming. I love storms because I love Mother Earth. What I do not like is the idea of having to travel in a storm. If I can stay put, preferably in my own home, I am content to watch the fury from my chair, be it wind, lightening or even snow. But tell me I have to get into a car and face the idiots who do not have an ounce of safety in their head, and I am in a panic. The morning of the storm, I had worked myself up to being paralyzed and so I stayed home. Granted, there was no snow until about 9 am, but I knew in my heart that it was going to be awful. I was right.

Wind and snow abounds

Wind and snow abounds

I am never far from a panic attack of my own making. And let me explain something, my attacks are not like others where they visibly wring their hands and sweat. Mine manifest in a quiet inward way. But they are no less critical as someone who throws a tantrum or erupts. They are no less real than someone who is a war weary soldier. This is not a contest to see who has it the worse. No one wins. I have spent a copious amount of time and money trying to fix this issue. This weekend was a climax that has been coming for a while.

I did something I hardly ever do and that was nothing. Literally, I did nothing for a better part of the day. It took most of the morning and a round of quick grocery shopping to allow myself that freedom. It was a recommendation I put into place. It gave me a pause and it was a much needed pause.  I pulled my medicine cards and came up with a reading that said that this was exactly what I need to do and to continue this practice for a while. The butterfly card which was the first one I pulled was very telling. The center card was the blue heron, which is my totem, but it was upside down. The card read “come up for air. There are many layers of truth to understand, and wholeness is impossible in one dive.” I downloaded a phenomenal guided hypnosis tape, slapped on the headphones and retreated for about an hour and half. We then spent the rest of the evening watching great movies; all had a message I needed.

I am not sure what is next. I know this: I need to feel safe. I don’t. I need to fix that. Simple. I woke up this morning and before my feet had hit the ground, I had tightened my shoulders into a neck spasm thinking about the upcoming issues and scary events I have coming up. And, scary is indicative of the lack of safety I feel because to anyone else, they would not be scary. Feeling safe is not something I actually think I produced intentionally; I think it is just a conditional reaction. This is what needs to stop. The events are actually something I love doing, but are now tainted because of the layer of fear I have attached to it.

I also had inner rapid vibrations. This is my indicator that I am in transition. Being aware of all this is the first step. I think I have method that may be at least a partial remedy. I am not going to find resolve from someone else trying to fix this and I am not going to find safety in others until I can learn to feel safe with myself. I have tried to get others make me safe and it only has produced anger, frustration and disappointment. It has to be me. The other thing I know that is imperative to my healing is taking the time to stop, pause, breath and (dare I say it?) JUST BE.

Princess La La teaching Mommer to Just Be

Princess La La teaching Mommer to Just Be