Saturday, July 28, 2012

All I needed to know I learned in Kindergarten...

We are on our last day at the beach!  It took me a few days to decompress when we got here.  I couldn't really enjoy the beauty or tranquility because I was on overload.  Before we left home, not only was I a guide for VBS with 400+ kids in attendance but our remodeling demolition started the same week.  There was children's energy and dust everywhere simultaneously.

Yes, these are first world problems.

Usually after a VBS morning, I take to the bed for some time to rest in the afternoon but that was not happening at all.  I ended up running errands every day and it was the kind of week where at the end of the day my legs (and mind) ached for stillness.  Each day random remodeling errands came up and needed to be taken care of especially since we were leaving town.

Yesterday, I was invited to a yoga class by a friend who has a condo at the place we are staying.  I really wanted to go as I have not been to a class in so long.  I practice at home using my 15 minute DVD.  I tell myself that a class is going to be too hard and I put up mental road blocks.  A while back I wrote about making it into something I was "supposed to" do because it is so good in so many ways for me which then killed it for me.  I no longer want to do anything that anybody tells me to do, even my own "shouldisms."

The night before yoga, I had gone to bed with a newly acquired cold and loaded up on Nyquil.  Also, my knees started bothering me about 2 months ago.  I started taking Condroitin/Glucosamine  several weeks ago to see if that helped and it did, until I played in the Gulf in the waves and uneven sand.  My right hand now gets achy in the middle if I use it without proper form.  I have to watch what I do with it, like not pick up 18x18 floor tiles pincher style.

Oh, and that first day of VBS,  I picked up Annie the dog to put her into her kennel for safety away from all of the male workers, and have had lower back pain ever since.  Our sweet beagle weighs 25 pounds.

So snot running down my face, achy back, achy knees and hand,  do I go to yoga?   As I pulled on the now necessary reader glasses to figure out the adult dosage for children's daytime cold medicine, it struck me that this is the marrow of life that I have to accept.  How I accept these aches and pains and snot, (or even worse things) are how the quality of my life will be.  Acceptance has become my new mantra.  It has become so clear to me that my thoughts shape my life.

I think of all of the years that I spent my time thinking I couldn't.  Yet I can.

"All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything.  What we think we become" ~Buddha

He was one righteous dude.

I totally enjoyed the yoga class.  And at VBS as I walked around with four classes of Kindergarteners all week, I was reminded once again that everything we need to know in life we learn in kindergarten.

I got chills listening to this song.  And I loved that the sign for free is one from yoga.  I had a good time learning all the movements too!  Mallory has the short curly blond hair  and denim blue shirt and looks slightly disinterested.  Riley is in red shirt with blond hair swept back in a pony tail.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summer 2012 summed up in pictures....

Disney Trip - First week of summer break

Out with the old corner tub

Picking out wood flooring for Master Bedroom

Picking out granite for Master Bath counter

Picking out tile and stones for floor and shower floor: (Here's a theme: lots of decision making)

Had exterior of the house painted. 

Ongoing battle of Annie the dog versus the cats, Princess and Morgan:  Annie loses every time.

Picking out granite for girl's bathrooms. 

Our first load up of donations to Connections for Life in new SUV. I love decluttering!

The girls and I walking Annie:  Precious quality time with my children that I wasn't expecting.We talk about pee and poop but also good stuff too!

Demo on Day 1 of VBS.  Long but good week.  The dust traveled everywhere from the tile being ripped up.
Picking out Paint Colors
Week of VBS teaching - 400+ kids!  Lots of energy!

New 6 foot tub and shorter counter to fit tub.

Pensacola Beach: Riley on boogie board in background, Mallory in foreground.

And school starts right around the corner...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Laughter is the Best Medicine

I came across this movie "Bandits" on cable this afternoon.  It came out in 2001 when I was desperately trying to get pregnant.  It is all I thought about all of the time.  I wanted to be a mom so badly.  In hindsight I must have identified with Cate's character who is a desperate housewife and ends up running away with bank robbers played by Billy Bob Thornton and Bruce Willis.  The scene in the kitchen was my favorite.

I played "Holding out for a Hero" repeatedly as I drove over and over to the fertility clinic for any number of procedures month after month.  I put the music on high and I sang loud and it gave me a bit of escape and energy when I felt like nothing was going right.

Another scene of the movie that just slayed me is below.  Both bank robbers have fallen for Cate.  Bruce's suave and charming character has convinced Billy Bob's highly suggestive hypochondriac character that he has a brain tumor.  The part where Billy Bob flops on the floor is just plain fantastic.  I posted 5 minutes of video because the backstory for me helps you to understand the flopping on the floor.  The dancing starts at 2 minutes 25 seconds if you want to skip ahead.

My favorite lines:
"I have to press A1, it's an obsessive compulsive thing"

"He woke up"

"Can I cut in?"  "Yeah, sure, I've lost the beat"

Laughter is the best medicine.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Voice in My Head

I realize that when I write this blog, I tend to be self-congratulatory.  Over and over I want to write about these fascinating inner discoveries because to me they are (freaking) revolutionary.   It is like I am inventing the wheel over and over.  (An inner wheel that is!)  These truths are life changing for me bit by bit and my soul sings when I discover them.   When my soul sings I want to shout about it.  So I write about it here and pat myself on the back as I do so.  And this feels uncomfortable a little bit.

Because the voice in my head has never been nice to me.

I became part of an online group relating to Geneen Roth's book, "Women, Food and Love."  Geneen talks about the Voice that is the unrelenting negative dialogue that goes on in our minds.  I haven't really thought of it in this term, The Voice,  I just know I have been rewiring the hardwires in my brain so that my thought processes are different and more kind.

As I make these discoveries of truths about acceptance, love, intuition or judgement,  I want to shout it from the mountaintop or at least, put a new quote on FaceBook for other people to get "it."  Yet I know that when I post something it may resonate with a couple of others but the person I am most trying to reach or teach is myself.  These exciting discoveries begin and end with me for the most part.  My online group is fantastic because they are as deep into self-discovery as I am and at least one of them will understand the intricate nature of coming to grips with whatever issue is at hand.

I did learn about the voice in graduate school but not in the same terms.  I vividly remember one of the professors telling us about thought stopping techniques.  We slammed a phone book down to demonstrate stopping repetitive negative thoughts.  There must be a reason why this stuck in full detail in my mind.  It is amusing to me that I learned this when I was in my early twenties but didn't realize that I needed to use said techniques until I was in my early forties.

I think the biggest lesson that Geneen's work reminds me of again and again is to be kind to myself.  When I began to get in a funk or am stressed or find myself grazing in the kitchen, I stop and think how can I be kind to myself now?  What loving acts can I do now or tomorrow or this week that will be gentle and loving. That is the answer.  The harsh, critical thinking that I have done to myself over and over and over again for years has not worked and will never work.

The Voice in my head has tended to think that other people have the answers and are doing "it" better than I am.  I have put many people on pedestals thinking they knew more than I did. And then I spend time with one of these people, and then I discover they are human just like me and are struggling with their own issues.

I'm working hard to get rid of the pedestal all together.  Everyone is on a journey and has a story to tell.   Everyone is at a different level of evolvement.  I am on my own journey and bit by bit, the Voice is dying down.

No more minivan!!

We said goodbye to the minivan at the beginning of June.  The A/C went out and the car was seven years old.  We bought the minivan in January 2005 when we knew we were pregnant with Mallory and in that same week George's car had been rear ended.  As we  started negotiating on the new SUV,  I was verklempt for a few minutes. I felt sadness letting it go, Mallory came home from the hospital in this car.  We bought this car because we knew Grandma could get in and out of it easily.  And now it was time to say goodbye.

Though it only took about 30 minutes in the new car to let the van go completely!!

As we cleaned the van out, I realized how disgustingly dirty it was.  Had I really driven around in something that was so unclean and not noticed?  I guess in comparison to the brand new vehicles it was shocking.

Many things look different with a new perspective.

The filth was seven years of a baby and toddler and kids.   I plan to keep this one cleaner.  I bought leather wipes in high hopes.  Mallory already spilled red Icee within a day of it's newness.  This is life with kids.  Now I will hand her the wipe to clean it up.

The new SUV has been a lesson for me, as most things can be if I bring awareness to it.  I had a hard time spending over my self imposed limit for a car.  I had a line for the last couple of years as we knew this day was coming.  We had the money to buy the really nice one but for me worthiness and money go hand in hand.  It was instilled in me that my worth was tied to money. That is why I haven't been ready for a budget from our financial advisor.  Money and love are very much intertwined as is food.  Food is how I have primarily nurtured myself and I'm unlearning that and money is not so far behind.

I could tell George was open and really excited about the luxury SUV.  I drove a less expensive one that had all the bells and whistles and I could have rolled with that one yet George really liked the quiet of the more expensive one.  I looked at him and said, "Do you want to treat ourselves a little?" and he said, "Yes."  So I drove the top two on my list and narrowed down to the one that was more fun to drive.

The SUV is a treat and I do have moments that I think it is too much especially when I think of how others perceive it and then I stop.  This was our money, our treat and I really appreciate it but know it is just a car...a really fun car.

On The Dark Side

On the dark side is not just a great song from an obscure movie (Eddie and the Cruisers) in the 80's.  It is real.
This is from Jeff Brown: 
In some sense, the word enlightenment is misleading. It is no more about the light than the dark. Resisting the shadow just makes it darker. It is not about becoming continuously blissful. It is about becoming more authentic, more genuinely here. It is about holding the light and the shadow all at once. Perhaps we should call the ultimate goal enrealment—the quest to live in all aspects of reality at once (Be real now)
I don't know who this Jeff Brown is but he has my number.  I somehow thought there would be more peace in this journey or at least a place of equilibrium.  But life has other plans.  The light AND the dark keep coming again and again.  I do have a bad habit of fighting the darkness, the pain, and the shadow. Numbing my pain with food is always a security blanket waiting in the wings to come out.  But slowly and surely, I keep receiving messages about acceptance and not judging and these are the ones that lead to breakthroughs away from that.   
It is about "holding the light and the shadow all at once."  An example:  A summer day home with children, I had my girls (one who wanted to shoot a dance video, the other dying to use her money to buy figurines at the store),  a new dog in training, bills to pay, granite and tile to be chosen for remodeling project, house to clean and I had really icky feelings of being overwhelmed.  I had to stop and accept those feelings because I really wanted to escape them and very quickly.  (I also thought, wow, I hadn't had these in a while.)
So here is the reality, is the world going to end if I don't get the tile picked out today?  Annie who peed on the floor three times will eventually be trained. It's just not happening today.  And while I was waiting for contractor to call, I picked up my daughter's room and that was actually a soothing task.  
Each of my daughters was so excited about their activity and I didn't want to miss their excitement and not be able to engage in a present manner.  We had been working on the video together for several days.  My younger daughter had been pining over the figurines for weeks and she had saved her money. 
Be real now as Jeff Brown says.  I was overwhelmed.  Instead of telling myself I can't handle all of this, I let myself feel the overwhelming feelings as painstaking as it felt and then worked to change my expectations, and let go of the illusion of control.  Being in the present moment and being real is not pleasant, it means accepting the really icky feelings LOVINGLY and letting them go because the light and dark will continue to come.  

It's not the situation at hand, it is really about what we THINK about the situation at hand.   

Monday, July 2, 2012

Mallory's Father's Day Card Comes Alive

To the right is George's Father's Day card from Mallory that she picked out.  By that afternoon, we had adopted a beagle just like the picture.  I am going to really pay attention to the cards Mallory, the six year old sage, picks out in the future.

So we have a dog.  Holy cow, how did that happen?  It's been almost 2 weeks.  These are the things I have learned:

*Annie made no noise on her first day with us, until we were drifting off to sleep at 10:30pm.  George got up and took her for a walk and massive anxiety crept in for the terrible mistake that I let happen.
*Annie likes to pee on the carpet but she has at least sprinkled on the old carpet that I want to change and not my new rugs.
*Vinegar and baking soda have a lot of uses!
*Annie likes to bolt out the front door.
*I can outrun an overweight beagle.
*She likes me, the non dog person, more than she likes anyone in the family.
*She is scared of George and I think (hope) she will eventually warm to him.
*The cats are territorial and there are clashes daily especially with Princess the Persnickety.

*George thinks when the dog barks in the middle of the night, you should take it for a walk. Day 3 at midnight, I was woken to look for Annie who ran off when the garage door scared her after George took her for a walk.
*At this point at midnight, I was okay with losing her and did not want anyone to find her and bring her back to us.
*Things look better in the morning.
*Dogs snore.
*I did not think I would be getting excited about pee and poop in the proper places at this stage of my life.
*Walking a dog, for some reason, is very relaxing.
*It is quite peaceful when all the animals crowd around me and are in harmony and asleep.
*The kids are quite excited to have Annie around. Riley loves to walk her and Mallory likes to cuddle.  *Annie likes to sleep near Mallory.
*Getting a dog is a learning curve and it is growing on me.
*The jury is still out on whether I will become a dog person or not but the point is I opened myself up to a new experience which I am hesitant to do.

I have had glimpses of when timid Annie gets excited and is so happy to see me.  She runs, she jumps and puts her paws on me or just looks at me with adoring eyes and I think, oh, this is what it is all about having a dog.

Unconditional love.