Wednesday, December 28, 2016

I Think I Can Be A Dramatic Actress

It was the day after Christmas and I needed a cry.   The feelings just sit on my chest and I can tell the energy needs to pass through.  There is so much buildup for Christmas in so many different ways.  The pressure of the season to have the "most wonderful time of the year" amidst decorating, present buying, party attending, card distribution, AND celebrating the reason for the season along with getting together with relatives.  And then it's over, just like that.

I have had to lower my expectations.

In the car the last week or so, I heard the band Alabama, singing "Angels Among Us" and I immediately started a full out ugly cry within seconds of hearing the chorus.  So this morning while the kids were still sleeping, or so I thought, I played a video to bring the feeling sitting on my chest out.  As soon as I hear the children's chorus, the tears start falling.  It's so cathartic and so needed.  My youngest walked in, sat by me, asked what was going on and I said that I missed GaGa.  She tenderly sat next to me, put her arm around me and watched the video with me, and I told her it's okay to cry.  I absolutely love that we have this moment.  She is learning that all emotions are okay.  And then we carried on with the rest of our day.

I think I have the skills to be a dramatic actress now.  (he he)  I see what actors have to tap into- to bring it, to bring that palpable depth of emotion.  It is not easy whatsoever.  And it's that vulnerability that draws the audience in.  It is some of the hardest work I have ever done to sit with the most exquisite discomfort and allow it to flow.  It has taken years of practice because I emotionally shut down after the postpartum depression I had.   And actors do this for a living.  They purposely bring up this painful stuff.  I have read and listened to actors talking about their processes and it is fascinating and therapeutic.

This is also where numbing can take place if you think the pain of whatever it is too much.  For myself and so many, numbing is the answer because it's excruciating to be with that pain.  I still numb some and it may always be part of my repertoire yet I have other coping skills now.  One of them is writing and for so many years I have been doing so in blog form and this year has not been a good year for that.  I have felt stuck and I have to do something about it.  I have begun to do handwrite in a journal and it is a much different practice than typing it on a computer.  It takes time to learn to do that practice.

This year, I went through a major shift with a person in my life.  It reached a point where I had to let go of ever connecting at the level that I so very deeply desired.  I had to let go of expectations on my part that would never be fulfilled and I was devastated.   I grieved and realized that I spent a lot of energy on something that was not producing.  It was time to move on and free up energy and see what else is out there to connect with that I'm not imagining.  Letting go can make room for something bigger?  I live with such great intention on many areas but this area tripped me up so much.   I need to stop and evaluate what is working and what is not and move on.

I have to lower my expectations for some people, places and things and move on to new areas and adventures.

Although I understand the acting technique, I don't think I will be taking any head shots or taking a Playmakers theater class anytime soon.  I don't think it is where my heart lies.   I can tap into sadness, anger and joy pretty easily.  I need a little more work with joy I think.  But I will continue to enjoy the arts as much as I always have.   There is a reason the Oscars are my favorite time of year.  It is the reason that I LOVE going to the movies.  It is the reason songs can move me to tears or happiness within seconds.   The movies I'm drawn to are the ones all about humans and their emotional entanglements.  This is who I am.


Ode To The Bravery of Carrie Fisher (not necessarily Princess Leia)

Can 2016 get any worse?  There was a joke about hiding Betty White away.  So many entertainers have died, Prince and George Michael are gone.  I really didn't know David Bowie but I liked what he had to say as a person. But I really loved what Carrie Fisher had to say.   And now she is gone and she was only 60!  I'm forty-eight and that gives me pause.  What if I never say or do what I was meant to because I am too scared of what people will think.

The author, Anne Lamott said this...
Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen. Repent just means to change direction—and NOT to be said by someone who is waggling their forefinger at you. Repentance is a blessing. Pick a new direction, one you wouldn’t mind ending up at, and aim for that. Shoot the moon.

(It thrills me that repent means to change direction and she mentions that's it's not wagging a finger in someone's face.  It's a blessing not a judgment.  I've never had that wonderful connotation of that word and I've started to rewire the definition in my head.)

Back to Carrie Fisher.  I know I watched Star Wars long ago but that is not what stuck with me about her.  The movie Postcards from The Edge stuck so I read the book.  And then I read Surrender the Pink and Wishful Drinking.  I just added The Princess Diarist to my hold's list on Overdrive.   Yesterday, I watched the "Wishful Drinking" special again On Demand.  The diagram of her family was hilarious.

It must have been in the 2008 book, Wishful Drinking, what she said about living with bi-polar:   "At times, being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you're living with this illness and functioning at all, it's something to be proud of, not ashamed of.  They should issue medals along with the steady stream of medication."

That resonated with me so deeply and clinched me as a fan.  I suffered terribly with Postpartum depression and anxiety after my first child.  It was the hardest thing I have ever gone through.  I felt so very alone and there were so many days, weeks,  and sometimes just a moment felt like a struggle.  Making it through an hour was sometimes way too much to comprehend.   I was so alone and felt so hopeless with a helpless infant who needed me, just me.  It was the lowest of lows and the anxiety and the crying were endless.  (Mine and Riley's!)  It took me months to understand that I needed to take an anti-depressant to get back on track.  And it took at least a year to begin to feel like myself again.  The hiccup was that the first night I took an anti-depressant, it lit me up even higher with anxiety than I already was experiencing.   I didn't sleep a wink and I thought that they were going to have to lock me away because I couldn't sleep nor could I function anymore.  I can recall the terror of that period instantly and that night permanently and forever scarred me.  In hindsight, I  should have taken an anti-anxiety along with the anti-depressant until my body adjusted to the anti-depressant.   That bout with PPD changed my life and started me on the journey I am now on.

I can't imagine living with a daily struggle of bipolar that is so merciless that leads to electric-shock therapy.  But you have to do what you have to do.  One can overcome so many odds.

When I read that passage in Wishful Drinking, I thought, oh my gosh, yes!  Instead of looking down on people with mental illness, they really should be applauded because it can be an ongoing, daily, sometimes hourly struggle.  And Carrie Fisher said this out loud!!  Wow!  Bravo!  Through the pages of a book, it made me feel not so alone for what I had gone through.  Sometimes, a connection can be made by reading a book, and now it can be online.

I will miss her wit and her courage and seeing her dog, Gary. I will miss that she stood up for herself and body image for many of us when they shamed her for not looking like her 19 year old self in a bikini.  Carrie wrote about the despair of mental illness but also made it funny.  Princess Leia was a formidable opponent, but it is Carrie Fisher who was the bravest bad ass to me.   Someone who speaks up for those who have no voice.   RIP Carrie Fisher.  You are gone too soon.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Annie Ruined the Carpet and I Despised Her

Annie was our family's first dog.  It was quite the experience when we adopted her in 2012.  She peed on the carpet in our spare room and in Mallory's room repeatedly and I despised her.  I truly, truly despised her and didn't see what having a dog was about at all.  George and I would have disagreements about how to handle the situation, that were worse than disagreeing about parenting.  I think for me because it was a freaking dog and we didn't have to have her or this stress in the first place.  I will admit that I would resent Mallory who wanted the dog in the first place.    I remember Annie trying to run away and I thought, GO!  (Though, she had a chip and would eventually be returned to us.)  It was very ugly in the beginning.  And in hindsight, it was all about boundaries.  I had to learn to have some...with a dog.  I had to learn boundaries with her and it was a great indicator of how to do it with humans as well.

Annie is not an affectionate kind of dog either unlike Brinkley who is a true unconditional loving dog.   Annie has her own way, but I'm learning to respect her for who she is because she can be freaking funny when she is falling asleep.  Brinkley will follow me into the closet when I'm having an ugly cry.  He doesn't lick my face but he sits with me.  What other creature will do that?  Annie, on the other hand,  only pays attention to you when you have the promise of food, or when she is frightened of the weather or the cats.  The rest of the time, she is asleep and loudly snoring.  She is
who she is.

Boundaries.  Anger is a sign that your boundaries aren't being respected or that you need to set some up!!  And it's not easy work and there is much practice, practice, practice.

The picture to the left is from the book, "The Artist's Way."  As you can see it spoke to me.  Anger is not about the other person or dog!!!  It's about going inward and not acting out, but acting upon, making a change, unless you like to stay angry?  I was very angry at Annie with all the ruining of the carpet but I needed to think out of the box.  I had never had a dog, an old "set in her ways" dog at that and had no idea how to have an inside dog.  We had put her in a crate early on and she yelped.  So we backed down and didn't do that anymore.  In hindsight, that was the very thing we needed to do.  And use treats.  Treats are the bomb!  She may have yelped at the crate but she would have acclimated.  When we adopted Brinkley over a year later with urinating problems still going on,  we had bigger issues of biting, etc so we finally got a dog trainer in our lives.  I needed outside assistance to help us think out the box.  We eventually made our way around to crating Annie at night.  I don't even remember if she disliked it, but she now goes into the "sleeping box" as George calls it.   I know George thought it was harsh to put her in there and separate her from us.  He is such the softie.  But that has been the trick as well as taking her outside in the morning  and at other times of the day with the treat and demanding she "go potty."  This training takes time and practice.

Learning this big lesson that went on for more than a year with a dog, has been such the example of how to deal with people as well.  Thinking outside the box, not being entrenched in one way of doing things, letting go of expectations, and getting outside assistance if needed. Old dogs and I mean me   can learn new tricks.

And, so often, I am so thankful that my old soul Mallory, incessantly begged for a dog, not once but twice.  These four leggeds are members of our family.  I totally understand dog people now.  It took a while but I finally do.  And not all dogs are the same, just like children.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The First Debate is Here...Working On My Messaging

Here we are...the first debate is tonight.  I have so many strong feelings.

My younger daughter told me this weekend, they talked about politics in math last week.  Okay.   I asked if she told them I was voting for Hilary, because I knew she would spill the beans but that is okay with me.  It has taken a long time to sit in my truth.   We have had discussions in the house... very spirited discussions on my part but I answer her questions as evenly as I can ( in my passionate way.)

She said I told them you hate Donald Trump.


Okay, I have to work on my messaging.

I said I don't hate Donald Trump.  I do not agree with ANYTHING he has to say and yet he is a child of God just like everyone else.  (I don't want to hate anyone.) And although I passionately disagree with EVERYTHING that comes out of his mouth, I don't hate him.

It should say "we're"
(Or do I?)

(Face cringed)

The fact that Donald Trump bothers me as much as he does, psychologically/behaviorally means I'm still moving away from my former views (and truthfully fear - he promotes fear (or himself) every time he speaks and it's still my soft spot.)   Look at the title of this website.   It takes time to shift from Fear to Love.  I initially moved into the red territory when I became of voting age because that is what was all around me.   But slowly over the years, I claimed who and what I believe as a woman, a Southerner, and a child of God, me.

I had to detangle religion and politics.   And I do, more so every day.  And I identify as a Democrat.

I read a lot but don't watch a lot of TV coverage because I do get worked up about it.  I have to let it go, so I can sleep at night and live peaceably and productively during the day.  But I am fascinated by politics.  I loved my Political Science classes at LSU.   I have more work to do, learning to agree to disagree and George can attest to that.  Spirited discussions...

Back to my chat with Mallory.  She listed off most everyone whom Trump has offended and his potential policies that are hurtful to large groups of people, religions etc. etc.  I was surprised that she named as many as she did.  Those are the facts, and the truth.  I do want to present both sides so that she can make up her own mind, but there has never been a candidate so untested, unprepared and unchecked by the media and without the temperance to be the leader of the free world.

I don't know if Mallory believes that I don't hate him, but it's a work in progress to live into my truth.  I will work on my messaging.  I will try to bring the passion down a notch or two.

I will work on being more even keeled because that is where I want to be.  More LOVE. Less fear.

Finding My Edge

There comes a point in time, when I have to shut the activities of life down.  One week day morning not long ago, I had several activities on my schedule.  And yet I couldn't stop crying.  I was overwhelmed.  The previous week, there had been emotionally laden issues for me going on in my house with more than one member.  And we had a packed, busy weekend that did not stop.  And I went and I did and then did more because it was a special celebration weekend for my youngest.

And then I couldn't stop crying.  And that still scares me to feel fully that energy of pain that comes my way.

And yet I knew what the solutions were to the issues that were going on in the house.  It would take work, but was nothing that could not be surmounted. But yet I cried and couldn't stop.  And after really hard crying, mental, emotional and physical fatigue sets in.

And it hit me once again,  I cannot go and go and go.  I see other people who do and I think that I should match up to them.  And then I shame myself.  And I don't really know what their story is and it doesn't matter.  I have to BE ME.

I know this about myself.  I am an introvert.  I am an introspective person.  I like to think and write.  And I have to sit still and be quiet for what I am most passionate about to come to me.  My passion lies in stillness.

After the first wave of tears, it took me two hours to realize that I needed to cancel what was on my agenda that day.  Why did it take me that long?  (Beat myself up a little)  This is a busy semester for my Middle School girls:  after school activities, other extracurricular activities, school, and life.  Trying not only to keep up but plan ahead.   George's schedule is also busy most of the time.  I myself signed up for too many studies this semester, but all of them are good for my soul in different ways with different groups of people, so I will do them as I can.  I have to not show up sometimes. I have to take them day by day.  I think badly of myself for not showing up when I said I would.

My yoga teacher talks about the edge in our practice.  It's where you are in a pose and are stretching limbs to the point of tension.  And you have to find that sweet spot, where it's tight and you are feeling the stretch but not too painful.  You are not putting too much pain on your body.

I'm finding that edge in life as I truly find who my authentic Godly self is.  It's a daily practice, to find that sweet spot, but to release a little when it's too painful.  And know that it's okay to release and not to stay in pain when it's really not necessary at all.   No one else but me, knows my sweet spot and I have to stand up for myself.

Monday, September 19, 2016

One Billion Percent Necessary (It's about Feelings, Middle School & Glennon Doyle Melton)

The last few years, I have been learning to feel my feelings.  I hate writing that, because it sounds wussy.  There must be some part of this magnificent work that I do, that I still don't think is worthy.  But I know one billion percent it is worthy, it is everything.  Sitting still and embracing what hurts the most, brings you to your core, and your core is God.  (or with my fundamental baggage the words higher power is a score!)  The people who may think this is wussy, won't be reading this anyway, so let me let that go.  Feeling my feelings is the most difficult journey in my life to date.  Whatever devastating occurs in one's life, how one thinks about it is how one will work through it and how one processes it.  As a person, who repressed much, especially after postpartum depression, coming out of that is freakishly difficult. (Can you see how I think about it... {smile})

I don't repress anything anymore.  I feel EVERY thing and some days it makes me want to run and hide or better yet, scream. And most days, it's the really ugly cry that is exhausting.  It feels like the uncomfortableness will NEVER go away. Some days I'm pinging all over the place - the Presidential election doesn't help either.  And some days, not at all and other days, the energy flows through within minutes.  When I hear other people speak aloud of this concept, it rocks my world.

One of those speaking is Glennon Doyle Melton.  I recently watched her on Super Soul Sunday. Her second book  is "Love Warrior."   I heard her story of bulimia by age ten, a mental hospital stay in high school, and her addictions.   When a friend summarized her book in a sentence for me it really opened my eyes.  She said Glennon was running from pain the entire time with her addictions.  (This is not a new concept but I was ready to hear it in a different way)   Not namby pamby feelings, but pain.  Pain is something that people can wrap their heads around.

So, it's not feeling my feelings, it is feeling PAIN.  It is the essence of living life.  Life is incredibly difficult AND beautiful, all at the same time   (Glennon calls it Brutiful.  Brutal and Beautiful. Dang it, wish I would have coined that.)   I've read so much about addictions and I see it everywhere now in compulsions both good and bad, in so many different ways.  So much of our society runs from our feelings and that is running from pain.   Glennon reports that she thought of herself as broken.  She thought of herself as someone who could not handle pain. And so she had hid from it with addictions.

What caused her pain? In short, she said she is a sensitive human being: a deeply feeling person in a messy world. There are those of us who respond to energy differently.  Oprah said she learned over the years of her talk show that families have children who are the sensitive ones: the child who absorbs the energy of the family, subconsciously, unconsciously differently from the rest of the family.

I am that one.  It took a while for this aha to sink in.  I thought other people felt things as deeply and as sensitively as I do.  They don't.  But there are plenty of people out there who do.  I have to respect myself and this work because it is what is right for me.  It is who I authentically am.  Finding my authenticity is finding God beneath all those layers.  It is finding the love and the light to take me through the difficult and the beautiful that life is composed of.  And when you taste that expansiveness of love and light, you don't go back.   Sitting through the pain, gets you to the light.

In my house, I have two young ladies.  One just turned eleven and the other is about to turn fourteen.  They are now both in middle school.  Some of the most brutal years of high school.  And we are feeling it.  Really feeling it.

There was one week where both of them were having difficulty and there was much emotion in the house.  I put my big girl mom panties on.  I listened.   I problem solved when necessary and kept my mouth closed when they wanted no advice.  Their emotions and pain pinged me but I carried on.  There were steps I needed to take, and I did.  I wanted them to be heard.  I want them to know they matter.  I want to be their soft place to fall.  (George does to, in his own manly, fatherly way) And after the turmoil of the week passed, I felt it.  I had to have my own meltdown from listening and letting their pain pass through.

I am the sensitive one and that's okay.  That is who I am.  And I know the feelings won't kill me.  I know at my core, there is love and light.  And I know if I feel my own feelings as difficult as it is sometimes, I can show up for my loved ones who need to be heard.

This is my work.  Feeling my feelings.  It is not easy but one billion percent necessary.


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Yellow Kitchen Gloves & A Mask (The Great Louisiana Flood of 2016)

I still feel a little nauseous at the thought of food this morning.  And yet, I am in a cool, dry, safe air conditioned home and so very many in South Louisiana are not.  The number of gallons of water that fell in one week in South Louisiana was 6,900,000,000,000.  Tens of thousands of homes were flooded and need to be stripped before mold begins growing.  Yesterday, I went for the first time to a flooded area and it will stay with me for quite a while.  The devastation has ripped across South Louisiana and it is going to take quite some time to recover.  Stress is palpable as is good will.

My older daughter and I had a National Charity League meeting which happened to be at our church yesterday morning.  For the last week, everyday through my Facebook feed,  I have seen the exquisite needs of so many people, from rescuing out of homes, to now the necessity of houses needed demo'ing.  And it can be overwhelming to see the volume of need for the sensitive soul that I have come to understand that I am.  I read that one focus of the many of my church this Saturday morning was on Hope Community United Methodist Church on Evangeline Street in north Baton Rouge. This seemed like a logical step for me as it was not far from where I would be.  I wrote a blog a month ago about stepping out of my comfort zone helping with home repair after the shooting death of Alton Sterling in the northern part of the city and the hug that I received from the homeowner.  I have wondered if North Baton Rouge is going to be left out during this recovery.  Resources are just not the same.

I invited one of Riley's friends who was at the meeting to go with us.  I'm not sure if she will ever go with me anywhere again!  We made our way to the church on streets with the tell-tale large piles of flooded home contents along the way.   We began to see a familiar face or two from our church, found our lead pastor who told us to find Tom Edd.  We found him and learned he is one of the pastors and said we MUST have masks and gloves.  Riley and I broke three masks between us because they were inexpensive and I felt guilty for that because it had been hard to find them.  We got suited up and it was explained that much of what was going on now was heavy lifting but that a freezer and refrigerator needed cleaning out now before conditions worsened.  We were in the daycare area of the church and our first task was to remove large blue mats used for napping and I knew the girls could handle that so I tackled the freezer.

The sight and smell of this area and the visual of the brown liquid (sewage mixed in?)  and flying bugs of the freezer will stay with me for a long time.  Bit by bit with small blue buckets, I removed the soggy contents of this overturned deep freeze and took them outside to "our dumpster."  The trick was to get things in there without the brown liquid slinging on myself or others.   After a while, two more friends from church appeared and we began to work in tandem.  My yellow kitchen gloves were wet on the inside and out, and I didn't want to touch anything but what we were removing.  The heat of an August summer day in Louisiana wasn't so terrible as we were mostly in the shade of the building but my nose and mouth inside the mask was hot.  And after a while, I could feel my nose dripping.  There was a feeling of not being able to breathe.  I began to feel a little nauseated after removing all of the contents of the freezer and took a break.  I pushed the mask up to feel like I could breathe, but then the stench overtook me and back in place it went.  We began removing bins of heavy wet papers and balanced on chairs to get the contents of the bins into the tall dumpster.  A few doors down, the girls were helping Mrs. Woods who ran the daycare to clean out an office.  Every few minutes, I began to feel overwhelmed in the heat and the smell and knew that after an hour and a half, I could not stay much longer.  Time stood still in this place of God.   Every minute seemed like five.  I also worried that my child would never go with me anywhere again when I asked.  She has a terribly keen sense of smell that I knew was being overpowered as was I.

It was time to move on, and we tried to find a place to wash our hands and did.  Mrs. Woods was in there with her two co-workers.  It has taken me a long time to learn how to speak up when the occasion calls for it.  I wanted to tell them what a great job they were doing and lift them up just a small bit in this time of devastation.  This is what my heart saying but it doesn't come out of my mouth.  I told the ladies that I was so sorry they were flooded.  As I began to try to use my words to say what a good job they were doing, one by one they stopped what they were doing and walked across the room and hugged me.  They hugged Riley and Cooper.  We each said, "God Bless You."  And we all carried on.

There seems to be a thing with me trying to "help" others and receiving hugs in the process.


If you want to support relief efforts, my home church is one of many leading the charge and any money you send will go 100% to recovery.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

1.2 Miles Away (My 225 Experience)

As you well know, Alton Sterling was shot and killed by a police officer at the Triple S Food Mart on North Foster in my home city.   I watched the video a few times to see if I could decipher what occurred. Then the next day,  I watched the video of Philando Castile's girlfriend and him bleeding out and dying before my eyes.  I had to detach a bit knowing this was not a movie, this was real.  I don't watch the news anymore because I have learned that it does not serve me well.  It is mostly negative, and I have the tendency to stay in fear and foreboding and scarcity.  I don't want to live in scarcity anymore.

I don't want to discuss what I think of the shootings, because it's just so much more complex than a simple "black and white answer."  It is not cut and dry.  I just know from listening that living in black skin can be a lot more difficult than for most people living in white skin.  I know that racism exists and our community is hurting.

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

While reading one of my friend's Facebook posts about going to a prayer vigil in a north Baton Rouge church last Thursday night, she described secondhand how much pain the black community was in and there was discussion of whether the white community cared.  This broke my heart.

How do I show I care? What can I do to step out of my South Baton Rouge comfort zone?

This is where I am going to be really honest. Although, there is a desire to show up at a prayer vigil or some sort of protest to say, let's come together, I support you!  I don't think I can.

I have fear.

Growing up and in a very small town, the mentality I developed was if you drive to New Orleans and get out the car, you were going to get shot.  This goes for pretty much any large city.  That is the impression I had and have lived with for most of my life.  Don't drive in the bad parts of town.  For that matter,  when I'm walking the dogs at night in my own neighborhood, I get alarmed when a car drives by and I'm watching closely for something bad to happen.

As I have begun determining what I believe authentically, miraculously at the same time an ease has materialized in my day to day living.  I realize how much anxiety and fear on a daily basis that I lived with.  My mind was constantly afraid of every small action that I needed to take even when I knew what I needed to do, I didn't.  I was afraid to speak up... anywhere.   I was frozen in my tracks for as long as I can remember.  This type of fear has to be taken down bit by bit over time.  Exposure by exposure and by practicing, a lot of practicing.

Sunday morning, I went to my book study at church and one of the suggestions was to do your part where you are, with who was in front of you each day.  And to examine your own beliefs, and where you may be contributing to the problem.

That morning, I learned that the three out of state groups that were scheduled to come and work our church's Revive 225 program this week had cancelled.  Our church was looking for volunteers to do the house repairs of homes that are within a 5 mile radius of our downtown church.  When I met up with my oldest daughter in the church gym, I looked at her without any prior planning and blurted out, "Do you want to work?" intuitively knowing that she would.  Now, in my class the hour before,  I had said out loud to the group, it's over 100 degrees outside, I can't do that, are they crazy?  But what was really going on were the other fears in my mind.  The north Baton Rouge fears... (and the heat too!)

But we signed up anyway.

We signed up on the youth page.  Mallory was enrolled in a morning camp so we could work the morning shift.  Baby steps.  Later on that night, I watched the news just to see what was going on with the protests.  There was a large confrontation between police and protestors with fifty arrests just a few blocks from our church...

But I knew I still wanted to go.

I told myself the protesters who were from mostly out of town, would be leaving.  I was slightly anxious, but the kind that I've worked through before when I step out of my comfort zone.  I awoke early, and worried about driving my car around north Baton Rouge.

But I knew I still wanted to go.

I knew in my gut, all would be well.  We showed up at the first house and worked to remove debris that had been taken down previously.  Our youth director mentioned that we were not that far away from the Triple S.  (Alrighty then.) We went to a second house not far away and picked up more materials. At this point, Riley went with the rest of the youth group to work longer and I stayed behind in order to pick Mal up from her camp.  I went in to the house to see if they needed help. Several church members were removing old ceiling tile and repairing it.  I went to ask the homeowner for a broom.  As I knocked to announce my presence in the room she was in, she got up with the warmest smile and presence and walked across the room with open arms and we hugged.

Those who go with the intention to "help others", end up receiving the blessing.

I didn't know I needed a hug that day, and the homeowner in north Baton Rouge gave it to me.

I didn't stay long, because there wasn't much for me to do, and I went to say bye to the homeowner.  Of course, I forgot her name as I forget everything that I don't type in to Notes these days.  But she remembered mine.

"Bye Miss Carol"

We mutually hugged again.

I feel less scared to go back another time.  Baby steps.

At home that afternoon, I had the addresses in my GPS and I looked up where the Triple S Food Mart was from where we were.  It was 1.2 miles away.

She lived 1.2 miles away from the deadly shooting and I am the one who received the hug.  In actuality, I give myself credit that I immediately put my arms up when I saw her reaction.

Bit by bit, the fear and feelings of scarcity will cease and be overtaken by love.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Thankful for Power Outages?!

Late yesterday afternoon around 6:22 p.m. to be exact, the power went out in our house in broad sunny daylight.  George sprang, and I mean sprang into action.  Within five minutes, he had the portable generator sitting on the back patio and was carrying the A/C window unit into our bedroom.  I assisted where I could, finding the proper extension cords, tools, etc.

And I thank him.

It is brutally hot in south Louisiana.

I tried to find a working flashlight and discovered most of them had dead batteries or no batteries at all.  Then I cursed myself for the times I found Mallory with a powered on flashlight not using it.  Allowing the sun in for light, meant you were allowing the sun in with HEAT.  And it's been in the 90's, feeling like at least one hundred degrees with humidity.

It was a good test for hurricane season.
I have started my list of things we need.
The window unit & Ralph Macchio on the computer screen.

I also felt justified for every time I have kept my devices charged to the max.  My family makes fun of me.  My phone was 33% charged.  My computer at 26%.  How will I get communication from Entergy or neighbors to stay in the know?

This is a nightmare.

Ok, it's not a nightmare at all but my first instincts says it is.  My mind and emotions go back to past episodes of tropical storms and/or hurricanes.  I will never forgot the time the power was out for a long while after Gustav in 2008 and my mother in law and my much younger daughters and I drove to the nearby Walmart plaza and it was crazy.  I was looking for ice.  We had no generator at that time and the parking lot was packed, hard to navigate and reeked of desperation.  I felt very alone and unsure of how to handle what was going on.  George was working and living at the hospital.   We were told the power would be out for a couple of weeks and after the Walmart experience, we fled to Atlanta to my sister in laws.  I had never driven that far by myself without another driver.   I have a bit of post traumatic stress (really bad memories of being completely unnerved by the situation) and other past experiences (being nine months pregnant when Hurricane Katrina and it's aftermath roared through for another)

I cringed a little on the inside with my uncharged devices and said out loud that I will never let the family make fun of me for charging again (in my best Scarlett O'Hara voice)  Being without power is an inconvenience and hot but it brings our family (and from what I hear the neighborhood) together.  This is what my new mindful brain tells me.  This is not what I did eight years ago.  Anxiety was my middle name.  I lived in discomfort the entire ordeal.

Thank you for the practice of mindfulness.

After we got the most important things connected to the generator:  my phone(!), A/C, a fan, the refrigerator, and freezer,  we settled down after George grilled hamburgers.  Mallory was away at a birthday party.  George, Riley and I piled in the king sized bed in the cooled bedroom with closed shutters, drapes and doors.  The two dogs and one of the cats was with us and we began watching "The Outsiders" on DVD on our old laptop with added special effect water speakers.  Portable air conditioners and fans make a lot of noise.  The teenager was forced to be with us, but secretly I think she liked it.

It was cozy and comfortable and familially unifying.  After a total of two hours, and a fourth of the way into our movie,  I was a little sad when the power came on.

Well, maybe for a nanosecond.

I love air conditioning.

Forced family togetherness on vacation and in power outages can be a hot beautiful thing.  


Life or Death Decision (A hijacked blog)

Since George and I met twenty-three years ago, we have had a favorite child, non favorite child, two dogs, three cats, many fish and an assortment of other caged animals. I have grown into an animal person. I have also become a nap needed person I nap ALOT. I feel asleep while watching anything literally anything. I Carolyn am an introvert. I call myself a social introvert but my children do not think so. I also do not like to cook, clean up or any activity that involves moving. If I could I would sit in by bed all day. I am that kind of lazy person. I also do not have a good since of timing. My least favorite child thinks when you say a time you have to stick to the time. (Which is correct!!). I also text and drive which put myself, those also in the car with me and other around me in danger. Many Americans text and drive  but that needs to stop, myself included. While driving put your phone up, it CAN wait. So on conclusion on the short blog, I tell ALL my readers to not text and drive, AKA don't do anything on your cellular device when driving a car.

Please keep American and all Americans Save
Carolyn Ann Roddy Golightly, a texter and driver trying to quit.

I still text and drive.

Is this a guest blog or did I write this myself? The world may never know.

Friday, June 24, 2016

I Said No, Finally

Vacation Bible School was this week.  When the email came out a few months ago, I did something that it took years for me to do.  I sent out a polite email and said, I would not be volunteering this year.

I said no.

Not only did I not volunteer, I haven't even been driving to church every morning.  My teenager is working VBS as a youth leader and my ten year old is participating in Mission Day Camp and we are carpooling!!  I have volunteered for the last 10-12 years. Two years ago, I went totally nuts and led (the children) through a week of Mission Day Camp and if that wasn't enough, I volunteered to be in charge of the craft for VBS.   I put my time in.  And it wasn't without inner turmoil.

From the very beginning, VBS overwhelmed me.  Coming from a very small country church with a handful of kids, I distinctly remember walking into my large church's gym for the first time and feeling overpowered by the intensity of nearly four hundred kids.  I didn't even have my own kids yet.  This gym was boisterous, loud, and full of energetic children.  And for several of the next years, I was responsible for groups of those loud, energetic children.  And even though the week wore me down like no other, and I had no energy for my own children, I persisted in volunteering year after year because that is what I was supposed to do.

In hindsight, I worried what it would look like that I was a stay at home mom who did not volunteer for VBS.   I let my concern over what I thought other people would think prevail over what I absolutely knew was true about myself. And then throw God in the mix and I was totally set up for years of inner angst!  I was never meant to be a teacher of kids.  I tried really hard to mold myself into that but it didn't work.  Girl Scout leader didn't stick either.

Yet I learned.  One year, I filled out a scathing review at the end of the week because I did not know how to ask for help.  That year, I was leading an "active" group that needed a lot of intervention and my co-leader's daughter got sick and I was ALONE with my lot.  I needed to ask for more help but I did not want to bother anybody.  I was miserable and it seeped out in the questionnaire.

Over time, I learned to listen to my intuition, I learned to be assertive, I learned that I was capable of leading children, I was capable of being in charge of something important but it is not my passion.  When you are passionate about something, it is near effortless and you gain energy!  What feels like work in one area, just flows in another.  (and that's God flowing through)

I am an introvert (albeit a social one).  Being around people drains me, especially children : )   I have to cocoon for a long time after spending a week with four hundred children.  Every summer, I would have an emotional meltdown towards the end of the summer and it was awful.  I didn't know how to listen to my intuition, and act on it.  I didn't ask for a quieter job.

But I know now.

But the mind is a funny thing. This past Monday morning, even though I knew without a shadow of a doubt, that I was hanging my VBS volunteer hat up for good, I did feel the need to tell two near strangers at church, that I was not working this year.  And guess what? THEY DID NOT CARE.

I'm the only one that cared!

 I'm the one that had to change my thoughts about it.  The only person I had to truly disappoint was me.  (well my oldest is giving me a small amount of flak, but she's a teenager and well, you know...) Thoughts are so powerful.  Paying attention to what you tell yourself about any given situation is so powerful.  Are the thoughts true?  Is the story that is repeated all day long in your head, true?  Those thoughts can mean misery or freedom.  It is the most important thing to do, to challenge the thoughts that you tell yourself about yourself all day long.  It takes time, but they can be rewired.

So today is the last day of VBS, and I am not even going for the closing service.  I will show up at noon when it's completely over, and gather my children together.  And I'm at peace with that.  I get to stay at home and write today. Pure Bliss.


Postscript: Everyone should volunteer for a few years if able.  I just volunteered for about five years too long.

Monday, June 20, 2016

What is Holding You Back Is All In Your Head

We recently got home from a fantastic vacation in New England.  We are a family that tries to hit as many tourist sites as we can and as a result watch our Fitbit steps skyrocket.  So now I'm depleted.  This week is VBS and Mission Day Camp for the girls and I finally said no to volunteering.  I have 2.5 hours alone each morning this week.  And I look around and see all that needs to be done: rooms that need picking up, baskets of laundry, a basket of papers, a basket of mismatched socks, counters that need cleaning, and a plethora of cat and dog hair that collected while we were gone, etc. etc.  I see closets that need attention.  I see everything that needs attention.

And it overwhelms me.

And what I really want to do it write.

And I'm tired.  Did I say I was tired? And I know when I'm tired, my thoughts can spiral downward in a negative fashion.  And in the last few years, I know that if I rest, take the time out to take care of myself, I will recover.

The introvert in me, needs to cocoon for a few hours to recover.  But we don't live in a society that recognizes that rest is a magnificent and necessary thing.  Culture says we are supposed to be on the go, go, go. Produce in some way, stay connected and go.   I have finally learned how to give myself permission to rest.  And those who live in my house are learning to allow me that as well. They do call me lazy which stings, but they can't understand exactly who I am where they are at.  We don't all have to understand each other, but accept each other as is. It is okay to disappoint loved ones.

I have found that when I feel overwhelmed and exhausted, my thoughts tell me that I will NEVER feel rested again.  And I have learned that those NEVERS usually passes in a few hours or a day and sometimes it takes 2-3 days.  And then I have energy again and begin the day with a more positive outlook and ready to GO.  Allowing myself the time to breathe and cocoon, is a necessity.

But today, in between periods of rest, I am attempting laundry.  One thing that I despise is laundry.  Actually I despise the folding, and putting away of said laundry.  I love to gather dirty laundry,  and put it in the washer and dryer - someone else is doing the job during this portion.  It's the folding that gets me.  It feels like a beast.  It feels like I am unable to ever get ahead.

So with the laundry, I feel like that horse in the above picture.  I am chained down with these thoughts that seem so heavy and...

 It's just a rickety plastic chair holding me back.

Every now and then I give in and I fold the laundry and it takes like 5 minutes.  I spend so much time, thinking that a task is TOO MUCH and I can't accomplish it and it takes 5-10 minutes.  It's amazing how thoughts work.  It is incredible if you change your thoughts, you can change your life.

It takes a lot of time, patience, awareness, and intention.  I love mindfulness.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

So Trump is the Presumptive Nominee...and Why Mindfulness Matters

Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee for President for the Republican party.

The Republican party has imploded.


My small self, with a small s, (my ego) is repulsed by this.  The nomination not the implosion.

And for all of the same reasons so many people are also completely and utterly turned off by him: bigotry, racism, misogyny, inciting violence and hatred, making fun of the disabled and the list goes on and on and on.  His ego is soft, and he cannot handle criticism or opposing views.  He attacks his "opponent" viciously with superficial arguments like gender or physical attributes, not the issue at hand.  He is like a toddler.  It is his way or the highway.  This is the level of emotional maturity that he is working under.

He is the textbook definition of a narcissist.

And a portion of the population is voting for him in droves.

And this is America.  It is a democracy.  And this is our process!

I can have my opinion and vote and you can too.

How will his temperament serve our country in foreign matters? His anti-Muslim rhetoric and big talk of bombing ISIS only makes their job of recruitment easier.  He plays into their hands.

This isn't an episode of Celebrity Apprentice or Miss USA.  The U.S. has to get along with the rest of the world.   Nothing about Trump says that he can be diplomatic. Nothing.

His presence in the race has provided hours of ratings for the media and entertainment for the masses but it has been cringeworthy every step of the way.  EVERY step of the way. 

I never liked him as an entertainer, because who he is as a person showed through.  He IS a child of God, as we ALL are but his attitude regarding women, is deplorable.  He has no experience in politics.  None.   His record of being a businessman has so many holes in it.  An article in Fortune Magazine, says that he would have billions more if he had just invested what he inherited in index funds rather than all of his failed businesses.  With the bankruptcies that he can't acknowledge, and failed businesses (the defunct Trump University is currently in litigation for false claims and illegal business practices) where is this business acumen the authoritarian voters cling to when asked why he is an attractive candidate?   He is media savvy.  He knows about branding.  The Trump name just appeals to his voters because it says luxury, but some of it is a facade.  He doesn't even own all the buildings that his name is on, he just licenses them to carry his name.  Appearances.

The people who are voting for him really don't know what they are getting themselves into.  He has changed his stance on many issues to appeal to the extreme right which is normal for politicians.  Yet he has no track record to review, to know what the heck he would do in the most powerful position in the world.  He knows what to say, to get a segment of the population riled up.  And most of it, is in three and four word sentence fragments that have no real meaning.

It's not just that he is a Republican and I am firmly on the Democratic side.

It's who he is as a person.  He has no common decency.  It's all about looks.

He makes fun of the "least of these."

It would be embarrassing to have him as our leader.

And with all that said, this is really my point.   This is where the Self with a Big S comes into play for me.   The idea of a Trump presidency is revolting in every way imaginable.   And in the past, this presumptive nomination would have kept me awake at night, and worked up and anxious for days. And for me, that is no way to live.  And mindfulness has gotten me to a place where even if he is elected President, I could accept it.  Acceptance of people, places and things that don't fit with my ideals is terribly hard work but doable.  Life is about acceptance and letting go.  Life is about love.  And I work my way towards that as much as possible.

I don't hate Donald Trump, I just don't agree with him very much, at all.

I would not watch the news. (I don't watch it now though)   I would accept that I have no control over it EXCEPT to vote and contact my Congressman both state and federally.  And I would let it go to a Higher Power.

Our country has gone through many terrible events and our government is one of checks and balances.  The U.S. would survive.

From a Reuters article in March by Peter Apps:

"For all his rhetoric, a President Trump would, like all other occupants of the Oval Office, find himself constrained by the Constitution, judiciary and Congress. Even if the Republicans do retain control of the House and Senate, many members of Congress are already voicing their opposition. And if a Trump presidency proves as contentious as many expect, it could easily deliver the Democrats control of Congress in 2018."
He would more than likely be a one term President.  That helps my endeavor of mindfulness!!  It would be a test but it could be done. I want to sleep at night. I don't want to worry about politics although they are very important.  In the past, I would have worried excessively.  

I want to engage FULLY  in the people in my life right where I am, as a thoughtful, caring, loving present human being.  I can't do that worrying about who the next President will be.

Mindfulness.  Don't leave home without it.


Monday, April 11, 2016

Can I Run From These Feelings Any Faster?

Earlier this morning, feelings were sitting on my chest.  Discomfort.


 (If you've read any of my blogs this is my running THEME and I want to flee the discomfort as soon as I'm aware of it's presence - like a snake in my house type of fleeing)

Feelings are just energy.  They are a normal part of life.  It has been a continual process for me to learn how to cope when the discomfort arises.  I know, I truly know in my head,  I need to be curious and welcoming to the energy and not fight it, and the energy will flow. It can be a day, or a few hours, or just minutes.  And if it's a major life upheaval, it shows up repeatedly for a period of time.

I spent the past few years, intimately learning to let the feelings flow.  More than thirteen years ago, I shut down my feelings after a terrible bout of postpartum depression.   The PPD started a few months before childbirth and ran for the entire year after. It was such a depth of sadness, pain and anxiety and I NEVER wanted to go THERE again.   At times, I felt the struggle to live through each moment.  Along with the sadness, anxious thoughts never stopped in my head. I can visualize one particular Saturday morning with George and I could not make up my mind about going to Target for a shopping run.  It was an endless loop:  "Can I go?", "Will the baby get hungry?" "Will I need to breastfeed?"  "I really need to get out the house" "George can help" "This is the only day he can help" "I can't go, it's too much" and then it started over. And all of the questions repeated endlesssly.  It was utterly draining.

God bless George.  I didn't tell him everything.  It was a very isolating and lonely existence.  It was the loneliest I had ever felt in my life.

So I unconsciously stopped feeling.  And that's not good either.  You can't just stop the so-called negative emotions, you also stop the pleasurable ones as well.  I have had to learn how to have fun again.  And that seems cra cra, but oh so true.

What I'm awakening to, is that what comes with those feelings are thoughts. Now that I'm not so scared of the feelings, I'm seeing that thoughts go through my head SIMULTANEOUSLY with the flow of emotions.  Those thoughts tell me something is wrong with me.

What comes first, the thought or the feeling?  The chicken or the egg? It doesn't matter, I have some rewiring to do.  I just saw things more clearly this morning.

I got a little more curious because I knew the sadness would flow.  And that's when I caught my thoughts going into a rabbit hole.

The thoughts are part of a story I tell myself that is also on loop.  We all have stories about ourselves whether they are true or not.  That voice in my head says I am not enough. Unless one has graduated from Mindfulness - at an Eckhart Tolle level, the thoughts are there.   The work I have to do is to rewrite the story that I tell myself.  I have to question the thoughts that pop up in my head and ask, is this true?  If this person does not accept me, does that mean I'm not worthy?  If my dress size is considered plus size, am I worthy?  Even though my house is not neat and I lose my patience with my kids or my husband, am I worthy?  The questions are endless and oh so personal for each one of us.   Career, job, material things, health, accepting anyone in our life for who they are, spiritual journey, on and on.  If we think we are not worthy, until this, whatever THIS is, occurs, we tell ourselves that we are not enough.

I know I am worthy, as each person who is alive is worthy.

I know deep down, I am love at my core. I know also that I have a faulty loop.  So I shall work on questioning and rewiring.  And eventually I will spend less time on this, and more time on loving.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Grieving The Living

I am grieving a living person.  It's a very painful process, excruciating.  But I'm willing to go to the mat, and do the heavy work.  I don't want to live in this box anymore.

I have let my self worth be directed by a person who is wounded.  I can't do this anymore.

I am making myself small in order to try to gain acceptance and I will never get it. It has been shown to me over and over and over again that I will not get it.

Now is time to have compassion and acceptance for myself.

 I have to branch out and know that a higher power is going to see me through.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

I Changed My Party Identification to Democrat Today

The Iowa caucus is behind us.  This pushed me to do something today that I have been meaning to to do for years.  I changed my party identification from Republican to Democrat officially.

This is HUGE.

It has taken a long time to step out of the shadows and embrace who I am.

This is BIG.  

In the last 2-3 years, I worried about posting anything on FB that would give away that I was not with the grain of my Red state.

At this point in time, I can't believe I ever felt that way.  

Politics and religion became intermixed when push button issues became Republican and equal being a Christian.  Now, I see that so differently  When I was ashamed before, now I think, how could you even think you are a follower of Jesus - and espouse such hate and fear.   What would Jesus do?

Living my authentic life is evolving.

Slowly and surely.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Hello Roid Rage

I was sick for close to three weeks with the crud.  I would feel better and go out and then have relapses.  I had wheezing, sneezing, sore throat, nasal congestion, and allergies.   It gets old really fast to not have the energy to keep up with life.  I tried resting, antibiotics, inhalers, and other over the counter meds and I still wasn't up to par.  I went to the doctor and ended up with a steroid shot and then a steroid pack to take over several days.  I must have never had this combination before...

I woke up the next morning, feeling alive and righteous. There was no wheezing, no sore throat and oh my gosh, I feel alive and have energy!!  Woo Hoo!  Yes!  And then over time, it became apparent that an irritable alien took over my body.  I am angered so easily.  So very easily.  (There is no way to watch anything in the news about politics right now.)  I even felt the need to start posting political rants on FB, but just went so far as to like a few Democratic posts.  Benign FB posts are annoying me.  I don't feel right in my body.  At moments, it is hard to be with myself at all.

And then I began waking during the night, alert and for no reason.  And I want to eat everything in sight.

This weekend, I wanted to rip George's head off numerous times (and I know he wanted to rip mine as well).  And then there is our teenager...  I just backed away from her several times, because I knew I was in no frame of mind to go head to head.

The irritability feels so uncomfortable.   I have worked so hard at mindfulness to recognize when these feelings and energy come my way, to be curious, and to allow them through.  I have worked so hard to let anger, anxiety, and sadness not take over and paralyze me.

But this rage is not going anywhere.

Sitting and breathing with it.  Being in this present moment sucks.

And, this is life.  It is not guaranteed to be smooth.  At all.  Being in the present moment is harder right now but it will pass.

I just wanted to feel better.  I wished to feel better and have energy.  Heh heh, I got that.

This will pass.  I will avoid those things that I know stir me up.  I will back away.  I will not read about politics right now.  I will be angry.  This too will pass.  I will send a message to my doctor and ask, can I quit taking them now?  And it is okay.  Feeling uncomfortable will not do me in.  It feels like it will, but it won't.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Putting the Air Mask on First

During Christmas break, I tend to lose my marbles when the kids are home 24/7.  It's just the way it goes.  And every year, I forgot that this will occur, and finally after 13 years as a mom, I'm starting to catch on.    I get cranky, short-tempered and yearn for any adult conversation at Easter, Mardi Gras, Thanksgiving and Summer Vacation.  During this past Christmas break,  putting the air mask on first, what airlines tell you to do in preflight demonstration before you put the mask on your child, resonated with me big time.

It really sunk in.

It is one thing to have intellectual knowledge of a notion or idea it is another to put it in practice. (And for it to go well.)
I have read and talked about many parenting ideas that I know are right from an intellectual standpoint
yet putting ideas that I recognize to be good in practice requires much discomfort.

I saw an incremental change during the last school break. On the spur of the moment, I decided to go to yoga and leave the ten year old with the thirteen year old (and the ferocious guard dog and the alarm system on!)  The ten year old DOES NOT LIKE staying at home with the thirteen year old.   The thirteen year old who herself has Red Cross certification and one babysitting experience under her belt, DOES NOT WANT a sitter anymore. So what's standing in my way, is the beloved heart and nerves of a ten year old.  (On this particular occasion, my husband was able to leave later for work, and off I ran.)

But this time, I was going for it, no matter what.  Even though it made my ten year old uncomfortable, I wanted and needed to go.  In the past, I would have hedged back and forth, the child would have seen that I was hesitant and they would have gone for the jugular for me to do what they wanted.

The practice of yoga, feeds my soul and works out my body.   I feel refreshed, renewed, and mindful afterwards.  It is exactly what I needed to take on the rest of the day and school break.  And it hit me that this is what it means to put the air mask on first, because then you are better able to handle what comes your way.   This was actually practicing that idea with one caveat.

I would do things before that were FOR ME but I would feel GUILTY over it and WORRY the entire time.  This was one time, I walked away and left my worries at home and focused on myself for an entire hour.

It was almost better than an orgasm.

And it lasted longer.

I came home from yoga, went straight to Mallory and said, "I know you didn't want me to go and I appreciate your cooperation, I really love to practice yoga and it makes me feel really good" (...Laying the foundation for future yoga sessions)

And the kicker is this act of putting the air bag on first is teaching my children to take care of themselves.  Losing my mind and being short tempered, is not how I want to love my children or myself.

Taking care of me, helps me take care of them AND most importantly they learn from watching what I do.  Not what I say.  What I do.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

My First Aerobics Class Since 2008

I stepped out of my comfort zone this afternoon.  And I say Hallelujah every time I do this in large and small ways.  I attended a zumba type dance class.  I have not attended any type of "fitness" class other than yoga in many years.  I can tell you exactly when I walked away.  The scene is perfectly etched in my mind.  I see it.

It was 2008 and it was a horrible Muscle Works Class at a local gym.  I wrote about it on June 13, 2009 entitled "Nightmare in Muscle Works"  The instructor was a meanie.  I just reread what happened and I forgot some of the interaction that went on between she and I.  I don't do well with meanies.  Life is too short to deal with people that are negative and condescending.  It was such a defining moment that I walked away from ever attending another class like that for nearly 8 years.

At that time, I did decide yoga was my pathway for class settings but even that was in a very tepid, careful way.   And I LOVE YOGA and what it does for me.    I have had a love/hate relationship with "exercise" for a long time and I'm coming out of it.  That class or rather, that teacher made me feel inferior and discouraged about exercise classes, and I let her.  But yoga helped me work through it.

I realized tonight that I let that one person affect me dramatically.  There were plenty of other classes and teachers and gyms.  Yet, that is okay.  This was supposed to be my journey.

Found a picture on FB! That is me all the way to the left.

So this afternoon, I went to a Refit dance class taught by a teacher and another parent from my children's school.  I have been watching another Facebook friend post about the Refit classes she teaches for a couple of years now.  I was probably invited to attend one but it never entered my mind, that I could DO the class.  It looked somewhat appealing but in my head, I said, I can't.

That is so sad.

But I feel differently today.  I needed to walk away all those years ago.  I needed to practice yoga and develop a healthier relationship with exercise.  I am learning to listen to my body and know that it likes to move.  Not every single day but movement has become joyful moreso than "I HAVE to do this."  My body is a temple and I want to take care of it and that is sinking in more and more.  When I was resistant to going even to yoga, which I have been doing for fourteen years, my friend says she looks upon it as a massage.  I had never thought of it that way.  That is sinking in too.

Now, I WILL be sore for the next few days.  I can already feel some muscles feel like jello.  But it is great to move unused muscles and there is ibuprofen after all.

So, I plan to make another class soon and keep trying. It will take some time to learn the moves but it was fun.  It was a wonderful way to move my body with music and other women and no meanies.