Monday, June 30, 2014

Elements #20

Start listening to your inner voice. If it helps, discuss your ideas with those closest to you, but give yourself enough room to follow your own intuition. Be true to yourself. Say what you need to say. Do what you know in your heart is right.
Sometimes I read these and I can't help but to think, "Well, yeah, I knew that already." But I make myself stop and really think about it deeper. Sometimes the feelings that arise are a little surprising, other times they are precisely what one might think would come up.

Intuition is a funny thing, really. There have been times when I choose a different route or decide to go to a different store. There have been times when I pushed the intuition aside and got into serious trouble. One might argue that I'd have gotten into that trouble anyway, but I don't believe that. One example is a car accident I was in during the summer of 2000. I had a really strong feeling to take a different way back to the house, but was just wanting to get home so that I could relax. When I my car was hit... well, it wasn't pretty. Aside from the physical damage to my body, I was also really shaken up spiritually. And, like many people in a similar situation, I began to question what I was doing with my life. I made changes that led to better things.

Regardless of your take on intuition or that inner voice, a person really needs to be true to themselves. If you are the kind of person who listens to that tiny voice, then do so without explaining yourself to anyone who says that it's all malarkey. If you are the kind of person who doesn't believe in intuition, then hold to your beliefs without defending your position to one who wants to change you.

Blessings to you all.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Elements #25

Start being more open about how you feel. If you're hurting, give yourself the necessary space and time to hurt, but be open about it. Talk to those closest to you. Tell them the truth about how you feel. Let them listen. The simple act of getting things off your chest and into the open is your first step toward feeling good again.
Why do I feel like this one is a loaded gun?I have been thinking about this for a few days and I realized that I don't want to write about it. So I started to think about the reason behind that. I believe it is because the past still hurts.

There have been many times in my life when I was hurting because of someone's actions or words and when I would speak up, the other person would turn the situation around to be my fault. When I didn't want to stay in a bowling alley with the people I worked with and chose to go home instead, harsh words were hurled at me and it turned out to be "my fault" that I wasn't being more understanding or accepting. When I was hurting because I was lied to about my parentage, it was my fault for asking and causing a stir in the household. When I was hurting over the absence of someone it was somehow my fault for wanting to spend more time with them. When I was hurting over the lies and half-truths told to me... well, I didn't even speak up about those since I knew that the other person wouldn't understand my pain and would somehow brush it all off as my own mistake for taking their words literally.There are so many other times when I would speak up about the pain I was in and was summarily shut down. And there were times when the person would say that they were going to hear me out, then manipulated the situation to where they were right and I was wrong (this happened repeatedly).

Was it because the other person didn't want to hear the truth? Was it because they truly didn't see their actions as damaging to me? Or is it part of human nature to become blind to the things we aren't ready to deal with.

Don't get me wrong; there have been times when I spoke up and the other person genuinely listened to me. Oddly enough, those times were with people who are blood related. When I told my father that I was hurt that he didn't accept me as a non-Christian, he listened, he heard me out. I didn't change his mind (of course), but he stopped pushing me to change mine. Now that I think about this a little more, I realized that my children are the only other ones who have heard me out when I was hurting about something they said or did.

Perhaps there are people in the world who would actually listen, but I've not extended that trust to a lot of people.

So where does that leave this post? I feel like I should meditate on this a little more and come back to it, but I also feel like I should leave it alone. I find it hard to agree with this Element simply because I've known so many people who were significant in my life become resentful and angry when I'd speak about my own pain. Most of the time I don't think we should spread resentment or other forms of negativity. At the same time I don't think people should blissfully go about their days not knowing how much pain they are inflicting on those around them. Somewhere in the middle of this I'm sure there is a balance. I am not wise enough to find it easily, though. Maybe in a few years or after I've learned more lessons on my own Journey.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Elements #21

Start being attentive to your stress level and take short breaks. Slow down. Breathe. Give yourself permission to pause, regroup, and move forward with clarity and purpose. When you're at your busiest, a brief recess can rejuvenate your mind and increase your productivity. These short breaks will help you regain your sanity and reflect on your recent actions so you can be sure they're in line with your goals.
Stress. What a powerful thing in our lives. Between the bills and the jobs and the medical expenses and the school fees and everything else in our lives, stress adds up each day. For many people, stress will lead to some major physical issues that are hard to get past.

It seems cliché to just tell someone to let go of the stress in their lives, but that is exactly what is needed. So how do we do it? Meditation doesn't add enough money in your bank account to cover the bills. It won't help your child pass the classes they are struggling with. It won't fix the broken radiator in your car. Going for a walk won't change the way your boss undermines your efforts. It won't change the disgruntled teller at the bank. It won't stop your cell phone's battery from dying before you can get home to charge it. Neither will yoga or New Age music or all the self-help books in the store.

But, and this is an important "but", these things can lower your blood pressure, help you sleep at night, and help you to stay focused on what is really important to you. When you're in the middle of work and it's time for that 15 minute break, try to find a quiet spot and close your eyes, doing your best to tune other things out. When you get home from work, take a moment to look around the house with a sense of gratitude and appreciation for the things you do have (yes, even that pile of laundry in the bathroom). When you wake in the morning try stretching your limbs as you get out of bed to help your muscles wake more fully. Or, simply, choose a song that you really like to listen to and play it when you're feeling cranky.

There are hundreds of books and websites about meditation, relieving stress, and focusing on gratitude. It's up to you to choose the method that helps you.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Time passing

I should be working on my next Elements post, but I really wanted to just catch up on things.

Brianna is officially a senior in high school now. Some of you might already know that she really struggled in school this year. It was a bit of a shock to us both since she pretty much breezed through the last few years with no problem. Not this year. Hours of daily homework, poor test grades even after studying hard, and a lot of angst and stress. But all her hard work has come to a shining moment when she joyfully announced that she passed her junior year on Facebook (after sending a text to me). I'm so proud of her and all of her hard work! She is still set up to graduate a little early (January instead of June) and has plans for afterward. Interestingly enough, we got a call from a recruiter on Saturday and they are looking for welders. I'm not going to tell Brianna what to do since this has to be her decision, but I will be in full support of whatever she chooses.

We had a fabulous weekend with lunch at Papas & Beer then out to see Maleficent. We both enjoyed it quite a bit and I have to admit that it touched me deeper than I had thought. This is the second Disney movie I've watched recently that had very little to do with the love between a princess and her prince. Very refreshing. Maleficent was also quite traumatic in the sense that she was betrayed by someone who was "trying to protect her". I can't go more into it without a few spoilers, but I am looking forward to owning this movie.

Yesterday was Father's Day here in America. It's never been one of my favorite pseudo-holidays, but that's not because I didn't have a good Dad, only because I don't believe these special times only deserve one day a year. My Dad-growing-up (Bob) really did his best for us. He worked long hours, did his best to take care of my Mom when she was so sick, and did his best to teach me how to do repairs around the house and with the cars. I can rewire a lamp and replace a toilet. I can replace pipes and do minor electrical repairs (I will fully admit that they scare me, though, since I get shocked with the simplest of things, like opening my car door). He also taught me to laugh at myself when I did something wrong. My Dad-who-found-me (Tom, who is also the one who helped make me) is also a great person and has done his very best to accept me as I am even though it confuses him. My Paganism, name change, political position, etc., are all things that he doesn't understand, but he hasn't turned away from me.

But I am sad for my kids. They have different fathers and were conceived under very different circumstances. I'd hoped that I would find a man who would step up and be the best Dad he could to them. I know that the person I chose tried. But... what can I say? There was emotional abandonment during times when they really needed someone strong. Even so, my kids are pretty awesome (as are his kids, by the way). I honestly believe they will continue to be awesome people throughout their lives.

Saturday evening Brianna & I joined up with the Hogwarts Running Club and went for our first walk. This was the first time I'd walked more than a mile in a very long time. The route we took was through the neighborhoods around us and was mostly level with a few steeper hills thrown in. It wasn't easy, but it was still quite nice. There were several people walking their dogs, on their porches watching fireflies, or just walking along the sidewalk. Once we got into the higher level (near a place called Beaucatcher Overlook Park, which we did not find), there were very few people, but it was still quite nice. I'm looking forward to doing something similar again soon. I don't feel nearly as sore as I'd thought (even though it's a little challenging going up & down the stairs at work today) and I'm glad for that.

I have to get back to work (breaks aren't really long enough to type out all of my thoughts and such), but I do hope you are all having a great day.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Elements #24

Start working toward your goals every single day. Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Whatever it is you dream about, start taking small, logical steps every day to make it happen. Get out there and DO something! The harder you work the luckier you will become. While many of s decide at some point during the course of our lives that we want to answer our calling, only an astute few of us actually work on it. By "working on it" I mean consistently devoting oneself to the end result.

This seems like such a simple concept, and yet... sometimes our dreams and goals seem too enormous to even get started, much less achieve. Where do we start? What should our first step be? What if we're wrong and have to start over again?

Each person, of course, has a different method of doing things. Some people need to write out every aspect of their dreams, each potential step, each possible obstacle. They need to feel in control of every facet and edge. Others just need to feel that their dream is there, amorphous and unstructured, letting things happen as they will.

I am somewhere in the middle of those examples. Yes, I like to have my dreams written down, but I leave so much up to chance. There are no clear steps to take, no checklist to mark. For example, I want to have a small house with some animals. I have that written down in several journals and blog entries so it's not something vague. But I don't have the steps written down. Yes, I know that I'll need to continue becoming debt free, I know that I'll need to make sure my credit score gets back to where it was before I moved, I know that I'll need to set aside money for a down payment. But these are not in any kind of strict order or linear plan. They are just there. Most of the goals that I've had that were micro-planned, fell apart before I even got them partway off the ground. The ones where I knew what I wanted as the end result, but had no idea of how to get from point A to point B? The ones where I sort of hopped from one point to another, skipping some steps, revisiting others? Those goals seemed to grow into what I wanted.

There are small steps I've been taking lately to remind myself of happiness. Little things that I do daily to feel more at peace with my choices. I'll keep doing them and add more in for the bigger goals in my life, too.

Thursday, June 05, 2014


Well, my temperature is once again below 98 and I am pretty sure it will be normal by tomorrow. I slept most of yesterday, knitting only 20 minutes or so, and drinking enough fluids to sail a large toy boat. All in all, I am certain that I've passed the worst of this. I'll have to catch up on work, of course, but that's not a big deal. I'm still very tired, but I know that's normal for the flu.

I was woken last night to a buzz on my phone letting me know that there was a tornado watch until 3am. Before I got up to put the cat carriers together and figure out a plan, I checked out this interesting site and, since discovering that this city is at an extremely low risk, I promptly went back to sleep.

And now, I am hoping to get things back to normal so that I can focus on more important things, like yarn and walking and knitting and enjoying movies with my daughter. Oh! And learning how to embed posts from Facebook:

Monday, June 02, 2014

Elements #30

Start noticing how wealthy you are right now.  Henry David Thoreau once said, “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” Even when times are tough, it’s always important to keep things in perspective. You didn’t go to sleep hungry last night. You didn’t go to sleep outside. You had a choice of what clothes to wear this morning. You hardly broke a sweat today. You didn’t spend a minute in fear. You have access to clean drinking water. You have access to medical care. You have access to the Internet. You can read. Some might say you are incredibly wealthy, so remember to be grateful for all the things you do have.
I like this one a lot. I do think about the things that I have and I feel pretty blessed with it all. I'm mostly healthy and there is medical people who can fix the parts that might need repaired. We have food in the house that includes fresh veggies & such. Books, business equipment, movies, gadgets & gizmos aplenty.

I have enough. Perhaps that's why I don't feel a driving need to have more. Perhaps that's why I don't collect more things even when I can afford them. I am at peace with what I have. Yes, I long for a wee house of my own and I'd love to have hens again and a couple goats, but I don't need these things to make me happy.

This one is going to be short. Partly because I'm not feeling 100% today (it's quite possible that I have whatever Brianna is still battling with (her fever is lower today, but still too high for school) and my words are just not flowing. But even in the midst of feeling a bit icky, I am still grateful that I have my tea & stevia, cough drops, inhaler, and a job in a quiet office with a heater. Even with being sick, life is good.