Understanding the Unknown…

Hiya Everyone,

Today I want to talk a little about feelings.

As a recovering (Insert your choice here: alcoholic/addict/people pleaser/middle child/abuse survivor), I do not love to talk about my feelings. Okay, maybe a more honest statement is, I do not love to sit with my feelings.

I know… I am not making much sense. Bear with me. What do feelings and all those “titles” have in common? For the sake of confusing you more, I am just going to call myself an addict. Okay? You may not like labels, and that is okay. But, for me, I can relate to this term. To this title. Hiya Everyone, my name is Denise, and I am an addict.

Soooo, back to my point. (In case you have forgotten… yes, I am also A.D.H.D) The mother loving Superfecta!!

As an addict, I ran from my feelings. I believed that I wasn’t capable of any more disappointment. I couldn’t imagine any more pain.

I used drugs, alcohol, relationships, sex, food, body image, work, you name it… to not face my feelings.

Why?? Because I didn’t know how to process them. I didn’t know that it was okay to say, “I just don’t know.” Nobody showed me how to be okay, with not knowing.

So, I did what any toddler, at the age of 12, 16, 23, 29, or even 32 would do. I lied. I hid my feelings, because I couldn’t explain what was happening, within.

When I drank and used drugs, I felt like a different person. Alcohol made me feel smart. I felt like I fit in or belonged.

I hid my feelings and used people, to cover myself up. I chose relationships thinking that this person would save me from where I was.

I didn’t know I had the power, to change my own circumstances.

At the age 21, I had a baby with a man that I was not, married too. I felt surely, this will make my life better. Maybe this would fill that void. Maybe this baby will bring us closer or make my life better. I didn’t love him. I didn’t know how to love someone. I thought conquering him was love.

I picked the men who didn’t love me, made them love me, changed who they were… then I would leave them. I did this for years. It was about the conquest. I would also never stick around long enough to get hurt.

I didn’t have much in common with my daughters’ father, even after five years of being in the relationship. I had no idea who I was, or why I stayed.

I also didn’t have a clue of how to raise a child. I knew the basic stuff about how to care for a baby… but how to nurture one? No clue.

Being a mom felt so foreign to me. I would sit for hours and just stare at her. This beautiful little girl… Sometimes I would weep. Was this love?

Did God finally give me something, to show me what love was?  

At the age of 23, I left my daughter’s father and I married a man who was 18 years my senior. He drove fancy cars, drank expensive wine and took me to some pretty lavish places. I was a princess. (More like an arm piece… but hey, I was 23. I was enjoying the ride.)

I didn’t love him either. He was abusive. I stayed for six months.  We drank way too much and fought even more when we were drunk. I called the Police, he went to jail, I dropped the charges. When he started seeing other women, I left.

I continued to try to make sense of my life.

Now, I had a toddler. I was responsible for her wellbeing, her needs and what about me?

At 24, I was a divorced single mom, living in subsidized housing.

Insert first DUI. (OUIL)

I got a slap on the wrist and continued, on my destructive path. A few more years passed, I found my way back to a church, then got a second DUI. (So thankful for that church family, they showed me acceptance. I am not sure if they talked about me behind my back… all I knew was, they made me feel whole.)

My daughter was in grade school and my family joked openly about the revolving door of men or relationships that I had. (Baskin and Robbins, was a term they used, who was the flavor of the month?) I was still picking men that I didn’t like, molding them into something that I really didn’t like… then setting them on their way.

I was reading books, listening to cassette tapes, trying to learn how to be a parent. I was trying to learn how to mold this beautiful child into something… other than me.

Fast forward to my last DUI. Jan 13, 1999. This scared me. Something had to change.

My daughter was almost 12. I had finally hit my bottom and had to stop running. She deserved better.

Maybe, just maybe… I did too?

This is where I learned how to feel. At 33 years old, I was finally going to face myself.

I have had some amazing spiritual guides and strong women who paved this path for me. I have learned how to have healthy relationships and not take people hostage. I have learned how to honor my feelings.

My biggest lesson?

 To know my self-worth.

 To own my power.

Now that you know the basics… let’s talk about the title of this post.

Understanding the Unknown and facing my feelings. How, was I able to jump from that train wreck to the person that I am today? It happened one day at a time. I stopped listening to the voice inside my head and the people around me who weren’t cheering me on.

I left friendships with people who didn’t have my best interest.

I stopped inviting people into my life, just to manipulate and change them. I learned how to accept people for who they were, not who I wanted them to be.

How?

I asked for help. I admitted that I didn’t know what I was doing.

I suppose, this is what I did, when I read those books to learn how to parent my little girl.

Except, this process of me, asking for help from a woman, allowed me to get humble and to understand that vulnerability was, strength.

These amazing women showed me how to be the parent, that I needed.

I became my own parent.

I had a conversation with my sponsor the other day. We were talking about my new online Yoga classes. I have been leading weekly live classes and also began offering Children’s Yoga.  

Yes, me… the person who was always told that I didn’t like other people’s kids. I heard it so often, that I believed it. I started telling myself the lie.

So…. What does any of this have to do with feelings?

I am battling with that voice that says, what do you know about kid’s yoga? I am also still struggling with a few extra pounds and am insecure about how “not tone”, I am these days…

So, why would I do it?

To squash the fear.

So, back to the title of this blog.

Understanding the Unknown.

When we take a minute or two, to pause. To feel. To process… things will become clearer. When I can sit, with my feelings, instead of shooting anyone that doesn’t believe the same as me… I can begin to understand the source.

Rarely, what I believe that I am experiencing, is really what is happening with me. So… peeling back the layers of BS, I find the source.

FEAR.

Many of us are making decisions based in fear today.

I am not going to profess knowing the answer for each of us… I am not a Phycologist. What I can see, doesn’t take a Doctorate, to recognize.

There are many people battling an internal battle and subsequently they begin bullying others, because that is what toddler’s do. They hit. They smack. They scream. Why? Because they are learning their power. They are learning their truth. When given a secure place to grow, a toddler will experiment with these behaviors, to understand what the truth really is.

If I eat all the frosting off this cupcake and tell you that I ate the entire cupcake… throwing the evidence in the garbage. That is my truth. I really believe it. I am not trying to manipulate you… but as a three or four year old… this is how I learn.

What does any of this have to do with feelings and understanding the unknown?

I told you my story, to show you my process. I needed to find a safe place, with people who nurtured me, to find my truth. I am still finding my truth.

Instead of bullying me, abusing me, holding me back… today I have people who believe in me. I have people cheering me on. I have people to lean on. I have friends who support me. I have a husband who encourages me. I have surrounded myself with cheerleaders, who see me. I don’t keep friends who say things like, “That’s stupid.”  “What were you thinking?” or even “I can’t believe you did that.”

I surround myself with people who don’t roll their eyes at me. I no longer need the validation from the ones who tell my secrets or share my pain, for their own gain.

Adults that have lived through trauma, need find a safe place to deal with the trauma. Until they do, they will continue to hurt everyone around them and create chaos in the lives of those they love.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

If no-one takes the time to show us a new way, how are we supposed to understand there is such a haven?

When toddler’s feel threatened, they scream “NO!” Look around… We are a bunch of adults, living with the only tools we know.

We are in a strange time. We are all feeling the effects of being closed off from our people. I miss touch. I miss human connection. I miss genuine friends and embraces. I miss my people.

There isn’t one answer. Not just one thing, that will appease the masses. We all have a right to our own path. We all have a right to feel what we need to feel.

As Northern Michigan prepares to open back up… I encourage you to continue “to do you.”

Do what feels safe for you. But for the love of all things precious and good, stop berating your neighbors for doing what feels safe for them. We have no idea what tools they are working with. We have no idea…

Also, can we stop correcting people on social media? Stop correcting a typo or grammar… or picking a fight with someone who has a different political belief. We do not need to be publicly shamed.

When we correct someone, shame them, comment with “Ya, I saw that last week…”  It doesn’t make you look superior or smarter. It makes you look insecure.

Understanding everyone’s level of safe is different, understanding we each must come to our own truth, in our own way… is the key.

I was reminded last week by another addict in recovery, “There are as many ways to recover, as there are addicts.” It’s the same with processing and mulling our way through this… let go of the fight.

Your way, my way… is not the only way. If we can embrace that… we may stand a chance.

Until next time, Peace and Love Peeps!

Embracing this Social Distancing

Hiya Everyone

Gosh, so much has changed since my last posting… let me just say that Tom and I are home. We are healthy and we are safe.

There is so much fear whirling around, so much uncertainty. Let’s all just take a deep breath and step back…

I read a blog posted by a friend this morning that talked about how many people are trying to win at the “Hardship Olympics”, this really got to me.

While we were in Alabama, I wrote a lengthy post, re-wrote it, modified it, deleted most of it, then ended up- NOT- posting it. I chuckle now. My ‘unposted-post’ was about Tolerance. (Or lack thereof!) In my rambling, I recognized a lot of judgment on my part. I noticed a pattern and I called myself out publicly. I even shared my solution with you all.

But something wasn’t right.

For those who don’t know this about me, I have a strong intuitive side. I am an Empath. Sometimes, I just know stuff.

A few days went by as I realized there were more important things at work around me. There were many other worthy topics. (Besides my rant, about how I thought things should be.)

I knew I wanted to write but something was unsettling. I had too many thoughts. I had too many topics. Energies were moving and they were moving fast. Something was brewing…

Covid-19.

News publications began surfacing.

People became aware of what China and Italy, were experiencing.

Tom and I had begun practicing social distancing. We cancelled plans, we avoided crowds and we were staying in our condo. (Easy to do when the Ocean is right outside your slider.) We also started talking about leaving early. As the days went by, we knew things were changing.

We picked a day to leave. We would have to forfeit 13 days, but decided it was a plan we would leave on Friday the 20th.

On Wednesday morning, I asked Tom if we could leave that day. I had already begun to pack… I just knew it was time to go. I explained that I had a good night’s sleep and I knew that I wouldn’t sleep much over the next few nights. Something told me that we needed to head for home.

The next day, Orange Beach closed their beaches. People started to exit the area and traffic would soon be bottle necking. I am so thankful that we decided to leave when we did.

Let me add that I am not an expert on anything. I am just a different version of you. I sit here at my kitchen table and write about my feelings.

Here is what I am feeling.

Fear. Strength. Vulnerability. Shame. Love. Helplessness.

I can vacillate between all of these emotions, in moments. Every. Single. One.

Today my choices may be limited, but I still have choices.

I was reminded last night in an online zoom meeting that we are resilient. Yes. We. Are.

Instead of forming sides… let’s pull together in this seclusion. It is possible.

We can and will be forced to isolate, but we do not have to shut down. We can and should be looking for ways to come together.

I post this next part with permission, because I truly believe in the Anonymity of a 12-step meeting. In my zoom meeting last night, my friend said something that stuck with me. It was a beautiful demonstration of how to turn fear, into a positive.

She shared how proud she was of our fellowship, saying “Just look at how we have figured this shit out!” She was referring to the thousands of online meetings popping up and how people without any technical abilities were making it happen.

There were 11 in our online meeting. We know that isolation in recovery, is not good.

There were people making and eating their dinner, sitting in their cars, hiding out in their craft room with earphones, sitting in their living rooms… all attending a meeting!

We are Resilient!

I invite you to search for the good.

We don’t have to agree, but we also do not have to publicly disagree, either.

Look harder. Instead of commenting on the posts that rile you up or have a different viewpoint, keep scrolling.

I will tell you about the things that are working for me. I have organized my kitchen cabinets. I have made some wonderful meals. I have attended an online meeting. I have posted a short meditation video on a private platform. I have scrolled past many and have also unfollowed quite a few people on social media.

Give yourself permission to do what is necessary to feel safe and without triggers. Unfollow, unfriend, block or just keep scrolling.

I am also taking this time to do the things that I never really have time for. Trust me, there are many!

This time apart, will teach us our strengths and it will show us our weaknesses. I am pretty sure there are some that are feeling the same things as me…

Fear. Strength. Vulnerability. Shame. Love. Helplessness.

When I feel fear, I tap into my inner strength. I also search to see where this doubt is coming from. Is it an old message? Is this old part of me coming to the surface to show me something new?

When I feel strong, I share it with others to help them feel strong. I check in with my friends. I listen. I do not fix.

When I feel vulnerable, I remind myself: This is where I will grow the most, if I am transparent, I am free!

When I feel shame, I tell myself that I am perfect. Yes. I am perfect, right where I am.

When I feel loved and appreciated, I thank the person for helping me to feel this way. I also try to show them the same love.

hand heart shape love sunset

When I feel helpless, I look for ways to be of service.

I can also make a list of the things I do have control over and begin making changes there.

Remember, we have choices today. Honor what you’re experiencing and feeling. Sometimes, just acknowledging a feeling will help it to settle.

Check in with your friends. Take a shower. Get dressed, not just in yoga pants or sweats. Put on some music. Get some movement in your day, it will help… I Promise.

I look forward to deeper connections with many of you. Stay tuned… more to come.

Take a deep breath.  Exhale completely. Remember, this too shall pass.

Until next time Peeps, Peace and Love

Let the adventure begin…

Hiya Everyone,

Today is Dec 23, 2019.

Today is the day we have been planning for two years. TWO years!! Today we load up the car and head into retirement… Well, one of us is! ❤️

GT is finally ready to pull the plug on work. He retired four years ago from a career in Administration, at a Community College. Since then, he has worked part-time at a private college doing the same type of work.

When we met, he was concerned about not working. He explained that his fear was about his identity. How could you just stop doing what you have done for the past 28 years and not feel lost?

The past four years have allowed him to slow down and gradually work toward today. (That being said, they have agreed to allow him to work remotely, so maybe he will just continue as a liaison of sorts.)

So… at 54 years old… I am putting my business on hold and going South for the Winter! How does this work?? How does a Massage Therapist just walk away from her job and take 3-4 months off? Well, we are about to find out!

Last summer while I was finishing my Dr. Sears Master Level Health Coach certification, he was building my “she-shed”. He built me a Massage Studio, so I can work from home.

When we return, I will send a notice to my clients and begin scheduling. I know, some will find a new Therapist, I am expecting this. It’s a physical job and I am looking forward to slowing things down.

My hope is to build a beautiful landscaped back yard, grow some amazing flowers, plant a bigger garden with herbs and vegetables, kayak all summer long and to do a few massages a week.

Kudos to my hubby for being the planner! He makes this dream possible. For those who don’t know Tom, he is the researcher and planner! He has a plan for our future. I am not a planner. I am a good worker bee…. 🐝 I am the person you call when you need another hand.

We are loaded and ready to head out, as soon as we get the mail. Yes… we have to wait for the mail. 🤦🏽‍♀️

Did you know that the post office no longer has that “little yellow card” to forward your mail?? You now have to file a form with the Federal Government, and it may take up to two weeks.  (Update… it took over five weeks to get first piece of mail, and not everything is forwarded.)

I am waiting for one more Christmas present to arrive for the Chupp’s, and my new TSA Driverse License.

Now, about that fandangled new TSA driverse license… When it’s time to renew your license, you will need to bring to the Secretary of State, written documentation of every name chage. Literally, a paper trail.

I married a man at the age of 23 and took his name. (Johnson) It took us just a few months to realize that it wasn’t going to work. Then another nine months to get divorced. 🙄 I kept his last name, because it was easier to pronounce than my maiden name. True story. And… because it made him mad. Yup, I was a brat.

I was Denise Johnson for over twenty years, until I married Paul. I took his name and became Denise Henry. (You know how that story ended… 💔)

In 2015 I married GT and I became Denise Nathe! 💕

I needed a certified birth certificate and three different marriage licenses or the paper trail to show my name changes. (Sounds easy enough… except that I am not a good record keeper.) Thank God for the internet and the ability to pay for documents online!

2/14/20

Today is Valentine’s Day!! Happy Happy Heart Day to everyone…. even my single friends. You deserve to feel love too.

By the way, I did get my driver’s license and the last Christmas Present. It was like all of the stars aligned!! 🙌🏾 I just love when shit works out like it’s supposed too! 🌟 🙏🏾

We have been in Alabama for over six weeks!!

I would love to tell you that it is a magnificent, magical, adventurous, warm and sunny place. Well, It is some of those things… but not all! ☀️

It has been an adjustment.

Let me explain… when we go on vacation, we like to explore and find things to do. We eat out, plan excursions and see the sights. We usually have a week or so to cram it all in…so we are on the move and constantly looking forward to the next day.

We have had to re-train our minds. This is not vacation. This is our “Winter home”. Otherwise we would be rushing and trying to fill each day. This is not vacation.

I know to some… this is vacation. (I am not working… and I don’t have to worry about the electric bill…) But if we are going to stay within our budget and be able to afford to do this annually… we have to change our mindset. This is our Winter home. This is not vacation.

SO… what have I been doing? Primarily, fighting with myself to not feel like it’s vacation! 😆

I joined a yoga studio and have attended a few classes. I took a couple of jewelry making classes from a cool beading store, and have also learned how to work with a few new textures.

We have listened to some great music and have become fans of a few new bands. We had my nephew and his family visit for a week, we played tour guides and ate some amazing food.

I have made a bunch of inventory and finally have my Etsy page up and running. **This was a big goal!**

https://etsy.me/2CwSYdy

What haven’t I done? 80% of the things I thought I wanted to do… Such as, read lots of good books, lay in the sun, watch the waves, meditate more, work my 12 steps, walk the beach daily, ride my bike, do more yoga. (Basically… become a healthier more spiritual version of me.)

Why?

Because that is just, how it is.

In my mind, I always have a scenario of how things will look. (Even though I am not the planner like GT is… **Remember? I am “the supervisor!” 😉)

In my mind, this was going to be little escape. A 90 day pause from my normal life. A time out from all of the little things that pull at me daily… 90 days, of whatever I wanted or needed it to be.

Well that is exactly what it has been.

And… exactly what it has NOT been!

I have learned through my 12 step recovery work, “Wherever I go… there, I will be.” Read that again.

I don’t get to take a vacation from life. I do not, get to take a time out from the way I do things. (Remember? “How you do anything… is how you do everything!”)

I can however, retrain myself… if, I am disciplined and really want the change.

What do I really want to change?

What do I really want to accomplish?

I am reading a good book.

“The Wisdom of the Shamans” by Don Jose Ruiz. (What the ancient masters can teach us about love and life.) You may recognize the name, his father was the author of “The Four Agreements”. (Don Miguel Ruiz) I highly recommend both books- really!!

In the book, he talks often about our addiction to suffering.

Yes, our addiction to suffering.

For some reason that really hit home. I am at a point in the book where you get to take charge of your suffering… And change your path. I will keep you posted.

I also watched a really good podcast for 12 days, Recovery with Russell Brand. It was hilarious, deep, authentic and bold. He is so ADHD, he swears and is a male version of me… okay, maybe not… but I seriously love him. Especially his accent and qwirkiness!

He talked in detail about working the 12 steps in our lives, and how many of us has this illusion that we know what is best. He said, “The idea that we should know the outcome, the right way, or how it turns out is complete horseshit. We are playing God.”

That made sense.

Why do we think this? Because we all do it. Come on… be real. How may of us have had a committee meeting with our co-workers in our head? Sometimes… we even respond with little jabs and play out the scenario to feel victorious.

Sometimes we get so worked up before an actual event, that we talk ourselves out of even going.

We play it all out like we think it’s going to be… even though, we are directing this imaginary play… and, we don’t like the outcome, we can’t seem to change the narrative… so, we just don’t show up or we cancel our plans.

Why don’t we play out a winning scenario? A kinder scenario?  Why don’t we have calm committee meetings, where we find answers together? Why can’t we all be the winner? Why does there have to be a winner?

Why can’t we allow the day to unfold without knowing the outcome?

Because we were never taught any other way. Maybe nobody ever taught us how to be a team player or how to rely on others?

Why is it so hard to just be? Isn’t that- the definition of faith or inner knowing?

I read a beautiful quote yesterday from a local musician. Dede Adler posted on her Instagram, “Once you can trust your own resilience, you can open up to vulnerability.”

Yesssssssss! 👏🏽 🙌🏾 👏🏽 Thank YOU!!

When I trust my ability to be okay… I can roll with the day. My past has shown me that I can overcome, sometimes, I can even come out, better.

If we can make peace with knowing, truly knowing… that we will be all right, nothing can hurt us.

When we can set aside all of the inner chatter about needing to know the outcome, not looking like a fool, not being the best, or succeeding… we can be free.

Really.

We all have at least one friend who needs to be in control.

Maybe you are that friend.

Maybe you can’t ask for help? Maybe you or your friend needs to show everyone how good you are at everything? Is this really success?

If I need to prove every little thing, to everyone… I am not free.

If I need everyone, to see and applaud my every move, I am not succeeding. I am a slave to the masses.

Some of us didn’t have support as a child, so we don’t know how to trust others or ask for help.

We grew up without people we could count on.

Now as adults, it is difficult for us to ask for help. We even tell ourselves that people will laugh at us for not knowing how to do things.

We even tell ourselves that people will snicker or talk behind our backs. We sometimes tell ourselves that we should know how to do this… or that nobody really wants to hep us…

Lies. Your inner dialogue is full of lies.

Some of us couldn’t count on people to be in our corner to cheer us on or to applaud our achievements. Now as adults, we feel like we need to keep reaching and reaching… Trying to get to the top. (There is no top people… you will “Not arrive”!)

Some of us will always need the last word and we will always correct you. Always. It makes us feel smarter or better. God forbid that you should know more than me.

Some of us will never speak up. We don’t have a voice. We were never taught how to have our own opinion.

Why is all of this so challenging? Why can some of us be okay with being wrong… and others feel like it will kill us?

Why can some people speak their truth with love and conviction and others just sound like they are trying to “Captain the Titanic”?

If you, or someone you know, battles with this inner dialogue… or you find that your life is a constant battle of wills- you are not alone. There is a solution and there is balance. Promise. You are not your thoughts.

We can change.

You do not have to keep suffering. You are not alone.

If you are struggling today… reach out.

You have survived far more than this and you are not going to fail today.

There is hope.

There is a place, within us all… that brings that peace. There is a place that holds that love. You do not need to keep reaching. You are there.

You are love.

The world is full of beautiful, wonderful people who have found or tapped into this peace. Build a tribe with these people. Model their behavior. Fake it… until you make it. Fake it, until you become it.

You do not need to step on anyone or prove to everyone… if you do, then you are in the wrong tribe.

Find the friends that acknowledge you, support you, embrace you, ones that will cry with you, friends that do not judge you and are there for you. Find them.

You still have time…

Maybe this is not a bunch of people? Maybe it is just one? Maybe it’s time to be this person to someone else?

Some of us are lucky enough to be in a relationship with this kind of person. GT is my person. He is my cheerleader. He is my support. He believes in me. He teaches me.

Today is Heart Day. Today is Love Day.

Begin with you.

You are worth it.

Until next time, Peace and Love Peeps.

This is how it’s done…

Hiya Everyone,

The response from the last post about my women’s retreat was wonderful. (For those who aren’t aware, I also have a Facebook page dedicated to this blog, I post the link on that designated page and people message me, comment and share on that platform too.)

I had a few more thoughts after my last post and some questions that I would like to answer… the biggie is- “How does sharing your story help? How does it heal us?”

I woke up this morning at 2:30am… thank you menopause… and while laying there in the dark… I began to think about this.

When I share my story, something begins to happen. The actual process- of me, opening my mouth, saying the words, re-living my story, starts the pendulum of emotions, swinging, in a slower manner.

My story brings about a concerted effort. That effort, begins to mold my story in a different way. The concentration on sharing for healing, begins.

Most of my life, the pendulum would swing with force, from one extreme to the other. If the left side is 100% out of control and the right side is totally in control… you can see how uncertain, I felt.

When I am willing to talk about personal things, when I am willing to share about the old painful or shameful things… I am always amazed that someone will say- Yes. That’s me. 🎯

When this happens… the pendulum begins to slow a little bit more.

Then, when they share their story, it slows some more.

It not only validates what they have been feeling and carrying, but it also validates within myself… that I am not alone. When I hear my story or a version of my story from someone else, I feel connected.

As I become more transparent, my life becomes balanced. The pendulum is just moving in the center now… it no longer needs to swing from end to end. I am no longer ambivalent about-every-little decision.

I am no longer afraid to make a choice… my life is a series of small hills, no longer am I climbing mountains and picking up boulders to carry along the way.

This is why 12 step recovery programs work so well. When we share our experience strength and hope, other members realize that they are not the only ones with those thoughts. Other people get to share how they feel and how it has affected them, and then next person does the same… each time someone shares a little more hope appears.

Eventually… the pendulum is moving in each of us… with ease. (Just remember… it doesn’t have the same effect if you’re sharing for shock value or attention.)

It’s not a solo journey. I am always connected. Always. It feels personal, because I can’t feel for other people.

One of the beautiful things that happened during the retreat was watching a shy or timid woman gain strength. It’s almost like they borrowed another’s strength. When we hang with people who have things we do not have… we will eventually pick those things up. (Good or bad!) When I hang with strong, emotionally centered, healing women… I get to see how they operate. I get to imitate their actions.

If I have never been shown how to address things in a loving healthy way… how am I supposed to teach others how to treat me?

So the other question that was asked from the retreat was this- “How can I know that my secrets will be kept? How do I know that someone won’t share my stuff?” The honest answer is- we don’t know this. We can’t be certain of anything. I know… I know… I also feel a little bit of panic in my belly- just typing those words…

But, here is the powerful thing that happens when I trust this process. The stuff I share, loses its grip or power on me, as soon as I let it out. Joyce Meyers has a few great books that address this… my favorite is Approval Addiction. There are two very powerful things that I took from that book. The first is, When we let our skeletons out of the closet, Out of the darkness… when we are willing to shine some of God’s light on them…. they are no longer scary. **It’s true!** And the other thing she says is- “So what if you’re scared? Do it in fear.” Those two statements have helped me in some very dark times.

I was driving to work yesterday and I wished I had a dictaphone. I do my best thinking when I am in the shower and when I am driving alone… I began to think about this.

Some days are just better than others!

The reason I began thinking about this is because my life is really crazy, beautiful, scary and busy right now. (GT and I are nearing the final days before we leave for the Winter!)

Anyway… here is what made me think about this. I bought a new car and it practically drives itself. It has alerts and beeps for every little thing. For example, if you’re looking at a mailbox or a person… it will beep after a few seconds and the alert will read- Eyes on the Road! If you go over one of the lines… it will beep and the alert will read- Lane Departure! The first day that I drove to work without an alert was like I was riding without training wheels! Then… I made it two days, in a row!!

I felt like I deserved a Gold Star!

On the third day, I took a drink out of a shaker cup with my chin tilted up… I could see the road- but my car couldn’t seem my eyes… Beep Beep Beep… Eyes on the road! (Damn it!) There goes my record…

Yesterday was not a good day.

With snow-covered roads, it’s easy to follow someone else’s tire tracks. (Beep Beep Beep) I slowed at a yield sign and watched an approaching vehicle… so it thought I was day dreaming. (Beep Beep Beep) Then another beep beep beep as I honestly was just cruising along on the snow… and didn’t see the lines.

I hadn’t even made it three miles from home and already felt like I had been cussed out.

Truly. As I was thinking this… feeling this… shoulders slightly slumped and lips turned down… I began to think about how much I was seeking the approval of my car.

Yup. I really was looking for a day without beeps. I chuckled and began to think about all of the things I had to be grateful for. I began to make the shift. I began to realize how those beeps- did not define me or my driving ability. (It’s the snow… and that is the story I am sticking too! 😉)

Why do I still seek approval? What is missing? 🤔 Hmmmm…. Maybe that’s a topic for another time.

Remember, you’re not alone. If your car beeps at you… you’re not a horrible person and neither am I.

With the Holidays fast approaching… dig deep.

Remember it’s not about stuff.

It’s not about approval of people.

It’s not about the perfect gift.

It’s about connections. Make some good solid connections. Feel good about helping others. Find joy in the wonder of the eyes of the littles… hug each other. Embrace each other. Feel with one another. Cry. Heal. Be the shoulder for the friend who needs you.

Remember those we are experiencing their “firsts”. (First Holiday Season without a recently passed loved one… believe me, it means a lot when someone acknowledges your pain and grief!)

I leave you with one final thought.

Don’t try to fix someone this season.

It’s not your job. Just sit with them. Let them be heard. Allow them to hear their own words. Allow your heart guide you. It’s not about you…

Until Next time, Peace and Love Peeps.

Winner Winner… Chicken Mexican Bake for Dinner… ❤️

Hiya Everyone,

This weekend I am writing from my parents VRBO, where I spent some time with eleven very courageous women. As you know by now, I am in recovery… clean and sober for over 20 years. Periodically we get together to support one another in a unique way. We call these gatherings “Recovery Retreats”.

This is my second time hosting the event and my heart is once again full. These beautiful souls, continue to impress me and fill me with so much hope.

Okay… so back things up. What is a recovery retreat? Why do we gather in this way and what do we do? Why do we travel to a cabin in the woods… sleep on a twin sized bed with earplugs… 😉 or a blow up mattress? (Several of us shared a queen bed with another… too!) Who travels 75 mins to spend three days and two nights with people we barely know? We do. Why? Because this is how we grow.

We began on Friday afternoon, the women started rolling in around dinner time. Some had to work so they came later… but most were here for dinner. We put two leafs in the dining room table, someone set the table with plates, someone else folded napkins and laid out the silverware. We each grabbed a spot at the table and we ate a Mexican chicken casserole… it was delicious.

I arranged a menu ahead and each person had a few items to bring and a dish to pass for lunch on Saturday. (We ate like Queens!)

I regret not taking a picture on Friday night because one woman came for the day to hang, then left at 11:00pm… So sorry sister… On Saturday morning, another person had to leave for work… and another joined us to take her spot.

Here is our gang..

My mom’s dog Teddy, even joined us!

So… what do we do at these gatherings? We get vulnerable, we build each other up and we encourage one another. When was the last time that another woman celebrated you? When was the last time that you cried tears of joy? My cheeks ache today from smiling so much…

One of the little exercises that we did was to sit around the living room, and each of us took a minute to explain what made each person special. How do you tell someone you just met… what you love about them? It wasn’t hard at all. Actually once it got flowing, it was amazing. Totally surreal. People wept. Each and every one of us needed to hear and to say, these things.

I attended a women’s retreat with about 65 women a few weeks ago, we did something equally as powerful- called Angel Whisperer… two lines formed about two-three feet apart. One person was blind folded and then passed off with a loving affirmation down the line… we took her hand, we whispered kindness and love to her… then handed her hand to the next person. She went back and forth and as she walked (Still blindfolded…) she learned how to trust, how to allow… and to accept.

Brene’ Brown talks about being in the arena, she talks about how vulnerability makes us powerful, sets us free. She also says that unless you’re in the arena getting your ass kicked… your opinion doesn’t matter to her. I agree. If you aren’t growing, learning and pushing through those stereotypes… what the hell is the point in getting clean? What is the point in working a spiritual program if we remain the same?

I don’t have to work a spiritual program today… I get too. 💥

Why do we get vulnerable?

Isn’t it hard to bare it all? Isn’t it hard to share our deepest insecurities or secrets? Isn’t it the worst feeling in the world to know that someone may be judging us? How do we grow in this?

Yes. It is hard to bare ourselves. Yes, it’s hard to let someone in and to “really see us”. Yes, my mind tells me that I am going to die… literally die… if you really see what’s under all the fluff and the make-up. The way that we grow… is simply to survive it. Once we do this… once we face this fear and this made up scenario in our minds… it no longer has power over us.

And here is the really cool thing… who gives a damn if someone is judging us?? Really?? I have learned in my almost 54 years… (B’day next week!!) that other people and their opinions do not define me. Read that again. Other people and their opinions of me… do not define me.

Our song for the weekend was Lauren Daigle, You Say! If you haven’t listened to it… do yourself a favor and listen to the words. So powerful. Just like the women who attended this weekend. As a matter of fact, it’s playing right now. Everyone vacated… just me and my moms dog and one of the girls who forgot her wallet… I am sitting at the table soaking in all the feels… and the song comes on. “I believe….”

Something else happened too… Something that only a Divine power greater than any of us… could orchestrate. One of the women, was getting messages about a friend who was still “out there”… (Meaning still using, not clean.) This morning she got the devastating news that her friend was gone. She died last night. I am so very sorry for our friend and her loss… but am so thankful that she was with us- when she got the news. We were able to hold her, cry with her… allow her to feel and to process it all in a safe place. Thank You Jesus… If you believe in such a power… please, send some good thoughts to our sister and to her family.

The other powerful thing that happens when we get together… is that we heal. How do we heal? By allowing others to hear our story.

By allowing the lie to die.

By showing up and being present.

Not many people had their phones out all weekend. It was a wonderful thing…. A wonderful thing indeed.

We made connections. We listened. We saw each other’s pain. We showed grace and we heard our own stories, coming out of someone else… The lie dies when we show up and allow others a safe place to speak their truth.

We are not alone.

I say this often… but never enough. Find your Tribe. Hold them… love them. Your life may depend on it some day.

Until next time Peeps,

Peace and Love.

Doing the next right thing…

Hiya Everyone,

Not sure why I was thinking about this yesterday… but I was.

What are some of the things you remember, in your greatest time of sorrow… grief… or joy? Do you remember people? Do you remember who showed up? Do you remember who did not? Any surprises? Do you remember the weather? Do you remember anyone elses responses… or… do you remember how you felt?

I ask this question, as my mind has drifted from past to present. I thought about this question and immedietly my mind scanned for how I responded to others in need. Did I show up? Did I make a casserole, a salad or a pot of soup? Did I say a silent prayer, did I reach out at all? Did I send a card?

I took a giant step back into my memory, and found some really sad times. One in particular stands out. I remember when one of Hailey’s classmates died in a tragic accident. He was walking across a busy street and was hit by a semi. Not sure how news spread so quickly before we had Facebook… but within hours, the whole town was buzzing.

I made a macaroni salad, stopped at the grocery store and bought deli meat, rolls and the fixings… then, I drove to their house. I just wanted to hug the parents, and leave the food… but… God had another plan. I ended up spending the entire day with them.

I was the one, who opened the door and spoke to the attorney, representing the driver. (In retrospect, who the heck does this? The very day… they sent someone to question the grieving parents.)

When I hopped into my car that morning, I had a plan… I didn’t know what the need would be… but I knew they would need to eat. (This is my love language… I feed people.)

What I didn’t know, was that they would also need someone to pray with them. Cry with them. Make phone calls. Answer phone calls and to tell them that it was all going to be okay.

I think back to that day. Why was I able to comfort them? What did I have, that they needed? Nothing. I was just willing to be there. I am not sharing this story to point out what a good person I am… I am sharing it to show you how something so little… a few groceries and a tuna salad… can make a difference. How being willing to sit with a horrific situation and sad people… can have an impact.

Be that person. Set your own stuff aside… and just show up. I am not saying you need to cancel your day or not be there for your family… what I am saying is that you need to be willing to be uncomfortable. It is not fun being with a grieving person. Nobody knows what to say. Nobody knows what to do.

No-one knows what someone needs, and everyone is different… so… we stay away.

Don’t stay away.

Remember when people made a pot of soup for a sick neighbor? Remember when people brought food, for a family, who had just lost a loved one?

Be the person who makes the soup. Be the person who feels awkward and shows up anyway. Be the person who bakes a casserole, sends a card and picks up the phone. If we could stop making it personal… and realize it’s not about us… we would be so much better off. We need to learn to set aside our own fear of saying the wrong thing… and just show up. Stop being so busy that you can’t drop what you’re doing and show up. People need us. We need each other.

I also remembered my own grief.

I remember my sister Kim saying, I am just going to be there.

I am going to sit on the edge of her couch and be out of the way… Just in case, she needs something. Maybe it’s a hug, maybe it’s a sandwich, maybe it’s to sweep her floor… but if she needs anything… I want to be there. You have no idea how much that meant to me. She was willing to come and just be there… for as long as it took… just in case, I needed something.

I was talking to a friend yesterday, who had lost his wife a few years ago. He mentioned that after the funeral, when everyone left… was the hardest part.

The loneliest time of his life. He was all alone. People avoided him. People stayed away.

My experience was different. I had a friend who stayed with me for months… she allowed me to cry. Allowed me to talk on end… and never tried to make it anything else. She allowed me the space to heal.

Here is a little unsolicited advice- When people start crying, don’t stop them.

Don’t rush to grab a tissue… just let them cry. Let them get all messy. Allow them to be sad. If they need a kleenex, they will ask. Allow them the space and let the tears flow. It isn’t about you. So what, if you’re uncomfortable. Allow them to cry.

One of the weirdest parts about my grief, was allowing other people to be uncomfortable with my breakdowns. And trust me… there were many.

I had to watch men start to shift their weight from hip to hip… I watched as they folded their arms across their chest… I watched them as they looked away. I watched their body language and I allowed them to be uncomfortable. I needed to cry. I wasn’t sorry either… It. Was. What. I. Needed.One last thing… This isn’t a contest either. You don’t get a medal or a badge. It’s a privilege. I don’t share these things to get an atta boy or to shame someone… I am gently reminding you all… that it’s time to step up.

People are hurting. People are not okay. People are lonely. Check in. Bring the damn soup. Even if it’s raining and you don’t want to get out of your fat pants… get up and get moving. **Don’t take a selfie and post it all over your social media… it ruins it. Really. Just do it, because it needs to be done.

Kindness Matters.

Until Next time… Peace and Love Peeps~

Proceed with Caution… this one may sting a little.

Hiya Everyone,

I was thinking this morning about a friend. She mentioned that she wasn’t feeling well and knew she had a lot of inflammation in her body. She also mentioned that she may need to change her diet and she dreaded that idea because she is not a good dieter.

As I was playing around the house this morning, I started thinking about my friend. I also started thinking of the things in my life that I dread… I really really really… want to get a daily yoga practice. I want discipline and I want to be faithful to me.

Bingo.

Instead of dreading the idea of creating the habit… I just need to change the way I look at it. Just like my friend.

I don’t have to create a new habit… I get to.

I just need to change my perspective.

Just like my friend… she gets to help her body, she gets to support her health… Instead of looking at all that she can’t eat, maybe she needs to focus on what she can. There are so many dense nutrients that support gut health, inflammation and arthritis… maybe she needs to look forward to better health and less pain… rather than dreading a lifestyle change?

I am a pretty holistic person. I would rather take a supplement or an herb… than a prescription.

But… I have an entire shelf filled with supplements and vitamins. It dawned on me this morning, I am trying to use the vitamins etc… to do what a pill or a prescription would do. (Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing…) But here is the issue… I also want the quick fix.

I want the herbs to work as quickly to relieve my symptoms, instead of looking at the root causes. What is causing my irritation or issue?

Lack of sleep. Extra weight, especially around the middle. Inflammation. Aches and pain.

I have an entire cupboard filled with things to take… instead of addressing what the real issue is. I am also not supporting my body. I am eating garbage and then taking a supplement to off set it. I am not practicing yoga and meditation and haven’t been journaling… My hormones are directing a lot… and that isn’t a cop out, it’s just a fact of life.

I have many tools to be healthier. I have the knowledge.

So… changing my perspective… I can move forward with this thought. What if I supported my body in a few other ways… What if I took responsibility for me?

A few years ago, at my chiropractor’s office, I filled out the questionnaire and there was a question that made me think deeply. It asked if I wanted to get to the cause of the pain, or If I was just looking for the pain to go away.

A lot of people come to me to reduce pain. Emotional, physical and sometimes even spiritual. Sometimes they don’t like what I tell them. Sometimes they don’t find what they need. Sometimes, they just aren’t ready to hear me… other times, they just want the pain to go away… they don’t want to own their part or take responsibility.

It all begins with the decision to change. Even if I am really ambivalent. Even if I have a cupboard full of supplements and quick fixes… it all begins with me. Sometimes the answer is a pill. Sometimes it is an herb… maybe it is exactly what my body is lacking… but it shouldn’t be the only thing I am doing. I need to look at my part.

I read a book a few years ago by Iyanla Vanzant. She said something that really stuck with me… she said, it’s all intellectual, until we put it into play. In other words, I can read all of the books and gain all of the knowledge in the world… but until I use this information, nothing will change.

There is a saying in the recovery world… Nothing changes, if nothing changes.

What do you want to change? What’s stopping you? Who have you given your power too? Is it time to take it back? Maybe it’s time to schedule an appointment with a Health Coach or a Counselor… here is the cool part.

You get to decide. You are in charge. You have the right to stay stuck… or move on with all that you have.

I threw my yoga mat down on the kitchen floor… I set my iPad to an old yoga playlist… and I did some yoga. When I was done, I made a smoothie. I finished cleaning my kitchen and I folded the clothes that had been re-fluffed three times.

I grabbed an apple and I went to work. I get to work today. I get to do yoga. I have so many blessings…

Until Next Time, Peace and Love Peeps~