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,m 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~

Who gets this life??

Hiya Everyone,

This past weekend was “The Harvest Gathering”… I am still reveling in its wonder… Harvest Gathering is a beautiful music festival in my hometown. I look forward to it each and every year… BUT. It’s not just about the music. It is so much more than music.

It’s about connection. It’s about community. It’s about love and support. It’s about the environment and caring for each other.

I remember a few years back (MySpace… years back!) I wrote on my “MySpace” about the gathering. I remember mentioning that I wanted to be a Hippy. I wanted what these people had to offer… so loving and generous with all they have. I wrote about how the festival changed me and that I wanted to become a hippy. (Insert sarcasm here… ) I also wrote that I didn’t want to become a vegan, wasn’t willing to not shave my legs/arm pits and still wanted to eat cheeseburgers!

Well, I am here to say- the festival has grown… and so have I. Harvest Gathering has changed… it’s expanded and what used to be a few hundred friends and musicians, is now over 2,000 and growing. I remember when they added a second stage… now there are four stages and over a hundred bands that play for three whole days! (And late into the night…)

I have watched the festival become its own energy. It draws people in. It changes them. It nourishes spirits and it mends the brokeness within. The music and the people speak love. It is universal. Many cultural ethnicities, races, religions, beliefs, sexual identities are represented… and they all get along beautifully. They conduct workshops and educate one another. They dance. They do yoga. They bless one another. They spread change and they nurture the young. These people respect their elders and they honor them.

As I sit here 12-15 years later… I say it again… I wanna be a hippy. I want what these humans have. I love who they are… I cannot wait until this weekend, next year. It imprints my heart and enriches me beyond these words.

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I tried to explain it to someone last week, I said- “You show up and you quickly realize that this is what you have been missing… all of your life. It’s magic.”

This year as I waited for my lunch … (Which is a totally different blog… the food is incredible. They have such wonderful choices… my mouth salivates, at the thought of that grilled cheese with green apples and Havarti cheese… topped with an aoli sauce with a small container of cool tomato basil soup for dippin… oh….mmmmm….geeeeee. )

Anyway… I digress… as I was waiting for my lunch… I was approached by an old friend. She and I went to highschool together and she still lives locally. I see her name mentioned by friends, but we have not stayed in contact. She makes these colorful hand crafted window shutters and I have been thinking of her a lot lately probably because I need a pair of these wonderful shutters for my she-shed/massage shed… anyway, she mentioned that she spotted me and wanted to tell me that she reads my blog. She said that my words often touch her and she wanted me to know this.

You could have knocked me over with a feather.

You see, I don’t know who reads my blog. Unless you comment here or on my Blog Facebook page, I really have no idea who reads these posts.

I guess in the spirit of The Harvest Gathering, once again… I am blessed. Not just by the music and the love… but by an old friend- who stepped out of her comfort zone to pay me a compliment. I probably walked away just a little bit taller with that grilled cheese…. thank you friend, your kind words were appreciated. Namaste.

So… I ask myself this question often… especially when I see memories on social media. Who gets this life??

On this day I have memories of past Harvest gatherings… a visit with my daughter and first grandson, the Dixie Chicks concert, a friend/massage client who tagged me and said thank you, for “seeing her” and a new post from a friend who shared her heart and thanked me for being her shining star through the years without even knowing it…

My life is full today. I have so many wonderful friends. I have a husband who works hard and supports my dreams. He allows me to putz and play… I get to make crafts and write blogs. A few years ago… my life was full of sadness. I was picking up the pieces of a shattered heart. Some of my pictures and memories show a deep sadness in my eyes. My smile is placed where it should be… but my eyes tell a different story.

Hailey and I at Harvest in 2012

I write these blogs to keep my memories. I write these words to share hope. I share my heart and my silliness to show other people that anything- is possible. I want whoever is reading this blog to know… this is just one day. Today is just a little blip… in the big picture.

I am reminded of a story….

A little girl has a really bad day at school. She is crushed. She runs home after school sobbing. She asks her mom for a piece of chocolate cake, to forget her troubles.

Her mom agrees.

Her mom hands her a tsp of baking soda. The little girl whines and asks why would she do this to her?

Her mom then hands her a stick of butter… again, the little girl wonders why her momma would be so cruel… she has had the worst day ever.

Then her mom hands her some flour in a cup… the little girl is beside herself… her mom asks her to sit down so they can talk.

She explains that this day- is just a single day. Just like in a recipe… if we take this single day without the other ingredients… it’s just a stick of butter. God is not done with us. If we stop now… we will never get the whole cake. This rough moment… this bad day… is just like a tsp of baking soda. It’s necessary… but alone… is not very good.

This path is not always fun. It’s not always concerts and kind words… but when I look at it all together… I am in awe. Who gets this life? Me. I do. (And… so do you.) I see you… I am proud of you. Don’t stop now… we all want to share in that cake…

 

Until next time peeps… Peace and Love~

 

 

Just Send Love…

Hiya Everyone,

Last night, I got a message from my best friend. She said the Lansing Police Department had contacted her to do a “wellness Check” on her ex-husband. A little bit later they contacted her to let her know he had passed.

Today is a day of sadness. Today is a day of anger.

I hate the disease of addiction.

He was one of the funniest men, that I have ever known. He was one of the brightest, smartest humans. There was such an ease with his gentle soul… until Addiction took over. His life became conflicted. He began to spiral and he lost it all.

He went from a prestigious position in IT with many certifications and respect, to living in a shady part of town and not able to keep a job.

He could remember random facts, and was the person you wanted on your team in any board or trivia game. He knew details and could recall any Actor, scene or title to whatever movie you were watching. He loved animals.

I remember his gentle nature and smile. I loved his laugh and his ability to make anyone feel like they were the center of the world. He did this well. My best friend had one of those picture perfect marriages… from the outside.

From the outside, looking in- we all saw how he adored her and went out of his way to make her life rich. From the outside we all saw how hard he worked to provide and how much he loved his job. From the outside, we watched him build a life in a small community and supported her dreams.

On the inside… he was withering and dying. He battled with addiction and even though he wanted to be all of these things for everyone… the addiction kept him feeling alone. It pulled him. It lured him… and eventually he believed it. He didn’t feel like he had a choice. He didn’t think he could ever stop.

My heart aches for this lost life. My heart aches for this lost possibility. My heart aches for my friend. I am so mad.

I go from tears staining my cheeks to angry with fists clenched and jaw set. I go from praying to God to help her and her family… to questioning God for allowing this to happen. I miss him. I haven’t spoken to him in years, but knowing that I never will again- brings the ache and the guilt of allowing someone their own pain.

In recovery, I have heard it said many times that sometimes a person has to die… to be free. I will hold that in my heart today. He is free.

When Paul was sick, people asked what they could do to help? My comment was “Just Send Love”. It’s a universal language and in the Love, I found healing.

I ask you today, for my friend and those who loved this man… Just Send Love. They will need it.

If you or someone you know is suffering today, I pray that you find your way. I pray that nobody ever reads a letter at your funeral about how things could have been. I ask the powers that be… to help you and guide you. May you find peace on this side… not the other.

God Bless…

Until Next time… Peace and Love~