Posted by: LLS | July 1, 2014

What if I fall?

Originally posted on Cristian Mihai:

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“What if I fall?” 
“Oh my darling, what if you fly?”

Do you ever ask yourself if you like the person you are? If you are who you’ve always wanted to be? Do you know who you want to be?

To be honest, it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I realized who I really wanted to be. I want to be that guy who tells people they can fly. I want to see the magic they have stored up in their hearts for so long. And I want to make them see it, I want to make them use it. Because, truth be told, falling is just another way to fly.

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Posted by: LLS | June 28, 2014

10% Days and an Island on a Loch

 

I Vow Island, Loch Lomond, Scotland 2014

Island I Vow, Loch Lomond, Scotland 2014

It’s not that I’m unhappy or even dissatisfied with my life, far from that. I’m a generally happy person. I list laughing as my top favorite thing to do. I love happy! I love how happy feels. To me happy is a deep satisfaction, a deep gratitude for life, a childlike sweetness that moves through your entire being, a feeling of fullness, like after a favorite meal, only lighter. I feel all those things and more most of the time, probably 90% of the time. It’s those 10% days that I spend far too much time trying to move through with grace. I don’t think that I’m alone in these thoughts and maybe I’m going about this all wrong, but I think what I am longing for is more. I believe we are all intrinsically selfish. I don’t mean that in a negative way, but in the sense that we want to be self fulfilled. The things that feel good we want more. The things that make us laugh, we want more. The feelings that move us, we want more. I know, I know, problems of the 1st world. I get that, I do. I’m talking about meaningful emotions, not monetary means. I realize many people have far worse things to whine about than not getting their spirit-self nurtured. I completely understand the thoughts behind the naysayers, “at least you have your health, and healthy children,” and “at least you have a mortgage to worry about”, believe me I am with you, and I am thankful for all those worries. I’m putting aside the obvious and talking about the very thing that makes us feel empty, no matter what riches you hold or how fortunate you are in life. I’m talking about the hunger for emotionally more. I’m speaking of my constant search for something that feels just out of my reach, a place in me that feels like home.

When I used to walk through the door of my childhood home, the moment I crossed the threshold I felt this deep sense of belonging, safety, and peace. I knew I was home and no matter what was “out there”, it couldn’t get to me, it couldn’t come in with me. I’ve since moved many times, to many different places and not one of them ever felt like home. When I purchased the house I live in now, almost 20 years ago, it took some time but after two children, a divorce, and many, many pets, it began to feel like home. I hadn’t realized it until one day after a long work day; I walked in my house, fell on my bed and said a very long, very heartfelt, thank you to my house. I told her how very much I appreciated her for sheltering me and giving me a safe haven. I thanked her for always being here, unchanged in feeling if not appearance, and for always welcoming me back. Now I am preparing to sell her and I feel, oh what would be a good word here, displaced.

I read a book many years ago that spoke of the displaced Scots. How Scottish clans were forced to leave their homes and country, give up their surnames and vacate. My own ancestors were among these people. I felt a deep sadness as I read the words. The author’s description of how Scots have a longing, an unabatable longing to return to a home that is no more, hit home with me. The book went on to explain how this longing is in the DNA, moreover, the DNA memory of the generations that followed that period in time. The people with this ancestry, (American Indians to name another) often describe a sadness that they don’t understand. It’s an empty spot that sits in your heart that can’t ever be filled by another person or the having of health, wealth or objects. I understood it completely. I tried to shrug it off; I made jokes saying that must be why I cry why I hear bagpipes, when everyone else is cringing. Honestly, it goes much deeper than that. And so began my quest to visit my Homeland.

It took many years and more money than I really had to spend on a vacation, but I went home to Scotland. I started planning my trip a year before I actually bought my ticket. I wasn’t sure if I would actually ever really get there, but I planned as if I knew I would. I spoke of my desire to go to Scotland to a dear friend and since we did most everything together, she was going with me. A year later, when we boarded the plan it hit me, I was going home.

Landing in Edinburgh was like landing in Oz for me. I’d never left the US before except to visit Mexico and I’d never even had a passport. Yet here I was in Scotland. This surreal feeling swept over me and I remember thinking, remember this! Remember all of it. Take it in, breathe it in, don’t waste a moment, and don’t continually be looking down at your cell phone or taking pictures. Live this fully, be present, don’t be a passive part of this experience, be this experience. I took a deep breath and began my journey.

The beginning was like most holidays I guess, running from place to place, bar to pub, to sightseeing locals, but all the while I was breathing in the whole place. From the misty skies to the cobblestone streets, the ever so green hills to the sharp spires of ancient churches and bulky stones of lonely castles, I was slowly filling that hole. I wanted to see everything, learn all I could, and talk to everyone just to hear the lilt.

When we reached Loch Lomond I knew some part of me had just snapped. I felt it deep in my being, so hard and so strong it was like a specter just passed through me. I had hired a boat to take us to the islands that held the remains of the castles once inhabited by my family. I had no idea what to expect, only that the boat would take us there. And that it did. The mist that was hovering all over the loch, parted on the wind here and there to expose green hills and edges of the shoreline. Then I saw it coming fast, a small speed boat jetting across the water, our ride was coming. The driver, a friendly fellow named Doug, hopped to the dock and greeted us warmly then helped us onto the boat. As we moved away from the land and deeper into the mist I felt a chill of excitement. Our speed increased the further from shore we went and soon we were sailing out into a foggy wonderland. The mist seemed to have a life to it, thinning to show the greens, golds, and rusts of the landscape then closing in again only to reopen and allow a new view of a previously hidden shore. It was magical. In the distance I could see an island slowly emerging. The driver called out that this was the first stop, Inveruglas. He maneuver the boat to a position where we could disembark easily, jumping from the bow to the sand. When my feet hit the ground, I felt my knees go weak. I lost all sense of space and time and even the presence of my friend. I walked straight to the remains of the castle. I rubbed my hands along its moss-covered rocks and closed my eyes in silent reverence. I scoured every inch trusting my internal guide to show me everything I needed to see and feel. I think I touched almost each and every inch of the castle circling it several times. I never wanted to leave. I felt this island had just given me so much deep pleasure that I wanted to return the favor and quickly pulled a bracelet from my wrist and stuck it deep in one of the rocky walls. I swore to return and share this place with my children.

By now I was fairly tuned up, though I was still able to muster some composure. I wasn’t sure how much longer I could contain the tears that were filling my eyes begging for release. The next stop was Island I Vow, a small perfectly shaped island farther out in the loch. Again, the driver circled around until he found a landing spot for us to easily access the shore. This time a whole new feeling came over me. It was as if a nurturing motherly spirit was waiting to welcome me home. Where the first island had felt extremely masculine, I Vow felt intoxicatingly female. I walked slowly, respectfully, to the castle which stood there peacefully in all its reverence. I swept my hands gently along her edges and breathed in the fresh green scent. I moved slower this time, stopping to see the Blue Bells and the curls of new fern leaves about to unfurl. I took in all the colors of the different trees and the smooth texture of the rocks down by the water. I was so taken by the island and the castle I hadn’t noticed something very special. My friend, who had been very quiet throughout the day called to me to come see something. I moved to where she was sitting. I looked like what had once been a large window. I sat beside her and she nodded her head beckoning me to look through the window. When I turn and looked out I saw it, I saw what she had found and knew I needed to see; the most beautiful view of the loch. At that moment the dam broke and a river of tears came rushing down. I was so thankful for every part of my life leading up to this moment, most especially my friend for sharing it with me. I have never felt such peace and connection, other than the births of each of my children. It was utterly amazing; I felt I was finally home. When it was time to leave, I started off to the boat then remembered what I had intended to do. I sat on a rock and ripped a bracelet from my ankle. I placed it in a deep crack between the stones of the wall of the castle with a prayer of gratitude and a solemn oath to return one day. It felt as though my small gift had gone from my hand to hers. Time seemed to stop, like the world ceased spinning, and for that brief moment I felt wholly complete.

Island I Vow, Loch Lomond, Scotland 2014

Island I Vow, Loch Lomond, Scotland 2014

 

Since that day I have longed to return to Scotland, to I Vow, to the way I felt in that moment. Trying to recreate it has eluded me, but I know she is still there. Just Like I know the sun will rise tomorrow. That is my small comfort. I have a full life here, I have my cherished children, my dear friends, and things are much better for me than many. Still, in the darkness of night, in the recesses of my mind, I feel her calling me. I feel that familiar emptiness and longing to return to a place that filled the hole in my heart. How can a place do this? I have no idea. Is it my imagination? Quite possible, but it feels as real as my hand on the cold green moss of that castle. Will I ever return to I Vow? Most assuredly I shall.

Moving forward, I still have rough days. I hold fast to how fortunate I am. I take each day as it comes and know I have much to be thankful for in this life. I know I will face challenges and leaving my house will bring some tears. I am very aware I am moving into a huge life change and I am meeting this transition with a little fear and a lot of excitement. What is my plan? I have no plan, other than to slip into the river and go with the flow. On those 10% days, when I feel lost, scared, and that the hole is growing in my heart, I think back to I Vow. Things suddenly don’t seem so out of sorts. I feel like an emerging butterfly and I can’t help but wonder just how courageous a butterfly truly is, and what life might be like for one in Scotland?

Posted by: LLS | March 27, 2013

Stop Standing On Your Chair To Dance!

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I recently attended a Matchbox Twenty concert with my best friend and her sister. I love these two beautiful women! Both of them are sweet, loving, giving, and kind. Either would give you the shirt right off their backs and not bat an eye. They are always smiling and fast at pointing out the bright side of most any situation. Both are quick to laugh, share, and enjoy life.  Time with either of them, is time well spent. Collectively or individually, you couldn’t ask to be in better company.

When we arrived at ACL Live at Moody Theater (home of the TV show Austin City Limits) the place was bustling with people. We had just enough time to get a Dixie cup of wine and find our seats. We climbed the stairs until we arrived at a door where a ticket checker stopped everyone to make sure they were on the  right level. We were on the mezzanine, another two flights of stairs was the balcony. Inside we found our seats quickly. They were hand selected by my friend on the back row, so we could stand and dance along, as is our normal fashion for live music shows. This is, keep in mind, Austin Texas Live Music Capital of the World. Or so I’m told.

We unloaded our coats etcetera, marveled at what perfect seats she had picked, and went for a quick tour of the photo gallery in the halls of this level.  Carefree as always, we took pictures in front of various famous musicians and pointed out artist we liked. Hearing the opening act start, we hurried to take our place. We sat through the first act, clapping along and feeling the energy of their music.

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When Matchbox took the stage the place, which had been a bit solemn, lit up. After a few new songs (She’s so mean…) they played some oldies that caused the crowd on the floor to jump to their feet. We followed in turn and the party started. I was ecstatic. We were enjoying the songs and the memories that followed each word, Unwell, 3 AM, If you’re gone… and in the midst of all the singing and clapping I, the designated driver, noticed that a group of women had congregated behind our seats. This was the case behind the seats all the way around the mezzanine.  Two of them gave me a sharp look when I glanced back and I over heard one say, “Great, make it where no one can see.”  For a moment I wasn’t sure if she was talking about us and frankly didn’t much care since our seats were intentionally on the back row so we wouldn’t block other seated patrons. A few moments later and an older woman standing in the mob of unseated attendees asked my friend’s sister to “Stop Standing on her seat to dance!” The sweet girl didn’t even understand what the woman was saying, but my friend did and explained that she wasn’t standing on her seat, she was just tall, in fact both of them are tall and this became an apparent issue. (See picture above. Keep in mind I have on 4 inch heels) The women kept getting close and trying to look over the seat to make sure her feet were in fact on the floor. My higher vibrational self  remained calm. My human self, not so much. I became irritated.

Push, Bright Lights, Someday, the crowd is jamming to the beat and the pack is getting angry. The waitress comes and the girls order themselves another round of Dixie cups and the night continues. I over hear repeated snide remarks, but have decided to ignore them. I do however, take notice that the entire floor section is standing as well as various ares of the mezzanine and balcony. My question was, how could any able-bodied human not be standing? My best friend and said sister have their glowing smiles on in full mesmerizing force and I became protective. I figure if it was against some rule, the staff would have asked us to be seated, they didn’t. It further occurs to me that to be allowed into this area you must show your ticket. So the herd must have their own seats. Shitty seats maybe, but seats just the same. Deal with it! I became indifferent.

The next hour is all about enjoying each other and the music. No room for the sourpusses in the nonplussed gaggle. As the encore ends with roaring applause, whistles, and more glares are thrown our way, I am trying very hard to ignore the flock and even attempt a sympathetic smile as if to say, great show sorry you won’t let yourself enjoy it. At this point I am mad at myself for buying into their drama issues.  They scowl and exchange words to each other I can feel are directed at us. I became indignant.

The show ends and we are filled with laughter and satisfaction. My friend states, “Another thing to check off my bucket list.” I am thrilled for her. Seeing the light in her dancing eyes makes it all worth it. As we exit our seats I over hear one of the covey say, “Now we can watch them all fall down the stairs, since they drank their weight in wine.”  Now I’m pissed.

I stop in my tracks and have a quick inner dialog that goes something like this. They had assigned seats. They chose to stand behind us. They could have taken their seats or moved. They chose to make themselves miserable and say snide things to three people who were only enjoying themselves. My friends had two (2) Dixie cup sized glasses of wine! If they were your size and drank their weight in wine then yes, there would most definitely be a problem! They deserve to hear my thoughts on the subject. I’m sorry you just couldn’t let go, join us and enjoy the awesome music. I am now choosing to let them have it! “Excuse me, yes you. Are you angry because we were standing AT OUR SEATS?” I say, rather hostile.  They look at each other sheepishly and half turn as if to ignore me. I continue, “If you didn’t like it, you could have moved to YOUR OWN SEATS!”

It is at this point my Higher Self says, “Why are you doing this? You are as bad as they are. Let it go. You could have offered them your seat and maybe that would have made the difference. My Human self argues back, “But there were too many of them and they were rude about it!” My Higher Self is not amused and offers me a smile as if to say,” Sorry YOU wouldn’t let it go and enjoy the show.” I am now subjective.

What I learned is simple. I chose to interact with these women on a low vibration level. Though I firmly believe there are times when people need to be called out (hurting a child or animal, being cruel or abusive) but on this, who am I to do the calling? I was self-appointed. I was protective of my friends and I took offense at their catty remarks. I allowed them to get under my skin. Do I wish I had handled it differently? Maybe. Could I have done anything to make the situation better? Possibly. Do I regret saying any of the things I said? Human Self screams, NO I DON”T! Higher Self says, “Tisk, Tisk.” I only wish I had used more meaningful words to state my feelings; spoken in a  more intelligent, less hostile way to express my thoughts. Would it have mattered? Who cares! It would have made me feel better about the situation and perhaps made them realize their error in all of this. End result? We had a wonderful time all in all. Moral of the story? Kindness is never lost on the most feeble-minded or low vibrational being.

Human Self is calling Bull Shit! I become conflicted.

Posted by: LLS | March 14, 2013

SXSW, Hipsters, Hippies, Homeless, and Pizza

SXSW Austin, Texas g1_sxsw09_auditorium_shores_crowd_skyhigh-580x386

Yes it’s that time again! Austin (Live Music Capital of The World) is playing host to 50,000 visitors for 2013 SXSW (one of the many music/entertainment festivals held here). I have seen everything from street corner trios whaling away, to down right awesome yet to be heard of talented bands. From  homeless people asking for change if they play you a song on a guitar missing a few strings and drums made from Home Depot buckets, to artist that really should reconsider their day jobs. But hey, they are living their dream, so who am I to cast doubt…a big nobody, that’s who! It’s all what beautifully makes up Austin. A symphony of sights and sounds everywhere you turn. Some smells I would rather soon forget (Red River and 6th Street) but all in all, it’s pretty darn sweet. Don’t even get me started about our restaurant industry. Sidewalk cafes, food trailers, everything you could possibly want or need to appease your apatite, all in a 5 mile radius. It’s positively grand!

Austin is a beautiful city even when it is filled to capacity with scarf wearing hipsters in pointy boots (it’s 85+ degrees and sunny). My favorite thing to do is post up someplace and people watch. Seeing all the different fashion experiments and hearing all the different accents is very cool. Austin is the best part of Texas. The only place I would live in this entire state and there are good reasons for that. Austin is forward thinking, peace-loving, accepting, welcoming, very artistic and very pretty. Second to Seattle, it has one of my favorite skylines. Rivers, lakes and streams and blue holes everywhere, with the Colorado River running right through the middle of town. I was born here, a rare thing to find these days, but a fact I have found I am proud of. The rest of Texas, with a few small exceptions, is not appealing to me what so ever. Austin is a little Blue oasis in a sea of Red on the map of Left and Right and that suits me just fine. Despite our Governor, or better yet in spite of our Governor, Austin has maintained its uniqueness. I have lived all around our country and Austin is where I call home.

So come visit Austin, but please…Don’t Move Here!!! :)

Photo: https://rmhcaustin.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/g1_sxsw09_auditorium_shores_crowd_skyhigh-580×386.jpg

Posted by: LLS | March 6, 2013

Life and the Sea

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You can’t tell when my mind is set on pain. You don’t know when I am reliving a memory or sorting through my thoughts. I smile when you ask me what I’m thinking, but I don’t answer. If you ask me where I’m going, I’ll say to the sea.

With a thought I can go there, quick as a flash. I close my eyes and I hear her call me. When I need to heal and be cleansed of thoughts I allow to get trapped in my mind, I imagine a perfect day at the beach. All I need is to feel the water wash over my skin and smell the salt in the air. I fill my mind with memories that I carry with me, my memories of the sea.

I always think of her as if I were still a child. She is magical and ever-changing. Loud, with foamy roaring waves and beautifully littered with gifts of sea glass and shells. Mysteriously deep and vast with dark places. Treasures hidden in her caves and beneath forgotten ships that tried to cross her. At dawn she sings a song I can hear and the sun loves her so, he falls into her arms each night. The wind never stops caressing her shore, kissing the dunes and grasses. She is home to mermaids, all sorts of grand creatures, and me.

I do love the sea. She makes me happy in ways no other can. She welcomes me and accepts me unconditionally. She knows me and greets me with playful waves circling my ankles, sand smooth under my feet and sun warm on my skin. I settle into a liquid peace of mind, then swim until I can’t remember why I felt  anything but thankful. She carries me weightless, rocking me like a child. I am cradled in her loving embrace and I am whole once more.

You ask me where I went and I smile, but I don’t answer. Only the sea knows all my secrets.

Photo by Photography For Women at  http://albrightcreativeimagery.com

Posted by: LLS | February 24, 2013

Size Does Matter

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This winter I worked on finishing all the little projects around my house I had started but ran out of interest, money, or steam and didn’t complete. It started with a chair I thought I couldn’t afford to have reupholstered, but loved too much to throw away. Luckily, I learned through Penterest I could paint it with fabric paint. It turned out great! So I proceeded with a hopeful heart and a renewed spirit to my small powder room. It was a dark dreary little place that no one wanted to use. It really needed a face lift. I decided to make it a funky fun little hole in the wall by painting the longest wall with chocolate-colored chalk board paint and the rest a deep aqua teal. My art student daughter painted a scrolling vine with flowers up one wall, on to the ceiling and over the mirror. It turned out very cute. I knew it needed a plant or something to make it a little more warm and friendly but with no window, I wasn’t sure what to do.

Several days later I was shopping for art supplies with my daughter. Our mission was an art supply store recommended by her teacher, but when they didn’t have what she needed we decided to give Hobby Lobby a try. For those of you that may not know what Hobby Lobby is, it’s a large craft store that carries everything from jewelry findings to canvases. They also have a large section dedicated to fake flowers. As we were searching for the particular supplies she needed I saw these huge, I mean gigantic, single stem flowers. They stood 4-5 feet tall at least and came in obnoxious colors. Some looked like Gerber Daisies, some like Sun Flowers, etc. The funny thing was I had been contemplating buying the regular sized smaller version for my powder room with no natural light. I usually detest fake flowers, but these were meant to be a novelty and would be viewed as such.

My daughter plucked one from the box where it rested and stood it next to her, it was almost the same height. We both got a good laugh. She said I should definitely get one, just one, and put it in my newly remodeled funky power room. When I looked at the price I was blown away. I said, “Hell no those are $50, for one stupid fake flower!” My daughter laughed stating, they were on sale 50% off. Still, $50 for an ugly fake flower, no way. I picked up the smaller version and said, “Maybe one of these?” My daughter shook her head. “See mom, that is what is wrong with your thinking. People who have money, lots of money, don’t have the mentality of worrying about money. They pick up the big one because that is the one they want and they don’t look at the price. People like you compare the prices of both sizes and settle on the small one because it cost less. To you $5.99 is reasonable and to them $50.00 is reasonable. Get the big one mom. Stop settling for the small one.” She made her point by holding up both flowers. The dinky one paled in comparison.

To sum this all up. I realized in fake flowers and in life, if we believe we can’t or couldn’t or shouldn’t do something because it is too expensive, we are right! We program our brains to believe what we believe to be true about any number of things. Love, money, happiness, you name it. What we tell ourselves over and over becomes our reality. To quote Abraham Hicks, “A belief is just a thought you keep thinking.” I have thought (believed) lots of messed up things in my life. I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough, I don’t have enough, the list goes on and on. It’s true I’ve been working on correcting those thought patterns, but sometimes old habits die hard, especially when you don’t even realize you are doing them. I raised my kids with Right Mined Thinking, but I don’t always practice what I preach. As my daughter stood there with her big beautiful smile holding up the flowers, I got it. I really got that I have held on to a belief pattern of lack, of not enough, for my entire life. Now, the reality is I do have to manage my money, but I also have to believe there is always enough, always. Guarding every penny sends the message out to the Universe that I don’t have enough and so…that’s exactly what I have. When I go with the flow and allow myself some freedom, everything falls into place. That is the wonderful nature of life.

I didn’t buy the flower. I did however learn a good lesson. Bigger is always better when it comes to the way we think about life.

Photo ~ http://handmadeandcraft.com/10-diy-wedding-bouquets/

Posted by: LLS | November 22, 2012

Sometimes We Slip. Sometimes We Fall.

I have practiced both and I find slipping much more enjoyable than falling. Slipping means you caved and had a little indiscretion. You answered that text or took that call and yes it’s time that would be better spent elsewhere, but you think, it’s brief and no real harm could come from it. You can still live with yourself. But don’t be fooled. Slipping can and often does lead to falling. Falling, doesn’t even sound fun. Falling hurts. Falling sets you back,  months, years maybe. Falling is followed by tears and regret and self loathing. Falling causes you to start questioning your sanity and  intuition, not to mention your self-worth. Falling just plain sucks. It’s a bad road that no amount of construction can repair. It can be resurfaced a million times, but the road still leads to the same dead-end. Falling makes you kick yourself, especially when all the signs are there that a hazard is ahead and you pay them no notice. Once you’re on Falling Avenue, you start forgetting whats important to you. It’s like a time warp. You forget all your good intentions and all the work you’ve done to live a positive life. Falling makes for scrapes and bruises that result in scars.

I recently visited slipping, followed by a brief, yet memorable, stint with falling. Both were the result of a wrong turn and both where a mistake. Now I feel like I’ve gone down this crappy, pot hole riddled road again, only to be met by that familiar glowing Dead End sign. My choice, I know and yet here I am. My ass is sore from kicking myself so hard and all I can do is turn around and head for the freeway.

Today is Thanksgiving and I am very thankful. I spent the day with wonderful, dear friends and my beautiful children. We enjoyed an absolutely awesome feast and visited while watching a movie. Very lovely indeed.  It made my slip-n-fall not so terrible. It actually put things into perspective again.  I was with the people I love and who love me. I was having a positive experience with positive people. My heart was too full of love and joy to ache. I guess everything happens for a reason and knowing as I do, that I created this, my job now is to raise my vibration so I don’t attract these negative interactions in the future. No matter how pretty the road make look, no matter if it appears to be a short cut, no matter that it’s so familiar, I can choose a road less traveled (at least by me) and that will make all the difference.

Posted by: LLS | September 24, 2012

Touch the Moon

The song I sang to my daughter when she was a baby.

The Sweetest Gift by Sade

When I was a child I didn’t like children and swore I would never have any of my own. I remember my mother telling me, “one day you will have children and you will feel differently.” I felt sure she was wrong. I would watch other people’s children act appalling, cruel and down right ignorant and it would affirm my opinion and distaste. As I grew and my older brothers began their prospective families, I knew parenting wasn’t for me. I loved my nieces and nephews, of course I did, but I always felt awkward around them. I held them like footballs and handed them off to the nearest other living human the moment they made any weird noises or leaked anything from anyplace on their bodies. I saw how my sisters- in- law always looked completely exhausted and smelled of vomit and I was sure I had made the proper choice for me. Once my mother agreed that I was “not parenting material” I felt relieved. Now that I knew she wasn’t expecting any grandchildren from me and I was no less a woman in her eyes, I was sure I would lead a life of complete freedom from crying, whining, puke and dirty diapers. If any of those things were in my future, they were coming from me and not some alien I played host to.

The closest I came to maternal love was the bond I shared with my little brother. With a huge chasm between our ages, I put it off to his need for a sister, since we were the only two left in the nest and I would be flying away soon enough. I felt a special love for him, though I would never admit it, and he didn’t seem to excrete gross things too much. Nothing that a rag or his own shirt didn’t cover. I think it helped that he was a neat kid and I enjoyed his humor and company. He was as close as I would allow any child to get to my heart.

And then it happened. I caught a horrible virus. The symptoms were simply turning into a blithering idiot and becoming a stranger in my own skin. I had fallen head over heels in love. I remember staring at a full lunar eclipse one night, making silly wishes under its magical glow. Foremost of those being that my new love and I would start a life much like those in fairy tales and live magically, happily ever after. I had a fleeting vision of holding the hand of a little girl as we walked by the ocean. It came and went and I didn’t think much over it at the time. I was lost in a dream and it was beautiful.

Shortly there after, a stupid little stick decided my fate. A pink X announced I had a bun in the oven I thought had been disabled. I was terrified! My brain could not comprehend what was happening to my body. I stayed in shock and denial for over 10 months. Yes, I said over 10 months because the little creature that had taken up residency in my belly was apparently very happy there and had no intention of vacating. Every part of my body swelled to an enormous size, which left me wearing MuuMuus and flip-flops because I couldn’t fit my body or my swollen feet into anything that resembled clothes or shoes. Luckily, we lived in Hawaii so I fit in for the most part.

Two weeks past my due date, I started taking long walks and swimming trying to encourage the little freak to come out. At my last doctor’s visit I begged him to extricate the demon, but he said to give it a little more time. More time! Are you kidding me! I haven’t seen my feet in months. I can’t sleep. I can’t eat without feeling sick. My hair has fallen out and I have acne. This thing kicks me like he’s kicking a long field goal all the time and my ribs and pelvis are spread so far apart I fear they will stick this way! More time, my very big ASS!

If that wasn’t enough, I had to endure all the speculation that it could be twins. Being the awesome, “let’s do this natural” dumb-ass that I was, I opted for no ultrasound. So some times the little devil’s heartbeat would echo and because of my grandiose size, the doc thought it could be twins. Great! I wasn’t prepared for one, let alone two. And then there was the endless guessing games people like to play. “I bet it’s a boy. No a girl, girls make you gain extra weight and take all your beauty.” Awesome! Thanks for that! At which point I, in my infinite wisdom and desperation to regain my body, agreed to go camping. The idea was that if I made myself, thus little demon, as uncomfortable as possible, it (he or beauty sucking she) would get the hell out. And low and behold it worked! At 4am I had to pee, something I had to do every 5 minutes because my bladder had become little fiend’s pillow, and I couldn’t walk. I remember crawling on the sand all the way to the outdoor potty thinking, for the love of God this has got to end. What the F#@K was I thinking. By the next night I was in full-blown, pain unimaginable, labor. The demon spawn was on its way.

On September 24th 1991 at 2:51pm, after many hours of pain and yelling at my freaked out mother to stop insisting to my doctor that I have a C Section, it came. All 10 pounds of screaming baby girl. They handed her to me and I had no idea what on earth to do with her, but she knew exactly what was up. She latched on, bright eyes looking up at me and filled her hungry tummy. I, needless to say,was in complete awe. A state that would become the norm for me.

Everyone warned me how labor would go down.  They all told me how much sleep I would lose once I had a child. All the experts advised me on the chaos of child rearing, from poopy diapers to teething and tantrums. From the terrible twos to the teen age crazies. But no one warned me, not one person prepared me for the most important part. Not one person told me the truth, that I would fall madly in love with this tiny little being. So in love, that I would willingly give my last breath for her, that I would lose all sense of self  just to see her smile. That I would get lost in her laughter, become mesmerized by her beauty and charmed by her whimsical spirit. That I would unconditionally love her like I never believed possible. That I would know her to become my sweetest gift.

Watching her grow and become her unique self has been nothing short of a miraculous journey. Her natural wonder and creativity has been truly remarkable. I can honestly say she has never given me anything but joy, since the moment she came into this world. I would give her the moon if I could, just to watch her eyes dance with delight. Those same eyes that sparkled when she asked if she could touch the moon, to which I replied, yes my love and held up a mirror to let it catch the orbs reflection in the glass so her little fingers could run across its light. From that day on I thought of her as my Moonshine.

My daughter Ariel turned twenty-one today and I am still smitten by her. I can, without bias, say she is an absolutely wonderful, beautiful, brilliant woman. Not once in her life have I ever felt anything but proud. She continues to astound me with her intelligence, her diligence, her graciousness, and mostly her heart, which is the biggest part of what makes her so incredibly special. She owns my heart and I am so blessed to have her in my life. Thank you my “Moonshine” for always being your beautiful unique self, shining your graceful light and living as such a fine example to anyone who has the honor of knowing you. I love you.

Ariel Aulani ~ Gift from above

Posted by: LLS | September 4, 2012

From Chaos Comes…

I spent this morning and most of the afternoon in silent meditation. For the first time in a long while, my house was quiet and I had the pleasure of being completely alone and peacefully in tune with my thoughts.  Many changes have occurred of late and I have not had one moment to process. Between kids, pets and life, I felt like I was spinning on the whim of some great dust devil wind. Three weeks ago, I left my job and I have tried ever since then to take some time to decide where my spirit will guide me. I felt directionless except for the nagging voice in my head that called for me to, “do what you love, not what makes sense”.  I heard that familiar voice and tried to ignore it, but it’s hard to ignore your dreams when they come knocking.

Five years ago I was laid off from my job du jour and was forced to seek new employment.  The task of finding a position similar in distance from my home and in workload was nearly impossible so, with a few bucks from my income tax return, I started a small catering company. I loved it! I felt like I really had found my place in the world until the reality of the situation, or better my fear of the situation, caused me to take a regular 9-5 job.  I lamented closing down my little dream come true, but I felt I needed more security for my children and myself. Reflecting, that was a decision based purely out of fear and a self-imposed vision of what was going on in my life.

Like the good little worker bee I am, I tucked my chin and headed off into the stormy unknown of my new job. Three years later and I was a wreck. All the fears I had with my little catering company were nothing compared to the mess I found myself in now.  I tried each and every day to approach my employer and coworkers with an “it’s a fresh new day”, kind of outlook but, they saw it with a same day/same BS reasoning.  I fell into that mode of thinking as well. Met with negativity at every turn, I became the poster child for unhappy people everywhere. I felt like I was two entities fighting to survive in one skin. At home and play, I tried to soak up every minute I had, wore myself out enjoying my weekends to the fullest. By Monday, I was in tears having to return to the work I had come to despise. It took a toll on everything in my life from my health to my relationships. I was done mentally, but hadn’t found a way to physically leave it all behind and take a leap of faith. Even with the constant encouragement from an ex-employee, I couldn’t just walk away. I tried taking some baby steps first.

I started yoga and really focused on what felt right and of importance to me.  I must thank my wonderful Yoga Instructor Lee for his insightful observations on living a meaningful life while working my butt off at an unconstructive job. The change in my mindset allowed me to begin the process of dealing with change. Lee taught me that in Yoga as in life, when things feel uncomfortable, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad. I pondered that. One foot went into the river (the easy flow of life) and I began making mental lists that if written down would have looked something like this.

Find Love, Happiness, and Peace in my life

Feel my Passion again

Find my Bliss

Live without Fear

Be a Creator

Make more time to enjoy my family and friends

Do what I would do if I knew I would not fail

GET A BACKBONE

I meditated over all my options and couldn’t seem to find any way out of my current situation or better, my comfort zone. I didn’t give up though. I decided to envision only what I wanted, not what I didn’t want and believed doors would open for me where there had only been walls. In no time at all a crack appeared and light streamed in.

An old friend was going through a similar life moment. He too was weary with his job and the life he had chosen to create for all the wrong reasons. One night as I sat dreaming of the life I would like to be creating, I had a thought. Why not? Why can’t I have my cake and eat it too? Hell, I’ll even bake the damn thing myself! The more I thought about it the better it sounded, tasted and felt. I sent my friend a message inviting him to move back home and take the leap with me. He could be back where he longed to be and we could begin soulfully creating a vision of the life we both wanted. Within 2 months, I am smack-dab in the middle of that creation. Let me tell you friends, it is the most exciting, scary, exhilarating time. There are moments of total chaos, but it is my dream coming forth from that chaos. I still have lots to do to put the finishing details on this vision, but the outline is well-defined and the image is clear. Creativity reins in my house and courses through my veins. I feel alive again. I feel such gratitude for my friend with his willingness to take a leap with me, to my old boss for all he taught me and to my ex coworkers for showing me how I don’t want to live.  Being in a creative mode is how life was intended to be lived.  Being grateful, giving thanks and passing along our own unique gifts is how to feed the spirit and bring joy to others.

Even in the midst of chaos, I am able to stay centered and know this too shall pass. I am able to feel my way down the path to the river of dreams, where the water flows straight to the sea of infinite possibilities and know I am the creator of this life. I am able to witness energies all around me, colliding and exploding, some falling away from me and others connecting with me and I am not wavering in my conviction to live my live to its fullest potential.

Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

Thank you my sweet friends and loving family for putting up with me during this time of transformation

Beautiful Art and Photo from http://portwolf.deviantart.com/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/stockmanphoto/

Posted by: LLS | August 23, 2012

Winds of Change

This week has been crazy. I have taken a few leaps in the recent past, but this week trumps all of those. I quit my job! Yep walked out and didn’t look back. Thanks to the support of my friends and mostly an angel and recent transplant from California, I was able to stop crying on my way to work, wanting so badly to have the means to quit, and take a moment to decide what it is I truly want to do with my life.  The time is here and I don’t know how to act. I feel frozen. I’m standing on a cliff, wind at my back and I can’t find my wings.

I want to fly, soar like an eagle, but…I’m scared. I let my perception of reality get in my way and it won’t budge. Yet I know, I created this and it’s up to me to flow with it and feel my way around my self-imposed obstacles. I am resolved to take this moment and let my spirit be guided to the direction of my bliss. I’ve talked the talk, now I need to walk the walk or in my case, JUMP.

It may be scary, terrifying even, but it’s also exciting. I am leaping and that feels much better than standing still. The winds of change are swirling at my back, my wings are small, but they can ride on the current that all is well in this moment. So here I go. Weeeeeee!

Photo and Quote from http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/on-being-an-agent-of-change/

Posted by: LLS | August 11, 2012

The Return of Quiz Guy

internet-couple.SoloAt30

This blog post is actually several months old. I thought I had published it but…nope.

Two weeks went by and no word from Quiz Guy. I had pretty much given up on the idea he was a real person, let alone the perfect person I had blown him up to be when wham, he returned. And so began another round of question/answer sessions. Only this time I found out more personal details. He is the father of two, divorced and some kind of client services marketing guru. I have no idea what that means, sounds like sales to me. He certainly had me sold. Anyway, we agreed again to meet and through all our discussions of time and place, never could we find a time that worked for either of us. His kids, my work, my kids, his work. Crap! It just plain didn’t work. Both accusing the other of not really trying to make it work. Both correct. We, after all, are cyber daters. Our cyber life is easy, no commitments, no children, no jobs, no pressure. Add real life to the equation and nope, never gonna happen. We can turn each other on with a few sentences and pictures in between making dinner and bedtime or at lunch and before meetings, but find real time to have a face to face conversation and our schedules don’t jive…ever. Four weeks later and I figured out you can half- ass listen via emails just as well as in person. I swear we answered the same damn questions 3 times because neither of us were paying attention anymore. The only added benefits to this cyber lover is I don’t have to wear heels or makeup or leave my house.

So what does one do when they just don’t care enough to invest any time into finding the right time? Stop trying! I will  lose sleep to hangout with my kids, go out of my way to meet up with friends, jump through hoops to go hear some live music. Go out on a real date? Um, can’t seem to find the time and neither could he.

Bottom line, life is full of choices. I am making the choice to only do what feels good in this moment. I am pretty sure I am just not ready to make room for any more commitments on my time. There are more important things going on right now and those things are what need my attention. So, I quit responding, he quit trying and it’s over. Whew what a relief. So long Quiz Guy it’s been, um, un-Real.

Photo Credit

Posted by: LLS | August 6, 2012

Almost Lover by A Fine Frenzy

Almost Lover by A Fine Frenzy

Sigh…

Posted by: LLS | August 5, 2012

Annoying Coffee Shop People

So I decided to go to one of my favorite coffee shops to write. Away from my dogs jumping on me, disconnecting my laptop and just to get out of the house for a little while. I was surprised it was so quiet when I arrived. I was able to walk right up to a table and plug-in my laptop. That usually doesn’t happen here very often. I must have come in the middle of a lull I guess because I was happily typing away when someone opened the doors and the ANNOYING COFFEE SHOP PEOPLE poured in. You know the type, they feel the need to talk loud enough so that everyone within a 5 mile radius can hear their conversation. Because it’s just That Awesome…Like Really. You know the type, they play Dungeons and Dragons and have to explain every part of it to the entire room. Then there are the girls that have to use the F word, burp out loud and laugh loud enough to make dogs in the neighborhood a mile away start to howl. Because it is just sooo coool, I knooow riiiight. Liiiike. Yeah. Right. Who raised these people? What the hell was I thinking? I want to yank the nose rings right out of their wanna be Hipster faces. I guess I’m old or something, because these people are getting on my nerves.

I have a firm belief in being aware of personal space. That includes public areas. I don’t care what the hell they do at their own table, but I don’t want to hear about, smell it, or feel it. So when my table gets bumped for the 10th time because you are trying to squeeze yet another body in at your table for 2 (now 7) it gets a little annoying. And BTW, maybe if you actually fit in those skinny jeans you wouldn’t have to sit with your knees so far spread apart that they knock into mine. And… I love animals, I absolutely do, but if you’re going to bring your puppy on a rope, could you please make sure he doesn’t keep barking! Like Really!

I’m a pretty tolerant person. I am very easy-going and pretty laid back. PDA? Fine go for it, wooohooo. Laughing out loud, great I might laugh too. Your doggy wants a pat on the head, I’m there. Need an extra chair? Here, take mine my feet weren’t really using it. But please don’t be an obnoxious ass in the process! I don’t care if your dragon trumps his knight, or if you put your player in the center of middle earth or how many cards you get when it’s your turn. I don’t know whose turn it is, and I don’t F-ing care either. I could give a rat’s ass that your boyfriend was so high that he hit his head on the coffee table when he tripped on a bong. I don’t want to hear how well endowed the guy you did last night was, the one you met on Craigslist and if you “don’t want to talk about it” then STOP talking about! Is it really anyone’s business that your “friend” got knocked up by a stranger that she can’t locate now? Does anyone really need to know these things? I DON’T THINK SO.

All I wanted was an iced coffee, a cool breeze and to write. Mission accomplished :)

Posted by: LLS | August 4, 2012

Mr. Wonderful

I reluctantly went on a date with a young man not long ago who asked me if his age bothered me. I had to think about that one. Part of me feels age is just a number and part of me knows how to count and no matter how enticing it is to have a very young, very pretty man show their interest, I still felt the need to say, “hold on here a minute, you know you are almost half my age right?” I wasn’t sure how to feel. I truly don’t go looking for younger men. I’m really not looking at all. Somehow they seem to find me and I am human so, there ya go. Which got me thinking. Am I looking for a relationship again? The short answer is No.

The whole thing made me ask myself, what am I really trying to accomplish here? I am not actively looking for anything in the relationship department. After some thought it occurred to me what I am looking for is a connection. I feel disconnected. It’s not that I am in a bad state of disconnectedness (new word), I actually feel pretty darn good. It’s more about knowing that I’m not the only one on this planet that feels the way I do. It’s knowing that there is someone out there in the world that’s on the same page as me, or at least the same book. I’ll even go as far as same genre. I haven’t been dating long or much at all since I finally ending the 7 years of madness relationship. Frankly, I’ve been too scared to. I feel if I were to have some kind of relationship it would have to not only be a good match, but a good connection. Defining connection to me means mind, body and spirit. Mind, we share the same interest, values and preferences. Body, we are physically attracted to each other and try to live a healthy lifestyle. Spirit, we agree fundamentally about our beliefs. Is this such a hard thing to find? So far it has been pretty elusive.

I’ve read the first step is to “put yourself out there”. So, off and on I’ve been on a few dating sites. Only after a matter of days I am so discussed with the 200 messages in my inbox and the lame lines that I cancel my account vowing never to return. I go to live music shows, but really I am there to hear the music and it irks me when others are talking over the performer. Kinda hard to meet someone when you’re telling them to shhhhh. I sit at coffee shops, where other “singles” go, but I usually end up in deep concentration over my laptop oblivious to all around me. I guess I’m not a good dater. I have been told I am too picky, that “not everyone has to be a Rock Star”, so says my daughter. No they don’t, I say in return, but why the hell not? If that is what I am looking for? I’m not looking for that, but you get my meaning. Why should I waste my time, or theirs for that matter, if I don’t feel any connection, much-less an attraction?

What I have come to see is I am very passionate about, well,  life. I know exactly what I would consider Mr. Right if I was looking and I am not willing to settle. Not anymore anyway. I think it comes across as picky or non-committal or crazy. I don’t much care anymore what anyone else thinks.  I am just as happy spending time with my children and my friends as I would be with Mr. Perfect. Finding Mr. Perfect feels like another full-time job that sucks.

I can only hope he finds me, cause I’m probably not paying attention. What does this look like in the real world? A highly unlikely event, but if I have a clear idea of what I am seeking and I send it out to the far reaches on the Universe, I feel it will happen. I have this list per-say. All the qualities that are must haves and it goes a little something like this…

I call him Mr. Wonderful. Mr. Right and Mr. Perfect seem to have been taken by Barbie dolls. This guy, my guy, is someone who makes me smile at the thought of him, and I want to think of him often.  He treats me with kindness and respect. Not the type of respect most people speak of; I don’t need the door opened for me or my meal always covered. No, it’s more than that. What I seek is a deep respect for my being. The kind of respect that goes beyond jesters and manners. What I speak of is a respect for my spirit, for my feelings and my emotions.  I envision a relationship that is of a feeling nature, an emotional connection that leaves me refreshed, never depleted. One that raises my vibration.  Mr. Wonderful understands that life is to be enjoyed and he does his best to do so.  We share the same interest and we don’t have to discuss things to distraction or be glued to each other. We both have our own lives and hobbies and because we are on the same wave length, it’s all good. He shares the same love for nature that I do. Whether it be a mountain stream we’ve hiked to or a sun drenched beach we’ve decided to visit on a whim. It may be a dog that needs extra attention after a long day left alone, or a lost kitten that needs a new home. He gets the simple beauty of a bush full of butterflies or a star soaring across the night sky or the coolness of a cloud shaped like a duck. He feels connected to this awesome Universe we’re vibrating as part of and he too can hear the sound the sunrise makes. Music is mandatory and laughter is a must. It’s really pretty simple. He doesn’t have to be perfect, just perfect to me.

I’ve manifested plenty of Mr. Wrongs. Maybe I am finally ready, after years of the recipe being not quite right, to taste the perfection of my own creation. So I guess I am sending out the call, like a siren perched on a rock waiting for a great ship to pass. Mr. Wonderful, where ever you are, I like queso and red wine, swimming and Bob Schneider. If you resemble Robert Downey Jr. in looks and personality, all the better. Call me ;)

So my best friend is in Florida this weekend, without me this time, I know horrible right? She is visiting with family in a town where she lived as a child. She sent me a message before boarding her plane and we chatted a bit. She informed me this town is known to have one of the highest shark attack rates in the country, the world maybe. I can’t remember, I heard shark attack and my brain froze. The next day, knowing my friend as I do, I knew she would be at the beach. So I sent her a text message telling her not to get eaten by a shark, because I didn’t know what I would do without her. She laughed, hahaha. I was serious. The whole thing got me thinking how we are here one minute and gone the next, kinda like Quiz Guy (see my previous post Goldilocks). Me being me, I got on the memory train and couldn’t get off.

I remembered as a very young child seeing the movie Jaws. I was so young I left that movie in fear for my life. I believed at any given moment a shark could bust through a wall or come up through the floor and eat me, no water needed. I was terrified if I got in or even near water, pool, lake, or otherwise I would be lucky to live. And if I did survive it would most likely be without legs. I stayed clear of pools all summer, dreaded baths and switched to showers. When my family vacationed at the beach, I didn’t get closer than 50 feet from the water’s edge in case a shark rolled up in a wave.  It was pretty pathetic. My mother and brothers thought I had gone insane because I had always been a water freak, saying things like, ” I will be a mermaid when I grow up”. I was serious. I absolutely loved the water. Not so much, after Jaws. I still pretended to be a mermaid, now a land locked mermaid. So here I was, reliving my little childhood memory and I started thinking…

We go through our lives living day-to-day in search of something. We wake, go to work, come home, feed our families and take for granted (for the most part), everything will remain the same. And for most of us, it does on the surface. But under the surface of the deep dark water are our fears. They are right there holding hands with our hopes and dreams. They bob their heads from time to time above the surface but we, our human selves, remain safe in the lifeboat afraid to dive in and grab hold of them. We don’t want to rescue Fear because we don’t want to share our lifeboat with her, she’s a jerk. We ignore Hope because she is small and whiny. We think about saving Dream because she’s pretty cool,  but we might have to commit to nurturing her and that seems like more effort than it’s worth. So we drift alone, searching, praying somebody throws us a rope and maybe “they” can rescue the others, secretly hoping it’s too late for Fear (poor thing).

But what if we want more? I’m tired of drifting. Tired of waiting for a rope. This lifeboat is held up by stale air and spins with no direction and right now my oar is visiting family in Florida. I am at a crossroads and I am seasick. Part of me is terrified to swim lest I be eaten by a shark and part of me says bring it on Bad Boy. I’m surely not the type of person to let anyone drown, even if it means I may fall into peril. But I sit, waiting for an answer, a beacon, a guide, the “they” I spoke of to come along and save me. But the sea is vast and I have to rely on my own wits, and I have never been Snow Freaking White or Cinder-f-in-rella. I wouldn’t have taken the apple from the homeless lady. If I was running to beat a clock and my glass slipper fell off, I’d kick off the other one and keep on going. I’d certainly not try to run in one shoe, heels suck enough anyway and that’s just stupid. But then again, I would have never been at the ball in the first place, pretending to be someone I’m not. I guess that’s why I always loved The Little Mermaid (Hans Christian Andersen Version). She killed herself, left the prince to his new wife and became a Daughter of the Air. Off subject, I know.

I guess it all comes down to courage. I made a conscious decision a long while ago that I had to find the courage to dive in, sharks and all. I’ve  jumped, believe me I have. Some days are easier than others but,  I’m in. I feel the delicious water and the freedom of this and any of the millions of moments I have yet to live. I don’t have to swim. I don’t have to save anyone. I can just lay back and float. Thrashing around only attracts the worst. I relax and breathe, the sun is warm on my face and I know there is land out there somewhere. Life doesn’t have to be a struggle, we make it that way. I absolutely love the water. Even tattooed a mermaid on my ankle to remind me how much I love the ocean. It may be scary at times and there may be sharks, but my love for the experience outweighs all the little pesky things that live in the sea of life.  It’s safe. I promise. Come on in! The water is just fine :)

Photo Credits

dark water

http://www.uproxx.com/feature/2010/06/the-5-worst-times-to-be-naked/attachment/shark-attack-girl/

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