I DO. I HAVE. I BE.

At our July women’s group Jude summed up life with these three choices. They made sense to me. I knew these in myself. I wrote them down and have been noticing them ever since.

I DO.

And boy, do I. I think this way. All. Of. The. Time.

“What do I need to do?” I feel tired.

“What should I do?” I feel exhausted.

“I finally I got that done, but look at all I didn’t get done.” I feel beaten.

It’s hard to get out of bed some mornings.

I believed that when the kids were launched I would have all kinds of time on my hands. That I would get it all done, whatever it was that needed doing. Maybe I would even be bored. That I would entertain myself by organizing my junk drawer.

I am not keeping up with my list of to do’s. I cannot even close my junk drawer.

 

I HAVE. 

I have down sized twice in the last 5 years so I have much less than I ever did. I kinda like this. I live in a small home that will not tolerate a lot of stuff. This reality supports minimal accumulation. It makes window shopping bittersweet…I see something I love and want, knowing it will truly make my life complete, but, remind myself there is no place to put it, hang it, or prop it. I walk away…sad for not having, relieved that that purchase will not be on my next months Visa bill.

However, I have cleverly rectified this dilemma by disguising my consumerism as necessary home improvement projects. Depending on the day and my mood this list can be quite long. My have and my do are a formidable couple.

I was visiting with a friend yesterday and while we talked I was gathering home improvement ideas from her place. I mused that maybe I would rip out our wrought iron banister, explaining I never was a fan of wrought iron and by replacing it with wood, like her’s, it would warm up our place. Laura said she kind of liked wrought iron, she said she thought it looked clean. I remembered she has an iron coffee table and end table. Then she said, “I don’t know, you could do that, maybe you are made of money and that is not a consideration.”

Thank you Jesus. Or Laura. Those words cut right through my need to have. My budget  and my sensibility rose to the surface. I felt relieved. Less to pay for and less to do.

I went home and appreciated my wrought iron bannister in a whole new way.

 

To BE. 

There is sooo much written on this state of mind. It is unarguably the way to be (no pun intended). But, man, is it hard to do (hah, another pun).

I have been mulling around the idea of how to turn my to do list into a want list so I can be more in the moment while doing it. Still with me?

If I do what I do, fully doing it, then I will be. Got that?

So when I am finished writing this post I plan to weed my garden. Weeding is not one of my favorite activities. I wish I were one of those people that feel contentment yanking and sweating and clipping, but I am not. However, I do walk through my garden every time I leave the house, often stopping to admire it, amazed with myself for creating such a spot of beauty, so I want it to look good.

I found my want. I want to pull weeds, tend to my garden, restore it to beauty. It is no longer a to do, but a want.

I consider calling my friend Heidi while I garden since we have been playing phone tag…you know, kill two birds with one stone (bad garden metaphor). I quickly remind myself that multitasking is not conducive to being.

I decide to just garden, to be fully in the moment, pulling weeds, clipping plants, sweating like a women in menopause; not thinking about the next chore to be done.

Wish me luck…
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Post Script

My garden looks beautiful. I still didn’t love the job, but I love the result both in the garden and in myself.

I was fully in my moment, BEING while I was DOING.

 

 

 

Now I know how Eve felt, I had to have that apple…

I witnessed something very odd yesterday. A loose line of women, standing outside the door of a small shack-like building, waiting patiently while holding a previously on-line acquired entry ticket — permission to step foot over the threshold — talking quietly, like they were in a sacred place, comparing past purchases which they fondled lovingly on their wrists.

Hell I didn’t just witness it. I experienced it. I was one of them. Standing in line. Waiting. Growing anxious with anticipation hearing the stories of the women who had come before me as they exposed their wrists, stacked full by years of making the trek to purchase the latest Cape Cod Bracelet. I tried to sneak a peak into the wooden building, able to see only a few glass cases with shining objects calling to me across the distance. Patricia…PatriCIA…PATRICIA…I was intrigued and caught in the spell.

As Debbie and I made it to the threshold we were told to wait there, no craning our necks to get closer to the holy grail. The woman behind us, who was a seasoned veteran at this, quietly warned us about the keepers of the gate, the centennials of the hand made bobbles. “The sales women,” she said, “are not very nice.”

So there I stood. Part of me chomping at the bit to be permitted permission to enter the garden of Eden — the stores name is…wait for it…. East of Eden. Each hand made piece is stamped EDEN. That is how you decipher original Cape Cod Bracelets from their imitation counter parts.

The other part of me was amazed at myself and my fellow women. We were begging to spend our money, cajoling the Knights of Templar to show us the gold and silver. We had to have it. I mused with Debbie, then and for several days later, the marketing masterpiece they had concocted. Tickets to enter the store where grouchy women make you feel grateful for their attention. How did they do this?

I found out about this place earlier in the week while renting kayaks. The young woman at the counter had on a great bracelet. It was a fish. I admired it. She then introduced me to the phenomenon of East of Eden. “Get a ticket,” she said, “You can’t get in without one.” Of course I went home and googled the store, read the website explaining the need to obtain a ticket at least 2 weeks prior to visiting. The tickets for this season, however, were gone. Huh. Doesn’t that make me want it more? Brilliant.

I told Deb about the fish bracelet I had seen, knowing she would love it and to find out if she knew anything about this place. She didn’t, but suggested that tomorrow, while Tom and Jamie were golfing, we head up there. Sure, why not? I had to see this place.

We map quested the address and after some pulling into wrong driveways we found it. No signage on the road. I guess the Garden of Eden needs no advertising.

We slunk our way up to the woman standing in the front lawn, obviously in charge with her note pad and pencil. With our eyes averted we humbly explained we had no ticket and we understood if we needed to leave but we had heard so much about this place that we had to come.

She sighed a heavy sigh, looked us up and down, and said since the line was not too long we could join the others.

We had been granted access to EDEN.

It looks a bit like a serpent in this picture...hmmm

It looks a bit like a serpent in this picture…hmmm

We each bought a piece. After all that how could we not? I bought the fish bracelet with an onyx eye. Debbie a fish ring, a traditional Cape Cod ball ring and a pair of earrings for her sister’s birthday.

The rest of the week we admired each others acquisitions as well as our own. We had succumbed to masterful marketing, entered the Garden of Eden, ate of the fruit and returned triumphant with treasures.

 

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I should be writing…but instead I am making zucchini bread

My 4th loaf is in the oven as I type this…and since I have gained 4 lbs in the last 2 weeks I shouldn’t be making my 4th loaf. But without an intervention I am headed into the kitchen to make my 5th batch. I still have zucchini and flour that must be used. Right?

I am using the mixer I got as a wedding gift in 1981 to make the bread. It’s a Sunbeam. I don’t think it was an especially expensive model or brand, back in the day, but they just seemed to make things to last back then.

I still have my Maytag washer from the early 90‘s. Recently I needed a service call to rebalance the tub and asked if I should simply replace it. The repair man, who may not have been as old as the washer, enthusiastically advised me to hold on to it as long as I could, saying, they don’t make them like this any more. His excitement sounded like he could have been talking about a vintage car.

Sadly however, I think my 32 year old mixer is dying. In the middle of my 2nd batch it began to sputter to a stop then accelerate to a speed that sent the zucchini batter air-born. It did this each time I turned my back to reach for something I needed; like a spatula to help it along; or the jar of cinnamon; or when my head was in the oven checking the other loaves with a toothpick. The beaters began to pick up speed, reaching full throttle, followed by the sound of thick dough hitting solid surfaces. Everything was in slow motion. You know the phenomenon when you can’t move fast enough to stop something bad from happening.

Many years ago I remember watching Jena fly down the driveway on her bike, beach towel around her neck, going to meet friends at the lake. As I sat on the deck, grateful  she was old enough to swim on her own so I could lounge a bit longer, her beach towel caught in her front tire and over her handle bars she flew. I saw it all in slow motion as I jummppedd uup aaand rraann doowwnn tthe stteeppss tooo hheerrr.

So it was with the mixer as I rreeaaacchhed tooooo tttuuurrnn iiiitttt ooofffff.

Both times there was a mess to clean up.

So why, you may ask, am I making ALL OF THIS DAMN BREAD?

I will tell you. Some of you have mentioned that I have not posted since the 15th. The Monday after the wedding.

Before the wedding I told my soon-to-be daughter-in-law that although they had been engaged for 2 years, and owned a home together, that rituals are powerful acts of intention and that the wedding ceremony would change them.

Well, I don’t know if that has been their experience, but it sure as hell has been mine. Since their wedding I have been suffering from what Tom lovingly calls Postpartum- Empty-Nest-Wedding-Depression-Syndrome.

I didn’t write because I could not yet verbalize what I was feeling and I was so absorbed in what I was feeling there was nothing else to write about.

Henceforth, no blog posts.

So this morning, after 6 loaves…yeah I made more…of homemade bread, I can talk/write. Doing something that offered instant gratification, unlike child rearing, was what I needed to soothe what ailed me.

The truth is I don’t know how to be my kids mom anymore.

My kids no longer need me in their everyday life. I am no longer their taxi service, their chief cook and dish washer, their special events planner, or the arms that hold them in the middle of the night when they are frightened. So if I am none of these, what am I?

How do I include myself in their adult lives?

I don’t have a model for this evolved relational style. My mom and I never bridged this transition, for many, many reasons. As a consequence of this, I feel lost. And a bit, okay, a lot, worried they will drift from me and I will become a clinging, you’ll miss me when I am dead, mom.

Truth be told, I want to enjoy the fruits of my labor. I raised two really interesting people and I like them.

It was suggested to me by a wise friend, that gave me the zucchini from her garden, that I ask Landon and Jena to co-create this next stage with me. What a novel idea…I hadn’t even thought of that. My paradigm still one of…as the mom I will figure it out and present it. Clearly, if we are moving toward an adult-to-adult modus operandi, I need to include them.

Perhaps this is the beginning and I don’t need to have any more figured out…even though I really, really, like to have things figured out.

I think I will give Landon a call see if he wants to come over for dinner…Lauren is out of town.

And I have ZUCCHINI BREAD!!!
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To speak or not to speak, that is the question…

Last night I told a friend that she had lost too much weight and wasn’t looking good. That her diet and exercise plan had gone too far.

Several years ago, after I had lost 25 pounds, a friend told me a similar thing. She said I was looking frail. I was as incredulous then as my friend was last night. She didn’t see herself as too thin. Neither did I.

I loved my size 6, flat stomach, easy to fit into any outfit, body. I felt sexy, powerful, in control. I did miss my boobs, however. I was never what you would call a well-endowed woman at my almost-B-cup-bra size, except for when I was pregnant and breastfeeding which doesn’t count because everything else was so big it was all proportional. But, in my minus 25-pound-stealth-self my girls had reduced to their adolescent AA bra size. I figured it was a small price to pay…no pun intended.

Saying the hard thing to a friend takes courage and love. It is a bittersweet gift to offer. When Trudy said it to me, I felt loved and trusted. She believed in me and in the solidity of our friendship to say the difficult truth.

So what do we not say?

And why don’t we say it?

Certainly I worry my loved one will be hurt, or mad, or reject me.

What I said last night came from a place of love and concern. There was no judgment or hidden agenda I was working out. When that is true, I feel safer saying the tough thing. When that is true it is also easier to hear the hard thing, as happened with Trudy. I felt no guile from her.

What I have learned, the hard way, is to keep my mouth shut when I feel I am harboring ulterior motives. That never goes well. The other person always seems to sense my duplicity. And as loudly as I may defend my honor, we both know the truth. My intentions were not honorable.

That is, perhaps, the question to be asked when choosing to speak or withhold. What are my motives? Am I speaking from a place of compassion and concern? I once read that it is our responsibility to speak from our hearts. That we cannot control how the other hears or receives what we say, but we should be sure where our message came from in ourselves.

I know I feel much better about myself, even if the other is hurt, when I am clear I meant no harm. That being said, I may still need to make amends despite my best intentions. It is my responsibility to do that also.

Saying the hard thing is an act of courage and love. It is also the true measure of a strong relationship.

I also told Tom last night that he couldn’t wear his plaid shorts and printed shirt, even if the blue’s matched. I did have ulterior motives, we both knew it, accepted it and laughed about it; concurring that at our age, mismatched hipster-dom simply looks like old age.
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I deserve it … NO… I want it……

In celebration of my 100th post…and because I don’t have anything new ready to share with you this week…I am rerunning my first post from November 5, 2010. I can’t believe how fast time has gone by or that I have stuck with this for so long. I am impressed with myself : )

I recently bought some new furniture. Okay, I recently bought a lot of new furniture, at a rather expensive local store. Something I don’t do, I shop for bargains, get it cheap, purchase incrementally. But this day I decided I had slid off my fiancé’s leather couch for the last time. I hopped in the car, his car- a cute red convertible- something else I don’t do because I am afraid to scratch, bump or bruise it. I went by myself, another novelty, we usually we shop for major purchases together, but today he wanted to watch the masters and I wanted to shop in the spirit of endless possibilities. It worked for both of us. I stopped for a latte along the way, feeling much younger than I am as my hair flew in a million directions in the open topped car. I didn’t allow myself to think about the knots I would attempt to brush through tonight. I arrived at the store, was greeted by Sherri, a very friendly sales woman who quickly became my new best friend.

I found a great couch; over sized, on sale and I even though I picked the most expensive house couchfabric to cover it in, the price didn’t go up. This was my day! So, it only made sense to now find a matching chair, which I did, with an ottoman. Unfortunately the fabric I picked did increase the price, but I had saved so much on the couch, right? Feeling very satisfied with my purchases, the thought occurred to me-this may be a good time to consider looking for a new dining room table.

When I moved into my fiancés home in November we combined our collection of “lifetime, kid functional, great flea market finds” furniture. I guess you could call the look….ugly. It didn’t take me long to find the perfect pedestal table. And it was being discontinued, so the price was great! How blessed am I?

I returned home and tentatively shared my expedition with Tom. He didn’t quite follow my excitement, but he is smart enough and old enough to know better than to say…”You did what?” Plus we agreed I was buying, so….what could he say? Other than, “you really want to get rid of my leather couch and chair?”

As time set in I panicked, I asked myself “What have I done?” I felt guilty. It was too much. Who do I think I am? I spoke with some friends who assured me I got great deals and it is all really good furniture…as only good women friend will do…and they said, “After all, you deserve it!”

Really? I deserve it? What does that mean? I had been noticing for awhile that women say to themselves or to a friend, “You deserve it”! When I heard this spoken to me I wondered what I had done to deserve it? Had I been really, really good, worked really, really hard, done “it” right? Is that why I deserve it? What if I hadn’t overachieved, does that mean I don’t deserve it?

As I thought about this, I concluded that we tell ourselves and others “They deserve it” because it is a very clever detour around feeling our guilt of wanting and getting! I watch my women friends and clients work harder and never feel good enough or deserving. I see us care more about others and care less about ourselves. I began to get curious. What if I felt my wants, regardless of what I have done, accomplished, or achieved? Could I let myself befriend my desire, know it intimately, inside and out, like a treasured lover? Can I tolerate feeling my desire, as well as, the possibility of being disappointed?. What if I want it and can’t afford it or my partner isn’t in agreement with my wants. Do I chose to ignore my desire so I never feel my disappointment? Like the saying, “Blessed are those that expect nothing for they shall not be disappointed.” I think this is convenient… for awhile… but exhausting and soul robbing in the end.

I bought this furniture because I wanted it. Plain and simple. I want my new home to welcome me at the door with furnishing I adore and can fall into at the end of the day. I want to feel proud of the home we have created and welcome friends in to share our loved creation. I wanted it, I could make it happen, this time, and for that I feel extremely grateful. I may also deserve it, but that is not why I bought it. I trusted myself, my desire, felt it and loved it into action.

With love
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My Still Unmade Bed

I know this is a long one, but seems memoir is…so here is my write something funny assignment. Class is almost over so hang in with me. And sorry about last weeks lack of a post. It is a another long story..

The stillness of the house made the morning sun feel like a my friend, who in their presence, I naturally slow down and breath deeper. This was one of the weekends I had to myself while Jena stayed with her dad. I was beginning to relish these periodic weekends alone as I became more comfortable in my own company, hearing less from my inner demon that would tell me, with great certainty, that I would never make it on my own. That I would never find anyone to share my life with.  He–yes it’s a male voice–would not stop there. He (me) would expound on why I would spend the rest of my life alone, using a tone of voice that convinced me he knew what he was talking about. The inner criticism who begin with, “you are too picky, you aren’t picky enough, you are too much, too needy, too tall, too scared, too injured, you don’t know how to love,” and end with, “you are a mess, my dear!”

So, in the absence of my nasty self, I planned this staycation retreat weekend. I considered traveling to a bed and breakfast, somewhere lovely with a Victorian four poster, canopied, quilted bed, serving gourmet breakfasts and quiet fields to roam. But my financially frugal inner accountant pursed his–are they all male voices?–lips together, folded his arms firmly across his chest and admonished, “Think again sweetie, you are staying right here, you can’t afford it.” So I stayed home.

I needed time to consider, reflect, renew, and figure a few things out; like what I am going to do with the rest of my life. I let my friends know my plans, that way when they didn’t hear from me or I didn’t answer the phone they wouldn’t think I had fallen into that deep, dark pit I frequently mentioned. I told my daughter the same, but assured her if she really needed me, she could call my cell phone. I shopped for food I love, shrimp with homemade cocktail sauce, fresh asparagus and a great bottle of wine. I picked up the movie Under the Tuscan Sun, a story about a divorced woman redesigning her life.

I was well prepared for my weekend retreat to begin.

I woke leisurely, feeling grateful that I could take this luxurious time out. I was also thankful to be waking alone in the previous marital bed. I knew when I decided to marry, Unknown23-years-ago, I would miss sleeping alone. I always loved that sense of freedom and privacy of being in my own bed, wrapped in the covers, with no one else to consider. I moved slowly, allowing my body to wake as I made my way downstairs to the kitchen to make that first great cup of coffee. As I waited for it to brew, I decided to cover the microwave clock so I could ignore its bright red face insisting on the time. I wanted to hear the voice of my own internal clock this weekend.  After all, isn’t that what a retreat weekend is all about?

As I blindfolded the clock there was a knock on the kitchen door. I turned around, to see my neighbor Kyle standing on the other side of the french doors. Kyle and his family owned a weekend home up the street. I hadn’t known they would be here this weekend. I momentarily resented his intrusion to my quiet movements, but cajoled myself saying, “be nice and there is no escape, he knows you are home.” I opened the door. We did a neighborly shoulder only hug hello. I was still in my morning sweats.

I liked Kyle. I liked his wife and kids too. Our families got together often when they visited. Kyle explained he was here to do some work on their house, Laura and the kids decided to stay home. He said he was on a run and decided to stop in to see how I was fairing after the separation. How thoughtful I mused. We caught up on the kids, his and Laura’s trip to Italy, and my pathetic current circumstance. Even though I had planned to be alone and contemplative, I was comforted that someone had checked in on me.  I was also certain he wouldn’t be staying long.

We finished our coffee — I offered only one cup — and got up off the kitchen stool to rinse my mug in the sink. Kyle came up behind me, presumably to rinse his too, but instead wrapped his arms around my waist pulling me tightly into the front of his body. I tried hard not to feel anything I knew I wasn’t supposed to be feeling. I was speechless. My brain and my mouth were not engaged.

As he held me, he lamented his concerns for his son who had recently started college and was struggling socially and scholastically. Since my ears were working, I listened to what he was saying, while still trying to make sense of his physical contact. It had been a long time since I had needed to decipher another mans intentions. Obviously too long. I naively concluded Kyle must be very upset about his son and be in need of a friendly hug. Nothing else made sense. After all, he was married and our families were friends. I assured myself by he meant nothing by it. As he released me I fell tipsy to one side. I was off balance.

We continued to talk as though this was normal contact for us. I half paid attention to what he was saying, the other half of my attention was listening to my now engaged inner banshee, who was screaming, “What the fuck was that?” This time it was a female voice, a rather outraged female voice.

I’d like to report it ended here. It didn’t. Kyle made it known, in several explicit ways-that even I didn’t miss-that he was at my service. Did I look like I needed to be serviced, I wondered? Was this what I got for ending my marriage…offers from other women’s husbands? Had I misread Kyle’s friendship all these years? I began to question my judgement. Maybe I shouldn’t have let him in. Should I kick him out? I felt like I didn’t know anything any more. I felt scared that maybe I was doomed to be alone, a woman with too many cats — my demon had returned.

I didn’t get mad, I didn’t take action, I was immobilized in my confusion and self doubt.  I couldn’t find my center. Kyle continued to sit on my kitchen stool, sipping the second cup he poured for himself, patiently waiting for me to take him up on his very generous offer.

My insides were tangled between introjects of “be nice” and “men are pigs.” Messages skillfully taught to me by the women in my family. These lessons, distilled in me to their purest form, made it virtually impossible for me to find my way on this retreat morning. This was not the first time I had been caught in the trap of my family’s mixed messages.

Suddenly and without conscious thought, something in me began to straighten. It took me a minute to register just what, but I am thrilled to say it was my backbone….my hackles were up and I was pissed. I grew 2 inches sitting on that stool. I found my voice and told Kyle he was a PIG.

Surprisingly, he didn’t agree. He explained he was not offering to do it just to do some of it. He went on to explain, if we didn’t fuck, he wasn’t technically cheating on Laura. What sophisticated rationale. He did, he explained, have a line he wouldn’t cross.

I began to find this all very funny in its absurdity. I began to recite his logic back to myself, making comic sense of it. Ohhhh, I told myself, my mistake. Why didn’t he make this clear from his first grope? In his world his wife won’t mind if we retire upstairs, to my still unmade bed, and roll around for a while. I was astonished at the sincerity with which he made his offer.

I told him I would accept his very thoughtful proposition. But…only if Laura agreed with his definition of faithful. My demon and banshee stood down; they knew I had this now.

I handed him the phone.

He rinsed his cup and left.

: )

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Going Through Mom’s Jewelry

I am re-posting this piece because I have heard from some of you it was not sent to  you last week. So sorry, the bugs are still being worked out…

Mom was moved to an assisted living facility last year because her dementia was worsening and her ability to be pleasant to live in help was non existent. I am in the process of selling our family home. In doing so my brother and I are dividing the family treasures. I am going through her jewelry.

I remember, sitting on moms bed as a young girl, watching her get ready to go out with my dad, putting on dresses that are now back in style, admiring her sartorial chicness. I would dream of being old enough to dress up…and stay out late.

As she accessorized she would tell me, “Someday this will be yours,” pointing to her mother’s diamond ring, or holding up the string of pearls she brought back from Japan while my she and my dad were stationed there. I couldn’t wait.

Now they are mine. It is a bittersweet acquisition.

As I don the pink and white, three tiered, strand of beads, that are so retro today, I feel IMG_0886as young as my mom was when she worn them in the early 60’s. When I slip on the large gold signet ring my uncle left to her, I feel the weighty presence of the family legacy. As I admire the diamond sets from my grandmother, too small for any of my fingers, I wonder if I should have them reset into something contemporary, hesitant to disturb their antiquity but sad to leave them sitting in a drawer.

My uncle, a Col. in the Army, traveled all over the world. He returned home for visits gifting me with a doll from the foreign lands he visited. I looked forward to his visits and the dolls. When I reached adolescence, he switched it up. He started a gold charm bracelet for me, so instead of dolls he brought me charms from his travels. As a discerning 12 year old I wondered what in the world was he thinking? The bracelet was designed with heavy links of solid 14 carat gold, not suited to my young wrist or adolescent sense of style.  Besides, I had no place to wear it.

Mom decided it suited her wrist and her taste, so she began to wear it on her dressed up evenings out. Even though I wasn’t consulted, I was willing to share, my silent generosity making me feel older. After wearing the bracelet several times she complained that one particular charm, a large sword fish, a token of my uncle’s catch on a deep sea fishing trip…glad he opted for a charm instead of stuffing and mounting the poor thing, was poking her with it’s nose…sword.

Her solution? She took it to the jewelers and had the nose cut off. (Her maxim, if it pokes you, cut it off…imagine how my dad felt.) I couldn’t, and still can’t, believe she did that. In todays market that nose is worth a small fortune.

Each time I wear the bracelet, resplendent with it’s swordless fish charm, appreciative of my uncles foresight in choosing a bracelet with my 55 year old wrist in mind, instead of my 12 year old wrist, I remember the argument my mom and I had when I discovered the maimed fish. I was appalled. I felt sorry for the butchered fish and became it’s advocate, ever so slightly too late, telling my mom she had no right. Mom didn’t see it that way.

All of this comes back to me as I unpack her jewelry boxes. I feel heart wrenched and soothed, both feelings jumbled together, like a mishmash of tangled necklaces, difficult to separate but doable with enough time and patience.

For my birthday this year, my husband gave me a rich, blue leather jewelry box. It is IMG_0885spectacular with it’s drawers, ring holders and travel jewelry box tucked within. I feel like a grown up each time I open it. He said I needed a special place to store my families treasures.

My mom’s story has a new home.

Where Have I Been? Again…

Missing in action.

 

I do this sometimes. I have since I was a kid. I disappear from view, a ‘time out’ of sorts.

 

Historically these MIA’s have been a result of my wish to be found, usually by my family. Would they notice I was gone? Would they care? Am I important enough to be found?

 

If I am honest there was some of that in my absence the past several weeks. (I wish I could say I am beyond that insecurity, I manage it much better these days, but I doubt it will ever be completely gone.) But, more than that, I ‘checked out’ because I lost my vision and my energy. I began to question my decision to become a blogger.

 

Two years ago I didn’t even know what a blog was, let alone how to manage one. So I have been learning. It has been a very left brained-not my strong suit-endeavor, which was painfully tedious. Then there was the need to develop a blog readership. That means social media. So I acquired a facebook page(s) and a twitter account. My facebook page continues to feel like an unorganized closet full of people I don’t know-is that a good thing?-and messages/invitations to things I am not the least bit interested in. I just don’t get it. As for twitter, I have know idea what to tweet about.

 

My exasperation worsened when I realized that there are soooo many Off the Couch blogs written by other therapists. My brilliant idea was not so unique, special or trademarked-which means some other therapist could ask me to “cease and desist” if they started their blog before me. That was the last straw. My discouragement became exhaustion and I let go…of my vision and my desire. I do that to. I sometimes let go of my dreams from a place of exhaustion and overwhelm.  But what I also do, if my dream is in my blood, I pick myself and it back up and start again.

 

So here I am. I am back, starting again, but, this time with the help of a 22 year old intern that is waaayyy smarter about all of this blog and social media stuff than I am. Karen is going to help me clean my facebook closet, tell me what the hell to twitter about, and rename my blog.

 

This is where you, my readers, can help. I need your input and ideas. We are going to start with rebranding Off the Couch blog. I will miss Duke as my mascot. I love the double entendre. But I need to let go, this time of Duke and not my dream to be a top 100 women’s blog.

 

So if you don’t mind, I will run some fresh names for the blog by you.  Let me know what you think. And if you have any ideas to improve the blog, an idea for a new name, social media strategies, or anything else, by all means let me know.

 

I also want to apologize to those of you that look forward to my Monday morning posts. I am sorry for the last 4 weeks of radio silence. I also want to thank those of you that reached out to tell me you missed me. It’s good to be found…

Loving Life

Before I lived in Pittsburgh I said to myself, “When I live in Pittsburgh, I am going to go to meditation classes, ti chi, and yoga classes, I’m going to sit in coffee shops with friends, go to art openings, eat fun food in interesting neighborhoods, and take some art classes.”

I have lived in Pittsburgh for over 4 years now. All the activities I couldn’t wait to take advantage of are right at my finger tips. I have done a few, sporadically, but not to the extent I imagined. Why? I have no excuses. I take that back…I have plenty of excuses, “I’m too tired, I don’t have time, parking is too hard, I have to cross a bridge (did I just say that? I must really be a Pittsburgher), I don’t want to commit to every week.”

Why do I do this? Why do I talk myself out of the things I dream of? Do you do this too?

As I sit with that question I come up with several versions of viable answers. They all lead to…

What if I didn’t?

What if I gave myself the time and energy to do those things I dream of.

What if I promised myself to follow my interest, my desire, my heart?

What if…(fill in your own)?

I can’t imagine it would be harmful to follow my interests. Can you?

So I have a challenge.

Together, let’s do one thing a week that is enough out of our ordinary routine that we smile, a heart felt smile, knowing we are alive. I will start a I LOVE MY LIFE forum on BeingBoswell and we can share our stories. Hearing others success and excitement can be contagious. Don’t make it a big deal thing, just easy and fun. A dinner at a new restaurant you always wanted to go to, a store you have wanted to explore, a book that has been calling your name, a meal you have wanted to cook, a friend you have wanted to spend time with, a new way home through a neighborhood you have wanted to see.

You get the idea.

To share your experience, scroll down and leave a comment! 

Don’t be shy. Your story will encourage all of us.

I will go first.