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…

Audience Participation Week

Maybe you noticed, I hope you did…a post did not arrive in your mailbox or on Off the Couch yesterday-my regular posting Monday morning. That is because I have nothing to say…I am blank…the well is dry…I’ve run out of steam…

Maybe it’s writers block, maybe it was the holiday weekend with the Tom and the kids, maybe it was trying to put a freshly painted bedroom back together (it is never just a new paint job, now it needs new bedside lamps, new window treatments, a new mirror for over my dresser, a new soft chair, a pretty ceiling fan and, now I am pushing my luck, new carpet), who knows what the matter is, but I have nothing. Radio silence.

So I have a favor to ask. You take a turn. Write what is important to you. What matters. What makes you laugh. Who you love and why. Don’t be shy, mine is a kind, thoughtful audience that is supportive and appreciative. We will support your thoughts. Let’s have a conversational week where we write and comment to one another.

I have been LOVING the posts on the I Love My Life column, thank you to those that have shared – Heidi, Jena, Mary, Kim, Ruth, Paula. Please keep ’em coming.

So take a turn and send in your post. Email it to me at pboswell25@verizon.net

 

 

I Love My 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… Continue reading

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.

More From the Couch

(I AM SENDING THIS AGAIN…BECAUSE MY OTHER OPPS DOESN’T LINK YOU TO THE POST…TECHNOLOGY AND I ARE WORKING HARD AT GETTING ALONG)

 

Many of you may remember I started this blog with the story of my couch. Did I deserve it or did I want it? My couch.

 

I am very sorry to report I have been unhappy with my couch since I got it a year and a half ago. The problem? It was the most uncomfortable couch I had ever sat on. Well, no, I take that back, I remember sitting on couches at fraternity parties that were equally as uncomfortable. When I sat on my coveted new couch my butt sunk 6 inches below my knees. It was like I was sitting in a hole. I had to hoist myself off the couch (no pun intended-but it is a good one) by rocking back and forth to gain momentum and then heave my butt forward on the up swing to get out. Not only did I feel ridiculous, it was embarrassing. I was so disappointed in my new couch. 

 

I tried very hard to like my expensive, beautiful couch. I assumed, as I often do “It must be me.” Continue reading

Mr. Volvo

The other morning Tom and I were headed to work.  We have been riding together since Tom’s car was totaled, Halloween morning, by a young kid who ran a red light. Since then we have been a one car family. At first this was very difficult for me. Truth be told, I hated it. I liked my time in the car alone. I could drive in silence, listen to music, a book or a conference on CD. My choice. I usually used the time to think, take stock. With Tom in the car it wasn’t my space anymore. However, during some of our morning commutes we had great conversation, caught up on things with each other, or made plans for the evening or week. Sometimes it was really nice. I enjoyed our company. So both experiences were true for me.

 

 

Anyway, this particular morning, as we headed up Bigelow Blvd traffic began to slow. It was still moving but slower than usual. Ahead of us I noticed an older Volvo, changing lanes, speeding up only to have to brake because both lanes were moving slowly, and honking his horn. At one point he was waving his arms in the air above his head. I wondered who was steering his car. He was clearly upset. Being the well trained defensive driver(thank you Mr Anderson) that I am, I tried to determine what had Mr Volvo so upset. Was he seeing something dangerous I wasn’t aware of? My assessment of the situation was that everyone was going slower, but at a constant rate of speed. Odd for this stretch of the road, but not dangerous to me.

 

I commented to Tom, “This guy is really upset.” Continue reading

The Queen of England

Today I got a massage and facial. As I relaxed; steam opening my pores, Audra’s fairy fingers making gentle circles around my eyes; I began to count my blessings. When I left the house this morning our housekeeper was pulling into the driveway. Last night I ordered a great pair of shoes from the Travel Smith catalogue. Tomorrow I have an acupuncture appointment. Next week I have a manicure and pedicure scheduled. I am the luckiest woman alive!

 

Then it hit. My gratitude turned to shame, “Who do I think I am? Really? Who? The Queen of England? I don’t dare tell anyone about all this.” I felt terrible, indulgent, spoiled, after all, there are children starving in Africa. Continue reading

BUTT

I have been mad at my body lately. Maybe most of my life. I was too tall as a girl in the 60’s-so I slouched. My mom would instruct me to, “Stand up straight” then she’d exclaim, “You’re soooo tall.” Relatives would ask her what she fed me.

 

My mom was 5’2. I was 5’10” in middle school. After 20 years of marriage at age 42 I put on a pair of high heels. My husband said, “Oh, now I know why you don’t wear heels, you are really tall.” I didn’t put another pair on until we separated several years later.

 

I was also called “fatty Patti” by my brother and neighborhood kids. My mom countered with, “NO YOU ARE NOT!”, then refused my request for a piece of her freshly baked chocolate cake she. (My friends now call me Patricia, it doesn’t rhythm with fatty.) Continue reading

Where have I been?

Getting married.

 

I thought since it was a second marriage it wouldn’t be much work. I was wrong.

 

Some of the difficulty was me. I changed my mind about “THE DRESS” 3 weeks before the wedding- which led to changing Jena’s maid of honor dress, which led to changing our previous shoe choices, which, of course, led to the changing the flowers we planned to carry. (More about all that in another post.) The truth is, planning a wedding, regardless of the number, is a ton of work! Ask a bride.

 

Part of the problem was Tom. (He knows I am telling on him.) His “party planning” style is “last minute and trust the outcome”. The first party we threw as a couple was his idea, he wanted to have an engagement party. “Okay,” I said to myself, “I know how this worked in my first marriage. Let’s have a party translates to, you make a party happen and I’ll come.”  So I said to myself, “Patricia, you know how to plan a party, work yourself to death, make sure everyone has a great time and then feel resentful that you did it all. So, this time don’t take the reigns, wait and trust the outcome.”  (I was consciously monitoring an old, habitually destructive, relationship pattern and challenging myself to rework it.)

 

So, a week before the engagement party, no menu had been discussed, no beverages purchased, no paper products considered. 3 days before- nothing. 2 days. 1 day.

 

I began to reassure myself that my side of the guest list would still love me when we served them freezer burned hot dogs and filtered water. They may not come to another party of ours, but they would still love me. I worked with myself to not to feel resentful by picking up the party ball but to remain interested in this absolutely foreign style of  party planning instead.

 

The day of the party we woke and had our coffee together in bed as we do each morning.  As we finished Tom said, “So…. I guess we should get shopping for the party.” “Yes”, I responded a little too casually, “I guess we should.” We headed out the door at 1 in the afternoon with Jena in the back seat of the Honda. She had come in for the party that morning. As we drove down the road she overheard Tom and I creating the shopping list. At some point it became clear to her we were not running to the store for a few final items, we were on our way to get EVERYTHING. “Mom,” she said, a bit quietly, “This is really unlike you.”

 

Out of the mouth of babes! “Yes” I smiled, feeling a bit proud for being noticed in this new way and equally uncertain I could maintain it, “It is.”

 

By 4 o’clock we were home with all the food, drink and paper products of a good party. We went to Costco and bought prepared hors d ‘oeuvres, cheeses, dessert and paper products. Then to  the state store and finally the beer distributor.

 

In my past life, any party I hostessed everything was homemade.  That was my expectation of myself. It is what a good hostess did. As a result of this I admit I felt a bit of shame popping the prepared puffed filled pastries into the oven, defrosting the bite size cream puffs, and pulling a party together in a few hours versus a few days, maybe weeks. But I was learning, right?

 

Our friends arrived. The party got rolling. The food came out. I held my breath, adverted my eyes, and waited. Lisa, my corseted renaissance  friend,  wanted my recipe for the spinach and cheese filled puff pastry. The cream puffs were a huge hit.  Everyone ate heartily, drank merrily and stayed until late! I had never had such fun at a party I had thrown. This was a revelation to me. If I am not exhausted I have a good time at my own party. WOW, I had indeed learned something new! And Tom was spared my rendition of “poor me I worked so hard.” I had been spared too. We stayed up most of the night talking about what fun we had, how much we enjoy our friends and wondering when we would have our next party!

 

So Tom’s “last minute, trust the process” style has worked well for our parties.  But… not so much with the wedding. I told him, “I don’t want to do the wedding like our parties, there is too much to do, I want to plan ahead.” You know where the story is going….don’t you?

 

Much more of the wedding was last minute than I liked. I wasn’t as gracious about it as I had been with the party… Tom would agree. I wrestled with discerning, “what are my belief systems, perhaps control issues, and what it the reality of securing wedding venues. Where, when and how do I push and where, when and how do I yield.”

 

These questions kept me honest and my therapist busy (every therapist should have a therapist.) I learned how to push without anger and yield without resentment. Some of the time.

 

Yielding was the hardest for me. I had to not only trust the process, but Tom too. I learned he cared about things differently than me, but that did not mean he didn’t care.  By waiting and trusting, we found the PERFECT place to be married.  If we had followed my style, which in some ways is fear based, we would have missed this opportunity.

 

In the end, a week before the wedding, I got sick. My body insisted on rest, and I wasn’t listening, so she knocked me off my feet and put me in bed. Again, I had to yield and again I had to trust Tom to be there for me and for the last minute wedding details. He was.

 

Long story short we had the wedding of my dreams! I didn’t want the night to end. Our friends are still saying it was the best wedding they have ever been to. We married over looking the city of Pittsburgh in an amazing home. The weather was perfect. The food amazing . (Catered by Chrissie not Costco.) The people we love most were with us. And Tom and I are now happily married.

 

you may now kiss the groom

I trust the outcome.

 

Staycation continued

Monday Evening

I only did what I wanted to do today!! Revolutionary!!  I discovered that was to sleep a lot, eat what I wanted when I wanted and to take a long walk. I didn’t get in the car. Surprisingly I found myself wanting to to do a bit of paper, work so I did.

I noticed how easy it is to know what I want when I don’t expect anything from myself. When there is nothing to accomplish I seem to know more about my desires. I enjoyed this difference. I could feel the shift in my relaxed body and slower, deeper breathing.