Monthly Archives: April 2015

Vacation Celebration

I didn't even have to lengthen the seatbelt!

I didn’t even have to lengthen the seatbelt!

Last weekend my daughter and I went to New York City.  We both needed a vacation.  You might recall I had surgery rather than going on my last one.  I could do a travel-log blog.  I could carry on about all the amazing food we ate.  But the best part of this trip for me was celebration how different things are from the last time Karina and I went to NYC – 4 years ago.

I had my 9 month visit with the bariatric surgeon before we left for the airport.  I am essentially at my post surgery goal weight!  All the more reason for me to notice how much is different in my life.  I had a goal (from February) to sit in a plane seat and buckle the seatbelt without an extender.  Not only did I do that, but I was capable of sitting in an exit row!

It's been at least 10 years (closer to 15!) since I've gone out dancing

It’s been at least 10 years (closer to 15!) since I’ve gone out dancing

The last time we were in NYC it was pretty early to bed.  I wasn’t sleeping well and I tired easily.  This time we got settled into the hotel by 10 and Karina was ready to go out on the town.  She opted for salsa dancing and I was game to tag along.  I even managed a dance or two.

One of the things that amazed me from this trip was not just how much I walked, but how willing I was to walk.  Last time even walking to the subways was often too much, and we’d flag a cab.  This time I wouldn’t bother to get on the subway if where I was heading was just the next station.  I’d walk.  Last time I couldn’t even go through the turnstiles.  I was too big.  This time I only struggled when I had to climb up 3 flights of stairs.

Waiting in line at Grimaldi's wasn't nearly as tough this time either.

Waiting in line at Grimaldi’s.

One of our “must do’s” on this trip was to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.  We did it before, stopping to rest several times along the way and flagging a cab as soon as we stepped into Brooklyn to take us to Grimaldi’s Pizza (just under the bridge).  This time we started at Grimaldi’s and then walked.

We crossed the bridge in less than ½ the time we’d taken before – in spite of the crowds.  Not only did we walk across the bridge, but we continued to walk down to Battery Park and the 9/11 Memorial.  Exhausted with sore feet by the time I got on the train, but exceptionally proud of the accomplishment.

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Brooklyn Bridge Before

Brooklyn Bridge Before

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Brooklyn Bridge After

Brooklyn Bridge After

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We did plenty of other things as well.  We went to some Broadway shows.  We spent an evening at Comic Strip Live.  We had a fabulous dinner at Felidia.   Karina spent a day at Coney Island while I shopped and took in a matinée of It’s Only A Play.

The poster suggested a selfie, so I gave it a shot.

The poster suggested a selfie, so I gave it a shot.

We snuck in another show together, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.   We even went on a walking tour!

It was  a grand trip and a great way to celebrate hitting that post surgery goal.  I’ve got a way to go in terms of the new life-style.  There was a lot of leftover food in the hotel room when we departed!  My eyes are still bigger than my stomach, and exercise isn’t going to come as naturally at home.  Even so, this trip may serve as a kick-start.  If nothing else it will help me remember what I am capable of doing.

Manifesting

I'm not manifesting a garden as much as reclaiming.  I do have a few volunteers.

I’m not manifesting a garden as much as reclaiming. I do have a few volunteers.

Manifesting has been a buzz word for quite a while now.  The book “The Secret” made a big deal about it.  There are all kinds of business protocols about dreaming big for your future.  People make vision boards to keep their eyes on the prize.  If you can make it work it’s the greatest.  If you can’t, it’s easy to feel like a failure – especially as a measure of spiritual connection.

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Even when it's too early to plant, it's not too early for the weeds to get a foothold!

Even when it’s too early to plant, it’s not too early for the weeds to get a foothold!

I find it hard to get out of my own way when I can’t see where I’m standing.  I recognize when I’m 100% behind a desire, state it, work toward it, and it happens.  I also understand when I’m resisting my desires, even if I’m not always sure how or why.  Occasionally there are good reasons to put things off.  I’m not always aware of those either.

The books and workshops make it sound easy, but it’s not.  There’s a piece of manifesting that has to do with recognizing the flow of your life.  It’s like giving a toddler a choice between an apple and a chocolate and them having a tantrum because what they want is a banana.  The banana isn’t going to appear, but if they wanted an apple or a chocolate life is happy to give them one.

There are a few things I want right now.  One of them is a garden.  I’m digging beds out from under two years of overgrowth.  I’m not working very fast, or even in very long stints.  I’ll get as far as I get and I’ll be happy with that.  In the meantime I’m enjoying the process as much as I hope to enjoy the outcome.

There's so much overgrowth that it's hard to even find the bed.

There’s so much overgrowth that it’s hard to even find the bed.

Another thing I want right now is a schedule that allows me time to work and time to play.  I want time off being Orion’s Mom/Caretaker/Case Manager.  I’m pushing the edges of that the way parents do with grade school aged kids.  I ran off to the grocery store to pick up some milk before waking Orion up.  I’ve taught him how to get into the house so I don’t have to race home to be here before the bus.  I’ll let a sitter leave once he’s in bed, knowing he’ll just sleep and not notice when I get home.   It’s coming, but I’m not quite ready to let go either.  I get in my own way and I know it.

The third thing I want is an income, a career, a life.  It’s part of the reason I want that time off.  It’s also something I want to feel good about myself, my recovery, and just to be out in the world.  Being a writer is part of that.  Taking classes through the National Speakers Association is part of that.  But that’s building a business, and isn’t really impacting my cash flow in a positive way.

Sometimes it's just a matter of perspective.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of perspective.

I hit that line and told my daughter that I’m ready to look for a job.  The same day I got a call from a friend.  She knew someone who needed copy-editing done, right now.  It’s a short-term gig, and work (of all sorts) may come in bits and pieces.  But THAT’s manifesting!

Rainy Days

Doctors offices are boring!  (but it was nice to grab lunch in the skyway cafe)

Doctors offices are boring! (but it was nice to grab lunch in the skyway cafe)

Both Orion and I had doctor appointments last week.  I was going to take photos and write all about our busy week.  But doctors offices are boring.  The appointments were too.  How many times in one week can you hear “make another appointment and we’ll deal with it next time.”  without feeling a little like you’re wasting your days?

Those big fat raindrops (that became snow) were beautiful!

Those big fat raindrops (that became snow) were beautiful!

The weather was all over the place last week.  We desperately need the moisture.  We didn’t have enough snow cover and the lakes and rivers are exceptionally low for this time of year.  I swear one day we had rain at 40 degrees, snow at 32, and then sunshine in the 50’s!  (And in that order!)

They made pretty patterns in the trees

They made pretty patterns in the trees

It’s too early to get to planting anything up here.  Our “last frost” date is May 15th, so we’ve got a wait.  It feels like we should be out digging though, and the ground is warm (warmish).  The nursery’s pansies (which are very hearty) are out, but not much else.

I did get out and start cleaning up around my peonies.  There’s plenty of yard work to do before planting can happen.  I’m just not in shape for it.  I try to get out a little bit every day (when it’s not raining, or snowing).  It doesn’t take much to make me worn out, but I’ve hopes of building up my stamina.  It’s nice to be able to get out at all.

And brightened up the buds!

And brightened up the buds!

It’s nice to be able to get down on the ground and get up again.  It’s nice to not be afraid to be outside without my phone in easy reach.  (Just in case I can’t get up!)  It’s nice to be digging in the dirt and feeling the sunshine warming my joints.  It’s nice to be able to come back in and soak in the tub. Last year I couldn’t do much outside and soaking in the tub isn’t allowed for 6 weeks post surgery.

I’m enjoying the rainy days. I catch myself singing. I’ll keep trying to take advantage of the sun when it shines.    Seems like a good plan.

Spirituality

When we don't pay attention it's hard to guess if the bud is blooming or fading.

When we don’t pay attention it’s hard to guess if the bud is blooming or fading.

I’ve been thinking a lot this past week about Spirituality.  In my book, Manifest Divinity, I talk about spirituality as our unique relationship to the Divine (however we might define that.)  I stand by that, because I do think spirituality is highly influenced by that feeling of connection.  But we all have moments when we question that connection, or wonder if it’s even there.

There is something that sustains us, even through that “dark night of the soul”.  We cling to life and are wired for survival, but WHEN people give up varies dramatically.  We press on, going through the motions, doing what needs to be done or we curl up and check out.  We continue to lean on the connection, out of faith or habit, we look for something “more concrete”, or we despair.

What we often don’t recognize is that challenges to spirituality often strengthen the connection.  When night falls we trust the sun will rise again, because that is our experience.  When winter comes we trust that eventually it will be spring, because we’ve seen that happen time and time again.  When we have lost touch with our spiritual connection, and hold on until it returns that too becomes our experience.

The geese are coming through headed north.  It doesn't mean warm, but it does mean hope.

The geese are coming through headed north. It doesn’t mean warm, but it does mean hope.

For many people, coming out the other side is what actually crystallizes their connection to spirit.   Having the experience of that dark night is the contrast that makes spirituality real.  Someone asked me a few weeks ago what was the experience that gave me such a strong connection to my own spirituality.  I don’t know.

I talk about playing the Faerie as a very young child in my book, When Gods Come Knocking: An Exploration of Mysticism from a Deity Based Perspective.  As far back as I can remember I’ve always felt connected to something.  Those connections have been challenged in large and small ways.

My mother tells the story of her 3-year-old daughter “disappearing” on Memorial Day weekend.  This is a big weekend in Minnesota.  It’s when everyone goes up to open the cabin at the lake.  They found me, with my dog, walking on the center meridian of the main highway headed north out of Minneapolis.   I was, apparently, unconcerned.  I don’t remember the incident, it had no impact on me.  I know I trusted the dog.

I got lost as a kindergartener trying to get home from a new friend’s house.  I do remember this one.  I found a spot to plant myself and cried.  A stranger (probably the woman whose house I was sitting in front of) collected me up and took me home.  I’ve always had the support I need when I really need it.  I also knew my own address.  I have to meet the Divine half way, and do my share of the work.

There's enough light now for herbs in the window.

There’s enough light now for herbs in the window.

Fifty years later I am again awed by the way help and support has appeared in my life when I needed it.  I trust it, I count on it, because I have no other choice.   I don’t take it for granted.  I know I’m expected to do my share of the work as well.  Some of that means getting up, going through the motions, and doing what needs to be done.

Spring is coming.  Light and warmth are returning.  The green peeks through and my hands are back in the dirt (inside, but in the dirt.)   It’s hard to have any perspective on spiritual journey while we’re walking that center median overwhelmed by traffic.  It’s the shift of time and distance that allows us to see how big the small miracles in our lives truly are.

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My books are available in paperback or on kindle at Amazon or Immanion Press

 

Manifest Divinity Front Cover hi res

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