June 30th – An Assessment

Dear me,

I an noticing now that June has come to a close that by giving myself a break on *daily* writing and meditating, I have lost some ability to focus completely on tasks that I had re-developed the last few months. I’ve done quite well staying connected when I am in a conversation with someone, but on daily tasks either at work or at home I have taken some steps backwards.

It’s tough though – I stepped back from prioritizing those things because Alex is home and the time I might normally have spent doing those (after dinner) is time when we hang out. By the time I do shut down for bed, I have no mental energy left.

OTOH, I really need to stay connected to ME so some different juggling needs to happen in July. I’m probably going to have to commit to an either/or scenario.

That aside though, my goals in regards to finances, fitness and intimacy were met very nicely. And that’s DESPITE some continuing external challenges such as…as soon as my mom went home from the rehab center….my oldest ended up in jail due to a probation violation. That situation will continue all through July – his next court date and likely release is Aug 4.

Even though I feel a maternal pull to fund his commissary account there at a certain level, I need to balance that with my own needs and, of course, my parent’s who were in line first! Then there is the emotional need to support him when he calls and ensure he maintains his own mental strength and focus and the time taken to go visit him once a week.

So yes, focus…mindfulness…keeping the connection to my heart and inner voice strong. I will need that to be uppermost in my daily life in July.

I am very happy with the whole body fitness focus and will continue that though perhaps with more running if possible. Regular yoga and boot camp showed results – I have been making progress in my ability to do the exercises with..not EASE so much as not as much agony 🙂 I’m less sore the next day and the biggest test – packing and moving Nick’s bedroom – was completed with NO injury and also NO aches or pains in the days after.

Intimacy was a great success! If anything that’s WHERE all my focus went, especially in support of Chelsea and her mom and then developing the friendship with K that resulted in arrangements for her to move into the newly vacant room. I kept my commitment to call my widowed friend in Fla and had a get together with one local friend and have arrangements for another this weekend. I even noticed an example of the quieting of my Inner Critic who would typically have unleashed some jealousy/envy and self loathing in past months, but didn’t raise a peep this month. I was able to default view something through a lens of love and support instead and THAT felt really good.

I know that what I need for the coming weeks is to continue to be kind, loving and gentle towards myself first and then I can be the same towards those around me.

Be kind, be loving, just be.

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June 26th – #LoveWins

Dear me,

It seems odd to say this in a journal, but since I am marking the essence of ME in here, it is critical to talk of my deep interest in politics and the specific social movements that are important to me.

I am a left leaning progressive. As such, the democratic party most closely matches the things I believe in. So today was HUGE. HUGE. I’ve been a vocal supporter of Marriage Equality since I was aware of what that meant. I’ve had debates and outright fights over this. But I watched with growing hope as people came around. So today’s sweeping Supreme Court ruling granting equal marriage rights in every state in the nation was just stunning to me.

That I am writing this with a rainbow striped banner showing at the top of the WordPress home page makes me smile.

That the White House tonight is bathed in rainbow colored lights makes me proud.

Now, I am an unabashed fan of this President. After all, I labeled him one of the people who I most admire. Today, he somehow grew that admiration even more. Of course he had SO MUCH to do with everything that’s unfolded. But beyond the Health Care Law that was pretty much validated – again – by SCOTUS yesterday. Beyond the Marriage Equality ruling and the beautiful speech he gave in the Rose Garden in marking it. Beyond all of that, today he again became the most amazing Consoler in Chief. We look to our President to lead us when times are rocky. Sadly, during his two terms there have been ENTIRELY TOO MANY damn mass shootings. He did his best to heal us after each one. He spoke at the funerals of those lost in Arizona. The beautiful children in Connecticut. And then, today, he eulogized Rev. Pickeny who was killed by a white supremacist racist domestic terrorist. And in that eulogy, he was everything that the community needed. He was the Reverend Barack Obama today. I was never so proud of, or moved by a President.

And the reason that it was so wonderful is because you could feel it. You could feel the love. His day had started by marking the sanctioning of love in all forms. And it ended with him speaking of the love…and grace…displayed by the people who lost their lives and by their families and by the city of Charleston afterwards.

I have been spending these recent months learning how to love me. It’s been a fascinating journey. There are still times when my Inner Mean Girl tries to regain control. But in the end…love wins. Love ALWAYS wins. It is the only way to be.

Love yourself. Love your family. Love your friends. Love your neighbors. Love your co-workers. Love the strangers that you see. Love, and let love.

Be kind, be loving, just be.

June 23rd – Girl On Fire

Dear me,

It’s funny to me looking back on when I started writing to you and how I was going to try to mark the days in certain categories.

It’s also funny to me how my phone background is still the same Girl on Fire image that our GGID coach first sent to me in January. I rarely do that. My phone background usually changes with the seasons and my mood. But whenever I have paid attention to it and maybe thought I should switch it out, I think “No! This is a symbol of my commitment to ME” and I let it ride.

Yesterday I had a true GoF day. The way I describe it is a feeling of being totally operating on the most heart centered ME that I can be. I went with my mom to what will likely be her final follow up doctor visit so that she could get her wrist cast off and get it x-rayed. Everything has healed perfectly. However, she needs me there to be her advocate because she comes from a generation that doesn’t question or demand much from doctors. So I have to totally alert and listening to both what she REALLY needs and what the doctor says. Then I had to handle talking to the public defender assigned to my son. I needed to totally focus on my conversation with him and ask the questions needed on behalf of everyone involved. Then I met my son’s girlfriend back at my house and filled her in on everything and we started packing up his room. Just then, he called so we both talked to him and again – I really had to pay attention to his tone of voice and how he was mentally to determine what to tell him to help him get through another day.

This kind of interpersonal effort would have been just that – EFFORT – and I would have felt tired/cranky/drained after any one of those things in the past. But yesterday I felt *energized* and engaged. In the evening we had a group coaching call and I would typically have stayed in the background or just maybe given surface level only responses, but I just jumped in with both feet and shared everything I was feeling about the events of the past few weeks.

There were not inner critic voices, no hesitations or resistance to anyone and what was needed.

Going through an entire day like that without once questioning my decisions or criticizing myself for something I said or didn’t say? Feeling like I was true to my own heart and also was heart centered in the support I gave to others? For an entire day?!

THAT is Girl of Fire! And it was my Big Scary being accomplished – for one day at least. If I can consistently believe in myself to that extent. Love and trust myself like that EVERY day, then my Big Scary will be totally achieved.

And now that I have seen it in operation, well, I got this!

June 19th – No Choice

Dear me,

So last night I talked with Marcus more seriously about the prospect of letting K come stay at my house. He expressed his typical objections which I do appreciate. He’s just looking out for me. But he’s much more money focused so it takes a bit for him to comprehend doing something that doesn’t bring a monetary reward (and he knows that I am working on my abundance). Plus, he is wary of people in general. That’s fine. Thankfully though, he is not an immovable force and he respects that I will do what I know I need to do and he trusts me. He will eventually come around to it. This is, after all, the guy who was trying to convince me to let a very well known deadbeat guy (former friend of my older son) crash in my house in return for labor. He has a heart and does try to help people. I’ve just upgraded that potential situation to allow a very reputable person crash at my house in exchange for labor.

Anyhow, short journal as I am off tonight to visit with my son.

Listened to a recording on the way home from work yesterday – the gist of which was “When you immerse yourself into your heart – then there are no more choices. Your heart decides. Just follow it. Life is so much simpler that way!”

So true 🙂

Be kind, be loving, just be.

June 17th – Two birds and all that

Dear me,

In my efforts to dig into why letting K move into Nick’s room feels not just *right* but *necessary* hit home to me yesterday when Nick had his court appearance and was NOT released as we had hoped/expected.

As I drove back home with C and her mom, D we strategized what we could do out here to best support him for the next 6 weeks while he is in there undergoing a psych evaluation and serving some time for missing probation markers.

It was their suggestion that we finish up the process of moving his things out of the room in my house and INTO C’s apartment so that when he is released, he knows where “home” is. He won’t have to think about that at all. He can be secure in knowing that C is committed to him and that C’s parents support him too (they truly do love him and appreciate everything he has done for their daughter in just a few short months).

I stopped and looked into his room last night and realized something else – we need to get rid of it. This room in my house is where he used. It is where he attempted the first time to go clean cold turkey. I think that I am not overstating things to say that over the 12 years he has spent there his personal memories and associations to that physical space are NOT healthy for him at all. A HUGE step in his long term recovery and rebuilding his life is moving out of there. I’ve always believed that. Now I know it with every fiber of my being. It needs to go. When I mentioned it to him on the phone this morning I heard his voice catch and then brighten up “Yeah, that would be a good thing if my room was gone. I need to know I don’t have a back door, but even more, I need to know that room is NOT mine anymore.”

So frankly even if there wasn’t someone immediately in need of living in the space, I would be working with C & D to rent a truck and move the furniture out and clean it up. It’s what will be the best for him. He needs to start a new chapter in his life. And he clearly needs to be with C and SHE needs him to be there with her.

My desire to help K will put Nick where he should be and improve his life and C’s as well.

The next 6 weeks are going to mean so much to all of them.

Be kind, be loving, just be.

June 14th – How Can I Not Do Something?

Dear me,

Wow, how far have I come?

All I’ve wanted for the past 2 years was for Nick to get his life together and move out. I knew Alex would be going off to school and I was just salivating over the notion of having the house completely to myself. Only child…parenting and therefore sharing my home with a child/children since I was 20. SO READY to start my child free adult stage of life!

Marcus would often say I should ease my financial burdens by renting out Nick’s room. He has always done that at his large family house that had an extra bed/bath downstairs. I would always be horrified. NO WAY! I don’t want to share my house with ANYONE else! Ok, maybe with Marcus eventually, but otherwise NO! I know someday my parents/parent will be living here, but even that is still off in the future enough that I would get my Only Child Castle experience for a chunk of time.

People in general annoyed me. Even sharing the space with my sons was a source of occasional aggravation that put me in a foul mood.

But, since I started meditating, listening to self help teachers (particularly Matt Kahn) and writing in here, my aggravation/annoyance buttons just don’t get activated. People no longer annoy me. In fact, I have started LIKING more people and really enjoying even making small talk and general chatting with anyone I encounter.

So…..flash forward to a few weeks ago when I saw someone I knew on twitter (and who I knew through reputation and common friends) posting about an deteriorating living situation that was starting to hurt her ability to continue her work (which, IMHO is deeply valuable), well I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. She’s local in my city, I believe in her work, I (will) have a spare room as soon as Nick finishes moving out. So, how about I accelerate that move out? She’s willing to trade housework for a roof. I’ve got a long list of To Do items in this house and around the yard. I have *always* wanted to hire a cleaning service. Gosh, have someone vacuum up cat hair more frequently than every other week (or whenever I get too disgusted?) GOLDEN! Clean the carpets upstairs? Dust? Clean mini blinds? Kitchen cabinets? The fridge? Paint the bathrooms? Touch up the rest of the inside paint? Re-paint my front door? Catch up on yard work? Maybe help me design and plant a drought resistant hillside? OMG!

I met her today for coffee. Within 10 minutes I knew. She is one year away from being on her feet. A few good media contracts and she’s set. But she’ll never get them consistently with where she is now. At the least, her sanity will be greatly reduced. I’m sharing my room with her at NN15 in Phoenix. It will be a good test, but I really don’t have any serious doubts. She’s mature, we share a few things in common not the least of which is our political leanings and a love of sports and cats – and she’s an only child too. So she GETS why this is so weird to me! Most of all, she is respectful.

How can I not do something?

Be kind, be loving, just be.

June 12th – The Eulogy Assignment

Dear me,

A June GGID group homework assignment – write your own eulogy. Here’s what I shared. Hard to out yourself into the 3rd person! This is clearly a perspective of who I think I am right now, at this stage. Apparently they did this last year too and I wasn’t in the group yet – I think it would be interesting to see how our views of ourselves might change over time.

A eulogy eh? I guess I’m supposed to tell you how Christina spent her life, what legacy she left on the world around her and specifically on the people whose lives she touched.

It was a long life so get comfortable, this could take a long time! They are serving lunch through this aren’t they?

OK, I’m kidding – as long as it was and as many people as she knew, her life can be summarized really quite simply:

Christina lived her life to the fullest. She loved deeply, laughed easily, stopped to smell the roses, watched all of the birds, ran the trails, danced like no one was looking (and never cared if you were!), and spent her life being of service to all.

If Christina was in your corner, you knew you were supported. She had your back and was your loudest cheerleader.

She perfected that cheerleading ability first with her sons. Of course, she was not content to just be on the sidelines waving pom poms. She went the extra mile (sometimes the extra 500 miles) to volunteer on every team and to support every league all the way through high school. If the program was helping her boys, then she was going to help the program in return. As one parent put it “Short of a request to clean the boy’s locker room bathroom, I knew that any request for help that I sent out would be met with a reply of ‘I’ve got this!’ from Christina before anyone else read the email.”

I think every parent knows that joy and pride at cheering your child on in their accomplishments.  Christina got the same joy out of raising up her friends too. She would get up at the butt crack of dawn not just for her own racing events, but also to support her friend’s events. If you wrote a book, started a business, needed to raise money for a cause, she was always first in line to write a check and let people know that what you were doing had value.

Some people are described as “private” – this was NOT her! One of her favorite sayings was “Be careful what you ask me, because you will get an answer!” She was always willing to share her own less than perfect experiences so that you could learn from her mistakes. If it saved you heartache, then she was happy.

Christina was born under the sign of Capricorn – the mountain goat. Often described as a sign that would gladly climb to the top of the mountain hoping over the heads of the others on the way. I am not sure if Christina heard this as a child and decided “NOPE!” (which would just fit perfectly into her quietly rebellious nature) but she certainly did shatter THAT astrological theory! Trust me, as Christina did meet with her own accomplishments and successes, she was ALWAYS reaching back with a strong hand to pull up someone who was struggling. Sure she eventually found a way to the top because she had that tenacity, but once she got there? There was a joyous dance party with everyone else she had brought along with her!

Be kind, be loving, just be.