Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Mask You Live In

#1 - How do you feel when you leave the doctor?  I usually feel drained, even when I'm healthy and I can say the right things like,  "No I don't smoke.  Yes I exercise."

Today, I went back to the doctor that I had surgery with last fall.  I still have a couple concerns.  She said she wasn't happy I was back but it was good to see me.  I felt the same.  She is the definition of a true healer.  I share things in her presence and naturally expand into my vulnerability.  She is always reassuring and empathetic.  When I leave her office I feel confident, cared for and safe.

She is the definition of a true healer.

#2 - It seems one of my concerns today might have a simple solution.  The other she suggested an ultrasound for, but I explained my insurance changes in two days and I don't think their clinic will be an option for me anymore.  I guess she isn't too concerned on that concern, because she didn't press me on the ultrasound and just dealt with the other issue.

#3 - The Mask You Live In - a movie recommended by a friend, recommended by Pink and now recommended by me

#4 - A college age football player dressed in all his gear except his helmet, with a violin across his shoulder and a smile across his face

#5 - Watching The Mask You Live In with my head against a man's heart

Thursday, April 20, 2017

I Forgot to Post

I forgot to post yesterday. I did still write in my journal so they are a bit raw and without explanation.  I'll mostly leave them that way.

#1 - The sound of "Hello" on the phone during lunch.  It made all the difference but also points to how precarious things are.  I found some useful information on  We'll see what the counselor says tomorrow.  I hope to find relief for my experience of being "idealized one moment and then suddenly believing the person doesn't care enough or is cruel."

#2 - The silence on the phone when I said it seemed when he hurts me I assume it's unintentional or because he is really hurting in himself.  It seems his assumption when I hurt him is either I'm intentional, stupid or cruel.   I don't want to date someone who has such assumptions about me and he shouldn't either.  He was silent.  I was in touch with my primary emotion of anger a bit today which felt good.

#3 - Oh my God, I'm at the DFL senate district meeting.  I came to hear from the legislators and they are debating about how to hold a meeting - kill me softly - oh wow, keepin it light as I write my gratitudes in my journal.  Deep breaths, smiles, room of light.  Now Paul Thissen is talking and I can breathe.

#4 - Three friends are interested in joining me in Sept on a camping trip on the North Shore, looks like either Temperance or Judge C Magney.  Three of us have agreed on a weekend now we just need confirmation from the 4th that it will work.

#5 - Talking to my representative after the meeting to get H.F. info on a bill which will remove the $500,000 per year  storage fee which Excel has been paying per cask of nuclear waste.  The money has gone into a funding stream to develop alternative energy, such as the wind power in SW MN.  It's in HF 2209 the Omnibus Jobs and Energy Bill.  My representative said much of what is happening nationally is happening on a state level.  The gratitude might be hard to find here, but it was that I'm happy my state legislator was disturbed this was being removed and had helped establish it in the first place.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Dave and Amy Freeman

I went to hear Dave and Amy Freeman, a couple who spent a year in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area from 9/24/15-9/23/16 to bring publicity to protect the space from copper sulfide mining, speak tonight.  It is heart-warming to be in the presence of everyday heroes such as those two, especially two people who clearly enjoy each other, it emanates outward.

When Amy spoke about leaving civilization she said that they didn’t leave the real world, “We entered the real world.”  and that “We need everyone to speak loudly for this quiet place.”

I’m thankful to my friend who invited me to go.  I wasn’t sure if I had the energy for it tonight, but it was an event that pulled me out of my own narrow story and into a more expansive and generative one.

Monday, April 3, 2017

It's so cold

#1 - It's not cold but I couldn't get warm when I got home at 9pm last night and I buried myself in blankets so that I woke up sweating.  It still feels cold.  I don't feel well today and I'm so glad I can easily shift my plans for tonight and just curl up in bed after dinner.

#2 - I'm also glad I had enough energy to start putting together the minestrone soup which is simmering right now - it's the perfect meal for today.

#3 - I couldn't have imagined when I came across Glennon Doyle Melton last fall how instrumental her voice would be to me.  I listened to another interview today with her talking about Love Warrior

"What matters to me is that there is this voice inside of me, it's inside of every single one of us, that is if we are honest and still enough will tell us what to do next.  And every time we say we don't know what to do - or whether we should stay or go, we are not being honest, we just don't want to do the thing that the voice is telling us to do...there is this betrayal that happens when we hear the still small voice but allow the fear voice to drown it out...the book is about self-trust."  Glennon Doyle Melton

Yes I agree that is what the book is about and it is waiting for me at the library to read again.

#4 - I see my soccer game on Sunday is not only posted for our first game of the year outdoors, it is also in a new park to me, at least I've never played soccer there.

#5 - My Bed
I'm grateful to have a bed with blankets and pillows.  
I'm grateful to have a small light beside my bed 
that can lightly illuminate the room.  
I'm grateful it's quiet here
I'm grateful to have a pink stuffed bear 
that doubles both as a great pillow prop for reading 
and also something to hold when I need it
I'm grateful to have A Year with Rilke beside my bed
which I usually both start and end my day with
or at least end my day with
if I forget
I'm grateful
to not be afraid
when I climb into this bed
of bombing
or gunfire 
or the silence between
I'm grateful for nourishment
in soup
in comfort
I'm grateful to be here
this beautiful mess
for a moment
it's enough

Sunday, March 26, 2017


#1 - My niece's instant smile and happy face when she awoke beside me, the land of the living her simple presence nudges me to return to.

#2 - "When you are 6 can you spell?"  5 Year old niece

#3 - Seeing a smile of joy on the face of a boy playing chess.  He sat across from a man, who seemed to be someone other than his father (at least they didn't look alike), at the public library.

#4 - Last night I rested my head against a heartbeat and heard "Good-bye," "Good-bye" repeated over and over again. It wasn't angry, it just was.  I tried to switch the word in my mind but it was as if the heartbeat and that exact word were equivalent, it wouldn't change.  I didn't really know what it meant, is it good-bye to this person?  Good-bye to me?  Good-bye to what we were?  Good-bye to who we are now?

I still don't know.  But I did write a long poem of sorts today, each line beginning, "You said good-bye to me when..."

It needed to come out.

#5 - Taking a quick nap after writing that poem and the space in myself when I awoke again.

Saturday, March 18, 2017


#1 –I didn’t shower Thursday even though I did a sweaty exercise class.  I thought about showering last night (I’d also done some sweaty exercise yesterday), but I planned to go to  7:15AM hot yoga class so I would be drenched in sweat practically as soon as I woke up.  I thought, “What is the point?”

When I left yoga this morning, I was glad I’d brought a t-shirt which I switched for my soaked tank top.  Then I went grocery shopping.

Then I took a shower, which I actually really needed, so I appreciated it all the more.

#2 - This made me curious about how often people shower throughout the world so I looked it up and skimmed the article below.  It had this interesting tidbit which I actually often practice, but previously would never have admitted to anyone -

"When you do shower, use soap only on your underarms and groin area, not your entire body" 

Also I have been meaning to replace my shower filter for a while and hoped to remember to buy a new one at the co-op next week.  This article clearly reinforced that idea.

#3 -   Doing some research for someone I love to help them find support.   We all need support. 

"It doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you," I reminded this love one recently.  "We are social beings, EVERYONE needs help."  It was clearly something they needed to hear.
#4-5 - When I invited a couple friends to go hear Glennon Doyle Melton speak last fall, one of them declined since Glennon’s blog is called “Momastery” and this friend didn’t have children.  I understood this and had doubts myself, but Elizabeth Gilbert recommended her and it was free, so I went.

What I discovered is the same thing I discovered as I finished reading her first book today– Carry on Warrior, Thoughts on Life Unarmed – it didn’t matter if I related to the particulars.  I once heard at a theater performance, “The more deeply you go into the personal, the more you tap into the universal.”  This is why I could read a passage about talking to another parent at a playground to a college student last night and she appreciated it, even though she is at a completely different stage in life.  As Glennon states, “And I realized the secret of my writing is this:  the voice I use to write is not really my voice.  It’s Love’s voice…And that’s why you recognize the voice.  Because you have the same voice inside you (251).”

Friday, March 10, 2017

Today's Mandala

#1 - Today's Mandala was inspired by some colored pencils I came across which had some new colors to play with.

#2 - I had a moment of anxiety while working on my taxes when I thought I'd made a mistake the past few years.  I called and patiently waited on hold for over an hour (with other things to do on the computer).  Then I happily discovered that I had not made an error.

#3 - I started reading Glennon Doyle Melton's first book yesterday and I'm trying to pace myself because I don't want to finish it too rapidly!

#4 - I'm playing a game, with the man I used to date, where we pretend we don't know each other.  It was an idea I was resistant too, but now is making me laugh.  I am almost nervous to meet him tomorrow and to see if I can keep it up.

#5 -  I asked a yoga teacher who I know is also a personal trainer about my abs because they are not normal since my surgery.  She said the superficial muscles have healed but it takes more time for healing internally (that surprised me because it is difficult to feel things internally, but that is how I would describe it).  She advised me exercises to do (which I have been mostly) and not do (which I should have known sooner but thankfully aren't things I've done often).

Thursday, March 2, 2017


#1 - I was upset earlier today when I looked up the three options for my health plan (I have to change in a couple months) and I did not see my clinic on any of them.  I specifically moved to that clinic a few years ago and want to stay there. 

Now though, a few hours later, I'm still going to inquire further and try to stay at my clinic, but I do at least know that another clinic my primary care doctor works at is an option.  So I should be able to switch there and still see her at least and

at least I will still have insurance.

#2 - I have a monthly volunteer gig that I started visiting a friend after in December. I needed to break the pattern of what I usually did after that activity as it was no longer an option.  So tonight went over to my friend's and it was so nice to talk to him.  Even though it was just a little over an hour, it was still a welcome visit and discussion.

#3 - There is a couples workshop I told him about at the end of next month that I am hoping to attend at a local meditation center.  He wrote it down as something he and his partner would maybe attend as well. "That would be so fun if you did!" I responded.

#4 - I just emailed him the info to remind him to consider it.

#5 - It would easily take more than one hand, probably more than two, to count all the relationships that have become strengthened for me because of the difficulties I've experienced the last couple of months.  It has been such a huge gift, opening to others while in pain, allowing them to care for you and support you, but also to grow with you.  I had one email from a friend today that began, "I think you're an objective source for this topic."  And another email from a friend that ended, "Resentment and anger over past events can be strong beasts in my experience. If you decide to continue on with M, I hope you find a beautiful way to slay those beasts together."


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Injection of Sweetness

The majority of the time I reach out to my friends and initiate plans more than they reach out to me.  However today -

#1 - A friend finalized a date for us to try "aerial yoga" and said she'd sign us up.

#2 - Another friend called to ask if I would go for a walk this afternoon, someone in fact that I've never done such a thing with or spent much one on one time with.

#3 - Another friend called during lunch to ask how I was doing.  I said I felt a bit scrunched for time today as I'm not the greatest with spontaneity and since I've added this walk to my afternoon I didn't feel I had the space to talk much.  She said she didn't know why she was calling me because she had a bunch of things to do as well.  I felt relieved.  "Well maybe you called then just to give an injection of sweetness into my day?" I asked.  She agreed and told me she loved me.

#4 - After responding to a friend's email this morning and telling her, "be gentle with yourself," I realized this was advice I needed myself.  This led to listening to music that offered such energy to me.  I started with the Sea and the Shore by Amy Speace and then landed on Storyhill for quite a while.  This line from World Go Round really stuck with me in a new way today.

"Won't you,
let love, 
let you down?"

#5  - And from there I ended up at a song that I know I've posted here before with Storyhill and Ellis called "Doin Fine", but like a lot of poems and songs the past few months it hit me different today.

 It traveled deeper inside.

"It's good to understand where you are standing
 and it's good to know where you've been
 and it's good to work through the tough times 
and let the lessons start to sink in

I think we're able to let go of more baggage
 than we give ourselves credit for
and the sunrise saying hello in the morning time
makes me believe that more and more..."

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Missing a Title

#1 - The sympathetic look and hug I received from the owner where I do yoga when she said, "Happy Valentine's Day" to me.  It was an opening to a deeper connection.

#2 - My friend  asked me for the third time if I still wanted to try aerial yoga with her.  Yes :)

#3-5 - The Minnesota state park system - and here I don't even mean the parks themselves which would be a whole other level of appreciation - I mostly mean the  MN state park system website.  I've been looking at the Iowa site today and granted  I have less familiarity but I really think the MN site is much better.  It is easy to locate parks in the first place on the MN site.  Then you can click on a park and get a basic summary, photos and highlights to see if the park interests you.  And then there are clear, precise and easy to read maps of the parks themselves with trails etc.  I'm having a hard time even getting some of the links to open on the Iowa site, and if they do I find the maps themselves unimpressive.  Who knew there was/is such skill in creating maps?  I used to hear people complain about Iowa - I thought unfairly.  I don't know if it is funding or what, but I can clearly see some areas of growth.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Find Their Own Healing

I came across Lewis Howes last month via his interview with Glennon Doyle Melton.  Today I started listening to his interview with Katherine Woodward Thomas.  The topic was How to Consciously End a Relationship.  

I am loving it.  I've only listened to the first 30 minutes but here are a few of my favorites thus far.

“Like we update our computer programs and our child-rearing practices and our diets and our exercise programs, I think we have to update our aspirations around love.  And we need to shift from the question of, you know, how we are going to value the union according to how long did it last, and start to ask the question, ‘What did I learn and how have I expanded my capacity to love?’”

Katherine Woodward Thomas

“We live in a very mobile society that values growth and evolution, right? And in a way America is really kind of torn between these two ideals of the stability of family and commitment and devotion and most of us really believe in that.  90% of us are going to get married at some point in  our lifetimes, but we also are a country that was kind of founded upon the ideal of the pursuit of happiness.  We are a creative bunch.  We love change.  We love evolution.  We love personal growth and development and those two things aren’t always the best bed fellows.  So in a perfect world we all grow together, but different people have different callings and different people have different aspirations.  How much they are willing to grow and how they are going to navigate the tension between just wanting to be comfortable in life, kind of set in life, and how much they are going to be risk oriented, and keep striving to be your best self.”

Katherine Woodward Thomas

And then this part which I absolutely loved in minutes 23-25.

“One of the things that I offer people is a simple technique called affect labeling, in the psychological world, which is basically the ability to put a name on each of your feelings…there was a scientific study done where subjects were looking at a computer screen, and they were seeing, you know, faces of horror, faces of rage, faces of hatred, and they were being monitored and all of their vitals and they are kind of going off of the charts, their blood pressures rising, their heart rate is going.  And then they did another technique with this, they had the same pictures to a new group, but they put a name, ‘Hatred,’ ‘Rage,’ ‘Despair,’ and the vitals did not go up in the same way.  So what that shows is that when we have a name for the experience that we are having, we don’t get as overwhelmed.  So language serves kind of as a container.”

“So how we would use that in a break-up?” Howes

“So I have a practice where I just very simply advice people to ask yourself, “You know Katherine, honey what are you feeling right now?’

‘I’m feeling - terrified.’

‘I can see that you are feeling terrified, honey what else are you feeling?’

‘I’m feeling so humiliated.’

‘Oh I can see that, so humiliated, what else are you feeling?’…" 

 Katherine Woodward Thomas

“If the feelings are overwhelming I also give them, people, an opportunity to do the process of Tonglen…which is a beautiful practice that Pema Chodron actually made very popular of you breathe a certain feeling into your heart.  So I feel despair, I’m going to breathe despair in.   I’m not going to turn away from it.  And the outbreath I’m going to breathe out a blessing to everyone in the world who at this very moment is suffering with this very feeling, including myself.  And it starts to feel like you can start to hold the feeling more because you’ve made a bigger playing field and you see it as an impersonal experience, and then you become, you know, a force of good.  Ideally what happens is we want to harvest the seeds of growth that are inside of each of our feelings. “

Katherine Woodward Thomas

And to top it off I received a letter today which included the following, "Your writing is touching and beautiful.  I'm sure it helps you somewhat in the hard times but it is also a gift to others who find their own healing through your story."