Good News

It has been a rough past month. An abnormal result on my yearly GYN exam meant having to come back for a colposcopy and several painful biopsies. The ten-day wait to hear the results felt like a lifetime. But today, the call from the doctor’s office was nothing but good news – all cells normal; no cancer!

I had just come out of the bank when I realized I had missed the call. I sat in the car for a few moments after hanging up and cried. Hard. It’s difficult to keep all the emotions, fears, regrets, etc., bottled up so you can focus on the things you have to get done for everyone else. For this moment, it was MY time to take care of ME  To close one chapter and begin a new one.

I drove to work,  feeling lighter and more positive about life in general.  Things I wanted to do but haven’t done I’m now considering once again. Walking to work, this little “gift” only confirms that there are greater powers looking after you.

Don’t ever forget that.  I certainly won’t.

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Counting Down…

137 days left.

I have to get myself on some kind of plan, or I’m going to be quite disappointed when I reach age 50 in December. Right now, I weigh the most I have since right before my hysterectomy at age 38. Actually, if the scales are telling the truth (which, unfortunately, they usually are), I weigh more.

Ugh.

So, it’s time to get a game plan going here. I need an overhaul. A complete overhaul — mind, body, and spirit. That means, I’m going to have to get serious and focus, which is often hard to do because there are so many shiny, neat things out there to distract me from my purpose. And ice cream. And comfy couches. And exciting new projects.

This is going to be a challenge, and I’m going to need some support. And some ass-kicking. I’m going to have to make some decisions that require me to let go of some things I had wanted to take on as projects – it’s time to figure out which of those will best serve my goal… and which need to be packed away for another time.

I’m a bit unsettled about this but know it needs to be done. My life and my health in this next chapter of life depend on it.

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Besides, when December 10 rolls around, I want to be able to KICK… STRETCH…and KICK, just like Sally O’Malley. Hell, I might even buy myself an outfit and purse just like hers to wear that day.

She’s my heroine. I just love her so. 

 

Project 1 – KickAss Questions

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Okay. So here’s our first project. Let’s answer some kickass questions about life. Answer them from your heart–not based on what you think others might want to hear. Some of these questions might be easy. Others may cause you to think a bit. There might even be a few that you have difficulty answering right now. That’s okay. There are no pass/fail grades for this project. It’s what you want to make of it.

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Image courtesy of http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/

I’ll jump in here as well and answer a few of them, too.


What’s always on your mind? If you were in a bookstore, what section would you gravitate toward first?

I’m always thinking about creative projects. Something that gets me energized and using my brain. Colors, sounds, photos… When I go to the bookstore, I automatically head for the “self-help” and “bargain” sections. I love to look through books to see how they’re designed.

What are three things you care about most, other than family, friends, and meaningful relationships?

What positive things do people say about you? What do they thank you for most often?

Who inspires you? Who would you most like to be like? Heroes/heroines… role models?

I am inspired by Brené Brown, who talks about the courage to be vulnerable, Elizabeth Gilbert, who has an amazing gift of being able to write and a dry sense of humor, and Marie Forleo, who has managed to do what I’m trying to do here…but with MUCH more polish and style! Of course, I’d really love to have the joy of life and ability to tolerate others that my grandmothers had.

When you’re at your best, what does it look like?

When do you feel most powerful, passionate, free, incredibly useful, and inspired?

If you had a chance to be known for something special or unique, what would it be? What’s the legacy you want to leave behind when you depart this world?

What is your biggest fear? What’s the thing that scares you most in life?

Okay, I’ll jump back in on this one because it was one of the most difficult for me to answer. My biggest fear is that, in pursuing my writing and sharing my truth, it will hurt others. When I write, I like to be in my own space. Sometimes I feel that I’m being selfish by doing that. 

What scares me most in life? At this age, things like cancer and never being able to get out of debt keep me awake many nights. I am a master worrier. I need to get over that.

…and the big one?

What do you REALLY want for your life?


So… how was that? Do you notice anything in particular about your answers?

thinking woman
Image courtesy of http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/

Do they provide you a glimpse of what you desire for your life at this point in your life…and in the future?

Which questions were hardest to answer and why?

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the “comments” below if you feel comfortable. Let’s get a dialogue going here! 

Or… if you’d like to share your thoughts with me privately, please send them to blondesighted@gmail.com. 

 


Next week’s project?

Uncovering the layers of the past to reveal who you are today. (Yeah. Heavy stuff.)

We’ll look at experiences and events (positive and negative) that have impacted and affected you in some way. Then, we’ll take those events and create a “six-word story” about your life.

 

 

A Fresh Coat of “Purpose”

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So, here’s my logo for the little thing* I’m doing for the next couple of weeks. It’s an experiment right now, so bear with me, please.

A month ago, I completed a “Life Design Catalyst” course. In short, it was a week’s worth of discussions, self-introspection, drawing, writing, and meditating on what it is that defines who we are and who we want to be. Identifying our purpose. It was time for me to jump into this, and I knew it the moment we started with the first exercise.

This training was primarily designed for people who work with students who are in the exploration phases of their college careers. But something told me I could find personal value in it. So there I sat, with a week of this stuff in front of me. For the most part, I detest group work, but this was different; I managed to find some people in the room who appeared equally as befuddled about their current lives as I was. They were there more for personal reasons. Naturally, I gravitated toward them. We formed a group and started talking and sharing our stories.

As I ended the week, I realized that many of the things we covered were things that would easily apply to those of us who are (ahem) well past the age of traditional college students. But regardless of our (ahem) ages, we may also find ourselves at a point of readiness for self “re-discovery”. Time to figure out what it is we want to do with our lives…from this point forward.

So, welcome to “Life. Repurposed.” I hope you’ll join me in the process of dusting off the layers of expectations that have defined us for most of our lives. We’ve been so many things for so many others for so long — isn’t it time that we gave ourselves a fresh coat of “purpose paint”?  I know, I know. That’s a bit corny. But I that’s one thing I re-discovered about myself that week. I’ve always been a cornball deep down inside, and now, I realize that’s perfectly fine.

Our first project will be the “Kick-Ass Questions about Life”. Are you ready? Good! Well, roll up your sleeves, and let’s get started.

* It’s a course? Workshop? Gathering? Heck, I’m not quite sure yet. That’s what’s so cool about it!

Sundays on the Front Porch: Finding Your “Happy Place”

Here are some of mine, as promised in the video.

Hanging Rock House
The lake house at Hanging Rock State Park.
Hanging Rock Toes in Stream
Anywhere I can stick my toes in the water…
Toot Pic
When I’m lost in song (photo cred – Loretta Kohrs)
Front porch (go figure) at the Mountainaire Inn, Blowing Rock, NC.
Front porch (go figure) at the Mountainaire Inn, Blowing Rock, NC.
Anywhere there's sand, surf... and maybe a cold adult beverage.
Anywhere there’s sand, surf… and maybe a cold adult beverage.

Where are YOUR happy places? I’d like to know!

I Could Learn a Lot from My Dog…

I could learn a lot from my dog… if I would only “sit” and “stay” in the moment.

After a year of trying to make it without anxiety issues, I found myself headed back to counseling this summer to try and get a handle on things. For those of you who struggle with it, you know that it can sometimes be debilitating — and for those of you who don’t, it can damn near ruin your whole day before it even gets started.

One of the many anxiety-related issues I discuss with the counselor is the one I have over our “new” dog, Sonny. He’s been with us for a little over six months now, and while there are some days where I’m very happy he’s here with us, there are others that are extremely difficult. In July 2013 – almost to the date — we lost our beloved Mick, a rescued corgi-husky mix, to lymphoma at the age of twelve. Watching him grow frail and worrying about his safety at every moment “amped” up my level of anxiety… until the night he looked me directly in the eyes and told me it was “time to go.”

For over a year after that night, we came home to a quiet house that had no furry carpets or dog kibble trailed through the kitchen but also found ourselves being able to pick up and go wherever we wanted to when we wanted to. My anxiety over worrying if I had done right by Mick lessened daily… until the day when my husband and the stepkids started talking about how much they wanted another dog.

Sonny Boy (named after Sonny Boy Williamson — we’re huge old school blues fans) came into our lives the week before Christmas 2014. Some friends of ours found him wandering through a local park. When no one claimed him, it was decided (by democratic vote… and I lost) that he would come live with us.

And so began my anxiety over whether I’d be able to take care of another four-legger… and over the inevitable moment when it would again be “time to go.”

Walking Down Haw River One of the things the counselor suggested was that I get out and walk or at least do some kind of exercise to relieve my general anxiety. This summer, the kids are at their grandparents’, so responsibility for the morning walks falls on me. At first, I was terrified — wondering if we’d encounter a coyote or a snake or perhaps another dog who wasn’t very friendly. Or maybe he’d eat something that was poison. The walks weren’t relaxing at all. My chest was tight, I felt like my throat was closing up, and often, I wanted to cry.

But eventually, something began to change. I felt myself actually enjoying our morning time together — before the sun was fully over the treeline, watching him with nose to the ground, sniffing for the best spot to, ahem, well, you know. He was in the moment, and nothing could distract him.

The more I realized it, this damn dog GETS IT. He knows how to practice mindfulness.
I could learn a lot from him.

So, as I work through my inability to stop worrying about the future and stay in the moment, I leave you with these wise words of wisdom from my “other counselor.”

Ball at Window
Always greet the morning, ready to “play ball.”

Different Perspective

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes you have to look at things from a different perspective.

Sonny on My Arm
It’s okay to sit and take it easy.

Stare Down

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stare down your fears. Eventually, they’ll scamper into the woods.

Hangout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every now and then… let it ALL hang out.

Porch Gazing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soak in a good sunset on your front porch… sit, stay… and appreciate the moment.

Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ on…

“Come on over, baby… whole lotta’ shakin’ goin’ on…”
I’m sure Jerry Lee wasn’t quite thinking of me when he was writing this song.

But he’s describing me to a “T” of late.

You see, I have generalized anxiety disorder.
Actually, I’ve had it for at least 7 or 8 years.
The way I used to describe it was “feeling stuck.”
Oh, you didn’t realize I had it?  Well, that’s because I try very hard not to let on that I do.

This constant internal feeling of shaking — “buzzing” like I have a cellphone in my pocket,
chest heavy and tight…throat, arms, and shoulders tense.
Twenty-four seven.

Afraid to go to sleep at night for fear of another panic attack, constant worry about the safety of my husband (a law enforcement officer) and whether or not I’ll see him walk through the door at the end of the day, trying to navigate the murky and often uncharted waters of (step) parenting a ‘tween and a teen, and wondering if the aches and pains I’m having are signs of something even more worse — like a stroke, brain tumor, MS…

Why can’t I be in more control of my body and mind?
Where the HELL did this come from?
I’m ashamed… and I’m angry.  And exhausted.

I’m in week three of seeing a counselor.  I believe it’s helping.
The counselor says it could get worse before it gets better.

Awesome, huh?  Can’t wait.

In the meantime, I’m trying to grab onto any little bit of hope I can find — Louise Hay, Nick Ortner, Dr. Bruce Lipton, Doreen Virtue. EFT/Tapping.  Mindfulness.  I took my first yoga class last Saturday.  My chiropractor is helping to bring relief to my neck and back/posture issues.

I’ll bet you’re thinking, “Why isn’t she taking meds?”
Here’s my answer.

It’s about control… or the loss of it.  I can’t explain it, but after listening to those pharmaceutical commercials with all the horrible side-effects that, to me, seem to far outweigh the benefits, well, I’d rather find an alternative solution.  I don’t want to take meds simply to “mask” the symptoms.

I want to be able to get to the “root” of the problem that’s causing the anxiety in the first place.

It ain’t fun, people…it truly sucks.
Can anyone out there relate to this?