BLM and Coronavirus – A New Connection?

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An interesting thought occurred to me this morning as I conversed with a good friend.  Like me, she has seen no evidence of coronavirus being a real thing in her day-to-day experience.  I mean, other than the dreaded mask, walking back to my car before entering any public place to retrieve the always forgotten mask, not being able to travel as planned to see my grandkids, etc., coronavirus is invisible to me.  I don’t know anyone who has it, nor even anyone who knows anyone who has suffered any loss from the virus.

The same thing could be said about my experience with racism.  I don’t see racism in my day-to-day experience.  The only connection I have to racism is my deep desire to wake up to it and not be part of the problem.  I have been watching black media, and reading black authors, and learning a lot I never knew I didn’t know.

What if coronavirus is here to teach us that while we don’t see it in our daily lives, it, like racism,  IS real, and it DOES affect people of color in graphic and brutal ways?  What if it’s here to teach us to look more closely, to have more compassion, to give a damn about the realities of our brothers and sisters of color?  What if wearing a mask and staying home could be one of my small contributions to anti-racism?

Taking it one step further, I see that perhaps coronavirus is bringing the rest of us to our knees, economically, as well.  Maybe it’s here to show us what our brothers and sisters have endured for too long?  The systems we have taken for granted are crumbling around us, and they never did work for people of color.  It’s time for us to all work toward systems that do work for all of us, and not simply for the upper crust.  Let’s choose to support The Green New Deal with an eye to bringing balance to our planet, and to all the people of every color.

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First Day of My New Devotion to Making a Difference – Choosing Anti-Racism

Click here to hear the TED-Talk by Anthony Peterson – What I Learned from my White Grandchildren

I’m beginning a new daily devotion of finding out one more new thing in my quest to live in a post-racist world.  I do feel strongly that it’s my place, my pleasure, my devotion, my caring as the matriarch of my family to do my part to rectify our ignorance about racism.  If all the mothers of the world would make this their challenge, we could all change the world together.  The sooner, the better!  Let’s DO THIS!

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Change Must Begin at HOME! and with US!

Which color is better?

This is an open letter to my children and all my beloveds.  Please share it, and join me?  It does not escape me that even black men got the vote before women did.  We know what oppression is, and it has only made us stronger.  WE can do this!


I am a mother and a grandmother.  This is fundamentally who I AM.  First, foremost, and forever.  It struck me hard yesterday when I reached out to speak to my treasured daughter-in-love, the only black member of our family.  In the wake of all that is brewing in our world, with the sadness and despair and confusion and embarrassment to be a white human I’ve been feeling, I belatedly wondered how Claire must be feeling.  We had a long and fruitful conversation, and I came away with a new resolve.  As a mother and grandmother, it’s up to me to learn what it means to be anti-racist and to see that my children and theirs learn too.

Claire pointed out two disturbing ideas to me, thinks I had never thought before. 

 1)  In families of color, children are actively taught, from a very young age,  about racism, and how it will affect them, and how they must learn to prepare themselves, and how critical that knowledge is to their very lives.  In white families, race is seldom if ever discussed, unless that family is racist.  And then, it’s not really a discussion, but rather a thread in the weave of the family dialogue, coloring every action and interaction with fellow human beings.  Racism is actively taught.  That we all know.  It’s time we learned to teach anti-racism.  Way past time.


Remembering my own natal family, and even among my sons, I remember that profanity was one of those threads.  My first word was famously profane.  My parents seldom spoke a full sentence without profanity.  I allowed my four sons to say whatever they wanted because I wanted them to voice their feelings, rather than acting on them violently.  Whether or not that was a good choice, it was made with good intention.  As an elder, I have long ago learned that the ability to school one’s language goes hand in hand with the ability to be mindful of one’s place among his fellow man.  Aww, hindsight.

2)  She noted that people seeing a black man beaten or otherwise abused is a too-common sight and one that does not always engender outrage.  Let that victim be a dog, and the whole world will cry out in horror.  Abusing animals is not allowed.  Abusing black people is up for debate.  That makes me cry.  I remember in my own natal family that animals were treated with much more kindness and dignity than children.  I had never seen that connection before.  Of course, I don’t want to see animals abused, nor any living being, but as a member of a society that is so run amok, I’m beginning to see where some of these detours from humanity might begin.


You can’t know what you don’t know until you can.  To not know something is a form of innocence.  To ignore what you don’t know, and refuse to learn about it, is ignorance.  I choose to learn.  I encourage my children to do the same.  I won’t stop asking.

I’m beginning with this list compiled for white people to learn and teach their children about anti-racism.  Please check it out.  I also saw a very eye-opening movie on Netflix the other day, Hillary Swank in “Freedom Writers”, a true story very well presented.  


 I love you all dearly.  
Mom/Grandma Julia

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It’s Been a Month. . .

My breakfastWho would have guessed what could happen in a month?  When I began this journey, COVID-19 wasn’t a word in our vocabularies.  I was still free to shop with abandon, and I brought home a LOT of new (to me) kinds of daily fare.

This is my new breakfast:  1 oz (when dry) oatmeal, 1 egg, 1 oz pecans, and 6 oz. fresh fruits.  salt and pepper, and
Oh My Gooooooooodness!

I have cooked three meals a day, eaten on time (for the most part) weighed and measured exactly, and not one, (really!) BLT (bite, lick or taste) in between.  An amazing development is that I don’t even feel hungry until I do, and when I look at the clock, it’s 20 minutes till time to eat again!  This is truly a new experience for me.

One noticeable change is that I don’t drink my morning coffee so much for recreation now, as for it’s balancing effects.  I down the one cup and don’t wish for two or three more, since it’s just coffee and cream, and not all that enjoyable.

This morning, before writing, I read through my previous entries, and was truly mortified by how many times I have tried and failed before to do this very thing.  And every time before, I wrote two or three entries before abandoning that attempt, never to be mentioned again until the next round of failure.  It’s not discouraging to me, though, because THIS TIME, I have the secret weapon.  The curtain has been pulled on my lizard brain hold on me, and NOW I know why I failed every time.  I will never be fooled again.  I will never blame my failure on my laziness, or inability to control myself, or my God Self for  creating me in this image so I’d learn to love myself anyway.  THIS TIME, I know that if I do fail, I can re-ZOOM, and I can be assured that in the end, I will win.

My progress isn’t much noticeable yet, although I did remeasure all the squidgy bits and I’ve released a collective 5 inches from various parts.  I ordered a people scale which will arrive next Tuesday, and I can weigh again then.  AND, I honestly am not focused on that.  What I am focused on, thanks to James Clear in Atomic Habits, and Susan Peirce Thompson, and my Rapid Eye Technology training, is the system.  I keep my daily routine of 4 simple bright lines:  No sugar, No flour, 3 pre-planned meals, in weighed and measured amounts.  That’s my only job.

In Rapid Eye, one basic training is the principle of BE-DO-HAVE versus HAVE-DO-BE.  For instance, rather than saying, “When I HAVE enough money, I will be able to DO whatever I want, and then I will BE happy.” I have learned that “I AM the person who DOES what I need to do in order to HAVE whatever I want.”  So, in this case, I am the person who eats three measured, pre-planned meals a day of whole food with no sugar or flour.  Whatever comes of that can only be better than what I’ve had before.  It’s so simple, and so empowering to feel like I am in control of what I eat, and when I do, I feel full and satisfied, and ready to do other things.

One really great side-benefit of being the chief cook, is that I am also the chief cleaner-upper, and our kitchen has never been so immaculate.  Since I do all the cooking, I clean up as I go, and it’s never really a big deal.  I really love that.  I live in a household with people who have no awareness of what it might be to rinse a dish or clean up after themselves.  It used to really really really irritate me to come into the kitchen and have to find the sink before I could cook a meal.  Now, I make it a game.  I’m there often enough that not much can pile up before I find the mess and I can cheerfully remedy the situation before it dries and sticks.  I’m also noticing that coming into a shiny bright kitchen so often has begun to inspire some to rinse their own dishes rather than dropping them into an empty sink.   One can only hope…

My housemates are also really enjoying the new food plan, and while they sometimes supplement with some of their old favorites (pie-crust quiche, pizza, and mac-n-cheese), they are for the most part delighted to partake of my healthy fare.  It’s been a win-win.

It has been my experience so far that since I do all the shopping, I buy all the groceries, and I’m pretty much spending my whole paycheck to keep the food coming in, but I don’t really care. Given that I live rent and utility and car insurance free, with my live-in Grandma gig, I’m good.  In the past, it was pretty much each for his own, and the food was never so abundant.  I choose this.

What HAS changed, is that I have not wasted one morsel of food purchased.  THAT is very new.  In the past, I would buy food with the good intentions of cooking it and throw it away when it turned inedible in the fridge.  NOW, all meals are planned and shopped for, and I am finding my stride in knowing how much to get on a weekly basis.  I was so proud to completely empty the freezer of protein choices by the time I shopped again last Tuesday.  The freezer has become a sorted repository of protein, veggies, fruits, and nuts (though I don’t use frozen fruits or veggies much) but at least I know what’s there, and can use it accordingly.

Sheltering at home has been a joy for me.  Besides eating regularly, I have also sewn so far about 400 masks to be distributed to health care workers, and now the general public at the post office.  Combining that task with happy music, Audible stories, and some Netflix, I’m a happy girl.

By this time next year, who knows what may have transpired?  I’m excited to find out.

 

 

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EUREKA! No, REALLY, I’ve FOUND IT!

earth1The ides of March already and I’m still here.  I just published a blog that I found hiding (for good reason it seems) in my draft folder.  I’m not surprised that I didn’t have the courage to really publish it when I wrote it.  I mean, GAWD, when you read it, you’ll know what I mean.

Anyway, I have SO MUCH to tell, I don’t even know where to start.  The biggest thing, I think, is the very recent scientific discovery that had me bursting into tears when I heard it on my Audible version of BRIGHT LINE EATING by Susan Peirce Thompson.  Remember that ‘concrete wall’ I’ve often described against allowing me to make the changes, move my body, whatever, to become anything but, well, . . fat!?

It turns out, there is a scientific reason why my very being has seemed to be dead set against my moving or doing anything other than grazing all day, every day, unconsciously, and still battling insatiable hunger!  It makes my cry even now.  This writing may well be a jumble of all my feelings and awarenesses and a very significant recurring dream which FINALLY makes its meaning known.

Okay, first, the dream:  On February 9 this year (2020), I woke from a dream of trying to get to a Life Skills class I was supposed to be teaching, an hour and a half away.  The problem was, I was an hour late before I left.  So I’m driving the huge old Dodge van in which I spent the day detailing while I labored with the son on whose birthday I had the dream.  Got that?  Okay, so I’m driving the van from the back seat!  (a recurring theme in my dreams)  The seats are all tall captain’s chairs, and I can’t reach the go-step, the steering wheel, or the brakes, so I’m PEDALING the damn van down the highway.  Not fast enough to be in any lane, I’m pedaling down the center divider, which is a tall berm, with slippery slopes on either side.  I can only get one leg to work, so I’m pedaling a cavernous van, from the back seat, with one leg.  I woke up with a sore leg, probably from sleeping on my hip.

I had no idea what the dream really meant, even when I heard Susan Peirce Thompson explain that the mechanism (hormone) which blocks people from MOVING, causes them INSATIABLE HUNGER, and makes them believe they are starving to death, thus won’t allow them to move or stop eating, is blocked not only at the hypothalamus, but also at the BRAINSTEM!  What that means is, that no matter how hard you try, you will not overcome these unconscious beliefs any more successfully than you can stop your heart beating, your lungs breathing, or your eyes blinking by thinking about it, wanting it, or trying again and again, as long as your brain is wired in this manner.  (I only recognized the meaning of the dream later when I read it again in my journal.  Thank god for journals!)

What hijacks the brain in this manner?  — the (ought-to-be-il)legal substances known as sugar and flour!  She goes on to explain that if you sit in a field of coca leaves, and chew as many as you like, you may get a small buzz, but you will not become addicted to cocaine.  If you sit in a poppy field and chew the flowers or seeds or whatever, you may not pass a drug test, but you will not become addicted.  However, when these plants are REFINED and reduced to the white or brown powder that is cocaine or heroin, and ingested into the body, by whatever means, most (not all) people will become addicted.

Her belief is that the same holds true for sugar cane, or beets, or corn, or wheat, or any other plant that is turned into a fine white powder and ingested into the body.  Some people are more susceptible to addiction than others, but the fact that more than two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese, suggests that we are all on a slippery slope.

Another set of facts which rocked my world, because WHO KNEW?  (We all do!) is that 99% of people who attempt to lose weight fail to ever reach their goal weight, no matter how many times they try.  AND, of those who do succeed — that ‘other’ 1% — ten percent of them keep it off for any length of time without regaining their original weight and more!

I cited that fact to my skinny mini yogini friend, and she flat out refused to believe it.  Who can blame her?  She’s never been in my shoes.  She would swim in them.  AND, you can bet that that number is closely guarded by diet and exercise business entities because they depend on those numbers, and on recidivism, to fuel their coffers.  They have for years and years.

While the hard facts and numbers are still in the gathering phase, one number that is scientifically concrete is that those who adhere to the Bright Lines are able to lighten up and sustain the lightness 55 times more effectively than the national number.  While the national number sets a very low bar, this is huge!  I can do this!  For the first time in my life, I have real hope.

Much of that hope, besides finally learning some hard scientific information that I was lacking, comes from my inner work, my journaling, and from my Guides and Guardians.  I have tried for so long, so many times, and been thwarted, that I had begun to give up.  Many obese people do.  It is so damaging to the self to fail so miserably so many times.  Believe me, I know.

In the past year or so, my Runes and other writings, and divine guidance have promised me that I could do this.  One recent Rune promised that it would be this year, encouraging me to plant the seeds and let them grow, and not uproot them till they were able to sprout.    I had just begun to stop asking, stop writing because seeing no progress, I thought maybe they too, were blowing smoke.  Then a few things happened in a row:

  1. I had the above-described dream, though I had no idea at the time…
  2.  I was led to the book, Atomic Habits, by James Clear.   WOW!!!
  3. I was led to the book, Bright Line Eating. . . by Susan Peirce Thompson
  4. With more hope now,  I pulled another Rune — and it was X – Gebo, Partnership, A Gift, and in part, it read:  Drawing this Rune is an indication that Partnership, in some form, is at hand  (talking about a mortal partnership, which. . .meh . . ) and then it said:  . . .There is another realm of Partnership that we are being called to consider.  For the path of Partnership can lead you to the realization of a still greater union — union with the Higher Self, union with the Divine.  The ultimate gift of this Rune is the realization of the divine in all beings.  God always enters into equal partnerships. Gebo, the Rune of Partnership, has no reverse. It signifies the gift of freedom from which flow all other gifts.

SO!  Here we are.  I’m on Day 2 of Bright Line Eating protocol.  The bright lines are simple:

  1. No sugar
  2. No flour
  3. Measure all your food to fit the guidelines
  4. Eat three meals a day, with not one BLT (bite, lick, or taste) between meals.

I had originally planned to begin this coming Tuesday, on my first-born granddaughter’s 10th birthday.  I took two weeks to gather my ducks, shop, plan, purchase a scale, purchase the suggested journals, etc.  In the meantime, I did eliminate sugar from my coffee, which I thought would be my biggest challenge.  It wasn’t a big deal at all!?  Wow.  I also allowed myself to eat whatever and whenever I chose and was fascinated to see how many times I grazed in a day … which challenged my belief that it couldn’t be food that kept me fat, because I hardly ever eat a meal.  Turns out, I only ate one meal a day – from sunrise to sundown.

I also tanked up on the many, many videos and information bytes that Susan shares, and I met a new friend (who introduced me to BLE) who promises to be ‘my person.’  I’m choosing not to join the $29 dollar 14-Day Challenge or the $500 Boot Camp programs until I try this on my ‘own’, though I truly believe I am never alone.

First of all, I am grateful to be a 5 on the susceptibility scale, so my slopes are not as slippery as someone who is a 10 on that scale (easily found and taken online).  AND, I have those options in my back pocket as a failsafe, if I can’t do it alone.  Yesterday was my first day, and I can’t even describe how easy, how delicious, how joyful it was to have the plan to follow, and I didn’t even have any cravings or desire to eat in between.  It was truly amazing.  I think my brain may have already begun the healing process because while I made little attempt to remove flour, I did pretty much eliminate sugar in these last two preparatory weeks.  I figured once it was out of my coffee, I was home free.

Another reason I don’t want to join the gang is that I don’t want my phone blowing up with messages of support from social media.  I’m definitely an introvert, and I’m way too busy to deal with that stuff.  Susan (the author) happens to be not only a 10, but also an extrovert, so she loves all that, and it’s her business, so she teaches clean, bright lines.  I have no trouble with the bright lines, so far, so I’m not going to join anything yet.

One thing I must say, regarding Susan Peirce Thompson, is that she often brings me to tears with her vulnerability, her sincerity, her passion, and all that she has given to make this difference in the world.  She gave up tenure as a Professor of Psychology to run the Bright Line Eating phenomenon and her life pretty much centers on helping others to find their way out of HELL, and I am so grateful to her.  It’s not about the money to her, and I absolutely believe that.  It’s not about the money to me, either, as I have spent way more on so much that never gave me hope like this does.  This is about me finding my way Home, in a right-sized body, and finally, finally, finally being able to drop the self-loathing, not only about my size and shape but also about my inability to do anything about it.  God Bless Susan Peirce Thompson!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Fat Lady Sings…

mortified youth

NOTE:  I came to write another blog, YEARS after I wrote this one, which I found in my drafts.  I publish it here, first, because it’s still appropriate, ESPECIALLY in light of very new and joyful developments since I wrote it.  It illustrates how, even though I wrote it truly years ago, and lost it in the drafts folder, life hadn’t changed much for me in this department, until now….. but I digress.  Here’s the story:

I woke up this morning from a horrifying dream.  As I awoke, and realized how relieved I was to be “only dreaming”, and watching the waves of mortification wash through me anyway,  I was bemused.  It gave me a LOT to think about.

Did you ever wonder why the word embarrassed spells, roughly, “bare assed”?  Wikipedia has an especially interesting definition, (and more than I can put here, so check it out). “Embarrassment is an emotional state of intense discomfort with oneself, experienced upon having a socially unacceptable act or condition witnessed by or revealed to others. Usually some amount of loss of honor or dignity is involved, but how much and the type depends on the embarrassing situation. It is similar to shame, except that shame may be experienced for an act known only to oneself. Also, embarrassment usually carries the connotation of being caused by an act that is merely socially unacceptable, rather than morally wrong.”

So anyway, in my dream, I was at a conference.  I was up-front of this conference, welcoming?, introducing?, noticing?, a good friend, tall slim guy, very young, who was the keynote speaker on writing.  He was teaching us to write.  So what was I doing?

If you have ever worn pantyhose, you know that the waistband can suddenly ROLL downward, and tuck itself under the “abdominal flap” some of us are cursed with on these lovely goddess bodies.  Getting your hand under them, to unroll them, can be tricky, because sometimes the girth is longer than the arms….and/or it’s sticky, because tight clothing and rolls of flab are diabolical enemies, especially when you introduce hot sticky weather.  So, I am walking off the stage, when my capris pretend they are panty-hose, and pop into a roll, exposing my front and back flaps.  Okay, even writing this is embarrassing.  It didn’t even happen to me in real life.

But in my dream — no, definitely nightmare — I am standing there, turning front to back, trying desperately to pull my pants up.  OMG – I watch the tall skinny guy, and BOY, is he shocked….curious….open-mouthed….mortified…. Why would his friend pull such a stunt and embarrass him like that?  EMBARRASS HIM?  HE is embarrassed?  NO, it’s my bare ass that’s causing all the ruckus.  He gestures to the door at the back of the room, questioning the authorities there, (security?) wondering what to do, how to handle this, when he turns to me, and very firmly points to the door, and requests that I leave and never come back.  Of course, I’m being dismissed (fired) for my stunt.

Thankfully, I woke up then.  WHY would my subconscious mind torture me like that? WHAT is the message here?

Okay, the kid who was teaching us how to write – tall, thin, cool as a cucumber, 20, maybe. WHERE did he learn to write?  What could he possibly have ever written?  Teaching a room full of hopeful students how to write?  Write what?  I could easily write circles around that little boy, but no – I’m not teaching…I’m being em-bare-assed to death.

And HE, with the author-ity of youth and height and lack of breadth, and probably maleness as well, with the ignorance of the ability of tight elastic around a tighter round tummy to bring one to their knees in a heartbeat, has the ability to order me from the room, to dismiss my wisdom, my experience, my loving heart, my innocence, my very being — banished and never to be seen or heard from (hopefully, thank God) again, thereby accusing me of pulling the stunt on purpose to embarrass him — never once imagining that I might have been embarrassed – no mortified unto death by circum-stances over which I had no control.

So, what is the message?  any ideas?

Comes to my mind the question of control.  How much control do I really have over my girth?  It’s surely an inside job, an insurrection of mammoth proportions.  There is a resistance in me that runs my life. It’s a resistance, it seems TO me, a resistance to my having peace and health and beauty and well-being, from the inside out.  WHO inside of me is so determined that I shall be imprisoned in this body?  In physical disarray?  In slothful inactivity?  WHO so resists my well-being?

Am I alone in this?  I don’t think so.  I think that however we have been programmed, be it ancestral, societal, parental, corporate, we all, all, all, struggle with issues of self-worth, of ability to self-care, of resistance to that which is in support of our best and highest good.  Or? Am I alone in this?

I am surrounded with loved ones who don’t have this built-in self-destruct button in the same colors as mine.  Rather, these beloveds seem driven instead to live in perfect order and harmony — can’t go to bed before every pillow is fluffed and every thing is in its place.  I stress when they come to my house — and I seldom invite them — because I feel less than in their eyes, in these ways — though not in all ways, or I wouldn’t obviously be hanging out with them.

Another thought that comes to mind, is that I put an awful lot of energy into questioning these things – writing about them every time they come up in my awareness.  There ARE other things I focus on all day, every day.  THESE are the issues, however, which plague me.  My subconscious awareness is doing its best to keep me on track here, trying to figure out what my role is in the big picture of all this.

A lot of my musings this morning were about the incongruities of who I really am in relation to what I appeared to be in this scenario, compared, I guess, to the hapless youth at the podium.  Compared to the audience who sat mute and didn’t really play in the dream, other than in my mortification about what they must be thinking.  Compared to the appearances that my very being suggests — I live in disarray and I am overweight.

I’ve examined the disarray issue lately, too.  Truthfully, I do tend to be neglectful to picking up after myself, and doing the dishes often enough, and I do let food go to waste rather than cook for myself.  God help me when I get REALLY old.  But it’s not as bad as it could be.  I’ve seen way worse messes that people live in, and those people, in my ignorant judgment, don’t live the full life of varied talents and skills and projects and activities that I do.  I really do choose to be busy rather than neat.  I just need to find a little more balance on the side of neat.  I haven’t yet slipped into the place where my mess is a further illustration that I’ve just given up altogether, and don’t have the ability to respond to life around me.

So, while I do yearn for a fairy godmother to come and help me muck out my closets and do a good spring cleaning, I’m not as hopeless in that area as I make myself out to be.

As often happens when I write, which is WHY I write a journal, I have sort of come full-circle here.  Truth is, in relation to who I really am, my size and shape are not of such huge consequence.  Truth is, I do still have those persistent little ego-maniacs inside who don’t want me to make myself a kale smoothie for breakfast this morning, even though I bought the ingredients for them last night, but I think I’ll just get off my butt and do it anyway.

I also bought myself four giant bottles of sparkling mineral water, and four smaller ones, so I could transfer the big into the small, and keep them in the fridge.  I’m noticing that the biggest sugar intake I have is soda, which craving is really more for the fizz than the sugar, so I’m going to be drinking mineral water instead.  I’ve been on a runaway sugar train again, and when that happens, I do feel morose.  Having had the flu on Sunday, fasting a day or two, I have been off sugar for a couple of days, so I’m going to take advantage by staying off for now.

As for that youngster at the podium…I wonder if that is my estranged son who hasn’t spoken to me for a year?  He fired me without a word, so maybe I’m processing him as well.  Since I know for sure he will never read this, I can say that as much as I love that boy, I haven’t missed him that much.  His emotional escrow with me was pretty small, so what I’ve missed is a phone call or two in a year.  Knowing life as I do, I assume he will be back when the time is right.  In the meantime, I love him dearly, no less than ever, and I wish him all the best in his life.  I have no doubt that this young man will make his contribution to the world, with or without talking to his mom.  [Turns out I was right!  He came back into my life when he was ready to marry his GORGEOUS sweet wife, my new daughter-in-love since already years ago!  He calls me a little more often now.]

Ain’t life grand?  I’m off to start my day with that green smoothie.

 

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Mirror, Mirror. . .

a girl with no faceContinuing from yesterday’s musings, I have long held that as human beings, especially as women, we are placed in one another’s lives to mirror for the other what we cannot see for ourselves.

I remember as a young mother, and forever after that, being able to clearly see when the child of another was pulling her leg, pushing her buttons, and behaving badly, and how the other mother was so oblivious to the dastardly manipulations of her own child.  I determined to listen when others pointed out what I could not see in my children.  It wasn’t easy, because we don’t want to see that, do we?

And, isn’t it amazing how easy it is for us to see EXACTLY what lesson ANOTHER is facing, and what they need to do to pass that class and move on?  Yet we remain blind to our own foibles, lessons, and patterns.  Again, we don’t want other people telling us what we don’t want to see.  So it takes a rare kind of humility to listen when someone is willing to share with us what we cannot see for ourselves.  (And, as a side note, unless someone is asking, it really isn’t a good idea, on so many levels, to offer unsolicited advice.  However, we could not see in another what we don’t have going on for ourselves, so it’s good to be aware.  Just sayin’…)

By Divine Grace, I am convinced, that door swings both ways.  What we cannot see in ourselves, we see in our sisters.  Alvita and I had this discussion the other day, and she asked me, “What do you see in me?”

“Oh, my dearest friend,  I see you as so beautiful, an exquisite portrayal of the divine feminine, a tender touch of a mother, healer, wise woman, sage, seer, and yet delicate, innocent, and oh so loving.  I see you as deserving of the best care anyone could ever have.”  And while that is what she gives to all who cross her path, Alvita struggles,
as do I, with self-care and self-love and self-centeredness.  She and I are both “other-centered”.

So, given our propensity as women to take care of everyone but ourselves, what if we gave each other permission to take care of us?  What if we welcomed the mirror of one another, and preened a little in it?  What if we team up to take care of ourselves by taking care of one another — like the long chopsticks of heaven?

Maybe loving one another, and embracing the love of others, as we wish we could love ourselves, could get us all home safely.  Who wants to die dumb?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Pause that Renews — Menopause

Drinking-Water-In-The-HeatI wrote the following treatise twenty years ago.  I was in my late 40’s and had such high hopes for my ‘golden’ years approaching.  I thought then, as you will read, that I could do this thing gracefully.  I was wrong.  Read on, and then I’ll share the epilogue.  Do know that I could easily have written this yesterday.  It makes me want to cry.

I expect to live forever in this very body.  I believe in the seemingly radical idea that our bodies are designed to last 120 years or more.  In spite of this calm assurance of my immortality, I seem to be falling apart…..I’m way overweight, my vision dims, my teeth are becoming problematic, my feet, back, and knees complain about carrying my excess baggage around, and memory and clarity of thought often escape me.  It’s actually kind of a scary dilemma, somewhat akin to that of the glamorous characters in the movie, “Death Becomes Her”.  This dichotomy of belief versus “reality” has troubled me for some time.  I keep wondering when I’ll be able to turn my health around; when I’ll be able to do whatever magic it takes to reverse the many years of effects of abuse from within and without.  And I may have found the answer!
 
 Blessings to my friend, Carol Dawn for her idea that “menopause means exactly that – the pause that renews.”   She suggested that the perimenopausal symptoms I’m encountering may finally force me to turn all the caring I’ve given others my whole life — inward.  I may finally be able to partake of my own wisdom and nurturing, to take my own advice, to practice what I teach.
 
It makes sense to me that as I enter the final earthly stage, however long it proves to be, it would be time to come full circle.  As a maiden, I was definitely about serving others; as a mother, I still do.  As a crone, I may well be serving others still, and that service may include modeling self-care, self-nurturing, self-centeredness.  I see self-centeredness as a huge plus.  If one is centered in Self, knowing exactly what is in one’s own best and highest good, and going for it, they actually stand in the best place to be of real love and service to others.  I picture it as a piling, holding up a dock.  If that massive pole is well-grounded, centered, set deep in its floor, then the waves that are emitted from interaction with the pole are gentle, concentric circles of influence.  It holds up its portion of the dock.  Should the pole fall over, the waves created could adversely affect those in its wake, and that portion of the dock would fall.
 
I’m certainly no expert in carrying out these ideas; I’m beginning to explore them for myself.  In doing so, I’ve picked up Christiane Northrup’s wonderful resource, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom.  She assures us that as baby boomers, we are “five times more numerous than preceding generations, [and] the climacteric experience will never be the same when we are finished with it.  “Let me share just one gem from a paragraph on page 431 of Dr. Northrup’s book.  “The wisdom years, the years after menopause, when all of a woman’s life experience comes together, can be used for a purpose that suits her and at the same time serves others.  In Celtic cultures, the young maiden was seen as the flower; the mother, the fruit, the elder woman, the seed.  The seed is the part that contains the knowledge and potential of all the other parts within it.  The role of the postmenopausal woman is to go forth and reseed the community with her concentrated kernel of truth and wisdom.”
 
Reminds me of the “refresh” button on the web page.   Those of us old enough to be entering this transition remember, “the pause that refreshes”.  Who would have thought we’d come back to it with such a richness of promise?  Knowing in my heart and soul that we are indeed beings eternal, that in our divine roles, death is a glitch in the plan, I’ve always known deep down that there had to be a “refresh” button built-in somewhere, to return us to our inherent perfection.  I hope it works for me.

 

So far, it hasn’t worked.  I’ve lost count of the number of journals I’ve started and abandoned, trying to find the magic cure for my inability to care enough for myself to take care of myself.  WHAT IS THAT?!?

I’ve had a couple of amazing dreams lately that put the fear of something in me.  Fear is good for some things — sometimes — maybe?

In one dream, I was standing on a steeply pitched rooftop, toes pointed upwards, with sand beneath my feet.  Try as I might to stand still, I slipped backward in sand-grain sized increments.  I awoke with the unsettling awareness that standing still is not an option.  You’re moving forward, or you’re slipping backward.  Damn!

At that point, I promised myself I would begin taking baby steps forward.  I began…  I always do.

In a more recent, and more terrifying dream, I was watching the ocean from the high vantage point of my living room window, across the freeway and up the hill from the beach.  I was struck by the amazingly beautiful shade of deep teal blue of the water.  Suddenly, as happens in dreams, the water was coming in under my door!  Next thing, I was in my car in the driveway, and a huge wave swept us over a ledge!  I jumped out of the car and, floating beside it, I heaved the car back up over the ledge, into the driveway, and scurried back to the house, terrified that another wave would come before I could get back inside.

The dreams are becoming more desperate.  We all know that your ‘vehicle’ is your body in dreams.

I have more, much more, to say on this topic.  And, I think I will end this one here.

Alvita Soleil and I have discussed these topics in-depth, and together, we are hoping to come to some helpful conclusions.  We want to help ourselves, and we want to help others, to love ourselves enough.

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Year-end Tidings of Great Joy!

Wow…how long has it been?  I was just reading my last post, talking about my youngest son’s wedding preparations, and OMG!   It’s a good thing my  kids don’t know I have a blog, nor care to read them, because I  named my second born as my fourth, together with his new wife…oooops…. I know I used to call them ChrisBenDaveJoe all in one because I could never get the right name out first, but dang!

I also notice that the last date of writing here was in October, 2017!  A whole year has passed…wow.  Lots has happened –  guess it doesn’t matter to list all here…  Suffice it to say that I came home from the wedding and began my next quilt marathons, and just finished them, so here they are:

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TARDIS!  My 16-yr-old grandson is obviously a DR. WHO fan, and this Tardis is hurtling through the stars.  I purchased the panel and amazing background fabric online.   I was delighted to see that from beneath the quilt, with the light shining through, IT’S BIGGER ON THE INSIDE!

SULR5926This labor of love is double batted, so it’s FLUFFY and cozy.  I was so happy to be able to purchase a Janome 6600 Memorycraft sewing machine, with it’s built-in walking foot, so quilting this was literally a joy.  Not a single tuck on the back.  I did quilt each block individually, and then sew them together with also quilted strips.  I built three variations of three different stars, and then doubled each, for a total of 18 blocks,, as well as the four corner stars.  It was a total joy to create.  In the 5 panels of the door, are Galifreyan phrases like, “Learning never exhausts the mind”, and “Love cures people”, “Life is a story – make it a good one” , “Nothing is permanent but change”, and my favorite, which may or may not be a Dr. Who quote, “I love you to the moon and back!”

I was happy to find a Galifreyan generator online so I could get the phrases, and I challenged my free motion quilting abilities to get them on the quilt.  Not perfect, but my very best effort.

Because I believe that anticipation is better then surprise, I shared the progress of the quilt with my grandson, and he was happy to get it after such a long time in progress.  I held my breath until it was delivered, as I am told that quilts are among the most commonly ‘lost’ items in the mail.

Here is the next endeavor, a story quilt for my younger grandson, Mikey.

Finished quilt

I also included a book with this quilt which you can see here:

If it isn’t obvious, I have become a paper piecing deva!  Having purchased each of these patterns at $5-7 apiece,  you can imagine how much time and money went into this joyful venture — all made more than worth it when I received a video of Mikey reading his book to me, and halfway through, getting the connection that the book and quilt were a pair.  It was really fun, and I highly recommend the investment for any granny who wants to leave a lasting impression of how much you care about those little darlings.

I’m now off to finish the “Christmas stretching” wall hangings I’m making for the other set of two grandkids….since I won’t them them done by Christmas, I’m prolonging the joy just another week or so.

I stitched a second ‘gypsy wagon’ to signify my four sons and their kids’ enjoyment of Roald Dahl’s “Danny Champion of the World”

Reed Christmas 2018

and a ‘catitudes’ trio (still in progress) for my only granddaughter (so far).

Lily Christmas 2018

Phew!  A good productive year!  WHAT will I do with myself now?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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and more…..

I guess they limit the length of blogs here, because half of what I shared got dropped from the last post, (or maybe I was offlline while adding?  who knows…anyway…..)

so….

I left off with my son, Joe,  and Erin getting married last weekend, and last year, in preparation, I made them a quilt.  I was determined to deliver it to them BEFORE the destination wedding so I could get the proper ooohh’s and aaahhhh’s due in person.  So I delivered it to them at our (now) annual mother’s day/birthday gathering in Oregon.

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I changed the corner and side panels three times from the kit, before I was happy with them. Learned a wonderful new technique for applique using a paintbrush with spray starch and an iron to form the applique pieces around paper…..oooh la laaaaa!  so much work!

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430ABF94-FAA0-1A0B-06B75F7F820AC5D1The star was actually the easy part.  This is a Ginny Beyer kit, although I drastically changed the design of the corner and side panels.   LOVE her color combos, although honestly, I had my doubts when the kids chose this one.  It comes in two other color ways that I would have preferred.  Her corner designs are probably more beautiful, but they were beyond my applique abilities.  I also made 4 beautiful ‘magic’ pillowcases to go with this quilt, which I wish I had photos of….

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THEN came Hannah’s quilt.  She LOVES wolves, so when I found this panel on Society 6 , I ordered it right away.   It was a little SPENDY, but then who cares when we’re pleasing our loved ones?  It was too big, so I cut it down to 36″ wide, and added my new passion, paper pieced stars in the colors that mirrored the light of the moon…

We were amazed to find gray flannel snowflakes and white on white snowflakes for the star backgrounds.

 

I learned a LOT about paper piecing in this project, and my favorite method turned out to be freezer paper piecing.  I highly recommend it and encourage you to explore YouTube for great instructions…

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8C374D84-2385-48F5-9C15-B33E3C8042BAIn quilting, Hannah (8) helped me quite a bit and we outlined each of the squares of the stars, as well as the wolf, and got creative about leaving whiskers in long white threads on his muzzle.  Hannah’s mom, understandably, doesn’t want her daughter’s cute little face on Facebook yet, so we got a photo in showing Hannah’s approval of the quilt with no face showing… Bruno likes it too!6C3593C1-568D-4B16-A7F5-FCDD303D7E54

 

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