Practice “Shapeshifting”

Day 281

This is a countdown, for me, to a milestone birthday.  My intent is to move towards this event with a sense of determination and power. So I am challenging myself to writing each day but more than that to guiding my writing with messages.  These messages are being derived from Spirit Message Cards.  Each day, I shuffle the cards and pull two.  The cards make a simple statement.  If I need further explanation, one is provided in a small guide book.  Today’s needed a bit more explanation for me.

Today’s Messages:

“Practice shapeshifting by altering your physical appearance and mannerisms.”

The Spirit Animal connected with this message is the Octopus.  That better explains what it means to “shapeshift” don’t you think?  No?  Ok then I’ll read into it a bit more.

It seems it really is about altering your appearance, especially focusing on body language and voice qualities.  It says that with practice I will become skilled at modifying my aura.

Now, there it got me!  I love the whole notion of paying attention to your energy field. I just never actually thought about it this way.  But why practice taking on different personas? That was explained too.  It suggested studying the behavior of animals.  Their superpower is their ability to adapt to different situations. This is about adapting.

Ok, so how can I practice “shapeshifting”?  Well, as luck would have it, this weekend might be the perfect opportunity.  I won’t be writing for a few days, actually, but when I return I’ll share my experience and the countdown will continue.

Today, I join my daughter and two grandchildren for a journey, by car, to the airport in Chicago; a two and a half hour drive with two littles will be my first shapeshift test.  I will practice the art of distraction by storytelling, joyfully singing Baby Shark over and over again and probably reaching dangerously over seats to replace dropped books, toys, and snacks.  Don’t worry, I’m not the driver! But let’s hope I don’t pull a muscle!  And then, we’ll be spending the night at a hotel where I’ll get to practice sleeping with two littles in the same strange place.  That ought to test every last nerve.

Tomorrow, I’ll get the opportunity to practice my calm  breathing while we maneuver the littles through airport lines and sitting patiently in our seats while we pretend to be birds flying through the sky.

When we land, my persona will change yet again.  Our destination takes us to the home of my other daughter and there will, then, be four excited children and two sisters who haven’t been face to face in months.  So my energy field will stay focused on watching children interact without causing physical harm so my daughters have a chance to relax a bit.

Now, here is where card #2 comes in:

“Make a stand for what you believe in and do what feels right in spite of any judgement or disapproval.”

Whenever my two daughters are together, they tend to gang up on me.  Now, mind you we have a great relationship separately but, when together, I catch glimpses of mockery, chastisement and eye rolling. I am being judged!  Probably they talk about me all the time between themselves but when we’re together, I have to practice shapeshifting into a bit of a guarded wall.

Now, though, because of this message coming at this time, I will watch for those occurrences and actually take a stand.  That will likely be a shapeshift they won’t expect but it will be a great one for me to practice.

This countdown, it seems, is becoming all about taking a stand.

I like it!

Music Is Essential To Your Well Being

Day 282

Read ” You’re Tougher Than You Think” for the background.

Each day I pull two cards from my Spirit Messages.  For those who have been following this journey, you know this is a countdown for me and the cards are my daily guide.

So today’s messages are:

“Music is essential to your well being.  Sing, play an instrument, listen.”

and

“You’re too fragmented.  Do what it takes to get grounded.”

Does the second one sound familiar?  Yes, it was yesterday’s message too.  It’s like, ok ok! I didn’t get myself grounded enough yesterday? I mean, give me a break, it was just one day!

But then I think, wait a minute.  This message is guiding me.  Use music to get grounded.  I get this completely.  There has always been something about music that soothes my soul.  While I’ve never been able to concentrate long enough to learn to play, I have always loved to sing and listen.

When my brothers died, I found myself going to their music to feel close to them. And sometimes, when I was hunting for their favorite artists I’d stumble onto another song that seemed like a message was being sent directly from above with words that explained their parting exactly.

“Angel” by Sarah McLachlan was that song for my brother, Chris.

“Spend all your time waiting for that second chance, for that break that would make it ok. There’s always some reason to feel not good enough. And it’s hard at the end of the day.”

The words in this song felt like a blanket being wrapped around my brother.  His life had been such a series of wandering mishaps.  And, like my last brother, he found momentary peace in substance abuse.

“Spend all your time waiting…”

This is my reason, now, for doing this thing that I’m doing.  I’ve spent my life flirting around the edges of writing and never feeling good enough.  This blog is grounding me.  It’s providing a renewed focus.  I actual find myself energized, each morning, wondering what it will be that I’ll write.

And now there’s this message that says let music guide you.  So what music speaks to me? I know that I frequently turn to music because it helps me feel all the feelings that I want at the moment.  The lyrics have often been my guide.

So, I just stopped writing for a minute and put on the album that I’ve recently been listening to: the vinyl version by The Byrds.  And the song that I want to hear right now is “Turn, Turn, Turn.”

To everything, turn, turn, turn.  There is a season, turn, turn, turn. And a time for every purpose under heaven.

This song transports me back to my high school/college days.  But listening to it now, I listen with different ears. I listen with a different understanding. The message has changed. Or maybe, I am hearing a message now whereas when I was younger, I just enjoyed the rhythm, paying little attention to the words. And, now, I listen to what the lyrics mean to me, not what the artist had intended.  In this moment, this song was written just for me.

It’s my turn now.

The album continues to play and there is another song that transports me back to my youth.  But, just look at the words now!

Mr. Tambourine Man.

“Hey Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me.  I’m not sleepy and there ain’t no place I’m going to.  Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me.  In the jingle jangle morning, I’ll come following you.”

Take me on a trip upon your magic swirling ship.  All my senses have been stripped and my hands can’t feel to grip. And my toes to numb to step, wait only for my boot heels to be wandering.  I’m ready to go anywhere.  I’m ready for to fade, into my own parade, cast your dancing shoes my way.  I promise to go under it.

Music Grounds Me

And so there it is.  These messages connected me to the place that has always been there for me.

“I’m ready for to fade into my own parade.”

 

There’s Something Out Of Balance

Day 283

Read “You’re Tougher Than You Think” for the background.

Spirit Card Messages for today:

“There’s something out of balance in your life.  Correct it.”

and

“You’re too fragmented.  Get grounded”

Every day, I pick two cards.  Today, I feel as though the second one explains the first one. After reading the first one, I instantly thought about the fact that I had not yet scheduled my flu shot!  Well, I did schedule and then I cancelled it because something came up with my grandchildren.  And then, I cancelled my dentist appointment because of a similar issue.  Now, I’m going to tell you that it takes basically nothing to get me to cancel these appointments.  I’m not a fan of either.

But, that’s not really the message today.  The message is that my life is out of balance because I am too fragmented.

Fragmented?  How can that be?  I have my routines:

  • Morning coffee while I check for new Facebook posts.
  • Second cup while I play a little Toy Blast on my IPad.
  • Then it’s time to review the news.  This takes longer these days because I have to figure out if what I’m reading is fake or not.
  • That usually takes me into internet searches which sometimes leads me to Amazon to see if there are any deals today on Prime.  One day, that lead me to buying a room air purifier hoping that would take care of my itchy eye situation.
  • And then, there’s Pinterest where I can definitely see my fragmentation.  Pins come up that deal with all things I’ve previously shown an interest in:  soup recipes, making pots out of concrete, refinishing old furniture, and toddler craft projects.

Fragmented?  Not me!

So How Does One Become Un-fragmented In Today’s World?

I actually just told my sister, last week, that I feel as though the older I get the faster days fly by.  And, at the end of the day, I look back and can’t actually say that I did anything big or important.  In fact, my daughter will ask “What are you doing today?” and I reply “I have an appointment to get my hair cut.”  and she responds, “You can only do one thing a day?”

No.  Yes.  I don’t know.  It just seems as though the other things that fill the day aren’t worth mentioning; you know, like detailing the scheduled IPad time.

But there was one day that I actually made a list of things that needed to be accomplished; that one day where I could actually say that I was not fragmented.  I had listed 8 things that needed to be worked on.  Then I gave each thing one hour of my time.  By the end of the day, some things were actually done.  I’d set a timer!  One hour per task. It was actually fun.

This Year’s Challenge

I proved to myself that I could fill my day with meaningful tasks, so can I do it for more than a day?

The first step is to probably figure out what it is that I want to accomplish, not just today, but maybe this week, this month, this year.

If I am to put balance back into my life, it would need a plan.  I’ve been retired for more than 8 years and I have yet to settle on a plan for what I want to accomplish.  I’ve let other people or situations lead me down whatever path.  I don’t want to reach the end of my journey only to be asked “What did you do with your time?” and end up with the answer being “I don’t know.”

See The Big Picture

Day 284

Read “You’re Tougher Than You Think”  for the background.

Today’s Spirit Card Message

“You’re too enmeshed in this situation.  Step back.  See the bigger picture.”

When I read this, my first thought was “Am I being selfish?  Writing about my countdown to my milestone birthday?”  For a moment, I felt guilt wash over me.   In no way have I ever thought that “I” was the most important thing in this world.  I have known people like that.  They’re not easy to be around.  And yet, my daily countdown IS mine; but I don’t want this to be about ME.  If I step back and look at the big picture what I see is everyone.  We are all in this life together and we all face the same countdown.

“You’re Not That Special”

It’s funny, you know, because throughout my life, I have been told in one way or another that I am not that special. And now what springs to mind with that thought is the fact that I seriously have spent my life doing for others; enmeshed in their needs.  It’s hard, really hard, for me to even envision putting myself first.  I can remember only once saying, “I want to go on a vacation and here is where I want to go.”  Even then, that vacation was taken over by others and fully planned.  I always let that happen.  I want more than anything for others to be happy. Their happiness is my calm, my peace.

Reread This Message

“You’re too enmeshed in this situation.  Step back. See the bigger picture.”

So maybe this message isn’t about thinking too much about myself but maybe thinking too much about others. No one is going to take care of my needs except me.  No one knows what I want or desire unless I tell them.  No one can be blamed if I don’t speak up.

Our Life Is A Gift

I am here.  That is the gift I was given. So if I have been given this gift and all I do is parse it out to others, I only have me to blame.

“Step Back.  Look At The Bigger Picture”

When I initially stepped back and looked at my big picture, remember I said that it was full of everyone.  I was not the center of my big picture. In fact, I might not have even been in the picture.

So, my message for today is:

I need to put myself in the bigger picture.

This Is A Good Time For A New Adventure

Day 285

Read “You Are Tougher Than You Think” for the background.

I pull two Spirit cards today.   Card one reads:

“This is a good time for a new adventure.”

Well, I did just buy a new suitcase yesterday but what really constitutes “adventure”?  While I am traveling this weekend, this trip is not a new venture for me. So, this year, I think that a new adventure might have to be something like trying a new food or forcing myself to sign up for a group fitness class.  But nowadays, I can make a new adventure out of downloading a new app and playing with it for awhile.

Then the second card reads:

“Face your problems head on with confidence and courage and you will emerge victorious.”

Well this is a good card for this year.  Although having a birthday is not a problem, getting older is!  Every year of life has it’s passages.  My grandchildren remind me of those developmental milestones that seem to miraculously happen with just the passage of time. And over the years, I remember looking forward to that first double digit birthday, or the year I could be officially called a teenager.  Then came the legal right to drive or to drink or to vote.  I met each of these adventures with so much anticipation and joy.  With the passage of time, it seemed there was always something to look forward to: graduating, getting married, having children, job advancement.

Now with the passage of time, I don’t look too far forward.  I have occurrences that keep my focus grounded in the present.  Call them problems, maybe.  Like, for instance, my eyes are giving me problems making it hard to drive in direct sunlight or at night.  Then out of nowhere, I acquire a bump on the top of my foot making it hard to wear nice shoes.  You know, things like that.

So every day is a new adventure with a new problem.

Not all adventures are health related though.  There was this furnace adventure this past month that took my checkbook by surprise at Christmas time.

Wait a minute, there’s another adventure!  

Who uses paper checks anymore?  So, here’s the story.  I needed money to pay for the furnace, right?  So, with the help of my financial planner, we decide to pull some money from an annuity.  (Permissible due to my age).  But they couldn’t provide the money because my address was different from their’s .  Now that things have gone paperless,  who thinks to update addresses?  I had been receiving statements all along.  Then they also needed a voided check!  Yes, I do have checks but I’ve moved at least three times with my same box of checks so they have yet another address!  And then both things had to be sent via USPS, with a stamp!  I mean I had provided all the other paper work by uploading it but for some reason these two things could not be scanned.  They had to come snail trail.

Still, I met the problem head on and I did emerge victorious.  My furnace will be paid for and now small monthly draws from this annuity will also help fund my health card deductible account.

Adventures and problems have taken on a whole new meaning this year.  What, oh what will tomorrow bring?

You Are Tougher Than You Think

Persistence

Like the waterfall, life is ever changing and in constant motion.

I find myself facing a milestone birthday.  I’ve long ago stopped feeling a desire to celebrate this date.  Yet, I am thankful to be here.  So, I want to do something that will keep me focused on the positive.  I contemplated recording daily gratitudes but although I have so much to be grateful for I want to do something more. I want to give myself daily messages of affirmation,  And, I will record them here to keep me accountable.

Now, I can’t just dream up a positive message on my own so I will be guided by my Spirit Message cards.  They will provide the daily message. I’ve decided on a number and will shuffle the deck each day and simply count to that number and flip the card and read the message.  I will decide how it is meant to be MY message for the day.  There are 286 days until this milestone birthday so this gives me ample time to fill myself with confidence and acceptance that no matter how old I get, I am grateful for every single day I’m given.

So here begins Day number 286.

“You’re A Lot Tougher Than You Think”

How many moments in our life do we feel weak, inadequate, confused, even frozen?  Last night, I had a dream.  I was scrambling to set up a simple presentation for someone I admire and I couldn’t get a grip.  I struggled to even collect my thoughts.  I woke up thankful it was just a dream.  But, seriously, I know that I have been through this scenario many times in my life.  So when I shook off the dream state and actually took a breath and thought about it I found reassurance.  I know, from years of experience, that I have always found my way to the other side of these debilitating situations. And, I come out of it feeling like I conquered the world.

How Exactly Do I Do That?

How is it that I am able to take a seemingly disastrous moment and somehow make it work?

There were times, even now, that I let opportunities pass me by.  I make excuses that are really only covering up my fear. When I face that fear and I realize that I have control over it.  Me!  No one else. And so I dig deep down into my gut and I pull out that thing called Bravery.  I am braver than I think.  Perhaps, that’s my toughness!

I Do Go After What I Want

When I think about it now, I realize that when I want something, really want something, I dig down into that spot. When I’m concerned that it might not be right for me, I step slowly, cautiously but try to keep stepping forward. Then, if there is an obstacle that I can’t correct, I accept that as a sign that this was not meant to be.  The hardest thing for me is to not create obstacles.  I need to keep my focus on moving forward.

Don’t Let Others Choose Your Path

Sometimes, especially as I’ve gotten older, I feel weak; physically weaker than I want to feel.  I had one person tell me that I just needed to accept the fact that I’m getting older and I should slow down, sit back, enjoy that cup of coffee.

To me, these are fighting words!  I don’t want to slow down.  I don’t want to sit back.  And I can enjoy my coffee while I move. So, I will get myself to the gym.  I will go for walks.  I will lift weights.  And I will eat healthier. Thank you very much.

I Can Already Feel The Power Of This

What a great way to begin each day and to build myself up as I countdown to this birthday.  I am going to celebrate it every day for the next 286 days.

 

Like the waterfall:  Always moving.  Never the same.