Maybe I Should Take Up Knitting

Journal Entry - July 22, 2015
Part Six of how Morning Pages(my journal) 
helped me process through a change

When I was a teenager, my mom told me that I needed to take up a hobby; something like knitting, embroidery, or crocheting.  She said that if I didn’t, I’d be bored.  Well, I’ve made it for 64 years without any of that yarn but I may be nearing a point. I like having a project to work on and just like with a knitted sweater, I like having a way to give it to someone.

Since Sunday, and our return from the river camping trip, I’ve been working on a video using the photos and some live video inserts.  It should have been an easy task but it was made complicated by pesky copyright violations and 10 second limits on personal video inserts but I learned a lot and last night I was able to load it to Facebook.  As usual, I wish I had taken a moment longer and loaded it to Youtube, it would have looked better.  But, I got excited and anxious to share.  Oh well, it’s done and now I sit in wonder of what my next project will be.  Maybe I should have taken up knitting. 🙂

I sure did like the diversion from sad thoughts of my daughter and grandson leaving. I spent yesterday, then, with my grandson.  He played in the dirt in his pajamas because…why not?  Then, he ran around the house in just a diaper having the time of his life. He just didn’t want to get dressed. The beauty of it was, there was no need for him to get dressed.  Finally, when he realized that we couldn’t go to the construction site without clothes on, he willingly went upstairs.  Then, fully clothed, we took off early to meet up with his mama for lunch.  It took us an hour to go 15 minutes because we had to stop and watch an excavator dig up a sidewalk.  Then, we had to remove all of the rocks from the sand under our favorite swing, and then… swing, of course.  Finally, we had to check the progress on the buildings that are going up in the neighborhood. It was a perfect walk, a beautiful day, a great (peaceful) lunch.

I want my daughter and I to go back to that place, that time.  Instead, our conversation is focused solely on the baby.  What did he do today?  Any new words? Was he a good boy?  I ask nothing about the job interview.  She shares nothing about the status.  I can’t help her with her feelings. She can’t help me with mine. We’re just carrying the burden alone…and it makes me want to vomit. Part of me is saying, “Just go already. Just go!”  The other part of me is holding on to my grandson so tightly.

Why can’t my son-in-law find the perfect job right here? Why do millions of other people find jobs to be close to their families.  Instead, they are moving to be close to a brother he hasn’t seen in three years.

Their new baby…will I know that baby?  Will that baby know me?

I think I need to learn how to crochet.  Maybe those hobbies were  meant to help you cope with grief and pain and loss.  Maybe my mom was right. WHAT?!?

Help Me Breathe!

Journal Entry - July 17, 2015 
Part three of how Morning Pages(my journal)
helped me process through a change.

Yesterday: chilly, ending with rain. Today: windows steamed up, heat arriving.  Supposed to be in the 90’s.  Prepare thyself for sweating it out in a tent tonight and tomorrow night.

Time for the annual (now) Dancing on the River’s Edge.

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Yes, this will be the third year, Chris.  This year, some have taken to the idea and actually invited their friends.  A “Friends of Friends of Friends” party, just like you liked.  It’s exactly what Cindy wanted year one for your memorial celebration.  Maybe, it’s growing into that, maybe!  Be with us this year, ok?  Protect everyone out on their canoe rides.  Protect the children near the water’s edge.  Keep us from making poor choices with too much alcohol.  We love and miss you, Chris – you know, in that special way.  You were one of a kind, that’s for sure.

Night sleeping is interrupted fits of reality.  Are they moving?  Prepare yourself.  Well that means a gut ache every day.  Tears that come on out of the blue because of a random thought. I try to wrap my head around a new form of normal.  Facetime chats, once a week…maybe.  It will seem like they’re right there…maybe.  Maybe I’ll fly there every two months.  Maybe not.

And the new baby.  Will she know me?  Will she be afraid of me?  “Who is this stranger?” she’ll scream.  Well, the shaman said it best; this is not my family to raise.  So stand back, Grandma.  Stand back.  Your help is no longer needed.  Thank you for your service.

Do I sound bitter?  I don’t mean to. What do I really feel like, now?  Right this moment?

Old, I feel old!  I’m entering a dark place.  It’s deep and cold and damp.  It’s scary.  I know there’s light and I should reach for it but I don’t even want to.  I told my daughter that she should take me out of her mind when making the decision to move.  It’s not about me.  I’ll figure it out.  Right now, I want to back far far away…from the hurt.

When my brother was dying, I didn’t want to see him.  I didn’t want to be there to say good-bye.  I don’t want to be with my daughter and her family, now, either.  I don’t want to say good-bye.

I think I need help with this one.  I was wrong when I told my daughter that it’s not about me.  It is about me this time!  It is about me! And, the only place I have to talk about it is here in this journal.  Many other parents have children move away.  They give their blessing and wish them well and move on.  I made my daughters my whole life, especially after their dad died.  Yes, I remarried, but even my new husband knew that my daughters came first.  Always first.

Help me, now, fill this gapping hole that’s being dug.  Help me breathe!

Help Me Breathe

Morning Pages – Finding My River

Again, I find a post that fits both blogs.

S.M.I.L.E - Simple Messages In Life's Eye

It wasn’t long ago that I received the ultimate gift.  I was given direction; advice on how to proceed with this desire to write.  It came through a book by Julia Cameron called “The Artist’s Way – A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity“.  In it, she suggested tools for unlocking creativity.  The number one tool, for me, has become “Morning Pages”.
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Every morning, without fail, I write.  Three pages.  Long hand.  So far, I’ve filled four notebooks.  More importantly, though, I found an inner voice; one that I just let loose to write as it wishes.  In the beginning, I have to admit, I spent a good amount of ink on simply writing “What in the world am I going to write about this morning that will fill three pages?”  Then, that turned to spewing accusatory words towards a poor deceased parent or an ex-husband.  But then, there…

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Loving Dad

    Jason and Ian

 Loving Dad
A dad is joy and comfort
wild play and laughter. A dad is football
golf, baseball games and beer. A hardworking
hard playing man who loves his children with everything
he has. Sometimes, it’s coming up with crazy, silly tickle games.
Sometimes it’s teaching his kids how to yell at the players on the
television screen from the couch. Still a peacekeeper. When he
comes home, mom calms down. He makes her laugh. He tries
so hard to be everything for his family. He has to be strong
and capable, loving yet firm, the problem solver, the
controller. It’s a heavy burden, sometimes
too heavy, to carry. So, being a dad is
a powerful, fragile thing.
Having a dad is
heaven.

Captured Beauty

Wrote this when the sun was shining brightly. Now today, it rains. Luckily, I have these beautiful photos to linger over.

Begin Again

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Sweet smell of blossoms fill the air.

Warmth of the sunshine makes me smile.

Tender leaves fill branches once bare.

I think I’ll linger here awhile.

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Jogger runs past with rapid pace

Recorded music in her ear.

So grateful I’m not in her race.

Content with songs of birds I hear.

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Captured beauty. Stored it away.

Saving it for a raining day.

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If I Could Talk To The Animals, Learn Their Messages…

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Someone needs your compassionate and loving attention right now and has flagged you down to get it.

Someone told me that I might enjoy reading animal messages when I shared a story about a particular bird seemingly following me around.  So, of course, I purchased not just one book but two:  Animal Spirit Guides by Steven D. Farmer and Animal Speak  by Ted Andrews.  I was intrigued by the thought that animals might be following us around to give us messages from the spirit world. Upon moving to my current residence, I started capturing photos of the animals most present.  One of those was the cardinal.  So, I have read and reread the messages associated with this beautiful bird.

This is my photo collection along with the messages of “The Cardinal” according to Steven Farmer.

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Stop right where you are, observe your surroundings, then notice the sensations in your body.
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This is a very creative time, one where it’s best to heed your intuitive guidance as to how to express this creativity.
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Add color to your life in your home environment, your yard, and in your choices of clothing.
This is a good time to make a fresh exploration of the religion you grew up in, with your eyes and your heart open.

Over the past few years, the messages of the cardinal have been so important as I have navigated my way through this time in my life and I have tried to heed each message.

Surrounded By Love

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Everything, in my life, is unfolding as it should, I suppose.

No, I believe!  I am sitting here, on a bitterly cold Friday, feeling the warmth of a blanket but also of my surroundings. And I think, “how did I get here?”

Life’s journey

Hard, emotional bumps; heck, some of those bumps were not bumps at all, they were real honest to God mountains!  My wall carries photos of those mountains as a reminder with the quote that says

“Promise me you will always remember…you are braver than  you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

It’s a quote from Christopher Robin to Pooh.

I sit today, looking out a patio door at a woods filled with deer and the message of the deer is to

“Be gentle with yourself”

I try.  I try. Yet, I carry, with me, baggage.  A friend of mine, from long ago said “Everyone has their own bag of shit.”  It was the bluntness of that comment, I guess, that sticks with me to this day and I’ve even heard my daughter pass that bit of wisdom on to others as well.  And so, it is.  I am not special.  My baggage is not heavier than your’s but I am trying to find a way to carry it so that the weight is distributed evenly, I think.

Yet, at this moment, on this day…

I look around me and I feel so “guided”.  I think that’s the best word.  You know all those times in life when you feel like you are truly being tested?  And, you know that you will choose a path.  You have to!  So many times, I felt as though I had chosen the wrong path but, there I was, so I had to deal with it.  Now, as I reflect back, I see that it was a test. But, I also, feel, now in retrospect, that I heard of voice.

People call it an “inner voice”

It was that voice that gave me strength, power, decisiveness, resilience, and belief in myself. It was that voice that guided me down those paths that felt so wrong.  It was that voice that guided me here.

And so now, I sit here, listening to music by Jonathan Louis called “Follow The Path”; beautiful meditative music that leaves me feeling so blessed at this moment.  I look around me, at this little apartment and

I study the view from my chair

  • On one wall, I have a collage of photos that I captured from my walks in woods.  Those walks helped me learn how to take deep breaths and stay focused on the moment.  Messages surrounded me as I learned how to just listen to that inner voice.
  • The patio door faces that woods and delights me every day with views of life, even on the coldest, snowiest days. The deer pass by daily and cardinals are ever present at the feeders.
  • My “mountain” photos will always be on a wall and serve as a reminder that nothing, in life, comes without struggle,
  • But underneath those photos stand other messages, as well, to remember to be gentle with myself (from the deer) and life is as colorful and creative as you make it (from the cardinal).
  • And then, there are the photos of the people I love most in the world with a little sign that says “You Make Me Happy When Skies Are Grey”. They are my life, right now, and I am so thankful for them.
  • The last place that my eyes rest on, every day, is a table (an old high school typing table) with the exact typewriter used by my mother, not only during her high school class but throughout her life as she creatively captured the moments of her life.  Next to her typewriter stands an owl.  She always gave me owls.  She decided that I was her “wise old owl”.  I think it was because my mother and I never got along that I rejected this as an actual compliment.  I never kept her gifts of owls and, yet now, when I have the ability to place only the things of most importance to me in this room, there sits an owl next to her typewriter.  It is my way of saying “Thank you” to her for being so important in making me the person I am today.

And I think, right now, as I sit here alone,

I am so surrounded by love

So, Where Was I?

Hanging Upside Down

I know. I know.  It’s winter time and I should post a photo of pine trees and snow.  What am I thinking?

Well, what I’m thinking is that this is the 3rd winter in my new life and what I want to write about is how important it is to sometimes turn your life upside down to start over.  Three years ago, I did just that.  Hanging there, upside down, makes everything look different, that’s for sure.  Turns out, though, it’s not a bad difference at all.

So, long…long…long story short – Retire, Divorce, Move, Lose Weight, Become a Grandma.  There’s more but that’s the gist of it.  All in three years.  And, I am here to smile about it because three years ago, I was carrying around weight;  physically, mentally, emotionally, and materialistically. Now, I carry only the things I choose to carry and believe me, it all weighs so much less.

I let go of marriage.  I do not need to be with someone to be complete.  Well, I do have a cat!  I  let go of home ownership.  Do you know that you can just call the office if your toilet overflows and they send someone to clear the clog AND clean up the floor?  I let go of alcohol.  I was kidding myself about how much I was drinking.  I was telling myself that I had no problem with it.  I lied!

Then I started  taking photos of the animals out my back door.  Cardinals, squirrels, chipmunks and DEER!  Amazing photos through that protective glass door.  And then I started reading, and writing.  Animal Speaks by Ted Andrews and Animal Spirit Guides by Steven Farmer.  I didn’t know that there was a way to connect in this way.  The  messages that I read; first of the cardinal, then the squirrels, then chipmunk, then finally that deer helped me gain the courage to actually walk out that glass door and into the woods.

In the woods, I learned to breathe again.  It’s in the woods that I see other symbols of messages, whether they are sent to me or I am just thinking them up as I go, they work to calm my spirit.  Paths are logically symbolic of all the different choices a person has in life; that one was easy.  Then, I found myself looking at trees and seeing the knots and scars of hard lives.  Yet they still reach up towards the light.  I see a pond full of cluttered green mossy bloom and still see that lily push right on through all of it.  I see turtles just going with the flow, and birds singing out happy tunes and flowers blooming any way they want to.

And I am at peace.  Life is good.

Gentle Spirit

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Be Gentle With Yourself

     I walk the woods nearly every day. They know me. We look each other in the eye and I say, “It’s ok. I am a good person.” And then they stand and        wait while I take their picture. They are not afraid.

I walk gently through their home, trying to be respectful of their surroundings. They, in turn, welcome me with that soft, gentle look.

In the books regarding the language of animals, it is said that the deer carry the message that we should be gentle with ourselves. I feel that sense when I look into their eyes. And as I walk on, I feel that message resonate through me. There is no reason for me to be hard on myself. I am just a humble being, here to carry out my life’s mission.

Over time, I have wondered what exactly my mission was. Sometimes, I felt as though I was lost in a sea of carrying out other people’s needs.  Is that my mission?  If so, than I often felt inadequate. With each failed attempt to be the person someone wanted me to be, I feel a sense of guilt, frustration, and anger.  I just want to do my life.

But, what is my life?

And then, here I am greeted by the deer with this message to be gentle with myself.

Finally, I breath deep and say, “Ok, ok.  I hear you.”  I can just take it one step at a time.  I don’t need to know the answers to everything right now.  I can simply believe that things will happen as they are supposed to happen and I will live the life I was sent here to live.

I need to simply love being me.