chey being

For my untempered heart

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I love being under water.  The weightlessness.  All sounds fade away.  My entire body is being touched all at once by the softness of the water.  It’s such a strange feeling because when you are fully submerged, you don’t feel wet.  It’s just comfort, like a warm cozy blanket.  The few seconds of time that I am able to hold my breath are magnified because I feel completely present, completely at peace.  All problems or cares cease to exist.  Even though I may fear what is in the water or that I may step on something unknown, the feeling of being within the water is enough for me to take my chances.  It is one of my favorite experiences.

This place reminds me of my childhood and the creek and lake that are in my old neighborhood.  I spent so many summers swimming in that lake.  I’ll never forget that I always had to keep moving or the fish would bite if I stood still for too long.  My mother called me a fish because I would stay underwater for what seemed like an impossible amount of time for my little lungs.  Like a ribbon in the wind, I would glide through the water just above the sand for as long as I could stand it.  This was my escape from all my fears, an escape into what felt like a dream world.  I could allow all my thoughts to come out in the silence.  No one could see me there under the greenish-brown water.

I remember traversing the creeks on the other side of the subdivision.  I always felt like it was undiscovered country.  I would fearlessly walk through the creeks to explore the other side.  It was so exciting and dangerous, or at least it felt like it at the time. When my mother and I hike in the mountains out West, I still feel that playfulness I had as a child.  The two of us encourage one another to overcome our fears and head into the unknown.  Decades later, it makes me happy to still carry those feelings and even more so when I let them out to play.

These were my thoughts as I walked along the wooden pathway.  The water here is frozen and covered in hard, crunchy snow, yet something made me think of summer and what it’s like to play in the water.  Everything is very still.  Unmoving.  Quiet.  And eerie in a way.  The dark tunnel only amplifies the eeriness.  It is a far cry from the splashes and squeals of summertime.  My footsteps on the cold bridge now sound off their echo.  The noise within the hollowness is a bit of a comfort now.  It’s funny how silence can be scary at times.  Like there is nothing to ground us, nothing to make us know that we exist.  Or maybe it is the fear of our mind being left to its own devices.  If there is no noise, no distractions, we may hear something we do not want to hear.  We may have to listen.  Listen to what we already know but thus far have been successful at tuning it out.

Yes, that is what I am feeling.  That is why this quietness frightens me.  I don’t want to be by myself.  I don’t want to listen with a clear head.  It will require action.  It will mean that I know and I can’t take that back.  My steps begin to slow down.  I do not want to come out into the open.  What was once spooky and dark has now become a safe haven.  I am hidden here.  It is like being under the water and no one can see me.  I stop.  It feels like a stand-off now.  Something out of the Wild West!  How did I come to this?  I was just thinking of happy childhood memories and now I am frozen in place.  I know I am only facing myself.  I know it is a more peaceful self.  A happier self.  Yet it is truly frightening.

I begin to pace now from side to side.  It is colder here in the shade and I feel the need to move.  There is an anxiety building in my chest and I am finding it hard to breathe.  I start to talk to myself.  I tell my self to calm down, that everything is OK.  I force myself to take some deep breaths.  Just then, as if whispered in my ear, I hear that I am safe.  I am safe.  These words come to me as a knowing.  I already know that.  I laugh a bit and smile.  Of course, I am always safe for it’s just me.  My soul, my guiding light that only ever wants what is best for me.  The one that wants me to stop and listen more often.  The one that tirelessly tries to show me and lead me towards my highest good.  The wave of fear has left me now.

I take a deep breath and walk into the light.  I will stand there and I will listen in the silence.


Photo courtesy of D. Campbell.


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How are you going to go out?

The Secret Of Life.

This short little video above is about life, but instead, it really made me think about death.  As a young child I had an abnormal fear of death.  I remember several occasions when I was very young, laying awake at night in a layer of sweat worrying about dying.  These episodes subsided as I grew up because like most people, I became quite adapt at shutting out topics I didn’t want to think about.

As the years have past, I am not sure if I have done well avoiding the topic or if it is simply something most of us think about but rarely talk about.  Each decade of my life that passes, I seem to think about it more.  It’s there looming of course, and becoming ever more a clearer reality.


OK, I really am not wanting to write some depressing post…no, seriously!  In fact, this post is about letting go of the fear of death and the fear of LIFE.  In the video, there is a line, “The fear of death is completely obsurd because if you’re dead you got nothing to worry about, so you’ll be alright.”  It sounds stupid simple but it makes a good point.  When I really stop and think about it, I am more afraid of being in pain and/or suffering than not existing on this planet.  The whole non-existing thing well, depending on your beliefs, it just might be the most amazing thing ever.

I am grateful that I no longer have mini panic attacks over dying.  Maybe it comes with maturity, maybe it comes with being less fearful in life, or maybe it just comes when you’re plain worn out from life.  I am grateful for the fact that the older I get, the more I let go of fear, the more I want to do whatever the hell I want to do!  Amen to Bucket Lists!  I wish to God that I would have felt this way 20 years ago, but…no regrets.  Perhaps, this is exactly what I came here to experience.  Whatever the reason for my transformation, I now fear not living more than I fear death.

What is important is only this very moment.  What are you going to do with this very moment?  Life isn’t about the drama, the temporary problems, or even that traffic jam that we overreact to (You know who you are!!).  Life is about that feeling you get when your child gives you the biggest hug for no reason, it’s about walking barefoot in the grass, it’s about making someone’s day, and it’s about whatever makes you STOP and feelhearsmell…or taste.

It’s so easy to romanticize, but it really does come down to a choice.  Your choice.  It’s not about “If that didn’t,” or “When that happens.”  It’s about right now, changing your focus, changing your perspective and letting go of the security blanket that is really having the opposite effect.  Sure, we all get down, make excuses ad nauseum, have bad days, or have bad things happen, but the difference is how long we stay in that bad place.  It’s like my writing right now, the longer I am “too busy” to write, the harder it is to get back to what I love.


Now, how are you going to go out?


A life in letters.

As a young child and into my teens, I consistently wrote letters to my grandmother.  She lived a few states away and our families only came together for Christmas and summer vacation, but we were always communicating.  Writing thank you notes and life updates to her were never a chore.  When I think of writing letters now, it is a tedious process that I have little patience for!  Sign of the times, I suppose.  It was a different time, a different era.

I always felt a close connection to my grandmother.  I find it hard to put into words as I can not think of a specific reason or event as to why I felt so close to a woman I rarely spent time with.  It was purely a feeling on my part and to be honest, I know she loved me dearly, but I have no idea if she felt the same in return.  I was her first out of only two grandchildren, so I am certain I was extra spoiled. Grandparents have the luxury of simply loving their grandchildren and leaving all the dirty work to the parents.  Maybe that is why I adored her so much.  She loved me, I felt it, and I appreciated it.

I do not remember the occasion, if there was one, but somewhere around my late teens or early twenties, she presented me with a stack of photo albums containing all the letters I had ever written to her.  She had saved them all those years.  Just looking at the bright turquoise and orange flowered albums brings a sense of nostalgia.  Very 70’s looking.  I was so moved by her thoughtfulness.  I wonder if that had been her plan all along, or if one day she thought it time to do something with her amassed collection.  I will never know.

I have not looked at them since the day she gave them to me.  It has been over 20 years.  They are safely put away in some plastic bin and have followed me though my life’s journey.  It makes me happy knowing they are there; it is a comfort, but I am too scared of the heartache to peer into their depths.  My grandmother passed away about five years ago.  I still have dreams where I am trying to communicate with her even though she is gone.  I am pleading and crying in the dreams and I always wake up to my pillow wet with tears.  I am not ready.

These letters are a timeline of sorts of my childhood.  I have no doubt they begin with my first words put to paper and move through my carefree early years, my silly drawings,  my coming of age, the boy bands, and the glory and heartache of my first love.  They are leftovers of a relationship.  One-sided of course, as I did not save many of her letters to me.  One day I will be able to crack open those over-stuffed albums, and a box of Kleenex and I will laugh and cry at my lost youth and my lost friend.  Some day.


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Resurrecting the stay-at-home mom? (A Lost Art, Writing Challenge)

My son had an interesting day at school yesterday.  He told me he learned that marriages have a higher percentage of being happy when the woman stays at home and the man goes to work.  They are happier because they each have defined roles and this causes less arguing.   Having a defined person in charge (the man), creates less friction.  When both, the husband and the wife, want to be in charge, they fight over whose way is better.  Their roles are more confusing and this creates more friction.  A marriage is more peaceful when the man is in charge and the women follows his lead.

No, we do not live in a cabin in the mountains, or in a city with a population of 112.

He also added that the teacher asked the class what their parents fight most about and they concluded that the majority of fights were over “stupid pointless stuff.”  I asked my son what he took away from this class discussion.  He told me that he agreed that it is better when a man is in charge and the woman takes on a more subservient role (yes, he used the word subservient).  He feels this will create a more peaceful home life.

This could explain why my son has dated half the 10th grade class and is currently single.

My initial knee-jerk reaction was, WTF?  However, much to my surprise, I remained calm.  I know my son and he is very opinionated; once he has formed an opinion, it is unlikely to change based on anything I have to say.  Any parent will probably tell you that children much prefer to take on the opinions of complete strangers over their parents.  It is in a child’s nature to go rogue, but when they reach adulthood, they will most likely fall back on becoming just like their parents (for better or for worse).   It is also not surprising coming from my son because he does not like loud spaces, distractions, or people arguing.   So, if he feels this “way of life” would cause less fighting in a relationship, than that is the opinion he will agree with.  I did offer some arguments against his new found way of life, but after a brief discussion, I decided to drop it.  I wasn’t quite sure where I stood.  I am a very strong woman and it goes against all I am to agree with these role arrangements (even though I was a stay-at-home mom by choice).   But I could not argue with these facts (as regurgitated by a 17 year old mind you).  Unless I had a better alternative, I did not feel I should continue talking with him on the subject.

Is being a subservient stay-at-home mom a skill women have forgone?  Does this mean that women need to stop progressing or pursuing their own dreams in order to have happy marriages?  Is it really possible to have it all?

Thankfully, there is no going back.  Men and women are changing and evolving.  Progress?  I don’t know if I would use that word because progress seems to imply something as right and who is to say what is “right.”  It is simply different now, than it was before; however, every change has an effect.  Women going into the work force more and more have a huge effect on marriages, raising children, what our children eat, where our children spend their day, who they spend it with, and the lifestyle afforded to the family, just to name a few.

So what do we do with this information?

Maybe there is something to be learned here.  Can responsibilities and roles still be defined when both parents work?  Is it really that simple?  Doubtful, but hopeful.  We are thrown into parenthood so quickly.  There is no test run.  There is no 9 to 5 baby, Monday through Fridays.  That child is there, instantly, all…the…time!  A parent’s survival mode kicks in whether it is a good move or not.  Imagine you are dying of thirst.  You have been walking for days without as much as a drop of water.  You finally come across a river.  A dirty river.  You know it’s contaminated with God knows what parasites and all.  Do you drink?  Hell yes!  You have to in order to survive!  That’s what we do as parents and I think it creates bad habits within marriages.  Having defined roles could make things smoother, maybe creating less resentment and fighting.

Yeah, yeah, I know…in a perfect world.

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Who are you living for?

Look Up

The above link is to a YouTube video that I really want to share with those that have not already seen it.  It’s about social media and how there’s really nothing social about it.  It’s quick and painless and worth every second!

My teenage son is normally quite the homebody and pretty shy.  He tells me he is bored a lot, which I find frustrating.  I wish I could say I was bored that often!  (Actually, not really, I would go insane.)  I have been telling him for some time now that he needs to find some hobbies (other than surfing the internet for stuff to buy) and get a job for when school ends.  Lately, and sort-of all-of-a-sudden, he has been pretty busy and away from home.  I asked him what was going on, wondering what had spurred him into action.  He showed me this video.  Apparently, it made an impact.

I would have to say it made an impact on me too.  When I was away in the mountains for 10 days recently, I did not have service most of that time.  It was liberating.  It felt so good because I did not feel obligated.  I didn’t feel the pressure to maintain an appearance, so to speak, but I worried about it and that bothered me.  I struggled between the feelings of the world revolving without me, and enjoying complete freedom from technology.

After I thought about how I wanted this knowledge to impact me, I determined that I need to write for myself and hopefully, make an impact on others.  I need to always keep my focus on these goals and not worry about how many comments, how many followers and how many likes.  It is easy to get sucked into.  I admit that I feel anxious in the morning to check my WP account and see if the little box in the upper right-hand corner is the color orange.  I feel happy when it is, and kind of disappointed if it isn’t.  I don’t want to feel that way.  Yes, I want to feel like what I am writing is making an impact but I don’t want to “worry” about it.  I want to send it out with love…and leave the rest to the universe.  I want to find the happy balance between growing my audience (I do want to write a book one day and so someone has to find me!), and doing what I love without pressure or spending an excessive amount of time at this bloody computer!  I want to find the sweet spot.  That is my goal…that is my mission.  If my teenage son is smart enough to figure this out, than I have NO EXCUSES!

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She came home with Froot Loops

I have two specific memories of a pivotal time during my childhood.  I grew up in a home where we had home cooked meals every night.  This was normal back in my day.  We never had pop, sugared cereals, white bread, or the typical junk food.  This was a time before fast food restaurants lined the streets and eating out was common place.  My parents weren’t strict health nuts or anything, my mom just knew that certain foods were not all-together natural.

My dad was a big cereal fan so this was our usual breakfast growing up.  We always had some variety of bran flakes, shredded wheat and granola.  This may explain why I knew something was horribly wrong the day I saw a box of Froot Loops sticking out of the grocery bag my mom had brought home.  I remember the feeling of panic, but I don’t remember if I asked her specifically why she had brought home this forbidden fruit.  I do remember that it was the very same day she sat me down on the window seat in the family room to talk.  She told me that her and my father were thinking of getting a divorce.  This was very uncommon back then but I imagine the feeling is still the same for any child.  I only remember crying, pleading, and feeling scared.

My mother never mentioned it again and I never asked.  I always felt the detachment my mother had for my father.  I always felt she would have rather been some place else.  She was unhappy and I knew it, but she kept our family together.  Years later, as I had grown into a young adult, she told me she would not leave my dad until after he received his retirement.  She felt she was somehow owed this for her time and suffering.  However, by that time she felt too old to start life over.  It took over ten years later for her to decide it was time to live her life as she wants to live it.  She is now leaving my father (I talk more about this in another post, Grow old along with me?)

For a long time I carried a certain amount of guilt, thinking that I was the reason my mother stayed.  I have also carried a great sadness because it made me feel unwanted.  Perhaps, I was the cause.  Perhaps, my reaction on that fateful day was the deciding factor on how my mother was to spend her next 30 years.  Ultimately, it was her decision and I can not take responsibility for it.  My mother did teach me something however.  She taught me that I never want to live the life she lived.  Unfortunately, I have somehow landed in her footsteps.

On a lighter note, maybe the real lesson to be learned here is never try to bribe a child with Froot Loops.



Leave no trace behind?

My sons are Boy Scouts.  Actually, I am proud to say, my oldest just became an Eagle Scout.  One of the scout principles is, “Leave no trace.”  They are taught how to minimize damage to an area when camping and basically, how to leave everything as they found it.

When I heard this principle recently, I instantly connected it to the raising of my children. Everything we do affects their future.  How they will treat other people.  How they will treat their significant other.  How they will react in a crisis.  What they will believe in and not believe in.  I began to wonder, how much of ourselves should we instill into our children?

As my children grow, I see more and more of myself and their father in them.  My oldest has taken on my hypochondriac tendencies.  He also shares some of my OCD behavior as well.  All of my children tend to lean towards their father’s religious views.  One of my twins is a very independent thinker like myself.  He also shares my need for perfectionism.  Thankfully, they are all very affectionate like myself.  Some of their tendencies are biological, some are not.   Of course, I wish they never took on my negative traits; however, that aside, I think as parents we want them to be little mini mes.  Our egos want to feel like we will live on in someone else.  More importantly, our ego  wants someone to believe as we believe, because we think we are right.

As a child, I felt forced to believe in Christianity.  I was forced to sit at the table and speak in tongues in front of everyone.  It was traumatizing.  I had to listen to sermons that made me feel like a bad person if I sinned, or if I didn’t tithe.  I certainly do not want to get into a religious debate here, as that is not my point (Please no comments in regards to that.).  My point is that I was forced to believe a certain way.  I don’t want to force any belief on my children.  I want to show them everything and allow them to make a choice that feels “right” for them.

My father was told as a young boy, “You can be a FBI agent, or a garbage man.  It’s your choice.”  It wasn’t really a choice.  He was going to work for the FBI like his father and that was that.  And so he did.  He spent the majority of his life doing a job he never really enjoyed, just to please his father.  I used to try to gently sway my children into a career path that I felt would be good for them, until I realized, who the hell am I to direct anyone’s career path?  I’m still figuring it out myself!  I had my chance.  I decided to let them trace their own path.

I truly want my children to be so much more than me.  I want them to live without fear of failure.  I want my children to decide what religion to believe in, or not to believe in.  I will also not push them to be more than me.  Maybe that is not their path.  I will love them no matter the path they take or the person they come to be.  I don’t want to judge them because that is putting my mark on them.  That is me trying to control them.  And even though I really dislike my son’s blue hair.  I will learn to live it!

This is a tiny food for thought on a very broad subject.  My intention to anyone who reads this is to encourage thinking, just a little bit more, on how much of us we want to leave behind.