Friday, July 31, 2009

Day 25 July 31, 2009

Okay, something really weird happened to me tonight. I went to a networking meeting for holistic practitioners and the guest speaker talked about inviting our celestial team on board with our business. Now, I don’t believe I have a celestial team, or could stretch as far as saying that I have not yet met my celestial team.

Well, that is not exactly true. About a year ago, I was told by a recognized psychic that I have an archangel of compassion who is always with me. I went home and tried to see and feel this entity…to no avail. So, I pretended that I could see and feel his presence and guidance (a “fake it ‘till you make it” approach). I would ask him for help when I was stuck, judgmental, or not open in my heart. That enough would ground me in compassion, and I was able to make a shift in the moment.

From January through April of this year, I went through a series of hypnotherapy sessions, to help a friend out who was getting his certification and needed someone to practice on. During these sessions, a wise guide revealed himself to me and he has aided me in times of struggle ever since. Although he doesn’t feel like he resides in the cosmos…rather he feels very much a part of me.

So I may, indeed, have the makings of a team already…I am open to that possibility but only if I have an experience of them…not just a belief or faith or intellectual knowledge of them.

Back to the meeting… While the speaker was talking about how she came to know her celestial team…and then start working with them, this ringing sound grew stronger and louder in my head. It was similar to the sound a P.A. system makes right before the voice comes on…that high pitched screech of the microphone. Then I had a compelling and urgent thought, “Listen to what she is saying”, a voice in my head bellowed. “Listen, for this is something you need to know…she is speaking the truth.” This deafening sound and these thoughts repeated themselves for several minutes. I though my head might just explode.

In my mind’s eye, I saw a huge protective glass bubble around me, and the sound was cracking the bubble, threatening to leave me wide open for a huge shift to new ideas, new ways of thinking, new ways of seeing and feeling. I kept trying to hold the glass bubble together, but the glass was shattering into a million tiny pieces. I felt like I was being exposed to a whole new frequency of being, one that is powerful, vast, and wise.

It was at that very moment that the speaker asked me how I accessed my celestial team. The call back to the reality of the room was difficult. My only response was to burst into tears and tell her what I was experiencing…that it felt as if my team was connecting with me for the first time this very moment! Everyone in the room was very excited for me (not the response I was expecting…I was sure they would bring out the straightjacket right there and then). The speaker was delighted and said I have a wondrous journey ahead of me. I spent the rest of the meeting oscillating between my inner world and my outer world.

Driving home, I though about how I would explain all this to my husband. He has been so supportive of my spiritual journey thus far. I feared that this might push him over the brink. Ah, me of little faith! I told him my story and watched intently for the reaction in his face. He took it all in and then encouraged me to jot this all down, while it was fresh in my mind. As I was reading to him what was on the handouts, my ‘knowing’ and connection with my experience was fading. Frank suggested it was because of how it was written…it wasn’t in MY language. And because it wasn’t in a language that I resonated with, it was steering me away from my experience, not towards it. He recommended that I forget the handouts and take the time to integrate with my experience, play with inviting in my team, and just see what happens. I LOVE this man!! He totally gets me and knows how to help me help myself.

So, I am officially calling in my team…the wisdom, the manifestation, the attraction, the support, the fulfilling of my soul’s calling. I am to be somewhat detailed in asking for what I want…then open myself to the answers and direction with all the love, grace, and gratitude in the universe.

Day 24 July 30, 2009

Yesterday, I took Cap in for his monthly visit to the Leukemia Doctor. The news was not good. Less than 2 months after his last round of chemotherapy, and his white blood cell count is way up…almost as high as before the chemo. Usually, the chemo treatments keep his leukemia in check for about 5 months, which gives him plenty of time to recoup, regain his strength, and enjoy life for a good period of time before the next round shoots him down again.

After his last round of chemo, Cap developed Congestive Heart Failure…a common and treatable ailment. Seems his “heart murmur” caught up with him in his 83rd year, with leukemia, skin cancer, and diabetes. The chemotherapy seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back, as the saying goes. Either one of these ailments is treatable and manageable, but together they are presenting a tough challenge. We treat the heart issue and his diabetes gets out of control; we treat the leukemia and there is too much strain on the heart. We can’t do surgery on the skin cancer because the leukemia has left him anemic and his platelets are too low, prevent his blood from clotting quickly (excessive bleeding during surgery).

So we choose to wait it all out for a month, and see how Cap does with regaining his strength and endurance from his heart issue, which put him in the hospital for 5 days earlier this month. He can now walk, with his walker, out to the mailbox (down our long driveway and across the street)…it takes him about 5 minutes. Then he sits and rests for about a minute and comes back in (all this with either Frank or me in tow). The Physical Therapist said he should do that twice every day and increase the distance by one house every week. Cap is a fighter and he looks forward to his walks. He says he doesn’t want to die yet...he’s got more living to do. “It’s just a shame to cut a man down in the prime of his life.” Cap commented on the way home from the Leukemia Doctor.

The news hit me hard. I can see the prognosis, but don’t need to drive it home with him. Who knows how long he has? It could be a few years. What is the balance between the drive to live and the acceptance of death? When will he choose to stop his treatments altogether? What is my role in helping him through all this? It’s way too early to even be asking these questions, much less answer them. But the end-of-life scenario keeps playing itself out in my mind.

Cap will be a teacher for me, this I know for sure. He will teach me about fighting for life and about accepting death. I will see, one day, his shift, and then his release. And Cap, Frank, and I…the little family that we have created…we will all do it with dignity, grace, tears, truth, and most of all, with love.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day 23 July 29, 2009

My father-in-law told me this morning at breakfast that he was dreaming about chocolate pudding. This is his way of asking me to get him some. I did one better: I made it for him from scratch. It called for 1oz of baking chocolate…I did one better: I made it with some of my leftover bar of Scharffen Burger 82% chocolate. He LOVED it.

I had absolutely no desire to sample any of the chocolate as I pulled it out of its package or even as it melted in the double boiler. I did sample the pudding…but really only to see how it tasted (and yes, I nailed it, if I do say so myself). I really do think the spell has been broken!

Frank asked me yesterday how I was planning on proceeding after my 30-days were up. I told him I won’t eat chocolate unless it’s in a dessert that we have at someone’s house or the rare occasion at a restaurant. Same with coffee and tea. I will only drink decaff (except for my morning latte…which is becoming too much for me...I’m going to move to 50/50 for awhile to see how that feels). I will not use chocolate, coffee, or tea as a pick-me-up. Or anything else for that matter. Over these last 23 days, I have gone from low energy to more normal energy flows. Meaning sometimes it’s high, sometimes it’s medium, and sometimes it’s low. Natural, with natural rhythms. And I LOVE it. I will not abuse my body, mind, and spirit again by altering my wonderful, natural energy.

As I approach the end of my 30-days of being with my natural energy, I am wondering what I should work on next, since this has been so successful and enlightening. Many of my shadows are raising their hands, asking to be healed, like losing weight, getting in shape, exploring the sources of my newly found anger and angst. But those all feel like “have-tos”. After I take a few weeks off from the intenseness of daily intention and blogging (and I realize that I totally missed writing my blog yesterday), I’m going to break my habit of having ice cream after dinner. Sounds so tepid and meaningless, but it’s important because, believe it or not, I’m practically a vegan. But my father-in-law likes his reduced-fat, sugar-free vanilla ice cream every night and he doesn’t like to eat it rock hard. So, I warm it up in the microwave for a several seconds until it comes out like soft ice cream. OMG, do you know how yummy that is???

Okay, it’s a done deal: I will give up my habit of eating ice cream to honor all the cows who suffer the abuses of factory farming by being milked every day of their lives – in quantities that well exceed what they would naturally produce – even while pregnant, and have to suffer the agony of having their annual calf torn away from them in infancy. Matter of fact, I’m getting sloppy with my cheese too (we never even had these things in the house when it was just Frank and me). I’m going to break that habit as well. I’m getting lazy by using cheese as a quick source of protein. It’s just not humane to eat milk products these days…even organic.

But why wait to be more humane? I should start IMMEDIATLEY. I am starting immediately! Cows of the world, I am sorry I have contributed to your pain and suffering. I will no longer do you any harm. You are absolutely worthy of love, compassion, and respect right now, not when it’s convenient for me. Please forgive my unconsciousness and selfishness. I will do you no harm.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Day 21 July 27, 2009

There is a tool I have learned in our couples group that switches out the word ‘you’ to the word ‘I. So it would go something like this, “You need to be more respectful of how you treat me.” This would be switched to, “I need to be more respectful of how I treat me.” When this shift is made away from the judgment of ‘you’ to the ownership of ‘I’, a core truth is revealed.

This happened to me today. I was very angry about a situation with a distant relative. It didn’t involve me directly, but it was affecting someone I care about. When I went out to water the garden, I ended up taking down several volunteer and overgrown blackberry vines. It was a great release to uproot them with all my might. I grunted, I groaned, I bled, I cried. Finally, I heard the voices in my head telling this distant relative off…man, I just let him have it. The rant had been going on for some time, but I just hadn’t noticed it. I distracted myself with the pulling of the berry vines. When the awareness came, so did the question, “What are you so angry about?” The answers came in all sorts of “he should,” “he shouldn’t,” and “how could he,” along with some strong advise.

Then I substituted the word ‘he” for the word ‘I’ and had a profound awareness. About 10% of what I was actually feeling was my anger towards that person for involving my loved one. And the remaining 90% of my feelings were about my fears about my own situation. It was amazing! When I pointed the finger back at myself, I could see why I had such a strong reaction to the situation. Now I am in a much better state of mind to do some constructive thinking about resolving my own fears, instead of being in a distracted loop by pointing fingers at someone else.

Too bad the berry vines had to take the brunt of my anger as I processed all of this. I could have pulled them up with a lot more grace, gratitude, and love :(

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Day 20 July 26, 2009

I painted my husband’s soon-to-be photo gallery today, while he was out taking more photographs. Many women would call me crazy to do such a thing…I’ve volunteered to work in his gallery in the hot afternoon while he’s taking pictures of a naked woman. My husband is a landscape and figure photographer, and often shoots naked women in outdoor settings.

When my husband first broached the subject of photographing naked women with me a few years back, I was leery. There is quite a history of male painters/artists having affairs with their female subjects. I also knew, however, that if I asked him not to pursue this, our marriage would eventually end. Photography is my husband’s life-long passion…and so is capturing the natural beauty of a woman. (He was only 15 years old when he worked as the assistant photographer at the Miss California Pageant, and only 17 when he, with his boss at the time, participated in his first figure photography shoot.)

As I saw it, my choice was to either deny him his passion (or have it be a bone of contention between us if he decided to do it anyway) or to trust our relationship and honor his freedom to follow his heart. It really was about trust. Frank and I know each other so well and are so present with ourselves and each other, that we would know in a nanosecond if there was something amiss in our relationship...and we would talk about it – as we always had in the past with some fairly difficult issues. I couldn’t say that with other relationships, but this one with Frank is raw, authentic, and totally honest. If something happened between him and a model (either physically or emotionally), it would only point to something that was lacking in our own relationship. We would then embark on a voyage of discovering what was at the crux of the situation… seeking outside assistance from our dear therapist if we got stuck. We are not afraid of what comes up for us in our relationship…we don’t make a habit of keeping things totally safe to ensure the longevity of our marriage. We trust our process of working through issues. It’s not a forgone conclusion that I would leave Frank if he had an affair…there are many ways to dishonor ones wedding vows that don’t have anything to do with sex. These other ways are often worked out, but for some reason society places a higher value on sex. I see an affair as a blatant cry to look inside the relationship. What is missing? What has gone astray? What do we each want? What are the healing and growth opportunities?

The models just love Frank (ha, what an interesting word to come forward). First time shooting, they generally come with a brother, a boyfriend, or a male friend. Two seconds after meeting Frank, the male escort is off to a coffee shop, telling the model to just call him when she’s done. The girls often tell him of some sleazy photographers they have worked with…not someone as wholesome and safe as he. When Frank is in a photo shoot, he is all business. He is looking at lines and angles, shadow and light, form and color. He shoots more photos than most photographers…fully utilizing the limited time (and money) he has with the model. They often comment that he works hard and diligently. And some have even refused to have him pay them…or only charge him half price for subsequent shoots. He has met their husbands, children, and even a mom. If we happen to run into a local model on the city streets, he’ll introduce them to me. (The first time this happened, my response was, “Oh yes, I recognize you.” On further reflection, I thought it best to come up with a more appropriate response). I even found my tattoo artist through one of his models.

So, yes, I am supporting my husband in his passion and his new business by painting his newly-built gallery where pictures of naked women will hang. That’s the kind of relationship we have…we trust our process of working through issues…not denying each other our souls calling just because we are afraid of what issues might arise. Let them arise and come into the light. It is in the light that things can be seen and start to be worked out.

Day 19 July 25, 2009

Today Frank and I went to the Gilroy Garlic Festival, for the very first time. One of my friends asked, when I told her we were going, “Why?” This is an interesting question.

I lived in San Francisco for 6 years and their festivals have a particular vibe to them. They carry the energy of that city…to me, it’s a bit jittery… a bit hyper (and no, I’m not describing myself pre-natural energy). People dress all sorts of ways, but the predominant color is black. There are usually several people who are noticeably on some sort of drug and/or alcohol. And there’s usually a fight and a hostile argument or two. Many ethnicities and sexual orientations/inclinations are represented. I love hearing all the different languages spoken around me as I’m standing among rows and rows of people, all behind metal barricades. The police are ever present. I’m not sure where the homeless people go during these street festivals…they are probably shooed away. People-watching is just as entertaining as the festival. We’re use to being in tight, cramped spaces – it’s a little big city (over 750,000 people living in just 492 miles, plus all the visitors). And we take care to keep to ourselves, not touching anyone with our bodies or our words. Occasionally, we’ll make friends with the people next to us…but that is not standard city etiquette.

The Gilroy Garlic Festival draws people from the surrounding areas: Gilroy, Watsonville, Hollister, Salinas (typically lower-income areas), as well as the rest of Monterey County and beyond (of course…we were there). The vibe here was mellow. I did not see one intoxicated or drugged-out person, and not one fight or even an argument. There were a lot of families, and a nice ethnic mix. It was pretty hot…but not as hot as it can be, I was told. People congregated under the huge circus tents they had set up for shade, with picnic benches and hay bales to sit on. People generally acknowledged one another and started up conversations with perfect strangers. I was listening to a newly retired military guy who just completed his fourth tour of duty in Iraq. He said it was a piece of cake compared to Afghanistan. Someone asked him how his transition back in the U.S. had been. He didn’t really answer the question; instead he said that crowds like this one still made him nervous. Another young woman invited us to sit down, making room at the table for us. I teased a young girl eating a “funnel cake” topped with powdered sugar, most of which ended up all over her face. These people felt so natural.

When Frank and I found the bandstand…we watched the older folks like us dancing, then went out ourselves. We put our bags down next to a pair of grandparents (our age), who were sitting by their sleeping grandson. They watched our bags when we danced, we watched their grandson when they danced. We had a conversation about where we were from. A 25ish-year-old young man told Frank and me that we “rocked” out there on the dance floor, while giving us the “thumbs up”. Everyone was exceptionally friendly, from the parking lot volunteers, to the shuttle bus drivers, to the vendors, to the policeman, who I asked at the end if he had a good day, to the attendees.

In answer to my friend’s question of why would I go to a garlic festival in Gilroy…it’s to eat some great food, to see original arts and crafts, to listen and dance to good music. But most of all it is to commune with these hard-working people (visitors and vendors alike) who aren’t afraid to start up a conversation with a stranger. Instead of people-watching, we were people-engaging.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Day 18 July 24, 2009

I feel like a snake, who has just swallowed a huge rat…eyes rolled back, and a big lump at mid-section.

Tonight, I made a casserole for dinner. Frank and I actually sat down at the kitchen table and ate together (usually, we eat independently, outside, or at our desks). The casserole dish was also at the table, and I kept helping myself to “just one more small helping” after another. When I became conscious of my actions, I noticed that there was absolutely no sensation in my stomach…the pang of being too full was absent. I was totally numb.

This is what keeps me eating, this numbness. If I felt uncomfortable, I would stop, out of self-preservation. I suppose at some point there is a signal to stop, but it get ignores, then goes away completely. Even when I’ve finally stopped eating…and who know what triggers that…I’m not in pain, even though I’ve eaten as much as three meals.

Then, for the rest of the night, I’m craving a “pick-me-up” and the knee-jerk solution of chocolate kicks in. I check in with my body, and it assures me this would not be a good thing…it would only exacerbate the situation. “No,” it tells me, “there is nothing to do but wait this out. Drink water and wait.” So I struggle all night with wanting to counteract all the food in my system with something else. I think of having just a few chocolate chips…just enough to get the sweetness in my mouth. But my wisdom tells me I could never have just a few chocolate chips. Then the bag would be opened and I would be tempted from then on out…all night and each day…knowing the bag was OPENED. We’ve got a big day tomorrow and I want to enjoy my natural energy. I don’t want to be dragging myself all around the Gilroy Garlic Festival because I overloaded my system with both food and chocolate the night before. So I remain firm in my commitment to myself.

Now I am curious about this signal to stop eating. I do feel it sometimes, but at certain times, I obviously bypass it. What is that all about? What is going on with me at that moment when I dismiss the body’s natural urge to stop eating? These are questions I will attempt to stay conscious enough in the eating to answer.

Another layer…just peeling back the shadows of myself so that my pure energy can emerge…and endure.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Day 17 July 23, 2009

My love affair with chocolate has ended. And I say “good riddance!” I spotted a bar of Scharffen Burger chocolate in the back of the fridge today and it didn’t even pull at me. Matter of fact, just for the heck of it, I asked my body what it would feel like if I were to have a piece. My eyeballs and brain were the first to respond with a resounding, “NO!” And just to drive the point home, I could immediately feel that chocolate high pressure behind my eyeballs and my brain felt like a ping pong ball on meth was let loose. Next, my heart joined in, beating a bit faster and more frantically. Then all my cells started coming forward, asking me not to drug them…not to alter their synchronistic, natural rhythms.

What a turn-around! In 17 days I have gone from craving that chocolate high to being repulsed by it. I feel the same about additional caffeine too. So far, my scant-one-shot soy latte in the morning is all I want. And so far, my body hasn’t rejected it.

Day 16 July 22, 2009

“Honey, can I make you a sandwich?” That was the innocent question from my husband, offering to make me lunch. What a sweetie. I have been eating carbohydrates and processed foods lately and can feel the effects in my body. I’m tired of having to fix my oatmeal every morning, so I decided to try a “wholesome” cold cereal…still highly processed, but it had whole-grains and flax seeds. Whenever I eat the regular cold cereal, I can feel it just sit there in my stomach, then for several hours I just don’t feel good. So I tried this other cereal. It left me wanting more carbos. So, an hour later, I made myself a little pancake (1 egg, soy milk, pancake mix). Cap and Frank came home about an hour later with half a pancake leftover from their breakfast out…so I ate that too. All day long, I was craving carbos. It wasn’t to manage my energy…it was because I was craving them and felt hungry…although my energy did fluctuate all day from being very sleepy tired to feeling normal. The “spell” wasn’t broken until I had just a salad for dinner. Then my body was stabilized.

What is it about carbos that keeps us craving more? Is it because the blood sugar rises too high, then plummets? Since I’ve been off chocolate and extra caffeine, I’m noticing how other foods affect my energy level. It’s like I’ve stripped away one layer and now I can feel the next. I don’t like how carbos feel in my body…at least the ones contained in breads (even whole wheat), flour tortillas, pastries, cold cereal, and pancakes. Oatmeal seems to be perfectly fine, as are dried beans and corn. I’ve not had potatoes or rice recently, so the jury is still out on them.

“No thanks Frank,” I responded, “I’ll make myself a salad.” And that is how it will be…no icky carbos for breakfast or lunch…they cause unhealthy cravings and make me feel almost comatose. It’s just not worth it. I’m happy to make my oatmeal each morning…I mean how long does it take…5 minutes???

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Day 15 July 21, 2009

Most people I have met in my life would no doubt refer to me as “too much”: Too much energy, too emotional, too loud, talk too much, talk too fast, too rambunctious, ask too personal of questions, reveal too much of myself, too hyper, too needy, too intense, too giggly, too happy (some people are really pissed at my constant happiness), too loving…too much.

Because of this perceived too muchness, I have had to tamp myself down in many arenas to be accepted by the people I was with. This happened most profoundly in the corporate world as I worked my way up into management. They call it “grooming”; I call it robotisizing. My experience is that they want everyone to look, act, and think within very narrow boundaries. The more you fit in, the further you will go (and bigger bonuses you’ll will be). I bought all that for many years…yearning to hear all the ways in which my manager at the time saw how I could improve myself. Then I changed to fit the mold.

My first husband was overwhelmed with my too muchness, so I tamped down at home as well. He, too, had what I perceived as very narrow boundaries of acceptable behavior. The more I talked, the more he shut down, the louder I was, the quieter he got. The more outgoing I was, the more he wanted to stay at home. I bought all that as well…conforming to the mold to make my husband happy (which, of course didn’t work for either of us in the long run).

One of my earliest memories of being told that I was too much was when I was around 7-years old. We were at home celebrating someone’s birthday…singing with the candles and the cake. I was so overwhelmed with love for this person and the beauty of love, that I started to cry. My 17-year old brother (who I admired) looked at me and said, “Oh Joyce, stop being such a cry baby.” I struggled for YEARS with the shame of my intense feelings and emotions.

I met my current husband about 10-years ago. He has opened me to myself. He accepts and can handle my too muchness. The most beautiful part is that he doesn’t judge me for who I am or try to change me…he doesn’t try or even want to mold me. He encourages me to explore who I am and to emerge as my pure self. So this is what I have been doing over the past 10-years: discovering who I truly, purely am.

About a year ago, I moved to the San Lorenzo Valley, in the Santa Cruz Mountains to take care of my father-in-law, who has lived here since 1960. This is a spiritual, earthy valley…and a lot of spiritual people are attracted here. I find in these mountains that I am able to be even more fully myself…because everyone is doing their own thing. Several months ago, I met three incredible women here…we are all in the same class together: “Sacred Commerce, for Holistic Practitioners and Spiritually Oriented People looking to develop their heart based business ideas.” Over the months that we have been meeting, we have come to know each others truths very well. It seems we ALL have felt that we are too much…ALL of us have tamped down who we are, all our lives, in order to fit in, be accepted, and loved.

Truth be told, we are too much for most folks, and we BASK in our too muchness when we are together. “Bring it on!”, we say to each other, “We can take it.” And I think that is the truth here…all four of us experience life to the fullest…the fullest emotions, the fullest ideas, the fullest energy, the fullest love, the fullest beauty, the fullest gratitude, the fullest grace, the fullest spirit, the fullest truth. We are totally at home in this fullness…and need to live our lives this way in order to be fully authentic. Between us, we are not too much, but perfectly much.

Our group is now a sacred ground for exploring and living out who we fully are in our muchness, for encouraging each other to live even more authentic, ‘much’ lives. We are shedding the too of too much, as that doesn’t serves us. We are standing in our muchness with dignity and grace. In this space, we fulfill our soul’s calling and, as a side benefit, assist in opening up others to their muchness, authenticity, and their soul’s calling. And this is how the world will start to heal…one authentic, much person at a time.

Day 14 July 20, 2009

Today is my 7th wedding anniversary! Frank and I are doing very well…our partnership is a deep and intimate one in which we are free to share and explore with each other. There is nothing I can’t tell him or him me. I can be totally myself with him…and him me. We have a deep and respectful love for each other. And we are both totally committed to the health and growth of our relationship. We talked today about where we were as individuals and as a couple when we first got married. There was no way to even get a glimpse back then of who or where we would be 7 years later!

Reflecting on my 30-day journey, Frank again commented about how present and accessible I am to him. Before, I was so driven in whatever it was I was engaged in in the moment, that any interruption would seem a great nuisance. He’s right. In addition, I feel more present and accessible to MYSELF. I feel more, I am much more reflective, and I am able to witness myself and life to a greater degree.

How can we really be present with another if we are not present with ourselves? How can we accurately feel for another if we cannot even feel our own emotions? How can we have perspective and witness another if we cannot do that for ourselves?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Day 13 July 19, 2009

I’m getting used to my lower-energy days. This morning, Frank and I walked for 30-minutes on Hubbard Gulch Rd…a good climb that got our hearts racing. After “Earth Centered Sunday” at Marshall Creek Center, we walked up the road and treated ourselves to lunch, then walked the mile home (in the 90 degree weather).

When I got home, I was tired – as is to be expected. But it was tired from doing the physical work…not sleepy tired. My body just wanted to rest. So, I worked for an hour and a half on my Reiki business…putting my class announcement up on Craigslist, putting the final touches on the flyers advertising both my class and the drop-in clinic, and updating my website with these new offerings. I was totally into it. Then I had a distance Reiki client. After all that, I was sleepy tired…I think the Reiki session helped me to really relax too :) Instead of lamenting my tiredness or needing to push away my desire to have a pick-me-up (aka chocolate), I found myself heading outside to find my honey. We sat and chatted for a good while in the coolness of the early evening.

Being more refreshed, I came in and fixed Cap’s dinner, fed all the animals, and had a bite to eat myself. Now I am here at my computer with a low, but steady and mellow energy. And I’m perfectly all right with it…that’s the blessing in this!

I did have an “ah ha” today…I realize that I seem to carry a bit of angst with me all the time. Over all sorts of little stuff: will my Reiki class fill?, what if no one comes to the drop in clinic?, when will I find the time to water all the fruit trees?, is my aerobic routine sustainable over the long haul?, how will Cap manage tomorrow when Frank and I are gone most of the day & night to celebrate our wedding anniversary?, is the Advantage I’m giving my kitties to keep fleas away doing them more harm than good?, we’re running out of bread and soy milk…I’ve got to get to the grocery store. Shit like that is running through my head most of the day. I’ve never noticed it before because I haven’t been this calm to stop and listen.

Today, during my Reiki meditation, I focused on the second precept and asked myself, “In what ways is all this worrying distracting me…and what am I distracting myself from?” I waited and waited for some insight, but none came. So I decided to spend the rest of my time doing a grounding meditation…if answers aren’t coming, I’m probably not well grounded. Soon, the chatter subsided and I could sit in silence. Maybe the answers will come tomorrow…or later. They are eluding me today. Being aware of the anxious chatter is an important step, and for that I am grateful.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Day 12 July 18, 2009

Well, I missed posting yesterday. The day just got away from me and I told myself I would post first thing in the morning. But this morning arrived and the weed whacker was calling me. Now it’s late in the day and I can’t even remember how I felt yesterday. Oh well…lesson learned. Post every day on the day.

Weed whacking was fun – 2 hours of it! I went through 2 spools of line. Finished the front yard and about half of the back. Got my heart rate up for the 30-minutes, that is for sure! I had to stop because my forearms were literally shaking…I couldn’t hold the weed whacker up anymore. Then I pruned out some suckers from the fig tree, along with some volunteer blackberry vines – geez they are invasive. I have this image of me sitting in my backyard meditating and when I open my eyes, I’ll be wrapped in berry vines – sort of Stephen King-esq.

Some kids down the street have been screaming/playing and a dog has been incessantly howling all afternoon. Man, that all just gets on my nerves. Even thought I know the kids are having a marvelous time, that high-pitched scream just gets to me. It keeps my body on high alert…like someone is in danger. As for the dog…constant barking or howling does the same thing…the poor guy is in distress…because of the screaming kids no doubt. Tried closing the windows to minimize the noise…then it got too hot and stuffy, so I opened them again and tried to deal with it all. I hear Frank yell from outside in the backyard for the kids to quiet down…it’s getting to him too.

In this agitated state, I want to eat…chocolate, carbs, crunchy things, sweet things. Anything to mitigate this adrenalin inside of me. I feel a headache coming on. I rationalize that I haven’t eaten lunch yet (it’s after 3pm) and that I am quite hungry, so I make myself a salad and splurge on the dressing - homemade thousand island! It’s full of lots of crunchy things and it settles me down a bit. I feel good about my choice. I really don’t think a salad is going to unnaturally alter my energy :) I do realize, however, that the habit of running to food when agitated has been utilized.

So while I’m on this poor-me trip, I’ll tell you another thing. Twelve days into my journey and I haven’t lost one single pound. Don’t you find that interesting? I do. I mean, I’m not eating chocolate, which is full of calories and fat. I’m not running to food when I’m agitated nor am I overstuffing myself. And, this week I got my heart rate up, past 100 bpm for 30-minutes or longer, three days. Shouldn’t SOMETHING have dropped off???? Nope…I’m EXACTLY the same weight today as I was 12 days ago.

As I’m feeling now, I’m wondering if it’s all worth it. I’ve put a lot of energy and attention to this over the last 12 days and here I still sit, in my own angst. I don’t want to feel my own angst…that’s why I’ve developed this great habit :) Okay, I’m laughing at myself now. Yes, yes…the mirror is up and I’m looking straight in it. Sitting with my own angst… right now these feelings are very raw and immature. They’ve not been allowed out for a very long time. I wonder what will happen over time. Will they minimize? Will I find another, healthier salve? Or do I just learn to sit with them and not be overtaken by them? I will stay with this journey until these questions are answered…12 days… and counting.

Ahhhh, the children and dog are now quiet. And so is my agitation…not because of the silence, but because of the calmness that has come from discovering my truth…from stopping long enough in the throws of it all to witness myself and to get in touch with what I really want.

Peace and joy have returned. Hallelujah!

Hmmm… am I attached to peace and joy? Okay, okay, I’ll stop…for now :)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Day 10 July 16, 2009

I have another data point…the single shot latte was too much for me again this morning. I asked Frank to make mine a “scant” single shot tomorrow and I’ll see how that feels. I can feel the caffeine in my eyeballs…my eyes dart all about, I can feel the caffeine in my mind…I have a million thoughts and ideas vying for attention, making me both scattered and intense at the same time. My body wants to purge the excess energy by running around, and I am talking way too fast for everyone’s good.

My gosh, I used to live my entire LIFE this way!

I found it challenging to keep my hear rate above 100 while vacuuming. One cannot vacuum quickly as the vacuum cannot keep up. I found myself moving large pieces of furniture and vacuuming behind them, just to keep my heart rate up. I then switched to the hand vacuum…with attachments! I vacuumed the kittens’ taj mahal…my goodness it was full of hair. I hadn’t noticed it before. I got into all those tiny places where the big vacuum can’t reach. Then I hand vacuumed the rug in the studio…the kitten’s hair sticks like glue to it. Now my heart rate is nice and high and I have a light sweat going. Okay, I’ll need to get out the hand vacuum more than occasionally and really do the deeper cleaning in order to make it aerobic housecleaning. I am so motivated today.

I have that “hungry” feeling again today…the one that is really my natural energy emerging. Only it feels restless and unfocused. I put on my calendar that I was going to work for my entrepreneur today from home, but I REALLY want to play with my own business or go outside and do yard play. So I sit at the computer and piddle around…some work for Penny, some work for me. Hard to accurately track my Penny-time this way and really not accomplishing much in either arena. Finally, the time came for my Reiki client, so I was relieved from my unfocused antics.

Now the house is quiet…Frank is up in SF tonight with his son and Cap has gone to bed. I’ve got about 2-hours to myself. Immediately I have a strong urge to eat something semi-sweet, buttery, and carbohydratey…like a coffee cake (that I could so easily make in a nano second and eat it fresh and warm). I’m excited for my time alone and my natural energy is spewing out and I want to control it with carbs so that I can make my alone-time super productive.

For the first time in 10 days the thought actually comes to me to just forget this natural energy thing for one night and just eat something. The thought is like a slap in the face and I am conscious again. I will not eat…I will not give up 10 glorious days into my incredible journey. I would totally diminish myself if I gave in to that thought. It’s only one thought of the hundreds of thoughts going though my mind. Thoughts are NOT necessarily the truth. When I get calm and sit with myself and ask, “What do I really want?” My body and soul answer with crystal clear vision: I want to break the habit of controlling my natural energy with food and learn to dance with it on my own. Now THAT is a core truth. When I say it, I feel my cells and my spirit resonating with a grand “YES”.

Did I think my journey was going to be easy? No. I think I wrote earlier that I was going on a 30-day wilderness hike, not a simple stroll in the park. Well, here is a wide river that I much forge if I want to learn how to continuously live in my natural energy. Being conscious of the driving thoughts is a HUGE part of my learning. I think the best thing to do is not ignore this urge to eat, but to take some time out and sit consciously with it – to listen to my soul, to look at the wounds it’s bringing with it and see how I might do some healing tonight. Suddenly, gratefully, my “productiveness” doesn’t seem to mean anything to me anymore. I have a wonderful opportunity to heal tonight…and that’s what I’m gonna do! Ahhh, the tears are coming – I am telling my truth… and I am noticing that my urge to eat is subsiding. I think I hit the nail right on the head. Okay, off to heal and love myself the best way I know how: Reiki meditation :)

Day 9 July 15, 2009

What an interesting day! Started off feeling that my single-shot latte was too much caffeine…I was more hyped than I cared to be – and for HOURS. I thought this day might come. I’ll test it again tomorrow for a second data point :)

Another thing that is happening is that I am starting to want to exercise. I used to exercise regularly until I came down with RA two years ago this month. A year later, I was in a medical remission, but whenever I pushed myself physically, I would get a flare (or something similar). So I just stopped trying to exercise and even pushing myself to the point of sweat. Then we went to Peru this past May. I walked/hiked for no less than 4 hours every day for 2 ½ weeks in high elevation without one problem. I was amazed! So now I have a new benchmark…I know what my body is ready for and capable of.

About a week ago, a new friend of ours (our good friend’s fiancĂ©) was featured in an article about exercise and hearth health (he’s a cardiologist). One of his comments was that his patients frequently tell him that they don’t have time for exercise. His response back is that he himself works 60+ hours a week and finds time for 30-minute of exercise 3-5 times a week…and that they can too. That really struck me. For over a month now, I have known that I am able to exercise, but I haven’t done so because conditions weren’t perfect (no time, too hot, too cool, too late, didn’t want to get all sweaty and have to shower again, blah blah blah…). The first time the article was emailed to me, I read it, got the ‘knowing”, and pushed it back to my subconscious. A few days later, the article was on FB, so I read it again, pushed it back again…but not all the way. I’ve been thinking about it from time to time. Then, a few days ago, someone responded via “Reply All” to the original email and there it was in my consciousness again. They say three times is a charm and this is certainly true in my case :)

I thought about ways I could naturally incorporate aerobic activity into my life. When I do my heavy yard work (sawing down sapling trees, pruning, mulching, carrying stones, digging up plants, leveling ground), my heart rate does get up to the point where I have to stop and rest. Hmmm… isn’t that aerobic exercise? I do that about twice a week. What about when I do housework? If I did it quickly and aggressively enough, I bet I could get my heart-rate up for 30-minutes at a time. I do that every week.

So I emailed my cardiologist-friend to see what he thought of my ideas for natural exercise. He totally agreed and even educated me further. He said if I kept my heart-rate up to about 100-110 for 30 solid minutes at a time, 3-5 days a week, I would not only be doing my heart good, but I would burn FAT CALORIES. Wow! Now that is alluring!

So today, I scrubbed the bathroom walls, ceiling, and floor, then scrubbed the kitchen floor. I had a hard time getting my heart-rate up that high and keeping it there. So I tried working faster…that did the trick. It will take some practice to continually work at that rate of speed. And it will be a fun challenge. Tomorrow I’m planning on vacuuming and scrubbing our wood floor in the studio. Don’t think that will take 30-minutes, so I just might have to dust and clean the windows in the studio as well :) I’m gonna have a clean house from now on…it’s my natural gym! Put my iPod on and I’ll dance my way through housework!

It will be fun to look for natural ways to get my 30-minutes of aerobics in on a daily basis. Frank and I have talked before about walking in the mornings…but that just doesn’t seem to work for us…but, we CAN walk one day a week, that is totally doable. So…let’s see… I’ve got heavy labor yard work twice a week + aerobic house cleaning once a week + a brisk walk with Frank once a week = 4 times a week of aerobic activity that will just come naturally. I believe I am capable of doing official exercise just two days a week to make up the difference…like taking a brisk walk around the neighborhood for half an hour.

The last thing I experienced today was being in the presence of chocolate and not being tempted AT ALL. We went to Frank’s son’s and his fiance’s house for dinner and she served fruit sorbet with shaved chocolate on top (she didn’t know of my 30-day journey). She was excited about this new fair trade chocolate she found. I actually went over to the chocolate bar…smelled it, looked at the package to check it out…all the while never even wanting to taste it. It was a miracle :) All this didn’t even dawn on me until we were on our way home, when I was reflecting on the evening.

I am ending this day with a new commitment to myself to exercise for 30-minutes, 3-5 times a week AND to be in my natural energy. Wellness begets wellness.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day 8 July 14, 2009

It’s just after 11pm and I’m very tired…but I have committed to writing everyday of my experiences, so here I am :)

What I noticed today is that my energy has peaks and valleys. This afternoon I got pretty tired. When I checked in with my body, I realized that I hadn’t eaten lunch. So I bought a sandwich…ate it…and within an hour was nicely revived.

This evening, as I was watering the outside plants (being much more present this time, I’m pleased to say), I noticed that my energy, again, was low. Understandable after a long day away from home.

That’s when it dawned on me that I am not used to these peaks and valleys. With chocolate, I would partake at the first sign of a valley…keeping my energy at a constant peak. I still have that knee-jerk reaction at the onset of a valley. It’s interesting how many little times during the day the thought to have chocolate comes up. Now I know that when that happens that I’m in a little valley. The thought comes to me during these times to have something to eat…like a piece of fruit. But I dismiss that thought because I would be substituting one “drug” for another and I don’t’ want to do that. Then I think, “Oh, I could take a brisk walk around the block. That would boost my energy.” But I think it’s the same old game…artificially boosting my energy. I think the best thing to do is to ride the waves of energy and just learn to flow with it all. I really want to see what it’s like with my own natural energy and my natural rhythms.

Natural energy rhythms…a new concept. I will witness this over the next several days and see how it all plays out.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Day 7 July13, 2009

An hour after breakfast I am feeling hungry again. Only it’s not a hunger that resides in my stomach…and shouldn’t be. I had a bowl of oatmeal with a fresh peach for breakfast; I’m sure my stomach is still processing it all. So where does the hunger reside? It feels like it’s throughout my body. Maybe it’s not hunger at all…but a lightness of being. I’ve not been over-filling myself with food or going to food when I’m stressed. Now, I wake up hungry in the mornings. Maybe this thing that feels like hunger is actually energy in my system from not being bogged down with food.

If this is true, then I fear that I have been misinterpreting this feeling as hunger for many, many years. Especially when dieting. I feel sort of empty inside…and I have associated this feeling with hunger because it usually comes on when I consciously cut back on my food intake. Looking back, I see that this is what has driven me to the refrigerator after dieting for a period of time…only it didn’t go away right away, so an hour later I was back at the fridge again, then yet again an hour after that, until finally the feeling went away. If I stop and think about it, my stomach was way full – it wasn’t that I was hungry. When I diet, I eat really balanced and wholesome meals, so I know my body wasn’t craving nutrition. So this feeling could actually have been my natural energy emerging!

So here I sit, feeling my natural energy. It is subtle and gentle. When I am high on chocolate, I can feel it in my eyes –physical pressure behind my eyeballs, totally focused, wider open. I can feel it in my head – I am very driven and intense. I can feel it in my heart – it seems to beat a bit faster, propelling me along. I don’t’ feel any of these things now. I am present, I can witness, I have perspective. I know there are many things that I want to get done today, yet I am not worried. I will move gently and consistently throughout my day. I feel that I am in a state of….peace and joy.

Interesting that this feeling of peace and joy does not diminish my passion for life. I’ve always associated that hard driving chocolate high with passion. If that were gone, would it take away my passion as well? Apparently not! I am very excited about working on the items on my to-do list, which consists of activities like working for my entrepreneur and on my own Reiki business, along with the more mundane, like backing up my documents and cleaning the house. It’s all good…it’s good because I’m present with it all.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day 6 July12, 2009

Today wasn’t as pleasant a day as the previous 5…I suppose it had to happen sometime. My body is tired from two days of more physical activity than I am used to. I enjoy this tiredness, however, I know my body has been exercised and that feels good. In my previous life (aka 7 days ago) I would have munched on chocolate all day long to keep my energy at a higher level. But in this life, I had to be with my very mellow energy.

I ran a few errands and came back very tired. Can’t pull out the chocolate…so I took a nap. What a waste of time :( A full hour later, I am no longer sleepy tired, but still very mellow.

I sat at my computer, reading an article April sent me about the history of Reiki and comparing it to my own learning. I spend more time than I “should” at it, but it was important for me to understand the information that is out there. And April asked me to do this…she is a good friend and a teacher and I was honored to do it.

At 6pm I went outside to water the plants. California is in it’s 3rd year of drought and in our area we have a moratorium on outside watering from 9am – 6pm. Usually, I delight in watering the yard after a hot day…I imagine each plant rejoicing as it laps up the water into its parched roots. I enjoy rinsing off their dusty leaves to help them better photosynthesize. I commune with them. But tonight everything just seemed to take a long time. I wanted to give my peach and crepe myrtle trees a good soaking. I was too lazy to get my gloves and overlap by pulling weeds, so I just stood there…doing only one thing…watering the plants…without communing with them. I just stood out there with the hose in my hand and my mind on who knows what. Certainly not present with these magnificent beings.

It’s now almost eight o’clock and I look at all the things I had planned yesterday to do today. I’ve done five out of ten. Ugh. Frank and I are getting together at 8:30 to watch a movie…so that leaves me 30-minutes to do 5 things :) And I haven’t even had dinner yet. So I go and try to squeeze these remaining items into tomorrow and the next day's calendar. If I were on chocolate, I’d be able to get them all done. These days…who knows?

Even though today has been a tough day, I realize in the midst of it that this is still what I choose to do…how I choose to treat my body, mind, and spirit. This is real…the other was manufactured. I prefer real.

Day 5 July 11, 2009

I spent 3 glorious hours in the Redwood forest in front of my house today (okay, we’re only talking about a dozen trees, but it’s my little forest). Clearing away little dead trees, root suckers, saplings, and years worth of dead leaves and branches. I took out an entire bush of some sort…opening up our little yard area even more. Tomorrow I’ll put all this through my new electric mulcher/chipper. Redwood forest loam…woohoo!

Totally physically spent, I took a much needed shower, then rested for about 15 minutes. It’s amazing how refreshed I can feel after a short, but deep nap.

Frank and I talked about how he is experiencing me these past 5-days. He said he is really enjoying me in my “Native Energy. He said I seem much more mellow and more present. Wow, more present. I really feel that too. Before, when I was in the middle of something and he came to talk with me, I see now that I was just waiting for him to finish so that I could get back to whatever it was I was doing. Not really being present with him or engaging him. These days when he comes to talk to me, I find it easier to pull out of what I am doing because I’m not so driven in the first place (as in, “must -get -this -done -now.”). I actually find what he’s saying more interesting because I am paying attention…I am present and really getting into what he’s saying. I’m appreciating his enthusiasm as he talks; I even notice his facial expressions (he’s really quite cute)!

I’m mellow and present…not amped up on chocolate or stifled with food. This is good.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Day 4, July 10, 2009

Today is my birthday – 52 years on the planet…and counting J

I chose to have decaf coffee (instead of the “hard stuff”) at the restaurant where Cap and Frank took me to breakfast. It actually felt really good not to be both full and hyped up on caffeine. (Now, let me explain…I have not given up my single shot soy latte first thing in the morning. This is because I don’t feel that I am abusing caffeine in the morning…as long as I stick to just that, and not have more caffeine on top of that…like tea later on in the morning. Perhaps some day I will find that the morning latte is getting in my way of being fully with myself. If/when that happens, I will remove that habit too.)

Later in the day, Frank and I went peddle-boating at the Loch Lomond reservoir. Here is where my knee-jerk reaction came to have chocolate. It was warm, the scenery was gorgeous, I was on the water – which I LOVE - and I was communing with my husband. I wanted more…I wanted the “drug” of chocolate that would amp everything up that I was feeling. Interesting to witness this. Here I am, with good, natural energy and everything was perfect. Why alter this experience?

So I let the desire go…and it went gracefully. Oh, the thought of having chocolate popped up now and again during the afternoon on the water, but only as habit…not as need. I was mellow all day…and that is a new experience for me. And it was quite enjoyable. Not being overwhelmed by the drug in my system, I was better able to really hear the sounds and see the sights and be with my beloved. I even nodded off for about 10 minutes when we stopped for awhile in the shade of the trees on the bank of the reservoir. When I awoke, I was refreshed. “Hmmm…” I thought, “so when I get a little tired, all I have to do is take a 10-minute nap and I will wake up refreshed. It doesn’t require chocolate to keep me going all day.”

And refreshed I was. We went out to dinner and dancing after 3-hrs of peddling! I dropped into bed at 11:30 wonderfully tired. And I fell asleep right away! Usually, when I go to bed I am quite tired, but have a hard time falling asleep…my body is buzzing and my mind is spinning. I’m curious to know if that is me naturally, or a result of the stimulant of chocolate/caffeine in my system. Only time will tell…

See you tomorrow!

Day 3

Today was a “lower” energy day. I got to bed an hour later than I should have last night. I worked for my entrepreneur today about 60 miles away. Normally, I would have brought a tea bag with me and sipped on the tea all day. Then, I would have bought a single shot latte or a small Scharffen Berger chocolate bar for the long, slow, warm drive home.

But today, in my commitment to pure, natural energy, I didn’t do any of those things. And an amazing thing happened. After I ate lunch, I revived – not that manic reviving that happens when I drink caffeine or eat chocolate – but a calm revival that was very even. That’s what I enjoyed the most…the evenness of the energy. Even though my energy was lower than I experienced yesterday, I found I wasn’t sleepy in the car…I even had to run an errand on the way home, which extended my commute by about 30-minutes. I made two wrong turns and found myself very neutral about the mistakes.

Steady energy and calmness…now that’s a switch!

Here I sit after dinner feeling that steady energy notched down a bit more. I’m not ready for sleep, but I’m ready to not push tonight. I want to just take it slow and keep it steady…read and reply to emails, check FB, write in my blog, and maybe get my flyer out for my new Reiki class.

Interesting…I don’t want to push…I want to keep it calm and steady…matching the energy that is inside of me. This all feels very organic…very natural. Native energy.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

2nd of 30 Days

I’ve been practicing the system of Reiki for almost 4 years now. During this time, I have become much more grounded, centered, and open in my heart. Recently, through the assistance of hypnotherapy, I have discovered inside of me infinite wisdom and perspective, and I have reconnected with the source of my spirit, which unites me with my own power. I know and accept that I am pure love. It is a love so strong that it permeates my entire body and flows out into the world. Occasionally, when I work with someone, it envelops both of us to the point that a tangible, distinct shift is felt.

It is now time for me to be pure energy as well. I feel it inside me, wanting to be explored and refined. Those who know me say that I am intense and have a lot of energy. But what comes out does not feel like clean energy, rather it feels manic, distracted, unproductive, and hard to manage.

I long for the day when I can step into my power of pure energy, just as I have stepped into my power of pure love. Today, I am one step closer to that wonderland, where my spirit – full of the purest love and the purest energy of the universe – is fully embodied.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

30 Days of Being Wtih My Natural Energy

I have been abusing chocolate again to the point that I had a headache yesterday…also the 2nd latte of the day didn’t help. I went to bed with my head pounding and woke up this morning with the same. This is not the first time.

I realize that I have been stifling my own natural energy for most of my life. Usually it’s with food, and for the last decade, it has also been with chocolate. I enjoy the high I get from it – I feel strongly connected to love and quite blissful. I eat the kind with the least amount of sugar and the highest percentage of cocoa. I once tried baking chocolate, but found it way too bitter. Scharffen Berger 82% dark chocolate is my favorite…or their mocha version, but then I really get soaring.

I can handle the high I get from chocolate because it is less intense than my own natural energy. And, after all these years, the chocolate-energy is an energy I am familiar and comfortable with. Whereas I am quite disconnected from my own natural energy. As soon as I feel it coming on, I turn to chocolate…or food, to minimize its effect.

Today, I am making a commitment to myself to be with my own natural energy for one month. From today until August 7th, I will abstain from chocolate and using food to stifle my natural energy. I commit to noticing and sitting with myself during these days, discovering the gifts that my natural energy brings me.

During this time, I will chronicle my journey each day in this blog in hopes to discover the blessings that this entire journey affords me.