Saturday, December 13, 2014

Y is for a Year in review. Because everyone else is doing it.

So, it's that time of year again. Top 10 lists of the best of 2014 this and the worst of 2014 that. Yawn. I know. And I'm about to add to that. With hopefully a little more inspiration and a little less tedium.

2014 has been an interesting year for me for sure. And if you have been following this blog, you've read all about my highs and lows and shifts from typical Type A to atypical Type A, which I guess is Type not A? It's not Type B, that's for sure.

So, in the spirit of end of years lists, I am making one myself. You know I can babble on and on but I'll do my best to keep this digestible. This is more of a path through my spiritual journey but I am hoping you get inspired to try some of these for yourself.

Top 10 things I learned along the way:
1. This first one is of utmost importance to me and my path: TRUST. A Type A-er relies solely on themselves to get shit done. I've come to learn that something else is out there, guiding me. I must trust it has my back. And I also must trust that others do, too. And finally, I have to trust in myself. (the shorter, more general synopsis to this longer point is: things really do happen for a reason, trust in them.)

2. Losing a dog is hard. Very, very hard. But losing the lesson is harder. So make sure you appreciate everything your animal teaches you. They are here until their job is done. Understand that. Embrace it. Let it help you heal. Then, honor them by being the person they always thought you were. (I love my new dog Petey, in a short time he has taught me so much, but I will also miss and have a space in my heart for Miss Maddie and everything she has brought to me—including Petey)

3. Vicoden is not the answer. Neither is Xanax. You read that correctly. I miss them, I won't lie, but there are alternative and healthier options out there. Try them all. It won't kill you, but an OD might.

4. Stay in your best self. Walk away from friendships, relationships, jobs, even conversations that do not serve you. There is no reason you should not be in your best self all the time.

5. Allow for "note to self moments." Meaning, this spiritual thing is a practice for a reason. I've been Robyn for 42 years and it has helped me get to where I am. I need to appreciate that. Changing over night is a lot of pressure to put on yourself, so don't. Allow for mistakes and set backs, bad days and swear words. The change comes when you start to recognize these patterns as opposed to living in them.

6. Thoughts are fleeting. They do not define who you are. They just define a moment in your brain. An inner voice making a judgement. A trick I use when a negative thought or judgement comes into my mind is I speak to it. So yeah, I'm crazy. I say, "oh, that's what fear sounds like" or "that's just worrying, I recognize it." By defusing it's path, it loses it's strength.

Which leads me to 7. Which is the hardest for me to date. LOVE all those feelings and judgements. Let them know that without them, you can't appreciate their opposite. Meaning, I love scarcity because it helps me appreciate abundance. I know. A hard one to wrap your head around (and truth be told I do not love scarcity or fear or worry, but I am trying). Again, it's a practice for a reason. I'm not there yet. I'm a Type A after all.

8. Meditation does make you 10% happier. If not more. Try it. If I can sit quiet for 20-50 minutes, you can too.

9. Before you respond (or in my cases in the past, react) ask yourself "W.A.I.T! = Why Am I Talking?" (here's a bonus acronym: R.A.I.N = Recognize. Accept. Inspect. Neutralize)

10. Be inspired. I hope this blog has helped you as much as it has helped me. Writing it out is truly one of the best forms of therapy. At least it has been for me. Find what inspires you, lifts you, motivates you and go for it. You'll be a lot happier you did, than wishing you didn't try something (well, unless of course it's bungee jumping off a 100 ft bridge with 110ft rope. Don't try that, that's just common sense...)

I'm almost at the end of my alphabet, but I am just beginning my journey. I'll keep posting, fret not. I hope you keep enjoying.

Happy Holidays, New Year and all that jazz.

Friday, November 14, 2014

A too, Brute?: J is for Journey. As if it would have been for any...

A too, Brute?: J is for Journey. As if it would have been for any...: All things considered, did you really expect this blog to have J stand for anything else BUT journey? Well, maybe journal, which was my ori...

J is for Journey. As if it would have been for anything else.

All things considered, did you really expect this blog to have J stand for anything else BUT journey? Well, maybe journal, which was my original thought, but journal derives from journey, and this blog is all about that so that's where I'm going with it (see what I am doing here? Going...journey...).

I'm not going to get all cliché-like on you and say life isn't about the destination, blah blah blah. That's not what this is all about. But, as before, I am going to get into details about my personal journey in hopes it helps you with yours. That, and this blogging thing not only helps me with my writing but it's damn cathartic.

It's been almost a year since I have started this spiritual growth quest. The path to which I got here is as important as where I am going but I want to focus on recent events. This past month has probably been one of the toughest months I have ever experienced. My heart dog, Maddie, passed away. As I type this I still get choked up. Maddie's journey had come to an end after a bad 24 hours. In my mind, her last day was going to be filled with sun and fun and burgers. Instead it was filled with a 104 fever and tears. As I work through the grief with my Life Coach we discuss how her time here had come to an end because she did what she had to do. She taught me about unconditional love and life and happiness. She helped me through break-ups and moves and bad jobs. However, my journey is still continuing on without her. And it's been really, really tough. Really. And then I met Petey. Petey is a Pitbull who was used as a bait dog in a fighting ring. I saw his smile (can you believe it? After all he's been through, he smiles?!?!) on Facebook one day and knew this was the dog. It was Maddie's smile. Maddie's eyes. And the crazy thing was it was the same exact expression Maddie had that I recently framed. When people tell you that your old dog will find you a new one, they don't lie.

So now Petey and I begin our journey together. And truth be told Maddie and I continue it as well because last week I separated ways with my job. It wasn't unexpected. It wasn't horrible. It was just not right. I recently told a friend that if this job were my boyfriend, I would have broken up with it. So, as with all journeys, the universe led me down a path that I wouldn't have gone down by myself. It took care of me. For what reason I don't know. Clearly because something better is out there. And clearly because I need to bond and be with my new dog. But here's the thing...Maddie sent me Petey because she knew that at this juncture in my journey, I need the comfort of a trusted friend. And she didn't want me to be alone.

I know, I know. This is all sounding a bit hokey. And cult like. I get it. A year ago I would have BA-HAHAHA'ed the hell out of this post. But having traveled down the path I've been on, I can only say that this is truly the way things work. The universe takes care of what you can not. My grandmother used to say, "G-d does for you what you can't do for yourself." So, no matter how you spin it, G-d, the universe, angels, karma...things so happen for a reason (and Petey and I coming together is one of those which I will cover in the next blog post). We all have a journey we are meant to experience. Paths that bring us to places and changes that help us move-on.

I don't know where the next stop on my journey is. I'm not gonna lie, I'm slightly freaked-out. But, I'm also slightly excited. Before all of this exploration I would have never had the tools to get through this kind of "patch." But see, that's how it works...I met the people I have met (my Life Coach, my acupuncturist, Petey) because I needed the tools and love they provide to help me along this journey (have I said this word enough). And what are one of those tools? Well, a journal of course. And what would a J blog post be without a picture of them.

This first one is called "The Scribble Diary" and I love it! I found it at The Getty Museum but
I'm sure you can find it on Amazon. I randomly open to a page and begin to fill in
all the spaces provided. Sometimes I even draw...hence the name of the book. I highly recommend this book. It always makes me feel better and I do it before I go to bed so random thoughts and internal voices aren't keeping me up at night. 

The second one is a blank lined book. This was the first one I bought (and still use) per the advice of my Life Coach. She asked me to buy a book I can keep notes in. To record feelings and thoughts and intentions. I got this one for one reason only, "Stay gold Ponyboy. Stay gold."

There are still a lot of blank pages left in this book because I don't use it every day. I only use it when a moment strikes. Which is great. Because I still have a lot of journeying to do.

Oh, and here's Petey. Because how can I not show you how perfect a dog Miss Maddie found for me. 

Love. Sigh. Exhale. Journey on.

Monday, September 8, 2014

A is for An Inch. Which is A LOT.

Yes, it's been some time since I have posted and yes, I still have a few more letters to cover off on, but it's been a crazy month. I started a new job, I ended a relationship, I moved, and most importantly, I took some time away from writing. However, by letting go this past month of all the not-so-good in my life, I've made some room for GROWTH. How much? Well, a lot. And it all started with an inch.

This past weekend I went to Mammoth. Outside of it being one of my happy places, it was a very meaningful trip. Last summer I went on a backpacking adventure through the Eastern Sierras. The goal (hey, I'm a Typer A-er, of course there was a goal!)? Summit Middle Pal. However, I didn't make it. Sure I had fun with my friends. Sure I got to almost 13k ft. But I did not hit the summit and to me, that meant I failed. My success was not based on my journey but rather the goal. (And I know you know where I am going with this but I'm going to go there anyway.) Having worked with my Life Coach this whole time, I have come to learn that managing my vision of success means letting go of the end result. So much success was had on that trip last summer but I was too goal-oriented to see it.

Fast forward one year later. I sign up for rock climbing instruction. And not in a gym, but on real rock, in Mammoth. The kind that held me back at Middle Pal. And before I went I spoke to my Life Coach about it. I said this is the skill I need to get me to the summit, but I'm scared about trusting a complete stranger to help me. She reminded me to watch my words, and reframed that statement to be, "I'm curious to see how I work WITH trust on this trip." Then she spoke to me about success. And this isn't the first we've talked about success. What do I see success being? I said, not being afraid of Middle Pal again. Complete each task they give me. Walking away strong and ready. Hello, list maker...

So yeah, that had to be reframed, too. I had to manage my vision of my success. If I didn't get to the top of the rock, I had to be ok with where I got. I had to measure success differently. In baby steps. Or in the case of rock climbing in inches.

And wanna know what? It worked. Sure, I had to remind myself of it, (out loud too, which made me look REALLY insane) but it worked. And I was brave enough to mention this to both my guides. That I not only wanted to work on rock climbing skills, but use it as a tool to help me manage my vision of success and work on my trust. It's amazing how with each step (which felt like miles but was really inches) I felt happier with that one step. And the top, 100 feet above me was no longer the goal. It was actually very liberating to let go of that success marker. And actually, it made it easier to get to the top, as well as listen to the new lessons I was learning. My brain was no longer on "get to the goal" mode. No more rushing to cross this off the list. No more anxiety about failure.

I know it sounds like I've accomplished a lot in a little amount of time but that's not true. This journey has been happening for almost a year now. And continues to happen. And inch by inch I'm growing into the person I want to be. Is that a goal? Sure, but, I'm enjoying the journey much more than I am crossing it off my list.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

E is for Emptying the Basket (or as I call it: Conversational Vomit)

Last week was interesting for me, and a lot has happened. However, when I got to my life coach appointment, I found myself spending a good portion of the start of our session talking about bullshit. Inconsequential tidbits that have no bearing on our session (or so I thought...wait for it). Ever do that? Get on the phone with someone or meet up with someone and just start rambling? Like you've been holding in this conversation sooooo long that you were about to burst if you didn't let it out?

Yup. Don't lie.

Well, guess what...there is a term for that. It's called "emptying the basket." And the funny thing is, we all do it yet it bothers us all (usually the world is a mirror...). Especially us Type A-ers whose patience wears thin when we can't check off what WE want to cover on the call (or in the conversation) because someone else is conversationally vomiting.

It really is a practice of patience to let someone else empty their basket. Another thing I have problems with. But, like everything else I am doing, or shall I say, relearning, I am working on it.

Here's a good example (I've tossed and turned on whether or not to use the person involved's real name but decided I love them too much to do it, so...). I speak to an old friend weekly. Sometimes bi-weekly. Every time I get on the phone with them I have to sit through some pretty mundane talk. Gossip mostly, or idle tidbits. I can not even connect with that kind of talk, especially because it's about people I don't even know. They go on and on. I zone out (how rude, I know). Then it's the grocery list or the daily errands. The whole beginning of our conversation I want to scream, or worse, hang up. I've talked about this with my Life Coach and she just laughed and said something to the effect of, "like you just did?" Touché Life Coach, touché. So, we worked on how to approach those weekly conversations. It's simple. WITH LOVE. I need to understand that we all do this. We all want to be heard. Want to be understood. When you approach this kind of situation with love and shift the way you converse, or rather listen, the other person shifts as well, and the conversation can be a beautiful thing. It makes me think of my recent post about being more like Maddie. I use less words. I keep it simple. I'm loyal and I listen. I still roll my eyes here and there but now I catch myself doing it (thank G-D this person does not use FaceTime of Skype). I let the others empty their basket and love them for it anyway. I don't cut them off anymore or say, "my turn" or think "what about me." I make it all about them, which shifts something in me.

So, next time someone vomits all over your phone call or happy hour meet-up, shift your perspective (and if they're really throwing up, shift your position) and let them empty the basket. Love them for it. You'll end up loving yourself for it, too.

Monday, July 7, 2014

K is for Keeping up with Cameron Diaz

There's nothing about Mary here. Just something personal and something life lesson-ish. You've been warned.

I'm 42. Fuck, I'm closer to 50 then I am to 30. Some say I should be freaking out. (Actually, that's putting it generally. People are actually asking me what I am going to do about having a baby as I get older. Chutzpah is not a lost art my friends.) But, I'm not. I'm actually quite calm about it. Maybe it's because I don't "feel" 42 (and I'm not sure what it's supposed to feel like) or look 42 (co-worker's words, not mine) or allow myself to believe that 42 is too old. Too old to marry, to have kids, to start a (newish) career, to start over. Well if you know me, you know I have something to say to people who say I am: FUCK YOU.

Well, at least that's what the old me would have said. These days, when people I have't seen in a while ask me inappropriate questions, I'm actually quite calm about it. I used to get upset and respond in a snarky way. Then I would go home and fixate on everything I wasn't accomplishing...according to other people's standards. I let the negative judgements roll over and over in my head until I was so far deep in the rabbit hole. It made for a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of failures in my head, and a lot of expectations to live up to—few of which were my very own.

So yes, this is something I am working on. My life coach gave me worksheets to help me visualize what I want for myself. In love, in work, in life. It's not a one-time worksheet deal. I add to it, I take away from it, I do it over. I get specific and sometimes allow myself to stay general. It's a WIP, just like me. But here's something I noticed while doing this: I've never done ANYTHING like this before. I've never visualized what I wanted. ME.

(if you want me to send you a blank worksheet and some directions on how to get it started, let me know. this is the BEST tool I have ever used)

See, I've never had a wedding planned out in my head. Never had the dream dress picked out for "when." I was playing with blocks and Lincoln Logs not Barbie and Ken go on a honeymoon and make babies. Maybe that had something to do with it, maybe it didn't, but I've never focused on wanting kids or not wanting kids. Being too old or past my prime. Seems I'm in good company...

"I like protecting people, but I was never drawn to being a mother. I have it much easier than any of them. That's just what it is. Doesn't mean life isn't sometimes hard. I'm just what I am. I work on what I am. Right now, I think, things are good for me. I've done a lot. And I don't care anymore." --Cameron Diaz 

Hammer, meet nail head. Thank you Cameron for making it ok to be right where we are at our age.

Right now, even as I figure what it is I want out of life (baby? marriage? career? another dog? all of it?) I'm also perfectly fucking happy right where I am. So, next time you see me, be happy for me. Maybe I don't have what you have but it's ok. There's nothing any of us should feel uncomfortable or unsuccessful about. And truth be told, there never should have been. I am also realizing that those projections were my own and no one else's.

So, I'm climbing out of that hole and I'm liking the view. It's bright here. Open. Endless. Brett Favre isn't courting me, but I'll live. Why? Because I am exactly where I want to be. And to that I say, FUCK YEAH!

(side note: Savannah Guthrie is having her first child at 42. Actually double side note: in my 'life' worksheet I actually have children—yes, plural— I am a very good mama to, and no, they're not the four legged kind ;) )

Monday, June 23, 2014

G is for Gratitude for Miss Maddie. (aka—what I learned from my dog and how grateful I am for the lesson)

If you're my friend on Facebook, follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you well know that Maddie is my dog. If you don't, well now you know, too.

Maddie and I came to be in October of 2001, when she was barely 8 months old. A friend knew I had passed on a dog that was the mix and look I liked, and when she saw a flyer for Maddie, she let me know about her. I have to admit, when I met Maddie I was a bit terrified. She was crazy, A.D.D like, strong and sitting on a coffee table in someone's house. She had never been on a leash, never really walked, never in a car. The fact that she was part Pittbull didn't bother me at all; but that's because I was told she was a Lab/Boxer mix.

I thought a few days about it and decided I can't pass on another dog. And I can't bear to leave her in a home that didn't have time for her. (Looking back I now know the universe aligned for us to be together.)

Oh, and did I mention her name at the time was Suzie-Q, as in the dessert? Sigh...

So, I "adopted" Maddie. It was definitely a learning experience at first. And there were a lot of curve balls; but after a some training, some good walks and short runs, and some great friends to help and advise, we got in sync (not the band—please, I'm too old for that. But wanna talk NKOTB, I'm your girl). After a year together I moved from our home in CO to NYC. People kept asking what I was going to do with my dog. I found that to be such a bizarre question. My answer was always, "What do you do with your children when you move?" So yeah, I knew I had become 'one of those.'

And from that point on I recognized daily the impact Maddie has made on my life.

Recently we have been dealing with Maddie's Cancer. And by we, I mean Maddie and I (see above crazy dog person admission). I've decided to not treat her as she is 13 1/2 and the Chemo is aggressive and the surgery arduous. She was given MAYBE 4 months to live. That was OVER a year ago. I felt like she was invincible. Then this past weekend a tumor in her chest started to bleed. I couldn't tell if it was opening, busting through or what. I tried my best to not think negative thoughts but I lost my shit Sunday morning. I couldn't believe that I was so naive to think Maddie would live forever like this. Or at least another 2 years. And that's when I decided to write this post. It's my letter of gratitude to Maddie. I have learned so much from her that it seems shameful to not share this while she is alive (yes, I know she can't read but when I tell her I did this, she'll be touched).

So, with that being said, here is a list of things I've learned from Miss Maddie (in no particular order):

BE LIKE MADDIE (this is something my life coach and I have determined is a good intention for me to live up to)

• Keep it simple. Too many words muddle the message (note, this does not apply to this blog).
• Eat, sleep, play and love are all you need to live a happy life.
• It's ok to ask for something (in dog speak we call this "beg").
• Begin each day anew (it's crazy that Maddie wakes up as if each day is her first. Excited, eager and ready to please. Her favorite saying is, "Cancer? What Cancer?")
• Speak up. Let someone know when something is bothering you.
• There IS such a thing as unconditional love between 2 non-related beings.
• It's ok to walk up to strangers and say hello. It's also ok to trust your instincts when it is not.
• A long walk everyday is the key.
• A good stretch is a great way to start your day.
• Live life in the present
• Always say sorry. Always forgive.
• Forget about the bad days.
• We all make mistakes. It's ok.
• Be proud of your grey hairs.
• Get outside more.
• Eat with reckless abandon

I used to wish that dogs lived forever. Recently I have come to realize that if they did, we wouldn't appreciate them as much. We have a few short years with them so we soak it all in, love deeply, commit wholeheartedly and accept our differences. Imagine if we applied that thinking to all humans?

Maddie will pass one day. I'll lose it. I'll likely stay in bed for a week. But when that happens I will still be thankful for each and every day we've had together. The good, the bad, the ugly. And for that I will be eternally grateful.

I love my dog. More than I should. And I'm very ok with being one of those. Because she is one of a kind.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Q is for The Queen of Complaints has Abdicated

Ever use the saying "no complaints?" Sure you have. We all have. Ever really mean it? As in REALLY mean it? I can't be too sure I have. I mean who can't find something, anything to complain about?! Heck, that's what blogs started as. Open and social venting. Twitter limits you to 140 characters and Facebook lets you hide those "my life sucks" posts from your friends but how do you stop complaining?

The other day I was reading a friends post on FB. It was long and vengeful and quite uncomfortable to read. But like an accident on the shoulder of the 10 going west, I couldn't look away. And the whole time I kept thinking, "she really needs to talk to someone." Then I thought, how many times have my friends thought that about me? I have spent the better part of my 30s not in a good spiritual place. That's not to say I was mean or deceitful or unhappy. It's just I wasn't fully comfortable and happy with who I was. I complained about my posture, my boyfriend at the time, my weight, my salary (or lack there of), my friends, my enemies, and so on. Pretty much I was consumed with things that weren't quite right. And I got validation when friends agreed with me (as friends do, because we support each other). It was like hating loves company. And it felt AWESOME. How many times have you sat with a friend, complained about another and both feed off of that conversation? Don't answer (you don't have to, I'm not trying to make you feel guilty). Just read on.

Recently I started "prizing" myself. I've also started Metta Meditation. I've mentioned prizing before but I wanted to bring it up again as I think I am finally seeing and feeling the results. Prizing is when you compliment yourself 5 times (or 2 or 20, your call) a day for little things you like about yourself. Could be an outfit you put together or the way you let that a$$hole cut in front of you (see, I'm still me :) ) or how you got up early to spend more time outside. Whatever it is, recognize it, compliment yourself on it and love it. It really does help. And as hokey as it sounds, it helps a lot when you look in a mirror and do it. Sure, you'll look crazy to someone else, but who cares? If that hasn't stopped me now, it sure as hell shouldn't stop you.

But you are not alone in this world. While loving yourself is the most important, wanting the same for others is equally so. That's where Metta comes in. At night, before I go to bed, I pick 3 random (strange even, but not complete strangers) people, myself and one loved one to focus on. I wish them health, an easy journey through life, happiness and safety. It's small but it also works. I didn't believe it at first but after about 2 months of doing this I really do feel a little bit more compassionate towards others. I'm not enlightened by any means but it definitely changes my POV. (Look, I'm still gonna judge, I just hope to do it with a lighter stick. But, if I see you wearing a dress that's really a shirt, I'm gonna make fun of you...then I'll prolly be slightly jealous you're comfortable going out looking like that.)

And here's something else that will happen—and I speak from experience. You're going to feel awfully uncomfortable when others around you start venting or complaining about their life, random things, or other people. You're going to notice who needs to spend a little more time loving things rather than hating. You're also going to recognize in yourself when you fall in that trap. It's crazy but it happens. And every time it does, I prize myself as such because just 6 months ago, before I started this whole wonderful and strange journey, I was the biggest hater of them all and now I see how I am slowly but surely leaving that part of my life behind me.

I wore the Hater Crown for so long there's a ring mark around my head. However, it's time I've stepped down and leave the hating for someone else. And hopefully they will read this and pass over the throne. And maybe, just maybe, the Kingdom of Haters will not have their Queen and we all will live happily ever after—you know, like they all do in "Shrek."

Monday, June 9, 2014

P is for a big ol' cup of perspective.

Recently I have been trying to figure things out. Well, more like trying to figure out what the universe is trying to tell me. Go full-time, stay freelance, leave SoCal, date more, date less, write, don't write, etc.

But mostly I've been trying not to fret that I don't have all the answers. It's a daily practice to trust and surrender as a Type A-er and to not know the next steps. Sometimes it sends me into a downward spiral, truth be told. And yet, as always, there is something to spring me back.

Enter Natalie. Natalie is a woman I meditate with. She came to our group after a serious bout with a heart condition. She's young. As in half my age. She and her dad come every week and they meditate with us, they smile and she even now works at my Acupuncturist's office, knowing there are other methods that help heal. She is a good person. I'm always very impressed by her maturity and coping mechanisms. I'm pretty sure my 22-year old self would be asking "why me?" and constantly saying "it's not fair!" But not Natalie. SOOOOO impressive.

Last week Natalie told us that the doctor's found something in her heart, again. GULP! They weren't sure what it was but they need to get at it. They've been very honest with her about not knowing what it was and that they aren't sure what the next step is. 22 and she is dealing with something no one at any age should have to deal with. And sure, she's scared, but she's positive. And she keeps on keeping on. Wow.

And here I am, back row of meditation thinking, I'm freaking scared, or maybe a better word is concerned. Worrying about my checking account, my savings account, my retirement funds, when the next gig will come, when will I work again, when will I meet someone and BAM Natalie is dealing with real life issues that need real life love. It's perspective alright. Makes me realize that a) it can be worse b) I don't own all the world's problems and c) it's all relative but I am pretty lucky that all I have to worry about is if the freelance gig I am at will last as long as they say it will. It really put things into place for me.

Perspective is funny like that. You only get it when you need it most. It's like a shot of Espresso or if you're like me and don't drink coffee, a diet soda. Wakes you up from the sleepy haze you've been wandering in not seeing the forest for the trees. My lesson here? drink it all in. Things come to you for a reason. While Natalie suffers, she's come to me to make me realize there's more to life. I just hope something good comes her way as well. Outside of all my good thoughts and compassion.

Note: If you happen to meditate or say prayers or think about people who need good thoughts, please add Natalie to your list. Thank you!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

N is for Nightmares. And not on Elm Street.

We all know dreams are our subconscious trying to tell us something, or work something out. Or a product of some pretty awesome drugs, but I digress...

If that's what dreams are, what are nightmares? Well, they are defined as an unpleasant dream that can cause a strong emotional response from the mind, typically fear or horror but also despairanxiety and great sadness. Hmmm, well that sounds familiar. I've been anxious though I am trying to be eager. I am fearful though I am trying to trust the universe is looking out for me. I've experienced sadness, as we all get down once in a while. So...I'm having nightmares. Again.

For the past year, ok who am I kidding—3, I have battled with insomnia. Mostly because my mind won't stop working. And partly because I have nightmares; so instead of sleeping and going down that dark corridor, I stay awake. I've learned that I can function for days on end on like 3 hrs of sleep a night. It's a talent, I know. Enter Meditation. When I started meditation and acupuncture I was SO EXCITED to have a few nights in a row of 8 or more hours of sleep SANS NIGHTMARES. And this went on for weeks (ok something to note: when I was training for the marathon I slept like a baby because [I think] I ran the voices out of my head which led me to sleep peacefully. However, I'm old and broken and 3 miles is all I can do now). So when they returned this past week I had to examine what was going on (and I won't lie, they scared the shit out me. Startled. Heart pounding. Sweating kind of terrors). Using the "tools" I've gotten from my Life Coach and Therapist (I saw one for about a year 3 years ago) I dug deeper. Well, I'm anxious about a few jobs I've been interviewing for, I'm fearful nothing will work out and I'll have to leave this beautiful place I call home and I'm sad I'm not in love. There, I said it. These are the issues I am dealing with and truth be told no amount of needles, mediation hours, Moxa, Mugwort or sessions will 'cure' them. However, what they do do (insert Bevis and Butthead laugh here) is help me cope so I can reset so-to-speak, and get on with my day, err, night. 

Look, if you meet anyone who isn't dealing with some sort of issue, and they are happy 100% of the time, please, ask them what drug they are on so we can all buy some. No matter where we are in our life's journey, or in my case, a spiritual one, we are going to hit bumps in the road. It's how we deal with those bumps that define who we are and put a smile on our face. And I am thankful I've had some great healers come into my life to help me do just that.

And that's where I am.

When the practices start to pay off (they are, I'm sleeping again), and the universe does it's thing, the mind slows down and Freddy visits another bedroom. Good, cause I am really liking this working on 8 hours-of-sleep-thing a whole lot more. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

B is for Breaking Up. As in it's hard to do?

Break ups. They S-U-C-K. Or do they?

Sometimes we get dumped. Other times we do the dumping. And once in a blue moon it's an amicable and mutual break-up. However, we only think about break-ups as they apply to romantic relationships. But what about break-ups with your old habits? Mainly, your old self who had those bad habits?

If you are following along, you know what I mean. If you're new, let me bring you up to speed. Recently I have decided to change. Being a hater, being Type A, it's what I knew. It was who I was. Until one day, I didn't want to be this negative ball of goop. So I sought help. I hired a life coach AND started acupuncture (and Yoga, but I've been flirting with that for years). And it's changed me. And for the better. However, lately I have been hitting some speed bumps along the way and I found myself back in the world of hating, like booty calling an ex whom I was never really into but stayed with anyway because hey, he was good to me.

It's not easy breaking up with your old self. Trust me. My old self and I have been through a lot. And she was there for me every step of the way. So when things get tough, I fall back into a relationship with her (; but for this sake let's keep it third person) because, well, I felt like she was tougher. However, I noticed something this time around. I didn't care much for her anymore. I noticed, and rather quickly, the bad habits that made me want to break up with her in the first place: the screaming, the yelling, the judging, the picking on, the cursing, the excessive horn honking, the plotting and scheming and so on. And here's the good thing, I noticed the habits all by myself. No session with the Life Coach needed. Why, you ask? Because for now, we are broken up. (And it was HARD) See, we had a session recently where some things were said that stuck in my head and got to me and actually had the reverse effect, they made me negative. And it's not the kind of things that "I needed to hear," but the kind of things that made me say, "maybe we are on two different pages right now." So, like any other relationship that has taken a turn in a direction that isn't suitable for me, I took a break. Not sure if it was mutual but she (the Life Coach, not my old self...stay with me here) is ok with it.

And the same goes for me and my old self. We are breaking up, again.

The best part is that I was able to break-up with my old hatin' self with all the tools I have gained, like: trusting and not worrying, asking for help, recognizing what serves me and what doesn't, being ok with transition and most importantly, staying in my best self (we all have definitions/visualization of what that is, I encourage you to write yours down). Ok, really, the most important thing is family but I'll touch upon this this week. And you wanna know something? This time the break up wasn't all that hard to do. So much so, I might even delete my old self from my proverbial mental cell phone. And wanna know something else? I don't think that will be so hard to do after all.

(Note: I will be seeing my Life Coach again. I just need some me time. She is an excellent person and truth be told, sometimes we need people that make us a non-hating way. I'll keep you posted on this.)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

L is for Life and Lessons and Loss

Be prepared, this one is down right serious...

Just yesterday I got some sad news. A guy I knew (I'd call him a friendly acquaintance) had collapsed and is now in ICU, with his family trying to decide if and when to pull the plug. I don't want to get into the specifics because I want to respect their privacy and because this blog post isn't about the decision of what is living and what isn't and DNRs and all the political BS that surrounds a very difficult and personal decision.

However, what I do want to talk about is the feeling one (me, you, everyone) gets when they hear this sort of news: 'life is too short, don't take anything or anyone for granted.' This is so true, yet how is it that we forget this time and again? How is it that when something like this happens it is then we are reminded to love a little deeper, forgive more often, hug the babies tighter and so on? Why is it we practice these things for a while when a tragedy surrounds us but fall back into our patterns of assuming people know how we feel? It's somewhat sad isn't it?

In meditation we practice not only quieting the voices inside our head but we practice "just being." Meaning, be in the moment with nothing else. Experience that moment for what it is. No tomorrow's no yesterday's no lists of things to do (it's soooo hard for me not to make lists when I meditate, dang Type A hardwiring!), just being in the moment. So, what if we were just in the moment all the time? What if when we saw our friends and loved ones we hugged them tighter ALL THE TIME? Forgave them often and loved them for who they are and let them know it (I repeat, let them know it, including letting yourself know it, too)? What if we didn't wait for a reminder? I'm not saying all of you wait, I'm not saying you don't do these things. All I am saying is what if we took a lesson from loss and meditation and lived in the moment a little more, loved a little more and were just there a lot more so if G-d for bid (poo poo poo, zi, zi, zi) anything happened we don't beat ourselves up for not having done so more often.

Loss teaches us a lot about life. I just hope I can put this lesson to good practice.

** For those affected by our friend's tragedy, I'm thinking of you guys and you are in my thoughts and Metta practices.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

R is for Red Lights.

Get your mind out of the gutter. Red lights, not Red Light District.

Good. Now that we got that cleared up...

Ever drive somewhere and you hit practically every single red light there is? It makes you late, you didn't plan for it, you get frustrated and so on. I know you know what I am talking about. As a recovering hater, I remember how this made me feel. I would get so amped up, so pissed off, as if every Urban Planner was laughing at me. It made my mood so negative and me so stressed that by the time I got somewhere I couldn't enjoy anything.

Well, what if I told you this happens when you're going through life? Cause sometimes that's how I feel. That I hit a ton of red lights in my life. Don't feel bad for me, I'm not looking for pity, I'm just trying to point out that sometimes life doesn't go as planned, as a Type A-er, this can be a bitter pill to swallow.

However, in this journey, I'm learning to live with (love is too strong of word for me right now with these damn red lights) the red lights. The acceleration and the sudden stops. The go, go go, stop, stop, stop of everything. A lot of it has to do with meditation. That bitch in my head, Robina (remember her?) has quieted down a lot, or at least for a little bit when I meditate. So I've taken away some of her power (I'm by no means enlightened so that inner narrative keeps running). I've also learned that there is something to be said about a pause. A pause allows you to stop and think and maybe even change direction. Not at all Type A, is it? No and it's quite wonderful. It says (well, to me anyway), trust us, don't go there. So I think, ok, I won't. I'll let it go because while I can control the car I am in (be it actual or metaphysical) I can't control all of the roads I take. (FYI, Dan Harris talks a lot about this in his book; you can control the situation to a point, but not the results. A great read, I highly recommend it!)

My grandmother used to say, "G-d does for you what you can't do for yourself." It's lofty and slightly religious (which is hilarious if you knew my Nanny) but it's also true. The universe is watching out for us somehow. Or at least telling you to stop or go when the time is right.

And as I was writing this, this happened, so there ya go:

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A too, Brute?: T is for Transition. And trust. And temporary.

A too, Brute?: T is for Transition. And trust. And temporary.: I've been struggling with how to approach this subject. Transition. It means change but it also means undergo a process. As a Type A-er,...

T is for Transition. And trust. And temporary.

I've been struggling with how to approach this subject. Transition. It means change but it also means undergo a process. As a Type A-er, change is hard. It's a kink to the system. A change in the plans. I'm not wired for something I didn't set-up myself.

Or am I?
As I mentioned in a previous post, I am a freelancer. I didn't choose this position, it was kind of handed to me. And while I don't mind being here, accepting the change is hard. It has made me question myself, my choices, the bigger plan, all of it. So, of course, like everything else in my life these days, I have turned to my spiritual advisors (wait, did I just say that???). And yet again, as always, they both said the say thing.

Enjoy this transition time. Trust it is only temporary and the universe will hand you the next step. Trust. Buddhists say that all things are temporary and to observe them, be mindful of them and let them pass. Observe, do not react. (I'll touch on my experiences with Mindfulness another time.)

Fuck, really? It sounded so good, so believable when I was told it. I recite it every day as one of my daily mantras: "Trust the universe, worry does not serve me." But lately, as I am between gigs (freelance is good and bad, fast and slow), actually, when I'm always between gigs, I kind of freak out. I let my inner judgmental self (I call her Robina) run rampid. And she when she does that, Robina gets bitchy. 

But as I was sitting there, fighting with myself inside my head, something happened (no, I didn't get a job or a gig, not yet anyway), I was invited by a new friend to take a day trip to Antelope Valley to view the Poppy Fields before the peak season is over. Stressed out about not working, I was afraid to miss a day away from my computer but I trusted the universe and left for the day. I started off not liking myself for being so "careless." But once the drive started, Robina got quiet. (I think she was exhausted for talking non-stop and car rides always put her to sleep.) And in one word, the trip was AMAZING! First, I got to know a new friend better, second, I met some really nice women who have similar interests as myself and most importantly, I got outside and enjoyed the very reason why I moved to CA.

If this doesn't help clear the mind, then I don't know what does. With the stress out of my system, I headed to my screenwriting class. And wanna know something, the instructor came up to me after and said I should REALLY consider doing this as my day job. My idea is amazing. He didn't have to say that, but it meant a lot that he did. So, maybe, just maybe, this transition time is for me to finish what I started, my pilot, and not keep it so temporary, like my situation. I like that, I'm going to trust it, too.

Monday, April 21, 2014

F is for the F word...

Flowers. Duh. 

I know, you were thinking, knowing Robyn it's the obvious, and yes, I still drop F-bombs but I am working on not doing that as I need to watch my words :)

So, flowers. What is it about flowers that fits into this whole spiritual journey, you ask? Well, it's more than the cliché of stopping to smell them. Or the color of your glasses. Though both of those clichés have good, well-intended's really about treating yourself to something beautiful. Because you (and I) deserve it.

Let's look at this way...when someone gets you flowers, be it a significant other, a guest, a friend, a family member, how does it make you feel? Special, right? Because it means someone thought of you. And how do those flowers look? Beautiful, because all flowers are, right? Right. On both accounts. So while it's nice, make that awesome, to get flowers from someone else that say, "hey, you're special to me and I wanted to express that with these beautiful flowers" why on earth is it not as ok to do this for yourself? Poppycock. It's totally ok. And my life coach made me put 'buying fresh flowers' in my tool box. And you want to know something? I LOVE IT! It makes me smile, it makes me feel special, I love the colors it brings to my home, I love that I spend a good portion of my time at the farmers' market trying to decide which flowers to get and which to mix and match. And every once in a while I buy roses. Because a woman deserves them. I know I do. The people who have come into my home and have seen the flowers always ask who got them for me and I'm always so proud to say, "I did. I got them for me." And when I see them smile, I know they get it. (I will be honest here and say the first few times I felt a bit silly admitting I bought myself flowers 'just because' or felt like buying them was a wasted indulgence. I got over that. Fast. As in week 3. They mean too much.)

Actually, a friend once said to me his step-father is very into self help books and that he commented that the one piece of advice he sees over and over is buy yourself some flowers. It will change your day. I didn't even ask about this (hi synchronicity...again!), it just came up in conversation when he was trying to find a way out of a dark place. I mentioned I started buying fresh flowers and it's so crazy how such a small act changes my week. And yes, I bought him flowers the next day. Because doing something nice for someone for no reason is another tool I was given, and I like practicing that, too. So un-hater of me. 

So, go ahead, pick out some flowers. Find a nice vase and sunny area to put them. Celebrate them. If they don't change your mood, that's fine. At least for a brief moment in time you told yourself you deserve these. Because you do. If your inner voice is being an asshole saying "this is silly, they're just flowers," feel free to tell it to Fuck off. It is the battle of the F-words and in my personal struggle (war felt like such a harsh word), flowers are winning.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

S is for Synchronicity, Maybe this post is happening for a reason?

No, I am not going to bust into the Police song, though I do love a good Sting tune here and there. No, today I am going to let you know that shit DOES happen for a reason. The universe (or G-d, or karma, or whatever energy source you believe in) has a way of lining things up for you

Here's a small, personal example:

One of my life coaching sessions we were talking about how much I LOVE living in SoCal but don't feel I am making the right kind of connections here (personally, not professionally). Pretty much it was the fact that I didn't really feel connected to some of the 'friends' I had made here but I have so few here that I felt I had to hang out with them. Yes, it sounds as sad as it, well, sounds. My Life Coach told me to dump said party and watch how the universe will fill that gap. I was a bit afraid. A friend is a friend is someone to have Sunday Funday with, one down and I'm suddenly solo-ing it. But, I took a leap of faith and did what she suggested. I mean, I was paying serious $$ for this advice, I am in Advertising, I wanted ROI. Out and about on Abbot Kinney, alone I might add, I came across a cute black handbag. I didn't need it, but I bought it (I am a woman after all). I guess you can say it spoke to me (go with me on this). I went home, put my purse belongings in it and headed to dinner with a friend from out of town. As I was sitting at the table, I noticed the woman next to me had the same bag IN BROWN. We laughed over it, exchanged numbers and went out one day. While we aren't the best of friends, it was a start. Because that little synchronicity moment happened, I decided that trusting the Universe has my back might not be a bad thing. Since then other little moments have really led to some wonderful relationships. No, not with a man...not yet anyway (but hey, if you know someone looking, I'm single :) ) And I don't miss the old one(s) at all. Truth isn't always nice. :(

Look, I know surrender is hard for us Type A-ers. We are control freaks after all. But if there is one less thing I have to worry about and one less thing I can trust to someone else, I am willing to pass it on. I cannot carry the weight of my world all the time. It's exhausting! I know you know what I mean. 

Well, needless to say when this little gem showed up in my LinkedIn feed of all places, I was like, "Hi synchronicity! Nice to see you again." (hey, I work from home, I talk to myself a lot, mmmkay?)

Sure, it's title is about success (and this is the S post...see what's happening here?) and it was posted by a recruiter, but really, it applies to success IN LIFE. How do I know this? Because this is the EXACT thing my Life Coach, my Acupuncturist and I work on ALL THE TIME. I practice everything on the left side. Those are my tools. Not sure I would have believed this, or even looked at it say 4 months ago. But knowing what I know now, I can speak to it's validity. Heck, I'm blogging about it! So, I just saved you a lot of money with this chart. Use it. Live by it and when things start to align, and your life feels in sync you can thank me by serenading me with a little Police, and NOT N'Sync. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

C is for Cupping

I am a visual person. No, really. As much as I love to write, I am an Art Director by trade and I use a lot of visuals. So, this blog post will be just that. Why? Because it's true what they say...a picture IS worth a thousand words.

But before I replace the verbal with the visual, I wanted to at least set the stage. 

Yesterday I had an acupuncture appointment. Sometimes I get ART (will touch on this in a later post), sometimes regular needles, sometimes Moxa and sometimes Cupping. I really can't describe it as well as these photos do, but you can learn more about it here and if you scroll to the bottom of that page, it will lead you to the history of Cupping. (Ok, I'll make it easy for you, just click here.)

This is how I spent my Monday morning. And this is way better than any cup of anything to heal what ails you.

Friday, April 4, 2014

D is for The Difference Between Anxious and Eager.


adjective : full of mental distress or uneasiness because of fear of danger or misfortune; greatly worried; solicitous: : concerned, disturbed, apprehensive, fearful, uneasy.


adjectivekeen or ardent in desire or feeling; impatiently longing:
: enthusiastic, desirous. fervent, zealous, fervid, intent, intense, earnest.
That's the definition of each word according to However, we (or at least I) use these words interchangeably. And I shouldn't. Why? Because emotionally they mean 2 very different things. 

I have always considered myself to be a person full of energy...ok, and caffeine. That's the Type A-er in me. Anxious. Urgent. However, diving deeper into Acupuncture and convos with my Life Coach have really stopped me in my track on that word. (Actually, being anxious made me anxious because every acupuncture appt I go to they ask me to rate my level of anxiousness. JEEZ!) So, I decided to look it up. I mean, I thought I knew the definition but when I looked it up I was surprised how stressful and negative the word really was. Enter eager. It came up as a word to use for myself in my last life coaching session. So, I looked that up. Same meaning (sort of) as anxious, just a positive spin on it. And a healthier emotion to have.

How did this even come about? How can 2 words have a similar meaning yet mean something so different?

See, I'm unemployed right now. Or, as peeps in my biz say, "freelance." At first I was a bit worried. Ok, a lot worried. Like the definition of anxious states, fearful. I have a Venice life style to live, a 13 year-old dog to care for and bills to pay. I was applying to all sorts of jobs related to what I do, stalking like crazy on LinkedIn and calling in all sorts of favors. It was a very reactive few weeks. And it really, really, REALLY stressed me out. I felt I was moving backwards from all the work I have done spiritually (fear will do that). Pretty much I lost my shit. I was advised to use the energy I have to go from anxious to eager (let go of the fear and trust the universe has something better planned for me). So, I started hiking mid-day, starting cooking more, writing more, painting more and networking in a personal way (lunches, happy hours, at the gym, etc.) instead of online. And as I let go of the anxiousness and let go of the worry (because it does not serve me, or anyone for that matter) things started to fall into place. No, I'm not employed...yet, but the opportunities are starting to present themselves and I am trusting that it will work out. And now I kinda find myself excited and eager about what's to come. Not anxious. And if I do feel anxious, I read the definitions. And thank the anxiousness for reminding me that I should be eager. Good things are going to come (or as my grandmother would say, "this too shall pass"). Eagerness allows me to sleep at night, to not have pain in my back, to smile more and to not take every opportunity that comes my way but to focus on the RIGHT ones. That doesn't sound very Type A does it? It sounds more like this: Type B people usually do not get stressed easily even under acute circumstances. They are the happy-go-lucky individuals who do not entertain stress and anxiety while doing their tasks. However, they still prove to be fairly productive. They remain carefree and cheerful most of the times and are fun to hang around with. 
Could it be that while I am working down the alphabet of words I am also working down the alphabet of types? I don't know, but I'm eager to find out. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

V is for Validation (funny how it's also for Victory).

Let's face it and be honest, shall we? We all seek validation. I mean the "LIKE" button and Google's +1 were created based off our desire to be told we are funny, or pretty, or smart, or good enough. Yet, so many of us never seek this validation within ourselves. Why is that?

My life coach, Cheryl, has me practicing Prizing (Prizing is the act of telling yourself something you like about yourself from any age, for any reason. I tried to find a link for you to read up on it but I couldn't) while my acupuncturist/meditation instructor has me complimenting myself over 5 times a day. It sounds egotistical, but when you think about it, what's wrong with telling yourself, "good job" or "how nice of you to let that car in" or "you look good today" when you know it to be true? Why can't we compliment ourselves the way we would another? How have we become our own least fan?

In my past it wasn't that I was picked on or made fun of or put down, because I was; it was that I wasn't complimented (my parents complimented me plenty but that's their job) as often I was the former. I see that now as I go down my spiritual journey and realize that all those mean words and hard times stuck with me. And truth be told, somewhere way back I just started to believe them, and held on to them tightly when things were bad. I used those ugly thoughts to remind me, "see, you aren't good enough." And because I'm Type A, I used those thoughts to fuel me. To compete. I was motivated by hate and by the fact I felt I had something to prove. I guess you could say my daily diet was consisted of diet soda, chips and hate. 

The more I learn about people and their reactions to situations, the more I realize that maybe those people weren't mean because they are flat out mean. Maybe they had their own struggles to deal with and didn't know how. Maybe they were passing on to me what was passed on to them. I can't say for sure. I honestly don't know if I care anymore. What I do know is I can't change what has happened in the past and I forgive them. That doesn't mean I am saying what they did was acceptable, I'm just saying that I no longer am giving those words and actions power over me. (I am however sticking needles in places that seem to hold onto those toxins and man does it hurt to get rid of them. But it's a good hurt—which I never understood until acupuncture, because what exactly is a good hurt?)

So now I sit in front of the mirror in the morning (I have no choice really, my closet doors are mirrors--side note: what's with you LAers and mirrored closet doors anyway? WEIRD) and tell myself one good thing about myself. From the job I did yesterday, to the time I was a kid and wore those orange sneakers no matter how much I got picked on because I loved them; and I compliment myself when I can. Good job for not cursing that horrible driver out (that's a toughie, believe you me), good job on getting up at 5:45 when you aren't getting up for work to go to meditation, and so on. It's kinda nice actually. And to me this is more than validation, this is victory. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

W is for Watch Your Words

Yup, here it is. The post I have been promising to write. The first lesson/lecture/tip I got from my life coach. Watching my words. Both the kind I speak and the ones I use in my thoughts. 

To bring you up to speed, I started seeing a life coach because I felt kinda lost, AND it also kinda presented the opportunity to me. Didn't seek it out, rather, it found me. Which I am learning is how this crazy universe works.

So, Type A me walks in to this first meeting with my life coach with a list of goals I wanted to achieve and the timeline in which I wanted to achieve them. Well, that list no longer exists nor did Cheryl (my life coach) care to see it. Of course, I didn't know then that this whole journey is not about checking off a item on a list and moving on. It's about relearning how to work with what I have AND learning new tools to deal with what I encounter. And one of those new tools is, yup, you guessed it, watching my words.

When I spoke in that first session, a lot of hater-like words came out without me even thinking about it. It was natural. I said things like, "only losers are there" or "sucks the soul out of me." All stinkin thinkin type of words. Cheryl let me go on and on and when I was done she said the first thing she wants me to practice is watching my words. Hmmm, that wasn't on my list. Shit. I'm thrown for a loop. Not only that, but as a creative, my words are very important to what I do. Shit.

She continued to say that the words I use define the way I view a situation and present myself and that the negative ones serve me no purpose. I knew what she meant, and I didn't disagree, but I never realized that what I said or thought really affected me, a situation, others around me...but I was willing to give this challenge a try. I mean, what Type A-er doesn't love a good challenge?

SO...I started to think before I spoke. That took A LOT of practice. And when a negative comment (small or large, innocent or intended) flew out of my mouth, I stopped myself and said out loud, "wait, let me rephrase that." It wasn't easy but over the past few months I have gotten better at it. And it has changed the way I see the world, my day, the people I interact with, and so on. And I think it changes the way people view me AND who I relate to.  

When you change your words, both internally (ie: thoughts) and externally (your conversations) you change your day. There is a saying in the spiritual world (ok, there are a lot, but this one is apropos for this post): The quality of your thoughts (for this blog post purpose, WORDS) determine the quality of your day. And wanna know something? I agree. I've experienced both sides and can say this is so fucking true. Now I think before I speak and it almost comes naturally. Almost. And I make sure I watch what I say, think and feel. I don't hate or moll over my negative thoughts as much anymore; but rather thank them for coming and then think and speak more positively. 

But fret not, just because I am watching my words, doesn't mean I am not who I am when speaking the truth. (Or that I will speak kindly about The Patriots or Red Sox ;) ) I just do it more tactfully. And with better words. But the 4-letter kind are still a part of my vocab. I am me afterall. And sometimes when words escape me, a good "SHIT" really helps. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

M is for Moxa, Mugwort and Meditation. Yes, I said that seriously.

I know, I know. I still owe you (or maybe, myself) a post about my first lesson from my life coach. And I swear I will get to it, but damn, so much good material found it's way to me this weekend, I have no choice but to put it off again until tomorrow. But don't hold me to it. 

Ok, as you can tell by the title, I've clearly crossed the line into Salem Witch territory. Or perhaps a Harry Potter chapter. Here's how it went down...

Saturday. I get up at the ridiculous hour of 5:45am (yes it is silly because IT'S SATURDAY) to get to my morning meditation class (ya know, I have to find out if that's even the right word. Maybe it's session?) by 6:45. We have tea, we chat, we sit. I'm not going to bore you with this in every post but this sets the stage. So after we sit, I leave to get breakfast. I usually stay and eat breakfast with Dr. Kim (yes, my acupuncturist is also my meditation, ummm, leader? instructor?...) when I have an appointment with him, but I needed alone time. I have been dealing internally with my own vulnerability and whether or not to share those feelings with my parents. Why? Because I'm a friggin weeks away from 42 year old woman who feels she should be able to take care of herself and not have to have her mommy or daddy tell her it's going to be ok or that they'll make it better. But I needed to hear it. So I left and went for a bagel (note: bagels in the South Bay are HORRIBLE. Sorry, but they are. I've found a place on the Westside, go there) and called my mom and cried and cried and spilled my fears and exhausted myself. I felt better I told her, but I wasn't all "glad this passed." Because it hadn't.

Anyhoo...It's now 8:57 give or take a few seconds ;) and I have to head to my acupuncture appt. I walk in and I'm sure I looked as blotchy as I felt. So I get in and the first thing that happens is Dr. Kim asks me why I didn't stay for breakfast (BTW, this man is the sweetest person I have met. He opens his home, heart and refrigerator because he truly cares about people) and I said because I had to run an errand. Urg, I hate lying to him. I can tell he saw right through me so I said, "and call my mom." "Ahhhh..." that's all he says. He's crazy intuitive so I had a feeling he knew why. Good, I didn't want to cry again. Twice in one morning was too much. So I get my treatment. Needles in places that needles shouldn't be. Usually afterwards I get Cupping. But not this time. This time I got Moxa. With Mugwort. Yeah, go ahead, laugh, make a face, call it foolery. I did. But hell if I'll do that again (I'm trying hard not to curse f-letter word would have been my first choice). I walked out of there feeling different. Lighter? Happier? Calmer? Yes, yes and yes. 

How it works: the instrument used in Moxa looks like a fat pencil. I assume It's stuffed with herbs and heated (no assumption on the heat, it was H-O-T) and the AA (acupuncturist assit.—not sure if there is a correct title) pretty much looks like he/she is coloring over the spot where you had a needle. And within the time it took him to finish, my mood had lifted. I was shocked how quickly I felt it. SHOCKED. It was like he colored the worry away. Ok, that was a bit hokey. Sorry. 

It didn't hit me when I was there but as I was driving home, it did. Mostly because I was now feeling awake—I mean who is up and functioning at 5:45 ON A SATURDAY? Dr. Kim's secret powers of intuition knew I needed something more than bruises that look like pepperoni on my back (Cupping, pics to come at another time). I needed a shift in my Chi (WHO AM I TALKING LIKE THIS???). And 2 days later, I still feel it. So thank you, Dr. Kim. 

And here is the crazier thing. Because yes, this isn't crazy sounding enough. In my last session with my life coach we talked about clarity. What I really want out of my career, my life, myself, my relationships. I didn't know. Still don't. Trying to figure it out. But what is interesting is while I was getting the treatment, one thing the AA said was that some people find the Mugwort herb to give them some clarity and control. That the native Americans used it to control their dreaming and see things clearer. It sounds like a stretch but trust me when I say there is this weird synchronicity happening between my life coach sessions and my treatments.

Look, for those of you that know me, you know I'm about as cynical and practical a person there is (hi, Type A). I still have a hard time believing I am believing in this (universe, chi, alternative medicine, et al). It's really nutty sounding, I know. I'm shaking my head as I write this but I can't make this stuff up. I just can't. 

So...if you ever want to feel like a character in a Harry Potter book when you tell someone what you did today, or a person caught in some kind of good spell, get off of this blog and try it. Maybe not all of the above because each person has their own path, but what's a little herb here or there?  LEGAL HERBS PEOPLE. Try it, like Mikey, you'll like it, And you can thank me later, with a cup of witches brew.

Friday, March 21, 2014

U is for Unconditionally by Katy Perry AND for uncontrollable tears

I was going to post about one of the first lessons I got from my life coach which is "watch your words" and I will, eventually. However, last night while catching up on "The Voice" (don't judge) and this morning in meditation I had uncontrollable bouts of tears. Not full-on crying, but somewhere between tears and sobbing. (below I might refer to it as crying, just go with me...)

This isn't the first time this has happened and I can't recall each one, but what I CAN recall is the first time it happened. It was in spin class. At like 7:15 a.m (ish). I kid you not. And it was during a sprint-up-a-hill excercise. Yeah, I know, tears of pain, but it wasn't that. The song we were sprinting to was "Unconditionally" by Katy Perry (my spin instructor has the same 16 year-old girl taste in music as me, LOVE IT!). As it's playing the water works are starting to fill up. So...there I was, sprinting up a hill when the tears just started flowing. I wasn't thinking of anything, I was just listening to the song, concentrating on every hurting muscle. I was a bit WTF-ish but it went away so I just filed it under "stuff I don't want to recognize." 

Then, a few days later it happened again. WTFA (A being again...I think you know what WTF stands for)! Not to the song, or to anything pertaining to muscles or Katy but to someone's emotional outburst before meditation class (let me just note here that I wouldn't call it an emotional outburst in a crazy kind of way, because I'd hate you to think we are all looneys—hey, I thought it at one point—it was more a of a heated discussion amongst some peeps before we sat, but for blogging purposes emotional outburst has a bit more flair). 

Now, I'm not so cold that I don't get emotional during my non-PMS weeks but this was a bit ridiculous. Two times in like a week? And to have no rhyme or reason to my recently new stunt was kind of freaking me out. So I asked Dr. Kim. And what he told me was an old Korean saying, "New liquor, new cups." Umm, ok....yeah. So he explained (because my face tells you exactly what I'm thinking and at this point I was thinking I'm giving this guy money to put needles in my face? great.): as I meditate and do acupuncture and yes, work with my life coach, I am becoming more compassionate. More in touch. With feelings, emotions, other people, MYSELF, other (dare I say) energy. Meaning, I am transforming who I am. (buh-bye hater) So with this newer, realer me, comes newer, realer emotions. And tricks, like crying on cue. I kinda liked it (the explanation). And now I embrace it. 

So if you you see me and I look a little blotchy-eyed, it's not the medicinal (no, really, I don't even have a card), its the compassion. So just pass me a tissue.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

H is for Haters. As in, haters gonna hate...

In full disclosure, I was a hater. Or, rather, I'm a recovering hater. So, on top of Type A, or maybe because I'm Type A, I have hating issues to deal with. And I mean HATING. Every thought had me down a negative spiral abyss. Road Rage, the finger, yelling, jealousy, self-disgust, horn honking, mean jokes, sarcastic (albeit funny if you ask me) remarks and so on bled into body and truly altered the quality of my thoughts. I was also surrounded by haters. My ex hated his job, hated LA (yeah, I don't get that either), hated people he didn't agree ex-boss was a hater, too. But the amount of hate he had is it's own blog, let alone post and I just don't want to give him that honor. 

So, back to hating. Haters attract haters. That's why I was dating who I was dating and working for whom I was working for. It also breeds negativity. Throw in the fact that I'm a neurotic NY Jew and what you (or rather, I) ended up with was stomach issues, back issues, sleep issues, dating issues, work issues, posture...see where I am going with this? I had more issues than National Geographic.

But I digress...I am telling you all of this because I feel it's important for you to understand a little bit about where I was coming from. I didn't just go off on some spiritual journey because everyone in SoCal is doing it (and they are). I did it because it kinda fell into my lap and I made a rash decision to try it. 

(Note: I wasn't all hate. I laugh, I go out, I have fun, I challenge myself, I love my dog, but deep inside my core I hated. I feel the need to say this so you don't think I'm some evil, ugly soul with no heart. Ok, that's just me prizing myself...another blog post down the line)

One day, after weeks of PT for my back, a break-up I couldn't get over and a project I couldn't wait to be over, I was in pain. All kinds of pain. Enter 2 people whom now I believe I was supposed to meet. One who referred me to my acupuncturist, Dr. Kim and the other passed along a number of a life coach. Both saw right away how twisted I was. Now, let me just say I am NOT one of those flakey, loosey-goosey Venetians who doesn't believe in Western Medicine. On the contrary. I think the person who invented Vicodin and Motrin are BRILLIANT. But it failed me. And I was at personal rock bottom (no kleenex, I'm not looking for sympathy).

So, my new mentors began their work on me. What was crazy was each one was pretty much saying the same thing to me in different ways (and Dr. Kim's Korean accent added to that for sure). I decided if 2 people were saying these "things" they both can't be wrong. So I started to listen. And did what they said. And now I am a recovering Hater. No 12-step program. Well, not really. And I still hate, um, I mean dislike, time to time, but I'm am so much better at getting a hold over it. And the steps I took are exactly what I'll be sharing with you.

Starting with watching my words. Which I'll explore in another post. So let me leave you with this...haters gonna hate but they aint' gonna date or relate or meditate. Unless they get help.