Growing, Not Dying

Welcome to my insights, ponderings, and experiences. Hopefully they will enrich you in some small way, or at least make you laugh.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Thank You for Being With Me

Reviewing my stats I was suprised to find I logged over 3000 unique visits so far in February. On a low day there are over 70 visitors, almost 250 on my best day. I know that isn't a ton compared to some sites, but considering I started this blog just for me I am impressed. I feel honored that so many other people come to share in my thoughts and thank you so much for sharing in my story.

The journey is much easier when walked with a friend. And apparently I have many. Thank you.

Ireland Trip Revisited

Earlier I posted a short write-up on my trip to Ireland. I had mentioned an ice cream shop my sister and I had wanted to visit, Murphy's Ice Cream Shop, in Dingle. Turned out it was closed for the season. Well just the other day I was suprised and thrilled to recieve a comment from someone at the shop. How sweet is that?

"I am glad you enjoyed your trip. Sorry we were closed, but we do take a break in Dingle over the winter. Our Killarney shop was open, though, for future reference..." KFM

We were right there. Had I known there was a second shop we would have stopped for it. My guide book spoke very favorably of the ice cream, even commenting the author would consider moving to Dingle just to eat there.

So, should you find yourself in Ireland, make it a point to stop into one of the Murphy's Ice Cream Shops and try some for me. I'm partial to chocolate with stuff in it, but fruity is good too. Let me know how it was.

Until you actually get there, you can enjoy Kieran Murphy's blog here.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

(Not So) Hidden Truths

So many of us are going through life looking for meaning, hidden truths, buried wisdom, the secrets to the Universe. I myself spend many hours pondering these things. More and more I am suprised to find the things I seek have always been in the open, many as close as children's stories and movies.

At first this may sound crazy but let me site a couple examples. One of my favorite movies is Mulan by Disney. I really liked it because Mulan offers a strong female role model with a great moral code. However, there is a message from the Universe here too. Mulan follows her heart out of love and devotion. She acts against the norm using great intuition many times. Ultimately she saves China. All this happens for one reason, she was simlpy being herself. She did what seemed natural to her. She was not trying to please anyone. In fact she knew she stood in danger of displeasing everyone, but continued to be true to her own inner compass. When the Emperor himself honors her, she is not proud of herself. In fact she is almost casual about it because it simply "is." Because Mulan showed up entirely for who she was she ended up making friends, saving lives, saving China and bringing honor to her family. How often do we not say something, or do something because we feal what other will think? I know I often am not 100% present. There are actually many more messages in this movie, but let's move on.

Another popular movie in our house is The Iron Giant. A young boy finds a giant robot who has crash landed on Earh and lost his memory. The boy befriends the robot, but later finds out it is actually a war machine full of missels and guns, programmed to destroy in self-defense. Of course the military comes and attacks the robot and it retaliates and a nuclear missel gets fired on a small town. The boy shows great courage, love and faith when he teaches us "if you expect the best of others and leave them a choice, they will often give it to you." With the robot having a gun pointed at the boy, the boy tells the robot he doesn't have to be a gun, it is his choice. The robot overcomes his programming and ultimately sacrifices himself to intercept the nuke. ("Superman" It is a good scene.)

It makes me wonder how many messages the Universe is sending us everyday in plain site that we dismiss as too simple or not meant for us.

Blessings

Today I received a link from my husband that I would love to send each of you, my readers, my friends. Normally I don't send on or recommend those on-line websites with the fluffy thoughts, the elevator music and angels everywhere. They just aren't my thing. This is much different. It is designed to induce a meditative energy that leaves you feeling enriched. I feel calmer and very soft throughout. That may sound weird, but I don't know how else to phrase it.

I invite you each to visit this site and also feel blessed.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Carpe Diem

Do you remember he movie Dead Poets Society? Carpe Diem. Seize the day. How often do you stop to embrace the moment? Do you ever just pause to be in awe of life? Do you take time to let those around you know how much you treasure them?

Over 7 years ago I sat visiting with a friend I didn't see often. Rather than be there in the moment, I was upset and stressed about an outside matter. Later after our meeting I felt badly and decided next time we got together we would go to the park and I would just be in the moment, enjoy seeing an old and dear friend. I never saw him again. He died.

Recently another dear friend touched in on my life. This time I did the best I knew how to let him know how much he meant to me, to convey the most important things I had to say, to be appropriately distant while being open. I am grateful for the opportunity. This time if something happens, I have no regrets.

Every day we decide where to focus our attention. If you are like me most of it goes to the mundane business of life, driving, working, cleaning, meetings, ect. "Magic" happens when we stop to direct our focus on the moment, to embrace those things around us, i.e. a child's laughter, a flower, the wind, the moon. I invite you to spend even just 2 minutes a day with life's pause button on. Let's find magic together.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Night

I want to be sick...to be physically ill..as if vomiting would somehow eject from my being the vileness of these images. I longed to cry. Perhaps shedding my tears will somehow be sent over space and time to help those who suffered. My stomach cramps and my body aches...and it does no one any good.

I first read Night by Elie Wiesel in junior high over 15 years ago. It had a profound life altering effect on me. I had already read The Diary of Anne Frank, but it had not moved me in this way. This book opened my eyes. For the first time I believed what man was cabable of inflicting on one another. For the first time I was not indestructable. My world was no longer "safe." I could see how easily my family would have been caught in the same situation.

The strong imagery, the poinent scenes, it serves to wrench the heart. My son asked what my book was about. "It is about a time in history known as the Holocust when one man decided to rid the world of a kind of people he did not like and the world let him until millions had died. Men, women, children, even babies. We study and read about it to remember, to keep anything like this from happening again."

In my heart I pray, "Please, Father, nothing like this ever again, not to any people. "

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

My Dreams

Here are two dreams I have recently had that felt important, like they had a message for me.

Several days ago: I am walking next to a street when I see coins laying on the edge of the street, not far from the sidewalk, maybe 12-18 inches. Everyone is just rushing by, both on the sidewalk and the street. I want to go after the money, but I am afraid of the cars rushing past. After a few minutes pause I decide to go for it and step out. As soon as I start picking up the coins people rush in from every side. They start gathering the coins. My thoughts are simply, “Well, they were just lying there so I guess they are for anybody.” Then most of the people start dumping the coins hey collected in my hands, happy to have helped. Somehow those coins multiplied. My pockets are soon full and there is still more.

Last night: There is a river. For some reason I decide to go in the river. A first I think I am going against the current, but soon realize it is actually carrying me. It occurs to me this river is in unfamiliar country, should I worry about crocs or . . . worse? I look over and to my horror I see a giant snake on the edge of the river! I have a great fear of snakes, the bigger the greater the fear, even fake ones! My heart freezes for a second or two until I realize it is dead. Still, it has left me unsettled. The river splits and the current turns me going uphill. It is exciting and the country is beautiful. There are houses that are very decrepit. There is an open field that I just know is exactly the place for a new …something (some large building project)… that someone wanted to build. The new building may bring life and prosperity back to these houses. Then I think of the snakes again and look back in the river. AH! My heart is in my throat. There are several on either bank. I float pass them one at a time. They are all dead. Somehow, I know they will all be dead. There is no real danger, but I am still on edge. Still, the river carries me on.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Alone for Valentine's

Valentine's Day is a wonderful example of how everything is a personal perception, your choice on how to see reality. The fact is thousands of people are 'alone' today. Many will be miserable all day, some openly, some secretly tortured inside. Many will be glad they are alone, free of some 'baggage.' Many are alone and perfectly happy being that way. They know they are where they are meant to be at this point in their life. There are those who will recieve some sort of secret suprise today, learning that someone thought of them, cared for them expecting nothing in return. Then there are those who will wish they were alone before the day is over instead of settling for a date with someone out of obligation or desperation.

There are those who are 'with' someone. Many of these will start out today hopeful then end it feeling hurt, angry, rejected, or some other pain becase their expectations and dreams were not met. Some will be in pain the whole day because they feel trapped in a relationship they no longer want to be in, but lack the "way out." Of course there are those who will pretend to be happy all day because that is what is expected of them.

Then there will be those who are truely blessed because they are with someone by choice, consciously choosing to nurture and grow their relationship. They have found a higher way.

In truth it is just a day like every other day. It is Tuesday. That's all. However, with all the societal pressures built into the expectations of the day the heat is turned up. When the heat is turned up we find the opportuity to explore what we are truely made of, how we see things, what our beliefs are.

Personally, I'd like Jim to be here, but I'm ok he's not. I'd like some sort of affirmation I was thought of, but expect none. I know I am loved by many people, and that is the best gift of all.

Added Note: Jim suprised me by sending flowers and chocolates. I cried. I really had not expected anything. I was so touched he had thought so much of me to take the effort to do this. Thank you, Honey.

Also, this is my 150th post. Wow. Yeah for me. Think I'll celebrate with a chocolate. :)

Monday, February 13, 2006

Annoyance to Graditude

Checking my e-mail for the first time in days I found a letter from a very dear friend. We haven't visited in almost 3 years so it was an unexpected suprise. Originally, I had logged on and found "bad news" so finding this "good news" was quite welcome. I felt happy, but cautious. I responded then went about my day. Somehow, things just seemed a bit better. Huh.

This evening I found myself checking my mail again before dinner, rather unusual for me. There was another e-mail from my old friend. I was happy. Again I responded then went about my evening. Fed the kids. Double checked homework. Then while getting them ready for bed I took a minute to obsevre myself. I was very happy. Playing, laughing, tickling, giggling.

I was instantly annoyed. Not that these are bad things in anyway, but I knew why I was in such a good mood. It was from the e-mails. I was not annoyed at getting them but at my reaction to it. In my quest for greater peace I have been striving to not let my circumstances dictate my mood, bad or good, and here I was washed with joy. It was annoying. . . for about 10 minutes.

Then I began one of those conversations I frequently have with myself in my head. What a mark of my personal growth that I could even observe the effect, let alone figure out the cause! What a wonderful opportunity to learn another lesson, through pleasure rather than pain. Frequently, I am a brick wall to mountains falling down kind of student so learning through something "easy" is a nice change. What a blessing to be able to observe myself, learn a new lesson and re-establish contact with a dear companion all at the same time.

As I was writing this Jim called from California. He is at a training. Now, I know he is where he needs to be at this time. I am at peace that I am where I need to be, yet, my heart ached. I ached to be with Jim. I longed to be bathed in the positive energy he is surrounded with right now. I wanted to be growing too. A deep breath and it eased a little. 3 or 4 more and it was just a dull soft hurt. Now, it is just an echo.

Celebrate every success. Yeah for me. I am growing.

One Word

In my quest to "know myself" a friend suggested an activity to find out how others see me. I sent an e-mail to several people including some family, friends and business assosiates asking for one word they would use to describe me. I was suprised how quickly people answered. No two people gave the same answer. I was touched. I am still trying to integrate it all. The difficulty arises because my negative conditioning wants to dismiss everything good it hears.

Hear is some of what I recieved:
brilliant
deep
engaged
motivated
beautiful
amazing
funny
loving
responsible
careing

There were more.

It was all so...amazing. It is still hard to accept it is me they are talking about. It is easy to say, "They don't really know me," but some of these people have seen me at my deepest and rawest so they really know me better than those in my everyday life.

Logic then dictates that perhaps it is myself who doesn't know me. This could be why I struggle so to live in my "higher self" more often. Perhaps I have been living that false mask so long, even I have forgotten the truth that lies beneath it.

It begs the question,
do you know who you truely are?

Monday, February 06, 2006

Depression...an Honest Day

Depression really sucks. The wost part is I usually don't realize I have sunk so low, back into the fog, for some time. I am just barely forcing myself out of it, kind of on that hazey edge. Although I feel guilty admitting what I have been doing, perhaps it will help someone in some way.

I have been so sleepy lately, and even caffine couldn't rouse me. My goal was to try to get the kids engaged in TV so I could sleep on the couch. I barely drag myself out of bed long enough to feed the kids some cold cereal and say good-bye to my husband and oldest in the morning. Once they are gone my goal is to get the other 3 hypnotized by the tv inside 30 minutes. Something inside tries to tell me this isn't healthy, but I don't really want to listen so I shut it out. I'd give them a snack, but then they would just wake me up wanting more. Check to make sure doors are closed, since the littlest gratefully still can't turn the knobs, then crash by 8:30. I had been awake maybe an hour fifteen by now.

While I lay on the couch I am not really asleep. I am mostly oblivious to the kids, responding, "later" to any requests. (For the most part they tip toe around. "Shh. Mommy's sleeping." Bless their little hearts.) My mind however is fully engaged in some other place. I never feel like I have ever rested. I am simply in another place now, living some other life. There is a whole other world going on I am part of, another story.

Two hours later some crisis of some sort calls for attention. At first I don't really know what's going on or where I am. The immediate is handled, whatever it takes to quiet these little creatures around me. As I move I talk in my head. "This is reality. These are your children. You are suppose to be taking care of them. This is real." Somehow I am not sure, but since everything that had been in my head is now fuzzy and fading, I accept this must be reality.

I can't think straight. I have no idea what day it is, nor do I really care. If the phone rings, I won't answer. Don't bother coming to the door. I won't answer. I don't want to interact with anyone. I feel guilty knowing Jim will wonder what I did all day so I less than half heartedly try to clean up some of the mess that materialized during my earlier "sleep."

11:30 ish it's time to feed the children. The good thing here is then the baby will go down for a nap. They are fed. Baby down. I really don't know what happens next. It's as if the clock just spontaneously jumps ahead 2 hours and it is almost time for The Boy to come home from school. This is not good news. He will want a snack. Then there is the fight to get his homework done. And through the midst his mere presence will inspire the others to fight and be whiny. I dread this time of day.

He comes. There is chaos. I am angry. Time for dinner. Must they eat again?!?! And Jim will expect food too. Ugh. I wander out to the freezer hoping for a quick fix. I wander back into the fridge, then rummage the pantry hoping something will spontaneous present itself. This usually ends one of 3 ways: pb&j, leftovers, or ordering in.

Dinner. Bedtime routine. I am lucky in that my kids sleep 11-12 hours a night. Well, sleep is used loosely. Only one always sleeps through. One always wakes up, always has. One frequently does, sometimes staying up an hour or more. The last rarely wakes up and is easily put back to sleep. Mix the 4 and it's a lottery game every night.

By 7:30, 8 at the latest you've got a 90% chance they are all asleep. Although a good part of me feels a desire to pass out right then, I actually would just lie there awake anyway until Jim is ready for bed so I engage in some time passing no brian activity. TV, computer games, laying listly in some fashion.

Eventually it will be late enough I can convince Jim it's bedtime. Then I collapse into bed, depressed and guilty. Yet, I will do it all the same tomorrow.

This time I am coming out sooner. I see where I am. I don't feel better. I am not happy. But I can make my body move a little bit. A shower. "You stink, and you know it is another place to be alone. Now, clothes- no pajamas. Move. Just to the mailbox. See, it feels good to go outside." If I can just do a little more than yesterday. That's all, just a little more than yesterday. Slowly. . . slowly. . . just a little more than yesterday. There. Did you see it? For just a second it was there. The glimmer of hope. It will get better.