Dirty Dishes~ sol#16

 

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Knowing that your kitchen sink is adorned with the overflowing of dirty dishes causes one to linger in bed a little longer on a Saturday morning. ¬†Even to get to the coffee maker means some dishes need to be washed. ūüė¶ ¬†My husband snuck out of bed early to head up to work for a bit. ¬†On any other Saturday morning, he would be helping, but today, it’s up to me.

I’ve never been one to fret about going to bed with dirty dishes in the sink. ¬†I know I should as it’s certainly not a pleasant way to start the day by peering into the sink wondering where the wash cloth is. ¬†My mother would be horrified, although, I’ve also heard her say that she often¬†wishes she could ignore the sink dishes and go straight to bed. ¬†She has a lot of German in her, so I understand.

Her mother ironed sheets.

It doesn’t bother anyone else in the household enough to do them before bed, so why should I be concerned? ¬†I ask for help, sometimes, and I get ridiculous excuses:

“I’m charging my phone right now.” (24 year old son)

“Actually, I was just going to watch this hunting show. How about after?” (husband)

“But, I didn’t dirty any of them.” (23 year old daughter)

“I was just about to take a nap.” (20 year old son)

“I don’t even¬†live¬†here anymore!” (26 year old daughter)

“Are there any scraps on those plates?” (dog – Sandy)

I will hear my Grandma Killian’s voice, “Oh, the hell with it,” and I just leave them.

I guess I have more Irish in me than German.

I have not decided if it’s a good trait or not.

Shari ūüôā

Image above is from https://www.etsy.com/market/dirty_dishes.  I think I need to buy it as a reminder.

I’m participating in twowritingteachers March Challenge of posting a blog post every day for the month of March. ¬†While I’ve missed a few days, I’m still in it for the long haul! ¬†To check out other writers, visit here.

 

The Beginnings of My Spirit Doll

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The Universe if a crazy place and every day, I am guided to where and who I need to go next along my path.  It affirms my belief in a higher power, yet baffles me at the same time.

Last week was one of those weeks where you are shaken a bit. ¬†Life feels cluttered, too much is coming in, events happen that upset the apple cart. ¬†I remained true to meditating and listening to my inner voice, and one morning I opened an email that was just junk. ¬†An email from Pinterest that suggests other pins you might like. ¬†If you are on Pinterest, you get these daily and I typically just delete them. ¬†Well, on this day, I was guided to check them out. ¬†Mind you, it was 8:30am ~ it’s very dangerous to go on Pinterest this early in the day, especially when my mind is at it’s peak and I should be doing more constructive things. . . like WRITING!

Regardless, I was sucked in.  Too late.  Hooked by the dragon.

I was led to a spirit doll.  I love dolls.  Years ago, when my children were small, I made cloth dolls from recycled clothing for craft fairs and shops to earn extra money.  Every doll was a part of me.

Then, as my kids became more involved in sports, I began teaching full-time, the doll hobby was neglected and eventually I sold all the material and collections I accumulated for doll making at a garage sale.  It was extra weight that I needed to clear out.  I needed to make room for the new.

But still, I’m drawn to dolls and doll makers. ¬†I feel a pull whenever a doll maker talks of her work or I see a handmade doll.

This particular spirit doll let me to a woman’s spirit doll wall page of which I began pinning away from. ¬†Inspiration rose inside of me. ¬†I could feel my soul coming alive and my mind swirling with possibilities. ¬†I knew I needed to make a spirit doll somehow and venture back into the world of dolls. I missed them so much and they were calling me.

After a substantial loss of time, and feeling a little giddy, I decided I needed to thank this lady for the inspiration she brought me today.  I found her on Facebook and sent her a small message of appreciation.

Immediately, she messaged back telling me about who she was.

I was intrigued and was nudged to ask her about her journey.

She replied, “Why don’t you give me a call. ¬†Here’s my cell #.”

Wow.  Really?  Cell #? Who does that?

I told her I would sometime.  Truly wanting to, but, I know how busy people are and honestly hate bothering them.  I was sure she was just being polite.

“How about now? ¬†Do you have a minute?” she continued.

“Ummm. . . okay,” I replied. ¬†Holy Kamoly. ¬†This amazing woman was serious. ¬†

This was just too much. ¬†But, my intuition said, “Call her.”

And. . . I actually did have time.

So, I did.

We talked for 2 hours.  I filled 18 sticky notes with thoughts.  She felt like an old soul who had gone before me.

I shared with her my apple cart tipping over and my forks in the road and she told me I needed to make a spirit doll for guidance.  Gather a group of women together and create spirit dolls.  There is power and energy in this, she said.  Your spirit doll will tell you what you need.  Listen to her.  

She led me to ¬†Joanna Powell Colbert’s website, where a How To Make A Spirit Doll e-book is free. ¬†Thank you, Joanna. ¬†Oh my goodness, my energy centers were just spinning and flowing.

I am so grateful for the women that have come into my life as mentors and guides.  Miraculously, when my journey with one woman ends, another appears for the next leg on the path.

Off to the thrift store I went to snatch up anything that spoke to me for my Spirit Doll.  I know my theme/intention for this doll will be of fearlessness, protection (energy) and peace.  I did not googling and was brought to ancient Goddess Tara.  Hmmm. . .

I’m not sure where I’m going with this, but it feels right. ¬†

Sometimes, we just have to trust.

Who will join me?

Shari ūüôā

 

How Energy Clearing Saved Me

¬†depression ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Depression is not a cut that needs a band-aid. ¬†It’s a cancer that needs a battle plan. ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†¬†~ Ann Voskamp ¬†

I’ve battled depression and all over body/joint pain most of my adult life.¬†

“Something is wrong with me,” was my constant mantra. ¬†

I hadn’t suffered trauma, loss, cancer, divorce or abuse. ¬†95% of the world prays for the life I have. ¬†That alone made me more depressed about being depressed because it brought on guilt for even feeling the way I did.

I have not confessed to many people about my bouts of depression because sometimes people look at you like you have a mental illness and treat you differently. ¬†There are enough “real” problems in the world to think and pray about, I certainly don’t want people worrying about me. ¬†I also didn’t want to be sharing my story for a desperate need of attention or to give excuses for why I am the way I am. ¬†I’ve only shared with those who have opened their hearts to me because it’s their story, too. ¬† And, to my dear closest friends.

Doctors said I should be tired and exhausted, I had four children and a job. ¬†Tests always looked good, so they’d prescribe me iron, or more potassium, or magnesium, or B vitamins. I’d leave, relieved I wasn’t dying, but never felt healed.

Over the last 15 years, I became a student of my own depressed experience. I analyzed every possible cause for to find the root of this despair. Thinking it was physical, I eliminated bad habits of caffeine, coffee, Diet Coke, alcohol and processed foods. ¬†I did detoxes and cleanses, exercised regularly, got into nature, conquered addictions and reduced stress. ¬†I buried myself in books to learn about my mind – maybe I was crazy and it really was in my mind. ¬†I devoured Eckart Tolle, Byron Katie, Penny Pierce, Wayne Dyer, Deepok. ¬†I learned all about my ego, consciousness and how we are our thoughts. ¬†I did daily devotionals, prayed, vowing to become more spiritual – maybe it was God missing in my life. ¬†I thought is was my work, perhaps I wasn’t being true to who I was. ¬†So, I began to write, filled art journals, and painted. ¬†Of course, I figured it was my marriage – my resentfulness perhaps is what’s taking its toll on me. I sought therapy and tried depression meds, only to find I was in Fog City. ¬†St. John’s Wart, the same. ¬†Perhaps, it was midlife changes, so I sought out self-help books on mid-life, menopause, had a hysterectomy, and did some serious soul searching. ¬†

Then the world of energy came into light. ¬†I was introduced to Reiki, by my niece, Micara Link, as a way to heal ourselves, so I took classes and learned about how we can heal with energy, focused on releasing blocked chakras and worked on my subconscious blocks buried deep from childhood. ¬†She introduced me to clearing, but I guess I wasn’t ready to embrace it just yet. ¬†She also affirmed my belief of being a highly sensitive person. ¬† This, just a dent in my quest for an answer.

I made strides Рbig ones.  

But, I was not cured.  

The Big D kept coming back.  Always, it followed me around like lost puppy.

I then met Bridgette. Bridgette and I met in a Facebook group of friends brought together by¬†Kelly Ray Robert’s online class, Flying Lessons. ¬†Bridgette is a ¬†women’s empowerment coach, who also does energy work, intuitive coaching and is psychic. ¬† We conversed online, became companions at a writing retreat and I later, continued sessions with her over the ¬†phone to receive guidance in reaching my goals and learning about my mind, body, heart and soul and how it all needs to align. ¬†

I didn’t know then, that she would be the one that would unlock the door to my depression/pain quest.

The most powerful gift Bridgette taught me was about energy and how it affects us. ¬†I knew some of this, but not to the depths I needed to know. ¬†You think you know – but really, you don’t.

I learned that I am not just a highly sensitive person, but I am also an empath.  Google that.

As a HSP (highly sensitive person) and an empath (I know-sounds like a real head case, huh?), we absorb the energies of others whether we want to or not.  I was not only absorbing the energies of any person I was with at the time, I was also absorbing the energies in groups of people, in my surroundings, in meetings, in my entire world.   And, carrying it with me, until my body felt heavier, more in pain and more depressed.  (I remember learning this with Micara, but I think I was at the surface of just learning about energy then and did not take in more than basic understandings.) This explained my agitation and exhaustion after being at the mall, large group meetings and gatherings and even in my working environment of an elementary school of almost 900 people.

I needed help.  A game plan.  I could not quit my job.

Bridgette gave me tools and taught me two main practices to combat this problem:

1.  Energy Clearing to clear all energies from others that I absorb on a daily basis

2.  Creating a protection barrier around me to protect myself from the energy of others.

Bridgette did my first energy clearing for me, over the phone! ¬†I was skeptical, but I did believe in energy and the law of attraction. ¬† The next day, I felt 20 pounds lighter, had a skip in my step, my depression and pain lifted and I was me again. ¬†I honestly FELT “cleared”. ¬†A peace and lightness flowed through me. ¬†It was a miracle. ¬†

But, it didn’t last. ¬†By the next week, I was back in my bed again, barely able to peel myself away from bed to get to the shower for work.

I called Bridgette.

She said I had to learn to do these clearings on my own, and on a regular basis if I was going to survive my job.  I found that I needed them twice a week, usually over the weekend to clear from the week and again by Wednesday.  I also learned to create a morning ritual for myself before going into my work that consisted of meditation that focused on creating an imaginary protective barrier around me so these energies could not penetrate through my own energy auras.  And also, a disconnection ritual at the end of my work day. Yes, it all sounds crazy in a Cosmo-Rica-woo-woo kind of way.

But, you know what? It worked.

And if something makes me feel better and chases away the pain and depression I suffer, I’m doing it.

You know how I know that it was mainly the energies of others that was causing my depression and pain?

It’s July 2nd today. ¬†We’ve been out of school for one month already. ¬†I have not had ONE day of depression or pain and have not had to do an energy clearing or protection meditation since school let out. ¬†I’ve been home. ¬†Mostly by myself or with my husband.

I have never felt better in my entire life. ¬†I still abide by everything else I’ve learned to stay depression/fybromyalgia free and healthy. ¬†And, I do not believe I would have learned a fraction of all I now understand about our body, mind, heart and soul had it not been for the relief I was seeking. The daily, conscious effort and monitoring of where I am at is a commitment. ¬†But, if I want to be of service and help for others, it’s one I refuse to stray from. ¬†

But now, I’m at a fork in the road ¬†and my question is, “What now?”

We are never fully “healed” and more and more is revealed to us every day about who we are, and right now I feel a new knowing that there is something more that I feel called to do. ¬†I’m not exactly sure what that is, but I do know part of my purpose is healing, helping and teaching others and I can do that through sharing my story and ¬†the workings of our body, mind, heart and soul, along with how energy affects us. ¬†

Since discovering these newfound paths of healing that work for me, God has guided others my way that need this. Synchronicities has compounded and I am blown away every day. I certainly didn’t think that I would be here sharing with the world my depression journey and teaching others about energy even two years ago. ¬†God unfolds for us in a very mysterious way. ¬†I just followed the bread crumbs. I’m not exactly sure where the next crumbs will be, but I do know it’s time for me to open up and share with others the understandings, tools, and practices that I’ve been taught to battle depression.

If I can even help one person, then I know I’m on the right path.

Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn‚Äôt you ‚Äď all of the expectations, all of the beliefs ‚Äď and becoming who you are.¬†¬†~ Rachel Naomi Remen, MD

Shari ūüôā

Being Reminded of Bad Decisions Hurts Our Brains


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“You need to clear. ¬†Now. ¬†Today.”

 I keep hearing it.  Seeing it.  And, feeling it.

I take this knowingness to my notebook and try to write out EXACTLY what needs to be cleared.

“What? ¬†What needs to be cleared?” ¬†I question, “Is it energy clearing? ¬†I feel okay. ¬†I don’t need that today. ¬†Is it subconscious blocks that I need to let go of? ¬†Fear? ¬†Obsessions? ¬†Old stuff? ¬†What? ¬†Tell me, so I can take care of it!”

A smell lingers up into my writing room. ¬†My candle can’t even mask the smell. ¬†Being one of those highly sensitive nose type people, smells really trip me up.

“What IS that?” ¬†I croak.

Ugh. ¬†I can’t even focus on my thoughts to write with this intrusion. ¬†I shut my computer and investigate. ¬†I know this smell. ¬†It’s a moldy, old garbage, combined with wet dog, chicken coop and baby kitties born on the couch kinda smell (that happened when I was a young girl and I still remember the smell). ¬†I really don’t even want to know what it is. ¬†There have been whiffs of this odor over the last week and I’ve tried to ignore it. ¬†But, I can’t any longer. ¬†It’s become overbearing. ¬†The thought of what it could be is giving me the willies. ¬†Moving might become necessary.

I scan the garage.  My skin shivers at how visually toxic to my well-being this room is.  The school year is done and summer is here and I know I NEED to clean this.

Forget the garage. . . it’s not even my junk.

But, then, I know the answer to my knowingness.

“Oh, you mean REAL clearing! ¬†ACTUAL PHYSICAL REAL CLUTTER!” ¬†I shake my head because I really do not want to tackle this. I’ve been avoiding it altogether. ¬†I have other things to do! ¬†Stuff I actually WANT to do! ¬†It’s summer!! ¬†The sun outside wants me to sit in it and just read!

The message is affirmed in everywhere I go.  The yard, the shed, the playhouse.  There is not a space in my house that does not need some TLC:

A Total-Lot-of-Cleaning.

¬†Yes, I’ve neglected it. ¬†It’s time.

“Whether it be your closet or office desk, excess things in your surroundings can have a negative impact on your ability to focus and process information. That‚Äôs exactly what neuroscientists at Princeton University found when they looked at people‚Äôs task performance in an organized versus disorganized environment. The results of the study showed that physical clutter in your surroundings competes for your attention, resulting in decreased performance and increased stress.” ¬† ¬† ~nourishment3.com

Well, I knew I was having a focusing issue, but I didn’t know it was because of my clutter. ¬†And my stuff.

I announce to my husband that I’m on a de-cluttering mission. ¬†His eyes begin to squint like the sun’s hurting him and his entire face scrunches up. ¬†He knows he is going to either have to get involved or risk losing some stuff. ¬†He also knows he has more stuff to de-clutter than I do. ¬†The two boys find other stuff to do.

The bathroom is first, as it’s the room that bothers me the most. ¬†Items from the shelves are purged, used once or twice and never to be noticed again, covered in dust and gunk. ¬†Old vitamins, prescriptions, bath salts and lotions. ¬†Yuck. ¬†Then. . . way in the back, I discover some old boxes of Frownies I purchased a few years ago.

Oh dang.  The memory comes flooding back.

These stick on patches were going to be the ticket for those wrinkles on my forehead. ¬†The internet said. ¬†So, I bought 2 packages, not just one. ¬†On my first day’s trial of stretching my forehead before applying the sticky patches to my skin, and then sleeping with it on, I awoke ¬†to an even more dented forehead than my original one. ¬†Apparently, I had not flattened my skin smooth enough before I stuck that baby on. ¬†Instead of smoothing my forehead, I made NEW wrinkles. ¬†They lasted all day. ¬†I should have sent the Frownies back for a refund, but I attributed the problem to operator error and vowed to give it another shot. ¬†I never did. ¬†A reminder of another bad decision and money wasted for vanity.

Why is it so painful to get rid of this stuff?

Apparently, there is research that gives us the answer to this question.  (I found it on the internet.)

We tell ourselves we are hanging onto this stuff for a number of reasons:

1.  We are saving it for just the right occasion.

2.  We spent a lot of money on it and we might use it one day.

3.  We have sentimental value.

But,  the biggest reason we hang on to stuff is because we probably made a mistake buying it and it literally hurts our brain to come to terms with that fact.

Yup, there is. ¬†The truth. ¬†It’s painful to admit that we screwed up. ¬† Bad decisions. ¬†Money wasted.

As in the case of my Frownies.

Tossing them in the trash really DOES hurt. ¬†But really, I know I won’t try them again. ¬†Even sticking all those patches to my face now and going to bed that way seems absurd. ¬†And, I run the risk of that scene be the topic of conversation and my husband’s office the next day.

I could see if my sister wants to try them. ¬†That would feel better than junking them. ¬†But, then, I’d have to hold on to them longer until I see them. Should I walk them over to my neighbor? ¬†I could tell her that if she doesn’t want to try them, she could just toss them and I wouldn’t have to know about it. ¬†Maybe that’s the ticket. ¬†Yeah. ¬†That’s what I’ll do.

Then, I won’t have to feel the pain quite so much.

Unless, the next time I see her, she has more wrinkles.

Now, moving on to the kitchen. . .

What is painful for your brain to let go of?

Where Writing Comes From

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Awakened by a high pitched whine outside my bedroom door, I cover my head and burrow back into my flannel sheets and quilts. ¬†Saturday mornings are reserved for sleeping in past 6:30, but being the lone human at home this morning, it would be my duty to wake up to Sandy’s calling.

As I shuffle to the biffy first, Sandy follows me.  I sit down and and I receive morning kisses Рdog licks on my chin and nose.

“Yes, yes, I’m happy to see you, too,” I smile.

After this reassurance, she rushes into the bedroom to see if her master is awake.  She returns after noticing his absence.  Ice fishing called his name this weekend and Sandy was left behind.  Up and down the hallway she paces.

“Wanna go outside?” I ask her.

Her tail wagging in gear three and jumping means an absolutely “YES!” ¬†Opening the door, she bursts out, galloping over to the woods.

“Sheesh!” I mutter to myself, shaking my head. “How can she be so wound up in the morning?”

I venture off to the kitchen to make some coffee and wrinkle my nose in disgust.  Dishes fill the sink and tracings of yesterday clutter the table.  A full day yesterday at work and exhaustion upon arriving home meant a little reading and right to bed for me.  I pay the price today.

“You need to get this cleaned up before you start anything,” Bernice scolds.

“Well, ¬†it’s going to have to wait,” I tell her, “I have writing to do.

She frowns. ¬†I’m getting really good at talking back to my ego mind.

I fill my cup with coffee and head up to my sanctuary, having no idea  what I might write about today.  However, I know, from daily writing, that if I show up to write, something will come.

A candle is lit. My inspiration playlist gently fills my ears.  I rustle through my pens to choose the perfect one that wants to write for me today.  My notebook opens to a blank page.

Okay. I’m ready.

And, I sit.

My eyes close and I breathe, hand placed over the page.  Deep breaths, breathing in this moment.  Stillness.

“Give me something – something. . . ” I ask.

The trees outside are swaying wickedly as I gaze out the window above my desk.  The sun pops in and out of clouds.  The light so bright I have to squint my eyes.

“Wow! I have not seen that much brightness for awhile!” I say to myself out loud, the spring sun a gift.

The heat kicks in.  A vent on the floor to my right forces warmth up my way.

“M-m-m-m-m . . . this is heaven. . . the sun, the heat.” ¬†I savor it.

Adelle’s turn to sing on my playlist. ¬†Her words?

“Make you feel my love. . .”

I breathe again.  Angel arms wrap around me.  I shut my eyes and smile, a tear squeaking out, feeling His greatness.

“Thank you. ¬†Yes,” I praise.

And, I put my pen to the page.

Notice, Name It and Pay A Compliment

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“Learning to compliment others well is a real art. . . receiving any kind of positive feedback (about writing) feels good. ¬†Receiving a compliment that gets to the heart of what one was trying to do (as a writer) feels amazing.”

These words marinate in my brain this morning upon reading them in today’s Slice of Life Day #4 Challenge ~ words from Anna Grotz Cockerille’s post, in how we can teach our kids how to compliment one another’s writing.

Lucy Calkins,  Donald Graves and Donald Murray teach us to notice something positive that the writer did and name it for them.  I begin to think about the teachers in my school who are busy as elves today getting ready for parent/teacher conferences tonight after school.  Some are ready and confident.  Some are anxious and worry.  All are amazing in their own unique ways.

“But, do they know that?” ¬†I wonder.

Not only is it important for us to notice and compliment our writers, but it’s equally and more important to pay attention, notice, name and compliment what others do as humans. ¬†How often do we pay attention to the positive actions others do? ¬†And, if we do take our heads outside of ourselves for a moment to be aware of what’s going on around us and notice it, do we give that someone a compliment SAYING we noticed?

Receiving a compliment that says “You’re awesome” is nice, but the most meaningful compliment is when someone takes the time to let you know they’ve noticed something specific that you did – and named it for you.

That’s authentic.

It’s real.

It’s the evidence that supports our awesomeness and you know what? ¬†Those are the messages our ego needs to hear.

I noticed a teacher being awesome today. ¬†She confronted another adult when she disagreed with something that was going on. ¬†It took bravery to do that. ¬†I’ve seen her be brave like this before. ¬†I’m awed by her. ¬†I told her so today. ¬†I don’t know many adults that go right to the source of a problem when they have one. ¬†She does.

She deserved to be noticed and to be complimented on that – specifically.

I don’t know about you, but my ego doesn’t always believe, “You’re awesome.”

Ego usually says to me, “Yeah, right. ¬†What did you do? I know frosting on poop when I see it.”

But, now, when someone gives me evidence?  That gives me PROOF.

I can then say, “HA! ¬†Take THAT, Bernice! ¬†See? I AM awesome!!” ¬†(btw. . . Bernice is my ego, just incase you didn’t know.)

I challenge you to pay attention, notice and compliment not only other writers today, but other people.

What the Internet is Doing To My Productivity

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What the Internet Has Done To My Productivity

There are currently 11 tabs open on my mac. ¬†Before 10:00 am. ¬†(Yes, this is a fragment. ¬†I know. ¬†I’m making a statement.)

It’s Saturday morning, 6:45 am.  A rediculous -26 degrees below zero in frigid northern MN.  I’m thinking that I am going to get a boatload of tasks checked of my to-do list today because I’m not stepping foot out into that danger zone outside.  Cleaning, writing, school work, decorate the tree and maybe even begin some Christmas baking.  I’ve got English Toffee on my mind.

Because of the mouse that I BELIEVE ran across my face this morning as I was pulling out my REMs at 6:30am, I first go to my facebook page and post this trauma to my status.  Childhood friends console me.  Teaching colleagues and relatives were as mortified as I was.  Former students from my first year teaching appear to reminisce.  Community friends offer solutions:  peppermint oil or cats.  My daughter scolds me in that I need to wash my bedding.

Knowing I should NOT log onto facebook before noon on a Saturday, yet realizing I’ve already broken my cardinal rule, I continue to peruse facebook status’, commenting and clicking on intriguing links that grab my now distracted mind.

A fb friend posts Steven Pressfield’s Writing Wednesday post on  Managing Your Time.  Whoa.  That is the Universe speaking to ME right now, so I’d better surf over there and find out how to best do that!

Pressfield relives a narrative that makes me chuckle because I live the same one, but these are the words that I write down to remember from his post:

“You have to run your day. You can’t let your day run you.

 You must roll out of bed each morning with an unshakeable focus and intention. Your novel, your start-up, your movie. That’s your day. That’s why you’re here.

 You can’t yield to distractions and temptations. You must be like the Blues Brothers.

 You’re on a mission from God.

¬†Who is in charge of your day? You are!‚ÄĚ

Ok.  He is right.  As soon as I get off here, I’m going to start some writing.  But first, I’m going to tweet this blog post on Twitter.  It’s too good to lose and others will benefit from his wise words.  Pressfield wrote the War on  Art. The man speaks volumes. He knows a thing or two about productivity and resistance.

Once on Twitter, I come upon a tweet that has caught my attention.¬†¬†Cathy Mere¬†tweets that everyone should take time to read the tweets on¬†#nerdlutions.¬† ‚ÄúHmmm. . . what is this?¬† I‚Äôd better check this out as it must be too good to miss.‚ÄĚ I click my way over there.

I believe ‚Äú#nerdlutions‚ÄĚ was started by¬†Christopher Lehman, but perhaps the term was derived by¬†Colby Sharp, but I’m not 100 percent sure, needing to give credit to where credit is due. ¬†It seems “#nerdlutions” is defined as committing to doing something or some things for 50 days.¬† There are no rules.¬† Just make sure it makes you happy.

Of course, I’m a sucker for these things.  I’m in.  Being a part of this amazing  Twitter community is the draw.

I commit to 30 minutes of writing and 30 minutes of ‚Äúmoving my body in some form of exercise‚ÄĚ every day.

 I’d better retweet this and I’ll pin it to my Pinterest wall as one of my blog posts to read over and over so I don’t forget about it.

Whoa, stop the trains ‚Äď once at¬†Pinterest, ¬†after pinning this blog post, of course other pinners who have pinned this to their wall as well, pop up.¬† My mind tells me that these are ‚Äúlike-minded‚ÄĚ souls, so I need to check out their walls.

I click on a pin that pulls me in.  It leads me to Brainpickings, a site that I have become lost in before.  Uh-oh.  Don’t know if I should be here this morning, but I’m already astray.  The post I’m called to is by Maria Popova and titled,

‚ÄúThe Psychology of Getting Unstuck: How to Overcome the ‚ÄúOK Plateau‚ÄĚ of Performance & Personal Growth‚ÄĚ,

 which leads me to a book, Maximize Your Potential, by Joshua Foer.  These words from the blog post resinate in my mind for awhile and a rereading in necessary:

‚ÄúIn the 1960s, psychologists identified three stages that we pass through in the acquisition of new skills. We start in the ‚Äúcognitive phase,‚ÄĚ during which we‚Äôre intellectualizing the task, discovering new strategies to perform better, and making lots of mistakes. We‚Äôre consciously focusing on what we‚Äôre doing. Then we enter the ‚Äúassociative stage,‚ÄĚ when we‚Äôre making fewer errors, and gradually getting better. Finally, we arrive at the ‚Äúautonomous stage,‚ÄĚ when we turn on autopilot and move the skill to the back of our proverbial mental filing cabinet and stop paying it conscious attention.‚ÄĚ

The problem most of us have is staying stuck in ‚Äúautopilot‚ÄĚ.¬† By staying in our comfort zone, we tend to ‚Äėcease to care about improving‚Äô.¬† Our mind tells us, ‚ÄúAh, this is good enough.‚ÄĚ I begin to think about the areas in my life I am on autopilot on and which areas need some improvement.

After savoring this post, I navigate over to Amazon to toss the book into my cart.

I don’t think I have to tell you what happens once I get there.

After losing two hours, I shut my laptop, I begin to wonder if I am crazy.  Am I alone in this world of distraction?  Are there others out there that are not able to accomplish their daily to-do list because of our online communities and getting lost in the internet playground.  I know I can’t be alone.  I ponder that if this is a struggle for me, an educated adult, what are our children going through?

I glance over to my bookshelves next to my desk.  A book seems to pop out at me.

The Shallows:  What the Internet is Doing To Our Brains by Nicholas Carr.    I don’t even remember buying this book.  I pull it off the shelf and realize I need to read this today.

After I post this to my blog today, an ‚Äúunplugging‚ÄĚ for the remainder of the weekend is in order.¬† I have things to do.¬† My mind needs a rest. ¬†My husband will be home soon as ask me how my day was and what I did. ¬†I’d better get something done, fast.

I might sleep with a sleeping bag on the dining room table tonight.  I don’t think mice can climb table legs.  You might say they can’t climb bed legs either, but when you blankets creep off to the floor, this creates a nice ladder for the little varmints to climb.

Did I mention I ran out of my decaf beans and perhaps ground caffeinated ones instead?  They were displayed in an unmarked glass jar.

Explains a lot.

Shaken ~ By A Coffee Shop Employee

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I’m blessed to be able to travel to Ohio a couple of times a year for training at Ohio State University for my job as a literacy coach. ¬†I travel alone and to be honest, I love spending time with myself alone. ¬†The traveling is a bonus.

The mornings in Ohio are glorious.  Temperatures about 30 degrees warmer than MInnesota, the sun rises and warms the sky to wrap around you and just fill you with bliss.  My rental car, a spiffy little Chevy Cruz (a change from my big Trailblazer)  hugs the curves of the road as I drive about 15 miles to my destination.  The radio stays set at 104.9, The River, a Christian radio station that touches my soul each morning.  Yum.  Life is good.

Each morning in Columbus, on my way to training,  I swing by a Caribou Coffee shop for a large dark decaf, two shots of hazelnut syrup and steamed, whipped skim milk. ( M-m-m-m, just writing that makes me miss Ohio)  The drive through line always long, so I end up parking my car and walking inside to order.

One particular day, after placing my order and paying, I slide along the counter to wait at the end for my drink to be ready for pick up. ¬†The gal who takes the order is never the maker of the order. She gives the order to this big, burly, 20 something year old guy who does all the coffee fixings. ¬†I’m watching him and waiting, hoping he gets it right.

He hands me my cup and states, “Here’s your coffee.”

“Yay!” I’m rejoicing. ¬†Happy day! ¬†Life can begin now!

Then. . . I think, and I ask, “Is it decaf?” just to be sure. ¬†I’ve been handed a regular coffee before, after a decaf request, and my body and mind do not sit well downing all that unintentional caffeine, so I NEED to double check. ¬†Always.

“What?” he asks, looking at me confused.

“Is it decaf?” I ask again, a little clearer and a little louder. ¬†Maybe he has a hearing problem, I don’t know.

He looks at me strange, then glances over at the gal who took the order and she says to him, “Yes, it’s decaf.”

He then, reports to me, “Yes, it’s decaf.”

“Thank you!” I tell him and I smile, taking my coffee and heading towards to door, all happy and warm inside. ¬†Life is wonderful!

How could a morning be any better than this?  A perfect coffee, amazing weather, and an opportunity for me to engage in trainings that expand my mind and connect with other literacy coaches?  Honestly, I am so lucky!

Upon approaching the door, I then, hear the burly man say to the ordering gal, “Is this decaf???” in this loud, mimicing, obnoxious voice.

I stop dead in my tracks. ¬†Jolted, I look over at him and he’s chuckling to her. ¬†She looks at me with a “I don’t know him,” look.

What? I caught that.

Seriously?  In shock, I have trouble making my feet go forward.

My mind is asking, “Did that just happen?”

I am shaken.

As I walk to my car, stunned over this episode of pure disrespect for another’s well being, I almost forget where I am, what time it is and what I am doing there. ¬†I manage to get inside the car and just sit there for a moment. ¬†I take some deep breaths.

And then, I cry.

For Pete’s Sake.

“Really, Shar? You are going to let some idiot allow to enter your state of mind and wreck the flow of glorious love you are feeling? ¬†What’s wrong with you? ¬†He is not worth your energy or thoughts! ¬†Shake this off! ¬†Get a grip!”

I’m angry at myself for letting others affect me in this way. ¬†I thought I had moved beyond this. ¬†I’m an adult. ¬†I can take a little criticism. ¬†But, it’s the years of teasing in my elementary and early high school years that come flooding back. ¬†Once a target for teasing, if that thorn is not yanked out, a little brushing up against it causes all the pain to come rushing back. ¬†The pain is raw.

Or, (my mind running rampant now) is it that fact that I’m not some cute little young thing? I’m a middle aged, late 40ish, woman, who means nothing to this younger generation. ¬†Ignored, unnoticed and unappreciated. ¬†I’ll bet he would not mimic a cute 20 year old, like my daughters Gracie or Lauren.

I hate how the mind works in these situations.

I then realize that I have to write this down. ¬†These disturbances within us are cause for a deeper exploration. ¬†I don’t want to lose it, as uncomfortable as it is, I need to get to the root of why this stranger’s remarks can hurt me in such a way.

I drive to my training site and sit down next to a friend. ¬†She asks how I am. ¬†My story creeps out of me. ¬†She looks at me with feelings of empathy and pain and tries to lift my spirits as women friends do. ¬†“What an jerk,” she reassures me. ¬†Then she asks, “Did you say something to him? ¬†You should have, you know.”

Ughhh. ¬†I know. ¬†Now I’m even more perturbed with myself because I could not be calm enough to take a stand and say something in defense of myself. ¬†What’s wrong with me? ¬†I’m a mature, strong person? ¬†Dang. ¬†Double Dang. ¬†I missed a major opportunity to practice standing up for myself. I’m so weak, I tell myself.

And then, this amazing thing happens.

Our topic of study in training that day?  Persuasive writing.  We dig into our memories of unjust acts towards us, how we might make the world a better place for all and putting our words on paper for the appropriate audience to make changes where change is due.

Boy, did I have stuff to write.

The Caribou Coffee shop manager was going to receive a letter from me explaining my experience. ¬†I voiced how I did not want this nimbusul fired, but that I just wanted to make sure that they trained all their employees to treat their customers with the utmost dignity and respect. ¬†For heaven’s sakes, the coffee shop people are often the first humans others speak to in the morning. ¬†Their energy emits a tone for the entire day! ¬†It should be their JOB to spread light to all they come into contact with!

Synchronicity again. The occasion happened to ready me for several opportunities, not just persuasive writing.  But, to examine what is deep inside of me that needs to be healed, and to awaken me to the fact that I need to work on wordage to stand up for myself and for others when unkind acts take place (without being a bitch ~ there is a line, you know.  However, Madonna says you have to be a bitch to get things done).

All I know is, I refuse to be a wimp anymore.  I will build my character.  Grow.  Teach others what it means to be kind and have compassion.

Maybe those idiots just don’t know. . .

Maybe their lives are far worse off than our own.

Sadly, because of their ignorance, I now, will get my coffee from Starbucks.

5 Powerful Reasons You Need Morning Pages in Your Life

Morning Pages image

I have done morning pages most of my life, way before Julie Cameron wrote about them in her book The Artist’s Way back in 1992. ¬†When I first read The Artist’s Way for the first time in 2006, I smiled. ¬†What I was doing now had a ¬†name.

I have at least 50 notebooks filled with writing.  Probably more.  They are everywhere. Somedays I write 10-15 pages, others my mandatory 3.  Whatever it may be, I have to write.

I stopped doing morning pages when I started my blogs. 

Why?  How can someone who has done something for a life time stop doing something that is so engrained in their being?  What could possibly cause this?

I started using my blog AS my morning pages.  

Instead of going to the notebook and pen in the mornings, I was now going to my computer attempting to compose a writing for an audience.  I fretted over the frustration of topic choice, choosing a catchy title, crafting that first lead sentence that hooks and then always trying to keep a focus and stick to some pain points.

A  blog has a distinct structure that you try to attain.  This is not morning pages.  I was at a creative standstill.  A block.  Some days I just sat at my computer and pondered.

I didn’t write. ¬†I wasn’t writing.

Julie Cameron’s book Walking in This World arrived on by doorstep yesterday. ¬†As I leafed through the first pages, she reviews the “Basic Tools” for any creative soul. ¬†Morning pages were right there, on the page, as the first, most powerful tool.

I love it when you know something so deep in your core and your veer from it for some reason or another and then, all of a sudden, the Universe sends you a little reminder that you need to remember to do what you know.  Gives me chills.

So, I’m back to my morning pages again. ūüôā

Why are morning pages so powerful, you ask?

Well, I’ll give you 5 really big reasons.

1.  There is no wrong way to do morning pages.

Morning pages are at least 3 pages of long hand writing (no computer) in a notebook that is free-flowing stream of conscious writing.  They are not meant to be art or even any good.  Not that they might be.  They could.  They are only meant for your eyes.  No audience.

2.  The drama gets put on the page.

Julie Cameron says, “All that angry, whiny, petty stuff that you write down in your morning pages is the stuff that stands between you and your creativity.”

It might be worry over bills.  It might be anger at your husband.  It might be you beating yourself up because you drank too much last night.

Whatever this is, it’s drama. ¬†If you get it on paper, it’s leaked out of you. ¬†You did something with it. ¬†So, you can move on.

If I can get my drama on the page, I have less drama in my life.  My head is clearer and I can focus my thinking on the things I want to focus on.

3.  Morning pages teach us to get beyond our critic in our heads.

Because there is no wrong way to do the morning pages and we can write whatever we feel and not care what it says or how it looks, we have the right to ignore the critic in our brain telling us that our writing (or anything else for that matter) is crap.

“We have a logic brain. ¬†This is our Censor that gives us our second, third and fourth thoughts whenever faced with our own original thoughts,” ¬†writes Julia. ¬†Quite often, it spits at us words like, “You can’t write that!” or “Who are you kidding?”

And we have our artist brain. ¬†This artist brain is our creative being. ¬†It has glorious thoughts of “what-if’s” and sees a beautiful leaf and¬†thinks, “I’m going to press leaves and string a bunch of them together to make a leaf garland and hang it above my kitchen window!” ¬†Artist brain is random, free and idealistic.

Julie proclaims that “morning pages teach logic brain to stand aside and let artist brain play.” ¬†Why is this important? ¬†I don’t know about you, but my logic brain is dominant in my brain 24/7. ¬†I know I need to train it better.

4.  Morning pages are a form of meditation.

If we write enough so that it feels like breathing, we begin to see new insights in our writing.  We see the same issues, read over the continued whining and we realize that we need to make changes.

In my own life, the answers to my questions magically appear in my writing.  Many times I have stopped in my own tracks and looked at what came out and cried.  God speaks to us through our writing.

We meditate to discover who we are.  To listen to the whispers from God.  Writing is a form of meditation and the great power in it, more so than meditating without writing, is that the writing that ends up on page helps us to map our pathways.

It is almost impossible to write your morning pages morning after morning without feeling a divine unexpected inner guidance.

I consider it a gift.

5.  Morning pages are not just for writers.

Morning pages are for everyone.  If you know how to hold a pencil and scribble some letters, you can do morning pages.  We all have inner work to do.  Every soul is searching for something.  We all are praying for answers.

Everyone can find them in our pages.

If you haven’t written for a while, go buy a cheap composition notebook and find your favorite pen. ¬†Set your alarm for a half hour to an hour early and start your pages.

Write anything. Write about how you don’t know what to write.

Just get it on the page.

Shari ūüôā