Listening to My Vulnerability

I am lacking some pretty serious direction today. Kinda feeling heavy, stuck, and frustrated. So, I grab my jug of coffee and trudge up to my studio to see what whispers I might receive about what avenue to take next.

I turn on my Pandora Helen Jane Long Radio station, burn some sage (for cleansing all that junk in my mind) and just sit.  Breathe.  Breathe again.  One more time.

I am anxious.  I can’t listen to the message if I’m anxious.  Well, I usually get this way towards the middle end of July.  I am a literacy coach and the summer is over half gone.  My todo list has, ummmmm, well. . . one thing crossed off.  That would be my 2 week vacation of solitude.

And, of course, I’ve started some new things that have to do with writing and art.  My soul craves to keep that creative part of me growing, yet my rational mind is thinking about the things that need to be done around the house yet, and planning New Teacher Training in  August.  Work is creeping into my creative brain.

But, more than any of these things causing anxiety today, is my body.

K – I’m sorry for complaining here, but, I feel like crap.  Getting carried away writing and painting and reading cause me to retreat inward and then I lack of consistent, vigorous exercise.  I’m talking more than the half hour walk with the dog.  I’m drinking way too much coffee lately and not enough water.  Meals?  Not telling.  It’s summer!  Grilling and an evening drink so hand in hand with summer, right?

Well, maybe not hand in hand with this body.

This body is screaming for attention.  My joints ache, my skin hurts even, my back feels out of whack and my stomach is acting up, not liking the garlic and onions I put in my food last night.

Why is it that it seems like when you finally feel at a good place with your mind and spirit, the body cries.  I’m afraid that if I get all hooked on exercise and the health track, my mind and time will be consumed with this and peaceful mind and spirit with suffer.  I’ve been obsessed with exercise and every bite of  food I put in my mouth before and I just am so not there anymore.  So much of it was vanity and my ego – so I let it all go when I figured that out.

So, how do I get back to a healthy balance?

I have lacked balance my whole life.

So, I check my emails before I write this morning.  I should not do that, I know.  Write first.  And then. . . worse than that, I check face book.  Another no-no if you are trying to write every  morning, first thing.

But, the message came through face book this morning.  A friend had posted this picture on their wall:

Thank you, Debbie May, for finding this for me today from Jenny’s blog.

Vulnerability.  This word described me to the T this morning.  I clicked on it and soaked up Jenny’s words.

And cried.

Do you do that when someone’s post touches your soul so deeply?  I often think I’m a pathetic mush, but, I’ve realized that when I cry, it’s my soul either crying is sadness or gladness.  This was gladness.  Because Jenny gave me the direction I needed today.

Jenny wrote about her transformation through fitness and how it’s guiding her creativity and her life.

My soul was screaming, “I wanna be fit! Your entire being will align if you feel better physically, Shari! Do something!  Do it today!”

Well, I didn’t have to concentrate to hard to get that message.   And, I don’t have to go too far for help.  My daughter, Lauren, is a personal trainer.  She is the epitome of commitment and strength.  I have never seen someone so dedicated to fitness and health.

She doesn’t live far from me either.   She still lives at home with me.  In my house.  Who is blessed enough to have a personal trainer live with them??????

Lauren is constantly giving me advice as to what I should eat, how I should eat, what exercise would help me the most.  I listen to her sometimes.  She doesn’t hound me.  She often tells me, “It’s a good thing you don’t pay me!”  I’ve told her I should get her services for free since she lives here, but. . .I’m her worst client.

Maybe I need to start paying her.

Maybe it’s time I’m serious about my health.

If I pay her, I’ll feel guilty if I DON’T listen to her.  So, today, I’m asking her for help.  And, I’m paying for it.

Sometimes, asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness, right?


Finding Solitude

My wish for every woman is for them to have a place that they can retreat to.  One where they have no responsibilities, no worries, and no fear.  At this place, their mind can clear away all the clutter of their every day lives.  Breathing happens.  Listening happens.  A reconnection with your soul to hear the whispers of what to do next.  To feel the presence of the earth around you. . . and embrace it.

Without making time to ever get to this place in our mind, body and soul, we are racing through our lives mindlessly without

I am so blessed to have this place, a little primitive cabin in the remote woods by a pond in northern Minnesota.  It’s not mine.  It belongs to a paster friend of my husband’s and he rents it out for 35.00 dollars a day.  You heard me.  35.00 dollars a day.  The only cabin on the lake.

I sat there for two weeks straight.  My kids came and went, all older and with jobs.  My husband, on a fishing trip of his own in Canada (and work).  Most of the time, it was just me.

Without the lure of the internet (there was no service), I was able to rediscover myself.  I wrote over 200 pages in my notebooks.  I read four books.  I filled pages in my nature journal of butterflies, dragonflies and mushrooms.  I made egg sandwiches just for me, and I tasted each bite and savored them.  I had to bathe in the lake each day.  I took leisurely walks and discovered plants and flowers that I had never seen before.  Actually, they had probably been there. . . but I was not.

“In our lives today, we are racing from one frenzy after one elation after one enthusiasm after one hysteria after another, always yelling and running somewhere, because we are afraid life is going to be over that very afternoon,” as quoted by Ray Bradbury.  We miss the meaning of why we are even here on this earth.  We miss the birds singing.  We miss the gentle breeze blowing across our face.  We miss our child’s expression on their face that says they need us.  We lose being present.

It took me four days to wind down at this cabin before “my body and mind slowed down enough for me to find a basic restfulness, before I could even begin to nibble at the edges of solitude” (Rolheiser).

Father Ron Rolheiser who writes in Our Northland Diocese, tells us we are in solitude when we fully taste the water we are drinking, feel the warmth of our blankets, and are restful enough to be content inside our own skin.  It is not something that can be turned on like a water faucet.  It needs a body and mind slowed down enough to be attentive to the present moment.

As mothers, as women, as human beings. . . we need this presence in our every day lives.  This is when we really see, hear, taste, feel and smell our world, our lives and other souls put on this earth at the same time as ourselves.

If you have not had an opportunity to find yourself at this place of presence yet, it’s still mid July, you have time before the leaves start to turn.  I realize I am a blessed soul who actually has a place to go, children who are old enough to take care of themselves and a loving husband who understands how much I need this solitude.  Somehow, make your own retreat at home.   You are creative.  Use your gift of creativity to find that way to honor your soul and find solitude.

Then, share with us that experience.

Peace and Love,

Shari 🙂