Friday, May 13, 2011

I'm still here!

Well.  It's been quite a while hasn't it?  I found that I was focusing all of my energy during my 11 days of cleansing on taking care of the kids and the house and also trying to give proper energy to the emotions and  feelings that came up while I was trying to detoxify my body.  I find myself, on this Friday the 13th, feeling energetic and optimistic about my present and my future.  I'm feeling like this cleanse was the perfect choice for me at this time and has become a great jumping off point for many ideas that I'd like to pursue and changes that I'd like to make in my life and the lives of my family members.  This was just a little note to let you all know that I haven't stopped writing.  I've just been in survival mode these past days.  I'll write more later on today as I have some lovely and hilarious items to share!

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Quick Shout Out to all the Women in my Life...

I was so thankful this morning for the comments that some very loving women made about the piece that I posted last night.  I just wanted to write quickly, as the sweeties are being helped in the bath by my very patient husband and a meeting is coming up in 34 minutes, to say how very thankful I feel for all of the women in my life.  You, your stories, your lives, your listening, your understanding and your love have given me hope countless times over the years and made me feel so whole and normal.  Thank you and I love you all.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I gotta be me...

Now that I have finally come out of the fog that was breast feeding an infant and taking care of a very active toddler I have slowly started reclaiming the parts of myself that I accidentally or purposefully shed when I became a mother.

Case in Point:

I was weeding my front yard and I was all alone, which hardly ever happens, late this afternoon and I was having all of these amazing creative ideas AND feeling the confidence to try and make them happen.  I was reflecting about how there are times during my cycle when I'm so energetic and just full to overflowing with ideas, excitement, and general good will.  These tend to be the times when I will actually try to go ahead and turn an idea into a reality.  At other times during my cycle I feel sad, defeated, overly cautious, all alone, and anything else negative that you can think of.   At these times the housework doesn't get done, I'm more prone to hitting the fast food drive-thrus, I withdraw from friends, and to describe my patience with the children as low would be generous. Of course, these dark times serve a purpose.  I feel like withdrawing because I need time to acknowledge and address the feelings/issues that come up.  And guess what?  If I don't address the things that come up during this dark time, they keep coming back again and again until they make me so uncomfortable that I can't ignore them any longer.

I used to take the time to allow myself to be introspective during the dark times and to act on my great ideas during the light times.

Then came motherhood.

After becoming a mother, instead of flowing with my cycle, or actually being remotely aware of where I was in my cycle, or what day of the week or day of the year it was, for that matter, and being accepting of my feelings and inclinations, as I know to do from personal experience, I allowed myself to become riddled with feelings of guilt and perplexity.  Instead of remembering to think in terms of , "Now wait a minute, where am I in my cycle?", I just felt guilty because I was short with the kids and the house was a mess and I was trying to pick arguments with my husband.

I want to return to being the woman who honored rather than felt bad about how I was feeling and acting during those dark times of my cycle and took full advantage of those bright, inspired times to help move myself toward who I wanted to be and what kind of life I wanted to live!

 When I had more time on my hands, and didn't have 2 toddlers who would mess up my creation, I was in the habit of using different kinds of seashells and small dark river rocks to chart my cycle, in the shape of a spiral, on my bathroom counter.  The dark rocks were for the time immediately before and during menstruation, the white shells were for ovulation, and I think I used some brown and white turkey wing sea shells for the week between menstruation and ovulation.  I also had a chart of the moon's cycle for every month so that I knew where I was in relation to the dark and bright times of the moon.  I had the time then to be very, very aware of what was going on with my body and I was much better at giving myself a break because I always knew where I was in my cycle.  It was this secret, special thing that I did just for myself and I loved it!

Then came my children and suddenly I became an expert on the sleep habits, likes/dislikes, and bodily functions of 2 very small human beings and I got completely out of touch with my own body and its cycles.  I stopped writing every day, I indulged even more furiously in some pretty bad emotional eating habits, and I dropped out of touch with friends.

I have discovered, through trial and error (mostly error these past 4 years) that no matter what is happening,  I need to hold on furiously, protectively, and without apology to the parts of myself that make me feel most like me.  New relationships, family struggles, pregnancy, motherhood...all of these are opportunities to hold on to what makes me most me.  By doing this, I hope I will experience these parts of my journey feeling more whole and more able to deal with what life throws at me or what I have chose for myself.  My sense is that life would have gone a lot more smoothly for me and my family had I chosen to do this a lot sooner.  Thankfully, the clarity to make different and better choices for myself has come now, and for that I am grateful.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I am sooo going to miss that

 FOOD FOOD FOOD  Fast food is my drug of choice.  Having a bad day?  Head to the McDonald's drive thru (it's just around the corner from my house).  Kids are being totally unmanageable?  Make a game in your head of which place, Wendy's, Burger King, McDonald's, or Chick Fil A has the item(s) that will make me feel better.  Only places with a drive thru are eligible for consideration so that I don't have to take the 2 and 4 year old out of the car.  The first bite of a bacon double cheeseburger or the first handful of salty fries or the first mouthful of a large strawberry milkshake with whip cream is like heaven and in that instant I feel so happy and everything is under my control and everything is going to be okay and I feel that I could die right then and there and feel totally content and happy.  Food has been a treat.  Food has been something that I splurged on when I didn't have money to splurge on anything.  There have been too many times when I have been thankful that I take care of paying our bills as I look at the credit card statement and see how many charges are at fast food restaurants.  Food has always been something that makes me feel better when I am sad, upset, or angry.  Food has made me feel rich and like everything is okay when it really isn't.  Food has been the thing that has made me feel connected to my old self in these years of motherhood when there seemed to be nothing of my old self left.

I woke up one day this January, though, and looked at my children, who were probably eating chicken strips and french fries from McDonald's at the time, and suddenly had this memory of my mother telling me that as a very young child, even before I could talk, I would cry when we drove by the golden arches.  I wanted us to stop and I wanted french fries.  This is pre-talking--and I began to talk when I was just a little over a year old.  And I looked at my babies and I looked at the large Coke with light ice in my hand and I thought, "What am I doing?"  The thing is, I knew better.  I knew better and still I was continuing and passing on a pattern that, at the very least, is expensive, and in reality and at the very worst, completely detrimental to our health and well being.

So, how does a girl like me, who heads to the nearest fast food restaurant when the going gets tough, mend her ways?  Very slowly and very painfully and with many mis-steps and bumps in the road (translate as--trips to McDonald's et al).  Not feeling ashamed of what I'm feeding my children is a great motivator as is the fact that I lost 7 pounds as soon as I stopped having a large Coke with light ice and whatever else sounded good from the McDonald's drive thru every day of the week.  The universe sent me so many signs at the same time--a wonderful chiropractor who educates about healthy eating, friends who are terrific healthy eaters, and articles in every magazine that I seemed to pick up about wellness and good nutrition.

But the real hard work has been having to deal with my emotions instead of smothering them in cheeseburgers, french fries, and strawberry shakes.  And now, the most difficult step yet--I am on day 2 of an 11 day cleanse and my children are still as demanding as ever and my life has the same amount of stress and I have those same old tendencies but I am absolutely unable to satisfy my need to head to the drive thru or the cabinet when I get upset and it is hard and I mean it.  I chose, with full knowledge of my deplorable eating habits of the past, to do the cleanse as a way to get rid of  the toxins that I'm sure have built up in my system, but I didn't realize how utterly helpless I would feel without my old stand by coping mechanism.  I'm serious.  I was at the end of my rope with my children this afternoon and I was standing in front of my kitchen cabinet wanting so badly to eat as many potato chips as possible and I couldn't and I felt a panic that I cannot describe.  I'm not going to lie.  I had some potato chips and they were good but as I stood there I had this 'Aha!' moment--It became clear to me that this was what my cleanse will be about.  Perhaps I will flush some of the toxins from my system and perhaps I will lose some weight, but my real growth will come from beginning to find a new coping mechanism.  A coping mechanism that doesn't involve using disgusting food as a way of making me feel happy, less stressed, or like my old self.  Because really, who wants to cry for french fries every time they pass by the golden arches?  My old self did, but hopefully the new me will take my old self home for a snuggle with my children or a long talk with my husband or a friend.  Hopefully the new me will comfort my old self in such a loving way that she won't feel like she has to cry anymore.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The world, and our children, are watching

I was saddened to hear about an impromptu rally, organized by Grand Junction City Councilwoman Janet Rowland, that was held earlier this evening, to celebrate the death of Osama Bin Laden.  We are still a nation in mourning.  We mourn for those who were lost on September 11, 2001.  We mourn for all of the families who lost their loved ones, children who have grown up without a mother or father, husbands and wives who became widows, mothers and fathers who suffered the horrible and unnatural fate of having a child die before them.  We mourn the soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, serving a country whose leaders chose war.  I think most of all, though, we mourn the loss of our sense of safety and security.  We mourn and we are angry.

Angry enough to celebrate death.

Celebrating death, even the death of one who caused many other deaths is misguided and unnatural.

Instead of celebrating the death of a man who was troubled and inspired to unfortunate action by a chain of events that goes back many years and which we cannot even begin to understand, let us be somber as is fitting and proper.  Let us be somber in the face of so much death and violence and let us feel compassion for all those who have been placed in the unfortunate position of taking lives these past 10 years, including those whose job it was to take the life of Osama Bin Laden and those who had to give them the orders to do so.  Let us be somber and not rejoice in the death of another.  Let us be somber and teach our children that all life is precious and that being patriotic is not synonymous with supporting war or celebrating death.  Most of all, let us show our children and all of the citizens of the countries around the world, who must surely be watching us with critical and questioning eyes at this moment, that we are appropriately somber and respectful in the face of the death of one whose ideas, actions, and leadership led to the loss of so many lives all over the world.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Accidentally Forever...

I've been thinking a lot lately about my friend, who, after much, and I mean MUCH looking just bought what she lovingly and with pride calls her "forever house".  I've been thinking about how sometimes we do things with intent-We say-I am choosing this person and I want to be with him forever or I want to move to this place and live here for the rest of my life or I choose this as my career and I want to do it for the rest of my life.  Some people are great about thinking things through and planning their next steps and some people, like me, seem more prone to leaping and then spending years afterwards doing the looking and the learning to live with the consequences of our decisions.

When I was younger I moved all over the country at the drop of a hat without really thinking through why I was doing the moving or what it would be like if the place I moved to turned out to be my "forever place".  Ditto with relationships.  I just wanted to be happy and thought that happiness was bound to exist in the next new place or the next new person.  But, as I learned when none of the new places or new people produced the hoped for happiness, wherever I go, there I am.  Obviously, and I wish I could have told my younger self this, it was me who wasn't happy and all of the moving was just my attempt to avoid having to deal with the things inside that were making me unhappy.  What better way to avoid dealing with your problems than to throw yourself into the excitement and upheaval of a move or a new relationship every few years??

But then, somehow, 8 years ago, the last of my attempted "moves to happiness" led me here to Colorado, and, and I have no idea how this happened, I stumbled upon this amazing man who was nothing like any man who I had ever been attracted to before (translate as--he is nice and lovely and treats me so well that it's a wonder to me every single day and all of the others were emotionally unavailable and treated me, well, not so nicely) and I, without really thinking through what it really meant to do this, married him and it has not been all sunshine and roses, but almost 5 years later we are still married and we love each other and our relationship has taught me that you don't run away to something or someone new when the going gets tough, you stay and you fight and you work through what's wrong and are made all the better for it.

Wouldn't you know that this lovely, nice man, whose arms I leapt into 7 years ago, happened to be living in this lovely, nice little town in Western Colorado, where I agreed to move on the spur of the moment, having known him for 2 weeks and having visited the town only once on what can only be described as a whirlwind visit that included more time touring his bedroom than touring the town. After many fits and starts and threats to move away to "happier" places I have grown to love this town and this part of Colorado and it looks like this just might be my accidentally forever place where I will live with my accidentally forever man in our accidentally forever house.

Of course, its not that I am now perfectly happy or that he is perfect or that we are perfect together or even that this place is perfect, it's that I learned that sometimes accidents happen for a reason and for me the reason was to teach me to do the hard work of growing rather than running away from myself and my problems all of the time.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Everything old is new again...

I was re-arranging and cleaning out closets this week (part of yet another re-shuffling/re-organizing of the spaces in our house) and was sad to realize that I had inadvertently hidden away all of my favorite books, photos, and journals at the top of our bedroom closet (space saving measure) instead of having them out where I could see and be inspired by them.  I felt emotional as I went through everything and then happy that I was having an opportunity to remedy the situation!  As I looked at my many years worth of journals I wondered, "where the heck are my journals for the past 4 or 5 years?"--And the answer was, there aren't any!  Yes, there are some entries here and there but gone are the tomes filled with feelings and musings and records of my daily life--What happened?  I guess getting pregnant and having Soren and Serena happened and I gave up the writing, but I seemed to give up all parts of my self to caring for the babies and the house instead of realizing that setting aside time for myself would help everything--Every mom knows what I'm talking about--that guilty feeling you get when you take even a little time for yourself, as if depriving the children of your presence for minutes or perhaps half an hour will damage them for life-It's taken me 4+ years to figure out that quite the opposite is true--Everyone in my family would have been better off had I taken mere minutes a day to get things down on to the paper and out of my head--And I would have felt like the old me was still actively part of the mama me, instead of feeling like it, along with my journals, photos, favorite books, and wedding dress that is now too small and may never fit again, was consigned to the dark high places of my bedroom closet.  I guess no one ever told me that being a super mama wasn't all about clean house/well loved kids/yummy dinners/bills paid on time.  We make these things up as we go along and my picture of what it means to be a great mom certainly is continuing to evolve.  Writing feels good.  Seeing my old and very precious things when I wake up every morning (they are now sitting in plain site in our new bedroom awaiting yet to be constructed out in the open shelf space) feels great.  Feeling just a little bit like my old self again feels awesome.