Health · meditation

Meditation for Dumbasses

We’ve all heard the mantras: Live in the present. Let things go. Stop inhaling those damned Doritos. But how, when we’ve got so much to worry about? So much to get caught up in! Bills to pay and jobs to dread and social media to hate! We can’t even turn our minds off long enough to sleep at night. We are a prisoner of those relentless thought loops that rattle around our minds. That’s why it’s important to learn how to occasionally break free. But how do we actually turn off our chattering squirrel brains?

Perhaps you’ve heard of meditation? Maybe you only think of it as “sitting like a pretzel at the top of Mount Everest until you levitate and/or lotus flowers shoot out of your ass”? Well, being the self-appointed lead authority of dumbasses everywhere, I can tell you three things I know for sure: It works. It’s easy. We all can do it.

Teeny tiny Buddha says, “Hellz yeah, you can!”

Before I let you in on all my secrets of meditating. I’ll give you a little background. I started my meditation practice back in high school. I was sitting cross-legged outside on the grass, gazing at the trees and feeling the warm sun, when I gradually started to go into a trance. More like a comforting, peaceful state. I wasn’t asleep, I was hyper conscious and aware (and I had only smoked one hit off my brother’s bong that day, so trust me, it was genuine.)

I noticed something odd, my thoughts — up until that point a jumbled hot mess of things like “Is that bumblebee going to sting me?” and “Why does it look like Sting wearing a yellow and black striped sweater?” and “Holy shit, what was IN that bong?” — my thoughts started to quiet down. Oh, they were still there, incessantly blabbing into the corners of my mind, but they were slowly disappearing and melting away. Until finally all that I was experiencing was my breathing and my presence. Not even thinking about my breathing, just breathing. Imagine!

Having suffered from anxiety and depression for years, this brief feeling of freedom and peace truly changed my life. I spent years taking meditation classes, reading all the books (yes, all of them!) and practicing, practicing, practicing meditation.

Do I now have all the answers? Am I able to levitate? Did I kick my Doritos habit? Hell no! I still struggle each and every time I sit and try to just “be”. But I am able to just “be”… eventually. Oh yes, I be, baby! And it’s a gift, one I cherish and try to tap into whenever possible. It’s difficult sometimes, what with all the things I have to be offended about on Facebook. So I have some advice for all those beginners out there, or people who might think it’s too hard or not worth it. This is what I’ve learned:

  • Sit how you want. I’ve been in classes where the teacher insists you sit a certain way, or hold your hands in prayer or to the side with your finger touching your thumb. Do what feels most comfortable to you. The key is to not get too comfortable or you’ll fall asleep. I sit on my couch with my hands relaxed at my sides. That’s it. There is no magic position you need to be in. What matters is you find a position that enables you to free your mind from your body.
  • Chant or don’t. Some people chant meaningful sayings and this repetition helps one focus. Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, has one I like in which you say to yourself “smile ” and “release” with each breath in and out. Some like to have music playing or a guided meditation. Some chant silently, “I will not eat those Doritos, I will not eat those Doritos.” Hey, whatever gets you to relax and focus on unfocusing, do it. I don’t do anything fancy. I like it quiet and I simply close my eyes and breathe. (I told you I was a dumbass.)
Ommmmmmmm…..cooooool….raaaanch…Dooooritooooossss….
  • You can do it anywhere anytime. I don’t know about you, but it’s rare that I’m sitting in the cool grass gazing out at snowy mountain peaks while wearing the perfect yoga outfit. I meditate in my bathrobe. I meditate in my car while waiting to pick up my kids. I meditate during work meetings. Especially at work meetings.
  • We’ve all meditated before. In the shower, while listening to music, while listening to the boss drone on and on at meetings about how I showed up yet again in my bathrobe. It’s not some crazy woo-woo thing. It’s just being. Releasing and getting those stupid inane thoughts to shut the hell up for TWO FREAKING SECONDS, GAWD!
  • It can reduce anxiety, depression, sleep issues and more. Think of it as exercise for your soul. Meditation is incredibly healing.
  • There is no right or wrong way to do it. What works for you might not work for me. For me, the key is to let go of all of those preconceived notions, let go of all the words, all the terms, all those confining and annoying things like thoughts. You will have them when you sit to meditate. You are not failing meditation because you’re thinking, “Oh shit! I’m still thinking. Now I’m thinking about thinking! I suck at this!” Our entire lives consist of getting mired down in this nonstop loop of thoughts. You are so much more that that. You are a divine being. Let thoughts drift on by your consciousness and let them continue on the path out of your mind. This is how you tap into your true essence, the presence, the one observing these thoughts. Trust me, this is attainable. It does take practice. Once I was in such a deep state of meditating, I barely heard my boss yelling at me to wake up or I’m fired.
  • Practice never makes perfect. Here’s a conundrum: practicing meditation is crucial but you will never be 100% successful at it. There’s no endgame. There’s no winning. There is no point at which you sigh and say, “Welp, I’m done!” It’s a constant learning experience in which you are always evolving. Some days while meditating I can’t stop thinking about Trump’s hair flap or my mother or whether I took the chicken out of the freezer. Other days, I easily go to that sacred space of No Thoughts. But if I can sit and be still most days for even five or ten minutes, I’m grounded and ready to face the Big Issues and even all those petty little annoyances in my daily life.

Like my empty Doritos bag. Sigh.

Advertisements
Humor

Woman Refuses to Live in the Moment

Live in the moment!

Be your best self!

Embrace bread!

slide1

It’s been several years since Oprah retired from her “Be the Best You, You Can Be –Because I Sure As Hell Wouldn’t Wanna Be You” talk show. Among some of her more earth-shattering insights about life:

We need to live in the moment.

Not around or through the moment. Or even under-the-covers-nursing-a-glass-of-wine. But IN.

oprah-3
“Are you living in the moment? How about now? No? Well, how about now? Are you? Are you really living in the moment? I don’t think you are, fool! You disgust me!”

It should be noted that immediately after she made these comments, she gazed dramatically off the deck of her 50-foot yacht, The Big O, that was floating in the Mediterranean next to As You Wish, a 10-foot dinghy filled with butlers, which was surrounded by a flock of housekeepers and hairdressers on jet skies. And a forlorn Stedman treading water and wearing pink arm floaties.

Yet there is no doubt that over the years her “live in the moment” mantra has managed to transform millions of ordinary people’s lives.

colonoscopy
“Before Oprah, I never lived in the moment. But now? Goddammit, I’ll live the shit out of this moment if it kills me! …Please kill me.”

Yes, it’s true! All of us — even butlers-in-dinghy-less and probes-in-butthole losers like you and me — can embrace every single bright and shiny effing moment of life because Oprah said we should.

All of us except for one 55-year-old woman named Marge from East Dingleberry, Maine. Baffling some of the world’s top Oprah experts, she has managed to live her entire life not in the moment at all. Not even once.

I sat down with Marge last week to get to the bottom of this mystery. And to ask her about her hometown’s name because, I mean, come on! That’s just ridic.

Me: Marge, I’ve been informed that you refuse to live in the moment. Why? Don’t you like Oprah? Is your yacht too small?

Marge: Look — I’ve tried okay! I just can’t do it! Last night, I wanted to live like Oprah, but I panicked from all the stress of my craptastic life. Then I frantically reached under my chair for a free gift, only there was nothing there! Just a huge goopy hairball my cat, Mr. Wankers, yorked up from the day before!

Me: Maybe this will help. Here’s a direct quote from Oprah: Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.

Marge: …So I grabbed something to help clean up the mess and noticed it was the overdue electric bill.

Me: Here’s another Oprahism: The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate. Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail.

Marge [petting cat on her lap]: Then I started to cry, only I can’t produce any tears because I was diagnosed with chronically dry eye sockets. Why, just last week Mr. Wankers was diagnosed with excessive hairballs, sleep apnea and explosive flatulence. I wanted to weep when I saw the vet bill, but again, no tears!  Do you know how painful it is to cry dust? Or what it’s like to be trapped in an apartment with a cat that’s farting swamp gas nonstop? Well, do you?

Mr. Wankers [breathing heavily]:  Meow.

Me: Oprah says, The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.

Marge: In blind agony from my tearless crying, I grabbed the eye drops prescription I had to sell my left kidney to afford. But a couple of squirts in, I realized it was the sample size ghost pepper hot sauce my husband left on the kitchen counter next to all the other overdue bills.

Me: Turn your wounds into wisdom.

Marge: The hot sauce was all we had left to eat.

Me: You can have it all. You just can’t have it all at once.

Marge: Holy balls! I think those bastards just shut off my electricity! How will Mr. Wankers use his CPAP machine now? [tearless sobbing, wiping eyes] OH, IT BURNS! IT BURNS!

Mr. Wankers [farting nervously]: Meow.

Me: Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.

Marge: Get out.

Me: What? But you’re not in the moment yet!

Marge: GET OUT!

Me: Hold on! I’m sensing you are almost in the actual moment now! This is a huge breakthrough! How do you feel? Are you angry? Do you feel rage? Feel it, don’t deny it! Live in the moment!

That’s when the interview abruptly ended. Oprah, you’ve done it again — Marge has learned to live in the moment! I’ll be sending your lawyers my hospital bill.

Humor

What I didn’t do on my summer vacation

I spent most of the summer reading. Author/spiritual guru/King of Chilltown, Eckhart Tolle, has a simple message: Life is all about balance; there’s an intrinsic ebb and flow. You win some, you lose some. Things come and go. You try to do the tree pose to impress your kids, you fall onto the yoga mat and pull an ass muscle you didn’t know existed.

eckhart-tolle
Eckhart’s Spiritual Truth #234: Give it up, girl. You’re a klutz.

This summer, I decided to balance my mental state by weeding out the soul-sucking nonsense in my life — social media. What was interesting in this experiment was how little I missed it after a few days. It was very difficult at first. I had the typical withdrawal symptoms: trembling fingers, twitchy eyes, bitchy mood.  I had to uninstall apps on my phone to resist the temptation.

Then I would reinstall them. Then uninstall them. Reinstall. Uninstall.

Balance, dear child.
Balance, dear child.

Then I muted almost everyone on Twitter. Then I unmuted some. Then muted them. Mute. Unmute. Mute. Unmute.

Balance, dear child.
Twitter isn’t real. Nothing is real. It’s all a figment of our collective consciousness. An illusion. Let it go.

Then I scrolled through my Facebook feed, cursing at myself for caving once again.

Facebook is merely a construct that serves the purpose of feeding the ego. We all project a false sense of self, a persona. This is not your authentic essence of your true being.
Facebook is merely a social construct that serves the sole purpose of feeding the ego. It’s a place where we all project a false sense of self; a persona. This is not the authentic essence of your true being. Release yourself from this manmade prison. And let it go, etc…. I mean, I think it really goes without saying…duh.

Finally, I threw my phone in the trash. Then retrieved it. Throw. Retrieve. Throw. Retrieve.

eckhart-tolle
Ah! For the love of– YOU are an IDIOT! 

Man, that Eckhart Tolle sure gets on my last nerve. But the smug bastard speaks the truth. When you let go of things that don’t serve you well and life is in harmony, a whole new world opens up.

And yes, I’m an idiot.

After a week with less social media, colors seemed brighter, images sharper, my kids’ names clearer. Still, there were doubts. I did miss the social interaction on the interwebz.

How would I survive without knowing how outraged people were with the asinine thing Trump did this week? How would I go on without seeing in my Facebook feed 35 photos of my friend’s cat that all look the same? How would I cope not knowing how everyone else is having more fun and looks ridiculously more attractive than me this summer?

I’m happy to say I curbed my addiction. I stopped doing things I wasn’t truly enjoying anymore. I let negative stuff go. I didn’t blog for two months. (gasp) I didn’t go on Twitter. I came to the stark realization that no one really cares how tasty my omelet looks on Instagram. (For the record, it had feta cheese and spinach and it was AMAZEBALLS!) I discovered that people no longer say ‘amazeballs’. My Facebook page was (mostly) silent.

Guess what? I exist. I’M STILL ALIVE!!

(Barely, but I do feel a faint pulse…)

Thanks, Eckhart. You’ve changed my life, dude.

eckhart-tolle-full-size
Huh? Did you say something? Sorry, (hehe) but I was watching a YouTube video of Chewbacca Mom wrestling Trump in a vat of pudding.  Hilarious! But (ahem) yes….uh….balance. It’s all about letting things go. All that matters is being fully engaged in the present moment. To find out more about how we hold onto material things that don’t matter, be sure to buy my book on Amazon, on sale for only 19.95 plus shipping and handling!

Gloating in my success at banning social media, I watched a YouTube video of Tolle talking about another addiction we all face (after I checked out that hysterical Chewbacca Mom clip). It’s an addiction that’s much larger in scope and more difficult to beat.

Our addiction to thinking. Specifically — overthinking. Or thinking about overthinking. Or thinking about not thinking about overthinking thinking.

I am so screwed. I love to think! It’s what I do best! Or worst. First step to get back on my road to Chilltown: Buy beige sweater vest.

The key to a calm mind? It's all about the vest.
Calm vest, calm mind.

Thankfully, I’ve practiced meditation for nearly 25 years, so I’ve got this nonthinking shit down. I just have to not think about it so much. Easy! I need to breathe in….and breathe out….just…..be….one with my true essence…ahhhhh…

I feel dizzy now, but it’s all good.

Because — like Eckhart has said many times in that soft, mesmerizing, endearing Yoda-like way — we are all simply forms of consciousness, always transforming, manifesting and dissolving into formlessness. This is the true reality of existence. Not worrying about how big my thighs look in my leggings or how in the hell I’m going to survive until our election is finally over.

You hear that, Trump?

Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump stands during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
The Donald — fully basking in his true essence.

You are a temporary form of consciousness! Everything has its purpose! It’s OK! (deep inhale) You’re just manifesting! (long exhale)

Sigh. I think I need to meditate again. Om.

________________________________________________

How was your summer?
How long have you gone with no social media?
Do you have any extra beige sweater vests lying around?
Is this election all just a crazy, mixed-up, endless, nightmarish trip I’m having due to that time I accidentally smoked the ganja?

 

 

Blogging · happiness

50 Happy Things for 2015: Bloggers Unite in Flood of Gratitude

Dawn, who writes the blog Tales from the Motherland, invited me to join a group post about all the things we’re thankful for this year in order to spread love and joy around the holidays.

But we have to come up with 50 and only give ourselves 10 minutes to do it.

Sounds a little stressful to me.  So in preparation, I inhaled a few slices of fruitcake, chased them down with some spiked eggnog, then burped up a storm. Ah! Now I was ready to compile my glorious list of holiday cheer.

And because this is all about sharing, we’re inviting you guys to join us. I promise that you will feel truly positive and grateful after you do this exercise.

50 Things That Make Me Happy:

  1. My kids.
  2. My husband.
  3. Yeah, I love my family more than anything else in the entire universe.
  4. Did I mention my family?
    902279_10151624812612873_503452044_o
  5. Star Wars. I saw the first one in the theater with my dad when I was a kid.  It was mesmerizing and I had a huge crush on Han Solo. And I don’t know if you’ve heard, but it’s back with J.J. Abrams. Yeah! I just wish to god I had kept my little 1980 Princess Leia action figure. I think my brother fed her to our dog, who not coincidentally was named Princess.
    23018722111_d6c9f1bd23
  6. Shopping for gifts online in my bathrobe.
  7. Coffee! Oh, dear sweet nectar of the gods! Sometimes I just want to dive right into my mug and go swimming.
  8. My mom. She knits like crazy and loves to listen to the Doors. Yup, she’s badass.
  9. Forgiveness. My mom and I have had a pretty rough relationship, but age has mellowed us out. We’ve forgiven each other for many things in the past.
  10. Coldplay. Shut up. I love them! When I hear their music my soul feels instantly lifted. It’s full of positivity and I need more of that in my life.
  11. This year, I actually won a contest to see David Gray (one of my faves!) in a private little concert on the pier by the ocean. We sat on a cozy couch on a deck with about 20 others and listened to him sing as ships sailed by in the harbor. It was the perfect setting.

    My future living room.
    My future living room.

    Singing "Snow in Vegas", his duet with LeAnn Rimes.
    Singing “Snow in Vegas”, his duet with LeAnn Rimes.

    And I even got to hug him afterward!
    11406820_10153513611097873_4037039793727175901_n
    He had such dry humor and he was very polite. He said to my husband, “How you doin’, mate?” Mate! Oh, those charming Brits. Plus, it was his birthday so I got to eat cake. Best. Day. Ever.

  12. My microwave and crock-pot.
  13. The smell of my Christmas tree when I walk in the door.
  14. My husband for being such a loving, attentive dad. My kids worship him.
  15. Singing alone while driving.
  16. Humor. I live for the funny. I have to laugh every day or I’ll die.
  17. Late night TV when I have insomnia.
  18. Listening to my daughter play the violin.
  19. Singing Adele songs at full blast with my daughter.
  20. My son’s dimples and smile.
  21. My bed. Is it just me, but isn’t that moment when you lie down after a long day the single best thing ever? I love sleep.
  22. Blogging. It’s always been such fun and I love to do it.
  23. The Internet. I can’t live without it. I remember the very first time I was introduced to it. My brother told me to type a word to search and I typed “fart” and all these fart jokes popped up like magic. Mind blown. My life was never the same after that day.
  24. My body. It may be getting wrinkled and fluffier, but I can still go for long walks. I can hug people. I’m just happy to be alive at this point. Only took me nearly 45 years to figure this one out.
  25. Oh, my god, did I get to 50 yet?!
  26. I will never get to 50.
  27. My little tiny Prius that only costs about 12 bucks to fill up now.
  28. El Nino! It’s still balmy and almost Christmas here in Maine. After last winter, I’ll take it.
  29. Polar Express. We can’t get enough of this movie. Isn’t Tom Hanks amazing?
  30. Christmas Vacation movie with Chevy Chase.
    national-lampoons-christmas-vacation
    Especially the scene with the squirrel in the tree. Or my favorite line from Eddie: “You know that metal plate in my head? I had to have it replaced, cause every time Catherine revved up the microwave I’d piss my pants and forget who I was for a half hour or so.”
  31. Laughing until you cry. See above movie.
  32. David Bowie and Bing Crosby’s “Little Drummer Boy.”
  33. Chocolate.
  34. The fact my daughter is more obsessed with the TV show Survivor than I am. It’s our little ritual to watch it every week together.
  35. Video games. I love to play them with my kids and I sometimes win.
  36. Pecan pie. I’m making my first one this weekend. And it reminds me of one of my favorite films, When Harry Met Sally.
  37. I work from home and get to be the one to pick up my kids after school. This is one of the major reasons I work from home. I want to be there for them as much as I can. I’m sure they won’t mind if I live in their college dorm room closet one day, right?
  38. Love. I have a lot of love in my life and I’m forever grateful for all of it.
  39. Meditation. It helps calm my racing mind.
  40. Christmas lights. I could sit out in the living room all night and just gaze at the tree. Very peaceful.
  41. Football. When I watch a game I feel like my late dad is sitting next to me. Late as in dead, not as in “late to the game” late.
  42. Dark humor.
  43. That every morning without fail my husband brings me my coffee right after I wake up. He’s been doing this for over 17 years. (I think maybe it’s because he knows how cranky I am before that first sip.)
  44. Wahoo! I’m at 44! And you’re still here? Bless you.
  45. Music. I couldn’t survive without it. It’s magical and transcends everything else. I hear a song and I’m instantly transported to another time or place. My mind is free, just busted wide open. It’s therapeutic and saves my soul.
  46. Writing. Words. Writing words. Yeah. It’s good.
  47. Books. I have about 20 new ones I need to read but don’t have the time.
  48. Gray hairs. I actually love having a little bit of gray. It makes me feel like I’m saying to the world: “Yeah, that’s right! I’m old! Don’t mess with me!”
  49. The Big Bang Theory. I have major crushes on Sheldon and Leonard.
  50. My blog readers. I truly appreciate every comment and like. (I think there are still a few of you out there, right?)

Whew, I’m done!  Now it’s your turn.

_________________________________________________________________

If you’d like to join in, here’s how it works: set a timer for 10 minutes; timing this is critical. Once you start the timer, start your list. The goal is to write 50 things that made you happy in 2015, or 50 thing that you feel grateful for. The idea is to not think too hard; write what comes to mind in the time allotted. When the timer’s done, stop writing. If you haven’t written 50 things, that’s ok. If you have more than 50 things and still have time, keep writing; you can’t feel too happy or too grateful! When I finished my list, I took a few extra minutes to add links and photos.

To join the bloggers who have come together for this project: 1) Write your post and publish it (please copy and paste the instructions from this post, into yours) 2) Click on the blue frog at the bottom of Dawn’s post HERE. 3) That will take you to another window, where you can past the URL to your post. 4) Follow the prompts, and your post will be added to the Blog Party List.

Please note that only blog posts that include a list of 50 (or an attempt to write 50) things that made you feel Happy or 50 things that you are Grateful for, will be included. Please don’t add a link to a post that isn’t part of this exercise.

Have fun, guys! Happy Holidays!

 

 

 

 

Family

Go On, Open It

christmas_package

When I feel the darkness closing in, it’s hard to breathe; the crushing pain and tears threatening to break me into tiny little pieces.

Yet this rawness, this fear inexplicably opens me up, exposing my heart. I start to reach out again. I grab onto the positive, the light and hold it close. With patience and tenderness, I let it grow enough to warm my thoughts and soothe my worries. I choose to yield to its power.

I choose yes.

Will it be okay?

Yes.

Will the light always be there?

Yes.

Will love heal all?

Yes.

Yesterday, amidst a torrent of tears and sorrow, of endless doubts and fears, something told me to open the small gift under my Christmas tree. It was from my older brother, Daniel. I almost heard a voice whispering in my ear.

Go on, open it.

I raced downstairs and ripped at the silver paper.

“Oh!” I gushed, clutching the gift close to my heart.

Inside was my late father’s 1956 report card from Thomas A. Edison High School in New York.  As I unfolded the yellowed paper, I giggled in spite of my tears. He had received mostly Ds and Cs. The only classes he had high marks in? Math and photography.

Of course, these grades from so long ago mean nothing now. Mere lines on a piece of paper. They don’t begin to measure how he lived his life or the things he taught me about trusting in the goodness and kindness of helping others. These marks don’t even hint at the incredible man he was or the love he brought so many people while he was alive.

And the love he brings me even today in the face of stark fear.

I traced his name on the tattered slip of paper with my finger over and over, as if I could somehow summon his presence. I needed my dad. I needed to feel safe. I needed his love and his reassurance. I needed him to show me things would be all right again.

I flipped the report card over and underneath nestled in the wrapping paper was a DVD. It was old movie reel footage my brother had unearthed from 45 years ago, things I had never seen before. I popped it into the player and suddenly my dad was there in my living room with me again.

Within moments the grainy and silent images flickered and filled my TV screen: my dad and mom getting married,  grinning as they playfully shared their wedding cake; my dad, a young man in his late 20s,  laughing as he twirled his own mother, my late grandmother, across the dance floor; my dad, puttering around the yard on a sunny Saturday morning, joking and playing with my older brothers.

And through it all, there was my dad’s face, his blue eyes lit from within. Shining.  I remembered his laugh.  I remembered how safe I felt around him.

As I sat there on the couch, I felt his love speaking to me.

It’s going to be all right. Do not worry. Do not fear. I am here for you. I will always be here for you.

I love you.

And that’s all that matters.

Family · inspiration · reflections

The Breakthrough

whump-whump-whump-whump

The helicopter overhead was distant–the propeller’s thumps a low murmur seeping into my mind, stirring up dread, thick and suffocating.

I stood inside my grandmother’s old house and gazed at the peeling yellowed paint on the walls and the layers upon layers of dusty photographs covering every inch. In one black and white photo, a young pig-tailed girl’s face beamed, sitting on her father’s knee, her face forever frozen in mid-laugh. In another– a girl in her teens, blowing out the candles on the cake, her father resting his hand on her shoulder.

A splintered mirror on the wall reflected an older woman. A woman now startled by the creases circling her hollowed eyes and the raw bleeding wounds dotting her scalp.  The wounds my mother gave me.

Hot red anger flashed as my fingers frantically tried to cover them with tufts of matted hair– but there were too many, they just grew and grew, and bled and bled.

whump-whump-whump-whump

A soft breeze blew the front door open, rustling the photos about like leaves.  I shuddered as the leak of fear dripping in my mind ran cold. A rush of wind swelled and the hardwood floor beneath me groaned, each floorboard lifting one by one, rippling like waves. I turned to look out the window.

It was coming.

Lazers of red light pierced through the tiny holes and cracks in the floor, casting blood-orange spots around the room; the thundering pulse of the propeller almost on top of me now.

I opened my mouth to scream, but only a raspy gasp escaped my lips.  The photographs began to flutter and fall to the floor, forming tiny swirling tornados that danced and circled around the room; the blackened edges of each photo curling unto itself until each one disintegrated into a thin gray dust.  Vibrations rippled through me, my body nothing more than an empty shell as the helicopter’s relentless chant filled my ears.

whump-whump-whump-whump

Bracing for impact, I shut my eyes and turned away, the taste of choking dust filling my mouth. It was outside the window now–a spinning black steel spider hanging from an unseen web growing bigger and bigger until it was inches from breaking through the glass.

Suddenly, it stopped to hover, frozen in mid-flight; as if the web’s sinewy thread was pulled taut. I felt a hand on my shoulder. My breath stopped.

It was my father.

Dad. Dad!

Dad?

I searched his face, unbelieving. He was young again; his face smooth, his smile warm and knowing. A sparkling white light radiated from his eyes.

Don’t be afraid, he said without moving his lips.

I will help you.

Watch me. I’ll show you.

Churning back to life, the helicopter continued its path toward the window. I closed my eyes, imagining it tearing through the house, shards of exploding glass, wood and metal showering down, consuming me in flames.

Look, my dad said. Here, look.

I opened my eyes.

He stepped in front of me and raised one arm, his hand shielding me from the spider. In response, it reversed, the broken shards of wood and glass flying backwards with it.  The thundering pulse of the propeller a soft murmur again as the helicopter vanished into a small black dot swallowed whole by bright blue sky.

I sucked in the air and a sweet coolness spread across my face, into my lungs and down my spine.

Silence.

I was standing on the precipice of the tallest mountain. Below me, an endless sea of jewels, sparkling blue and green.  I drank in the beauty as it flowed through my veins.

I floated. I was free.

My dad grabbed my hand and smiled. We were back in my grandmother’s house again.

Do you see?

I looked down, wisps of my hair were swirling to the floor like feathers. I tenderly touched my head. My wounds were gone, replaced with pink skin–warm, soft and new.

I do, Dad.  I see.

Thank you.

I looked out the window and into the bright light.

Humor · Motherhood

Mom for Hire

OBJECTIVE            To prove that when you notice the huge 10 year gap on my résumé, snicker and ask, “What were you doing all that time?!” I wasn’t merely sitting around twiddling my thumbs and eating bon bons.  (Although some days I did take a few breaks and did just that.)

WORK EXPERIENCE          

2000-2002              Fertility Specialist

  • Managed  and supervised an in-depth  and labor-intensive fertility project overseeing one disgruntled employee.
  • Daily progress was tracked with temperature readings, charts, graphs and my husband whining, “Do we have to do this AGAIN?!”
  • Goal was achieved after attending several meetings with various nurses, OB-GYNs and finally one prayer-filled seminar with The Big Guy in the Sky.
  • Assisted in creating an entire human being using only my body.
  •  Increased members of family by one healthy baby boy, increased household grocery consumption by 50%, decreased maternal brain cells by 30%.

2002-2003                Newborn Coordinator

  • Directed various sleep studies involving the length of time it takes for a subject to start hallucinating giant gummy bears dancing in the kitchen in relation to the few minutes of choppy haze-induced slumber one has per night.
  • Involved in product evaluations. Determined diaper wipe warmers are about as useful as another a hole in the head.  Also, breast pumps are not more effective if you crank the setting up to maximum and grit your teeth to get through the searing pain.
  • Managed one colicky baby every night for three months and implemented several tactics such as, walking baby around in circles while shushing, driving baby around neighborhood at 2 am and sobbing hysterically along with baby.

2003-2006                   Developmental Therapist/Lead Teacher

  • Lead instructor for a toddler child with sensory issues and more energy than an Energizer Bunny on speed fighting with the Tazmanian Devi in the midst of a hurricane..
  • Taught child how to count, how to recite the alphabet. Instructed child on proper hygiene, sleep habits, eating habits, social decorum. Lessons included: Hot Wheels are not for the toilet. Crayons are not edible. The cat is not a giant fuzzy doll that hisses. Addressed behavioral issues. For example, how not to hit, bite, kick another human being.
  • Subjects included: Respect, Kindness, Love, Curiosity, Imagination
  • Daily therapy provided:  giggling hysterically, dancing like everyone was watching, and running around the outdoors with wild abandon. Seeing the simple beauty, magic and joy in everyday things.
  • Goals achieved: 1) Raised one loving, caring, sweet, happy boy  2) Increased heart capacity by 1000%.

2006 to present             Mom Extraordinaire

  • Aided and assisted in creating and maintaining another human being using only my body.
  • Supervised two active, clever, bordering on maniacal children on a daily basis.
  • Provided safe, loving, nurturing home.
  • Taught subjects such as: sharing, caring, taking turns, being respectful of others, loving oneself
  • Goals Achieved: 1) Raised one sweet, loving, caring, happy girl. 2) Increased heart capacity by infinity.
  • Other Duties as Assigned: Chef, referee, maid, chauffeur, coach, dish washer, singer, dancer, party planner, counselor, public relations, nurse, doctor, teacher, professional hugger, boo-boo kisser, hand-holder, tear-wiper, confidence-builder and self-esteem engineer

SKILLS AND QUALIFICATIONS

    • Time Management  Able to flip pancakes, clean ketchup off ceiling, figure out an algebraic equation, unclog toilet filled with Polly Pockets, do 10 loads of laundry, drive kids to various practices, classes and play dates simultaneously.
    • Debating  Successfully presented and defended stance that Halloween candy consumed in large quantities for breakfast is a bad idea; flinging a Barbie at your brother’s head is a bad idea; jumping off the roof of the house into a snowbank wearing only underwear is a bad idea.
    • Patience  Able to withstand endless hours of ‘Why?’ questions, followed by listening to relentless whining, Spongebob episodes and sibling games of “But I’m Not Really Touching You!”  and “Stinky Feet”.
    • Love  Provided endless quantities on an as-needed basis until my heart hurt.

References Available Upon Maturity of Children.
Ask them how I did in 15 years. My guess is not too shabby.

Uncategorized

That Magical White Stuff

This year it’s been a bit hard to get into that Christmas spirit and the holiday groove. One reason for me: No snow.

Finally, this morning the kids and I anxiously opened up the curtains to find a winter wonderland. Reminded me of the moment Ralphie saw snow in the movie A Christmas Story.

Pure Magic.

Lucy's wrong, it's the Just-Before-Christmas snowflakes that taste best.

That's me in the middle, enjoying the snow at 8 years old

Thank you to all of the readers and bloggers out there for sharing your world with me and for visiting mine. I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and the most Joyous of New Year!

inspiration · Motherhood · reflections · Uncategorized

Miracles and gratitude and joy–Oh my!

This week I am honored to be a guest blogger over at Deborah’s
The Monster in Your Closet.

I first visited her blog and read the post, Six hands for lifting: on my mom, mental illness, fear & hope and was moved by the honesty, courage and grace of her words.

She has started a new guest post series about gratitude:

In her own words: “Despite the hardships we face, there’s something that makes us believe hope is worth nurturing. That better times are coming. For me, then, it was natural that TMiYC’s guest blog spot be dedicated to gratitude.”

I invite you to read, These Arms Were Meant to Hold You, about my journey of painful loss, unwavering hope and finally, gratitude. This post explains why I go by “miraclemama”.  Thank you for reading.

And a huge thank you to you, Deb, because your willingness to share some of your darkest times inspired me to dig deep and share mine as well. And it feels good to get them out in the open and let the light shine in!

reflections

It’s all in your mind

Blooming lotus in peaceful mind...
Blooming lotus in peaceful mind Image by Thai Jasmine via Flickr

What is love? What is life? What is time? Please tell me. What are the words you choose? Are there words that can accurately convey these concepts? Well, we try to come up with them. But in my experience words are so limiting and often fail miserably at communicating such subjective and powerful ideas.

It’s like trying to describe to someone what it feels like to jump out of an airplane.  You could say, “It was awesome, dude!” Or you could be more specific and say, “All I could hear was the wind rushing and my heart pounding.” In any case, I’d be willing to bet the only surefire way I’d understand what it was like was if I took the plunge myself. And that experience would no doubt leave me with different impressions than others. Maybe I’d see a glimpse of heaven. Maybe I’d squeeze my eyes shut and cry “I want my mommy!” the whole way down.  This is what makes the human experience so fascinating. We are all constantly filtering what we experience and applying it directly to our own personal state of being. Continue reading “It’s all in your mind”