WEEKLY STRETCH – 7-14-17 ~ The ABC’s Of Me

A dear friend just shared a Facebook post entitled “21 Things People Don’t Know You’re Doing Because You’re an Introvert”. I read it voraciously since I find that for the most part I do all the things listed and often feel very self-conscious about them. The article was validating and made me feel less alone. I’m also what is called an HSP – “highly sensitive person” – and an empath. These things often go together – being some version of an introvert, highly sensitive, and an empath. The triple threat so to speak. I’m that person and becoming more patient with myself as these types of articles come to light so that I can feel like less of an anomaly and more like a whole person who is not alone with this special temperamental triune. It’s a relief to know that others get the complexities of walking around in the skin I’m in.

So many times, I’ve felt like the odd one out, just wanting to stay quiet, not go running around filling every moment of every day with things to do, or places to be, or people to be around or better yet, to please. As a younger woman trying to figure out who I was, people often labeled me “over-sensitive”, “shy”, “not outgoing”, and other unflattering and judgmental descriptions. It’s not that I don’t love socializing. I do. It’s sort of up and down for me. Some days I feel gregarious and open, ready to play outdoors with others. Some days not so much. One day the vibration is high, another day it’s lower and another somewhere in the middle. Wintertime is especially challenging as I’ve shared often. During those months, the vibe is low and I feel the urge to hibernate, be still, and stay quiet. Generally, when it comes to situations involving large groups of people, noise, conversation, and socializing I prefer deep, meaningful conversations for the most part; and small groups, one on one relationships based on mutual interests and depth of feeling and experience, filled with laughter and humor of course. There are days when the thought of making small talk is so exhausting I’d rather just stay at home and read and I will choose to detach from the world. I love my alone time. And yet, I dearly love my friends and family and the time we spend together is so very precious to me. Sometimes the trick is finding ways to honor where I am and still make time and space for those I love.

An even bigger trick is the fact that my life often brings me to noisy crowded places. My husband is a musician. It goes with the territory. I love the music and especially our music family. It’s rare that I don’t look forward to dressing up for a gig and enjoying a night of rock and roll with people I love. And yet, when it comes to the part when the crowd has had enough to drink so that their lowered inhibitions have them dancing like crazy people and dragging others on the floor to do the same, I often head for the hills – looking for a place to hang along the fringe so that I can choose my time, if it comes, to step onto the dance floor with as much dignity as possible, on my terms.

I’ve reproached myself often for all my “rules of engagement” or as my husband Bob says, “the ABC’s of me”. But that’s the deal. I need to navigate my whereabouts emotionally and physically, assess where I am on my “triple threat” continuum and move accordingly. And, I need to be OK with that.

My work here is to make space and friendship with these temperamental variations, such as they are, and accept them as a loveable part of me instead of something to feel shame over or that I need to apologize for. I know in theory that self-acceptance is the key to making peace with this part of myself. And yet I still wonder if those around me can accept it and continue to love me without the judgement, spoken or unspoken (and when you’re an empath with strong intuition you can feel the unspoken judgement), and if I can love myself enough to accept these ABC’s of me fully. What I want to be able to say is, “This is me. Love me or leave me.”, but I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t share my fear that some would simply feel like it’s too much trouble and make the choice to leave. The fact is that it hasn’t happened yet that I know of, and for that I am so deeply grateful. There are probably some for whom it takes effort and patience to hang in there. And some understand it all and accept me with all the extra stuff that comes with the package.

What has become clear is that this is indeed a part of me that I cannot realistically change, part of my makeup, like my height or the color of my eyes. It may not be easy to manage, but that is exactly the task – to manage it rather than extinguish it. As difficult as it is, I know that those who truly see me and accept me will accept all of me as I am. And those who do not will eventually fall by the wayside and that will be OK in the long run. I do my best to manage my expectations of others based on who they are. It’s easy with some and less so with others, but it is my responsibility to see them and love them the way I hope they will me.

To those of you who share all or any part of the “triple threat”, I see you and I know how your day goes. Hang in there.

STRETCH: Take time to notice the qualities that make you unique and celebrate them. Look in the mirror and tell yourself, “I see you. I love you. I accept you.”

WEEKLY STRETCH 3-30-17 ~ FAITH LOST AND FOUND

“Ever notice that when you are facing endless frustration and no way out, you start grasping at straws, start making up stuff in your head; you start looking for answers from the mystics, looking for the wise ones, counting on them knowing what mere mortals do not. Did you ever notice when you feel laid low, reaching out for answers, fully expecting to find them, that your own stores seem to be empty, and you’re left with the question, “Where do I look now?”. Well, I’m noticing it big time right now and I submit to you, “Where is God?”.”

I wrote this in my journal on March 14, during what has been one of the most challenging two months of my life. As I look back at recent posts I realize that the last six have referenced my recent illness beginning with one on February 8th. Each one seemed to say it was over, we’d found the answer, and I was on my way back to wellness. I share with you now that after each of those hopeful posts was some sort of setback that took a great toll on my vision of wellness, not to mention emotional, spiritual and physical bodies. And now, after almost nine weeks of darkness, the sun has returned and I’m coming back.

I usually feel my connection to Spirit as a constant and unwavering presence. I’m usually in a perpetual conversation with the God of my understanding, knowing without a doubt that this presence can be counted on. I guess you could say that my faith has been steadfast. When referring to “faith” I don’t mean from a religious standpoint, but from the perspective of a deep knowing that The Universe has my back. And that faith has gotten me through some tough times.

Truth be told, this recent illness undermined my faith. It took me to what can only be characterized as a Dark Night of the Soul experience. My connection seemed to disappear. I felt lost and untethered despite the amazing support I had from those closest to me. I was in unfamiliar territory in so many ways and the one solid thing that I have always counted on, my spiritual connection, seemed to have vanished. Each time we thought we had an answer that would end the suffering, it was pulled away and I found myself lost in an ocean of fear of the unknown. My imagination took over and I was unable to access my inner resources. Everything I’ve learned over the years about staying positive, changing my thoughts, envisioning the best outcome was gone and I was lost. I felt defeated and exhausted and it was dark.

Of course, there was light all around me in my husband, my daughter, my family and my closest friends who knew what I was going through and never let me down. But inside me the light had dimmed and I was afraid. I started journaling every day, sometimes two or three times a day. I’ve been journaling since I was a young girl and my entries are letters to God. So, this was my vehicle for communicating, and many of my writings were more like ranting. I begged and pleaded for help, for answers and for healing. I expressed my love and gratitude for all that I had in my life and asked that I be granted more time to love and live in good health and vitality. And my heart was heavy with fear and dread that I might never regain access to the life I love. I wrote, but I wasn’t quite sure anyone or anything was listening.

At one point, during one of my many meltdowns, I asked Bob, “Where is God? I can’t find God anywhere!”. His answer was always, “God is in this. God is all over this.” I was comforted by his faith, but I couldn’t feel it for myself. I was depleted of everything.

Eventually, after a particularly bad day I made the decision to ask my larger communities on Facebook for prayers. What followed was an ocean of love and prayers that was overwhelming to say the least. They came immediately and lasted for several days. I was, and am, deeply humbled. And everything shifted from there. I was contacted by a very dear friend that night and she used her amazing skill to help me off the “skinny branches”, and by the end of our conversation I felt calm and still. I was contacted privately by many beautiful souls offering help. One of those was a former student who, lo and behold, is skilled in treating the exact issues I am dealing with. And she offered to counsel me through the healing process, which, by the way, is working. I have been showered with love and prayers which has given me the strength and determination to walk back into the light. Day by day I am healing. Day by day I am reconnecting. Day by day I step further and further into the life I love living.

We finally know what has been causing the upheaval in my body. It’s being treated and I’m getting well. And I have regained my connection. As I look back at what has transpired these many weeks the lessons, the wisdom, and the gifts become clear. Too many to list here but suffice it to say, they are being “discussed” in my trusty journal. One of the most important has been my new-found love of my body, something I wrote about a few weeks back. More recently, though, is the insight that throughout this ordeal I have been “emptying”. Body and soul, I have had to allow a clearing out process to unfold. My cousin likened it to a long detox and I must agree. Along with my body, my mind and spirit have experienced a detox. I notice that my heart is wide open and I have more patience for things that once set my teeth on edge. I am filled with a sense of gratitude and humility. I see more, I feel more, I know more.

The decision to ask for help from my Facebook family was a turning point in my healing. I sense that Spirit inspired that decision. Asking for help has been difficult for me in the past. I’ve always seen myself as the helper, not the “helpee”. I’ve come to realize that asking for help, and graciously receiving it, is part of the exchange of energy that is an integral part of participating in the human experience. We need each other. Another of the many lessons learned.

When I asked for help I could feel the waves of love and prayers moving through me, lifting me, filling the spiritual emptiness and leading me out of the dark night. God was indeed in it all. God was always there, moving me through the process even when I lost my ability to connect with that truth.

STRETCH: Ask for help, and be willing to receive it graciously.

BE BACK SOON

Still grappling with a health issue that has me stopped in my tracks for awhile. My apologies for going AWOL this week. I’ll be back in the saddle soon. In the meantime, I send you all love and light.

~ F

THEY MAKE MAGIC! WEEKLY STRETCH 1-6-17

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Last June I wrote about attending rehearsal for an upcoming performance by an amazing band of brothers, the Reock and Roll Revue, led by a very special and gifted friend and family member, Tom Reock. Last night, once again, I took my favorite place in the rehearsal room and watched as one by one a parade of incredible musicians arrived. At any other locale, these people, with few exceptions, look like ordinary folks, pretty much like you and me. Mind you I’m not calling any of them “ordinary”. No one is ordinary. What I AM saying is that when they enter this room every one of them becomes larger than life in my eyes. Each one of them is a multi-dimensional musician – talent vibrating from their very being – and I am in awe of every one of them.

[I should note here that my husband Bob is on percussion and sax, my brother Hal is on bass and vocals, and my niece Lindsay is a back-up vocalist for this gig. Yes – another family affair. Am I proud? You betcha!]

Back to the point of this post. The band is rehearsing for a performance of Steely Dan’s music, including the “Aja” album from beginning to end. Anyone who knows this music is aware of the multiplexities of sound, the crazy-ass lyrics, the dissonant chord voicings and the layers and layers that pervade every song. And these people are nailing it! They have chops, man! They know how to make it happen – and you believe it.

What they don’t know is how much what they are doing is healing me. I have a chronic pain condition that has unexplainable ups and downs. The downs are called flare-ups and I am experiencing a doozy right now. These flare-ups can make it difficult for me to move around and cause extreme fatigue. Knowing that rehearsal was coming up, I made it a point to rest as much as I could so I could get there. Why? Because in my life music is a healer, especially when that music comes from this special group of people. And as soon as the music started the pain and fatigue vanished. My energy was lifted and I felt better. Much better. The music was like an infusion of healing light from Source. I felt the energy of creativity moving through me as the band duplicated note for note, chord for chord, the complex pieces that make up these long beloved songs.

Ticket sales for this show are unprecedented and I know why. These people know how to make magic. And I am blessed to have a front row seat to watch it happen. I will be at every rehearsal. I’m no dummy. I want every drop of that healing energy.

STRETCH: The Universe is a benevolent source of healing. If you need it, ask for it. It will be provided for you. All you need to do is ask.

FROM OUR HOUSE TO YOURS 11-24-16

thanksgiving
Photo Franne Demetrician –

My last two posts have been sort of “downers”. Not surprising since most of the people I know are doing their best to climb out of the depths of disappointment and concern that have been the results of our illustrious election. This one, however, will be different. This one is about joy and giving thanks, and there is so much to be thankful for.

Personally, I am surrounded by blessings and I am spending as much time as I can thinking about them, looking at them, being conscious of them. My husband, best friend, partner in life and in service, my more – I am one lucky woman to have found him again in this life and that we have been sharing this life and way of being together. My daughter, Melissa. No mother could be more grateful than I. She is sweet, bright, funny, clever, compassionate, a wonderful mother and wife, and a gifted and talented teacher. And she is a friend to all who know her. She and her husband Daynon are amazing parents to my precious grandson, Logan, who is becoming a very conscious young man because of their love and guidance. He is a master baseball player, a bright student, and a kind and gentle boy.

When I think about all that I am grateful for I include my extended family and the deep relationships we have forged over the years together; my parents and ancestors; my dear and beloved friends; my workmates and students; the work I’ve been called to do. I am grateful to anyone who has taken the time to read my posts and receive my thoughts and feelings. The list is endless and goes on forever!

So, this year at Thanksgiving I am envisioning myself wrapped in a beautiful golden mist that is sparkling with the energy of everyone and everything that has come into my life and enriched it with light. I am basking in that glow and intentionally reflecting its luminosity back out into the world with the intention of illuminating anything in its path. I am affirming that gentle peace and kindness will inform all our steps as we move into the holiday season and a new year. I am inviting fun, laughter, good times with people we love and open-heartedness to all we encounter. I am looking forward to living into new opportunities to create; to music and art; to stepping deeper into my truth and to offering my service to anyone I can help step deeper into theirs.

Essentially, Life Is So Good, and I am so grateful to be here every day to live it.

Happy Thanksgiving.