Battlefield

Stand and fight!

Prepare for war

And face the possibility of

Losing your life

Or worse

Your heart.

Fall on your sword!

Be brave and steadfast

And prove to me

Once and for all

That you can be

My Champion

Or, if you will not fight,

Remain still and silent

Do nothing as the

Opposing forces overtake me

And my heart

And in so doing,

Die a thousand deaths

Instead of one.

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Silly rhymes and funny puns

Were a part of you

And your life so poured into mine,

They are a part of me, too.

I miss your humor and your laugh

Booming through the air

I miss the lessons I thought were play

And simply having you there.

Sneaking turkey in the kitchen

Trips to the symphony

You were the first person ever

To place real value in me.

Remember the time in Switzerland

Pretending, scientifically

What a magical time we had,

Thinking specifically.

Pictures, stories, memories

Keep you alive even now

I hope that you remember me too

As you sing your songs in the clouds.

wild

Many men have told me

I’m the one that got away

So I can’t help but wonder

Why none of them ever asked me

To stay.

Losing My Religion

I’m working on a book.  It’s a pretty involved process, and I am learning a lot as I go.  Thrilling, exciting, and … anxiety inducing.  Talking about the anxiety that used to run my life kinda makes me jittery.  I wouldn’t exactly say it’s a relapse, as much as it is recalling some of the old triggers that sent me into a tailspin.

The last few days I have been thinking a lot about religion in my life.  Growing up Catholic and attending a Catholic school, I took it all very seriously. I took for granted it was all true.  Even later, as an adult in the Southern Baptist church, I was a player in an elaborate game of Follow the Leader, even though many times I had no idea who that was or where we were supposed to be going.

Eventually my  husband and I had a falling out with our church – or, more specifically – our faith.  I have read accounts of others who have moments in their lives similar to what we had – an awakening, a change, growth, transition, you might even call it spiritual death, triggered by a great trauma or catastrophe.  For others, it’s the opposite, and such an event actually moves them towards the church.

Seeking answers, seeking truth.  Looking all around us for anything that makes sense when all that is comfortable and familiar has crumbled.  I think it’s human nature to want to assign a higher meaning to things that are tragic, and I certainly did.  When what I call the Terror came into my life, I learned pretty quickly what Christians do.  My friends, my Sunday School mates, they supported us.  One bought us groceries, one encouraged me to read my Bible when I was afraid, another class donated money so that our bills would be paid.  It was lovely to feel so encouraged in a hard time, and it lasted about two weeks.

The Terror would last much longer than that, and as our time of hardship wore on, the Christianity wore thin.  Our friends lost patience with us.  They withdrew their assistance.  Life goes on, right?  Some of them encouraged my husband to take the kids and leave me.  Some said to have me committed.  One person told me, quite matter-of-factly, that the things that were happening to me would not be happening, were my faith only strong enough.  Pray more.  Really mean it.  If it doesn’t help, you don’t really mean it.  Suddenly, I felt all alone in this “family”.  It was as if I had spiritual leprosy, and the entire community took a collective step back from me so as not to catch it.

Looking back, it was a gift.  These people who removed themselves from our circle, and pushed us out of what was known and comfortable, forced us to explore other possibilities than the ones we had blindly clung to for so many years.  I started reading things that had previously been “forbidden” to me, started considering possibilities that I had always dismissed as impossible and ignorant.  I used to pity people like me, people who didn’t worship Jesus and meet up at church to talk about all the ways we were going to save the world.

Out of necessity and desperate for relief, I began researching alternative therapies.  There’s actually a pretty thin line between medicine and religion, and as I learned about healing the body I also found out a lot about alternative spiritual practices.  Meditating, EFT, chakra balancing, crystals, astrology, numerology, reiki, essential oils, burning sage, prayer bowls and beads and moon ritual and tarot cards and more have made their way into my consciousness and I am a better woman for it. I walk barefoot and talk to the moon if I feel like it.  When I talk about animals and spirit guides, no one makes fun of me.

The irony is, by taking the first step into a spiritual truth that feels so much more aligned with who I am, for the very first time I am actually changing the world.  If everyone had the courage to be their authentic, unapologetic selves, the world would be a different place entirely.  Now, I feel free.  I am growing in new and exciting ways, without limits and without guilt.  New and trustworthy friends have filled the voids left by the people who couldn’t deal with our pain.  Best of all, by dipping my toes into a spiritual ocean I had never been allowed to visit previously, I feel united with every other person in the world.

Losing my religion became the catalyst for finding myself.  I’m a better wife and a better mom because I no longer operate from a place of “not enough”. Instead of trying to force myself to fit into someone else’s box, I’ve broken free of all the boxes and I make my own way.  I am more than enough.  I am everything I was created to be.(Yes, I still believe in Creator/Source.)

The path I am on is one of total joy and truth. I have met so many fascinating and kind people. I continue to learn about other beliefs, world religions, and I feel connected to my fellow man.  There is no judgement or pity in me for them.  Instead, there is love.  REAL love.  Unconditional love.  I am stronger, genuine, and aware.  Where once my life was a nightmare, it’s now a dream.  I am finally awake.

Moon-Goddess-moon-4701545-428-500

Purging

As “Baby” Francis Houseman memorably pleaded to her father, that detective from Law and Order, “If you love me you have to love all the things about me…” So, for those of you who love me, hold on. Shit’s about to get real.

I am bulimic.

Not currently and not consistently (anymore), but I consider saying “I am bulimic” to be the same sort of declaration as “I am an addict” or “I am an alcoholic”. It is something that I will likely fight forever and something that occupies a lot of headspace on particularly trying days.

I’m writing this tonight because I had a mini-epiphany while journaling for the new moon and eclipse. It’s a time of letting go, a time of releasing things that no longer serve us. You know what doesn’t serve me? What has nothing to do with my highest good? Fucking bulimia.

It’s a habit. It’s a coping mechanism. It’s a remnant from days gone by, when I was struggling to stay afloat in an awful relationship, to find myself, and to meet some pretty outrageous demands that I had stacked on my own shoulders.

Bulimia calmed my anxiety. It helped me grieve. It gave me focus. Enabled my depression and apathy and – quite incredibly – created a kind-of force field around my heart. The people closest to me didn’t know what I was doing because the disease that was destroying me was sneakily camouflaging itself. How outrageous is that?

Bulimia is a bitch. Sometimes,due to the force of the vomiting, blood vessels in my eye would burst. I had a seizure. Then another, and another. I went blind temporarily. I thought I died and went to heaven once. My heart skips and sometimes I’m terrified to think what I may have damaged internally. Why do I keep coming back to her?

At least a million times I vowed to stop. A million times I broke the vow. When my son was born I promised to do better. I broke that promise. Even now, when I feel I am more or less in control of my urges, I can hear bulimia whisper to me. “You’re fat”, she says. “Don’t take care of yourself, you’ll feel deprived.” And my favorite – “Eating this whole box of Cheerios and then purging will make you forget all about (Problem XYZ).”

I’ve struggled so long, I figured I always would. Like an addict. An alcoholic. I didn’t like my disordered eating habits, but I figured they were just a part of me.

Recently, all of that began to change. I experienced a shift inside. My heart, my soul, my mind are all transforming. I’ve learned a lot about myself and about how powerful I am, how this abundant universe really works and how to speak things into existence. I’ve learned that I am (and can be) whatever I decide, and that I can change course at any time by simply deciding to turn and go another way. I have found freedom lies in this sort of awakening.

Simply put, there’s no room in my new life for my old habits, hurts, of regrets. I am grateful for the lessons, and let them go.

Tonight, with this magical new moon in the sky representing new dreams and releasing past wounds, I intend to release this disease along with the negative and controlling thoughts, and the shame that accompany it. Tonight’s the night I will step into a new identity. Tonight I am finally ready to say I love myself – and all the things about me.

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 14

Must Be This Tall To Ride

(Image/hellopretty.co.za)

Because I failed to create any type of plan or structure to ensure preparation and acknowledgment of special occasions like Valentine’s Day, our wedding anniversary, my wife’s birthday, etc., my epic ADD-ness, procrastination and sometimes lack of money created a bunch of negative or lackluster moments in my marriage.

When two people are in a romantic partnership together, there’s always a little bit of give-and-take as it’s impossible and impractical for each partner to satisfy exactly half of all shared responsibilities.

But when someone doesn’t get anything back when they give, give, give, they eventually run out of energy. They eventually stop giving.

Until the final couple of years of our marriage that I should have (but didn’t) recognize as the End Times, my wife was always incredibly thoughtful and an organized planner about almost everything, including things specifically for me.

It wasn’t a courtesy that I returned. I’m…

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Hitchhikers

There was a meteor shower last night.

Did you see it?  Did you notice them?  Were you, like my family, standing outside, looking up, ignoring the icy cold in order *hopefully* catch a glimpse of something magical?

We stood in the parking lot, the four of us, looking up.  We laughed and talked and danced.  Yes, we danced to stay warm.  We counted twinkles, identified constellations, and hugged each other while giggling about the possibility that if we kept our gaze up long enough, our necks might get stuck this way.

We connected and played and enjoyed each other, imagining dragons as we exhaled smoky white clouds of breath.  We talked about distant planets and galaxies and the undiscovered life that might be staring up at us at the same time.  There were jokes about aliens, stories of great Roman warriors who now live among the stars, and scientific questions about just what those stars are made of and why they appear to twinkle.

I saw one!  I was looking in the right  place at the right time, and I saw a star go from here to there, ever so quickly and quietly.  Before I could point it out to anyone, it was gone.  I mumbled a belated wish to the heavens, but the truth is that in that moment, with my tribe, I was already living my best life. What else could I ask for?

The Gemenid meteor shower came and went, and we lugged our chilly bodies up the stairs to our front door and into the warm, welcoming space we currently call home. Each of us tiptoed like baby birds to our respective nests, and without any more mention of stars, prepared for bedtime.

As I lie in bed waiting for sleep to come, I realized the depth and importance of what felt in the moment like goofiness…

Moments like this are what make childhoods worth reminiscing on.  Moments like this become memories that will amuse us, comfort us, remind us for the rest of our lives of the happy, silly time we had “that night”, looking up at the sky, cracking up at what the neighbors must be thinking about us, musing that we might be waiting for our mother-ship to come and whisk us away to the next universe. (Did we bring towels?)

Yes, the stars showed up and twinkled brightly for us, but it was we who brought magic to the night.

Shooting-Stars

 

 

X-Ray Vision

My son sprained his ankle yesterday at school.  He didn’t tell anyone and the teacher didn’t see, so no one called me.  When he got home, he told me all about his day but he didn’t mention his injury.  In the evening, when he was winding down, he finally mentioned his foot pain.  After some interrogation I got the story and proceeded to perform Mommy Triage.  Everything seemed ok, just a bit swollen, so I gave him Motrin and an ice pack.

Everything was fine.

Until.

An hour or so later, my son walked over to me and began to cry, almost inconsolably.  He was cold, he said.  So cold it hurt and he couldn’t get warm. I took his temperature, expecting a fever, but what I saw was the opposite.  His temperature was dropping.  His skin was cold and clammy to the touch.  I carried him, still crying, back to his bed.

As a mom I feel like I’m constantly walking a line between not reacting ENOUGH and TOTALLY FREAKING OUT.  There is not much in between for me, unfortunately for my calm, collected, level-headed husband.  Husband, of course, thought our son was overreacting, but I had a feeling he was telling the truth.  His tears, hot and streaming down his face, were real.  The fear on his face was real.

Externally, I tried to comfort him by saying things like “It’s going to be OK”.  Internally, I was making a list of who to call, what to ask, and what to pack for the hospital.  I called my mom, who is a nurse, and with her guiding me, checked his pulse, his temperature, examined his body for bruising, and put a heating pad in his bed to help him get warm.  After watching a couple of episodes of Transformers on Netflix, he fell asleep. I took out the heating pad and left the room, still feeling some anxiety in my gut.

I checked on Emmett every two hours until the morning, taking his temperature, feeling his skin, and watching him breathe.  I felt very strongly that he should get x-rays, since he just sprained this same ankle a month or so ago.

Early this morning we arrived at the Pediatric ER. The staff was courteous, if a bit incredulous that I wanted x-rays on what was obviously a sprain.

Fast forward to lunch time, and my sweet boy is in a splint.  He has a distal fracture of the fibula that, due to the location of the break, did not present as such.  The break is on the growth plate, which means we will see an orthopedic doctor next week to discuss next steps.  His “just a sprain” turned out to be a broken leg.

[On the bright side, his cast is red and festive.]

This was a sneaky break.  A painless fracture.  There is internal damage on a pretty important part of the body.  Fluid has pooled in his ankle and heel. The fracture wasn’t visible, so no one I talked to believed it was there. Only after looking inside did they realize how seriously he was hurt.

Considering this, I am reminded me to be more conscious of others.  What I can see with my eyes doesn’t often betray what’s going on underneath.  A person may look like they have it all together when they are crumbling on the inside. They may not look to me like someone I could befriend, when we actually have a lot in common.  NOTHING is  ever what it seems on the surface. While I don’t have X-Ray vision, I do have opportunity to dig deeper. I have an obligation to look deeper.  To investigate.  To find out what’s going on in the heart, the mind, and the spirit.

Finding out about an injury is the first step to healing.  Knowing a person, really understanding them takes time, but it is the first step to helping them heal and grow.  Stepping out of comfort zones, crossing invisible lines we’ve drawn for ourselves, choosing to let go of old beliefs in order to embrace new friends.  These can only lead to good things – things like love, peace, and community.

I am grateful for this awareness, particularly at this time of year.

This holiday season, and always, may you see others –  and may you be seen – for the magical, powerful, gorgeous creature that you (we, they) truly are.

Happy Day!

I’m vegan, and part Native American so tomorrow is a different day for me.  I’ll still be gathering with my lovely family and eating LOTS of things, as well as concentrating on being thankful and in the moment.

No animal products, and a prayer for those who lost their lives in the “civilization” of our nation.

Here are some links on gratitude, veganism, how you can support the remaining tribesmen and women, and blessing loved ones with love and light, if you’re into that sort of thing.  If you’re reading this, I love you and I hope your day, however you choose to spend it, is full of joy, fellowship, and delicious food.

Ball of Light Blessing (Audio Only)

30 Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes

Native American Rights Fund (NARF)

Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary

One last thought: In the hustle and bustle of the holidays, please remember two important days that come AFTER Black Friday.  The 25th is Small Business Saturday, a day to support small businesses, shop local and purchase thoughtful, sustainable gifts for loved ones.  The 28th is Giving Tuesday, a day designated for supporting whatever causes you believe in, so please choose a charity near and dear to your heart and rain down love and affection (and generosity!) on them.  It will come back to you tenfold.

You are light

You are love

You are MAGIC.

 

Thankful and Hungry,

Jenee

Star’s Hollow Gazing

To make the time go faster, I have been watching Gilmore Girls on my phone while I work out and it’s delightful.  Like any true GG fan, I’ve already seen the series a number of times, but that doesn’t subtract from its charm.

I didn’t like the reboot episodes or mini-series, or whatever it was officially titled.  It was too political and seemed to really strain for jokes where in the original they came fast and easy.  I’m also a fan of Logan, who in real life I’d probably think was a total tool, but I’m allowed to like him because this is make-believe.  I love the original show, all the quirky and lovable characters, the speedy dialogue and especially the obscure pop culture references.  I’ve actually learned about a lot of random things watching the show, including Pol pot, Groucho Marx, and coffee (which I don’t drink but I do like to smell).

So right now I’m watching the episodes where Luke and Lorelai dated, then broke up, and the town had pink and blue ribbons and yada yada.  There’s still some awkwardness between them and Lorelai is currently getting her coffee at Weston’s and Suki is gearing up for maternity leave from the Inn and everything is chaotic and yet somehow, in the midst of the chaos, there’s a pleasant, familiar charm.  There’s a knowing that everything is going to work out like it should.

That’s my life right now.

Everything is up in the air, or rather, all the things I’ve recently thrown in the air are orbiting, and it all feels mixed up and crazy and uncertain and yet, I’m standing here, sitting here, sleeping here in the midst of it with a deep knowing that it’s not just going to be ok, it’s going to be brilliant, and I’m not just happy, I’m inching closer and closer to that deeper knowing that comes from within, that everything is exactly as it should be.

So much of my investment in Gilmore Girls has to do with whether the characters do what I think they should do (or what choices I would make if I were in their shoes).  Predictably, I yell at the television a lot.  But there are those times when the stars align in Stars Hollow and I feel it in my gut.

So much of my own life has to do with my choices, analyzing them, questioning them, garnering feedback on what was right or wrong or stupid or perfectly planned.  Predictably, I beat myself up a lot.  But there are those times when the stars align in my life and I can feel it in my gut and my spirit.

NOW is one of those times and this week I’ve experienced ALL the emotions.  Fear, anxiety, frustration, outrage, relief, contentment, joy, hope, optimism, grief, determination and so on.  I am so excited to see where life will takes me.  I am letting go of negative things and trying new things with gusto.  Hopefully the next steps for me won’t be years of silence followed by a lackluster Netflix miniseries, but if that happens, I promise to include the entire original cast, plus some interesting originals, fast talking and a satisfying conclusion.  Much like the original Gilmore Girls, which I’m on my way to watch.  Again.