Blinded by the Light

My Saturday has been fraught with sadness and frustration. What a great way to start a post, right?

Unfortunately, I received some very upsetting news this morning about a family member who just found out she has stage IV pancreatic cancer. She is young and has small children. She sees an oncologist on Monday, but we are all stunned with despair.

I also found out yesterday that YA author, L.K. Madigan just passed away from stage IV pancreatic cancer at the age of forty-seven. She wrote a wonderful, touching and devastating blog about it on January 12, 2011. You can read it here.

L.K. Madigan had many things she still wanted to do: trips to take, books to write, years of experiences with her husband and son. I have thought about her and her family all day today. I have thought about my cousin and her family. I have thought about myself and my own family.

I have pondered how easily I let time slip through my fingers. I have dozens of stories to write. I have people to love and spend time with. I have the opportunity to finish graduate school and become a teacher (although I’m not sure, how I’m going to pay for it…but that’s a story for another blog). Yet, I sit and do nothing, more often than I care to admit as my life rolls on by second by second.

We can’t know when our time will be up. We have to make the most of the days we have. That sounds so cliche until you realize how true it is.

I have also thought a lot today about what happens after we die. Where do we go? Do we come back? What is behind the great light in the distance…

I don’t have the answers. I have some ideas, but on a day like today you’re not sure whether any of it has merit or not. I do know that L.K. Madigan’s death and my families bad news has definitely left me shaken today.

Everything that has been piling up in my life seems all the more impermanent and important…

 

 

Up A Creek

At least I still have a paddle…

Once again, I am late posting this week. This teaching stuff is messing with my head. After a 12 hour day yesterday, I came home and changed into my jammies and called it a night. It didn’t dawn on me until about an hour ago when Grey’s Anatomy came on that I had missed my Wednesday posting.

It has been a quiet week. I’ve been working away at my Mt. Everest of homework and I can report that as of Thursday evening, I have made it to base camp one. That isn’t super comforting, but it does mean that I’m making progress. Graduate school is not for sissies!

On top of all my homework, I’m also trying to get my resume in perfect order and begin the task of applying for teaching jobs. I went to a presentation at the career center on campus today and received some good information on how to tweak my resume and make it shine. I’ll take any shine I can get.

On a personal note – I’ve been pretty bad at taking care of myself: staying up too late, eating fast food, not exercising, not writing. I know that I need to get on a regular sleep schedule and I should get up earlier in the morning, but I just haven’t been able to manage that lately.

I’m going to work on at least trying a sleep schedule from now until Monday and see if that makes a difference in my energy level and my motivation to keep up on the stuff that matters to my soul, not just my education.

I’ll check in soon.

 

 

Sleeping Beauty

A weeks worth of sleep deprivation finally got me last night. I came home from a birthday party and essentially crashed. I had homework to work on and a post to write…but instead I was asleep by 9 pm. Sorry for being late twice this week.

I had a wonderful evening with a friend on Friday. I hadn’t seen him in about a month and it was refreshing to spend time with him. It’s one of those friendships that gets better and better. We enjoyed Indian food and then went for coffee at one of our old haunts called Pablo’s. We spoke about my concerns about having enough room in my life for a great relationship and he gave me some wonderful feedback on the matter. He said not to worry about the man of dreams not fitting, because he will be so in step with me when we meet that he will automatically fit perfectly. I will have to make time to see him, of course but that will be easy.

This was exactly what I needed to hear. We laughed a lot and I felt lighter just being in his presence.

I have been working on changing my attitude toward relationships and love. Even making some small adjustments in my attitude seems to be making a difference. While my friend and I sat at Pablo’s, I received many smiles and offered many smiles in return. It might be small, but I know that something has shifted in what I’m sending out into the world. It’s nice to get some positive reinforcement from the Universe.

This is a picture of my coffee from Pablo’s. The barista might not have meant anything by it at all, but it was a nice nudge that my efforts aren’t going unnoticed.

This week I’ll be focusing on catching up on my Mt. Everest of homework, getting back into my grid, going to bed earlier and creating my  big relationship list.

Talk soon…

Life’s Like a Box of Chocolates…

I had one of the nicest Valentine’s days on record. I got some great gifts, heard from almost all the people who I love and got some sweet treats from my students. I felt pretty special!

I promised a super post last night and I’m afraid that I don’t really have a super post in me at the moment.

I’m usually pretty on top of things. I write lists. I juggle whatever gets thrown my way and most of the time I get a bunch accomplished every day. That said, my wheels have been spinning this week. I have tons of schoolwork looming and suddenly it’s Thursday. I’m exhausted. I slept through my alarm this morning. Luckily, it was only 6:20 am when I rolled over and realized it was getting lighter outside. I got dressed and got on the road, luckily I wasn’t late to school.

I’m not sure how I’m going to get it all done.

I’ve also been seriously freaking out about money and that hasn’t made things any easier. My new-found faith is certainly being tested. Experience tells me that it will work out, but I’m still on edge.

Why, Mary, you shouldn’t be freaking out. You’ve got all these great things in your grid – meditation and prayer. You should feel so zen…

Confession alert. I have practically abandoned the bulk of my grid for almost two weeks. Every day I convince myself that there isn’t enough time and everyday I fall a little more off the horse. I’m embarrassed to admit this. However, I think writing it down acknowledges the slip and helps me get things right again.

I have a long weekend coming up and I want to get back into the swing of things. I think finding my way back into the grid will help me feel more at ease, give me a small grasp at something solid when my life is overflowing with craziness.

I have been working through the Meeting Your Half Orange book and that is going really well. I’ve had some pretty big light bulb epiphanies while reading the last week. I’m supposed to be thinking about what I want from my big dream relationship. I want to focus my energy on the anticipation of that big dream relationship, but how can that big relationship fit into my already packed to the brim life?

It comes back to faith, I guess. I just opened a new window to look up the definition of faith in the dictionary.

Faith – firm belief in something for which there is no proof.

Firm belief, huh. At the moment, I’m having a difficult time finding even a flimsy belief that all that I’m chasing will come true.

I didn’t intend this to be a bitter post, I hope it isn’t coming off that way. I’m just a bit overwhelmed. Glass half full overwhelmed, but overwhelmed just the same.

I guess this present project is still working whether I’ve fallen off the grid or not, because I’m not escaping anything. I’m here, sitting vigil  in the mess of all of this and I’m not giving up. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be teaching amazing kids every day. I’m jazzed to be so close to getting my teaching license. I’m learning a ton and enjoying my classes, even if they are kicking my ass.

So for now I will do my best to focus on the idea of life being like a box of chocolates. Because you never know what you’re going to get. If you never know what you’re going to get, then you have a fifty-fifty chance of making it big and getting all you dreamed of. I hope in this life, I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

 

Please Hold…

It is after ten p.m. and I’m still buried under a massive pile of homework and student work to grade…

So here is a cute picture of Lilly to keep you until tomorrow!

I’m sorry that the night got away from me, but I will have a super post tomorrow!

Please hold – I’ll be with you shortly.

Heart on My Sleeve

Almost Happy Valentines day.

The Notebook is on t.v. and even though I have seen it nearly a billion times…I’m not going to change the channel. It’s one of the only movies that I enjoy more than the book. Don’t get me wrong, I love the book, but the movie took it to the next level. I think the chemistry between Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling made it magical. They changed the ending, but even that didn’t bother me. I love the scene when they dance in the street. I once enjoyed a slow dance in the street…

I also have been reading more of Meeting Your Half Orange by Amy Spencer. I was reluctant to pick up another self-help romance book because they generally are disappointing. This one, however, is well written and entertaining. I’m not very far into it because I’m juggling a handful of other books at the moment, but I think it was a good choice for this month. Check her out here for dating optimism and more.

This afternoon I was cold so I went upstairs to change and put on one of my favorite hooded sweaters. It’s covered with hearts (see picture above) and I don’t think it was a coincidence. I have love on the brain.

I have been reading about having faith and holding a belief that someone is making their way right to you. I’ve had a hard time with this in the past, but I’m doing my best to hold that thought and not focus on how or when it will happen – only to focus on the simple fact that it will happen.

Part of processing my feeling and staying present is committing to my truth. The truth is that I want to spend my life with a man who loves me. A man who I can love in return. I want a partnership, a lover, a partner in crime. Someone who makes me laugh and thinks I’m hilarious. A man who just has to smile and my world looks brighter. A safe place to land.

Wearing my heart on my sleeve hasn’t been easy the last ten years or so. My heart had been kicked around and I decided long ago to lock it away deep inside. I want to put myself out there. I want to try speed dating and meet new people. I want to feel confident that I’m a catch…

I’m scared. It’s that simple. I keep attempting to psych myself up and convince myself that there’s a lid for every pot. Then it all comes back to the fear. Sometimes the fear is all-encompassing that the one thing I want, need, crave more than anything else in this life will the one things that always eludes me.

I know I get in my own way. I’m learning more about myself every day and I think working through these books and my feelings will help alleviate the fear. I also know that nothing will change until I give it a try. I can’t expect the man of my dreams to walk right up to my door.

So, Happy Valentines Day everyone. I hope it’s a day filled with love and promise. I intend to work at all the padlocks around my healing heart. I might even have the courage to let it out for a while and see what happens.

 

 

Put Humpty Back Together Again

I have come down from my emotional tailspin from over the weekend. Thank you to all the friends that let me talk it out and were kind enough to check on me and shower me with some loving. I appreciate it more than you know.

It wasn’t actually a random bout of sadness…after reflection and talks with insightful friends, I understood why I was so upset last Saturday. The truth is that growth is uncomfortable and I had some emotions that needed to be processed and process they did. I haven’t cried that hard in awhile.

I’m proud that I didn’t suppress it. I didn’t isolate. I felt and acknowledged every tear – that is growth for me. Big growth. Even though the Saturday night boo-hoo’s kind of sucked, it’s worth it to be on the other side and know that I handled it differently than I would have in the past.

I found these Hello Panda cookies a couple of years ago at World Market and went crazy with excitement because they’re just like a cookie I used to love when I was a child. My grandmother went to Australia and brought back these awesome little cookies called Koala Yummies. My brother and I were obsessed. As I grew up, Koala Yummies seemed to disappear. I discovered that these Hello Panda cookies are just like Koala Yummies – they just have different animals printed on them. Finding Hello Panda cookies as an adult was a nice surprise. They hold no nutritional value, but they hold sentimental value and I do enjoy a box from time to time. But I digress…

I didn’t enjoy a box of Hello Panda cookies over the weekend, however, I saw this picture tonight and thought it was appropriate. It reminded me of Humpty Dumpty. I fell off the wall on Saturday. Luckily I had people who could put me back together again. I stayed present during an unpleasant emotional speed bump and that means I’m not as broken as I used to be. That feels good.

Things Are Not As They Appear…

I titled this post nearly eight hours ago and haven’t been able to write anything to save my life. For most of the afternoon and evening, I wasn’t even sure what I meant by this title…

I have been crying for the better part of the evening as well which is baffling because I had a perfectly nice day. I even had a lovely meal with a friend and really enjoyed catching up. Then I came home and just kind of lost it a bit. I don’t think I’m PMS – ing. I’m not sure what I’m grieving tonight, but I’m a blubbering fool for some reason.

I have been feeling so optimistic about my life lately, this emotional bump feels out of the blue. I’m feeling rather alone tonight – but there isn’t really anything that spurred this – not that I am conscious of at least.

I took this picture about a week ago and I like that you can’t exactly tell what the image is. Part of it might be obvious to some people, but all the stuff in the background looks mysterious and interesting when in reality it’s rather unimportant. I guess I had been feeling mysterious and interesting these last couple of weeks and today I feel rather unimportant.

Sorry for the bummer post. I probably need to go to bed. I’m sure it will clear in a couple of days…

January Status Report

It’s the second day of February and the temperature is still dangerously low. I just checked online and it’s officially zero degrees. ZERO! Yikes. This winter storm is slamming most of the country. I stayed home today because my school district decided to operate under a normal schedule even though all the other school districts decided it was still too cold. I have asthma and these temperatures make it dangerous for me to be outside. So I’m staying in, staying warm, drinking hot tea and chipping away at the monstrous pile of reading I have to do before Saturday.

I thought this would be a good time to check in on my progress during January and make some goals for February. A month into the project, I’m feeling very encouraged and excited. On the positive side, I have made strides in all areas of my life and I’ve reconnected my mind, body and spirit – a connection by a thin piece of string, but a connection should be celebrated. On the other side of the coin, I have not followed all of my grid every day. I’m not going to beat myself up about that though because I did follow most days of the month and that is a huge improvement over what the previous year looked like…

I am still working my way through A Course in Weight Loss. In an effort of full disclosure, I have gotten stuck on the first lesson this last week. I have twelve emotions left to write out and I think I hit a slight road block. I’m going to push through it and keep writing it all out, but I did regress a bit with it at the end of January. I wouldn’t have expected these emotions to be so difficult, but I’ve uncovered some more land mines in my emotional landscape.

On the physical level, I will be continuing on with the yoga practice. I’m noticing a subtle difference in my body in terms of my flexibility and my posture is improving. It’s a small shift, but a shift in the positive still holds weight. I also will be adding in some new cardio into my grid for February.

I’m not sure how to report on the spiritual side of things. After reflection, I think I have made some strides in this camp, but not as much as I had hoped. A month ago, I thought this would be the easiest part of my life to get back in check. In February, I think I need to make a bigger effort – a daily effort. I have been making a daily effort, but I don’t think it’s enough to feel a change. Maybe things are changing so subtly that I’m not noticing…

One of the nicest developments is that I am already feeling more at home in my skin even though my body isn’t drastically different. I’ve been under the impression for a long time that in order to be happy and confident, I needed to be much smaller in size. I haven’t weighed myself, but I’m pretty sure any weight loss over the past month has been minimal at best. My thoughts have been changing and my perspective has been shifting into a more positive light. I’ve been more open and welcoming of any experiences that push me out of my comfort zone. Instead of retreating inward and burying my head in the sand, I have been present  – even when scared. And surprisingly, I’ve had really positive results. Such positive results that I’m thinking a lot about  why I was hell-bent to operate out of fear for so many years.

That’s the beauty of consciously focusing on the present. In the past, I only focused on what had already happened to me or how I wanted things to be different in the future, but I made no effort to look at my present circumstances. It’s hard for your life to change that way. This has been a big lesson and I’m really encouraged that I saw the light in a small amount of time. I think it will help me to expand and grow more in the coming months.

Looking into February I will be keeping most of my January grid, however I’ll be adding on some new components. These will include fun cardio a couple of times a week, Meeting Your Half Orange by Amy Spencer and You: Being BeautifulThe Owner’s Manual to Inner and Outer Beauty by Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz. I will be continuing on in A Course in Weight Loss and all the other grid elements from January.

It feels like a lot to do every day, but I think about how much time I wasted in the past not doing much in my best interest, so it feels necessary to do a bit more work now. It’s a good faith effort to find myself in a better place in 2012.

I heard this morning that Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow, so Spring should be here early. It will be nice to see the frost warm away and new buds of life emerge. I will be blossoming as well.

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