Friday, July 22, 2016

the space between

I have so much excitement for a weekend with my momma, and after some loving visits yesterday I am feeling reconnected with both feet on the ground.  I wanted to do a small follow up to yesterdays blog, and let y'all know I will be taking the weekend off.  I'll be back Monday. 

I know it's no surprise that a message prompted this blog, and I remind you not to be afraid to send me feedback even though I love writing about it. :)  That's what life is all about though, giving one another constructive feedback and continuing to help each other grow and move forward.  

This lovely message I received was a nice reminder of how important the space between is.  How many Dave Matthews fans are now singing?  Insert music note emoji.  Okay...I digress.

The space between.  What is that exactly?  According to Dave it's the space between tears, that has moments of laughter, that keeps you coming back for more.  For me yesterday, it was the space between feeling the heavy emotions of the chaos in the world, and realizing Steve's wound had gone backwards.  The space between is important, and without this lovely reminder I might have actually forgotten that.

I don't enjoy disconnecting as a coping mechanism, but sometimes it's all I can do.  It's all any of us can do, and it's okay to have a few days there.  I want to add to yesterday's by adding this. It is okay to have the space in between where you collect yourself, your emotions, and your energy to continue to be present and mindful in all areas of life.  

What I was mostly referring to was the thousands of those who live there all the time.  We all know at least one person who does this.  Without naming any names think of someone you know that is in a constant state of disconnect.  Now on the flip side, how about those who never take the time to disconnect.  Two different types of people both forgetting to allow the space between.  

I read a beautiful article yesterday on how we are sent to awaken one another, in a world of sleeping minds; and I love this concept. Recall a moment where you had a conversation with someone and with a simple sentence they may have planted a seed that fully blossoms, and forces growth inside of you.  These moments are profound and have a lasting positive effect on your life. I want to recognize that it's just as important for us to remind one another to take pauses and enjoy the blank space between as well. 

In a mad world, it's really all we can do, is help each other through it all.  I would like to encourage everyone reading this to give some encouragement or feedback today.  It will probably take you 5 minutes, and those 5 minutes can vastly improve upon someone's life for years.  What a beautiful gift we all have to give to others.  I know every single message I receive from you all has a lasting effect on me, and I'm forever grateful for them. 

Quick update on Steve: As you've read in several blogs and posts we've been dealing with a pressure sore on his booty since April.  While, we have greatly improved we recently had an unexpected set back.  It was slightly discouraging, but also I'm reminded of how blessed we are that he still has the ability to heal.  I'm happy to announce as of yesterday we are back headed in the right direction of healing.  Nothing's taught me more patience than this sore, in my lifetime; so I am strongly focusing on the lesson and the positives here.  Thank you all for praying for us, sending good energy and love, thinking of us, and constantly supporting us in a multitude of ways.  You all greatly improve our lives! 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

take the disconnect and reconnect.

I'm feeling very disconnected today.  So much so I've been staring at a blank screen for 30 minutes and almost decided on not blogging today.  We have wound care, some visits, and preparations for my mom coming in town this weekend today, so it's totally justifiable that I don't blog.  

I've sort of adopted the phrase, "Speak only if it improves upon the silence."  Well, silence feels okay to me right now.  The feeling of being disconnected isn't a bad one per say. I'm peaceful, I'm functional, and I'm even a little less distracted.  However, I'm also totally disconnected with not just the reality in our situation with Steve's wound, but the world. 

In a sense me feeling this, sort of put things into perspective in our world right now.  It's full of disconnect.  Disconnect from people different than you, different political parties, disconnected from the earth and the damage we cause it daily, disconnect from the violence because it doesn't directly affect us, disconnected from our loved ones......

When you're functioning from a place of disconnection, you aren't fully in the world.  I'm not putting my energy into self care, routines, projects, or much other than Steve right now.  Even he's getting the bare minimum.   Feeling this foggy unawareness is much like the state I imagine much of our world in.  

"Eh, no need to worry about that right now.  Right now I'm just going to sit here and stare into space and think about nothing."  Sure we all need moments like this, and I guess I'm in my time of needing some down time, but how many people choose to stay disconnected.

I can't imagine feeling this way forever, it's sort of zombie like.  Yesterday I starred at my list of orders for weavings, and just blankly said, "yeah I'm not doing this right now..." and felt no response. Absolutely nothing.  The space that was once feeling anxious about needing to work and do do do.  Is filled with nothingness. So I can see why people like to camp out here.  It's sort of a peaceful unawareness that leaves you feeling blissful because you don't really absorb what's going on in the world.

However, living in a state of disconnect for long periods is what leads to huge rifts in our world.  Not feeling connected enough to other human beings hurting, because we don't want to experience their pain.  Not feeling connected enough to our planet, because we don't want to face the reality or even do ANYTHING it takes to help solve it.  Not feeling connected to the happenings in the world, so we don't care about injustice taking place.  Not feeling connected to our food, so who cares if it's mistreated just feed me!  

Does this sound familiar?  It made me realize that maybe our world isn't just some place full of self absorbed, ego driven, hate filled people.  Maybe it's full of too much disconnect.  

So how do we connect again?  For me, I have to break routine, which of course is hard being home every single day. It's also me seeking connection with others in real life form. Luckily my momma will be here this weekend she will help me connect again, but what about the rest of the world?  How do we help those who are so content in this disconnected state, to feel connected again?  

I'm not entirely sure of this answer, but what I do know is those who are connected are the ones out there making a difference.  The ones who remain disconnected, well, they may not even realize they can be making a difference.  I think the solution is to regain connection with others in REAL LIFE again.  More socializing in person and less socializing on a screen.  I'm sure i'll blog on this again, as I come back to feeling connected to the world again (hopefully soon) because this thought just gave me new perspective on how to play a more impactful role in being the change I think our world needs.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

here let me help you out of that hole.

I know I'm not the only one who has frequent, "What the *swear word* am I doing...?"( ....add on with my life, with this situation, this painting, care-giving, being an adult...etc.) running through my head.    During these moments, it's so hard not to go down that rabbit hole of self doubt.  It's like your brain is just pushing you over the edge, and if you're quick enough to grab on to anything as you fall and pull yourself back up, you're doing exceptional!

This my friends is life.  So how do you stop from falling over?  This is one I've recently learned, although mastery is far off.   Instead of explaining this one, I want to do story time. Gather around kids. :) 

This morning I woke up to Steve asking me to rearrange him.  My alarm had already gone off and I turned it off and curled back up with Marlowe (our black lab) and had fallen back to sleep.  "Ugh," I sigh out loud.

"So what are you wanting?" I say as I slowly crawl out of bed.

As he types I make my bed and do some puppy cuddles, interrupted by the Tobii, "My butt hurts, so turn me."

As I'm about to turn him, my self righteousness kicks in. "You know babe, you haven't complained about your butt hurting until I told you the sore got larger, which I told you 4 days after it initially happened.  You know you have a strong mind, try to use it to help you and not hurt you."  

I turn him and get him arranged, and he mouths for me to hold on so he can type.  "You have no idea the pain I experience everyday.  Stop telling me it's in my head."  His face is expressionless as he stares at me, showing me his strong eyes without blinking for at least 45 seconds.

"What are we even doing?" I start saying....I stop myself. "I'm sorry.  You're right, i'll never understand and I'm sorry.  I guess I'm just trying to convince myself that I can actually do something more than giving you pills to help."

"You can," he replies. "By just sending me love, rearranging me, and you seeing me comfortable, instead of trying to do the brain talk with me. Now kiss me and let me sleep."

"I love you," I say kissing him and flashing him a little cheek as I walk out.  

All that is ringing through my head is "What am I doing? What are we doing?  With all of it..." Feeling a combination of guilt for being so insensitive, frustration for this pain he has and the little I can do for it, sadness for the obvious reason, and suddenly I start to fall down the hole.

I roll out the yoga mat, and take a deep breath.  The birds and chipmunks scurrying in and out for food as I try to climb out of the hole.  Thankfully the minute I stepped outside I was able to grab a hold of the walls edge.  As I am in downward facing dog, Marlowe, comes and licks me in the face.  In that moment, suddenly, I was able to pull myself up and the sun was shining on me like a light bulb and I had a thought, "I'm doing the best I can." 

All this time, I would sit and analyze my thoughts, words, actions, and try to find out why I would do things or think things.  Never actually giving myself the credit for what I AM doing.  Which is 'trying' every single day.  The very act of doing and trying is enough, you know?  After all, me deciding I want to be a good person, doesn't mean I just suddenly get it right all the time.  I am human.  

I'm doing the best I can.  It's okay to remind myself of this.  I always think if I'm too gentle on myself I will get complacent and stop growth.  Truth is, reminders of how you are doing well, are some of the most important things.  

I once had a boss who never told me I was doing things right, but thankfully his partner was able to say, "You know him he just can't give praise, you're learning so much keep up the great work."  Here I was being my boss, and forgetting to tell myself good job and to keep up the great work.  

So here I share with you, in hopes that I will help catch some of you before you fall down that hole; and remind you that you're doing a good job, and to keep up the great work. Because sometimes, doing the best you can, is enough.  

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Garbage in, garbage out...

I would like to start a new movement.  I know, I know another movement.  Everyone's doing it, right? Well, that's because the truth is, behind all the muddied up garbage that gets into our news feeds, is the good that's really out there.  Just being hidden. There's been a ton of movements of this in the past but I don't know why they won't last.  Do we really like to hear all the negative that much?  My momma used to say something to my brother and I growing up, "Garbage in, garbage out."  

So here we have it.  People are being fed these GARBAGE stories to create more hatred and division in our world, and they are totally forgetting how much beauty there is left.  Now instead of seeing people speak of goals or hopes, they are speaking of why the world isn't supporting these dreams. Instead of a news feed of positive stories of the thousands out there doing great work, it's full of hatred on another person.  Mainly political nonsense.  Don't even get me started on the news.  I've said it 100 times, unless you're actually watching a source just giving facts and allowing you to make your own judgment, you're being TOLD directly what to think and feel.

I say it's time we take our minds back.  I say it's time we start to remember the beautiful things in our world.  This isn't to ignore the true issues that need addressed, but if you look closely at those out their doing true activism you will see people making HUGE differences for our world.  Because they are out there with passion and love, and doing their own thinking, instead of being told what to think. There's always going to be the one apple on that tree that's rotten, and depending on how you look at the tree you could see the whole thing as bad, and miss out on the abundance of good left.  I say it's time we stop giving that bad apple our attention. 

I've been guilty of it, innocently sharing the news story spreading hatred and fear.  What is it solving?  It's not actually us being informed on what's going on in our world, it's us being scared.  Because from where I sit, yes the bad apples are there, but there's so so so much more beautiful, ripe, juicy, sweet apples ready for the picking.  

If anyone's taught me about finding the silver lining, it would be Steve.  As he was loosing more and more of his body he would often say, "Hey i'll never loose my heart or mind."  A beautiful reminder that even though people are trying to pump us full or negative much like the chemicals I spoke of a few blogs back, we can still control our hearts and mind, and shut off the noise.

Here's what I propose:

There's 2 sides to this.

1. DON'T watch the news, hide the politics from your feeds, take a step back from all of it.  Truly stop allowing all the negative being pushed on you for 1 week.  Give yourself the space to truly think on your own and ask your heart and mind what you think is right, instead of allowing some man or woman on the TV decide it for you.
2. FIND THE GOOD.  I would recommend the hashtag #butimstillblessed but I know the last thing people are going to do is another hashtag.  This doesn't have to be publicized even.  Cultivate a practice of gratitude again.  I like to start and end everyday with 5 full minutes of expressing gratitude.  It's the most important thing I've ever implemented into my daily routine, and one I will continue to do no matter where we are.  

Let's give our attention to the good again.  If you want to share it in your personal life please do, if you want to share others out there doing it, just as awesome.  Please, let's remind ourselves that even though there are some heavy issues in our world, there is more love.  Love will win if that's what we give our attention to.  Feeding these negative stories with our attention only gives the fire more power.  I won't be a part of this raging fire that's trying to tear us all apart. 

I want a movement of feeding the good wolf.  Collectively.  If you're with me, share this.  Share good stories only on your feeds.  Share good news in your life.  Share only love.

Monday, July 18, 2016

don't forget you have two wolves....

I can't possibly have to mention more innocent lives being lost AGAIN, really can I? Sad. sad. sad. I don't understand what's happening, but I will continue to ooze love to the world and hope one day everyone truly sees how violence isn't the answer. 

Today's blog is something I hope will resonate with a lot of people, and can maybe help rid some hatred around the world.  I only decided yesterday that I wanted to write on it, so it's pretty raw thinking here. 

This past week I told 3 separate people, something I had finally fully admitted to myself, and their responses were each the exact same.  Each person immediately hugged me after I was done talking, and thanked me for sharing because they struggled with this also.  By the time the 3rd hug was over, it became very clear I needed to write on this.

So here it is.

I have to put significant work in, every single day, to be a good person.  

Whether it's because of my path with caring for Steve, or my vocal love for the world, people assume I'm just naturally a good person.  I don't just wake up each day naturally with compassion, patience, and love; I have to choose it everyday.  I could just as easily give in to the anger or frustrations all the time, which some days I do, because that path is easy right.  Truly, it is easy for me to sit there and think about how unfair something is, and not try to change my outlook on things.  

However, that's not the person I want to be.  I want to be a good person.  I want to be kind and loving to everyone even if they maybe don't even deserve it.  I want to be patient every single time Steve needs me.  No matter what I'm in the middle of.  This is hard because when I get in the flow, any interruption frustrates me.  Steve on average needs me every 30 minutes.  Sure there are periods of time where he may not for an hour even two, but there are also those times where he needs me every 5 minutes, so yes average here.  

I want to be able to say, I don't get frustrated at my husband, who can't help that he needs me (I know I've written on this before stay with me), but it still happens.  I have to work on patience every single day.  I have a nice little mantra I use, "Stay with the now. Go with the Flow. Choose love and kindness. Everywhere you go." It helps me lots through the days, as I deal with whatever is coming my way.

Then there's judgement right? Oh it is so easy to judge someone.  So simple.  You are different than me, so let me judge you!  It's also easy to get caught up in that gossip judgmental chatting with your friends.  Because so many people do so many things different than us!  Again, not the person I want to be.  I experience my fair share of judgments from the world, because we are so open with our lives, and often when I find myself being judged, it's a nice reminder from the universe, of how much I fall into the trap.  

I could keep going with examples, but I think it's a simple concept.  It takes work to be a good person, and at the end of the day when you can look back and smile at your actions that day; it's always worth it.  If you're doing things that don't make you happy with yourself, know that it's normal; but please also know that you can change it.  I think we all just find ourselves giving up on self improvement because we have that dark side, we just don't think we can defeat it.  Truth is WE ALL HAVE the light and the dark, you just need to do the work to choose the light.  

So often people are asking me, "Hope what is this work you speak of?"

Here it is in simple terms.  I look inside myself and face my dark sides.  I become aware of the dark and I accept that it's there.  I then take time everyday to have a self care ritual, to do yoga, meditate, journal, pray, and set intentions on how I want my day.  Every single day I do it.  Often times I do a little mini moment of silence in the afternoon also on busy days.  If I do loose my patience, or snap, or find myself in a judgmental thought, i'll pause and reset.  It's learning to control your thoughts, the same as you learn to control your actions.  I also acknowledge the light in me, and allow it to shine. I remind myself of how capable I am all day long.  It's not just a morning thing.  All day long I say, "I am capable of choosing love, because I am love."  

Truth is, we all have both sides that's what makes us human, but we forget that we are capable of choosing which side wins.  It's like the native american story of the 2 wolves.  We all have 2 wolves (one good one bad) and whichever one you feed is which one wins.  

Are you feeling more and more hatred towards the world because of all that is going on, and forgetting that you have equal amount of love?  Are you feeling more and more anger because of a situation and forgetting how capable of peaceful resolution you are?  

We all are capable of being good people, I don't care who you are.  Some just feed the bad wolf, and some feed the good.  Which wolf are you feeding?  

Sunday, July 17, 2016

If you care....

So here's my follow up from yesterdays blog. I don't want to tell you the common sense ways in which you can help change the climate, because let's be honest those have been spoken about by every forum and people barely do them still.  I noticed that out of the neighbors I can see during garbage day 3 of the 7 recycle.  That's a statistic that is alarming to me.  It's not hard to recycle but for some people if it requires any different action they won't do it.

It's a hard subject to write about without feeling defeated.  However, I believe that one of my many purposes on this earth is to remind people of how capable they are to be a part of a change for our planet along with a change towards more kindness, love, and compassion. So with that being said, I'll just share some things here that may not be part of common knowledge, and hope that every person reads this adopts just one of these practices.  This may be my last blog about climate change for now because I have some other pressing things to blog about this coming week; but I will come back to it as often as I need to.

So here are 10 easy and some out of the box ideas: 

1. As I wrote about earlier I used to believe self care came in the form of buying myself something (or drinking that bottle of wine), but it's truly not in consumption.  For those practicing the act of shopping self care, I'm sure you can relate to how quickly the good feeling fades.  Sooner or later that dress or shirt or shoes, will no longer be new and sparkly and you'll just need another new thing to make you feel that.  Here's what it boils down to: self care isn't in consuming, it's in truly tending to your needs.  Some examples: self massage with oils, allowing yourself time to just sit and watch the birds (garden, squirrels, ocean, etc you fill in the blank here), allow time for reading, playing an instrument, playing in the garden, going for a walk alone, laying in the sun, paint, draw, write, etc.  There are so many ways in which you can show yourself love without consumption of yet another thing.  
2. Pick up the litter you see.  We all see it, and we all cringe by it; whether we play a part in the actual role of it or not.  Taking a grocery bag with you and picking up litter you see as you are out and about your day, can make a huge impact.  I don't leave the house often as you all know but I had this thought after having an hour outing going to a spot on the Chattahoochee, Steve and I used to go to.  I had wished I brought an empty bag with me just to pick up people's garbage they left behind.  ALSO: let me add this, if you're one of those that still thinks it's okay to just throw your garbage out, maybe let's stop that as well.  It's 2016, you're not that lazy.  Take it to a garbage can.  It's not hard.  
3. Boycott companies that are causing large harm to our planet. If we stop giving money to the Nestle, Shell, McCdonald's of the world, we can have a serious impact. If you are curious of the many different companies causing our planet harm, all you have to do is a google search.  You will get pages and pages of companies.  I urge you to do the research and see if maybe you're supporting a company that is harming our planet.  
4. This one, isn't that out of the box, but it's seriously important. No longer eating foods from factory farms.  If you aren't familiar with factory farming and companies that support the such, then you maybe aren't familiar with the insane mistreatment of animals, as well as the methane emissions that occur from large factory farms.  Not to mention the diseases they carry, the antibiotics they are pumped with, and the pollution they are doing to our water systems.  Look you are what you eat, if you're eating an animal that's been abused that energy is being absorbed with all those antibiotics they are pumped with.  
5. Don't shop factory clothing.  Mass produced clothing is one of the major pollutants of our planet.  Think places like: Target, Walmart, & I'm sorry chains like H&M, and the like.  I am not saying to be as extreme as not buying anything new, but if you research you will see humanely organic made clothing that not only lasts longer, but also has a more unique fashion sense than some mass produced t shirt everyone else owns.  This is a new one to me, and after I actually saw the damage being done, I no longer want to be a part of the problem.
6. Buy used.  I wrote on this in my last blog about consumerism, but it bears repeating.  Everything you need already exists in the world. Also, vintage items have so much charm.  
7.  This one is huge, and I've been just as guilty of it.  DONATE don't throw away.  It's so easy just to walk to the dumpster and throw out perfectly good things, because you don't have the time to make it to a donation place.  It's just wasteful.  Also, as I've been looking to lesson my load, the more I discover places that will actually come to my house to pick up donation items.  
8. Again, not out of the box, and maybe it falls into the category of so common like recycling yet people don't do it, but it's super easy.  Turn of the effing light when you leave the room.  I have had to be mindful of it, and maybe still forget 1 out of 20 times now, but thankfully now it's almost a habit.  If you truly start to pay attention to your actions you will see, leaving that light on just for the convenience of, "so it will be lit when I come back to the room, 3 hours later"; isn't justifiable.  
9. No more use of chemicals.  In all areas, from pesticides, to bug sprays, to shampoo, to face wash, to cleaning products.  Products that contain chemicals that are toxic to not just our environment but ourselves as well are being dumped daily into our water system.  From the shampoo that you think you're only experiencing the chemical effects to going down the drain, to our cleaners we use.  We thankfully live in a day where organic products do work just as well.  People often come to me with the money excuse here, and yes organic is more expensive.  However, I use less of the organic items than chemical, so it really equals out to me.  In fact, I started making my own very simple cleaning products, bug spray, shampoo, etc.  Oh and coconut oil, is also my replacement for everything from moisturizer to conditioner to butter to cooking oils to lube to....coconut oil is life. :)
10.  Care.  Simply caring, is a huge part of this.  Maybe this should be number 1.  Show up and care about our planet, your life, other people's lives.  

Of course if these aren't in your realm of possibility you can do: no more bottled water (travel mugs), avoid plastic, bring your own shopping bags, washing and reusing containers, turn your AC's up 1 degree, if it's yellow let it mellow ;), more carpooling, more walking for those who can, they make paper straws you know, ......... ok....I'm done because Steve's up get the point.

If you care then share.  Share this blog, share ways in which I maybe didn't mention in comments, share your ways of creating a change, etc.  

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Steve's take on environmental toxins and ALS

Today is brought to you by the color green!  Although I really mean green, as in the opposite of toxic chemical sh*t storm.  This blog is collaborated with Steve, as he has some thoughts about climate change, pesticides, and ALS.  

Steve and I grew up in a day where as a child, our parents were pretty uninformed about what was in our foods, as well as told that pesticides and the like were safe and made life easier.  After Steve was diagnosed with ALS, he did some reflecting and researching on the possible environmental factors that could contribute to him being diagnosed.  Here's some words from him.

"Upon first getting diagnosed the normal thing to do is to trace back to why it happened?  I'll never know because science isn't caught up with the magnitude of this disease, but it's beyond me just being an athlete and being jumped by gang members and beat with a baseball bat while in college.  It's beyond a gene mutation or the possible hereditary gene trait.  The lake I grew up swimming in was later to be found to have blue algae which long story short, develops over time with pollution. Also, has a linkage with ALS. Then you add the study that was recently found with environmental toxins  are associated with ALS symptoms which added some weight to my suspicions.  Almost every house I lived in the yard was sprayed with some chemical for weeds, as well as a chemical for bugs; and then add living on a golf course for sometime and that added exposure.  I can't prove with 100% certainty that environmental factors contributed to my ALS, but the fact that it EVEN can is the problem here.  There's also the talk of Tic bites and Lyme disease.  I was tested when first diagnosed, although I often want to be tested by someone who goes more in depth because I lived on horse farm for sometime and experienced tic bites on a frequent basis.  This is where climate change is important for those who don't understand.   The warmer the temperature rises, the more bugs survive, which means the more illness and diseases they spread.  The more our land is taken over by houses, and sea level rises taking away our coasts the more the bugs infringe on our space because they have no where else to go.  Being someone who not only has a terminal illness but several antibiotic resistant bugs that will not go away, and at some point may ultimately kill me, I don't even think I need to say more about factory farming.  The fact that those animals are miss treated and full of disease is one thing, the fact that we are exposed to antibiotics before needing them because of this, and they now won't work on me.  This is just a small example of what is to come in our world more and more if we don't stop it.  Take me as an example if you need one to wake up and be the change."  

These words from Steve are poignant and  I will wait until tomorrow to give you a ton of ideas on how you can play a role in helping stop the climate change that's happening at an alarming pace.  For now I want to leave you with a thought.  The fact that it is even at all a realm of possibility that Steve got ALS due to environmental factors should for sure open some people's eyes.  If it doesn't I want you to think about how much exactly you are exposed to on any given day, and how much that exposure ADDS UP.  From the pesticides you spray your lawns with, and unless you're eating organic the pesticides you are consuming, to the toxins in the air you breathe, and our water systems that are being poisoned every single day; why are we allowing this to happen?

Does everyone really just think, "Oh it's too late, nothing we can do now?" I promise you our planet is resilient IF WE STOP IT NOW.  We can fix it, it's not too late YET.  So please take some action, and look at what Steve's been through.  No one deserves it. 

That's all for now, tune in tomorrow for some seriously simple ways every person can help.