Sunday, July 31, 2016

My mind is an untalented punk rock band...

They say the brain screams, while the heart whispers; often leaving the brain in charge of making decisions.  However, the moments when you can tune into your heart, and really allow it to do the leading, are the most connected and pure moments you'll experience.  The more you can learn to tap into that space, the louder it will become, and the quieter your mind will be.

A day in the life with my mind:
Alarm. okay, I have to get up and get stuff done. Marlowe snuggles me just as I grab my phone and turn the alarm off. Okay I can cuddle with her for a little bit.  One minute in I grab my phone and begin to check the social media world for the day.  15 minutes later, crap, what am I even looking at?I notice I've been on my phone that long, I jump up.  I begin my morning routine. What time did I schedule wound care today?  What all can I get done before Steve gets up, oh and I can't forget put the clothes in the dryer.  I forgot last night, I hope they aren't mildewed already. I walk out grabbing the yoga mat and cushion, as I roll out the mat, I remember, Oh crap the laundry.  After a quick laundry break I see a bird I want to take a video of...Oh let me feed them...oh let me get a picture of that bug...oh look at the chipmunk....20 minutes later, I'm back on the yoga mat. In downward facing dog, I notice Marlowe scratching her butt on the post, "come here Marlowe."  Poor thing needs scratched.  Crap back to yoga. A very unfocused 20 minutes later I sit on the cushion.  Okay breathe into my heart space and exhale up and out. Suddenly Marlowe starts scratching I wonder if she has fleas? I just put flea medicine on her.  It's probably the heat....It is hot. I can't believe it's record heat temps and people still doubt climate change.  Wonder if I should blog on that this morning. Chime rings, and suddenly I'm back on my breath.  How did i just let my mind go that far. Okay breathe in focus, breathe out, breathe in focus, a bird starts to chirp near me, and I allow it to keep the monkey brain at bay for the remainder of the practice.  As I'm brewing my coffee I try to tidy up the kitchen, starting the dishes, oh let me check the laundry, change laundry, back to dishes, oh I forgot to open that box I got in the mail yesterday, open box, discover medical supplies, unpack them, back to kitchen, oh yeah the dishes.  Oh well coffee's ready I'll get back to those.  Sitting down starring at the black screen, suddenly I have no words.  I open my journal, hoping I had a good thought yesterday that will spark a blog, oh let me check my daily reading book, oh.... Steve's alarm rings. Damnit. "What are you doing awake already?" 

A day in the life of my heart:
Alarm. Get out of bed and turn off alarm, see Marlowe curled up in the bed, putting the phone back on the table, curling with Marlowe.  This dog just fuels me, feel her sending me love.  She seriously was the best gift anyone's ever given me. Thanks Steve. Pause and get up and look at Steve.  Studying his peaceful face and smiling at the little drops of droll in the corners of his mouth. I love seeing him comfortable. Get up and do my morning routine. Okay my face is not what determines my beauty, hey skin you'll clear up soon, I'm giving you all kinds of nourishment.   Spitting out the coconut oil in garbage from oil pulling, I then clean up the bathroom after a few days of not tidying up after routines.  Grabbing a pile of laundry and the 3 glasses of half drank water by the bed I make my way to the kitchen.  Just dropping things off, and grabbing the yoga mat I make my way outside. It feels so good out here, and listen to those birds.  Throwing out my mat to unroll starts the breath pattern immediately.  It flows and with each exhale I begin to loosen up the tight morning muscles. Separate my toes and hold it for 5 full breaths.  Feeling invigorated I sit on the cushion sinking into it, like I just sat on a raft in the water.  The rhythm of the breath opens the heart more, silencing the mind.  The bell rings, wow that was a fast 15 minutes, Namaste. Brewing coffee, I start the laundry, and then do the dishes. I should blog on Steve's wound today. Sitting down in front of the computer letting the words flow.  Finishing up, and jotting some thoughts for tomorrow in my journal, and Steve's alarm rings.  "Good morning boopy!  How are you this morning?  You look handsome." 

Two very different days that are very true to real life, that highly depend on where I'm living my day from.  The reason I wake up so early is to work to get to a place of the heart before Steve wakes up. Thankfully most days I get there, but I still show up everyday, because there's those days where the mind is having a full blown terrible punk rock concert, overshadowing everything in it's path, and it takes practice to stop it. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Follow up on lost visits...

Because I have a lot of caregivers following this blog, I wanted to follow up on the blog, where I mentioned the visits decreasing.  A lot of your resonated with it, some people just flat out didn't like it, and others really absorbed it.

Over the past month, there's been a great reconnect with some of our tribe, and it's been a beautiful thing to have people reaching out again, and let me tell you the help between family and friends visiting has been amazing!  I'm finally catching up with things that sort of fell apart this year.  This year had some very harsh hospital visits, that have kicked me off my feet.  So, to everyone who has helped me stand back on my own again, thank you!

This is why I'm writing this blog, the other day a friend said something to me, that I want to share with everyone.  "Hope, a lot of us thought you two needed to be alone to get through this, or that Steve needed to be resting and not have visits; you putting yourself out there gave us the okay to reach out to you.  It was what was needed, people needed to know you want us here."  

Of course after this, I had to process some things, and it dawned on me; that after 5 years of this I'm still not very good at saying, "Help! Hello, I'm drowning here help me."  I sort of just expected everyone to know it.  Speaking my truth to others really lets them know what they can do for us.

So if you're a caregiver that is in need of something, chances are others aren't going to think of it on their own.  It's not a bad thing, it's just no one understands exactly what it takes to be an ALS caregiver, unless you've been through it yourself.  So allow me to encourage you, ask for help when you need it, tell your people you need visitors, etc.  

For those who have asked about Steve's status with visitors.  He loves them in small doses. What I mean by that is, he loves having people around but he will get tired, and he has no shame in kicking us all out of the room when he does.  Don't feel like you're going to make him sick or wear him out, because when he's had too much, he will tell you.  No two days are the same either, so of course there may be that really bad day where he wants to be alone, but having people to talk to other than just me, goes a long way in quality of life for Steve.  I would imagine this would apply to any bed bound patient.  

So there you have it, I'm always learning and growing; and one day I will be an expert in the art of asking for help.  Truth is, I can't expect people to know I need something, if I don't ask. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Please, actually just feel it.

I recently read an article about how people are allowing feelings to stop them from reaching their full potential.  It said, to ignore your feelings and push on.

.sigh.  This left me feeling, A LOT. 

I read the sentence 3 times, to make sure I was reading it correctly and to actually recognize how the sentence was making me feel. My heart sort of sank because I knew this article was being digested, downloaded, and processed by thousands of people. Envisioning thousands of emotionless robots walking around forgetting that they have these things inside to help guide you. You see, feeling life is a difference between being present and mindful and being numb and disconnected. 

"Oh suck it up."  "Oh stop being so dramatic." "Stop being angry." "Stop being emotional" "Don't let it hurt your feelings."  "You're not tired, keep going."  "You're being too sensitive" "You're so irrational" "Crybaby." "She's so bipolar." "Why are you so moody?" 

I could keep going with the thousands of things we say to each other, and ourselves; but you get the point.

The thing about feelings, is that unless you actually feel them, you can't work through them.  I know some of these phrases developed when people have spent too much time in one feeling, or couldn't fully handle all that they were feeling, and yes there is an art to processing your feelings; but ignoring them isn't that magical technique.  The key is to always recognize what you're feeling, not ignore it. 
Truly recognize it, understand where it's coming from, sit with it for a little, and then work through it. 

Until sitting in front of my computer to write my story, I had been ignoring my feelings for years.  So much anger, resentment, hurt, betrayal, confusion, sadness, envy, and fear hidden inside, that it was spilling out into other areas of my life.  Suddenly feeling triggered by something innocent, I would release these feelings onto the wrong people.  It was only when I stopped to untie the knotted up feelings inside, through each knot I would work through, the hold on me became less and less. Ignoring the feelings, only gives them more strength to intertwine into your being, but recognizing them gives you the power over them.  

Next time you feel something, I want you to practice something.  Find yourself some alone time to sit in silence, and speak the feeling out loud.  "I'm pissed." Feel it for a minute, then take a few deep breaths.  Ask yourself, "Why am I pissed?" Follow the thought, it will take you where you need to go.  As you reach the point of why, ask yourself, "What am I going to do about it?"  Make a plan of action, because in case we haven't realized this yet, feelings are always there to show you something. After you make a plan, sit for 5 minutes in total stillness and focus on your breath.  Breathe the feeling in, but more importantly breath it out.  As you begin to get into your breath pattern, start to breathe in peace and release the negative feeling.  The feeling that was once pissed can now transform to determined.  Some of those most influential people I know have been able to sit with these negative emotions and learn to sit in the kitchen, so to speak, until they can cook up some inspiration from them.  Some of the best writings have come from people processing their sadness and grief.  

You see, feeling life is the whole point.  We aren't meant to be some heartless machines wandering around knocking others down on our way to the top.  We are supposed to feel the guilt for the thing we did wrong, feel the sorrow for someone's loss, feel the frustration for unfair treatment, feel the joy for someone else's accomplishments, feel the extreme gratitude for another breath.

Unless you are allowing yourself to feel the negative, you aren't really feeling the positive either.   

If I could edit this person's article, I would say, "People aren't feeling enough of life to reach their true potential."  Because, truth is, feeling life is our biggest guide, our biggest teacher, and our biggest connection to one another.  Without it, well, without it, we have what is happening all around us; a disconnected, ego driven, violent, race to the top. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Dream a dream of butterflies and bees landing on me. :D

I want to write about a dream I had last night.  I'm elated when I can remember my dreams, because most nights I'm so exhausted from the day my subconscious seems so be snoozing too.  Interpreting dreams might be one of my favorite things to do, aside from painting. 

Starting my dream I was surrounded by beauty, I was in a valley covered in lush greens, and wildflowers as far as the eye can see, patches of lavender and sage filling the air with an aroma that I swear I smelled when I woke up this morning.  There were tree covered mountains surrounding the valley and birds, squirrels, deer, chipmunks, butterflies, bees, and essentially every creature wandering around seemingly not phased by me.  As I was walking along the path I was really trying to absorb the scenery, I was noticing the sky sparkle with the sun, and the magical hue the rays gave everything it touched.  Big fluffy clouds that looked like cotton, scattered about the sky looking like it was dipped in coats of paint, scattered from every shade of pink to purple to orange. 

I found an opening in the field, and as I sat down, a butterfly landed on my hand, as I was looking at it in awe, from the patterns of yellows and blacks, a voice interrupts my silence, "Hello Hope."  I look up to see a tall woman with long curly brown hair wearing a white flowing dresses.  

"Where am I?"  I ask almost breathless from all that I'm taking in.

"You're here to show the difference of the two sets of eyes," as she started to explain I am mesmerized by her voice talking softly and in a flow.  "You are here because you were chosen to help show the world, that it matters what set of eyes you use, to see the world."  

I stare blankly at her, as if to wait for her to explain more.  Then suddenly she stands up, and comes over to me and places her soft hands on my eyes, "Now show her the other set." 

Suddenly opening my eyes to a mosquito biting me on my cheek, as I slap the bug away, I see a whole new scenery.  What was once a lush green valley is now all dead.  No growth for as long as the eyes can see.  I stand up, having to immediately sit back down, as my head was spinning.  There was a thickness in the air, that made it hard to breathe. Taking in a few deep breaths, I slowly regain my strength and balance.  Walking, there are no butterflies happily suckling from any plants, no buzz of the bees, and as I look up I do notice the trees still on the mountain tops, "Ok, well at least there's still trees I say."

Suddenly, the woman appears this time dressed in rags, "Hello again."  Her voice still sounding like a soft exhale.

"What happened?" I plead as I can't take my eyes off the dead grass, she quickly motions for me to follow her.

As we follow I am suddenly overwhelmed with the urge to find the good, and I ask if we can walk to a patch of yellow I see in the distance.  Approaching I see they are sunflowers, and I start to slowly jog to them!  "Look," I'm shouting back at her, "They're so beautiful."  Taking in the sunflowers a bee comes and lands on my nose.  Laughing, the bee suddenly talks.  'I'm loosing it' I start thinking. 

'You did it,' the bee said.  The voice actually sounding much like Steve's voice prior to ALS.

"What?  What did I do?" I mumble, as the bee flies off.  

Blinking my eyes suddenly a new world shows up, one where there is equal amounts of beautiful lush scenery and brown dried up scenery.  I sit for a moment and watch as another butterfly comes and lands on my hand.  Hearing the wind suddenly say, "Now go tell the world to choose better eyes to see from."

That's it, that's all I remember.  

I sat in reflection of this dream this morning after mediation, knowing I wanted to write on it.  The meaning is obvious to me, and I'm sure to everyone reading this.  It's a concept that I've probably even touched on before.  If you take two different people to the same scenery, one person will notice the dead patches of grass, the flowers that didn't survive, or the trees that may be dying.  The other person will notice all of the growth, the creatures, the thriving trees.  

Why do people see the same world so differently? Some without even realizing they do! It's as simple as choosing which eyes you see the world out of.  Do you look for the beauty or do you look for the destruction?  

I know there is a place of importance in recognizing the destruction; such as: climate change, the violence that occurs in the world, etc.  Seeing that they exist is an important thing, but it's almost more important to recognize the beauty that is still there as well.  In fact I think the whole purpose of this dream is that it is the difference between a life well lived and a life, just lived.  

Today (and everyday) make an effort to notice 5 things of beauty in your day.  On days where it feels extra heavy and dark double or triple that number.  The more you actively seek the beauty, the more it will present itself to you.  

Remember, everyday you get to choose.  What eyes do you see the world from? 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Here borrow my lighter.

When's the last time you complimented someone? Not just liking a photo on instagram, or expressing hair envy, or talking about that outfit being on fleek (say did I use that right? Look at me I'm hip. ;)) Those are all nice and everything, but what about soul compliments.  Like, "Hey you know you're a really good communicator, I appreciate that.", or, "You are capable of changing the world with a brain and heart like yours.", or, "You are really creative and talented.  I hope you know everything you do is magic."  :)  

Have you ever wondered what our world would look like, if we handed out genuine positive feedback like we do with negative.  I believe there's always a place for the negative feedback, but in so many circumstances that's all I see some people doing.  BALANCE.  How many times will I write about this word in my blogs.  I should actually start logging it.  Because, if we could start to truly look for the good in people it will change the world.  

Let's use me as an example.  I was beat down in grad school.  My professors all had me to believe I wasn't capable of pursuing what I had decided was my life's purpose (be a counselor), and really that I wasn't capable of much of anything really.  Our last year, we attended an internship, and after a month spent with my new boss, he called me into his office.  I was so sure he was going to remind me of my flaws when he started, "I notice you have very little confidence in yourself, but now that you've become comfortable around me I can get you to open up.  During conversations about cases you're more insightful than colleagues I've worked with for years, but around anyone but me you freeze up. What if you just gave yourself permission to see if you can do this, because I believe you can.  In fact I see you as one of the more influential therapists of our time, if you can do some work on yourself."  

In that very instant my boss changed the course of my life.  With simply him taking the time to see past the layers of the negative to see the light in there.  Everyone of us has a light inside of us, and some just need a reminder.  What if we had told some of those acting out in violence what was good inside of them?  Do you think they would have still committed the actions?  Maybe?  Maybe not, in my mind I would guess half of them could shift back.  

So I ask again, when was the last time you complimented someone?  Because, maybe it's time. Maybe it's time to shift someones life back in the right direction.  We are all in this together, we are all capable of love, and we are all capable of changing someone's life for the positive.  

Let's light each other's candles again. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

mirror mirror on the wall...

A friend of mine once told me, "If you can learn to see everyone as a mirror, your self growth will increase exponentially."  

I didn't really take heed of this advice immediately.  In fact, I didn't want to see the things some people were showing me.  When someone would bother me, instead of realizing these people were showing me where this trait exists in me, I just wanted to cut them out of my life.  So I did. Over and over.  I became an expert of cutting people out of my life.  In fact I would guess, some of you reading this are thinking, "Yep, she did this to me."  

Now let me add here, as it is important; some people NEED cut out.  Some people are so toxic for you and even if you try to see them as a mirror, truth is you and them just aren't meant to coexist. This is okay. I say this because, after I became very aware of my quick cutting, I started letting people stay because I thought for sure there was something they were trying to show me, or I thought I was there maybe to help show them something.  I allowed people to even steal from Steve and I.  I sat aware of this happening, but didn't pull out the scissors right away because I kept trying to find my reflection in that mirror. Sometimes people are there to show you what you SHOULDN'T accept in your life. 

Like all things in life, balance applies to this.  Surprised?  I shouldn't be, but I was. After understanding the difference between people holding up that mirror and people being toxic; this quote has changed my life.  What once drove me nuts about people, now is opening my eyes to the existence of this behavior in me.  As I then address this in myself, I can then find myself seeing past these traits in others.  

I will say that more people show me behaviors I have in myself some days than I can do on my own. 

Just a few examples:  When I have a disagreement with someone, I think I'm 100% right so much so that I won't listen to other people's sides.  I didn't realize that until really paying attention to arguments with Steve and my mom.  Both are full length mirrors for this.  Understanding I have this trait helps me to become more aware in the middle of a disagreement, that listening is more important than always being right.  People who speak open judgement often remind me of how much judgment I'm carrying around; mostly of myself.  This was an interesting one for me: A friend was talking about all of the projects she had going, and how she couldn't finish any of them because she was too scattered: this was like looking into one of those awful magnifying mirrors.  You know the ones with the bright lights that you can see every imperfection on your face.  One more example for good measure: I have a friend who says they will do something by a certain date, and when they inevitably don't I'm pissed!  After the 3rd time of this happening, I thought to myself, where in life am I doing this?  No surprise, it was sprinkled in almost every area of my life: from writing in my book, to doing stuff for Steve, to Hopie Hippie, etc....

Mirrors are everywhere and when we stop shattering them, and choose to look directly in at the reflection staring back at you, that's when real change happens.  Who are your mirrors? What are they teaching you?  I would love to hear from anyone willing to share theirs.   

Monday, July 25, 2016

Present in time.

Not enough of it.  Too much of it.  Where does it go?  
Goes faster in the flow.  Pauses in moments of love.  Flies when you're having fun. 
Quit wasting my time.  Make the most of your time.  How much time is left? 


I have an interesting relationship with this 4 letter word.  Interesting in a sense where I value time greatly as it's amount is unknown and never promised yet I still forget could run any time....

Around this time 5 years ago, Steve, began his long journey towards an ALS diagnosis.  I will never forget the weeks that led up to the official diagnoses (happened in August); the ups and downs, the emotions, fears, times of pause, time flying, time dragging in doctors offices inspecting their faces for answers, waiting times for doctors appointments, times spent on the internet googling symptoms and self diagnosing, times trying to forget there's even a problem,...

It wasn't all negative because Steve and I were newly in love, I had already made up my mind that even if it was something awful, I wasn't going anywhere.  Four months was enough time, in this circumstance, to know he was the one.  

I have a new perspective on time because of Steve, and it's value, yet I still find myself snapping at people, "You're wasting my time," instead of fully giving of it to those who need it, or I find myself "wasting it" by spending too much of it, reading about other people's time.  


I have come to believe that truly learning how to best spend this luxury of time, is the most important lesson one will learn. 

Maybe the first step of this, is this appreciation of it I have.  Until you can appreciate it, how can you manage it properly?  

It's time, for a commitment, to time.  To proper use, proper management, and proper presence.

Proper presence.  To truly be present in all situations makes for enough time, great use of time, and peace with however much time is left.

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.  

Friday, July 15, 2016

Raise the vibration, please.

We interrupt this scheduled climate change blog, for yet again a discussion on the violence in our world.  For those of you who follow my blog closely, you know Steve and I prepared you a blog for today, but after waking up to news of 84 people being killed in France; I must write on this.

I want to acknowledge the sadness I feel about the fact that I am writing another blog on the loss of innocent lives.  It's heartbreaking and no matter where it's happening; I'm feeling it.  I also am holding on to the hope, that all of this is really an awakening that will be tumultuous at first, but ultimately lead to more peace and love winning.  

This isn't just a blog on hope, it's a blog on action.  I've seen several different people attempt to start this, with little traction; but to me it's a huge thing that EVERYONE can do.  I know a lot of you out there want to be doing something, anything, that can be helping find our world some peace.

It's time to raise our vibration as a whole.  For those of you who have no idea what I mean, I'll explain in simple terms.  Everything is energy, and we are all vibrating energy.  Think of someone you meet, and they are full of anger and hate, does it feel very fun to be around them?  Are their vibes bringing you down or raising you up?  I can tell you the 100's of times I felt other people's negative energy and had to either remove them from my life or raise my vibration enough to be unaffected by them.  This is the vibration our world is full of right now, hate, anger, fear, sadness; low low low vibrations.  Then imagine yourself around someone who is full of love and joy and seeks to see the positive things.  Now think about how they make you feel,  They lift you up right?  Their vibes bring you up to their level and continue to build you up.  That's what we need more of in this world right now.

So how do we do it?  There's a few ways in which I have learned to raise my vibrations, and I would like to share, and then encourage you all to find a way to do this for yourself EVERY SINGLE DAY. Don't let the word vibration put you off, it's simple physics and no it doesn't go against the bible (as yes I know some of you are thinking it) so hear me out.  

3 simple steps. :)

First way is meditation.  Meditation is honestly something I think everyone could benefit from.  It seems so daunting to some people or too spiritual for others.  Let me tell you, that learning to find that space that comes in silent breath work is the most powerful thing I've ever done for myself.  You don't have to try to meditate for hours, even 5 minutes of sitting in silence and focusing on the breath is enough.  If you've never meditated there are some great apps (insight timer app is a favorite) and guided meditations (David Jii is a favorite) out there, even some mandala meditations that Steve and I recently have found ourselves falling in love with.  But you don't need any of that, or a fancy cushion, sacred space, incense, or anything.  You just need to be truly aware of your being in this moment and just breathe.  Sometimes the thought of silence is daunting to others, so even if you need a mantra (a phrase you say repeatedly with your breath) that's okay too.  I often use mantra's. For example one of my favorites is to breathe in, "I Am love," and to breathe out, "I give love."  

Second is prayer.  Now I know the word pray, has such a loaded meaning to some and others it's like breathing right.  To me, there's no wrong or right way to pray, no matter who it is you're praying to. It doesn't matter what "God" you pray to, and please don't come at me with anything negative in response to that.  Everyone is entitled to believe in whomever and whatever they please.  I want this message to be so widely spread that everyone feels okay to say a prayer.  The results are the same, you are asking "God" whatever that may be to you, to help.  Although, my favorite prayers are often to give thanks.  When I offer a simple prayer of gratitude daily, I find myself more and more aware of the blessings life offers, even in the darkness.  

Third is a big one.  Show kindness to EVERYONE you come in contact with.  Smile at people as you walk past them.  You know the power of a smile?  One day during a very dark time with Steve, he was in the hospital and I had decided to go to whole foods.  I was feeling very low, and a woman who could probably read the energy smiled at me and said, "I hope this smile fills you up," and walked away.  It did fill me up that day, and it changed my energy with one simple act.  There's hundreds of ways to show kindness: carry groceries, hold the door, say hello, pick up trash you see on the ground (kindness to the planet counts big time here), buy someone lunch, pay for the person behind you's coffee, compliment someone, listen to someone having a hard time, donate to someones cause today, surprise someone with a gift, etc.  Kindness is easy and EVERYONE can do it.  

Let's do our part and collectively raise our vibration and drive out this darkness.  Because remember "Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that," isn't just an amazing quote from the great Martin Luther King Jr; it's the truth.  A vibration of LOVE is what we desperately need.

I already meditate, pray, and try to show kindness daily; but I intend to increase all with a large focus on love and peace.  Because from where I sit, it's how I see everyone being able to participate in the change.  

Will you please join me? 

Thursday, July 14, 2016


Almost everyday I do some reflection on what message I want to get out with my blog that day.  The  past two weeks I have been so focused on more love, more community, more respect; both for people and the planet.  I noticed that some of my messages are being heard loud and clear, and the response is pretty awesome.  Some however, seem like the message is being missed.  Like, maybe people aren't hearing (reading) me clearly, or at all.  

I had a lovely conversation with my dear friend, and Ayurveda teacher Anna yesterday that sort of helped me understand why some of my messages were going as far and deep as I intended and some aren't.  Of course our conversation started with what's going on with us but had to include what's going on in the world.  Because as she often teaches, we are the microcosm of the macrocosm, meaning the world you live in heavily influences your life and well being.  In the conversation she said several things that my mind turned into a blog, but one in particular that helped me understand why some messages are being heard more than others.   "It's important to have the discernment of knowing where you want your message to come from."  

So there you have it, yesterdays message was one of desperation, right?  After watching Josh Fox's film I went into the desperate act of trying to get everyone to see his side of this, and why climate change should be in your wheelhouse.  Instead I should have said it this way, because this is where his message came from, and where mine should be as well.  Our planet is beautiful, life is beautiful, it's all a precious gift.  Truth is, that there is so much good left in this world, that is being heavily muddied down because there are some serious negatives happening.  As things start to reveal themselves as truth rather than theory more and more this year, it's causing a lot of panic and anger.  Which, are normal, and maybe even needed; but I think more effective is love.

We all are blessed to be alive here today, and if you're reading this, you have access to technology, and I'll assume probably food, clothing, shelter, and clean water.  What an incredible gift.  Truth is however, it's not that way for everyone.  So not only is it becoming worse, it's happening in the US now.  It's been happening in the US for a while, but it was sort of contained.  See, I grew up from 4th-9th grade without drinkable water, because due to mining the lands beside my house our water was taken over by iron and who knows what fossil fuels.  That was in the 90's and it wasn't ever spoken about.  We couldn't afford water purification systems so we didn't use our water.  However, we were fortunate enough to live close to some of the best spring water in our area that was clean and delicious (linn run) and we would go fill up gallons of water to cook, bathe, and drink with.  

The problems started in obscure areas, where they were contaminating our beautiful planet, but it was too small to be noticed.  Fast forward to today, and as much as we all want to be hiding from it, it's not possible anymore.  It's here on our front door steps, and it's hard for people to want to see it.  So with love, I want to empower us.  Because it all seems so daunting right?  Let me tell you, you reading this, you have power.  A lot of power in fact.  We all do.  Whether we fully realize it or not. That's why I keep saying we have to do something, it's because we can.  For once in our lifetimes, the truths are being shown to us, pretty clearly in fact.  It is actually a gift to finally be in the know, however, the trick is, that it's truly a personal choice whether or not you truly want to see it. 
It reminds me of how people can turn their TVs off when they just don't want to face something, because they feel so out of control about it. 

We have very little control over things these days; other people, our government, the weather, etc, but we do have control over our choices.  Which means we have the opportunity to be part of the solution.  What an incredible gift to be given.  The chance to stand up for what's right.  So my next few blogs will be a way to educate you on some VERY easy ways in which you CAN help.  I truly hope you feel empowered after reading each one, and know that you are important in this world. Every single one of you.  

Today starts with this, acceptance of the truth.  Acceptance that there is a problem, and that we can actually help.  It's a gift, to be able to help be a part of a solution, and I truly feel thankful that I can do my part, and hopefully the impact lasts for lifetimes after mine.  

PS: Tomorrow will include some thoughts from Steve, because he heavily believes environmental factors played a role in his ALS diagnosis.  So stay tuned. 

Love all of you powerful, capable, lovely human beings. <3

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Consume me no more...

If you've followed Steve and I long enough, you know our pain we feel for our planet.  We watched Josh Fox's latest film (I beg EVERYONE reading this to please watch) How to let go of the world and love all the things climate can't change, twice in the past 3 days.  His films always shake me and get me fired up to speak out about the planet.  

I have so much to say about this film, that it will probably be one that I talk about in several blogs. Today I want to focus on one part of the film, that hit me like a ton of bricks.  


Inhale. Exhale. 

Ahh, I have been so brainwashed and guilty of falling into the consumerism trap.  I work hard to try to do my part here for the planet.  No meat, no dairy, only supporting sustainable farming, recycle queen, using less, using more things provided by nature in my creations, etc.  Where I have fallen very short, is my consumerism.  My attachment to things.  I'm owning my part here. 

Sigh.  As I'm trying to organize my piles of stuff, next to my other piles of stuff, while the piles of that stuff over there come falling down, it makes me sad.  How did I fall into this trap?  Here's a truth I'm going to drop on y'all.  Our world, is telling us we NEED these things in order to be happy.  We are being told essentially to consume consume consume because we need to have all the greatest things.  I mean after all we deserve them right?

Ugh.  Why do we deserve to breathe clean air, while we outsource our clothes making to China leaving them with heavily polluted air?  Why do we deserve clean water while chemicals are being dumped into the world daily from large factories manufacturing all this STUFF we just all need so much?  Why do I need another piece of clothing?  Why do I find myself addicted to stuff?  

So many questions, and I'm here with an answer.   There's some stuff that will take some major action to get government to change (ie fracking, oil spills, deforestation) but we have to do our parts.  It's up to us to step up and take action, and when we change we will see our leaders change.  So here's what I'm going to do and ask you all to consider.  This one is an actual achievable goal. 

NO MORE consumerism in 5 easy steps. (I could do more, but I understand change is hard so let's keep it simple here).  I ask that if it's something you all can see doing, please do so, and share about it.   Even if you only do 1 step, it will help.  

Step 1. Not one more "It's so pretty" treats to myself. No more clothes, shoes, bags, whatever that catches my eye, and I say, "I deserve to have a happy treat."  No more.  There's no excuse for it.  I don't need a new swim suit every summer, or that new dress that's being advertised to me in 20 different outlets.  The cost of each piece of mass produced clothing to our planet is astounding.  Plus, how many clothes do you actually need? (Hope?) 
Step 2. I have a ton of things in my house I never use, time to actually sort through and offer them to people who need them, instead of them buying that item.  Helping others stop the cycle. 
Step 3. If I do need something new, something breaks here; FIND A USED ONE.  The reality is there is an existing & usable EVERYTHING in existence right now, our need for new just takes over.  Oh I want a new fridge, or a new washing machine.  Although, there's one here on Craig's list in great condition, refurbished, and working like new.  Ugh.  Used is seen as such a bad word sometimes.  I think we should now start saying, "Already existing so buy that and save the damn planet."
Step 4.  Be Sustainable and conscious about my creations.  I want the art I make to be a gift to the planet, and not another burden.  I already use a ton of natural materials, but I can and will do better. 
Step 5. No more ordering out, when I have food to cook.  This is another big big thing for me.  When we have a tough day, I will justify ordering food, although I have food to cook in my fridge.  I say, "Oh, I deserve someone else to cook for me for a change."  Really?  You know there's people who don't get to have any food, and yet I think, it's okay for someone to take the gas to pick up the food, the plastic containers that no matter how much I recycle STILL exist in this world just to get food. (Sad fact: every piece of plastic ever made, still exists today, it doesn't decompose, ever.) Seriously?  This is laziness.  Not to mention I speak positive intentions and love into my food.  With other people cooking it, who knows how fresh, organic, or well intended their food is?

Look there's a lot happening in our world, and a large part of it has to do with our total lack of respect; for people and the planet.  If you find it okay to throw trash anywhere but a garbage can, that speaks volumes of you as a person.  It's a lack of respect.  It's time we all start actually holding ourselves accountable. 

So many people won't watch this film,  may not even read this blog; because they don't want to admit there is a problem.  They don't want to be burdened with it, because nothings happening here right now, so it can't be that bad?  Well it is happening, and y'all just think it's coincidence. I promise if we don't stop this type of thinking, things are going to get worse.  More droughts, more fires, more floods, more natural disasters, more killing, more war, more poverty, more hunger,....

You don't want to be burdened?  WAKE UP.  Let's come together and FIX this.  It starts with us.  Again I end this blog with, IT IS UP TO US.  We can and NEED to be doing better.