guidance

Gratitude, Grafitti and Molotov Cocktails ~ Reprise


“That inspirational quote you posted cured my clinical depression and helped me focus on what’s really important.”
~Said no one ever

We had a day of gratitude yesterday, Raphael and me.

As we mentioned to each other how grateful we were for the simple things in life, parking spaces appeared (with time left on the meter), hassle-free food at a crowded concert showed up, there were even two empty seats in front of us for the first half of a sold-out show.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.

Shut the fuck up! What do we have to be grateful for? Face reality! The world is a horrible, threatening place filled with uncertainty, hate, and people who are looking to do us harm.

Well, maybe you’re not saying that, but people do. A lot of people. And they get very angry when the word gratitude gets mentioned.

These days, saying you’re grateful has become a subversive act—the molotov cocktail of declarations. If you have the audacity to utter the words in mixed company, say at a bar-b-que or something, it can make you a lightning rod for a spew of vitriol the likes of Linda Blair in The Exorcist.

To some folks, it’s as bad as admitting you voted for Hillary—or that you slap puppies.

Too bad.

Yesterday we felt gratitude. There. I said it.

We are blessed in so many ways and whatever argument you yell in my face you cannot talk me out of it—so please stop trying. And I realize it is just as impossible for me to change your mind.

Reading this will not help. Words will never change you. That I know for sure.

You have to be willing to look at things differently by literally taking your eyes out of your head and dipping them in something pleasant–and preferably fizzy—perhaps some pink champagne or one of those fruity Pellegrino drinks that are a “thing” right now. Let the bubbles help clarify your vision.

Do something, anything shocking to break the pattern.

Because only seeing the shit in life has become the opioid of the masses— and a really BAD HABIT.

And…right about now you want to take a fork to my face. But listen, I know that from experience!
It was my bad habit too. My default setting. I was so fucking vigilant and valiant in my suffering—I would have made ya proud.

Sound familiar?

OMFG, do I have bad habits!
I chew my cuticles until they bleed, I dispense unsolicited advice, I say the word fuck before breakfast more than Richard Pryor did in his entire career, and at certain points in my life I have fallen into the habit of pessimism—and I’m oversimplifying the depth of my angst by using that word. Call it depression, call it anxiety, call it a four-years-long bad mood—NEVER have any of my other bad habits tried to systematically dismantle my soul day in and day out—like that fucker did.

From the moment I woke up until the moment I closed my eyes and even those hours in between when human beings are supposed to be asleep, I could ONLY see what was going wrong and how unfair, unjust, and just plain awful my existence had become.

Can you say Shit. Show?

So, I get it.

You guys, I don’t pretend to know how any of this works, this perpetual darkness thing, what I DO know is that eventually, I hated feeling so damn bad–it was exhausting, like breathing water—and I wanted a way out.
Desperately.
I drank excessively, I ate too much, I meditated, I exercised fanatically, I chanted, I cut my own bangs and I Ommmm’d my ass into submission, seeking and searching. Like a five-pack-a-day smoker, I sought a patch, something to slap on my arm to numb my addiction to feeling bad.

But this was what kept showing up:
Practice gratitude, I read somewhere.

Fuck you!

List five things a day you’re grateful for.

I can’t fucking think of one!

Keep a gratitude journal Oprah advised.

Fuck off Oprah! Gratitude, shmatitude! What do you know about suffering? YOU were born into extreme poverty—in the deep South—in the 1950’s and were repeatedly abused.

I have REAL problems!

But it wore me down. So, I tried it. But just for a minute because it sounded asinine and completely counterintuitive, and here’s the thing: when you let even just a glimmer of gratitude in, like ‘I’m grateful my dog’s not a puppy anymore, she was such an asshole—more things to be grateful for will rush in to meet it.

Will they really?… No.
They were there all along, you’ll just start seeing them with your fizzy new eyes. The ugly graffiti (not the beautiful, artsy kind) of cynicism can deface the most beautiful building, but that doesn’t mean the gorgeous architecture doesn’t lie just beneath the surface—it’s just hidden—temporarily.

Have I made gratitude a new habit? Why, yes!…hell no.

I promise myself that I’ll try every day, but that’s like saying I’ll make it a habit to wear anything other than yoga pants—highly unlikely—but I’ll try.

So it’s worth writing about when I can maintain it for an entire day. Wanna join me?
There’s safety in numbers andIt’s free.

Carry on,
xox


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I Am Afraid—OR…I Am An idiot, I Am Hungry, And I Am Horny

“I Have Fear.

There’s a common mistranslation that causes us trouble.

We say, “I am afraid,” as if the fear is us, forever. We don’t say, “I am a fever” or “I am a sore foot.” No, in those cases, we acknowledge that it’s a temporary condition, something we have, at least for now, but won’t have forever.

“Right now, I have fear about launching this project,” is quite different from, “I’m afraid.””
-Seth Godin

Fuckity, fuck, fuck, fuck. Seth nailed me on this!

And it got me to thinking. What other feelings am I forever-izing?

The first one that comes to mind is this. “Gawd, I’m an idiot.”

(Which, sadly, I would never say to another human being other than myself.)
But I must admit, I say it to myself All. The. Time. Especially when I put periods after single words for emphasis.
I must make a concerted effort to follow Seth’s advice and acknowledge that my chronic idiocy is in reality only a temporary condition. (Monday thru Friday 8-5. Weekends my idiocy turns to slothiness which is somehow infinitely more acceptable.)

“I have an idiot temporarily making all of my decisions”, will be my new mantra.

“I am hungry.”

This is another one of my greatest hits. The only time it feels temporary is while I am actively eating. Once I put my fork down, all bets are off. In a cruel twist of suckiness, once it enters my body, pasta or even a steak and baked potato has the ability to disguise itself as Chinese food leaving me starving again in half an hour. I’ve always filed this under the heading of Life’s Not Fair, but now, when I’m famished I’ll tweak my thinking and say: “I feel like eating my foot” —because I only have two, so…temporary.

“I am horny.”

In my twenties and thirties and maybe even half of my forties, I would have fought Seth on the temporary nature of this condition. It felt like a 24-7 forever kind of thing to me. But now that sixty is breathing down my neck, yeah, I get it. With my fifteen minutes of randiness every month, “I am horny” feels like over-committing. Maybe “Hurry honey! Right this minute I’m thinking about sex!” is more like it.

Hey, I showed you mine—what are yours? What do you own that is in reality only a temporary condition?

Carry on,
xox


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Finding Trust (A Video From 2015)

Not a lot has changed in two years. Trust—still a struggle. Hair—still gray—with purple. The out takes of my life—still better than the serious content.
xox


Hello loves,

I sat down to write about my journey lately on the short bus to trust.

Then I realized I had fifteen minutes before I had to leave. So I made a two-minute video instead—you know—like you do when you’re pressed for time!

The takeaway in case you don’t feel like watching is this: Your intuition will NEVER lead you astray.

It will never take you down the dark alley, or tell you to wear the white pantsuit.
It has NO intention whatsoever of humiliating you or leaving you standing in a steaming pile of disgrace.

So trust it you guys! I’m really trying to do it too.
And that is my nugget of advice for today.

Trust yourself.

Carry on,
xox

AND….The outtakes. First one is my standard duh moment with the video running. Have I learned nothing?

And the second one is a correction. I forgot what day it is.


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Crossing The Line ~ Sexual Harassment ~ Sadly A Reprise

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So…here we go again. This seems timely after the revelations of the past few days. Yuck. And dammit. This has GOT to stop.
The end.

Every woman has a story. Or five. Here’s one of mine.

xox


“So, he said I have a really cute vagina…”

I just about dropped the carton of eggs I was pulling out of the fridge for our breakfast but made the save. The half-smoked cigarette I was balancing between my lips wasn’t as lucky, falling onto the kitchen linoleum, just barely missing my bare feet—as my mouth hung agape.

My roommate chattered on as I stomped out the hot ash that was skittering about with my heavily callused heel.

“One of the prettiest he’s ever seen,” she chirped.

“Wait. Who said that? Michael? Your boyfriend?” I asked as if I really wanted to know.

Moments earlier I had innocently asked how her visit to the Gynecologist had gone the previous day. She’d had a couple of wonky pap smear results and, well, now here she was, off talking about all the compliments her vagina was getting—and I was confused.

She did have the attention span of a spider monkey so this wasn’t new, but the subject matter was. We weren’t the kind of roommates who were in the habit of sharing super intimate, sex-related pillow talk.

“No, silly, Dr. SoandSo”, she laughed, smoke billowing from her nostrils as she snuffed out her cigarette in the Philodendron on the kitchen table.

One habit we did have was smoking while cooking. Only while cooking. It nauseates me even now. All of it. Even this conversation. Especially this conversation.

I whipped around, setting the egg carton down hard in front of her. Egg snot ran from several of the perforations onto the vintage 1950’s Formica diner table we sat around in the kitchen.

She jumped, startled, as I yelled into her face.  “What the fuck?! Are you telling me you’re Gynecologist said that to you?!”

She looked at me as if my head had spun around (which it had, but just once), her big, brown eyes filled with fear.

“Uh, yeah, he was just…um…it wasn’t…uh…”

“Please tell me he at least removed his hand from inside your body before he said that!” I asked, again not really wanting to know the answer. I’m not even sure why that mattered, it’s just that the thought of her doctor wrist-deep inside of her, cooing that bullshit while she’s on her back with her legs in the stirrups made me want to puke—and call the police.

“That is sexual harassment!” I screamed louder than I intended.
”He’s a professional! He should NEVER say that sort of thing to you! Everyone knows gynecologists are only allowed to talk about the weather when they’re down there—below the equator!”

She looked bewildered.

“Honey”, I pulled up a chair and sat straight in front of her, lowering my voice into a calmer, more soothing register as I realized she had no idea what he’d done.

It was a compliment. About her lady parts. From a man.

UGH.

“You have to report him. He’s a bad guy, and not a good doctor. That wasn’t a compliment. It was HIGHLY inappropriate.”

When she finally got it, she looked ashamed.

“If you don’t—I will!”

Sexual harassment in the workplace, from people in positions of power, and I think, in general, is SUCH a subjective topic and to this day—I’m not sure why.

It’s been my observation that most men just don’t get the intricacies.
The boundaries are blurred to the point that unless it comes down to an actual physical assault—it can slide under the radar like it did for my twenty-seven-year-old roommate.

It is often covert—cloaked in a compliment, delivered by someone in authority, wrapped inside of a joke or said straight up to your face with a wink—and if you so much as bat an eyelash—you’re overreacting.

Clearly, the situation was “misconstrued”.

I loathe that word. Misconstrued.
Lots of slimy people get away with highly questionable shit by hiding behind that word.

Here’s the thing, I don’t misconstrue anything. My gut construes everything you said correctly. Your innuendo? It was interpreted exactly how you meant it. There was no mistake made.

Except for you thinking I wouldn’t say anything.

I worked in a male-dominated business for almost twenty years.
And I grew up with a brother and worked my way through school on the night crew of a supermarket as one of only two girls.
I know men. I love men, and I know male humor.
I get it. I can even appreciate it. It can be bawdy and blue and I’m a real broad—one of the guys—so I’m often right there in it AND I can let a lot of shit slide.

But there’s a line. A boundary that should never be crossed, and you know when it has been by the pit in your stomach.

My male boss was always the epitome of appropriate behavior. He never made a misstep.
But one day in the midst of an all-male jewelry buy (or a shark feeding-frenzy, take your pick), the free-range testosterone in the room took control of one of my boss’ partners and best friends. As he went to leave, he hugged me goodbye for a little bit too long, and the hug was just a little bit too tight and there it was—his semi-erect “little friend” pressed up against my thigh.

It was no accident. There were a couple of dry-humps. I kid you not.

Reflexively and forcefully, I pushed him away with both hands looking him straight in the eye—horrified.

He winked, and yelled something back at the guys about his jeans being too tight, and made a quick getaway.

I could barely catch my breath. I was shaking and red in the face. Immediately, I grabbed my boss by the arm, yanking him out of earshot of the others.

As a woman in a man’s world, you walk a tightrope—you want to be a “good sport”, “one of the guys”, yet still be treated with respect.

“THAT man!”, I whisper/yelled, “You had better keep your FRIEND away from me—he is NEVER to lay a hand on me again, DO YOU UNDERSTAND? If he does—I will quit and then I will sue him all the way to hell and back!”

He shook his head and shrugged, confused. “O…kay…”, he stammered still staring at my panting, red face.

“He pressed his dick against my leg!” I whispered forcefully, staring him down, trying to make him understand. He immediately looked down at his feet, embarrassed. “Okay”, he replied, wishing he were invisible as he slowly turned and walked back to his buddies.

I think, rather I KNOW, that he thought I was overreacting. That I had misconstrued his friend’s natural affection for lechery.

I tried not to gag every time I had to see that man again, which was often since he was a part of my boss’ inner circle. But nothing even remotely resembling sexual innuendo or impropriety happened again. I don’t know if my boss had a talk with the guys or if they had just decided on their own to behave themselves.

All of them except for that one man.
In the space of ten years, with a wife and two kids to support, he settled three workplace sexual harassment cases (that I know of ), out of court.

If I remember correctly, I think it was when my boss told me about the second one that his face registered some sort of understanding and an unspoken apology for having doubted me.

That would have to be enough.

Talk to me.

Carry on,
xox


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The Heart Wants What It Wants—Then You Check Under the Hood

Hey guys,
I wrote this a while ago and threw it into a file. I wasn’t sure when the time would be right to hit “publish”. But in the space of the past few months, several woman have told me about a very similar situation coming up in their lives, and a couple of high profile female writers have left their male partners for women—so I knew it was time to share. Besides the fact that I know you guys love to hear about things that get me all squirmy.
Let me know what you’re thinking.
xox


“I had a love affair with a man”, he said nonchalantly, his back to me while he flipped pancakes.

I nearly did a spit-take with my mouth full of coffee. Not the funny kind that happens at the end of a joke. More the shocked, eye-bulging, quick exhale, I-need-more-air kind that happens when your live-in boyfriend casually drops a bomb like that at the breakfast table during a leisure Sunday morning two years into your relationship.

We had gone down THAT road.

The road less traveled. It is labeled that because you should NOT go that way. EVER.
We somehow, and I can’t remember exactly how, had gotten sidetracked and ended up on the subject of past lovers. There should be a big sign: TURN AROUND. GO FURTHER AT YOUR OWN PERIL! For those of us stupid enough to think that talking about that kind of stuff doesn’t matter. Oh, it matters!

Or does it?

This guy always colored outside the lines. He was big and bold in everything he did, most especially in the way he loved.
His love was enormous. It was unencumbered, dramatic and all-encompassing. It’s magic lie in its unedited innocence. He was still under thirty and had never had his heart crushed by a steam-roller or dragged behind a car. I was thirty-five-ish and besides being steamrollered and dragged, my heart had also been dropped from a fifty story building and tied to an anvil and thrown into the sea. Just to name of few.

I had the barely healed scabs and scars from my wounds. He did not. His heart was smooth and supple.
A love that pure enabled him to paint with a very broad brush. My pathetic brush was the width of a single human hair.

So, besides being madly in love with him, I was forever intrigued.

“Oh, really?”, I replied as soon as I could find my voice, attempting to sound cool and casual, like he’d just told me he loved plaid. I’m sure I sounded like I’d swallowed a piano.

“These are hot”, he said as he delivered a stack of blueberry pancakes to the table. “And I already buttered ‘um”.
He kissed the back of my neck as he went by, grabbed the syrup and a plate and sat down across from me.

My eyes were fixed on him but not focused. God, he was beautiful—and blurred. Me? I was reeling a little. Okay, a lot. I was reeling A LOT!

Did he have an aids test? I know we’d discussed it once but I couldn’t remember. My heart was pounding. Yes, Yes he had. Whew! We both had and they were negative. Bullet dodged.

So, now what? What about the obvious question: Was he gay?

I remember the napkins and what I was wearing. Isn’t that weird?

The napkins were white cotton with big, blue flowers and I was barefoot, wearing a blush colored linen top that I’d paid way too much for because the color “blush” was all the rage—and I was a redhead back then so “blush” was a good color for me—over a pair of ripped up jean shorts.

“Tell me more”, was what I think I said. Or something to that effect. I may have said “You have my attention”, but I doubt I had the cognitive agility at that moment to come up with any three syllable words. As he started to talk, my vision came back into focus and I sat mesmerized, staring at his lips as they moved over his teeth to form words.

“It’s wasn’t a big deal really,” he said, sensing my inner freak-out. “He was a guy who lived in my building. He had a huge jazz collection on vinyl and we used to listen to music and smoke pot.” He was shoveling forkfuls of pancake in between words, the blueberry tinted syrup glistening on his lips as he spoke. I handed him a napkin.

“How long ago was this?”, I asked, and the minute I did I wasn’t sure I wanted to know the answer. Recently? When he was a teenager? What did I want him to say?

“Oh, I don’t know…” he was looking into the distance, trying to conjure the past. Shit. Did I want him to re-live this memory?
“About five years ago. Yeah, wow, five years”, he was shaking his head marveling at the passage of time. I remembered that feeling.

Years are like dog years when you’re under thirty.

“You said love affair. You were in love?” I asked. This was the curious part. The part that struck me. I suppose I understood a dalliance in college or a same-sex fling. I could wrap my brain around the sexual exploration aspect of it all. But love? That was…diiferent.

“I was. We were. In love that is”, he was leaning back in his chair, arms crossed, staring at me, grinning. I could feel my face melt. There it went, down the front of my blush blouse, pooling in my lap. I suppose looking across at a melted face snapped him out of his complacency. Compassion kicked in because he leaned forward and took both my hands in his.

“Listen, it just happened. We were friends, and then we fell in love. We had sex…” He looked me straight in the eye. “It’s the oldest story in the book.” In that moment his brush painted a swath across my life as wide as the Grand Canyon.

“Was he…is he gay?”, I asked, holding my silly, single-haired brush. I guess I was thinking maybe the other guy had seduced him although I knew it had probably been the other way around. That wide-open heart of his was irresistible.

“I’m not sure if he identifies as homosexual. I don’t know. He moved away and we lost touch. I don’t—if that’s what you’re worried about.” he was laughing, turning my hands over, gently kissing my open palms while keeping his chocolate-colored eyes locked on mine. His ease and comfort around sexuality only served to exacerbate my narrow-minded clumsiness. Damn my face! It always gave me away. Poker player was not going to be a profession I could bank on.

That was the first time I’d heard the term “identifies” regarding sexuality. This was the nineties so the term wasn’t all over social media like it is now. As a matter-of-fact, this was before social media, if you can imagine that.

“You love who you love”, he said in a more serious tone, letting go of my hands. Then my boyfriend with the gigantic, all-encompassing heart got up and started to clear the table. “The heart wants what it wants”, he said, “Then, eventually, you check under the hood”.

The visual of that made us both laugh.

This “situation” turned out to have no repercussions on our relationship which died of natural causes about a year later.

What did reprecuss was the influence of this young man. He turned out to be my Yoda. He taught me to paint with a brush as broad as a four-lane highway. About almost everything in life. And in the process, it healed so many of my open wounds. He, on the other hand, did go on to have his heart broken by numerous other women—those bitches.

So, what I know for sure is that doesn’t matter how you “identify”. If you fall for someone of the same sex after being straight—are you gay? Bi?

Who cares! To quote Lin Manuel Miranda: Love is love, is love, is love, is love.

Carry on,
xox


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Printer Ink, Epipipens, Razor Blades and Bearded Men ~ Reprise

If I can say one thing with conviction, it is that those ink cartridges for your printer ALWAYS run out when you need them the most.

Case in point: The other morning while I was at the gym (trying to find my abs), my husband was in his office busily preparing invoices on his computer for the five or six different jobs he’s working on right now.

We like invoices. Invoices are check magnets. Checks allow us to eat. And we love to eat, so there you go.

Anyhow, when I returned he was circling the printer, cursing a blue streak. It seems his printer had run out of black ink and subsequently had refused to print the invoices. “I thought I had another black cartridge in here”, he grumbled through gritted teeth while rummaging through a cabinet like a bear searching for a baloney sandwich. Slamming the door shut, he slumped in his chair. “Great. Now I can’t print these today.”

What? No money—No food. I could barely hear him over the growling of my stomach.

You’ve gotta know a thing about my husband. He is very old school. Not only does he email his invoices, he prints up hard copies for his files along with copies for his clients to hold in their hot little hands. He has found that these same hands are much more likely to write checks when they’ve just held one of his carefully prepared, itemized invoices. Nobody gives a shit when you email them a bill so basically, paper wins over technology every time.

This stopped me in my tracks. “What? I mean, what about the color cartridge? You could print them in blue or purple?”

He shot me a look that straightened even my pubic hair.

“Listen”, I said, remaining calm. “You aren’t dressed yet, but I am, I’ll make a quick run to Staples and get you a black cartridge. I’ll be back before you’re out of the shower.”

After presenting a few lame protests, he agreed, so off I went.

As I closed the door I heard him offer to give me some cash. “I’ve got it!” I replied, sprinting to the car. I remembered having about $50 in my wallet, I mean, how much could it be?

Not fifty dollars I can tell you that! Not sixty-dollars either. That fucker was SEVENTY-DOLLARS!
PLUS TAX!

“Whyyyyy?” I whined, waving the cartridge at the boy stocking the printer paper. He just shook his head, avoiding direct eye-contact.

“Why is this so expensive?” I hissed, interrogating the check-out girl. “It’s a tablespoon of ink in three dollars of plastic!”Without even looking at me she offered a rebate. A $2 rebate that takes eight weeks to take the two dollars off my SEVENTY DOLLAR printer ink purchase.

“People pay this? This is extortion!” I yelled as the manager walked up. He seemed hardened to this argument. He had talking points. “You save when you order in bulk”, he said, motioning to alert the three-hundred-pound security guard. I knew that guy would understand my plight. We needed to invoice! We needed to eat!

“Ha!” I guffawed loudly, a little bit of spit landing on my chin.

Embarrassed, I mumbled under my breath while handing the cashier my debit card “Bulk? You’ve gotta be kidding me. A bulk order of this ink is equal to a car payment.” I grabbed my cartridge made of gold—and the receipt with the fucking rebate to fill out and mail in. I wasn’t giving them that extra $2 godammit!

“What a racket.” Were my parting words as I passed the bemused security guard. He nodded in agreement even though I’m relatively sure he had no idea what I was talking about.

This whole thing really pissed me off. Our immediate need for this overpriced product stripped away any and all negotiation power leaving me with no options. My husband needed to print invoices. Today.

I opened all the cars windows on the way home, hoping the cool, fresh air would change my mood. It was a beautiful morning. I had already accrued my ten thousand steps. The invoices would be printed and we would live to eat another day.

“Let it go, Janet,” I said to myself. “This is how they’re able to sell printers so cheap.” 

Then I started to think about the other NECESSITIES in our lives where they have us over a barrel.

Epipens came to mind. Raising their price 400% is just a crime. Plain and simple.

And Razor blades. Have you purchased a pack of razor blades lately? They’re so valuable people steal them. (Like saffron at the supermarket and Sudafed at the drug store.) You have to ask for them up at the register at Target.

Tell me why? They’re three, one-inch blades of steel, encased in fifty cents of plastic!

That got me thinking, maybe the razor blade price gouging started this beard phenomenon we’re experiencing. Maybe men just threw up their hands and said: “Fuck it!” I can eat or I can shave. (Everything comes down to eating with me.)

BTW: I was wondering who to blame. Not every man looks good in a beard you know.

So the moral of this story is: It’s the principal of the thing. Even if I can afford it, I don’t like being taken advantage of for no good reason.

I know I’m not alone here. Tell me what gets your blood boiling.

Carry on,
xox


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Give It A Rest — And See What Happens — by Martha Beck

Hey, you guys,

Listen, I love anything that starts with Give it a Rest.

And I’m kinds loving this crazy twist on letting go of stress by Martha Beck via Dan Howard. It’s easy-peasy so I thought you might want to give it a go too. Listen, it’s worth a try—right?

xox Janet


 

 

 

Warning to all those who think that resting is out of the question when you’ve got goals to achieve! Last June, I began getting an insistent message from a variety of sources telling me that the time has come for those who wish to heal the world to paradoxically move forward through rest.

I have suspected this for several months, but I wasn’t sure quite what this meant or how to do it. For me, rest has usually meant working (playing) until my eyes crossed, then collapsing into a coma for a few hours. Then, just when I needed the information, a teacher appeared in the form of Dan Howard, a wonderful Team member who spends his life developing and teaching a technique he calls “intentional resting”.

In a few minutes, Dan took me through some basic resting exercises, which seemed similar to other relaxation exercises, but for some reason created dramatically different effects in my body and mind. We’ll walk through one of these exercises in a moment, but first I want to say that using Dan’s resting techniques consistently has suddenly increased my ability to manifest the things I want to experience. In that sense, I have come to believe that resting deeply and deliberately is more than a nice idea. It is powerful magic!

Here’s your first intentional resting exercise:

Step One: Scan your body and find an area where you’re holding pain, discomfort or tension. For a few seconds stop reading this and imagine all your attention flowing into this stressed out part of your body. Allow the sensation of discomfort to grow until it fills your awareness. Then come back.

Step Two: Repeat step one, but this time, silently give your stressed out location the suggestion, “relax.” Then meet me back here.

Step Three: Note any changes that occurred in your stressed out area in response to the command to relax. Now, return your attention to that spot and this time mentally give it the invitation “rest.” Continue to invite the area to rest for at least 30 seconds, then return back here.

Step Four: Notice any changes, brief or lasting, that accompany the invitation to rest. Common experiences may include a sense of softening, or melting, diffusion of energy, lessening of stress symptoms, or nothing at all. No right or wrong answer – just observe.

Step Five: Send your attention into your stressed out area once more. This time, slowly switch back and forth between the words relax and restNotice any differences.

This is the basic format to achieve resting as opposed to relaxing.  The two are not identical. If you felt a positive response to the word rest, try scanning your entire body while slowly and gently stating “I am resting for my feet now; I am resting for my legs now; I am resting for my heart now;” and so on. Put special attention on areas that are in pain or in distress.

Then you can begin applying rest to non-physical aspects of yourself. Try stating “I am resting for my fear now; I am resting for my perfectionism now; I am resting for my troubled past now; I am resting for my future now.”

Then choose one thing you are trying to manifest into your material experience — good health, a relationship, more money, friends, whatever. Spend 30 seconds resting for these things: “I am resting for the friends I am about to meet now; I am resting for my bank account now; I am resting for my good luck now.”

As simple as this exercise obviously is, I have been flabbergasted by how powerful its effects can be. Not only have I been able to reverse minor infections in my own body, but the people and things for which I rest have been responding in ways that are simply too improbable to be coincidence.

Whatever it is you hope to attract, add a little extra twist by resting rather than forcing the result. The worst that can happen is a wonderful feeling.


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To Kill A Mockingbird. Not Really—It Was A Rat.

We killed an animal on Saturday night. We had to. It was lurking in our bedroom without having been invited.

When I say we killed it I mean my husband did.

I hate killing things.

I carry spiders outside. I insisted on catch and release of the skunks that were torturing our dog earlier this year, and I absolutely refuse to let my husband shoot the crows even though one of them barfed up the nauseatingly smelly guts of partially digested roadkill all over my car windshield the other day.

So, yeah. Even when you provoke me—I won’t kill you. Well, not intentionally. At least not until this year.

If you read this blog you know how real the struggle has been to eradicate our rat infestation. For the past year, we could give that temple in India, the one devoted to rats, a run for the title of Most Rat Infested place on Earth.

We have an exterminator on salary, we were forced to cut the gorgeous Bougainvillea on our back fence down to the nub after they ignored all of our eviction notices, and I myself chased one out of the house in a drugged up stupor (me, not the rat—long story) which was asinine because it probably had survivor sex and three weeks later—more rats!

Even our beloved housekeeper, Maria (aka The Rat Assassin) has tears tattooed on her face like murders do in prison.

It all started while I was brushing my teeth before bed on Saturday night. I tend to wander while I brush and so I saw the little fucker out of the corner of my eye at the exact same moment as our dog Ruby and my husband Raphael. They were on the bed engaged an almost inappropriate display of affection when Ruby went all meerkat. (That’s what we call it when her head shoots up at attention and she starts frantically sniffing the air.)

“Uh oh,” I heard my husband utter as the three of us simultaneously spotted the rat running along the wall across from the bed. Does anyone else here feel like “Uh oh” is the understatement of the year when you discover a rat had taken up residence in your bedroom—at ten o’clock at night?

“Awwwww, fuck!” I yelled, spitting toothpaste everywhere. (A much more appropriate response, don’t you think?)
“How did he get in?
How long has he been in here?
Where has he been hiding?
OH shit! Do you think he’s been living under the BED?”

My husband wasn’t even listening. He was up getting a weapon.
I ran to spit and rinse. Then I dashed out of the room shutting the door behind me to keep the rat bastard contained…IN MY BEDROOM!

A grenade, I thought. I have to find a grenade. If that rat has been living under my bed well…maybe napalm. Clearly, we have to napalm the place and start over. Duh.

Ruby and I cowered, she outside and me in a dark hallway while my brave and heroic husband did broom battle with the rat. We could hear it and I have to tell you despite what you’re thinking—it actually sounded like a fair fight. When we timidly tiptoed back inside after being given the all clear, we were both traumatized—pale and shaky.

Even my husband who has put many a dying animal out its misery was affected. “I killed an animal tonight,” he said. He doesn’t usually say shit like that. It was weighing on him.

As I saged every freakin’ corner of that room to dispel the dead animal juju, so I could merely entertain the idea of sleep—I wondered why in the hell animals put us in such a horrible position?

I remembered hitting a squirrel after it froze and then at the last-minute made the shitty, life-ending decision to run under my left rear tire. That dull thump, thump, haunted me for weeks. Once we saw a man finishing off a dear after it ran in front of his car, demoing the front end. I was even reminded of a conversation I had with a lovely woman at a party recently who was grieving the loss of their family dog who suffered from cancer and had to be put down.

Why do these animals use us as their exit strategy? It sucks. Hard.

Why do they choose to cross a highway at all? What in the name of God is so important they have to get to the other side?

Why do they cross streets in the first place? The memo that explains how deadly cars hitting soft, furry bodies can be has had decades to circulate.

Why do they linger when they’re sick? Why do they force us into making such a horrendous decision?

And why for the love of all things holy is the entire great outdoors not enough for a rat to enjoy? Why did it have to come inside—into our bedroom?

These are just a few of life’s great questions. If you have a clue I’d love to hear it.

Carry on,
xox


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Garbage Day Gratitude ~ Reprise

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Thank you, little person, who goes through my recycling bin on trash day.

I say, person because I can’t tell if you’re a man or a woman…and it really doesn’t matter.

It’s that smile of yours that stops me in my tracks every time, reminding me just how good life really is.

Even though you are barely taller than the large blue bin you manage to get to the bottom of things. I see you digging underneath the highly top-secret, shredded documents that leave my husband’s office every week, without making a mess. You can even navigate styrofoam popcorn at the holidays without even one escaping into the gutter.
That is a talent.

I’m intrigued with you. I really am.
It can be one hundred degrees or fifty, it doesn’t matter. There you are, rain or shine, covered head to toe, dressed like a beekeeper, with your pith helmet covered in a fine gauge netting that leaves only your tanned face exposed.

Yet, you have eyes that dance with mischief and dare I say…joy?
And when you smile, which is often, I’ve noticed that you have—at the most—maybe five teeth.

You are unabashedly happy as you gather our neighborhood’s valuable recyclables. All of the plastic, cans, and glass bottles. And unapologetic, I can tell.
You take great pride in your work as you sift and sort, making sense out of chaos. You find the treasure amid the trash. I admire you for that.

I can be in the worst mood, convinced that my life sucks ass, then I drive up, see your big toothless grin, and it can change my day. You have changed my day—many times.
Because how bad can my life be? I mean, you’re happy and I’m not?
That’s a reality check.
That’s a game changer.
That’s a Universal kick in the pants.

I also suspect part of your joy and contentment comes from knowing that there’s big money to be made here.
Listen, I’ve joked a couple of times that judging from the number of wire baskets you fill with the valuable stuff that we can’t be bothered with, you probably have a Mercedes parked a few blocks away, and are wearing couture under your beekeeper’s outfit like the Saudi woman do under their burkas.

Good for you.

You provide a service we never knew we needed—and you do it with a smile.

Or, you’re medicated out of your mind. I have a cynical friend that swears nobody is that happy especially someone who rifles through trash all day, and that you must be blissed out on some really great shit.
“I’ll have what he/she’s having”, is what she always says about you.

It doesn’t matter to me.
Thank you for making me happy every damn Tuesday.

Carry on,
xox


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Butterflies on the Subway and Black Berets

“Once I read a story about a butterfly in the subway and today, I saw one! It got on at 42nd and off at 59th, where, I assume, it was going to Bloomingdales to buy a hat that will turn out to be a mistake, as almost all hats are.”
You’ve Got Mail

Once upon a time, a loooooong time ago, my friend Wes asked me this question: “If you were a hat, what kind of hat would you be?”

“A black beret, of course”, I responded without hesitation.
This was the mid-nineties when everybody was wearing berets. Think Monica Lewinsky.
And it was during my black dress with black tights with black Doc Martins phase so yeah, I felt confident with my decision.

As I remember it, we were walking down a pretty steep hill near Wes’ home in San Diego on our way to dinner at a little place in his neighborhood.

Or… We were walking down that same hill after parking someplace where they didn’t have meters (because we were too cheap cool to pay for parking) and I was eating an Abba Zabba.

I have memories of both those events and the hat conversation happened on one of them I just can’t remember which one.
Anyway, I digress.

Wes stopped dead in his tracks mid-hill which took me a while to notice and because I had so much momentum going. When I finally did look back—he was shouting distance away.

I know that because I heard him shouting “You are so NOT a black beret! Do you even know yourself at all?” At the back of my head.

I waited and when he caught up with me he gave one of those shoulder shoves that your brother gives you when you eat the last chocolate chip cookie or your friend gives you when you say something dim-witted like, you think you’re a black beret.

“What? I love my black beret! It’s simple and clean and it gets the job done—pretty much like me!” I said, presenting my case to his smirky little face.

He started to laugh. And not just a polite little tee hee kind of laugh. Oh, no, my friend was practically doubled over, seized with big guffaws of raucously loud laughter.

I looked around, embarrassed, but the street was empty.

“You are the most complicated person on the planet! He finally managed to choke out. “Simple? Simple? HARDLY!” Bahahahahahaha!

I just stood there with a pouty face silently watching my friend convulse with laughter. But as everybody knows laughter is contagious and within seconds I came down with a nasty case of the giggles.

He continued, Oh, my, gawd! Get’s the job done! A beret is boring! A beret says I didn’t have the time to think about this. You are NOT boring and let’s get real here—you overthink EVERYTHING!”

He locked his arm in mine as we continued down the hill powered by the laughter.

“Okay”, I acquiesced through a fit of giggles. He had a point. “Then, if you know me so well—what kind of hat am I?”

“You are a pink hat. A pink party hat with a flower. Something zippy and sassy that says let’s have fun!”

And although I would never be caught dead in such a hat, I loved the fact that my fashion-forward, highly insightful friend had picked the exact same hat for me that I imagined the butterfly on the subway had chosen for itself at Bloomingdales.

By the way, I have to disagree with Ms. Ephron, (who wrote You’ve Got Mail) hats are never a mistake, even for butterflies.

So…what kind of hat are you?

Carry on,
xox


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My version of life. My stories. Told in my own words.

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