murphyormel

wacky reflections from a nutcracker wannabe

Month: March, 2012

Microscope or Kaleidoscope…know your teen talk & let the colors bloom.

A good friend told me this week that his son, Levi, articulated the difference in how people use their lens on life; meaning, a microscope, a telescope, or in his case, a kaleidoscope.  I love what this says about how we each perceive the world differently. Cheers to a young man with this type of thinking.  Let the colors bloom!

My own world has entered tweendom (i.e. the edge of puberty), so our “lens on life” changes moment to moment.  It happened in a flash.  Just two years ago we were dressing American Girl dolls and holding hands in public.  Public!  Today, not so much.  Brand name clothes, texting, anxiety over the boys and fashionista challenges.

She always knows in hindsight when one has hit, but in the moment it is occurring, the rolling the eyes or stomping down the hall doesn’t make sense to either of us.  Just moments before, she has asked for ice cream or a Webkinz.

Moms and dads everywhere, how and when did that happen? No one asked me if I was ready for the transition 🙂

I’M NOT.

So, together my daughter and I have created a list of tweendom thoughts for adults.…no differently than Mr. Rogers told us in grade school (when putting on those blue sneakers with that big smile and great soundtrack), the same thoughts and approach to communication apply to all of us….young, tween, teen and old(er).  

Consider the following and apply to your own partner, sibling, parent, child or friend.  And be present.  It’s not easy, and I see myself do the same things, but hearing my own girl call me out makes it much more real.

– “I need space that is my own and alone time.”

– “I can’t do more than one thing at a time.  And if I am to do multiple things, tell me what to do first (i.e. prioritize).”

– “Don’t talk to me when I am doing something else.  What do you really want me to do?”

– “Don’t assume I understand.”

– “Don’t interrupt.  It hurts my feelings.”

– “I don’t actually know (even when you want me to) WHY I feel the way I do. Sometimes I’m just sad.” (Hormones and/or physiological balance are part of being human.)

– “Don’t leave me in the dark without information.  I jump to conclusions ” that may/may not be more harmful than you trying to protect me. (If you are upset, fragile, angry or scared, tell me why. Don’t make me guess. I don’t read minds.)

– “I don’t want to talk right now, and it’s not because of you.”

– “IDK means I Don’t Know.”  Tweens may use language differently than an adult perceives.  Ensure you are speaking the same language- both live and in text.

Good luck to all of us.  Attention span, technology, teendom, generational differences……they are ever-changing and without a handbook.  But the greatest gift of all. 🙂

Let the colors of our “lens on life” bloom!

Melissa

p.s.  In a college course I taught last Fall, they told all of the instructors that how we taught years ago doesn’t work today.  Kids’ attention span is 10-15 minutes.

Find comfort in the uncomfortable.

Do you process comfort and/or feeling uncomfortable in your life as healthy, or accept as contentment? Is that good and/or good enough? And when the uncomfortable arrives at your door- either expected or not- how do you process the feelings drama-free?

I know I’m not alone. We simply want the hole in our heart – for whatever reason it feels needy- to be filled again with light.

I’ve been taught recently the transition is about 1. attachment, 2. self-love and 3. much patience. Letting a higher power guide me to my truth, never allowing anyone to pull me from my true self again, and patiently waiting the knowledge of what will be my future.

But darn, for a type A, who likes lists and action (yes, I’m the girl who used to add “shower” just to cross off the list and enjoys a good sticky note or two), this is a tough call to action. I am in charge of my own reactions and choices- good and bad, wrong and right, past, present and future. (And I readily admit I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the path.) You see, logically, I get it, but my heart (inner guide) and ego aren’t always in the same place at the same time. And they both have a voice in each of our heads. (Example: “I don’t need the 4K sq. ft. home.” (inner guide) “But it’s so beautiful and fits my career/lifestyle.” (ego))

We are human. We are conditioned for comfort. Finding comfort in the uncomfortable is the work and perhaps a wonderful reality. But, it is work, and we must be open and gentle with ourselves.

But really, wouldn’t it just be easier to wear my shoes backwards for a month to learn the same lesson?

Sometimes you are the bug. Sometimes you are the windshield.’- Mary Chapin Carpenter (lyric)

 

Today, I’m the bug. But down the road, I will be the windshield. The rock-star feeling is a great high and very comfortable, but when a ‘kick in the stomach reality’ hits, it is icky, dark and uncomfortable. Sometimes we earn that reality. Sometimes we don’t. But it still happens. And to ALL of us. Who are you in this exact moment? And when can we accept that comfort IS possible when we are uncomfortable? Does it, in fact, push us even more, when feeling uncomfortable and that “edge” are in our midst?

“We all have both good and bad feelings. Bad is a judgment based on discomfort. Learn to accept your uncomfortable feelings as important messengers. In the balance of truthful, constructive expression, you will find harmony………….Your body holds pain from the past in pockets that manifest as illness; your emotions hold negative feelings that surface as issues, fears and behaviors; your heart holds the loss of love that causes loneliness; and your mind has misunderstandings, judgments and beliefs. Each of these becomes like a suitcase full of unwanted emotions, shut up in a forgotten closet….”*

Cheers to opening the closet and embracing our own truth.

Melissa

* Angel Blessings, Rev. Kimberly Marooney, Ph.D., p. 128. Mother’s Angels: Charmiene-Harmony

Humility at 30K’ feet.

I’m just one tiny being in this amazing entity. We all are, right?

Think about the next time you are on a plane, and as your altitude ascends, look down- your city, your neighborhood, your house, your friends, your fish….they all become something very tiny, then a flash, then just clouds…..

Is there a lesson in humility – meaning we are just a tiny piece of the bigger picture and our every day chaos is small when viewed from 30K’ feet?  Should we ask ourselves “what will this mean to me next year”?  What will this mean to my neighbor or the next generation?

Think of all we miss in terms of this moment to “just be” when ordering the cocktail, ignoring the flight attendant with the mask (I can, I know it by heart), calming the kids with whatever gooey candy is at the bottom of the bag, or starting the head bob sleeping motion because the plane’s white noise offers a peaceful moment where no one needs you. (I fully admit this traveler’s flaw.)

Instead, next time.  Look down and recognize your place.  Tiny, but with amazing capability.

Kindness matters.  Pay it forward when you get off that plane.  Pull down someone else’s luggage.  Let the rushed passenger before you go ahead of your seat.  Smile at the lady who instantly pulls out her cell phone when landing (and probably fits what would be a Seinfeld “loud talker”), but just be in that moment with those folks, and embrace your place in this big world and the problems, fears, joys and movement the people around you are also facing on their own personal life journey.

Many folks believe all things happen for a reason.  I am one of those people, but I respect that not all do.  For me, music, language and symbols appear, and these elements have always been something I can see and place together.  Do I always listen?  No.  Definitely not as I should.  Sometimes my ego gets the best of me.  But, I’ve noticed  since my recent “perfect storm”, the same word has been coming at me for several weeks – and through different teachers, music, books, church, even a movie…..  The word is “rebirth”- an awakening of some sort.  I don’t completely understand it yet, but I do think the diagnosis and the recent loss are connected.  And perhaps a tie to the Lenten season is timely.

Someone once told me that life is like a tapestry.  We don’t always understand why things happen as they do until we look back at the design  The story will then make sense.  (I’m not really seeing the story yet, and I soooo want to pull that orange thread, but I’ll let you know )

Humility takes all of this greatness, love, forgiveness, authenticity and raw “heart” and weaves together that tapestry (story).  And isn’t that what the greatest storytellers do anyway?  Teach.

BUT, we must be open to listen and not just hear. Me included. And in the last x many months at least, I haven’t listened as my own storm was brewing.  Only through quiet time for me, do I feel that gratefulness and now, humility.  These last few weeks have given me that opportunity.  Who in their right mind would say a cancer diagnosis was a gift?

Me. 

– I have been gifted knowing how many people love me- people I took for granted and/or didn’t tell directly what they mean to my life.  A network so much larger than just email or professional connections of LinkedIn or Twitter or Facebook- real people with real lives and real stories that make us all human.

– I have been gifted the ability to ask for help and take action to work on being stronger, both emotionally and spiritually.  “….finding my spiritual alignment…” as one colleague suggested might be necessary.

– While I no longer have the house I sold just a few months ago, I am grateful for my “intimate” condo that provides shelter for my sweet girl and me (without the yard work and ’21 tree threat’ of falling on my house again).

– I am grateful for a professional world that took care of me in my darkest hour  – a hospital that saw a scared patient and took me under their wing of care – and even today, wants only strength and a healthy me prior to my return.

– I am humbled by the beautiful blue skies and warm winds that four weeks ago seemed impossible with snow on the ground.

– I am humbled for the health insurance I do have after seeing the medical care in both Chile and Brazilian acute care and long-term care facilities.

– I am humbled for that which I can feed my family, and the culture I can share with my daughter after traveling to areas of the world without such gifts.

– I am humbled that I have been saving for college for 10+ years, and while it likely still won’t be enough, I have the choice on how to save our funds.  (course, she might be paying for my long-term care at some point.  Cycle of life, right? 🙂

– I am humbled that my daughter continues to thrive amidst the waves of change of which she had no control.  And intuitively just knows all will be well.  (now, if getting the dog out without her rolling her eyes  were only that easy).

I am grateful for my healing.  I am humbled by my blessings.

“Humility like the darkness, reveals the heavenly lights.”- Henry David Thoreau

Namaste’,

Melissa

The wise Dr. Seuss said, “Be who you are…”

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. by Theodor Seuss Geisel.

My friend, (Fast) Eddie Pfeiffer, used to say “Ride On”, and when he passed away two years ago doing what he loved more than anything – being on his motorcycle – those words became prophetic for all who knew and loved him.

I wrote on his Facebook page that week in May of 2010:  “We are blessed with unexpected friendship, gifts of learning and moments that change how we look at our own lives. In his sad passing this week, an old friend has reminded me to live in the moment, never compromise my spirit and embrace unconditionally. Eddie, I thank you.  There is great respect in living your life on your own terms. You will be missed.”

How many of us live our life on our own terms?  Really, truly, as WE choose?  Is it fear of not conforming?  Fear of being alone?  Fear of judgment?  Because our parents “said so” when little, or because the clothes, car, career must not be just right to others’ standards?  And how as a parent do I help my sweet girl find her fit too, unconditionally and without judgment?

As I think about Eddie today, I can think of some other wonderful people in my life that live in this same admirable way, meaning on their own terms:  Teresa E., Pam H., Sandy K., Bob N., Mike H., Kim B,, Ruth H., Brad A., Lisa D., and more…..  I admire that some folks just get it.  They say no, make change and move on when things don’t work for them.  They move forward without excuse or apology.

We are here for a short time, and in that time, we have only our own path to ride.  We can’t control or provide excuses for others’ behavior, we can only be our own healthiest “me”.

An old friend gave me a ring just months before this recent madness in my life hit its perfect storm.  The inscription reads “Be Brave”.  Whether prophetic or planned, it is a gift and a timely reminder of that which I need to work  on – living life on my own terms.

Be Brave. Love Life. And of course….“Ride On”– E. Pfeiffer

I’ll try harder if you will.

Melissa

(You can’t go around being what everyone wants you to be, living your life through other people’s rules, and expect to be happy and have inner peace. – Dr. Wayne Dyer)

So sweet is the soul mate.

Remember those “top 25 things” you want FB friends to know about you? Well, in Feb of ’09, I was new and offered up the following on my page…”#7. I am blessed to have had more than one soul mate in my life. For me, a soul mate is a person so pivotal you are never again the same.”

Since that post, I’ve experienced significant loss and don’t feel any different about what a soul mate does for you- even when you don’t ask. (Wasn’t there a Garth Brooks song about “Unanswered Prayers?”) A soul mate IS a person you embrace, love and cherish but also SO pivotal in your life, you are changed forever. Never again the same person. AND regardless of outcome.

Go home, call, email, send a note, and/or tell your own soul mate/friend that they are that person for you. They deserve to know. And you likely have done the same for them and need to hear in return. If not, at least you get a great big bear hug, and research shows human touch keeps us healthy.

I feel gratitude for those soul mates who have entered my life and made a difference in who I am today. Heartbreak has come along the way, but hey, “The Road Less Traveled” was a best seller for a reason, right? A HIgher Power has indeed blessed me with more than one person who has been a soul mate/friend on my life-learning path. I continue to learn from their action(s), while I uncover truths about my future. I am looking for light through depth and darkness, and while some moments are really tough, I am calmed in knowing that “this too shall pass”. It isn’t easy, and grief is no straight line-weakness sets in and is human nature- but there is a bridge to the other side.

(Can you tell my type A arse is scheduling grief time each day to work through the feelings? LOL- such a therapist’s kid. Actually, this was my favorite minister’s idea.)

Love shines on all of us. It’s ok to be vulnerable and ask for help. Goodness knows, I’m right in the middle of the pain as I type this. But the beautiful part is that the sun still shines, the wind still blows, my heart keeps beating, my daughter still hugs me without being asked, I still have an amazing network of family and friends (new and old) who check on me constantly, my professional life will be there when I am further along on my healing journey, and I know that whatever my future holds, I will be ok. I WILL be ok.

The soul mate for some means the partner with whom they share a lifetime and spend their last days sharing a porch swing. And many of us know those couples. Cheers to you and how wonderful to appreciate and love each other with real commitment and truth. “Let your heart be known” (S. Gold).

Sometimes we lose our way to the swing, but we still loved. Breathing and just thinking or time alone to meditate teaches us to look inside and remember the embrace, the kindness, the freedom of loving, the strength, the soul releasing and gratefulness for the power of loving-kindness that surrounds us.

And today, surrounds me. (Even if the folks at Kleenex might do well to send me a pallet-load.)

I have moments of fragility and weakness just like you do. And it can hurt – even in the deepest breath, and on the mat for me- that is something. I feel everything on my yoga mat. And sometimes, I can’t practice at all, I can only enjoy the sacred space, the love around me, and focus on my own internal breath. But that’s ok too. Yoga has no ego. It just loves me back. I guess in some ways it too has been pivotal enough to be a sort of soul friend. 🙂

Om Namah Shivaya,

Melissa

(March 8 is a full moon. I’ve read that a Full Moon is symbolic of the height of power, the peak of clarity, fullness and obtainment of desire. The nature-wise, and cosmically conscious Native American Indians recognized power of full moons to the extent they framed each month’s fullness with a contextual attribute. Meaning, they recognized the full moon in each month as having a specific (restorative, outstanding) quality.)

“Don’t ‘should’ on yourself”

I am fragile today. It happens.

A friend suggested it isn’t healthy to “should” on myself. She also suggested a trick she heard someone else use when they scold themselves for something they “should” have said or done….or “should not” have done or wish they would have done differently. The past is the past, and we can not control others’ behavior. Only our own. And today.

Here is the trick: Wear a hair or rubber band on your wrist and give a little snap when you “should” on yourself.

I will continue to heal, work, practice, embrace, release and grieve. All in time.

And a few healthy snaps on the wrist from time to time so not to “should” on myself.

Melissa

When a lonely girl misses human touch, is the $20 tip for the massage*, legal?

Let’s face it, we all adore “our stuff”- meaning, things we enjoy to help keep us happy and feel safe in our home space.  For my dad, it’s a Hawaiian shirt even in 30 degree weather and gloves, for mom, it’s an artsy shawl or groovy bangles, for my stepmom, it’s a glass of vino with a friend, for Zac, it’s his snowboard, for HJ, it’s DNA, a new molecule or something I can’t pronounce, and for my daughter and bonus son, it’s a smart phone, etc. We just each choose our game differently.

What brings me that “I’m safe and makes me feel like “home” feeling?”  

– My yoga mat (Nothing exists but the breath.  There is no ego.  There is only emotion and me.)

– An every night routine of reading and holding hands with my daughter before bed.  (well, the days of being called “mama” are over.  I take what I can get.)

– My Macs- all of them- and since the late, late 80s…. (it might be near cult member obsession.  I do own a bumper sticker “my mac is smarter than your honor student”.  That’s mac love.  That’s mac chic.)

– Human Contact/Touch, and lots more touch!  (OMG, I gave the masseuse a $20 tip last week. When you are lonely and miss human touch, is that legal?)

– My new pup, Kenny Rogers (even though he is shaggy today, needs a haircut as his current “doo” might be damaging his peripheral vision)

– My beautifully made and all fluffy and crisp, white “fake it to you make it Westin Heavenly Bed”- with high count sheets, comfy duvet and enough pillows you can’t find the headboard.

– A hot, bubble bath with a lavender or new yummy scent in my new bathtub

– Being on my road bike, completely in my own head with the rush and sound and smell of nature flying by me (course, that near death deer experience two years ago has put a damper on going alone these days)  Who else buys the $1K+ bike BEFORE signing up and completing the MS150?  

– My Uggs

– Scented candles – ocean, lavender, lilac, fresh linen, lovely! (though not a Yankee Candle Company fan after an “incident” with my Saab.  They didn’t come out looking so good, but I did personally send a love note to the CEO, COO, corporate attorney, CMO, and I suspect I might be on a banned list somewhere.  The local Saab dealership did however love the drama and did the repairs for free- I think they were proud of the local O’Fallon chutzpah!)

– French toast with blueberries and strawberries and lots ‘o syrup piled high (G-F of course)

– Reflexology (and for years, I hated feet, after seeing a dude on an airplane cutting this thick toenails then hanging them on the magazine rack NEXT to me….ick.)

– New perfume. (but nothing that smells like I might have smelled it over my shoulder in church, the bowling alley or on anyone over 80+ years of age.)

– A personal card that comes in the mailbox.

– Tulips, Gerberas or darn it….. any bouquet of fresh flowers that has a card and special note attached to my name.

– My family (my mom has made me the exact same G-F casserole for four years. I can’t stop her.)

– Valentine’s Day.  (Hey, I’m a markete(e)r, plus the reality is that “I love you” can never be said enough)

– Grandma used to make Shrove Tuesday donuts.  I miss those. (but I cook like my mom and they are full of “glue”)

– A beautiful piece of stained glass with the bright sun shining through.

– My Loreal #860 Lipstick. (and Bare Essentials makeup to remind me beauty isn’t a number. 🙂

– I’ve discovered how good my life is after something called “Jerseylicious” and “Big Rich Texas”.  Thanks, Kirsten.  And I’m not a TV watcher but a big reader.  This however is unbelievable stuff.  It’s fantastic and should be part of my therapy copay.

– Fine wine, great artwork and quotations that say something different to each of us.

We all need “our stuff” to feel safe in our space.  And after years and years of travel, my “stuff” and a safe space to call my own, is a necessity to a healthy me.  Love your own “stuff”!

Now, make your own list, and what you don’t have, set a goal to get.  Only you are stopping yourself.  

*  Massage Envy is a reputable business, and I am thankful for talented hands that take away pain and let me relax.  There is nothing inappropriate and clearly can’t be worse or anything near what I suspect a man does with his Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. 

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