Live Imperfectly, Dad is dying, and I Have no Power.

wilted flower

Living with someone like tomorrow might be their last is much harder to do when it is actually the case.

My dad told me, after my nine-year old niece died, that a parent should never outlive their child.  When I look at my own children, I know that is true. But with my parents aging process, my dad’s long and difficult past twenty years, and now near end of life condition, I just don’t know how I’d order things, if I could, between us.

When God, (Morgan Freedman,) told the complaining Bruce Nolan, (Jim Carey,) that he could have all of his powers, the audience of “Bruce Almighty” projected both a positive transference and a schadenfreude. Bringing the viewer into the character’s identity is every actor’s aspiration. And we went there. Up. “Yay! Bruce can answer everyone’s prayers with a ‘yes’!” And then down, down, down. The multidimensional disaster’s created by misplaced power, power without wisdom, love, or altruism, was just painful to watch. Power does not God make.

My Dad is dying. Not likely from cancer. Not likely from a failed liver, floppy heart, or baggy lungs. He is just dying.  He’s confused on and off. His spine is failing so he can barely walk. He has repeated blood clots. And he’s recently risen out of a deep depression. Rison right into a confused grandiosity, full awkward, awkward like pants ripping when you bend over type of awkward, and inter-galactic soaring thought content.

The first “word” Dad played in Scrabble last week was “vl.” He explained, “vl, like vowel.” …Okay? For thirty minutes Dad played without playing one actual word. I started crying when he finally stopped connecting letters. The letters floated on the board like California will look after the “big earthquake” finally hits and it falls into the ocean. (We’ve all been waiting.) Now he tells me he called and spoke to Obama and Magic Johnson. Reference point. This is bizarre and out of his character.  He’s been delirious with waxing and waning level of consciousness for a month and a half. He’s dying. Sheez.

Living well while Dad dies is not easy. Would I use power to restore him to his healthy twelve-year old self, like Elli’s seventy-year old grandfather did, in “The Fourteenth Goldfish,” by Jennifer L. Holm? Would I use power to change the order of death? Would I do anything more or less or different, while my dad is dying?

Power does not God make. I am not God. (Ta-da! It’s out of the box now.) But both of us are watching Dad die. I trust that She, with the power, wisdom, love, and altruism, is living with him well, during this time.

In Life and Other Near-Death Experiences, by Camille Pagán, Libby Miller decides to live, just live, rather than die perfectly.  And maybe that’s my answer to this unasked question. Living with someone dying will not be perfect for me.

Self-Care Tip: Live imperfectly to live well, like this is your, his, or her last day.

Question: How do you “live well?”

Keep on!

Know You Are Blessed

ulysses

 

Think of the worst of us.  Think of the worst about us.  Think of those with self-loathing.  Those with low self-awareness, the violent, and the violated, think of them.  Where is the blessing?

Blessed are the depressed and anxious.

Think of the healthy.  Think of the diseased.  The misunderstood, the ones who live miles apart from connection, who ever push like a dingy from the peer into waves and self-destruction, think of them.

Blessed are the poor and lonely. 

Where is the blessing when your real estate is brought low by the creeping up of low-life.  Where is the blessing when you get cancer just when you might retire, when your own body calls you stupid, when you lose your eyes after training as a surgeon?

Blessed are those whose bodies are dying.

Think of every corner, every shadow and open space and the turns you still don’t know about inside of your life.  Think of the unacceptable, the character you wrestle against to moderate away from extreme.  The rope you swing on and try to bring to rest, think of the grey you think you will never achieve.  This bit and chapter, this part of your construction, this surprise in how you deliver is Loved.

There is no aberration from the norm that can separate you from that Love.  There is no addiction or misdemeanor or illness or mutated cell that can lose blessing.

This is fact.  Our life is to live with it.

Blessed am I.  Blessed am, “Me.”

Question:  Where is the blessing in what you like least about yourself?  Please tell us your story.  We need to hear you! Keep on.

Self-Care Tip:  Be your own friend in adversity as in prosperity.  Know you are blessed.

Bearable Disappointment

Guest Post!

Read on 🙂

We’re aware as smart single women that we can’t expect perfection.

But life still manages to throw us curve balls.

Maybe once you’re into your mid-thirties,

it shouldn’t be called dating,

it should be called waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Why is it always something?

Unless you’re in a problem free relationship with TiVo.

– Sex and the City

 

Despite the fact that the mention of TiVo dates this quote (remember TiVo?!), it still rings true. And you don’t need to be in your mid-thirties for it to apply. Any woman, or person for that matter, who has dated for a length of time knows the meaning of this quote in his or her bones.

You meet someone. It is electric. You connect over so many things. His father passed when he was small too. She loves Quentin Tarantino movies as much as you do. You both want to travel the world with nothing but a backpack. You share a love of fine wine and cooking extravagant dinners.

Before you know it you are sailing off in a sea of hormones and dreams of a future with this new, amazing person. You spend time at work day-dreaming of all the romantical things the two of you will share and your heart skips a beat when you see a new text/call/email.

You are twitterpated. Crushing, hard.

The intensity of these new-love emotions makes you feel as if this person is your destiny. This is deep and something you have never felt before. He is “the one”. You are ready to introduce her to mom.

Suddenly all of your hopes and dreams come crashing down, shattering into a million smithereens.

It could be any number of different things. “Deal breakers” are different for everyone. Prince charming could have said:

  • “Well, I am a musician, but it’s more of a hobby right now. I work at Big 5 to pay the bills”
  • “I live with my mom”
  • “I don’t actually have a college degree. I said I did because I’m only 20 credits away”
  • “I’m impotent”
  • “I have a daughter”
  • “I don’t want to see you anymore”

Sigh.

At the very least you are disappointed. You might feel devastated. Even worse, you might consider throwing your standards out the window to start a relationship with this individual anyway.

Let’s get real and break it down.

Getting real: You don’t know this person. Really, you don’t. You feel like you do because of the adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin running through you. It is also very likely that you have projected a huge, unrealistic fantasy onto them that has no basis in reality. That whole engagement speech you dreamed he would be reciting on bended knee? Yeah, you made that up in your head. The home-cooked meals and coffee dates with your mother you thought she would be making? Also fiction.

It is so easy to become disappointed and exhausted by dating, and life in general, when we live in the future instead of the present. When we live in the future we set ourselves up for disappointment and hurt feelings.

If you feel wounded by your dating life, only you can change that.

Be present. Make reality your friend.

Being present: Don’t wait for a partner to make your life happen. Enjoy every day. Plan trips. Have fun. Be grateful for everything you do have. You have so much! I keep a gratitude list on my phone that I add to and read when I am feeling sorry for my single self.

Making reality your friend: By realizing that that the initial excitement of dating a new person is not a promise for the future, you will save yourself a lot of heartache. People are often not who you perceive them to be (this is usually not their fault). And while it is frustrating when individuals misrepresent themselves, that is part of the dating game. Have compassion for people who don’t feel comfortable being up-front about who they are, and move on, (without them!).

Putting all your emotional eggs in one basket is your decision. Allow a potential partner to earn that over time. Let them demonstrate through actions who they actually are and that they are trustworthy. As the song goes. “You can’t hurry love, you just have to wait.”

Also realize this disappointment you feel is not personal. It is not a reflection on you. You are worthy of love. Have hope and stay positive. Remain grateful.

Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.

– Kurt Vonnegut

Question:  How have you and do you endure well when disappointed?

Self-Care Tip:  Remember that this disappointment is not personal.  Keep on.

20140224_182909Jessica Adams:  I am a science teacher in Southern California who thinks about relationships, human health, love and of course science. I am passionate about doing what is right for kids and personal growth.

 

Lupita Nyong’o Speech on Beauty – W-O-W! And, thank you.

“…and my mother again would say to me you can’t eat beauty, it doesn’t feed you and these words plagued and bothered me; I didn’t really understand them until finally I realized that beauty was not a thing that I could acquire or consume, it was something that I just had to be.”

This woman gets us. Friend to yourself. Keep on.

When I am an old psychiatrist

When I am an old psychiatrist, I’ll be looking at you through my purple eye folds, with my wrinkled pressed lips, eyeglasses pushed tightly to my face, pride propping up my several chins, incensed with the smells of my own medicated dying body.

Proud of you. Proud of me. Not the kind of pride that squashes humility. For what have we to be proud of if we live without Grace. We will still be receiving what we have done nothing to deserve. The kind of pride that says,

There is Love.

There is one who has suffered and healed and hurt and lived well.

We will have made a lot of mistakes. We will have made and continue to make amends.

The kind of pride that kids pressed shoulder-to-shoulder know of when the spinning roundabout slows down. We will be able to hear,

Here is one in whom I am well pleased.

We will hear that and not be ashamed.

20140125-105536.jpg

Quirky Blessings

photo-1

I did it again!  Left the house in my slippers.  Mercy.  Didn’t realize until I parked at work.  So, I think again about balance and slipper reminders.

Oh, and about the socks… I have my reasons.  Smile.

Question:  What has been helping you toward balance?  Please tell us.

Self-care tip:  Allow quirks in life to be the blessings that they are.

Old and Dying – Why We Are Still Alive

geriatric lady

Sweaty, well-worn, in bike-ware, she was eating comfortably with her friend.  I kept trying not to stare and just had to fight it!  I wanted to imprint her shiny wrinkled yet blooming geriatric status and break down what I saw into categories of self-care moves to grow old by.  She looked really good.

I managed to finish eating at, (Oh my word! Yum! My new binge and bolt location,) Zinc Cafe, without ruining her appetite with a big hug and smooch from crazy-staring-stranger, me.  I almost congratulated myself, it was so hard not to do.  Nevertheless, when walking out I did stop and tell her she was beautiful and that I wanted to grow up to be her.  She bloomed even more, right there and then.  It was swell.  Good food.  Good role-model to remember.

We think it is our best years that people will identify us by.  But they do not just do that.  They think of us as how we are now too.  More importantly is how we think of ourselves – of Me.

It is different for everyone.  Why we want to be here.  Understanding why, is a universal interest.  It is the other side of value in the aging process.

My parents are getting old.  I am.  My patients and their parents are getting old.  We are dying.

My dad is old.  He just turned seventy-nine.  He is not wearing bike shorts.  He is not a blooming geriatric.  But I value him and saying why, well, I realize starts with “Me.”  It is not because of him thirty years ago. It is about his life these last thirty years.  It is about his Me, now.

The present does not prove nor negate the past.  Our value is more than that.

Sometimes I visit community practitioners.   Please visualize that all of this is in the middle of their busy clinic day, racing between exam rooms to meet patient needs.  I am standing at a nurses station perhaps, dressed in something über professional, (to hide the gypsy in me as well as I can.  But if it were you, you would not be fooled by the cut of my lapel!)  I catch the eye of the clinician and receive a strained smile, almost hearing her say, “Come on!  I’m dying here!  I have three patients waiting!”  But generally they do not actually say it, generally.  And sometimes, they are snagged by the magic of connection, take my elbow and draw me away into a private space where they can share their story.  In a matter of moments.

We are skilled at shaving moments here and there.  Skilled at putting as few words into a fat minute that can convey the large concept needed just Now!  We learn this over brow-beating years of managed care medical practice, personal choices, convoluted expectations and need to please – self, other, insurance or what not.  When clinicians share stories, we do it like we are late catching the train to heaven.

From these visits, I get more to my quality of practice.  I get known, and get to know.  Awesome.  It is a newer part of my “work,” that I have been doing this, and I am loving it.  I meet the people who are the other side of our patient’s treatment team.  I meet people who are both human and medical clinicians.  Realness surrounds them.  Life stories come from them.  In a fat minute I hear about their past, gain some understanding of their present and from that, I am given much.  One physician told me of his beloved daughter who suicided, another of her husband’s chronic brain illness and how their family struggles.  I shared how my young cousin hung himself and that part of me who is groping toward that space and time before he died.

To know who we are despite our changing emotions and behaviors, our changing identities, improves our understanding of life value.  Somehow, Dad has known that, without bike shorts.  He continues to mentor me in that.  I do not know about the beautiful geriatric at breakfast, but who is to say she does not know her value?  Not Me.  But I am going to explore my own, for my sake.  I am getting old.

Self-Care Tip:  Look and look some more for why you are valuable.

Questions:  What is valuable about you, even though you have lost so much in life?  Why are you still alive?  Please tell us your story.

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Get You Some Love

Cemetary

Cemetary (Photo credit: Vu Bui)

The ocean is like an untended cemetery, compared to my youth dives, with shoots of life breaking up the stone and dead coral.  A little family of forceps butterfly fish flutter around the tips of something brown.  I honk sounds through the water to my kids when I spy a trumpet fish, a big one, with some neon lighting up the gray long body.  My kids are so energized.

There are three turtles and I remember I have never swum with turtles before.  “Hey.  That’s cool,” I think.  I try to reconcile the turtles with the changes from when I snorkeled and dove reefs years ago, “Positive?  Negative?”  Something there in me wants to feed this info through my inner hope-machine to convince my other that when my kids swim another future day, the ocean will not be dead.  Foreboding.

I am starting to get disoriented by this and surface to get a grip. My husband pops up and I whisper to him, so our kids do not overhear and lose their energy to my negativity, “It’s like a tomb, Honey!  I can hardly stand it!”  And like a compass, he points to a better direction.  “It’s fine, Sana.  It is what it is.”  Interpretation can distort experience.

Thanks to husband and the reconnection of interpretation with presence, under water, I see this moment, this day, in the parrot fish, the coronets, and the puffers. And I, with more gravity, am able to enjoy what Love is giving now.  A solemn gift.  More informed, my appreciation is deeper and I can receive.

Receiving Love is not as easy as it sounds.  It is the work of a moment.  It is the work of a lifetime.  I am a spoiler, unable to love myself, unless I am able to receive Love from outside of myself and connect with it, in my pathway of Me-to-Me.

I am just starting to get this and am eager to understand and own more, because, this has been amazing.  This is something like how it goes so far; tense up, maybe angry Me, (reason or no reason,) pause, look, pray for it, pause, acknowledge, let it do its thing on Me. Start over. Again. Again.

In we who suffer brain illness, we who suffer cancer, we who are in the dying stage of life, in we who, we, we are in the right place to do this.  This is just where we need to be to receive Love.

Illness does not keep us from the ability to receive Love.  Poverty does not.  Dead coral and loss do not.  Nothing can.

Everything can be used by Love to communicate to us.  Illness can.  Poverty, dying, loss can.  Anything can be used to bring into our circle of Me-to-Me, Love.  Love is now.

I am glad, in age, that I am increasingly aware of the changeability inherent in everything, everything, positive, negative, everything.  This is one more way I am able to receive Love.  Age.

Being able to receive Love requires the process of changing.  It is not stagnant, stationary, unaging.  As far as we are able to understand, it is not.  We are creatures of dimension, creatures of space and time and until we are further created to receive otherwise, this is.

Question:  how do you increase your reception of Love?  How do you receive Love?  How does this affect your friendship with yourself.  Please tell us your story.

Self-Care Tip:  Increase your Love-reception.

Your Fabulous Stardom

ImageTaylor Swift is a rock star!”

The girl was in awe.  She had written versions of this all over her paper in various star-quality designs.  Everything was about Taylor Swift.  I was watching her at the park and drifting among my own thoughts, when her father leaned over and said, “Now write, Susan is a rock star.”  Young TS-Fan, alias Susan, looked up with an expression capturing a combo of wisdom with a big flip-off.  My thoughts were not adrift.  She was my interest.  She was a star.

And so was her dad!  What a guy!

Think about what your temperament gave you.  Think about what you like most to do, what your thoughts noodle when you aren’t “thinking.”  Is there someone who emulates the “star?”  Write that person’s name down in a bumper sticker statement.  Now write your own name in another.  You are peers.  Meet your cohort.

Susan’s dad had it going.  Be productive at any age.  Know that you have something to offer.  You have valuable stock.  Put you name out there, where ever that is.

Christian is a brilliant gardener.  Mindy is being her real self all the time.  Craig works words in classic timeless style.  You are a star.

Self-care tip:  Put your name into print.

Question:  What are you a star at?  Please tell us your fabulous story of self.

How do I become a friend to Me? Start with seeing.

magic mirror

“I like the way he sees me.  I have a lot of trouble seeing myself.”

Madge really had it going, as far as I was concerned.  In this one statement, she is insightful.

Juxtaposing being able to see into oneself with the self-declaration of not being able to see, is ironic.  It is lovely, like going toward anxiety to diminish its power over us.  It is complex, as are the many hues of gray.  A beautiful weed.  Great weakness.  Useful trash.  It is a pretty great irony to come to that place of wisely recognizing how little wisdom we have.

We have trouble seeing ourselves. Part of what makes it so hard to be friends is that doing that is like shaking our own hand.  When we try, we are a purse flipped inside out.  The crude insult, “Her head is stuck up her own a–!” comes to mind.

Many like bullet points to give a, “How to.”  For example, look at Yahoo!

How to buy, store, and cook watermelon

Cook watermelon.  I know someone is saying, “Made you look.”  And maybe when I say, “How to see yourself in these moves,” someone else is swirling their eyes.  But, as I am not about to say that I know better than Yahoo!, here’s my try:

1.  Origins, (God)

2.  Brain health

3.  Community

4.  Admit limitations

5.  And a big magic mirror

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, how do I see Me?

Maybe my list is out of order and maybe it is not a perfect step approach into the soul.  So be it.  Editors of Yahoo! feel free to instruct.

Madge, in one statement, covered community and limitations.  It was nice to be in her space.

Self-Care Tip:  How do I become a friend to Me?  Start with seeing.

Question:  How do you become a friend to Me with your site?  Please tell us your story.

Celebrating Nancy

By Nancy, 

sharing some of what she has done in friendship.

“Celebrating being a friend to myself by becoming the ACTIVE artist that I have always wanted to be. Actually have an image that has been juried into a calendar which is being sold National Colored Pencil Society of America convention at the in Brea this summer…and I will be attending the convention, thanks to my husband’s generosity. So excited!! Never thought, when I was in my darkest of places twenty years ago, that I’d be willing to attend a convention alone!! Learning to be a friend to myself has given me this gift and I couldn’t be celebrating more or be more grateful to you and my friendtoyourself friends!!! Bless you all!!

This is the picture I did in colored pencil – the one going into a calendar to be sold at the CPSA Convention in LA this summer.”

nancy

 

Nicely done Nancy.  We celebrate you.

Just Left of Center, We Celebrate You

Base on balls

Dear One, (You know who you are)

Congratulations on this life-milestone.  Congratulations on what you have come through and what toward.  Congratulations on being connected.  Although you walk, you do not walk away from your life journey.

There are other crossings when we all step away from our life and look on at a safer distance, binoculars in hand, because not to would bring the apocalypse, or at least frizzy hair.

peruvian casi-frizz

peruvian casi-frizz (Photo credit: casimira parabolica)

At this time we see that you are more than a spectator, more than a narrator or a newscaster, not a stranger to yourself described in shame-filled words and judgment, as if you were the sum of right or wrong.  You are, at this intersection, more than your performance, behaviors and emotions.  You are.  You are more.

Some other day, you may find your binoculars again.  You may need them, and that is what it is.  Not good or bad.  For our part, we will celebrate you then too.

We are blessed.  All this that you are is a benediction for us; the walking, breathing wonder of what comes from Love.  We, as might anyone connected to Magic, bless you in return.

“Keep evil away.  Keep walking in Love.  Bless.”

Congratulations for your proximity to what is difficult, for working hard to love yourself, for finding your specialness in more than what hurts in you.  You are special.

You are special, like a seed or a grown and aging tree.  You are special, like San Francisco is in summer or Australia at Christmas.  You are special, like the worst of us.  Like the best, you are special for more than your imperfections.

You stand, with us, just left of center.  We celebrate you.

Self-Care Tip:  Live a celebrated life.

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Our Wanting Could Make Our Reality A Whole Lot Better

Fantasy Garden Goddess by Tucia

Fantasy Garden Goddess by Tucia (Photo credit: Tucia)

Katalyn was forever bewildered by the contrast between the success of what she called her life and the failure of her relationships.  As the assistant to the director of Polk Hill’s only advertising firm, she knew everyone.  She was a blooming flower, her petals unfurled and her ability to know just where to turn the pitch was like opening to the sun.  She had talent. But more than that, Katalyn was a darn good worker.

Sitting across from me in the couch chair, her long and graceful fingers tapped the chair arm as if they were used to keeping time with her moving thoughts.  “Here it comes,” I said to myself, and tried to relax into the complexity of her story.

“Why am I alone?  Why aren’t I in a relationship?”

Katalyn chewed her lip and blinked a little faster.  “I will not cry!” I could almost hear her mind say.

Time cracked open there into reflection.

We all have this dissonance in our life story.  We make our choices with where we put our hard work.  But we leave our fantasies disconnected from this investment of ourselves.  We think that fantasies, (fantasy as in: contemporary, epic and/or paranormal – not necessarily fish-net hose,)…  We think that fantasies should materialize via magical forces rather than deliberate efforts. Irony, again.  Qualifying accessibility to our fantasies, (or we could say, wants,) this way verses to what we think is real is our own doing.

Reminds me that we treat our loved ones worse than any stranger.  Put our best years and best hours of the day into impersonal labor, we give this way.  We think the least of our own beauty, success and intrigue, and the most in those we know little about.  Then we wonder about the disconnect.

There is something raw and vulnerable about showing our wanting to ourselves.  It is one thing about our wanting in privacy, a place of personal ridicule and shame, and it is another to want in public life-process.

Imagine if Katalyn deliberately allowed herself to relax into her wanting at work as well as in privacy.  What would happen?  How would she do that?  What is the worst that could happen?

Imagine Katalyn as a woman who fantasized as she worked hard.  Would her work experience be different?  What would happen to her quality of life?  What would happen to her perception of reality?

Self-Care Tip:  Let your wanting, (or we could say, fantasies,) out into public.

Questions:  What would be different in your quality of life experience if you deliberately included your wanting into what you perceived was your reality?  What would happen if you worked hard to bring those together?  Have you seen this at work in your life?  Please tell us your story.

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Live with an agenda

dionna, 1991.

dionna, 1991. (Photo credit: paul posadas)

The blue dragon lifted her head from near-sleep.  She knew.  Pouncing onto the rocky ledge gave her the advantage.  No one would challenge her.  The fresh corpse was for her alone.  As she ate the remains of Dionna, the red dragon who had never flown, the memories of Dionna infused her.  The blue dragon in this had saved those memories and would live them into the forwardness of time.  

Why is it that we repeat the mistakes of our forefathers?  It would be nice if we could somehow be able to capture their hard-earned life experiences.  If dragon lore were true, perhaps.

In Papua New Guinea, Congo, cannibals on the Disneyland Jungle Cruise and who knows where else, eating brain to preserve the life force, save your daughters or avoid the mistakes Dad made gets you a bad and yucky disease called, kuru.  Nothing good comes from eating brain.

And so the blue dragon, whose scales shone in the morning sun, began to tremble and seemed confused over the years.  Her brain got holes like a sponge and she laughed at inappropriate times.  

We just cannot get a leg up on wisdom and experience.  We are not made for it.  Each of make our own mistakes, have to work our own fingers to the bone, and other knowing clichés that in this case just are the darn truth.

What blue dragon and kuru are trying to tell us are that the agenda Love has for us is not to build up experiences like some sort of mental tower of babel.  It is not about the mistakes.  It is about our life experience.

We cannot help but wonder, though.  After working in psychiatry for these many years, I wonder what a joy it would be to give that experience, knowledge, skill of practice and such to my daughter some day.  Ah.  As if it had its own life force, passing it on to my daughter feels like a bit of immortality.

When I die, just eat my frontal lobe, darling.  Not the limbic system.

We are meant to live.  In that living, we inevitably repeat foibles and build up muscles and manage to survive all kinds of suffering.  In that living, we are beat up and rejected.  We are perfect.  We are flawed.  We are marvelous.

Maybe the agenda is not to get it better with each generation or to get it right.  Maybe the agenda is to live.

Question:  Have you ever been frustrated at how quickly your gains in life will be/are lost?  What is the agenda of your life?  Please tell us your story.

Self-Care Tip:  Live life with a quality-experience agenda.

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Day # three. Say it out loud.

I like my short hair.

My hair has been long since I was round eight years old and I miled, by way of identity, with that dark healthy slightly curly low maintenance face-frame. Life yuck and plain old dying processes turned a few strands gray.

My tendency to anticipate the impact of loss on myself and my relationships, it’s been a while now that I’ve wondered and wanted over aging on Me. In my effort to toward myself into the inevitable rather than be taken by it, I cut my hair.

That may or may not make sense to you, but when I went home and spread the shorn trusses that used to be part of me out around trees and dirt, I liked myself a little more.

Day three of our, Say It Out Loud, challenge is here. Come and say what you like. Say what you delight in, in you.

Say it out loud.

Designed to Stand But Not Alone – Day 2, Say It Out Loud

20091101 - TouchGraph friend graph (normal)

20091101 – TouchGraph friend graph (normal) (Photo credit: Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL))

Hello Friends.

Yesterday, hearing your voices was like drinking a green tea soy latte, no sweetener, extra matcha, with a scoop of protein!  Your courage to say what you like and are grateful for about yourselves out loud is supportive, inspiring and necessary for the well-being of those around. We are all designed to stand, to be accountable to self, to start and end with Me, but not alone.

Sometimes when I’m in the middle of a work-out, the urge to pack up and go fork into a greasy breakfast is almost overwhelming.  Looking around contemplating my escape, I see the Kaia-girls.  I would never make it without them.  Never!  (Arg!  She’s still here!?!  Dang-her!~  Maybe if she knows I’m going to Denny’s, she’ll leave too…?  Alright.  I’ll stay!  Darn it!)

Yes, designed for community, saying it out loud is friendly to Me.

Please join us in day #2 of our, Say It Out Loud, challenge!

Throughout the next two days, when you think of something(s) you like & are grateful for about yourself, say it out loud to us.

I’ll start!

I like my increasing Kaia-girl self-value.
Say It Out Loud.

Say It Out Loud. Three Day Challenge.

Hello friends. Please join us at Friend to Yourself in a three day, “Say it Out Loud,” challenge.

Throughout the next three days, whenever you think of something you like & are grateful for about yourself, say it out loud to us.

I’ll start! 😉

I like my body.

Say It Out Loud.

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Consider Sleep as a Symptom of Brain Health

English: Lou Ruvo Brain Institute

English: Lou Ruvo Brain Institute (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the brain gets sick, what does it look like?  Do we grow warts, or turn purple or loose our thumbs?  How does our brain say,

Help!

Through emotions and behaviors.  That’s how.

If we were an internist, a primary care physician, we would look at the vital signs.  We’d put our fingers on the wrist, count beats of the heart and breathing, and measure the pressure in the blood filled arteries.  This would tell us some of the story, the introduction to the body.

A church secretary came in complaining of indigestion times two weeks….

Or,

In a far off land, there once was a young maiden who by chance came to a magic filled glade…

Smile.

How does one do this in psychiatry though?  We start with the vital sign of SLEEP.

A farmer in the vast expanse of corn fields went each night to his bed with determination, gritted teeth and racing thoughts.  He worried over things that others thought were insignificant.  He ruminated and chewed over information.  Making decisions followed him around as if each were a crisis life balanced on.  The farmer was awake in the night for hours before his mind turned off.  And when he awakened, he was not refreshed….

Question:  Are you comfortable with considering sleep as a symptom of brain health?  When do you decide to look for medical reasons for poor sleep verses adjustment issues?  Please tell us your story.

Self-care tip:  Get to know your story to know better about your health.

Cultivate Fantasy To Improve Reality

I am the proud finisher of the SF Half Marathon.  It was the most beautiful run I’ve been on and  my miles ran one minute faster (twelves) than I had planned (thirteens.)  My husband coached and joined me as my birthday present, (yes, I’m rounding my fourth decade,) and I was listening to another sumptuous novel.  Oh my.  Thank goodness my emotions caught up with the undeniable blessings.  Too often, we dutifully list off our gratitudes detached, like reading a latin prayer-book.  And not often enough do our fantasies connect with our realities.  Delightful! when they do though.

Best T-shirt ever was on the road.

 

The runner told me that the quote comes from the Rocky Horror Show.  I could barely stop giggling.  Just awesome.

That was a random bit of joy I wanted to share!

Pairing our duties with our pleasures brings bank.  But today’s self-care tip is something a little to the left – cultivate fantasy and see what it brings to our reality.  (This is a brief post but I hope to write more another time too :).)

Question:  Where does fantasy fit in to your friendship with yourself?  Please tell us your story.

 

 

Discover Your Sweetness – Value, That is To Say

English: Casimiroa edulis, White sapote fruit ...

Image via Wikipedia

My kids look at fruit as if they are inspecting a diamond for flaws.

Is this a good one Mommy? 

My daughter was pointing at a blemish that comes from fruit grown outside in dirt and not genetically engineered.

My huffing sounds are barred by something almost like maturity, just in time.  I pick up a different White Sapote with broken skin and beak marks where it is half eaten by whoever got there first.

After spitting out the seeds, I remembered bits of my filthy self as a daddy-chasing kid.  The words dusted off and important to me again, I heard Dad say,

Pick the fruit that the birds have pecked at.  They know what’s good better than we do.  Here Sana.  Take this one.  This is really sweet.

The fruit turning in my daughter’s hand, the cast-offs still in the basket, her anxiety about finding the best and my dad’s words came at me like the sounds between Broadway and 42nd Street.  And out walked Jean.

Jean was a patient I had known, particular to me despite common problems.

Abuse since at least my daughter’s age or younger.  Neglect.  Disgusting trauma survived.

Jean who, after getting picked on for the first thirty years of her life, came to me, insisting on living.  She resisted being a White Sapote in a bowl on the counter, inspected by passerbys.  Her community had tried to declare her value, her second chances and hoped to cast her off.

Pick the fruit that the birds have pecked at.  They know what’s good better than we do.  Here Sana.  

Jean’s face was in my memory.  Her white scar on her black skin shocked me; a large keloid.

Take this one.  This is really sweet.

I gave my daughter a squeeze and told her what Papa had said.  I’m so glad my daughter reminded me about this in we who have been hurt.  (Okay.  That’s all of us, see it or not.)  The way Jean grew, looked for light, the courage she answered to, the newness that came out of used up and shabbiness – Jean was teaching me about value.

Even when we are not behaving well, when we don’t look good and when we drop the market price, we have value.  Somehow, being chosen for life is more important than being chosen to suffer.  I wish I could explain why and how better but it’s just something each of us will have to experience for ourselves.  We will have to in humility and wisdom, like Jean’s or my dad’s wisdom, find the sweetness in Me.

Questions:  What is it about you that is particularly sweet?  Do you perceive your value?  Per what measure or qualifier? Please tell us your story.

Self-Care Tip:  Discover your sweetness.  Be a friend to yourself

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