Monday, March 10, 2014

In the Hours Left Over

I struggle to find time to live in the after.  It is in the after that I can truly feel.  Experiencing my heartache, crying my tears, laughing at the jokes that only I can laugh at short of teaching someone else a language that only exists in my on mind. The agonizingly exhaustive energy required for wrestling with the option to run away from it all, or make the daily choice to stay where I am without crawling into a bottle of pills in hopes of numbing the wanting away is who I have currently become.

After managing the daily routine of my chosen path - marriage, motherhood, teaching, and raising two young children up to be anything other than Assholes - I finally get to be my authentic self in the hours left over.

The hardest part of leaving paradise is making the daily choice to continue to leave it once you are already home.  Mentally extinguishing each blazing memory in order to live in the burned out remains can be horrifying.   Endurance is not the easiest of daily companions to accommodate.  But the only way out is through.

Magic will return.
These things cannot be planned, scheduled, or prepared for with a freshly cleaned home decorated for a personal celebration.  Expectation is a repellant for serendipity.  It is in living the day to day that fuels the magical experiences yet to be indulged in. Only through the waiting can the wanting subside.

Heartbreak is terribly inconvenient on dry land.  Lust has no room to vibrate in between loads of whites and perma-press.  Emptiness cannot comfortably coincide with packing healthy school lunches.  Ache blocks all motivation to accomplish tasks involving deliberately focused elbow grease, like washing the sheets that still hold your scent captive or scrubbing your footprints away from the kitchen tile on which we danced.  Need has no room to snuggle in a bed shared with a man who is always willing to love all of my hurt away but, for this moment at least, can't because he is not you.

Because this moment is all about me.  It is all about the me that seeks to play the wild card and win it all with no regret, but can't because there are no wildcards in a game of Old Maid with a preschooler for an opponent.  Games lose all their fun when you are focused on outmaneuvering and demolishing someone who calls you, "Mommy." 

This moment is about fully understanding that Marianne was right when saying how our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure.  So it is here, in the hours left over, that I let my vulnerability stand front and center.  It is here where all judgment disappears and my imperfection is precisely perfect.  And it is here that I will always return so that I may someday, once again, be set free.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

It All Starts With a Kiss


 "...you need kissing badly, Scarlett.  That's what's wrong with you.  You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how."  ~  Rhett Butler

It all starts with a kiss. Unfortunately, it can also end with one when a man doesn’t really know how to kiss a woman.  Over the years I have taught a mess of men how to kiss and why it is so important to do it well.  This has always been my favorite act of service to humanity, so here it goes for those of you whom I have yet to kiss…

1.  The lips are the gatekeepers to the rest of her body.

Take your time and GO SLOW.  Don’t come hurdling in all open-mouthed with a swirling tongue like a helicopter desperately looking for a soft place to make a crash landing.  Your girl is not looking for a rapid strep test throat culture via your tongue. Nor will she find any pleasure when the encounter ends in orofacial injury because your tongue equals the thrusting propulsive power of a jet engine – THAT part happens below the waist… and MUCH later.
For the most part, a desirable woman does not even want to meet the inside of your mouth until you have proved yourself with your lips.  Spend at least thirty seconds using only the plumped softness of your lips to charm her in the same way that led you to getting this close her to begin with.  Thirty seconds is a lot longer than it sounds. But remember when it comes to experiencing thrilling intimacy, the relativity of the time-space continuum slows down to the same pace of waiting for freshly painted toes to dry before they can dive into the her brand new pair of open-toed stilettos and dance the night away.
2.  Make her feel like she is (finally) being kissed for the first time ever.
Kissing a woman well should never be routine. Don’t push in with your lips with a long sustained smooch like you’re kissing your Grandma “goodbye” on her cheek while making the “MmmmCH” sound.  Keep your head tilted closely in front of her face with your hands gently cradling the sides of her head for your first advance.  Then wrap one arm around to the small of her back and support the nape of her neck with your free hand while exuding the strength and confidence of the leading man in an old Hollywood movie, right before the screen fades to black.

Gently connect with her lips the way the tide reaches the shore – back and forth with swelling anticipation, pausing for half a moment to draw back before plunging forward once again.  Make her feel the warmness of your breath and smell the connection to your soul before you go and ruin the whole thing by grabbing for a boob, or shoving your hand up her skirt.

3.  Introduce the tongue with the delicateness of a highly secret and valuable family heirloom wrapped in handmade white lace.

After your lip foreplay has acquainted the two of you sufficiently, very gently invite your tongue’s tip into her mouth with a quick and delicate lick.  Immediately revert back to lip smooching before gently (and I mean VERY GENTLY) biting her lower lip and pressing your tongue nimbly against its fullness.  Again, make her breath you in.  If you are on track to having her melt all over you, she will reciprocate your feather-like caresses from the inside of her mouth into yours

Knowing her readiness for further promotion will be made aware by the way she surprises herself with a sigh or the sound of a gentle moan.  This is when the real action gets going.  As you feel her body begin to rev up with stimulating vibrations, she will hungrily pursue your mouth with her own tongue.  Surrender to her increasing need to taste you.  The further that she presses into you, the tighter you need to hold her close.  Eventually the rhythm of the give and take will dance its way into full body contact where the possibilities become endless and the thought of what to do next dissolves into ecstasy. 



Sunday, April 8, 2012

BECOMING REAL

For several years now, Margery William's The Velveteen Rabbit book has been a part of my Easter decorations.  It was one of my most favorite stories from childhood and as I read it to my children this week I found myself overcome with emotion.  Although it may have been due to my PMS, after reading my favorite part I began to weep to the point where my children began to rub my back and tell me, "It's okay Mommy, it is just a story."

Yes, it is just a story.  But, it is also the closest explanation to why I am still around after so many ups and downs along the way.

The following is an excerpt from the part of the story where the newly arrived Rabbit is asking the oldest toy in the nursery what it means to be real:

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room.  "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?" 
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse.  "It's a thing that happens to you.  When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become REAL."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful.  "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."
"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin horse.  "You become.  It takes a long time.  That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.  Generally, by the time you are Real, most of you hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby.  But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to those who don't understand."
"I suppose you are Real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive.  But the Skin Horse only smiled.
"The Boy's uncle made me Real," he said "That was a great many years ago; but once you are real you can't become unreal again.  It lasts for always."
To me, this explanation is what living a meaningful life is all about.  Surrendering to the not so pretty experiences like getting hurt, aging, and (in my experience) being called, "loose" - is all a part of living a life of love.  And just as the very wise and old Skin Horse said so himself, once you are real you can't become unreal again. 

Happy Easter 2012!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

DROWNING IN THE DEEP END OF DEPRESSION

There is no sufficient way to truly describe what living with clinical depression is like.  I just know that when it gets rough, it gets really rough. 

It seems like the best days of my life are like freely and energetically treading water in the deep end of the pool while enjoying the sun filled blue sky all around me and occasionally feeling my body burst with the urge to do back flips and various synchronized swimming moves like the nuns in some campy Mel Brooks movie. I am gratefully aware of my body, my breath, and the security of only being a few feet away from the ground.  My perspective is clear and sharp and the smile on my face exudes a powerfully positive effect on those around me.

The worst days, which can last for months, are more like fighting the current of a very cold and stormy ocean in the dead of night where the only awareness I am capable of is survival.  No matter how often the Coast Guard of those who love me throw me a life raft, each time I reach for it my hands simply move through the transparent object and it is not within my grasp - no matter how much I try.  The only comfort I find is that I am still breathing, and sometimes even that fact alone is too much for my reality.

The harshest example from my life has been since motherhood and sufferring post-partum-depression (although I am not really sure what it is called when you were depressed pre-nataly, then sunk further post-partum.)  There is little worse parenting than being the depressed mom of small children. I owe it to them to suit up, show up, and cut the shit.

During my hardest days I get the bare minimum done by feeding, clothing, and keeping them safe. Those are the days when I pull back and watch my beautiful children play around me as though I am watching them on TV and unable to participate. Lying on the couch and going through the motions of smiling and clapping while they perform a play in their dress up clothes, but not really being there to share their joy only continues to feed the sadness.

It isn't a pretty example, but it is true.

This has been my life as long as I can remember, but without the perspective of my thirty-eight years I have never been able to truly accept it, until now.

Depression is as much a part of me as my long legs and freckled skin.  It is a part of who I am, and I have learned to fit it in to both my desire to truly live and my struggle to simply survive.

Twenty-five years of prayers, pills, and professionals have helped ease the pain and kept me from passively checking-out.*  I no longer struggle with the fear that I can't survive this, nor do I continue to be paranoid that the love of those around me will be revoked because I am altogether too much and not enough all in the same moment.

As I dipped my body into the pool this morning to indulge in my on again/off again passion for lap swimming, I realized that my cycle of sanity is just like getting to the other side of the pool. Sometimes it takes a confident and easy streamlined backstroke with my breath free and easy and my face shining up for the universe to see.  Other times I can only maintain my movement by breathing with every third stroke, like with the forward crawl.  And occasionally, I must dive deep and hold my breath and my life away from the world until the storm clouds have passed.

I may go under for a while, but I always, always come back up.

(Perhaps that is the reason God blessed me with two such humongous DDD floatation devices...wink, wink.)

*  I should also say that my quest to overcome my depression has included the following:  accupuncture, art therapy, music therapy, naturopaths, chinese medicine, vitamins, herbs, hormones, and howling at the moon.  But these didn't work with the alliteration of that particular sentence.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A TALE OF TWO SYNDROMES

The other day my husband walked into the room where I was furiously shoving his neatly folded laundry into his over stuffed dresser drawer and said, "It will be two days...three days, tops."

"What are you talking about?"  I annoyingly responded to his obtuse statement.

"You period.  You are going to start in two days,"  he confidently declared.

I immediately felt the tension throughout my entire body begin to relax as I tried to take deep breaths while letting his arrogant, yet very attuned and wise accusation sink in.  Although admitting it is tough, he is right.  I don't even need to check my calender to affirm that I have a perfectly physiological reason for acting like an overly-sensitive, angry, irritable, whiny, weepy, psychotic, paranoid, obsessive-compulsive, BITCH for the past 24 hours:  PRE-MENSTRAL SYNDROME.

I have THE WORST PMS in the history of the uterus and the worst thing is, that despite its clockwork occurrence,  I never seem to realize why I am going crazy until someone else points it out to me.  Along with cripling cramps, bronco busting back aches, and merciless migraines, my pre-mentstral syndrome obeys no boundaries and creeps into the very center of my central nervous system hijacking my brain for a good 48 hours.

At its worst, I have found myself scouring my husband's cell phone statement convinced he is having an affair in spite of the fact he has never behaved in any way suggesting even the possibility of there being someone else.  It is quite typical for me to respond to my husband's mere suggestion that perhaps if I put the extra salted pretzels into a bowl instead of eating them out of the bag, that I may not eat as much with the fury Medea followed by severe break down sobbing like a scene out of the 1979 movie, "The Champ."  No matter what my husband says to me during my PMS peak, even if it is something as simple as, "What are we having for dinner?"  my brain always interprets it as, "HE THINKS I'M FAT!"

Luckily my husband, Ken, is the most mellow, balanced, and all around nice guy on the planet, so it doesn't take long for him to draw me a bath, pour a glass of wine, pat me on the head, and tell me he is taking the kids to the park so I can have some time myself.  All is well with the world by morning.

So to remedy my horrible mood swings, piercing voice inflections, and mild rage over the smallest of transgressions, I have made friends with over the counter progesterone cream.  My gynecologist advised me to use this two years ago when I thought the only answer to my monthly metamorphosis was a hysterectomy and a exorcism. I simply rub a dime sized dot anywhere on my body where fat cells are present (which on me means anywhere other than my teeth) - my gyno referred to it quite kindly as, "where your skin is at it's softest."

My progesterone pal has done wonders for all the symptoms of my epic PMS and makes being a woman, once again, a wonderful thing.  Yes, it does say in the fine print that this cream has been shown to cause certain cancers after extensive testing done in California, but I figure as long as I don't use it while I am IN California I am clear of any carcinoma catastrophe.

It may not seem fair that Ken has to suffer my PMS, until it is understood that I also suffer his "FBS" - Full Ball Syndrome.  My friend Eartha coined the acronym, FBS, during her first year of marriage when she noticed how her husband's entire world, (including body language, sentence structure, word choice, use of eye-contact, and  all around demeanor) becomes more and more sexually focused the longer he goes without a "release."   

Full Ball Syndrome (FBS) is what happens to all testosterone charged men when they go a certain amount of time without having sex and ejaculating.  The amount of time varies from man to man, but in my household if we go more than three days without sexual contact, my husband is a walking, talking, fourteen year old boy who will find sexual inuendo in EVERYTHING I may say or do.  For example:

Me:  "Honey, when you get the lawn mowed and the trimming done could you please move these boxes upstairs for me?"
Ken"  "When I am done in the yard, I am coming IN for some TRIM and I will take care of YOUR BOX while thoroughly inspecting  YOUR UPSTAIRS!"

OR
Me:  "The news said the mountain should get five to ten inches this weekend, so maybe we should postpone our golf plans and go skiing."
Ken:  "Why don't I just give you five to ten inches right now and we can still go for eighteen more holes this weekend!"
OR
Even when it doesn't make the least bit sense.....
Me:  "We should check out this spot next time we are in the area and come for dinner." (Referring to a restaurant near his family's vacation home.)

Ken:  "I typically like to check out ALL the spots in the area before I GO IN...sometimes I even like to park around back!  Ya see Honey, my style is to consider all of my options and then hone in on the area that feels the best!"
Me:  "Huh...?"

There are some days I can't even have a serious conversation with the man because even if I am talking about third world poverty he remembers how exciting it was to see boobs for the first time in his childhood National Geographic magazines when photojournalists spent a lot of time with tribal peoples near the equator.  Then the entire day is then filled with boob jokes and annoying fondling. 

The only cure for FBS is sex, as they don't make a cream for it yet.  Although one could argue that if a man uses enough lotion to work out his FBS on his own, it might help to curb symptoms.  Nevertheless if you live with a man and he suffers from this syndrome regularly - the sooner you give it up, the easier he is to live with.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

THE MYTH OF SCARCITY

"There is a natural law of abundance which pervades the entire universe, but it will not flow through a doorway of belief in lack and limitation."  ~  Paul Zaiter



It hasn't been until quite recently that I have become aware of the fact that much of my "Monkey Mind" is related to one of the biggest lies I have been telling myself ever since I can remember.  That great lie is that there will never be enough.  And at the very root of that sham is that I will never be enough.  I will never be smart enough, thin enough, pretty enough, and happy enough to live the life I deserve to live.  So many times I have felt the unsettled vibration of my inner critic frantically asking, "Do you love me now?  Am I pretty enough, smart enough, thin enough, and tap dancing backwards in this penguin suit fast enough for you?"

I now am beginning to understand that at any moment I can see abundance all around me if I only choose to do so.  I have been taking a class this fall at BeNourished in Portland which is helping me to understand the surprising truth of sufficiency.

The following is last week's lesson from Dana S. - one of my teachers:
The Myth of Scarcity

For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is “I didn’t get enough sleep.”  The next one is “I don’t have enough time.”  Whether true or not, that thought of not enough occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it.  We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we don’t have enough of…. We don’t have enough exercise.  We don’t have enough work. We don’t have enough profits.  We don’t have enough power. We don’t have enough wilderness. We don’t have enough weekends.  Of course, we don’t have enough money either.

We’re not thin enough, we’re not smart enough, we’re not pretty enough or fit enough or educated or successful enough, or rich enough – ever.  Before we even sit up in bed, before our feet touch the floor, we are already inadequate, already behind, already losing, already lacking something.  And by the time we go to bed at night, our minds race with a litany of what we didn’t get, or didn’t get done, that day.  We go to sleep burdened by those thoughts and wake up to the reverie of lack…. What begins as a simple expression of the hurried life, or even the challenged life, grows into the great justification for an unfulfilled life.

Choose a mindset of sufficiency.

We each have the choice in any setting to step back and let go of the mind-set of scarcity.  Once we let go of scarcity, we discover the surprising truth of sufficiency.  By sufficiency, I don’t mean a quantity of anything.  Sufficiency isn’t two steps up from poverty or one step short of abundance.  It isn’t a measure of barely enough or more than enough.  Sufficiency isn’t an amount at all.  It is an experience, a context we generate, a declaration, a knowing that there is enough, and that we are enough.

From The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Acceptance ~ Regina Hill


 Acceptance

Acceptance means that you
Can find the serenity within
to let go of the past
with its mistakes and regrets,
move into the future
with a new perspective,
and appreciate the opportunity
to take a second chance.
Acceptance means you'll find
Security again
When difficult times come
Into your life,
And comfort to relieve any pain.
You'll find new dreams, fresh hopes,
And forgiveness of the heart.
Acceptance does not mean
That you will always be perfect.
It simply means that
You'll always overcome imperfection.
Acceptance is the road to peace-
Letting go of the worst,
Holding on to the best,
And finding the hope inside
That continues throughout life.
Acceptance
Is the heart's best defense,
Love's greatest asset,
And the easiest way
To keep believing
In yourself and others.

~Regina Hill