Searching for Clues

Searching for Clues

What do you do when searching for clues? Not the easily found online answers of where to find the best sushi, or how to build a boat. Rather the super humongous questions, as in, why am I here.  Or the more tangible, what am I going to do about it? Or the most important, what am I doing today?

Nowadays, I start by meditating. I used to ask Mom. But then she died. I can ask her in my mind, of course. "Hey Mom, what do you think about this direction?" I could always count on her for an honest answer or her even more honest "hmm." It no longer feels silly talking to the dead. If a response isn't forthcoming, I'll take that as her "hmm."

I also consult the living ... my hubby, a long-distance friend, or a colleague. So this week, I reached out to all the above when stuck on how I might honor my daughter, Lena's, upcoming birthdate and promote her children's story, "Hoofen Floofen Island" at the same time. Two birds, one stone. 

Brainstorming ensued, logistics discussed on connecting the children's story to my "work" themes of vulnerability, living and loving after child loss,  and revisiting short and long-term plans. The outcomes of these interactions remain undefined.  I'm giving myself permission to experiment without worrying about getting distracted or missed deadlines. 

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It's OK

It's OK

I almost didn't go. Pulling on the first knee-high hiking sock triggered a muscle spasm halfway up my ribcage, causing me to catch my breath and I may have cussed a bit. It is always a surprise when my body misbehaves since my mind still thinks I'm twenty-something. 

After retreating to the yoga mat for gentle stretching and breathing through lots of child's pose, on went the other sock. Out the gate I went, intent on my mission to Google map my daughter's name at a natural, cosmic, enlightened and, not surprisingly, favored hiking path near the vortex of Bell Rock. 

Having sampled a few spots for lighting, slope and a magnificent backdrop, a young hiker paused on the trail nearby as her father consulted the map, and said, "That's a golden eagle." I checked the sky and seeing nothing, decided she was mistaken. But as I turned back to the Bell, there it was soaring near the center of the rock's height and breadth. When it landed, I knew I'd found the perfect spot. 

I'm assisting with getting "It's Ok That You're Not OK" on the map in unusual ways and places least expected. Have you purchased your copy? No need to wait until someone dies to read this useful guide. It's full of profound insights whether you are grieving, supporting someone who is or preparing for the inevitable. Click the link to learn more. 

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My nerves are shot

My nerves are shot

So I was reading through some journal entries from several months back. Seriously, why do we do that? Sometimes the words make more sense, but just as often I'm reminded of the mess I was that day. But I digress. 

On this particular day, I'm chatting with myself about how I'm not as tough as I used to be. Also, that I'm more fragile. But is that true? Was my stoicism toughness or protection? Having peeled away layers of emotion this last decade, I'm probably stronger now than ever. Or perhaps I'm perfecting my balance. It has indeed become easier to say no to things I don't enjoy. Quite comfortable with the no word. So there's that. 

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If, then

If, then

I remember my mom telling me how the nearly unbearable grief I experienced from my daughter's passing was a reflection of the depth of my love for her. Not in the sense of measurement like the more grief, the more love was present because I'm not sure it is possible to measure love.  So Elaine Mansfield's comment reminds me how the two, love and grief, are inseparable, congruent, and necessary. 

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Outside the comfort zone

Outside the comfort zone

Self-promotion, marketing, advertising, asking people to purchase, convincing them to part with their hard-earned money is a skill set I'm not familiar with and most definitely out of my comfort zone. Apparently, this is not uncommon for writers, artists, or any creative professional. We just want to create a thing, right? A beautiful thing that should sell itself. Organically. Magically. Effortlessly. 

But as Dan Blank discusses in Be the Gateway, getting the thing into people's hands is as critical to the effort as it's creation. In other words, creation is only half the journey. His book also teaches me to minimize overwhelm and uncomfortableness by focusing on one connection at a time. Singular. Simple. Satisfying. 

Sure I have spreadsheets of tasks but ultimately recognizing how I get to promote inclusiveness, gladness, literacy, adventure, and travel makes this stage of publishing Hoofen Floofen Island fun again. 

In other words, shine a light on the message of the book rather than the book itself. That's a task I can get behind. 

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The Time Has Come

The Time Has Come

As I focus on all that has happened, all the living of these past many months, I find the focus is on a hard look at essentials and vulnerability. 

Planning a year long, cross-county trip, downsizing and storing only our most essential possessions, finishing the production of Hoofen Floofen Island and balancing work time, have forced a cut out the fluff mentality. After all, how does one undergo a major lifestyle change without a step back to basics?  

The huge sense of vulnerability I experienced when first developing this website two years ago (Would anybody read it? And OMG, what if they read it!?) has returned due to the release of my daughter's children's story. (What if it doesn't sell well? Why did I think I could self-publish? Who do I think I am?) My personal history has shown however, the release of all that vulnerability is the only path to see what comes next. 

I'm quite sure we've packed too much (do I really need 10 pairs of socks?). And a year from now, we may look at those possessions and wonder why many items were still necessary but that's a story for next year.

And writing this now, I'm just as sure I didn't pack enough of the books!

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My Ancestral Home

My Ancestral Home

Recently, reading Robin Botie's "Another Precious Summer," and her call to action questions at the end of the post triggered the following comment from me:

"This summer I'm returning to my ancestral home and my chosen hometown(s) from the 50+ years I lived in Wisconsin. Returning to my roots so I may start out again and again. Revisiting the haunts of my and my late daughter's, promoting the tender story she wrote, which is now an illustrated children's story. I will allow myself to stand on familiar and new coasts and declare I'm ready for whatever comes next."

A blessing and a promise. To myself. 

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Entrusting ourselves

"Allow this life to live through you," says a calm voice guiding me through morning meditation. Entrusting ourselves to say yes to the life we've been given.

Building that sort of trust as a focus in my life has been more difficult than learning to accept the fates I've been dealt. Writing this though feels like I'm creating blame for someone or something making the decisions on my human experience. Only recently, I've begun to understand the importance and recognition of how a strong base of trust can be the fulcrum between acceptance and choice.

May I remember today, I have trust, I know acceptance and I get to choose. 

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Ephemera

Today's Oracle card of snowflakes on a bright red background remind me of the blessings I receive every day of life. The snowflakes tell me to stay connected, and that despite my vulnerabilities, the bond we form together is so much stronger than our individuality. 

Today I'll be light and delicate and seek my kind, not clinging to the grand idea of doing everything myself. The card states "do not be convinced you can hold on by the sheer force of your desire."  Yes to that! It is exactly why yesterday nearly broke me by not asking for help until I nearly collapsed in physical and emotional pain. Only then did I ask, almost too late.

Ah, but it is never too late. Keep asking, dear ones.

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How sweet it is to love someone

Often we focus on the feeling of being loved and its wonders, joys, and impact on our lives. Certainly, there are many benefits to knowing one is loved. It is a gift to be on the receiving end.  This came to mind as Mother's Day approaches, with this year being the first time without my mother and my daughter. Two women who held me up, held me accountable and loved me without conditions. 

I've been noting more recently, the sweetness of loving others and the good feels of being on the giving end. Mom's and Lena's physical absence doesn't change that. I'm still loving them in my heart and any action on my part will be directed to those still here, distant or near, family or friend or stranger. 

Yes, how sweet it is to love someone. 

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Your eyes are your logo

Does anyone know who said this? 

While going through some old file folders, I found this comment in my notes from either a workshop or a book read early in my career. Our eyes make the connection with another before anything else. We can feel touched or turned away in an instant. 

What will your logo be today? Happiness, judging, curiosity, sorrow, contentment, anger, compassion, love, or . . .? 

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Changes

It happens about this time every year. The restlessness. Wanting to rearrange the furniture in our small space when there are more important things to be done. Rearranging the pebbles when it's the boulder that needs moving. 

Certainly, attention to detail is responsibility in action but today I want something bigger. Better. Different. And to skip the planning for once and just do it. I tell myself that's alright as long as the time spent, at least in some small way, relates to the essential purpose. 

Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism, will likely cringe at this interpretation of how I'm applying his concepts to my day. I'll keep learning, Greg. Tomorrow will try again. 

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Flotsam and Jetsam

Look closer.
The bits and pieces of our lives come and go with our emotional tides. How much belongs to us? For what am I responsible? How might I dispose of it properly and permanently? Or better yet, how may it be upcycled to fuel the things that save me, that are of service to others?

Look deeper.
What is beneath the surface? Bright, dark and fertile crystals waiting for the life-giving light coming on the next tide releasing them to shine again.

Look now. 

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It doesn't matter

It doesn't matter, so let it go. And once you let go, forget about the fact that you let go. No sense in wondering where it went either or how it took this long to release what is no longer serving you. There may be all sorts of valid reasons why. You need no justification. No sense in worrying about why it was, seemingly, of service to you. Enjoy the feeling of releasing the who, what, when, and why. 

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It's been a month

A month of Thursday's rather than the adage "a month of Sunday's" when speaking about time passing slowly. February 23rd, was the first Thursday after Mom died; then March 2nd, the second Thursday; March 9th, the third and today, it's been a month. 

After someone dies, it feels as though the march of time shifts. Some days we walk more mindfully and other days roam about with little purpose or drive.  It's been a month of tears and reminiscing and wondering. And acceptance. And learning to live in a world that's changed yet again. 

I feel her presence in previously unexplored ways; while chopping veggies wearing her apron, when saying evening prayers, while gazing at my favorite photo of her smile glowing on a Hawaiian vacation. 

What will it feel like when I have the courage to listen to Mom's last voice mail? We'll see.

Maybe next month. 

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Understanding

I thought I broke my foot. Thankfully, I've never broken a bone and today's episode did not change that record. Still, it hurt. A lot. After ignoring warning pains, I took a misstep that got my attention enough to make a stop at urgent care. 

In "You Can Heal Your Life," Louise Hay says feet represent "our understanding of ourselves, of life, of others." Apparently, I need some clarity on how to change with the times and feel safe about that.

Sitting here, in the easy chair, with my foot elevated and on ice, has me wondering what have I misunderstood and where I'll find the key to that door. Perhaps the foot injury is simply an opportunity to take slower steps and a reminder to put first things first. 

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