My daily work commute used to take me through Park Street T station. As I emerged from the station I was was blasted by the aroma of roasted nuts. Passing the vendor I noticed a devoted squirrel lingering in front of his cart. I chuckled and asked, “Good customer?” The vendor replied, “A regular.”
I began to notice the change in color on my crown
It seems like a new thing, almost appearing overnight
But it’s just a natural progression of time and temperature
Still nostalgic for the vibrancy of my verdant youth
Remembering how full; bursting with blossom or new fruit
Purposefully, I sheltered my friends and provided nooks for their nests
Strong and stoic I gave cool shade in the summer heat
Soft and lazy my limbs swayed in the breezes
No longer hungry I reclaim my energy
Responding to the day’s light and cold I morph from green to gold
I have earned this wealth and golden grandeur
My mantle illuminates the horizon
Soon I lay bare
Storing the courage to weather the change
Capricorn (December ish)
You are a mountain climber! No easy way to the top for you. Even if there was an easy way . . .would you take it? No way, of course not. You enjoy the slog!
If things are too easy you will get out the pail and shovel and start building your own mountain. You might make a small project more complex just for the challenge of it. Heard of “making a mountain out of a mole hill”? You sort of invention that shit.
The key challenge for you is always to figure out which is the right mountain. Challenges can be big or small. Take a breath and think about where you need to put your energy.
Taking things apart and putting them back together is one of your specialties. Just remember that you can’t always do that will people. People sort of object to being treated as objects. Funny, huh?
Do you remember the plastic model of a frog’s digestive system you had as a kid? The one you would spend hours memorizing. The one you could take apart and put back to together with your eyes closed. Just in case you woke up one day and were blind. Life is not always a simple as plastic model of an amphibian.
Summertime is productive for you. You realize dreams and see seeds grow from plans started earlier in the year. You need to take advantage of the warm months so you can incubate in the winter on new ideas!
Hard work and your persistent nature will take you far. Strap on your comfortable shoes and get climbing!
Today something broke open
I could feel it bubbling to the surface like a scuba diver’s air bubbles
Buoyant, purposeful, unrelenting, and clear
“You are so strong, silent, and calm on the outside”
“She’s like a rock”
Those have been left behind on a beach for someone else to discover and save in a jar
I always thought change would be a foreign invader conquering the weak
But it’s an old flame
A steady and consistent light that glimmers in the fog
It came from such a simple element many eons ago
Strength and resilience passed down over generations through DNA
Survivors, seekers, entrepreneurs, artists, ship captains, warriors
Once a small voice; it was just a faint whisper in my ear
Sometimes I thought I had only imagined it
The sound became clearer and carried further by wind and time
As it increased in volume I could start to feel it reverberate in my chest
Until it was so loud that now it’s a ROAR
I wore so many hats: 1st mate, passenger, engineer, radio controller, helm, and captain
“All me” says my ego
In truth, lot of hands helped me pass the buckets when bailing out
I finally realized that you can’t stop water but you can float
Allowing isn’t giving up as much as quiet persistence without clenched fists
I allowed nature to transmute the landscape it touched; instead of seeing it as a force to be tamed or managed
It became my creative partner
Something once so heavy is now smooth and light
It’s a sea and I can’t call it back
Nor do I want to
Once upon a time, in the land of the Goat Warrior Princess it was a glorious day in the kingdom. Our dearest F (who is also a sure-footed brave warrior from the Mountain Goat Clan as well as a glorious princess) was sleepy as she got up from her royal blue fluffy sheets. Even warrior princesses like soft and fluffy things for sleeping.
Still groggy, she walks around her quarters stretching her strong warrior arms, pushing back curtains and opening windows to let in the light and soft breezes of the day. She is tired from slaying demons (some real, some imaginary, some solely her own) the night before. Wearily she walks past the strange box that hums with the clickety-clack buttons. We wonder if this wretched box is cursed and drains our goat princess of her warrior powers. Sometimes our goat princess sends wise messages through the box to people in far-away lands. Why send her messages through the clickety-clack box instead of using steadfast ravens?
We watch as she dresses for battle. No chain mail or leather cuffs instead she puts on strange garments and slicks her wild red hair back demurely. Maybe this is some sort of disguise to confuse the badlands demons? Perhaps if the demons do not suspect her true identity then they will not engage her in battle to steal her inner light. Warrior princesses have this brilliant white light that shines through their hair, their clothes and their person. It illuminates dark corners of our world. It diminishes the power of the badland demons and threatens their existence.
She exits her abode and moves toward her beautiful metallic horse. It is grey, shiny and happily responds to F’s commands. As she sits astride it, we marvel at her speeding through the badlands with such bravery and confidence (just like everything she does that makes us proud to be in her service).
Our brave goat princess arrives at a shabby forest with a clearing that has other metallic steeds and walks toward a short, ugly brick and glass edifice. What type of poor kingdom is this? It must be a kingdom in need of a champion. The warrior princess ascends many floors by commanding a large coffin that carries her upwards. Thankfully she arrives at her station. We watch anxiously as a strange creature approaches our princess. This creature has the hair color of bed linens and things painted over her eyes which give her a continuously surprised appearance. Her lips curl and the creature bares her unnaturally glowing teeth at F. It may be a demon that has taken over one of the shabby kingdom’s villagers. Our goat princess is confident but cautious. We wait for F to raise her weapon and slay the beast by chopping its head off. Today is different. Instead a wry smile passes over the princess’s lips. F faces the demon and disarms them with pleasant chatter. The beast leaves with no armed combat. As F watches the demon walk away she whispers to herself “foul beast I should have beaten you to death with your own leg.”
Evil was thwarted this day and our goat warrior princess didn’t even need to draw her sword or chop off any demon body parts. She continues to be our champion and lives to fight another day. THE END FOR NOW…
I used to love to linger over the beautiful images in the Martha Stewart “Living” Magazine. Staring at photos of pristine cream sofas anointed tastefully with colorful DIY pillows in sun drenched rooms. These things spoke to me. It left me with a longing. “Your home will never look like this. You are too disorganized” said the voice which sounded something like Martha Stewart, my Mom’s stringent housekeeping rules and my own critical director all joining evil forces to make me feel bad. I was dumping on myself voluntarily for not having perfection before I had even tried to create my own worthwhile space.
After I cancelled my subscription and had some therapy it still takes negotiation to let go of these harsh expectations around how things “should” look and make peace with the way they do look (home or body). I am constantly recalibrating those standards, recognizing that the demands of work, family, and health must be balanced for my own sanity.
Our home is lively, peaceful, and filled with love. The house sits on a street lined with tall and broad Linden trees that protect our home from the elements as well as cushion us from the city sounds. They carry the sea breeze through our windows when it rains.
My home has a beauty that flows. My friendly front hall greets visitors with the shoe collection of the 11 yr. old hot mess and my generous, size 13 wearing, big-hearted man.
Then there is the forgotten child of my home: a lonely and neglected area known as the back hall. This area is heavily utilized as a dumping ground for STUFF. The gorilla glue, empty bottles, as well as my fears and shame are packed onto those shelves. There are abandoned dreams along with cleaning supplies. I keep screwdrivers, paper bags, and flashlights. Functional tools at my ready to repair a cabinet, glue a leg back on a chair, or light my way if the darkness creeps in. Sometimes I feel like I am teetering on the brink of disaster along with the empties, ready to fall off the shelf at the slightest vibration.
I used to think about ways to hide the stuff on my shelves. Hide my shame and the really weird juicer thing that never gets used. Maybe I can choose to be exposed, even a little cluttered while I live in this safe space. Loneliness evaporates and hiding is no longer necessary.
Taking a deep breath, I resign to be more than just storage area. I can cultivate flexibility, access creativity, promote recycling, embrace disorganization and cherish my memories. I can fix the garbage disposal and cook the magnificent holiday turkey with my big-pawed handsome man using the tools from my shelves.
Like my imaginary perfect space — my back hall shelves hold all my promise, purpose, light, and bubble wrap. Now it’s time to ditch that stupid leaf blower my Mom gave me. Fuck Martha Stewart.
I spent 10 years really fat and totally miserable. Although when I really reflect on it I had been building a lifetime practice of food dysfunction and always had a tenuous relationship with my body. I did not know how to respect and really inhabit my body in a loving way. Food felt like it might be taken away at any point (especially the “good stuff”). So I learned to hoard it or hide it away (sometimes in my mouth).
Growing up I was an athlete and very active as a gymnast, softballer, and player of pretty much any sport. But particularly as a gymnast I knew how to push myself but did not respect or reflect on any of my abilities. Nothing was ever really good enough. If I practiced a position I could always go further, train harder, jump higher, rotate more fully.
Where does resilience live? Is it born from experience solely or is it innate?
On Monday, October 14, 2013 I thought that my resilience was in good shape as I participated in my 5th Tufts 10K. I walked solo this year. My choice, partially driven by not feeling connected enough to anyone in particular to walk with. It now seems emblematic of my journey. How much I invite and accept others in my life and how much do I crave to stand on my own and walk solo on my journey?
I had trouble getting to the race. I left too late and got stuck in traffic. I started the race in a fluster. I got going and felt good. Pushed hard. Made good time. Noticed different groups of colleagues and co-workers along the way. Cheered on the elite female runners. Marveling at their individual strength and stamina. Walked the same pace as a senior woman (70+) who ran the majority of the race. She floored me with her enthusiasm and how her spirit infected the crowd around her. At the very end of the race I was joined by my favorite little person who walked across the finish line with me and we put our hands in the air.
Next day, in the morning of Tuesday, October 15, 2013 I was in the emergency room at Newton Wellesley Hospital with severe abdominal pain and trouble breathing. What was going on with my body? Continue reading “re·sil·ience”
My weight loss journey is indistinguishable for me from my mental evolution. I prepared myself for all the physical changes I experienced with very difficult emotional work.The physical changes as well as the aging process continued to inform my emotional evolution. At times the changes and the work was very slow and methodical. Other times the changes I made seemed to be second nature and felt effortless.
Striking Balance and Redefining Success
To figure out what success meant to me was difficult. I am an over achiever with a mean perfectionist streak. Sometimes it served me well. Other times it kept me locked and paralysed.I had to find and re-calibrate my own internal sensor and reset my expectations for success. I have had to learn what was reasonable and redefine my expectations. Success was achieved sometimes just by trying. I had to allow myself setbacks and discovered that I found value in faltering. Success WAS NOT the opposite of failure. Success was sometimes just an acceptance of myself and where I had landed in that very moment. Whatever I was thinking and feeling, acknowledging it and accepting it.
I dreamt that I had to keep safe 5 precious little piglets wrapped in tiger cloth. I had them in a basket and I was trying to hide them in basement. I was positioning them to be safe and to keep them away from 4 other women and a Man who wanted to hurt them.
The basement was dark and poorly lit. The people who were threatening me and my precious cargo were sort of faceless. I taunted them to provoke them so I could guess their moves and keep them from the hidden piglets.
I woke up just as my hand was on the handle of the door to the outside.
I was very honored to be invited to participate in a group discussion recently for folks who are considering or have had weight loss surgery. I was instantly reminded of the power of the group and how people challenge you. Poke you in the soft spots. So many opinions and questions flying around the group as well as inside my own head. Challenging my notions of “good enough” and internal as well as external body talk.
Fall is a time for renewal for me.
I finished processing a lot of changes I made last year (going through coach training, quitting smoking, releasing shame).
Now I finally feel ready to move forward. I enjoyed my summer. I swam, I organized, I socialized and I plodded along. I am spreading my wings and now preparing plans to further my coaching career and being the voice to the larger society on what coaching is and how to use it to elevate your life. I believe coaching can be applied in more than just individual ways to heal society.
I get so excited when I finally think I figured out something for myself.
I am a Fish
I dreamt I was a beautiful, colorful and shiny fish caught in a net. I had scales that reflected light. I was awash in shimmery green, silver and purple. I was floating in the current. I wasn’t trapped so much as hanging out in the net. Like an otter who hangs out in the kelp.
The net was silver mesh. I was moving around in the net. I was kind of relaxing in the net like a fluid hammock. I realized that I was drawing energy from the net. Other fish were attracted to the energy in the net and to me. I was feeling super charged.
Whenever, I am struggling with things I look to my dreams to inform me. I have had some really vivid ones. Here is a hodge-podge of my dreams.
I was staying at this crowed resort type place. There were hills and mountains all around. It was very green and verdant. There was mountain biking and the housing was pretty split level dark wooden condos. I was in the midst of a crowd of people filled with some familiar faces and some unfamiliar. My group was waiting to join one of the color-clad, fully decked out super jacked sports teams playing on the field. One team in particular was wearing this deep blue color. Like the color of water. There was a human pyramid and one team of 10 or more was pelting a single player with a water cannon.
There were large screens that projected the activity for people to watch on the outskirts of the game.
I remember thinking that this was a much younger crowd than I am used to and that all this “sports stuff” seemed overly steroidal and sort of militant. I was not looking forward to joining the super-soaker team.
Green Cigarettes and the White Haired-Lady