Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Divine Earthly Experience 10: Gratitude for Being Okay

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend."—Melody Beattie 

Hello Fellow Earthlings,

How are you? Well, you must be okay. After all, you are here reading this blog post. I assume you have food, shelter, friends and family. You have a computer or an iPhone on which you are able to read this post. Being okay is certainly something to be grateful for. I sure am. Here's what I wrote on that subject over the past weekend:

As I sit here at the end of Memorial Day Weekend at my family’s lake house in Washington State, I realize I’m okay. Not just okay, really good. If you would have asked me if I’d be okay a year and nine months ago, I would have told you, “Absolutely not!” 

At around eight in the morning, my boyfriend got up, made me a smoothie, kissed my cheek and left. I was still lying lazily in bed, reflecting on the dinners, talks, walks and boat rides my boyfriend Scott, I and another couple all shared. Now, the silence was stifling. The house, once filled with laughter and cooking and snacking and drinks and trips up and down the stairs to fetch bathing suits and suntan lotion, was dead silent save for the hum of the refrigerator and a few bird calls in the distance. I lay there on the bed unable to move. What would I do with my time? The space between community and solitude is always the scariest for me. I have difficulty with that transition. It reminds me of when my husband suddenly left my home for good after sharing a bed with me for the almost 13 years of our marriage. Would I ever see my boyfriend and friends again? Of course I knew I would, but for a few moments I wasn’t sure. After all, who would have thought I’d never sleep with my husband again? Days before he left, we were laughing and humming and picking blackberries that we’d later mix up into delicious muffins. Nothing in life is certain, even the things you think surely are.

Within 10 minutes, I was up, pulling my shorts and t-shirt on and lacing up my Tevas readying myself for a 2-mile walk around the lake. The sun won against the clouds and soon I found myself pulling off my cardigan. I watched yellow finches and swallows swoop between pine branches and two bald eagles rode the thermals high above my head. On my left, where the trees had been clear-cut, I saw volunteer daisies in full bloom. It reminded me of how my own life had been clear-cut. After my husband walked out of my life, the familiar scenery of our lives together had become a wasteland. A bulldozer might as well have just plowed right over our lives while we were having dinner, taking everything with it, because that’s how it felt at the time.

But now, I can say, I’m okay. In fact, I feel so much gratitude. How lucky I am, actually, to have witnessed such tremendous sorrow. I’m not sure I could have felt this at peace and content had I not walked through a very dark valley of pain. When things were going my way and the wind was at my back, I thought life would always be that way. I even took it for granted, not realizing how much I had. But now, walking over the clear-cut of my own life, I stopped to stare at fresh shoots and new blooms, sure signs of new beginnings. I felt happy and content to have this moment to myself to feel this gratitude. 

I still don’t know where I’m going. I’m not so sure of the future anymore. I don’t have a grand plan and perhaps I’m still floating on a vast ocean with no markers. I feel like a huge clump of clay yet to be molded. But I’m okay. I’m good even.

I have this moment. Here in the silence of the dining room, looking out on the early evening light reflecting like shimmering crystals across the lake, while pine tree branches wave like outstretched arms waiting for a hug, I’m happy. Yes, I’m happy. I rest my hand on my cheek, the one my boyfriend kissed this morning. I never thought I’d have a boyfriend again. I thought I’d be married until “death do us part”. You just don’t think about those things. Especially when everything appears to be going along swimmingly. I’m grateful for this man who showed up in my life about six months after my husband left. He’s been loving and kind and gentle and patient. He’s showered me with all the love I had so missed in my marriage. I had somehow convinced myself that all marriages experience a time when affection wanes or even stops all together. That was just how it was. I didn’t know that what I was experiencing in my own marriage was simply not okay. I didn’t know how good it could be. I haven’t witnessed a love like I have now. Maybe it’s not my lover who has allowed me to feel this way, maybe it’s me.

Perhaps I’m ready. Ready to stand up for what I want and need. Ready to be completely loved without holding back. Ready to be full of each moment. Ready to step away from the din of others telling me how it should be and to be grateful for what is.

What is okay in your life? What simple things are you grateful for?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Divine Earthly Experience 9: The Connection of Facebook to Depression and Isolation

"There is also the question of why many users spend so much time online. People who are already mildly depressed or feeling socially isolated may log onto Facebook as a way of connecting with others or to relieve their own sense of sadness. Unfortunately, being subjected to repeated evidence that other people have more interesting lives often has the opposite effect."—Romeo Vitelli, Psychology Today 

Hello Fellow Earthlings,

How are you? It's been a little over a week since I unplugged from Facebook. It's strange. There is even a name for this. It's called "virtual suicide." However, I don't think I fit into that category because I'm here virtually on this blog. I don't miss Facebook or social media, strangely. It occupied a fair share of my time and I see now that I'm glad to have the space to do other things. I had to actually "deactivate" my account because I knew that if I stayed on it, I'd check it somehow.

What is the reason to remain on Facebook or other social media? I guess it's a way of connecting and not feeling isolated. It's a way of saying, "Hey, my life is good!" or "I'm not okay." We can also check in on others to see what they are doing.

A friend at work said she is also thinking about leaving Facebook. She read a study that Facebook can cause depression because people read about how wonderful everyone's lives are and they start to compare and realize that they don't have such an amazing life. It can make you feel like something is missing or something is wrong with you.

I, too, was in the habit of posting photos, etc. of awesome experiences I was having. Not surprisingly, the mood I chose to display most of all on Facebook was "awesomeness." To be honest, even in the dark periods of my life, I often found the silver lining and something positive to share. I am a firm believer in the fact that what you focus on in life is what will show up for you. I choose to focus on the positive. But I'm not immune to sharing difficult experiences with others and I did so both here and on Facebook and luckily many people reached out and could relate.

I had dinner with a new friend last night in REAL TIME. She's only known me since things have looked up in my life, since after my partner of 20 years left. She doesn't know how heart-wrenching that was for me. She was not there. From her perspective, I post too many positive photos of my recent experiences on Facebook. She had no idea that I am no longer there. I know the reason why she said it. I know it's because she is currently having a really hard time.

But I don't think the answer is to be angry at people for posting cool photos, positive quotes, cute baby or cat pictures, inspiring ideas or even for people tooting their own horns for doing something awesome (i.e. getting married,  having a baby, getting a promotion, starting a business, getting a book deal or record deal). This is LIFE and people tend to want to focus on the positive. I love reading about all the inspiring things my friends are doing.

It sure beats the negative and we have plenty of that in our world and our lives, don't we? During the last election, I steered clear of social media. It just bummed me out. People were so ferocious on Facebook. The viciousness and disregard for fellow human beings was evident. I just didn't want to participate. Not because I don't care, but because I don't want to be part of energy that is vicious or mean.

I think it's okay to express darker emotions as long as we are not hurting anyone. Maybe people don't feel safe to express those emotions publicly. They feel they might be judged or gossiped about. Isn't it funny how humans operate? When we hear good news about someone, we are not always so happy for them and when we hear bad news, some of us secretly feel good because our lives aren't THAT bad. What is wrong with this picture? If we are all connected on an energetic level, my good news is your good news and the bad things I experience are also connected to you.

This is what compassion is about.

If Facebook or social media is not the place to express darker emotions, I think it's important to have a safe place to express those. We should never be afraid of how we feel because every single one of us experiences sadness, pain, defeat, loss and grief at one point or another. Just as all of us experience happiness, joy, satisfaction and love at one point or another. We are not perpetually in a state of AWESOME-NESS. Our states of mind really depend on many things and are as changeable as the weather. We could have blue skies in one area and dark clouds of doom in another and even a rainbow in the middle. There is NOTHING WRONG with the dark clouds or dark emotions, but it would seem that sometimes on Facebook or social media, dark emotions just don't exist for most people. I'm not saying these emotions are not expressed, I'm just saying they aren't as common as the rainbow and blue skies variety of updates and posts. And then it begs the question, is Facebook for real? We are not seeing the full picture. We've certainly gained a wider audience, but at the cost of real, heart to heart interactions. 

So now that I've unplugged from Facebook, I am feeling a tad bit of isolation, if I could be really honest here. I would love it if you are reading this right here and now to let me know you are there. Why? Because for this moment, we are connecting. For this short period of time in your life, you are here reading my blog and I'd love to know that.

Do you ever feel depressed, overwhelmed, sad or angry about the things you read on Facebook or other social media?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Divine Earthly Experience 8: What it means to feel REAL

"Sometimes you have to disconnect to stay connected. Remember the old days when you had eye contact during a conversation? When everyone wasn't looking down at a device in their hands? We've become so focused on that tiny screen that we forget the big picture, the people right in front of us."—Regina Brett 

Hello fellow Earthlings,

I'm unplugging today from Facebook. I think I have a mild addiction and I want to unplug for about one month. I will post here about my experiences NOT ON IT...(it can be like a drug, right?) I hope to post weekly.

I have so much to do today and I spent a great deal of time scrolling through Facebook pages and clicking on links, etc. today.




Has this become our lives????

What if Facebook disappeared? What if the world wide web STOPPED WORKING?

What would happen to us all?

First, I'm sure, there would be widespread panic. "Oh, no, NO SERVICE....I can't get in touch with: my mom, sister, boyfriend, husband, mother-in-law..."


In touch with....get in touch with? Hmmmm....are we really IN TOUCH?

Are we really tasting, smelling, hearing, feeling, seeing, LIVING our lives or is it all in this screen of ours?

Internet internet connection is DOWN!


Hmmm... when I stop connecting through this box, suddenly I can hear the birds, I see the cherry blossom tree in full bloom outside my house, I feel my bare feet on the cool wooden floor, I taste my hot tea....earthy, floral, orange....I smell the lilies on my dining room table.

I'm connected to this earth through my senses and through my senses I'm also connected to YOU and everyone.

And there is a sixth sense...intuition. When I ground and connect through all my senses, I feel what I really need to DO! It's always there and available.

This is the REAL world wide web, dear earthlings....

We are missing out on DIVINE experiences as we check out of our senses and check into technology.

Turn it off....just for awhile....and TUNE IN....what do you notice?