Hiding in Mud Puddles

Once upon a time there was a young, carefree girl who chased butterflies, jumped in mud puddles and rolled around in the grass laughing cause it tickled. She was never lonely, would wear the same dress everyday for a week because she loved it (it was blue with white daisies all over it) and would run when her dad came home at night out of the sheer joy of seeing him again. She did not worry about what others thought, she was taught to do that. She did not care if her long hair was wild and uncombed, or her feet were dirty from being outside barefoot, but others did. She was taught that she could not say what was on her mind regardless of the truth of it, that she had to be neat and tidy, she had to be a good girl cause no one liked bad girls. She was taught to hide herself inside all the rules and blend in with the crowd. She was taught to never be herself.

She became a sad young lady who was always trying to fit it and conform, then she rebelled. It was not pretty! The ideas they thrust upon her were discarded, the things she thought she loved were set aside and years were spent searching to find all the parts of herself that were hidden deep, deep inside where no one could see them. They were hidden so deep that it was hard for her to reach them but reach them she did. This rebellion was not instantaneous, it brewed slowly for years and years. A little bit here and a little bit there until she could see the beauty of who she was inside and out and believed it.

Now she is on an adventure of another sort. She helps people see the beauty of themselves and while she is helping other people she is still learning and growing and laughing and dancing to the beat of her own drum. By the way she still jumps in mud puddles, cannot resist them some days and doesn’t worry about getting dirty. She doesn’t care that her hair may be messy from the wind and the rain, she doesn’t care if yours is either. She has streaked grey hair that she refuses to dye, won’t wear make up, has a fetish for black boots and now owns 9 pairs, loves hugging people, smiles with her whole being and she is having the most fun of her life.

She is me, as if you hadn’t figured that out already. I love music any music and I love to dance around the house in my pyjamas. I sing while I am cooking or doing the dishes, having a shower or going for a walk. For some reason I am no longer able to sit in a chair normally and I am always wiggling some part of my body. I can’t tell you how many people ask me if I need to pee! I spend a lot of time alone, which has allowed me to get comfortable with me. I love me and my life that is constantly changing and shifting, with the timing of the universe. I also love people, all people. I don’t care what you look like, what kind of clothes you wear, what you do for a living, how much money you make, or any of the other bullshit that society says is important. I want to know what makes your eyes light up and your soul shout for joy. What makes you sing and dance? I want to know what keeps you awake at night, what scares you, what has made you hide yourself from the world, what has made you the glorious being that you are. I can see you hiding in there and have so much fun when you come out to play. My heart and soul dance a jig for you! I want you to be happy and joyous and free to be you, when you are around me and even when you are not around me, but especially when you are around me cause its fun. I love you just the way you are. Be silly, be spontaneous, be you. Next time you are with me prepare to get splashed with water from mud puddles! Hope you don’t mind getting dirty. Let’s play!

Love to you all

Donna

 

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Toothpaste and Soul Mates

Do you believe in soul mates? I don’t, even though at some point in my life I did for a brief moment. It was during my Disney view of the world and then I grew up and stopped clinging to fairy tales. I like the idea of soul mates but i think we have a very distorted view of what that actually is. I suppose we have very unrealistic views as to what a relationship should be or not be as well. I also do not believe that we are destined to spend the rest of our life with one person. If that works for you, great! It does not work for everyone. What is the definition of soul mate? Soul mate sounds perfect doesn’t it? Nothing is perfect. If you asked ten different people to define it you would most likely get ten different answers. So the chances of two people getting together that would both define soul mate and what the ultimate relationship is would be slim. It can happen sure, but I don’t think it happens very often.

People talk to each other all the time but are they truly listening to what the other person is saying? People hear what they want to hear. The words come out of someone’s mouth and then you interpret them through your filtered view of life. Something strange happens to the meaning of the words between their mouth and your ears. What they said and what you heard can be two different things. Someone says I love you and your definition of what love is or is not, is how you hear it. To me love is an unconditional state of being that allows the other person to just be themselves, there is no judgement, no expectations, just a celebration of differences and similarities. So when someone says they love me that is what I hear, that is not often what they mean. This stuff is complicated and God knows us humans are good at complicating even the simplest of things.

My marriage lasted thirteen years, then I had two brief and spectacularly disastrous relationships in which I learned a lot and I mean a lot, then my last relationship lasted twelve years. My view on relationships has changed greatly over the years. I have learned a great amount about myself and others. Does this make me better prepared for the next relationship? Perhaps it does, but I had better make damn sure that I understand what the other person is saying when they say it. For me, the typical marriage contract is a fear based arrangement. As if that contract will insure you both adhere to the rules and it will be a success. I would rather just make a commitment formal or informal by jumping over a puddle together. Marriages are failing at record rates according to statistics, especially in the over fifty age group. Why is that? In my world view, marriage is fear based and I don’t want a relationship based on fear or conformity to an ideal. I want a relationship that is based on relatedness and a genuine love for the other person. If I get that in return wonderful, if I don’t get that there is no point. Two people should celebrate each other and their unique characteristics and funny little quirks. Relationships should be fun! They should not require so much work that you are exhausted trying to maintain them. I realize that all relationships require some work but that should be done by both people, if one person is doing all the relationship work that sucks.

My role in a relationship is this, to love unconditionally and remind the other person that they are already whole and they are more than enough just the way they are and offer them the space they need to grow at their own pace. If they are not meeting my expectations than I had better have a look at myself and what those expectations are. The answers are inside me and so are the problems. The other person just being them self is not a problem. I always go back to the tube of toothpaste, one because it is extremely funny to me and everyone can relate to a tube of toothpaste. So the significant person in your life squeezes the tube from the bottom, leaves the cap off, or never puts the toothpaste away when they are finished. One or all of theses things drives you crazy! Who has the problem you or the toothpaste challenged person? The problem is yours. Now that the problem is yours you have choices. You can stress over it and admit that this little thing is so important to you that you will nag and criticize the person you supposedly love. Or, you can smile because this is one of the little quirks the other person has, put the cap back on, shove it in the drawer and go on your merry little way still loving them. What sounds better to you?

We make mountains out of ant hills over silly shit all the time. Relax, let go, breathe, let the other person relax, let go and breathe. Allow them to feel loved just the way they are. Don’t put up with bull shit, in fact never put up with bull shit, but let them be them. Sit back and just watch them move through the world and appreciate the beauty of who they are. If they are not willing to do the same for you then you need to look at that a little more closely and decide if you can live with that. We enter into relationships hoping the other person will satisfy our needs and that is unfair. Everyone has needs, but you alone are responsible for yours being met. Have fun brushing your teeth, you may never look at a tube of toothpaste the same again!

hug people and trees and dogs

love to you all

Donna

The Other Side of Grief

Five letters full of pain and wonder that is what grief is.   In the midst of the pain there are some wonderous moments.  Grief has a lot to offer if you are open to it.  Grief can leave you  laying on the floor broken and also be the catalyst for a life beyond your wildest dreams.  At least that has been my experience over the last year.  Life is never all positive or all negative but a beautiful blending of the two, you can’t have one without the other.  Well, I suppose some people can, however, the two help define each other.

People will be there for you during rough times and offer to help.  Let them help.  Allowing them to be part of your grief, even in the smallest way, is your gift to them.  You may all be changed by it in ways none of you expect.  I know that grief has changed me and I have observed how it has changed others around me.  Not all of it has been positive, but most of it has.  The grief has shaped a softer, yet stronger heart in the middle of me.  Funny how it works sometimes.  You have to find the softness and the gentleness to find out what your true strength is.  I usually think of strength as assertive, forceful, or a test of endurance.  Now I see strength a little differently.  

Strength comes when you are able to experience all of your emotions and see the truth behind them and how they are connected.  There is no good or bad, right or wrong.  Strength comes when you give in and let go.  You must let go of the bullshit and the untruths to see yourself.  Let go of all the beliefs and things that you think define you.  There is nothing like a life shattering event to help you clear away the bullshit that you have based your sense of self on.  

Grief strips away the layers you have wrapped yourself in, attempting to protect yourself from the pain of love, life and death.  You cannot avoid the pain so you may as well throw yourself at it and experience it fully.  It is the experience of its fullness that releases it.  Go for it, things cannot feel any worse.  Oh wait a minute, yes they can.  All you have to do is resist it or try to ignore it and it will make you feel worse just to get your full attention.  So I say, experience the pain of grief fully.  Then you will begin to notice the small bits of wonder hidden inside.  You will laugh, smile, cry and start living again.  It is up to you whether you let it harden or soften you. I choose the softness, we have enough hardened people on this planet.

Have a soft heart

Hug people and dogs

Donna

Grief and Compost

Woke up this morning with tears streaming down my face. I had a dream about Howard which I do not think has happened since he passed away. It was a wonderful dream and he was so happy and full of life. Then I woke up and remembered that he is gone and the grief started pouring from my heart and eyes. This has not happened for months and took me by surprise. I remembered the last few days of his life and some of the conversations and experiences we had together. I asked him not to leave me here all by myself and he said he wouldn’t. I knew he could not stay and I could not stand to see him in so much pain. So, I had to let him go and let him know I would be okay. He just grinned and said I know you will, like he knew something I didn’t.

There must have been some part of him that knew he would be leaving long before he got diagnosed with cancer. He tidied up a lot of loose ends with the vintage cars and made connections with people who would become important to me. Sometimes it feels like he is still looking after me and that I am never alone. Other times, I can barely remember what it was like to have him here, my life has changed so much. I have no regrets, I feel no guilt, and know we both loved and appreciated each other. Howard actually thanked me for staying with him through all of it which surprised me. He said some people would have walked away. I don’t want to know those people. How could you walk away from someone you love just when they need you the most. According to the hospice staff it happens more frequently than we know. What a sad and lonely world we live in.

I thank the universe that I had the strength of spirit to stand by my man when things went to shit. I never realized how much strength I truly had hidden inside this small body. I will be there for the people I love regardless of how much it hurts me to see and feel their pain. My heart just keeps getting bigger because of it. I also had a lot of people who stood by me and supported me through this whole process and my God I love them for it. They are my tribe, my community. It takes special people to allow someone to fall apart and just be there for them without trying to change it or fix it for them. Some want to stop your tears and your grief. They cannot handle your pain, it makes them feel things they do not want to feel inside themselves. It is all about them and their fears.

Today I have a few people coming to the house to take more things away. The fishing boat, some sculptures and tools. Soon there will be nothing left but an empty house sitting on this land. Land that has nurtured me for twelve years. I am going to walk away from here soon and it is proving to be much harder than I expected. However, I am not walking away from my life with Howard, I am walking towards something, I am walking towards my future.

Be there, really be there, for the people you love. Don’t shy away from the tough times, you don’t grow when everything is all rosy. In our disposable society, in which even people are disposable to some, be the compost. Be the compost that provides nourishment and promotes growth in others. Take all the pain you have experienced in your life and use it to find that connection with others and encourage them to be the best them they can be. Be compost for their soul and yours.

Love to all

Anchors and Drifting

Fell asleep last night listening to the frog choir. One lone frog singing is as annoying as a dripping tap, but get a bunch of them together and it is a soothing and sleep inducing symphony of spring! Having ponds on your property helps with the frog population.
I slept for seven hours and feel refreshed with a new sense of peace this morning. Thanks frog nation! Yesterday, I had this vague restlessness and felt as though things were slightly off and to be honest was not my happy, smiling self. Took me until about two in the afternoon to work it out thanks to a quick (is there such a thing?) phone call to my wise friend Debra. We talked things out until I dug deep enough to figure out what was going on.

I am not generally a surface dweller, I usually dig until I find what I need. Right now I am tired of digging and analyzing and thinking. I want to have some fun! Finding the answers to what makes you the way you are is fun isn’t it? So these emotions I was feeling yesterday had me kind of low and I am tired of low, so I dug. Twenty minutes of telling Deb what was bugging me and her very astute questions and insights and bingo the reason popped out of my mouth. I said I need something solid to hang on to! I needed an anchor! Aha moment. Once the truth of a situation is acknowledged the relief is immediate, no resistance and the truth sets you free. Isn’t that brilliant?

All the changes that have happened in the last year and the ones I am still in the middle of have left me feeling like I am adrift in a stormy ocean. Plans ha, the universe is constantly saying no to my plans. Okay, I am adrift in this vast ocean, can’t make plans, and don’t know which direction the shore is in so I can haul my little ass onto the sand. Fine, I will just lay here on the choppy water and float to wherever the current takes me. Breathe, relax and let it all go. Why do we always have to have a plan? I am usually allergic to solid planning because life is structured enough, but right now I want to make some. Universe says no, not quite yet.

Okay, fine. While I wasn’t completely happy with my life, work and relationships last year, it was a solid life. I had an anchor to keep me from drifting. Actually I had a few anchors. The problem with anchors is if you use them at the wrong time or get tangled in the anchor chain the results can be disastrous. For good or bad reasons (it doesn’t really matter at this point) Howard was my anchor.
He provided stability for me when I needed it the most and to be truthful I don’t think I had any stability in my life before I met him. I gained weight for the first time in my entire life simply because I felt safe and relaxed. I was loved and felt safe. Here is the problem, Howard is gone from this earth and I have realized that I need to be my own anchor. Howard gave me twelve years of his life to teach me how to stand strong on my own.

Howard taught me a lot. In fact, I am still learning from our life together. Ooh the sunrise is spectacular this morning! I just looked out the window and the sky is a beautiful pink with deep streaks of gold. Great day to be alive and witness the miracles of being here on this planet. Back to the post. I think we place too much responsibility on the significant person in our life to be the thing we need. By that I mean, we look to them to fill in the gaps of our soul. That is not fair to the other person. You and only you are responsible for your own thoughts, emotions and actions, period. Sometimes we like to think that the other person is the cause but that is just us avoiding the truth and digging deep to find it. They pissed you off, dissappointed you, didn’t meet your expectations, whatever and you justify what you do in response to that. You are lying to yourself. It is you who are responsible.  You cannot receive love until you are giving it without expectation.

Of all the things I miss, having a sidekick or playmate is what I miss the most. Someone who has your back and loves you just the way you are and has fun with it! I’m working on it but also realize that I have to offer the other person that as well.  None of us are easy to live with all the time so a sense of humour is essential for a happy relationship with anyone. So my thought for the day is be your own anchor, take responsibility for yourself, have fun, get rid of your expectations of how others should be and relax. It is all temporary anyway. Appreciate the people in your life and let them know how much they mean to you. Most importantly don’t place unrealistic expectations on them, let them be them and keep your heart wide open so you don’t waste one spectacular minute of your life together.

Spread some love today
Hugs to all
Donna

Curves and Chrome

Did you know that I like old cars and trucks? I saw this beautiful blue Chevy truck yesterday with a split windshield from the late forties or early fifties. I hung around for a bit to see if the owner would show up so I could talk to him or her, never assume a vintage vehicle is owned by a man. I am still not used to technology and forgot to take a picture of it. I fell in love with the truck and wanted to buy this truck. Now I need another vehicle like I need a hole in my head but this truck spoke to my soul. The lines and the grill were simple yet beautiful and the stance was solid reminding me of a mountain gorilla. I like all the curves and small details the older vehicles have, they are art on wheels. I don’t care about fancy paint jobs! I like the weathered look on cars just like I do on men. The older vehicles are interesting and older men are interesting. Ooh I am starting to see a connection here. What appeals to me about the old cars is the same thing that appeals to me about people.

My daily driver is a Subaru Crosstrek and if you stand and look at the front it looks like an angry bird of some sort. Most of the newer vehicles look angry, weird huh. The world is also full of angry stressed out people. The new cars are all sharp angles and seemingly pointless curves designed to make them more aerodynamic. Not so much rolling art, but rolling science. I have had enough science. Everyday someone comes out with a new scientific study saying don’t eat this, don’t do that, blah blah blah. What the hell has happened to us? We are so bombarded with scientific information it can be a little overwhelming. I have had my new car for four months and there is so much technology I still haven’t figured out how all of it works. At one time I would have read the manual before I drove it, not at this point in my life. I would fall asleep from boredom in about two minutes. Ooh perhaps I just found a cure for insomnia!

I like things that are unique and I like people that are uniques as well. Show me someone who dances to the beat of their own drum and we are sure to be great friends in minutes. I appreciate authenticity, honesty, verbal banter, teasing, playfulness, and individuality. The vintage car people seem to have a culture all their own and I really enjoy the car owners that appreciate an old car regardless of the money spent restoring it. I like the old clunkers without the pristine paint and interiors and I usually like the people who own them. Guess I am that way myself, no fancy paint and a little weatherbeaten. I don’t enjoy car snobs anymore than I enjoy snooty people. We all have to use the bathroom and wipe our own bums! Well unless you have a bidet then that takes things to a different level.

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When I get behind the wheel of my 51 Caddy I feel different. I love driving this car!  This car was heavily customized and I really wanted air bags so I could sit Lola on the ground but had to settle for lowering her nine inches. The boys in the low rider club said she just wasn’t low enough to be part of the club damn it. I have had so much fun with this Caddy and have met some wonderful people when I take her out for a drive. I just don’t plan a short trip anywhere. Even just stopping to gas up can take an hour or more. People want to know about the car and I had to learn how to not be self conscious when complete strangers come up to me and start asking questions. Because she has no roof at all I can hear the things people say when I drive past them. Now this car has curves and chrome and reminds me of a fat bottomed woman. I always check out cars rear ends and I am always checking out men’s rear ends! I have a thing for bums apparently. I fell in love with her the moment I saw her. The picture at the top is what she looked like before Howard performed his magic on her.
I guess my love of old cars is related to my yearning for simpler times and my love of simple people. Life is complicated and I don’t need complicated relationships or people in it. Don’t dismiss an old rat rod because it doesn’t have the shiny paint or the bling. Don’t dismiss people that don’t fancy it up either. You never know what they have hidden under the hood or inside their heart.
Hug everyone
Spread some joy

Donna

Let Go, Then Let Go Again

You would think that once you let go of something, that would be it.  Wrong, it doesn’t work that way.  First you make the decision to let go, then the whole letting go process starts, finally there is the letting go.  That is not the end either cause you bump up against beliefs and emotions and you must let go on different levels at different times.  I have heard it said it is the journey not the destination that is important.  Okay I am ready for this part of the journey to be over, the constant letting go of everything that keeps going on a daily and sometimes hourly basis.  Breathe in, breathe out and let it go.

I think that I must be fighting against the letting go to some extent.  It seems as if the letting go will erase the memories of the past.  Is it possible to let go and remember at the same time without a struggle?  Well, I guess I am going to find out.  Today the prospective owners of my home were here with the building inspector going over the house.  I found it very difficult and had to leave.  I don’t normally get attached to things but letting go of this home and the land is much harder than I thought it would be.

It is the memories, while I am here the memories stay fresh, there are visual and physical representations of my life here.  The rock wall that goes up the side of the driveway that I built with Howard. Playing ball with the dogs and causing the dent in the siding with the tennis ball.  The trees and bamboo that we planted and the hours spent working on the land and buildings.  I see it everyday and I remember. Perhaps I am afraid I will forget when I can no longer see them.  Perhaps I am afraid to make new memories somewhere else with someone else.

Breathe in, breathe out and let it go.  The letting go is not only difficult it is also a beautiful process as well.  It allows room for new things and people to enter your life.  I have had some wonderful new experiences lately and have had a chance to refine my barn cat social skills.  I have come to realize that the letting go never ends and the difficulties experienced are related to my resistance to go with the flow of the universe. People, emotions, things are never permanent, there are no guarantees.  Once I accept the impermanence inherent in this world the letting go becomes a natural process that does not need to be directed or judged.  I can let go of the letting go.

Love yourself, be kind to yourself

Big squishy hugs

Donna