Skinny and Other Treasures

Well, it’s five in the morning and I am sitting here with my sunny yellow mug full of coffee.  I no longer sit in my slightly soiled chair, it is in the basement, and I now write from a brown velvety sofa beneath the painting that Shawn bought me for Christmas.  It is a beautiful painting by Terry Issac of an ancient raven totem pole that has a real raven perched on top crying out into the mist. It is called the storyteller and was the perfect gift for me, I love it.  I still write most mornings but rarely post anything anymore.    I am still trying to find my way in my new life.  I still miss Howard and not a day goes by that I don’t think about him or talk about him.  He was an amazing man.  I remember writing a post called “To the Next Amazing Man” two years ago.  I have been blessed to find another amazing man who challenges me, makes me laugh, loves me for who I am, and shares his passion for all things old and rusty with me.  He does sometimes question my purchases and asks where the heck I am going to put them.  This question coming from the man who bought juggling balls ( he does not juggle)  a second cd stand with a creepy old guy with stringy hair holding the cd rack (we do not have a cd player) or two hooves with hair and googly eyes attached to them (he loves them) always amazes me and makes me laugh.  My usual response to where are you going to put it is, I won’t know till we get home!  On Christmas Eve I brought home an old oil can that is now our garbage can in the garage where we play darts. Shawn’s first question was, “Where are you going to put it?”  I love the oil can, it is two feet tall, painted black, has a wooden handle, a lid, a spout and a glass window for seeing how much oil was in the can.  I also have an aversion to regular old garbage cans, they are boring and mostly ugly.  I have never seen a garbage can that I fell in love with and I enjoy repurposing old items.

You might be getting the idea that we buy a lot of old stuff and you would not be wrong.  I start getting antsy about the time the swap meets start up in the spring and cannot wait to get out there and find the next treasure!  The perfect job for me would be roaming the country like the American Pickers on television looking for old and interesting items.  I have come to the conclusion that I am basically unemployable simply because I can no longer work with the general public without telling the idiots that they are idiots or rude customers to shove off.    After 25 plus years in the retail industry in some form or another, I have no patience for bullshit or rudeness and cannot see myself being employed by anyone who is smart and who wants a dumb boss!  Okay, back to the matter of treasure.  Shawn buys a lot of used and unusual things.  I am not allowed to say the H word (hoarder) in reference to him, he likes to be called a collector of fine treasures!  This has worked out for him for a lot of years.  He is always buying and selling.  Well, selling not so much- he gets attached to these items.  I like the hunt more than the item itself, most of the time, so we make a good team.  An eccentric form of retail therapy!  Besides, who doesn’t need an antique Inuit kayak frame hanging from their living room ceiling?

Once in a while, when I am away from the house for a few hours I will get a text from Shawn that says, guess what I bought.  There is no possible way, based on his purchasing history, that I could guess and be remotely close unless I said the words car or truck.  We both love old cars and I love driving my 31 Model A pickup ( picture of me in Skinny at the top).  I even got to drive it on the Bonneville Salt Flats this year!  Her name is Skinny Bitch.  The truck used to be owned by a local man called Skinny who passed away, so the Skinny part of the name was a given.  When I first met Shawn I needed some new jeans because I had lost a lot of weight during Howard’s illness and passing.  I went from 145 pounds down to 103 pounds and was basically skin and bones.  I went to a local store and one of the sales clerks pounced on me before my rear end had cleared the doorway asking me if she could help me find anything.  I find this to be extremely annoying so I said, “Sure, I am looking for new jeans, show me what the skinny bitches wear.”  Hence, the name of my truck.  She also sold me the most comfortable and well fitting jeans I have ever owned!  All of our cars and trucks have names which may seem silly but they all have their own personality and temperament.  I did not like to drive Skinny at first, but Shawn pointed that we just needed to get to know each other a bit and he was right.  All relationships take time and attention.

It seems strange to me sometimes that I have only been in a relationship with this man for about two years and yet it feels like he has always been a part of my life.  I met Shawn during one of the most difficult periods of my life and he helped me find the joy in living again.  Some people thought we got involved with each other too soon after Howard passed away.  Howard would have disagreed.  You only have so much time on this earth so don’t waste any of it worrying about what others think.  Do not let fear hold you back from moving forward and most of all don’t be afraid to face the world with your heart wide open.  I went from living in a big empty house all by myself, miserable and grieving, to a life filled with people, dogs, laughter and joy, because both Shawn and I took a risk.  We were willing to risk our hearts and trust our feelings.  Both our lives are richer because of it.

Love you all
Hug lots and sing loudly

Donna

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Renaming Grief and Other Shit

After a mostly sleepless night, I have a throbbing headache but have maxed out my painkiller quota for the next four hours.  Having sciatica issues makes it difficult to sleep.  I cannot get comfortable and my legs, (sometimes one, sometimes both) burn, tingle and ache.  Yoga and stretching are not helping and I have decided to seek some medical help and get them to look into what is going on with my lower back.   I am a light sleeper and one of the problems I had last night was hearing this strange scratching noise outside.  I lay awake in bed listening, trying to figure out what it was and then heard what sounded like a bear giving a frustrated long grunt, the dogs started barking and I flew out of bed. The dogs live outside and I don’t want them tangling with a frustrated bear.  Shawn and I are outside with flashlights having a look around, the dogs quieted down and we were left cold and wide awake. There is a beautiful creek right beside our property and the salmon are spawning so it is like a bear picnic at the edge of the yard.  Shawn thinks it was a raccoon, but he did not hear the noise the animal made.  I decided that he can think whatever he likes, but I heard a bear.

Okay, 2:45 am and I am wide awake.  We watch a little TV and head back to bed but the pain in my back and legs won’t let me get back to sleep.  So it is now 5am and I am still awake and in pain.  So I try meditating, becoming one with the pain, breathing into it, just breathing and finally drifted off to sleep for a few hours.  I don’t think people who have never dealt with chronic pain have any idea how debilitating and tiring it can be.  I look fine, you would not know that I have been in constant pain or discomfort for 3 weeks if you looked at me.  This happened to me about seven years ago and lasted for over a year.  Chiropractor visits, massage, acupuncture, yoga, and meditation were all part of my healing.  It got to the point where I could not put on my own pants, socks or shoes and was unable to lift my leg high enough to get in the tub.   I also could not drive because I could not move my foot quickly enough from the gas to the brake pedal and almost ended up in the ditch at the end of my driveway.  This was a year from hell.

However, it as nothing compared to the emotional, mental and spiritual pain I suffered when Howard was diagnosed with cancer and passed away a few months later.  While physical pain is a “damn pain” it has a different quality than grief and emotional pain.  It is not just the loss of someone you love, but also your hopes and dreams, and in my case my business, job and home as well.  Yes, it was my choice to close my business and to stop working.  I could have made other arrangements to take care of those things.  But, I did not have it in me to still manage those things behind the scenes while Howard and I navigated cancer world.  One thing that a lot of people do not realize is that the moment you or your loved one are diagnosed with a terminal or life-threatening illness is that the grieving can start immediately.  Life as you knew it has ended and you are thrust into a world full doctors, appts, chemo treatments, medications, and the never-ending supply of people who are only too happy to tell you what they think you should do, or criticize what you are doing.  Just navigating the medical system and being pushed to have this treatment or that treatment without being given enough information to make an informed decision had me wanting to pull my hair out and scream. The man I loved was dying and it seemed that some people, even those in the medical profession did not care, it was just another day at work for them.  He was just another cancer patient.  They did not know his story, or our combined story.  They did not know he had the biggest heart of anyone I knew and spent most of his life doing things for others or that he had finally started doing something he loved and was creating the most beautiful sculptures out of recycled metal. They did not know that I was terrified.  They did not know us and did not have the time or the desire in some cases to get to know us.  They did not know.

I made it my mission to let them know.  I talked to people, I annoyed some people, I got pushy with some people and I even told some people off.  They said I was angry.  Your damn right I was angry.  I was angry, terrified,  heartbroken, and I was watching this big strong man who was my rock waste away and there was nothing I could do to stop any of it.  One of the most annoying questions I was asked when people found out Howard had cancer was,” Oh, what type of cancer is it?”  What the hell does that matter?  I would tell them lung cancer and immediately their next question was “did he smoke”?  So if he smoked then he deserved to have this cancer, he brought it on himself.  If that was the case, then all assholes should get colon cancer, and heartless greedy people should have cancer of the heart, well they do have a type of cancer already, it is cancer of the soul.  Don’t be one of those people!  So my guy is fighting for his life and some people don’t ask if there is anything they can do, they just want to know what type of cancer he has so they can go to sleep at night knowing it will not happen to them because they don’t smoke.  Yup, I was a little angry.  But that is also one of the stages of grief, so are denial, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  The experts in the field of grieving and loss bandy these stages around and some think it can all be summed up just like that.  The bad news is it is much more complex, sometimes you are in one stage, sometimes the stages overlap and other times (at least for me) there seemed to be whole new stages that had no label.

What are these new stages you ask? When the shit hits the fan make them laugh,  they will never know how torn up inside you are.  If you have read any of my earlier posts you may have the idea that I have a sense of humor and you would be right.  My sense of humor along with dear friends and family helped me get through one of the toughest periods of my life.  If you have a sense of humour use it, if you don’t then cultivate one and watch comedies that make you laugh or do whatever you need to do to laugh.  Laughter heals, even hysterical grieving laughter heals.  My sense of humour is a little warped sometimes and it is one of the ways I deal with life,  my inner comedian comes out. It is one of my strategies for coping with life.  It came out at my mother’s funeral, it came out at my father’s deathbed and it came out when the six of us ( Howard’s parents Pat and Bob, Me and 3 dear friends) were sitting in the living room with Howard waiting for the funeral home to come take his body away.  I sat on the bed beside him and did the only thing I was capable of doing at the time.  I told funny stories about our life together and we all cried and laughed together.  I was exhausted, I was heartbroken, I was relieved it was over, I was terrified and consumed with guilt for feeling relieved that it was over.  I made everyone leave around 4:30 am and collapsed on my bed.  I did not remember anything for six hours.

Did I mention, that I did not get much sleep last night?  Well, now I am really tired and having trouble getting my thoughts out through my fingers so I will end this here.  If you want to know more and haven’t already clicked on something more entertaining, then I will  let you know what I called the other stages in the next few days.  I think they should all be renamed.  All that is going through my head at the moment is the seven dwarves but that would be way too Disney for me. I think the stages of grief need some new labels that have a little edge and a little humor in them.  I definitely think one needs to be called, How dare you die and leave me here all alone to deal with this shit!  Can’t believe I just typed that but it is true.  Don’t judge too harshly.  Hi ho, Hi ho, it’s off to the pub I go.

Love you all

Donna

PS  That is one of Howard’s sculptures in the picture and one of my favorites!

Books and other Poop

It is 5:29 in the morning and I am sitting on the sofa with my sunny yellow mug filled with coffee and a dash of french vanilla creamer.  Shawn and the dog are still sleeping so I have a bit of time to myself.  Even though I don’t write as often anymore, I am still up before the sun on most days.  I turned 55 last week while I was in Florida.  Some of my sister’s friends sang happy birthday to me, there were also cards, cake and a few phone calls from home.  I must say it was a little surreal standing in a strangers house having people I really don’t know singing happy birthday to me and giving me hugs.  I love hugs!  I would rather hug you than shake your hand!  The next day my sister and I attended the Hay House writer’s workshop in Orlando at the Omni resort.  What a beautiful hotel!  Even though the workshop didn’t start until Saturday, I wanted to arrive a day early and relax, have a nice meal and a glass of wine.  We went outside after supper to sit by a huge fire next to the pool and we ran into a number of people that were also attending the workshop.  It is amazing how quickly like-minded people can bond!  We shared stories, laughter and hugs and oh yes a few glasses of wine.

The next morning we are off to the workshop and the energy level was high with anticipation.  I, of course, head directly to the book table.  I love books!  I love the way they smell, the way they feel and the way the little black markings on the page can transport you to another world and allow you to see it through someone else’s heart and mind.  Yup, bought my first book in the first five minutes.  It was Mike Dooley’s latest book called “Playing the Matrix.”   I love his inspirational story and his uplifting writing.  Now I am not one to normally have my picture taken with people, I don’t like having my picture taken, but I saw Mike Dooley and I was on him before he even had his table set up and now that I think back to it, I believe my sister zoomed right in front of me and got to him first.  Not only is she tiny, but she is fast like a little book ninja. Needless to say the two of us, we are book whores extraordinaire, were like small kids at Christmas.  I got a hug from Mike, my picture taken with him and my newly purchased book signed.  Turns out Mike was also one of the first speakers at the workshop.  Who knew that publishing a book was so complicated or that the road to having a book published is a long one that meanders along a rocky coastline with hidden bays and unexpected treasures.  Here is a picture of me, my sister Marg and Mike.  I’m the one on the right, the tall sister!

Well, I guess that the last paragraph let the cat out of the bag.  Yup, I am writing a book.  Let me try that again, OH MY GOD I AM WRITING A BOOK!  I don’t want to tell you too much about it at the moment because (a) I want you to buy my book and (b) I am trying to build up some mystery and suspense so you will buy my book.  I hope you are laughing, because I am and the bonus is laughter heals!  So far I have the title and tagline and a bunch of writing material that needs to be organized, refined, edited and reorganized refined and edited again.  I need to do a book proposal, which will take a few months.  I have a lot of work to do and I am so excited.  This is happening in large part because of all of you who read this blog and have connected with me over the last two years.  You listened when I needed someone to talk to.   You also gave me feedback and the courage to move forward.  I can be brave on my own but when you have hundreds of people cheering you on bravery is taken to a whole new level.  I have also decided that I will continue this little blog, my sightly soiled home in cyberspace so to speak, mainly because I still want and need it and all of you in my life.  You are my cyber-family!  So, if you feel like getting in touch with me,  please send an email to  lifeinaslightlysoiledchair@gmail.com  I would love to hear from you!

I have to tell you a few things about my sister Marg.  She has the biggest heart of anyone I know and she is extremely funny. She will be starting her own blog and website soon.  I am trying to talk her into making her first blog post on pooping in public!  We had some public bathroom trauma at the conference and when she was telling me about her experience I laughed so hard I cried because it was hilarious and yes, we have all had to poop in public at some point in our lives.  I would also like to thank my sister Marg for being a cosmic cheerleader in my life and for loving me in a way that only she can!  Thanks, Marg, I love you bunches and bunches.  So three cosmic cheers for everyone who is brave enough to be themselves and share their story.

Hug lots of people today!!!!!!
Love ya

Donna

 

 

 

Two Years Later

I can’t sleep tonight and the need to write is strong. I have a feeling that this might be my last blog post on a Life in a Slightly Soiled Chair. There is a new blog taking shape in my heart and in my mind, but I am unable to describe it for you at the moment. This new chapter in my life and my writing is still taking shape and in all honesty, I don’t think I will know what it is until I start to write it. It has been exactly two years since Howard passed away and my world crumbled and I think this last post needs to be a letter to him but I have decided to share it with you. For some reason I think that if I put this out there, it will travel to all the corners of the universe and Howard will read it somewhere, somehow.

Hi Howard, it has been two years since you left this earth and sometimes it feels like yesterday and at other times it seems like centuries. I still miss you and think I always will. You know that I don’t remember dates for anything, all that well, but I think that my heart and body remember on a cellular level the moment that you left. I am not the same person, your life changed me and your death changed me again. I would not alter one moment of our life together, but I would trade everything to change the end of it for you. Oh yeah, I would like a redo on the day our house was raided and we were arrested, yup, I would change that. That was a crazy day and I am still convinced that they had the wrong house regardless of what the paperwork said. All they had to do was look at the dead plants on the deck to realize that I couldn’t grow a potted plant let alone a pot plant. We had the last laugh on that one, didn’t we!

I did plant a garden from seeds this year, but you already know that. This garden turned out much better than the year I decided to plant one in our backyard. Even the raven sitting on the pagoda laughed at my attempt to garden. I remember that you came out of the shop and asked, “Did that raven just laugh at you?” I managed to keep most of this one alive, with some help, and have had some wonderful meals with the vegetables from it. You remember how much I love bok choy? Well, apparently the deer love it more because I did not get to eat any of it. I did have an abundance of radishes. Deer do not eat radishes. Who knew? I tried to feed some to the cow Oatsie, but she didn’t want them either. Note to self, do not plant that many radishes ever again.

Yesterday I was in a friends store and saw some spirit bells. I was fascinated with these bells and took one home with me. I just could not keep this bell out of my hands and jiggled it around the whole time I was in the store. After I got home I remembered that in the last few weeks of your life you said you would ring bells. I gave you a bell beside your bed when you couldn’t get up by yourself so if you needed me I would hear it. Did you know that I slept with that bell beside my bed for months after you passed away waiting for you to ring it? I had a dream last night that I woke up and it was the exact moment that you passed away. All those emotions rose up in me like a huge wave threatening to drown me and you in spirit form kissed my head and told me it was okay. You also said a few other things and I went back to sleep feeling peaceful and loved.

I miss talking to you and sometimes have conversations with you in my head. I would talk to you out loud, but people already think I’m a little odd. Once in a while, I feel your presence and an image of you pops into my head. You always have a huge smile on your face and that light in your eyes that you always had when you were up to something. I loved that face. I keep thinking about your hands for some reason. They were large sturdy hands that were always covered in cuts and scrapes. Your hands were always busy sculpting, fixing, welding, weeding, cooking or petting a dog. Those large calloused hands were also gentle and I don’t think I ever felt safe in my life until you held my face in your hands and kissed me. I don’t think I ever felt safe or loved in my life until I met you.

There are so many things I want to tell you. I also believe that you already know everything that is in my heart. There is a space in my heart that will never be filled. One thing you did teach me is that our hearts are big and I can keep that space for you and still have enough room for other people. I took a risk last year and have someone new in my life. He too is teaching me much about love and life. He challenges me sometimes, makes me laugh constantly and encourages me to try new things and grow. We have a great group of friends and get together regularly at the pub or in our kitchen, which is filled with food, love and laughter. We both believe that you set the stage for us to get together when you sold him my raven sculpture. I remember how excited you were with the trade the two of you made. He also has a big heart and since the two of you were friends there is a place in his heart for you as well. We have the first sculpture you made called Victorious ( I affectionately call her Booba) and the last one you finished, the rhino, in our yard. The raven you sold him sits on top of the gatepost at the end of the driveway and when I moved in we put the second raven that you made for me on the other gatepost. I always think of them and you watching over us and protecting us. We also have the gorilla sculpture peering out of the bamboo. That was my favorite of all your sculptures even though I teased you about becoming a gorilla while you were creating it.

I want you to know that I am happy in my new life. Shawn and I are having many adventures together and in some way take a part of you with us on each of them. We took your toolbox with us when we went to Bonneville this year and God knows we could have used your mechanical skills while we were there. The racing did not go as well as expected. It was still an amazing trip though because of the people we met and old friends we got to see again. That is the most important thing anyway, the people in our lives. I am so glad that I got to be part of your life and hope I brought some joy and laughter to yours. I do know that some of my crazy antics brought some comic relief and I can still see you looking at me and shaking your head with that what am I going to do with her expression on your face. We had a few hard times and we had many more great times. Howard, you were an amazing man and the thing that amazed me the most was that you loved me. You loved me so much that I can still feel it.

Love the people in your life
Hug each other and laugh over the stupid stuff
Donna

Shaped by the Past, Sculpted by Dreams

I have been awake at 4:44 am for the last three mornings. I am not sure why, and this morning I was having a dream about Alfred Hitchcock which will make my friend Debra laugh. So, I decided to sit and write while the coffee is brewing and see what comes up. I think about things a lot, my mind never seems to stop unless I sit and meditate and lately even that is difficult. I have this unsettled feeling swirling around inside me and I cannot explain it. It is almost as if I am waiting for something to happen and feel like my life has been in a holding pattern for a long time. Weird huh? I you have any insight into this please let me know.

One thing that has been on my mind lately is my childhood. Most likely because my sister is writing a book and we have been discussing some of these things lately. My sister and I are 13 years apart in age (she is older) and had completely different lives growing up. Her father was an angry abusive man and mine was the gentlest of souls who rarely got angry. Our mother met my father after her first husband was killed in an accident. It amazes me that four children in the same family can be so different and have such varied responses to life events and their memories of them. It makes me wonder how reliable my memory of events actually is.

Growing up in a family filled with alcoholism and all the dysfunction that comes with it teaches you some things. It teaches you to not take responsibility for your own actions. Someone else is the cause of your anger, your need to drink, your inability to get ahead in life etc. etc. It teaches you to keep secrets. God forbid if anyone every found out what really goes on in your home or your head. They would turn away from you in disgust, wouldn’t they? One of the biggest things it teaches you is fear and mistrust. When you cannot trust your own family how could you trust others? When you live in a constant state of fear it takes a toll on you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. You are always living in anticipation of the next drunken tirade that is filled with discord and abuse, in some cases physical and in some cases emotional and in a lot of cases both. Not pretty is it? I remember phoning home everyday from school to ask my mother if she needed anything from the store just so I could check her tone of voice to see if she was drinking. If she was sober I would go home, if she was drinking I would go somewhere else. This is the only world I knew and alcohol was destined to play a large role in the rest of my life. I was enrolled in Life Skills 101 with an alcohol fueled instructors. I was taught to think and navigate life like an alcoholic. All I wanted was to be loved and spent many years looking for that in all the wrong places. I didn’t understand that I needed to love myself before I could offer it to or receive it from another person.

In my thirties I found myself drinking a lot and married to someone who drank enough that his work forced him into a rehab program. The alcohol saga continued, but it was a familiar one and I knew it well. Funny thing though, I ended up walking through the doors of AA in 1992 and my life was changed forever. It was in those church basement meetings that I was taught the healthy life skills that I was not taught growing up. It did not happen over night because my conditioning was firmly entrenched and they were asking me to feel my emotions and take responsibility for myself, both of which I had no idea how to do. I discovered that I only had two emotions, or states of being, angry or not angry. I sometimes still revert to anger in extremely stressful situations. However, anger is not all bad and boy oh boy can I get some housework done when I am trying to get rid of some anger in a healthy way. I have made a lot of discoveries about anger since then and that emotion is rarely caused by someone else or their actions.

It has been over 20 years since I started this journey of healing. I have learned a few things that have improved my life and me as a person. I still have much to learn, but look forward to it. It is impossible to know yourself with out understanding what made you who you are. One thing is for sure, you always have choices regardless of your life circumstance. Sometimes you may feel like you don’t have any choices but you do. You choose whether you are hardened or softened by your experiences. You can also make new choices every day. You and you alone are responsible for the person you are today. Your life experiences began to mold you, but you are like an artist finishing the beautiful sculpture that is you.

I guess I have rambled a bit, though that is not unusual for me. I understand my mother and what caused her to be who she was. I also want you to know that every time I think about her with love and forgiveness her spirit becomes lighter and brighter. The people who were in our lives and have passed on are aware of our feelings and the repercussions of their actions when they walked this earth. We get to choose whether we will hang on to the anger, bitterness, or whatever else we are feeling. There is freedom in fully accepting responsibility for who you are. You can let the past shape your future if you want. Sculpt yourself, paint yourself, sing yourself or write yourself a new future based on who you want to be, not what has happened to you.

Treat others with kindness and compassion
Hug yourself for me

Donna

A Year of Grace

Apparently it can take more than one year to figure out who you are after your life is torn apart!  I didn’t realize how much of my identity was derived from my business and my relationship.  Once those things were gone, there I was standing naked, feeling exposed and alone, wondering what the hell I was going to do.  I have moved on with my life in a number of ways and most of the time it was trial and error and the best things were happy accidents.  This is the first time in my life I am not working, since the age of 15, and I also didn’t realize how much my self worth was tied into my job and being productive.  It has been one hell of a year with lots of ups and downs but the ups are winning.

I have done things in the last year I never thought I would do.  I tried online dating without much success.  How the heck do you write a profile?  The best and most honest one I could come up with went something like this:  I don’t dye my hair, I don’t wear make up, I own 6 pairs of black boots and I have all my own teeth.  There were few who were intrigued by this!  I finally gave up on the dating thing and asked someone I knew a bit if they were interested in being my friend with benefits, even though I wasn’t really sure what that meant.  Well, this friend with benefits thing turned into much more than I was expecting.  He helped me find the joy in life again and continuously makes me laugh.  He is a very private person so he may not like me writing about this.  Oops, too late.  I guess I just want you all to know that when you least expect it, someone or something is going to come along and help you find the joy in life again.  I also started this blog in the last year after a spiritual awakening of sorts and gained so much from not only the writing of it but hearing what other people had to say about it.  Some comments were surprising and made me see that I was constantly downplaying who I was and what I contributed to the world just by being myself.

Each of us has something to contribute.  You don’t have to move mountains or earn six figures to have value to this world. Sometimes a kind word or a smile can change the course of someones day or life for that matter.  I recently ran into my former husband who I have not been married to since 1998.  I was a little uncomfortable at first but we had a few chats and it was like having coffee with an old friend.  I also had lunch with his parents a few days ago while they were in town and it was a joy to see them again.  I forgot how much I adored them and realized that when we got divorced I essentially divorced a lot of people in my life.  The pain of that period of my life is long dealt with and gone, there is nothing left but love for all of them.  One thing my former husband said in a text message really made me stop and think.  He said, “Maybe you just bring out the best in everyone.”  Perhaps I do, though my first thought upon reading those words was I am not that special.

If you have the ability to approach people and love them unconditionally that is special. If you can let them be them without judgement that is a wonderful gift, not only to them but yourself.  Don’t try to change people, love them for who they are and just by doing that you give them the space they need to grow and change because they want to, not because you think they should.  Don’t restrict other people or your love for them because of your own definition of right or wrong, good or bad.  Open your heart and the world opens its heart right back.  Besides, do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?  I love being wrong.

So, I would some up the last year as a year of grace.  There is a gracefulness to awkwardly finding your way.  There is grace in the tears of grief as well as tears of joy.  I am one of those people who cry when I am happy!  There is grace in this world, it is all around you and you can see it if you look for it.  You know what they say, you get what you expect.  So expect grace, expect kindness, expect love, just expect great and wonderful things to happen all around you.

 

Be kind to yourself.
Hug everyone like you mean it!

Donna
aka Miss Daisy

No Strings

I am sitting once again in my slightly soiled chair with a coffee beside me in my sunny yellow mug. It is five thirty in the morning and the birds are singing the sun up with cheerful little songs. It has all the makings of a wonderful day even though I have only had about four hours sleep. I had trouble settling down last night. There were a few things weighing on my mind and my heart. I have started making plans and dreaming and low and behold the universe throws a few curve balls at me just to see if I am paying attention and waits to see how I will handle it.

Have you ever had one of those moments where certain events in your life become clear in their meaning. I had one of those moments last night and I have to admit that it scared me a little. Actually my response was “well shit.” It reminded me that certain things are beyond my control. I can say I want this, I don’t want that till the cows come home and the universe in its wisdom will give me what I need. I never expected to fall in love with my life again, I never expected to feel or experience so much joy and peace again. Some of the best moments of my life have happened when I was not expecting it.

So I had a moment of clarity and it scared me. I am not sure scared is the right word. Perhaps it is more being unsure with a tiny bit of fear thrown in. I don’t know where this path will lead but I trust in the universe to guide me along and in the meantime will set the fear aside. No one knows what tomorrow will bring but I have had a few visions of the future and they do not coincide with what I thought I wanted. Perhaps there is a lesson in that. Do not be so tied to what you want and don’t want that you miss the wonderful people and opportunities right in front of you. Be flexible with your how your mind and heart respond to the events and people in your life. Be teachable.

I have ideas about how I would like things to be and have expressed a large number of those ideas on this blog. One thing that I do know for certain is that as long as I let my heart rule over my mind life is as it should be. The minute I start over thinking things and second guessing every decision, fears settles in and my mind gains control. Fear versus love the eternal struggle for control. So the universe is putting people and situations in my path to see if I can actually live what I say. Anyone can say anything, but can they back it up with action. The universe is saying enough talk Donna lets see some action.

So, I have said numerous times that it is all about living with your heart wide open. But what does that really mean to me? It is about others not about me. For one of the first times in my life, I have led a very self-centered life up to this point, the happiness of others comes before my own. I want the people around me to know what it means to be loved for just being them, no strings attached. I want to bring peace and joy with me everywhere I go and spread that around. I want the people in my life to know that they are appreciated and that I truly see them for who they are and that they are more than enough. I thought I knew what love was. The universe has shown me lately that I have only danced around the edges of it in the past. Well shit!

Have a bliss filled day
Hug people
Donna

Kitchens of Love and Laughter

Woke up this morning at 5:30 to a wet world that smells so fresh.  It rained during the night and the birds were singing enthusiastically this morning in celebration.  We have not had much rain this spring and us locals usually call our home the Wet Coast.  I love the sunny weather we are having, but (I can’t believe I am saying this) I miss the rain. It gives me an excuse to stay home and curl up with a good book and a glass of tea.

Cooked supper for friends last night and I realized how much I missed a kitchen full of people laughing, talking and eating together.  I have lived my life in self imposed isolation for so long that I forgot what it was like to be surrounded by people.  I am looking forward to buying a new home and cooking for friends.  I love to cook and try new recipes.  Well, I read recipes for inspiration then do my own thing.  I have never been great at following directions!  Some of my best memories involve being in someone’s kitchen with a group of friends.  I spent a lot of time in other people’s kitchens while growing up, playing cards, making music,eating, drinking and laughing.  So I spent the night at a friend’s house and am writing this morning at their kitchen island.  There is much food and laughter shared around this island.  I also have come to realize that this kitchen and the people in it have become a huge part of my life and my healing.  The kitchens of my past were filled with love and laughter and I know the kitchens of my future will be as well.

I am going to pay more attention to kitchens.  I think they truly are the heart of the home. Pay attention to what goes on in your own kitchen as this could be a barometer for the atmosphere of your home.  I like a tidy kitchen, it doesn’t have to be spotless but tidy and organized without a doubt.  I cannot cook in a messy kitchen.  I do have to admit that I have wanted to organize the kitchen for a few people and have even done it once.  I don’t really care if your kitchen is messy, it is your kitchen.  I do not judge you based on the condition of your kitchen.  It is your heart that captures me.  I watch how you treat other people, your family, and see how willing you are to laugh at yourself and the life stuff that is tossed your way.  If you have heart I don’t care how tidy your house is.

Just got a text message with a tarot card for the day from the Osho Zen tarot deck.  Oddly enough, the card was isolation but they spell it ice-olation.  My self imposed isolation was in a sense like being encased in a block of ice and my friends both old and new are contributing to my melting and merging back into a warm and caring community.  They are helping me find myself again. This is a family, the people who feed my body and soul.  Family is so much more than just blood relatives. Family is also the people you choose to spend time with that nurture your spirit and encourage you to be the best you possible.  I hope that in some small way I do the same for them, they mean the world to me.

So, as I sit here beside a fish named George pondering the significance of kitchens and families, I am filled with warm memories and heated hopes and desires.  There is fire in my soul once again and while I do not know what the future holds for me I am full of excited anticipation like a small child on Christmas morning.  Everyday brings more light and clarity of heart.  You have given me the space to heal and for that I thank you and give you the biggest and warmest hug.  Thank you for allowing me to find myself again.  If you ever get to Vancouver Island send a message, perhaps we can get together in the kitchen of my new home and fill it with food, companionship and wild hearted laughter.  I am looking forward to it.  Peace and love to all of you.

Hug trees and please don’t kill spiders

Donna

 

 

Spirit Says

Well this morning I decided to change things up and sit in my slightly soiled chair once again.  It definitely gives me a different perspective on the room .  I even grabbed a different coffee mug out of the cupboard and my coffee is steaming away in a mug created by a local artist that has a woman and a white raven on it.  Sometimes I feel the need to change things and other times the comfort of routine and familiarity is what I crave. That commercial jingle “sometimes I feel like a nut, sometimes I don’t”, keeps running through my mind.  I realize I talk about living with heart a lot and today will be no exception.  Spirit tells me that they cannot emphasize how important us living from our heart is and that the world needs as many heart centered people as it can get.    Keep writing, spirit says, talk about the heart spirit says.  Fine, fine I will do it but people are going to get tired of it very quickly.

So what is all this heart based writing about?  If you look back over history we have done some horrible things to each other, animals and the planet.  Most of these acts come from a place of fear, the need for power over, plain old greed and ego.  We cannot continue to behave in the same way and expect different results.  Something has to change.  While there have always been people doing great selfless things, I think the numbers are swelling. The media is focused on feeding the fears and the feel good stories are few and far between.  The internet and social media have given some a platform for policing and reporting on the actions of others.  They see someone doing something they don’t agree with and snap a picture and post it to Facebook.  I noticed the other day someone had taken a picture of the back of someones car and called them out for throwing a cigarette butt out of their window.  Stupid thing to do definitely, but did the person snapping the picture stop and deal with the cigarette butt or just go on a rant about it.  This type of calling someone out makes me uncomfortable though I am not sure why.  Brings to mind police state, witch trials, and lynch mobs I guess.  This makes me nervous.  What does this have to do with heart centered living?  Absolutely nothing, isn’t that great!

It doesn’t have anything to do with the heart.  It is all about right and wrong, us and them etc etc.  There is even a local page dedicated to calling out people who park without regard for others.  Why would someone spend so much of their time on a page like this?  I would like to have a coffee and a chat with them to see what lies underneath the need to out bad parkers in a public form.  I had someone come into my shop and she had some psychic abilities.  She looked at me and said there is nothing but fear stopping you.  I was a little offended and curious at the time.  Then she reached out and touched me which made me extremely uncomfortable ( I don’t like strangers touching me) and said, “They can’t kill you this time.”  I completely forgot about her hand on my arm  and almost danced for joy because she woke something up in me with that statement.  I thought, you are right it is not easy for them to kill me for my beliefs this time.  It was like a great weight was lifted off of my shoulders.  I was free to be me.

So I talk about spirit, the universe, animals, symbols, plants and energy healing.  At one point in our history that would have gotten me burned at the stake.  In this day and age you would think people would not have the same fears but those who were persecuted and the people who persecuted them have passed down their beliefs and their DNA to their descendants and depending on your belief system some have carried the echoes of these things into the life that they are in now.  I remember some of my past lives and I was usually the persecuted one because I have always been a healer in some capacity or another.  In this life some people still react with fear.  They are afraid I can see the things they try to hide from others and they are right sometimes I can.  So could anyone else that observes people on a regular basis and reads their body language and watches how they interact with others.  That does not take psychic abilities.

I see what motivates people, the essence of who they are, spirit animals and I now see (this is a new thing) some of the people in their lives who are no longer with us.  I say I see, but that is not an accurate description.  I feel them and am unable to explain it any better than that.  I get feelings and just know certain things.  Right now there is a spirit hovering over my left shoulder reading as I am writing.  I cannot see her but I know she is female and believe this is my maternal Grandmother.  She just turned to me and smiled when I typed grandmother.  For some reason she is very excited about what I am writing, maybe interested is a better word.  I come from a line of people who had strong intuitive abilities and perhaps my Grandmother was one of them she is nodding her head and has her hands clasped together.  I know that my mother used to see people who had crossed over but she was not comfortable with it and never spoke about it.  Thanks Grandma!

What does all this have to do with living a heart entered life?  I know, sometimes it takes me a while to get to the point  We all have gifts or talents, whatever you want to call them.  If you are coming from a place of love or with heart those talents are of great service to the entire planet and all its inhabitants. If you don’t know what your talents are look to your heart.  It will almost burst with joy when you find it.  What makes your soul light up?  Find that.  Do that, even if you don’t think you are ready.  I was having a bit of a rebellious streak and told spirit they could wait until I was damn ready to write.  They told me that was fine, I was only wasting my own time!  So much for the rebellion.  I hope that the person with the parking page realizes that their talents and time are wasted on  that and they have far more to contribute.  I hope they discover their gifts because what they are doing is not far off the mark.  They just need to shift their time and focus to something other than badly parked cars.

So stop avoiding your talent or gift and stop focusing on what others may or may not be doing.  Look for the things that make your soul light up, that is what we are supposed to contribute to the world.  Sometimes it is the smallest talent that has the most impact so do not discount it even if it seems odd or tiny in comparison with others.  Stop comparing and just be you.  You are enough and you were born to do this.  Go out there and spread some love today.

Okay, I went outside for a moment before I hit the publish button and had two strange experiences.  I was wishing that my writing skills were better than they are and that I was more eloquent.  Spirit said enough of that.  Spirit wants you to know that the fears are constructed by your mind and wants me to remind you that your heart is fearless.  So live fearlessly and follow your heart.  I also encountered a male spirit who was distraught.  He was pacing up and down the path and muttering to himself so I asked him what was wrong.  He said, “I lost it, I lost it all!”  Don’t ask me how I know but he was swindled out of all his money and felt ashamed and did not want to go home and face his family.  We had a quick discussion and by the end of it he had a huge smile on his face and waved goodbye as I stood on the path with tears streaming down my face because once again I got to witness the power of love and compassion.  What a wonderful way to start the day.

 

Much love and many hugs to all

Donna

The Heart Knows

I woke up yesterday morning with a new energy and renewed spirit. This was a much welcomed change. I haven’t been feeling down the last few weeks, it was more of a flat feeling if that makes any sense. So, I have been pondering this change in my energy and trying to uncover what it is. What is at the root of it. I would have to say that it stems from my heart. What is really interesting is that it spreads out and touches the people I come in contact with. You know that saying smile and the whole world smiles with you? Well, it is true. If you live from your heart people cannot help but respond to you from theirs. It is contagious in a good way. Sure there are still some people who do not seem to have a heart to respond with but it is in there. It may be hardened and dried up a little but love them anyway. One thing I have a gift for is cracking the tough shell of cranky old men and old women for that matter. I love the cranky ones and always have. When I worked in a nursing home my coworkers would ask me why a certain patient was so nice to me and so mean to everyone else. I told them it was because I loved them and they knew it! On some level people can see through the bullshit and know who has a heart and isn’t afraid to use it.
I just had a flashback to a vision I had about my life when I was a child. I will just say that my relationship with my Mom was not an easy one, she was hard to love. The universe gave me the opportunity to look at all the interactions I had with my Mom and how different things could have been for her if I had responded to her with love instead of through my fears. I was also shown how different things would have been for me. Until you learn the lesson the universe keeps putting the same issues in front of you until you deal with it. The people may change and the situation my change but it is the same issue over and over. Since I chose to respond to people from my heart instead of my head, that dark space where the fear lurks, life has changed dramatically. Do I still have fears? Oh yeah baby I still have fears, I am merely human. But I have chosen to respond with love despite my fears and insecurities.
When we tell ourselves things like, I always have trouble expressing myself or I will never get along with my brother, we are reinforcing that idea. Someone told me to change the way I said things and I would start to notice changes. What I did was put the words in the past in front of these statements. In the past I never got along with my brother. This leaves the future open to a different outcome. So regardless of what you have struggled with in the past that is where it belongs, do not let your past experiences dictate the future. That small change in the way I spoke had a huge impact. I now try to choose my words more carefully. The answer to all of our troubles is always inside us. Someone I know was talking about his disastrous relationships. Two failed marriages were weighing on his heart and mind. I kindly pointed out that the only thing all of his relationships had in common was him. Then we both burst out laughing! When I realized that I had the solutions to any problem inside my own heart and accepted ownership of the issue and the solution my entire perspective changed. I make it sound easy, but it was not. It took a lot of work both internal and external. Fortunately the universe kept testing my new found skills and helped me hone them. Do I love everyone? No I do not, I treat them with kindness and compassion but I do not give them much time or waste my energy on them. I do say a little prayer for them though.
I have someone in my life who I really enjoy spending time with. I am out of my comfort zone sometimes with this person, but I do not let that stop me from getting to know them or interacting with them heart wide open. The world is a better place because they are in it and they make my soul want to dance. I enjoy them for who they are at this moment and all their little quirks and idiosyncrasies. I have fears, but will be damned if I am going to let them dictate this relationship or any other one. My past is not going to colour the future. I have wiped the slate clean and the future is only full of possibilities. Perhaps it is easy for me to do this because the life I had ended abruptly. I am not sure. All I know is that I take each day as it comes and try to deal with any issues as they come up. I have the answers inside my heart. What do you want out of a relationship? Do you want acceptance? Then give that to the other person. Whatever it is that you want, that is what you have to give. Simple isn’t it? 
I stopped for a minute to refill my coffee and had a vision of my heart. When you think of someone’s heart the colour red comes to mind for most of us. Well, I will tell you a secret, the colour of my heart is blue. It is a calm peaceful blue like a clean clear ocean warmed by the summer sun. It is liquid like the ocean too, the colours change in depth and swirl and shift and swell. Can you see it? Can you feel it? Well, my warm blue heart wishes you a love filled day and please don’t let fear stop you from having the life and relationships you want to have. Get out there and open your heart to the world. I promise you will not regret it!

Much love to all

Donna