Thursday, December 29, 2016

How to change just about anything

Nick Wilton's Art2Life blog is as much about life as it is about art. This seemed particularly true this week in his post about getting into the flow of creativity.

[The flow of creativity] has to do with one simple thing. One simple thing that is available to anyone, anytime and practically anywhere. It is action. 
When we take action, when we begin, physically doing something, in our art, or even our lives, even if we are not so sure of where we are going, I believe it automatically begins the creative, flow state. Creativity does not magically appear because we create the right conditions. It comes automatically once we begin. Once we start it starts.

This makes sense to me for anything we want to manifest: changing, creating, loving. We can think and talk all we want but when we take an action (pick up the paint brush, put down the fork, walk on by the ice cream, do the kindness), things begin to align for us. The flow in the right direction happens and picks up speed. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Taking simplifying my life to a new level

In Matthew Kelly's book Perfectly Yourself:  9 Lessons for Enduring Happiness, the lesson that has had the biggest impact for me is the one on simplicity. I'm already a big proponent of decluttering and having a simpler environment. Even as a child, I knew that having things tidy helped me be more peaceful. And last year I embraced Marie Kondo's tidying-up with enthusiasm.

Kelly's discussion of simplifying does include his version of that, which he calls dejunking his environment, but it goes beyond our stuff. It includes also what he calls our moments of decision, where we commit our time and energy. This resonated with me because I'm finding myself awake in the middle of the night scheming as to how I can keep all the plates spinning as I ride my unicycle through life.

I have a great life and many interests, and that is leading to an embarrassment of riches in opportunities. And like any good consumer, I'm reluctant to do two things: turn down new opportunities and not explore the current opportunities to the fullest. So I'm finding myself with four businesses and two artistic endeavors, all asking for a lot of time. I'm a high energy person but even for me, this is too much.

So following Kelly's advice, I looked at what I have and what I want. Where are my priorities and what's most in line with my values. And here's what I came to: I want and need to continue to make art and write books. I need to continue editing as my primary income. And I am committed to promoting the Life between Meals program for the enxt 12 months. So that means setting my art business and big marketing efforts for my books aside for now. And while my perfectionist self is saying No, come on, you can do it all, I know that's not true. And there's relief in the paring down.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Inspirational lyrics from Holly Near

I am open and I am willing
For to be hopeless would seem so strange
It dishonors those who go before us
So lift me up to the light of change

There is hurting in my family
There is sorrow in my town
There is panic in the nation
There is wailing the whole world round

May the children see more clearly
May the elders be more wise

May the winds of change caress us
Even though it burns our eyes

Give me a mighty oak to hold my confusion
Give me a desert to hold my fears
Give me a sunset to hold my wonder
Give me an ocean to hold my tears

Thanks to my good friend Ethel Gullette for sending this my way in her birthday wishes. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A beautiful poem by Jan Richardson

I've long been a fan of the work of photographer/poet/author/thinker Jan Richardson. 

Blessing for the Longest Night



All throughout these months
as the shadows have lengthened,
this blessing has been gathering itself,
making ready, preparing for this night.
It has practiced walking in the dark,
traveling with its eyes closed,
feeling its way by memory
by touch
by the pull of the moon even as it wanes.
So believe me when I tell you
this blessing will reach you
even if you have not light enough to read it;
it will find you even though you cannot see it coming.
You will know the moment of its arriving
by your release of the breath you have held so long;
a loosening of the clenching in your hands,
of the clutch around your heart;
a thinning of the darkness that had drawn itself
around you.
This blessing does not mean to take the night away
but it knows its hidden roads,
knows the resting spots along the path,
knows what it means to travel in the company
of a friend.
So when this blessing comes, take its hand.
Get up.
Set out on the road you cannot see.
This is the night when you can trust
that any direction you go,
you will be walking toward the dawn.

                                                          Jan Richardson
                                                          (janrichardson.com)

Friday, December 16, 2016

The importance of a circle of friends

I recently had a very challenging situation with a long-term client. She had decided to write one more book in her chosen field before she retired and contacted me about a year ago to edit for her and help her manage the project. She had recently been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment due to a head injury involving a sidewalk and a 6-month-old German Shepherd. She assured me that she was fine and could do the project.

As the months progressed, we ran into more and more difficulties. Her short-term memory deteriorated until she could no longer remember how to attach a document. She also couldn't remember what we had agreed to each do to move the project along. We'd have what seemed like lucid exchanges on the phone or via email and then she wouldn't remember anything. As this happened more and more often, she got angry and frustrated and became abusive, and this week I resigned from the project. I was just worn out and I refuse to work with abusive clients.

So where does the circle of friends come in? I've known this woman 15 years. She was partnered when I met her but she and her partner split up a decade ago. Then two years ago she moved to Eugene to care for her older brother (he's 80 and she's 74 or so). She knows no one in Eugene. She has no real friends in Portland either. I suspect no one is watching out for her. No one is going to step in as she goes further down this path of impairment.

I did what I could. I sent an email to her ex-partner expressing my concern for this woman's wellbeing. I got no response and I have no idea whether they are still connected. But the lesson for me is in staying in touch with my generous circle of friends and my siblings, to keep a strong support network available.

Many of us aging women are living on our own. We need each other.

Monday, December 12, 2016

I found this incredibly value to consider

http://ravenmorganleigh.tumblr.com/post/153813290220/coping-with-chaos-in-the-white-house 

 

Coping with Chaos in the White House


A few days ago, I wrote a post for my Facebook friends about my personal experience with narcissistic personality disorder and how I view the president elect as a result. Unexpectedly, the post traveled widely, and it became clear that many people are struggling with how to understand and deal with this kind of behavior in a position of power. Although several writers, including a few professionals, have publicly offered their thoughts on a diagnosis, I am not a professional and this is not a diagnosis. My post is not intended to persuade anyone or provide a comprehensive description of NPD. I am speaking purely from decades of dealing with NPD and sharing strategies that were helpful for me in coping and predicting behavior. The text below is adapted from my original Facebook post.

I want to talk a little about narcissistic personality disorder. I’ve unfortunately had a great deal of experience with it, and I’m feeling badly for those of you who are trying to grapple with it for the first time because of our president-elect, who almost certainly suffers from it or a similar disorder. If I am correct, it has some very particular implications for the office. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1) It’s not curable and it’s barely treatable. He is who he is. There is no getting better, or learning, or adapting. He’s not going to “rise to the occasion” for more than maybe a couple hours. So just put that out of your mind.
2) He will say whatever feels most comfortable or good to him at any given time. He will lie a lot, and say totally different things to different people. Stop being surprised by this. While it’s important to pretend “good faith” and remind him of promises, as Bernie Sanders and others are doing, that’s for his supporters, so *they* can see the inconsistency as it comes. He won’t care. So if you’re trying to reconcile or analyze his words, don’t. It’s 100% not worth your time. Only pay attention to and address his actions.
3) You can influence him by making him feel good. There are already people like Bannon who appear ready to use him for their own ends. The GOP is excited to try. Watch them, not him. President Obama, in his wisdom, may be treating him well in hopes of influencing him and averting the worst. If he gets enough accolades for better behavior, he might continue to try it. But don’t count on it.
4) Entitlement is a key aspect of the disorder. As we are already seeing, he will likely not observe traditional boundaries of the office. He has already stated that rules don’t apply to him. This particular attribute has huge implications for the presidency and it will be important for everyone who can to hold him to the same standards as previous presidents.
5) We should expect that he only cares about himself and those he views as extensions of himself, like his children. (People with NPD often can’t understand others as fully human or distinct.) He desires accumulation of wealth and power because it fills a hole. (Melania is probably an acquired item, not an extension.) He will have no qualms *at all* about stealing everything he can from the country, and he’ll be happy to help others do so, if they make him feel good. He won’t view it as stealing but rather as something he’s entitled to do. This is likely the only thing he will intentionally accomplish.
6) It’s very, very confusing for non-disordered people to experience a disordered person with NPD. While often intelligent, charismatic and charming, they do not reliably observe social conventions or demonstrate basic human empathy. It’s very common for non-disordered people to lower their own expectations and try to normalize the behavior. DO NOT DO THIS AND DO NOT ALLOW OTHERS, ESPECIALLY THE MEDIA, TO DO THIS. If you start to feel foggy or unclear about this, step away until you recalibrate.
7) People with NPD often recruit helpers, referred to in the literature as “enablers” when they allow or cover for bad behavior and “flying monkeys” when they perpetrate bad behavior on behalf of the narcissist. Although it’s easiest to prey on malicious people, good and vulnerable people can be unwittingly recruited. It will be important to support good people around him if and when they attempt to stay clear or break away.
8) People with NPD often foster competition for sport in people they control. Expect lots of chaos, firings and recriminations. He will probably behave worst toward those closest to him, but that doesn’t mean (obviously) that his actions won’t have consequences for the rest of us. He will punish enemies. He may start out, as he has with the NYT, with a confusing combination of punishing/rewarding, which is a classic abuse tactic for control. If you see your media cooperating or facilitating this behavior for rewards, call them on it.
9) Gaslighting — where someone tries to convince you that the reality you’ve experienced isn’t true — is real and torturous. He will gaslight, his followers will gaslight. Many of our politicians and media figures already gaslight, so it will be hard to distinguish his amplified version from what has already been normalized. Learn the signs and find ways to stay focused on what you know to be true. Note: it is typically not helpful to argue with people who are attempting to gaslight. You will only confuse yourself. Just walk away.
10) Whenever possible, do not focus on the narcissist or give him attention. Unfortunately we can’t and shouldn’t ignore the president, but don’t circulate his tweets or laugh at him — you are enabling him and getting his word out. (I’ve done this, of course, we all have… just try to be aware.) Pay attention to your own emotions: do you sort of enjoy his clowning? do you enjoy the outrage? is this kind of fun and dramatic, in a sick way? You are adding to his energy. Focus on what you can change and how you can resist, where you are. We are all called to be leaders now, in the absence of leadership.

Friday, December 9, 2016

A great post from one of my teachers

https://brightlineeating.com/2016/11/how-to-be-health-conscious-without-getting-overwhelmed/?inf_contact_key=270ee8c40c2ec049a2435f8a820f0dc9fa0480e63e939569516ef6a1a0f30225

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Debbie Ford on true healing

"Taking 100% responsibility for our circumstances, our emotions, and our inner world and letting go of excuses, reasons, justifications, and righteousness."

Friday, December 2, 2016

Moving from Point A to Point B

Most of us are interested in moving forward in our lives. While it's critical to accept what is--that's the most helpful starting point--we often want more or different. And there's nothing wrong with that. That's what life is about: growing, changing, experiencing. But many of us, maybe too many of us, just talk about this. We talk about changing, about experiencing new things, about having or being something more.

Habits play a big part in this kind of talk that's followed by little to no action. We are our habits, our practices. If our habit is to come home from work and snack all evening in front of the TV, that's hard to shift out of, even though we'd like to have a meaningful hobby or more exercise or a thinner body. And we'll argue for those habits. Our jobs are stressful. Our commute takes a lot of time. There isn't enough energy to do much more.

And those are good reasons and for some of us, they are immutable, unchangeable. But for many of us, they aren't. Most of us can change some of our circumstances. We can come home at night and go for a walk before dinner. We can put the TV in a closet and do something else in the evening. We can face our challenges, rather than bowing to them and accepting them as inevitable.

We start from Point A and figure out how to move to Point B. It helps when Point B is really specific. I want to walk 10 miles a week. I want to play cards with friends once a month. I want to donate 5% of my income every month to organizations I believe in. Once we know a specific Point B, we can figure out the "how" of it.

What are some of your Point Bs?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

3 Tips for Sanity with Food in December



With so many holiday food events looming in December, now’s a great time to plan your strategy for staying faithful to your chosen food program. Here are three ideas that can help keep us sane.
1.   
 Stick to your food schedule. One of the smartest things I’ve done for my food recovery is commit to three meals a day and no snacks. While my meal schedule isn’t rigid, it’s consistent. I eat 3 meals with 4-5 hours between breakfast and lunch and between lunch and dinner. Each morning I check my calendar and set my times for the day. So if I’m going to a holiday event between 5 and 7, that will be my dinner. But if the event is between 3 and 5, that’s not going to work for me and I either don’t go or don’t eat while I’m there. Whatever your meal schedule, make sure events work with it and not against it. Being in charge of when we eat is an important part of our journey.
2.   
 Bring something you can safely eat to any event. A raw vegetable platter is always a welcome addition, whether it’s a potluck or not. Every dieter there will thank you. Want to put in more effort? Roast a pan of mixed vegetables with a cup of vegetable broth, cumin, and basil. They’re delicious warm or at room temperature. Bring them in a pretty dish you can leave as a gift for your host/hostess (most Goodwill stores have a wonderful selection of quirky pieces) or bring them in something disposable that they can discard.
3.     
It’s all right to say no to invitations. Last year when I was new to sane eating, I turned down every invite for holiday gatherings that weren’t from family. I didn’t feel safe around tables full of demon foods. Instead, I invited the person who was inviting me to have tea together after the holidays and catch up then. It was much more fun for this introvert to do that and no food was involved. This year, with 14 months of sane eating under my (smaller) belt, I’m going to a few more gatherings but only the ones at a meal time. And I’m taking something I can eat.

One last thought: I didn’t explain to anyone why I wasn’t coming to their party. I just said I had other plans. I did have other plans. I was planning to stay abstinent! 
More holiday tips for the journey are included in the Support for the Journey program. Check it out at http://lifebetweenmealscoaching.com/program/

Saturday, November 26, 2016

I love this post from a wise artist

The one constant thing.
By Nicholas Wilton

The changes this year seem much bigger than other years. The political landscape has suddenly shifted. The absence of such luminaries as David Bowie, Prince, Robin Williams, Sharon Jones, and Leonard Cohen to name just a few, hasn’t even settled in yet. On a personal level, the passing of my father, Clifford Wilton, this year has profoundly changed the fabric, the routine of my life. The Sunday calls between us, now absent, have left an open patch on that day that can’t seem to be filled with anything else quite as meaningful. When I look beyond my life, I see a planet that is powerfully signaling monumental change in her shifting patterns of extreme rain and drought.
I am not sure of many things as this year comes to its close.  
The only thing I am sure about is that things will continue to change.
And in a way, it is this idea that leaves me feeling grateful.
Oddly, I feel on terra firma with many aspects of change. Art making is the practice of Change. It is where I have learned to take what is in front of me, even if it is not something I desire, and move it towards something I do. It offers us all the possibility to take an outcome and repurpose it into something far better than we imagined it could ever be. 
It just takes Faith. And Art making is the practice of this Faith.
In art, and in life, if we are faithful, and willing to risk a little, we can pivot. We get a re do. We can take a challenging outcome, whether it is political, social or personal and use it. It is possible to harness the momentum of a change, a new reality and use it to renegotiate, to re purpose it into something more in alignment with who we are and what matters to us. 
This very act of choosing how to frame our reality based on any outcome is a creative one. Regardless of the shifts and changes in our lives, we do ultimately, have tremendous choice. It can, of course, feel daunting and overwhelming to proactively try to change a situation. It often takes energy that, at times, we don’t feel we have. 
However, in my life, in the times that I have felt that deadening sensation that the possibilities for myself were growing less, I have discovered that the root cause of this had to do more with the smallness of my own thinking rather than the lessening of my opportunities.
Thankfully your own pattern of thinking can be changed. Time and time again I have learned it takes barely a push on any door to realize that most of them have been unlocked the whole time. 
This year, possibly more than any other year in my life, I am so thankful for those who are in my life who remind me, who teach me of this fact. 
It helps keeps my head up instead of down. And when looking up I can see more clearly, my art, my life, that is the practice that almost daily reminds me that change can be pulled off with grace, creativity and joy.
And for this, especially today, I am tremendously grateful.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

My Live between Meals website is live

I'm thrilled to announce the launch of my new website: www.lifebetweenmealscoaching.com. 

In conjunction with my new book, Candy Girl: How I gave up sugar and created a sweeter life between meals, I'm offering additional online assistance through 52 Support Conversations to folks who are struggling with food and sugar obsession. I'm also doing phone and email coaching and I have a few spots open.

You can find out more at my new website where you can sign up for the free weekly mailing of ideas, suggestions, and helpful tips.

As you know, I'm an alumna of Bright Line Eating and I highly recommend that program for getting started. www.brightlineeating.com  But if its cost is beyond you right now or you'd like a more personal approach, let's talk!

Hope you'll visit and let me know what you think.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

My favorite (safe) holiday dessert

This is what I'm taking to Thanksgiving dinner (along with a pan of roasted vegetables). It's always a winner.

Fruit Bake

2-4 baking apples (peeled and cored)
2-4 ripe pears (cored; peel if skin is tough)
1 package frozen mango chunks
1 package frozen blackberries, marionberries, or raspberries
1 T. vanilla extract
2. T. good balsamic vinegar (no sugar added)
1. cup chopped pecans

Chop apples and pears into somewhat large bites. Mix all fruit with vanilla and vinegar. Put in a glass backing pan. Bake for 30 minutes or so at 325 or until juice bubbles. Let cool but not too long. Sprinkle with pecans. Serve warmish.

Monday, November 14, 2016

From Debbie Ford

"You must have the guts to throw off the chains of modesty and mediocrity in order to be the light that the world needs."

Friday, November 11, 2016

On turning old

My birthday comes next month, and for the first time, in many years, I feel uneasy. Don't get me wrong. I'm glad to be having another birthday. I'm very glad to be still alive. But this year something's going to change. This year I turn old.

All through my 60s, I've allowed myself the illusion of remaining in middle age. Granted, it's been late middle age but still middle age. But in December I turn 70 and there's no way that 70 is middle aged. 70 is old.

It helps that my high school and college classmates are all turning 70 as well. I don't feel unique, I don't feel alone in the process. And yet it's a strange feeling, this getting old, this moving towards the end of a long life, for there's no denying that at 70, I have had a long life already. It doesn't seem that long sometimes but that's just the trick of time. 

I'm glad that I still have choices. I can be a youthful 70, flexible in mind and spirit, and somewhat flexible in body. I can remain open and curious and generous, instead of closing up and becoming cantankerous. I can make the very most of all the time I have left. I can hope there will be a lot of it. There's a lot I can control.

And there's things I won't be able to control. At some point, my body will give out. It's programmed to do that no matter how lucky I've been in the genetic lottery, and so far I've been pretty lucky. And I've made some good choices: sobriety, weight loss, steady exercise for many years. And I'm so grateful.

It's an adventure ahead of me. Time to shift from uneasy to curious.




Tuesday, November 8, 2016

10 Things to Do No Matter Who Wins Today

1. Smile at strangers.
2. Pick up litter.
3. Eat healthy meals and not too much.
4. Drink a lot of water.
5. Be grateful for all you have.
6. Clean up any misunderstandings.
7. Open your heart.
8. Believe in the future.
9. Hug someone.
10. Keep becoming your best self.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

My newest addiction

It never surprises me to have a new addiction pop up. I seem to be wired in that direction, perhaps genetically, and at least through habit. But my latest addiction doesn't disturb me. In fact, it please me no end.

I've become addicted to walking. In late June, I went for my annual summer retreat up to Aldermarsh on Whidbey Island. My friend Pam and I walked every day, sometimes twice, both aiming for 10K steps on our Fitbits. It was fun to walk together and at the end of 10 days, I decided to keep that up when I got home.

So each morning I would either go to the gym with my gym buddy or walk a mile in the neighborhood. And then I began to lengthen my walks and by late August I was walking 2 miles each morning that I didn't go to the gym. I didn't listen to music to pass the time. I didn't need to. I was happy just to walk through the streets, looking at houses and yards, seeing what was going on, finding new routes.

Now I walk some days even after the gym. It's not about the Fitbit any more. It's about moving and thinking. Some days I'm writing a poem. Other days I'm solving a problem with a painting or a novel. Some days I'm not thinking much at all. I'm just moving and looking.

The last two really rainy days I began to see the addiction. I was angry that the weather was inclement and relieved when a drizzly space opened up and I could get out and walk. I had to laugh at myself. And I'm glad this is the new addiction. It's one of the best I've ever had. 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

From Debbie Ford's book on Courage

"Every day we have choice: succumb to fear or overcome fear with love, faith, and courage. We all have the power to choose which inner voices will guide us."

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Seasonal melancholy

Because I was born and raised in the Northwest's gray winters, I don't suffer from seasonal affective disorder, those who get depressed when there isn't enough sunshine. I love the fall and winters here for the most part. It feels natural to me.

However, October is sometimes a difficult month. I don't mind the dark mornings. I don't have to get up and drive to work. But the early dark in the evenings and having the house closed up all day, those take some getting used to. The past week or two I have been melancholy and it took me a couple of days to recognize that this is my version of seasonal shift. Lots of sadness and both loving and chaffing at the solitude I live in.

I know it will pass. I know I will relax into the coziness and deep reflection of the dark and the winter. And I am realizing what a gift it is now to have the studio at home and to be able to cheer myself with paper and color.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

An interesting short talk on style

Nicholas Wilton has one of the wisest and most encouraging voices in the art world. This short video has much to say about much of life, not just art, about how our choices make our style. Enjoy!

http://www.nicholaswilton.com/2016/10/23/discerning-style-2/

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Curious about whether you have a problem with food?

Susan Peirce Thompson, who runs Bright Line Eating, has made her Susceptibility Quiz available all the time now on her new web site. https://brightlineeating.com/

I'm a 10 of 10 on the scale, the most susceptible to food addiction. But not every fat person is susceptible, and many thin people are among the most susceptible.

If you're curious, you might take the quiz and see where you land. It may give you peace of mind to know that you're not susceptible; it may give you peace of mind to know that you are. Knowing I was a 10 brought me peace of mind because it was no longer a personal failing that I couldn't stop eating sugar and flour. It's a disease.

Here's to knowing our truth.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

One year free of sugar and flour

October 12 marked one year of freedom for me. Freedom from sugar, flour, and snacks. I started the Bright Line Eating program then in earnest and have been abstinent all this time. While I have been abstinent from refined sugars for longer periods than a year, I never gave them all up and I never gave up flour. This has massively changed how and what I eat.

The benefits have been miraculous. I've lost 81 pounds and 56 inches. The only remaining clothes from my old life are two coats I'm having altered and some shoes (even some of my shoes had to go as I no longer need Wide). I have so much more energy and stamina. I regularly walk 2-3 miles without fatigue. And I'm happier. Sugar and processed carbohydrates are depressants. That's why we love them. They relax us. They make us numb to whatever ails us.

I don't miss sugar and flour foods. I have no cravings for them and when I want extra food, I want meat or nuts or fruit. But I miss being numb. I do. I probably always will.

I don't miss the weight or any of the attendant physical misery. And I sure don't miss the guilt and shame and self-loathing. So grateful to BLE and to my friend Carole Warner, who encouraged me to spend the money and do it. So grateful to my own willingness to change for the better.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Launching Candy Girl, my latest book


Part-memoir, part-how-to, these short essays on food addiction and recovery describe my journey and offer suggestions to those who struggle with putting sugar down. It's available as of today at http://amzn.to/2ef9iXW. A Kindle version is in the works. I'm thrilled.

And yes, that's me. Sugar addict at 2 years of age.

Friday, October 14, 2016

A thought about the elections

I'm not politically active. My arena of influence isn't in that sphere but I want to express my sadness at the state of affairs. In many ways, Donald Trump is the perfect candidate for our times: an aging self-important, scheming white man who speaks his sense of entitlement every time he opens his mouth. He represents the past as the time of the sovereignty of the white male is vanishing. At the same time, Hillary Clinton is another perfect candidate: a smart, accomplished woman who has figured out how to succeed hugely in the white male's world, something my generation of women (Hillary and I are the same age) aspired to and took on big time.

My sadness comes from the fact that this election is about who they are and not about what they can do towards resolving the enormous and complicated problems ahead of us. That's what I loved about Bernie Sanders. It wasn't about him, but our world. I think Hillary would like this election to be about that too--I think she's got lots of ideas but of course, Trump doesn't. All he has is personality and so it's about personality.

I want very much for Hillary to be elected. Not only to defeat Trump but to pave the way for other women in the White House, particularly Elizabeth Warren.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

One more quote from Matthew Kelly

"It would be lovely if our souls growled every time they were hungry the way our stomachs do. But they don't. The voice of the hungry soul is confusion, questions, and a general sense of being overwhelmed."

From The Rhythm of Life

Saturday, October 8, 2016

My legitimate needs, Part II

Here's the list of legitimate needs I've come up with for me (these aren't in any particular order):

Silence
Solitude
Spacious schedule
Simplicity in my environment and my schedule
A tidy environment
Color
Ways to express my creativity
People who really get me
People who love me and whom I love
Kindred spirits (at least a couple)
Sobriety and abstinence
Engaging, satisfying work
Good health
Peace of mind and spirit
Cats
Sky and light and big trees
Things to learn and consider
Movement every day
Ways to share my thoughts and make a difference
Deep rest and reflection
Softness around me
Affection
Music
Paper
A deep connection to Spirit
Ways to be generous

In many ways, this is a description of my best life.

What are your legitimate needs?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Our legitimate needs Part I

I've been reading The Rhythm of Life by Matthew Kelly and it's having quite a profound effect on me. Much of what he says in this book isn't new to anyone who's taken courses in personal transformation or read much in New Age thought. But he's particularly eloquent and his spin on these ideas resonates deeply with me.

Our best life, he says, comes when our legitimate needs, our deepest desires, and our unique gifts and talents come together. Most of us know what our basic needs are as we all have the same ones: food, water, shelter, air, touch. Without these, we die. But each of us has other legitimate needs that help us do more than survive; they help us thrive. And these aren't all the same.

When I've been addictive in my addiction, I'm focused on needs that aren't legitimate: ice cream, alcohol, money, donuts, buying stuff. When my recovery is solid, I can focus on my legitimate needs and when I do, my life goes so much better.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The only way to say no



This quote from author Matthew Kelly is guiding me at the moment:

"The only way to say no to anything is to have a deeper yes."

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Poem about the past



He said it never took place
That late night conversation
Of bourbon and bad news
When we agreed to end
What had long before died
I see us there in that lush spring evening
So young, so ill-suited
The caramel-colored corduroy chairs
As out of place in that old farmhouse
As our tenuous hippie commitment

Whiskey in my hand, a full glass
Ice, no soda by that point
We reminisced, we cried
Why now, he asked, why now
And I said what should have stayed hidden
And that led to all the rest
The park, the bruises, the broken tooth

His letter a surprise after 30 years
He’d read my book
I got it wrong, he said
My memories false, his true
We never reminisced, he said
We never cried
I never confessed
The letter says nothing
of the hitting or the choking

Curious, isn’t it, how memories live in us as real
And not in others who were there too?

Jill Kelly, 2016