The Power to Be

This week I decided to get off my ass.  I made the choice to start fresh. start new. move forward.  I had been paralyzed for some time, dealing with the grieving that comes with an ending to something you thought would last forever~ a marriage.  When you’re in a marriage, you have your ideas about what is “supposed to be” ingrained in your mind, soul, and heart. Your future, while always uncertain, contains a security based on the idealism of forever.  Clearly, my soul and heart needed the time and space that this paralysis offered to catch up to my head and to reality.  To filter out what “could have been” and what was “supposed to be” with what “is”.  I was overwhelmed with a life ahead of me that was now open to ANYTHING. ….ANYTHING I wanted…which was EVERYTHING…and EVERYTHING paralyzed me into NOTHING.  and that’s where I got caught up in….doing NOTHING.

In conjunction with my week of starting new, I happened across a TREASURE at the bookstore that LEAPED and TWIRLED right into my soul.  It’s called Inner Excavation by one of my favorite bloggers, Liz Lamoreux.  (I found her blog via one of my favorite photographers, Vivienne McMaster whose work is also included in this book).  The book is all about expression…about finding and exploring your “self” using creativity such as photography, poetry, words, and mixed media…which just so happen to be all of my very favorite things…my passions!

So I woke up on Monday, put my big girl pants on, got out into the world, dropped off applications, faxed important documents, and tackled financial lists.  I was on fire!  I did all these things keeping in mind that I was going to reward myself with an “Inner Excavation” self portrait photo shoot. I was going to capture me with the fresh eyes of a new day and all the possibilities before me.   

What did I see when I looked at me?  I saw the beauty of a regular girl.  A woman who is not perfect, but who knows what works for her….what angles, what poses, what thoughts and visions that can capture her true self in a moment, a woman who knows who she was, who she is, and who she wants to become.

Isn’t it true? We DO know what works for us. We do know deep inside in our heart and gut what is right for us…what makes our soul sing …what makes us leap and twirl. Yet, we ignore our longings and yearnings by getting caught up in codependent tendencies.  We put others first, or we waste our time thinking about and judging their behavior and actions so that we don’t have to LOOK at ourselves and focus on what would make us truly happy. We ignore the deepest part of ourselves…the part that radiates our true beauty because we are probably paralyzed with fear.

One of my favorite songs is Suddenly I see by KT Tunstall.  Listen to the video and use the words in her song as inspiration. Then go out and give yourself the gift of a self portrait photo shoot.  Look at yourself.  Your face is a map of the world.  You’re a beautiful girl.  Give yourself the power to be. The power to give. The power to see.  We need to know that who we are inside is exactly who we should be on the outside.   BEING involves BECOMING.

The Good Wife Guide

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, let us be grateful that it is no longer 1961.

The Good Wife Guide
This is an ACTUAL extract from a Home Economics textbook printed in 1961.

1. Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return from work. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favorite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.

2. Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you will be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work weary people. Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him.  His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.
3. Clear away the clutter.. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Gather up school books, toys, papers etc. and then run a dust cloth over the tables. During the colder months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by.

4. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction. Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum.

5. Try to encourage the children to be quiet. Be happy to see him. Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him. Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him , but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first, remember his topics of conversation are more important than yours. Make the evening his.

6. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.

7. Try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order and tranquility where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit. Don’t greet him with complaints and problems. Don’t complain if he’s late home for dinner, or even stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day. Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange the pillow and offer to take off his shoes.

8. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice. Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness.

9. Once he has had a chance to have his evening meal clear the dishes and wash up promptly. If your husband should offer to help decline his offer as he may feel obliged to repeat this offer and after a long working day he does not need the extra work. Encourage your husband to pursue his hobbies and interests and be supportive without seeming to encroach. If you have any little hobbies yourself try not to bore him speaking of these, as women’s interests are often rather trivial compared to men’s.

10. At the end of the evening tidy the home ready for the morning and again think ahead to his breakfast needs. Your husband’s breakfast is vital if he is to face the outside world in a positive fashion.

11. Once you have both retired to the bedroom prepare yourself for bed as promptly as possible. Whilst feminine hygiene is of the utmost importance your tired husband does not want to queue for the bathroom as he would have to do for his train. But remember to look your best when going to bed. Try to achieve a look that is welcoming without being obvious. If you need to apply face-cream or hair-rollers wait until he is asleep as this can be shocking to a man last thing at night.

12. When it comes to the possibility of intimate relations with your husband  it is important to remember your marriage vows and in particular your commitment to obey him. If he feels that he needs to sleep immediately then so be it. In all things be lead by your husband’s wishes, do not pressure him in any way to stimulate intimacy. Should your husband suggest congress then accede humbly all the while being mindful that a man’s satisfaction is more important than a woman’s.

13. When he reaches his moment of fulfillment a small moan from yourself is encouraging to him and quite sufficient to indicate any enjoyment that you may have had. Should your husband suggest any of the more unusual practices be obedient and uncomplaining but register any reluctance by remaining silent. It is likely that your husband will then fall promptly asleep so adjust your clothing, freshen up and apply your night time face and hair care products. You may then set the alarm so that you can arise shortly before him in the morning. This will enable you to have his morning cup of tea ready when he awakes.

Embracing the Ebb

Today I woke up…feeling unhealthy…negative….depressed…..feeling the flow of my life and its creativity come to a halt. Slam!  Was it that my kids were home from school invading my precious territory of peace and quiet …..or the weight of needing a job..a big girl job…to make money and provide some independence…Blah. ..or simply the bloated result of the massive amounts of tequila and salt in my steady diet of margaritas as I avoid responsibility, fitness, and progress?

Regardless, last week I was flowing….designing a business, creating art and completely inspired….and this week I’m EBBING.  (and No ~ I’m not PMS-ing!)

So I set out to enjoy a day of depression without feeling guilty about it, as even optimists are allowed to  wallow in their own misery from time to time.   My idea was to watch a few sad movies, have a good cry, swear, not shower, steal some of my kids’ Halloween candy…and just feel sorry for myself.

After my coffee, I went into my bedroom to retreat under my covers and immerse myself in worry, negative energy, and darkness.  As I lay there, one of my favorite books in the whole wide world which sits beside my bed started calling to me. “Simple Abundance”.  It’s pink so how I could I resist for god’s sakes!  I decided I would allow myself to read today’s inspiration. Just one!  I opened my favorite pink book of positivity and inspiration feeling the guilt as I was about to cheat my dark side.

The title?! “Embracing the Ebb” . I. Shit. You. Not.  ….and this is what I read:

~~~~There once was a mighty queen with a short fuse. One autumn, as the year was  beginning to ebb, the queen fell into a deep melancholy. She could neither eat nor slumber, and tears of an unknown origin fell frequently, which infuriated her, triggering angry fits that made those around her quake in fear.

“Surely., there must be someone who knows the source of my suffering. ” The queen cried in despair.

Finally, the royal gardener was moved by compasion for the poor woman and slowly approached her throne.

“Majesty, it is not your body or your mind that is ailing. It is your soul that is i n need of healing.  For while you are a mighty and powerful queen, you are not Divine.  You are suffering from a human condition that afflicts us all.  Earthly souls ebb and flow in sorrow and joy according to the seasons of life, death, and rebirth.  These are the days to be grateful for the harvest of the heart, however humble it might be, and to prepare for the coming of the year’s closure.  Even now, the season of daylight diminishes and the time of darkness increases.  But the true Light is never extinguished in the natural world, and it is the same in your soul.  Embrace the ebb, my beloved Queen, and do not fear the darkness.  For as night follows day, the Light will return and you will know contented hours once again. Of this I am sure.”

The unhappy queen considered this wisdom thoughtfully and asked the gardener how she possessed the secret knowledge of inner peace during the seasons of emotion. The gardener led her to a brass sundial. It read: This too, shall pass. ~~~~

What can I say? The Universe fricking loves me! Now I’m going to get back to my ebbing…secure in my oneness with Mother Nature….and sweet synchronicity.

Skeleton in my Kitchen

Everyone has at least one skeleton in their closet.  Might I suggest moving yours to your kitchen…..on full display. Over coffee, wine, dinner with your besties……your skeletons become less scary. They become manageable.  Why? Because when you own your truth…and reveal your skeletons on your own terms…. you’ve got nothing to hide anymore. And when you’ve got nothing to hide….you are free. When you are free, you are fun. And freedom plus fundom equals queen of your castle and no more dirty rascal.

Boo y’all. 

Dressing Room

Every star needs their own dressing room…filled with boas, high heels, hats, jewelry, feathers, sparkle, glitter, color, and love……to escape into the selves they may have forgotten….. Our own space for dreaming and creating our story…to be who we wish to be which is who we are already.  Put that in your pipe and smoke it. smooch.

See my cohort ~Gypsy Rae’s real live lady of the lake dressing room below. FABULOUS!

Sisterhood

In college, I joined a sorority.  At the time, I pledged because it was a small school and the “greek” life  had all the action…parties…fun! It was quite something to experience all the shenanigans and ridiculosity (I think I just made that word up) of the pledging experience as well as the aftermath of active sorority sisterhood.  There was bonding and sharing through our experiences of drinking, partying, and drinking some more. Somehow amidst our cheap debauchery (think Busch and Boonesfarm), we managed to perform a few good deeds in the community, we felt important as we held our chairs in the society, and took our jobs seriously.  At the time, we had rituals and songs dedicated to the lifelong connection this sisterhood offered. I thought it was cute and fun, but looking back I had no idea how important and significant that these friendships would be…how they would provide me with so much support and love as I got older and grew through life.

Cut to the summer of 1997…a few years after graduation. Some of my college girlfriends and I decided to gather ourselves for a weekend away…just girls.  We had no idea at the time that it would grow and develop into an annual event that we would look forward to all year long. Girls weekend.That first girls weekend is a story of its own….”full of memories that we can share…and some we cannot.”  I can tell you this though. My boobs were at their finest (as I had picked that weekend to stop breastfeeding), we saw a penis, and we laughed until we cried (we didn’t laugh AT the penis…we laughed WITH  it).

Over the years now, we have consistently joined together to take time out of our busy lives to relive the memories of college, and also to share our experiences of adulthood… marriage, divorce, births, deaths, and the lessons we have learned along the way.     As we get older and more in touch with who we are as individuals, we are able to share more of ourselves with each other. As our confidence has grown so has our willingness to reveal the scandals in our lives and skeletons in our closets providing us with a rich collaborative growth. We have cried together and for each other.

This past year, as well as next, each of us “Girls Weekend Chicks” are turning 40. We decided this year to celebrate in style by treating ourselves to an uber special trip to Mexico.  We wore flowers in our hair, drank mojitos on the beach, and had to be told to quiet down in our rooms at night because we were laughing so much.  Who knew that we would still be causing trouble and whooping it up twenty years after our college days. Some things just don’t change.

On the beach one day, we were having a serious and loving discussion about our individual attributes, showering each other with credit and compliments. We decided that if we combined each of our strengths we would be the Queen of Mexico. (yes okay we were drinking Dirty Monkeys, but don’t let that devalue our lovefest). We chose that warm and fuzzy moment to gather together in a circle and read a  letter that was sent to us from an older “sister” of ours with special instructions to be read on the beach.  She had graduated a few years ahead of us, and was an actual familial sister to one of us.  Her letter was touching and made us cry happy tears realizing the significance of our bond as we grow older. Mostly, it brought to light how lucky we are to have a special sisterhood providing depth, vitality, and reassurance that we are never alone in this world.

I want to share this letter of love with all of you…the special friends, cohorts, and soul sistas I’ve met along my journey.  These words are reminders about the importance of love, friendship, as well as having a healthy sense of self.  As I go through a painful period in my life right now, I’m forever grateful for sisterhood.

(see below for the letter) A special thank you to Kelly. xo

To All My Little Sisters,

Welcome to the 40 Club! This is truly a time for celebration, for we ARE the new generation of forty.  We don’t fear the milestone, we embrace all it represents.

Feel empowered by the woman these years have molded you to be.  From a daughter, sister, granddaughter, and neice, to a mother, wife, daughter-in-law, and perhaps aunt.  You are surrounded by sisters that are not members through biology, but rather by circumstance. The years have chosen these friends for you and the bonds a special sisterhood.  We are there to lift each other up, celebrate successes, mourn losses, and support one another with words, through a look, embrace, or even silent presence.

40 is a milestone like no other. Be proud of what it signifies!  You are wiser, stronger, and more cherished than ever.  You have lived long enough to survive terrible loss and learn each day is a gift.  You have been both let down and inspired by those around you.  You have realized your strengths and all you have to offer.  It took almost losing YOURSELF to realize that putting yourself first on occasion is essential NOT selfish….and you eventually got to the point you could do it without feeling guilty.  You treat yourself the way you deserve to be treated and your daughters will be the beneficiaries of this model.

May this trip be a reminder of how important it is to take time for you.  Reflect on where you have been and be excited about where you have yet to go.

From me to you, this money is for a round or two. Lift your glass high, raise your face to the warm sun or glowing moon, close your eyes and breathe in deeply.  You have arrived!

May your trip be full of memories you can share and a few you cannot!

Love and God Bless,

Kelly