Out of the Shadows

IMG_6674This photo of Allie starting longingly outside sums up how I was feeling this winter.  Wanting to be outside but yet needing my solitude.  Wanting to hide yet to be seen.  It was a contradiction on so many levels.  I wanted to start dating again but didn't want make to much of an effort.  Then when Spring came, something shifted, I wanted to get out and play more.  So I started the online dating again, started hanging out with friends more, started walking and getting outside more and feeling social again.  Then Summer showed up and I felt like hiding again.  Not that I didn't want to be outside or with friends, but I got discouraged with the online dating.  I saw two ex-boyfriends that got me thinking about my choices in life.  So I went into reflection mode, although I do that all the time, somehow it felt different this time.  I unsubscribed to the dating sites, I stopped dating anyone and cleared out my social calendar.  I sat by the pool by myself, avoiding the social activity happening on the other side.  I needed my solitude.  This past holiday weekend though, I went down to the pool and actually felt social.  I met new neighbors, I reconnected with some old neighbors, one even told me he was happy I was out of hiding, and I really enjoyed myself.  I even met some single neighbors, so we'll see what happens there.  I feel more open to possibilities, more open to life, and more open to love... Then yesterday, I had a past life reading which was fascinating to say the least.  And if you don't believe in that stuff, that's cool, but I do and so am totally blown away.  I'm still reflecting on all of it...a Revolutionary War soldier (for the British), a French courtesan...all had interesting lessons.  The first life was the most incredible though and that is the woman I have been working to reclaim, without even knowing it!  I'm not going to share too much about her but just knowing that she was a strong, intuitive, secure Elder woman who was an equal with the men in her tribe, well that gives me an inner strength.  She was a storyteller too which of course has me thinking more about my writing.  The more I reflect on her, the more I see myself coming out of the shadows and reclaiming that part of me.  I feel like I've been hiding too long...it's definitely time to let go of the fear, trust myself and live THIS life to the fullest.


49 Lessons Learned by 49

FullSizeRenderI turn 49 today and quite honestly that number is so strange to me.  My mother is supposed to be 49, not me!  I sure don't feel it and most people tell me I don't look it either, whatever that means.  As I reflect on the last 49 years (ok, really the last year), I think about all of the things I've learned.  Some lessons have taken a lot longer than others!

  1. BE PRESENT!  Enjoy each moment.
  2. You need to learn to be happy being alone, before you can be with anyone else.
  3. Do not expect anyone else to make you happy, it's an inside job.
  4. People aregoing to judge you and it's none of your business (one of my favorite quotes ever)!
  5. You are never too old to learn something new or change your career path.
  6. You must be honest with yourself in order to be honest with anyone else.
  7. You must deal with sorrow in order to know JOY.
  8. Dating in your 40's is HARD!
  9. Do not make someone a priority if you're only an afterthought (not the exact quote but still another favorite).
  10. Do not settle for anything that does not fulfill you.
  11. It is way better to be alone than lonely in a relationship.
  12. In a relationship, don't settle for anything less than you deserve.
  13. But...be realistic about relationships...they're not easy!
  14. Be kind to yourself.
  15. Don't ever say anything to yourself that is demeaning or degrading...you wouldn't say it to someone else, would you?
  16. REMEMBER...You are doing the best you can with what you know at any given moment.
  17. Dance whenever you feel like it!  Ask my classes, I dance all the time!
  18. Sing at the top of your lungs...in your car...alone...you sound great!
  19. Listen to music, as loudly as you want, until your neighbors complain.
  20. Accept people where they are, not where you 'think' they should be.
  21. Accept Yourself where you are too!
  22. Learn from your past but don't dwell in it.
  23. Have FUN with whatever you do, even cleaning the house...yeah I still don't do this one!
  24. Nurture your friendships.
  25. Express gratitude every day.
  26. Light candles for no reason.
  27. Celebrate the people in your life.
  28. LAUGH loudly and often.
  29. SMILE at everyone you meet, you may change their day.
  30. Look people in the eyes when you talk to them, even strangers.
  31. Don't judge other people, you have no idea what is going on in behind closed doors.
  32. Keep your body and mind active.
  33. But some days, chill on your couch and binge watch Netflix.
  34. Jump in puddles barefoot; don't ruin your nice shoes.
  35. Buy nice shoes, you are on your feet all day and your feet will thank you.
  36. Get massages, facials, pedicures, etc...you deserve it.
  37. Change the oil in your car regularly.
  38. It's not the end of the world, if your house isn't clean or the laundry isn't done before you go have some fun.  It will all be there tomorrow.
  39. Experiences are more important than stuff.
  40. Your thoughts DO effect how you feel.
  41. You have to create the abundance in your life.
  42. No one can FIX your issues, you have to do it yourself.
  43. Movers exist for a reason, hire them.
  44. Don't have expectations of anyone else - this is a hard one!
  45. Life is too short sometimes but then in other ways, really long!
  46. Pets are family members, period.
  47. Loss is part of life but it really sucks.
  48. No matter how long someone has been gone, you'll always miss them.
  49. Life is a PRACTICE.

So here I am entering my 50th year on this planet and while I've learned so much, I know there is so much more to learn.  I look forward to the new lessons yet to come.  And I would love to hear some of your life lessons!


photo When I wrote the draft of my last post, I had an introductory paragraph that explained why I was writing the post.  My lovely friend Amy edited my post and suggested I eliminate that paragraph or move it somewhere else in the post.  She thought it would be much more powerful to open with the line...I have herpes.  I got a huge lump in my throat and a pit in my stomach but I edited the post and hit publish before I could overthink it.  However, when I shared on Facebook, I did alter the way I shared it.  I was still nervous about having the first sentence show up in my FB feed.  A minute later, I changed my mind.  I knew that if I was going to be vulnerable and not care what other people thought I needed to put it all out there.  But when I went back to FB, I was already getting comments and they were AMAZING!  I actually started crying...happy tears.  The comments were so supportive and encouraging.  I'm not sure what I was expecting but I was blown away by everyone who took the time to comment on my FB post and my blog.  Then there was the email I received from the student who gave me the extra push I needed, after reading my post...

That's awesome to hear! Thanks so much for your reply back. I went to your site and read your latest blog. Wow. I can only imagine how hard it was for you to post, but I think that you did a very honest, a very brave, and a very important thing. Not just for you, but for others as well. I hope that it has lifted a weight off of you, and I hope that it will help you to open up, as well as reciprocate.

Thanks so much for writing and for sharing the Safe Sex guide! I really enjoy your blog, and you have a wonderful talent as a writer. Good things will come from this. Best of luck with everything in your future.

I also received many private messages from other people who have dealt with the stigma of herpes.  They shared how they were ashamed and weren't putting themselves out there for fear of the reaction from a potential partner.  I had conversations about other "shameful" things people have done or experienced.  It was as if the clouds had parted and the light was shining in.  People who felt they couldn't share with anyone, could now share and I imagine it lessened their fear, made them feel less alone, and that they didn't feel like they needed to hide in the shadows anymore.  This is what I hope they felt by telling me their story.

My wish is that we can all continue to share our stories without worrying about what anyone else thinks.  We can let the light in, be honest with each other and support each other...hold each other up.  That is my wish for all of us.

"Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." - Leonard Cohen


Some Days...

photo Some days...

  • the road seems long with no end in sight and then you remember, there is no destination, just the journey
  • you get a phone call with news that someone you love is in the hospital, side effects from chemo forcing her to bed rest...and you can't quite process it all
  • you get a sudden wave of sadness thinking about a lost love, even though you've moved forward, at least you think you have
  • you watch the news and your heart hurts from seeing all the pain in the world and yet you still think love is the answer
  • the clouds roll in and as hard as you try you can't outrun the rain
  • your mind tells you tears need to fall and yet they don't seem to come
  • you get complimented on your teaching and it makes the long days totally worth every second
  • you push through the day with little sleep but plenty of energy then the next day you get plenty of sleep but can barely make it through the day
  • you focus a little too much on the scale and not enough on how healthy and strong you are
  • you are so grateful that you didn't have surgery because now your back feels great
  • you realize you are so lucky to have this life.


Personal Space

photo-2 She fell into my lap putting her luggage in the overhead, then turned with a startled look, "I'm so sorry, I didn't even see you there"

He spilled his glass of Sprite with ice on the tray table in front of him, some of the ice landing in my seat.  He apologized profusely while wiping away the cubes.

She kept leaning into me like I was the back of her chair, pulling away then doing it again.

All the while, little Jack, kept screaming across the aisle...mom kept walking him up and down trying to calm him, but for over four hours it was almost impossible.  Until of course, the plane starts descending into Atlanta...then he was silent.

Stuck in a little 2x2 seat with barely any leg room for hours on end.  Trying to maintain my personal space while sharing it with 150 other people.  Forced to sit still for hours on end.

I do this because its the quickest and easiest way to spend time with friends who are spread out across the country.  It is so worth those hours in flight or in the airport to share time with dear friends, to laugh until my stomach hurts, to dance until my legs tire, to talk into the night, to wake up a wee bit hung over because my bestie kept feeding me beer.  I do this because, to me, it is so very important to have these real connections and to spend as much time as possible with these friends and because I love them all so dearly.  And I would do it again tomorrow if I could.

Gratitude Week - Day 3

I fell asleep hard on the couch last night before I got a chance to post my list for the day.  So, I'm posting now and you'll probably see another one this evening. Today (Wednesday), I am grateful....

  • that I can afford health care insurance that covers my chiropractor
  • for coffee and great conversation with a new friend
  • for the text message that read NO CANCER!
  • when clients get so excited about doing Pilates
  • that I did not sleep on the couch all night

What are you grateful for today?

You can join Gratitude Week over here.

Gratitude Week - Day 2

Today, I am grateful for:

  • that moment, first thing in the morning, when I wake up, before getting out of bed to start the day
  • raking leaves in the nice warm weather yesterday (even if leaves keep falling), instead of in the cold today
  • a warm blanket and hot cup of tea on this cold rainy day
  • Whole Foods hot food bar ~ so I didn't have to cook dinner
  • Allie crawling in my lap as I'm typing this post

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Week - Day 1

I am joining Michelle in her Gratitude Week. Today, I am grateful...

  • for a quiet Monday morning with no appointments and no need to rush out the door
  • for a warm sunny day in November
  • that my dear friend who had surgery on Friday was moved out of ICU today
  • for the Sunday crossword that lasts me a couple of days
  • for dark chocolate with sea salt
  • for this day and this moment.

Want to join in?  Post to your blog, share it on Facebook or don't share it at all, but write it in your journal just for you.

Gratitude - Week 2

This has been an emotional roller coaster week.  I have tried to focus on the good things each day, some days its easier than others.

With that said...

  • My brother John has been gone a long time...this year his birthday was particularly emotional for me.  I'm grateful for the time we had together in this life and I'm grateful for the times I feel him near me now.
  • I'm grateful for friends who rally around another friend, that they don't even know, lighting candles, saying prayers and sending out positive energy
  • I'm grateful for a dear friend who came through a major surgery and has the best attitude
  • I'm grateful for text message shenanigans
  • I'm grateful for warm, sunny days in November
  • I'm grateful for long naps instead of doing yard work
  • I'm grateful that the election is over and I don't have to here anymore political ads
  • I'm grateful for Sunday afternoons with nowhere to be

What are you grateful for?

I will be joining Michelle tomorrow for Gratitude Week 2012.  Want to join in too?

Gratitude - Week 1

Since November is traditionally the month of Giving Thanks, I am going to strive to do a weekly Gratitude list.  Hopefully I will continue it past November, but baby steps.

Its hard to believe that its been less than a week since Sandy wreaked havoc from Haiti to Cuba and Outer Banks to the Jersey Shore, Hoboken and New York City.  The photos of the devastation are heartbreaking, yet amongst all the destruction there are people coming together to help one another.  Every time we have a major disaster, people wake up and realize that we're all in this together and we need to help each other.  Now, how about we continue that support and love long past the tragedies.  Imagine how wonderful life could be if we showed each other a little more love and compassion.

On to my gratitude list...

  • Grateful that my friends are all well and safe.  Even though they may not have electricity yet, in this technological age, we are still able to stay in touch.
  • Grateful for my Thai massage last night with the lovely Penny.  I am still sore this morning but I know I will feel better later.
  • Grateful that I live in a country where I can vote.
  • Grateful for the sky this week that has been an ever changing work of art.
  • Grateful for long eye-opening conversations with friends who get me thinking about my future.
  • Grateful for coffee with a new friend and instant connection.
  • Grateful for quiet mornings.
  • Grateful for Sunday morning crosswords that crack me up.  Clue:  Righto  Answer:  Youbetcha (seriously could not make that up)
  • Grateful that I am able to put food on the table.
  • Grateful for a clean bill of health.
  • Grateful for everyone who reads this blog and even though I may not always reply to your comments, I read and appreciate every single one.  Not always sure why you read my blog, but I am grateful.
  • And last but not least, I am grateful for this life, this moment, this cup of coffee.

What are you grateful for today?