In Women Who Run With Wolves, I've been lingering on the story and interpretation of Vasalisa... and the doll as a symbol of a woman's intuition has been hanging out on the fringes of my subconscious... so I started an art journal piece... here is the beginnings...
As a house, we're going to go meatless for at least 3 nights a week. We're doing it for 3 main reasons... 1) financial... veg is actually cheaper than meat 2) health wise... cancer correlation with animal products is undeniable 3) avoiding all that stuff that they put into the cow, then into the meat, and then the hormones of the miserable cow being in the cow when they kill it, ending up in our food... so yeah. 3 nights a week.
Tonight was number one... I did not take pics, but I will next time...
I cooked and plated a Morning Star black bean burger patty (meatless,) on a bed of shredded colby jack cheese (we aren't vegan.) I browned corn in another skillet to get it sweeter, layered that over the black bean patty, topped the corn with some sour cream and medium spice pico de gallo... and it was freaking amazing... warm tortillas on the side, of course. ;) Add a glass of wine or sweet tea, and it is heaven;)
So to recap:
1. Ditch the social networks for a while... I didn't miss them during the 48 hrs... and when I got back on, I was immediately disappointed. So yeah... I spent five mins messing around on there and jumped back off...
2. Buy (almost) nothing Christmas... we are sticking to our guns and have a plan;)
3. Meatless at least 3 nights a week... and we've got 1 down and two more to go this week...
I'm reading the book Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. In it, she explores the psychological archetypes of women through folklore and fairy tales. Google it for further info... I'm enjoying the book, but I don't want to sum up what I haven't read or copy the back cover.
Anyhow, my interest begins with the story of Vasalisa and her doll, which symbolizes the handing down, development, and trusting of female intuition. The first thing that struck me is that the doll (being the symbol for intuition) is given to her by her mother on her deathbed. The very last thing the 'too good' mother does for her daughter is give her the gift of intuition. It made me question why she had waited so long, or maybe this gift was early as she wouldn't be around later to give Vasalisa her intuition. Either way, it is the last act of her mother.
A few friends and I were chatting back and forth on Facebook about a week ago about the subject of breastfeeding. My friend loves and enjoys the bonding time with her child. She sees it as natural and fulfilling, and she plans on continuing the practice for quite some time with her baby. I, on the other hand, found it uncomfortable and did not have a connection to the practice at all. In fact, my exact thought was, 'I am not a human snack bar. This is what bottles were made for...' and the idea of it just made me cringe. The other women were across the spectrum in between.
In thinking through this conversation and connecting it to what I'm reading, I know that my mother didn't breastfeed me or my younger brother, which I'm not upset about, but never having seen that or been around it, (I also grew up in churches and in an area of extreme modesty) maybe it was something that has kind of been removed from the line of women in my family. I have a son, and I didn't breastfeed him, so I do wonder what his thoughts will be when it comes time for him to have children of his own...
My mother also wasn't big on using any intuition that I could identify. If I had to hunt for it, I would say that she was gifted with being able to read animals through her experiences and observations, but maybe she was intuitively connected to nature. Without getting into a really broad and overreaching conversation about what I did and did not learn from my mother, I would say that we never really had a conversation or any exchange of ideas about intuition, except maybe in the form of the Holy Spirit.
I was raised strict Baptist (skirts and church whenever the doors were open,) and we didn't believe in anything that wasn't specifically mentioned in the Bible. Period. So intuition was an ambiguity that could be evil, so maybe that's the reason why we never talked about it. We never talked about having a connection to nature, natural cycles (except that things are born and things die,) or about connecting to our own ebb and flow. So this too was not passed through the line of women in my family, but my mother probably didn't receive it from her mother either.
So far removed from intuitive practices, I often feel like I'm practicing something akin to witchcraft, but carefully feeling it out, listening and paying attention, it's just waves of information washing across my brain, connecting dots and translating millions of little pieces of a picture and context into something usable... translation? I feel it before I think it... weird, huh.
Paying attention to my monthly cycle and the lunar cycle, I do notice a connection. The moon has a gravitational pull on the tides... we are 90% water... it would be stupid to think that it does not influence our body chemistry as well... at least, in my opinion. I've been trying to strengthen the intuitive connections I feel/find between myself and these different things.
Strengthening them does a few things for me... I feel more like I understand the seasons, the rhythms of nature, and the way that my body prepares for them. I feel the response that my body has to these different things and I gain more understanding of myself and others. I am beginning to trust the 'go here or there' feelings of my intuition a bit more. I do hesitate and try to think through things, but this is also where I tend to get into trouble. That, and when I follow someone else's advice without checking in with what I'm feeling.
I'm leaving off here for now... I'm tired and it is time to sleep...
i promised a list of what i am thankful for... all of the time... not just during the holidays... admit it. for some of you this is the ONLY time you're truly thankful for all that extended family...lol.
so List #7: i am thankful for....
*my best friend that i am married to and currently live with
*my smart son who is beginning to behave himself in school (i am EXTREMELY thankful for that second part...)
*me... i am on my own path to return to my undomesticated self on my terms... and yes, they put me in strange places and in weird situations, but i don't care... i will get the 'societal bend' out of my back and the 'mass expectations arthritis' out of my joints... i am a loving, extremely gorgeous, generous soul, and i am made of stars;) (and so are you!)
*my family (Mom, Dad, brother...etc...) too much to list... way too much...
*Casey's ability to understand my strange, love me, and fit with it
*our new house... it suits our needs and is practically brand new:)
*words... i paint with them... i'm trying to loosen up in here, but sometimes it's hard... it will come...
*my art... it's not always 'healing' but i love doing what i do... and i'll include making things here
*my sense of reality... i don't believe everything i see, and i believe about 20% of what i hear, but i hope for everything, believe that almost everyone has a valid point, and eventually the ability to accept where they are wrong (i am proof.)
it's a short list and there is so much more, but these are the ones that hit my mind first... and i am thankful to the I AM for all of it, and that He loves me in all of my strangeness... encourages me forward in my questions, comforts my soul when i'm heartbroken, no matter how much at fault i was for doing something stupid, listens when i pray, speaks when i meditate.... gah... glorious thrashing with the One... or before Him, more likely... and He waits... just watches and waits... Love unveiled and unrelenting...
We had our garage sale today, and for the trouble we went through, it was good... we got rid of a lot of stuff we've been carrying needlessly, made enough cash to justify the morning doing it, donated everything not sold, gave everyone that came up a good deal (I like to see people walk away feeling like they really got something...some of the sales I go to, it feels like they're trying to recover 25% of their original purchase... unrealistic,) and gave some stuff away to kids;)
And when we didn't have customers or got bored, we picked up (or got pelted by,) more pecans out of the yard... we're very excited to start exploring the idea of candied pecans, and Casey just reminded me that they all have to be shelled... wtf. I skipped that part in my homemade candy fantasy... I wonder if you can teach a 5 year old how to shell pecans in a relatively quick fashion... hmmmm.
We were supposed to finish moving everything tonight, but it's not happening... my body has decided that it needs to sit still and have a cold, which I do not have time for.... next week, yes... not right now. (Even next week is kinda full... maybe the week after.)
I've been sleeping so well in my bed in the new house... it is lovely;) And I'm still waking up before my alarm, which I like. I think it's a psychological thing that I was gifted by a friend.
Last night, I made two meatloaves... and I make AMAZING meatloaf... if you want the recipe, just leave a message below... I'll email it to you. And tonight, we fried the leftovers from the first one... which is a completely different texture and taste, but is equally yummmmmmmm..... good cold weather food. ;) Even though today is one of the first warmer days we've had in the last month. The weather down here is toying with us...
I'm also waiting for mail art back from my pen pals which is hard to do... I think I'm creeping out our new mailman with how closely I'm watching him... oh well. (and I am looking for a few more people to swap mail art with... Google it if you're unfamiliar... anyone can do it;)
not mail art, but a journal spread that i actually
have stopped messing with...
it's in an old hardback book that i just started
gessoing and gluing in...
and I'm off to see what that loud crash in my son's room might be, so good eve;)
I'm allergic to raw pecans, but I couldn't help myself, and it was so good... especially because it was just laying in our front yard! Our street is lined with pecan trees, and in about an hour of raking, we collected almost 4 pounds... and we have no idea what we'll do with them. I think we're going to try to roast/candy them or something... They are tasty raw, but I can only have one or two before it becomes a funny story about the Emergency Room and an epi pen or something...
I also haven't raked leaves since living in Michigan, and for some reason, 14 years of not raking makes you excited when you see that you have a full yard of leaves to rake... I don't think it's the same with shoveling snow... We borrowed a rake from my parents and as soon as I started, Ez wanted to rake, and for being 5, he's pretty good at it... and then Casey wanted to rake... and then I wanted the rake back... and then we got sidetracked by pecans... it was a good few hours in the front yard;)
What do you make with pecans... other than pie...?
I am exhausted and we have a fully prepared garage sale to run in the morning... optimism of getting rid of all this stuff we've been culling abounds... It's all priced CHEAP. Seriously... I want it gone. End of story. One day... some cash... cheaper and better quality than any thrift store or Goodwill. Just gone. Please... garage sale gods.
Our family isn't buying anything for Christmas (except for our 5 year old's gift, and even then, we're having the conversation of 'there needs to be a drastic reduction in toys.') Casey and I might get each other something from the handmade community, but that will be it... ha! I say that like it's nothing...
I made ornaments about 3 months ago, have been working on some little projects for people, and will be doing things to make the holidays special. Casey is going to bake some banana bread, which is awesome toasted with butter, plain, and is about a week's worth of breakfasts for two people. We'll also be having a dinner for the friends and one for the families, and I think these things amount to more than, "Here... I got you this..." (BTW: I LOVE the 'here I got you this...' but it's not reasonable anymore... we've asked others not to expect it of us and we don't expect it of anyone else... and we've had those conversations.)
Ez and I are going to put up the tree on Monday after he gets out of school and he's excited;) We might make an ornament or two after that, or later during the week;) Maybe some for the family... I found a cinnamon dough recipe that looks amazing, and is guaranteed to smell amazing (if you like the smell of cinnamon, which we do...)
This is not a self-righteous 'we aren't being consumers' thing, btw... This is more of a 'the economy has changed, our hearts have changed about what we've been doing (voting with our dollars, supporting the crazy spending in both giving and receiving, and not fully being participants in our own holidays...just paying for them...) and so we're doing what little we can to change it.
My goal is that at the end of December, we feel more fulfilled and have a few new traditions that we won't forget;) In the past, Christmas for us has literally been a day where we take a break from work for 1 or 2 days, scramble to buy, wrap, and label gifts, and then drive to my parents house for Christmas Eve, come home, collapse, get up early and drive to Casey's sister's house an hour away for most of Christmas Day, and then back to work... and we've enjoyed it, but our lives are changing, and so our lifestyles are consciously changing with them...
I thought I might be on this venture alone... but Case wants to participate, too. Ez just understands that he'll still get a toy or two... so he's more 'eh' about it... 5 years old... I don't expect a manifesto or anything.
So yeah... we'll try it. We did end up going to my parents' house for Thanksgiving and it was a good time. ;) No drama... although we did pull up to see my brother in a small CAT digging up stumps in their yard... btw, I DID NOT get to play with it at all... which is injustice, but that was about it.
Today, we finish moving the stuff out of both houses... tomorrow, I think we're going to Homestead Heritage for their annual festival. Click on the name and check it out... and then be a little jealous, because it's pretty awesome... although, when you see a hand carved, rather ornate rocking chair for $400, flip the little tag over and it says, "Made by Josiah: Age 6," you spend the rest of your time there questioning what you've been doing with your life and if it's worth it... lol.
I'll let you know how this all turns out as we go along:) We gave my parents and my brothers family their ornaments yesterday, along with their Christmas cards, and that was lovely, so we'll see;)
someone told me the other day that the reason that they don't have friends is because they've been so disappointed by other people... and something about that struck me as so absurd that i even had to laugh at myself.
i'm not the biggest fan of people... they drain my energy at times, inspire me at others, and completely dumbfound me with some of the antics that they are capable of... especially in groups (even worse, large groups.)
i've been one of those that doesn't keep close friends because i don't truly connect with more than one or two people every couple of years, but that is usually on an 'unreal' level that is absolutely remarkable... but what about all the people i lock out simply because i don't want to be annoyed? what am i missing?
and in the middle of typing this, i'm shaking my head because the answer that has always been present is drifting into my mind... i don't give people a chance because more often than not, they get close, find out that i am who i am (be it weird, intimidating, serious/not serious, idealistic, manic...etc,) and take off... and the ones who don't take off often want some sort of relationship... and the aftermath of that is even worse...
i went along with the 'hey, i have a friend... so, what parts of me need to be put away for a while...?' and then i got tired of it... i would watch whoever be who they were, no matter how undesirable, and then i would come out with something, in my opinion, way less shocking and watch tail feathers fly as they took off in the opposite direction. wtf.
"...watch tail feathers fly..."
i could deal with a few disappointments in the friend dept, but it was starting to settle a message into my brain (keep in mind that this has been going on since i was maybe..... 13 and forming ideas that didn't match up with my parents' ideas or expectations, my church's ideals and teachings, or anyone else's for that matter.) the message read a little something like,'keep it quiet. you're too much here, not enough there. no one really likes you and you just be you.... ummm.. never. not even behind closed doors... let it go and conform... study them. watch them. get a grasp on the act and understand it later.'
there were spaces where i thrived... like the last high school i went to where we were encouraged to be ourselves and around 75% of us had left the mainstream school system looking for a better creative education, and wouldn't you know, we were smart... scary smart, and all a little 'off' by the standards of the masses... but it didn't matter. this was our 'normal.'
so you get out of high school, become an adult and it all changes, right? no. maybe this is a regional thing, because where i'm from, as soon as you can, you try to get a job... any job, (Michigan is one broke state atm) and you work your ass off to keep it... Living here, in Waco, Tx with 3 colleges and an ITT Tech somewhere around here, there are a lot of 'summer job kids,' and a lot of people who are still living the dream of being a college student. (i know... i became one of them about 3 1/2 years ago and LOVED it.) something about all of this seems to keep the attitude of 'i'm better looking, better dressed, and you suck' going... it's the 'you suck' part that tends to be a bit childish...lmao. i've seen 30 somethings (my age group,) come pretty close to sticking their tongues out at each other...
so i'm looking to detach from these messages... and the mechanisms that form them. i became a lot more accepting for a long time, and then a lot more intolerant over the past couple/few years. now, i'm working back toward loving, allowing myself to be loved, but not becoming attached (in a healthy way.)
i do want friends... and that is a revelation in itself. and i want close friends. i also want to be able to be vulnerable with people, letting them know that they are seeing truly authentic parts of me, but strong enough that if they take flight, i'm still ok.
what i'm not willing to do is hide. i won't be hiding anymore, and this whole shell thing has been something that i think has been brought on by a set of circumstances over the past ten or so years that no longer exist and that i don't seek to repeat.
i am acid but sweet
generous but often empty
learning and still ignorant
and i accept these things
knowing that i will move forward
that i am becoming more
but atm this is where i am
and i love it
i am kind and abrasive
serious about everything
and serious about nothing
all at once
please don't label me
or label me and i'll smile
knowing that it won't stick
it'll frustrate you more than i'll notice
my patterns change
my cycles change
i am as inconstant as the moon
but as loyal and fierce as the sun
you either love me because i am
or in spite of my 'i am'
and spite doesn't work well for long
that is a burden that even i don't deal with
we both deserve better
so we will become better
in our own time
i will change
but in my way at my choosing
it doesn't mean i'm not listening
that i don't care
just that i don't jump through hoops
i don't change my mind on a whim
i won't allow someone to pull me apart
and piece me back together to fit their idea of 'right'
that is violence
that is not loving
it is remaking someone in your image
and it won't make you happy
how much would be enough
there would be no end.
i'm rambly this morning... i woke up at 5, discovered that none of the coffee mugs had been brought over to the new place, despite the presence of the Keurig, coffee, cream, and sugar. ultimate blue balls... BUT, i had a styrofoam cup in my room from a local restaurant (i'm addicted to their ice, so i go by and get 25c waters all the time... drink the water, eat the ice...lol...) so i made my coffee... first win of the day;)
and yes. it's Thanksgiving today. i don't like this holiday... i just don't. but because i am thankful for many, many things, i'll try to remember to post a list later today (because i won't be at the stores looking for a bargain... people have taken this ridiculousness too far... and there's a good example of our culture... everyone is complaining that they are broke, and yet, a LOT of them will be headed out to buy something that they don't need, or something for someone else in the name of a holiday that has been equally raped by the consumerist mentality... so happy ShopGiving... may you stand in UNGODLY long lines and whatever it is you're looking for be gone by the time you get there, because you are reinforcing the idea with marketers and corporations that we will shop when they tell us to shop, regardless of family, holidays, or any other thing that could possibly interrupted by someone telling us to buy something. so thank you. bunches.)
i'm swearing off Facebook for the next 48 hrs. i'm the kind that logs on for a few mins here and a few there, but have you ever tripped over a photo or a post that looks like everyone is hanging out and you weren't there? or better yet, someone who says you're their friend seems to be regularly trolling feed, 'liking' your mutual friends' stuff, but not yours... FB is a source of drama, and the recent news events have also contributed to my decision... 48 hrs may not seem like a lot to you, but that puts me on being able to check/respond etc on Saturday morning... and tho most people don't realize it, they check Facebook a LOT during a 24 hour period.
Facebook is as Facebook does and perception plays about 98% of it, i think... and i'm taking a break from it. also, chances are, you have some people on there that you aren't even sure about (as to whether they're friend, foe, or something else,) and seeing the different goings on with them creates some turmoil. i don't think we're meant to see all of these interactions and have to deal with such a bigger picture... think Jane Austen... there always seemed to be one character that had the bird's eye view and was either manipulative or miserable.
so see ya, FB... i'm hoping i'll forget about you till about Monday... maybe longer... and i don't think it'll really matter anyway... my messenger will still be on as that's a majority of texting that i do, so anyone needing to get me, there ya go... ;) and trust me... i love hearing from people... i don't love reading their headlines lately... and i don't love it as a time waster... i'll be finishing up my move anyway;)
tonights' the first night in the new house... i have my bed back, my room perfect (ok... a few things to sort out... yes, art supplies...but it is mine... so deliciously mine... iloveit.
i'm also learning to live not looking forward to things.... and at first that sounds awful, but the past quite a few years have been lived from benchmark to milestone and etc... and then from one night out to the next... or from one friend over to the next occurrence... this is how i ordered my life... on others' cycles... too much moth... no flame. no bueno.
i'm doing things on my time... ditching things that no longer serve me... picking up old habits that set my cycle... set my personal clock... i'm flexible, but i'm done feeling like i'm on everyone else's schedule... and it's been so self-imposed... i've been my own prisoner.
and again... social networking helps contribute... even though ultimately, the responsibility lies with me... this is my war... my fight to get over the fence and back into the wild... ;) and i already see a way over;)
I read a post by the Art Journaler... found here, with the title of 'Glue-booking through the resistance,' and before I even started to read her entry, my mind began working through how this idea could be useful in my own life...
The jagged thoughts that lay in my path like sharp rocks are usually worn smooth by streams and rapids of writing, whether in journals, my blog, or on Facebook...
When I was younger, my dream was for my life to be about words and only words... Definitions be damned... Paint with them as though a solitary word may be one color, context another color, and mixing the two together, you may get a third or even a marbled effect... so beautiful and unpredictable this loopy, twisted, bent language we use... so words have been my form of reconciliation with resistance...
I don't know when or if I'll even try the visual thing... most likely I will. I do sometimes record thoughts that I can't seem to get around... like this goofy one...
"It's so hard to just PLAY."
I have an Etsy shop and was getting caught in the trap of attempting to create only 'what would sell.' So self-expression had completely gone out the window, and was barely there to begin with because I am something of a closet overachiever kept in check by complete slackerdom. It makes for an interesting, but stressful existence at times, but this was my acknowledging that there was a problem that I needed to address, which I ended up writing to a fellow Etsian about. (She had the most brilliantly crazy shop with things that she didn't even care if people would buy... it was her... all her in pictures, words in the listings.... she had curated her own little digital museum...with prices. And people did buy these things... There was an angel of death holding a bunny rabbit... so hard to explain... I'll see if she'll let me show her work on here some time.)
i'm tired and headed to bed... part 2 will wait until tomorrow, i think.
i thought i should tell you that i adore you, love you, and respect you more than you could ever know... i'm going to go so far as to probably scare you to death with it... i don't like boundaries... i want to explore and know you... i want you close. i have chosen you, and now i wait to see if you choose me... but in the meantime, i am so enthusiastic about you, and it's going to be confusing... ask anyone else that i call 'mine.'
i used to just hide it. ignore any urge to show kindness, personal investment, and etc etc etc... i mean, what was the point? but it hurt when i missed out on a few really great people... they were erased from this earth too soon. a mistake i don't want to repeat.
i love extravagantly... not through money and stuff, but in other ways... i make you things, write for you, give you comfort, listen and have long conversations... and the situation does not matter. i've chosen. i only get one intimate connection every couple of years... one opportunity to draw close to a soul i recognize, whether i know you or not...
i've been shaken to my core both by the surprise of a genuinely amazing connection being accepted, and by the soul shattering severing of a connection that has been built over time... i make my commitment to knowing you known... and am delighted when the sentiment is returned, though now i am suspicious of those who echo 'i want you close.' i may start asking for definitions... although i've done that, and it doesn't seem to matter later...
so what do i do? i won't change my becoming more fully me. i will continue to put myself into those i love, regardless of the possible response... it is part of who i am... i do not desire a half assed friendship. i do not desire a friend that calls themselves close but is completely unreliable for conversation, comfort, won't ask for help...etc... pretty much anything and everything that goes into any friendship/relationship/anything but an acquaintance. i no longer want the superficial smiles and conversation... take that elsewhere.
i will share myself... i will chase down the souls that sparkle, even if only for a moment, and be deliciously vulnerable with who and what i am... i will be rewarded both in the deepest, darkest pain as those who know you best know how to hurt you worst... and revel in the soul to soul contact of those who are my true companions... who nourish the relationship... who want to be in that commitment of being close... i will nourish you... seek you out... feel you in the Oneness... constantly wait with my ear to the ground for your need... your desire... your call... i will show up unexpectedly and make you food... deliver a puppy you probably don't want...lol... i will drag you kicking and screaming to my space to paint, watch movies, and drink a million cups of coffee...
i want to talk to you... ask you questions... know you inside and out... watch you across the table and see your expressions... read your face... hear your truth...
please don't be afraid of me... dear one, i am harmless... i am high maintenance... but i am Love. i am a nurturer. i am a seducer of souls... i will fall for you the way i do for all of my friends... and it will be glorious...
i will not apologize. this is who i am. my only attempt at withdraw will be to try to keep you comfortable... not to infringe on you and your truth. keep in mind, i read actions, and i will not press if not encouraged beyond my initial tackling of your being... i am that soul that will watch out the window for your shadow... jump at every text and call... i am a relentless romantic of all relationships... of hope.
you can say no, my dearest. you can walk away and ignore me, but you will miss out... i'm sure you have enough friends, but you will be missing out. i am weird and strange, and i underestimate my own value more than what's considered 'healthy...' but love, i am generous in all things... i will absorb as much as you will give me... i will give more than you can stand... i will learn 'you.' i am a safe place... tell me anything... eggshells be damned. (and yes, you may hear hurt... i am human, but i will press on and glow... and listen... it all comes with the territory, doesn't it? it is not for the faint of heart... or those without hearts.)
i will be gentle in my way... i will be harsh and challenging... i will stand up relentlessly for me, but constantly attempt to refine me... i will 'try...' always... and i will expect all the same from you... but a growing to this... but a commitment to growing to this... to go further than just remembering you... just thinking of you...
we may not agree at times, but you will still be loved, and i will still respect you... and i will show that in the middle of any argument... my friend, you are precious, and i wish i knew who you were at this moment... i wish i was having this conversation with you instead of a shadow i can't identify... but i'll wait... i'll watch for the next spark...
but just so you know... iloveyou... the way i always have, and iwantyouclose.
i'm on this anxious and angsty journey to find my wild... committed to thrashing on the ground possessed by the desire to know this thing... this 'other' that is constantly pressing against my skin... this Beautiful edging into my mind, but already consuming my heart... to be fully alive in this raging love...
i'm coming to grips with what feels like a dark night of my soul... and i've been holding onto it and wrestling in meditation... not willing to let whatever it is slip back into ambiguity and out of sight...
i don't feel like i can talk about all of it... or even half of it... differing beliefs come into play more often than i anticipated... and i feel stupid in some of it... like an abusive relationship with loneliness, i'm too ashamed to admit it... too scared to let my secret slip... well, there it is. i've lived with it for this long... i love solitude, but when it becomes something other than a choice, when you feel left, it becomes loneliness...
i'm not focusing on that... like minds are few and far between these days... and non judgment can be even more rare... but there are an unexpected few who are not my own... who i have not luxuriously loved or invested myself in... they just seem to know... and i haven't had to earn a minute of it... this is where i learn to receive... to surrender... and for me, this is a battle to the death...
there is a purpose in the absence of those closest to my soul... there is a reason not of their design, but of the conspiring of the Universe to ensure my learning... my inner transformation... my alchemy...
gah... to remember all of this in the middle of it... when i'm up to my eyeballs in screaming pain... when i can't see straight for the fog clouding my judgement... when i'm wading through the sleep-to-death sickness that comes and goes as these moon tides steal my sanity, adding to the tipside world in which i am but a single dot...
this is when recollection is key... this is when Caduceus shows himself plainly... to focus... to heal... to feel it all and emerge more fully wild... more fully me... not to get caught up fighting the imaginary net... clinging to a sheer rock face that does not exist... hiding from a tornado that has not come... there is no danger here... no immediate crisis... just distractions of the mind... of fear keeping me from my heart... from the Knowing.
i just realized how brittle i feel
it's a new moon
maybe i'll feel more lush after?
too passive... too much relying on the external... i have to do this work... work at this regeneration of soul... work at playing... at rolling naked on the surface of a river and feeling the rush of the water... at cliff jumping terrified and laughing... at staying up way to late reading my new favorite writers and drinking coffee... at creating my new space and finding other souls to share it with...
something begs to be written into existence... but it hasn't come out of the shadows yet... all i can do is sit with this tension, hope i don't break, and wait...
I've had a few people in the last month tell me that they can't meditate... or that they did it but wouldn't want to make it a practice (I suspect because of the sitting still and trying to think nothing...) Over the past 6 or so months, I've stumbled over the idea and practice that meditation is the exact opposite. Meditation is work. Hard work.
It's where the subconscious brings me things through my body that I must interpret, shows me connected dots, and occasionally flashes an image or memories of dreams through my mind that need to be considered.
This is also my conscious villains' opportunity to start soapboxing it and screaming lies or half truths at me about myself, life, everyone around me, and every idea, passion, creation, achievement, or mistake I've ever had or made.
So why do it? Because I'm finding that this is how I take those things about me that I'm not so in love with, those unexplainable feelings or thoughts, or that thing in the back of my mind that's killing me but I can't quite put my finger on it.... this is how I take those things and eradicate, change, or put them in proper perspective. It's how I've come to learn to love myself, be able to love others, open my mind a little more fully, and gah... etc etc etc.
I don't have a picture of me meditating... but it's not me sitting in the Lotus position, hands perfectly posed upward on my knees, eyes peacefully closed, and chanting OM.... not at all... Oh... and I HATE paying attention to my breathing... it's something I do at a point in meditation, but definitely not the way I start... I find that annoying and then I suddenly feel like I can't breathe... wtf to that.
It's me sitting cross legged on my couch or bed... sometimes rocking back and forth... sometimes with a rosary or mala in my hand, counting beads... sometimes with my eyes open, staring at the wall or a piece of art... sometimes with my eyes closed... sometimes I jump up, grab a pen, write down something I thought of or scribble an image that I saw and then go back to whatever feels needed...
I don't always define it as meditation... it's just the easiest label to put on it so people know what I'm talking about... I do pray. I do believe that we are all One breath... the One that gave us life. We are all whole, spiritual beings, enjoying the challenges, pleasures, pain, and endurance of a human existence. So sometimes, I define meditation as the 'listening' portion of prayer. I'm not talking... I will if it comes, but I'm not petitioning, pleading, or gumming up the communication. I'm humming (sometimes)... waiting... thinking on things that are pleasant, good, lovely... etc.
I do a few things that I've learned, but mostly what's felt natural to me.
i sit cross legged... it's my natural being, and i don't sit up straight unless it's that kind of day... i get comfortable. (why would i want to be distracted by physical discomfort?) i close my eyes and i do take a deep breath in... the way you do when you're about to start a task.
i reflect on the day, week, myself, actions... whatever, until something pops out at me... 'i'm too attached to things...' Sadhguru says that 'attaching oneself to things is like throwing out anchors on the rivers of life... you end up not going anywhere. You can associate with them (like them, appreciate them...etc) but do not become attached which leads to entanglement.'
ok... so with 'i am unattached to this material world and material things,' i start. first i say it in my mind and see how it feels... your subconscious does not lie to you, and as the body is your subconscious, your body does not lie to you. i literally sit there and look for tensed muscles... don't forget your face... i do sometimes.
when i find tensed muscles or that i'm gritting my teeth, i work to relax wherever i'm tense... it is a conscious decision. and then i say it out loud. 'i am unattached to this material world and material things.' let my ears hear it... again... go through the body. what is tense? and this is where i breathe and try to get a deep breath... if i can't, i know that i'm still 'in it.' even with a deep breath, i'm not done...
i lean into the feeling of what it means to be unattached to the material world... feeling free... feeling alone... feeling light... for me, feeling like i'm running through a forest... the way i feel swimming... sunshine... i imagine looking around my room or house and seeing only what i need... not having to pay for a lot of stuff... financial freedom... and usually as i lean into this feeling, continuing the body work, and when i feel like it, feeling for that deep breath, a smile will spread across my face.... this is good...
i keep going like this until i feel my whole body relax into the the 'mantra' or concept i'm wanting to feel reverberate through me... and when i open my eyes, if i've been 'there' for a bit, i feel completely different... or more like disoriented... lol... to me, that's a sign i'm doing something right;) that, and i start to catch myself when i'm thinking 'oh, i'll never get rid of this,' or 'oh, i really want that...' and redirect into the unattached... i find i don't usually really want whatever it is, or if i have it already, i can indeed see an end date for it in the future, or begin to wonder why i even have it... which ends up in getting rid of it...lol...
note: the voices and random thoughts from the 'mind villains' as i call them... the little distracting thoughts of 'i should really be ____ right now...' >>>that's the easy one... i tell that one that i will easily waste 10-30 mins doing something stupid or useless at some point, so why not do this? and having no reply, it doesn't answer back.
the negative ones are usually pretty unreasonable... 'oh, you are attached to everything...' observe it. pay attention to it, and then think about where it would have come from... just for a minute... you aren't attached to everything... you throw stuff out every day. you're kind and give things to charity. if you were attached to everything, you would be a hoarder...
just observe the voices... they're only dangerous if allowed to push unseen... just a kind of nod or 'huh.' and then carry on. ;)
this is really all i do... and i'm sure that everyone has their 'thing.' i'm terrified of meditating outside... unless my eyes are open... lol... and it takes me a while to get comfortable doing it around other people who are doing other things... and i like silence.
So yeah. It's hard work... much easier to just shove it all in the back of the mind and go out for another drink... Yeah... make some more friends and fix your issues with yourself through their acceptance... Don't have the hard conversations... Ignore that nudge that's fading that tells you you're supposed to be doing something with your life... Get away from silence and into noise... Ignore the losses... Cover them up... Don't sit there with them... (Just in case you can't tell, all terrible ideas.)
Ok... so I was born in 1981... not a sin, but the last possible year to claim Generation X status by 'various analysts of generational experience gaps and etc.' Seriously. I'm a borderline X/Y in the generation status, apparently.
Anyhow, so I just (minutes ago,) stumbled across an article detailing why Generation Y's are so depressed all the time... which makes me think that I am Gen X, and here's why (not that this conversation or thought process isn't ENTIRELY useless, but it's late and I'm bored... oh, and it's my blog.)
The article, in no certain terms (and I've heard this before, but for some reason, it infuriated me less,) said that Gen Y's expected to have the same career/pay/standard of living that their parents had, but to come by it through some miraculous, unique, special 'I'm so amazing,' way, but because they were finding out that they weren't unique little snowflakes, and no one thought that they were unicorns, wouldn't pay them a million dollars to be themselves, leaving them to a Ramen future, they were depressed. (Yesssssss! Run-on-and-on...)
I've seen these people. They are out there. What ABSOLUTELY angered me was that they attached the term 'gypsy' to these kids. WTF? They kinda just lumped everyone doing something other than trying to climb the ladder in the corporate world into one group and labeled it as a kind of 'stars in your eyes' gypsy.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love the word... it's something that I aspire to... a life lightly lived on this Earth, with a deeper sense of self, associated, but unattached... illuminated by the spiritual, connected to the Oneness, and living by my own convictions in community with those around me... not a standard definition, but I love it.
I'm not employed. I've chosen life backwards in a sense... I'm not retired, but I went through a crisis (ok, multiple... fine. many many many) where I could no longer identify what the point of scrambling for money was. I want more family, more art, more writing, more poetry, more sensuality, more.... everything but building memories of setting endcaps, or checking beverage quality... that's not life.
I tend to look at those a few years older than me and see the same disillusionment associated with Gen X'ers' 'rebellious' nature... I think it's the first sanity that's been seen in YEARS in this country, and then look at Gen Y, who observes Gen X's more slack lifestyle (not all, but some on both sides of the fence,) and doesn't observe the simplicity or alternative lifestyles that go with that kind of thinking...
I don't know that this is making any sense. I didn't quit my job to become a famous writer, artist, or to even really make money doing either. I quit because I have an amazing support system in place, want to spend more time with my family, and do the things I love... this happens to be one of them, and my art happens to be the another.
I want to lose touch with society... with what is considered 'normal...' I don't mind being 'weird' or 'different...' I'm completely on board with that. I'm just done with the insanity that I've been watching take over millions...
LOOK AT YOUR FINANCIAL STATUS... LOOK AT THE ECONOMY... Do you really think that we're in the same game anymore? I don't, which is why I'm glad that I get to quit playing for a bit. Mr. Monopoly can keep a few of his dollars and let me get off the board (which is a giant circle,) for a while.
People are holding their breath... waiting for everything to 'go back to normal.' That's not 'normal' anymore. We don't get to mindlessly spend like we used to... and I see the articles on how to 'save at the retail stores for Christmas...' Where are the articles on how to buy nothing for Christmas? Few and fucking far between. Maybe a small guide on how to have those conversations with extended family on why you won't be giving the traditional gifts because it's just not happening... Here are a few that I've used...
(With my mother because she knows where we are and will still put presents under the tree...lol... i LOVE my mom...)
Mum: So what do you kids want this year?
Me: Ez is into Legos big time, and we're encouraging him in that because it's reinforcing following directions and completing projects on his own...
Mum: silence as she scribbles down notes....'and for you two?'
Me: Mom, it's not necessary, but we'd love household items... if it can be used up or useful, that would be wonderful... (and we mean it. 100%)
Other family members vary. The ones with kids might get babysitting gift certificates, and honestly, aren't those worth the child's weight in gold? Yes. They are. Trust me, and my kid weighs about 50lbs right now...
My point being is that 'gypsy'.... wrong fucking word... for a MYRIAD of reasons... and that kind of morphed into a 'things have changed-wise up,' thing... apologies...
not everyone is me... but i'm glad that we are all One and thank God that we are all different;)
i thought about this on the way home from my new house... it's amazing how the subconscious works things out for me as i move into my body. it's like allowing my brain to be distracted by actually solving the immediate problems of filling boxes tetris style and walking down a flight of stairs, all the while, sub c is back there connecting dots and rearranging things...
so in the car, i started thinking about this question that i had seen elsewhere this morning... and then i started thinking more in terms of 'how do i go about arriving at who i think i am?' hmmmm... the thoughts did not speak to my independence nor confidence... they spoke directly to who i was and to whom.... or worse yet, what i wasn't and how i didn't feel valued...
the second part of that last statement became a little more important while conversing with my cards and asking how i can keep myself from getting lost in other people... the first card that came up was Clearance... or the clearing and burning of things (thought patterns, practices, relationships...etc) that no longer serve us in our journey... thought patterns... huh.
i don't like feeling like i'm not valued, and i think that people know what it takes to make another person feel valued and they choose not to do it... even when they plead ignorance. i know i've done it... for a myriad of petty, vindictive, or just plain lazy reasons... lazy, because i could have asked for clarification in a situation and instead, i just chose to withhold basic validation or appreciation for that person... i am guilty.
so in thinking about all of this, i've decided that it's absolutely needed that i stop seeing myself through other peoples' eyes for a while and that when i don't feel valued, I evaluate whether it's a pattern with a particular person and address it or eliminate them from my more regular life.
the past few months have been rough... i've been feeling multiple losses that have made my chest want to cave in. i haven't talked about it to hardly anyone, because it makes no sense, really, and i don't feel like i can. i choose not to. i've chosen to be alone in all of this... which in part, is the sadness...
i'm coming out of it though... the loneliness is turning into much needed solitude and a reminder to practice my own search for knowledge. my own discipline. my own wild. my own cycle.
but i would give anything to know that there are those i love waiting across the distance to connect when i'm ready... i don't feel these things out there at the moment, and that puts my heart in my throat.
tomorrow will be a new day... today was productive. thank you for that;)
*savor:enjoy or appreciate (something pleasant) completely, especially by dwelling on it.
Reading this description, it occurs to me how many things I truly 'savor.' If you've ever been with me at Bj's and watched me eat the corn fritters with bacon aoli, you've watched me savor something... lol... complete silence is required. Seriously. Try them and tell me it isn't a silence worthy experience. I dare you.
I fall in love with some of my finished pieces of art... like 'barely there...' the color combinations are just right for me, and it reminds me that perfection isn't my thing, but she's still pretty, but not perfect.
It's a little blurry, but she's on a recycled canvas, her eyes are weird (not as weird as in this pic,) and I actually stopped when I looked down and thought, 'huh, finished...' She has what looks like cracks across her face because of the papers glued underneath her paint, but I savored finishing this piece. I love it.
Am I savoring my Monday? It's early, and this is still a decision at the moment... I guess it will be as long as it's Monday...
I'm trying to keep this in mind;)
I have a lot in front of me today... moving, laundry, and hopefully finding some 5-6T beige kaki slacks for my Kindergartner because he's rough on his uniforms... I think there are some at my house... which I'll be dismantling further today anyway... (He only needs em till February!) And the fact that Case and I are brave enough to do this (it means a whole other lifestyle in which I am terrified that my solitude doesn't exist--unreasonable fear,) is a miracle. I trust and believe in Ez to learn and be curious... omg is he curious... and I think it's going to cultivate patience in myself.
Is it a miracle to have to move stuff? I ponder it for a second and I think it is... it causes me to take a third look at EVERYTHING I own and actively ask, 'why on earth do I have this?' And we have an awesome new place, which is also a blessing...
I'm still sick... miracle? It will keep me in being mindful of my body, for sure, which is something I don't usually do...
So we will see... Am I savoring my day? I want to say 'not yet,' but if not now, when? I'm lucky... I should be... this might be the beginning of some internal work, because I can't give an honest 'yes' atm... I have a myriad of reasons why, but it's a choice... and I'm having trouble choosing what I want to be my day...
surrender is continuing to be a prevalent lesson for me, and i find it so hard. i take care of people, myself included, to minimize friction, resolve conflict in schedules, and to make sure that everything flows properly... i hate being annoyed, but at the same time, i hate living with a constant schedule... but i hate being annoyed more... to me, it feels like tripping over your own shoe laces ALL day when you could easily bend down, correct the problem and then sprint through everything that needs doing... be on time, have the right stuff in your hands, and be where you're supposed to be. i HATE being annoyed. changes in schedule bother me... especially when it's been discussed... especially when something could have been communicated... especially when it's unneeded.
however, there have been some lessons in surrender, that thankfully have been unavoidable or self-chosen. so instead of untied shoe laces, it was more like an unseen crack in the sidewalk or a missed stair... you're just glad you didn't fall. and all things work together for my good... my delight... my learning... my discipline... my love... i am loved. ;)
List #6: Some 'surrender things' I've noticed:
1. my dreads...because of the crazy state they were in last time, i've wanted to be so careful... make them so neat and tidy like all the ones you see on Youtube... at least on the really pretty girls, but then I saw this gorgeous, gypsy looking girl just radiating sensuality, and her dreads were gloriously messy. she had part naturally forming dreads and part twist and rip, but was now allowing them to do their own thing... she said that letting go of the whole idea that she was going to be able to control the process of the dreading of her hair was taking her ego out of the equation, and that she was learning to trust the process, and they were doing just fine.
hmmmm.... sounded like surrender.... and she was right... i watched her month to month updates, and around six months (as in most dread experiences chronicled on youtube,) her dreads were beautiful...
so now, i've been tending to the new ones for about two weeks... tightening once they're dry from being washed and then leaving them alone... but the older ones are on their own, and they are doing just fine. a little messy, and i get looks because of the mess, but I'm letting go of my ego on this one. it's a process, and processes are often messy in the middle... like a chicken hatching (and i swear i've seen a million chicks hatch--my mom had an incubator for the farm when i was a kid, and it's not cute,) but well worth it.
2. not having a job... it's a crazy 24 post story that i don't know that i'll ever tell, but my husband and i switched places on the income status and now i don't work... and because of our unique relationship, i've had to ask so many questions, and he has had his own paranoia about things, but we're learning to let go and communicate... i still plan on running my Etsy shop because i love making things and selling them... to me, that is living the dream and makes my heart sing, but i won't be having a conventional job for at least the next year.
3. giving up my apartment... (remember that long story mentioned in #2.? yeah... deal with it...) i've had the privilege of being able to pay for (about 70% of the time) my own apartment while i went back to school and worked part time. it was my nest... still is till the end of the month. if ever there was a physical sense of me that you could stand in and look around at all my pieces, it was in there... i LOVE my apartment, but part of the no job arrangement is not paying for two places (and actually being able to eat.) so we rented a three bedroom house that is precisely the right thing at the right time and i'm watching it all work out so wonderfully with space issues not being a problem, having great feelings about our landlords, having a backyard to garden in (which we've wanted to get back into for a myriad of reasons--see almost every other post in this blog...lol,) and while at first i was pretty on-target with reminders and 'hey, is this done?' and 'i need to...', i'm finally letting up on that... maybe because we've signed the lease and we just need to put our stuff in there, but still. i can feel the switch take place on the inside.
4. soon to be unschooling our son... so much trust involved here. i've watched documentary after documentary, read articles, saw this HUGE conversation about alternative education during the 60's and 70's, and then it died out... i have my theories as to why, but i want to give what i've watched some time to filter back out of my mind so i'm not just parroting things back on the issue... everyone seems to have their own brand of unschooling... from the radical 'no rules at all,' to the more 'guide and provide' parents who introduce things to learn about and then back away to let the children take the lead... i've decided i'm more the 2nd type...
in the decision making process, a huge thing that i LOVED in some of the unschooled was that since they had to look for their learning from the start through real life experiences and research, they never lost the love of learning, and they were still going after the experiences and knowledge about whatever it was that they were interested in. they don't consider their education as over because they got a high school diploma or a college degree... and they got to focus on what their passion was from the beginning.
i don't like what is directly marketed to children in schools. i don't want my son to learn societal programming and whatever is considered 'normal' at the time. i'm already tired of how they're dumbing down some of the work that he is fantastic at and talking about 'special needs' because he has a hard time sitting down in a classroom environment with 30 other kids. he's always been 1 of 1 or 1 of 12, which to me, makes more sense, if that's part of what you're going for. i hated school... there were so many points from K-12 where i would sit there, waiting on something or done with something and think, 'this is such a waste of time... i could be doing so many other things right now.'
my interest because of Girl Scouts was actually in survivalist skills. when i was little, we lived on 5 acres of dense scrub in South Texas and my parents would let my brother and i get lost for HOURS (like 1/2 the day,) on the weekends and in the summer... with guns... real guns (not BB guns... those things were sissy guns in our opinion.) we had brand new machetes at 7... mainly because she wouldn't let us keep them from Christmas at 5 years old... my aunt and uncle are missionaries to Peru and kids down there apparently get their machetes much younger, so they thought 5 was a little late...
where would i be now if i had been able to continue on that path? to focus and learn what i needed to learn not from school, but instead through my passion?
5. i've been sick for the last four or five days, and before that, was taking care of my boys who had it worse than i have... i kind of exposed myself to it early and in increments... something i learned from a really smart friend.
i HATE being sick... i think every time it's happened, if i've had to go home or call in, my exact words have been, 'i'm not dying... this is stupid.... no, i can't really stand up or sit up for too long... this is stupid.' but no job atm, so my new home has been on this couch since Thursday night because the guys have been too sick for me to leave, and then i've been to sick to go home to an apt with a pilot light issue... i'm not dealing with it since we're moving this week... it happened last year too...
so yeah... my Judas body has kept me on the couch... moving slower than i like to... surrender... bleh.
Anyhow, i'm learning, or trying to... I'm glad that I'm getting the opportunity to learn in loving, easier ways .... oh, i did learn quite a bit when my car literally died on a hill... i broke something that apparently, you can't break. can't. literally. but i did. oh well. surrender. and a storm took out a window in my apt, my electricity was off for about a week, and lost all the food in the freezer and fridge... SURRENDER... lmao.
i think my next list may need to sound more positive... this one is actually amazingly positive as all of these things have conspired for my benefit... leading to my delight... but i understand if some people are thinking 'omg. what else?' (which is a question i stopped asking while working for a company full of mishaps, a building that was falling apart, management that changed personnel, priorities, and operating philosophy constantly, and treated all of it's lower levels like absolute trash...)
i'm grateful for where i am and where i think i'm headed, but i'm trying to be a 'good traveler' and not 'worry about the destination,' as the Tao likes to put it...
the separation at times feels so heavy... spiritual beings having a human existence, but i feel so damn grounded in the material atm. but we are all one, are we not? i feel the grace and the love that currently binds us in commonality on this earth, but lovelies, it isn't easy, is it... to remain loyal, to leave behind the toxic, to speak your truth, to love audaciously without fear, to go in your own direction without apology, to be you and terrify everyone... we are all so amazing, dark in the depths, and light blue at the surface...
we feel alone... even in crowds, because the ability to let each other in is inhibited by pride, the need to be right, fear, societal norms, our own neediness, and a disregard for others' right to solitude, which must be protected by the very people who must occasionally interrupt it... our families are not bound by blood, but by souls the recognize each other... feel each other across the miles... across the country. they are what drive us to show up on one's doorstep unannounced with the knowing that it's needed NOW. the love is what drives us to celebrate the reuniting of two in love for a brief time...
oh my loves, do you not wish more for yourselves? to feel beautifully cared for? to be known and admired for who you are, and not the snapshot of the person that others currently see? to lean back and float on a million hands that wish to bear you across the same river that they now also float across? to support others in the love that you receive... oh, just to be able to receive it... we do not receive without resistance. whether momentary, internal, or external, we make reasons and have tense bodies towards gifts... receiving is not only what we do for ourselves, but what we do for the giver... for only in the giving can that soul gain or learn whatever it is that compelled them to give... 'it is better to give than receive...' we become less of our ego, hopefully... we become more of others' joy... more of the oneness... more of the hands that feed and help... more of the community...
darlings... our friction is ego... and our damage, but we heal each other. we seek intimate relationships and lay all of our burdens on one person... unfair and unrealistic. or we hide part of them and dole them out as they surface or can no longer be concealed... trying to parse them so that they may be more manageable. it doesn't work that way, and even if it did, an exchange of burdens between two is still an immense amount of pressure... so what then?
vulnerability and the desire to be in community... what does this look like? i've seen church communities and long ago decided that they weren't for me... i've seen homeless communities with more love in them. it takes a first step by someone... a first act of kindness and a first receiving of it. it also requires that you are looking for ways that people 'love' you... even the smallest things... you must teach your heart to whisper to your mind, 'this is love.' and as you gain love, you will begin to give it.
i wish for these things with such a fury and intensity that i scare other people... i have a hard time not feeling alone... but i am learning to move into my heart and whisper, 'this is love,' more often than being suspicious... more often than making excuses and resistance to the ways that others show me love... i want to give, so i must receive.
List #5 is all about how I prefer to relax and play... I realize that I'm going to list some not-so-great habits and what I'm doing to correct them, so bear with me... ;)
List #5: Relaxing and Play...
1. Buying clothes n stuff: Yesss children... retail therapy does work if you are addicted, and I willingly admit that I am a recovering addict. I'm currently 9 months through a 1 year freeze on buying any clothing retail. I think I've spent under $40 this year on clothing from garage sales and such, and even a lot of that was stuff I didn't need, but I also gained a lot of really useful items as well. (Resale shops and consignment was also off limits.)
2. Bubble baths: This habit was born in Michigan... because it's freaking cold up there for a good bit, and this is one of the only ways I could get warm in the mornings before school, the afternoons after school, and then the evenings before bed. Now it's just like a giant 'reset' button on my day...
3. Coffee... need I say more? I shouldn't... except mmmmmmmm.
4. Painting: I love the things I'm doing these days... ;)
5. Pinterest: New ideas seem to spark my imagination and brighter side.
6. A walk outdoors: This is actually depressing when the sun is up and it's 104F outside... I just look out of a window when it's this hot, or move on to #7.
7. Swim: I love the long swimming season in Texas;) Water makes me feel like I'm flying and I love the fluid friction/feel of it on my skin.
8. Blanket in the park: I take a blanket and some stuff to do to the park;) Usually alone, and it's nice and quiet;)
9. Reading: Something I haven't done in a good while because I feel like I've been too all over the place to finish anything, but I have a goal of 20 books and I've already finished one and into my second.
10. Chasing Ez and playing with him: This seems to fall under both work and play. The little bugger is freaking fast and gaining speed and agility every day... I don't want to chase him... I just want a bigger, more socially acceptable leash, honestly.
This is relaxation and play... most of these things, I do alone... I'm hoping to add some stuff soon that I don't consider a crazy effort that include other people...but don't include alcohol. I didn't include drinking because for me, that's a bit of a hit and miss. Not only that, but it can be a HUGE detriment to your finances and you, depending on how your night goes... it's like Russian roulette, really. So no... my dear liquor does not get a spot on the list... maybe it'll appear on another list... like, what I suspect I was really good at from 23-26/27ish...