Day #774 My Ego is Not My Amigo

Today is Sunday, May 9th 2021, Mother’s Day. The forecast is chilly and rainy, which is kind of sad, but is at least a good excuse to stay inside and get cozy with my blanket and a book. 

It is also my seven hundred and seventy fourth day without alcohol- just over two years. I wondered, especially after hitting my two year anniversary after living in the middle of a worldwide pandemic for an entire year, if I’d have the urge to drink. After all, when I hit my one year in March 2020, I was hell bent on drinking afterwards. 

It was a few days prior, and I was standing in the kitchen with hubby. I basically told him I was going to drink and he couldn’t stop me. Well, the Universe was looking out for me. There was a couple events that happened that very night, that involved drunk family members, that strengthened my resolve to stay abstinent. When my one-year hit a few days later, I was long over my urge to drink. 

I often think about what would have happened if I had drank. That was in the very beginning of the pandemic. I’m pretty certain that I would have been stuck in the cycle for months or years, and probably completely miserable. 

When my two year was approaching, I wondered if that urge would come back. Ironically it didn’t, even though by this time we are all so incredibly sick of this pandemic and the politics and deceptions surrounding it. I didn’t think much about it actually.

I do get the occasional urge to drink. I mostly romanticize it. Lucky for me, I have a lot of memories of day drinking, passing out at dinnertime and waking up at night feeling like I missed half the day, waking up shriveled and disgusting (inside and out), feeling like I reek of alcohol, the list could go on forever. 

If the memories don’t get to me, the nature of it does. I know, without a doubt, that it’s an addictive substance and one drink will completely change my brain, and possibly my entire thinking and beliefs. I think about how I’ll feel bubbly and light at first, but then I’ll feel nothing, but still will be unable to stop. Inevitably, I’ll drink until passing out. Drinking just one or two doesn’t even sound appealing to me. 

I used to get very angry at our drinking culture/mommy wine culture. I’d see memes and they’d make me feel livid inside. Now they don’t bother me so much. 

Occasionally the drinking culture gets to to me. When I’m standing in the checkout line at Kroger, and there’s a huge rack of mini liquor bottles next to me, that’s irritating. At the same store, the flavored sparkling water is down the liquor aisle, which annoys the hell out of me (note to self: send a letter to management discussing alcoholism and how they can help support people who are trying not to drink). 

I’m on a pretty big health kick lately and enjoy loving on myself. When I’m in a difficult Pilates or spin class, I’m loving it because I know it’s good for me (and will feel good later). At Pilates two days ago, they announced some special events this month. I was looking into them on my way out and thinking about signing up. There was a walk, yoga and I can’t remember what else, you know why? Because I was too busy thinking about the wine served at each one. 

What the what?

I was slightly irritated and didn’t sign up, even though other people drinking generally doesn’t bother me. 

Why does wine get a free pass? It has an enormous amount of empty calories, is proven to cause cancer, has very little to no nutrients, I could go on and on with the negative effects of wine. Why would Club Pilates pair this with events, given the health aspect of it? To me it’s like saying, “Come on guys, let’s run a 5K and then eat the greasiest, nastiest non-food food there is!” 

I know why guys, you don’t have to tell me. And I understand that I am being completely naive to think that every healthy person is going to give up a little wine. But I still won’t support it. 

I guess I can thank our wine culture for helping to keep me sober. Things often pop up in my real life or on TV that remind me what my life was like as a daily drinker. That’s a reality I want to run as far from as I can. 

At day 774 I spend most of my time not thinking about alcohol. This is a welcomed change from the beginning, and from being in that cycle where 100% of my thoughts were about alcohol 100% of the time. 

Wanna know if you’re an alcoholic? It’s simple. 

Don’t drink. For an hour, a day, a week, a month, I don’t care. Pick an amount of time and follow through. When you’re not drinking, pay attention to your thoughts. If you aren’t thinking about alcohol, then you might be okay. If you find yourself thinking about drinking, maybe even obsession over it, more than you’d like, then you have a problem. 

People in sober groups ask about moderation all the time. They are usually met with a firm, “No!” Me? I tell them to go for it. Try it out, see how they like it. But you must pay attention to your thoughts. If you’re thinking about drinking when you’re not drinking, then moderation is not going to work. And if you can get it to work, I guarantee that you will be absolutely miserable with those thoughts. 

The absence of drinking helped me with those thoughts, and as the drinking thoughts faded, so did my desire to drink. So for me, abstinence from alcohol is the only cure, or treatment, for my obsession with it. 

In fact, the biggest and most profound change with 774 days is my head space. I am so much healthier mentally. When I was drinking nightly, I was operating daily out of dense feelings of guilt and shame. The giant flames of my ego were fueled with drinking and other forms of self destruction. My bossy ego ran the show while my inner true-self hid in the shadows. 

Slowly, but surely, I relearned everything I believed to be true. And as I did, I fell in love with my inner self. I learned which thoughts were my ego, and which were mine, and I learned that we create 100% of our problems, and so I stopped creating problems in my life. And because of the self-love, shoving my face with cake or drinking till oblivion usually doesn’t sound very appealing. 

So, my advice to you, wherever you are at on your life’s journey is to examine your relationship with yourself. How do you speak to yourself? How do you view your body/physical features? Do you need to forgive yourself for anything? All of these intrinsic thoughts and beliefs affect us way more than we can imagine. As Wayne Dyer’s quote says, Change your thoughts, change your life. 

Look in the mirror and find your most hated feature. Examine it. Talk to it. Compliment and appreciate it. Daily. 

Be on the lookout for Thought Worms. These thoughts are as damaging as a parasite and will suck the life right out of you! They say very mean things like, “You’ll never lose that belly. You’re so ugly. What are you, stupid? You shouldn’t have done __________, and now you should spend all your time thinking about and regretting it……”  

When you notice a Thought Worm, thank it and tell it to be on it’s way. Then give yourself a compliment for good measure. This will create new pathways in your brain and the pleasant thoughts will increase while the negative thoughts dissipate. 

Is your ego (synonymous with negative thoughts) unruly and out of control? This could be the start of a wonderful journey. You just have to open your heart and mind and be open to ideas that might go against the cultural norm (now remember, the cultural norm does not really do anything for your mental health/happiness). 

Notice and removing those thoughts and practicing self-love are two simple, no cost things that you can start doing right now to improve your mental health. I can’t think of a better day than a delightful Sunday in May! 

What are you waiting for? 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Things

Day #760  April 25, 2021

The other day, an old Facebook memory popped up from 2017:

 

We moved into this house in 2014. It wasn’t as if the frogs started singing three years later.

They are loud in the spring, loud every single night.

But I didn’t hear them. Every night I would drink until barely coherent, in fact, I’m pretty that most nights I lost consciousness before my body found my bed.

So, fast forward to 2017. I’ve started this new thing called, not drinking every night, and I realize what I’ve been missing.

While I drank away my anxiety, egotistical thoughts and anger, I wasn’t only numbing the bad- but also the good.

When I can handle the bad without turning myself comatose, I can look at the simple things in awe. Those little things are so much richer, when I’m paying attention.

It might be the smallest of things, but this little reminder was a complete blessing and spilled into my intrinsic gratuity canister.

I appreciated the little things in the very beginning. The frogs singing loudly- keeping my sober brain awake and appreciating the call of nature, the newly spacious recycle bin- void of all the taboo stinky bottles that I’d shove to the bottom in attempt to make disappear without a trace, a sober family beach party- where I actually remember the drive back and have enough life in me to take my dog for a walk after arriving home instead of collapsing in my bed while it’s still light outside.

So, thank you Facebook, it turns out you are good for something.

These days it’s easy to forget how new, scary and exciting it was while I relearned how to cope with life without putting myself to sleep, but it was.

Especially in early sobriety, it’s so important to open your eyes and take in the good along with the bad, and there is good there even if you have to dig for it on some days.

One sober moment, turns into a sober day. That turns to weeks, then months, then longer.

The little things are actually the big things, so don’t miss out 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Honey, I Killed Your Ego

If only it were that easy. If only I could don my superhero costume and go rescue my hubby’s soul… imprisoned by years of manipulation and abuse from his ego.

It’s like the old devil and angel on your shoulder, you know, the wolf you feed? We all have a devil and an angel, and only we have the power to give that will elevate or deflate.

But that’s not the hard part, you see, this can get really tricky.

Our ego sounds just like us, and not only lies to us, but does not hesitate to pounce on us the moment we are in a vulnerable situation.

For example, you recently put on weight- a lot of it and instead of continuing to stuff your face, you decide to face the mirror. You get serious. You make an appointment with a nutritionist and sign up for a gym membership, because you’ve had enough, gosh darn it and going to lose the extra pounds once and for all.

The first week goes beautifully. Everything is within your control and you manage to keep junk food out of your house, hit the gym everyday and stick to your meal plan. The first week you manage to lose over 5 pounds.

Week two starts off lovely. More of the same, gym, salads and lots and lots of water. Only, this time the scale doesn’t budge. It’s Friday, you’ve been working hard all week and just found out that you are actually one pound heavier than the day before. “Oh well,” you think as you head off to work, “It’s just water weight, I’m sure.” You try to convince yourself, while you notice a tiny raging voice in the back of your mind (aka, your ego).

You get to work and the entire scale debacle is forgotten. Until you get an email about a bunch of donuts and cookies in the lounge.

“No.” You firmly tell yourself. “I’m on a roll and not going to ruin it.”

As the morning goes on, your stomach rumbles get louder, and so does that nagging voice.

You never get treats dropped off at work, you’re missing out.

What does it matter anyways? You’re already up a pound!

You’ve worked so hard for two weeks, you deserve it.

And, unless you have the skills to recognize and ZAP it, the voice carries on until you either give in or are driven to the point of absolute misery.

So you head to the lounge with the intent of grabbing one, small cookie, which you manage to do successfully.

The day drags on and as the stress piles on and you glance at the crumb covered napkin, reminding you about the treats and making your stomach growl. By lunchtime, you’ve not only gone back into the lounge, but you’ve taken an entire paper plate full of cookies back to your desk and promptly inhale them without barely tasting them.

But that’s not all.

As you try to focus on the afternoon, that voice is still persistent. Only this time it has a different tune.

I can’t believe you, you’re such a pig.

I bet someone saw you, you’re the laughing stock of the building.

And you thought you could lose weight, you’re just a loser!

What the heck freakin’ ego?!? You just want to make me miserable 😢😢😢

I’m very very lucky that now I know enough to see the truth, and recognize that bastard ego (they’re all bastards, yours, mine, they’re all the same).

But, not realizing your ego is abusing you, you persevere and manage to stop at the gym on the way home. While getting in your car, you notice a missed call and voicemail from your buddy who invites you to dinner. You call him back and agree to meet him at Ruby Tuesdays, where you know you can make a phenomenal a salad, but instead you order the fish and chip special and split a liter of beer with your buddy- who only ends up drinking 1/2 glass, while you slowly suck the liter dry. You figure you already messed up, so what’s the point of holding back now, right?

The next day you’re up two more pounds and you spend the weekend binging on pizza and Netflix, because when you consider going to the gym – or prepping your meals- that mean voice won’t stop chiming in.

You’re wasting your time.

You’re nothing but a fat slob.

But that’s not working, so your ego takes a different tactic.

But you’ve worked so hard, you deserve a break.

You starved for two weeks and are no better off than you were before, so just enjoy the pizza.

And so you do, because it’s right. Right?

No.

It’s wrong, very wrong, all wrong, but all so tricky.

The ego wants external comfort, food, alcohol, sex, etc. The ego wants to compare you with everyone else and wants you to see yourself as separate, as special. The ego is a master manipulator and looks at our fears to grow its power.

So you have to call it out, and tell it to go to h***.

And then you have to pull up your big person pants.

If you ate the donut, fine, but don’t use it as an excuse to derail. And for heavens sake, if you know the donut will end in a downward spiral, then don’t take the first bite. Sugar addiction is real, just like I physically can’t just drink one drink so I have to completely stay away.

But, this goes much further than food and alcohol. Our ego is always with us, and more often than not bringing us down.

When I’m writing it tells me my story sucks and no one is going to want to read it.

When I’m celebrating an accomplishment, it tells me that I should have or could have done it differently and the praise must be a mistake.

When my key card at work doesn’t work to unlock the door, it tells me it’s probably because I got fired.

It doesn’t contain an ounce of niceness and often snickers at my aging body parts.

I want to challenge you to find, explore and defeat your ego. It’s very simple. It starts with recognizing that nasty little voice whenever it rears its ugly head.

Just recognizing it is power.

And when you notice it, tell it to go take a hike. That’s even more powerful.

It’ll start to get smaller until eventually it’s hardly noticeable.

Until you start going through something tough and become vulnerable. You might not even realize that you’re vulnerable, but your ego does!!! (Remember those cookies in the lounge? Your ego made sure to remind you of the unhappy number on the scale that morning- because your vulnerability gives it power).

The great news is that once you start calling it out, it becomes addicting. It feels good to be the one in power and to recognize it for what it is- a master sabotager.

It’s not a hard thing to change but it does require you to be conscious of it and consistent with turning it off. It becomes a habit not long after- and you’ll more than likely experience an immense amount of happiness during the process.

The process is subtle but transformative.

As the ego fades away, self-appreciation, self-confidence and self-love tends to take root and flourish. With the tiny ego in the background, the good stuff will blossom. You may notice positive changes.

•You might gossip less, because it no longer makes you feel good.

•You might choose the salad for lunch, because your body is craving a nourishing meal.

•You might skip a workout because your body feels exhausted and allowing it to rest feels like you’re honoring yourself.

•You might go the extra mile, because even though you only committed to three, it feels just so darn good.

•You might get teary eyed, driving home on a sunny day. Not because you’re sad, but because you’re looking around at the grass, the trees, the houses, the other cars, the sky & clouds, and you just feel so incredibly grateful for the beauty and simplicity of this life.

Killing my alcohol addiction was also the death of my ego. But you don’t need a vice or addiction to squash your ego.

Just recognize it- that voice, the rude one that likes to ramble. That’s it, it’s that simple.

So no, honey, I didn’t kill your ego. I’d love nothing more than to gruesomely murder your ego, along with every other ego out there, but that’s just impossible. But now you know how 😊

 

 

 

 

Two Years, No Drinks

Two years ago was one of the most shameful days of my life.

I won’t go into details, and they aren’t awful, as I was a ‘high bottom’ drunk. I’ve never had a DUI or anything like that. But I knew that I had to stop drinking once and for all.

In these two years, the blessings and gifts haven’t stopped coming. These come in the form of simple things like the intrinsic appreciation of a warm, sunny, lazy day. Other times they are bigger gifts, like getting an A+ on my physical exam and bloodwork or actually communicating effectively with my spouse.

At any rate, I can honestly say that these two years have been the happiest of my adult life.

Read that again.

What if I had known this all along?

I can’t go back and I don’t do regrets anymore, so my point is if you are reading this, today is the best day to quit. There will never be a better day than today and you are not getting any younger.

Speaking of younger, according to my Arboleaf scale, my metabolic age is lower than my actual age 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

If you have no idea how good that feels, than you are in need of some self-care/self-love. It is a boost that no amounts of drugs/alcohol could ever provide- and the results are long acting and cause a chain of other positive events.

The false highs do the opposite. While the pleasure is immediate, the fall is hard and the only way out seems to be located where there is more, more, and more.

Okay enough soapbox talk. Wanna know how I’m going to celebrate? I’m going to go to TJ Maxx to get back some of the stuff I tried to buy a few weeks ago.

I was yearning for that stuff for about a week, then finally forgot about it.

Now I’m almost out of conditioner for real and tried to order a similar product off Amazon but it’s not nearly as good, so I’m just going to have to go back to that store.

The good news is that I know exactly what I want and it’s only a few small things, not a cart full like I had before. And it’s now a need.

I hope you all have a happy Sunday 😻🌸💐

Day #725 Don’t Look at Me

Spring has sprung, and the sunshine couldn’t feel any brighter. The birds are getting louder every day and the grass is slowly turning a lush green.

Despite the arrival of spring, and my birthday, last week was tough. Low vibes and low energy, all week long. I didn’t workout as much as usual and my workouts all week were weak.

Still feeling kind of low, despite the fact that this has been the most perfect weekend, if you’re looking at outside factors beyond my control.

But, I’m focused. Shadow work has been popping up everywhere, so naturally that’s what I’m focused on. I’m in a somatic writing class for the next two weeks- and I’m not enjoying it too much. I am in way over my head. The women in this group seem to be very far above me spiritually. I’m trying to learn bits and pieces from them, but I’m feeling sort of lost in this class.

I joined a book club group for the book, May Cause Miracles, that starts in a couple weeks. This is a 40 day soul program that I started a couple years ago and have been meaning to get back to.

One thing that I’ve really recently noticed is that I have awful body image problems. That’s about where I stopped while doing this program before, so I’m eager to see if it helps.

By awful body image problems, I mean I feel awkward and uncomfortable when anyone compliments me on the way I look.

In 2019, I lost a lot of weight. I attributed it to getting off Prednisone after being on it for a year, plus intermittent fasting and eating better in general, and finally getting out of the alcohol cycle and completely omitting that poison. Whenever anyone said anything about my weight loss, I immediately told them it was because I’m off the pred. Fine.

Well that was fall of 2019. Since then I’ve gotten healthier. I’m eating cleaner, joined Club Pilates, and workout regularly.

Someone recently commented on how healthy I looked. Immediately, I used being off Pred as an excuse. I later thought about it and wondered why I wasn’t honest. Especially given how much work I’ve put into my health. Why didn’t I just say that I’m eating better and doing killer workouts?

My sister and I are reading the cliff note version of A Course in Miracles. We read a lesson nearly every day. A couple weeks ago, the author told a story about asking his daughter what she was doing.

“Just laying here, feeling beautiful.” She replied. I can’t even remember what the point of that day’s lesson was but my sister and I had a long conversation about it.

Sister loved what the daughter said. Said she was going to use that line. That line was horrifying to me. I would never say that, unless it was a sarcastic remark made to laugh at myself.

I decided right then that I would be happiest not even discussing looks or the body at all.

But why?

Why is this so Taboo for me?

So… I’m relying on my favorite guru, Gabby Bernstein to help me out! I may just need a miracle 🙌🏻🙏🏻

So, happy day 725! Almost two years, and the real work has just begun.

Maybe work is the wrong word. Most of the time it feels like miracles and magic and is way more play than work. Oddly enough though, the toughest situations or lessons often produce the most magic. This I must remember— it’s very easy to forget and resist.

Happy Sunday friends! I hope you all have a great day and are able to rest, relax and get in some sunshine ☀️

Are We Sure ‘Stuff’ Doesn’t Make Us Happy?

Day #717, Saturday March 13, 2021 

Yesterday was a gorgeous March Friday in Michigan. In celebration of the great weather we’ve had all week, I ventured out to do some leisurely shopping at TJ Maxx. The only thing that I was specifically looking for was a St. Patty’s Day mask. Anything else that I found would be a bonus.

It takes a certain mood for me to poke around a store without worrying about time, and yesterday I was in that mood. There was nothing I needed, but I spent who-knows-how-long looking at endless racks of purses, and then sunglasses, and then off to the make-up section where I would spend even more time.

I found some amazing treasures! I have a very saggy face, from being middle age and from losing a significant amount of weight. My intuition recently told me to use manuka honey on my face to help with firming up the skin, so when I found a night-time manuka honey firming cream, I knew it was meant for me.

The make-up/skin section had a slew of cheap goodies. I got a leave-in conditioner, another hair towel (I bought one for the first time around Christmas and am constantly washing it), a room spray, two clay masks for detoxification and firming, tinted lip balm, and that might be it for that section. Off to the bras/underwear.

I immediately found a pack of Lucky bras that were soft and exactly what I was looking for, but they didn’t have my size. I searched and searched and as luck would have it, I finally found a set in a size L- I was thrilled!  I also bought matching underwear and a pack of pj shorts that were so soft. Mission accomplished in the lingerie section- off to the food/home goods aisles.

Not a whole lot here. I found some chocolate/caramel candies and chocolate fudge. I looked at the notebooks and candles and then glanced at my cart with stuff piled in it, and knew that it was almost time to go. But not before hitting the clothing section. Near the clothing section is the workout section, and I scored two yoga blocks on clearance!

The store was starting to get busy and I knew I’d be quick. With the aisles getting crowded, I set my cart off to the side while I quickly rummaged through the clothing, glancing at my cart every now and again to make sure it was still there.

After looking at and almost buying a couple of tops, I decided that I didn’t need anything else, and it was time to go. I moaned when I saw the growing line as I went to get my treasures.

Only, my cart was gone. Just, gone.

It couldn’t have gone far. I looked all over- by the service counter, the checkout lanes, the restroom, where was it? If an employee took it, they couldn’t have emptied it that quick, and so I circled the store, not once, not twice but three times looking for my cart. Throughout the whole ordeal, a little voice was telling me that there is nothing in that cart that I really needed.

After three rounds, and about three minutes of reshopping and attempting to refind the same treasures, I gave up and left, feeling empty.

TJ Maxx did not have any St. Patty’s Day masks, so after leaving, I ran into Walmart. No masks there, but I did find some other St. Patty’s Day decorations and a couple of bras similar to what I found at TJ Maxx, and probably just as good. I felt good as I checked out at Walmart, thinking of the money I probably saved not buying a bunch of junk.

I felt a little happy when I arrived home and thought about all of the items and packaging that I now did not have to put away and sort through. Putting all new stuff away sometimes leads to feeling let-down and I acknowledged that at least I didn’t have that to deal with. I was still sad. I told my oldest son what happened, and we laughed and laughed, because it was kind of funny.

Last night, I thought of the tinted lip balm and got excited to try it, until I remembered I didn’t buy it. It was one of my ‘cart casualties.’ Every time I thought of this, it made me feel empty, and I had to remind myself that it was all stuff I already had.

This morning is Saturday morning, which means when I woke up, I didn’t have to get up right away.

Want to know the first thing I did?

I grabbed my phone and went on the TJ Maxx website to see if I could find some of the make-up and conditioners I found on clearance, and to see if I could find the Lucky bra and underwear. No luck, nothing, and so I’m writing this out.

I have the urge to go back today and get some of my stuff. I don’t know why the pull is so strong, and why I feel that I am missing out on something.

It’s a nice day and I’m going to forget about it. I’m taking the dog to Proud Lake and going to enjoy the sunshine by the river.

Lucky for me, there’s a Dollar Tree by the park and I can’t wait to stop and poke around on the way home.

 

 

Back to School

February 28, 2021

Day #704

My boys, who have been attending school two days per week, are going back full time starting tomorrow. Five FULL days, which is amazing! They are kind of salty about it, and are complaining that they won’t be able to social distance. Anthony and Andrew are in their senior year. The fact that they have (or get) to go back full time in March, the beginning of the best phase of the school year, PLUS it’s their senior year, makes me have zero sympathy for them. I’m happy they’re going back.

Anthony would like to return on March 13th, instead of March 1st, for nostalgic purposes alone. I’m stoked that this all started and the schools closed down in March of last year, so now we’re all returning on March 1st. It feels full circle. It feels refreshing. Although, sometimes I wonder where the past year went. It was like a blur, did it even actually happen?

Things at the school I work at are a little different. Our students have been fully remote, except for the special education students, who have been coming in to work with Liz and I in small groups or individually. Tomorrow, our students return two days a week. So whoever wants to keep their kids at home will still be remote, but the kids who are coming are split into two groups and each attend two days.

I. Am. So. Excited!

The school has been big, and empty, and sometimes it’s overwhelming. I’ll always have memories taking motor breaks with my 3rd graders. I have two that I see together and they are ecstatic to come back to school. Since the fall, these two practically drool when we walk by their general ed classroom, peeking into the big empty room with huge eyes and a bit of excitement laced with disappointment. I am so happy for these two to come back.

Speaking of those two 3rd graders, something small but profound happened last week. I was working with them in my room, when their teacher peeked in to ask me a question about a meeting we had that day. She felt terrible interrupting and was trying to be quick about it. When she left, I realized that I should have introduced her to her students. I turned to Kayla and said, “Shoot, that was your teacher. I should have introduced you.”

Sassy old soul Kayla replied with, “Yeah, I know.”

“Oooooh, yeah that’s right. She’s been teaching you all year (remotely), I’m so silly, of course you knew who that was.” I felt foolish, as they had been working with her online all year long.

I was still kind of bummed they didn’t get to say hi in person. Their teacher stopped by again at the end of the school day and I told her what happened earlier. My remorse over not introducing them, then realizing that I don’t have to because they already know each other, etc. Her mouth dropped open.

“Those were my kids?” She asked, with a shocked expression.

The utter disconnect hit me hard. No fault of the teacher, the kids had masks on, it is really hard to recognize people with masks on, plus she was trying to not interrupt my lesson. But three people, who have relationships, who have been working together since September, were feet apart and didn’t even know it. For some reason, it makes tears come to my eyes but not in a happy way. I hope Sylvia Brown’s prediction of school going all online in the 2020’s is inaccurate or maybe predicted based on the short stint that Corona forced upon us, I sure hope so because I don’t think online learning is good for anyone, minus a few exceptions.

We are still wearing masks everywhere. Some are more fanatic about it than others. For example, we don’t wear ours when we are outdoors, even in public like a park, but some families still do.

Stores are fully stocked and have been for a majority of this whole thing and medical appointments seem to be running fairly normal.

Vet Clinics are still staff only. This means that I have to wait in the car, for everything (well except for when Jules started his allergy injections last summer- they let me come in so they could coach me through the injections).

During this year, Milo and Zoe have both needed some intense appointments. Milo had a wound, then tooth problem, so he had them all cleaned but was kind of slow to recover and I was worried for a bit that something else was going on. Zoe recently had cellulitis and was treated at the ER (while I waited nervously in the car, something I’ll never get used when they have a problem). Her recheck a few days later showed an increased fever, and she got more antibiotics. Her fever was even higher the next recheck, and when he picked a scab off her cellulitis, puss came pouring out. She had an abcess inside. He put her out and cleaned out her insides, with the abcess going all the way into her armpit. She came home with a bloody belly and a little drain tube sticking out.

I hated taking her in each time, especially since I couldn’t be with her. I haven’t met the doctor who did her surgery in person at all and that made me uneasy too.

I’m happy to report that she appears to be all healed up. She was a doll during it all. She had her abscess surgery on a Friday afternoon, so I was grateful that I would be home to watch her for a few days. She spent the weekend laying with me (all over my Reiki binder that I was using to study the Reiki class I was taking) and letting me use a washcloth to groom her wounded belly. She had to wear a cone until the drain came out, and it was heartbreaking watching her try to clean herself.

But somehow, the whole thing bonded us. She is closer with me now than ever before and I can’t help but to think that she knew and appreciated me taking care of her. I am so grateful that she is back to normal, Zoe is one of the sweetest cats we’ve ever had and my whole family was worried about her when she was sick.

Feeling much better!

My Greatest Teacher

For the first time in 7 years, I felt joy when I saw the date, February 13th.

It was my late mom’s birthday. She died suddenly in 2014. Her birthday, just like her deathday, can be a sad and overwhelming time.

I didn’t allow myself to feel guilty, for feeling joy, on this day, although my ego tried to be persistent.

I would honor her by having a nice, cheery day and would light a candle and say a prayer at 2:13pm, and I did.

When I was five, I found a picture of my uncle Bob. He died of cancer a few years earlier when I was just a toddler.

My mother and I had a conversation about death next. It ended abruptly with me in tears and my mom trying to reassure me.

I was lucky enough, if you call it that, now I call it oblivious and unseasoned, to not have to deal with death much in my early life.

As the years passed, my sisters and I often recognized that it was rare that we were in our 30’s/late 20’s and still had all four of our grandparents.

My mom’s dad was the first to go, from a slew of health issues. He was in his 80’s. It was 2008 and I was 31 years old.

The death, the funeral, all of it was sad, but not unreal. He was old and lived a really great life with a huge family and a lot of kids and grandkids. He lived a fulfilling life and while it was glum, it was a normal thing to have happen at my age.

The next death was much different.

In early July, my mom was rushed to the ER with a bowel obstruction, the day before she was supposed to meet us up north for a family holiday.

My little family had arrived up north the night before, but headed back home when we got the news.

They did surgery that evening, but she died early the next day from being septic. Her car already packed for our Fourth of July holiday.

The days, months and years following were very tough. However, it became apparent to me about a year ago that her death was the worst, and best thing for me to experience in my life.

How ironic, that our conversation about death was cut short so many years ago, never to be brought up again, yet her death turned out to be one of my biggest life lessons.

I’ve grown like never before, since that tragic summer.

The number one, biggest factor in all of my growth was quitting drinking. This was the beginning of a rebirth.

My drinking spiraled after losing my mom. I drank responsibly (for the most part, at least from what I remember 🤷🏼‍♀️), but then again drinking every night was not very responsible. I woke up most mornings not remembering going to bed.

I sank down pretty far, so much that I couldn’t stop drinking. Not even after waking up day after day with miserable hangovers. I would swear that I would quit, or at least cut down. But by evening, the guilt, shame and promises we’re replaced by Betsy, telling me how much I deserve and need a drink. Which of course would turn into half a dozen- or more.

I spent summer 2016 floating in the pool with a drink, telling myself that if I got a sign from my mom or the universe, like a bird landing on the side of the pool, then I would quit. The lack of signs was the perfect excuse to continue sipping away.

And I did, for the entire summer and beyond.

The desire to stop, accompanied by the inability to do so, propelled me into sobriety once I discovered sober groups and started to connect with sober people, who seemed to be having way more fun in life than I was.

This opened the door to an endless path of learning, growth and self-improvement.

My sober studies led to learning about the law of attraction and the life force energy.

My studies on the law of attraction drew me to soul work, where I experienced magic and miracles in everyday life and activities (see all blog entries from the summer 2019- the ‘spiritual’ summer).

The soul work led me to developing a stronger intuition.

Communicating with my intuition urged me to learn more about energy, such as how to perform Reiki and tapping into my psychic abilities.

I never in a million years would have imagined me full out hippie witch in my mid-forties- yet here I am.

Happiness and suffering go hand-in-hand. This may explain why I was such a rotten adult in my 20’s and 30’s. My ego overshadowed everything and I went through life with a ‘poor me’ attitude.

My mom often urged us to be grateful, especially as we all got older. I would reply that “I was grateful, for our home and food.” But I still went through life searching for something that felt empty.

Her death taught me what it’s like to feel grateful, like intrinsically glorious at a given moment for the simplest things in life- and to feel so fortunate for that minute, yet grand, experience.

This post is dedicated to my mom, who continues to teach me deep lessons from the afterlife.

Ironically, the most important thing she and her death taught me is how to find my own peace and happiness amidst the chaos.

Day #690

Day 676 – What’s in Your Garden?

“We don’t see things the way they are. We see things the way We are.” -Talmud

I used to see the world through a different set of eyes, because of the way I was. I’ve changed, and so has the landscape I look at everyday.

But it’s not the landscape that has changed.

I used to spend my time watering my weeds. I spent endless energy fueling a fire that was burning my house down. All the while thinking that I was dousing it with water.

Most things I did, including daily chores and gatherings, were done reluctantly and sadly, unless, of course, my old pal alcohol was involved.

My world revolved around it. My fake world was burning to the ground and while I feverishly worked to keep everything under control, I missed the abundance of flowers and the sunshine in the real world.

On Day 675 my youngest hurt his foot sledding & we thought it was best to take him to the ER for an X-ray.

It was about 6pm and because of Covid, only one of us was allowed to stay with him.

I didn’t hesitate, nor did I give hubby a choice. I stayed.

While we waited, I didn’t have a care in the world (he wasn’t in pain unless he walked on it). The hospital is just a couple miles away and very nice. One we got into a room, we had cable tv! We don’t have cable at home, so it was a treat.

All the while my previous landscape was in the back of my head.

You wouldn’t have stayed.

You would have gone home and started drinking before he even got back.

If you had stayed with him, you’d be jonesing, just waiting to go home and “douse” the flames.

Man, my inner critic never let’s me forget.

And neither does the Universe. A woman was getting dropped off for detox while we were there. I heard her daughter talking to the nurse after they took her mother. My heart hurt for them and I was reminded of how blessed I am.

These days I’m spending zero time watering my weeds. Instead, most of my time is spent watering & admiring my flowers, and pulling out weeds here and there as the need arises.

What’s flourishing in your garden?

What do you see in your landscape?

Always Watching

My oldest kiddo is a huge Tetris fan. When one of the most well known champs passed away recently, he was in shock.

He told me about a headline he saw, saying Jonas Neubauer has died, which he thought was a joke. Then he told me about his wife’s Twitter statement, confirming the awful news.

He passed away due to a ‘Medical Emergency.’

The first thing I thought is that he passed in his sleep, of drugs, alcohol, or both. I jumped to this conclusion because by now in my life I’ve known people who die in their 30’s. If it’s not a car accident that kills them, it’s more than likely drugs, alcohol, or suicide. Or a brain aneurism.

I didn’t want to be negative, so I suggested it could have been a brain aneurism, which is sudden and not terribly uncommon.

“Yeah,” he cooly replied. Followed by, “he was a big drinker. He would drink every time he streams, and at every tournament.”

Nothing else needed to be said.

They are always watching. Always 🤍

Day #661 and forever grateful 💙🙏🏻