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Archive for the ‘Faith’

Complete Well-Being: A Guide to Symptoms & Cures

March 03, 2013 By: admin Category: Faith, Happiness, Health, Meditation, Molly

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I haven’t read as many self-help books as most women my age and in my circumstances, but I’ve been aware of them and aware of how drawn I can become to them when the chips are down. Today, though, after a few days of various revelations, I see the books for what they are: gentle nudges. Sometimes not so gentle. Depends on you and your situation, level of danger of that situation, etc.

This morning I looked up at my bookshelf. This is The Magic Bookshelf. It holds books I’ve been collecting since college, over 20 years. Whenever my life is a confusion, I turn to that bookshelf because I know something will jump out at me that has answers, or that will nudge me closer to that what I need. Today, the thing that jumps out is a 3.5 x 5.5-inch, square mini-book about healthy/healthful eating. “A Guide to Symptoms & Cures.” It reminds me that everything I’m seeing and reading and working on today is somehow–in that same “Magic Bookshelf” kind of way–having direct meaning to what I’m going through at this very moment.

Wouldn’t it be great if “complete well-being” and a discovery of symptoms and cures were this easy to find?

Of course they’re not, and it’s not really the book that gets my attention. It’s the title.

In my situation, I saw and felt the symptoms, but didn’t have the resources to fully understand them or to act to heal myself. I was also totally alone at the time the worst of it was happening. To be honest, though, I can count on one hand the times when I haven’t been totally alone through the most important moments of my life. This is just part of who I am. Sometimes spending so much time alone wears on me, but other times I crave it in order to calm my mind down so I can work, be at peace, and enjoy the world. People, sometimes, can drown out all the life in a place even if they’re not talking. They just suck all the air out of a room.

This month marks 9 years since I fell down the rabbit-hole. It wasn’t a losing of myself as much as it was a sort of inevitable journey of teaching. I needed this to happen so I could understand things better once I came out of it. Today might be the first day of me finally climbing out of it. I can’t tell yet. I’m still in the phase where I’m seeing signs everywhere. Everything has meaning. And my emotional intuition is buzzing and howling like an electrical storm. If someone around me who I care deeply about is in crisis I feel it like their pain is plugged into my vascular system. This is good in that I feel thoroughly less blind, but it can be bad as these signs show me, more and more, what really happened in my past, what I really suffered.

Yesterday, driving home from work in a daze, I started crying uncontrollably. I was terrified that my instincts have been all wrong. All wrong. Since I was a kid. Thankfully, that’s turned out to not be the case. I suffered, I was blind and powerfully naive, but I’m not crazy or unintuitive. Even given the price, knowing that is a HUGE relief.

One of the hardest things to do in life is to actively, consciously let go of something you love. It’s a leap of faith. While your heart is breaking you have to trust your mind when it says “shut the door.” Today, I’m roughly the same person I was when I met Molly, but nine years wiser.

No More Haze

February 04, 2012 By: admin Category: Abandonment Journal, Faith, Family, Happiness, Health, House, Living, Love, Molly, Mom

For such a long, long time, I’ve been unable to see the way others see. There’s been a haze, born in my heart, that affected my vision. I literally saw things and felt them as if at a distance. A friend recently told me “You dissociated,” but that word has a lot of power for someone else in my life, and anyway, I have no idea what it could mean for me. All I know is that on Thanksgiving I could suddenly see and feel again.

Something happened on that day that doesn’t need to be detailed for the result to be conveyed here. I was hurt in a small, really, insignificant way, but that very moment somehow broke through years of piled-up hurt that were causing the dissociation and haze-vision. I went home that night and cried the way I cried in Molly’s arms months after Mom died. I fell through my front door and collapsed on the stairs in convulsing sobs. It was painful, but also so so FREEING. I could feel all this weight and negativity and guilt and pressure, etc, etc, etc, leave my body and mind and when the sobbing was done, I could see again. I looked around the house and I could finally FEEL myself in it. It was incredible.

In the weeks since then I’ve been on a high of living in the present moment. It really is as exhilarating as all the yoga and meditation books say. :)

So, a breakthrough, indeed. Today I can read painful things from the past and not fall down. I’m looking toward the future, MY future. I have no plans, and it’s just fine. Kind of a funny, unexpected, but none-the-less joyful phase I’m in.

There’s A Post I Won’t Publish

August 27, 2010 By: admin Category: Abandonment Journal, Coal, Faith, Family, Filmmaking, Going Home, Happiness, Health, House, India, Living, Love, Meditation, Molly, Mom, PlumTV, Uncategorized, Valet Battleship Parking

A few days ago I received a message about something very painful that happened in the past, something that I had done. The event was horrible and was my fault, but what had led up to it was just as horrible and hadn’t been my fault, but the message I got didn’t mention any of that. It just tore open the old wound for all to see.

I’ve been exhausted. Like, really, really, hit-the-wall kind of exhausted, and so when the note came I faltered a little bit because I didn’t have any resources, any strength, to bear up against it. Now, after a few days and some small successes, I’m feeling much better, much stronger, and the note doesn’t have the same impact. I can see it for what it is now: just a big mistake that will end up hurting the writer far more than it ever could me. That said, the note did change something profound in me. Something snapped and finally released, and as I finished reading I knew it was time to put some things away.

I’m apparently going on a long trip, but I think it’s one of mind and not of body. My meditation practice slipped in the last two weeks because we’ve been working just too damned hard. The President & First Family have been on-island and we’ve been all over them, filming, editing shows together quickly, and wringing ourselves out. Well, it’s done now. The “Obama Shows” have aired and the crazy summer season is drawing to a close–which is why I can write this from home at 9:30am on a Friday. :)

One of the things I have to put away are the cats. I spoke to the Animal Shelter here and will likely be dropping the cats off in another week and a half. This will be terribly difficult for me. I care for them very much and am not, as we know, at all good with letting go of things I love. But I don’t want to care for them any more. I just don’t want to. They’re hard in terms of upkeep, and remind me too much of a past I want to turn away from so I can finally move forward in a brand new direction. I’ve been in limbo for over two years. Two years. A lot of that was the economic crisis, but at least 50% was due to raw wounds that have been taking too long to heal.

In mid-Sept. I’ll finally “move” back home and have some serious time to work on the coal film. THAT’S where I live now: in my work. I’ll try to craft a happy life despite the hole in it where Mom used to be, but the main focus will be doing what I do: making stories that I hope will have some impact on even just a few people. And I’ll travel. I’ll go to all the places Mom always talked about but was too afraid to visit. I’ll stay longer than one does for “vacation,” and I’ll get to know new cultures.  I’ll read and I’ll write, and make sure–as much as I can–that my friends are healthy and know that I love them.

We’re all in limbo, in transition. Chogyam Trungpa, the late Buddhist teacher used to talk a lot about negative/uncomfortable emotions being preferable to straight-up happiness because there’s so much energy in them. He said it’s better to walk right into the center of ill feelings and just hang out quietly because what you’ll learn will blow your mind.

Bon voyage, everyone. :)

Address the Front

August 17, 2010 By: admin Category: Faith, Family, Filmmaking, Going Home, Happiness, Health, House, India, Living, Love, PlumTV, Unemployment, Valet Battleship Parking

"Untitled" by ImaginationRoom (http://imaginationroom.posterous.com/)

I don’t know where to start. This morning I’m feeling a lot of fear mixed with stress mixed with the intellectual knowledge of peace and relaxation. This job is just too much, I think. There is literally NO BREAK. I have one or two weekend days each week and they don’t even help me to catch up on sleep anymore. Tina was right, I need to train someone to share the load. I thought I had been doing that. Looking back now at May, June and the first part of July, I can’t understand at all how Hannah survived overseeing the show as well as ads creation. Insanity.

I spoke last night with a woman who is back from the brink. She has Lyme disease and mercury poisoning, but because she has a lot of money, she is alive. I’m afraid to watch the documentary about Lyme that she financed. I’m afraid for my friend Su, who has Lyme, and afraid for myself that I may not have the courage to help her the way she needs to be helped. At the moment I am stressed out enough just watching over my own life. The mortgage. Always the mortgage. But for me that struggle is worth it because I am surviving and my house is my life-raft.

Could I do this job again next summer? I might not physically or psychologically be able to handle it. If Courtney stays then I could train her in May and June and then, hopefully, something will have turned for me so that I can leave as Hannah left this past July. I just can’t imagine doing this all again. Not without someone like me to share the full load.

I saw “Eat.Pray.Love” last night–the Hollywood representation of one of my favorite books. The movie, frankly, sucked. I’d needed it to not. I’ve needed some kind of heart vacation for a while. Not romantic, something to help me feel at peace. I stayed in the movie while others left, not because I had hope, but because the images, at least, were something I’ll be able to hold on to later. And, hell, Julia Roberts is pretty, so…

There’s no one way to tell a story, but if you’re going to try, you have to settle on a direction. The director of Eat.Pray.Love, I think, shot a 6-hour film. Pity we didn’t see that version. Another film, “The Kids Are Alright,” reinvigorated my love of movies and visual story, and showed a decent, hard-working, loving family. Two lesbian parents and their teenage kids. I thought ti was wonderful. A friend thought it was insulting to lesbians worldwide because of something that happens in the story. Her anger and staunch position nearly destroyed the tender story for me. I got sad listening to her just not letting it go. There isn’t just one way to tell a story, and so you shouldn’t get mad at one interpretation.

I’m exhausted. This post is one, fucking stream-of-semiconsciousness, isn’t it? Sorry about that. I’ll try again tomorrow. If anyone sees a thruline here, please comment so I’ll know what the hell I’m talking about. :)

Cheers.

“we were all given gifts and the idea is to use them”

August 16, 2010 By: admin Category: Faith, Family, Happiness, Health, Living, Love, Meditation, Mom

I was inspired this morning–as I am every time I read her–by my old Oxygen pal, Nancy Colasurdo. Here she is making sense of the Jet Blue guy, and “Jenny” the fictional disgruntled almost-broker:

http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2010/08/13/vote-graceful-exits/

What Nancy’s post makes me think of is the many people I know who don’t have the proper support from family or friends to take the leaps Nancy’s talking about. Courage only comes out of thin air sometimes. Most times, it comes from the encouragement, over time, of others. That’s what happened to my mother. She was horribly neglected by her father and abused by her stepmother, but she had her aunt and older brother who saw in her the light of the world, and never let her forget it. As humans, we don’t need much to hang onto, but we do need something.

I’ve been called judgmental a lot. Like A LOT, a lot. I’m opinionated and decisive and I speak up and sometimes that translates as judgmental. That said, I can see what people are talking about. So, in the last few years–between a horrid final few months in CA, to an emotionally destructive breakup, one soul-crushing year of unemployment, to a painful rebound–I’ve taken the time to look at what this “judgmental” thing is all about.

The first thing I discovered was that, yes, I was given to snap judgments about people and situations. I would assess and determine too quickly. But I’m smart, so it never got in my way except in intimate circumstances–i.e., when I told my partner what I thought and felt about someone. Over time, after hearing enough from my partners that I was being too quick to put people into a box, I learned to slow down and reserve judgment until I’d hung out with people for a while. And what I learned, mostly, is that it doesn’t work for me. I was getting tripped up by what I hoped people would do, and they disappointed me too much of the time. Since that experience my navigation of this territory has evolved to just allowing myself to meet people and not really put any stock in them until it’s naturally necessary, like in a job of friend situation. There, the personalities emerge organically and we both come to know each other better in a safe environment. Maybe I’m late coming to this, but this is the way my path has been. This doesn’t mean I’ve gone back to being judgmental socially in the sense of being critical (I was never critical, just cautious), it’s just one of the tools I use to survive. And that’s what my partners haven’t realized.

One friend isn’t judgmental enough. She doesn’t see how/who anyone is until they’ve pretty much fucked her over. Her father used to say he’d rather be kind and get screwed than not be kind at all. I wouldn’t encourage this as a way to be even if you do, after many years of suffrage and failure, come out smelling like “the good guy.” I’d prefer to be thought of slightly less and still have roof over my head.

Another friend is a doormat and she won’t admit to herself why. She feels self-hating and sad pretty much all the time and won’t go to the dark places of her soul to fix it, even though she’s plenty strong enough.

In both cases, strong family support was missing. Michael and I are by no means the stars of the world, but we’re both doing what we love, and are surrounded by supportive, vibrant people. We’re not holding ourselves back, and we’re happy.

For a long, long time I wasn’t happy, and that was my own fault. I allowed the situation I was in to consume my joy. Along that path I made several mistakes for which I am sorely sorry, but the only thing I can do to try to make up for it is to CHANGE. And this is where most people get tripped-up. There’s this terrible, terrible myth in our repressed culture that change = the death of joy. Nothing could be further from the truth. All religions talk about “releasing,” “letting go,” and “going to God.” Call it whatever you like but it’s all code for: “Get up off your ass. If you’re hearing this then you’re alive, you’re human, and you have choices, so suck it up!” Of course there are situations that are too hard: poverty, illness, homelessness. But if you’re able-bodied, for goodness sake, take a chance on yourself. You simply cannot fail because, as Nancy puts it:

“”we were all given gifts and the idea is to use them.”

Inside The Tree Sanctuary

July 31, 2010 By: admin Category: Boo-Yah, Coal, Faith, Family, Filmmaking, Happiness, Health, Living, Love, Meditation, Mom, PlumTV

“Love of beauty is Taste. Creation of beauty is Art.” Ralph Waldo Emerson


I’m stealing the use of this quote from a beautiful blog I found courtesy of someone on Twitter.

This morning I slept late. Really late for me. 9:30am. I’d gotten up at the customary 5:30, but was having trouble opening  my eyes. As I padded to the bathroom in the gray light I felt the walls so I wouldn’t fall down the stairs. I felt heavy. Really, really heavy and knew I was going to go back to sleep. I was so happy at the prospect because that hasn’t happened in well over two years.

When I crashed, I crashed hard. Heavily. It was the grounded, in the ground, rooted sleep of a changed woman. Evolutionary change always happens for me while I’m doing something else, and so I don’t ever realize what’s happened until later. The sound of the TV was what finally got me up, my eyes to reluctantly open. My show was on and there were people in my house watching it. I went downstairs to join them.

Each week Dad & Sarah have generously sat and watched the show and graciously given feedback afterward. In the last couple of weeks, though, they haven’t given any feedback, and the reason is because the show is good. As I sat beside everyone today, watching them watch, I could hear them listening and it was awesome. And when a specific, funny moment happened, everyone chuckled, unaware that they were sitting with the producer. For them, they were just watching an engaging show.

It was a good start to what has been a deep day. I didn’t do any soul searching, rather, I did a lot of soul listening. I meditated for over an hour with the intention of finally letting the Universe flood into my mind. Well, she did, and with her came answers. A letting go, a courage to be quiet, and a bunch of ideas for how to finish the coal film. From there the day was like those days I used to have before I got into relationships: present, comfortable, mine. I looked hard at my tendency toward self-criticism and knew there was a lot more work to do there.

I took a short walk into the open field on our property and turned to look at our house from a different perspective. While sitting in the hammock, a place I frequent every weekend, I was struck by an urgency to see things differently. I thought that if I shook up my visual comfort, more changes would follow. They did.

I looked up at the trees, the scrub oak that I love so much, that surround our house. And I realized that God, Mom, all life, and all the answers were in the trees because they were beautiful. I realized for the first time in decades that Beauty is the portal to happiness and understanding, but you’ve got to have the balls to try to make beautiful things.

My silly little lifestyle show is beautiful, and all I need to do now is to stay out of it’s way. If it gets bored and needs something new to liven it up, I’ll develop a new segment. The show and I are one and each know what’s best for the other. Similarly, I will honor the coal film, and my own life and capacity for love. I will get out of my own way. Via Beauty.

Open Water

June 27, 2010 By: admin Category: Abandonment Journal, Blogging Dinner, Body, Coal, Faith, Filmmaking, Food, Going Home, Happiness, Living, Love, Meditation, Molly, Running

Tonight I went to the gallery opening of a famous island painter, Allen Whiting. His work doesn’t jump out at you, but if you spend a little time seeing where he’s going with his choices, it certainly grows on you. Revealed. The intention is revealed. In other cases you can see the intention immediately.

Such was the case with the above painting, “April-Tisbury Great Pond-Chilmark, MA,” which I bought in postcard form for a friend. The moment I saw the postcard I knew it was for her. “The intrepid fisherman in waders in the early morning, out alone in his little skiff, too young to be so in love with a practice that takes him away from people.” But there’s a love in the image too. Pure love, that’s simple and universal. Everyone will look at this painting and feel the same thing.

Things are opening up. My mind, specifically. Letting go is more a lesson learned and less a teaching, and I am, for what it’s worth, the better for it. But I still wonder about love. In all the meditation I’ve done, classes taken, and books read there is no mention of how we are to maintain an attitude of impermanence while accepting love into our lives. One teacher said: “Oh, it makes love bigger and better!” But I don’t see how. “As soon as you love,” the teachings seem to go, “you have to remind yourself that everything is impermanent.” They lost me at “Hello.” How can you love and maintain an attitude of… alright, you know the rest. But you get where I’m coming from right?

I’m thinking about these things because I realized that I’m still in love and that I won’t be able to have another relationship until these feelings fade. But they’re pretty strong feelings, so my hope for success is… kinda low. So I turn to the teachings which say, in essence “Live with it. Sucka.” Okay, no, the teachings don’t add the “Sucka” part, but that’s what it feels like sometimes. The good news is that I’ve finally moved out of Bitter. I am now firmly ensconced in “Oh well,” which I usually follow with a shrug. I am Learning To Let Go, and, frankly, it sucks. Truly, though, I won’t know if it’s good that I’ve learned to let go until I have a new, real relationship, and as we know that won’t be for some time… blah, blah, blah… You get the idea.

And so I spend a lot of time alone. I sit and look all around at this gorgeous island’s landscapes, I read, I edit, and I watch a little TV now and again. I no longer eat dessert, run probably more than I should, sleep without a comforter, allow the cats to drink out of my water glass, and avoid–as much as possible–looking at pictures of myself from the back.

In short, things are changing–evolving before my eyes–and although I’m happy that I’ve finally found some of the grace to just observe it, the price sucks.

Ride-side Up

April 25, 2010 By: admin Category: Abandonment Journal, Faith, Happiness, Health, Living, Love, Meditation, Nik

I skinned my elbow craning to watch her as she backed out of the drive. “It’s not ‘goodbye,'” I wrote in a text a few minutes later, “It’s a new way of saying ‘Hello’ and ‘I see you.'”

Best Breakup Ever, but now I’ve decided it’s not a breakup at all, but a pause. We have some time to be away from each other and to learn some things about ourselves in that space. We’ll see each other a few times while I’m gone and will check in with our connection–see if it holds up. Changes are afoot. But she is so alive I’d be a fool to look all the way away. And so I’ll leave her handwriting on my chalkboard and the lingering pressure of her lips on mine and will walk with her strength into my new phase. What a privilege…

An Exhausted Soil

April 04, 2010 By: admin Category: Abandonment Journal, Beer, Faith, Family, Going Home, Happiness, Health, Living, Love, Meditation, Mom, Valet Battleship Parking

Love will push through winter like first buds in spring through an exhausted soil. Remnants of leaves hang on in their dried weightlessness hoping for one more chance to not be raked away. The truth is in the loud and easy calls of the birds so comfortable in this urban area that I wonder if there were always houses here. Structures. The sounds of nature today consist as much of childrens’ voices, lawnmowers and the din of cars as they do the wind in the grasses, bird whistles and the deafening silence of stones.

I will be carried away in this soft wind by my busy mind, so agitated by the slowness of a Sunday. I’ll pick up on smells and think of movement when what I should do is stay and read just one more story…

I can’t say whether I’m afraid of death or not. Until it’s at our doorstep, who could? What I can tell you is that in this place of stillness and peace I feel the presence of love and life and happiness and gratefulness and hilarity and joy and the knowledge that death is real because I was there. I held her hand the day before she died and continue to bear witness by being her mirror. The new entertainment will be the standing still, and for that I need no one’s permission.

Burns

March 02, 2010 By: admin Category: Abandonment Journal, Faith, Happiness, Living, Love, Molly, Unemployment, Valet Battleship Parking

The sting is ever-present. I can’t hide from it or it would be as if I’d scarred my face and pretended nothing was different. Everything is different. You wear shoes in for so many years, take the time, and then are told they don’t fit you… when you know they do.

I wear my scars on the bottom of my feet so no one can see.