What it took for me not to give up today.

I’ve been going strong for some time. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Grad school will be over in May. I’ve been doing yoga and meditation since February. And for one solid year I didn’t bleed irregularly.

Unfortunately, the bleeding from a women’s uterus is still a taboo subject. But I am going to talk about it. In fact, yesterday I talked about it with a man who I’ve only known a short while. He showed more compassion than the woman I told who had a hysterectomy- “Oh, I went through that. Got a hysterectomy. Glad that’s over.” Thanks, oh compassionate fellow woman……

Anyway, in July I skipped a period. In June I felt a change, almost as if I were drying up. I knew the time of bearing children was over. In August I bled for 10 days and my doctor prescribed Progesterone. I’ve been through this before. Two years ago I had a D & C for heavy bleeding, diagnosed with hyperplasia. Got an IUD, my body rejected it. Went on the pill, my blood pressure rose. Left it alone. One year, totally regular.

But now it’s September and I’ve been bleeding for 7 days. This isn’t just regular bleeding. This is insane bleeding where I can feel the hemoglobin dropping, where I actually thought I lost my uterus in the toilet yesterday. And now, I will now stop talking about my bleeding. Because actually my bleeding, at least the physical part of it, is not the point of this post.

After a hellish weekend of bleeding and cramping (okay, I promise I am now done with the bleeding part) on Monday I didn’t want to get out of bed. I was depressed. Anemic. Wondered what the use was to school and the future I thought I had. I was mad I was dealing with this issue again, especially now. All I asked was for a year to just focus on getting out of school. My uterus, apparently didn’t care.

I got out of bed eventually. But before I did, I decided I would take it slow. I wouldn’t cram in homework. I wouldn’t even go into my internship. I would putz around the house, slowly. No pressure. This helped. I went for a slow walk in the sun. I thought about my uterus and its connection to Mother Earth. I thought about how our Mother is erupting right now: hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, floods. I thought about my uterus erupting. Both are doing this to create balance. Both are doing this because they are wounded, and begging for US to change.

sunset

I became sad. I then imagined digging my hands deep, deep in to the earth. There it was cool and dark. The coolness soothed me. I understood that our Mother is warm, too warm. She is overheated. I understood that my uterus was also warm, overheated. Both carrying too much of the hurt, of the burden. But in the depths, she is cool and will always be.

How could this translate into the healing of my uterus? How can I cool it down? Take more walks. Breathe more deeply. Eat real foods. Drink water. Smile. Relax. Keep doing yoga and meditation. When I got back home, I pulled out Dr. Northrup’s book, The Wisdom of Menopause. For irregular bleeding she asks, where are you leaking energy? Funny, I was asking myself something similar already. My question was: What’s being neglected in my life, in my self? 

Northrup also discusses that menopause is the time for us to give birth to ourselves. For me, this is a self  less tied up in serving the needs of my family, as they are growing and learning how to serve their own, and more about moving into the world and serving there. It is about creativity also. The part of me I have neglected is the part that has deep passions and desires to be more creative, expansive and use the wisdom I have gained to help. I have a part that wants to write, learn music and draw. This part has been neglected through motherhood, and now through school, which really only utilizes the left side of my brain.

I do not regret my choice for school. I love what I am learning (most of it) and I understand that once I graduate I can actually go out and serve the world in a way that I may not have had the focus or energy for prior to school.

I put Northrup’s book away to get ready for an appointment. I had on my black sweats, which I wore for 3 days. Black is the color when I’m in the red. But I decided it was time to take them off and put them in the laundry basket. I also decided I would curl my gray, thinning hair and put on a little blush and mascara. I would make an effort even though the energy leaking from my body was trying to take me down. It was trying to bring me to a place where I am all too familiar. A place where I hide, where I give up. Where I think giving up is easier then putting on a little lipstick and a pair of jeans (still black) and making myself move in the direction of my dreams.

A few years ago, after recovering from a family trauma event, I coerced myself to believe that I had a second act. Ever since, I’ve been taking steps so really it wasn’t even an option to quit the other day. I am already in motion in the second half of my life. There is no going back to the part of me that gets so depressed and scared, she hides. But, she was triggered- triggered to come out because she felt defeated by the obstacle her uterus brought to her. The energy leaking depleted my mind and body and made me vulnerable to her. It happens. It will probably happen again. But, with each step forward I proclaim what it is I really want. And what I really want is to feel alive. To be free. To express my passions and share what I’ve gathered.

The Soul Reporter

 

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The Month of September

fall

Once, many years ago, while going through a particularly difficult time I got this idea in my head I would die on September 16 (0f that particular year). I was reminded of this today, September 16, on my walk. Suddenly, I smelled something foul. I looked to my right and there was a dead racoon in the grass. Several steps later, once I arrived in the woods near my house, a dead squirrel on the path. The bodies were still fresh. Was this a sign?

I thought: death is all around us. I remembered all the death that has surrounded my family and myself since December. On December 11, just as my kids and I were about to watch A Christmas Story, my dad called. He was not himself. He said, Mary Lou died. Mary Lou was my step-mother. Then, in January my husband’s last grandmother passed away. It snowed in April when Price died alone in his elevator. June took Uncle Mel and then, his wife, my beloved Aunt on September 6.

September 6 is now shared with September 24, my father’s birthday, when my best friend from Kindergarten died in a car accident when she was only 27 years old. Along with September 11 and September 29. On September 29th, 2011 I was driving my white Toyota Matrix on a Los Angeles freeway. My mother and 11-year old daughter were in the backseat, my 19-year old daughter in the front seat with me. We were listening to Enya and playing the alphabet game. Suddenly, a large truck with glaring headlights was in my rear view mirror. Before I could finish my sentence about what I saw, that large truck hit my car. The car flew and flipped through the air several times until it finally landed on its side. I remember wondering, am I going to die?

car

The Toyota Matrix

I have told and written this story many times, and this year, five years later, I notice the story no longer holds the emotions and trauma it once had.  Now, what seems to be unfolding are the lessons and awakenings from that day that changed everything. Death is all around us.

But, what does this mean exactly? And, is it death or just change? Here’s what is becoming clear for me— life. I think I have been so afraid of death and that impending shoe drop (in my case a tow truck that comes out of nowhere) that life has been cumbersome. I noticed this heaviness after I returned from my aunt’s funeral. Prior to her funeral, I sat with her for four days while she went through the process of death, of change. I had never been this close to the death of another human being or for so long.

flo

Me and Aunt Flo

Before I entered her home, I was afraid of what I might see. But, all my fear went away when she opened her eyes and smiled at me (and my dad and daughter). All I felt was love. I knew I loved her, but those four days I felt my love for her. I was able to tell her she mattered. This experience is invaluable to me now.  But there is a physical, mental and emotional price, at least for me, when going through something like this. That price felt heavy. It felt exhausted. It felt sad.

After the car accident, I carried heavy, exhausted and sad for nearly 5 years.

I feel lighter now. Life is becoming more clear, but not because I have figured anything out. But because I’m not taking it all so seriously and maybe because the desire to live life finally outweighs the fear of living life. I am moving, once again, toward curiosity, beauty, wonder and listening. Listening, as I did on my walk today, that I needed to get grounded. This looked like me stopping in the middle of the forest doing tree pose and volcano breath. This means committing to creating a life that will match my desire to stay in harmony with my higher self and nature, and not the day-to-day grind of this current culture.

I also intend to move more toward what my aunt taught me—love. And, believe me, I am a newbie to love. It’s always been inside of me, but it’s the emotion or state of being that I resist the most. At the least, it makes me feel awkward. At the most, it frightens me as if I might be swallowed by it. But, while my aunt was in  hospice I had a new experience with love. As I stroked her hair, held her hand and kissed her forehead as I said goodbye and I love you, love comforted me.

Love is a comfort, not a burden I need to protect myself from. So yes, death, the unexpected, change surrounds us—not to stop us or scare us or burden us, although it can, but to notice it, wonder about it, learn from it and let it guide us to more clarity of life, comfort of love and truth of being.

The Soul Reporter

Going Against My Grain

What is my grain, currently? Currently, I am afraid. I hold back. I let myself off the hook, and rather easily. I can work hardGrain as a mother, as a daughter, as a wife, as someone who takes care of her home, as someone who works with myself toward greater growth and transformation. I have even shown I can work hard at being a middle-aged student. But—I don’t work hard at my desires—my desires to become a published writer, to be a business owner with any one of my good ideas. I also don’t work hard at making my overweight body healthier even though I have high blood pressure and thyroid issues. I guess we all have our weak spots. Here are mine.

 

Grain3

The issue is I could get by with only working in the places I am strong, until now. Now, I face a body that has to get healthier or it will only continue its decline. Now, I face another fork in the road—follow my desires that are still very much alive inside of me or not. Both choices, right now, terrify me. All week I have faced myself in these weak places and mostly, I’ve been resentful. I resent the inertia I have created. It’s a tangled mess of weakness, fear, anxiety and doubt. It’s a place that has been accumulating for 20+years. It’s a place I have been avoiding for at least that long, and have always known is there.

 

Grain2On the bright side, yesterday, on a walk in one of my sacred spaces I could actually feel myself aligning with my desires. I know it’s time to walk through the tangled mess, fight and claw and probably love my way through until I stop for a moment and realize: I’m through. And, I’m through with doubting my abilities. I’m through with questioning the desires of my soul. I’m through worrying if my actions make a difference or not or where they may or may not take me. I’m through with anxiety clouding my intuition and instincts that move my desires forward. But, I’m not through yet. I’m still here, doubting, questioning, worrying—and still, moving forward anyway.

 

Namaste,

The Soul Reporter

Another Layer of Living Spherically.

I had my final writing class last night- Intermediate Memoir: Forming (or  maybe it is Shaping) the Longer Work. We ended with appetizers, snacks, wine and 10-minute readings from our manuscripts.

A couple of weeks ago, I put together 64 pages of a manuscript. This class helped me to finally, after 10 years of gathering material for my memoir, see a form that resembles a book. But, before I could keep adding to those 64 pages, I decided to take advice from a classmate and sign up for another writing class this past weekend.

By the middle of the first class, everything I thought I knew and was ready to implement into my book was breaking down and shelving my book, yet again, seemed like a good idea. But, I stuck with it. The instructor ensured us the first day was about demolition and the following day would be about building.

Demolition-the breaking down of ideas and beliefs is not easy. If we allow for it, we will move out of a space we are familiar and comfortable with and enter a new space. However, often before a new space appears, we sit in the rubble of what we thought we knew or was enough.

Joseph Campbell said, “The agony of breaking through personal limitations is the agony of spiritual growth. Art, literature, myth and cult, philosophy, and ascetic disciplines are instruments to help the individual past his limiting horizons into spheres of ever-expanding realization. As he crosses threshold after threshold, conquering dragon after dragon, the stature of the divinity that he summons to his highest wish increases, until it subsumes the cosmos. Finally, the mind breaks the bounding sphere of the cosmos to a realization transcending all experiences of form- all symbolizations, all divinities; a realization of the ineluctable void.”

I’m not quite ready for that void, but remain committed to the ever-expanding realization. I thought my writing, those 64 pages were good, that I was off to a good start. I was. I am- it’s further than I have been. But, before I could  fully relish in this and get too comfortable, I took myself to a class, allowing for new knowledge. It causes me to question what I thought I was just coming to understand.

Even now, I see this post as being all inner monologue (a term I learned this weekend, which I do a lot of). The instructor says it’s not that interesting. I remember when writer Melody Beattie told me I can’t use my journals as my books. I was devastated. It was all I had. Hearing inner monologue isn’t interesting devastated me again.

So before I bore you any longer with my inner process, my take away (another term I learned) I want to give you, which is not something I am supposed to tell, but show- is we must live spherically, or go crazy, we shall.

I heard this in Under the Tuscan Sun, and it sticks. I don’t know what they meant by it, but I  know what I take from it. We must keep expanding and opening to new thought inside and outside of ourselves. We do this for growth, to align with evolution.  We do this so we don’t become crazy loopers w hen we are old.

What the hell are crazy loopers? Its something I am observing in some people lately-mostly people in their 50’s, 60’s and 7o’s.  It would seem they have attached themselves to a certain story or aspect for themselves, and they loop within it over and over again. Read this piece from Elephant Journal I wrote where I go into this further.

For now, I think the link above (that is, if you click and read) will give you the rest of the message I want to share.

Here’s to living spherically,

Nikki

Making A Difference

Perhaps it is middle-age—that time where we reflect upon our lives and know we haven’t as much time to do what we want to do—that caused my current bout of dissatisfaction. I realize what I truly want is to affect change, to be a change agent in my own life and the lives of others—and I want to see the changes and know I had a part. I also realize this is partly ambition and ego. Yet, it is also a real ache to feel and know the reason I am here.

In my mind I don’t think I have done enough to express this desire to be a change agent. And maybe it is I also don’t acknowledge the influence I have had on affecting change in myself and others. But, since realizing this about myself I am starting to notice how I am  of service, and also how I might of more service to affect change.*

I work at a school. My job is to assist students in the classroom to stay on task, redirect behavior and provide academic support. However, I find there is another kind of support some students are in need of.

Yesterday I knew I would be unable to perform my job in the classroom with a particular student. I knew there would be no work that would get done. Instead she needed to leave the room. She wanted to show me something. She lead me to the front doors, and I had hoped she wouldn’t try and leave. She stopped at the doors and looked out. She wanted to watch the snow fall.

As we both sat and watched, she began talking. I listened and asked some questions. A part of my mind was also rambling about how I should get her back in class and at least look productive. Yet, the wiser part knew this moment, watching the snow fall while she shared what was on her mind, was also productive—in an even greater way perhaps, than learning about weight and gravity in Science class.

Before her next class she took me to another window to look at the snow. I told her she needed to get to class and she did oblige. I sensed she needs more moments looking out a window with someone willing to listen. Today, another student wanted to show me pictures her father drew and a picture of him. She has only met him twice. The envelope with the pictures was from a correctional facility. I told her I would love to look at them as soon as she did her work, which she did and I thanked her for sharing this part of her with me.

Later in class, the student who needed time to look at the snow wrote my full name on a piece of paper in her diary. By each letter she wrote something nice about me beginning with the letter. The words she chose for me brought tears to my eyes— words like Divine, Real, Kind, Ordinary. Phrases such as like a kid (because I understand kids, she said).

If you recall my previous post, I was seeking a connection to someone (or myself or God) who knew me— who saw me for who I am. I never thought it would come in the form of an 11-year old girl. I plan to ask her for a copy so I can remember.

This list and the trust these two young girls have with me— sharing their thoughts and pictures of and from their father lets me see in small and ordinary ways I am making a difference.

Here is a woman I recently read about making a difference in a simple, yet profound way by giving hugs: http://amma.org/

Nikki

*What I mean by change is having the courage to go against the current norms of our culture and connect with a richer, truer part of ourselves.  It is not necessarily change as much as it is turing toward something that is always within us, that is real and lasting. This is the movement I choose to be part of for myself and others.

Finding Joe. Finding Me.

JoeF

Finding Joe~ A Review

There is one story within all stories, and in the documentary, Finding Joe we, for many of us, rediscover it is what Joseph Campbell called The Hero’s Journey.

It seems since What the Bleep there have been several documentaries which try and do what Bleep did: have a cast of  experts in their fields and spiritual teachers speaking in between a story line of some kind. For me, no other documentary did as well as Bleep until I watched Finding Joe, a documentary about Joseph Campbell, but more about The Hero’s Journey.

While watching, this theme of The Hero’s Journey hit home. I’ve been living my own hero’s journey, which goes something like this~

First, there is a call to adventure. For me, this was to abandon my cul-de-sac life in the suburbs for another lifestyle on the island of Maui. From here, there is a series of events—a meeting of obstacles, which test the core of who we are and everything that surrounds that core. Again for me, I never made it Maui, but instead met many monsters and dragons upon my path.

Upon facing these dragons, there comes a point when we begin to make a turn, essentially we come back to tell of our adventure and what we have learned. Finding Joe tells us that it is better to have a story than an explanation. The story is the gift.

Finding Joe is also a gift for those who watch. I promise it will speak to you wherever you are on your Hero’s Journey. Here are the insights I had while watching:

  • It confirms The Hero’s Journey is an inner one where we confront our inner barriers and claim our inner resources–and on this journey we are seeking to go beyond illusion to what is real and true. This is the most heroic journey we will ever take. 
  • It reminds that on this journey we must allow ourselves to keep dying and unfolding, and transcending the worst that has happened to us. This is how we evolve.
  • It reveals new questions to me in regard to following my bliss: What makes me different and what were the things I wish I did? It reveals a question about where I find myself presently: Why would I build this current situation I am in, and then look at it and say—I can’t. In asking this question, I realize I can’t give up. I must move forward despite my fear and continued unknowns upon my path.
  • I gain awareness of what my biggest fear is at this time: What if I am left out. What if I don’t matter. Within this awareness is also the wisdom, strength, love, patience that I have gained so far upon this Hero’s Journey and I can use all of this to knock that dragon out.

Are you living your Hero’s Journey? See if you can’t find what your holy grail is—what is your call to adventure? Have you had this call? Are you ignoring it? See if you can find the arc of your story. Where are you in it? What dragons have you met? What dragons do you fear you will meet? What treasures? Lessons? Gifts? And, how can you express this story and change lives? 

To learn more about Finding Joe, go to the website.

To be a fan, like their Facebook page. 

To order the DVD go to amazon.

If you’ve seen the documentary or have a Hero’s Journey of your own, please share here.

The Soul Reporter

 

 

 

Don’t Be So Quick.

Allow for S P A C E~

Source: scoop.it via Susanne on Pinterest

When so much has occurred, when a life has crumbled, when we find ourselves in transition it is not wise to be so quick to rebuild and configure. It is not wise to fill our lives up with perhaps more of what we don’t want or might burden us in a new life.

For instance my daughter met a dog at the humane society. Its tail between its legs. Its loneliness hooked into hers and she wanted him. She wants to fill her life up, and it would begin with this lonely dog. From here she would need to move out of our temporary residence and into a place that supports this dog and the income from her new job. If this occurred, then she would build a life around taking care of the dog: who will take care of it when she is at work, for example. It will also need vet appointments, dog food and attention.

I tell her from my own experience not to be so quick to fill her life up. I tell myself the same as I look around and see the emptiness from years of a former life that has crumbled and a new life that has yet to begin. Emptiness is uncomfortable for many of us. When I taught classes on clutter, I’d ask the participants to imagine themselves in an empty room. I asked them to pay attention to how they felt in this room. What were their impulses, if any? Did the mind fill the room quickly with things and people or did the room stay empty?

Source: ledansla.blogspot.com via MONOSQUARE on Pinterest

Some people felt relief in the empty room. But more often this exercise brought anxiety. There are unconscious impulses inside of us, which paint a life. If my daughter were to get the dog she would be rescuing a lonely animal, and this is a heartfelt sincere impulse. But, also she would believe that this dog was also rescuing her own loneliness, which is a deep and unconscious impulse, which cannot be satisfied, except temporarily, from anything from the outside world. There are women who have babies because they think they will finally have someone to love them. As those of us who have or have had babies know, we must love them and fulfill their needs and not the other way around.

Another example: my mother, during a time she was losing her home, had me over to help her go through her things. In her bedroom was her chaise lounge. In her former life, where she had lots of money and traveled, this chaise was filled with outfits that would soon be going in her suitcase for one of her excursions. This chaise was always filled. But, with little money left, this chaise was filled only with pillows- lots and lots of throw pillows.

Well, when I looked at her chaise lounge, knowing that she was in transiton and cannot travel as she once did, I see this as an opportunity. I see her on that lounge, reading and enjoying time with herself—perhaps imaging her next chapter. Seeing this image of her, I took the throw pillows off so she could actually sit down. Within minutes my mother found the pillows and put them back on.

In my mind, she could not handle seeing her travels and former way of life going away. She couldn’t see a future beyond this. She didn’t want the space or the possibility of something new. There are many difficult twists, tests and turns in a life, and this one I am personally witnessing is one of the more difficult: to allow this space of emptiness. To see the former life for all that it was in order to understand and make some peace and then to sit and be still silently in that space without allowing our impulse to fill the space.

If we do not allow for this space I can gaurantee one day we will stop and notice our life and see that once again it is filled with obligations, things, people and expeirences that are not enhancing and enriching our lives, but merely filling it up and keeping us stuck and stale.

Spring is on its way, and with it new life. During this transition, it is wise to allow for space. To be thoughtful. To listen and pay attention and embrace the emptiness between what was and what will be. And perhaps, someday we will find all there is, is this S P A C E.

Let’s allow for some freshness, to reawaken us—however long that takes.

The Soul Reporter

This month I am taking names of people interested in one-0n-one sessions, support groups, and classes. The focus of these services is what I wrote about here: taking an investigative look into our impulses—both the conscious and unconscious ones. As we explore, we will gain clarity about who we are, where we’ve been and where we are going next. It is an opportunity to invite in more space in our cluttered lives.

If you are interested, please fill out the form below and I will contact you shortly. (All sessions, groups and classes done online  unless in the Twin City area).

I Miss Everything.

Source: thehorrorzine.com via Allana on Pinterest

My cries are deep these days.

*They aren’t the same cries of my adolescence where I’d sit in bed listening to slow music, feeling sorry for myself. No, these cries do not spawn from that space of pity. They come from some place else.

I want more. I have more. I seek relief. I have relief. I ponder destiny. I realize destiny. Nothing makes sense any longer. What I had is no longer good enough. I’m lost. Then found. I cry these deep cries. When I take breaths, I remind myself of a baby who keeps gasping after a painful outburst.

Where is this place I have come? Does anyone know it? Who am I now after losing so much, and feeling as though I’ve gained so little? Where do I begin to let the river flow again? My heart is bleeding out. I miss everything. And, there is that cry again.*

*random words in the moment of one of those deep cries. Don’t even know if it makes sense, but there it is. Maybe someone can relate. Maybe not, but it’s out now. 

The Soul Reporter.

Enjoy the Ride

Source: anothermag.com via Initials on Pinterest

It’s time to trim the over-growth so I can spin

What do you see when you look at this image?

I see  potential that is crowded with neglect. Neglect from distraction. Neglect from fear. Neglect because it has been forgotten. I see  new life entering. Clipping the overgrowth. Shining up the wheel. Making a path for all to come toward it. Lights shining from it. People spinning around in it.

Time to dust off, clean up and enjoy the ride.