Nature Nurtures

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Sitting outside on my patio staring at all things green. Too much swirling around in my head right now to focus on one subject to expound on.

How America got the whole food thing wrong somehow. When I travel I notice how no one is really obese, some overweight of course, but not confined to motorized scooters because they’re too big to move. I know this is a combination of things but mostly it’s the food industry and the culture – that both positive and negatively impact individuals. We’re so sick here. It’s so avoidable.

My potential kitchen remodel and all the tiny little decisions that go into it. And the less than tiny amount of money that is attached to each choice. And how necessary every little piece is.

Receiving my new composter. So excited to have it, too tired to try to figure out how to put it together and start using it. But there are bags of vegetable bits waiting in my refrigerator from juicing that need a new home.

Wondering when it will rain again.

Writing about my twin gay great uncles. One was an opera singer who fled to New York and married three different women. His brother lingered a little longer in Pennsylvania before heading off to Europe to work for Fortuny, the fashion house itself, but not before being introduced (by his brother) to the completely out and daring world of circuit parties in NYC. “There were all these men, just men, it was amazing.”

Plus a million more thoughts about my cat and dogs, yoga teacher training, smart people, my mother’s car and all her stuff, acid reflux, lizards drinking water, recycling, stone pathways, gossip, birds…

When the all the thoughts are competing for space and jockeying for position the only thing I want to do, the only thing I can do, is sit and stare at nature. Just sit. And stare.

It’s a form of meditation that’s highly portable and super simple, and that’s what I need right now.

21 Day Challenge – Day 6 – They Mean Well

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Every day I try to bargain with myself. Maybe Wednesday will be my day off. Maybe Saturday should be my day of rest. I’m moving more now than I have in a while, what’s one cookie? Or five?

But then, why do I want to take a day off from radiant health? That’s what sick days are for and I really don’t ever look forward to being sick. And why would I bargain for something that ultimately will be the gateway for more creative excuses?

I’m learning. I still cheat.

When I get involved in something on the computer, I am typically sucked in, eyes glued to the screen, fingers flying, looking away only to let go of the shapes of letters so I can form original thoughts (hopefully). I enjoy it.

And it’s a very convenient excuse. I need to do this, whatever it is that’s in front of me. And if it isn’t this, I’ll make something up equally weighted with good intention.

There is the good Allison, the higher self version of my carbon based form. Let’s call her Allisun (a friend actually types my name like that and I rather like it). Allisun understands that the planning I go through with a tremendous amount of resolve is actually an intention I set for myself. She also gets that Allisin (the ne’r do well ego operated side of me) is very convincing and sometime “Sun” is powerless against “Sin.” Or let’s say weakened.

While Allisun peeks around the laptop screen gently pushing it closer and closer to the keyboard, crowding my fingers out, Allisin pushes it back open so we can ‘get things done.’

Allisun takes me to the gym, maneuvers me around food courts and cupcake trucks. She turns the music up so I’ll dance while I clean and she encourages me to do all those healthy things I promised myself.

Allisin believes that the ego should reign supreme, she is after all its spokesmodel, and as such she needs to feel a sense of accomplishment, productivity. Not a bad thing, just misdirected at times.

They could so easily work together if they could just learn to communicate.

Today, Allisin tried to convince us that it would be a good day to take a break from this silly health nonsense and eat some chocolate for crying out loud. We should cruise social media and text friends. Maybe we should think about cleaning the house or just play with the dogs.

Meanwhile, Allisun had planned on finally trying Zumba. She did clean a nice portion of the home, succumbed to a few morsels of chocolate and actually got a little work done.

Then it started to rain. Pour. Allisin saw no reason to leave the house in a downpour. Allisun waited it out.

We all went to Zumba. Then we had mashed potatoes for dinner.

Everyone was happy.

21 Day Body Love Challenge – This Nose Knows

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I have the Palmer nose from my mother’s side of the family. Not so much the shape and size, although there are a few that share the same dimensions, but its uncanny ability to smell absolutely everything. Possibly I was supposed to be born a dog.

Of all the five senses, smell is the most evocative of memories. I can walk past an innocent looking person wearing patchouli and it will take me right back to art school, sitting in the apartment of friends and drinking beer while they tripped on my shiny silver earrings.

Just the hint of honeysuckle will transport me to the top of the hill, close to a busy street in Maryland when I was about 8 years old. A fence thick with honeysuckle vine pulled me toward every time I was near. I would pull a couple flowers off, pinch the end and suck the tiny drops of nectar from the center that the bees were so quick to consume.

If I happen to walk down the aisle with pool supplies, a whiff of chlorine takes me to a rubber strappy lounge chair at my public swimming pool with my best friends giggling about cute boys. We’re soaking wet, wrapped in towels, hair plastered to our wet heads. We pretend we’re older, like 16 and spread our towels out, positioning ourselves, not get the best view of the boys, but to present ourselves at the best angle.

Today, I will slow my car down with the windows open and drive drunk on the scent of orange blossoms. One crumb left in the bottom of the toaster oven will capture my full attention at the back of my house, wondering if I’m going to need the fire extinguisher. I can smell rain before it’s in my zip code.

The ability smell strongly impacts our capacity to taste. Many individuals who have lost their sense of smell because of an accident or freak medication mix up, find themselves thinking suicidal thoughts. It’s that important to our well-being and happiness.

I used think my nose was big. It’s not petite, but it seems to fit may face, or maybe I grew into it. After seeing the science experiments coming out of plastic surgeon’s offices these days, I am quite content with the nose I was given.

I have this little plateau close the bridge of my nose that I was scarcely aware of until a biker told me his ex-girlfriend had “that same cute little flat part at the top of her nose.” Such an odd observation from an unlikely admirer has stayed with me for over 20 years.

My nose is a genetic compilation that resembles a little bit of the Palmer lineage and a lot of my dad’s side of the family. It’s a good sturdy Scandinavian nose with a hint of Euromutt. It’s functional, it’s unadorned – tried piercing once, it would have none of it – and it works like a champ. I love everything about my nose, its size, its shape and, of course, its super powers. Plus, it’s a great place to keep my collection of fabulous sunglasses.

“A nose which varies from the ideal of straightness to a hook or snub may still be of good shape and agreeable to the eye.” – Aristotle

21 Day Challenge – Day 13 – Gut check

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I have this internal gauge that lets me know when it’s time. It tells me when I’m done with something, usually kind of big and potentially life changing things: a job, a relationship, a town. Lately I can feel the valves beginning to close on an aspect of my life. Marriage is solid, community is strong, this has to do more with work.

I begin to feel it as an exasperation, there’s a lot of sighing involved. ‘I don’t wanna’ whiny vibes emanate from my gut. Then my head starts to tell me a bunch of stories about how good this job/person/place (we’ll call it ‘noun’) is. Trying to trip me up. Sometimes it works, it usually delays the ultimate act, but rarely changes the decision.

In response the gut speaks louder, it gets angry and starts to find fault in everything having to do with noun, down to a single unrelated incident that somehow is now noun’s fault. The mind reminds me of the good things noun has done for me and strongly recommends I maintain status quo. That’s its job.

The gut is pissed off. It’s time. The mind just wonders if this is really the best time to make such a big change.

The gut is done. The mind makes one last ditch effort; you know making this change now will affect everything you want to do, your whole life could change, is that what you really want?

YES!

And so it is. I have been playing this game for the past few months. I know what I need to do on an energetic level. It’s the financial level that scares me. A good chunk of my income is wrapped up in this decision. At the same time, my enchanted living is suffering.

I can see what is on the other side, I can feel it. I know what I am supposed to be doing, I get reminders and signs every single day. Every day.

I believe everything I have done that is perceived as negative; poor eating habits, lack of exercise, disorganization, financial debt are all ways to slow down my leap into this life that is waiting for me. It’s the mind protecting me from my bigness. It’s very scared of the unknown. Same is safe. New could be a mistake.

As I move through this challenge and begin to chip away at these bad habits and obstacles, the mind is fighting back. Rather than trying to convince me that I shouldn’t do what I feel called to do it’s guiding my hand toward the leftover Halloween candy. It pats my head and tells me to rest today, there’s no need to do yoga every day. It suggests I put the computer away for just one day so I can recharge so my writing will be fresher, bolder.

But I am onto it so I go to my mat, I open my computer and I continue. The key for me is to call up the vision, plant both feet firmly in it and dare the mind to knock me over. And if it does, the proof will be in getting back up. So far so good.

 [Photo: Bay tree after some much needed rain today.]

21 Day Challenge – Day 10 – Ebb and Flow

crow IMG_1821Today I woke up a little cranky. I’m not sure why this happens but on occasion it does. I recognize it and do what I can to love my crankiness back to cheerfulness.

I have learned over the years to sit with the feelings I am having as I am having them. Feel them for awhile, then if they are telling me nothing useful I dismiss them by looking for something that can bring me back to the present moment and to an appreciation and gratitude for Right Now. A bird, my dog, the wind. It’s often nature.

I have noticed that Wednesdays pose a particular challenge for me. There is a definite ebb and flow to my week. This is acutely obvious when I am home – not traveling – and when I am working on a big project. Wednesday is that silence between the waves when everything is suspended for just a breath before a set crashes to shore. It’s the prolonged ebb. Slow, lazy,outgoing ocean.

Wednesdays for me are the soaking point. Water has been poured on my energy since Sunday. It starts as an energizing spritz on the face. Monday I am cleansed with a refreshing shower, energized and ready to go, by Tuesday I am beginning to prune a little and by Wednesday I am covered in  towels soaked with rainwater in a downpour. Luckily the sun begins to dry things up a bit on Thursday, by Friday I am shiny clean and Saturday is nothing but blue skies.

The gift of a life examined while living it is catching the gentle dips and rises in energy. Recognizing not every moment of every day is going to be AWESOME! Realizing that there is always work to do if we are to live fully. Work is service – even if you get paid for it; especially if you don’t.  And sometimes service feels heavy.

What am I to do with this information, this recognition now? I could do nothing. I could force a smile on my face and keep going. Or, likely I will honor this rhythm I have identified as my own and plan accordingly. I will not hibernate on the wet days, I’ll simply allow for them.

It is in the ebb the ocean builds its power. Necessary and natural.

[Photo: Do crows know when it’s Halloween or do we just notice them more then?]

21 Day Challenge – Day 1

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No struggle. None. This day has been a testimony to vulnerability. It’s amazing how many people respond to someone else’s self-examination.  It’s the place where we’re all the same. Everyone has something they need and want to work on and when one person admits it, the door swings wide open.

Thank you for walking through the door with me. Because the response was so positive and uplifting on the blog, I started a Facebook Group called Enchanted Living. Here we can encourage each other, share our successes and ask for support.

To be clear, this challenge is not about achieving a goal per se, it is about clearing the path for your intention for life – a direction, your personal north star. You may not have the words, but you know what it is. You feel it.   So work out, do yoga, stop drinking wine and eating sugar, but do it for clarity, for lightness. This intention will reveal itself and you will be unstoppable.

As for me, I was able to complete every task I set for myself today with no groaning, moaning or whining. Just the opposite. I felt so much support and love from all the comments and Facebook group postings. I offer you that same support. Know that as I continue with this unveiling of authenticity for myself that I encourage and support you on your personal journey. Allow yourself to crack open, bit by bit or all at once, it’s your process. Trust it.

[The photo was taken just as it started to rain at the little duck pond down the street from my house. Unbeknownst to me the clouds were holding onto a lot of moisture and within minutes I was caught in a deluge. I walked slowly. Concerned for my camera, I buried it beneath two shirts. I think it’s fine. But walking in a heavy rain, getting soaked, felt absolutely magical and appropriate. What a gift.]