A Day Of Exercise (in many forms)

Today I worked out in my flower bed.

My plan was on the nice warmer winter days, I would go out and work on it but with my schedule those days didn’t exist (for me)  during the winter months.

This morning when I came home from work I was down. I was tired. I looked at the rock flower bed my grandfather had built over fifty years ago. It was in sad shape. Not the bed itself. It is as sturdy as it has ever been. It was suffering from neglect. Having set there from the autumn season.

 I went inside to sleep which happened quickly. I don’t even remember getting into bed. I slept for a few hours and when I woke up I was wide awake and my mind was whirling.

I decided to go out and see if it was warm enough to begin working through the vines and thorns to reclaim the flower bed and allow the daffodils and tulips that reside there to flourish.

I assessed the situation. I walked around the oblong rock flower bed, I chose my point of attack. I walked back to my carport and gathered the spade, shovel, rake, broom and clippers.

I was ready to do battle. There was walking, tugging, straining, climbing up into the flower bed, bending over to clear out debris, working with the shovel using muscles I don’t use everyday in that manner.  This was the physical exercise.

When stepping in between the fragile new growth, I had to be careful not to damage what I was trying to salvage.

When I used the spade and could not get the roots of the intruding vines and thorns, I had to use the shovel having to use care once again to not to damage the desired plants while evicting the intruders. This was the mental exercise.

Once the roots were removed to prevent the squatters from returning, I would shake the dirt from the roots and for the first time in my life, I realized how I enjoyed the smell of the fresh dirt. There was something alluring about the smell.

It’s not like I haven’t played in the dirt before. I have many times in that same flower bed. It is just this time I feel like I was more present.

It was so strong that when I saw my person later in the day, I made mention of it; how amazing the smell was to me.

As I worked with my hands, I thought what those weeds and thorns represented in my own life and how removing said interlopers makes room for the good to grow.

I thought about my grandmother. How she would walk up to the flower bed and work as much as she could, which was not long because she had spurs on her spine. I can work for hours and she could only work for minutes but there is a shared love of the flowers that grow there.

I looked at the metal pipe in the middle of the flower bed. My sister, cousins and I used to pretend it was a periscope. I smiled at the memories flooding my soul. This was the soul exercise.

A need to clean out a flowerbed became a body, mind, spirit connection and what started out as a chore turned into a blessing.

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Taking Care of The Feminine Goddess….

Tonight, I care for my inner goddess. Every woman has one she just may not acknowledge it as freely as I do.

Women are warriors. It doesn’t matter if you are a stay at home mom, trying to climb the corporate ladder, building your own business, trying to save the world or to simply save yourself. You are a warrior.

Tonight, I began caring for her by changing the bed she will sleep in. I draped soft sheets over the mattress so they will feel good next to her skin.

I lit a relaxation candle and allowed her to inhale the natural eculyptus that filled the room. I gave the room soft lighting.

I fixed her a healthy steak dinner and washed her dishes. I apologized to her when I had to give her a shot in the stomach. A result of not taking better care of her in the past.

I washed her face and moisturized her skin seeing how tired she looked but promising to do better.

I washed her hair and combed it 100 strokes. I fingered moouse through the strands of her hair. I would allow it to air dry because it is more gentle on her hair.

I dressed her in her favorite garment. The one nobody else has ever seen.

I allowed her to soak her feet and gave her toes a new coat of color.

I rubbed lotion over the curves of her body. She reminded me that she didn’t hate those as much as she once did. She sighed as I rubbed the lotion on her legs and feet.

I fed her a snack of fresh kiwis and strawberries.

I made her a cup of chamomile tea and tucked her into bed.

An evening of self care has made a world of difference in the woman who tries to be a warrior, the kind that wants to save the world.

Silent Screams and Mindful Musings….

I have many wishes and dreams. Some of them about my personal life. Some of them about the business I am trying to grow.

I have thoughts about many different things. My person, my family, my church, my friends. They all are in these thoughts. I don’t talk about it much and when questioned, you can tell from my tone if it is a good feeling or a bad feeling I am filled with.

I am working through some of the things that are weighing me down and I am celebrating those things that lift me up.

I am the type of person who rather than deal with confrontation, will walk away. I will be there if you need me but I will not allow the pain to continue. I will distance myself to save my sanity. Tried to hang on too long once and that bit me.  I am thinking of one person in particular. I felt dismissed by them and therefore, I choose to cut off communication. There is no discussion, the point is mute. Call it a bruised ego if you like. I can deal with that.

In the past 6 years, I have learned to be who I am and do what I love. They don’t understand it and honestly, they have said they are jealous of my freedom. My “freedom” came with a hell of a price. I lost half of me and had to figure out how to survive on my own until there was a bright cloud in a gray sky.

I had to figure out who I was, what I liked, that my life wasn’t over, no matter how many times I wanted it to be and was on the verge of making that happen, at one time. I had to learn that life goes on and love doesn’t die. That it is more than okay to love more than one person in your lifetime.

I have allowed pieces of my personality to come to the forefront like the fact that I am a fan of steampunk and I want to wear corsets, that I like to make messes and masterpieces and they just haven’t seen that side of me. I never let anyone see it. It is my safe place to try, to fail, to try again as many times as I need to.

Through all the things they have been through over the past several years, I have been right there. Through children being born, to falls from grace, to them doing something I thought about, I have been there. Never once, did I question. I was just present to love and support.

When I needed them most, they left me to fend for myself and recently I was reminded of how alone I am. I didn’t and won’t ask why. I don’t need to know. I can’t help how people perceive me. I know who I am, I know my strengths and I know my weakness, I know those things that I yearn for. I deal with those daily.

I work in a job where any call I get can mean life or death. I handle that will skill and confidence. I am the voice behind the backs of those who are entrusted to my care 12 hours  a night. If I need to, I can send more people to their location if I don’t feel right about something. I do that with authority. Yet, when it comes to my own projects, those things I am passionate about, I falter. I stumble. I do it wrong.

When I speak my heart and it is met with indifference, once again, I  retreat. I feel like my voice is unheeded so I slip back into the shell I have built around my turtle like existence.

Believe me when I say I have to summons up every ounce of courage that I can to put my feeling out there. I just usually lay in bed and cry because I can’t be one of those cute flirty girl. I’m just not. I am big and gawky and awkward. By the time I say it, I have run it through my head a hundred times over; Then…. crickets.

My head is busy at all times. Even in my sleep I fight because I can’t relax. Today, while trying to relax, standing beside running water I couldn’t. Life wouldn’t let me.

So I will plod along, with my silent screams and my mindful musings. I will continue to seek that peace that we all search for. I will press on. I will dream and I will wish. It is at the core of my being.

I will not change that for anyone. It is who I am.

Trusting the Process is Difficult…

I sit here in the afternoon when I should be sleeping. I work night shift. One week I work five days, the next week I work two days.  This is the long week.

My body is so screwed up because sometimes you eat during daylight hours but when you are working, supper time is breakfast in your world, breakfast time for the rest of the world, would be your supper time but you are going home and straight to bed so you don’t eat. Then you wake up starved. Right now as I am writing this, there is a cup of chicken broth and another cup of hot tea sitting beside me.

Sleep has not come easy today. I slept last night up until mid morning and I have a lot on my mind.

I have to start getting  ready for work in two hours so, I work on cleaning my house.

My house at current is as messy as my mind. They say (whoever they are) that your surroundings reflect how you feel on the inside. I can see that. As of late, my house is terrible. More so than usual. For the last couple of weeks my focus has been zero.

I am working on that. Just this morning, I started going through some books. I set my timer on my phone and began the quick sort, you know, looking at it saying “I am never going to read this, there might be someone somewhere who could read it, so I will pass it along”.

I am trying to deal with how things are affecting people that I love. My niece is having anxiety attacks. My nephew can be in the middle of a sentence and go into a blind stare because he has so much on his mind. My nieces husband is beating himself up because he realizes his actions in the past have had the same effect on people.

My dad is barking orders like the foreman he is. My mom is going to worry herself into another stroke. And here I sit, trying to help everyone else, silent for the most part, trying not to aggravate my person (the one person I have confided in), he has been right by my side through more things than I care to mention. He is amazing. He lets me talk it out until he feels like he should interject. He knows that I am thinking while I am talking that I am trying to manage my own anxiety and keep everyone else well.

All I want to do is be around him and water. He allows me to talk and gives me his take on things, he allows me to feel what I feel. Water refreshes my soul. The last two times we have been anywhere, I   have wound up at water. I finally told him yesterday that water brings me back to center when I am overwhelmed.

I know that things will work out, they always have. There is a process in life, controlled by someone much bigger than you or I, as a person of faith I know this. As a human made of flesh and bone, you want to do something when there is nothing you can do. This is happening around you and it bleeds over into your life. It does have bearing on your life and it is up to you to trust the process, sometimes though, that is not easy.

Here is what I am currently focusing on…..

The person who makes my heart smile.

The friends who are checking on me every day to make sure I am okay.

Eating balanced meals.

Resting when I can.

Decluttering my mind and my house.

I am working on setting up a studio space in my house, which is something I have wanted for a long time.

And learning to trust the process.

Patterns of Randomness…

My job can be stressful. Right at the moment, my life is stressful. This doesn’t make for a good combo.

My appetite is suffering, my sleep is not restful, I can’t focus on doing what I need to do. I am sort of stumbling through right at the moment.

I am working my long week  and although my mind is completely somewhere else, I can’t let on. I have to be fully present when that phone rings. I can’t let on that there is anything going on in my world. It hasn’t helped that due to a snow storm, I have had to depend on other people to help me get to work and to get home. I don’t like not doing some things for myself.

I am making phone calls to family members and tonight, the one we are worried most about told me, don’t you worry about me, you take care of the county.

Tonight, it hit me pretty hard. It is one of those nights that I would have liked to been alone with my thoughts but the guys seemed to need to hang around the office.

I need to get a hold of myself. I am starting to feel some of those physical cues that tell me that I am not emotionally well.

My neck is stiff, my shoulder is aching, I have a tick that I get when I am stressed. I am waking more tired than when I go to bed. These are just some of my tells.

I am more quite than usual. I am afraid the shutdown is beginning. One of the guys has noticed and mentioned it, I just blew it off.

I know things will get better. I also know it will be an uphill climb. There are some pretty steep hurdles to be crossed in the next few days.  I need to stay strong for everyone else for a while longer then I can worry about myself again.

Tonight, when I finally got a while to myself, I did one of those adult coloring sheets. I turned on some soothing music and just started in the middle of the page and not looking at the color of pencil I was picking, I just focused on the pattern on the page. Several hours later as I added the last color, I looked at the image. The randomness of the colors in the pattern printed on the page turned out rather pretty. I even took a photo of it to play with.

Maybe my mind just needed a little R and R. Maybe my spirit needed to focus on the pattern and allow chance to fill in the color but in the end, it was beautiful.

The Necklace….

My sister is sick. The person who I envied for the life she lives. She has a family, children and grand children. She has a fine home, good paying job with great benefits and the whole works.

Yet with all of those things going on for her, she got sick.

She is getting better but it hurts me to see her. When I visited last night, I left with an aching heart; more than it hurt before.

I noticed she was quite through the holidays but I never really thought anything about it.

It wasn’t until she took a drastic step to end her pain that I realized that she may have envied my life more than I envied hers.

I have often said that you can feel totally alone in a room full of people or you can feel enraptured when you are with that right person. It is true. She is living proof.

While she has been on the mend, the one thing that she has worried about is the necklace that our mom gave her for Christmas. She gave us both one. My sister worried about what happen to her necklace and last night when I went to visit her, she only asked me for one thing. “Find my necklace. I was holding it.” It wasn’t just a request, it was a plea.

It is important because our mom gave it to her.

As I looked at her promising to find out what happened to the necklace, I saw the person who had let me sleep on her arm on the nights I couldn’t sleep. The girl who would give me her quarter everyday for ice cream because I would lose mine every day. EVERY DAY!!

The person who the one time she heard a bully make a fat joke about me, picked him up by his collar and tell him it would not be in his best interest to ever do that again.

Now here she is and she needs help and the only thing she is asking of me is to find her necklace. She would have a necklace even if I had to take mine off and give it to her. If it meant that much to her, she would get a necklace.

When I visited, I went in with the 6 year old. Send the two wild ones in together. We were the comic relief.  There were funny moments when the young one sat on her bed and said “this bed sure is comfortable”, my sister didn’t quite agree but she never said anything. Then, my sister asked the little one if she would sit with her in her favorite chair when she got home. The little ones reply was yes and we will eat cookies after we bake them.

This is one of those moments when all our lives will change in some form or fashion but of course hers will change the most.

The good news is today she is much better and we were able to tell her that her necklace is at her home, laying on her bed, waiting for her to return. At least she has that off her mind. She was so relieved.

I didn’t get to see her today because I had to work and she has limited visiting hours. Our mom told her on the phone that I couldn’t come and why then my niece told her when she went to the hospital.

We may not run in the same social circles, may not have the same friends, we don’t spend that much time together but she is my sister. I love her. It is that simple. We may fight with each other but when it hits the fan, we fight for each other with everything we have in us, we fight.

And at this moment, we are all fighting for her.

I Guess I am an Paradox….

There are moments when I feel totally invisible and unimportant. Then, there are those moments that I realize I do make a difference in my little corner of the world.

I send flowers to brighten the day of others and even order flowers for my guys wives when they have forgotten anniversaries or birthdays. Yet, I never receive flowers.

I tell others that they are beautiful, lovely souls and that they are important, yet I don’t hear those words myself very often.

Today, I knew it was going to be a rough shift at work. I woke up early with that feeling. I just laid in bed willing myself to relax and prepare myself mentally, spiritually and emotionally for what was to come. I listened to classical music, then my favorite piece came on Canon in D by Pachelbel.

I paid close attention to the instruments and how they came into the piece. As I lay there, I heard the raspy sounds of the harpsichord at the beginning. No other instruments just the harpsichord. Next the deep bass of the oboe or bassoon joined; followed by the lightness of the string and wind instruments.

I noticed that my breathing changed as I listened to the music. I listened to rhythmic melody. I felt my body relaxing, as if almost melting into the bed. I felt it in my flesh as it rose to its crescendo then felt sad as it was fading away until it was barely audible only like the phoenix, to rise again even higher.

After I got up from my rest, I got my new tea cup and had me a nice cup of cinnamon tea. This is the first “Tea” cup, I have ever owned. Until now, I hadn’t really been a  fan of hot tea. I am more of a coffee gal.

Then I suited up to go in to work. I got to town early and I went to see my daddy. I don’t get to see him much this time of the year. He is busy working.  I have to make time to see him. It is important that I see him. One, I have to make sure he is taking care of himself and eating while working and two, he was, after all, the first man I ever loved. Sometimes you just need to have his outlook on life. You just need to be reminded that you are not alone even when you sometimes feel like it.

SO…. the lady who was listening to classical music and drinking from a tea cup earlier in the day, was now wearing a uniform, red cowboy boots and riding through a pine field in a pickup truck. Another twist, I didn’t know when I woke up that I would need this time alone with my dad.

After I left my dad, I went and got something to eat and brought it to work with me. I didn’t need to be around people today. I wasn’t chatty. I just needed my dad for a while.

My instincts were true to form. It was one of the roughest nights I have had at work. I made it through though. I didn’t handle it perfectly but I handled it. I didn’t freak out when faced with new challenges, I stepped up and did what needed to be done.

I got to see my little friend Ben. Ben is autistic and I have some great conversations with Ben. His mind amazes me. He even offered to buy me a soda tonight. That made me smile just a little bit.

In a short while, I will go back and I will lay back down in my bed and I will sleep soundly knowing I did the best I could. I know my dad is proud of me although he had his doubts when I changed jobs,  and that Ben was glad to see me; indeed, this shift is one I can sleep well with. Although, I have been informed not to wear my red boots anymore. “They only cause trouble”