Today’s prompt for Just Jot it January is: tempest. Thanks, Liz, for the prompt, and thanks to our host, Linda Hill for #JusJoJan! For details, click here.
There was a tempest in my gut, and in other parts of my body, too. It was almost 20 years ago, but I still remember how the tempestuous rebound from hell affected my body. Working a stressful job while being a single mom didn’t help either. Why didn’t I listen? I was wounded, vulnerable. But not anymore. Now I listen to my body, most of the time.
The older I get, the better my body gets at telling me, “Hey! chill out!” It might be acid reflux, or tiredness, or a spasm somewhere or other telling me to check in and examine my habits, particularly when it comes to stress. (Or eating too much sugar which happened over Christmas.)
Some stress is good, like steady regular exercise where we push a little harder depending on the day, again listening to the body. A little stress makes us stronger. Problem solving, watching Jeopardy, crossword puzzles, these are some of the brain exercises that stretch our skills. I want to keep doing those.
Training a new dog, who is both headstrong and physically strong, can be stressful, but David and I are in control of that. Sort of. Our first professional training session is Monday.
Here are some good relationships I am grateful for at home and at the farm animal sanctuary:
Here’s the prompt: Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “lid.” Use it in the literal sense, use it in the metaphorical sense, use it any way you’d like. Have fun!
“Keep a lid on it,” sounds controlling. Maybe even harsh. But there are times when it might be a good idea. At times in my life I have disclosed too much personal information, like a confession almost. Sometimes I have been too honest. Ocassionally socially awkward. So, I’ve had to slow down and think, except when I don’t. There have been no major faux pas lately. At least not that I know of.
Keeping a lid on something might mean keeping a secret, keeping something safe, like food, or like don’t tell anyone I said this, but…… Maybe it’s better not to tell, then. Getting back to self-disclosure, maybe a lid could be loose or tight. If it’s tight, there’s always a possiblity it could be opened again, but you might need help from someone safe. I’ve heard that “you’re only as sick as the secrets you keep,” but we still have to be careful who we tell our secrets to.
I remember when I was single, trying to open a jar by myself. So as not to do too much damage to my hand, wrist, and arm, which were already compromised by so much work on the computer, I would work on the lid for a while, then take a break. Hit it with a knife on the corners, try again, and take a break. There was this one time when I took it across the street to the neighbor. Other times, I took turns with my daugther. Don’t hurt yourself trying to open a jar. Now, I try a couple times and take it to David. His hands are much stronger than mine.
When we were dating for the second time around, we didn’t keep a lid on much information-wise. We wanted everything on the table. No big surprises. We were in our 50s and didn’t want to waste time. We talked about past relationships and what we’d learned from them. I guess how much you disclose depends on whether you want to date or a committed relationship. Of course we didn’t share every gory detail. I don’t want to think about those. Quick! Think of something else!
I try not to use plastic, but when I do, I try not to use a plastic lid, which means I have to be careful not to spill. Since I don’t use straws, I might get a smoothie mustache, but that’s okay. Here’s my basic smoothie recipe at home: Oat milk, Banana, and Peanut Butter. Add other ingredients as desired. Lids are optional. (But if you take it outside, you might want some kind of a cover to keep bugs out.)
FYI, I don’t know what this has to do with lids, but my spell check on WP has not been working for a while. I chatted with someone from WP yesterday and he? said something in WP was not compatible with grammarly, or something, but they’re working on it. He told me to go to settings in my browser which I tried, but it didn’t work. Anyway, I have to go over this again to see if I catch any misspelled words. Does misspelled have two s’s? Yes, okay. That’s good enough for now. Apparently spell check is optional for some WP sites. That would have been a good transitional line for this paragraph. Now, I’m thinking too much. Time to put a lid on this.
Thinking about a photo gallery, I could have written about Mama Cat’s vet visit. One year ago I trapped her at my chuch and took her to the vet before bringing her home. She was still quite feral and escaped in the exam room. Tuesday I took her to a place that specializes in cats. It went so well, I almost cried with relief. They took the lid off her carrier and she did not run away. The towel helped. Mama Cat has come a long way in a year. Now she has a microchip.
Continued thanks to our SoCS host, Linda Hill. You can find more SoCS posts and rules at Linda’s Blog.
“The good news is that we can learn something from every relationship.”
From Loneliness to Love
It was nine years ago on July 15, that I had my second first date with my high school sweetheart. We had not seen each other in 39 years. It took us that long to learn the lessons we needed to learn, to become ready to meet again. The challenges of the past prepared us for the road we walk now. The heartbreaks of yesterday deepen the joys of today.
One-liner Wednesday is brought to us by Linda G. Hill. For more one-liners, visit:
Can I learn from my mistakes and not dwell on them? Yes, I can!
I can learn that back then, I got confused and got into this rebound with some one who was all so very wrong for me. Now, I have more compassion for people who stay in unhealthy relationships too long. Now, I’m with someone who is good for me.
I used to worry too much about what other people think about me. Now, it still crosses my mind, but I remind myself, I don’t need to worry about that. Now I’m focused more on taking care of myself and being real, and authentic – that word keeps popping up in my mind lately. Authentic.
Don’t you just hate it when your mind goes to something you did that you can’t believe you did? I hate it. But I must forgive myself and remember, that was then and this is now. Now I know better. Does that mean I won’t make stupid or embarrassing mistakes every now and then. No. I’ll still do that sometimes. But I can laugh at myself easier and easier. I can allow myself to be human and imperfect.
I was just thinking yesterday of something I did that was stupid and embarrassing. Now, I can’t remember what it was. I’m not going to try to rack my brain about it either. I’m sure I have the lesson somewhere in my brain without recalling exactly what happened.
Now, I will still remember many of my mistakes, and I’m just going to roll my eyes about that. I’m not going to beat myself up about mistakes I’ve made in the past, because I’m smarter than that, I’m better than that, and I deserve better….than that!
I would be remiss if I did not admit I did not know the origin of the words, “That was then, this is now.” I looked it up to find the credit goes to Susan Eloise Hinton, aka, SE Hinton who wrote the book by this title which was made into a movie.
It’s also a song by Josh Wilson:
AND then I discovered it’s also the title of an OLD song recoreded by the Monkees!
Today’s Stream of Consciousness post prompt from Linda Hill was:
…“this and that.” Talk about this, talk about that, talk about this and that, but here’s the catch: make either “this” or “that” the first word of your post. Bonus points if you can end with “this” or “that.” Enjoy!
1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.
2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.
3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.
4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours. Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top.
5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.
6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!
7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.
I’m often curious about the true meaning of holidays, beyond the commercialism and promotions of our popular culture. In researching the origins of Valentine’s Day, I discovered there was more than one guy named Valentine. There were at least three martyrs named Valentine who were killed for helping Christians in one way or another. One romantic legend suggests there was a priest named Valentine who secretly helped young lovers get married against the law set by the Roman Emperor, Claudius II.
Now Valentine’s day has sent us scurrying about buying cards and candy or flowers, and perhaps going on a romantic date with our sweetheart. But what if you’re not in a romantic relationship? What if you’re not even close to having one of those? It can feel a bit lonely. I remember.
During my five years of celibacy, I decided to make Valentine’s Day about more than romance, unless you count romance with yourself. Can you have romantic love with yourself? It depends on how you define romance. One definition is: a love affair. Why not be in love with yourself? Not in a narcissistic way, but in a nurturing way. In those dry spells, when I felt lonely, I bought myself flowers and learned to say, “I love you,” in the mirror without feeling silly-though feeling silly is not always a bad thing. One Valentine’s Day, I even got myself a massage. This kind of nurturing self love is, I believe, a prerequisite for a healthy relationship with some one else. I had to learn to love myself before I could be ready to love and be loved by my soul mate.
There is also nothing wrong with using Valentine’s Day as a reminder to express platonic love to friends and familial love to siblings, parents, children and even our dogs who love us so unconditionally.
This kind of love is often called Agape. (pronounced Uh-gop-ay).
Allow yourself to feel that love from God. Let it comfort you like a soft warm blanket…… or a gentle healing light that touches the top of your head and flows gently through your whole being as you breathe slowly and deeply. Opening to the peace and comfort of agape might take practice. But know this: God is really good at this kind of love. God loves us no matter what. Forever. That doesn’t mean God is going to give us what we want when we want it. Like a loving parent, God knows what we need. And, as I’ve learned, God has perfect timing.
Let Valentine’s Day be about what ever kind of love you want. Let it be about every kind of love you want. Remember to include yourself in your circle of compassion.
For another perspective on the day of love check out this post on Wilmington Faith and Values:
(It’s possible to find your soul mate when you stop looking.)
At the beginning of each year I make a collage about what I want in my life in the new year. The tradition was started by a church member one New Year’s Eve, and now continues as part of our annual Epiphany Party for the family and friends of Good Shepherd Church. (All are welcome!) After my divorce, my collages always included something about a soul mate, or at least a compatible partner, along with pictures and words representing good health, creativity, healing and nature. Collage making has always been great fun, even when I took it too seriously.
I made a collage booklet once in a workshop about manifesting your goals. I dedicated a whole page to manifesting a partner who would be compatible with me. He had to love dogs. So, I had a magazine picture of a guy and his dog running toward a photo of me and my two dogs. I had a picture of a man and a woman gazing at a beautiful mountain. I wrote in colorful markers about all the qualities I was looking for in a soul mate. The workshop facilitators said we would be amazed at how fast our dreams would come true if we just believe. I believed fiercely.
So, as the years went by, I started to wonder what my soul mate was up to. What was taking him so long?
Becoming tired of fretting about my soul mate, I worked on turning the whole thing over to God. I tried not care. Books about about the advantages of being single helped. Look at all the great things single women have accomplished. Just look at Mother Theresa, for example. I realized that it was quite possible to be satisfied with being single. And I had learned the hard way that it’s better to be single than to be with someone who adds a lot of stress to your life. Yet, I still wanted a compatible partner. In time, I became gentle with myself. I realized that wanting a partner was a natural thing and quit beating myself up about it.
While trying not to look for my soul mate, and keeping my eyes open just in case he came along, I decided to explore what made me happy. I tried out for some plays that I was not cast in. I went to the monthly “hippie drumming” event of the Saturday African drum circle. This led to free form dancing and chanting and feeling completely accepted. I experimented with a bit of improvisational dance mobbing on the street with some of those same people.
Have fun with Positive People.
I volunteered for clean ups at the lake where my daughter and I got to see lots of turtles and an alligator who kept looking back at us while swimming away from our canoe. Instead of avoiding romantic movies completely, I learned to enjoy a bit of romance vicariously, from the safety of my recliner.
In little ways, I started to create space, to make room for my soul mate. I got rid of stuff in my garage, saying to myself, someday the right man will make this his workshop. (Now it is completely full of my soul mate’s workshop stuff.) I put two lawn chairs next to each other in the back yard where my soul mate and I would later sit and talk by the fire. I hung a ceramic heart in the relationship corner of my living room according to a bit of feng shui I heard somewhere. The most important thing I did was to make room in my own heart by forgiving those who I felt betrayed by. The forgiving was not easy. It was a 10 year process.
Do what nurtures your spirit.
I didn’t know then what I know now. As I was getting ready for my soul mate, he was getting ready for me. Maybe he wasn’t doing this consciously for me, but he was working on personal growth and development in some really important ways. We were each working on ourselves as individuals. We were learning the lessons we needed to learn to be ready to work on ourselves and our partnership together. It took longer than I thought it should have, but in retrospect, the timing was perfect. (That’s why our book is called: Perfect Timing.)
So, while you’re waiting, work on YOU! Before you can find the right person, you have to be the right person for yourself. Be the best, happiest, smartest you that you can be. That doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. Be healthy. Explore what gives you peace and fulfillment. What are the constants in your life that have always brought you strength? Work on that project you didn’t have time for when you were distracted by someone who wasn’t right for you. Nurture friendships with positive people. Work on forgiving those who have hurt you, even if you need to keep them at a distance for your own well being. Most of all, love yourself! Look in the mirror and say, I love you! I know it might feel strange at first, but do it anyway. Experiment with looking in your own eyes and telling yourself how beautiful you are. It gets easier with practice. Don’t worry about the timing. God has great plans for you!
And Be careful what you ask for. Now I have 5 dogs.