HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!!!

A HEARTY HELLO and lots of LOVE to MY SISTERS from around the WORLD!

I wasn’t even thinking about International Women’s Day when I ran across this book AGAIN. I first ran across it as a “MUST READ” a few decades ago. I couldn’t get into it at all! Didn’t finish it. I wondered why? It’s supposed to be a very meaningful book! Of course my inner chatter said I must not be smart enough or evolved enough to get it. Now, I realize how silly that kind of chatter is and how it holds me back.

A few weeks ago I saw a post about this book. This particular woman wanted to know if they were the only person who has had trouble reading it? Apparently not! As many said they had difficulty as those who said they enjoyed it or learned from it. It’s refreshing to hear someone say they don’t know or understand something. I’ve always felt such pressure to be smart and KNOW everything. Now, I understand this isn’t possible. I’m feeling a lot more free to admit I don’t know or understand, whether it be books, events or people. IT IS OKAY to not know and to be willing to learn at any age. Beginner’s mind always…..

Friday, my daughter and I went to an estate sale. As I perused the dead woman’s books and vinyl records, I knew we would have liked each other and had many interesting conversations. Set aside from the book shelves on a ledge was THIS book. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear? Maybe. Let’s see if a few decades of seasoning and experiences will reveal this book’s meaning. I have a feeling it will.

Any thoughts from those who have read or attempted reading this book? Any thoughts on our huge sisterhood of women, individual threads of many colors and hues in an infinite tapestry throughout the world and over time? BEAUTIFUL!

Purse-Tastic!!!

Many of us LOVE our bags and I’m no different. So many people, so many bags. There’s such personal preference involved! All on my own, I enjoy many types of bags. I love a cloth bag like this rag quilt bag I made for displaying my vintage pins. I also LOVE a NICE leather bag like this new condition, vintage Coach bag I bought for $36 at an estate sale. I deciphered the Coach code inside to say it was made in December 1996 and manufactured in Hungary. Seems the rule is over 20 years old, an item is considered vintage. Over 100 years old is considered antique. I thought that was interesting. Not that it truly matters. If I like it, I like it!

What I like the best is buying something that fits into the reduce, reuse, recycle philosophy. As much as I love this Coach bag though, it felt kind of plain and devoid of personality. My answer? A scarf! So after working out this morning, I was off to the Goodwill Store. They had a big display of beautiful scarves very reasonably priced. I chose three, sheer scarves – variety.

I picked one of the scarves and wrapped it around the strap of that poor, boring, Coach bag to a length I though I might like. Next I brought the ends through the buckle loop. Lastly I pulled the ends of the scarf underneath itself on the wrapped part. I knew I would have to play with it until it was even and how I liked it. It didn’t take long.

Voila! Instant Boho and a place to display vintage pins.

I really like how it turned out. Thought you might too!

Gordon, Melanie and Incense

The vibe of incense.

God, Gordon and Melanie –

Leading me inside.

Because, for me, that’s where the peace is – inside. From now on, I’ll only write from my heart without fear of what you might think of me. No unsolicited advice or attempts to convince. That’s what listening to Gordon and Melanie on an icy day has prompted.

I think this is the first time I’ve mentioned God. So many perceptions and cultural takes on the matter, isn’t there? My perception is more like an energy or an influence, maybe the energy that animates us. The Hindu Gods and Goddesses represent different life qualities or aspects, yet as a whole all of Life, One God. Maybe from a psychological view, aspects of focus. “Where attention goes, energy flows.” Listening to Gordon and Melanie this morning made me want to write. Not just write but let you see me.

Today I burned a stick of gulab (rose) incense. Rose attracts Lakshmi’s attention. She represents good fortune and abundance. Rose incense also reminds me of my friend Preeti, who has always been so kind to me. She likes it a lot. Since my needs are met, I’m enjoying an abundance of peace and creativity this morning – an overflowing heart, Metta.

Metta is the Buddhist concept/feeling of loving kindness. Loving kindness for everyone – those close to me, those who are neutral and those I don’t like or decided to love from afar. Yes, there are people I don’t like. I’m human after all! But I do not wish them harm. I do my best (because sometimes it’s an effort) to wish everyone, even those I dislike, happiness, freedom, safety and ease. So in a meditation I might visualize or think of someone or many someone’s from each category and wish them to be happy, safe, free and at ease.

Corny? Well then, I’m corny! Let’s be corny together.

What brings you inside? Prompts your creativity? Helps you feel loving and peaceful? Btw, Gordon Lightfoot’s recent documentary is very good. Watch it!

As I close, with love and sincerity in my heart, I wish you to be happy, free, safe and at ease…..

Until next time,

Denise

Drinks And Cigs

OMG,

Yes, there are many people in this world I disagree with.

Have I ever wished them harm?

NO, I. HAVE. NOT.

I’ve been in distress this weekend. Distressed enough that my faith in humanity was shaken.

I saw screen shots of posts from angry folks wishing to lynch people and shred the wives and children of people with differing views in a wood chipper. Really ugly stuff that was hard to ignore or release.

We recently started watching Mad Men. I noticed every time the characters were distressed, someone hands them a drink, usually neat! YUCK. Yesterday we put away the Christmas stuff which gave me access to our minimal bar kept within our vintage stereo again. Oddly enough it’s a stereo like one you might see from the 60s or in Mad Men. I rarely drink but last night I looked up how to make a Bloody Mary from scratch and then we watched some Mad Men episodes. Those characters also smoke like 2 packs a day. Is that my next move? I do love that roulette wheel, cigarette dispenser in Draper’s office. Nah….. no smokes. But, if anything, that show solidifies for me the thought that “hurt people, hurt people”.

Today is a new day/ new week. I was reminded that anger and angry posts get more attention and spread more rapidly and widespread than happy posts. It’s a lot like how people will lodge a complaint or bad review and then share it about a product or service like 10x more than they would take the effort to lodge a compliment or share a good review.

Yes, there are problems in the world that need OUR attention! At the same time we look at those problems, we need to be open to accepting that another person’s life experience may be different than our own without making them prove it. We need to work together to make this a decent world for EVERYONE as best we can. We will never live in a perfect world but we can do better than this. Let’s realize we’ve all felt wronged at one time or another. There are millions of examples, personal and societal. That doesn’t make it right to lash out and hurt others. We all have the ability to stop shitting ourselves or on others unless we’re truly SICK. I believe all emotions stem from either LOVE or FEAR – fear of loss, fear of being hurt. With everyone on board we might find there’s an even bigger pie, more love in the world, different but better ideas.

I look outside and see concerned people who don’t really know what to do. I’m one of them. My contribution is writing to you and being kind with whom I have contact. I understand there are some people we may need to love from afar and that’s okay. Just don’t harm. Many people I see that are angry and whipped into a frenzy also love animals and their families. They have kindness in their hearts even though it may not look that way. Appeal to that kindness.

Let’s find a way forward with kindness, love and an aware mind TOGETHER. Let’s remember we’ve all been hurt at one time or another. Let’s agree to BUILD UP rather than TEAR DOWN – each other and our society.

THAT IS COURAGE.

THAT IS STRENGTH.

THAT IS GREATNESS.

We can do this…

IF YOU WANT IT.

What The F#@* !!!

Yes, I cuss! Not all the time, but I do. EMPHASIS.

There are moments lately I’ve felt Covid closing in around me. Our family has dodged the Covid bullet by 1 or 2 degrees of separation recently. It was the luck of timing and circumstance that saved us from exposure. And we really do our best to avoid it. It’s hard to stay diligent AND please people. I get it!

When 2500 in France feel the need to Rave in the middle of a pandemic, it makes me say, “What the FUCK!” I read, “needed a break”, wanted to feel happy”, “pent up energy”. There are so many things you can do satisfy these things without attending a RAVE. I understand. Everyone wants to be happy and avoid suffering. It’s the ONE MAJOR THING we ALL have in common.

But maybe it isn’t so much a question of seeking happiness as it is more a question of finding meaning? Seeking happiness at a RAVE, group gatherings etc is seeking happiness outside of ourselves. Those are fleeting moments of gratification. We have all the tools to create and cultivate meaningful activities and relationships from the inside out. When that occurs, happiness takes care of itself!

I can only tell you what creates meaning for me. Looking for peace? Meditate or practice yoga. Looking to feel healthy and release pent up energy? Exercise and/or go outside keeping a safe distance. I think we can still safely see, maintain relationships, and work with people outside of our household in person, if we mask. Read! Learn new skills! Tend to pets. Have real conversations….. I feel like if I can’t find anything to do at home, I’m not really trying. There are as many satisfying things to do at home as there are people. It’s up to you!

We have to give ourselves time to try different things, acclimate and give them the opportunity to take root. Try it! You might like it! You may not even want to go back to your old ways when this is over. And I assure you this pandemic will eventually be resolved. Life IS change and things like this in our history have always been temporary.

In the meantime…… as often as you can, as our Old Friend Samuel L Jackson so eloquently said, “STAY THE FUCK AT HOME!”

Good Advice? Maybe.

Why must I always deconstruct things? Even seemingly good advice! I suppose it’s my nature.

Whose respect?

What kind of attention?

Aren’t both fleeting?

BE who you are! Not who you think you should be.

Not who someone else thinks you should be.

It takes a lifetime of trial and error and sometimes never for some to discover who they are.

Others know it from the moment of birth and run with it. I think we all know who we are from the moment of birth but we’re gradually reconfigured into what others (family, society, religion, political party, etc) envision. We must do everything ‘right”.

I’d say most of us have intermittent glimpses. Those moments of peace for no reason when we let go. I find nature – sunsets, stars, trees, plants, birds, cats and dogs, etc often facilitate those moments as well as practices like meditation, yoga and exercise. But then I get sidetracked and forget again. To stay with that peace takes a lot of awareness and practice. It’s a practice of staying in the peace when life’s outer circumstances may not be so peaceful.

It’s BE-ING HERE NOW. The past and the future don’t currently exist except in our minds. Plans are great tools but they don’t exist. YET. Enjoy the “good” moments while they last. Understand the “bad” moments (or string of bad moments) eventually pass. I say and write these things to encourage not criticize or preach. I just thought of the farmer story. What seems good isn’t always good and what seems bad isn’t always bad. Right? Have you experienced that? Are we experiencing this NOW? Maybe there is something, maybe many things, of benefit being born to each and every one of us during these trying times? Besides “good” and “bad” reflect preferences. A mind undistracted by preference and others’ opinions is FREE.

Am I 100% there yet? No.

Will I keep practicing? ABSOLUTELY

NOW I offer you the farmer story:

HIGH FIVE !!!



In case you don’t know…

It’s National High Five Day!

Here’s a virtual one (because of distance and… because of you know what) for you and you and YOU!

I think we can all use a High Five about now.

Are any of us perfect? HELL. NO.

Is my way of handling LIFE necessarily your way? NOPE. And that’s okay. I think we’re all doing our best regardless of how that looks or is interpreted. Given enough time we find new ways and evolve. In the meantime I notice some crazy, er… I mean different, stuff going on.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit some of that STUFF annoys me. But the people doing those annoying things believe in the certainty of their rightness as much as you and I! So what do you do with that? Let’s be good to one another. Choose kind over right, silence over diminishment.

Oh! Here’s another High Five!

Oh! And here’s another High Five!

HAPPY FRIDAY! Bits and Bobs

I was about to practice yoga and meditate. Then I thought about going back to bed! Not because I’m depressed or upset or anything but because I struggle with doing the things I know are good for me like everyone else! I’m also a little sore from working out at home, doing things that aren’t normally in my gym routine.

You know how Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka sings about wanting a Bean Feast (big English celebration with lots of food)? My inner song is that of an Egg Feast this time of year… A chocolate covered egg feast to be exact. Any kind will do but those Reese Peanut Butter Eggs… to die for. And I may just die of digestive distress if I don’t stop it!

The good news is I haven’t died from digestive distress but felt uncomfortable. Like most things we think are going to kill us we look back and realize it was another bump in the road. Not saying there aren’t some big bumps sometimes but we get over and past them if we don’t give up. I’ve ended up continuing to do what is good for me with the exception of eating too many Easter eggs. I’m getting better though. Maybe the novelty is wearing off? I hope!

Jack Black made his Tik Tok debut this week! I didn’t recognize it was him at first! If you don’t mind smiling and laughing, look it up. Seems there are 2 different versions. The better one is with the Aha song, Take On Me. Every time I think of it, it makes me smile. Thanks, Jack Black!

I also read on Echo that Wild Animals are Returning to City Streets! Okay, for real? Yes, for real!

With less human presence:

There are wild boar in the streets of Barcelona, Spain.

Deer wandering the metro train stations in Japan!

Puma in Santiago, Chile!

Wild turkeys in Oakland, California.

Any of us who have ever watched an apocalyptic movie have seen the animals re-inhabit the cities. But in only a few weeks! Jeff Goldblum was right. Nature finds a way…

Watched a few good movies this week on either Netflix or Amazon.

Radio Flash (an old school term for an electromagnetic pulse), is one I would watch again. I loved the strong, young female lead character/actress. Her character met with all kinds of obstacles I felt were realistic for the situation.

The Platform was extremely violent but I believe people will be violent to survive. It has a lot of statements to make but it’s up to you what those statements are. The direct said he left it open to interpretation.

The Last Days was a very different kind of apocalypse. No zombies, no apes, no rabid people. The antagonist was different. I liked that. The acting was good. I really liked it but it’s not super deep. Still it’s good. Oh yeah, the dialogue was in English but it is a Spanish film with Spanish subtitles. I was getting a Spanish workout/tutorial looking up the subtitles for fun!

Last, I’ve known for a long time I’m an INTJ (Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging) . While it’s true we need the power of good judgment, I often struggle with too much judgment. BUT I realize this and can temper it with awareness. I read something this week about not being judgmental of myself and the way I cope as well not being judgmental of the way others cope. I think that’s super wise advice.

It’s okay to have feelings. We’re human! There is NO SHAME in having feelings. There’s NO SHAME in letting them get the better of us at times. Distraction is good. I even wrote an article about distraction as a coping tool in reference to someone who wanted to cope with anxiety but didn’t want meditation advice. That’s fine. How about an in between awareness exercise?

Feelings don’t last. They are as impermanent as anything else.

Try this:

Say to yourself – I feel ________. (Notice it. Name it. ) Ahhh, there’s fear, anxiety, worry, judgment… you fill in the blank. Embrace it with compassion as if it were a hurting child. Feel it.

Next say to yourself – But right now, in this moment, I’m okay.

Then let it go or let it pass.

Repeat…

If you are truly not okay and need to respond, do so. But more often than not we realize that isn’t the case.

Whatever you choose… busy-ness, introspection or all the above, KNOW I’m cheering you on. Happy Friday!

Keepin’ On In Kentucky

Yesterday was lower body with selectorized dumbbells. Today, Jim retrieved our barely used TRX system from the shed and installed it. I gotta say… I didn’t really give them much of a chance when they were up at the old place. I got a pretty good, upper body workout with these this evening. It was fun to do something different! And my muscles feel like I did something different!

TRX Chest Press 3×10

TRX Chest Flys 3×10

TRX Rows 4×10

TRX Single Bicep Curl 3×10

TRX Tricep Extensions 3×10

TRX Standing Fallouts 3×10

This morning I practiced yoga and meditation.

Cooking happened.

And definitely laundry happened. There is always laundry.

This evening Jim and I took a walk.

Bottom Line: If you’re bored, get busy. If you’re unmotivated, get busy. If you’re depressed, get busy. If you’re worried, get busy.

We can’t let outer circumstances control our inner life. Occupy yourself in the ways you enjoy and find beneficial. If something needs a response, you will be able to respond with clarity and equanimity.