I am enough, the moving edition

I'm sitting here on 8:15 on a Saturday morning, eating mushy leftover Pad See Ew (which is my favorite Thai noodle dish, but can go horribly wrong so ordering it from someplace new is a risk...  Vegan House's on Sunset--not good.  Order the wonton soup from there instead and keep looking for good Pad See Ew in Silverlake) and drinking a diet coke (yes, liquid poison) that I squirted my daily dose of B6 and magnesium into (as if that somehow makes it okay) and waiting for ...looking for ...asking for inspiration.

And like usually happens when I ask, I received (if this doesn't happen for you, let's talk about it).

Today's inspiration came through a few things I had saved to my reading list within the last couple weeks and finally clicked on today:
Of course Mastin is on the list... it's funny, ever since I admitted he irritates me I find his work to speak to me even louder.  I guess I just needed to release the "irritation" by saying it out loud (sorry for being a jerk, Mastin).  And now Tracey Clark, who seems to be telling my story...

...and with just a few paragraphs from these two I have been reminded that I am enough.

I have actually been avoiding reading things like this for a while because, like Tracey, "I realized that I had worn myself out living the hustle to become better."  I have purchased/downloaded/saved enough reading material from potential sources of inspiration of these to last me years... but they are nothing if I don't integrate the material into my reality.  So after collecting sources of inspiration for months and feeling uninspired, I walked away from it for a little while.

Today I needed some inspiration, I came back here, and found it... and now what?  Time to integrate!

Why was I seeking inspiration in the first place?  I am moving in 5 days and I haven't packed a single box and (maybe more importantly) I have no desire to.  This feels...  um...  awkward.

What's true: My sink is full of dirty dishes.  There are piles of laundry in various forms (dirty on the floor, dirty in the hamper, clean in the washer but soon to be dirty again if they don't make it to the dryer soon, clean in the dryer, clean in the basket but not folded, clean-folded-but on the couch still) in every room in the house.  Spiderman's temperature is climbing past the 100 degree mark as the pathogens that resided inside me earlier this week invade his little body and he's hunkered down in front of the TV where I intend to leave him all day.  I feel a bit clogged and foggy (literally) because my ears are full of congestion that hasn't drained yet.  I have work to do for my 2nd job and I am on a pretty strict deadline.

Things clearly aren't perfect, and that's okay!  Really!  Things haven't been perfect in a day to day sort of way for weeks (months?) and I am so much more comfortable with being imperfect than I ever have been before that I barely even notice it.  I love and accept myself fully, the dark and light bits--the firm and jiggly bits--the sweet and sour bits--the loving and nasty bits, nearly all of the time.

In fact, I'm realizing that since I've started embracing my imperfect-ness, I've managed to become comfortable with being imperfect while doing all of the following (and probably more, but this is what I can think of in this imperfect moment):
  1. Parenting
  2. Housekeeping (who are we kidding, I was always okay with doing this imperfectly)
  3. Leaving an old job
  4. Starting a new job
  5. Working as a contractor for an old employer
  6. Commuting
  7. Changing my hair
  8. Maintaining friendships
  9. Making new friends/connections
  10. Blogging about a FULLfillment project
  11. Getting myself ready for the day
  12. Maintaining an exercise routine
  13. Feeding myself
  14. Practicing radical self care
  15. Co-parenting with a former spouse
  16. Being a daughter
  17. Participating in challenges to introduce new habits
  18. Loving myself
  19. Loving other people
  20. Having feelings
That's a solid lot of imperfection practice.

Still, with all of this acceptance of my imperfection in my normal life... I find I haven't been satisfied with the pace of my progress towards moving.

What's also true: I haven't done any of things I had planned on doing for the move by now: I haven't sorted through old clothes and toys to separate out what's no longer used for donating; I haven't gone through the piles and piles of documents to toss out what's irrelevant; I haven't made any lists, project plans, flowcharts, diagrams, or maps.  In my previously perfect process of moving I only got through step 2 (step 1: measure new home, step 2: create scale floor plan, step 3: create scale furniture pieces and rearrange to perfection, step 4: pack immaculately organized/labeled boxes with FULL list of contents on the outside and specific destination, step 5: move) and then I just stopped.

And couldn't quite figure out why.  I mean, I knew I was sick and tired and would need to let some things go, but then I got better and when I had the time to get back on track with step 3 and beyond, I didn't.  I felt stuck.  The truth is, when I came here for inspiration this morning, I was looking for something to inspire me to reach my previous perfection... and (thank goodness!) I found the opposite.

Now I can see that because I wasn't going to be able to do it perfectly I didn't want to/couldn't figure out how to do it!

One of the curses of being a fast processor is that I sometimes integrate things into my life at such a rapid pace that I quickly forget that they are new and need tender, loving care to set roots and grow.

With this in mind I can see that I am going to embark on a few major things in the next several months that I haven't done imperfectly before.  I am going to:
  1. Pack, move, unpack a home
  2. Go to school
  3. Parent an elementary school kid (eek!)
  4. Have an emotionally/physically intimate relationship with another person (I don't actually know this, just hopefully anticipating...)
Yowza.  I have a feeling I'm in for a LOT of new experiences.

And this is why I'm looking forward to them...  What's REALLY true: I am enough.  I am so enough that my enoughness isn't impacted by cupcakes, oversleeping, or skipping makeup and the hairbrush.  I am so enough that my enoughness isn't changed by dirty dishes, crying at preschool dance performances, or the absence of a plan.  I am so enough that my enoughness isn't even touched by a last minute, haphazardly thrown together move!

Phew, being imperfect is a lot of work!

Gotta run.  Gotta go imperfectly pack a house.


dear everyone and no one

A lot of the noise in my head this week has started with the ever-popular Facebook status meme "dear so and so, ..."

Here's a collection of mine from this week.  Hopefully this will get it out of my system.

Dear fellow road-warriors of Los Angeles,
I understand that my tendency to accommodate requested lane changes and pedestrian crossings is unusual here, but I'm new...  and moved here with a pretty solid sense of self so your honking and cursing aren't going to change my mind about what's right.
Thanks for trying to teach me the rules of the road,

Dear Tomatoes,
For 32 years I have been picking you out if everything you come in. Two days ago I enjoyed you in a sandwich accidentally and I've been tolerating on purpose ever since. You're not that bad after all. 
Here's to something new, Kate

Dear women of The Real L Word, 
Did you know that people are watching you have sex with your real life partner(s) on TV?  Like, for real.  We can see you.  Do you know that?  Just wondering.
Love the show, 

Dear Pizza, 
Please stop tasting so good.
You'd be doing me a solid, 

Dear Vegan Cheese, 
Please start tasting better.

Dear Kaiser, 
When I use your online appointment request system and you respond with a message to me that my symptoms may be a sign of an urgent condition and then instruct me to call in for nurse advice re: treatment instead of scheduling an appointment for me you are actually delaying my treatment.  Treatment usually happens at appointments.  Schedule me a damn appointment so I can get treatment for my "urgent" condition.

Dear Self,
That water isn't going to drink itself.
Bottoms up,

Dear wifi modem, 
I know you're sad that I'm leaving, but do you think you could hold it together and make the most of the short time we have left by actually working?  I'd love to give you the attention you need but visiting you every 20 minutes to perform a manual reset isn't my idea of quality time.
Trying to stay connected, 

Dear immune system,
Let's kick the snot out of this thing.
Literally.  I've got things to do.
Love you,

Dear neighbor kids who have been experimenting with "ding-dong ditch,"
I'd go tell your parents... but you're never being supervised and I'd hate for you to be beaten just for having some childish fun. So instead... I'm just leaving my door open. Come over anytime. 
Neener neener,

Dear freeway, 
Maybe just a little break?  A little one?  Teeny tiny?  One day, or even just one way one day?
Consider it, 

Who do you need to send a message to?  Share yours on Facebook or Twitter :)


warriors birth warriors and worriers birth worriers

After enjoying the simplicity of Sunday afternoon on my shag rug I returned home just in time for a spiking fever to send me to bed.  BFO was gracious and generous enough to bring Spiderman home so I didn't have to go get him (11. BFO is gracious, 12. BFO is generous) and I was relieved knowing that 8:00 p.m. on Sunday would bring a sleepy boy and this momma could get back to resting quickly herself.

But I was terribly uncomfortable: throbbing head, aching body, shivering/shaking/sweating, all that lovely stuff and I was reminded in an awkward moment how connected Spiderman and I are.  He usually returns from his weekends away with BFO like most people return from a weekend in Vegas; he had a great time, but he is tired... and after a bit of complaining about the fun times left behind he falls comfortably into my arms and into slumber shortly after.

This time he sat awake.  And every time I tossed or turned in discomfort he did the same.  As I would start to drift off and then be jolted away by a new pain he would sit up and say he couldn't sleep.  We were on the same rhythm... and the melody was flat and droney.

He fell asleep around 10 and we made it through the night (I spent most of it on the couch retching and waking in terror from nightmares about vampires, abandonment, and abandonment by vampires) and in the car the next morning we had this amusing exchange.

Spiderman: Momma, why is your arm so big?
Me: (Touching the top of my arm at first and starting to say 'because I'm a grownup' while thinking about how to explain what fat is)
Spiderman: No momma.  Not the top, the bottom part that's hanging down and droopy, why is that so big?
Me: (laughing.  note to world: if you aren't laughing at the cruel things your child says to you, you are missing an opportunity to laugh) Because momma used to eat a lot of food and then not do enough exercise and that made fat cells grow on momma's body like these here (jiggles arm flap).
Spiderman: You need exercise for a healthy body.  You need to exercise every day.  Like lifting those orange things (weights) and getting on that balance thing (elliptical).
Me: Yes, sweet heart.  We all need healthy food, water, exercise, and sleep for a healthy body.  Every day.

-end of conversation-

Cue to that evening (at least 12 hours later) when we've pulled into the garage and I'm getting him out of his carseat when he inquires with a scrutinizing scowl on his precious face:

"Momma, did you do your exercise today?!"
"Yes, love.  I did." 
"hmm.  good." (with the intent scowl remaining)

(between you and me, I am counting the two flights of stairs between my parked car and my new apartment and the few trips I made it up and down as my exercise for the day.  I'm sick.  It counts.)

I didn't sacrifice hours of sleep and personal space nursing and co-sleeping with this child for many years past the comfortable American "norm" to have him think that HE needs to take care of ME.  Again, after years of being age appropriately honest with him and avoiding trickery and bribery no matter how tempting it is, there is NO reason why he shouldn't trust me.

Except one: we share a nervous system.

Oh yeah, that one.
my inner child. :)

"Do what I say, Not what I do" isn't just ineffective because it is hypocritical, it is in effective because children are intuitive sponges with their internal radios dialed to their caretakers' frequencies.

Whether I give him anything to worry about or not, he will worry if I worry.  Whether I tell him to care for himself first or not, he will feel responsible for others if he sees me do it.  Whether I encourage him to play and be youthful or not, he will prioritize being "grown up" if that's what he sees me do.

If I needed a reason to embrace play, or to infuse my life with silliness and joy...  that would top them all.

okay sweet boy, are you ready for this?  we're going goofy and carefree!

(someone out there: protect us?  please!)


what transformation feels like

I am sick.  My body is trying to give me the gift of a slower pace.  And I'm accepting it.  To alleviate discomfort I've pulled out the neti pot and the willow/garlic ear oil and am sucking on herbal vitamin C drops... and primarily I've allowed myself to slow down.

It's really not the ideal time to slow down.  I have one week left in my contract with former employer and several hours worth of work to do.  I am moving to a new home in 11 days and haven't packed a single box nor hired a moving company.  I am done fighting with BFO, but not because the issue of childcare and money and visitation has been resolved... just because I realized that I am not a fighter so I stopped fighting and started loving instead (it feels much better).  Oh, and I still have a  normal day job and a child to tend to.

I could pump my body full of dayquil and caffeine and go about my business trying to postpone this head cold for a more convenient time, but after at least 6 weeks of not watching a single television program without also doing something else at the same time: working, cooking, cleaning house, trying to go to sleep... I really enjoyed just lying on the couch and watching a full episode of So You Think You Can Dance in one sitting.

So, I've given in to the slower pace and in it I've found something lovely.  I think it's peace.

the rug.  it and me are both enough.
On Saturday The Angry Wombat and I went up to LA to get the keys for my new home and took a few things from the old house with us.  While we were there we found a cool red velvet couch at a yard sale next door and a red (and orange and purple) shag rug at IKEA.  We went out to lunch and puttered around the neighborhood doing nothing in particular.  We came back and set up the fish tank and brought the plants out to their new home on the balcony.

On Sunday when I returned to feed the fish and water the plants I took a book, takeout channa masala, and water with me.  And I stayed for four hours.  No internet.  No TV.  No talking.  Just me and chickpeas and the fish and the plants and the new rug and the balcony and the sunshine and the fresh air and a book that I didn't end up opening.

After eating, as I was lying on the rug staring out the sliding glass door I realized that I had no desire to go back to the old house.  

I used to LOVE moving.  Especially the packing/unpacking part.  I loved the feeling of accomplishment and security that came from neatly packing and labeling each box with its destination and contents.  And I was often so far ahead in packing that by the time I moved and began the process of unpacking I had forgotten about my own possessions and it was like shopping in my boxes with something new in each package!  As a Taurus (or maybe just as myself) I love things.  I like to see them, touch them, collect them, get attached to them.  I appreciate beauty and I love my stuff.

So, I'm lying there... searching for that old feeling, not seeing it anywhere, and wondering if it will return when my ears stop aching and then I realized something.  The things I brought from the old house were living things: the plants and the fish.  And with the exception of Spiderman (who I would pick up from BFO that evening) nothing was missing.  If I had been given the opportunity to start living there right that minute and in exchange I would have to give up on all of the possessions left behind at the old house... I would have taken it.  Gladly.

And it felt so freeing.  Moving from a 1600 square foot house into a 600 square foot apartment without the luxuries of water and ice in the fridge door or my own inside laundry was something I told myself I would be able to do if I could value living the simple life.  I'm not sure if I really believed that though... I just said it to myself a lot.

Apparently, often enough, because in my tiny, simple apartment with myself and the other living creatures in my life close by (or at least in my heart), I felt complete.

And I lied there (there was a lot of lying down this weekend) and thought, this is what it feels like to be different...  I did it.  Cool.


show me the most beautiful woman in the world...

You know that horrid saying?

You know the one.

"Show me the most beautiful woman in the world and I'll show you a man (or woman) who's tired of sleeping with her?"

Yeah, that one.

I'm thinking about coining a new one.  How do you like this?

"Show me the most loving woman in the world and I'll show you a man who believes she is a raging bitch"

attention world, there is stock photo of this.  yowza.
BFO and I are fighting about my upcoming move (and child care and money and his time with spiderman and all sorts of important stuff).  And initially (I'm talking about like an hour ago--fresh!) it was REALLY painful.

Like... shockingly painful.  But then I realized that this is our pattern.  We're fine when everything is just flowing, but if there are decisions to be made, something new to figure out, or compromises to be had we fall apart almost instantly.  It's amazing to me that you can live with someone for 10 years and in 6 short months be completely unable to work with them.  What kind of denial were we living in then?  Or maybe now?

The painful part was realizing that he sees he me in a very unattractive light.  And I don't mean physically, although probably that too...  I mean, he seems to think that I am horrid.  An awful bully who doesn't care what other people think.  It's completely the opposite of the image I have of myself.  To be even more specific, the painful part was remembering that I used to share that same vision of myself.  I'm grateful not to any longer, but still... ouch.

I was always in charge in our marriage.  I made all of the decisions... and I actually thought I was doing him a favor by being that way.

Note to self: people want to have a say in their own lives even if it appears they don't because their pace is different from yours.

Really, I do know that by now, but we were way past the point of no return and even if we weren't, we just aren't "right" for each other.

So, I was young, and anxious and reacted by trying to control...  but here we are now exchanging unpleasantries and I am horrified by how he sees me and can I feign innocence?  Not really... I probably see him through a horrid lens too.

Ugh.  The worst part about this whole thing is that it really sucked the joy out of the day yesterday.  I couldn't even post about my daily joy/silliness for the challenge because I honestly couldn't recall any.  I'm sure there was some... but I was blinded to it.  It was freaky.

I witnessed at least two miracles this week:
1. A boy whose mom I know from an online group of women who had babies due in June 2007 got a new kidney after years of painful and terrifying treatment for atypical HUS (a disease that destroys the kidneys when the immune system is stimulated).  I got to see the power of prayer lift this family into light from the moment they found out there was a potential match all the way through a successful transplant.  They still have a long road ahead, and the road will be bumpy, but they are scheduled to go home next week.
2. At Spiderman's Spring Program I saw two preschool children reach out to another child in kindness and invite him to hold hands and "twist" with them when his assigned partner was unwilling.  No one told them to... they, as 3 year olds, were able to see his need and offer him comfort with a simple gesture.

These are the things people are talking about when they say "there is only love."  Everything else is only an illusion.

So when I flounder and flap around shrieking (in my head) about not knowing what to do about a fight with BFO and how to make this better, that root of love is probably a good place to start.

And now is always a good time, isn't it?

Things to love about BFO:
  1. He loves spiderman, with all his heart
  2. He has been and continues to be a master of play.  He shares with him a spirit of playfulness that I not yet been able to harness in myself.
  3. He is tender and comforting to our sweet boy when he needs it
  4. He is clever
  5. He is loving
  6. He is an excellent arguer/debater/convincer
  7. He is persistent and committed
  8. He is fun
  9. He never raises his voice
  10. He's a great cook

I wrote this last night and have been sitting in it since, and I have to say... it really helped.

On another bright note, Spiderman and I played Freeze Tag when we got home today.  Silliness, Joy, and an elevated heart rate.  Yay!


what's up for next month? Schedule change!

It's a new month!  It's a new month!  Hooray!

This last one was TOUGH.  Honestly... it was slower and lower than a lot of things I have experienced lately.  What was wonderful about it, however, is that I could see the darkness (witness, acknowledge, honor, sit with, etc.) but I was not the darkness and it was not me.  That was new. :)

I saw two things over the weekend that helped lift my spirits and validate my experiences.

The first was a helpful reminder and came in the form of a quote shared by Ronna Detrick in a post called "Words on Waiting"
When you can only do—nothing—you have arrived where healing begins. For us to grow, it takes waiting. In our culture this is the hardest part—patience and waiting. For when we allow a process to unfold in its own rhythm and to grow at its own mysterious pace it often feels as though everything has come to a halt. We mistake it for total stagnation.
~ Gertrude Mueller Nelson, Here All Dwell Free

Just like I said last week, these experiences--no matter how familiar--are all evidence of growth and movement.  Low and slow, is still in motion.  dammit.

The next thing is something I feel compelled to preface (because I'm a little shy about it and I think it's a good opportunity to try and be funny--let me know how you think it goes?).  Plus, I'm a prefacer.

Recently a co-worker asked me a question that made me realize I was doing a shitty job of maintaining a completely neutral professional persona (which is good... why did I think I wanted to do that in the first place?)

That question was: Kate, are you hoogely boogely?

Ha!  Yes, yes I am.  And hippie dippie and airy fairy and I talk about the universe and the moon and try to find alternatives to shampoo and deodorant and grow my own veggies (sometimes) and even eat them (less often).  Now, despite all that, I've always kept a safe distance from the crystals, use of the phrase "love and light," fairies, and other parts of the hoog-boog factions because... well... because I'm judgy.  

Hoogely Boogely and judgy.  It's a good combination.  I judge others, and then I forgive myself for doing so.  It's really perfect.

(let's get back on track here) BUT...  I've gotta say, I am totally connected to the cosmos.  I don't try to be.  I don't look for it.  I just am... I am highly susceptible to the energies of other people and things.  Even this blog.  I decided to pattern the months after the phases of the moon, for no reason that I could identify at the time, but since I have noticed that I am in this pattern where the first half of that "month" is about bringing in new things and the second half is about shedding (literally too, "oddly" enough) things that no longer serve me which with the waxing and waning moon is really damn effective.

So, when I saw this in an email from the monthly meditation circle I'm attempting to join (damn day job), I was thrilled to hear that my energy and the energy of the universe is once again matched: 

The Universal Energy for June is Water

This means that it will be a month of slow and unseen progress; the perfect time to let yourself dream about where you’d like to go from here. This energy calls us to (or forces us to) slow down and to allow ourselves to rest and renew – it’s prime time for healing. It’s also known to stir up deep emotions. Making June a month ideal for letting go of the need to try so hard and to let yourself trust the flow.
Hallelujah!  I am not the only one.  I am so not the only one... I am basically connected to everyONE!  woot!

It was a reminder I needed.

Now, to REALLY get back on track

The end of one "month" means the beginning of another... and I've made some changes to the agenda for next month.  I was originally going to experiment with adventure and I chose to postpone it because: 

  1. Really that month is going to be about exploring my world close to home (and how to be adventurous in every day life) and I'm moving to a brand new community in the middle of that month... and I'd rather wait until I can give my new town the whole month for exploring.
  2. I took out a later month (grATTITUDE) because the concept of applying gratitude has been a part of this work from day one and will continue as such... and I needed space for a new one: 
  3. Remember this post about how to stop leaving myself?  I hypothesized then, and believe it to be likely true still, that the answer to that question is through play. and...
  4. It just so happens, my dear friend, tribe member, and transformation consultant friend Becky (you know her as "GT" which is short for Great Transformations! has started a 32 Days of Joy & Silliness Love Club where she's challenging participants to practice at least one act of silliness/joy a day and let that inner child out to play!
So, that's what's on the menu for this month: play!  I think it's going to make me a better mother, a better person, a better self-lover show me the playful mother, person, and self-lover inside who has been their all along.
really.  be. ware.  be-ware.  beware.

My intention for the month: 
  • Experience more joy
How I think I might get there: 
  • One intentionally silly thing each day
  • Let my son show me how to play 
  • Do a little brain-bending and delve into the available research (I have friend getting her PhD in this very topic!)
(this is super scary for me, by the way... but I'm sure that will come up in more detail.  we'll chat about it when it does)

Becky and I (and the rest of the group!) would love for you to join us in the 32 Days of Joy & Silliness Challenge.  Click on the link and request to join the group and you're in!


p.s. Summer Solstice and New Moon!  Woot! (<--that was my hoogely boogely-ness coming out again)


"Get Smart" recap

Lately I don't much feel like writing on writing days (Mondays, Wednesdays, & Fridays).  ...but I do feel like writing on the other days, so I do and then schedule the posts to appear on the scheduled days. It's a nice little trick I play on my "writer" brain.

You know I can hear you

Oh shit, now it knows.  Blew that one.

this month really has nothing to do with this tv show,
other than they share a name.  oh yeah, that.
We're nearing the end of the "Get Smart" month and I'm packing up and home and getting ready to move to Los Angeles proper (been lingering around the bottom left corner of the County for a few years trying to absorb the energy from afar) so I'm going to jump the gun and give you the recap now!

These were the intentions for this month (by the way, I'm using the term "intention" incorrectly here.  Intentions are more about what I want to experience... these are more like goals than anything, but I'll get on that next time with more careful word choice, or at least it is my intention to!  *snort*) and how they went:

  1. Take a class (audio, online, video, whatever... just take a class
  2. Read a non-fiction book (all of it.  from start to finish.  about something new.)
    • I read The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights by Daniel Goleman and it was wonderful.  It was also very short, and I felt (for a moment) like a bit of a cheater... but hell... I said I would read a book, I didn't say I would read a LONG book (and for the record, I read at least 4 books this month, just one that was non-fiction and about something new)
  3. Seek out an academic experience (like maybe grad school?)
    • I went to visit (twice) and am saving my pennies (and incorporating tuition into my budget) to enroll for the Fall term at University of Santa Monica!  I have been thinking about and exploring grad school options for YEARS and nothing has ever felt quite right, and nothing has ever prompted me to say YES right now.  Super excited!
  4. Ask questions--lots of them.  And do so from a perspective of genuine curiosity.
    • This one was the hardest, maybe because it's hardest to measure.  I did do it... and what came up was the realization that sometime my questions of pure intent can be interpreted in ways other than what I intended, and then I have to deal with that!  Which is probably why I avoided it before.  BUT... I didn't let that stop me.  I took those reactions ON instead of taking them IN, and kept on asking when I was curious (which was often)
So, about this Bootcamp with Mastin...  I have a lot to say about it, so I'm going to make a list, because I am good at making lists and people like lists (don't you, people?): 
  1. I have mixed feelings about Mastin Kipp...  most of which are a reflection of inner judgements and insecurities I have about myself (duh), but the way these mixed feelings look are: Sometimes I find Mastin to be difficult to digest.  He says (writes?) OMG in his blog and speaks in other very youthful, slangy ways...  He's a young man, living in Los Angeles, and even if he wasn't it would still be perfectly fine for him to speak however he chooses... but for whatever reason (jealous of someone else's success much?  <--watch that video, it's good stuff even if you aren't jealous of Mastin's success) it bugs me AND THEN because 38 adores him (and he's kind of the big time, so I need to know what he's up to) I read his stuff anyway and he writes things like this "The circumstances of your present moment DO NOT define you. Who you are is an innocent child of The Uni-verse who can ask for GRACE at any time, who is blessed and who experiences miracles regularly when you do not block them with your fear and doubt" and I am all sorts of in love with him on the soul to soul level until the next day when the brother/sister relationship I have with him in my head returns.  and: repeat.  Pretty much daily.
  2. So, knowing about my mixed feelings, you can understand why ignored the first 30 million emails and ads and links and referrals that talked about this online class... that AND I am not in a relationship (unless you count that weird one I'm in with 38 where we were dating but we weren't and then we broke up but we didn't and now we have no contact with each other but sometimes I see things that make me imagine that we do... sigh.  That counts as a relationship, right?) nor do I have ANY interest in being in a romantic relationship with anyone (I thought I might for about three days last week and even filled out a profile on okCupid instead of just using it as a catalog for browsing like I sometimes do when I'm super moody but this morning I came to my senses and disabled it).
  3. Then FINALLY, in one of those moments where I loved Mastin (because honestly, he's great.  He's a different face and a different voice from so many who do this kind of work, his site and the idea behind his "Daily Love" is simple and digestible for people from all walk's of life; and as a result he has tremendous reach and impact.  He has a dynamic and also accessible group of guest contributors on the blog.  I truly do admire him and his work even while I'm judging his use of text speak in the darker moments) I read one of the emails or referrals about the class and it said something about how the class wasn't just about romantic relationships, but all relationships, even/especially the relationship with yourself.  Now we know I can get on board with that--so I signed up!
  4. And the class began.  5 days worth of calls I could join live or listen to recordings of after the fact...  The first day I called (because I could, the others... I was at work) and the call was mostly about masculine and feminine energies and the required polarity that needs to exist to have a long term, romantic relationship...  and that's all I heard (romantic), and then I put the walls up and shut down!  I started to take the class as if I were auditing it for research purposes, rather than trying to grow (oops).
  5. But I didn't realize I had shut down yet so I still listened and tried to participate and even exchanged emails with Mastin about trying to determine whether my core energy was masculine or feminine... but I was so resistant to the process we didn't really get anywhere.  And in the meantime I was missing all sorts of gold about a relationship with the divine and attracting someone who is what we really want...
  6. And finally... on the last day, I realized what I had done and with a heart full of gratitude for the power of the downloadable recording, I started over.  :)
  7. I have a lot of work to do.
I love learning.  I used to keep a log of everything I learned each day.  It was a great idea, I should start doing it again.  ...and this month I learned (beyond anything and everything else) that I learn best with an open heart, when I'm applying the learning to my own life, and digesting it fully.  Only then can I have rich experiences that enhance my ability to be more aware of and more in touch with love.

Vulnerability leads to love?  Who knew!  (kidding, I totally knew.  but I guess I need to be reminded regularly.  Maybe you do too?)


taking a night off (let's see how much i write)

Tonight there is much in front of me and to avoid overwhelm I'm supposed to do what's in front of me... so despite having over 70 new "likers" on Facebook, I'm taking the night off from blogging!

Let's see how much I write on my night off... just one thing I want to touch on.

So, I know I've mentioned before that this opportunity with 38 is allowing me to work through the same shit that is bound to come up in any relationship I have, but privately, within the confines of my own head and home.  It's a new and interesting way of dealing with the stuff that comes up (basically a way that doesn't involve scaring off the mate--who should probably be able to deal with this if they want to be with me anyway, but that's a different blog post)... and boy has stuff come up!  I mean, we were hitting the 6 month mark, so the raging hormones had started to slow and the honeymoon was coming to an end (not in a bad way)... and I was going to start to settle into some of my "stuff" anyway.

First up came my abandonment stuff, and my "if i were perfect i would be loved" and/or "i am not lovable enough or she wouldn't have left" and I got through that.   Then I was doing really well for a while... until all of a sudden--BAM!  I'm getting my "I need to be needed" and "wait, what?  you can be happy without me?  that's scary!" stuff now.  Woah.  I knew that stuff was in there, but I've never seen it before like this.

I guess something really is happening.

Looking forward to getting through this stuff.  It's ugly!

That wasn't as much as I thought I might right.  Awesome.  Night off here I come!

Really, I'm to finish making a chocolate chip cookie cake with a thor mask and cape on it for spiderman's birthday tomorrow...



oh, hello

I have been carrying around a belief for a long time that all I need to do to recover from something is to be aware of it (understand it, more or less).  And it's true!  Awareness is, in and of itself, curative--if I let it be.

Still, it used to get frustrating to have this belief because this is how it played out in life:

1. become aware of something
2. declare myself instantly cured
3. be affected by it again at a later date
4. feel cheated/experience related devastation

oh... yeah... not so effective.

then I heard this: "ideas don't change people, practice changes people."

and that felt true too.  Hmmm.

Thing is, the two things are almost opposites if examined from a certain perspective, so the first thing we're going to do is avoid that perspective, because really... why complicate things and make them harder than they have to be?!

I woke up on Monday and I was all sorts of grumpalicious.  What does that look like?  I just felt kind of blah.  I wasn't interested in doing any of the things that I know will make my day better (eating breakfast, preparing lunch, wearing something fun and playful, eyeliner...  really deep stuff here), and my head and heart felt full, but not in a solid, centered sort of way... more of a floaty, wiggly, active sort of way.  Full of stuff that needed to get out.

And about halfway through the day when I was just starting to feel blah long enough to feel the urge to label it (and myself) as "bad," I came up with another way of defining my experience.

I wasn't having a "bad" day.

I was having a "processing" day.

who could be mad at a journey this beautiful?
It had been a big weekend...  I had lots of new experiences, sensations, feelings... and they were all still present in my body.  Just floating around, waiting for a discharge (oh shoot, just figured that part out right now this minute--that would have been helpful on Monday).

And the reframing began:
1. not a "bad" day, a "processing" day
and then
2. not, "oh great, here we are again!  why the F do I always come back to this?" instead I got "oh, hello.  you feel familiar, but you're new aren't you?  i wonder what you're about..."

...and with those simple choices I went from a place that could have easily disintegrated into self-loathing and tension to a place of gratitude for the journey.

No, I didn't particularly want to be having a "processing" day.  I felt like I had just been coming off of a series of them and I could have used a little rest... but really, am I going to complain that my processing days have too short of breaks between them because I am on the fast track to perfection?  (*wink*)

I think not.

Here's a question I am borrowing from Dr. Ron Hulnick of University of Santa Monica: If you used a ladder to climb a mountain and it was a challenging climb with many obstacles... once you got to the top, would you be mad at the ladder?

I'm still in "it" and "it" is turning out to be a lot of anger directed outward at all sorts of situations...  and I'm still sitting in that anger and trying to figure out what to do with it, but the anger isn't directed at the process or the journey...  and that's different.  and different is good.



letting go of limiting beliefs

The more time I spend loving on/getting to know myself the more I learn about how far off I've been for so long...  I've been carrying around several limiting beliefs that, some consciously/some subconsciously. have been shaping my reality and impacting my quality of life.  As with anything old and well worn in, I've been scared to let them go.  Even though they hurt, they're comfortable.  I know them.  I can count of them.  They're predictable and easy.  I wasn't sure who or what I'd be without them and I wasn't too eager to find out, until now...

Today, I'm using this blog post to say goodbye to my limiting beliefs, and I'd like to invite you to do the same.  Is there something you believe about yourself that holds you back?  That keeps you from going places you want to go?  Doing things you want to do?  Being things you want to be?  Is there some past behavior that you've been working to change that you still feel ownership of (I used to do this all the time... even once I had gotten past something I STILL claimed it as part of me... why?!  who knows.  I'm done with it now, though).

your limiting beliefs belong here, making electricity.
stop hogging them.  let them go.  let's keep the lights on.
You can start with just one.  One limiting belief about yourself that you'd like to get rid of.  And you can get rid of it here.  By commenting about it on Facebook, Twitter, or here on the blog (where you can do so anonymously if you'd like) you are releasing it.  It is no longer part of you, you no longer own it.  It belongs to the wind now, and the wind will carry it far, far away, and someone will harness it to make electricity and you will be free from it.  And since letting go of a belief will leave a hole behind, and to prevent you from feeling compelled to fill that hole with food, booze, drugs, sex, self-loathing (whatever your "substance" of choice is), then I want you to tell me what the opposite belief is.  I'll do it first, and then you.

These are the beliefs about myself that I'm letting go of today.  forever.

1. I am anti-social, it is hard for me to make friends, and talking to "strangers" is terrifying/my least favorite thing to do
2. I am undesirable, certain parts of my body (from the waist down) are gross, and no one will ever want me
3. I am not adventurous and I don't have what it takes to take risks
4. I don't have the drive to make a life for myself, I can only exist within a structure someone else creates for me, and I have to be/be like someone else who has already "made it" to "make it"
5. I don't know how to have fun, let loose, and be playful
6. I am unlovable, my big feelings are unattractive and too bothersome for other people to deal with
7. I am unkind, I say and think mean things, have no filter, and I hurt people with my judgments
8. I am financially irresponsible, I waste my money on compulsive shopping and food I don't need
9. I don't have any self control or discipline and I give up when things are hard
10. I am weak, I don't have strong beliefs or values and I am willing to change what I want from life in order to get love from others

and... these are my new beliefs going forward

1. I am social, friendly, and find it easy to strike up conversations and get to know new people.  I love doing it!
2. I am beautiful, from head to toe, and am grateful for all of the parts of my body and the things it does for me.  And I'm damn sexy too.
3. I love trying new things and sampling all that life has to offer.  I feel fear and do things anyway.
4. I am passionate about my life and my goals and will work tirelessly until I reach them.  I create my own reality and it is one where I thrive. I am enough, and I've already made it.
5. I am fun and playful.  I know how tooreplace into silliness and experience life as joyous.
6. I am loving, lovable, and loved.  My vulnerability and authentic nature draws people to me and I can form close bonds with my willingness to get emotional.
7. I am kind, generous, and loving.  I know how to speak to people in gentle and accepting ways and I can always see the good in people and love them for it.
8. I live a life of abundance.  I have plenty of money for my basic needs and some of the wants too.  I use my money thoughtfully as a tool that enhances my life.
9. I am diligent and committed.  I make choices for myself based on what serves me best and honor my intuition.
10. I have values that are rooted to my core.  I live by and through them every day.  I am on a lifelong learning journey in this lifetime and learning something new every day is my favorite part of life.

Okay, now your turn.

Give it a shot.  It feels amazing (and if it doesn't, email me... I'll help you through the icky parts too).  If you need help with the new belief let me know... I'll help you find one that matches.


i think i'm in love

I fell in love with two people today... and a third, well that one's been brewing for a while.

Let's get straight to it, shall we?

Person #1: Beverly McLellan

I have never watched The Voice, but I saw her tonight at the Purple Party at LA Pride and...  the voice, the smile, the shaved head, the tattoos... (swoon).  Finally I have a crush on someone besides in addition to Rachel Maddow.

Person #2: Caroline Casey

I heard Caroline for the first time today on another episode of Teaching What We Need to Learn.  Brilliant.  I don't know if I have the words to describe how excited I am to know that a person like her exists on this planet.  Her willingness to play with language and shape reality in profoundly beautiful ways is just...  wow.

Here's some of the stuff she says in the interview:

“If we’re not having fun, we’re just not serious enough.”
“We can’t do anything by ourselves. We can’t even be who we want to be by ourselves.”
“What’s going down is dominant, what’s coming up is collaboration, and then we just put the standards in place so that we don’t inadvertently serve empire or colonialism in our metaphors, our language or our story.”
“Reacting is hot. The world is already too hot. We want to be agents of cool.”
“I can get on my own high horse of harumphitude. Some of that comes from having been a person who has had a progressive, an activist aspect to my life for many, many years and even decades now. And often I hear about the next great thing and I realized, “Well, that was the next great thing 30 years ago.” But it’s not about having the next great thing thought up or available, but it’s about actually integrating it into the culture.”
“The reason we don’t want to judge someone is that then we’re inviting the least evolved part of them to dance with the least evolve part of us and it’s just never pretty.”

Person #3: me.

It's true... me.  I am in love with me!  It's been in the works for some time, but something happened this week that really confirmed it.

I had to do a presentation at work on Monday called "who i am and why i'm here" and I thought it would be funny (and it was) to do a presentation called "Who I Am.  a hairstory."  And tell my story through my ever evolving hairstyles over the years.  To do so I needed old photos and I just so happen to have BUCKETS of them in the garage from a moment where I foolishly volunteered to be responsible for the family photos.  So after a few days of going through photos of myself and selecting a few for the presentation I started to realize something...

I am beautiful.

even this version of me: beautiful.
...and I always have been.

And not just the pretty kind (although that too), but funny, playful, creative, authentic, loving...  and any other qualities you can see about a person through a photo.

...and again... I always have been.  This is not a new development.

Maybe this isn't a shock to you, but it was to me.  I was not very fond of myself as a child, and a recent past version of me wasn't very fond of the child versions either.  Only in the last couple of years have I decided to "forgive" myself for who I was before I became what I am now... and only in the last week have I realized that there was nothing to "forgive!"  I have no idea how I developed such a negative impression of myself, but damn...

I've said it before, but I'll say it again.  This divorce and subsequent lifestyle has brought out the best in me.  Little did I know, however, that I would find out that I've been my best self all along and I'm just growing more and more every day.

and you know what... you too.  You are beautiful too.  You are your best self too.  You are doing the absolute best you can in the moment, and you will continue to do so.

love this.

(p.s. 38: I don't know if you're still reading... but if you are, I haven't forgotten about you.  The only reason you're not on this list is because my love for you is older than this week.  xxxooo)


do what it is front of you

I had a GREAT therapy session yesterday.  My therapist had just returned from two weeks of intense training... and it showed!  She had all sorts of new tricks!

You may recall that I see someone who practices Brainspotting, which is a technique that uses eye movements to target a place in the brain where a trauma is stored to release and heal it... and then she just uses good old fashioned therapy to replace the irrational belief that a trauma caused with a much more loving belief for the road forward.

Before I tell you about the major vistory... a celebration: I, Kate E. McCracken, felt my feelings. 



They took over me... and I surrendered to them. 

It went a little something like this (we'd been doing a lot of work in a few younger parts of my self for most of the hour and then...):

Therapist: What's present right now?
Kate: I'm really angry
T: Can you go with that?  Just feel it.
K: (apprehensive) Okay
T: What does it feel like?
K: flames, coming from my chest and lapping at my neck.  But they don't last
T: What would happen if you let them last?
K: I'd be engulfed in flames... I'd burn up... I'd cease to exist!
T: I promise that's not going to happen...  let them flare up, and then when they do breathe like this (and she demonstrates the breath a person would use when trying to fog up their glasses)
K: (foggy breath)  and more (foggy breath) until... (tears... sobbing choking crying tears)
T: You did it!
K: I did what?! (sobbing still)
T: You felt your anger!  And then it left your body!  And underneath the anger is sadness and you're feeling that too!  You're doing it!
K: (sob, choke, cry, wail, etc...) for several more minutes

...and then it was all out.  And I felt so much lighter and brighter!  Yay for feeling feelings!

So, of course when she asks me if I would be willing to try and do that more often (in life) my question is... "How the F am I supposed to feel my feelings and still be a functioning adult?!"  Her answer was all sorts of loving and specific to me and my gifts and after she gave it she asked "do you get overwhelmed a lot?"


Then she encouraged me to try something next time I feel overwhelmed.

"This is your new mantra," she said.  "Do what is in front of you"

"Do what is in front of me?"

"Do what is in front of you."

and I've been doing it... and it's been "working."  When I observe that I'm starting to drift from the present moment I say to myself (aloud or in my head depending on the surroundings) "do what is in front of you."

And then I'm back in the present moment.  I'm back in my car.  I'm back at my desk.  I'm back on the toilet.  I'm back at the bowling alley.

he wanted to take me bowling for my birthday.  he let me win.  isn't he sweet?

No matter where I am, it just takes one line, "do what is in front of you," and I'm back and I'm doing just that. 

And you know what?  Doing what is in front of me is a heck of a lot easier than trying to do everything, all at once, and be perfect at it.  Sure, I can... but now I don't have to.



5 Steps to End Emotional Eating

tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock (I'm swaying back and forth as I'm typing this... it feels nice.  I must be very tired.)

The pendulum is back into a comfortable rhythm--thank goodness!  I always look forward to this part.  Knowing/remembering that it's coming is a new skill and even newer than that is using that idea to calm myself when things are still stormy inside.

What the heck is she talking about?!  (tired. She said she is tired remember?)  Oh yes, that's right. Carry on!

I think I have a pretty great (as in large) capacity for change.  I am willing to do it, and I like it, and... yeah... that's enough.  But my change process can be pretty dramatic and often represents a pendulum swing into the opposite direction of its previous inhabitance.

I was focusing on my body and doing things to lose weight and my body wasn't changing... and I got clear with my intentions with myself and here on the blog and was going to learn to love myself (and my body) exactly how I am right this moment... and then the pendulum swung.  So, it was over there in "health nut land" and then it swung to "drive-thru land" and I knew that "drive-thru land" wasn't right, but the only thing I could think to do if I wasn't going to focus on changing my body was to "not care" anymore.  So, I cut even more of my hair off, barely put on any makeup most days, and started wearing a rotation of my most boring clothes.  And I didn't care how I looked, and that was somewhat liberating... but along with not caring how I looked, I wasn't caring FOR myself either.  ...and that wasn't quite working.

FINALLY... yesterday... driving home from a very intense physical experience that left my body battered but my soul soaring (Camp Pendleton Mud Run.  woot!) I remembered how good it feels to be active.  After a week or so of lousy eating and very little activity I was feeling it (lousy) and when I felt like myself again today I realized/remembered that I can care for my body as part of my self care without it being about weight loss (duh).
starting at the top left and going clockwise: 1. shoes (before), 2. the waiver i signed that said i would be okay with dying in the run (i wasn't actually...), 3. muddy pile of clothes (after) and, 4. shoes (after)

So, now it seems like it's time to share something I learned at my Bioreprogramming session last week.  To be clear in my intentions, I don't plan to practice these as a weight loss technique or to change any part of myself.  I plan to practice these as a strategy to put foods in my body that enhance my whole life experience and make being me as pleasant as it can be. :)

I practiced the hell out of #1 today... and not just about food either... about lots of stuff (every fear or doubt or worry or consuming, obsessive persevoration).

Here they are, the 5 Steps (I'm going to use) to End Emotional Eating:
  1. Acknowledge what I want, then thank the part of me that wants to care for me in that way, and ask for some time.  "I want a pizza.  Thank you to the little one inside who wants me to feel full and satisfied by that experience.  I'm asking not to make a decision right now.  In 15 minutes if I still want it, I can have it.  For now I will have something healthy" (this practice will imprint a new pattern on the brain "i want it and i'm not going to have it right now")
  2. Imagine myself after having had the food/food experience I am craving.  Close my eyes and feel the feeling, make it disgusting... (this practice will train the brain to associate these binge foods/experiences with pain.  the brain will instinctively move away from pain).
  3. Doubt it.  Deliberate it.  Discuss it in my head.  "I want it, but I shouldn't..." say it over and over and over (this practice again plays to the brain's aversion to pain.  Doubt is painful, it will eventually take over and make the "no" decision just to end the doubt)
  4. Define the results of a healthier choice.  See myself as the results of my choices.  Have a clear vision for the future and how I want to feel.  See and feel it in real time.  (this practice will associate pleasure with the healthier choices)
  5. Answer "who am i?" question as it relates to these issues.  "I am a woman who makes thoughtful choices about what she puts in her body.  I have high standards for myself and my health." (this practice lays the foundation for a new program to operate from.  train the brain to believe this as reality and the impulses will fall into line)
There is so much to say about this Bioreprogramming stuff, but really you could click the link and get a much better sense than I can give you.  Instead, I'll just touch on something I find particularly interesting about it right now...

The brain is powerful, but impulsive... again, it's kind of like a teenager.  It has the strength of an adult yet the depth of understanding of a child.  Left untended the brain can and will run the show--running programs that have been imprinted over time or inherited from ancestors.  It is primarily focused on survival and the only way it knows to survive is to repeat what it's done before.

The brain is certainly not the same thing as the mind... the mind is made up of so much more than that... and what's fortunate about this is that the MIND can reprogram the BRAIN.  The mind (and all that entails) can make changes to the way the brain operates, allowing it to still believe it is running the show all while it's running the programs we put into it.

And it's simple too.  Repeating a mantra, making intentional language choices, just asking/telling it to do something different... it changes the program.

Nice brain.  Thank you brain.  You're doing a good job. 



feeling the feelings.

We talked about feelings a lot when I was a kid.  I have vivid memories of having "family meetings" after watching "controversial" television programming (we weren't allowed to watch Married with Children or The Simpsons, so you can guess what I mean by controversial...) to discuss (in excruciating detail) our feeling responses to the shows.  My brother and I often joke that we would have rather been spanked instead of having to talk with mom about whatever it was the resulted in the need for discipline.

As a result, I have a fairly robust feelings vocabulary and can express myself with ease most of the time (thanks, Mom!).  And as a result of that it's been surprising as an adult to realize how little I am actually willing to experience my feelings.  I know that it's "okay" to have them, and I know how to talk about them, but I'm just realizing that I carry around a belief that if a feeling is "bad" then I must do something about that immediately to make it go away and that if a feeling is "good" it is a sign that a crash is coming and I should tone it down.

This new awareness has me looking at life through a new lens.  I want to experience my feelings now (until I am experiencing them... and then I don't want to anymore... but I'm getting that this is a common, human experience), and if I can do so with intention and thoughtful attention I can experience them without letting them create or change my reality.  Crazi-ness.

Last night when Spiderman and I were out front I realized that tomorrow (now today) was the today I had given myself permission to start looking for a new place (we are relocating from Long Beach to Los Angeles).  Which means that in one month, we won't live here anymore...  and I needed to grieve that.

There are so many reasons I am looking forward to moving (paying less rent, less time in the car, closer to friends, just being where I want to be, I heart change...) and there is so much about this house where we live now that is in contrast to what I want from life, but I would be denying an experience of feelings if I were to choose one feeling (the excitement) over the other (the grief).

This house is my old life.  When we moved here we did so as a family of three: Spiderman, BFO, and myself.  We were starting over and this is where we were going to set our roots.  This house was a major tactic in a  long-term strategic plan.  It's everything I ever wanted in a house: front porch, old and rambling, tons of light, space for planting... and the family I had when we moved here is everything I ever (thought I) wanted in a family.

goodbye, house.  the boy, he comes with me.
I don't want those things anymore, and I don't want this house anymore... and while I've grieved my marriage by welcoming my new relationship with myself and grieved the loss of my parent-partner by embracing new freedoms and seeing my strengths as a mother shine and grieved the loss of a two parent home for Spiderman by making his one parent home as loving as I can... I haven't grieved the part of ME that wanted the traditional family in the old, rambling house with a porch.

So, that's what I did.  I appreciated and loved and thanked the part of me that wanted this for myself.  I told her that if there were things about this that she missed in her new city life that I would help her find ways to get those needs met.

Just taking pictures, recording this moment as a beautiful one, and romanticizing some of these last moments in a way I can come back to them just by looking was enough.

Looks like I might have learned something new, and I didn't get it from a book.  I got it from doing what felt right.

In the present moment I am aware of all sorts of feelings.  I feel overwhelmed by the number of things I need to do to prepare to move, celebrate spiderman's birthday, and still take care of myself and my other responsibilities.  I feel excited about the rush of finding a perfect, new place.  I feel anticipatory about applying for grad school and then getting in (and what that will mean for my life).  I feel sadness and loss from missing 38 and the void that remains from wanting to talk to her about what's happening in my life and find out the same about hers.  I feel relief that the choices I made to start a new job and take some big leaps are yielding positive results.  I feel gratitude for the loving relationships I have with my closest friends.

I'm having a lot of feelings... and the only way I know how to experience them is to let them be and when I notice that I don't want them anymore to remind myself that they are only temporary.  They never stay long (unless I invite them to).

Now I have to go prepare for tomorrow... I'm going to go sleep on the ground outside and then run through mud and obstacles the next morning while uniformed military personnel scream at me.  I'm not sure why I'm doing this... but I signed up for it, so I must have thought it was a good idea at one point.

More grieving on that topic next week?