the barbarics of modern life

whew!  *big sigh*  it's Friday, and I'm feeling some relief about that (thank the lord-ish) after existing in nervous anticipation (and not the good kind) about it for most of the last several days.  This is the first Friday in at least six months that I haven't been able to rely on BFO relieving me of my responsibility for Spiderman.  And after a week like this one, that's been a difficult reality to face.

I've made the mistake of taking Spiderman's difficulty adjusting to kindergarten personally until now and upon releasing that (just in time) we found our flow again.  Poised for a happy, healthy weekend I (and you) am spared from having to bitch and moan about the (lack of) efficacy of Kaiser therapists, the failed collaboration with afterschool program staff, and whatever other ways I was projecting my self loathing onto other people and things.


Tonight's Blue Moon:
a "Blue Moon" isn't really blue.  It's the second
full moon in any month that has two.
The first in August was 8/1, and tonight's on 8/31.
*Astrology/Astronomy lesson over*
Now I just get to sit here, with the Blue Moon in the corner of my eye, looking forward to the Spiderman-Momma-love-fest to come, and laughing about the absurdity of modern life.

I had a physical today.  And sitting in the lab while the phlebotomist drooled over one particular vein she spotted in the outside of the crook of my left arm I started thinking about how barbaric "self care" can be.

Let's play a game for Labor Day!

We work hard and as a reward for that labor we need to relax and take care of ourselves every once in a while.

See if you can match the descriptions of the self-care activities I've embarked on (to make myself feel at "home" in my body--sorry people, I'm trying here) lately with their common names: 

a. Strip naked from the waist down while a woman I have no relationship with (other than for this purpose) spreads hot, sticky goop onto my genitals with gloved hands and, after it cools, tears it off ripping the hair that grows there out at the root.
b. Strip naked from the waist up and let a man I have no relationship with (other than this one) systematically inspect my breasts with his fingers after he's congratulated me from moving from "severely obese" to "just obese!"  (he was so excited about it too.  it was almost cute) and then give me the privilege of placing my arm on a cushy wedge only to have another strange remove blood from it.
c. Expose my underarms to another strange(r) man who proceeds to press a blazing hot wand against it that also applies light suction zapping the hair follicles beneath the surface of my skin.
d. Strip completely naked and lie on a rubber covered table in a tiled room with a bathroom stall divider surrounding it while an older woman in matching black mesh bra and panties pours buckets of water over me, vigorously rubs some kind of grain (buckwheat?) into my skin, and eventually beats me over the back with her hands and arms.
e. Lie face up on a table with a cloud of steam choking any natural attempt at respiration while a woman paints creams and chemicals over my face and neck culminating with her looking at my face through a high powered magnifying glass whose light source generates too much heat and squeezing environmental evidence out of my pores.
f. Lie both face up and face down under a thin sheet in the dark with the sounds of chanting, drums, and bells in the background as a woman digs her fingers, hands, and arms into the tender sites of tension in my body while encouraging me to drudge up painful memories from all corners of my personal history.

1. facial
2. laser hair removal
3. physical exam
4. healing massage
5. bikini wax
6. body scrub

life is silly.

Happy Labor Day!

(the answers: 1e, 2c, 3b, 4f, 5a, 6d.  There is a lot of nakedness involved in "self care" no?)


home, or something completely different

I have no idea what this post is going to be about, and to be completely frank (because usually I hold back so much here-HA!), this is the last thing I want to be doing right now.  Of course, there's only one thing on the list of things I want to be doing right now:

1. Sleeping

BUT...  writing always alters my experience and I am guessing that going to sleep on this kind of pissy attitude isn't in my best interest, so let's see what comes up shall we?

Today was a strange day.  Last night I had trouble going to sleep (this is not something that usually plagues me, I can fall asleep anywhere... anytime).  When I closed my eyes I was transported to some pretty scary places.  And when I say transported, I don't mean that my mind started going crazy and making up stories... I mean I was (as) literally (as I can be) in other moments in time, witnessing terrible things happening (that actually happened) to people I love.

I woke up anxious this morning and when I was going over the list of things that could be the cause with the AngryWombat during our morning phone call I got the following:

  • Devon is going out of town for 5 days and we won't have any contact until she returns
  • Spiderman is having a rough time at Kindergarten and I feel very helpless about the whole thing
  • I have a massage/healing appointment with a shaman today

and when I got to the last one all the hair on my body (even the teeny tiny ones under the surface of my freshly-shaved legs) stood on end.  WTF was that about?  Of all the things to be freaked out about I am freaked out about getting a massage?

Exploring it more that morning with Devon I discovered that I was afraid of what it would bring up.  The woman I see is a shamanic healer, whose massage/bodywork is a form of releasing old "stuff" that's stored in the body as a means of healing and uncovering the purity of the spirit that is at all of our core(s).  It's been at least 10 years since I'd seen her last... and I was afraid of dredging up a bunch of stuff and then having to deal with it over the long weekend home with Spiderman (who hasn't earned the privileges of mother-sanity-saving technology like TV and iPad, so help me God-ish like forces).  Of course, working with Emma isn't a "dredging up and leaving raw" experience, it's a healing experience... and it was!

It was also a provocative experience and I was confronted with so much truth about myself and what I'm really capable of...  once again (it's been coming up a lot and I probably haven't said much about it here because I am still ignoring it) the topic of myself as a healer emerged.  Only this time when I shared with her some of the things I had been experiencing lately she told me I was living a "shaman's" story.  Shit.  Shit-shit-shit-shit-shit.  Really?

parenting (right now) feels like (i'd imagine) living here without a ladder
The idea of coming home to my core self came up, and that would be a great topic for a blog post... BUT when I got out of the session I had a voicemail from Spiderman's principal because he had been found in the bathroom plugging the urinal drains with papertowels and making them overflow, exposing his genitals to other students, and ultimately being removed from afterschool childcare until a "specialist" can assess the situation and create a safety plan (because he will not stay in the class/with the group... he just takes off).  *sigh*

So, maybe I'm a shaman... at least, a healer of some sort.  But I can't get my fucking kid to understand (perhaps agree is a better word) that he needs to stay with his class/group and listen to his teacher/care provider.  They call me every day to tell me how he expressed his discomfort about this new situation... and every day we talk it out... and every day something else happens.

Still focusing on gratitude.  Crying when it gets to be too much.  Asking for help (and even sometimes getting it).  Someday soon this will feel easy too (please soon, come sooner!  like now?  I'm tired.)

What's the spiritual superpower that equates to having a cooperative child?  I'd like to trade mine in for that one please (but maybe only temporarily... I'd like to come back and explore that other stuff when I get a chance).

Hmm... still pissy, but feeling pretty clever thanks to those last couple lines.  That'll do.  Goodnight folks.


a tale of two assholes

two assholes shared a car ride home from elementary school today.

the first asshole was a 5-year old boy.  he wasn't an asshole when his mother picked him up, but he immediately owned up to a "bad" day and when his mother found a note from his teacher in his backpack that read: 1. left classroom and went to playground on own, 2. tore up math sheet and other students' work, 3. threw other students' objects off of desks...  his mother assigned the asshole judgment to him in her mind (this was not a great way to start their evening together) while getting him into his carseat.

not really what our ride home looks like.
the second asshole emerged a block away when the asshole's mother made herself an asshole for attributing the same term to her son.

by the time they got home, there was only one asshole (the mother) left.  the first asshole had become a 5-year boy again.  He was vulnerable and dealing with something brand new and on a grander scale than anything he'd ever experienced without the support of a parent before... and he was frightened.  he didn't know how to communicate his needs for comfort to his teachers, other care providers, and fellow students.  his aggressive actions were the attempts of a desperate person who doesn't have the words for his feelings.  he was essentially crying out "i am feeling something really big and really scary and i need your help to define it and reassure me that i'm safe here!"

one asshole and one 5-year old began their evening at home with the asshole sitting in silence (attempting to let the rage drain out of her body) and the boy playing in his room.  the boy came to the asshole after a little while because he was done playing and wanted to do his homework.  the asshole asked the boy to clean up his room and he responded by whining about how hard it was.

the asshole saw a lightbulb illuminate over her head.  this was a great opportunity to play out a life lesson that will help in kindergarten and beyond: when something is wrong--tell someone, and ask for help.

the asshole was a different kind of asshole now... not the horrible-parent-who-dislikes-her-own-child-kind.  more the self-important-know-it-all-giver-of-all-wisdom kind.  the boy didn't take too kindly to her and her attempts to coach.  he responded by going back to his room.  when she went to check on him a few minutes later she found that he had dumped all of his dresser drawers onto the floor on top of the piles of toys he'd left before.

the asshole went back to being the horrible-parent-who-dislikes-her-own-child-kind and left the room to spare the boy her tears of frustration.  it was futile.  a few minutes later she heard the boy generating sobs of his own.  she went back into his room and found him buried deep under his covers, wailing (these two characters are very dramatic--it works for them).  She was still an asshole, but an asshole with heart, so she reached up and took him into her arms and they went and sat together.  Eventually her sobs started to drown his out--this didn't sit well with him, escalated his tears, and this disturbed her further.  She felt helpless...

She wasn't an asshole anymore either.  She was a 32 year old woman, vulnerable, and dealing with something brand new and on a grander scale than anything she's ever experienced without the support of a parent or partner before... and she was frightened.  she didn't know how to communicate her need for comfort.  her aggressive actions/judgments were the attempts of a desperate person who doesn't have the words for her feelings.  she was essentially crying out "i am feeling something really big and really scary and i need your help to figure out what to do with it and for some reassurance about my safety!"

and there were no more assholes left in the house and there are no more assholes left in this story.

the mother told the boy how loved and lovable he is, how wanted and treasured he is, how safe and protected he is... and in turn she was loved and lovable again, wanted and treasured again, safe and protected again.

two assholes shared a car ride home from elementary school today.  two lovable-perfect-exactly-the-way-they-are-beings cleaned up a bedroom together, did homework together, ate dinner together, and will snuggle up with a bedtime book later tonight.


Simple isn't easy... until it is.

i mentioned this already on Wednesday, but I feel compelled to go into a little more depth about the magic of gratitude tonight... so that's what's gonna happen!

I'm not sure when it happened, but sometime over the last couple of months I became a whiner.  *ahem* excuse me, I mean... I returned to my whiner self (it isn't as if I have no experience being a whiner).  Instead of appreciating the brilliance of the life I've built for myself (with some very generous assistance from El Universe) I was focusing intently on what I didn't have and how much I wanted it and how great the distance was between the present and where I wanted to be.  And being very grumpy about it. 

After only a couple of days of very intentionally focusing on gratitude in the form of triggering myself to ask "what is there to be grateful for in this situation?" and then answering the question I am energized again.  This renewed practice of turning my focus away from an irritant into an opportunity to exist in Love has taken me back to a connection with my best self and forward to the kinds of things I've been longing for!

I know how annoying it can be to listen to someone say something is "simple" or when everything seems complicated and difficult.  The truth (for me) is, it is simple...  but that doesn't mean it's easy.  It can't be forced.  I knew I needed to practice gratitude if I wanted to move forward into lightness instead of dwelling in the shadows, but it wasn't going to happen until the moment I was willing and "ready" (whatever the fuck that means) to do it.  One day I woke up and was "ready" and now I'm in that place where life does feel so easy that if i were the kind of person who judged herself i would feel like an asshole for all the times i complained about how hard it was.

Have you ever taken note of what's in the space between hard and easy for you?  What gets you there?  People say things like "change will happen when the pain of staying put is greater than the fear of the unknown" (loosely quoting god only knows who), but again... that doesn't actually happen in an instant.  It's true for me that it often feels like waking up ready, but if I glance back I can see that there were stepping stones between the headspace I was in and where I am now. 

Here are a few of the things that got me here this time: 

  1. This note from the Universe: Go ahead, Kate, want it all. Just learn to be happy before it arrives, or you may not notice when it does.  :)  Tallyho, The Universe   
    • Feel free the (insert your name here) and use it for yourself.
  2. Several gems in an interview with Lama Surya Das at Teaching What We Need to Learn: "I'm just being there while getting there," and “If we are not here now we won’t be there then. There will be no heaven, there will be no peace and contentment.”   
    • I've mentioned this series a gazillion times here already... if you're not already listening I don't know what else I can say about it except maybe: please go listen to an interview or two.  LIFE CHANGING.
  3. Devon said something (completely kind and supportive like everything else she says) that triggered the hell out of me and in the process of integrating I found myself seeing myself clearly enough to see the path to growth
    • I'm not offering her to you, but you can probably have a similar experience with one of your mirror people.  Practice vulnerability and it will happen.  Promise.

This is what works for me... This is the stuff that "gets me there" (there=readiness).  Someone remind me of this next time I'm a grump-a-lump?


at home in my head

the title of this post is an attempt to tie the following to theme of the month.  if it works for you--great!  If not--we're still of track, but that's allowed remember?

there are a few things floating around in my head that seem worth writing about.  they're too long to be Facebook statuses and since I have only two categories for things I want to write (1. Facebook status, or 2. blog post), a blog post it is!

Here they are.  Three examples of what it's like to be me.

Number one: I'm judgy.  And a lot of that judgment is reserved for myself.  Lately when I dig up something dark about myself I suddenly find myself in a swamp of self judgment.  It's not that I see myself walking into the swamp, it feels more like I wake up in the middle of the swamp.  And where I am in the swamp is exactly in the middle; the journey to being outside of the swamp is the same length no matter which way I go...  the only thing influencing which direction to choose is that there is one path clear of alligators, but on the alligator-free path the ground is slurpy and murky and and my feet are stuck in the muck at the bottom.  I'm not interested in running or swimming from gators, so my best choice is to move slowly through the swamp, pulling against the muck trying to keep me there as it attempts to swallow my feet, ankles, and legs with each step.  Some people don't do this...  Some people see the swamp and choose the path around it, or just turn around and go a different way all together.  That's what I'm going to do next time.

Number two: I'm transforming... constantly if I'm lucky, but it's been particularly active lately.  So much so that my brain has made up another little story to explain it.  You know, a story... like the swamp one up there.  This one is less bayou and more back office.  In this one, a potential love child of the guy from Office Space who is concerned about the possession of his stapler, the guy who talks really fast, and the "time to make the donuts" guy sits at an old timey desk (part melamine, part aluminum, thousands of pounds...) with a giant, red rubber stamp that leaves an "OLD WAY" impression on a paper once stamped.  Every thought I have is represented by a sheet of paper in his inbox.  He reviews each thought and some days as many as 50-80% of them get put into his outbox (which happens to be my inbox) with the "OLD WAY" stamp on them.  He gives me a chance to do it over...  but I don't always get it right the second or third time either.  Sometimes he has to get up out of his desk chair and come knock on the back of my eyeball.  I can't hear him in there so instead he just waves his arms, points, and gives me wide eyed stares that say "hello?!  old way!  are you going to do something about this?"  and then I do...  but man...  it's a lot of paperwork.

if these three had a baby, he'd be the guy in my head responsible for policing my old way of thinking... 

Number three: I noticed (with help) that I've been pretty whiney lately.  My complaining game has been spot on!  yay!  Oh no, wait... that's "old way."  I know the value of gratitude in life and I've used it on and off to change the way I perceive my existence.  I thought because I was still using it when I was absolutely devastated and needed a rope to climb out of the trench of despair with (<---damn, I wasn't going to use metaphors in this one...  oops) that I was still practicing it.  Turns out, I wasn't... I was passing on many opportunities to be grateful.  Today I decided I would change that and I did the gratitude spin (which is not a dance move, I don't dance...) on everything (good, bad, happy, sad) that I encountered.  When I fell on my face at the bottom of some stairs this afternoon and heard my foot/ankle make the sprain "pop" after missing the last step (?  honestly I'm not sure what happened.  I was upright and then I was on the floor, and I wasn't even on my phone for once) I started looking for the gratitude right away.  I hobbled back to my desk and was sitting there, still wondering where it was... starting to get impatient... maybe even a little snotty about it... maybe I was even thinking "what the hell is there to be grateful for about falling on my face and having a hurt foot/ankle" and starting to compose the related Facebook status when I heard a familiar voice behind me.  I turned around to find a co-worker hobbling along on crutches with a bandaged ankle...  hers, injured yesterday in a basketball game, was bruised, swollen, and she had to stay off of it for 4-6 weeks.  After only a day her crutches were causing her grief.  And I bowed my head a little bit, said "oh, thank you" and went to get myself an ice pack.  Because besides being grateful that my little stumble resulted in only a minor injury I get to be grateful that the universe sometimes responds to my requests for clarification instantaneously.

So, that's (a teeny sliver of) what it's like to be me sometimes.  And I am so incredibly grateful it is.


meanie pants

I was really mean to myself this morning...  really mean.  Not the obvious kind.  No name calling or shouting or any of that nonsense.  The real kind, where you know someone well enough and can see what would cut them to the core and say or do that.

but... to myself...  eew.

It feels gross to remember it.  Even now I'm grimacing.

The good: The self-harm came after digging deeper (than I've been before) into my own "stuff" to identify something that's been nagging at me but I couldn't define before (and there's liberation in that).  The self-harm didn't include any food, alcohol, drugs (not even caffeine... seriously), etc.  The self-harm wasn't accompanied by any anxiety...  and it didn't last long.

The bad: I said and (even more specifically) BELIEVED some unkind things about myself... and in the moment it made perfect sense to.  Once again I denied myself the compassion I would be first to stand in line to give to someone else (damn).

Last night I had a ton on my mind and I decided I was going to write it out...  journal... do the morning pages dance at night... and, well, it worked.

Turns out the nagging feeling has been a fear of inadequacy.  I didn't know that until now (then).  I had felt jealous and competitive a lot lately and I knew it was super misplaced, but hadn't spent enough time with it to find out what was underneath.

Three pages into my brain dump last night I found out that because this is the first time I'm actually living as my best self (putting myself in situations that require me to remain authentic and vulnerable, surrounding myself with people who not only can but will perform  at their best too, being present enough to be all too aware about how much I am directly responsible for how this life will turn out) I have no idea how to do it (and there is no instruction manual)!

Specifically regarding the fact that until now I had chosen to form primary/partner relationships with people who either couldn't or wouldn't take the risk to seek and stay on the straightest path to their destiny...  I decided that I must have been choosing that so instead of actually being my best self I could just be the "best"--no contest.  I've joked (with a lot of truth in the joke) that "I'm not competitive, I just like being the best."

And I slept on that (me choosing situations where I could be the "best" and not have to work for it), and I carried that around with me this morning, and I thought of myself as a person who only knows how to feel accomplished by judging the choices of others and how they live their lives as less than my own, therefore making them "small" and me the "best."  And I felt really shitty about being that person, and that helped me get in touch with all of the other parts of me there are to feel shitty about...

unabashedly in touch with his darkness.
I haven't done a lot of "shadow" work.  I know it's important to acknowledge our darkness in contrast to our light and integrate the two as a means of fully realizing ourselves and work through the intended lessons in this lifetime... and I started thinking lately about how I'd like to get some guidance about how to pursue that (see, that's how this shit happens... think about it--it happens.  being powerful can be a real pain in the ass sometimes).  I haven't sought the guidance yet, but the opportunity to try it out presented itself this morning.  And I'm not sure how to do shadow work, but I'm pretty confident it's not by judging, criticizing, attacking, and denying the shadow-self compassion...  I'm going to take a wild guess and assume that after acknowledging the darkness (in this case, the recurring poor choice that didn't serve me) finding compassion for the person who made the choice is where the integration begins.

I couldn't do it for myself this morning.  I was stuck in the muck of meanness, but luckily for me I have great friends who can be great coaches and guides when I let them... so Angry Wombat helped me find compassion for the woman who made those choices.  It was still all about being "perfect" to be "loved." Being the "best" performer in the relationship wasn't about making someone else smaller, it was about ensuring that I would be indispensable.  It was all another act in the play of perfection as a safety net.  Since I already "know" that I don't have to be perfect to be loved, I can reasonably deduce that I don't have to be the "best" either.

Growth happens in relationship... and until now the primary relationships I've chosen have certainly led to growth in their ending and the resulting recovery from said ending (and the relationship itself), but were far more about safety and security in their existence than any attempt to evolve into the next best version of myself.  <--damn.

Now, I'm choosing relationships and situations for myself in which growth is essential for survival.  Perfection Performance is sure death.  Authenticity, introspection, thoughtfulness, vulnerability, bravery are required.

I guess if I'm going to choose to do something I've never done, it's a good thing I've developed some of the requisite skills.  Eek!


August 17-September 15: where the heart is

'Tis a new month!  Here's what's in store
August 17-September 15: 
where the heart is 
(loving where I lie my head and other spaces I occupy)

My intention for the month: 
  • Feel at home... everywhere (my apartment, my work, my city... everywhere)
How I think I might get there: 
  • In the name of transparency I am going to freely admit that a large part of this month is an excuse to do more art (and maybe some shopping).  I have a few project ingredients (the branch from way back when... an old globe that's begging to be cut in half and turned into hanging lamps...  a gazillion frames and a gazillion more unframed photos) and an itch to "make."  That, and I really want new towels.
  • Explore "home is where the heart is."  As much as I am effected by elements of my environment, I can probably access as much "home-ness" in my heart as I do self-love... I have a hunch it works the same way.
  • Deal with whatever comes up (<-- this is going to be a part of every month has been a part of every month).  Every month I get distracted by what comes up, and every month I feel a little bad (read: horrendous self judgment) and try to "focus" on what I'm supposed to be focusing on... and as a result do myself a great disservice.  Not doing that anymore.  If you see me doing it, call me on it will you?
See you at "home!"


Plenty "month" recap...

Okay, so technically it (the plenty "month") isn't over until tomorrow but I was moving furniture around my new apartment last night with a fervor that could only be explained by hormonaly-fueled nesting and since I'm not giving birth to a child anytime soon I'm clearly giving birth to a new reality and I'm going to let it come in it's own time--a day or two early is agreeable for nearly any pregnant woman; due dates are just estimates anyway (public service announcement about intervention free birth over)

Let's recap, shall we?

July 19-August 16: plenty (money, honey)
My intention for the month: 
all my "gifts" waiting for me to open and let them in.
i'm target in this analogy--fyi.
  • Experience abundance (of the monetary and loving energy variety) (um, yeah.  CHECK!  I had plenty of money, including some unexpected surprises large and small-yay!, and lots and lots of loving energy from people and the universe alike.  I made room in my life for new things to come and boy did they...  almost as if they've been waiting for me to make room for them.)
How I think I might get there: 
  • Participate in The Receiving Project as a way of learning how to be open to receiving all the gifts the universe has in store for me.  (Check-ish.  I signed up for it, and kept up with the emails for the first 10 days or so.  I had a live conversation with the creator, Jo Anna, just a few days ago that brought this pregnancy--again, not pregnant with child, pregnant with potential--to full term.  Letting go of the "requirement" to read the email made room for the call... so I'm going to mark that as a success.)
  • Practice intentionality with my money.  Use the "envelope system" to set limits and observe habits as they relate to spending on things like food, gas, and entertainment  (oops-ish.  i never did the envelope system.  excuse: I was in the middle of switching banks and that took longer than I expected.  reason: I think I'm past needing the envelope system--I used a spreadsheet to keep track of my budget and spending and ended up with a surplus.  No check on the practical application, big CHECK on the intention.)
  • Money magic!  More details to come.  Stay tuned!  (Check!  I wrote about the money magic here, and I've been practicing it with some consistency.  I haven't had anything too overwhelming happen financially... BUT...  I think I've been swimming in a sea of receiving so it's hard for anything to stand out.)
All in all this month had some phenomenal outcomes.  I was more distracted than is comfortable (to feel successful while in process), but that's what happens when you meet someone who seems like they may have been designed specifically for you... and while I love process too much to say process-schmocess, but I have a new affinity for surrendering the process to the universe and expending most of my emotional energy on gratitude for the resulting gifts.

Bottom line: I opened myself to receiving, and I started receiving.  I made room for more, more came.

More on what's to come next "month" on Friday.  As of Tuesday, I'm the mom of a kindergartener and I have an "information packet" to dive into.  I love information packets... *sigh*


free to the highest bidder: one invisibility cloak

I'm really itchy right now.  Literally and figuratively.

Literally: when I first moved to this new apartment I had run out of the ingredients in my former laundry concoction (vinegar, salt, and washing soda) so I grabbed a teeny tiny apartment size bottle of free & clear detergent, which was enough (after two weeks of washing) to set my skin aflame with tiny bumps and other evidence of irritation.  gentle on skin, my ass (yes... my ass is itchy too!)  i have since remedied the situation (by buying more vinegar) but I realize I still have some mystery clothing items residing in my drawers that are covering in itching powder (detergent residue really...) and getting dressed every day is a risk (that could be eliminated if acquiring quarters wasn't something i avoided like the plague because of something i will reveal in a moment).

Figuratively: I'm still itching to "do."  First, because I haven't "done" in about a week and my life force has been rejuvenated.  Second, because I'm still the same person and it's going to take a good long while to reprogram my lizard brain to operate differently.  Third, because so much damn exciting stuff is happening all around me!

I made a spreadsheet on Saturday night called "Yes, Kate, you can do anything--just not everything (at once)."  Yep, that's me and that's where I'm coming from.

I had an incredible conversation with a coach today.  She's a member of the community of seekers and healers that I want to be a member of AM a member of and I originally wrote to her when I was willing to be daring enough to ask a few members of this community to take part in the #100ActsofSelfLove challenge way back when.  She was enthusiastic at the time, but unavailable, and we talked about connecting in the future.  Well, as the future is apt to do, it became the present and after many attempts to schedule (that were no successful because of me being resistant to reading my email--WTF?  Who is this person?) we spoke today--and it was glorious!

I am going to share with you (knowing that she's reading this... hi!) that when I was asked (months ago and weeks ago) what I hoped to get out of the conversation (best case: an opening to a collaborative relationship) and why I was nervous/what the worst outcome would be, I answered that the worst outcome would be if she only wanted to talk to me as a potential coaching client.  She's a businesswoman and that's a service she offers and I didn't want my attempt to vulnerability through visibility to met with a sales call that I was going to turn down.

And you know what... my worst fear came true, and it was still glorious, because my worst fear was ALSO the best case scenario!  From the moment we started talking I realized that I wasn't afraid of being sold anything (I can't really be sold anything I don't already want...), I wasn't afraid that she would want to coach me, I was afraid of what happened instead.  I was afraid of wanting to be coached.  Because wanting to be coached means this is real.  It's not a hobby, it's not a side gig, it's not a someday thing... it's now, it's real, and everything is going to change.  And everything just did change and *whine* I need a break (but not really...  not. even. a. little. one.)

(by the way, this post is taking me WAY longer to write than anything ever has before.  I keep going to Facebook and other distractions.  ooh boy, I'm really on the cusp of something aren't i?  eesh.)

nervous about being "seen" and doing it anyway.
and no, not actually naked, but have been a lot lately
so it's not entirely inaccurate.  it's been a hot summer in l.a.,
and I ain't just talking about the weather.  :)
One of the main things I took away from our conversation this morning (and then a whole slew of additional on-theme things that happened throughout the course of the day) is that to get what I want, I have to be willing to be seen.

I've written about my fantasy invisibility cloak more than once here (once, more than once), and it's such a strange thing to acknowledge about myself.  Being the attention whore I am... once I get what I seek I often want to run for cover. I sometimes loathe my lack of invisibility powers so much that i'd rather wear itchy clothes than ask for my cash back in quarters at the market.  What the heck is that all about?

What would happen if I let myself actually be seen?  Clearly the world would come to an end and I would cease to exist.

What really happens when I let myself be seen?  Feedback.  Love.  Growth.  Acknowledgement.  Adoration.  All-Kinds-of-Really-Fucking-Amazing-Stuff-That-Life-Is-All-About.

Being seen isn't always pleasant, sometimes it's uncomfortable--and can even be painful (or at least "feel" painful), but it is definitely the source of the most fulfillment I experience in this life, and isn't that what this project is all about? (note to the new folks: yes.  the answer is yes.)

Can anyone guess what the first step to being seen is?  I'm going to say this with a level of authority that will make it sound like absolute truth (I do that.  often.), but please know that you get to have your own truth too (and I'd even love it if you'd tell me about it).

The first step to being willing to be seen: to see myself.

off to do that now.

Happy Monday, folks.  :)


what comes up in the stillness

two days into only doing what i feel like and i'm remembering what detox is all about.  it's going a little faster than food or drug (i assume) detox...  with cheese, the first two days are a breeze and its days three and four that the withdrawals start to kick in.  i'm hoping that the presence of busy-ness withdrawals today means i'll be back to homeostasis tomorrow (please?)

the first day/Wednesday was essentially a breeze.  i noticed the immediate presence of some generalized anxiety, but it was manageable and because i didn't "feel" like exploring it, so I didn't... and I expected (once I realized I had been ingesting corn for a few days from an irresponsible cereal purchase and threw the cereal away) it to pass.

day two/Thursday i woke up feeling mostly the same, but with enough renewed vigor for life that i was willing to dig into the anxiety and what it was all about it.

about mid-day i got this: "Oh!  So, that's why I always do so much...  I do it, because it cuts through the anxiety, it dulls it at worst... and anxiety is PAINFUL.  duh."

and then after a little pep-talk, I braved through that to find out what was underneath...

Why am I anxious in stillness?  I love myself--I do.  I enjoy my own company--really.  That's apparently not enough--nope.  So, what's it all about?  What am I still afraid of that only comes up when I'm still enough to let it...?

"perfect" comes in a lot of forms...
and there it was: I'm not perfect (are you all tired of this yet?  I've grown weary of it...).  Okay, so yes... we've covered this.  What about me not being perfect is scary?

It turns out that I (in stillness--because I honestly don't think about it when I'm running on all cylinders) am afraid that if OTHER PEOPLE realize I'm not perfect that they're going to take their love away.  Yes, I've embraced my imperfection, and yes I know that anyone who chooses not to be in my life is doing us both a favor, but it still scares the crap out of me that someone will learn something about me that ends up being a dealbreaker for them.

When I'm running on all cylinders, busy and distracted from my fears, it doesn't feel as scary to be vulnerable and open.  Relaxed into the comfort zone of my busy-ness, I've been acting almost entirely on instinct for the last couple of months and it's had great results.  Suddenly, in the silence, with the chatter of the fears audible in the background I find myself either:
  1. anxious and unable to access my instinct which just perpetuates a feeling of being "lost" and not knowing which way to go
  2. so focused on the fear that the logical response seems to be to avoid vulnerability because if I'm vulnerable that's where people will find out about my imperfections (as if they don't already know...)
To avoid finding out that someone might not choose to keep me close because of something I reveal about myself and the way I feel or think... I keep them away from what I feel or think creating further distance between them and an opportunity to really know and love me (further reinforcing the fear that they love me for some "perfect" version of myself).

Sigh.  I am exhausting.

Okay, body... we've found the root of the fear, and I'm choosing vulnerability... so you can calm down, it's going to be okay.  I've got it handled.  Turns out, the best possible candidate for nailing this life is me and I'm totally on it.  Thanks for your help.


chop wood, carry water

(TMI warning: I talk about my cervix, and a recent assault on it, in this post... if that sounds unpleasant to you, you may want to skip the section I'm labeling "TMI" below)

you've heard this wisdom, no?

before enlightenment, chop wood carry water; after enlightenment, chop wood carry water

Well, now you have.  I think it's pretty self explanatory, but if you need to know more you can pretend that google is the same as "Ask Jeeves"used to be like I always do.  (what is Ask Jeeves?  Why, it's your personal internet butler of course!)

After that search I realize I may not agree with the google answer to the question.  To me, this wisdom is about recognizing that "enlightenment" or progress on the soul/spiritual path doesn't change the nature of life on earth.  The basics must always be addressed... if there's going to be firewood and water, you're going to have to chop and carry it.

I've had an interesting week (and it's only Wednesday!).  On Monday I arrived at the OBGYN and had an unexpected colposcopy in response to an abnormal pap. I was tended to by Dr. Wonderful who was extremely thorough and relatable and conscientious and just all around great.  She explained that the colposcopy was going to check out my cervix under different lights and magnification to see if there was anything of any significance that they'd want to biopsy (she doubted that she would because my abnormal results were pretty profoundly insignificant) and I was going to get to watch the whole procedure on a TV screen above my head (awesome!  i love stuff like that.  i was totally bummed when the mirror got kicked out of the way when I was giving birth).  

not my cervix.  mine is much prettier.
i wish i had taken a picture.
TMI begins: So, I lie there for 30 minutes while i watch her assault (all the while being quite friendly and encouraging) my poor cervix from every angle.  She swabbed, she poked, she jabbed, she smudged...  and then despite the fact that my pap results were profoundly insignificant she wanted to biopsy 7 places.  7.  That's 7 more than nothing.  

Then, I watched (what under the super magnification looked like) giant metal jaws take juicy bites out of my poor, sweet cervix...  And all of this was fascinating at the time  because I was forcing myself to see it that way.

She was still certain that it was all nothing, she would call me in a week with the results and I should prepare to hear that everything is fine and the tissue she took is just scarring from a previous HPV infection--no biggie/all adventurous girls have it.  (by the way, she called this afternoon--2 days, not a week, later--and everything is absolutely fine.  all clear.  so basically she just left my cervix looking like it had been attacked by jungle animals for fun...)

end of TMI

Later that day I finally realized  it was okay for her to be wonderful, for the view to be fascinating, and for me to still be traumatized.  So, there I was... triggered, with a nagging pain in my belly... sending love to my cervix and quite taken with exactly how fucked up a headspace I had gotten into by the end of it all.

Lucky for me (and all of you!) I knew this had little to do with the procedure in the doctor's office.  The blog post I wrote on Monday isn't one I wanted to write.  Shortly before writing it I realized I was GRUMPY.  Super duper grumpy.  Super awful rotten sauce grumpy--I have to blog but I have nothing to say so I'm just not going to do it grumpy…  until the little voice said "this is a sign that you should definitely be writing tonight.  go.  it'll be okay."

and it was!  I am really happy with what came out!  I love the experience of sitting down completely resistant and uninspired and then ending up with something I feel connected to.  I was so happy that I listened to the little voice and I went to bed completely aware that the great writing experience was not the resolution to the grumpiness but was probably a shaking loose of a block that was holding back something...

I woke up even crankier  and I could tell I was feeling really ugly and nasty about the whole OBGYN experience… but I also knew that couldn't be what this was really about… and I wanted to know what was underneath all of it.  So, I sat in the discomfort and waded through all the negative self talk and shame about not being more on top of my health and all the other ugliness that came up.

and finally... after a day of trying to keep myself out of my head and luring myself into my heart (by snuggling in a blanket/shawl, curled up in my desk chair, with my head resting on the back all morning in conference calls at work, favorite thai noodles via a sunshiney walk at lunch, first sorting into Roy G Biv order/then consuming peanut m&ms, and finally ranting/bawling to Angry Wombat over the phone) I found myself in a safe enough to place to recognize what's beneath the triggers I experienced

...and I got to be face to face with a part of myself that I still don't love (shit, there are those still?).  I have been so intent on being grateful to the process that got me here that I haven't really done the work to go back and recognize that I still resent the version of me who made the choices that led to this path and not only choose to be grateful, but to completely have compassion for her and forgive her.

I have, buried under the gratitude for the experience of the journey, an enormous amount of resentment and regret towards the past ten years of my life…  and when I first confront that resentment I am greeted with the story that if I had the courage to  take off to new york at 18 that I would be where I want to be right now…  that instead of having to work for someone else I would be working for myself already…  that instead of discovering something i loved to do after years of doing things less satisfying I would have started where I found the most fulfillment and built on that foundation instead of starting in the dirt…  that i never would have met bfo…  that instead of being responsible for the life of this five year old boy I would have either known myself well enough to see that I wasn't matched to the task or I would have chosen a partner whose strengths would compliment mine in a supportive partnership.

of course, that's bullshit.  of course i would have made other mistakes and they would be just as essential to my story as the ones I did make are…  and a whole bunch of those things aren't mistakes at all!

and because gratitude is light and airy and isn't a conducive material for burying things under I bury those stories by trying to do too much.  I am still trying to do too much… like it's a race.  Like somehow i can make up for lost time by pushing myself to the limit… and of course, because I don't actually practice perfection anymore, I can't…  I can't do it all, and I end up doing little or nothing instead, and that feels even worse.

after being confronted with this truth i thought a lot yesterday about what "work" I was going to do to start healing some of this resentment and i came up with ideas like talking to myself in the mirror and writing down the things older versions of me had "done" and then forgiving them… but i decided that all of that is still too much.  

Instead, for today (starting small), I was not going to do anything I didn't feel like doing (unless of course doing it was essential to keep my job, home, or parental status).  So, even though I paid to be a part of the Chakra Photo Project, if I don't feel like reading the emails and taking the photos, I'm not going to (because what's really more important, $60 or my sanity? besides the opportunity to participate doesn't go away when the class ends, I'll just be doing it on my own)…  If I don't feel like doing the Compassion Course reading, I'm not going to.  If I don't feel like reading the Receiving Project emails and setting intentions for the day, I'm not going to.  If I don't feel like doing any work that will uncover more old stuff, I'm not going to.  I'm not going to be actively trying to make progress on any personal projects… I'm just going to be.  I'm going to take care of myself, my kid, and my relationships… and I'm going to do that for as long as I need to do it to feel the glimmer of motivation to engage in something outside of myself again.  And when I do, I'm not going to try and "catch up" on anything I've missed… I'm going to start where I left off and maintain my own pace, or I'll just skip something (and only go back later if I feel like it).  It's probably a pendulum swing in the opposite direction and isn't the balance I'm looking for in the long run, but it's where I'm going to start.  

One main reason for my resolution for the day is that I'm afraid that if I don't adjust my attitude about work and parenting I am going to make myself miserable very quickly.  The reality is that I have a full time job working for someone else and I rely on the income I get from it to support myself and spiderman... and spiderman, he's a big job too.  All of the the things I've taken on lately are for me... which is what makes them different from the kinds of things I said yes to before (those were about pleasing others) and when I'm at work or with spiderman I am focusing on how work and spiderman are keeping me from the things that I want to be doing for me... When work is over and spiderman is in bed I am overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things I have/want to do and dont know where/how to start AND am bogged down by disappointment in myself for being sub-par at work and being a shitty mom (I'm not really... Just being overly harsh to make a point) and I'm not getting anywhere (fast enough, good enough, blah blah enough).  

I need to make meaning out of these two parts of my life if I am going to be resilient enough to give them a combined 14 hours of my day and still have something left for myself, my projects, and my relationships. 

So, that was the intention for today.  Just be in the present elements of this life and ENJOY them, because they are beautiful. Stop looking for satisfaction outside of what i already have.  Love the moment now and let that love attract more like itself at the pace that the universe decides is going to be best.  Basically apply the same formula I did to loving myself as a person to loving my life.   Should be a piece of cake. *wink*

Chop wood (go to work) and carry water (be a mom).  Simple and essential foundations to supporting my life.

...And it worked really well for the first couple hours this morning, I was able to see and acknowledge the projects with a gentle nod, knowing smile, and a whisper "i'll see you again soon," i found myself enjoying my morning routine and having more fun with spiderman, and I was even looking forward to immersing myself in the creation of a catalog for this event I'm planning at work... and then I got there and was immediately struck by some crippling anxiety.  

And now I get to figure out what that's all about.  Lucky me. :)  

If you made it this far, you're a champ.


how to be of service

maybe you watch RuPaul's drag race and you've heard that you have to love yourself before you're ever going to be able to love anybody else...  or maybe you went/go to church every Sunday and you've heard that you must love "God" first... what if I told you those were the same thing?  Would you be willing to get on board with that?  Maybe try it on for size a few minutes every day?

On Sunday, I went to a "Create & Connect" coffee talk and I went into the event fully expecting that it would lead me to a way to be of service...  That's kind of a new thing for me: consciously making an expectation based on an instinct.  In the wake of realizing exactly how powerful I am I've started looking for places where what I believe can create a reality that I experience.  That effort, combined with an openness to possibility is really opening my heart to how incredible this life can feel.

Back to the story... so I read in the RSVP confirmation for the event that one of the speakers, Seane Corn, was a HIV/AIDS activist and I had been longing for a way to connect to that helping community that was more than donning a t-shirt to hand out water to people who show their support and heighten awareness by walking the streets of Los Angeles.

I have this little smidge of self judgment about this.  A little inner critic who asks "what makes you think you could be helpful there... you think just because your father died of AIDS you are somehow a part of this community?"  Um.  Yeah, actually. (duh)  But thanks for asking, asswipe...

Again, back to the story... so, I thought to myself "self, this is it.  this is where you're going to get some direction about where to go to be of service."  Seane was a brilliant speaker with a tremendous story about (still trying to) surrender to the reality that the work must be done within if we are ever to be effective at making the world a place more connected to its innate love.  I was moved to tears on more than one occasion that morning.  And when she talked about the organizations she works with (YouthAIDS and OFF THE MAT INTO THE WORLD) I was excited to learn about the unique and powerful impact they were making and I sent myself an email to remind me to seek information about how to involve myself in one or both.

Still, something wasn't quite right.  Something wasn't quite living up to my expectation and I wasn't going to decide that forming one in the first place was a problem... So what was going on?  Instead of feeling the thrill of discovering how the universe would grant my wish ('cause I know what that feels like now--woot woot!) I was noticing a lot of stories forming.  I know I'm not supposed to decide to "be" the person I've just met and ardently admire...  I was resisting that old impulse and instead I was getting that I wasn't going to be able to have an impact because I have a son and I can't take off to Cambodia whenever I want... No one would care what I had to say because I didn't have stories about moving to New York City at 17, binging on drugs, and finding god in a gay sex club called Heaven.  These stories were not an indication that I was being pointed in a new direction...  These stories are NOT what it feels like to discover what the universe had in mind for me...  These stories were pretty reminiscent of the olden days of Kate's head and were not welcome to stick around for long.

Normally I'm not an advocate for "stuffing" of feelings or stories, but in this case that's what I did.  I filed those reactions away for safekeeping so I could remain engaged because I knew that I was going to get something from this and it wasn't that.

that's you.  you did that.
Seane finished speaking and Nicole, the event organizer/creator spoke...  She mentioned that they usually closed these monthly talks asking everyone to contribute in service to something (oh!  here it is!  yay!  okay, I'm listening!) but in the spirit of Seane's talk this morning and the reminder to do the work inside they had changed their plan--and that was the service they were going to ask us all to do: Go within and do the work.  Let that be the drop into the pool of water that creates the ripple.

And I'd be putting on a bit of a show if I said that I was instantly moved by this.  I heard her (and I heard myself groan on the inside...  really?  i already know that one.  i was looking for something new.  geez) but it didn't sink in right away.  In fact, it didn't sink in until today... this afternoon... worn out from a day of waiting at doctors appointments and battling spiderman to go to bed and worrying about what I was going to write about and whether it was okay that I was so off track with writing about abundance when it clicked...

and that's what happens when i do it too.
It's another gift.  
(receive it, damnit)

Getting to hear that I'm on the right path... getting a little nudge to keep going... getting an energetic pep talk to reassure my spirit to carry on...  getting told that i'm never going to find what i seek if i search outside myself... and getting reminded that looking within IS still being of service.  As I continue to heal and grow and become more connected to my heart I become another ripple in the pond, meeting up with other ripples until eventually the pond is a tremendous ocean and the movement on the surface is a powerful wave, swelling and cresting toward the shore where it can meet itself and its match again over and over never questioning the repetitive nature of its existence...

So, there you have it (public service announcement: please understand what i'm saying.  please continue to volunteer your time to organizations who need you to provide the love they offer our world in need.  that way of being of service is one of the most effective ways to be connected to your loving core and takes ripples to waves in seconds flat), this month is about "plenty" or "abundance" and yes... money is rolling in too.  I got a surprise check in the mail, another was more than I expected, and money just keeps appearing... that was definitely part of the intention, but more than anything I have opened myself up to receiving and just like that... the gifts... just like the waves... keep coming.

and I ain't about to question them.

and now if you'll excuse me, I feel a cry coming on (probably those filed away stories from Sunday that I had forgotten until now) and I'm going to go let that happen (don't worry, mom, it's a good thing.  xo)


what is "safe"?

I love feeling safe, secure, and comfortable.  And being someone who knows that we're "supposed" to embrace the unknown and not need to know the answers or the reasons for everything I have a significant reserve of self judgment that I apply to my own desire for security.

It's silly, really (that was me judging my judgment.  that was awesome.).  Why wouldn't I want to feel safe and comfortable?  Who doesn't  want to feel safe and comfortable?  Sure, there are people who enjoy thrills more than I do.  If given the choice I would prefer the scenic walk over the roller coaster ride and the long term loving commitment over the freedom to date around.  My seratonin levels are generally low enough and adrenal system active enough that I can get a pretty significant rush from an everyday occurrence.  So, I'm on the sensitive side and these preferences of mine are not universal, but still... we all want to feel safe.  Safe just means different things to different people.

Being at the beginning of so many new things I notice that I feel concerned for my safety (emotional, to be clear) quite often.  It starts with a sensation... some level of activation in the body and depending on how effectively I respond that activation can dissipate and resolve and leave me feeling just as secure as before the sensation began.  Other times, however, I am distracted or trying to put off dealing with the feeling and it builds in energy and force until it feels like it's taken over.  Then along with the sensation come the thoughts: self doubt, judgment, fear of loss...  and then I'm done for.  Actually, not really.  Then I still benefit from any of the self care measures I would have employed had I engaged the early intervention forces (a walk, writing, yoga, breathing, talking to a friend, etc.), but it takes a lot more energy to get there and I often find that I don't want to put any energy out... it feels unsafe too.

After two weeks of coping with and steadily reducing the presence of the fear response bubbling up in the face of a new connection, I had an entire afternoon of terror earlier this week.  It was triggered by a connection with someone I hadn't heard from in a while.. and without a moment to recognize what was happening: I was living in fear again.  And although I wouldn't have called it this at the time, I recognized it right away: it was the same fear I used to feel when we were engaged in a close relationship...  except my brain (oh sweet brain, trying to protect me again and always fucking up...) didn't limit the fear to that relationship.  Oh no!  Suddenly my brain was afraid of everything again.  Every loss I ever experienced came right back up and was applied to everything I longed for in the present.  No matter what it was that was just out of reach: a chance to go home and work on writing, a date with Devon the next day, a cleared out inbox...  all of them were suddenly impossibly far away.  Totally inaccessible.  I was trapped in a slow motion world; just me and my fear.

Every stumble, stressor, and significantly difficult life event has ended up being among the most enriching things in my life...  why can't knowing that feel safe?

Because of everything I've lived I love and know myself better than I ever have before.  I know what I'm capable of and what I want.  I know what I have to offer and where and when to give it.  Why can't knowing those things feel safe?

oh wait.  they do.

Okay cool.  I knew coming here to write it out would feel better.  Thanks for listening folks. :)


what "feeling good doing it" looks/feels like

you may recall that I tossed out my bathroom scale...  and (as predicted) that's when things started moving.  I have no idea how much I weigh or how much I've lost, but I have reached that milestone where my body has changed enough that I can dry everything on high in the dryer and not be bothered if anything shrinks.

I believe I promised pictures of me wearing sweatpants in public and feeling good about it despite how I may have looked in lieu of the monthly ass updates... which I don't have many of because I usually don't remember to take pictures of myself when I'm not feeling smokin' hot.  but lucky for us all my hiking buddy captured this moment last weekend...

wow, that's some hair
and it is the first time in my life I recall being photographed so sweaty in such clingy clothes where my main vanity is focused on my hair and not my body.  (little victory dance!)

and for hair posterity...

oh hello, pretty. :)
I've reclaimed my natural hair color and my signature red lips.  welcome back, kate.  we love you.  we missed you.  you're welcome anytime.

ah, what a little self-love can do!