Monthly Archives: October 2012

self care: spiderman style

hi, i’m back(ish)…  really, i’m writing this on the fly out of an obligation.  i really “should” have returned on Monday, but I rationalized that a whole week off really took me through yesterday.  Today, however, if I don’t post, I may never do so again and that would be a serious loss (for all of us, right?) so here i am (for articulate-ness or worse).

so much and so little has happened in the last week and i’m pretty awash in gratitude for all of it.  taking time to take care of myself was an absolutely needed measure and now the real story is going to be about maintaining more consistently.

when they say “check” candy
they really mean “sort” it, right?

a little story before i abandon this project and get to my self care this evening…

when i arrived at spiderman’s afterschool club this afternoon i expected to find him running around, screaming and playing with all of the other batman guised kidlets at the rec center halloween carnival.  after a few rounds of search through the games, the bounce house, and the snack stands i hadn’t spotted him yet.

then, sitting at a table with a bunch of adults, grimacing, with his earmuffs on (i bought them for him because part of my theory of what’s going on with him is that he’s sensorially overloaded–particularly from a lot of noise), i saw him.  and instead of being concerned about his comfort or bothered that he wasn’t joining in I was overwhelmed with admiration and pride.  the kid took care of himself!

he’s new to the program, no one but him and i know about the earmuffs, and he had to take it upon himself to find them, put them on, and choose to sit the carnival out.

then it hit me… for the past 50 days of school i have been trying to help him fit in when what i should have been doing is giving him ways to feel good about being himself.  i don’t know what did it (probably some brilliant parenting i employed)… but i think he’s getting the message that it’s okay to be him even if the environments he’s in right now aren’t conducive to being so.  super impressed by this kid–who is his mother anyway?  someone should high-five her.

In closing… on a separate but related note…  Spiderman had a great day at school yesterday and in response to an email I sent his teacher asking what, if anything, was different (about the environment or strategies employed with him) I got this:

Buenas noches Sra. Kate,

We are very proud of Spiderman.  After fifty days in school, Spiderman showed today, most of the day, that he can follow grade level classroom rules and proper and respectful social norms. Great job Spiderman!

Really?  Does “fuck you” feel like an appropriate response to anyone else but me?

stiff neck

salonpas.  they cure what ails ya’
unless what ails ya’ is emotional…  dammit

there was a time in my life where I believed that i woke up with a “stiff neck” because i had slept funny… i could slap a few salonpas on the tight spot and go about my day expecting to feel better halfway through it–right about the point the menthol smell starts to become unbearable.

enter: awareness…  years of therapy focused on connecting sensations in the body to clarity about the human experience and a path to healing.

the thing about awareness is… you don’t get to go back.

i slept really well last night.  for the first time in about 10 days i woke up this morning without an overwhelming sense of dread about the day ahead.  i felt like i had been asleep–had rested–my body, mind, and spirit had been rejuvenated.  it was a tremendous relief.

i also woke up with a stiff neck.  (dum-dum-daaaaaaauuuuummmmm)

i wanted so badly to believe that i had “slept funny.”  and that the distress that had led to the poor sleep the week(s) before had all been resolved in one night of good sleep and i was cured of what ailed me.  so i slapped the salonpas on and went to work.

the pain in my neck was affected by the simultaneously hot and cold menthol sensation on my skin…  but instead of being soothed away, it simply travelled around my body trying to get away from the coersion of the patches.  it started in my left shoulder–just on top of the blade–and shot from there to a place behind my ear–almost my jaw.  to avoid being mentholated away it first traveled into my left armpit and the side of my rib cage.  then later in the day it jumped to the other shoulder, and the base of my skull has gotten in on the action now too.

oh how i fondly remember being enough
out of touch with my own sensitivity to
enjoy watching this man kill people.

okay fine, body.  i get it!  i didn’t “sleep funny.”  i have some shit to process.  i’m stressed.  i’m tired.  i’m worried.  i’m fearful.  my fucking kid says things to me like “i don’t want to go to kindergarten.  i always FAIL there.”  it hurts.  i’ll work on it.  tonight.  i promise.  can you just cut me some slack.  i have a lot going on right now.  i’ve already stopped watching dexter–isn’t that enough?

this was a long a long way of saying that i’m not going to blog tonight (yes…  i see the irony).  really, i guess what i’m saying is that i’m not going to blog a love letter.  and if i don’t feel up to it on wednesday or friday i’m not going to do it then either–i might not even post at all on those days.

i’m tired of the whiney nature of my posts… i mean, i haven’t been capable of capitalization for weeks now.  i need a break–so i’m giving myself one.

i’m declaring this self-care week… and as important as this blog is to my personal transformation it’s become an item on the list of “one more thing to do.”  and lately, i’ve been using every excuse i can think of to avoid doing anything on that list that would actually qualify as taking care of myself and opting to do everything else first.  i’ve gotten really good at believing that my only time for self care is between the hours of 8pm and 6am (and i’m sleeping for 7-9 of those) and by the time 8pm rolls around i am too tired to do anything.

so this week…  nothing gets to come before me taking care of me… including this blog.  so if i’m done taking care of me and i’m ready for bed, bed is where i’ll go.  and i’ll miss you… and me… but hell i’ve already been missing me, and i have a hunch this is the way to get reacquainted with her.

now if you’ll excuse me, my neck hurts.  goodnight.

old friends…

shall we begin this love letter show?  i think so.  i think if i let myself put it off any more than just the one post so far this week then i’ll end up putting it off forever and won’t feel to good about that.

it’s been hard, like i mentioned, to think about doing this.  what order will i go in?  what format will i write in?  will what i have to say do justice to the deep gratitude i have for these people?  will they receive it as the gift it is intended to be?

(answers–i wish there were some way to write this upside down… i’d totally do it: whatever order feels right, whatever format feels right, maybe-maybe not, again maybe-maybe not)

there never are any decent answers to the questions i have about life.  i should start asking new questions… or maybe just one question: should i do this?

and the answer, this time: yes.

i don’t have a lot of “old friends.”  i went to three different elementary schools and by the time i got to middle school i was in a different one from my latest elementary school friends (i’m pretty sure i chose this for myself too… what was that about?).  for the first three years of high school i was in band, and then the last year i wasn’t.  there has never been a group of people (that tribe i long for…) that i’ve stuck with long enough to claim them as lifelong friends.  thanks to facebook i am certainly “friends” with many of these folks, but we aren’t exactly in each other’s lives.

what an angry wombat looks like… in case you’re wondering

the person i’ve had in my life the longest (just over 10 years now), is the Angry Wombat.  she has a nickname on this blog because she was originally going to collaborate on this with me.  that was way back when it was going to be about juice fasting and less about me (you can see why it didn’t last).

we met shortly after i started dating bfo when we both started working for an agency that provided a day program/employment experience for adults with developmental disabilities.  we bonded over our love for our “consumers” (is what we called them then…  sigh) and became fast friends.  our relationship was inconsistent at first, after we stopped working together we grew apart a bit.  we wouldn’t talk for weeks, or even months, but then would reconnect and would be attached at the hip again.  the disconnections felt odd for me… i’m big on connecting and hadn’t yet learned that people can go away and still be connected to you… but the reconnections were worth it so i stayed in it.

Wombat was unlike anyone I had ever known…  she had a mean streak in her that scared the daylights out of me.  i was never really privvy to it, but i could just tell… she was a volcano.  she hid her eruptions from me for years, though… still, i knew.

over the years she became my best friend.  at first that felt silly.  do women in their 20s really have “best friends”?  all the “best friends” i had in life previously weren’t my friends at all anymore… did i want to apply that kiss of death to this friendship too?  i didn’t really have a say in the matter–she was my best friend.  i could say anything to her and she would hear me, validate my experience, and come back for more.  it was mind blowing.  all of the parts of me that i felt were shameful, or that i hid from people… all of my deepest darkest thoughts were revealed to her and she didn’t blink.

in each other we found a friend who treated us the way we actually deserved to be treated–someone who showed up, who accepted whatever came up unconditionally, and then showed up again.

there were times in our relationship where i didn’t value her as much as i should.  i took advantage of the fact that she would always show up for me.  i was distracted by trying to attract other friends or lovers… and she never went anywhere.  in my selfishness i saw her, and felt her right by my side.  choosing to accept wombat’s love is one of the best choices i ever made.

the principles of motivational interviewing teach us (taught me) that the most effective way to help someone change is to love and accept them for who they are NOW.  Wombat is never in judgment or criticism of me… or if she is, I don’t know about it.  For a few years that probably let me get away with more than I would have otherwise… she was honest with me, but she always validated my feelings.  Now my relationship with her is a place where I feel safe enough to call myself on my own shit–she doesn’t have to do it for me, and she will if I ask her to.

somehow over the course of the last ten years she has managed to convince me that i’m lovable.  she has shown me who i really am and what i’m really capable of–and every time i forget, she reminds me.  she has exposed me to some of the most powerful tools and resources i have in my life today.  she has invited me into her family and allowed me to be present for her in her darkest moments; to provide her the same loving security that she gives me on a daily basis.  there is nothing too dark or scary for me to tell her i’m thinking and feeling and her love doesn’t waver.

i’m afraid.  a lot.  i’m afraid that the people who love me will change their mind… go away and never come back, and that it will be because of me… and with Wombat, I don’t have that fear.

I believe that every relationship we have in this lifetime is custom designed to teach us something about ourselves.

What I’ve learned from loving and being loved by her: I am lovable.

my concerns about this were true… these words don’t do the significance of this person’s role in my life justice.  i’ll share it all the same though… if just one more person knows a glimmer of the gratitude i feel that’s at least a glimmer to help me radiate back the brightness I feel from her every day.  <3

love letter number one

damn, is it wednesday?

i was on a roll for about a week where i was writing on the “off” days and feeling very calm and confident about having something scheduled to post on the “on” days (monday, wednesdays, and fridays if you didn’t know already).

yep, it’s wednesday.  and instead of writing my love letters i have been trying to strike the balance between:

1) action: getting my act together and pursuing ALL of the available options to help spiderman deal with his current distress

-and-
2) letting go: because none of the options are super obviously the “right” thing to do (or even if they are… there is much to be done to make them viable) and i can’t fix this right now.
it’s actually going okay… i’ve experienced some anxiety, but i’ve also experienced a butt load of joy (yes, a butt load) which is totally new for me (so woot!)… and i’m also having a fair of that thing people call “excitement.”  it feels just like anxiety, but it is accompanied with hopefulness.  Craziness-people!
anyway, the point is that i got no love letters written… and i’m not sure i can write them on a spot.  i’m a little anxious about this project, actually…  i worry that i won’t be able to adequately capture my gratitude, that i’ll leave someone out, that i won’t be able to use the same number of words for each person or same number of sentiments and people will wonder why they didn’t get as much as someone else.  eek!  i worry a lot!
i’ll get over all that and get to writing, but in the meantime here’s my first love letter.  it’s to me… because i need it right now.  🙂
dear kate, 
i love you.  
love, 
kate
ps, i still love you.

October 15-November 12: chosen family

Holy Moly, it’s a new “month!”  Good thing I checked last night.  I had somehow convinced myself that I had more adventuring to do until the 17th.  Speaking of adventuring… whew… talk about be careful what you wish for!  I need to do a quick review of my remaining “months” to see if there’s anything else the Universe might feel tempted to deliver as torture.  Thank goodness that’s over!

One more adventure for the road before I get into what’s next, though:

Things have been civil with BFO for a little while now, even pleasant at times… they never are when we disagree or need to collaborate on something, but we’ve had enough neutral going-through-the-motions interaction for long enough lately that I was starting to be lulled into complacency again.

Last night, I was blindsided by a cutting insult.  I knew that no matter how I delivered my questions or comments that it probably wasn’t going to be a completely peaceful interaction, but I wasn’t expecting what I got.  The insult was essentially that he didn’t blame my choices for our son’s difficulties… rather he blamed who I was as a person all together.  My choices weren’t the problem–I was the problem.  Yep–that’s what the man who I was with for 10 years (basically my entire adult life up to this point) said to me.  I even asked him to clarify that was what he was saying… and he confirmed it.

It felt like a punch in the gut.  I turned away and got into the car when I felt the tears welling up in my eyes.  I resisted the urge to get back out of the car, chase him, and tell him how I planned to exact my revenge…  I resisted the urge to give him the finger as I drove by him walking back from taking his trash to the dumpster…  I did a little woo-woo-reiki-style-self-help on myself and as much as I wanted to hold my breath to keep from taking in any more poison I remembered to breathe…

It used to be more subtle, but that is essentially what our relationship was made up of for years…  for years I listened to him tell me that I was wrong (not what I thought, said, or did incidentally… but what I felt, wanted, and needed… what and who I was).  And I believed it.  And after only a year of not believing it anymore, it was a struggle to fight against believing it last night.

Quite a ways down the road after Spiderman had fallen asleep and the pain had faded I got it.  I got what I needed to feel okay.

I knew from the moment it happened that his insult didn’t have to be my reality if I didn’t let it.  I didn’t have to subscribe to his beliefs about me.  I didn’t have to take on any blame or responsibility that he offered…  but it still hurt.  And it was still confusing.  And I found myself asking “why?  why would he be so cruel?”  to which the typical response might be something like “maybe you deserve it…”

but before I got there the little voice chimed in: “because he’s hurt too.”

*cue compassion*

Oh yeah, he’s hurt too…  He feels helpless, he feels disconnected, he can see that Spiderman is in distress and just like me he can’t make it better for him.  He doesn’t understand me or the way I think and he’s also in a position where he has to parent his son with me as a “partner.”  He doesn’t want to do this with me any more than I want to do this with him.  It’s hard for him too.

We may have completely different ways of perceiving and reacting to the stimuli of the human experience, but the bottom line is that we are both living the human experience.  He’s hurt, he was feeling vulnerable… he attacked.  Every animal does it, with whatever tool is bound to be the most effective… and after ten years together he knows exactly where to chop to take me down.

It’s not okay, and I don’t have to tolerate or be around it, but at least I have a comprehensive understanding of where it comes from as a means of keeping myself from taking responsibility for it.  I wish I didn’t need that, but at this stage in the game… only a year out the previous 10 where I lived believing everything he told me was wrong about me… I need to make sense of the cruelty to remind myself not to take it in anymore.

Whew.

okay Universe, adventure month is over… and we are moving on!  Turns out this makes a great segway because this month is all about relationships, and specifically “family.”  The “family” I was creating for myself changed drastically last year around this time, but that doesn’t change the fact that I do, in fact, have a “family.”

I mentioned in “dis-integrated” that I have lots of connections all over the place and that sometimes that’s overwhelming.  When I am feeling overwhelmed I find myself wishing all of my people could all be each other’s people and just be in one place so I could feel supported and surrounded by them without having to do it all individually…  And when I’m not feeling overwhelmed (well, I still want that… but it’s less urgent) I am eternally grateful for the relationships I have with my people… they are my family.  I have learned so much about myself, and life, and… (is there anything else really?)  from a tremendous collection of personalities some who I’m connected to through birth and blood, others who I have chosen for myself and by myself.

public love letters.  sweeping the nation! (and/or other nations)

This “month” was included with the intention of making sure to honor the connections I have with each of these people.  As with many other things this year… my connectedness to many has improved greatly.  As I have become more myself I have moved closer to the folks that help me do that.  There are few here or there that could use more attention (and they’ll get it), but overall… my relationships are solid and so important to me…  In honor of that, every blog post this “month” will be a love letter of sorts…  to one or more of my “people.”

I am committing myself to consciously remain in gratitude for them and I want the world to know how amazing they all are.

Stay tuned!

"excited"

I woke up feeling anxious yesterday… this is not a new phenomena, it’s happened many times before and has been happening a fair bit lately.  What was different, however, was that there were no negative thoughts coming along with the sensations and I was in a pretty damn good mood.

The anxiety felt chemical… as if I’d forgotten to ask for a decaf coffee, but I hadn’t had coffee at all. So what was up?

After a few consultations, within and from some outside sources, the verdict: I was excited.  I hadn’t registered any excitement for the last couple months–I was either distressed or relieved, but never relieved enough to let excitement in.  Woah. That was quite a realization.

Hello excitement about life. Welcome back. What’s up?  Where shall we go from here?

shame shame i know your name

*squirm squirm wiggle squirm*

ouch.

something hurts.  and it’s not menstrual cramps… although those hurt too.  nope, it’s worse than those.  something hurts and it’s not a part of my body but it is inside of me.  it comes from me, but it’s not of me.

have you guessed it yet?

no, it’s not constipation, but good try.

well, not you… me… but probably not me either.
just keep reading.

shame.  yeah, shame.  i’ve tapped into a deep well of it the last several days and boy howdy is it a doozy!  talk about adventure! (<--that's the last time I'll mention it in this post though, I promise). A week ago or so (honestly, I don’t remember… something like that) Devon challenged me by calling me on something that is true about me (this happens semi-often.  it’s part of the appeal).  I’m pretty sure I’ve written about it here before and I’m pretty sure I even told her about this truth before she got to observe it in action. I’m really good at talking about feelings…  so good, that my willingness and ability to talk about them in depth can be confused for vulnerability…  I’m certain people are fooled into believing that I’m being vulnerable when I’m not.  I’m not trying to deceive them, often I’ve fooled myself into believing I’m being vulnerable when I’m not.  My feelings vocabulary and comfort level on the topic means I have to push even further than one would expect to truly engage with a feeling in the present.  And unless that feeling is on the joy spectrum… that vulnerability usually involves tears–and tears usually invite snot into the picture, and well… that’s one of the reasons I avoid it. Anyway, I was called on it (gently-ish) and after a moment of feeling defensive was able to recommit myself to presence and vulnerability.  So the other day when we were in bed (I know, awkward…) when I felt sadness start to come up I let it.  The hot, fat, salty, alligator tears started rolling and when thoughts like “I don’t think I’m the right person for this job (motherhood) and I don’t want to do it (motherhood) anymore” came up the sobs soon followed.  So, I cried and got snot faced in front of her… and then it was out. Notice I said “out” and not “over” or “gone.”  That was on purpose. I have been honest about these feelings before, and have let a little bit of this “out” through words before, but we’re past uncorking here…  the cat is out of the bag.  the… i wish I knew more “out” parables… I don’t. What’s finally out… and what’s newly clear… is not that I have struggled to enjoy motherhood over the last five years–I think we knew that… it’s that I am ashamed. I am ashamed and it runs deep.  I have cried about it for hours this week alone and feel like I could go for years more without so much as skimming an inch of the depth of this well of shame. Remember when I discovered and fell in love with Brene Brown?  I do.  That was an awesome day (yes, I usually discover and fall in love with people on the same day.  I am a quick study).  I would love to work with her.  I would even choose to live in Texas (and we aren’t even talking about Austin people) to be able to do it (of course, I can’t choose to live in Texas because I have a kid who I am responsible for keeping within a 30 mile radius of a agreed upon location with my former husband… dammit).  I love her so much I chose to read her book (about shame) on a date with myself…  and I loved it.

But I never finished the book…  turns out, it’s only fun to read about shame when you’re not experiencing it.  So, I’m going to go back and get my shame education… painful as it may be… but first here’s my shame, out in the open, for everyone to see and not judge (I mean, you can judge it… I’m just assuming that you probably won’t and that reality will be part of my healing.  So if you judge it, that’s on you man).  I’m doing this on the assumption that that thing will happen when you tell someone abotu some terrible thing someone did to you and realize as it comes out of your mouth that it really isn’t that big of a deal:

Being my kid’s mom is hard.  It was hard with an unwilling partner.  It was hard with a partner who was willing for a short while.  It’s hard without a partner.  This child has needs that I cannot meet.  I don’t know if I have what it takes to be the parent he needs me to be, and because of that… I don’t want to do it a lot of the time.  The sense of obligation and the immensity of the responsibility I have for his wellbeing is suffocating and paralyzing and sometimes it feels like it’s killing me… and even though I don’t actually consider it as an option (obviously) all I want to do is run far, far away from it.  It hurts to be his mom.  I want the pain to stop.  …and, because I love him, I feel really shitty about that.

Shame spoken.  Bring on the healing.

dis-integrated

Lately I’ve noticed a new (or maybe not new, but finally at the head of the line thanks to all of the other things that have cleared out…) feeling about my life.  At first I started saying (in my head and maybe sometimes out loud to a trusted person) that I was living a double life… but the more it showed up, the more I realized I am living a much more varied life than that.

I have so many connections.  So many relationships.  So many things that I love and treasure, but they are mostly separate from one another…  I drew a diagram in my journal this morning (who draws diagrams in their journals?  awesome people.  that’s who.) of what I wanted… it ended up being a giant mess of circles and arrows because I was trying to show that I wanted my relationships/connections to have relationships/connections with one another.  The drawing of what I’m existing in now, one circle in the center with unidirectional arrows pointing to the other circles that surround me, is a much prettier drawing… no wonder I’ve been living in it (comfortably?) for so long.

I long for connectedness, but I have connectedness…  really what I long for is integration.  I long for a tribe.  I want the people I love to love one another.  I want us all to live on a circular street with homes that all face each other and pop in and out casually with news and pies and seedlings and…  yeah, I guess I want to live on a commune…  Truthfully, I don’t care if there is a street or homes or pies…  I just want the people and the space and some comfort.

In previous versions of my life I felt like I was a part of something…  but it was someone else’s something.  I have been a member of many groups, but they’ve always been someone else’s groups.  There’s something appealing about that too… getting absorbed into a group that already exists… there’s something very lonely about it too (sometimes).  I’ve also lost myself in these somethings and these groups.  I’ve given enormous amounts of time and emotional energy being a part of somethings and groups that weren’t my heart’s true desire… and to which an authentic version of me didn’t really belong.

So, as you’ve read, I started a journey to discover my authentic self… and honestly, she wasn’t that hard to find.  The first 6, 7, 8 months of this journey have been mostly enjoyable.  Now that I’m her, however, and am having to try and figure out how to remain her and live as her adding in all of the things that are real about life… it’s way super awful painful rotten a lot of the time.  And that doesn’t feel authentic… even though it is… or at least it may be…  so that’s confusing.

me.

I’ve identified that I seek integration…  that I have a life I love in thousands of millions (okay, maybe 50 something… I exaggerate) of disjointed parts.  They are not integrated.  They are dis-integrated.

Disintegrated… hey, that’s already a word!  (this is a conversation I had with myself)  Hmmm… what does disintegrated mean?  It’s when something has fallen apart… it’s crumbled… it’s gone from solid to liquid (no wait, that’s dissolved)… it’s when you become one with the earth again (no, that’s decomposed) it’s from being a whole to being many millions of parts and almost seeming not to exist.

And yeah, that’s what happened.  I was a whole, but not the whole I was supposed to be, so I had to disintegrate to start to identify my own ingredients as individual parts.  Now it seems like it’s time to start deciding which ones make up the next version of whole…  Does anyone have a recipe I could borrow?

i will wear sweatpants on a date… i will?

 I just got out of the bathtub.  I’ve been home since 3:00 (because Spiderman peed on a tree on the playground with a couple accomplices at school and I was called and asked to come get him…  We have been over the guidelines for “nature pee” before.  *sigh*) and BFO picked Spiderman up at 4 today so I had some unexpected extra time to myself and I treated myself to a long, fragrant soak.

It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything about sweatpants and since I don’t have a lot to say about life today it seems like a good topic.

Devon is on her way over in a little bit and I’m currently wearing sweatpants…  I’m not sure if I have any intentions of changing before she gets here either.  I do have intentions of making kale chips before she gets here though, and that is something I’m committed to.

It’s an odd dilemma (which it turns out I don’t know how to spell.  I tried dilemna, dillema, dillemna… before I got to dilemma.  Why do I think dilemma has an ‘n’ in it?), if it is a dilemma at all.

Reasons why it is probably okay to wear sweatpants on a date:

oh dear. 

  1. It’s date 30 (yes, I’m counting… and yes, there’s a reason, and I’ll tell you when I can) and we’re staying in to watch a movie
  2. She doesn’t care about things like that
  3. I’m really only wearing sweatpants because it’s the next best thing to being naked and being naked would certainly be an okay option…
Reasons why it probably isn’t okay to wear sweatpants on a date:

  1. come on, what are you… a slob?
Oh my!  Maybe it is a dilemma!  My inner critic seems to think so.  What’s funny is that my inner critic would be completely satisfied with me changing into sweatpants after she arrives… so what’s the problem with opening the show in sweatpants?
Oh inner critic, you’re such a pain in the ass sometimes…
Maybe I’ll wear an apron…  that seems cute enough to cut the edge of the sweatpant debacle.
Stay tuned next week to find out if I changed or not!
Kale chips are calling!

the adventure of… um… i got nothin’.

We’re having a long, hot what is probably a very typical summer here in Los Angeles (wait, are any of you reading not from Los Angeles… hold on.  I’ll be right back…



…okay, I’m back.  With an announcement.  This week this blog has had 24 page-views from Latvia.  Welcome people of Latvia!  Let’s get back to it).

Anyway.  Us SoCal folks have this belief that summer is over in September (probably because of the fall equinox and how connected we all are to our hippie dippie roots here on the west coast)…  I know I always spent the first several weeks of school as a kid soaking my new fall clothes with sweat because I wanted to wear the ribbed tights, turtleneck sweaters, and corduroy pants despite the temperatures in the 90s and up.  “Beauty is pain,” I told my mother.  I still tell myself that on those occasions when I accidentally apply mascara to my eyeball instead of my eyelashes.  Sometimes my depth perception ain’t too good.

So, we all start whining when it’s still too warm after labor day to start wearing scarves and boots (we do this when it hits approximately 68 degrees farenheit, by the way)… and continue to whine all the way through the month of September and into early October.  It will finally start to cool a bit in mid October, but it will always heat up one more time for good measure right around Halloween.

I don’t mean to be blogging about the weather, although it does seem to be going okay, right?

Besides that it was 102 degrees in Glendale (a suburb? of Los Angeles where I was seated in a training room with 21 other people and no air conditioning all day) yesterday… my phone has also been hot enough to fry an egg on for the last couple of days.  I used my lunch break today to make a quick run to the Apple store (do you hear the chorus of mocking laughter?  no, it wasn’t quick… I was late getting back from lunch.  I should be punished.) for a consultation with a “Genius.”

As google said he would, the “Genius” deemed the phone irreparable, and under warranty, and swapped it out with a brand spanking new one.  As I was sitting at the Genius bar, waiting for my phone to restore from its iCloud backup so it could be activated and I could get back to work (because it was getting late!  tick tock!  tick tock!) I started to complain (internally…  my pulse jumped a few paces higher, my neck and shoulders started to tense, my breathing got shallow) about how long it was taking when all of a sudden… WOOOOOSSSSSHHHHH!  Instead of being in a complaining body, I was swimming in a wave of gratitude.

And I didn’t do anything to bring it on.  I didn’t think to myself “self, you’re really complaining about some first world problems here… how about you be grateful for this free new phone that is way more than any human actually NEEDS and get on with your day.”  Nope.  The gratitude was automatic.  My body relaxed, my breathing deepened again, I felt pleasantly sleepy (I think they call that peaceful), and I had vivid images of all the people and things I love behind my eyeballs…

you know what this means?!  you know all the “triggers” and “programs” and “automatic responses” like judgment, and defensiveness, and fear that show up and cause me grief all the damn time because my sweet brain is trying to protect me from hurt and is very literal and quite simple in her approaches…  well, I think what this means, ladies and gentlemen, is that gratitude is becoming a program.

Anxiety, instead of being the baseline/protective state, was the distress… and gratitude is what my brain delivered (all on its own!  no prompting from me!) as the remedy.

go brain!
Let’s have a party!
woot!