It’s My Birthday, but I got no cake.

No Birthday Cake!

bday cake

It’s my birthday and there are no calls, or gifts, no party or even, my nemesis, that big beautiful sugary-icing birthday cake.

But whooow there, cowboy, calm down!

Don’t feel bad for me just yet.

It is not because everyone on Earth forgot my birthday, it’s because early yesterday morning I sent out this message to all of my family and friends

To everyone:

I will be unplugging and going into solitude all day tomorrow for a full day of regrouping, refocusing and renewal. The phone will be turned off as well. Thanks for understanding.

 

A full day of The 3 Rs

 

Every now and then I feel the need to use the day of my birth as a way to commune with my spirit and this year I am in big time need. The past few months have tested my strength, I have felt lost at times, sad at others. My search for meaning and a new purpose had me promising to create courses that would impact people’s lives and help them build a better tomorrow.  But, in the process my purpose became dim.

I have two goals – First, I want to help people with Multiple Sclerosis have a positive, can do attitude, I want to introduce Art as a healing method…and Second, I want to reach young teens, mostly girls, who are still trying to figure out who they are and how to listen to their inner voices and follow their dreams.

 

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These are my peeps… the ones that keep me up at night wondering how HOW, HOW to make a difference for them?

After writing the note, I had a full day of teaching to do. One of the joys of my life is to sit in front of a class of smart, curious, charged up students who really want to learn. I was teaching a university class called, “Myth in the World.”  Lots of introspection, self analysis and discussion involved. And sadly, yesterday was our last class.

After most of the students had gone, a young woman walked up to me and told me I was her hero. (we had talked about The Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell) She said, “I want to be you.” (I took that to mean later on in life when she finishes her degree. Etc.)

But wow! I was floored!  What a heavy responsibility there. 

In all modesty and fairness, I have to admit, it is not the first time I have heard that or some variation of it, from students, both young and old. Each time I mentally give the same response.

“You do NOT want to be like me!”  

But her saying that confirmed one thing; how much I really needed this 3R day.  The words smacked me upside the head, and I had to face the fact that something I was doing or saying, or the way I was doing or saying it, resonates with people who find it inspiring.

I get the jitters just typing the word inspiring, because I so WANT to be inspiring, I WANT to be relevant, and I want to be useful.

But I also want to know what it is that they are connecting to, because you see, if I can figure out that missing piece, then I can finally create what I have been wanting to start… an offering that motivates my peeps.

And so today I have been sitting.  Meditating. Being alone with myself, listening to my inner voices, and as the day grows long I am still here, waiting for answers.

I told my sister last night about the student, and she gave me a sweet, but definitely biased speech about how I AM inspiring and how I have done so much with my life, etc.  (My sister, bless her heart, is my #1 fan!)

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She said, “It’s because you are FEARLESS!”  And I knew she had that all wrong, because truthfully I am scared of well, a lot.

“Okay then, that means you’re courageous” She answered.  “You go ahead and do things even though you feel that fear.”

“Yes, I do”, I thought, but I would call it more fool hardy than courageous. Save that badge of courage for the guy who rescues children from burning buildings.  I am no lioness.

I am the other big cat.

Tigers go on the hunt alone, they are determined and stubborn, and even though they love solitude they are not unsociable. They are playful and self-sufficient at the same time              .

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Sadly, though, my Tigger spirit has been waning recently.  Not much bouncy fun happening here.

The Question is: What took the tiger out of my tank?

 

So I continued to sit.

Late in the afternoon I started thinking about my first attempt to create one of those courses online…and, what a dismal failure it was.  Not that people didn’t sign up for it, or even begin to work at the modules. They did. No, I have no one to blame but myself for this one. The Apothecary Cards

 

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The concept was good, people with MS could creative their own affirmation or positive message cards to put on their table or fridge. To inspire (that word again) and encourage them to keep pushing even though life with chronic illness is difficult.

 

For sure, I was really on to something cool.

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But all the way through the stages of Week One and Week Two there was an annoying little niggle that kept me from even completing what I had offered.

How sad. How tremendously sad.

And, what a lost opportunity for everyone.  I said I wanted to help and instead I came off like a flake.

I thought about that class a lot, and in a moment, I realized what went wrong.  I was not being AUTHENTIC!  I was not doing ME. I was copying the style of a mentor, using her directions and style. Her delivery was seamless, and she had it so polished, (which I guess, is why I was stealing it…instead of trusting in my own gift.)  I figured hers was better.

So in essence, The Apothecary Cards, BECAME her course, and I wasn’t invested in it at all.

I may be different, unique, eccentric, etc.  (Words people use to describe me) but dang it, that is who I am. Too late to be a different version now. That train left the station ages ago.

And if I can’t be true to myself, then I am not really sharing anything of meaning, am I?

DRUMROLL~~~~~~~~

Wait for it~~~~~

 

My AHAAA moment had arrived!!!!!

After that little revelation I started envisioning my courses as MY offerings. Giving me the chance to do the things I do best, like listening, supporting and encouraging.  Oh naturally there is art involved, there is ALWAYS art involved…and deep digging spiritually too,  but I knew my task was to save the courses to save the courses with a hefty dose of Gypsyfay!

Obviously, this means I am back at square one: 

  • Start over
  • Figure out what my PEEPS want from me,
  • Why they would take classes from me, and
  • What is important for them to learn.

Now I feel better.

 

Photo on 8-26-15 at 4.00 PM

Still no cake.

Oh well, there’s always next year.

 

 

Did My Time in Solumedrol Land!

hospital roomAnd I have been unplugged!  So it’s day three and I have to say that this round is not as bad as the ones I remembered from before. In fact, if I could bottle the feeling right now, and of course administer it without any other side effects, this would be a permanent good thing!

Came home and worked on my art, non-stop, drew and drew and couldn’t stop!  did a little sketch for my sister, did about 5 for my business.  I organized files, ate minimally, not because of nausea, or vomiting but because I haven’t been hungry…what is going on?  I have never had such a pleasant trip to Solumedrol-Land before.

Usually the S word sends me into a spiral of fear and remembering how horrible it makes me feel…like I was at death’s door at times.

But wowza if this is the new generation of the drug..I have nothing to fear anymore.  It’s like a creative high that I imagine all the wonder artists, writers, etc have when they are what you call ‘prolific’

I want to be prolific too.  Having this reaction to Solumedrol makes me wonder if this is how my brain is supposed to be working on a normal day…where I have energy, and I am clear headed and I have ideas that I can actually organize in a planner.

Is that what MS has taken away?  Everyone is telling me to hold on cause the crash is coming, and I probably felt this way before while I was having the IVs.  I don’t know, maybe I don’t remember, but I do remember the ‘hell daaaays’ – if I can avoid those and continue at this pace for another week…I can probably write the great novel, clean the disaster in the living room, illustrate a kids book, and have beautiful online courses up and running.

Don’t tell me its not true. I want to stay in my bubble for just a little while longer!

But seriously – if anyone knows of something that can be prescribed for foggy MS brain that will allow me to be this productive please leave a comment! Or if you have had this experience and no crash afterwards I would like to know how you did it.

What did You Want to Be When You Were A cHiLd?

images (3)Last night I was reading an article by the wonderfully awesome Leonie Dawson www.leoniedawson.com and she had asked the question,

What did you want to be when you were a Child?

 

Well the answer for me was a lot of things!

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An artist was on the top of my list, along with a writer, a traveler, a famous rock singer ( I will explain) an actress and a nun. Never mind that I was the most timid pup in the litter…those were my dreams for my future.

 

She challenged me to do some serious thinking about what I have achieved….and the funny thing is even though I took a lot of twists and turns and even some detours…I ended up doing just about what I always said I wanted to do.

 

When I was a small girl I knew three people who would change the path of my life forever.   One was the son of a woman who lived next door. He had some type of job in Japan…Now I have no idea what it was, it was that he was living in Japan that fired me up. Then, I went to school and met a girl named Susan Shelton, her dad was in the military and she had been born in….you guessed it JAPAN!   I think that sent me off on a quest to do, and be, and live, everything Japanese. I ABSOLUTELY had to get to Japan.

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But more than them, was my Aunt Ada who lived next door. I had no idea at the time how similar our lives would turn out to be. This was the 1950’s and 60’s and women who were divorced….OH MY GOD! That was a deep, deep, dark secret to be hidden in the crevasses of a deeper darker canyon somewhere.

“Dear we don’t ask about things like that”

But my Aunt Ada was a trailblazer…I have no idea how she had money, yet she did, and I have no idea how she traveled so much, but she did. Belgium, Paris, London, Rome.

 

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And for each place she visited she would come back with a souvenirfor me and an incredible story to go along with it. The blue cashmere sweater from Ireland was at the top of my list. My favorite hours were spent with her playing Parcheesi and looking at all of her gorgeous plants.

images (4)She loved art, and nature, and maybe not so much kids, but she was truly my heroine and I wanted to be Just like her when I grew up.So I can mark the spots where the travel bug started to nip and my heels. But what about art, and writing, the convent, and being a famous rock star?

Like other children who just seem to come into the world with certain gifts, or desires, I am pretty sure these were hardwired into my being. Maybe I was like a lot of other teenaged girls who looked at the movie star pictures and thought ‘I want to be a part of that world’ or maybe not…truth is I have never asked anyone.

 

But here is the thing I know. Despite all of my sidetracks, and u-turns, and hopelessly lost moments, I ended up doing many of the things that I wanted to do when I was a little tyke.

 

Has it made for a magically successful life? Not in the terms of how a lot of folks would measure that. But has it led to a full and adventurous life? You bet! No grass has grown tall amongst my toes.

 

I have hit almost every one of those targets – save the rock star. Probably because of dogged stubbornness. Sometimes dogged determination played a part too, but mostly I just don’t know why.

I realized someplace along the way that you cannot take the child out of the adult and live a happy life. You cannot un-program what was added in the creation of the spirit. No need trying. That child, (even if it is you) will be who she knew she was here to become. There is no stopping it.

I may not have done the things I wanted to do at eight as I had imagined them then. But I somehow managed to work most of them in.     I still have a few things on that list that I have not achieved. In my heart and soul I am pretty confident they will happen too, because, that childish spirit still remains, albeit coupled with a salty serving of reality.

And now for the bit about me becoming a rock star.

Yes, that has not happened. I would venture to say that it probably never will. You see the one thing I recognized as I was growing up was that I was missing a vital ingredient for ‘rock star’ status.

I couldn’t sing worth a lick.   Not all dreams are literal. It could be there is an essence in that dream that wished to be expressed. So when your son says he wants to be Superman when he grows up…he might be on to something.

Provided he knows how to fly!

 

P.S. I am currently working on the aspiration to become a nun….

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I will get back to you on that one.

 

 

Time to Talk about Time

IMG_4477Or…..you could call this time to confess.

I made the cards a year ago for The Color Of Woman Teacher Training by Shiloh Sophia http://www.colorofwomanschool.com

 and at the time they were absolutely spot on about where I was in my life and what I had planned to do.  Nice stuff, just read them….

FAST FORWARD – 1 year and 5 months

Yeah you guessed it, none of these lofty goals have been acheived.  I’d start and stop and start again and then finally I gave up!

Yes I said gave up….so life has been passing by, another candle coming up on my cake and Lord knows I am not getting any younger or more intelligent.   Which means every bit of the brain that I still have working really needs to do just that, start working.  I mean it is my legacy I am talking about here.


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  IMG_4479 IMG_4480Have you ever really given thought to what legacy you will leave in this world?  If you are reading this and you are in your twenties, or thirties, or even forties you probably have better things to do ….yep that’s what YOU THINK.

If you have past the 50 yard line, then hmmm, wanna take some advice from someone who doesn’t do what she knows she should?

YOU BETTER GET CRACKIN’!!

I have no idea how many days I have on this earth to do what I feel i need to do, but no one does.  No matter how young or old.  And time sneaks up on us like a villian in a B movie…first you think you are perfectly safe and cozy, then BAM there it is ready to take you out.

So I am writing this advice to me, and you, and our future selves.  IMG_4482

Do the thing you think you want to leave as your legacy.  Do it now if you can.  And if you can’t do it now, then at least start making steps towards it, cause that clock is ticking and if you don’t work on it you will be the same you  10, 20, 30, 40 years later sitting in a dirty, old rocking chair having that regret that every sad, miserable, dying person has –

It’s not the things  they did they regret,  it’s what they didn’t do.

Enough…I have to get to work.

Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway – AND DO IT NOW!

I have no intention of debating the appropriateness of the word God in this quote. I am just going to say you can substitute whatever word you need to use that makes the same point. Universal force, Allah, Jehovah, etc.

COHELO

The reason the I grabbed this quote by one of my very favorite authors (you know THE ALCHEMIST)  is to clarify the feeling I have been feeling recently. Dissatisfaction with – hmm- just about everything. I have to admit, this is a familiar place for me. As a writer and an artist and self-identified outsider, it just seems I was cursed/blessed with this little niggling urge for change that won’t go away.

I have waited ever so impatiently for years to have a sense of satisfaction that other people seem to feel with life. But this thing persists in me and from time to time it stirs up and causes a heaviness in my body, that descends  like the air before a Midwestern storm.

It has often been the thing that fueled my insatiable wanderlust. Or my penchant for changing careers…(although a lot of the job-hopping had to do with the fact that I wasn’t supposed to be doing what I was doing with my life.)

And now it is banging at my door again. Something is trying to tell me I need to make changes. Drastic, irrevocable changes. Not in a year or two but NOW. I need to move forward, change everything, step out in courage and go full force into the unknown like I always have.

“Okay so what? Stop blabbering about it and just do it”, you say.   And so I will,-  But:

  1. I am getting older
  2. I have Multiple Sclerosis
  3. My energy is not what it used to be
  4. I need more money
  5. It’s too hot
  6. I’m not quite ready
  7. It is still too hot

 

 

Oh, I could go on. But the truth is. little old intrepid me has started to feel FEAR.

Fear of moving forward.    In fact, fear of moving at all.

And that reminds me as much as anything that it is time to pull up my big girl pants and do something extraordinary, something completely, mind-blowingly  FEARLESS.

Because if I start giving in to the fear of not being worthy, healthy, strong, or adaptable, I will become the embodiment of all of those quicker than you can say Howdy Doody!

I know as well as anyone it doesn’t take much to squeeze the life and energy out of a person. We do it to ourselves all the time. I have seen it happen to many in my MS community, and I have seen it happen to many friends my age who are not facing chronic illness.

I can sense it happening to me.

Which  is why I realize I am in a fight for survival. Not the survival of a terminal illness, but the survival of my will, character, and spirit.

Yep, you are darned right I am dissatisfied with the way things are in my life right now.

I have become too comfortable, it has gotten too easy to just let time go by without really trying to do something meaningful, adventurous and fulfilling.

It is so temping to let the clock tick unchallenged. In my world, TV, movies, and the Internet are mortal enemies. I have to slash them before they conquer me.

You bet that dissatisfaction is persisting, and it is telling me it’s time to make changes and move forward.

Do I know exactly WHAT changes I need to make?

I have some ideas, some BIG ideas.

But what needs to happen here is movement towards making those ideas become reality. They cannot just remain BIG ideas or they will forever be lost…and one day, they will be on that list of the things I REGRET not having done with my life.

Where is this all going to lead? Hopefully towards a few moments of satisfaction when I don’t have constantly feel that urge to move on, and blow up everything in reach, simply for the sake of massive change.

Then again, I have a suspicion that no matter what I path I forge, no matter how I decide to shake things up and cause a stir, as long as I am breathing, I will always have a bit of Kali, the destroyer, Yemaya the Yoruban goddess of the sea, and the independence of Artemis running through  my blood.

To Be Continued…………

 

The Challenge: Self-Like vs. Would Change!

So the challenge for today is to answer the following:

  1. What do you especially like about yourself?
  2. What would you change if you could?

Let’s start on the positive…

What I like about myself.

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I like that I am 62 years old and can still rock weird glasses, tattoos, dreadlocks, and Dr. Martens. I like that I don’t do it to be young or trendy, I do it because it is who I am.

I like that I wear 13 silver bracelets on one arm EVERYDAY, and a silver cuff given to me by a Long Neck Karen girl named Moo-chi on the other. I like the fact that I really hate gold and diamonds, but I love silver and semi-precious stones. Which means I like that I am not pretentious. Not that everyone who likes diamonds and gold would be.  But if I said I did, I would be lying.

I like that I really don’t know anyone like me. I am an endangered species, a one of a kind. A precious treasure.

I like that when I truly, and I do mean truly, set out to do something, I do it. Law of attraction, stubbornness, obsessive? I don’t know which of those is the reason, but it works for me – when I TRULY work it.

I like that I just got my DNA done and I am an incredible mix of people from all over the world. The Baltic, The Mediterranean, Northern Europe, West Africa, North Africa, Great Britain, India, and the Western Semite countries.   All wrapped up in one 5’1 ½” person.

I like the fact that I never want to stop learning, or teaching, that I am an incurable researcher, and student of life.

I like it that I love animals, and they love me.   Sometimes, I think I like them best of all.

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I like my face, my brain (not so sure about the MS part of it) and my ability to keep going when I know I could have, and maybe should have stopped long ago.

I like my continual search for spiritual self-awareness. I like that it defines a large part of who I am. And I like knowing that I was probably meant to be a nun or some type of monastic…even though my marriage record belies that fact!

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I like that when I go to the D’Orsay Museum in Paris, I can stand in front of a Van Gogh and unashamedly cry real tears.

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I like my temperament, not my temper, which I must say has mellowed with age to almost non-existent…

Except when someone cuts me off in traffic

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I like that I have been blessed enough to have such a wonderful supportive family, who I feel love from everyday.

 

And, I really truly like knowing that I have so many things to list in the like column. There were times in my life when the LIKE list would have been a couple of sentences.

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NOW, for the “What would you change?”

 

Okay… first of all I would get rid of this nasty little thing called ADD. I have the dreamy non-hyperactive kind. The kind that makes me less organized that I would like. (Oh, who am I kidding? A desk with more than two papers on it throws me into a panic!) b0eb834f19deadcdec4d065d4ac0c5d3

I would have a place for everything and everything in its place. (I do try, I really, really do!)

I would not procrastinate. Or have twenty projects going at the same time.

I would be a whiz at self-promotion.

I would know how to sing without gathering all the dogs to my front door!

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I would be more thoughtful of other people.

Less focused on pain.

More forgiving over long gone hurts.

More in touch with my heart chakra.

I would work harder.

Sleep better.

Eat better.

Exercise more.

I would keep my mind on the infinite power of creation, and I would give thanks everyday without fail.

There you have it. My two lists.

 NOW IT’S YOUR TURN !

I don’t like feeling all alone out here!!

Eva and the Kayak! (my granddaughter’s You Tube video)

So here it is…I am shamelessly asking for people to subscribe to my granddaughter’s YouTube Channel.  She wants to earn a party by getting subscribers, and I want her to have that party…right now I think she has – TWO people  – and one is me!   So how about helping a kid out and at the same time you get to see what an 8 year old is up to!

If Money Were No Object?

Someone asked me what I would do if money were no object…and I love this question.

It is probably not what you would think at all.

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First thing I would do is put on a backpack and travel to every country in the world. First just to set foot on the ground and next I would travel to all of the spiritually significant places I have not visited so far. I would somehow spread awareness about Multiple Sclerosis and  be an international  spokesperson for the cause!

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I would buy a two bedroom cottage somewhere in Mexico, Spain or a South American country….(because of the Spanish) a place where it never gets too hot or too cold, and an Old English Sheepdog. I am pretty sure I would have a live in maid., as I really am not good at cooking and cleaning.

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She could take care of my dog, when I am away. A macaw, an African gray, probably a couple of cats..

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I would bring home my treasures, and then I would probably spend some time teaching teen aged girls art, or life lessons.

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I would donate money to MS research of course and animal welfare…I might even start a shelter for animals

I would spend my days without TV – I would write, sit in the shade, paint and meditate.

If money were no object I would hop back and forth from the USA to Bahrain so that I could visit my daughters and their families a lot.

That’s it. No my ambitions are not lofty, but they are mine.  And that’s all they need to be.

If money were no object what would YOU do?

“I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library.” — Jorge Luis Borges

To be fair, I am trying something new because left on my own I sometimes just don’t have a clue of what to write.  So I stumbled upon this site by    Marelisa Fabrega

http://daringtolivefully.com/journal-prompts

I love that it offers  119 journal prompts and I decided to randomly pick a number between 1 – 119 and then write about whatever that prompt says.  And…drumroll please…I got;  “I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library.” — Jorge Luis Borges

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Considering that I don’t think much about ‘paradise’  since it is in CAPS then I am assuming it is the BIG PARADISE in the sky type he is talking about, which means I am really going to have to stretch my imagination about this one.

Does anyone really think about what it is like on the other side?

I honestly haven’t been concerned with the other side because it seems like an exercise in futility.  Everyone ends up there, or not, and we don’t really have a choice of what it is going to be like, or do we?

So just for the sake of the blog, I will play the game.  I imagine it to be an art store with all the supplies you can take anytime you want, in a little town with lots of charm and walking streets, no cars.  I suppose it can have a coffee house too, cause I kinda like my coffee.

No MALLS….antique stores – yes.

No grocery stores, no office buildings, no government – lots of peace and quiet….no one is allowed to talk!

Okay, I’m done…looks like my paradise is more about NOs than Yeses.

But I do have to agree with Jorge…a library of unlimited books would be AMAZING!

Journeying through life with my companions: Art, Travel, and Multiple Sclerosis

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