Do you Believe in the Magic of a Blue Moon?

Photo via Pinterest

Photo via Pinterest

Maybe you believe in the the alignment of the planets; maybe you don’t.

Maybe you think astrology is ridiculous at best, dangerous at worst; maybe you don’t.

Maybe you believe in the powerful energy of a full moon, especially a Blue Moon; maybe you don’t.

Me? I choose to believe.

If there’s the possibility of magic in the air I’m gonna choose to believe in that magic.

Tonight’s Blue Moon has been written up all over the internets this week. Check out this one, and here, and here. Read what you want, take what you will.

There are many ways to celebrate the Blue Moon: rituals, bonfires, ocean ceremonies. You can just stand under the moonlight in your own backyard or view it through your window. A ritual that comes from your heart and rings true for you is best. Make it simple or complex.

To me, it’s just about my intention, honoring that intention with an awareness of the vision of the moon and its energy.

This Blue Moon feels like a space to continue my month-long process of digging deep and shedding whatever it is that is weighing me down, holding me back—beliefs, thoughts, habits. Just letting them go in order to open up space for my authentic self to shine.

I wrote in my journal about it this morning. I may write a few more things on pieces of paper and burn them later tonight as I am bathed in the light of this full moon.

The point is, to keep it real. Make it have meaning for you.

At the very least, you get a magnificent view of the moon; at best you allow that energy to sweep through you, carrying away whatever it is that is holding you back.

Either way, it’s win/win.

Meditation as Bicep Curls?

I’ve resisted a regular, sustained meditation practice for years. Even when, at a retreat with Natalie Goldberg, and she pretty much guaranteed that meditating would help my writing, I still blew it off.

Even after becoming a yoga teacher, I blew it off.

Sure, I’d show up for a few days, weeks, even months but then I’d miss a day, then another and another.

I think I’ve always had this picture of how meditation should look and the way my wild mind flitted all over the place like a hummingbird on speed did not fit that picture.

In short, I felt like I failed every time I sat down.

Of course, I knew that bringing my mind back to my breath or mantra was the practice. But mostly I knew that in my head. Part of me still felt like I should get past that stage, that it was a hoop I had to jump through.

Being laid up these last few weeks, I’ve had plenty of time to meditate. And I have. Daily.

Along the way, I stumbled across this video, which I just love. First, it’s animated and takes some of the heavy seriousness out of meditation. Second, one phrase in particular has stayed with me. That each time we bring our awareness back to the present, it’s like a bicep curl for our mind.

See, the thing that I feared was failing is exactly the thing needed to strengthen my practice, my mind, my awareness.

It’s so liberating.

I no longer fight my thoughts. Each time I notice my attention has strayed, I bring it back to my breath or mantra, knowing that that moment, that moment of starting over is the whole point.

It’s not failure.

It’s the practice.

I Confess: I Binge-Watched “Younger.”

Younger

I admit it. I was prepared to hate, or at least be offended by TV Land’s original series, “Younger.”

The premise sounds like something that I, as a feminist, should loathe. Sutton Foster plays Liza Miller, a recently divorced 40-year-old looking for a job in publishing—a career she had enjoyed before taking time off to raise her daughter who is now in India for her first year of college. After going on  dozen interviews where her age trumped her qualifications or abilities, she took advice from her best friend (played by Debi Mazar) to just say she is 26.

Sure, Foster looks great for 40. Like really great. But 26? The thing you have to buy into in order to enjoy the show is what her friend tells her—that people want to believe what they are told.

So, after a mini-makeover which involved some highlights, make-up and a new wardrobe found at vintage shops, Liza lands a publishing job an assistant to a woman who resents all the 20-something girls who work for and with her. She becomes friends with an actual 26-old junior editor played by Hillary Duff. (Seriously, wasn’t she just playing lizzie Maguire?)

After allowing myself to believe that she could pass for 26, the next thing that hooked me was that they had a Joyce Carol Oates storyline happening.

Joyce Carol Oates!

So, there’s the whole book publishing, writing, author thing going on which I love. But the more I watched, the more I felt that this wasn’t just some fluffy, misogynistic crap. Sure, some of it is fluff, it is a half-hour sit-com. But they address the differences between the generations in a funny yet thoughtful manner long with the reality of aging, especially for women. And it’s given me a different view into the lives of the 20-somethings, which, as the mom of a 20-something, I appreciate.

Since Darren Star of “Sex and the City” fame is behind the creation and production of this show, it focuses on the relationship between women. There is sex and relationship angst, of course, but at its heart (and it does have heart) “Younger” is a show about women and how we can lift each other up or not. And what a loss for all when we don’t.

The Adventure of Turning 50.

Turning 50 TTB

When I turned 40, my husband and I went on a cruise to Jamaica with two other couples. My kids were 11 and eight, we had moved across the country, and I was helping my sister deal with the death of her young husband—I was being pulled in many directions. The idea of getting away from it all was very appealing. Getting away from it all in the middle of the ocean with lots of food and drinks and people was even more appealing.

Turning 50 though, that wasn’t the case. Instead of being pulled in all different directions, my kids are in the midst of going off in their own directions as they prepare to leave for college in August. I no longer felt the need to get away from it all.

I needed to pull into my self. I need to find that self to hold onto once they are gone.

So, I began searching on-line for something to do, somewhere to go by myself. I looked at retreats, white water rafting trips, yoga and meditation hikes, hot air balloon rides, parachuting, renting a small writer’s apartment in Paris.

I was obviously looking to challenge myself in some way. Shake things up, but nothing came up that was on the day of my birthday. Definitely nothing that I was willing to pay that kind of money for with two kids in college.

I let it go. It wasn’t meant to be.

Then…

(Finish reading the entire piece here.)

Expecting vs. Accepting.

Image: GotCredit / Flickr

Image: GotCredit / Flickr

Since I hurt my low back three weeks ago, then again 10 days later, I keep expecting to wake up, leap out of bed, pain free.

Sadly, that is not how it works.At least not for me.

And it’s got me thinking about what I expect versus what is reality.

I didn’t expect to pull my low back going up into shoulder stand at the end of my practice. I had to accept that that is indeed what happened. Wondering why and wishing I had just skipped that pose or that practice was not helpful. At all.

After a particularly emotional day where I cried and wrote pages upon pages, releasing years of pent up emotion, I expected to wake up pain free.

I had to accept that the healing process was going to go at its own pace. I felt a little better, sure, but there was absolutely no leaping out of bed.

After receiving a Bowen therapy treatment where I cried out of the blue then just as quickly stopped, I expected the pain to be gone with whatever it was that I had released.

I had to accept that it will probably not just disappear in one fell swoop.

I’ve had to accept that I need to rest. To ask for help. To relieve help. To slow way, way down.

Mostly, I’ve hd to accept that this happened for a reason and even if I do everything “right” it will take as long as it takes to heal.

Books Read in June

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“The Last Days of California” a novel by Mary Miller

It was Wednesday and we hadn’t even made it to Texas yet.

It’s a coming-of-age novel set on the precipice of the Second Coming. Fifteen-year-old Jess is on the road with her mother, rebellious sister and a father on a mission to save as many souls as possible before the rapture. As the trip goes on, Jess begins losing enthusiasm for their cause. Is she losing her faith as well? Dealing with all the angst that goes with being a teenager, Jess meets strangers along the way that open up her secluded world, often making her own family seem like strangers, if not herself at times.

A beautifully humane, funny and dark exploration of the complexities of family, faith, sexuality and growing up in modern times.

Favorite sentences:

My father drove faster and faster, the land so barren it was easy to imagine the world had already ended and we hadn’t heard,

I didn’t know how I could want things so badly while making it impossible to ever get them.

“One Step Too Far” a novel by Tina Seskis

The heat is like another person to push past as I make my way along the platform.

Emily Coleman seems to have it all—a happy marriage, beautiful family and home, a successful career as a lawyer. So what would make her leave it all behind, assume a new identity and disappear into the depths of London?

Told in alternating chapters of the present story and flashbacks, it is slowly revealed what exactly made her run away from a so-called perfect life.

“What Comes Next and How to Like It” a memoir by Abigail Thomas

I have time to kill while waiting for the sun to dry, and I’m mulling over the story I spent year swriting and failed to turn into anything, trying not to be depressed.

I swear, I’d read a grocery list if Abigail Thomas wrote it. Her writing is sparse, but deep, funny and heartbreaking. She gives herself no place to hide in these short chapters (some only a few sentences) and an entire life is revealed as the pieces are stitched together. Just a beautifully breathtaking exploration of her days, her past, her future, her life.

Some favorite sentences:

On sleeping in bed with her dogs: I feel like the ruler of a small, rumpled country.

I have learned to love the inside of my own head.

After a date she had great time with: I didn’t call him back: I did not spend any time wondering what I’d done wrong, or what I could or should have done differently,whether I was too old or too fat or ask too many questions. I am who I am and it has taken me a long time to get here,

The Shame of Pain.

Image. Sarah via Flickr

Image: Sarah via Flickr

I was going to start this post with this sentence:

I hurt my back.

But that feels like I am blaming myself. Which I was when it first happened 15 days ago. How could I have let this happen? What did I do wrong? How stupid of me.

I didn’t tell many people. When I realized that I hadn’t posted about this at all on social media, I had to ask myself why.

The answer?

At first it was that I was embarrassed. Here I am, a yoga teacher, and something happened to my back going into shoulder stand. But as I dug deeper, it felt more like shame. Shame that I had let this happen. Shame that I was bedridden. Shame that I was letting my students down. My fellow teachers down. Shame that I felt I was letting my family down by not being able to care for them.

Brené Brown says that guilt is I did something bad. Shame is that I AM bad.

Big difference.

Shame is slimy. And heavy. And I couldn’t understand why it was slithering around me now. So, I dug deeper. After all, being in bed gives one much time to ponder.

I have been a stay-at-home mom for almost 22 years. Over the years I’ve brought in varying amounts of money through writing, teaching writing, teaching yoga and graphic design. Since it’s always been extra money, I realized that I place much of my “value” on being able to take care of my family, take care of the house, take care of all the logistics of our daily lives.

Being unable to do my normal routine left me feeling like my value was suffering. Ridiculous, I know. Truly, my logical, conscious brain knows that. But I’m dealing with that sneaky subconscious part of my brain.

And I am dealing with it. Confronting its lies, the stories it weaves all designed to make me feel small and less than.

I’ve been using this time to write in my journal, meditate, practice self-Reiki and EFT and I am churning up a lot of stuff, stuff I will continue to post about as I process it all.

For now, I know that I am not to blame for what happened. That it doesn’t make me less than. I didn’t cause the pain. I am experiencing the pain. It happened for a reason. It’s got me doing some deep inner work.

I feel like I am peeling back and shedding layers and layers of crap.

I feel light.

I feel aligned.

I feel present to it all:

      The pain.

      The moment.

      My feelings.

      My life.

Days 16 & 17 of 30-Day Creativity Challenge

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“Creativity is the quality that you bring to the activity that you are doing. It is an attitude, an inner approach – how you look at things . . . Whatsoever you do, if you do it joyfully, if you do it lovingly, if your act of doing is not purely economical, then it is creative.” ~ Osho

Day 16 ~ Created artwork for Quotable Tuesday.

Day 17 ~ Wrote 13 handwritten pages including morning pages, scenes for WIP and work with “The Writer’s Portable Mentor.”  Also designed new business cards:

New BC front

New BC back 2

#createonceadayfor30days