That Comfortable Place


ImageImageSometimes my mind replays like a home movie. Summer time and being a kid always snaps me right back to my grandma’s at Lake Washington. My cousin Pammy was my first best friend and we would spend a few weeks together each year there, and I always had “Summer” to look forward to. Back then, the simple things filled me up with such contentment and joy. If only I could bottle those moments and take a swig every time I needed to feel that feeling again.

Funny how later, I let other things get in the way of those trips. I think that I was about sixteen and driving the first year I missed Seattle because of boys and jobs and other things I thought were more important back then. Now, I would give anything to recapture some of those moments for just a few days in my life.

I remember the smell of coffee and the first rays of sunlight flooding my room as I would pad down the stairs on those lazy summer mornings. Our days were not filled with anything special. Most were just hanging out and swimming and exploring the nearby woods. Sometimes I would invent adventures that my cousin usually was a willing participant in. We could spend hours planning shows and making tickets for our parents who would be the audience whether they liked it or not, or walking to the nearby store and sometimes sneaking to the lake instead.

Every empty building held a story that I would make up. The old girl’s boarding school, now all boarded up, held stories of characters that I would build adventures around. The big old corner house at the end of the block was definitely haunted. As well as the Synagogue around the block and our grandma’s basement! I was a writer and my imagination was my pen and my sweet little cousin a willing reader.

Today, those memories are like old books on a shelf, stories tucked inside the pages, not forgotten but hazy from time and space. Once opened, the scent of the pages and the joy of remembering seem to snap you into another time and place. Much like today. It is summer. So many decades later, and I want it all back. I want to go down the rabbit hole and spend my day in yesterday where our biggest problem was what bathing suit to wear to the pool.

This last weekend, I spent a few days visiting my childhood best friend. I met my daughter up there and we bunked together. I realize more and more how my baby reminds me so much of my little cousin and realize that I actually have “made” my own best friend! I enjoy her so much and love the quirky, crazy wonderful, fun, talented person she is becoming! It was so much fun having a slumber party with her for just a few days. Each night we would talk until the wee hours of the night… about silly memories and important things, about things that made us laugh till we cried and other things that just made us cry.  It reminded me of that comfortable place I shared with my cousin so many years ago. And for a tiny moment, I was transported back to those lazy summer nights where nothing mattered and yet every minute was the most important of all and it made me treasure the fact that every moment is what you make it.

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Hole Fillers


We all have “containers” in life and we all find different ways to fill them. The idea is to fill them with purpose. Things that make our life better. As we fill our containers, the level rises. Just educating ourselves about ourselves begins to plug up those holes that we have made over the years. Some people use people, others use drugs or alcohol or food to fill the holes and what hurts us usually only helps to make our holes bigger.

Spiritual and emotional growth and a whole host of other goals  are all the things that help  fill the holes and raise the level in our containers. It has taken me years to recognize the good and the bad things I use in my own life to raise the level and the task at hand is becoming more aware of the difference which is a work in progress. I know that for me, writing is a huge hole filler.

My book is sitting in a file just a “click” away and I am totally procrastinating by coming here to share my thoughts. I look at it as priming the pump, or perhaps stretching before  a  workout! But I know I need to get back to it. Why am I stuck? Could it be because, I am afraid to finish? If I finished, I would have to submit it. If I submit it, I am vulnerable. I can’t be rejected if I don’t present the question for someone to say yes or no.

Recently, I have been taking more chances in my life. The kind of chances that come with the possibility of rejection attached. Sometimes it has paid off and at other times I have had to face that vulnerability and it has sucked. Rejection is not the most comfortable place to be. But hey “no” is just a tiny word from a little person in my BIG world. I can make that rejection fill my world and make it bigger than it needs to be or I can brush my shoes off and move on to the next possibility and even bigger opportunity.  Sometimes I have forgotten that God is the captain of my ship. And I am the one He has put in charge of His vessel and have to remember NO ONE else is in charge here. No one! I can get opinions from other people until I am drowning in them but ultimately, in the end, I know that I am the one who steers this ship.

I have waited long enough for others to make things happen for me. In turn, I have found myself “stuck.” Only I can make things happen for me. The opportunities aren’t going to come and find me. I am going to believe in me enough to finish that book, to submit it and get a thousand rejections if it will get me to that one finish line where I actually finish the race.

It is always hard to take that first step… Go back to school, apply for a new job, start a new health regimen, or just a new attitude! And perhaps finish a book you have been writing for years! We have power in our own choices. We fill our own containers. We even fill the holes as we figure out what they are, until someday…. Our containers are spilling over!

Say Cheese Please


An emoticon with a smile. For more emoticons i...
An emoticon with a smile. For more emoticons in Wikipedia, see Wikipedia:Emoticons. 32px|alt=W3C|link=http://validator.w3.org/✓ The source code of this SVG is valid. Category:Valid SVG (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I was in Junior High POW bracelets and happy face buttons were the rage. Funny, how I can connect two things that  are polar opposites. War and happiness. But maybe that is today’s metaphor for my life.Recently, my husband told me that he loves my smile and yet it looks as if I am always fighting against it, smiling that is. After trying to decide if that was a compliment or a creatively disguised dig, I decided to give him a pass and to really contemplate his words.

From as far back as I can remember, I think I have fought happiness. Just looking  back at the old black and white photos I have of myself as a kid,  I do tend to find more with a silly, half grin than a full on smile. And it makes me sad. Because I don’t think I ever allowed myself to fully experience joy from a very early age.

Lately, I have been on a quest to go back and get that kid and bring her home to the place that she belongs. With all of her disappointments and insecurities, I am not sure if I really want to. And yet I don’t think I have a choice nor can I ever really live in “me” until I do. Inviting this younger version of myself back into my life to really dig deep and explore some of the things I never have about myself is about as comfortable as inviting that obstinate step child who doesn’t want to be anywhere, least of all anywhere near you, to live with you!

As I look inside of myself, back, back, back, into a time in my life where there was joy and harmony, I find a kid with a grape juice stained mouth and a pile of books. I loved my grape juice and my books! I flash on sitting on the counter baking with my mom and can even still smell the glue as I remember watching my dad retile the tile in our bathroom. I remember rides in the car and the Drive in and picking berries on a summer day out in the woods in Washington. I remember feeding the ducks and moving to California and meeting my bestfriend who I have remained best friends with over the decades. And I smile.

But somewhere along the way, that kid got disappointed and things happened in her life that caused her to have a hard time trusting anyone let alone her self,  she felt hurt and misunderstood over and over and over again and re-visiting the parts of her pain  is not the easiest task at hand. Getting to know the younger version of yourself is about as comfortable as inviting that obstinate step child on a wonderful vacation. But we all need to go there. To interrupt our lives and explore the parts of us that never integrated into our adult self. If we don’t that kid will continually pop back into our life when we are least expecting them. They always seem to appear in the form of anger, or  fear or in the deepest part of our sorrow.

I have a feeling my childish self is not going to come or go quietly. She may even go kicking and screaming but I need to trust myself that it is going to be okay. It will be okay for her too. She is safe now, inside of the adult me. I have finally begun to trust myself and to quit relying on everyone else to make it better. To stop living in the past and finally take my own steps into the future. To trust myself and learn to love me and believe in me and KNOW that what I feel about me is enough. I am the boss of me. Well, of course God is the boss of me, but you know what I mean. I have been giving that power to everyone else in my life and I am taking it back from EVERYONE and only giving it to God and me! And I am empowered and the child in me calms and begins to relax in the knowledge that somebody else is in control now.

For so long, I have doubted everything about myself. My intelligence & abilities, my wisdom and even my morals and my own character and just when I fell into the darkest place of my life, that is when I began to see the light, as if lost in a cave, dark and damp, only to find the hope of a ray of light through the cracks. That is where I am now. I have found the light. I may not totally be out of the cave yet but I see the way out and I am going to beat the myth of being stuck in my child. Instead I am going to invite her to come into the light with me and find the joy. I am strong enough and smart enough and brave enough to guide her right to the light where she belongs.

I am going to stop fighting the smile. To believe  in the dream  that it really is okay to genuinely be happy and take new photographs and to smile really big.  And…“Say cheeeeese.” To let everyone know I am happy and that I don’t have to fight it any longer.

Flying Monkeys


The Yellow Brick Road's spiral origins in the ...
The Yellow Brick Road’s spiral origins in the 1939 film (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An illustration by W. W. Denslow from The Wond...

Once upon a time in a world  where I still believed that there was somewhere over the rainbow where people never died and cotton candy couldn’t make you fat cuz it was “fat free” there lived a girl who didn’t believe that Oz was just a little man behind the curtain. I think I watched that movie a dozen times before I realized that there really wasn’t a great and powerful OZ. I remember back in the day, before there was such a thing as videos or dvds and The Wizard of Oz was a special event in many homes. It usually  was shown around Thanksgiving and I remember when we still lived in the Midwest, and came in from a day filled with snow and sledding to watch it by the fire with piping hot mugs filled with steamy hot chocolate, wondering if this time, they would find OZ, forgetting that you could really find everything you were looking for in your own back yard.

Since then, I have continued my own quest for courage and a heart and oh if I only had a brain…I have yet to find a yellow brick road or be guided by the likes of friendly little people down a path attempting to reach the unattainable but I can’t help but suspect that I may have really met up with a wicked old witch a time or two during my journey and have been tempted to throw water on one or two of them to see if they would actually melt! But in the end, I almost missed  the whole message that it’s really about finding it all in your own back yard.

The question is what am I looking for? I think it has changed over the years. I know I definitely was looking for love and thought I found it  a few times. I definitely could have used that  brain during those times and the courage to use it. But hey, when you have those flying monkeys darting at you, it is hard to think!

Actually, I think the paradigm of finding it all in our own back yards was not so much  finding anything but a state of mind. To finally rest in the knowledge of that  place  inside us all, where  we can love and not be scared and not need anyone’s approval but our own