Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Life Is So Short

At this time of year the veil between worlds thins and we start thinking about honoring our ancestors and loved ones who have passed on at Samhain. For me it will always be especially bittersweet as it's also the time of year that my previous husband died from chemo just two days before his 53rd birthday. I did a very private ritual that year saying goodbye to him.

The year that I turned 53 I went from feeling old because I was in my 50s to realizing just how young I still am because I had just outlived him and so many others that I know who have died way too young of chemo (note that I never say they died of cancer, I'll be doing blog posts and videos about that subject another day). 

This year it's again a bittersweet time for me because my current husband and I are preparing this house to sell in the spring. I have so many memories here as my late husband was living here with his father when we met and married, then he inherited it and then I did all within a very short span of time. Gene and I only had a total of two years and eight months together from the moment we started dating until the day he died. 

My best friend and I hung out here every Saturday night and she helped me to decorate it. Then Steve and I started dating here, he moved in, we married and this house became ours. I've lived here longer than in any other house, even those I lived in with my parents. I made this house my own after I inherited it, truly making it over to fit my personality and to become my healing refuge--which then became a healing space for so many others. 

I have so many good memories here. It's not easy to leave it, but I want to return to my home state to live out my remaining years and if there's one thing I've learned, it's that life is too short and we need to live it fully and follow our dreams. 

Monday, October 1, 2018

Why I Left Facebook and Instagram

If you've been following me for a while, then you know that I've really been struggling with social media this year. I've deleted my YouTube channel, then I restarted. I purged over 200 "friends" on Facebook, some of whom I deleted in order to actually remain friends. I've been on and off Instagram twice this year alone, finally leaving it for my fourth and final time. Why?

First, I'm a Clairempath, this means that I'm greatly impacted by the energy of others. I feel you through the internet. Social media connected me in too strongly with everyone, and especially to the negativity in today's world. I feel like I live in a world gone mad and it was in my face daily.

Second, it was taking up way too much of my time. I've always been an avid reader who can't put a book down once I start it, and since joining social media networks, especially Facebook, that's become so difficult for me that I haven't been able to read two consecutive sentences without reaching for my phone to look at what's going on, see if anyone has messaged me, liked my stuff, etc. That's NOT what I want my life to be focused upon and I've tried things like deleting the apps from my phone only to put them back on, only operating from my Page but not my personal account, which is difficult because your newsfeed is what it opens to intentionally, etc. However, I just found myself Jonesing for it, my fingers and hands tingling to reach for that phone and my entire focus every few seconds going to that distracting thought and energy. 

So, I've been mulling this over for months, even saying that the only reason that I stayed was to keep in touch with friends and family who are distant and to build my business. However, I'm not really staying in touch with anyone this way and what connection we have is shallow. Sharing and commenting on each others' memes is not being in touch. 

Then I started reading The Desire Map, one of those books that has sat untouched on my bookshelf for a few years, and started thinking about how I want to FEEL on a daily basis. I realized that my addiction to social media was making me feel things I didn't want to feel and keeping me from being able to feel and do what I did want. 

Finally, my husband Steve and I had a conversation where I told him how I was feeling and that I was thinking about seriously leaving these two social media sites, and we talked about how we want to feel when we move up to NH, why we're moving there, and part of that is to escape the rat race. We want to live a quiet, peaceful life away from the type of environment we're in now. Ah, yes, the key words: away from. That was the final piece that told me that this was the right move for me. 

Yes, it's counterintuitive today to building a business, but that's not the way I want to build mine. I want true connections, deeper connections, through things like emails, phone calls and video chats instead of the shallowness of FB and IG. So I'm keeping this blog and my YouTube channel as the ways I share my voice with the world and make connections. You can also see all of my posts and videos on my G+ along with photos of my daily draws and other things going on in my world if you wish for the lighter side, the outer side, of my inner world. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Being Different

I've always walked to the beat of my own drum. I learned at a very early age not to worry about fitting in, that people would either like me or not like me and to just stick with those who like me. I was about eight when I learned that lesson the hard way. 

In high school that meant that I wasn't part of the popular crowd--and then in my early 20s I learned that part of why they didn't invite me to parties and such was because they did like me and wanted me to stay clean and good. I went to Catholic school in the late 70s and these were kids with a huge disposable income for that age so drugs were rampant. I remember kids eating LSD in the form of buttons that looked like candy out in the smoking area (yes, we had one of those then), and they were keeping me out of that kind of trouble. It gave me a different perspective on them to be told this.

When I moved from NH to PA shortly after this revelation, my father hooked me up with the daughter of a co-worker of his (as friends, not romantically) and I hung out with her and her gang of friends for a while. However, I was firmly entrenched by then in being "me" and not worrying about fitting in, and they kept telling me that I needed to change and fit in with them, so it didn't last long and in over 30 years of living here I still have few friends because this whole area is that way. 

One of the guys we hung out with told me to just keep being myself because I was pretty awesome, and that was right before my affiliation with that group ended. Years later I ran into one of the gals only to have her come up and apologize for how they treated me. She'd moved to a different state, up to New England, for a while and discovered just how awkward and lonely it can be to move to a new area and to feel like suddenly you don't fit in. 

So, with all of the talk about "authenticity" lately on YouTube, I want to put this message out there: don't worry about fitting in, don't worry about who's judging you, just be you and don't be afraid to be different. At the end of the day you go home to you and you have to feel happy about who you're with then. Honestly, no matter who you are and what you do people are going to gossip, judge and hate on you so you just can't worry about those people. Find your tribe even if it's a small one. 

Monday, August 27, 2018

Why I No Longer Enjoy My Back Patio

My back patio in PA

I was lying out on my porch swing on the back patio this afternoon looking up at the sky and wondering why I don't do so more often. It's a wonderful place to sit with a cup of tea and a book, eat breakfast and dinner, and just hang out in general while the dogs play and the chickens roam the yard. So why do I take so few opportunities to enjoy it?

One thing that hit me was that it's because I smoked out there for the first five and a half years of living here and that it's taken me seven and a half years to be able to go out there without wanting a cigarette even though nothing else triggers me anymore. That back patio is where I hung out with my late husband in his final days when he couldn't leave the house while we smoked together, it's where my friends and I hung out to smoke together and it's where I took my cigarette breaks between chores or during commercials. It was never a place that I hung out without a cigarette in hand and in breaking the old habit I never established a new one. 

When my kids smoked, or when visitors smoke, it's still the place to hang out to do so with a jar to hold the butts, so honestly it still holds that association as the smoking place. I need to break that, move the jar and make it so that it no longer holds that association. I've decided to eat my breakfast outside for the rest of the summer rather than eating it in front of the TV. I may also see if my husband will join me out there for dinner--and eat mine out there regardless. 

Yellow jackets have also been an issue out there, but don't seem to be so bad this year--maybe because of the chickens. I have a lovely back yard to enjoy in a quiet neighborhood, so it's truly a shame I haven't been doing so more often, especially as this is my last year in this house. I do resolve to do so more in my next home. If it doesn't have a back patio or a nice porch, we'll build one. 

In the meantime, I've resolved to spend more time out on this back patio for the remainder of the summer and warm weather, until it gets too cold to do so. Breakfast, tea and a book, just lying in the porch swing looking up at the clouds--whatever, just so long as I'm outside enjoying this patio! 

Monday, August 20, 2018

Is Social Media Good For Us?

These days most of us have multiple social media accounts and some of us have even made friends over social media that we never would have otherwise. The sheer amount of Facebooking, Instagramming, Tweeting, Snapchatting, etc. that happens these days is just amazing. Yet studies show that we feel more disconnected and isolated than ever.

My children can't remember what it's like to live in a world without cell phones, internet, video games and social media. This is the world in which they grew up. But I remember when we used to go rollerskating and bowling, and those were our big social events along with dances at schools--and we'd go to dances at other schools if we knew someone and got invited to go with them just so that we could meet new people. 

Because we interacted face-to-face, we were more polite. There were rules about not discussing certain inflammatory subjects because otherwise fights could break out--or at least arguments--and it would ruin everyone's day or night. But social media has broken down those barriers and now everything is up for discussion and I see a world that is rapidly becoming more divided and filled with more hatred than I've ever seen before. It's sad.

People feel free to say nasty and violent things they wouldn't have said in person--and now the younger generations feel free to do so even in person because they weren't raised with the rules of polite discourse that my generation and those before me followed. They seem to feel that people aren't real, their pain isn't real, and that being offensive is okay. I just had  an incident in a grocery store that was truly proof of this, something that wouldn't have happened 20 years ago. I'm not going into detail here, but it was just one more example of that rudeness that I see growing.

Even more alarming is the rate of suicide amongst teens because of bullying--not just in school, but on the internet over social media as well. On top of that, I saw a post today that showed a playground where someone had attached razor blades to hand grips on monkey bars and rope exercise handles so that unsuspecting children will get cut using them. The violence towards others that is increasing is very scary, and social media is partly to blame. 

I have hope still that it can also serve to spread love and positivity, as I also see stories like the one I watched today where a mom posted a video about how when the person behind her was honking rudely when she didn't move up fast enough because of retrieving her crying child's toy, she bought her coffee. She could have been rude in return, she could have just ignored it completely, but instead she chose an act of kindness as her response. I spread those stories when I see them in hopes that I can counter the rudeness and violence. 

So remember when you're on FB and IG, or Tweeting on Twitter, that you have two options and one of those is kindness. The more we choose kindness then the more we can change the world in a positive way.

Life Is So Short

At this time of year the veil between worlds thins and we start thinking about honoring our ancestors and loved ones who have passed ...