Future Now

photo (6)As I write this, my beautiful dog Janet is resting close besides me.She has been my loving companion for most of her 14 years.I found out a couple weeks ago that she has a tumor in her bladder.This does not come as a complete surprise.She has shown signs of health problems for the last couple months.I have opted to use anti-inflamatory medication at this time but given her age, I will not be seeking out surgery for her.This is the first animal of mine that I was given the luxury of time.Every other one of my dog and cat “children” were in crisis situations where I had to make a painful decision right then and there.

Many of us have said, “If only I knew sooner” or “If only I had more time.” Now I have a little of both.The dilemma is, how do I make the most of it?

This brings up another conundrum for me.We are encouraged to live life in the present.The past is gone, the future may never come, so live in the present.(I don’t know who said it but it makes good sense.)Here’s something to consider.What if, like me, you are intuitive.You are sensitive to what the future may hold.You may not be able to find lost children or pick the winning lottery numbers but you definitely get strong “gut feelings” or intuitive” hits”.Like me, you have learned they are reliable.Instead of blowing them off, you listen.How do you honor what your intuition is telling you about the future while staying grounded in the present?

When I wrote my first blog post, “Animal Shelter Reality Check”, I was struggling with whether or not to adopt a second dog.Janet was a huge part of this consideration.I wasn’t really sure if I was ready for a second dog and I was enjoying the comfortable place I was in.I knew it couldn’t be forever though.Now I can see my instincts were spot on.

Dealing with a dog is one thing but what about a human being?I have had this sense with family members, too.Granted they were older and it wasn’t “out of the blue” but I still had to honor these feelings.I am not saying that there is no hope and that every health challenge ends in death.Actually, not every intuitive”hit” is for something that serious.Sometimes it can be for something lighter or more pleasant.

Have you ever met someone and knew that you were going to be friends?Have you ever met two people and thought, ” they should be friends” or ” they would make a good couple”? Sometimes it would seem just like common sense, or better yet, paying attention.My husband and I have a friend, Billy, that works at Gruhn’s Guitars in Nashville.Before that he was in a job situation that he struggled with.I knew eventually he would end up at Gruhn’s.He belonged at Gruhn’s.It didn’t matter to me that there weren’t any job openings at the time, I knew that is where he was headed.Sure enough, he eventually found a position and has been there for quite a few years now.

In Florence Scovel Shinn’s book, “The Game of Life and How To Play it”, she says that intuition does not explain how, it simply points the way.

Isn’t that the truth. We get a piece of information or, inspiration if you will, and we may toss it out because it just doesn’t fit into our present circumstances.Like the lost earing I wrote about a couple posts ago, we get only a piece of the puzzle and it seems useless.We may be tempted to give up or discard it.DON’ T

There are two things to consider here.One is taking action and the other is not taking action.They can be equally as distressing. If there is a step you should take, do it.It may be very simple and seemily insignificant.Do it anyway.You will feel better.If there is no action to take, maybe it is just something to be aware of for the future.That can be even more daunting and we may be tempted to force an outcome.DON’T.Either way, you may not want to tell other people.You may want to just file that information in your mind.

One thing that is very important, which may go without saying, is to always acknowledge your feelings.You may not be able to act on these feelings in the present moment but they are still important.I imagine we all know someone who is highly sensitive and intuitive but a little unstable( at least I do).They may immediately say, “this person is no good” or “I have this great idea” but they don’t know how to handle that information.If you get the sense that someone’s intentions are questionable, you can keep that in mind, take action to protect yourself, and they usually will show there colors in the end.There is no reason to fly off the handle making seemingly unreasonable accusations.If you have a great idea, it may take others time to come around to your way of thinking.Don’t expect everyone to jump on board all at once.They may not see what you see.

Intuition is a gift and a skill.We all have it.Some don’t acknowledge it and some don’t know how to handle it but we all have it.The trick is to pay attention.

For the moment, I am giving Janet medication, watching her diet, and trying some alternative remedies.Every day is a blessing.Every moment is precious.I take extra time to let her know how much I love her and can’t resist throwing my arms around her neck and kissing her head.I had a dream last night that she was shot in the face but, remarkably, still lived even though she was expected to die.My heart just ached for her then as it does now.Could that be a sign of things to come? I am going to file that one away.

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Inside Out

photoOver the recent months, I have taken a slight step back in my life.There are quite a few things, “under construction” and have been for a long time.The difference now is that I am more aware of the importance of starting construction from inside out.

It is not like I have never looked within or worked on my inner self before.I really have.In fact, I honestly would like to work on the “outside” more.The things people can see.Visible things.I am beginning to see that those start from within too.

During the past year, I have had a better grasp on what it means to love yourself.It is something I had heard before but never deeply understood on an emotional level.People would tell me I was too hard on myself.I heard what they were saying but I really didn’t get it.I didn’t cut myself any slack.For example, when I started teaching yoga, it was a completely different experience for me.I had never taught before even though I suspected I had an instinct for it.There was a great deal to learn.When you start something new, especially as an adult, it’s difficult to start from the bottom.Your going to make mistakes.Your going to recieve criticism.One thing I realized is that not everyone knows how to give criticism.Sometimes people come off snotty or condesending without knowing it.Well, okay sometimes people are snotty and condesending and don’t really care.That is just the truth.Let’s be honest.It can be a challenge to take the criticism, see it for what it is, and not take it personally.When you love yourself, it becomes easier.You can listen more and not be so defensive.Then you begin to see people around you who don’t have any self love and it makes more sense.They are”running on empty” and looking for something external to build them up.Unfortunately, this can cause those people to tear others down in an attempt to feel better about themselves.It never works.

I have worked in restaurants most of my life.It’s hard, often thankless, work but it has supported my art and let me tell you, I have learned a lot about people as a result.I have watched people walk in who have already decided that they are going to have a miserable experience and there is very little, if anything, you can do about it.Come to think of it, teaching can be like that too.Actually, anything can be like that.I have played shows where the audience, or someone in the audience, was not going to have a good time.The thing about music is that it touches you on a deep level.I have seen people literally get up and leave as soon as things start rolling.Once others start enjoying themselves, getting on their feet, and dancing, they hit the door.Then the show really starts.If you are miserable with yourself and your life, it taints all your experiences.Again, from the inside out.

I once heard a psychologist friend of mine talking about how the work that you do on yourself in counseling is something no one can take away from you.I am beginning to see that more and more.When I was younger and struggling with suicidal depression, I  really didn’t see the point in counseling.I guess I wasn’t open to it.I took more of a spiritual route which did help, no doubt.Nevertheless, you can be familiar with certain spiritual truths and not really know them.I could accept that God loved me, at least on a mental level, but I had no idea what that really meant unless I was in some state of bliss or euphoria.Those moments can be fleeting.They come and go.It takes time to renew your mind, recondition yourself, and unlearn many of the messages we have received from our upbringing or society.

This is where I am now.I am in the process of weeding out those ideas about myself that seem stuck to my subconscious like a layer of silt.That brings me to an amusing story from my childhood.Many, many, years ago, my aunt and uncle gave my family a television set because, as they said, there was “something wrong with the picture.” In those days, my uncle was fond of smoking cigars.Wouldn’t you know it, my mother wiped down the picture screen and removed a layer of film left by the smoke.The picture was much clearer after that.

I haven’t thought of that story for a long time but it seems to illustrate how our vision can be clouded.It takes some effort on our part to remove the layers and limitations that can accumulate on our mind and heart.These can be a result of our environment and we don’t even realize what has “stuck” to us and it isn’t even us.Unlike the T.V. screen, it is more of an inside job.We polish our “mind’s eye” and can view our lives , and others in our lives, with more clarity.

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Lost Earrings and The Ghost of New Year’s Resolutions Past

photo (5)I love jewelry but I seldom wear or purchase expensive things because I have a tendency to lose them.This is especially the case with earrings.Perhaps I should work on that.Oh well, that isn’t the point right now.Here’s the point.When I lose an earring it can be annoying because I am stuck with one earring and I am not going to wear one without the other.That is just me.The sight of the matchless earring just makes me sad or upset.I hate to keep it around.On the other hand, I can’t immediately chuck the single earring because the lost one could turn up.In fact, this has happened a few times recently.

A couple weeks back, I lost an earring.It wasn’t valuable but I liked these earrings and got compliments on them.”Uggh,” I thought, “here we go again.” I dreaded the sight of the lonely earring but I kept it around because the other could turn up.That is what happened with another pair that I love and I am grateful I held out.After a couple days I was close to throwing the single earring away. “No,” I thought, “give it a little more time.” So I did.

The following week I lost a pendant.It was my favorite one, in fact.At this point, I am angry.I am angry at myself for being such a dumb ass. “Well maybe it’s in the car somewhere, I’ll check there,”I said to myself.I went into the car, dug around, looked on the floor, and under the seat.

Wait,what’s this?

Lo and behold, it was my long,  lost earring.Okay, so I didn’t find the pendant but I found the earring which was cause for celebration in itself.I am glad I kept the other one.

There’s a moral here.

It can be tough to hang on to one earring, waiting for the other to turn up.It can be like that in life.We experience a loss ,set back or disappointment and want to throw in the towel.We lose hope.

A couple posts back in “Commitments and Setbacks”, I talked about marathon training.I got behind and wanted to give up but decided to stick it out.I decided to just focus on finishing the race and commit to the training, regardless of the outcome.My running began to improve as a result.Lo and behold, the marathon was cancelled because of bad weather.Whoa! When does that ever happen? I am planning to run in New Orleans in February, as many Memphis runners are.We were given the option of transfering our registration.Now I have more time to train than expected. The thing is, if I didn’t already commit to the training with the intention of running in December, it wouldn’t really have helped.I would have been back to square one.It would have been like throwing away the other earring.

With 2013 coming to a close, I am reviewing the year and setting intentions for the New Year.I keep a journal so I thought I might  pull out an old one, just for a laugh, to see what last year’s resolutions looked like.HMMM…..

Okay, a couple things last year would look a little like what I would write this year, with a few revisions.For one thing, last January I gave up drinking alcohol for 30 days.That was less of a resolution and more of a challenge.Did I do it? I most certainly did.Was it sucessful then? Yes and no.It was a good test of discipline but it really didn’t seem to make much of a difference.After the 30 days in January, I decided to give up gluten in February and THAT was the ticket.Other than a few mishaps, I have been gluten free and it’s made a big difference.It was kind of an unexpected victory.I would still like to cut back on alcohol, though.

Another was practicing guitar every day.Okay so I didn’t keep with that BUT I started taking lessons,  practicing more regularly, and seeing improvement so there was that.This year I would like to continue.

Last year I said I wanted to have a green smoothie every day.I didn’t stick with that BUT I did get my juicer up and running again and started having juices as well as the occasional smoothie.This year, I have already decided on more raw food in my diet.I just made some sprouted lentil salad and picked up some spirulina as well.

I said I wanted to do yoga everyday whether in class or at home.I didn’t do that BUT I started running again and training for a marathon.It has cut into my yoga practice some so I hope to balance it out more this year.Nevertheless,I know running a marathon (and training for one) has been on a resolution list somewhere at sometime.

I guess you could say that I am seeing a pattern.Things didn’t go exactly as planned but I made improvements.It wasn’t a total loss.It wasn’t a failure.I can actually learn from what worked and what didn’t.Some people say that making New Year’s Resolutions is a waste of time and you shouldn’t do them.I disagree.I DO think you should keep them recorded somewhere so you can review what you did.In my case it was really an eye opener.More often than not, people give up on their resolutions when they don’t go as planned.I think it’s important to start the New Year looking at what went right instead of what went wrong.Even if it wasn’t a resolution, I am sure everyone can look over the past year and see that there were positive changes and growth.

This year I want to “tighten up” last years goals and maybe add a few more.I will continue with what I already have done and build on it.

Take it from me, don’t throw away the earring.Hold on just a little longer.It could still turn up.Learn from mistakes, make adjustments, and don’t give up just yet.If you failed in previous years, ask yourself why.Maybe you suceeded somewhere else, somewhere unexpected.

Keep the faith.

Happy New Year!!

 

 

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Being Fully Present

GetAttachmentI was listening to Hay House Radio today and Robert Holden was talking about how important it is to be fully present in our lives.Many times we think that there is something missing in our lives and that something is us.It reminded me of the famous quote by Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world”

This is not the first time I heard this message because the podcast was on re-broadcast.The first time was right before taking a brisk 5 mile run on Thanksgiving Day.I usually take the dogs out first as a warm up.As I was walking the dogs,  and later stretching, I can remember hearing the same words.He was talking to a caller but he could have been talking to me personally.I went on to have a glorious run and forgot all about the message until today.

With the New Year approaching, I am always very conscious of working on positive changes.Truth be told, I really have made positive changes over the years.I know that real and tangible changes are possible.I also know that making a general change like “being fully present”, though seemingly vague, can be brought into all areas of one’s life.

 

I posted recently about making time and creating space.This could be the third installment, a trilogy if you will.First, make the time to do things, create space for those things to happen, and most importantly, be fully present throughout the process.Now I realize that there are some days that just showing up is about all you can manage.During times of stress, illness, or tragedy it’s all you can do to put one foot in front of the other.I get that.Let me explain.

When I started this blog, I was a complete novice and still am, in fact.I am constantly bombarded with thoughts ( and sometimes unwanted comments) that bring that to my attention.I have a deep rooted fear of “doing it wrong” so to speak ( whatever the HELL that means!) What I am beginning to understand is that doing something wrong, flawed, or incorrectly can be preferable to doing nothing at all.Inactivity teaches you nothing.You can’t live and learn if you don’t live.Living can bring pain but it can also bring joy and many times you can’t have one without the other.

Frankly, the hardest thing for me to bear lately is disappointment.Why? There has just been so much of it in my life that it is a stinging, painful wound.I have been holding back.

     There,I said it. 

I have been afraid to invest myself fully for fear of disappointment.The wounded person inside seems to whine, “but how do you know this time will be different?” There really is no way of knowing for sure.

Several years ago I talked to a counselor about several issues one of which was drinking alcohol.I was concerned about my drinking but, truth be told, did not see myself as an alcoholic.She didn’t either, actually.She encouraged me to get away from the heavy idea of alcoholism and consider taking a short break from drinking in favor of being 100 percent present.HMMM….I shared this with a couple friends, and even some of those who struggle with drinking themselves.It got their attention.”Wow, 100 percent present,” they mused.Since then I have had short periods of abstinance from alcohol but I have not necessarily been as successful with being 100 percent present.

What, then is being 100 percent present? Giving your 100 percent effort, for sure.If you aren’t giving 100 percent, then why not?Do you have reservations? Are you afraid of something or are you practicing “self care?” Knowing how to say NO is as much a part of being present as saying YES if you are clear on why.Many times I feel limited in my time and energy.This becomes more apparent as I get older.Work smarter-not harder is a familiar theme for me.Then again, do I use that as an excuse? Maybe, at times, it can be a smokescreen for resentment.

I can’t do everything and I sure as HELL can’t do everything right all the time.So what? As my husband is fond of saying, “Perfection is the idol of failures.” Translation-failures make excuses, wait for ideal conditions and circumstances, and then bemoan their lousy luck instead of just going for it.By the way, perfect is relative.Perfect by whose standards? If Chuck Berry was a perfect jazz musician we might not have one of the most influential rock and roll guitarists of all time.

All this is well and good but when it comes to the real challenge, can I do it? I think so.A good place to begin is to look at what I have been avoiding and why.It means feeling my feelings.It could mean asking myself, “Am I here right now or have I checked out?”

So there you have it.At the risk of using a bad pun, why not give the gift of being fully present this holiday season? (HA! there I said it.. )In fact,  it is a gift you give yourself AND others in your life and in your world.

It truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

Peace and Love.Merry Christmas XOXO

Anne

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Art and Life

 

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I am facinated and intrigued by art that is rooted and grounded in actual circumstances or experiences.I guess I am primarily refering to writing as it is expressed in songs, books, screeenplays, etc.In my opinion, this is why we relate to it.This is why it touches us.This is what makes us think, feel, laugh, cry, wonder, or imagine.We’ve been there or someplace close to there.Maybe we would like to go there because we feel it really exists.

In today’s world, we seem to want to deny real life of define it how we think it should be instead of how it really is. For example, when I listen to music or watch films or television from the 1960’s or 70’s, I can see how the lives and stories of actual people or events were celebrated, even in the mainstream.This was a big change from the previous years.Now it seems like a return to a more fabricated view of reality.I am not talking about SciFi or Fantasy here.Sometimes those scenarios can be more plausible than your average T.V. sitcom or romantic comedy.

About a month ago, my husband and I went out of town with a couple other musicians to play a friend’s wedding.While we were packing up to leave our hotel room the next day, we had C.M.T. on the television.I don’t have cable T.V. at home so I catch up a little with what’s going on when we stay at a hotel.I knew that the Country Music industry had lost touch with their roots a long time ago ( I used to live in Nashville) but it seems to have gotten more ridiculous as of late.Country Music used to be about people.The songs were rich with human experience.Watching these videos, I don’t know if I could tell you much about the meaning of these songs.Well okay, one was about picking up a chick at a bar, another about hanging out on a lake with friends, and another about getting with some girl in a cornfield ( I guess that is what makes it country.) There was one song I recognized that was predictable and cliche but still listenable.It was also about 8 years old.The visual aspect was glossy and appealing to the eyes.There were well dressed and half dressed men and women driving fine cars,  smiling, laughing, and trying desperately to look sexy.Watching this made me feel empty and sluggish not unlike eating some processed food.Just writing about it drains me because I don’t know what to say that hasn’t already been said.Maybe it’s best to leave it alone.

I suppose art can be whatever you want it to be.In my world, it should make you feel alive.Entertainment, which can be an art in itself, can do this too.

If art comes from life than wherever we are at this moment is overflowing with potential.I have to remind myself that everyday.Overhearing conversations while standing on line, observing people around us, and relishing everyday experiences can be the inspiration for songs, poems, films, you name it.In fact, if you search it out, you will find many fictional stories have a solid basis in real life.For example, I was watching a documentary about the BBC television comedy “Are You Being Served?” which I am a fan of.The show ran from 1972 to 1985 and was an unexpected success.One of the shows creators had worked a short time at a department store which, no doubt, helped him create the idea for the show and it’s characters.No one had ever done a show about a department store and it wasn’t easy to sell the idea to the network.I don’t think anyone would have said, “Let’s do a show about a department store” if they hadn’t actually worked in one.The thought probably wouldn’t have crossed their minds.

I think that real life experiences mirrored in art have an aroma to them not unlike a home cooked meal. It may prepared with simple ingredients that have distinct flavors and textures that are comforting, and nourishing.Many times I can view my life as boring and unremarkable.In reality ( no pun intended) nothing could be further from the truth.This respect for reality has to begin with me by having a willingness to embrace each day, moment to moment, and appreciate it for what it is.

There is a verse that comes to mind.Proverbs 13:23  “Much food is in the fallow ground of the poor, and for lack of justice there is waste “While we are being bombarded with celebrity gossip and tabloid journalism, there are so many meaningful, powerful stories in the lives of ordinary people that are overlooked and ignored.We just need to scratch a little below the surface.

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Creating Space

GetAttachmentThis is a companion to the post “Making Time.” I am refering to two things that are similar yet one is dynamic and the other magnetic.One is active and the other is passive ( at least in my mind.) I am proposing that when you make time for something, it is with the intention of doing something with that time.Creating space is a little different.When you create space,  it is to allow for something to happen.It can be a little more daunting when you are used to doing, doing, doing.

When you get rid of old things that are no longer useful to you or serving your highest good, you are creating space for new and better things.It can be clothes, a relationship, a job, or even a way of thinking.Many times we struggle with letting go of what is old and familiar because we are afraid there is nothing new and better to take it’s place.Actually,  it is more about waiting to see what presents itself rather than forcing an outcome.Maybe we do need to take action as in the case of my first post  “Animal Shelter Reality Check.” Losing my dog Jasper left a hole in my heart and my household.I had a difficult time imagining what a new dog would be like.Now I can’t imagine my life without Beulah.Did she replace Jasper? Of course not.He was irreplacable.I had to create space for something new, or someone new, in my life.I had to be willing first.

When I was in the ninth grade, my english teacher, Mr.Reilly told us about an article in Reader’s Digest that he recommended we check out.It was about spending a hour a day, first thing in the morning, with God.Now Mr.Reilly wasn’t an overtly religious man ( think of a more conservative version of Dr.Wayne Dyer.) I don’t know if a public school teacher could get away with mentioning something like that today.I checked out the article all the same.It talked about sitting in the silence just being there.There wasn’t a nod to any specific religion or spiritual practice.There wasn’t a formula or plan involved.It wasn’t an active meditation either.On the surface it could seem useless or a waste of time.I never forgot that article.I looked it up on Google recently and found it.It read very much the same as I remembered it.

Creating space in our lives for new things can feel useless at first.Shouldn’t we be doing something? Creating space can feel empty and even a little lonely.It is essential though.Unless you open your hands, your mind, and your heart there is no place for a new thing to grow.You can even ” make time” without really creating space.A few weeks ago,I sat down to practice some of my songs for an upcoming show I was doing.I just wasn’t feeling it, really.Everthing felt kind of leaden and stale.I hate to say that about my own material.Then again it wasn’t the songs, it was me and my approach.I backed off a little.I gave more and different attention.I couldn’t make it perfect.It was going to be what it was.It needed some breathing room, the material I mean.Actually maybe it was me that needed the breathing room.

I am closing in on the marathon I signed up for some months ago.I am, as I said before,  somewhat behind in my training.Yesterday my goal was to run 20 miles but I stopped at 15.Why? I just felt like it was time to stop.I could have pushed through a couple more miles for sure but since I am a firm believer in trusting my instincts and listening to my body, I backed off.My longest run was last week at 18 miles.Now I am reading the “experts” say that you need to taper off your training as the race day gets closer.Maybe my instincts were right.I really wish I had made it to 20 though.My husband said, ” You have to remind yourself why you are doing this.” He is right.This is my first marathon and my goal is to finish.Tapering is like creating space because your giving your body a chance to prepare for the race by getting proper rest and nutrition while you are cutting back on the miles.It is difficult psychologically, though.You always think you could have done more ( especially in my case.)

One of the most challenging times we face is when we create space for something new and we are not sure what the “right thing” is.We may know what we don’t want and or/what is not working.We are afraid to take a chance, make a step for fear of making a mistake or wasting time.One thing that has worked for me in the past is to make a list of what I do know.For example…

    I know  I don’t want to be stuck in an unhealthy relationship. I know  I want to make use of my gifts and talents

    I know   I made this decision because of…( whatever circumstances)

Sometimes we can act busy in an attempt to fill up an uncomfortable feeling of uncertainty.I don’t know anything about that….NOT! Remember busy isn’t always productive.

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Making Time

 

 

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Commitment and Setbacks

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I signed up for the St. Jude Marathon several months ago.The full marathon.Let me just say I haven’t been a regular runner for a number of years and even when I was, I was never that great.I have run a half marathon and several 5k’s but that is it.This is a goal I have had for a long time so I decided to go for it.I figured that making a solid commitment would get me on my legs.Needless to say my training has not gone as planned.For one thing, I am doing this minimalist style which takes a little extra time to get used to.I have had to experiment with different shoes, techniques, and exercises.For another thing, I am balancing running with practicing yoga.It is difficult psychologically to back off from the yoga some to make room for something new.A new activity requires extra attention, humility, and patience.  Actually, part of why I am doing this is to see how the yoga will benefit the running and vice versa.

When I started training a couple months ago, I strained my achilles tendon on my left leg.This set me back a week or two but it also spooked me.Would I really be able to do this? I continued to train but carefully and somewhat  hesitantly.When I was first getting back I would back off at the first sign of pain and walk a bit.Then, at a friends suggestion, I started to add walk breaks as a precaution at regular intervals.This DID help.I was able to prevent further injury and build up my miles some but still not as quickly as I  had hoped.Meanwhile time is going by and I seemed to be falling further behind in my training.

 This when I started to doubt if I should be doing this at all.

A couple weeks ago, I made the decision to give up on my goal of running this marathon.This made me feel dead inside but it made sense.I was too far behind.I shared this with one friend and I could see she was visibly disappointed.”But you were so pumped to do it,” she said.I felt sad.Then I heard about a co-worker that was diagnosed with cancer and it wasn’t looking good.It wasn’t looking good in part because he wasn’t really dealing with it.He wasn’t changing his behavior any which is, in a sense, like giving up.There are no guarantees in life.You can’t control your circumstances only your reaction to them.Then it dawned on me that I couldn’t give up on this race.How could I say I believed in this  #$%@&  if I wasn’t practicing it? It dawned on me that I had as much chance of finishing this race, in my mind, as beating cancer.I nearly laughed out loud.” So what?” I thought, “Just go for it.”

I started looking online at different sites for marathon training.Not the typical, established ones but sites that posted “train for a marathon in 2 months” or “how I trained for a marathon in one month.” They could be a little extreme.What I gleaned from them was that I would have to take walk breaks through every water station, I would have to learn to refuel on the course, and I would have to be sure to stay hydrated.The bottom line was that if I didn’t care about my time or what I looked like, it was possible.That was all I needed.

As the race gets closer I am getting more and more intimidated.Nevertheless, I have already learned so much that I would have never learned if I just gave up.For one thing,when you are fully committed to something you find a way to make it work.It may mean making a compromise, an adjustment, a sacrifice, or seeking out information.It may mean lowering your expectations or broadening your horizons.When you are not committed, you just say ” well I guess it is not working.” and that is that.When you are committed, you are willing to make mistakes and even appear to be a bit  foolish.When your not committed, you are usually checking out by that point.

What about when people DO give up? Isn’t it sometimes for a good reason? Yes and no.Sometimes giving up on one thing means you are  committed to something greater.For instance, Jake Steinfeld, the fitness guru and author of  “Power Living By Jake”,  had a dream to become a professional body builder.When he saw that the use of steroids had became standard, it went against his core beliefs so he decided to take a different path towards health and fitness.He put it something like this, “I didn’t give up on my dream, my dream gave up on me.” This direction was one that proved to be a more fulfilling and lucrative career than his original goal.If you are giving up something to devote your time and energy to a more worthwhile pursuit, that is not really giving up at all.If you are giving up because of fear and temporary discomfort, you are only going to meet that later on down the road.Even failure can be seen as a temporary setback if it is viewed as a learning experience.Again, that requires a commitment.

At this point, I have no idea what is going to happen but I am going to see this training thru. It seems like I am encountering new aches and soreness every day.It also is surprising how the body can adapt and recover.Rest is something you can’t skimp on.It is a tough call whether to push beyond your comfort zone or back off to avoid injury.I am straddling that line daily, especially so close to the race.I could be better prepared but I am just going to use my time wisely, train the best I can, and give it all I’ve got.

Let’s see where this takes me

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Absolutes

photo          Today I am sitting by the Mississippi River here in Memphis.My car is in the shop, AGAIN.I have been gifted with unexpected time to think, pray, and write on a stunning early September morning.What comes to me sitting here is that we all have a purpose in our lives to fulfill, whether it be great or small, and there is no getting out of it.We can plead, cajole, distract ourselves, make excuses, run, curse or swear but there is no getting out of it.No joke.When we do, something(usually an event or circumstance) puts it back in our face.

For me right now, there is a sense of going for broke, giving everything, and stepping out into the unknown with no guarantees.I have avoided it but there is no getting away from it.It looms around every corner.There is a time when nothing matters but going for it whatever that “it” may be.In my case, I believe that thing would be music.As far as I am concerned that is proof that God has a sense of humor because of all the years I have been playing, it is possibly the least successful thing I have ever done.I am blinking back tears as I write this because of a the frustration and disappointment I have endured as a result of pursuing it.What some may see as a gift many times, for me has seemed like more of a curse and/or an albatross hanging around my neck that is holding me back from other things I could be doing.

Sometimes when we feel blocked or stuck, it is important to do some detective work.When something seems like a burden instead of a blessing you have to ask why.For one thing, I can see that I have probably harbored a certain amount of cynicism about the whole thing.Over the years, I have seen friends and fellow bandmates come and go.Some went on to get “real” jobs, marry, start families, or further their education.There is nothing wrong with that if it is born out of sincere desire and not a sense of defeat.Others have gotten caught up in heavy drinking and drugs seemingly as a result of the “lifestyle”.These are other people’s choices and not mine.Why does it affect me? Maybe I have to admit that, for what ever reason, it does.Yeah, I do wonder what it would be like to have a family, an established career with a steady income, and nicer “things”.I wish it was as simple bottoming out and admitting I had a substance abuse problem so I could be helped.What do I need to do to get help or make things right?What’s my answer? As I write this, I hear in my head

The answer is more cowbell

That is silly but it gets the point across.When I am singing, playing, or writing music, I feel most alive.That is where it has to begin.I have to go back to what is energizing and focus on that.I can’t figure out all the rest.Go with what is living and not what is dead.

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Messy

photoMy life is messy right now.Well okay, It’s always a little messy without a doubt.It seems my life gets particularly messy when I am moving forward.I have decided to explore this as a lesson in patience and acceptance.Things get messy.Life gets messy.Perhaps messy is a necessary step towards progress.

Just before I sat down to right this, I shut the door to my spare room.My husband was in the back of the house working on electronic music with a friend.The dogs are restless.I call out to my husband, “Have the dogs been out?” He responds, “Beulah has.” Good, or so I thought. Beulah is our relatively “new” dog.She is a curious Boxer adopted from the local shelter and barely a year old.My husband doesn’t like to admit it but she is the apple is his eye and she expects him to give her his undivided attention at all times. Beulah decided to protest this by urinating right outside my door.Needless to say I was “pissed”,  no pun intended, but I dutifully cleaned it up and got back to the page.

Life is lived in the present.The treasure is in the moment.All the wisdom and provision we need is available to us right now for right now if we take the time to recognize it.This is an adjustment but I am learning to view it this way.I realize that I have tried to shut down my creativity at various times in favor of efficiency and organization ( this is not to say that I am very efficient or organized).At some point after childhood, I chose to believe a message that my creativity was not as valuable as what could only be called a ” functional human being”.You know what I mean.The kind that pays their bills, does the dishes and laundry, keeps their commitments, takes care of their health, communicates properly, looks good, and works well and cares about others.

 

So what’s wrong with that?

Actually, nothing really.I don’t want to be an artistic genius if it means I have to be some kind of unstable, abusive, and inconsiderate slob.Nevertheless, as much as I have tried to be the opposite of that I am sure I have exhibited some of those qualities at one time or another.We all have.The question is whether or not we can allow for creative inspiration and expression and still live a stable life. Does it have to be one or the other? I think the answer is obvious but sometimes the answer is not as important as the question.The question can be laying dormant beneath the surface of our life waiting to be asked.

Writing this has caused me to acknowledge my fear of letting things get messy.The truth is messy can be cleaned up.It can be a temporary distraction and or nuisance but it is not forever.In fact, I have cleaned up some mess and handled some crises in my time.Unlike Little Edie in the movie “Grey Gardens”, I haven’t been feeding raccoons in my attic and letting them destroy the walls of my house.I do think Little Edie was pretty cool though.

Come to think of it, I may need to watch that movie again.

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