Spirit Lifters–Day 40 of being “grounded”

It may be difficult these days to think about being creative, but I’m telling you right now, it is absolutely your best defense against the situational depression that is starting to creep in for many, many lonely people, stuck at home.

My dear friend Brenda has been making these amazing pendants lately…before the Virus arrived. I had given her a bunch of broken bits and pieces of old jewelry to use in her pendants and she surprised me by making me this one. She hadn’t known that the tiny blue and silver dangle she used on mine had actually came from a necklace my Dad bought me on a trip to Mexico when I was about 9 years old. I LOVED that necklace from my Daddy. I wore it well into adulthood.

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When the Virus hit, Brenda got inspired and made this beauty!

Brenda's Covid 19 Heart

It’s big enough to fill both hands!!! I

t’s gorgeous, and one has to look again and again to see all it’s beautiful messages

Here’s what she wrote:

This is my latest creation. I’m calling it; Corona Heart 2020

During this very challenging time, I’ve had some really hard days, and some easier ones. There’s been fear, anxiety, shock, sadness and death, but there has also been compassion and caring for one another in new ways, people reaching out and helping, singing, healing, joy and even beauty. It’s such a mixture during this potent time. I wanted to create a piece that reflected all of that.
 
Heart – I chose the heart to represent love, kindness and compassion. The heart is inclusive, caring, understanding, forgiving, strong and knowing. It can hold great pain and great love.

Yin/Yang – I’ve always loved the yin/yang symbol – a symbol of wholeness. Reminding us that life includes it all – light and dark, life and death, joy and pain. The circle is divided into black and white, but not straight down the middle. They are nestled together, holding one another; with a point of light in the dark, and a point of dark within the light – integrated and whole. Life!

Pink – The color pink represents compassion and caring, and during this incredibly difficult time, it’s come to honor the health care works and first responders and all the people who are risking their lives so that the world can still function.
 
We’re all in this together, and love is what heals. Let your heart shine!\

So your job now is to lift your own spirits and go create something!

Then share it with the rest of us.

Cee’s FOTD (Flower of the Day) Challenge 2/3/2020 Primrose

Hmmm. Is it called “re-blogging” when you copy and paste from an old post, but then edit it like crazy for the current post??

Cee, at  https://ceenphotography.com/2020/02/02/fotd-february-3-2020-primrose/ challenges us this week to have faith that Spring is actually on its way. It’s been a long, dark winter for me this year. I’ve been wondering if it would EVER get light and bright again.

But yesterday was one of those winter days in the Pacific Northwest that some of us selfishly keep secret from the rest of the country.

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What I woke up to…

If people knew how absolutely gorgeous it can be up here, and how worth all the gray it is, we might be over-run with tourists, or experience even more of the population explosion inspired by Starbucks, Amazon and Microsoft!

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I mean, what do you call this kind of winter sky BLUE??

At this time of year, when it’s only light out for 7 hours or so, I can’t think of anything more optimistic than a Primrose! They show up in the dead of winter. They are relentlessly cheerful! And they presumptuously assume they will be back again next year!

I first learned about them from my best friend’s mother, Lucille, who each year would fill her front door area with these welcoming little splashes of color. When she could no longer make it out to plant, one of us would do it for her…right up until her final year.

I watch for the first batch to show up every year, in my yard…

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There’s this year’s first, amidst uncleared winter debris…

But I also watch at my grocery store (I know, I know) and this year, they are already here!

 

10 for $10.00!! Pretty cheap so I always load up. You’d think because they are a perennial I wouldn’t need to replenish my own garden each year. I don’t, but still, I can’t resist. there’s always some little spot for another one. Some of mine are 6 and 7 years old!

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One year I had an idea.

I live on a long, very unusual, dead end street that’s a country-like oasis in the middle of a ritzy city. (When I moved here over 45 years ago, there were only 3 other houses and we all had horse acreage! Now there are 25 homes!)

Though our peaceful country lane has built up over the years, we have scored big-time in wonderful neighbors. Most everyone knows everyone and we all watch out for each other.

On that one year, we had just lost one of our earliest residents, a dear, sweet gentleman. He had an unexpected heart attack. In my search for something supportive to do in his honor on this somber occasion, I kept thinking of the story of Johnny Appleseed.

I headed for the grocery store…and then late that night, the houses on the lane gone quiet, I sneaked out to plant a Primrose in every single yard, in honor of our sweet neighbor. Almost everyone figured out I was the Primrose Fairy, because they knew how obsessed I was with these hearty little flowers, but I don’t care. I kinda like my reputation of being the oldest (and maybe strangest) neighbor on our street.

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And to this day, each year, when the first Primroses show up, to honor the memory of Arul, always a smile and kind word for his neighbors, I take one down the lane to his widow. He was truly a Peach of a guy!

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I have also made a habit of welcoming the new neighbors to our street by leaving them a surprise Primrose to plant or just enjoy for a while. I just left two more this morning. Now that I’ve been here the longest, I like sharing the history of our street with the newcomers.

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So now, I give you the Primrose (and remind you of the story of Johnny Appleseed).

Thanks for reading and please comment if you like.

 

 

FOTD – February 3, 2020 – Primrose

Tuesday Photo Challenge-Peace 11/26/19

Inspired by

I feel so lucky all of a sudden because my mind is reeling with all the places where I have felt true peace. Most of them, I have no photos for…like the beaches in the Southern Lau group of the Fiji Islands…beaches so deserted I had absolutely no problem believing mine were the very first human footprints in that sand…ever.

Or a baby sleeping on my chest. Or cat or dog or….

Or the aftermath of beautiful love-making. (Yes, I said it…and definitely no photos of that.)

In my everyday life, one of my favorite places to get calmed and grounded in peace is the porch swing at our Mountain Retreat. It’s not just the view, though it does look out over a beautiful, peaceful valley.

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There is simply something magical in the energy right there, in that spot.

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The swing, with the huge addition to the house being built all around it.

We have all taken naps there. It’s just that peaceful.

BUT here’s what this challenge really brought up for me. A week from now, on December 8th, almost 39 years ago, we lost John Lennon.

It was a heartbreaking day for me but there was a gift in it I have been grateful for again and again all these years.

I remember the moment I found out so clearly. I was stuck on a bridge in typically frustrating commuter traffic…stop…go…stop…go, when I noticed that every one of my pre-set radio stations was playing a John Lennon song. Uh oh.

I knew what that probably meant. Sure enough, I heard the official announcement when I switched to NPR (National Public Radio).

I burst into tears.

You know how when you are driving, especially slowly, you catch movements in the cars right around you. We were stopped and something in the car just on my left caught my peripheral vision. I turned to look, my make-up running tears streaming, and found a young man half my age, looking right back at me. He was also crying. We locked eyes for an intimate eternity, and there is no doubt in my mind, we were sharing the same devastating moment. It was confirmed when we both rolled down our windows and realized we were listening to the same song on our car radios. Imagine.

It was almost as if our intense connection spread because around us, there was a small cluster of about 8 cars that did not move for several minutes, even though the traffic ahead had opened up. No one behind us even honked.

I don’t know how to describe this but other windows must have been rolled down too because through the air, floated snippets of Instant Karma, Imagine, and Whatever Gets You Through the Night from pumped up radio volumes all around us.

A strangely and powerfully peaceful moment…

For years, I have shared this story as an illustration of the truest form of human intimacy. An example of how we can be completely connected with anyone, including total strangers…no judgment, no bias, no words even necessary. We can connect with almost anyone through shared pain or shared joy. It’s the same experience we have when we make eye contact with someone else who is also watching a baby, or kitten playing, or a Mama duck herding her ducklings across a road. There is complete peace in those moments, sadness or delight….because for a moment, we know that we are all in this together.

Just imagine finding enough ways to co-experience this level of harmony…that we might actually save ourselves……….

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Peace

Photos with titles

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Massacre
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Innocent Victims
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Breakfast??? 

 

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Residents gone to Arizona for Winter…
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Litter!
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Homework!
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Sheesh! Get a ROOM!
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Juxtaposition….
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Wait….WHAT???
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Integration. 
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Best part of poor drainage.
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Baby Leaf on 45 year old plant!!
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No clue…but it’s the size of a large dinner plate!! Should we run away??
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ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

 

Weekly Prompts-ClocktheTime 11/23/19

Fair warning (as I have stated before about my blog…I share happy stories AND painful stories), as of this writing, this post has no happy ending.

 

Clock the Time

Perfect for me this week. And I hate it!!

I’m in the middle of the longest, most frightening period of time I have experienced in my 71 years of life. In reality, it’s only been about 7 days so far, but for most of the last week, time has “stood still”, you know, the way it can sometimes when it loses all meaning! But in the moments when relevance has slipped back in…hmm, it’s been 13 hours since I’ve eaten anything…the time passing has seemed like an eternity.

I’m having one hell of a time Choosing My Perspective!

It’s been a little like attending a childbirth…where the only important clocking of time is tracking the number of minutes between contractions, or the more important clocking the time issue, the number of hours of labor so far. I’ve attended so many births and in the latter example, I would be vaguely aware of crossing that somewhat subjective line, mostly determined by the Doc or Midwife. It happens when a labor goes from what will later make a good story-I was in labor for 16 and 1/2 hours to the…Uh-oh, this is taking way too long moment. I know that look, that Uh-Oh facial expression on the face of the person there to “catch” that baby…

All the waiting this week has also triggered some deep, internal philosophical debates about the passing of time and the theory about feelings/emotions I have always taught my clients.

My basic premise has always been what I learned early in my training and education as a Psychotherapist.

-Emotions are basically biological…a physiological response to some perceived trigger, real or not.

-Feelings are not right or wrong. They just ARE!

-We can’t control a feeling response…only what we do with it…what we conclude from it and how we express it.

-Ignoring feelings completely is not good for us. They are going to need expression eventually…and the longer we wait, the more messy, and out of proportion they can become.

So this week, I have been trying to practice what I preach. But I’ve gone completely blank.

I had an experience of this kind of Clocking Time a few years ago. It challenged my beliefs about if, how, or when to express feelings. In a routine physical, an enthusiastic young Doctor decided that I had what looked like a life-threatening disease. Melanoma. She concluded that it had probably already metastasized. The biopsies to confirm this would take 48 hours.

A long couple of days, huh? I did not want to give myself over to the looming panic, but I also did not want to ignore the waves of feelings that were coming up, threatening to wash over me tsunami-style. What a balancing act that was! Luckily, I also knew to trust my gut, and the hard-earned knowledge I had of my own body.

My gut didn’t believe it, so I “waited” as that clock ticked fairly calmly. And it turned out to be, of all things, just an “age spot”!

During that eternity, on the clock just 48 hours, time had very little meaning. But a lot of other stuff sure did. Moral, ethical, philosophical debates raged in my head and heart.

Should I tell my family? Don’t they deserve to know?

Hell NO! There’s nothing to tell yet?

Yes but I always do scary things like this alone and never ask for support. Shouldn’t I reach out?

For what? You don’t know anything yet. Just wait!

Ya but I KNOW how PTSD works. The sooner someone who has been through a trauma can feel the resulting emotions, the better.

Yes but, has there actually been a trauma? You don’t know yet.

I think I was able to survive that two days of time standing still because of that little internal voice that was whispering to me that I was fine. When my gut reaction was confirmed, I could feel a huge relief and then use that to turn the whole thing into just an anecdote. Thank goodness, I also knew to get some “there, there” from my closest people. Turned out it was not a death sentence after all, but I still needed empathy for what was a rather a grueling stretch of stopped time!

I know why this current period of Clocking the Time has me in such a state. Fifty some years ago my mother went missing. I knew she was in serious emotional trouble. She had attempted suicide just two years before and this time, I recognized that same dark, dark resignation and resolve the last time I saw her. But because I was only a teenager, no one in authority would listen to me. For three eternal days, I looked for her, more and more frantically as each hour passed.

My gut was right. And I was too late. When they finally found her, she’d been dead for 3 days.

 

Right now, we are 7 days into hoping to hear from (or about) my teenage grandson, who “ran away” in a very dangerous state of mind.

My gut is failing me. Strangely and frustratingly silent.

And it’s been the longest week of my life….

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Photo Challenge Clock the Time

A Photo a Week Challenge–Endings

Wow, tough theme.

I knew the exact photo immediately, but I keep this particular one hidden from myself, so I had to search through my files. It’s been almost four years and I still grieve a little every day.

They went from this…

 

to this

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And this is the last photo of them as a family…

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sigh…….

 

PS In case it would be of support to anyone reading this, here is what we use in therapy to help folks walk thorough Endings, in the healthiest way possible. Handy to use for closure in any and all Endings, big or small…job, moving, school, relationships, pets, favorite restaurant closing, new phone, etc.

 

Endings

 

Resistance

This is worth exploring and expressing in all its forms…denial, wishful thinking, false hopes, etc.

 

Resentment

It takes some practice but being able to express a truly personalized resentment, without any finger pointing or blame toward another, is a valuable, life-long skill 

 

Regret

It’s important to acknowledge the things you wish you could have done differently

 

Reminiscence

Remembering the good times is the natural pathway to the 3 stages below. It is why we tell funny stories at funerals.

 

Release and Relief

There is always a whoosh of peace after wading through the painful parts of grieving an ending

 

Rejoice

Now true gratitude can happen, for the whole experience, even the hard lessons that usually come from an ending.

 

Re-Union

To be able to re-unite after an ending, even if just in your mind, without a bunch of leftover baggage, is really and truly possible.

 

These are the natural stages of all endings.

In order to have healthy beginnings, with no leftovers lingering to muddy the new waters, these phases must be experienced and honored…

not necessarily in this order, but finishing the first four

makes the last three much more accessible.

 

 

 

https://nadiamerrillphotography.wordpress.com/2019/05/23/a-photo-a-week-challenge-endings/

From Darkness to Light

Warning:

When I first started my blog, I warned readers I would be posting a lot of music and photos and humor (well, I think I’m funny at least), but would also occasionally have a heavier story to share.

Today’s post is an example of the latter.

A wonderful, provocative challenge was issued by Sreejit from The Seeker’s Dungeon. 

He said “I am asking you to rip yourself open and put yourself back together again; explaining where you’ve been and where you are headed.  In so doing, we hope to help others understand that they are not alone on this path.”

Then, encouraging us to dig deep, he wrote “Many times our darkest moments are what end up turning us towards a path of light. It is these soul shredding moments that I want us to share here. Let us in on one of the moments that took you from darkness to light.”

The following story is my response to his challenge. It’s long, and may be difficult for some readers. I would really appreciate comments, if you read it.

I am posting the link to his blog so you can read it there. That way, maybe you’ll  glance through some of the other posts also. These have been some beautiful and powerful stories.

From Darkness to Light Day 16 by Kathie Arcide

Thank you,

ChosenPerspectives