Monday, August 30, 2010


I haven't had much time to write, as I'm gearing up for the academic year at work and about to get on a plane to California for a conference, but I've decided to share some thoughts I've been having lately about trust. I wish that when I was a young woman someone would have had a talk with me about trusting myself and my own intuition.

Trust is something I've wrestled with in my lifetime - trusting my gut, trusting people I've just met, and learning how to trust again after that trust has been given and destroyed. I've improved on all of it through the years, but one thing I think people struggle with the most is trusting themselves.

This idea of "trusting your gut" is actually very valuable. I never used to pay attention to my gut feeling, but now it's my bible. It's not some spacy notion or telepathic ability. It's a feeling, a judgement, a perception. We are all intuitive in our own way, it is built into us as a defense mechanism. We often know something before we even know we know it, because of this "gut" feeling.

Ever been in a place you don't feel comfortable - like something is just "off" but you don't know why, and then something bad happens (you get mugged, a fight breaks out, etc.). That uncomfortableness you felt was your gut trying to tell you something. Ever been in a dating situation where things were just a little not right....not enough to be bad, but enough to be wary? I don't have to ask how that situation ended, because I've been there myself. That time, I didn't trust my gut and ended up hanging on too long to something that was too wrong.

I've learned to hone and sharpen my "gut" instincts now. I make myself pay attention to it. I look for the flags, I feel the feeling, and I pick it apart. I have literally stopped what I was doing and taken a moment to say "Okay, what is going on here? What am I feeling exactly, and why am I feeling it?"

Sometimes it takes a minute to get to the root of it. Other times you don't figure it out right away, but you have to trust your gut anyway. But trust me, it's saved me from a lot of tricky, dangerous, awkward, and just plain unneccessary situations!

Listen to your intuition. You'll be glad you did, I promise.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I turned 30 years old today.

A milestone such as this makes me reflect upon my life, where I am and where I'm headed. What have I learned thus far? What kind of ideas, habits, things should I leave behind in my twenties?

Last night I went to see the movie "Eat, Pray, Love," based on the book by Elizabeth Gilbert. I've read it twice, as well as the sequel ("Committed"), so not surprisingly I enjoyed the movie as well. But there was a part I had forgotten about in the book, a particularly emotionally intense scene about forgiveness that I found rough to watch.

I tend to be a pretty forgiving person and have heard a lot about the powers of forgiving others. I'll never forget a Joyce Meyers sermon I saw once on forgiveness. She said that we carry those we haven't forgiven around on our backs every day of our lives. Until we learn to forgive them, we walk through life hunched over, lugging around the incredible weight of that resentment. We'll never stand tall and get where we want to go until we release them. I find that to be true and work hard to forgive people who have hurt me.

But an even trickier psychological feat is learning how to forgive ourselves. Some people carry the luggage of their own mistakes around for far too long. You can tell the first time you meet them -  shoulders hunched, eyes cast downward...tired faces showing the pain of their struggles.

I don't want to become that person. In fact it's very important to me that I don't become that person, and that is what I've realized on this 30th birthday. I've been through a lot in the past couple of years, but it's time to stop carrying the weight of the two people I haven't forgiven; myself and my ex-husband.

It's time to forgive him - the person I spent nearly ten years of my life with. And it's time to forgive myself for whatever part I may have played that could have contributed to the end of our marriage.

The emotionally wrenching part of Eat, Pray, Love was where a man at an Indian Ashram talks of his struggles to forgive himself for his alcoholic past, as he assists Gilbert (the author) in working to forgive herself. Gilbert sits on the roof of an Indian Ashram, meditating about forgiveness and in the meantime picturing the happy days of her marriage, before her messy divorce. Except she changes the memories. She pictures herself in her wedding dress dancing with her ex-husband, who talks to her kindly about the divorce as if they were friends. And through this she gains forgiveness for herself.

Watching this I realized it's time for me to stop picturing that wedding dance and feeling horrible about it, even when the song plays on the radio. It's time to stop having flashbacks to good memories that hurt; like those ten days stumbling around small towns in Mexico with no plans and broken parties by ourselves at home late at night.....our off-the trail hikes through thick woods and creeks with the dog, the way we'd make fun of the crazy people they interview on the local news, flying kites on the beach, the awesome halloween costumes we'd come up with every year....etc. etc.

It's time to delete the late night message he left on my phone when he was on vacation, rambling for five minutes about how much he adores me and is so in love with me and is so lucky to be my husband. The message I keep saving because I can't seem to let it go...because it's proof that I wasn't crazy, he was someone else when I married him.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cherishing the little moments

Last night, it was super hot and I worked and had class until about 9 p.m. It was one of those evenings where the air was thick and humid and the crickets were playing a symphony all around me. I had a hard day...actually a hard week, dealing with a multitude of difficult things that included conflicts at work, cram time at school, people I care about talking behind my back, personal/legal issues....etc. etc.

Yet, after a hard day and a hard week, on a dark, hot, night, I left class, rolled down the windows, drove down an empty road and sang "Two Pina Coladas" at the top of my lungs. That country song is not particularly a favorite song or even a favorite artist of mine, (tell you the truth I don't even like Pina Coladas), but it happened to be on the radio, and it worked in the moment.

You know the song..."Bring me two pina coladas, one for each hand, let's set sail with captain morgan, never leave dry land....troubles I forgot 'em, buried 'em in the sand..." etc .

Picture this: I had no traffic, a beautiful humid night, hair flying in the wind, and a fun song on the radio. It was all I needed to cherish one little happy moment of my day. Even if it was the only one.

You can often find me singing out loud in my car. It's something I do. I also sometimes talk to myself, working through the issues of the day, thinking out loud. Other times I may have a Dane Cook (comedian) CD playing, laughing out loud to stand-up that I have heard several times before but still find funny, or intently listening to an audio book.

I am one of those people who enjoys driving time by myself. It helps me to unwind, and I love music so it gives me a moment to just "be" and enjoy some tunes. A break to reflect. I often drive an extra block or two just to listen to the end of the song. (I've sometimes accidentally driven an extra block or two just because I was so intently thinking about

But when I had my drive last night, I had a mindful moment where I stopped and realized how important what I was doing really was. I realized that it's moments like those that keep us alive. It's in those moments when we (badly) sing at the top of our lungs and enjoy the little things in this God-given life on earth, that we know that we will presevere.

It's in these moments that we are most un-reachable, the most un-touchable, by Mara or any other negative influence in our lives.

Speaking of negative influences, I have found recently that some people really don't like it when someone is strong, and happy. My students like to call these people "haters." Say what you will about me, but I love this world, I cherish my life, and I will continue to do so regardless of the things that have happened to me. I have no choice but to move on and try to be happy. I ask anyone who has a problem with it - what would you do if you were in my shoes? 

Do you know someone right now who may be having a hard time? What can you do for them? Are you doing anything negative...what kind of comments might you be making that could make the situation worse? What if someday you find yourself in that situation? How would you want them to treat you? Remember this always: Love your neighbor. So there's my two cents about the negative, gossipy people out there.

And, fellow car-singers - belt it out. It's good for ya.

Monday, August 9, 2010


At the time I wrote this poem, I thought I was writing it for someone else. Reading it now, I've come to find out it was actually about my journey and the light I've found within myself.

This is a strange place, our galaxy.
Feels like deja vu, think I've been here before.
It's here I saw the supernova,
the explosion of my star.

It lit me up like fire,
and shook me to my core.

The secret is my soul is lighter,
in pieces up here.
In white silence it floats without gravity,
It knows not time or fear.

I follow your glaring brightness,
though it has its high's and low's.
I wish I could catch it,
like a firefly in a jar, it glows.

When darkness tries to take me,
Your light pulls me even more.
Yet you sleep soundly on the tail of a comet,
Riding out its roar.

By daylight what I see in the mirror
is like magic or something taboo,
My reflection is different
And the scars, they faded too.

Next time I sleep,
I'll look for the light.
I'll hold on to the fire,
I'll put up a fight.

I'll float without gravity, uncontrolled
In search of that thing you have
That glitters like gold.

Monday, August 2, 2010


One of the most daunting aspects of Mara is fear. The thing about fear is that its very nature causes us to run from it. Fear is naturally built into our biological psyche as a way to preserve the human race by evading predators and other potentially harmful things.

So when we experience fear, our first natural thought is to avoid it. Which is good, it keeps us from jumping from buildings or driving at 100 mph. However, the human mind tends to run astray and experience fear when fear doesn't necessarily need to be experienced to protect our lives. Or its dial gets stuck on "fear" after something bad happens and we can't get back to normal.

We sit around and hide from things that we don't need to be hiding from, and because of this, we miss out on opportunities and don't live up to our potential. We are running from Mara, instead of inviting it to tea.

In the past year of my life I experienced fear in a way that I never had before. I had to experience fear on many levels-physical, emotional, financial. Fear of emotional well-being, fear of being attacked, fear of losing my job or of not being able to make ends meet in my new life. Fear of being alone. I had days where I was afraid to walk the few feet from my car to my house in the dark. Any of these fears on their own can be potentially devastating, and here I was getting the package deal all at once.

I was lucky to be raised in a very safe environment - two loving parents, strict curfews, etc. I've always had enough food to eat and the trust that the people around me had my best interests at heart. When you live in this sort of safety bubble it can be especially excruciating when your bubble gets burst.