Friday, October 29, 2010

Day 16: Something/Someone I Could Definitely Live Without

I could live without a lot of things. I lived without a television for three years. Then I lived with and briefly married someone who aquired three televisions for our home. I love the freedom it gave me. It made me harness my natural inclinations. Yes, I got bored. I was much more active, going out for three mile walks spontaneously (it helped that I lived by three fabulous lakes) or a ten mile bike ride to watch the sun setting and journal.

On days like today, when I wasn't so good to myself healthy-eating-wise, I could do without sugar. I love it when I eat healthy. I know I'm doing what my body wants me to do. I'm actually listening instead of succumbing to what I feel will "save me" or "my reward" for a "hard life". It isn't that hard. I am honored and grateful when people tell me I'm a great mom. I just do the things I do to take care of my daughter and bring her up every day. Today she gave me a list of "homework" for the weekend. This included cleaning up the house, including "everything". Precious. I told her I might need to hire her to help. :)

I could live without caffeine, which equivilates to drinking coca cola for me. I feel I need it but I don't want to need it.

At the end of the day, no matter what I no longer need or want in my life, if I take even baby steps toward releasing things I feel whole again. I feel like I'm on the road to me again.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day 15: Something I Cannot Live Without

Ahem. I'm doing it. When life has gotten crazy and I quit writing, my life doesn't fall apart quickly. I do notice how much better I feel at the page. And that is the phrase I use when journaling.

At times I quit because my living situation doesn't permit me a table or desk or I just am not able to go seek writing places out in the world. Other times I squished myself into a terrible existence for the sake of someone else, giving up that which I value most. Still other times, I simply don't. I get too caught up in myself. My woes. My addicting murder sagas or sagas down by the ocean, the life I don't have.

I do feel at home when I'm writing. A-ha's come right through me. Yet at times it does take a lot of effort to get back in the habit. I have to make myself take time to journal three pages. Make myself write that poem about the brilliant red leaves that have fallen half away. Yet I am richly rewarded. Even in those moments when my life does suck, is failing miserably and all I can do is keep the pen moving about the next bad thing I'm thinking about myself.

I remember in February, 1996 I stayed at a Pension on Avda Rambla in Barcelona. I only stayed for three days. I was by myself, perhaps in the beginning of my third month in Europe by myself for the winter. I remember being so happy my room had a writing table. It had a toilet and a sink and a medium-lumpy standard bed and a window that looked out into a dark hallway. Yet it brought me bliss to see that table. That trip started to define me as a writer. Never mind I had a bachelor of arts in writing by age 22. Oh, that's right, I was only 25/26 on that trip. (I'm 40 now and chuckling about my youthfulness.)

I also remember how I loved my cabana in Placencia, Belize. This was the only time I overslept on a trip. I rebooked my flight to leave the next day. I had three days before I met my group of 32 to sail on four katamarans for eight days. Bliss! I had no plans before meeting them. Miraculously, the man I sat next to on the plane right from Houston to Belize City suggested I get a puddle jumper down to Placencia. So I did. I had no plan. As I was riding in a van down the dirt road after the plane touched down, someone told me about huts without electricity or running water for $100/night. Too much for me. I was astounded I found a spacious cabana for $55/night. And it had a writing table. Ah. It was about 10 feet from the ocean. I woke up each morning and did tai chi ch'ih out on the sand. Divine. And I wrote. I was 29 then.

My life is more beautiful and more full of music when I take the time to write. I aspire to whip some things into shape so I can be a more serious writer, to allow myself to take off with my ideas. Sometimes I'm simply afraid to even try so I let myself get caught up in the rest of my life, thinking it more importantly needs to be tended to. Another beautiful time in life was when I rented out a writing studio and spent some serious time in it. I didn't produce any big projects. I settled myself into myself more as a writer. Ah, a beautiful life.

Day 14: Letter To A Hero That Let Me Down

The only mentors I've ever had were authors I adored. Authors whose every book I have read. The authors I love are SARK, Geneen Roth, Natalie Goldberg, and Anne Lamott. I have met SARK and Natalie. I love the way these authors weave their lives into their words. It makes them human to me. The way they share their human travails with the words they choose and their deliberate writing styles perhaps sort of tricks my mind into thinking they are one of my friends. Someone I am sitting down with who tells me their latest funniness and lessons they have been learning in life. Ah. I feel blessed to read their writings.

I have never had any in-person writing mentors. Nor can I think of any heros I have had. I think as I've gotten older, I've seen peoples' flaws. Their humanness. And that's okay.

Day 13 - A Musical Artist Who Gets Me Through The Day

It's not any one particular artist presently. I am partial to uplifting songs. What I love best is listening to music repeatedly with my headphones on. I was born with a hearing loss. It's not profound, yet it's who I am. I can't hear everything, and I don't even want to wear my two hearing aids all the time. (chuckle) So I listen and listen, then I know the words and want to hear them over and over. I could rattle off music that gives me negative connotations of exes. I'm consciously creating new memories these days, and actively telling myself this.

I adore the upbeat music of Micheal Franti. I still love Hope and Keepin' It Real by Shaggy. (I used to listen to that every single morning when I first came back to Minnesota after living in Key West for two years and being traumatized and I had a newborn. I'm drawn to songs like Sand In My Toes by Dido. It makes me think of how I used to be a midwesterner that loved going on vacation. After living in the tropics, I truly know my soul is drawn to the ocean.

I think the theme these days is either silence (at home...I have yet to set up my little stereo and my new laptop's sound system is grossly inadequate) or party/wake up music. i attribute this to living in south beach. I'm not at all admitting I was a party girl on the beach. Well, perhaps for about two or three nights. Okay, more than that over the span of the two years I had a little studio apartment seven blocks from the ocean. My daughter and I lived there. I had run away again. And landed in a not-so-good situation that turned good. I had a rewarding job for two weeks shy of two years. I took a lot of shit there from bad management yet loved the knowledge and friends I gained.

It seems like the theme of my life since I got away from my abusive ex-husband is trying to wake up enough to live. I have gained weight, travelled back to Florida many times because I love living there, worked on my healing, raised my daughter, and avoided many, many things. The party music wakes me up. And it's amusing that my daughter loves the songs too. We used to be much more in our cars. Now we live in the sticks. When I am home, I am still and noise is minimal. Out on the road, I bring the beats to my heart.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 12 - Something I Never Get Compliments On

Hmmm. I sure don't get compliments on being fit right now. Or healing and getting over my divorce. Or being a happy camper here in Minnesota/with my life right now. It's not that I dislike this question. It doesn't lead me down the staircase to the calm, reflective room with sinky couches where I can reflect on my life then am inspired to leap up and start living that life.

I simply have too many crutches. Too many excuses are my norm inside my mind these days. Yes, I want to change, I want to get back into being a person who does more, who does exactly what I want and it works and people admire me for it. On the other hand, I've been sinking for a while. I am, however, starting to pull out of it. Using the computer less as a number. I'm kind of compulsive here and there and with certain things. So using the computer less and getting back into real life is great! Now I owe this wonderful change in feeling more like a participant in life to me. My new lifecoach merely suggested a few things during our session last week. I love working with her. We are all so truly wise. After all, we know ourselves best. What works, what can catapault us again. Sigh. A good one.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


A calm, reflective day
Finally a divine massage
A walk around my old haunts
Lake of the Isles.
I wondered if I would again, by chance, see
The movie director I met on this same walk
And then watched the movie in his living room.
The lake holds my heart softly and forever, dare I admit.

This day I saw a tree
Half its leaves vanished
Like all the hopes and dreams
I used to have
I am different
A mother, still slightly depressed for living here
The emptiness, all the creative ideas
I haven't taken time to allow
For no reason. Really.

I feel sad. There's no reason
I don't do my art, my ideas, my writing
I lack movement, perhaps also motivation

I know much inside my heart --
To start and do something is a good day.
To hold the dreams near
They have not yet disappeared
True, if I start, more will follow
My heart will become fuller, more hopeful.

I can tell myself all good things
Good intentions, positivity, yeah, all that.
Until I make a start
And keep making a start every day
I am half gone, half empty
Like the full tree
Whereas I'd rather be flaming red,
Full of color, ideas, fresh

M. Reede
October 21, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

Day 11: Something People Seem To Compliment Me Most On

In all places I end up, people nickname me "Sunshine". And it isn't for my love of living in Florida! I find when I'm around people, I'm simply positive. For the most part, I stay positive. Even when situations aren't. Or circumstances. Like right now. When I'm by myself, my self talk isn't always positive. Yet in my heart I know whatever I want to creat and bring in, I can do it! Perhaps it's also that I've truly lived and I'm still positive and so not willing to settle for the middle of the road that draws people to me, and to see how positive I am. Yep, I need more of this right now! Even when I'm just by myself. I don't think it's that I have two personas (one by myself and one with others). In my quiet moments the negative is wrestling itself out of me. I hope it is!

I love that I am ever positive! It's a great way to live. Long ago I gave up worrying. You can do what you can to live a joyous life.

Day 10: Someone I Need To Let Go Of Or Wish I Didn't Know

To be honest, this would be my mother. It's my most toxic relationship. I have compassion for her and am sad she's so afraid of life. Yet clearly I see she is so far from who I am and who I choose to be. I choose to be positive, and to believe all things are possible. I am now a recovered lutheran, and have been for about 15 years or so. So much of what I grew up with no longer serves me. At time, I see more of the differences than the similarities between my family and myself.

Even though my mother has never been able to love me unconditionally, or be a role model of a strong, supportive woman who goes after and lives her dreams, I am grateful for all the good things she has passed along to me. I am grateful for all the travels across our oceans I was able to go on, allowing me to become more of who I am today. I am grateful for the good foundation I received, and for being in sports and other character-building activities as I grew up.

I won't be letting her go any time soon, not until she chooses to no longer be on earth. I'll keep doing the work on myself and continue being compassionate about her life and her struggles and be in gratitude for the wonderful things.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Day 9: Someone I Didn't Want To Let Go Of

I generally let go pretty easily and quickly of women friends who no longer serve a purpose in my life. The trouble I used to have is picking the wrong men to like. I picked unavailable men. Obviously I was doing this because I didn't think I was worth anything or worth someone great. I'm still working on changing that belief!

The one person I can say I didn't want to let go of was a married guy I saw for a year and a half. Wasting time with unavailable men is my only regret! We'll call this one K. I didn't know he was married when I met him and he was a great liar. It's not that it was even a relationship or even mildly fulfilling. In reflecting on my past, I just wanted to be loved. I know I drank a bit in the relationship, perhaps to numb myself into not facing reality. There was also craziness in it that I did not want to see. I feel so sad and tender for this unloved person I used to be, in this and other relationships.

On a happy note, when I finally had the courage to kick him out of my life and not wallow with weakness to let him back in, I did things for myself. I did huge exercising (walked a marathon and biked an MS150) the first six months. It was hard to step out of it, but I now know and have been staying away from unavailable men. Yes, I've got a pretty quiet life. That's okay. It's better time spent to work on myself and discern what people I spend time and energy on. Ah, just realizing this on "paper" makes me sigh with happy contentment. It's good to move on.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Day 8: Someone Who Made My Life Hell/Treated Me Like Shit

I am so grateful my days with this person are over. Unfortunately, he will potentially be in my life in the future because he's my daughters father.

Several years ago, I had a great life. Adventurous, I moved to Florida. I met him three days after arriving, two days into our Key West vacation/adventure. I must say I am eternally grateful for my daughter, although i honestly didn't plan to be a single mom. Whatever way I'm making a life with my daughter, I'm eternally grateful.

There were numerous red flags (probably 500 or so), yet I stayed. I didn't realize it until long after I'd left the umpteenth time I just wanted to be loved. This was so strong that I stayed with someone who didn't know how to be a decent person. I didn't see the warning signs that he was a drug addict. I was hooked too early into it. Not hooked on the drugs, hooked on him, hooked on thinking it was indeed my fault he was so mean.

I am blessed I did not stay with him for long. In my years of support groups for survivors of domestic violence, I have learned inumerable valuable things. About myself. About abusers. And best of all, to stay away. I guess we hope beyond hope they will change, but time shows in my own experience they do not. Now is the time to keep healing and in the good times for me, to focus on me instead of wondering if he's changed and wants to be part of my daughter's life, my life. I have to keep telling myself he's made his choice. He's a few years older than me and had a rough life. Still, he's shown me he's already made his choices. Bigger than that, for what I never learned in time, I am happy to teach my daughter about healthy relationships, treating yourself nurturingly so you don't have deep problems later on, and how to be a healthy, positive, loving woman with her eyes open in today's world.

Day 7: Who Has Made My Life Worth Living For

Ah, of course. My wonderful daughter. Right now she is sleeping. :) I truly am grateful for her and for many, many reasons. I love how a smile comes to my face whenever I think of her. Or when I think of any one of the fiftybazillion cute things she does/has done. Ah.

I am truly most grateful for her for giving me a second childhood. For giving me a reason to have fun, play and be child-like. When I was single, I was adventurous and did fun things on my own (and occasionally with others, but it's easier to just do them on your own and get used to that to stay away from the nay-sayers). Now I notice when she's gone for the weekend, apart from me for any length of time more than a day or two, I just don't have as much fun. Not so much here. When we lived in Miami Beach from 2007-2009, she used to come up here to Minnesota to stay with her grandparents for 3 weeks when she was 3, 4 weeks when she was 4 and 7 when she was 5. The first time I didn't know what to do with myself. The second time I made the most of it. It's a lot of work being a single parent. And also having recovered (read: still recovering!!) from being in an abusive relationship. It's all about balance. Sometimes this and not that. Or that and not this gets the attention on a different day.

I have also learned to be a lot kinder to / on myself. I could push myself more to do more and be more, but some days I just don't. Some days you just enjoy sharing the moments and all the fits of laughter and giggling in between. I also feel blessed. I had her when I was 33. Now I am almost 41. In being kinder to myself and making better dating choices (this has basically meant discerning a bit NO to most with meeting a handful of beautiful souls), I may not have any more children. So I'll treasure the one I have. I'll savor the moments I can with her, knowing in my heart I'm raising her differently than I was raised. Perhaps I don't have tons of money, yet I pepper her with love and attention and giggles.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day 6: Something I Hope I Never Have To Do

The only thing that comes to mind is bury my daughter before myself. Okay, I mean cremate. Another thing I hope to never have to do is stay stuck and unhappy in not living my dreams. I am somewhat surrounded by negative nellies. Yet I still have much hope for myself and know I need to do more to work on making and watching my dreams come true! :) And that includes what I'm doing now - witing. I end up procrastinating when I'm at home, finding "other" things to do instead of what I know I'm to do. Yes, a life without reaching more dreams is truly not worth living. It's enough to get me out of my self-imposed slump! :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Day 5: Something I Hope To Do many things! One thing I would truly love to do is take a writing retreat in Italy. To spend hours every day (or as much as I need to) writing my curent book. And spend the afternoon and evenings exploring areas around the villa I rent or enjoying feasts of magnificent food. This is such a dream. I hope to go for six weeks or however long I can. I don't have to know how it will work itself out, I will put it out there to whisper into the universe's heart and know it will come to me. It would be lovely to take my daughter with me and someone I trust to take care of her while I'm writing, or to put her into classes while I write. Or perhaps I will be able to do this when she's old enough to entertain herself. We shall see how it comes about. For now, I can assemble my chairs back together and start writing my first book here in this life right now. Anything is possible!

Day 4: Someone I Need To Forgive

Ha. That's easy. My mom. And I tell myself I forgive her at night/all the time. I do better when I live 2000 miles away from her.:) I do love her because she's my mom. I just dislike many mean things she does or says to me/about me. And all this isn't something I can control, so I work on he stuff I can, like loving myself and doing my best to allow my daughter and I to have a great relationship.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Day 3: Something I Forgive Myself For

Hmm, everything! At night when I finally lay down, I started to say two different things to myself until I actually fall asleep (sometimes it takes a little while). First I go over things I forgive myself for. It can be something from the day and then I usually go into bigger, lifelong things. The second thing I say are all the things I'm grateful for. These two things have been immensely helpful.

The thing I want to forgive myself most for today and right now is living the life I want to be living. I used to live by the ocean. In my mind's eye, I see that time in my life as a time I was vibrantly alive, and able to move through the every day challenges better. Simply put, I was a different person at that time than I am now. Honestly, I don't like all of me right now too much. I could forgive myself for not being who I want to be or think I want to be. I could forgive myself for not taking better care of myself in order to have a better life right now.

Yes, there's a whole slew of things I could list to forgive myself for! I'll start with today and do what I can to get back to that place where I love myself and love my life right now!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Day 2: Something I Love About Myself

This makes me think about how Louise Hay tells you to look at the mirror and smile at yourself constantly and say "I Love You" when you are beginning the work of loving yourself again.

The thing I love about myself is that I'm fearless when it comes to travel. Fearless or an optimist. In earlier years of being a single mom/recovering from being abused by my ex-husband/my daughter's father, I used to say it was easy as pie for me to go travel in a foreign country where I might not speak the language and I never needed a plan. I would just get a whim to go up to Northern Ireland because they had a cease fire when I was there in February of 1996. So I took the train to Dublin and hung about the train/bus station until my bus left. And then I located a youth hostel once in Belfast and met the most amazing people. All without a plan. Travel is freeing. Those around me see me as fearless and courageous and all that good stuff for going to 20 countries. I just see it as having been adventurous and blessed with all the opportunities I've had and made for myself. Incredibly blessed! I used to say it was easier to go travel in a foreign country than to navigate my newly sucky life (or still sucky!) with a baby, being divorced, not mentally being able to work yet and not knowing how to let go of this man I had loved but treated me terribly. It is hard work to make a life, or to remake it.

So today I love that I can find adventures with my daughter. That I can share moments of courageous fearlessness in the life I am now living. And, yes, just as life is getting better every day, I trust I will travel again, and even take my daughter travelling!