Eight Legs A Week

spider-303580_1280I heard on the news that the annual tarantula migration has started in southeastern Colorado. Thousands (yep, THOUSANDS) of hairy, horny, 10-year-old, male gigantic spiders are marching their way into the state. They are cruising for chick spiders. That is just seriously gross. Like total arachna-geddon.

No, I will not be going to see them. Not now, not in this lifetime, not on this planet, not ever, ever, ever. Rather adamant about that, aren’t I. It’s rather easy to turn a spider into a tarantula, err, make a mountain out of a molehill. How often do you make a problem bigger than it is?

These days, the world moves fast. Technology is great, but we expect everything immediately. Demands grow, deadlines were yesterday, and anxiety rules the day. Eight days – ahem – scuttle faster than that arachnid after a mate.

The spider march serves to remind us that in nature, things take their time. The spider knows when it is time to make the trek, maybe his hairy little b*lls grow as a reminder. Do spiders even have them? And why do I care? Eww. They march on at their spider pace, blissfully unaware that some monster truck could mow down half their army in less than a minute. Less competition for the girls, I suppose. They know what they are after and they keep going. Somewhere in the grasslands, the ladies are lounging, waiting for these determined fellows. They do the tarantella (it is a dance!) and a few thousand eggs are laid. No, I’m not writing this while drunk. Spidies make me crazy.

The point that I’m attempting to make is that things will happen as they should and in their own time. We can turn them into a tarantula, freak out and f*ck things up unnecessarily. Take your time, breathe and don’t swat the bug. Everything will work out.

In eight days. More or less.

Did I just see a spider?! Aaackkk!

The Importance of Doing Nothing

window-view-1081788_1920Do this, do that, go here, pick up that, cook, clean, eat, wash and keeping running. Don’t you just wish you could have five damn minutes to yourself?

Why not?

We always think we need a day off, or a vacation, to take time to relax and recharge. And end up packing in so many activities we end up more tired than we started. So why not just give yourself a little treat every day.

Five minutes, is all.

Five minutes where you just sit and do absolutely nothing. No thinking, no checking your phone, no making lists or any other damn thing. Just sitting and breathing.

Oh sure, you say, my mind fills up with all the stuff I need to do. So. It will all still be there five minutes from now. Just try it. Put down your phone and sit. Well, set the timer on your phone if you need to, but then set it down. Now close your eyes and breathe. Let all those busy thoughts just scroll through your head like movie credits. Don’t focus on any one of them. Maybe focus on your breathing, in-out, in-out. You may even notice your heart rate slowing down. Ah, peace.

Try doing this at least once a day. Then do it when you are feeling the most stressed. You’ll find that your rapid thoughts will slow down and formulate into action steps. Whatever problem you were struggling with might get resolved.

All because instead of doing something, you did nothing. Feel better now?

Losing My Religion

golden-1321410_1280Uh-oh, she’s going to write about THAT?! Yes. I. Am. It shouldn’t be any more of a heated topic than, say, chili cheese fries. Neither of which are very appetizing.

I was raised in a religion-oriented household. We went to services, gave money and followed the doctrine. I dutifully went to religious education, which was much more about the rules than about God. When I got older, I asked “why can’t I just talk to God?” Then I really learned about not disobeying rules.

There is nothing wrong with rules in general, especially those about keeping us safe. Clean water, speed limits, fences and the like. Because some people wear their underwear too tight so they are pissy and crabby all day, and then shoot a couple of people standing next to them. And let’s face it, some people are just plain dumb.

Anyway, the religious rules I learned didn’t make sense to me. What does not eating meat on Friday have to do with God? I mean really, God made cows, so why shouldn’t we eat them? (Kid logic) So when I was about 15, I decided to learn about ALL the rules. I went to the local library, which thankfully had a vast variety of books on every subject, and buried myself in the religious stacks. I studied Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Taoism, Hinduism and so on. When I finished with that, Pagan, Wiccan, Shamans and more. Worked my way through metaphysical studies. That was a lot books. Do you know what I discovered?

Almost every one of them was a bunch of rules written by (mostly) men in silly outfits that dictated when, where and what to believe in, and very little about a non-human supreme being.

People get all worked up about this. Okay, but why is that any different than say, the NFL? That’s a bunch of rules written by men in silly outfits that dictate when, where and what to believe in. And may I remind you that most of the games are played on Sunday. How many times have you or someone you know says “I pray to God that the [team name] win today!” The same could be said about government, the food industry, every sports franchise, and your job. We’ve turned something that matters into power and control, and have totally forgotten the real purpose which is to have meaning in our life.

Religion is bigger than rules. It is bigger than silly outfits. It is bigger than beef or pork. It is bigger than we can imagine. So how did we f*ck this up so badly?

Power and control are all based in fear, primarily the perceived loss of something from someone else’s doing. We fear being abandoned. We fear being poor or without resources. We fear pain and harm. We fear not being loved. Deeper than that is the fear of abandonment. Abandonment fears come with being human. As soon as we were born, separation from God occurred. And now we make up rules and sh*t to find our way back; before someone else gets there first.

That is not the God I know.

I refer to God-and-all-the-other-names as The Universe. For me, this is a massive energy source larger than we can imagine. There is no specific name, no gender, no race, no color, no language barrier and most of all no destruction and lightning bolts. The (God) Universe that I believe in is absolutely pure and loving of us no matter what we do. I think the Universe is just so damn happy that we agreed to be human in order to learn what physical existence is all about, and certainly has no plans to wipe us out. What would be gained by that? Just because we can act like idiots and shoot each other or wipe out rain forests and other dumb things, doesn’t mean that the Universe is angry.

Yes, you can talk to the Universe directly without some dork in a silly outfit running interference. The Universe is delighted when you start the day with “good morning” and express gratitude for something. The Universe gets really excited if you say “I’m having a rough day, will you help me?” And Oh MY, does the help arrive. In ways that you, with your pea brain, can’t even dream up, especially when you don’t dictate how you want that help.

I agree that religion can be a good thing for people. Some really do like the silly rituals and fish on Fridays. Some like gathering together in a beautiful building. Just remember that the most important thing of all is your direct connection with the Universe, because if someone tells you that’s not allowed then you better be losing your religion.

I Wants It

barbecue-2098020_1920You remember Gollum from “Lord of the Rings”. An emaciated creature who craved an empowered gold ring. A craving so intense that nothing else mattered. I doubt that even a junkie would be that far gone.

Cravings are powerful. I’m sure you’ve experienced them in some form or another. Like OMG, nothing will do but you have to have a bag of chips before you die of starvation! Not likely, unless you are on “Naked and Afraid”, and even then they would rescue you before death.

If you are of average weight and maintain it, cravings are fairly normal. They typically signify unmet needs for fun, excitement or love. Basically, you are bored and food fills a hole. If you struggle with being overweight or are a chronic dieter, then food cravings and overeating signal unmet emotional needs. Overeating often springs from anxiety or depression. I am not a doctor, nor am I providing a diagnosis, but if you struggle with these issues please see a doctor or therapist. Life is too short, and you are missing out on too many good things so make your overall health a priority.

Real physical hunger comes on slowly and your stomach tells you it needs fuel. Emotional hunger swirls in your mind and triggers taste sensations in your mouth. Poor nutrition, blood sugar swings, alcohol and drugs mess with your brain chemicals – especially serotonin – and cause even more cravings. Give your body the proper fuel and in return, it will provide you with energy and feel-good chemicals so you want to get out and enjoy life. Good trade-off, I’m thinking.

Lately, I’ve noticed that I have been overeating. Nothing extreme, but I’m looking a little poochy. Ick. And not for anything in particular as that points to different needs, such as salty-crunchy for anxiety. So I decided I needed to look into my need for food.

Sometimes we overeat for simple reasons: obligation – someone brought cookies to work and you don’t want to hurt their feelings; not wasting – you ordered the food at a restaurant and don’t want to leave a full plate, although a doggie bag is always an option; taste – it’s damn good!; boredom – snacky foods give you something to do; true hunger – eat too fast and eat too much; tired – hoping it sparks energy. These are a few of the reasons we shovel in more than we need.

Well hmm, I think those are my reasons.

I’ve b*itched about my work plenty, but it is a long day from waking to coming home. I have plenty of responsibility that goes from all-out-balls-to-the-wall to sitting and waiting. Anyone that does accounting work understands those cycles. During the boring times, I eat. During the stressful times, I work through lunch, go home tired, eat to refuel and have a drink to unwind. The perfect combination to build tummy fat. Because of all that, I have set aside some activities that I would normally enjoy doing – like I don’t have the time and energy for them. I know, practice what you preach. Eating has become the new enjoyment. Therein lies the problem.

Using food as a replacement for getting your needs met is a bad idea, but instead of focusing on food as the enemy search for the root. Give yourself permission to have fun. Schedule some free time in your day, just for you, to do something you love. Practice self-care. Give your relationships some attention. Hug your friends. Get out in nature and soak up a little sun. Maybe do some energy work. The third chakra – Solar Plexus – is at the navel. It governs personal power, so it may be said that a little tummy fat protects your power. Maybe your personal boundaries need a little work. The second chakra – Sacral – is directly below and governs pleasure, emotions and addictions. A definite connection. If you sit at a desk all day, like me, then the two probably get squished into one muddled energetic glob.

Hmm. Addictions ending up in the stomach. Better get up and stretch, but not for another cookie.

I wants it. . .

 

Mercury Retro-Gasp!

god-1293818_1280The blue screen of death just appeared on your computer. Your phone went dead for no reason. You lopped your hair off in a mad rant. The contract on your home has so many contingencies it will take a team of lawyers to decipher it. Your flight home just got delayed, which means you’ll miss your connecting flight and there isn’t another for two days. WTF.

Hello, boys and girls, Mercury in Retrograde has arrived. That cute little Messenger planet makes its periodic Michael-Jackson-Moonwalk around the sun, wreaking havoc on electronics, travel, contracts and communication.

Accidentally hit “Send” on that ranting email? Oops. You might want to follow up with an apology phone call. Or not. Exes have a habit of showing up during retrograde. Some things just shouldn’t be recycled.

Think this is all a load of bullsh*t? Au contraire, my friend, I’ve personally witnessed too many events to doubt its ability to screw things up. One trip to the Caribbean netted a bunch of Mercury meddling. A delayed flight. Landing a rainstorm. Room mix-up. And to cap it off, my phone died a mysterious death on arrival. Good thing there was plenty of rum at the bar. It ended up being a great trip just because we laughed and made the best of it.

Taking a chill pill is the best way to work through this cycle. This current one goes through July 31st, so plan on kicking back and enjoying the moment. Mercury’s gift is the ability to slooooow things down and since retrograde starts with “re”, think about all the words that do the same. Starting with Relax. It’s also a good time to clean up your sh*t too. Think recycle, repurpose, renew, hell even rent!

Take care of your electronics. Back up your computer and your phone contacts. Even get a service check-up on your car. Hey, its got electronics too! Mind your stuff so you don’t lose something important.

Don’t sign any contracts during retrograde unless you started the process, like a house purchase PRIOR to this cycle. Still, it is important to read all the fine print and make sure all the details are seen to. Don’t skip the inspection either. It’s not a good idea to buy a car or any other electronics during this cycle.

And for Gods Sakes, DO NOT in a fit of mad or any other emotional disaster, lob your hair off, get a tattoo or any other body changing process during a retrograde. Remember how long it took to grow out the last time?

Finders Keepers

person-3382248_1920Have you noticed that when you get older, it seems to be more challenging to make friends? Unless you are of the sort who has retained some forever, who didn’t die, or move away, or have challenges getting out.

I tend to be the type that prefers a very small social circle, and really, just happiest have a best-friend partner. I have the most fun when it is just Tom and me. Yet, I miss my dearest friend Pat, but not enough to relocate to Phoenix to see her regularly. Other people I know have busy lives, like me, so it doesn’t seem like there are many opportunities for socializing.

Some people just aren’t interested, no biggie. Then there are those nutty alone people (AKA crazy cat lady types) who can’t seem to shut up if you start a conversation with them and seem blissfully unaware that you might actually have a busy life and things to get done. And really, not too sure you want to get involved with them anyway, I’ve discovered, as they are usually very needy and cheap too.

Internet friends are great, too, and you can have good conversations, but you likely will never get to meet them.

Lately though, my mind has been drifting to some long-lost friends. I located one of them and we chatted for bit on the phone, but that’s all it has been so far. She was more buddies with my ex-husband. Her former partner was more my buddy. I have been doing some searching on the internet, pretty easy these days, and I think I may have located her. I need to make some time to try the phone number I unearthed. She might not want to talk to me. My ex wasn’t very nice to her and we lost touch. I wish I would have kept her friendship and ditched him sooner. Woulda, coulda, shoulda.

It’s good to have a friend, or two, or twenty. Whether it is for fun times, or emotional sharing and support, companionship during activities – any or all of it is a basic human need. We are, by design, social creatures. We need contact in the form of voice and touch. The wiring in our brain functions better with human contact. Our health is better and we live longer.

When you find a good friend, who lifts your spirit and warms your heart, hold on to them even if your only contact is a phone call. Life is better when shared.

The Safe Zone

danger-851895_1920Do you ever find yourself feeling and acting overly-cautious about many things? “What am I going to do if the furnace goes out?” “What if I’m late for a deadline?” “What if a hailstorm destroys all my plants?” “What will happen if that car keeps following me too closely?” And then all these thoughts along with many more, generate lists of things to do and tasks to be completed as quickly as possible. Then you get stuck in an endless cycle of worry and doing, never giving yourself a break including the middle of the night panic.

Welcome to my world. Many of you are shaking your head while you are glancing at your to-do list. A whole bunch of you are like “WTF, get over it already”. And a whole lot of in-betweeners are just reading this to see what I’m writing about.

No, this really isn’t the way I like living my life. I’d like to be all Zen and not worry; just handle things if and when they occur. Being hyper-vigilant is not fun and it is exhausting. It is a difficult behavior pattern to break, and yes, it is a behavior pattern.

I recently read an article by Bethany Webster about being hyper-vigilant, over-achieving and anticipating problems. It all comes back to a lack of feeling safe. Bethany teaches about the Mother Wound; how it affects us and ways to heal it. Her website is http://www.motherwound.com. The Mother Wound is real, deeply rooted and particularly worse for women. Even if you had a wonderful mother, there are generational and gender wounds that are passed on. If you had a mother who was emotionally unavailable to you, then you were likely imprinted with the belief of never feeling safe.

Beneath the fear of never feeling safe, lies the core wound of trust. You learn quickly to be self-sufficient, never relying on anyone for support. If you couldn’t trust your mother, why could you trust anyone else? Your child brain can only envision danger ahead so you become highly sensitive and sensitized to your environment, reading others’ emotions with more skill than an NFL quarterback scanning the defense. You create your own “No Fly Zone” by carefully managing your surroundings so you can feel safe, secure and at peace. And raise holy h*ll if anyone moves anything out of place. Because you lack trust, you become an over-achiever and over-responsible because you expect others to fail you. You can do anything and everything and can make the Energizer Bunny give up. But do you ever take time to rest and relax?

Only when everything is done to your satisfaction, at least for the moment, or you are safe in your little nest. But even then “what if the electricity goes out?”

It takes a lot of work to change this behavior pattern. First, you have to face and feel the emotions that create the pattern and most people don’t want to go through this. Trust me, it is worth the pain. You need to feel this in order to accept that your mother wasn’t capable of being a mother. Seek professional help, even if you don’t trust them. That’s the point, right? Secondly, you must learn how to mother yourself. Rest when you are tired. Eat when you are hungry. And for God’s sakes, go pee when you have to go!

Force yourself to stay focused in the moment. Whatever is in the future will happen or not. If you focus on disaster, you might actually create it into being so why not focus on doing something happy and fun. Practice trusting others. Give them a small task to do and stay out of their way. If you are nutty about something, show them what you would like. Say “please, would you do this for me?” Only a total sh*thead would ignore you, and then maybe you need to clear them out of your environment. Talk about anticipating problems.

These days, with technology delivering things at lightning speed, the pressure is on to do everything all at once. Our inner wounds are easily triggered in this intense environment. When you are feeling especially anxious, stop and breathe. Give yourself a moment to assess whether something has to be done, if your anticipated worry will manifest or if you really are just tired and need to go sit in your safe zone.

Like I’m doing. Even if it’s writing this post.

It’s Five O’clock Somewhere

IMG_20190505_132400079 (1)Alcoholism is a serious and debilitating disease that engulfs the mind, body and spirit. It can contribute to any number of health issues and can result in death. From my research, alcoholism can be a coping mechanism for deep, personal issues. It is a sad waste of a beautiful human life.

There is no doubt that drinking alcohol can be fun. A summer afternoon, an evening cocktail party, wine pairings, all are fun gatherings with friends. A cold beer after yard work. A “topping off” after the completion of a project. All reasons to offer a toast. But anything in excess is unhealthy for your well-being.

When you are super stressed, it is easy to reach for a cocktail to numb your nervous system. It may be helpful for the moment, but you’ll wake up in the middle of the night just as restless and edgy as you started. Instead take a walk, or engage in some other mild form of exercise. Meditate. Read a book. Work a puzzle. The idea behind stress relief is to focus your thoughts on something that relaxes you, which will help you do actions that relax your body.

Treat alcohol as a treat, and just because it’s five o-clock somewhere doesn’t mean it needs to be five o’clock every night.

A Whiter Shade of Gray

senior-3336451_1920In the last several years, there has been growing popularity in older women and men being chic, fascinating and featured in magazines. Well, why not? Older people have this “been there, done that” attitude and are going to continue doing what they want. Old does not mean slow, stupid or even about to die.

Our bodies are aging, each and every day. We know that. Yes, our brains do too, but that does not equate to being senile. We have a wealth of experiential knowledge that helps us to make quick and powerful decisions. We are no longer burdened by the “image” society has picked for us. We can sky-dive if it so pleases us. We can get married when we are in our 90s. If we want to wear florals, stripes and sequins all in the same outfit, so be it. “Insta-Grannies” are all the rage now. I won’t list them, because by now you will have seen, read or are following most of them.

Is this a fad that will slowly fade away as many of these icons pass on? A fad is something that gets worn out and loses its appeal. If we are all aging, then we are all fads. So why not be so individually cool that you never outlive your time?

active-cyclist-elderly-264073What these ultra-cool elders are really showing us is that you must keep going and growing in order to live your best life. Having your 60th birthday, or whatever age you deem to be old, is not an automatic indicator that you must now move to an assisted-living facility and wear Velcro shoes. A continually stimulated brain will spur you into stimulating your body. Walk, dance, climb, hike, swim, sky-dive, whatever challenges you want to place upon your body – just go for it. Be safe; just because you can do it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care for your body. Our muscles don’t recover as quickly as they used to, and our bones aren’t as strong as they used to be either.

barca-473854_1920Are you a widower and think that because your spouse of 50 years is gone, you should just sit alone in your tiny new apartment? Au contraire, my friend. Loneliness will kill you faster than your one martini with dinner. Why not a companion to share that martini with? There is no social demand that you be married. Living in sin, if you call it that, is far more fun than withering away by yourself.

Many seniors become entrepreneurs. Done with the working-for-someone-else world, many active adults start new businesses built upon hobbies or passions. We have a lifetime of skills and workplace savvy to make it lucrative.

How about a little Botox, sculpting, or other cosmetic enhancements? False eyelashes and eyeliner aren’t just for the 20-something set. Whatever you choose to make yourself look and feel better should be just to make yourself feel better, and not about what anyone else says.

old-2742052_1920Growing older isn’t an easy thing. The changes in your body can be very frustrating. The lapses in memory are annoying. Don’t let them overwhelm you. Be kind and loving to yourself. Use them as opportunities to slow down and savor the moments of each day. You now have time to do all the fun things you put off while you were working and raising children.

You might even have time to go sky-diving with your grandkids while wearing your new purple-sequinned jumpsuit.

Your Green Is Showing

st-patricks-day-1255621_1920Happy St Patrick’s Day to all Irish folk and those who want to be. Today is the day when everyone dons their best green glitter, beads, headgear and alcohol-themed items and makes a parade of the day. Sort of like Halloween, but all in green. What’s not to love about a happy-looking shamrock, or leprechaun waving about? Especially with a live band playing a dance-inducing jig. Nothing like a little celebration for getting us out of the winter doldrums.

I’ve often wondered why people go a little nutty on this day. I think it goes much beyond just the celebration of St Paddy. I think it is the unleashing of Spring. Three days from now is the Spring Equinox, the balance of day and night. Spring flowers are pushing their tiny noses up through the melting snow. Birds are chirping and starting their mating dance. The sun is higher in the sky and much brighter than its winter tone. Lakes and ponds are slowly losing their glaze of ice.

And humans are unleashing their cabin fever in a crazed dance of Celtic partying.

It’s mid-March and volatile weather still lurks. Hail storms and tornados threaten to wreak havoc on our property. All the while, a riot of color begins to explode from the earth into perfect petals.

Many of us, me included, look longingly at our tarp-covered patio furniture and wonder how soon we can toss those covers aside. We stand at patio doors and windows, sipping our green beer, and wait for the shamrocks to grown in the lawn. Soon, the warmer air promises. Soon, you can come out and play. Soon, but not soon enough.

Do I have Spring Fever? So much so, that my toenails are green.