Put Me In, Coach

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Image by Keith Johnston from Pixabay

“Centerfield” is a classic rock song by John Fogerty, released in 1985 about someone telling the coach that they were ready to play, and in center field. It’s that fighting spirit that all coaches want to see.

I know it is about baseball, which I’m not that interested in, but I often use sports analogies when I’m writing to demonstrate my meaning.

We know that a good coach can bring out the best in their athletes and lead them to a winning season. A good coach has passion, can read their players, can encourage them and most of all, know the game. They need to be able to teach the players the mechanics and techniques that work the best, but at the same time encourage them to go beyond. At times, they also must be tough, and not afraid to crawl all up in someone’s sh*t if they aren’t pulling their weight.

Coaches aren’t limited to sports. They can be those rah-rah people around you, cheering you on during life victories. There are also professional life coaches, with formulas for success, who lead seminars and write books for self-help people.

I am beginning to think of myself as a life coach. It wasn’t something I aspired to, as my passion was always about design. Coaching was more of a calling born out of dealing with my own life issues and learning. I can say I am passionate about spirituality and metaphysics, having studied them for over 40 years. I have taken classes for developing psychic abilities and healing. As I got older and realized that my early years were having an impact on my choices and behavior patterns, I knew I needed to do something about them. I went to talk therapists, psychics and energy healers. They made a difference, but ultimately, I knew that the changes had to come from within me. Since I learn best through reading and research, I delved into the world of self-help. I practiced the behavior modification techniques often recommended, and the best one for me was to call out my inner child and mother her in the way that she didn’t get. That shifted a whole lot of the baggage I carried.

I was so impacted by my changes that I wanted to share with others. Whenever I have (and still do) encounter someone having difficulties, I reach out with personal experiences and suggestions for making changes. (Not being a medical professional, I don’t diagnose or attempt to treat those with severe issues.) I often feel guilty afterwards; who am I to tell someone how to run their life? But I have learned, and done this myself, people will hear what they want to hear and ignore the rest. Thus, no offense given, and none taken.

I’m not ready to take the step into professional coach. I still carry doubts about “lecturing” people on how to manage their life. I’m also concerned about being overwhelmed by the demands, so I keep reminding myself to take baby steps. Writing this blog is a baby step. I can tackle an issue, make suggestions and put them out there for people to accept or not. If I’m using this as a training ground, then I realize that I’m not really telling anyone what to do, just making recommendations and how-tos for making life better. Sort of like showing someone with basic cable what they could get if they sign up for the 250+ package. Woo-hoo!, because the biggest win in life is living a good life.

If there is a topic you would like me to address, for the good of one and all, then please comment back.

Or just say “put me in, Coach, I’m ready to change!”.

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.

Hurri-calm

raindrops-828954_1920Yesterday, I experienced one of the wildest weather events I’ve ever seen in Colorado. It was almost like a hurricane. To those of you who have gone through the real-deal, my empathy is with you.

There is a public park just around the corner from our house and they have several events throughout the summer. Yesterday was a fund-raising event with live bands and food trucks. We’ve been to it several times and it is wonderful. I love summer events. This is a happy one, with families and kids and dogs and everyone having a good time.

The weather was forecasted to rain, with possible severe storms. Typically, those have happened this summer and we get rain and sometimes hail. I think they may have understated the severe for this storm. We walked over about 5:00. A fantastic Stevie Ray Vaughn cover band was playing. Dark clouds were forming all around us. We went to get some food and it started to rain. The band decided to shut down. Grumbling skies and lightning flashed overhead.

And then the wall of rain arrived.

Sideways, blowing in great sheets of water. People running everywhere to grab kids and chairs and umbrellas and whatever. My Sweetie yelled “head for home!” Our friends headed for one of the food trucks. There was too much lightning for my comfort and I’m a small woman so the wind was a little rough. I spotted an awning with a few people underneath and ducked for cover.

It is truly amazing how people respond in crisis situations. An almost absurd, slow-motion sense of calmness takes over. The awning was for a chiropractic center advertising their business. A nice young woman had the station with a big computer setup. It was her first month in Colorado. Oh my! But this one gentleman was the star of the hurricane from hell. He calmly took charge and held onto the frame of the awning, while instructing the woman. He had her shorten the legs of the awning on the incoming side of the rain so the water would run off and not pool on top. Then had her move the weights to the canopy frame to hold it steady. Three others arrived with umbrellas and he had them stand at the front and create a wall with their umbrellas. I helped cover up the computer, even though I was holding food. We were all cold and soaking wet, but felt safe in our shelter. Next to us was a woman with a food station. Her beautiful food was ruined as the pans filled with water. She hovered underneath the tables and eventually came to join us. This amazing gentleman kept talking to everyone while he held onto that canopy. Asked they two woman about the companies they were with and where the one woman had moved from.

He was simply amazing. Some people freak out in crisis, others maintain, and then there are those wonderful beings who keep the calm when we all need it. Thank you, dear friend. I don’t know your name, but many blessings to you.

We all made it home safely and we had no property damage. My flowers will probably grow a foot and that is not a hardship. There are photos on the news stations of all the flooding. They are calling for another round of storms today. Yikes. Blessings to all in the Gulf who have been dealing with this.

I hope it’s only a Hurri-calm.

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.

Do You Remember?

pink-rose-in-rain-4205779_1920It is Memorial Day, the annual event to honor those who have passed on, particularly of the military. Memorial services are being held in many locations, some solemn, with flags and a lone bagpiper. Some more joyous and others even more somber. In any event, we are remembering those who have passed.

But what about those who are still living and have passed through your life? Friends, lovers, acquaintances? Spouses, significant others and even children. Memorial Day can be a trip down memory lane, with thoughts of “where are they now?” Such it is with human nature, life is a journey with many paths and many people. Too often, these missing and long gone folks left behind a scar or a bit of sadness. Only a few were able to leave behind the bright, shiny feeling of joy.

Whatever the circumstances, whether there is life or death, remember all of them with gratitude. Some people are with you for a reason, and some are with you for a season. Be thankful you knew them, because they helped you find room in your heart to allow someone else to fill the empty spaces.

Blessings to all on this remembrance day.

MotherFaker

I originally posted this article on October 21, 2017 and decided to re-post it for Mother’s Day.  First, I would like to honor all those really good moms and awesome dads I frequently encounter.  Their obvious love of and devotion to their children restores my faith that parenthood is good.  Many blessings and thanks to you.

Secondly, I would like to extend my compassion to all those who have struggled with mother wounds.  Whether you continue to put yourself in the line of fire, or like me, have cut off all contact, give yourself permission to feel the pain and anger.  There is nothing wrong with you.  Your feelings are real and they matter.

Whether you are a mother, want to be one, have a good relationship with your mother or have soul wounds, the first mother is the one that you are to yourself.  Nurture and love you and let the rest be what it will be.

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Read that title twice, didn’t you?  It might be a Freudian slip. . .

maskA MotherFaker is a mother who gave birth, but only pretended to be a mother.  Many, many of us had one, a mother that just couldn’t quite give us the nurturing and love that we needed.  We grew up scarred because of it, drifting in and out of relationships, marriages, jobs, homes, friendships, whatever it was that we tried to suck a little bit of love out of.  We attracted those people and situations as a mirror of our selves.  Maybe you still struggle with this.  Maybe we will never get over that abandoned and unwanted feeling.

It is possible, if you are willing to do the work.

Everyone says to forgive.  Yes, I know that is a stupid statement and you do not feel like you can ever condone your mother’s actions.  That is not the point of forgiveness.  You only want to neutralize your feelings so you don’t leave this stuck inside of you.  Your mother was not capable of being a mother to you.  It is NOTHING about YOU.  Maybe she had difficult circumstances in her life that caused her to shut down.  Maybe she had a MotherFaker and that was all she knew.  IT WAS NOTHING ABOUT YOU.  You have to find a way to let go of holding onto the energy so you can move on with your life and live the best you possible.  Does it really benefit you to be pissed about this?  Is that ever going to change the situation?  No.  It happened.  Your mother was not capable of love, but YOU ARE.

sad childStart by loving yourself.  Nurture the little girl inside you in all the ways that you did not get.  You will be surprised how much that helps to let go of your pain.  Start simply by asking yourself what you need: am I hungry, tired, thirsty, have to pee?  Honor those needs and then you will be able to ask yourself how you feel.  Whenever you feel crabby and out-of-sorts, start there.  Children of MotherFakers always put Her needs first and denied themselves.  Stop the crazy-making train and tend to you first.  Get into that practice and you will be surprised how your life changes and how differently people treat you.

And then you no longer have to fake being happy.

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.

The Mating Game

butterfly-743549_1920Spring is teasing us with 70 degree days. Pasty white skin is showing beneath shorts wrinkled from winter storage. Straw hats and sunshades are getting dusted off. We’ll need those polarized specs to ward off the glare from the snow that will still make itself known before the earth heats up.

Spring brings flowers and flowers get crafted into beautiful wedding bouquets as young couples tie the knot in a ritual as old as Spring. Love, hope and promises swell the heart as they shout out their vows. Then begins the ritual of learning how to live together in peace and cooperation.

Statistics being what they are state that not every couple stays together. Sometimes it is big issues, those red-flags that were ignored in the heat of desire. A person will tell you everything you need to know when you first meet them so pay attention. When you are older and the sexual part of your relationship is in the waning stage, then you want to be best friends with your spouse. Too many good relationships end over power struggles that can be prevented.

Most couples fight over responsibilities and money. I have found some solutions to these issues that have worked well. First of all, share responsibilities. If one of you works outside of the home and the other in the home, SHARE responsibilities. It is very easy to have the homebound person take on most of the duties, but they are working too. Taking care of a home and children IS work. If one of you is a better cook, then the other can do the cleanup. Most resentments revolve around one person feeling that they have the bulk of responsibilities, usually housework. ASK for help when you need it, don’t expect that the other person can read your mind or will just pitch in. Ladies, this will help you avoid getting mad so ASK him.

In terms of money, the best way to avoid most fights is to have different bank accounts. Have a joint account that pays for housing and its upkeep, food, travel or any other thing that is shared. Put in an equal amount, even if you earn unequally. For example, if you both put in 80% of your income, then it is fair and equitable even if one of you makes $5,000 a month and the other $8,000 a month. The person with the higher income will put in more, but at still the same percent. Then you each need a separate personal account for discretionary money. You will have money you can spend for things you enjoy without harming either your living costs or having to justify to the other person. Just remember, do no harm. So if one of you smokes, then you aren’t using shared money to purchase them. The non-smoker doesn’t get to judge the spending either. Although I don’t recommend smoking as a spending habit. But before any expenses, be sure to save a portion of your income each month. You will want to retire someday and, trust me, you will be glad you did.

Your mating dance can last a lifetime. Patience, acceptance, cooperation and lots of laughing go a long way. And the occasional disco twirl on a warm spring day.

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.

Cows Don’t Wait

cow-2896329_1920I like cows, especially the milk-producers. I like their big, clunky bodies. I like their ability to go from complete Zen peacefulness to the occasional tail-flying romp. I like the interesting patterns and colors of their hide.

On the family farm, we had big, black and white Holsteins that produced enormous quantities of milk. A few of the more docile, brown and white spotted Guernseys. And one precious sweet-faced Jersey, whose milk was pure cream. Small, golden brown with delicate faces, the cow-version of the Arabian horse, the Jersey was my favorite.

cow-961790_1920There is much to bovine wisdom if you pay attention. First and foremost, they teach us a lesson in work ethics. Cows must be milked every single day or they suffer. They will bellow louder than your alarm clock if you don’t tend to them. No lying in bed, no calling in sick, no swiping your cell phone.

 

They teach you how to treat them. I was never allowed to help with the milking, because I was too little. Yet I hung around in the barn during milking time. It was all hands-on; we didn’t have enough cows to require milking machines. It took a certain amount of finesse to milk a cow. A heavy hand got you a tail swipe in the face. Too heavy of a hand got a hoof poked at you; most of the time only resulting in a tipped over bucket. It was important to learn a rhythmic, soothing squeeze, not unlike our trips to a massage therapist. For the big, full-bagged Holstein, milking kept them calm and happy.

holstein-cattle-2318436_1920For humans and animals alike, feeding time is a ritual. Like clockwork, cows lumber along single file from the outer reaches of the pasture to gather in the feeding area by the barn. Buckets of grain, fresh hay and a lick from a salt block created contentment and satiety.

cow-2945515_1920Simply sitting and observing cows is a peaceful time for humans. They contentedly graze, mull over their cud, with the occasional flick of a long tail if a fly ventures too near. A twitch of their soft, velvety ears. They occasional lulling moo, especially if there are suckling calves nearby. Just small, simple message to remind us to take our responsibilities seriously, but move through our day with ease and slow, sure steps.

Cows don’t wait for our procrastination. Cows don’t wait while we rush around filling our day with meaningless activities. Cows don’t wait for us to get the need for rest and relaxation. They just do.

Or is it moo.