A Happy Space

I’m taking a week off from work. I have a lot of vacation time built up and I want to use some of it up before I retire in January. Plus, it’s great to get away from the stressful hustle. I chose to be home-bound for the rest and relaxation, and it is a sigh of relief. We’re hosting a neighborhood gathering tomorrow evening, and having a party Saturday afternoon with some friends. There is always a lot of prep for events, but I have plenty of time for it.

IMG_20190614_181516011 (2)I have several of these weeks throughout the summer. I am using them as practice for retirement. I knew that I needed some time away and I anticipated that it would be enjoyable, but certainly not at the level I am experiencing.

I am discovering an absolute true feeling of contentment.

IMG_20190614_181523173 (1)There are books, and articles, and videos, and podcasts, and so on, that speak of being happy. Do this, don’t do that, the list is goes on. Much of it is true, but it all comes back to how you feel inside. It is different for everyone. Sometimes the happiness is fleeting or short-lived. Such as that which comes from a thing, place or person. We all want the kind that stays with us for ever and ever. But what does it really mean?

It is how you feel at any moment, where you experience peace, contentment and relaxation. Your blood pressure drops, respiration becomes slower and deeper, worrisome thoughts seem to drift away, your gaze softens, and your senses relax. When I sit outside and look at my flower garden this happens. The colors, the shapes, the sheer beauty of the flowers overwhelm me. I become less aware of street noise and more aware of the tiny bees that roam from flower to flower. The chirp of birds. Perhaps one lands to take drink from the bird bath. Butterflies floating about. Time passes by without a thought.

I can begin to appreciate that the stress and striving brought me to this. That work and effort is important, because it brings safety and security, and purpose in serving. But yet, we must never lose sight of the need to fulfill our own passions and the necessity of self-care. Whether you are working or not, good health or bad, have many responsibilities or not, taking a few moments to find your happy space are as necessary as breathing.

Your soul will hug you if you do.

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.

Feng Swayed

paper-3149117_1920I am re-reading the book “Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life” by Karen Rauch Carter (Fireside books, 2000).  The book is an easy-to-follow guide using Feng Shui to enhance your home in order to improve your life.  It is an awesome book and the techniques work.

Feng Shui originated in China with information dating as far back as 4000 BC.  The concept is to use the energy forces, or qi (chee), in a person’s surroundings to harmonize and enhance the space.  An eight-sided diagram, called the bagua, is placed over the floorplan of the home and reviewed.  Although the bagua is an octagon, it is made up of nine sectors that represent areas in your life.  The layout is as follows:

Front Center: Career
Front Right: Helpful People and Travel
Right Middle: Creativity and Children
Right Back: Relationships and Love
Back Middle: Fame and Reputation
Left Back: Prosperity
Left Middle: Family
Front Left: Skills and Knowledge

Each sector can be enhanced with “cures”, using elements, colors, mirrors, crystals and many other items.  The enhancements will build up the energy in that sector for whatever you are trying to accomplish.  For example: you are unable to sustain a romantic relationship.  First, take a look at your bedroom.  Does it look like a space for couples?  Or do you have one nightstand, with one lamp and a picture of a single person above the bed?  Switch it up and put two of everything in there, make some room in the closet and hang a picture of a couple, preferably embracing, above the bed.  Secondly, what room is in the Relationships and Love corner of your home?  The bathroom?  You can’t remove that, so use the cures to amp up the love energy.  Keep the toilet lid closed.  Tie a red ribbon around the drain line of the sink to keep the energy from flowing out.  The color cures for this are red, pink, and white.  Buy a pack of kids valentines cards and make a collage on the wall.  Not your style?  Put them in the cabinet drawers or tape them inside.  The cures don’t have to be seen to work.  Do all of this with the intention of attracting the best partner for you.  And then watch the magic happen.

The book has a chapter for each of the nine sectors and explains what is bad in that area and how to enhance it.  You really can make a difference in your life with quick, simple cures.

I am still in the clean-it-up mode.  I have been doing some “up” decorating in my home.  I say up, rather than redecorating, because I am mostly just adding some artistic enhancements.  A little paint, some pillows, a piece of accent furniture and some artsy stuff.  Taking it from average-nice to “Bam!” as Emeril would say.  I’m following up with a read of this book to see if I need to pep up any of the bagua areas.  I have a pack of multi-colored construction paper (yes, that works!) and a scissors to cut specific shapes out of the paper.  These can be stuck on the back or underside of furniture to ramp up that area.

I may be easily swayed by my desire for a good life, but why not?  We all deserve to be prosperous, loved and happy.  Use the energy forces inherent in your space and allow them to help you.  Oh, that’s the Helpful People and Travel, right front, area of your home.

In The Hunt

cat-3750778_1920We are deep into football season and many teams are in the hunt to make the playoffs.  Most teams have players out of action due to injuries and trading continues throughout the season.  Everyone wants a piece of the trophy.

Throughout our lives, we strive for some trophy.  I could be a real trophy to designate the winner of a physical contest.  It could be metaphorical: the killer job, forever home, beautiful car, great kids or fabulous spouse.  Striving is motivation and carries through the journey of life.

Too often, striving for material things alone leaves us feeling empty or desirous of more.  When we don’t put purpose and soul satisfaction at the top of the list, the result is fleeting.  It is then we must reach deep into the soul and seek the meaning that sustains us.

How do you know what that is?

If there is something you simply must do on a consistent basis, then that is your calling and meaning.  I must create.  Art and beauty soothe my soul.  It can be any medium for me.  I don’t have to pick up a paintbrush or crayon to fulfill that need.  My work life consists of managing money, but even in that lies creativity.  It can be figuring out how to use the money in the best way possible or it can be designing my spreadsheets in a way that pleases my eye.  Creativity comes out in my home or in how I dress each day.  When I am unable to create, my soul weeps.  Depression sets in and life loses its meaning.

As I have previously written, I am in a bit of a funk.  I have limited my article postings and am presently taking a few days away from work to rest and rejuvenate.  I will take some time to just look within and listen to my heart.  To ask myself what I am missing and what I need to bring a happy state back to my soul.  I will work on the manuscript for my book about spirituality.  Exercise.  Right now I am listening to music.  I have been less than my happy self for a good portion of this year and I need to gain that back.

We should always be in the hunt for happiness.  Life is messy and sometimes it is hard to sustain, but our natural state is happiness.  The level can be different for each of us, but it is always there.

Unlike the Super Bowl, it is a trophy that can be had by all.

You’re Stuck in the Pit of Misery, and You Hate Bud Light

il_340x270.1363166986_24kw[1]With all the chaos and negativity running rampant in the world, it is difficult to keep a positive state of mind.  Dilly-dilly, seems pretty silly when you try to focus on the Light.  Or is it Lite.  (poorly written puns, I know, but thus is the state of my mind)

All silliness aside, I’ve had my share of dark times this past year.  I have a stressful, highly responsible job managing a government department’s funds.  I don’t mind the work, just the demands that go with it and the difficult people with rigid ideas.  I have had a skirmish with someone who decided he knew more about my work than I do, even though he has never done it, much less asked any questions.  It is an ongoing issue, with his passive-aggressive attempts to make me look bad.  He has enlisted a couple others in his quest, who love to make demeaning remarks in group meetings.  Lest you think I am delusional about my skills, I have grade A reviews accompanied by high compensation.

Alongside these passive-aggressive attempts to demean me, these people also want to suck all the knowledge out of my brain and automate everything I do.  It is crazy-making and I am beyond ready for retirement.  My manager does the best she can to defend me, but she is also taking hits from these people.  I have no idea why this is occurring.

It is bad enough, that my sweetie thinks I need anti-depressants.  I won’t even self-medicate with alcohol.  It doesn’t help though, when we get into these repetitive conversations about family members, ex-spouses and our past history.  I have literally felt as though I have been sucked down into the oubliette, otherwise known as the Pit of Misery.  (horrible place, really, look it up)  Enough so, I am considering prescribed meds. 

This morning, however, I woke into a different frame of mind.  I told him that we need to have a cease-fire on such depressing topics, unless it is necessary or relevant.  Such as, I can discuss my work if only to explain why I come home mad.  All of the other is behind us and, instead, we need to talk about how we want our life to look.  None of the rest of it serves any purpose.  He was totally with me on this.

I have a bit of a theory on this, personally anyway, because of my age.  The 2nd Saturn Return occurs during your late 50s.  The first one occurs around age 27 and, well, you’ve all heard of the 27 Club.  Serious sh*t.  The 2nd one ain’t no picnic either.  It’s Life Review time, people, and you might be staring down the hole of the P.o.M.  If you haven’t healed and released your sh*t yet, it’s going to come crawling out of that dark place you’ve stored it and poke you right between the eyes.  What are you gonna do about it and how are you gonna live the rest of your life?  Do you want to stay in the sh*tpile or do you want to shovel it out of your way?  (just remember, sh*t makes flowers grow)

You don’t have to know every single detail of how you want your life to flow from here on out.  Start with today and set the intention that you are improving your life.  Stop talking about the sh*t and focus on the good stuff.  Can’t get past that?  Call upon the Universe for help.  Ask for help with more positive thoughts.  Ask for a peaceful day.  Ask to be protected from a$$holes.  Ask for a good parking spot at the grocery store.

Ask for a pretty mug to pour your Bud Light into so you can toast your peaceful day.

Just Roll Over

directory-466935_1920Have you ever heard the term “dark night of the soul”?  It’s really the same as hitting the bottom of your life; a desperate, depressing time when you just want to sink down in the sh*tpile and call it good.  Ick.  What a horrible thought, but I bet many of you have been there.  I know I have.  A time, or three.

You just lay there, face down in your sh*t, and wonder why and how you got that way.  Maybe you want to stay there.  Maybe you want to get out of it.

Did you know that all you have to do is roll over?  Yes, really.  If you roll over, you look up towards the light and the way out.

Most people who hit the bottom are just ready to give up.  Death is certainly a way out, but why would you want to do that when there are other possibilities?  Instead think: Surrender.  When you surrender, you give up control.  So if you roll over, look up at the light and surrender to the Universe, you flip on the light to something brighter and better.  The Universe will get you out of the sh*tpile if you give up control.  If you pay attention, the Universe will put ideas in your tired little brain that you can use to improve your life.  The Universe will send people and resources to help you move forward.  But you have to be open to it.

The biggest miracles occur when you have a dark night of the soul.  Things you never, ever dreamed would happen show up at the right time making you wonder why you ever thought things were so bad.  But you know something?  You don’t have to wait until you are at the bottom of the well to get miracles.  You can get them anytime you want.  Yes, really.  The Universe is on-call 24/7.  To you.  To anyone.  No limits.  No running out of data.

All you have to do is roll over and surrender.

For What It’s Worth

vw-camper-336606_1920“There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware

I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down”

Buffalo Springfield, Atco Records, December 23, 1966

The 1960s were a time of great happenings and much turbulence.  Not much different than what we are experiencing in today’s times.  During the 60s, we witnessed these events:

The Vietnam War
John F. Kennedy elected president and assassinated
The Cold War
Bay of Pigs
Cuban Missile Crisis
Senator Robert Kennedy assassinated
Richard Nixon elected president and later impeached
The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr
The Charles Manson cult murders
The violence at the Altamont Free Concert
Protests, protests and more protests
And yet,

We put a man on the Moon
Johnson establishes Medicare
The Beatles invade American music
The rise of the Hippie culture
The Summer of Love
The Woodstock Festival
Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have A Dream” speech; wins Nobel Prize
Civil Rights Act
Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to Congress
The birth of the birth control pill
The first airing of “How The Grinch Stole Christmas”
Daylight Savings Time enacted

So much crazy and so much good.  Think of the fabulous music that came out of this turbulence and the impact it still has on us today.  No to mention all the other major events.

It is difficult not to freak out when life is just downright nuts.  We fear for our safety and survival.  We fear for our children.  We fear for our health.  We fear for our money and our property.

We fear for our very lives.

But when we fear, we let the Dark take over and bring even more things to fear.  During these times, we must go deep within our soul and promise to care for our self.  We must draw upon our inner well of courage and determination.  We must look to Spirit and ask that the Universe bring about peace.  We must continually give gratitude for all the good we have, because it is only when we are grateful do we bring more into our lives to be grateful for.

“There’s something happening here”, and it’s drawing everyone together, making the commitment to build a better, more peaceful life for all.  For those of us who have lived through the 60s, we know things get better.

And for all those on Veterans Day, thank you for your service.

November-r-r

Fall has dug in and is flirting with Winter.  The mountains are getting snow, which makes all the skiers and outdoor people delirious.  I prefer the “apres-ski” version, where you sit in front of a fire in a cute outfit and fuzzy boots and drink warm, alcoholic beverages. Oh and I can’t forget, dip a hunk of bread in warm, melty cheese.  Yum.

Fondue pots aside, the weather is slowly shifting to chill.  When I take my daily walk, I wonder why I haven’t uncovered my selection of faux fur coats.  Maybe I just haven’t forgiven summer for leaving.  When I get home from work, I want to crawl into bed instead of sitting outside in the sun.  ‘Tis the season.

Cooler temps make us want to hibernate, or at least cocoon inside.  There is definitely a biologic aspect to this, but also a spiritual one.  As we move inward, it is the time to turn inward and take a view of this season of your life.

Have you let go of people and things that no longer serve your greatest good?  Have you set goals and intentions, if so, what progress have you made?

Winter is the time when we look into our soul and envision new things.  We take action steps in the Spring to plant the seeds.  Summer, our plans grow and mature and blossom.  And Fall is where we look back and harvest our dreams.  Did they bring us all we asked for?  Did we allow them to grow beyond our imagination?

Or did you let your field of dreams lie fallow?  Like reclaiming farmland, letting your dream field regenerate can be healthy, especially if you have been overly productive with your dreams.  Maybe Fall is the time when you sit back, sip your peppermint hot chocolate, and thank yourself for all the work you have done to make your life better.

Don’t forget the fondue.

Star Stuck

art-dawn-daylight-194040Does it seem like everyone has just gone bonkers lately?  Mean, back-biting or just plain snotty?  It’s not you, it’s them.  But it’s not you either.

Those pesky planets are making dizzy circles amongst the stars again.

Venus, the planet of love and relationships, has been in retrograde.  Yes, that-oh-so-sensuous, snuggle-on-the-sofa, planet of swoon has been giving relationships the cold shoulder.  If you have been fighting with your sweetie, your bestie, or maybe just everyone you meet, take heart because Venus is forcing us to take stock of our interpersonal relationships.

But hold onto your socks, or at least your box of tissues, because just when it should get better it is about to get worse.  Venus will stop being all pissy-pants and move direct on November 16th.  Yay!  Just wait, our other little friend who loves to create chaos, none other than Mercury, will go retrograde on the same day.

Mercury, the ruler of all things tech, communication, travel and legal will be giggling with glee as he turns his back on the sky and stays there until December 6th.

What. The. F*ck.

I guess there is a bright side to this.  Just when you are about to press Send on the nasty, go-F*ck-yourself text, your phone seizes and dies.  Or you are about to send your resignation letter to your boss, along with your list of the thousands of ways you hope the company dies, your computer goes into the blue screen of death taking all your files with it.

So while you are standing in line at the phone store, you’ll have plenty of time to re-think those messages.

You see, retrograde is the time to turn inward and re-think, reevaluate, review, remind and any other re-word that causes you to pause for a different purpose.

Maybe that relationship wasn’t so bad after all.  You might be pushing yourself too hard and biting someone’s head off just because you are tired.  Or maybe it really is time to call it quits, because you just can’t deal with their drinking problem.

Maybe you are taking on too much at your workplace, trying to make up for inadequacies in your team.  It might be time to step up and tell them to handle their own responsibilities.  Or maybe you need to polish your resume, because playing office politics that wreak havoc with your value system of integrity and correctness are causing you an overload of stress.

So while these planets are vying for dominion in the sky, hunker down in your nest and look within for answers.  Seek help from Spirit for the best direction and action steps to take.

Or maybe just make a wish upon a star.

Droid-ful

p1135496_e_v8_ab[1]Are you one of those people (like me) who continuously feel responsible for everyone and everything?  It gets to be exhausting, not to mention it just pisses you off when other people blissfully let you do their work.  You get on this endless treadmill of work-work-work and you never seem to have any time for yourself.  But you do have time by yourself, you are on that treadmill alone.  How do you get off?

Maybe you don’t really want to.

You have the power, after all.  You are calling the shots, and yes, it is controlling and enabling.    But none of this really makes you a terrible person.  There are often deep-seated reasons for your actions.

Behind control lives fear.  You have fear and anxiety of what might happen if you don’t keep control.  You like, no Need, your environment to be a certain way.  People who have experienced trauma, especially childhood trauma, often use control as a coping mechanism to avoid repeating the trauma.  If you do things to make your environment safe, or take on other people’s responsibilities to keep you safe, then somehow this translates to not repeating the event or issue.

But you will never feel safe until you give up control to the Universe to guide the outcome.

Another aspect of controlling actions is energetic sensitivity.  Maybe you perform the duties of others just to avoid being around them.  You know, that crabby complaining-about-everything person you have to work with.  You’ll do anything to keep them away.  Or the flip side, an under-performer who is a really awesome person and you don’t want them to get fired.  Neither of which serves them or you.  You are just an energetic sponge.

How do you protect yourself from this stuff?

First of all, you must let people be responsible for their own stuff.  How will they ever learn to be self-sufficient and thoughtful of others if you continue to interfere with their life lessons?  You are here for your own, why heap their pile on top?  Stop enabling and suffer through the outcome.  The reality is that it is never as bad as you imagined.  Sometimes those people really pull through and just surprise the hell out of you.

Secondly, deal with the trauma.  You will never heal if you don’t.

Anxiety is just obsessing over an unknown future.  You could get hit by a truck tomorrow and it will be all over and look what you missed out on.  If you focus on the now and doing whatever you need to do in the now, the future will become the now.  Practice grounding.  Grounding into the Earth keeps you connected in the now.  Create an energetic boundary.  Imagine yourself completely surrounded by an egg-shaped light.  It should be about three feet outside your body.  Imagine that it is impenetrable except for only love-based energy, which flows in and out.  Know that you are safe and secure inside this light.  This is great protection for the energy sensitive.

And know without a doubt, if you ask, the Universe will keep you safe and give you red-flag warnings of action steps that keep you safe.  The Universe will also provide you with the best possible outcome for your highest good.

Me, I’m thinking of getting a droid.  Sort of a clone of myself.  I’m going to program it with all the nonsensical, enabling, controlling behaviors that rule my inner world.  Then I’m going to lie down on the sofa, take a nap, and dream up ways to make my world lesson free.