May you be free from fear... May you be free from desire...
May you be blessed with unity... May you be blessed with peace...
May you be blessed with unity... May you be blessed with peace...
I bought this little chime designed to hang from your car rear view mirror. The sentiment is one that I've heard a lot over the years. I even went so far as to seriously study breath work with David Elliot when I lived in Los Angeles. (Short bit on You Tube... ). At any rate I've been "working" with breath for a long time. I feel that smoking is a testament to my understanding of the importance of breath. More than someone who doesn't or has never smoked... I get it. I understand what it's like to breath deeply, frequently, on purpose. To "need" to do that, to sacrifice for it, to plan for it, stress over it, yearn for it... Every smoker knows what I'm talking about. The breath is linked to smoking and nicotine... but intimately connected.
I met with my therapist April Hannah a couple weeks ago with the specific intent of releasing emotions. I have experienced for the last several months what I describe as emotional constipation. I have numerous episodes of getting "choked up" - on the verge of tears - but never actually crying. Menopause you say? How the fuck would I know? I've never had menopause before, like a virus that lasts for years... Everyone's experience seems to be so different the reports from others is completely unreliable. The cause, anyway, is totally without consequence. The fact is I feel a desperate sense of heartache that is stopped up, halted, stunted, unexpressed. I know I don't have the tools or experience to actually express these feelings in a safe, fearless, courageous way. I was stunted in my own emotional expressional growth by both of my fathers. One of those long sad, sad tales of woe that is, once again, unimportant.
I'll have to continue this later...
August 1st... I just noticed that the post above didn't actually post to the site when I wrote it on the 23rd of July. How odd... apparently not meant to be. I'm testing now to see if adding this comment will somehow register the rest of the text.
I'm still breathing and dealing with breathing and loving it.... testing... testing...
Porch? Portal? Studio? Hideout?
I will talk more about how I've remembered how to breathe... later, soon, promise. I'm just in a rambling mood at the moment. "later, soon, promise" "shit, fuck, wow" I'm sure there are loads of, millions no doubt, three word combinations that go in sequence and perfectly express something or other that's going on... interesting...
Anyhow, I have a room in my house that used to be a deck... but the deck was torn off completely and a completely new space was created. It measures 19 feet long and 11 feet wide. The ceilings are 12 feet high with six skylights. There are two large windows on each side, a door also on the right side and a large window at the end. It is well insulated with storm windows and a ductless heating and air conditioning unit. I have a comfy chair and ottoman for reading with a nice light and all the windows have nice deep sills for use as shelves. I also have shelves for books and a table for crafts and two desks. There are no less than 12 year round green residents of varying sizes... even in winter I've managed to keep them all alive for several years now. With the addition of the heating unit I don't have to schlep them all into the dining room in the fall.
This space is also the home to my drum, singing bowl, my altar, all my stones, a small TV with DVD, arts and crafts, photos, a nice wireless speaker and workout weights and whatnots. Oh and candles and incense and did I mention books and art and plants and lots of cool pens and pencils and journals.
So the point of this exercise is to come up with a name or names for the space. Here are some options: den, study, hideout, library, greenhouse, oasis, portal, nursery, porch, retreat, book room, plant room, play hall, play shop, conservatory, lounge, parlor, gallery, sanctuary, refectory (although there is very little eating done it sounds cool), temple, salon, shrine, arboretum, and bottega. There's a few and then we have the possible combinations... plant hideout, study portal, library oasis, etc.
This is the type of shit that overwhelms me... in such cases I go with my gut. So I'll narrow them down... At first pass these spoke to me: retreat, hideout, oasis, den, library, lounge, conservatory, portal, salon, parlor, gallery, bottega (I thought a bottega was for whores... apparently not...) So now it's relatively obvious my retreat portal or den oasis or conservatory hideout or gallery lounge or library salon. I don't need to decide right now... that is clearer and clearer to me, there really is plenty of time.
Just a small scarry peak into my mind... frightening, right?
I just posted a journal entry from 2013 to the Look Back page... it "got me to thinking" about how long I'd waited and tried to get sober and stop smoking. Chris was really, ultimately the straw that broke both camel's backs, so to speak. I am so grateful!
I was given an old tiny black - battered Twenty-Four Hours a day AA book by a client. Her mother had been sober 40+ years when she passed away and had used this little book for years. It survived a recent downsize and sort round on my bottega and attained relocation to prime real estate in the bathroom reading nook. It reminds me of a prayer book that I inherited from my Great Grandmother as a child: yummy, musky, crinkly pages that are thin and slightly discolored. An old bookmark was included with this verse:
The More of everything you share
The More you'll always have to spare...
For only what you Give Away
Enriches you from day to day!
Helen Steiner Rice
The page per day includes a Thought for the Day, A Meditation for the Day and a Prayer for the Day. I read the entries for yesterday and today... nice. The one for today dovetailed nicely with the look back from yesterday... and my musings this morning. Wink!
Meditation for July 19th: To God, a miracle of change in a person's life is only a natural happening. But it is a natural happening operated by spiritual forces. There is no miracle in personalities too marvelous to be an everyday happening. But miracles happen only to those who are fully guided and strengthened by God. Marevelous changes in people's natures, happen so simply, and yet they are free from all other agencies than the grace of God. But these miracles have been prepared for by days and months of longing for something better. They are always accompanied by a real desire to conquer self and to SURRENDER one's life to God.
I was inspired to look at the entry for my birthday, June 7th and found, once more, an inspiring and nicely complementary message: Meditation for June 7: You not only can live a new life but you also can grow in grace and power and beauty. Reach ever forward and upward after the things of the spirit. In the animal world, the very form of an animal changes to enable it to reach that upon which it delights to feed. Your whole character changes as you reach upward for the things of the spirit - for beauty, for love, for honesty, for purity and for unselfishness. Reaching after these things of the spirit, your whole nature becomes changed so that you can best receive and delight in the wonders of the abundant life.
Oh, BTW, did I mention that I'm remembering how to BREATHE?! That story for another day! Who knew I'd been holding my breath for 50 years!
There is NO middle!
After my weekly AA meeting last Saturday I had some time to chat and commiserate a bit about life in general.. I find it interesting how many 50 ish age folks I meet are open and searching for something to do "when they grow up." This phrase seems to be generally accepted with a smile or smirk to accurately represent the situation.
People I've talked to generally know what they don't want by now and have a couple ideas but nothing definite. Chances are this is only new to me in particular and not a cultural phenomenon... I guess, who knows? Who do you check with on things like that? A psychologist? A researcher? some type of DR no doubt. =) Surely someone's getting paid to study it somewhere on the planet.
I digress... anyway,.. I was commenting (to a friend after the meeting Saturday) on the fact that during the meeting it had dawned on me to wonder what thoughts would occupy my mind once I was done thinking about anything food or weight related. Just as food and weight have taken up the space previously occupied by smoking and drinking. What fabulous distraction will I choose once those "issues" are "handled" to my satisfaction? My friend laughed heartily... thinking I was worrying about what to worry about next. When in fact I was, sincerely wondering about what to think about intentionally. Worrying is really not something I do much of, consciously anyway. We don't know each other well, so that's an understandably laughable interpretation. He then commented that there is no middle to the onion. I agreed and mentioned what a pisser that is! He concurred and we both had a grand chuckle.
Peel away, we have no choice, but just so you know... there is NO core!
Eat, Pray, Wink...
I'm short on time but needed to get this down while it's fresh and present. A couple of weeks ago I came across the book, Eat, Pray Love. I think it was at a client's house who gave it to me... I'm not sure, but it was in the Jeep, then in the house, then on the porch... hanging out. It was circling near the top of various piles so it grabbed my attention. Then it somehow relocated to the coffee table.
I thought of reading it, but I'm in the middle of a very entertaining fantasy trilogy. I also have vague recollections of the story being about a woman who finds her passion after traveling and so forth... a middle age tale for sure. Honestly, I just wasn't quite in the mood to read about yet another person who successfully climbed the magic mountain and returned with their purpose in life.
I was upstairs looking through all my Spiritual Cinema Circle DVD's deciding which to watch and guess what appeared... Eat, Pray Love... again, this time in the movie room at the top of a quite different pile. I have two copies apparently. Ok, this is officially "wink" one. Maybe that's when the book moved from the porch to the coffee table.? I'm going to count that as "wink" two. (If you're wondering what a "wink" is then search god wink and read the post about it. The nice thing about writing a book as opposed to a blog, eventually you will be able to assume that the person reading it has read it in order...)
I was bored at the concert last night and just happened to have packed my earbuds in my very tiny shoulder bag. I did have my ear plugs as well, another story. I was bored, apparently Steely Dan only had so many songs that I recognized so I tuned into the latest episode of On Being. Krista Tippet just happened to be interviewing, you guessed it, Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love... no SHIT! Wink two or three, depending... seriously serious wink, though! I didn't listen to the whole thing last night they played a song I had to dance to... gotta be in the moment!
This morning I listened to the whole thing and just a couple of quick notes...
passion vs. curiosity. Curiosity being much more kind and gentle, no pressure. Great comments and distinctions there. Live a curious life... passion may come or not... get over it. There was also a bit about fear vs curiosity. Great stuff.
I also like the idea of self friendship vs self love... I had this thought while reading the Temeraire books. The dragon and the man are inseparable friends... I want to be that for myself. She also mentioned the Ruth idea about collaboration with inspiration as if it's a thing of it's own on the wind... story spirits... poem muses...
Bottom line for some reason I was afraid to read the book, now I'm curious... Eat, Pray, Wink! I got it, I'll read the book! Gratefully moving onward and upward!
Vintage is Good!
I made an appearance at the Steely Dan / Steve Winwood concert at SPAC yesterday evening. Several things strike my attention none of which I can remember at the moment... Shit! I can fake it for a bit... there were lot's of gray haired people there, amazing! My first fellow 50+ concert experience, that I noticed anyway.
Steve Winwood apologized that all the songs are "vintage"... and someone in the audience behind me proclaimed quite vigorously... "We're ALL vintage!"...
I just looked up the synonyms for vintage, quite nice, actually, I like being vintage - best, choice, classic, excellent, mature, select, prime, venerable... yes, venerable VERY nice, indeed! Of course I'm leaving out - old and ripe - but only two sour ones out of so many is very good odds, certainly. (I just finished reading Volume 2 of a fantasy trilogy called Temeraire by Naomi Novik...this may account for a flush of English formal 18th century flavor in my prose...what fun!)
A fellow in front of Chris and I in the venue portal line had beautiful white - silver hair. I asked Chris if my hair were similar in color or close, by way of comparison, out in actual sunlight. The gent overheard and thought we might be making fun until he saw me... =) Then we all agreed on the disproportionate number of white haired people and how nicely well behaved we all are. Apparently the obnoxious party animal energy having all been spent is not necessarily a bad thing! The word mature did come up during the course of this casual conversation. I don't recall that ever happening in a concert entry queue before. This is indeed a brave new world!
OK... so this was approximately what I had in mind to write about, I think... I did get bored at the concert and gratefully had my phone and earbuds. I tuned into an episode of On Being where Krista interviewed the lady who wrote Eat, Pray, Love... but that topic is for the next post!
I've bravely opened up the comments... out of curiosity. Be vintage or I'll shut them down again. =)
It's a "Biggie"
Patience is a thing... a way of being and thinking and behaving that can be done gracefully or not. Of course there are an infinite number of degrees of being patient + graceful. There are immeasurable shades of grey, so to speak. This is something that I've always known and continue to learn on a daily basis. When I choose to pay attention. Awareness being first and most necessary, of course. Ongoing I'm seeing a need for gratitude, patience, love and responsibility. That may actually cover it... for now anyhow.
The biggie I'm thinking of at the moment is responsibility, the constant acknowledgement that I am the cause of/for/in my world. I've never really embraced the victim thing and I've had every right, if you hear only parts of my story... domestic violence victim as a baby, cancer survivor... yadda yadda. Anyhow recent circumstances have served to remind me how fortunate I am in both circumstances and attitude. Remember never to be the victim, if you hear yourself saying "I'm not a victim..." why would you say that unless you felt that somehow you are or you think you are perceived that way by others?
Remember, Laurie Anne McCauley... you choose the people around you, to learn from and contribute to. If the experience is unpleasant, then it's up to you to adjust either your attitude or your environment. And remember it's an ongoing learning process... grace is available by degrees.
If you've read through many of my posts at all, you'll know I consider that a stupid question. Of course not, I don't believe in coincidence... until I do... maybe. I guess what's puzzling me is the reason for a recent hair raising incidence of synchronicity... truly twilight zone material. I was sitting on the "patio" outside of Coffee Planet on Broadway in Saratoga minding my own business... last Sunday (June 26). I was on my "lunch" break from Tushita around 4:30pm. I looked up and staring back at me was one of my all time favorite people, Susan B. and her husband Michael along with Lily their one eyed chihuahua. I worked with and for Susan for years in my past corporate life... she was by far my favorite boss ever and amazing mentor. I've lost touch with lots of people from the past. Wow... just fucking wow!
We ended up hanging out at my house for a bit that evening then getting together in the morning before they continued on their journey from Boston to Rochester... They were visiting family in Boston then driving to a conference in Rochester, in town only one evening. If I didn't work for Tushita, would I have run into them... We had a chance to catch up, it was amazing. She's still a star, no doubt, after surviving cancer TWICE and she still works for the company I left 6 years ago. So much changes and so much stays the same. Odd how that works. At least I could tell her I had finally quit smoking! Maybe I'll get a colonoscopy... sooner? Who knows!
All that said, for such an amazing turn of events... what's the purpose? I'm not in a hurry to find out, just curious. Oh, and I'm paying attention. Great to see you Susan & Michael - Live Long and Prosper!
Laurie Anne McCauley
Did that make you feel better?
I decided back in November 2015 to make my poetry available and journal online. I'm not exactly sure what "blogging" means but I am quite sure this is an online journal. Feel free to read on with an aire of open minded curiosity. At no time do I intend to offend, judge or pretend to know anything really, I'm just an observer and explorer, as we all are. Feel free to "boldly go" through my observations and perhaps it will spark or inspire. Comments are off because I don't want to be worried about political correctness when I'm writing. I'm not thinking about "you." I'm just writing because it feels "right". Feel free to enjoy or surf on.
Fibber McGee's closet!