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I’ve been working on letting go, and that has involved asking myself what I’m supposed to learn as a result of my *gasp* fallability. Coincidentally, I found this. This was a good find.


What started as a potentially awesome weekend day quickly turned into crapola, as I had a call regarding a snafu that happened more than a week ago. A snafu that I thought I was done being upset about. I kept my wits and my cool well enough … except that I let something slip that I had meant to keep to myself.

In the context of explaining how careful I am — how thoroughly I check things, how seriously I take it when something goes wrong under my watch — I told the other party about my OCD. And immediately wished I could hit “rewind.”

See, the thing about the situation is that I’m doing work for someone who doesn’t spent any time with me — that’s the way it is with online business. It’s one thing to tell someone who knows me and has observed me over a period of time. I know how very normal I am, and I still hold dear to my heart the person who said, “But you’re the most mentally well-adjusted person I’ve ever met.” But in this situation, all I can think is that I’ve painted myself into a corner because now I have this label. “OCD” doesn’t tell how hard I’ve worked to learn to keep an even keel and trust the universe.

But besides that, there’s still the issue of the initial snafu behind the call in the first place. It’s bugging me because I’m not the only one getting chewed out about it — and I have no idea what’s happened since we hung up. I’ve had this horrible heart-in-my-throat feeling for, oh, about 9 hours. Basically, I’m trying to keep busy and keep breathing. I had lunch and dinner even though I’ve felt on the verge of throwing up all day.

The weird thing is: What’s the worst that can happen? That I’m released from my duties? I have plenty of work to do, and life goes on. I’m not worried about that. So I’m playing “Name That Anxiety.” Maybe you can help me figure out this panicky feeling.

P.S. Our digital camera is AWOL, which is why the lack of knitting pictures. My hands have been busy, trust me. OCD, ya know. *irony*

hi! *waves*

Just a quick update. First, the Everyday Goddess Conference was a fabulous way to spend a weekend. I met some awesome new friends (hi Jodie!) and my two teen roomies (Moon and Nicole) seemed to have a great time.

Second, I now have a shop at Etsy. It’s Rakka was my inspiration … her shop is here. Now I can make stuff without having to worry about where to put it all!

Third, guess who Moon’s pulling for in this year’s American Idol? None other than Bucky Covington. Yep, my speed metal girl now appreciates (gasp) country.

one more thing

Okay, we’re pretty settled now, and we’ve just been doing various touches … you know, crystals and lights, stuff like that.

There’s another transformation that started during my week away, and this one is more personal. I’m changing my name. Just my first name. And I’m not totally giving it up, just shifting it to the middle.

The thing is, I’ve never really felt 100% at home with my name. I was always messing with it when I was growing up, and it rarely seemed to fit. But in adulthood I kind of got to the point where I just let it be. Even though I know quite a few people who have modified their names as adults, I felt like I was too old to be thinking about that sort of thing.

During my week of learning and introspection, I kept receiving little signs that it wasn’t too late. As my classmate said to me at one point, “You have tattoos and a nose ring, and you think that you’re not radical enough to change your name?”
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busy thinking

I know I haven’t said much since I returned from my training almost a week ago, but I guess I’m still processing. All I can say is that it was a wonderful experience, and life-changing in many ways.

My challenge now is to hang on to the energy that I felt during that week, now that I’m back in “ordinary time.” Having someone else take care of the schedule, the meals, and so forth liberated me to be able to pay attention to my inner stuff.

Of course, there were practical lessons as well. Feng shui is a fascinating art/science, and it was incredibly interesting learning about it. I had already been studying on my own for years, but that didn’t compare with having real-life experience working with clients and having a mentor to clarify the material.

My family had kidded me about coming home and changing everything around, but they weren’t prepared for what I ended up proposing: that we all switch bedrooms. Not one of them welcomed the idea when they first heard it, but it obviously grew on them … because the day after I returned, we made the move.

More about that later.

from the b&b

I’m supposed to be on a media break this week, but I don’t think this counts. My teacher knows I have my laptop (although the wireless connection is a bit of a surprise — what would the original tenants of this Victorian mansion think?). Anyway, I’m in intensive training for feng shui certification. Day Two has flown by, and now the information is whirling around in my brain. I’m processing.

It’s strange being away from my family all week. When I left, Peter dashed outside and ran alongside the car, waving to me until the car turned the corner. I’m thankful for the cell phone, because at least I’ve been able to fulfill my motherly role of nagging about homework.

As for the accommodations, can you say, “delicious, aesthetically pleasing vegetarian meals, prepared by someone other than me”? And “in-room whirlpool bath”? I could definitely get used to this sort of thing.

da list

Yep, I have a few plans for 2006. It’s got to be better than 2005.
First, my fitness goals:

  1. Attend step aerobics at 6 a.m. Monday/Wednesday/Friday, and miss as few classes as possible.
  2. Get butt out of bed on Tuesday/Thursday and do some time on the elliptical trainer at the Y.
  3. No more bedtime snacks. Stop eating past 8 p.m.
  4. More fruit, less sugar.
  5. Do the Five Tibetan Rites that we learned about at a wellness workshop last night (at church of all places).

Next, my life as a crafter:

  1. Learn the basics of sewing, with an eye toward recycling unwanted clothing into cool new stuff.
  2. Knit at least one pair of socks.
  3. Make a moebius basket, and continue to knit every day, even if it’s just a row or two.
  4. Plan family meals and teach cooking skills to the kids.
  5. Install closet organizer and turn part of closet into craft storage area.
  6. Finish doing the scrapbook pages about the vacation we took three years ago.
  7. Take out long-abandoned cross stitch and calligraphy supplies, and find out if doing that stuff is still fun. (I’m going to bet that it is.)
  8. Make at least one outfit for the Blythes, knitted or sewn. Take pictures.

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the overdue uu story

Okay, so even though Pete and I had been talking about the Unitarians for months, our plans to start going to the UU church over the summer kind of faltered. Mostly due to my affinity for sleeping in on Sundays. After our vacation, we decided that it was time to really check the place out. We’d visited there a few times, but hadn’t really gone on a regular basis.

I also was having a hard time visualizing what it would be like to be “real” members. The service is very different from the ritual that I had become accustomed to as a Catholic and then an Episcopalian. The faces in the congregation were unfamiliar. It helped to know that open minds resided behind those faces, but still.

Then one Sunday we went to church and saw that the week’s theme was something to the effect of “What being Unitarian means to me.” During the service, several different people from the congregation went to the podium and spoke about their spiritual journeys. A youngish guy talked about being a devout Methodist but always questioning his own beliefs. A cute teenager told a funny story that ended with a kind of a punch line about Buddhism. I felt a real kinship stirring in my heart. Then a distinguished elderly man with a booming voice went up to the podium, spread his arms wide, and said something in Latin.

This obviously wasn’t his first time speaking before a congregation, he said. He was a former Catholic priest. I was astounded to hear his story, which included a complete break with organized religion — until his wife coaxed him into checking out the UU.

After the service, I looked around the room and saw those unfamiliar faces in a different light. Any reluctance I had melted away. Pete and I ended up introducing ourselves to the ex-priest, and we discovered we had a few things in common:

  • He had been a priest in the diocese where we grew up.
  • He had been editor of the diocesan newspaper. The same newspaper, coincidentally, where I landed my first job out of college. (I stayed there four years.)

We also talked with the music director, another great guy. And we haven’t missed a Sunday since. (We also signed up for the new UU orientation, so I think that means we’ll be official in a few months.)

The weird thing is knowing that nobody is going to think my weird beliefs are very weird. But it’s also cool.

the unitarian thing

I just finished emailing several key people at my current church — to let them know that I’m going (with Pete, and hopefully our kids) over to the Unitarians. It was tricky, because I wanted to be courteous without seeming like I was being all dramatic (i.e. “It’s such a tragedy I’m leaving … I know you’re all broken up about it.”)

Pete and I have been talking about this all year, but a service we went to on 21 Aug was the real deciding factor for us.

And I’ll tell you about it later, after our trip to Milwaukee to see the American Idol tour. Go Constantine!

a visit with the shrink-man

So I went to see my psychiatrist on Monday, to check in with him after being back on the meds for two weeks. I continue to be amazed that the smallest possible dose works for me. Maybe it’s all in my head, you know? The placebo effect. Whatever.

One thing I did was ‘fess up to how poorly I had been doing up until the day I called him. When I first went off the meds, I only suffered physically… nausea, dizziness and all that. The slide downward happened so gradually that I was shocked when I realized just how much effort it was taking just to get through each day.

Why was I so clueless? Well, I wasn’t freaking out with anxiety, so I figured I was okay. I’ve become pretty adept at the behavior-modification thought-redirection stuff. Feeling dark and joyless threw me for a loop.

Anyway, being on the steroids turned out to be a good thing for me mentally. They do have a mood-boosting effect for many people, and I think that effect helped me hang in there while my regular meds kicked in. I’m sure that feeling physically better cheered me up a bit, too.

My doc pondered whether short-term steroids might be useful in psychiatry. (I had wondered the same thing.) He also gave me a bit of advice: “You might want to consider staying on the medication.”

Uh, yeah. *sheepish grin*

awesome cool women

Moon, her friend Nicole and I spent the weekend at Aurora University in Williams Bay, attending the Everyday Goddess Conference. And it was pretty wonderful. Some of the highlights:

  • Celia in concert
  • learning bellydance moves with the girls
  • hearing about the girls’ session with author/psychic Julie Tallard Johnson
  • walking along the lake together
  • lots of drumming by DevaNation and the Spiritual Journey Percussion Ensemble
  • Moon telling me, “I didn’t know that middle aged and old people could be so cool.”

Consider me uplifted.

good friday

Today Pete did an extremely difficult thing. After almost 30 years of being a church musician, he’s stepping down. Those of you who read my ramblings here know that he and I share some fairly unorthodox beliefs. He is far better read and more cerebral than I am in the area of spirituality/philosophy, and of course a lifelong Catholic. He’s drifted further and further away from the beliefs he held in his youth.

The music — and the friendship he shares with his fellow musicians — has kept him in the church until now. Leaving is tremendously hard for him, but staying has been detrimental to his health. So, ironically (because it’s Holy Week and all), he was asked about renewing his contract to continue directing the choir he helped found at his current parish, and he told the truth. And today he told the whole choir, not just the church staff.

Last night I dragged myself to Maundy Thursday services, and I’m so glad I did. Part of the homily focused on how the act of footwashing was a sharing of vulnerability and godliness, and it totally reminded me of how “the Buddha in me recognizes the Buddha in you.” Yes, I totally connected Christianity and Buddhism right there.

So is it a coincidence that it’s a time of death/rebirth … renewal?

damn good news

Rob Brezsny has some welcome words for me this week…

CANCER (June 21-July 22): “The average river requires a million years to move a grain of sand one hundred miles,” says science writer James Trefil. The work you’ve been doing on yourself these past two years, Cancerian, must sometimes have seemed as maddeningly gradual. The good news is that you are now in the last few months of this slow-motion, long-term project. If you can sustain your focus, you’ll finish up around your birthday, having created such a strong inner sense of sanctuary that you will forever after be able to feel at home in the world no matter where you are.

And this work of art totally made me smile this morning.

much better, thank you

I tell ya, thinking about Garden State pretty much got me through this week. Between periods of general malaise (dizzy nausea) the fear of being unable to escape through sleep grabbed me from behind. Which meant I wasn’t prepared and didn’t see it coming. And the anxiety and depression, they were not welcome friends at 2 a.m.

I rode it all out because, well, I didn’t have much of a choice.

Thursday was a day of distraction, because I worked in an exhibit booth at the Business Women’s Expo. It was a good way to pass time, because it wasn’t especially mentally demanding. And then yesterday….

….the sun came out. And I drove to Poynette to see Theresa. She’s an incredibly energizing person for me to be around. The road trip was a Good Thing, and we immediately jumped into what Theresa calls “downloading” for at least an hour. That’s where the ideas spill forth and we get out all the stuff we’ve been storing up.

We headed over to the town coffeeshop, where we met another friend/colleague for lunch. We curled up on cushy sofas and I munched on a veggie wrap, which is my kind of business meeting.

After lunch, we toured Birds of a Feather, which is a huge Victorian home that is being offered as meeting and office space for alternative and spiritual practitioners.

I think I’m just drunk on all the potential. It’s everywhere.

Today Pete and I will be working on bringing out some of the potential that resides in our big nearly-empty basement. And so it goes.


A neighbor boy – from a family we don’t know well – took his own life on Tuesday. Peter was over at his friend’s house, and they saw an ambulance come to the neighbor’s house. But it wasn’t there for the boy, but for a family member who had just heard the news.

The boy was just 15. He had taken the family car to the highway, and apparently parked at the side of the road. The police found the seemingly abandoned car, and then found him.

It’s so sad, and so unsettling. The TV news focused on “signs of teen depression” — which made me wonder, how might that make the family feel? As if they could have prevented this? Could they have? Would it have been possible?

I don’t have any answers.

inauguration day

The “War President” mosaic is an image of Bush’s face made up entirely of pictures of fallen soldiers. It was created by American Leftist in 2004; story behind its creation available here. Faces of the Fallen provides information about each solider who has died in Iraq.

(via Gidget Casts On)

Powerful stuff.

why our tree is almost naked

Tree of enlightenment
Originally uploaded by me.

Dana, our Norfolk Pine, came to our family last year after we lost our desire for the traditional experience. We enjoyed various evergreens for many happy seasons, until the fateful day when I suggested going to a local tree farm to harvest our own.

We trudged uphill in the snow and agonized over The Perfect Tree before chopping it down and dragging it for what seemed like miles back to the pay station. As we paid, the farm owner made a comment that changed everything. “That’s a nice one. It must be 11 years old.” The same age Moon was that year.

I looked at Pete and knew he was making the same connection. We had swung the axe. We had sap on our hands. Thus Dana served as our pseudo Christmas tree last year, except she didn’t take kindly to the ornaments. She has a tendency to lean (to the left! like everyone else in this family!). We almost skipped the whole tree thing this year.

But who says she needs to be a Christmas tree? Tomorrow is Bodhi Day, which marks the enlightenment of the Buddha. Dana seems to be okay with colored lights, which of course symbolize the many paths to enlightenment. At her base is a tiny sitting Buddha.

We will observe the actual day with meditation. Moon suggested tarot readings and runes, but I told her we should probably save those things for the solstice.

eclectic energies

Wonder how your chakras are doing? Want to double-check your enneagram type? Pete showed me a cool site – Eclectic Energies – where you can do all that and more.

As usual, I’m a 7. My chakras are in pretty good shape, except that a few are a bit overdeveloped.

Check it out, and tell me all about you.

deep thoughts

Pete shared this with me, from The Hermetica:

Hermes Trismegistos, quoting the Divine Mind, tells us:

Make yourself grow to immeasurable immensity, outleap all body, outstrip all time, become eternity, and you will understand God. Having conceived that nothing is impossible to you, consider yourself immortal and able to understand everything, all art, all learning, the temper of every living thing. Go higher than every height and lower than every depth. Collect in yourself the sensations of all that has been made, of fire and water, dry and wet; be everything at once, on land, in the sea, in heaven; be not yet born, be in the womb, be young, old, dead, beyond death. And when you have understood all these things at once – times, places, things, qualities, quantities – then you can understand God.

Then this came in my e-mail from

We carry old wounds within us because we repressed the feelings associated with these wounds when we were children. If they are repressed, they will affect you in a negative and limiting way. And so you must reverse the process of repression by allowing the feelings and memories to surface. At the same time, you remain fully present, witnessing the feelings as they arise within you.

I am not suggesting that you indulge in these feelings. They are from the past. They are simply memories stuck within you. They have no meaning other than that they are stuck within you and need to be brought to consciousness and released through the power of love and acceptance. For one who is truly on a path of awakening, there is no interest in the past other than to bring it to consciousness in a way that heals and releases it. In truth there is no life outside of this moment.

Whoa. Cool.

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