Imagination vacation.

“Some people see things as they are and say “Why?” I dream things that never were, and say “Why not?”

George Bernard Shaw

Imagine a life without imagination. Hmmmm…… wrap your head around that sucker for a minute. But stick with me.

We often talk about daydreamers as though they are flaky. Flighty. Head in the clouds kind of people. I am a daydreamer. Always have been. And yes, sometimes I get caught up in drifting off to another place or another time where maybe things turned out differently. A little mind vacation from everything that is going on around me.

No problem solving. No responsibilities. Just drift. Otherwise known as ‘la la land’.

But some days instead of ‘la la land’ that little mind vacation turns into a dream waiting to form. An idea taking shape. A life waiting to be lived.

Or in my case, a book waiting to be published. Some days my imagination goes to work for me and all sorts of things fall into place. A clear path develops. It doesn’t let you skip the work you need to put in… no no no… it’s not that easy. But it is exciting!

So give your mind a little break and your imagination a chance to explore. Stop stressing out about finding all the answers and solving all the problems. Just drift. Let your mind, heart and your soul wonder around for a bit. Take a whiff of this and a taste of that.

Some of it might be bitter and some of it might just downright stink. But what if some of it doesn’t? What if some of it wakes up your senses like nothing ever has. What if that imagination can become your reality?

After all, maybe your imagination is your true reality, not your escape. Give it a chance. Take an imagination vacation. See what happens.

Dream things that never were and say why not?

Gratitude schmatitude.

“A ship is safe in harbor, but that is not what a ship was built for.”

William H Shedd

There has been a lot of positive meme’s and quotes and images out there over this past year. One of the most common that I have seen and read is to be grateful for what we have. Practice daily gratitude.

Be grateful we can still go out. Be grateful for your health. Be grateful for your loved ones and their health. Be grateful for your job, your home, your living situation…

Be grateful for what you have today.

Can I confess something? I am getting a little sick of being told to be grateful for what I have and can do today. I feel like I am being told, don’t rock the boat. Don’t push too hard. Let the universe provide.

Guess what… the universe does not provide unless you rock the damn boat. Just sayin.

I am grateful. I really am. And I do practice gratitude daily. I am not saying we shouldn’t so don’t get all huffy and puffy at me. All I am saying is, I won’t let it stop me from wanting more. I feel like all this hype about being grateful and practicing daily gratitude is just making me feel guilty and ungrateful for wanting more. Because I do want more. I will always want more.

What is wrong with that?

I work damn hard to have all the things I have to be grateful for. And I will work damn hard to have more. And I am not just talking about material things. I am talking about community, confidence, abilities, knowledge… Everything I have, I have earned.

The universe only provides if you get up and go out and grab it. Take risks. Be brave. And don’t just do this today. Do this every today. And don’t you dare ever feel guilty for it.

So namaste as much and as long as you want. I’m going to go out and look for more things to be grateful for. I’ll catch you later…

Lets talk about shoes.

“If you look good, you feel good, and if you feel good, you do good.”

Georges St. Pierre

I love shoes. All shapes. All sizes. All functions. I am rather grateful that I have feet shaped like a duck and have a tough time finding shoes that fit. If I didn’t, I would have a shoe inventory worth more than my car.

It’s also one of the first things I will notice on others. Now maybe I notice shoes a bit too much but I’m short and they are close… and it’s probably why I rarely notice a light fixture. Go figure.

But here’s the thing about shoes for me. They reflect my mood. Feeling business-y (it’s a word)? Nice solid pair of wedges. Feeling risky? Strappy heels… maybe in a fun color. Rambunctious or goofy, sneakers. Feeling blahhhhhh… sliiipppppeeerrrssss… You get the idea.

Here is the other thing I have learned about shoes. They complete the outfit. And the outfit completes the person. I’m not trying to be a fashion expert or turn this blog into fashion 101. Nor am I trying to judge anyone else’s fashion choices. So let me try to explain this particular ramble.

I have worked in a lot of different industries. From hospitality to marketing to construction. I have covered a lot of basics. The thing I have found most common between all of them is that your success depends on how you present yourself. If you wear slippers to work (or pajama pants to Walmart – there I said it), well guess what… you are not going to earn a whole lot of respect.

My last 2 jobs, I worked in construction and renovation. In both cases, I was in a sales and supervisor role and was often required to be on a work site among tools, dirt, paint and pretty much any kind of yucky stuff you could dig up.

I still wore nice shoes.

But it wasn’t about the shoes. It was about how the shoes made me feel. Confident. Qualified. Professional. It set me apart from the guy walking in with paint splattered 10 year old sneakers with a hole in the toe. And guess who usually got the job.

So here’s the thing. Today when you go out… whatever it is you are going out to do… head up, shoulders back and put your best shoe forward.

Today… kick ass with a nice pair of shoes.

Alcohol.

“Feelings are just visitors, let them come and go.”

Mooji

This past week I have had two people I care about have to go to the bedside of someone close to them because they are sick or dying from alcoholism. And it hurts my heart.

Not only for my friends but for their loved ones suffering the illness. I do drink but I am not an alcoholic so I cannot speak of the suffering they are enduring. Nor can I say what caused them to become so dependent on alcohol or the power it has over them. There are many factors that can increase the risk of alcohol and substance abuse and a lot of resources that can help explain them.

What I can tell you is my own experience with drinking to stop feeling. I did this. I have been at some pretty low times in my life. And some of those times I will admit, I turned to alcohol. I just wanted to stop feeling sad. I wanted to stop feeling. Period.

But eventually I got tired of that. I realized it only made me feel more. More sad. More hurt. It wasn’t a fix for my depression, it was a cause of it. And so I stopped drinking for the purpose of trying to stop feeling.

And I started to feel more. I started to embrace the sad and the angry and the happy. Our emotions are part of us and they have a place in our lives. In our days and our moments. Trying to force them away or ignore them will never work. Ever.

I am not an expert on alcoholism and I will never claim to be. As always, I can only share with you my own thoughts and experiences and hope that someone out there will get something positive from them.

And to that person, I hope that the next time you feel to much and you want to drink to stop, think. Think about the best way to make that feeling stop. Because the best way to make it stop is to have a clear head and let that feeling run it’s course. Let it shape you and make you stronger than you already are.

Please. For yourself and for those you love. Please.

I miss wearing lipstick.

“In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.”

Bertrand Russell

What is normal? Today. What is normal? I honestly don’t even know anymore. Most days I feel like nothing has really changed. I still go out. I still shop. I still exercise. I still socialize.

Then the other day I was getting ready to go out and it dawned on me that I never wear lipstick anymore. I used to put it on everyday. Now I think, ‘what’s the point?’ No one sees my mouth …I miss wearing lipstick.

So then I start to think about what has changed. All the things that I don’t do anymore. All the things I miss.

I miss wearing a ridiculously impractical pair of shoes to an party just because they make my calves look great. And I miss bitching all night about how much they hurt my feet.

I miss not being able to hear someone because the group I’m in is too big and everyone is talking at once. And I missed being really annoyed by that and wishing a few more people would work on their listening skills.

I miss spontaneously meeting a bunch of friends for drinks after work. And getting annoyed cause the table next to us are getting too loud, drunk and rowdy.

Okay obviously I get annoyed easily.

I am really not trying to be negative. And don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of things I have gained from this experience. Every experience teaches you something if you are willing to learn. I think a lot of us are just at the end of our rope with this pandemic. Looking towards a finish line that never seems to get any closer. We are frustrated and tired. At least I know I am.

So although I am thinking about all the things I miss, I am also thinking of them in terms of how much I am going to appreciate them again. I am going to appreciate seeing people smile when I walk past them in a grocery store. I am going to appreciate being swallowed up by a crowd. People watching. Shaking hands. Meeting new people. Going to the movies.

And my grandkids. I am going to appreciate the hell out of my grandkids.

I can’t wait to wear lipstick again.

A clear vision on a foggy day.

“Writing is an extreme privilege but it’s also a gift. It’s a gift to yourself and it’s a gift of giving a story to someone.”

Amy Tan

What inspires you? What is your goal? What is it that you truly want out of life?

I get tired of these questions. We read books that motivate us or listen to TED Talks or podcasts and suddenly we have goals and visions and inspiration. But of what?

To be healthy. To be happy. To be wealthy. I completed an exercise a few months ago that outlines my goals on emotional, physical, material and spiritual. And I realize how generic that is. It has not inspired me or motivated me beyond the usual ‘Hooya, I can do this’, week. We all want to be heathy. We all want to be less stressed. Have more money. Have a loving relationship. It’s a great vision.

But let’s be practical. Just envisioning your dreams does not make them happen. We all have bills to pay, food to buy, cars to drive. We don’t always get to work our dream job. We can’t just pick up and move to a beautiful island and live happily ever after.

And so I am trying to think specifically about what I want. What lights my fire. Is it the home or place I live in? The job I have? No and no. I like these things. But I can do without them. There are other homes, other jobs, other communities.

This week has been a tough week for me. I lost something that made me very happy. And so as is customary for me when I am in a fog, I sit back and think. I realize that my generic goals need to be scrapped. I need specific goals. I realized that right now there are really only two things I want in my life. Specific things.

I wear a lot of different hats. But there is one thing I do that I love. This. Writing. It is my one thing where I lose myself. Where all the things happening to me or around me can be momentarily forgotten. The thing I wish I could do everyday. From anywhere and at any time.

But I am afraid to admit that. I am afraid to come out and say, “I want to be a writer”. Why? Because I don’t think of it as a real job. Because it is not something that can guarantee me success. Because it is a goal that I cannot afford to have. Remember those bills to pay?

Maybe this is something that I can actually accomplish. Maybe, just maybe, I should try. And the first step is to admit it. To myself and through this, to everyone else.

So what the hell… I want to be a writer. I want to write. And I am writing a book. Now it’s out there and I can’t take it back. Am I afraid to fail? Hell yes.

But if I don’t try. I fail. So what do I have to lose? All the unimportant things and generic goals that I mentioned earlier. I could lose those. But when I put it that way, doesn’t seem so bad.

I hope you will buy my book.

From the inside looking out.

“There is nothing more freeing and empowering than learning to like your own company.”

Mandy Hale

So pretend for a minute that you have to self-isolate. Many have done it over the past year. If you haven’t, think for a minute on what you would do.

How do I cope with just me, myself and I? Lets say I start off by coming up with my lists. I am a list person. Love checking off those to-do items. All the things that I am going to get done. All the things I can accomplish. Lofty goals in hopes that this will occupy my time and make the days fly by. But that backfires. That list starts to loom over my head before I even have it half-way done. All the procrastinated home projects. All the unread books stacked up. All the saved courses in my inbox. I become overwhelmed. Intimidated by my own damn list. Now all I want to do is crawl into bed and stay there.

But I am not built that way. I am a doer. I am a list-maker. I am not a sitter-at-homer. That’s a thing. Shut up… it is so.

So this makes me really think. How does someone like me slow down and just let days tick away without a plan. Without a list. Step one – throw away the list. Done. Step two – get out of bed and do one thing. Whatever I feel like doing. Clean the house. Check. Day 2. Read a book and get some work done. Day 3. Write a blog post. Get the idea?

This is a good exercise for me. Let go of the planning. Let go of my lists and all the pressure that I put on myself to complete those lists. A test to live one day, one hour, at a time. And here’s a kicker… let go of the guilt. Because I am realizing that maybe sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes, this is my motivation. Guilt. Not a sense of accomplishment of getting something done but guilt of not getting something done.

So now I am working on being a sitter-at-homer. Working on not feeling guilty for not having a list. Working on one day at a time. Living in the moment with my own agenda and my own thoughts. I’m not going to lie. I don’t like it. It isn’t me. But I know I can do it. And through this, I know that I am learning something about myself. And that is good. That is always a good thing.

Good things come from living inside and looking out. Something to think about.

I wish a bear was chasing me.

“It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to, has power over you, if you allow it.”

Unknown

A couple weeks ago I had a bad dream. I nightmare actually. I woke up shaking and afraid. It has taken me awhile to figure out how to write about it and more time to figure out if I should publish it. But then I realized that there are people out there who live this dream, this nightmare. And so I chose to share it.

In this dream, there was no murder. No bad guy breaking into my house. No bear chasing me. It wasn’t that kind of dream.

This was a dream that involved people from my past. The man that I was once married to. I dreamt that he was trying to get me to go back to him. He was bullying me. He was persistent. Insistent. He was relentless. And I was trapped. I was being coerced to return to a life that I wanted nothing to do with. A life that I didn’t realize until this dream how toxic it really was. How terrifying. This is my real nightmare. Was my real nightmare. I don’t know if I have ever woken from a dream so afraid and so shaken.

I was suffocated. I lost my voice. I lost movement of my body. I was paralized. I lost control of my own thoughts. I lost my ability to fight. I lost my power. My strength and my courage. I lost everything that I worked so hard to gain over the past 5 years. I lost myself.

This was my nightmare. But it is over. And it is not real. Not anymore.

This is the power that verbal and emotional abuse can have over someone. When I think back on how I felt being in the thick of it, I didn’t know it was that bad. Because it was my everyday. My normal. And then one night I was suddenly and explosively back into the thick of it. And it was terrifying. It was crippling. And it was awful. I can look back now and I see exactly how bad it was. I woke up shaking and afraid. And I should have been. This is not a way anyone should live.

It was a time when I was a victim. Was. I am not anymore. I have put it behind me. I have grown from it and I have healed from it. I do not hold on to it and I do not dwell on it. I embrace the bright and beautiful life that I live now. And I hope with all my heart that others living this nightmare can get to where I am now. I hope with all my heart.

Not to be dramatic… but next time I hope I can have a nice pleasant dream about a bear chasing me 😛


I am always happy to see comments on my blogs. Or feel free to reach out to me personally through the contact page. I would love to hear from you.

I have not changed.

“People don’t change at their core. If you’re a good person, you’re a good person. What changes is our behavior.”

Karrine Steffans

Do people change? I have asked myself this question many times. Deep down, I don’t believe that they do. I don’t believe that a good person can become bad. I don’t believe that a bad person can become good.

I believe that circumstances around us change. Our environment can change. And I believe that we adjust to those circumstances and that environment. And as a result, I believe that a good person can make a bad choice and a bad person can make a good choice. But at the core, we are all still the same people.

I have gone through immense changes over the past 5 years. Many people have told me that I am not the same person that I was 5 years ago… that I have changed. And I completely understand why they would think this. Back then I existed as a reserved, quiet mousy person that was afraid of my own shadow. I was hollow and empty. And I did things I am not proud of back then. I turned away family and friendship. I lied and made excuses to protect myself. I ran away from anything that challenged me. Not afraid that I would fail, but afraid that I would succeed.

I know why I did these things. Self preservation and coping are powerful. Fear is powerful. I have spent so much time learning why I did these things. Learning how my environment and circumstances influenced me. And I have developed a deep understanding of my why. But it was not who I was. It was never who I was.

Today, if you ask me, I would say I am confident. I am courageous. I am bold. I do not hide nor lie. I stand up to a challenge and I definitely never turn away from family or a friend. And so people tell me that I have changed. I have not changed. I changed my circumstances. I found a new environment. I am proud of who I am and what I stand for. And I am proud of the courage and strength it took to make these changes. And I have travelled a long road to get here.

But on that road, it was always me. Just learning how to be the best me. And I am still learning. That is a life long process that I look forward to. Being aware of my circumstances and environment and making sure they are building me up and not breaking me down. Being true. Being strong. Hopefully, setting an example for others that maybe aren’t in the best circumstances or environment. Hopefully, showing people that you can change your circumstances. Your environment.

Be confident. Be courageous. Be bold.

Be a good person making good choices. That’s all we can try to do. And that’s pretty good… I think.

Unexpected forks.

“Life is full of surprises and serendipity. Being open to unexpected turns in the road is an important part of success. If you try to plan every step, you may miss those wonderful twists and turns. Just find your next adventure – do it well, enjoy it – and then, not now, think about what comes next.”

Condoleezza Rice

I sit here writing while I am watching a sunset. Leaving a place that I have never been before. A place that I never thought I would have a reason to be. It is a nice place. A beautiful place. With blue skies and sunsets and warm inviting people. A place that I never would have predicted I would be a month ago. But here I am.

I’ve stopped trying to predict where I will be sitting in my future. You can, but then when other options present themselves, when you come to that fork in the road that you didn’t know was up ahead, you might pause too long. And if you pause too long, the fork might shift and disappear. A missed opportunity slipped away.

What holds us back from making that spontaneous decision to change direction? Maybe fear of unknown and unpredicted destinations. Maybe failure, change, or even heartbreak. We can plan our lives out year by year, day by day, hour by hour. All the planning in the world won’t mean anything when that one little moment butts in and makes things a little messy. That one little moment that grabs the deck and plays 52 pick-up with your lovely little plans. Scattering them all over your nice clean floor.

You can do your best to pick up all the cards and put them neatly back into order. Keeping all the edges lined up. All the numbers and suits placed together in a nice orderly fashion that leaves nothing left for chance. No surprises. Back to the plan. Until the next messy little moment. And there will be one. There is always one. Messy or… adventurous, heart pounding, exciting. It all depends on how you look at it. I chose to look at every opportunity as a possibility. As possibility to find new and amazing people, places and things.

Scary? Yup. But isn’t that what this is all about? If you don’t give yourself a good scare once in awhile, how will you know what it feels like to have your heart pound in your chest and your skin tingle with anticipation. Feel your mind soar or your heart swell. Feel your breath leave your lungs only to refill them again with an energy that can move a mountain. These things I can feel.

I am getting to like scary. It’s living. It’s breathing. It’s healing. It’s learning. It is full of forks in the road and beautiful beautiful possibility.

And sometimes… definitely sometimes, it’s worth it.

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