Things I Don't Need

*Coca Cola. 'Tis a southern sacrilege to say this, but my life would be just as good without it. And my enamel would thank me.

*Fear of Judgement. Oh, the amount of time I spend wondering what people are thinking. "Wait. Why is he looking at my shirt? What does it mean that she is squinting her eyes at me right now? Did that car just cut me off because they think I'm not driving fast enough? Why did she say that?!" So much wasted thought.

*One overpriced luxury apartment. We are moving. Again. Yay! At least we stayed here for two years. That's pretty close to a record for me. This will be the fifteenth move in 11 years. Something about that spells good luck, doesn't it? 

*All my yearbooks. This is what scanners were made for!

*Blank canvases. There are entirely too many of these around my apartment. Getting rid of them will be a pleasure! My paints and brushes are just waiting for me.

*What Ifs. These pop up far too often in my conversations with myself. "What if I'd stayed on campus instead of taking that year off? What if I'd hit the snooze button one less time last Tuesday morning? What if I'd said no?" It doesn't matter. I am here now. I want to be in this moment and grateful for it.

*Wait/Weight. I have too much of both. I let both of these things hold me back from my goals and my adventures. I am not setting numerical goals, but I am going to put down excuses and lace up my walking shoes. I am going to forget the times that I was told I did not have an athletic bone in my body and I am going to celebrate the bones that I do have. No delays or self doubt, just action.

Getting rid of these things will free my life of more physical, spiritual, and mental clutter.  Looking at the list that I wrote this time last year, there are many similarities.  A year later, I am still heading in the same direction, still striving to leave many of the same things behind. I am glad to be here walking this path.


What do I wish that I had done more of in 2011?

Deep breathing. Settling into yoga poses. Kneading dough instead of just selling bread. Playing with children, with adults, with words, with paints. Taking risks. I’ve been reactive and safe. I’ve been distant and removed while grinding myself into a boring and work focused being. Instead of looking at the words tattooed on my wrist ("Live Now") and feeling taunted by them- I wish that I had used them as the reminder that I intended when I had them placed there. 

This weekend my great uncle James was buried in Fayette, Alabama. The man who taught me to love college football and introduced me to the wonders of fried okra is now gone. He lived 96 full years. I last saw him the day of his 90th birthday party. I remember him breaking into song to entertain the huge group that had gathered to celebrate him. I am thankful that I was there that day. I love that I can close my eyes now and see him standing in the church rec room, spontaneously performing for us all. There are not words to describe how much I regret not being there for him in the years between then and now. The years when the pain in his knees increased, his ability to grow his once magical garden faded, and his body allowed him less independence and mobility. My heart breaks that my strong and beautiful aunt has lost her partner and that I’ve not made space or time to be there for her.
I didn’t go to his funeral. I worked a 10 hour day instead. I was afraid to go. Having not been around my family much, I worried that showing up would hurt some of my family members. I feared judgment for my absence and my distance. I realize now that the harshest judge of me and my choices is in my head.
What do I wish that I had done more of in 2011?

More living. Less hiding. Less grinding away at work that I don’t care about. More letting the people I love know how much I love and appreciate them.



In the most unexpected places,
During moments of chaos or crisis,
The gift of laughter has found me.

Appearing during late nights of work,
Long rides on traffic clogged roads,
and moments of doubt or despair
Belly shaking laughs have helped me recenter.

Sparked by children's words, sitcom scripts, my own mistakes, animal antics, surprising typos, tilted traffic signs, and countless other gifts from
the universe.

I am grateful for every chuckle, snort, giggle and guffaw that this year brought my way.


Guilty Pleasures

Coffee (overpriced, gas station pour, instant granules- whatever form it takes, I cannot get enough of it. Because of this I apologize to my liver and kidneys on a regular basis.)

Peering over people's shoulders in coffee shops. I love to sneak a glimpse into the lives of the people around me.

Cheese. Were it not for the deliciously addictive nature of this magical substance I could easily walk away from dairy.

Driving. Sometimes I reach my destination and just keep my foot pressed down on the gas pedal. Music blasting, tires turning... Bliss.

Watching sports on TV. I simply cannot get enough. Football, baseball, racing, bowling, tennis, golf... Sometimes if I haven't gotten my fill, I even watch poker (I still don't understand why ESPN calls this a sport). My heart wants to play along, my body insists that I use my passion to cheer.


Dodging Wile E.

I am channeling the Road Runner. 
The universe is using its own Acme tools to slow me.
Coffee spilled on my fresh from the dryer jeans, 
back ordered car replacement parts assuring that no ride is smooth.

Every moment seems to contain a metaphor, 
a laugh, a bruise or a lesson.
I am have to admit that the extremes
are proving the quickest way to get my attention.

I need to slow down, 
my driving, my thinking, my movements,
the beats of my heart, my reactions...
But off I go leaving a sandy cloud in my wake.
Beep. Beep.


More Dangling Signs

Through the moments of this summer,
I've raced, head down, scurrying from one to the next.
At the end of each day as my head hits the pillow
snapshots of the preceding hours flash in my mind.
A 4 year old boy dances in his sister's old nightgown,
Two young brothers splash each other in the tub,
A child, I once helped learn the ABCs, reads me a chapter.

Many of my mornings this summer have been spent
with my young, dandelion gathering friend.
On every walk I take with this newly two year old pal,
I steer us past the magical house pictured above.
Colorful beads strewn in the tree, symphonies of flowers
a sign that reads "It's a very rich and full imaginary life."
Just the reminder that I always seem to need.

The last time we stood there together
music poured out of an open door and window.
My friend tugged my hand and said

"Music! They're Dancing in There!!"
I love that he pictured this. I hope he was right.

With that, we were off to visit the chickens.


My Daily Kaleidoscope

Lately, intersecting moments have filled my days.
Today was a discordant work of art.
The whys and hows have escaped my understanding.
I seldom have time to ponder them.
Looking at the pieces all I see is a kaleidoscope
of memories and experiences.
I stood in line to renew my driver's license
as a woman shouted to reclaim her pens and clipboards.
I laid on a straw mat in a jade igloo
and then on a jute mat in a charcoal dome.
I shivered in an ice room and baked in a clay sauna.
I sang made up songs with an enchanting four year old
who didn't care if we sang the same words.
My shoes went off and came back on at least half a dozen times.
I wore a pink uniform, dress pants, cargo shorts
and finally hole ridden jeans.
I wrote about preparing allergy free foods safely
and dabbled in web design.
I blared music from my car's speakers and danced.
I laughed while waiting at the DDS, oh how I laughed.
I inhaled paint fumes, jade, exhaust, gardenia petals,
my cat's belly, coffee and a child's bubble bath.
I watched people communicate despite language barriers
using hand gestures aplenty.
I made mistakes and then reassured a child that we all make them
and hope to learn from them.
I was razzed by a friend for showing up on his doorstep
as he was standing there in only underwear.
When the sun set, I felt drawn to the roof of my building.
There, I sipped a beer and watched the burning disc of the sun
sink behind the city as the glowing full moon rose.
A man parked his truck and changed his clothes in a lot below me.
Others trudged by on their evening journeys.
A transit bus drove by wearing the slogan "We will make you happy, guaranteed."
Traffic lights and honking horns pulled my attention away from myself.
I felt my shoulders loosen a bit and I laughed at the melodic angry honks from below.
I swallowed the last of my beer, said good night to the city lights.
I turned around to a sky where nothing was visible but the moon.
A moon so full and radiant that I felt tears in my eyes and on my cheeks.
It had been there all along and when I turned around it soothed me.

A confession:
I disappear sometimes, friends. From life, from my work,
from the relationships that matter to me and, I see now,
also from this blog. I apologize to you and to myself for that.
I will work to reduce (with the dream of stopping) these disappearances.
I am a more whole person when I write, whether I do so in the perfect setting,
with my favorite pen and blissful silence or not.
Thanks for bearing with me as I learn this.
Thanks for calling me back and offering me community
whether I am here or not.
I am grateful to you all for that!


Celebrating love

I fell in love over mystery meat,
sock baseball and opened dictionaries. 
During days colored by nerf battles
and snowy ice skating adventures,
my heart grew stronger and braver.
We went on adventures with Brian's hatchet
and into the woods with Piglet and Pooh.
Our friends called it playing house,
 we were building our home.

Happy 6th Anniversary to the love of my life!


Everyday Treasures

I'd always overlooked these flowers.
Blown bare by passing wind or breath
  I picked their white haired siblings instead.

Clinched tightly in his small hand
he holds them as his precious treasures
and gathers more with each joyful step.

They stand on hillsides, fields and lawns
surrounded by younger versions of themselves.
Confident in their undecorated state.

How many times during each day 
do I walk right past such prolific treasures
drawn instead to flashier things?


All I need

It is painfully clear as I follow the news that there are few guarantees in this life. Over the last days and weeks, I've buried my head under blankets, in my Netflix queue and in my work. No words that I've strung together have helped me make sense of the changes our world is undergoing. Like many of you, I've run through a spectrum of reactions. Awe, horror, fear, guilt, distance, tears, numbness, helplessness, shame, confusion...

Through it all, my cat waits every morning just outside the bathroom door for me to finish my shower. The children in my life are still sharing their adventures and discoveries with me. Yesterday, I saw a singing robin through the eyes of an overjoyed twenty month old who quickly made the word "robin-bird" his own. This is the same child who prefers to pick the naked dandelion stumps, the ones that have already been emptied of their seeds by the wind. To him, they are pocket filling treasures.

Today, I will spend my afternoon with a young four year old friend. He will ask me to play tickle monster and the "I love you game." The latter began one sunny afternoon when I was holding him in my arms and spinning him in the soft grass of his front yard. Feeling the magic of the moment, I looked at him and said, "Do you know how much I love you?" He nodded and held up his hand holding out his thumb and forefinger, stretching them about an inch apart. "Mmmmhmmm. This much!" he answered me with confidence. Shocked, I said "No!" and while smiling, I spread my arms as widely as I could, proclaiming "this much!" As he tumbled down onto the ground he grinned and laughed that deep from the belly laugh that I love. I adore that this has become one of his must-do activities when we are together.

That much I can do. I can make certain that the people in my life know that I love and appreciate them. My cat and my young friend know. Now, it is time to make sure that those who don't remind me to tell or show them are every bit as aware. I will start here, thank you for being a part of my world. The fact that you take the time to visit and read my words humbles and inspires me. Thank you!


Cat On A Hot Plastic Slide

There are some things we think we'll never say.  In my time as a teacher and childcare provider I've come across many of them. Often I've said them more times than I care to admit. "Let's wait here. We don't want to cross the street without your cat," wasn't exactly on my list. Still, as I stood at the corner of a well traveled street feeling the warm dusty air that the speeding UPS truck had just stirred up, I shook my head as I heard those words leave my lips.  My nearly two year old pal and I settled in to wait as we both looked over our shoulders and watched his cat, Lenny, approach.  There would be no rushing him, as you know, cats walk at their own pace.

This particular cat is a magical creature. He is certainly the feline king of his urban neighborhood. He wasn't with us as we began our walk that day, but neither of us were surprised when he appeared behind us on the stepping stones. My friend stopped for a moment and greeted him with some toddler style petting and then we continued along. Walking with this cat sends my blood pressure skyrocketing- he crosses the street without looking, he plays in strange yards, climbs all manner of fences and in the moments when I'm certain he's testing Darwin's theory, he lays down in the middle of the street. My anxiety aside, these are the very things that we love about Lenny.  This is a cat who lives life the way he chooses and he seems to fill his moments with the things that make him happy.

On this walk, he followed us across several well traveled streets. He disappeared into a bamboo forest for a bit, probably off to hunt for a mid-walk snack. My young friend and I waited for a few minutes and then shrugged and headed on. We walked further along the path, past backyards that housed chickens and roosters. We heard pouncing in the tall grass next to one of those yards and saw Lenny had caught up to us. Oh, how my pal laughed as he watched his cat squeeze through a fence and begin to weave his body in and out between the pickets.

Our destination was the neighborhood park and the playground where we spend hours of our weeks. This time Lenny walked all the way and joined us at the park. As soon as we stepped on to the freshly delivered woodchips, he jumped up onto the slide and began his adventure. The playground was nearly empty that day, but he worked his feline charms on the two children that were there. Their eyes danced with surprise as he circled their legs and bounded past them. Then he settled into the woodchips under the bouncing bridge where dappled sunlight painted his back as people stopped to admire him.

Simply put, Lenny inspires me. I want to embody his spirit of fearless exploration and joy chasing. I imagine him thinking, 'who cares if a car comes over that hill right now? The warm pavement and the sun feel divine on my fur.' He offers love and smiles to the people around him and then off he goes to chase a cardinal or a dancing leaf. I've watched him defend his independence and I've watched him celebrate it.


First Class

I did it.  I finally got in the car and drove myself to a yoga class. A therapeutic yoga class- just what I'd been looking for, it would be gentle on my body.  It would help me stretch my muscles and my comfort zones in new ways. I walked in the door of the yoga studio and dutifully noted the signs posted warning me to enter using a quiet voice. A woman greeted me enthusiastically from behind high piles of papers on the reception desk. She welcomed me and pointed me toward a place to leave my shoes and then waved her arm in the direction of the bathrooms. There was paper work to fill out, of course, but my new friend said that it could wait.  Settling in to the warmly lit and beautifully simple surroundings, I rounded the corner and plunked off my shoes. With about 8 minutes left before class, I headed to the bathroom.

The studio is in a large and recently constructed building in the kind of urban community where businesses of all types share some walls and common spaces. In an effort to be more green or to save money, or perhaps one of those moments where both were possible, the businesses don't have private bathrooms. I remembered this only as I walked in my sock covered feet through the door marked "bathrooms." I opened the door and left the clean wood and cork surfaces behind and entered a dark hall of cinder blocks. I quickly stepped back into the friendlier space, second guessing my need to use the bathroom. But my body had other plans, so I turned back towards the hall of mystery. My eyes were adjusting and looking for signs to the bathroom as my hand reached behind me to close the heavy metal door. Its heavy and decisive closing click caused me to jump a bit. I stopped and reached back to try the knob. It mocked me by refusing to turn. "Well, this would be the way," I thought. "I made it here. And now I'm going to spend the class time locked in a dark deserted cindered hall." The kind of laughter that begins nervously in the back of your throat and then spreads into your chest and before it begins to shake your whole body- you know the kind, right? Well, that laughter found me in the dark utilitarian hallway. I made my way to the bathroom still laughing almost hysterically. While wiping laugh inspired tears from my eyes, I heard someone else enter the bathroom. Saved! I'd make it to class after all.

As I walked back towards the studio, I thought back to that early January day when I decided that one step in my healing journey would be starting the yoga practice I've long craved. I found this class and over the last month I'd exchanged a series of emails with the instructor. Each message further reassured me that this woman could help me. Her responses to my questions were calm, useful and insightful. Unlike my dvd sessions with poor Rodney Yee, I probably would not mutter and occasionally shout at this kind and responsive teacher. To my relief, this proved true, I was a much better student for my new three dimensional teacher. For an hour and 15 minutes today, I turned my phone off and stepped into a quieter, slower space. I loved it. It has taken me 13 years to get there, and I'll be there again next Thursday morning.



A few visits ago, my acupuncturist talked about the energy that it takes to live as a victim. I cringed inwardly as he spoke the words and thought to myself, well this isn't Patti Digh's insightful acupuncturist, is it?! For a week, I laughed that he had even brought that concept up in my presence. A victim? I'm not a victim. Well, I have been, but I've moved on, of course.

During the next week I began to sit with the idea a little more. It is true that there are a lot of stories from my past that I spend time with. I pull them out like party tricks to make people laugh and distract their attention from me. Slowly, I started to accept that perhaps his comment was not just a random statement uttered in my presence.

Over the last few days, I've admitted that I do often hide behind these stories from my past. I could use opportunities to tell these stories as a way to move through them and past them. Instead, I weave these tales and memories into the protective clothes that I wear daily.

I do not want to walk through my days as a victim. I choose to change the way that I present myself and my life to the world. These stories are a part of who I am, but they are not all that I am. And tonight, as I ate a delicious dish of gluten free duck breast and risotto, this all seemed simple and clear.  Perhaps this clarity came from the three weeks that have passed since I was first handed the idea. I admit that it is also possible that this newly acquired understanding simply came from my glass of Chianti.


Seeking Balance

I long for balance and moderation. 
They are shiny ideals that elude me. 
If I'm honest, I often forget to pursue them.
Instead, I linger in bed for precious extra morning hours
later wondering why I don't have time to paint and write. 
I watch hours of news broadcasts from Egypt
forgetting to move the wet laundry up into the dryer. 
Hours pass while I forget to eat a bite of food,
then hunger arrives and I nosh on the first thing I find.
But I do know that each and every day is day 1
Tomorrow, I will get out of bed an hour earlier. 
My heart will again visit the streets of Egypt
as my hands will prepare for my own day.
I will create a beautiful breakfast
and pack surprises to share 
during my time with a young friend.
I will breathe a little more deeply 
and watch where I place my feet. 
Perhaps I'll find something shiny on my path.


Dangling Signs

Watching for all signs of life on these gray wintry days.

Driving into my building's dark and ominous parking deck, my muscles immediately clinch up. I feel tightness in my jaw as I flick my headlights on and grip the wheel securely, headed for the first close and often perilous turn. Today as I made it to the top of first narrow ramp dividing the levels, I encountered a handwritten sign hanging from one of the many sprinkler pipes running overhead. On it was just one word: Will.

Shaking my head, I thought "well, it has come to that...people are labeling their parking spaces now." Placing my hands back at 10 and 2, I returned my focus to the task of climbing up to my level of the deck. As I reached the top of the next ramp, I felt that halfway there feeling of accomplishment sinking in. Looking ahead, I saw another hand written sign dangling. This one matched the other sign's style and again held just one word: You.

Well, how wonderful! Maybe one of my many neighbors was sending a message to all of the careless drivers who speed through the deck or the people who put their greasy, cheesy pizza boxes and overstuffed trash bags inside the recycling bins. Smiling, I drove forward eager to see what word this clever soul had placed next. For the first time in my year of living in this building, I felt the buzz of positive anticipation instead of dread as I rounded the tight turn up to the next level. Looking up in surprise I saw a ladder and two men working to hang the next word: Marry.

And in the imaginary privacy of my own car, I burst into laughter. Letting go, I laughed at myself and at my guesses until there were tears flowing down my cheeks. By the time my car passed under the sign that contained the word 'me,' I felt a smile stretching across my face. What a wonderful reminder that perception and expectations color every experience. A humbling and heartwarming welcome home. A rare personal view of two neighbors in a building where speaking to one another is an aberration.

I hope the answer is yes.


Losing Keys

Encountering locked doors 
in memories and dreams.
Covered with old scars
that I don't understand.
Stopping to breathe
working to forget the me
that i've been told I am.
Unlearning her stories.
Peeling back the layers
of perception and image
working to meet the me within.

"I've been losing lots of keys lately. I don't know what that means, but maybe I'd be better off with things that can't be locked at all." -Jack Johnson


Returning to the Woods

My lungs were burning angrily and my loud panting breaths sounded like those of someone who’d already hiked miles as I turned off the short road from the parking lot and headed into the woods. Our host had built a structure of sticks to point us to the path that he wanted us to walk. Lost in my body’s early struggle, it took me about a hundred steps to realize this was not the trail that I’d expected. My feet were not on the steep, narrow, made for goats Archer’s Trail that I’d fought my way up before. Instead, there were tire ruts and gentle inclines- we were walking up the road! I’d been to this wilderness camp nearly 25 times by now, and had spotted the road up the mountain no more than once. Relieved, my out of shape self settled into the walk. My huffs now dared to have a touch of confidence, I was certain I could handle anything that a 15 year old truck could also climb.

Making my way up the road to the lodge, the beauty of this hike at dusk pulled me into a daze. I had almost not come to this event. Upon receiving the invitation, I knew that I wanted to. Come on, a spelling bee in a mountain lodge on a January night, yes, please! I read, and then nearly sang the words of the invite aloud to my partner before practically skipped out the door on my way to work. I was gleeful at the prospect of such an evening and thrilled by a chance to revisit this place where I had so many wonderful memories. I could already smell the smoky comfort of the wood fire that would warm the lodge. I was wonderfully aware that without campers to care for, I’d be able to lose myself in exploring the displays of skulls, western history, archery tools and other artifacts that covered the walls of this deliciously rustic lodge.

Before hours of celebrating the possibility had passed, the critics who dwell inside me hopped up onto my shoulders and gave their thoughts about how I should respond. I remembered quickly that they’re heavy and opinionated little gits. “You can’t go to that, you don’t know how to spell. Remember, you missed the word cologne back in your eighth grade spelling bee?” offered a doubter holding a clipboard close to his wee little puffed up chest. Letting his words sink in, I felt my buzz of excitement begin to subside and was again the student standing in front of my school cafeteria being told my answer was incorrect. At that moment, the others chimed in, “You don’t know anyone who will be there. Or if you do, they’ll be from you-know-where and won’t that be uncomfortable for you...” “Psst. Hello, have you finished making that movie for him yet? That’s why he invited you, Snufflebrain. You’re just going to disappoint him.”  Running from all the thoughts this simple invitation had stirred up, I ignored it for a couple of weeks. Finally I responded on the day of the deadline, with a grateful acceptance that I typed rapidly as to avoid waking my inner critics from a rare nap.

The road turned again and I was rewarded with my first sight in nearly two years of the familiar lodge. The burning in my lungs eased as the path below me became flat and easy. Walking past the pump where I’d watched dozens of children learn a new way to get water during past camping trips, I smiled. Images of spilled water, tears, victory dances and at least one good spirited muddy battle flashed before my eyes. As I arrived at the lodge, I reached out to touch one of the trees that support the metal roof of its porch. It was no middle of the woods mirage, I was back! And the smells coming from inside were better than I remembered. Leather, exposed wood and the scent of a fire all offered the promise of warming my body after its subfreezing walk.

As darkness fell over the woods, bouncing flashlight beams approached from many directions and other participants appeared.
Names were shared, distances of travel compared and then the lodge door opened inviting us in from the dark. Shedding coats, scarves, gloves and all of our other cold weather battling gear, we let our eyes adjust to the light and warmth of the welcoming lodge. People continued with their introductions as we fixed ourselves mugs of tea with water from a kettle sitting on top of the woodstove. Then Mark, our host and a well respected naturalist and wilderness educator, called us to our seats and explained the rules of the night’s Spelling Bee and Vocabulary Contest.

As soon as Mark’s calm voice filled the cabin, all those memories of standing nervously in front of people having to spell words correctly began to melt away.  It became clear to us that this was to be a night of laughter, wit, challenges and a mostly friendly competition of words written and checked by only ourselves. I crossed my legs, settled back into my woven wood chair, sipped my cinnamon apple tea and breathed deeply. Peace. Even better, peace perfected by the sound of British accents. I smiled, thankful that I’d ignored the doubters inside me and come to this magical evening. 

Wondering what some of the words in the contest were?

The spelling focused on often misspelled words, including:
penitentiary, questionnaire, nuisance, transferable, idiosyncrasy, and weird

The vocabulary was wickedly challenging. For most of us, it was a chance to learn new words or gain a better grasp of the meaning of words we’ve occasionally encountered. Here are a few examples you might like:



I'm baaaaack!

Hello, friends. I apologize for disappearing as a writer, a reader and a tweeter over the last 20 days. I've missed the wonderful community that you are all a part of. During my time away, I've been quite busy. I've mourned the loss of a dear friend, fought off a funky cold, survived Atlanta's IcePocalypse and taken some important inner journeys. Thank you for being patient with me and forgiving this long absence!

I'm honored to have received the award below from my talented friend Emily of the beautifully diverse blog Broke Down Artist.  I was planning to return to posting today, and this was a lovely welcome back! Thanks, Emily!

Upon accepting the award, I'm supposed to share 7 things about myself.
     1- I don't believe a city is a real city if there is no river running through it.
     2- I love to cook when I am in the right mood.
     3- My childhood favorite color was purple until every gift I received became
         purple and then I overloaded and turned to blue.
     4- My favorite animals are prairie dogs, hawks and turtles.
     5- I once traded cheese sandwiches for peace in a holding cell.
     6- I can rock the game Six Degrees of Separation, if I get to use IMDB.
     7- I'm happiest in a hoodie, jeans and comfy sneakers.

Now, the pleasure of sharing this award with 5 bloggers whose sites I've recently discovered.
     Raw Food Passion an elementary school friend's blog about healthy living
     Queen of Arts  have you met the Rock Fairy? I adore the work this woman
                              does in the world.

     Becoming Bendy   a new blog by the fabulous Patti Digh. I too want
                                    to become bendy.

     Operation Beautiful  what if we all left one note a day?

     Gluten Free in GA....Finally!  okay, this isn't a recent discovery for me,
                                                     but if you're gluten free, you'll thank me!

Thanks to all of the fabulous people for the work they do. Go forth and visit their blogs. Enjoy!


First test of 2011

When I wrote that one of the four things I wanted to focus on this year was healing, I should have known I was inviting a challenge from the universe. January 1 brought me not a hangover, but my first cold of the year. The days since have been an uphill battle to regain my ability to breathe and swallow without pain. Two boxes of tissues, twenty one tea bags, thirteen vitamin C tablets, eight therapeutic inhalations, a chicken’s worth of broth later, and invaluable support from my partner later, I am making progress in this wee war!

When I finally kicked off the toasty sleepwarmed comforter and crawled out of bed this morning, I began my recently adopted cold blasting routine. A warm steamy shower to wake up and attempt to open my nose to this new day. Then, a new addition to my healing repertoire: a gargle with warm water, apple cider vinegar, honey and a bit of cayenne (Thanks for this idea, Shirley!). Wow! Trust me, that will go a long way to waking you and your throat up. I follow that with a bit of bonding with my Neti pot. After those thirty minutes of cold fighting fun, there’s little I’d rather do next than tip my head over a bowl of warm water to inhale tea tree, eucalyptus and peppermint oil. Finally, and much to my neglected cat’s relief, I sat beside her on the couch to sip my peppermint tea.

I have to say tackling all of those steps three times a day has taken about all of my energy. Thankfully, my love is just as determined to see this cold fade as I am. She has had her head buried inside our books about nutritional healing to find wonderful cold fighting foods and recipes like the cabbage, potato and garlic soup I ate for dinner and breakfast. Take this non cabbage lover’s word for it, it is delicious and almost as powerful as a dose of Dayquil. Thanks to her research and shopping efforts our refrigerator and my body are filled with all sorts of anti inflammatory, cold fighting produce. Leeks, bell peppers, cucumbers, radishes, lemons, cabbage… many of these are things I normally wince at when they appear on my plate. No wincing now. I get it. I understand that these undesirable tastes and textures are part of  the food medicine that will aid my mission of healing. I sit taller at the table as I chew determinedly.

Yesterday, I was feeling a bit cocky about my proactive approach to all of this. When *thwap* the universe threw me a few reminders that sent me right back to the drawing board. A well timed tweet from Dr. Andrew Weil “Exercise may help prevent the common cold,” elicited a few choice words from my lips and then a sigh of resignation. Yes, of course that is true. I know that and it is one of the “should”s that cartwheels through my mind regularly. I suppose that got my inner voices talking. I’d just about forgotten Weil's tweet, when one of them crept out on my hoody encased shoulder, tugged on my earlobe and whispered, “Hey, why are you only taking care of yourself when you are this sick?”

Palm to forehead, tail to chair… thinking material enough for ages. It is absolutely true. I have shelves filled with books about healing foods and remedies. I live across the street from one of my favorite health food stores in the city of Atlanta. If you have a question about what supplement would help with a certain ailment, I often know the answer. But here I am, only applying the bulk of this knowledge only when my body forces me to. I make do with daily aches and pains, joking that I often feel “like an 80 year old trapped in the exterior of a 29 year old.” The joke is on me if I don’t start applying the things I know during my daily life.

I am grateful that if I squint I can see the end of this cold approaching. I’ll spend some of this time sitting with the lessons it has brought me. I don’t want to waste the understanding I have of food’s healing powers. Even buried beneath the cloud of this cold, I feel the difference these whole foods and teas are making inside my body. I don’t want to continue accepting my “normal” achy, creaky, cracking, popping body. My healing mission for the year has broadened and I have this cold to thank.

Now, if I could only get this dead tree out of my living room...



This will be the year in which I celebrate my thirtieth birthday. I'm determined to spend it growing into the me that I've long wanted to be. The words I've shared in my Reverb posts will be on my mind as I move forward each day. I've not made any resolutions this year. Even by itself, that word makes me cringe a bit, because resolutions always bring into my life a pattern of striving and falling short. Instead, I sat with pen and paper at hand and wrote down the things I will focus on this year:

Movement     +     Healing     +     Creating     +     Simplicity  

Sitting here and coughing the type of cough that tries to turn your body inside out, I am even more deeply connected with these paths and their importance. Each of these words is at the very core of what I want from my moments and days. I want the story that I tell myself and those around me to drip with the evidence of these things in my life.

I also created lists of things that will help me further each aim. For once, I've not written long and check box littered "to do lists." Instead, these lists simply contain things that I believe will keep me moving towards these elusive principles. I'll hand write copies of many different sizes and keep them near me. I will turn to these lists of actions when I am twiddling my thumbs or feeling trapped inside a storm of doubt. As I reread my lists this morning, I smiled, realizing they echoed and honored much of what I've already written here. This track that I am on feels right and worthy of celebrating.

As I journey through this year, there are also many intentions that I will hold in my pocket and my heart:

This post was written in response to Reverb10's December 31 Prompt – Core Story What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world? (Bonus: Consider your reflections from this month. Look through them to discover a thread you may not have noticed until today.) (Author: Molly O’Neill)