Posted in Addiction, Dreams, inner peace, Life, mindfulness, Musings, People, random, recovery, Uncategorized

Bloom Where you’re Planted

bloom-where-you-are-planted

There’s this thing I love to do, where I window-shop for houses on Zillow, almost exclusively in places where I’ve never been. I have this obsession with the east coast, and the idea of seasons- autumn leaves in fall and snow on Christmas, the sweet relief of melting snow in spring and delicious summer nights spent with the windows open. And there is nothing wrong with that, I guess…except that I live here, on the west coast, and this is where my life is unfolding.

I notice that I do the Zillow browsing most when I am feeling the least thrilled with my life here. The cost of living in California is astronomical, and it would be really hard for me to buy a house here on my own, something that has become more and more important to me over the past couple of years.

But it’s more than that, I think. I have always been a daydreamer, but there is this other part to these daydreams- the idea that I could be happier if only I were somewhere else, doing something else. There’s nothing wrong with daydreaming, but it’s the idea that the grass is greener elsewhere that makes trouble. Rather than tending to this lawn right beneath my feet, I’m staring across the country, into the yard of someone who has made it look really pretty for the photos.

And then there is this other part- the part where, and I have learned this lesson already- I will still be me wherever I go. No matter where I am, all my troubles come with me. You cannot run away from your own restless nature. You cannot escape a longing for another place…no matter where you are, that longing will just change direction. When I ran away to Reno years ago, thinking that this peninsula where I sit now was the root of all my problems, I would stand in my bathroom late at night and pretend the cars rushing by on the busy road some miles away were the roaring of distant surf. I just wanted to go home.

I am such a strange human. I long for change and for routine at the same time. I want to travel and still, somehow, sleep in my own bed. I want to start over without losing anything in the process. I want to keep everything I have and have everything I want.

But most of all, I just want to be happy.

And happiness is not a place. Happiness is not waiting for me in an empty house in Maine. Happiness is right here, waiting for me to notice it. I found it yesterday in the most mundane things- a morning spent with my daughter, cleaning out the “linen” closet, which held everything except linen, and packing up seven bags of junk to go to Goodwill. It was in the satisfaction of accomplishing something with someones help, and just being together.

I found it working my 11th step with my sponsor yesterday, and really understanding what this journey of recovery has meant to me, has made of me, over this past few years. I am not at all who I was at the start, although the changes have been so gradual and subtle that it’s hard to notice as they happen. We had to take turns reading because we both kept getting so overwhelmed with gratitude and choked up.

I found happiness standing on the beach yesterday- a perfect late afternoon in early fall. The air was just right- not too cold, not too warm, and my daughter flew a kite with her dad as I tossed the ball for the dogs and just took it all in. I feel peaceful and…full, I guess, just thinking about it.

The grass is not greener somewhere else. Happiness is not a place. I am fine right where I am.

A long time ago, I had this sticker that I loved. It said “Bloom Where You’re Planted”, and I thought that was such a wonderful saying. It was easy for me, at 17, to be happy wherever I happened to be. I think it’s high time I get back to that.

Starting right here, right where I am.

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Posted in adventure, fun, Goals, inner peace, Life, living, Musings, People, random

BIG Dreams…

Big-dreams

So, yesterday was amazing. I have to admit to you, I had my doubts- spending three hours at a spa for someone as restless as I am started to seem a little less like a luxurious indulgence and more like a possible torture situation the closer I got to it. I know how dumb that sounds, but I can’t even stand going to barbecues that aren’t rigidly structured, because just sitting around talking to people with no firm end time makes me want to run and hide in the bathroom. I thought I would go crazy sitting in a little room with a private hot tub and sauna for an hour…like, a whole hour?! Hahaha! Just goes to show you how dumb I can be, because I could have stayed in there for WAY longer. Of course, in all honesty, I was happily floating in the hot tub, looking out the giant, floor to ceiling open window into a private garden with a freaking water fall, you guys, and I was typing away on my phone nearly the whole time. But you know what? That’s okay. It’s what I wanted to do, so it was perfect. My allotted time was over before I knew it.

Then I put on the little robe they provided me, threw all my stuff into a bag they gave me, and walked, steamy and barefoot, down a little hall and into a waiting room. I was given a little rack of essential oils and told to pick two for my massage and facial, so I sat there and smelled every single one, and finally settled on jasmine (my favorite scent of flower, hands down) and lavender, which is just the ultimate essential oil…I mean, I know it’s so played out, but that shit smells amazing. Anyway, I was ushered into the massage room, and to be honest with you, it is all a happy blur after that. I was in there for two full hours. I had a full body massage, focused foot massage, a hot oil scalp massage, and an aromatherapy facial massage.

When I left that place, I was not energetically the same. All that relaxation, from the start to the end, had shifted me into a totally different place. And I know that that’s the whole point of doing something like that, but did you ever stop to think about how strange that is? That by letting someone rub away the knots in your back, the soreness in your neck, the weird cramp in the back of your thigh, it can change your entire energy? That’s wild. I noticed that I was moving a LOT slower on my way back to the car. It took me like 30 minutes just to get my shit together enough to drive away.

It was a gorgeous day in Santa Cruz yesterday. I mean, it couldn’t have been more beautiful out. All the trees downtown were full and green, and the sun was shining. Santa Cruz is such a cool place anyway (aside from the soul crushing traffic, but I didn’t have to be anywhere, so it was no big deal) with the big old Victorians around downtown, interspersed with cute little bungalows, and so many gardens in full bloom. As I turned up Lincoln, heading back to the freeway, I was thinking “Man, I would love to live here.”, and I suddenly remembered a very specific dream I used to have…not a sleeping dream, a goal-dream. I even wrote it down, and all these years later, it popped into my head, clear as a bell.

Here it is: I had sold a novel that I’d written for a LOT of money, like, tons- possibly even film rights, who can say? Anyway, I had bought this amazing, gigantic, beautiful home, right in the heart of Santa Cruz…it had shining hardwood floors, and a staircase with a fancy carved banister, and the front door was made of heavy wood with a little window in it, criss-crossed with iron. In the back of the house, I had an office with a big desk right in the middle of the room, and if I turned my head I could look out into my back yard, where the sun was shining and little white butterflies fluttered around the flowering bushes. I got to sit in that office every day JUST TO WRITE, and people paid me to do it. And, because I worked right there in my house, I didn’t even need to worry about the stupid traffic…even the super healthy grocery store was within walking distance, so maybe I only busted my car out for the occasional off-hour jaunt, who knows?

I remembered all of that in the space of just a few seconds, and it made me think automatically of the novel I am working on now, and wonder “is it good enough?” I don’t know…but could it be? Yeah, I think it could. All of the sudden, my head was so clear, and I was so relaxed, and I realized that I could have all of the things I wanted- it didn’t seem far fetched or crazy or any of that. It made perfect sense. I’ve been so busy living my life for the past ten years- and it has been an amazing ten years, don’t get me wrong! Everything about it has been important and meaningful, and things that I HAD to experience and grow from and get through. But I had to put my big dreams aside to deal with some soul-growing stuff, and now I’ve done that. I’ve done that, and haven’t known what to reach for next, because it is just my nature to want to keep reaching. I don’t remember a time when I haven’t been working towards a goal. That’s just what inspires me.

So here I sit this morning, relaxed and happy, just relishing the thought of all the wonderful ways my life might go. Will it all come to be? I have no way of knowing that for sure…but it feels amazing just to entertain the possibilities. For right this second, that is enough. Have a wonderful day!

 

Posted in Blogging, Dreams, escape, Goals, Life, Musings, random

On a Lighter Note

After my rant yesterday, I thought I would just write about a few things that are making me happy this week. I missed my “Three Things” blog completely, so this will be sort of that, but not.

phineas and ferb

First of all, are you an adult that watches cartoons? I have never lost my love for them, and i’m not just talking about adult cartoons (which I also love, mostly) but kids cartoons, as well. Yesterday, I totally binged on Phineas and Ferb, a Disney channel cartoon that is endlessly entertaining. These two brothers, and a small group of friends, come up with wild inventions each day of summer vacation, while their tightly-wound sister, Candace, tries in vain to bust them. I identify so strongly with poor Candace- she is awkward, shrill, misguided, and a massive overthinker who wants desperately to be cool. There is also a whole different story line going on every episode with Perry, the families pet platypus, and Dr. Doofenshmirtz, an evil scientist. It’s kind of hard to explain, but if you’re ever bored, the whole mess of episodes is on Netflix. There are many kids shows I enjoy, and I think it’s just because they are happy, simple and funny, rather than emotionally draining and upsetting, and I appreciate that very much. it’s a nice escape from reality.

zillow

Speaking of escaping from reality, another thing I love to do when I am feeling less than thrilled with my current life is going on Zillow. I pick a town where I might like to live, and spend hours just viewing homes, figuring out what I can afford and how it would be to live somewhere else. Last time I went through this phase, I was dead set on moving to Maine, but with the winters we are having now (not that the winters we had before were anything to sneeze at in Maine) with global warming, I am rethinking that dream. Now, I am setting my sights on coastal Oregon, starting with Astoria (thank you, Goonies) and working my way down the coast back towards California. There are some beautiful homes, and many of them are a lot cheaper than my rent is here. Unfortunately, my job is here, so I’m definitely still in the dreaming phase. I really do want to buy a home, though, sooner rather than later. Of course, thanks to all the “Flip this House” type shows I have watched, I’ve grown super picky about things. I’ll look at a house and hear myself say things like “Oh, that’s a total tear-down” or “that whole room needs to be gutted” which is hilarious, considering I have no experience or knowledge about anything renovation related. Nor do I care for any sort of manual labor. So, I guess I should focus on move-in ready homes, or learn how to schmooze a general contractor.

no-meat

Other than that, the only thing I have to share about my current situation is that I am on day 11 of not eating meat, and while I thought it would be really hard for me, it has been 100% the easiest challenge I have ever given myself. I never, ever thought I would be someone who could give up red meat and poultry, but it hasn’t bothered me in the slightest. As a matter of fact, I may just turn this into a forever thing…or, if not forever, then I will be very selective about when and how I eat meat. The thing is, I really love animals. I don’t want to eat anything with a personality. I mean, I love bacon…but I think I might love pigs a little bit more. Not to mention that it’s just a great idea, health-wise, to steer clear of meat for the most part. If I can get everything I need elsewhere, why not do it? And for the record, I will still eat fish. I’ve never bonded with a shrimp or a salmon. I’m sure they are very nice, but I’m still going to eat them.

My life is pretty boring right now. I’m not feeling quite so down as I was, but I’m definitely not where I’d like to be. I’m trying to practice acceptance, and work with what I have rather than fretting over why I’m feeling the way that I am and being miserable that I’m not somewhere, or something, or even someone else. I have faith that things will right themselves, always. In the meantime, I’ll be watching cartoons, shopping for houses, and eating chickpeas and bananas. It could be worse, right?

 

Posted in Addiction, Dreams, Goals, Learning, Life, Mental Health, Musings, recovery

Flight of Fancy

daydream

I considered the shit out of this blogs title before I decided to go ahead- so much so, in fact, that it no longer makes a whole lot of sense to me. Flight of Fancy? Is that even right? I mean, what the hell does that even mean? Oh God, now I’m going to have to look it up. Hold on…

Okay, okay, apparently it has two meanings. One of them is basically “pipe dreams”, which, while ironic to MY particularly sarcastic mind, is not appropriate. The other, “a soaring of the imagination”, is on the money. See, one of the very best things about getting my life back (by which I mean, being sober, having my wits about me) is that I begin to dream again. When I am in my other state, there is no dreaming, other than the dream of being myself again. And that often seems quite far-fetched.

This morning, I am supposed to be doing other things. I promised a counselor that I would work on some other writing she wanted me to do, which just seems a million times less appealing because a) I’ve done it at least seven thousand times already, and b) it was assigned. I did, however, do some penance in the form of other horrible paperwork. I jumped through some hoops on a supplemental insurance website, and filled out the painstaking little bubbles on my disability paperwork. I experienced a brief and unkind rush of joy when I realized that the bulk of the bubbles needed to be filled in by a doctor. The rush was further flushed out when it occurred to me that I have an appointment with exactly the correct doctor at ten this morning. Neener-neener, doc.

But my head keeps wandering off to dream about the life that is still laying itself out before me. I don’t know what, really, will become of me. I do know that nothing is promised. I am trying, still, to make the very most of this day. But what is the harm in dreaming? I think it is valuable, really.

I am dreaming a lot, lately, of going to Hawaii with my oldest daughter. Now this is her dream, really, more than mine- but do you know how flattering it is to have a kid who wants her travelling partner to be you, her MOTHER? Yesterday, we had a little spat, where she basically said (while I was in the midst of doing something for her) that she hates my personality- at least, that is what I heard. After much filler (meaning I hollered about a lot of things that were more acceptable than telling her why I was really upset) I was able to see, and to tell her, that she had hurt my feelings. That I felt like she hated who I was, which sucked, because I didn’t know how, nor do I really want, to be someone else. The big miracle was that she actually heard me. She said “Mom, you are my best friend. You are the one I go to with everything. I wake up earlier in the morning just so I can have coffee with you, and talk. But that also means you get on my nerves sometimes.” Well. That is…that is a pretty hefty compliment, don’t you think? I am a very lucky woman. I guess maybe I am not quite the horrible parent I feel like sometimes.

So, I have been dreaming about going to Hawaii with her. Also, I have been dreaming about my future life. The way I would love to live on an island (not really a tropical one, although that is open for discussion) that people must Ferry out to see me on. Wouldn’t that be cool? I know that I am not a city type girl, although I would love to be familiar with at least one big city, so that I felt comfortable while wandering its streets. But when I think about my future life, it is always nature and a quite place, a slower pace, that I see for myself. My future holds lots of mornings, and, I hope, days, like this- full of writing, and peace, books, coffee, beautiful surroundings, peace in my heart.

I hope there are many long, meandering walks in my future. Lots of stargazing, lots of sunrise watching, many, many walks on familiar beaches. I hope there are good, kind, people there. Friends who know me and love me, friends who will tell me the truth when I need to hear it. I hope there is big, big love there, too, someone I can admire and adore and feel safe with, AND challenged. Definitely someone with a sharp mind, who can keep me on my toes. Someone who reads. That is a must.

The future in my mind is shaping up into a beautiful picture. This is not something I could have said a few weeks ago. I am so blessed, as I often say, and so, so grateful. But I do have to get that damn paperwork done. Have a beautiful day.

Posted in escape, Goals, inner peace, Learning, Life, Musings, People, random

Dreaming Away a Gray Morning…

courtesy of brokensavy.xanga.com
courtesy of brokensavy.xanga.com

If you ask me, daydreaming is a pastime that is sorely undervalued. It seems to me I was scolded for it as a child, and as an adult, it is hard to allow yourself to just sit there, gazing off into space as your head just floats off to wherever it does…There is always something else more important you could be doing, right? That vague sort of guilt at your criminal idleness, when, for GOD’s SAKE, there are dishes that need to be done, you deadbeat!

But you know what? I am putting my foot down, and objecting to all of that crap drilled into me throughout my life, by teachers, by parents, by bosses and, eventually, my own inner critic. Daydreaming was one of the most beautiful parts of my childhood- the elaborate, ongoing games of pretend that I played, the worlds and characters assembled from my own imagination, captivated me to no end. I’m not sure how my little neighborhood friends felt about the roles I forced them to play day after day, but if they had any complaints, I certainly don’t remember. Not that it would have mattered- it was my world, my rules. I never said I was the nicest kid on the block, just the bossiest one with the big imagination.

Through the years, my daydreaming evolved organically into writing- you can only facilitate games of pretend for so long, you know. But even apart from the writing, I think these daydreams of mine have served another, very useful, purpose. Way before “The Secret” ever hit the scene, before I knew anything about “visualization” or any of that stuff, I was imagining my life into being. I am not saying that everything I ever dreamed up, I also manifested into being (thank God! My favorite game of pretend was called “adoption”, where I was an orphaned child adopted by people so rich they owned Hawaii…think “Annie”, with an island, and a kitchen sort of like what the Jetson’s had.), but all of that speculating on my life did allow me to take note of the things I really did like the idea of. Some things fell to the wayside, but some became goals.

About a year ago, I was sorting through some old notebooks. One of them lay open on the bed, and Devon and I were talking about all the stuff I had written…he asked me what this particular thing was, so I grabbed it, scanned through it, and laughed, handing it to him. It was a list I had scribbled out several years earlier, when I was still in Nevada. My goals were listed, small but specific- 1) Pass my CCA exam; 2) Get a fabulous, great paying job at a hospital in Monterey; 3) Move back to the coast, near the ocean, in a cute place with two bedrooms…I think there were more things on the list, but you get the idea. The most striking thing about them was that I had put a timeframe at the top, like “By this time next year”. Somehow, three out of the five things, at least, had happened.

Right now, I am picturing myself in that house again- the big old Craftsman in Santa Cruz somewhere, preferably near downtown. I can see the wide, grand looking staircase just past the front door with the glass panels. I can see the polished hardwood floors, and the big, beautiful rugs that lay on top of them, here and there. I know the kitchen is warm and bright and full of light, and the living room is cool and calm and dark when the day is warm. I see my study with it’s big, oversized, gleaming wood surface right in the center of the room, littered with the debris of a writers’ life- reference books and scribbled notes, a cup of coffee, a jar full of pens. The window behind me overlooks a sunny backyard, full of flowers and leafy things, grassy parts for kids, shady parts for grown ups…

If nothing ever comes of this vision, who will it have hurt to have dreamed it? This scene in my head pushes me forward when I feel like doing nothing, but I could be writing. It gives me a purpose, and something big to work towards. It is the closest thing to stillness I can achieve, daydreaming. And I think it’s something that everyone should spend a little more time doing. What would it hurt?