Friday, May 30, 2008

See the beauty

"Once you have started seeing the beauty of life, ugliness starts disappearing. If you start looking at life with joy, sadness starts disappearing. You cannot have heaven and hell together, you can have only one. It is your choice."

~Osho

I found this quote in an old email to one of my very best friends. It brought to mind something that happened to me during the darkest times after the ex and I separated.

I'm a firm believer in chemistry. I knew, the moment I first saw my husband, that we would be good together. You know how you just know?

The other men that I've had in my life have been the same. Even a few of my girlfriends!

You know how you just know, when you meet someone, that they will be a 'lifer'? That they will be in your life for a very long time and you, quite possibly, even knew each other in another lifetime?

I remember thinking that it would probably never happen to me again after the ex and I split up. I truly felt dead inside, like nothing could ever move me or my heart again.

About 6 months after our separation, I decided to look at life differently. I decided to be grateful for what I did have and more positive about what could be.

Strange 'coincidences' began happening, like signposts pointing me to something new.

It was getting close to the holidays and I heard about a new church on the radio. The radio was just background noise as I cleaned house but this ad stood out to me. So, on a whim, I decided to try it out.

I had also just seen "The Holiday" with beautiful Jude Law as a single dad. I thought to myself, "Maybe that's who I need in my life. A single dad!"

I went alone to the church and took an aisle seat, honestly in case I wanted to sneak out early. As I sat browsing over the program, I looked up and my eye caught the gorgeous face of a man. I even felt butterflies in my stomach! He sat about two rows in front of me and I couldn't stop staring at him.

At one point in the service, he was called to the stage to sing. What?! He's a singer too! He and the pianist performed one of my favorite Christmas songs, "Little Drummer Boy" by Bing Crosby and David Bowie.

I couldn't take my eyes off of this man. Apparently he is well known at the church and as he was introduced, the preacher mentioned something about the man's teenage daughter cheering from the balcony.

Wait... I didn't see a ring on his finger. Could he be.... a single dad? A single dad who is beautiful and sings?!! Oh, I was in heaven!

After the service, I decided I needed to meet this man. As I made this decision, I suddenly had the word "exquisite" in my head. I had no idea what it meant or where it came from. This was not a word I use in every day language but I kept hearing the word repeating in my brain.

I walked right up to him (I told you all that I do this) and introduced myself. I told him that he did a wonderful job singing and that it was one of my favorite Christmas songs. He looked at me and smiled and said, "I love that song too. Isn't it exquisite?"

What the....?

He enveloped me in a huge hug. I was so stunned that I suddenly grew shy and walked away.


I never went back to that church. Nor did I ever see him again. I received exactly what I needed from that experience.

I now knew that my heart could feel again. I could feel butterflies in my stomach again. And I actually felt love again. The experience was, in a word, exquisite.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

On the subject of Vodka....

I saw this article called "The Vodka Poison Ivy Cure ... and 9 Other Weird Uses for Vodka" on The Daily Green this morning. I knew I loved vodka for a reason!!

Seriously, I am all about using less chemicals in my house and in my life. The article mentions using vodka for all sorts of cleaning and body soothing uses (without actually drinking it!). Very cool.

I am also a big user of Apple Cider Vinegar. There are tons of websites dedicated to the use of apple cider vinegar. Its pretty amazing what you can do with the stuff.

The ex and I went organic in our yard after we had to have our 10 year old German Shepard put down. She had developed two cancerous and inoperable tumors in her throat and couldn't eat any longer. It was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made. She was our first child and we didn't want to let her go that soon. I also had a 1 year old daughter at home. I truly believe it was only due to motherhood that I had the strength to hold my sweet dog as she drifted off into an endless sleep. The ex was freaking out. He said, "You are a stronger woman that I ever thought you were." Yeah, motherhood does that to you.

We were convinced that the cancer was partially due to using a chemical yard company to keep our yard looking green and weed free. My dog ate the grass all the time. And I guess there's a certain amount of guilt you feel when someone close to you dies.

We went organic in the yard and gradually in the house as well. Then I began to study more and learn more about eating organic and using less chemicals. Thankfully it is getting easier to live this way. I try to do my best to keep myself, my daughters and my house as "green" as possible. I'm sure it helps us to stay healthy.

I'm glad to know that vodka can be useful too. Still, I can visualize myself pouring vodka on a sponge to clean the tub and then pouring myself a glass as well...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Perfect Mix: Friends and Vodka

I had a housewarming party this past Saturday night. I love throwing parties. I actually chose all of the homes I've lived in based on how good they'd be for entertaining. I really get into the details of them but not to the point that I'm Sandra Lee or anything. I like to see people have a good time. And I like to have a great time too!

Boy did I have a great time.

I am a big fan of martinis. My mother-in-law got me started on them back in the early-90's. She and my father-in-law always had "happy hour" on Friday afternoons. He liked a good dirty martini. She went for your basic vodka martini with a twist of lemon. One day, she offered one to me. I tried it and really enjoyed the taste and the nice warm buzz I felt after a few sips. I began ordering them at restaurants and soon discovered the Cosmopolitan martini. I began introducing my girlfriends to them and well... now its all the rage, isn't it? (And no, I'm not taking credit but it is fun to be ahead of a trend, no?)



I kicked off my party with my new favorite, a Pomegranate martini. Whew! After the first one, I was very affectionate with my guests and non-discriminatory about whom I was affectionate with. After the second one, I was serenading the crowd with my brother playing guitar. I suppose I'm a bit of a lush, aren't I?





I have a friend visiting from Florida. She's never seen me like this nor has she met any of my friends. I was worried the next day what everyone thought of my actions. I am a single mom so I always feel that I have to have my stuff together. I enjoyed letting go, if just for one night.

So far, all of my friends have said that it was very obvious I was enjoying myself. They said that I was pretty much the same T they know, just a little more "T" than they usually see.

My friend who's visiting later told me, "I love your friends. And they seem to love you just the way you are."

That's what I'm talkin' about!

Hooray for friends. And vodka!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Spiritual beings having a human experience

I couldn't pass up posting this Daily Om email for the day. This pretty well sums up how I view this existence:
We are on this earth, in our physical bodies, because our souls have things to learn that we could not learn in any other way. It is through our physical body and the physical world that we can experience life. Purely spiritual beings are just that - they are in a state of being rather than doing – in a place that is beyond the limitations of time and space. But when we incarnate on the physical plane, we are automatically subject to the laws of physics and the world of dualities. In this place, we know what happiness is because we have experienced sadness, and we understand the value and power of light because we have known darkness. Knowing this, we have the opportunity to let ourselves be spiritual beings having a physical experience.

There is no pain in the spiritual realm, because we know we are one with the limitless source of the universe. But here, in the material realm, our sense of limitation and separation allows us to feel our emotions and to learn about love, forgiveness, and compassion. We go from a spiritual state of oneness to learning how to be in relationship with people who are different and distinct individuals. We learn to understand ourselves through our relationships with the world around us—its seasons and landscapes, challenges and opportunities. And through our journey to find our place among so many others, we begin to recognize our own glimmer of light in a constellation of stars.

Once we remember that we are spiritual beings, we can revel in the experience of being human while knowing we are all connected. We can live from the place of oneness while truly appreciating the beauty of diversity, the bittersweet feel of love and loss, and the elation of triumph over challenges and adversity. It is through these opposites that we experience life itself, and we can ride through the dark times with the understanding that it will help us to appreciate the light of life and love and spirit more fully. We are here now because we made the choice to experience an earth life, so now we can choose to enjoy the journey as completely as possible.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

On kissing

If a kiss is the Language of Love, then we have a lot to talk about...

"The decision to kiss for the first time is the most crucial in any love story. It changes the relationship of two people much more strongly than even the final surrender; because this kiss already has within it that surrender."
~ Emil Ludwig

Types of Kisses:
+kiss on the cheek-----------------"we're friends"
+kiss on the ear--------------------"i'm horny"
+kiss on the hand------------------"i adore you"
+kiss on the neck-------------------"we belong together"
+kiss on the shoulder--------------"i want you now"
+kiss on the head--------------------"we are best buddies"
+kiss on the lips---------------------"i love you" or "i want you"
+holding hands-----------------------"we can learn to love each other"
+a wink---------------------------------"Let's get it on"
+linking arms---------------------------"i want to feel you next to me"
+slap on the butt---------------------"thats mine"
+playing with the ear----------------"i can't live without you"
+holding on tight---------------------"don't let go"
+looking into each other's eyes---"let's get romantic"
+playing with hair on head---------------"tell me you love me"
+arms around the waist-----------"i love you too much to let go"
+laughing while kissing-----------"i am completely comfortable with you"

Some men know that a light touch of the tongue, running from a woman's toes to her ears, lingering in the softest way possible in various places in between, given often enough and sincerely enough, would add immeasurably to world peace. ~Marianne Williamson
The first time my soldier and I kissed, I instigated it. He was ticked!



I am a woman who, when I see something I want, I go for it. We were getting back in the car after dinner on our first date. I was telling him how nervous I had been about the evening. He opened the passenger door to his vehicle and pointed to the back seat, "See all of those shirts hanging there? I tried every one of them on tonight before I came to your house. I wondered which one you would like best. I was a nervous wreck too!"

I couldn't resist him anymore. I grabbed his face and kissed him.



He was stunned and didn't tell me he was not happy about it until later. He said, "That wasn't how I envisioned our first kiss going down. I wasn't prepared and I was chewing gum... " (Remember, he had been fantasizing about it for 22 years.)



The next time we were together, I had to walk next door to drop my children off with a neighbor. As I walked back into my house, he took my hands and began to slow dance with me in the middle of my living room. Just as I grew comfortable in his arms, he looked down at me, took my face in both of his hands and kissed me so hard that I lost my balance. My leg even lifted, like you see in old movies! Wow! That has never happened.



As I tried to steady myself, he said, "That is how I imagined our first kiss."



Forget it, after that, I was hooked.

...then I did the simplest thing in the world.
I leaned down... and kissed him.
And the world cracked open.
~ Agnes de Mille

Friday, May 23, 2008

Heavenly, that's what you are



(I will be adding this one to the Sexy Soldier Vol. 2 mix cd)

Watching American Idol's finale (Yay David Cook!) and I'm reminded why I love this man so much. Dear Lord... Seal is very much a M.A.N.

Praise God for testosterone.

::pulls out drool bucket again::

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Force vs. Surrender

The theme for the yoga class I took yesterday was, of all things, force vs. surrender. We talked about different asanas (poses) and the choice of how to feel in them. Does it feel forced? Is your body tense? Or have you found ease in the pose? Can your body surrender to the pose?

This was the very same mentality that I used to make it up the steep hills of my long bike ride. Stay calm. Don't force. Use effort but find ease.

I sure would like to find this balance in my life!!!

Before my soldier called yesterday, my heart was beating out of my chest and I was nauseous with anxiety. I can't remember ever feeling so nervous about talking to him! I was trying to find ease so that our conversation would flow effortlessly.

When I heard his voice, I tried to calm down. The beginning of the conversation did seem forced. As I surrendered to this feeling, I realized he was in a very silly mood. We were laughing quite a bit. He really wanted to talk and seemed very upbeat. We actually had the longest phone conversation we've ever had since he's been deployed - nearly 2 hours!!

He did have a few irritations to complain about and then he apologized for complaining.

"I realize that I don't have it as bad as some. And other soldiers in other wars have had to endure much worse than I have."

Aw! I told him that it is all relative and of course I would expect that he would have something to be upset about, given the situation. But I also told him that I am very proud of how he's handling the situation and I reminded him that it is up to him how he views it. He agreed and we continued to have the sweetest, sexiest and most fun conversation we've had in some time.

We can choose how to feel in every situation we're in. Are we feeling tense or forced or have we surrendered to it? It is in the surrender that peace happens. I know this physically from yoga and cycling. I have seen it happen in life situations. I guess I just forget. Old habits die hard, you know?

Thank God for what I've learned in yoga.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What to say?

I've been laying low recently in emailing to my soldier. I just don't know what to say! He says he wants to hear about my days but then I get the feeling that it brings him down. He loved hearing about the 160 mile bike ride but then said, "I get jealous because I wish it was me."

I finally sent him a little naughty video on Monday after nearly a week of silence. He responded and said he would be calling me this afternoon. I look forward to hearing his voice but I'm also nervous about it.

I've read many things about supporting a soldier from other mil-blogs and I know there's a precarious balance between showing them your independence and letting them know they are not forgotten. I've heard they want to feel like you're not better off without them but they don't like to feel helpless when you need assistance either. At least we're not married or that would tend to complicate matters more. (Praise the military spouse!)

I actually felt that I needed a week of silence. I tend to pull away when I'm feeling melancholy. Then I began to worry that he would think I had forgotten about him. Then I would remind myself to relax and let him have his space to be melancholy too (I sensed some depression when he called last week). Perhaps it is good for us both.

I will follow his lead today and hopefully our conversation will flow effortlessly. I miss his laughter. I'm reminded of his state of mind when this deployment first began. Then once he transferred to his base, he was a completely different person. Perhaps after we hit the half-way point, while I'm on vacation in Mexico next month, he'll feel much lighter.

In the meantime, I will let him have his cave and I will enjoy myself (and try not to feel guilty about it).

Monday, May 19, 2008

Never Say Never

My new motto since I began dating my soldier last fall is 'never say never'.

I had just declared about a month before that I was sick of dating. I would always be a single mom. I would never remarry and never have another child.

Then, on the night of our first date, he asked, "Do you think you'll ever marry again or have another baby?"

Whew! I was stunned that what I had declared so adamantly a month before now looked like a blur.

I could relate this to many things in my past. I never saw any reason for war. I was a 'make love, not war' kind of girl. Now, my soldier is giving me a perspective I'd never considered before.

I have since learned that once you think you're absolutely sure about something, something else will show up in your life to make you question that belief. We don't know anything really. We just think we do. Maybe its God's way of shaking things up a little. Just to make sure we realize we're not the ones in control.

I think this is yet another reason I shouldn't fight what is happening in my life. Besides the impermanence, there is obviously some other higher force that knows my greater good. And knows the outcome and effects of any decision that I should make. My judgment of anything is based purely on my perception, which is flawed anyway.

I have no idea what is to come so I should just stay present with what is happening now, enjoy it and ride the tides.

And I need to remember to trust. Ah yes.... yet another jewel on my quest.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Impermanence


I've been feeling very restless and melancholy for the past few days. I have the house to myself this weekend, which tends to sway from really nice and quiet to almost lonely. I have plenty to do...lots of chores and laundry to catch up on. Still, I feel such a heaviness that I can't seem to be rid of.

Last night as I lay in bed, I was humming to myself. Sometimes I imagine that my soldier is lying next to me. He used to joke that if he had a difficult time falling asleep that he would call me and ask me to sing him a lullaby. I was a vocalist and songwriter in a band previous to my older daughter's birth. She's a singer too - I would imagine from hearing it in utero. When we travel somewhere and I don't have access to a cd player, I sing my girls the lullabies they love to get them to sleep. He always loved that idea. So, last night, I imagined singing him to sleep. I hoped he could feel it from 6000 miles away.

This morning, I decided I felt like singing again. As I stood in front of my stereo and belted out one of my favorite uplifting songs, I realized:
Singing is my meditation.

I was nearly in tears as the wave of this song and its lyrics took me up and over the melancholy feelings. I could feel the connection between myself, my soldier, my old friend who's retired and lost, and my girlfriend whose marriage is disintegrating. I remembered the Course in Miracles Lesson from Friday - they will heal when I heal. I sent those healing feelings from my heart and out over miles and mountains and seas to my friends. I even felt the connection again with my father, who was dying when I first realized how this song would lift me up.

The song sings of the impermanence of things. I've heard that as the Buddha sat under the Bodhi tree awaiting enlightenment, he realized that everything that arose also subsided. A feeling of hunger would arise and then subside. A thunderstorm would arise and then subside. His very breath would arise and then subside. He then understood the impermanence of things and was able to begin to practice non-attachment.

This lyric says exactly the message I am sending to my friends:
All I wanna do is make you see the light
And take away that hopeless look that’s in your eyes - and see your spirit rise

I’d give you my heart if you lost the strength to face the world outside
I’d give you my eyes if I could make you see that we’re just ships that ride the tides.**

I certainly felt my spirit rise while singing this uplifting lyric.

This too shall pass. I remember now. I need not cling to this situation and my friends shouldn't either. Everything that we are going through now will bless us in some way and we'll be stronger in faith because of it. Let go and let God. Beautiful.

**I also blogged about this song back in November shortly after my soldier was deployed. For more information, visit Shane Alexander's website.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Listen and let go

I had a very brief phone call with my soldier a few days ago. He had only one option to call and that option is timed so we could only speak for about 9 minutes before being disconnected. He was trying to get caught up with my life and all but we both felt rushed. We're both long winded so 9 minutes is really only a tease. But at least I was able to hear his voice.

He seemed depressed. I can tell that he's really ready to be over the long Tuesday and move into Wednesday. He even made reference to it in his 'family & friends' monthly email update. If this were a 12 month deployment, he would be past the halfway point and counting down to his homecoming. Instead, he's stuck on Tuesday, like Groundhog Day, over and over and not moving forward.

I also have another male friend that I've known for over 23 years. We usually talk about once a week and when I don't hear from him, I know he's dating someone. Its sort of a running joke. So, I hadn't heard from him in a while and I called last night asking, "Well, what's her name?"

He said there wasn't anyone new. He was fine. Just been busy. I could tell something was wrong and I called him on it. He admitted he's in a slump. He retired early about a year and a half ago. He wants to go back to work now but he 'doesn't know what he wants to be when he grows up.' You know, men have to feel like they have a title or a purpose or else they're just not men anymore. I get it.

As women, we're constantly redefining ourselves: daughter, sister, college student, wife, co-worker, manager, mother, ex-wife... you get the idea. We're always evolving into something, aren't we? Men (well most of the men that I know) seem to define themselves by what they do. They've been programmed to be what they do. I remember when the ex was laid off from work for 3 months. He was completely emasculated and depressed. There was nothing I could do to help!

I talked to my friend for a few minutes before hanging up to cook dinner for the kids. About 2 minutes later he called back and said, "I'm bored and I've got to get out of this house."

Bless his heart. I invited him over to have dinner with me and the kids. The kids LOVE him because he'll be silly with them and give them rides on his shoulders. He'll even sit and tell stories to them for hours! They enjoy when he visits and he always leaves more upbeat and happy. I sent him home with a mission to find an organization to do some volunteer work for. He seemed better when he left last night.

Today, I feel so sad. I always do this! I want to be there for my friends but I tend to take on their feelings. I was in tears this morning because I can't make time go any faster for my soldier. I was so sad because I can't help my friend decide what his next step in life is. I still feel for my girlfriend whose marriage is falling apart.

I need to remember that I cannot fix other people's problems. I need to remember to listen and let go. I'm still working on it.

I tend to isolate myself when I'm depressed. My soldier does it. My other old friend does it. My girlfriend is doing it. I should be honored when they feel that they can come out from their retreat and share their feelings with me. Maybe that's why I feel some sort of responsibility to help in some way.

A Course in Miracles Lesson for today:
And as you let yourself be healed, you see all those around you, or who cross your mind, or whom you touch or those who seem to have no contact with you, healed along with you. Perhaps you will not recognize them all, nor realize how great your offering to all the world, when you let healing come to you. But you are never healed alone. And legions upon legions will receive the gift that you receive when you are healed.
Perhaps it is part of my healing that I be a healer as well. All that I can do is heal myself/change my mind and those around me will be healed as well.

I sure hope so.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Only one good thing worth trying to be



Bottle it Up
Sara Bareilles
There'll be girls across the nation
That will eat this up babe
I know that it's your soul but could you bottle it up and
Get down to the heart of it,
No it's my heart you're shit out of your luck
Don't make me tell you again my love love love love.
Love love love love.

I am aiming to be somebody this somebody trusts
With her delicate soul
I don't claim to know much except soon as you start
To make room for the parts
That aren't you it gets harder to bloom in a garden of
Love love love love
Love Love love love

Only thing I ever could need, only one good thing
Worth trying to be and it's
Love
Love
Love
Love
I do it for Love
Love
Love
Love

We can understand the sentiment you're saying to us
Oh, But sensible sells so could you kindly shut up
And get started
At keeping your part of the bargain aw please
Little darlin'
You're killing me sweetly with love love love love
Love love love love

Only thing I ever could need only one good thing
Worth trying to be
and it's
Love
Love
Love
Love
I do it for Love
Love
Love
Love

Started as a flicker meant to be a flame
Skin has gotten thicker but it burns the same
Still a baby in a cradle got to take my first fall
Baby's getting next to nowhere with her back
Against the wall.
You meant to make me happy make me sad.
Want to make it better better so bad.
But save your resolutions for your never new year
There is only one solution I can see here.

Love you're all I ever could need only one good thing
Worth trying to be and it's
Love
Love
Love
Love
I do it for love, love, love, love

Oh, only gonna get get what you give away,
So give love, love
Only gonna get get what you give away
Love.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Aren't you glad you have bacon?

I received the monthly 'family & friends' update email from my soldier yesterday. I love these messages because he goes more into depth of what happens there. He doesn't say anything much at all about daily life when we're on the phone. He'd rather focus on lighter topics and hear about the daily life of T and my little girls.

Apparently, the sandbox isn't hitting the high temperatures it normally hits. There have been a lot of sandstorms lately and when that happens, the sun is blocked and the temperature barely reaches 90 degrees. He said he's looking forward to the 120 + degree days of summer because that means he's on the downhill slide of his 15 month deployment. Man, I thought it was hot in Texas!

They have received the new Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles. These new vehicles will replace the Humvees that the soldiers currently patrol in. These new MRAPs are supposed to be better at protecting our soldiers from IED attacks. These roadside bombs have killed way too many of our troops thus far so its good to see our taxes paying for something to keep our guys safe. They are about twice the size of a Humvee. These things are huge!! Its about time our soldiers have something stronger and more fortified for patrolling the areas they are trying to keep safe.

I had to laugh because he actually kept track of the dinners they offered the soldiers at his base camp. He said since he is at a smaller camp than he was last year, they only get one choice for dinner.... and it seems like they repeat the same meals over and over.

I thought you guys would get a giggle out of this like I did:
11 April – beef, mashed potatoes, carrots
12 April – chicken, mashed potatoes, corn
13 April – spaghetti and meatballs
14 April – I ate with (my Iraqi counterpart) at the Iraqi chow hall – kabob, beans, pita bread, banana
15 April – chicken (didn’t look good so I didn’t eat it), mashed potatoes, corn
16 April – meatloaf, mashed potatoes, corn
17 April – chicken, pasta in alfredo sauce, broccoli
18 April – beef, mashed potatoes, green beans
19 April – spaghetti and meatballs
20 April – hot dogs, fried potato wedges, fried jalapenos
21 April – beef, macaroni and cheese, carrots
22 April – meatloaf, potatoes au gratin, carrots
23 April – beef, macaroni and cheese, peas and carrots
24 April – beef, rice, peppers, pineapple
25 April – beef, rice, peas
26 April – calzone, fried potato wedges, fried cheese-sticks
27 April – cheeseburger, fried potato wedges, baked beans
28 April – beef and bean chili, rice, peas
29 April – lasagna
30 April – beef, macaroni and cheese, corn
1 May – cheeseburger, macaroni salad, tomatoes and cucumbers
2 May – beef, mashed potatoes, green beans
3 May – I ate at another camp – tortellini
4 May – chili dogs, fried potato wedges, baked beans
5 May – beef, rice, cucumber salad
6 May – lasagna
7 May – beef, macaroni and cheese, corn
8 May – fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans
9 May – I ate at another camp – turkey sandwich
10 May – chicken, macaroni and cheese, green beans
11 May – cheeseburger, fried potato wedges, baked beans
I guess they're trying to make it seem like good ole fashioned American food. It sounds much like what you'd see at Luby's Cafeteria or something.

Still, I feel for the poor guy. He doesn't really eat red meat and he loves fresh fish. They are also not allowed any pork or pork by-products there. I thought about this last night as I cooked pork chops for dinner. What about bacon?! How can anyone go for that long without bacon??!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Standing on a precipice

***Note: I am editing this post. I am going to put in comments from my very good friend and fellow ACIM teacher in blue italics. I realize some of you may not understand his comments but this is very helpful for me. He always says the right things to help me along my quest. He also makes my heart skip a beat or two and has for nearly 20 years.***


I've been in sort of a weird place since completing my long bike ride. I'm realizing that the entire thing was a complete out of body experience. I've had many friends in my life tell me how I inspired them to push themselves a little further or get back into some fitness routine they've long since abandoned.

I'm realizing that I feel as if I'm standing on the edge of something amazing. If you'll recall from my last sexy post, I noticed that I was teeter-tottering between learning about myself sexually and learning about myself spiritually. For some reason, I'm now more aware of the fine line that I'm walking between the two.

I've been reading quite a bit recently about meditation. When I think about it, I can actually feel my spirit craving it. I'm even waking before my alarm! A perfect time to meditate!!

I know what it feels like when I've been meditating on a daily basis. I handle life so much better and I'm able to be more present in every situation. I tend to tell the A Course in Miracles (ACIM) students in my study group that meditation is different for everyone. I have a friend who loves to fish - that is his meditation. For others, it's being in a garden or running or cycling(!) or just sitting in quiet stillness on your couch. I love it, I need it, and I should be doing it more.

But then I'm distracted by the "seeming ego needs" of my body. I crave sex. (Yes, I said it.) It has been nearly 8 months since I've seen my soldier and dammit, I crave it. There's only so much fun you can have with Duracell, you know? I feel bad for him because I know that he has to deny his body so much while at war. I can only imagine the time we'll have in October when he's home on leave. Whew!

So, I find myself restless sometimes. I can't decide whether to meditate or masturbate.
T, get out of the way here. There is no difference. Sex is not a spiritual thing and it is not a non-spiritual thing. Do it or don't do it, but get on with it. You don't spend the same amount of energy trying to decide whether or not meditate or breathe, do you? You're way more addicted to air than you are sex. Remember, this isn't about behavior. This is about purpose. Breathing, not breathing, sex, not sex, eating, not eating - everything has the same purpose for the ego. And that purpose is to keep you distracted by a seeming problem and a seeming solution. Recognize it, giggle a bit, and choose a new teacher.

In the bigger picture, I also see that I am afraid of becoming more spiritual.
You're afraid of the sacrifice that you think this entails. Two different things. Becoming more spiritual means that we recognize the insanity of sacrifice in any form.

I wonder if I'll lose contact with the "reality" of this plane.
I know, it probably sounds funny but I remember that my quest for more spiritual understanding was one of the reasons my husband turned away from me. He said, "You're too good, too perfect, too spiritual!" My guess is that it made him feel bad instead of good. He said I judged him. I didn't think I did but perhaps...
T, you'll only lose contact with your current purpose for this plane. Instead of reinforcing the differences, the fears, the pain, you'll reinforce (read: teach) that we're all the same and that our dreams of attack have had no effect. You will be the reminder to everyone that peace of mind is a real alternative.

What if I lose the need for sex?
Ha! That sounds even funnier to me. I have the sex drive of a 13 year old boy!
You'll only lose the ego's need for sex. Remember, your special relationships will not be taken from you but transformed. Sex will have a new purpose.

What if I actually find myself so happy that I don't need to have someone in my life?
I was always a pleaser. I usually felt I had to "do" something in order to have a relationship and make it work. When I focus on my spirituality, I don't "do". I simply am. Will that be acceptable to my soldier or some other future love partner? Will my partner feel that he is being judged too?
We're promised that if we'll get ourselves out of the way, that Love will flow through us and we'll say or do whatever is the appropriate symbol of love in any given circumstance or relationship. You can't stop "doing". Not doing is doing. You just reverse the order. Instead of doing to solve the problem where it isn't. You solve the problem where it is and do. Mostly, stop worrying. That's merely reinforcing your fear.

Does there have to be a split between spirituality and sex?
Heavens to Betsy....see previous answers.

Can't we just see the love partner in our lives as a symbol of the endless source of love that is God?
Of "Course"! But the question isn't "can"...it is a question of will.

My ACIM teacher says that this time of struggle usually means that I know too much to go back (to what I used to be) but I'm too frightened to go forward. Yep, that about sums it up.
We talked about this last night! Big shocker! Go read the first characteristic of a teacher of God (in ACIM). You're a teacher, T. Teachers trust.

As you can tell, my thoughts are spinning round and round. I'm going somewhere. I just don't know where I'll end up. This quest gets more and more interesting with every turn...
The means and the end are the same. When you're still (re-read the "What is Forgiveness?" question in the lessons) and listen, the Peace of God that you hear now is the "where" you'll end up.

I like how Rumi sees it:
Your love lifts my soul from the body to the sky
And you lift me up out of the two worlds.
I want your sun to reach my raindrops,
So your heat can raise my soul upward like a cloud.
Instead of "falling in love", you should be "rising up in love", clearing the blocks to the awareness of love's presence in you. It was in you all along.
Exactly!!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Makes it all worth while



Mom,
Thank you for love and food
and a house and trees and flowers
and clothes and a family.
I love you!

We are a happy family.

Translation:
I'm doing something right!!! Hooray!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Happy Mother's Day


The ex picked up the kids from school yesterday. He usually takes them out to dinner and to the mall or park about once a week. I took the opportunity to get out on the bike again. It feels enjoyable and fun to me now that I don't have 160 miles looming ahead of me...

When the ex came by the house with the kids, they brought me this beautiful bouquet of flowers. Wow. I can't remember getting flowers (unless I've bought them for myself) in quite some time. I was sort of taken aback when my older daughter said it was her dad's idea to buy me flowers. Ok... I'm not sure if I should be saying, "Aww! How thoughtful of him!" or "What is he thinking?"

Eh, anyway, they are beautiful in my house. My messy house. But I'll get to cleaning again this weekend. I'm actually looking forward to getting stuff done around the house and having the time to do it!!! I'm having a housewarming party over Memorial Day weekend. I can't wait.

Later while the girls were in the bath, my little one kept screaming (as 3 year olds often do). I knew it was the older one hogging all the room in the tub. I went in, frustrated, and began washing them. All the while, I'm saying (in my frazzled-Mommy-voice), "Why do you scream? Can't you just use your words? And you! Why do you hog the bathtub? Man, you guys irk my last nerve sometimes!"

My older daughter chimed in, "Mommy, you must have lots of nerves because you ALWAYS say we're on your last one."

I couldn't help but laugh. We all did.

So, Happy Mother's Day to all of my mom friends out there in the blogosphere. Enjoy this time with the kids. You never know what each day will bring and what tiny nugget of wisdom will be dropped from their little rosebud lips. Love every second!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Do you ever feel like there are two of you?

My older daughter has always been quite the spiritual child. She seemed to handle the deaths of my grandparents and my father very well. She always has the most beautiful calming words when she sees me in any sort of emotional distress.

(My favorite was when her father moved out. I told her, "Mommy is probably going to cry when Daddy leaves. It's ok. It just means that I'm sad." So he walked out the door and I broke down. She calmly hugged me and said, "It's ok, Mommy. You can marry someone else." This at age 4!!)

She is a big fan of Jesus. Now I don't proclaim any particular organized religion so we don't go to church on Sundays. I practice spirituality and yes, Jesus is the symbol I was raised with and therefore the symbol I identify the most with. I try to explain other religious figures to my children as well and I'm always saying, "Now this is what I believe but not everyone thinks like I do..." She has such a connection with Jesus and his life that it seems she knows and comprehends more about him than most kids I know. Its pretty amazing to me.

One of our discussions recently was about the death of my father. She is very interested in what happened to him and his body. I had a difficult time explaining that his body was left behind but his spirit continues to live. "In your heart, right?" is always her answer. This is a phrase that she came up with when he passed. He lives on in our hearts. And God lives there too.

So, the other morning, we're eating breakfast and she suddenly asks, "Mommy, do you ever feel like there are two of you? Inside of you?"

I thought I knew where she was going with it so I said, "Yes baby. I do believe there are two ways of seeing life and this world we live in. Through the eyes of the body or the eyes of God. "

She replied, "Well, I think I want to see things through the eyes of God."

Me too, sweet angel. And I think you already do.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Day 2: Its all uphill from here

I woke up Sunday morning and my body said, "Hell no!"

I was STARVING! I am still blown away by the amount of calories you can burn on a bike. I just doesn't feel like that difficult of a work-out compared to some hard-ass Tae-Bo or aerobics class. I have since learned that it is because cycling is so low-impact on your body, you can do it longer. Your heart rate stays at a good healthy pace for a longer period of time and you just burn and burn calories.

My soldier called yesterday and we talked about this topic. He said that he's had friends who have done several triathlons with him and they've since stopped the running and swimming. They bike exclusively now and they are thinner, healthier and more fit now than when they did triathlons! And cycling is something you can do for the rest of your life! (How's that for a commercial?)

Anyway, I ate a big breakfast Sunday morning at my hotel and took the shuttle back to Texas Motor Speedway. Our bikes were awaiting us for our 7:00 a.m. start time. Everyone was moving slowly...

P5030067

I felt great once I got started. It was another chilly morning but not near as windy as the previous day. I decided that I would stop at every break point on this second day. I knew my body was going to need it. When I arrived at our lunch break point, 30 miles in, I still felt awesome and strong.

Whew! There were a lot of us! Over 3200 riders and yes, I'd say we did cause some traffic issues. The police were so great about speeding us along. All along the route we had lots of support. There were even people with MS in wheelchairs at some of the break points thanking us for riding. It was very inspiring.

P5030052

Everyone at every break point was complaining about the hills. True, the second day's route was definitely hillier than Saturday's route. It didn't seem that bad to me. Then I started hearing about the "5 miles of doom" and the "hills from hell" and I started to worry about what was to come. Then I shook it off.

I had made it thus far on a mantra:
I am healthy, fit and strong.

Anytime I felt as if I was running out of steam, I would repeat this mantra to myself and it would help me so much. I have heard that much of this athletic performance stuff is mental. I do believe its true. Your body does what the mind tells it to do.

So I don't remember any "5 miles of doom" but there were several hills where I passed other cyclists walking their bikes up the hill. I was determined not to do that. Instead I repeated my mantra, focused on calming my breath and looked at the road directly in front of me instead of up at the top of the hill. Suddenly, it was easy and suddenly, I was at the top of the hill. A little bit at a time. One second at a time. A breath at a time. Amazing.

My body was definitely responding to the yoga breaks I was taking during the day. At the second-to-last break point before the finish, I actually found a good shade tree and rested on my back under it for about 30 minutes. It was a "happy sunshine" day (as my older daughter would say). I wish I could've taken a photo of a sign we passed in front of a church. It said, "Enjoy this beautiful day. Compliments of God." I did that. I was indeed a Godly beautiful day.

I was ready to be finished with the 75 mile day two adventure (For a grand total of 160 miles!). I had taken it 20 miles at a time and now I only had 20 miles to go. My V-JJ was SO SORE and I was ready to sit on a real chair! I stopped quickly at the last break point for a sip of Powerade and then headed into downtown Ft. Worth.

Many of my fellow cyclists had bike problems or body problems throughout the weekend. I was happy and grateful that neither I nor my bike had suffered any issues thus far. Well, wouldn't you know it? 1/2 mile from the finish line, I had a flat tire. Argh! What a tease!!

Thankfully another rider and a SAG van stopped to help me. My finish was delayed by 45 minutes but soon I was gleefully crossing the finish line!

P5040092

I wasn't expecting the overwhelming emotions to take over but I was crying as I dismounted the bike and was greeted by my friends. I have never pushed my body as I did this past weekend. I felt amazed and very proud of my accomplishment.

My very witty friend, as usual, put it in terms that made sense. When I told her how I cried at the end of this long road, she said, "Well, of course you did. You worked really hard and had a lot of anxiety and emotion about the whole thing. I imagine crossing the finish felt much like an orgasm."

Yep! That's it.

Maybe that's why I plan on doing it again.



Read about Day 1.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Day 1: Anxiety

Saturday morning, I awoke at 3:30 a.m. to the sounds of my chimes clanging in the wind outside my bedroom window. That sound could only mean one thing: WIND. Wind is a nightmare to a cyclist and it wasn't any better when I heard the wind was gusting up to 35 mph out of the north. Of course, that was the direction I'd be heading on the bike.

I was taking deep yoga breaths on the drive to our starting point. I was so anxious and scared of the huge challenge before me. It was also brrrrrr cold outside. Thankfully, I had bought a few more items the day before to help me to stay warm. Whether it was the temperature or my nerves, I was shaking as I joined my team at the starting line.

We were off - bright and early at 7:00 a.m.

I knew I'd end up getting through the day alone. I am not a fast cyclist, by any means. And the strong winds blowing in my face made sure I stayed at what seemed to be a snail's pace. I was looking forward to biking with my girlfriend who had trained with me. She is the same friend who is going through her own personal challenge and decided not to ride after all. Everyone else that I'd trained with was much faster and more experienced than I. So, I was on my own.

After getting about 15 miles down the road, I wasn't so chilly any more. 22 miles into it, we had to walk our bikes past the site of an accident. I found out later a cyclist's chain had come off and as he forced it back on with his gear shift, it broke and locked in his wheel spokes. This caused his bike to flip and throw him on to the asphalt. His helmet broke into and though he was conscious and moving, he didn't know where he was. They ended up having a CareFlite helicopter take him to the hospital. I learned about lots of other accidents later. One cyclist was even hit by a car!!! And they drove off!!! She ended up amazingly completing the ride but still.

:steps on soap box:

Share the road, people! We have to obey the same laws as you do!

:steps off soap box:

This ride was fully supported which means break points every 10-15 miles, SAG vans (support and gear - to pick you up when you just can't go any further), medics at the break points and on the vans, police stopping traffic, etc. We were a big deal. Altogether, there were over 3200 cyclists riding for the MS Society. It was a sight to see.

The break points were a welcome sight. Each break point was sponsored by a company or group of people, all volunteers, and included food (snack bars, fruit, candy, cookies, crackers), drinks (water, Powerade, pickle juice - for refueling electrolytes and stopping cramps), medics (offering ice packs, sunscreen, pain relieving gel, ibuprofen and wraps for your knees), chairs, port-o-lets, and general cheer and support for the cyclists. One break point was sponsored by the Army National Guard... of course a reminder of my soldier. I skipped several break points on the first day but when you were ready for one, those bright orange flags and cheers were a God-send.

We also had a nice lunch break point about 47 miles into the first day. The volunteers had sandwiches, chips, cookies and more refueling drinks. We were able to rest and catch up with people who were faster or slower than us. I, of course, arrived right as my friends were leaving. I took a nice break and did some yoga in the parking lot before boarding the bike again. My cycling buddies starting calling me "down dog" because of all of the yoga I did this weekend. All I'm saying is that if it wasn't for yoga, I couldn't have completed this event.

After lunch, I did feel revitalized and I think my speed was better. The wind was at my back for the 39 mile trek south into our stopping point for the night, Texas Motor Speedway. I completed the full 86 miles on Saturday and arrived around 4:00 that evening to a BIG party. There was a live band, more food than you could possibly eat, bounce houses, massage therapists, showers, and lots of worn out people. Everyone was having a good time. I also learned that beer is good for refueling your carbohydrates. Who knew?

I ate so much and then just wanted a hot bath. I took the shuttle to my hotel, had a bath, iced my sore knees and slept, though not very well, til 3:45 the next morning. I was still anxious when I went to bed that night! More to come later.

Read about Day 2.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Quick update before bed...

Hey! The hotel has computer so I thought I'd let you all know that I did complete the entire 86 miles on my bike today!!! Woohoo!

Now after eating 3 meals for dinner PLUS cake (I burned nearly 7000 calories today!), I'm off to sit in a hot bath and sleep until I hit the road again in the morning....

75 more to go!

Just do it


“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Perfect Husband?

My sister works in retail and has since she began working at age 15. She's always been a workaholic and is a very successful district manager for a popular store. She's the 'mall-ie' between the two of us so it worked for her. Me? I hate the mall and have never been too much of a shopper. I can't imagine working in retail day-in and day-out. I think I'd rather have all of my teeth pulled.

I have noticed one advantage of doing what she does for a living: gay guys.

I love gay guys. Most girls do. I don't know too many now that I am in the IT field. I find that I'm envious when I attend parties at her house and there are lots of 'sista girlfriends' in the crowd. They're always fun and easy to talk to.

My sister has this gay guy friend that she has known for well over 15 years. He has worked with her at various retail jobs throughout that time. He just moved here recently from New York (where he worked with my sister until she moved here 7 years ago). She offered him a job locally and asked him to move in until he gets settled in the area.

Wednesday, Mom, sis and I went to lunch and I asked how things were going with him living amongst her, her macho Latin husband, teenage daughter and two younger kids the same ages as mine.

She replied, "Wonderful. I hope he never leaves. Between him and my spouse, they are the perfect husband."

Her entire family enjoys having him around. He cooks very good meals, cleans up, helps out with the kids, listens and understands my sister, gives good fashion advice and has a great sense of humor. Her husband likes that all of the pressure to be the helpful housekeeper/childcare giver/cook is gone by the wayside. All that he has to do is give my sister the love and attention that us gals require and his job is done. He's even less stressed about taking care of the kids because he gets so much help.

Sis also has my mom as her hired nanny. My mother is like a second mom to my sister's children. She picks them up from school and helps get them to the various events and doctor's appointments in their busy schedules.

My sister works (even when she has a day off) ALL OF THE TIME. She seems to be in constant stress with the craziness in her life. She seems to thrive on it - even when she's overly emotional and seems like she's going to go postal on anyone that dares speak to her. So, I'm happy to hear that she has all of the help that she does. And I'm happy to hear that she has the 'perfect husband' in her house - yes, even if it is 2 men. I'm happy for her.

But yeah, the single mom in me does get jealous of all of the help in my sister's life. I have to stop myself from saying, "Must be nice!" because well... that would just not be nice.

My mom does help me when need her. I cannot complain about that. I rarely ask for it and when I do, she comes through every time. She even volunteered to paint my bedroom yesterday (and it looks great!! Thanks Mom!). She is the best MeMe a girl could ask for.

However I still find myself wondering... Is there a website that has 'gay guys for rent' or something? I could certainly use the help!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

He gets leave!!!!

My soldier called yesterday and was so tired. I haven't talked to him via phone in over 2 weeks! He said they have been very busy. He thinks of calling but then the time passes and another day goes by... He always says that not many people can comprehend what its like to be an officer in the Army because its 24 hours a day and you can't say, "I'm off the clock" or "Its my time." It just doesn't work that way.

He said, "I think the only thing you can compare it to is something that you've said to me recently. Its like parenthood. And I have a lot of children to take care of."

He was asking quite a bit about my bike training. He's a strict coach. But oh yeah, I am an athlete so I should fly right, shouldn't I?



I get the feeling that he's afraid I'm going to 'burn out' before he returns home. He seems to get pretty uncomfortable when I show that the deployment is hard on me. He begs me to continue to do things with my friends and do whatever I need to enjoy my life. I feel like I do that already. Then he goes into divorce rates in the military and how he's never had a girlfriend survive a deployment.

I understand now. He's still scared of losing me. That is something that I'm still processing. My previous limiting belief or fear is that he will push me away but no, he wants me to stay close. Wow. I love that but I tend to forget it sometimes. (We do so judge the present based on our past fears.)

He then nonchalantly says something about how he's looking forward to meeting "the cast of characters" in my life when he's visiting with me in October.

"What? October? What are you talking about?"

He acted like he'd already told me and I had NO idea! He tends to be forgetful when he's missing sleep.

So yeah, I get to see him in October. I do know that he has lots of plans and family that he will be visiting. He has set aside some days to spend with me and asked if I could take a few days off of work.

Um, yeah, I think so. (duh!) I'm just not sure I can concentrate on work between now and then.