I think we build resilience to prepare for whatever adversity we’ll face. And we all face some adversity – we’re all living some form of Option B. -Sheryl Sandberg
If we have all the basics, we will most likely survive this global crisis.
The challenge is how we miss other human energy.
I have my dog, Winston and a good neighbor. And said neighbor has her two dogs aka “Winston’s bitches”. They have playdates as Jenna (my neighbor) and I chat from a social distance.
So, in essence, I am having more social activity since the quarantine began. And I discovered that we have other neighbors who will say hi and share the same woes. Mostly about hair. Ha!
Indeed, as I sat outside one day, people were sitting outside their apartments. We have a rather large and lush grass-covered courtyard. “Other people live here?”, I asked myself. Then, “Oh no, other people!” But other people are not so bad. At least not my neighbors.
A perpetual state of adaptation
If you are experiencing what I am, things are in a perpetual state of adaptation right now. Though we are learning how to do things differently, we hope some situations will go back to the way it was before… Shall I mention going to the salon? The gym? An outdoor concert…
When my gastroparesis returned, I had to pause my travel as I adapted to living with illness again. In a way, I was preparing for what we are going through right now. Most importantly, I created a home hot Yoga room.
As I started out, I was troubled by how weak my muscles had become. Perseverance is my middle name…I am now getting stronger every day. Resilience.
Obviously, my life has not always been rainbows and butterflies. I know what it is like to have a lot and not to have much at all. I have experienced trauma and peace. Chronic Illness and health. Birth and death. Moreover, my favorite book in the bible is Ecclesiastes. Particularly this set from Ecclesiastes 3:
For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance…
We, humans, are born with resilience. Some of us have had to nurture it more than others. And we know, this too shall pass.
This Season’s Learnings
The art of brewing (and sipping) Turkish Coffee
What minimalism means to Elysia – It is not necessarily what it means to others.
Caring for home plants – an art of resilience in its own right.
Yes, we will get through this particularly harsh season. Furthermore, I believe we will come out of it stronger and wiser. Because we have resilience.
I am sure you all have your own stories of resilience from this global health crisis and I would love to hear them. Please comment below.
2019 has become the year of shedding excess for me. Remarkably so, this theme has been communicated to me through, prayer, meditation, yoga, and Netflix. All in January 2019. I hear you, God!
Therefore, I am sharing this part of my journey for the next few blog posts. I have outlined my she-shedding as follows:
“Responsibilities” to Family & Friends
Circle of “Friends”
Number of Clients
Amount of “Busy Work”
The Overwhelming amount of “Inspirational” Facebook Groups
For today’s blog, let’s focus on shedding emotional excess:
“Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert
The summer of 2018 was not an easy one for me. I was selling my home and moving from Colorado. It was time. I had planned to move to Hawaii but took a detour to West Texas. I found a love for this little town and its community. Things run slower and it is much quieter than Loveland, Colorado.
Unfortunately, some of my friends and family felt I was abandoning them. This pulled on my “responsible” apron strings. And shit got ugly. I can’t remember feeling so guilty about “doing me”…well ever. People said I was chasing after my new love. Not true. He and I decided to hang in West Texas for a couple of months, while I decided what I wanted to do. Since we both travel, we decided to make our RV in West Texas our landing spot.
The gift of this relationship: No unrealistic expectations or responsibilities. However, my guilty feelings over the summer flowed into our vibe from time to time. On one such day, at a carnival, I could not bring myself to smile. If you know me, I smile a lot sooo…
It was time to set my friends and family free to make their own decisions. Time for them too experience their own journeys. Regardless, of my desire to “fix” everyone else’s problems. I need to do the things I have feared my whole life.
Thus, I let them go. Of course, I let them go with a blessing and not a curse. Regardless, I did experience frustration and shake my fist at times. I am human after all. This began my process of shedding emotional excess.
But Elysia, How do I Shed Emotional Excess?
I’m so glad you asked! As have always been instructed by my advisors: First thing you do is pray. But faith without works is dead. Therefore, action must follow…
Service Work to Others – Just because my life seems like shit, doesn’t mean that others who have it better than me. Absolutely not! Being present and offering an ear to someone else surely gets me out of my own BS.
Staying True to Commitments – Life continues no matter what. Suit up and show up, even if it is just to shut up…
Focus – When we are emotional, we can certainly be effective. We have emotional energy. Use it!
And personally, most importantly:
There are no victims, only volunteers
I took a 2-month trip to South America to be alone for a while and reflect. Speaking with my boyfriend on the phone, I recognized that I didn’t handle the summer of 2018 so well. But now I was getting a do-over – celebrating Summer Solstice the second time. I was not going to let history repeat itself twice in one year!
Suddenly, I observed how I had re-developed the victim role. WITAF?!!
I had been playing victim during the whole summer in the states! What an effin’ waste of time! Precious time, I might add.
Just to be clear, there are benefits of being a victim – people feel sorry for me, the person who upset me might send gifts…etc.
Therefore, I took some time to identify the pros and cons of being a victim. Not surprisingly, the cons outweighed the pros. How could I be the warrior queen I say I am and be a victim at the same time? I cannot.
Consequently, I stopped letting people talk to me a certain way. This is not easy. Indeed, it takes courage. But we do teach others how to treat us. Stepping up and standing up for myself is essential.
None of this is new. I have known this for a long time. I guess revisiting this lesson was in order. Just to make sure that being a victim still does not serve me, I’m sure.
While in Punta Hermosa, Lima, Peru, I rediscovered my courage to face the power of the waves. I have always had a love for swimming in the ocean. But I also have a reverent fear of its strength. I wanted to swim further. Swimming into the waves, I ate shit a few times. Then enjoyed the glory of floating far from the shore… That moment, that day I shed some excess – fear.
Do you “feel” the need to shed excess emotional excess? If so, comment below. And stay blissful my friends.
My hair is short today. At the beginning of the year, I had long extensions. They were removed in the Spring. My hair was then just past shoulder length. Not a bad length. But then I got obsessive about my gray hairs and decided to have it colored, then highlighted.
Between all the chemicals and heat styling, my hair started dying. Rapidly. So it had to be cut down. Oh, it will grow again. Maybe.
Oh, and the weight gain…caused another back injury. Just as I arrived in Ecuador. Most of my food goes bad because I buy too much anyway. But I continue to wake up in the middle of the night to sneak Oreos from the pantry. Why are there Oreos in my pantry?!!!
Laundry day has become an all-day event, prompting me to buy more clothes?! Am I the only one?
They say the outward is a direct representation of the inward. This year has proven that statement to be quite fair. I have taken a long inventory of the excess in my life as of late. My physical being told a great story.
Weight (This one Really Hurts)
I had a back injury in 2016. In addition to treatment, I was put on a Ketogenic diet to lose 30 lbs. This was a complete success throughout late 2016 and all of 2017. I felt better than I had in years!
But then, I thought I could have a cookie in 2018…Mind you, I had just begun a new relationship with a wonderful man and lost my soulmate (my dog, Chewy). So much emotion – and this will be another topic in the Shedding the Excess Process.
Because emotion plays right into eating habits for me, by the end of 2018 I had gained 15 of those pounds back. Now that doesn’t seem like much but let me tell you, I injured my back again. Additionally, heartburn and burning mouth syndrome have returned.
The solution to this: Find another healthy eating program. One in which I can afford. I decided upon HIITBURN after completing their questionnaire. For $97.00, I get a personal coach. This is extremely helpful since I travel a lot and cannot go into a clinic for weigh-ins.
My house in Colorado was difficult to give up. So many memories. My son wanted to buy it to raise my granddaughters in the home they knew so well. Unfortunately, he could not come up with the money in time and my ex-husband was wanting his money.
This proved to be a blessing in disguise. The house did hold many moments in time. And it was time to let those moments go. Just as I had said goodbye to Chewy, I needed to say goodbye to the home I raised him within.
Again, this was an emotional process. I had already minimized so much and moved into an RV. But there was more.
How many of us hold on to a cluttered home because we just cannot let go of the dead energy that we know so well. There is safety in the familiar. I had learned this when I got sober. I had learned this when I got divorced.
I realized that I did not want the responsibility of a mortgage. I didn’t even want the responsibility of digging in roots anymore. It’s time to travel the world. It’s my time. And, it’s time to own it.
Okay, I have a love-hate relationship with shoes. But especially boots. I have been stalked by shoes and boots on Facebook. But alas, I have no room for all the shoes that I once owned. Furthermore, I don’t need all of them!
When I am in my new landing spot in West Texas, I dread laundry day. Packing for my long-term trips around the world is a nightmare.
I had a flannel shirt for 15 years. It served me well until the holes could no longer be mended. After which, trying to find that perfect flannel again took another 15 years. I remember a conversation with my favorite pair of white pants when I was 16. “Okay, I am giving you one more chance to make it right. I’m going to wash you with bleach and if you are still pink when you come out, it’s off to the Segunda for you!”. They came out white again…
I downsized my wardrobe twice in 2018 and have concluded that I need to do this again. But clothing also has an emotional connection. This item was a gift, this other item was something I wore on a special day. How can I hold on to these memories while letting go of the piece of clothing that means so much to me?
How can one practice Yoga too much? When it starts to lean more on either aspect – the physical/spiritual. Yoga burn-out is real. It happens. It was happening to me. Just after a great year of taking two additional Yoga Teacher Trainings.
It was time to change it up. I had no choice but to do so when I injured my back. Taking a look at the many different practices:
I landed back on Kundalini because, though it can be physical, it is also less stressful on the back for some reason. I found a lovely 40-day Kundalini for weight loss program. What I started to see as a continual topic through this program was “Shedding the Excess”.
This is just a small piece of the pie. (oh, I want pie). There’s much more excess to cut:
People are flocking to the Minimalist Movement. But do they really know why it is so appealing? Do they understand the philosophy behind this movement? Or is this just another pop-cultural thing to do? Another “Shiny Object” to play with for a while?
For me, it has become a new prana. The only way to truly breathe now. And I realized this when I looked in the mirror and saw that my hair is short today.
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…What they are asking me – the woman who is traveling alone. Their Questions and my answers.
I’m in my second year post-divorce. What have I learned? So much, I have to gather my thoughts quite often.
I have learned that I enjoy traveling. I love to travel with the boyfriend. I love to travel alone. Presently, I am in the midst of a 2 1/2 month solo visit to South America.
I am also learning how this new lifestyle scares the hell out of some people. Or at least confuses the hell out of them. It’s become a fun little game of question and answer… or unsolicited statement and unsolicited reply.
Next time you should experience this with someone you love.
I am experiencing this with someone I love – Me.
Who is driving you around?
The bus driver.
Aren’t you lonely?
Sometimes. But everyone should experience loneliness from time to time. It helps one appreciate the presence of others.
Do you need help with that?
I sure do. Thank you!
Do you miss home?
I am home.
So, I don’t mind the questions or comments. Like everything else in my life, I just have fun with them!
Ultimately, I am having a fine time. Meeting new friends. Staying in and binge-watching shows without being judged. Walking through city squares at night, people watching. Lots of Café con Leche!
Ecuador has become my new favorite place. Olon, in particular. But Lima, Peru has its charm as well.
My daughter and I have a scheduled weekly chat to check in about our lives and new adventures. And there’s the occasional text to and from my sons. My oldest will be joining me in Peru to celebrate Christmas. I miss my kids. Yet, I am so happy that they are all living their truth. Experiencing their personal journeys.
I really miss my granddaughters deeply. Thankfully, they are in good hands. My son and his wife are an excellent team as parents.
I really really miss the boyfriend. Fortunately, we have this understanding: We welcome these pauses in our relationship. No, It’s not an open relationship. We just are okay being apart and being alone at times.
Plans and Lessons
There were many plans made for this trek through South America. Unfortunately, it didn’t all work out according to said plans. But it never does. The back is injured again, interrupting surfing lessons. And I was doing so well! So I guess I will try again next year. 2019 is on its way, regardless of whether I give it permission to do so.
Then there’s the “shedding the excess” lessons. This need is surely what this trip is uncovering. And I have learned, more importantly, to ask myself some questions:
Are you being you – living your truth?
Are you living according to your values?
Have you reviewed your values lately?
Can you be happy regardless of any circumstance?
Are you sincerely ready to let go of the past?
These questions are being answered along this journey through South America. I guess discovery is what adventure is all about, right? Stay Blissful My Friends. – e
I feel like I’m doing my own version Eat, Pray Love. But more like Love, Pray, Starve…
Exactly one year ago, I was falling in love with a man I had only met twice in 2017. But we wrote to each other quite often. He inspired me to write with all the rawness in my soul. Almost exactly one year ago, he surprised me in Hawaii. He showed up for my Yoga Teacher graduation.
We fell fast and hard. He lived on the East Coast, I lived in Colorado. But we met up around the 8th of each month and then spent the summer and fall in Texas together. For the first time in my life, I let a man be really good to me.
I welcomed him in. That he would know me, and I would know him. More intimately than anyone else. I let him see the good, the bad, the vulnerable, and even the insecure at times.
The boyfriend and I are good to be together. We are good staying in an RV in a small West Texas town. We are good to be apart for days, weeks, and even months.
We’ve connected in a way, I had never known possible. No drama, no games, just true love.
When an incident would more commonly lead to packed bags and a long car drive out of town, I remained. We walked through these moments together. It wasn’t easy. But so worth it.
But now, it’s time to get back to me…
I sound like a Fergie song. Blah! Have I been reduced to becoming a walking cliche of pop culture and inspirational quotes? And is anyone even reading this sh!t?
The medicine woman I met at the beginning of this trip has extended an invitation for a 3-week spiritual walk next year. There is much to consider, and I will first consult with my sponsor about some concerns I have before I can commit. Though, everything this lady shared with me seems to be a confirmation of sorts.
Alone in Olon
Did I really have to fly all the way to South America to feel lonely? Why Yes. Yes, I did. As I said last week, this has been a year of excess in the States for me. Mostly good, but not all.
So now I am detoxing from smoking, sugar, and (gah!) sex. Even the private party sex. (Oh, don’t judge! If you’ve never done it, you’re a liar.)
Anyway, back to me…
This first week in Olon has got me all twisted. I eat, work and sleep. I sleep a lot because I want chocolate cake, a cigarette, and my man.
I Have Found My People
But on the 3rd day, it is beautiful out and I must hit the beach. I also meet a friend on the Facebook Expat group. While we were communicating back and forth, we find out that she and her family are staying upstairs from me.
I have found my people! We are open about everything. My new pal will not tell me where to buy smokes (even though I don’t ask).
But a few days later I figure it out. I tell my new friends that I now know. But I chose not to buy a pack. This smoking cessation thing is a lot harder than it was the last time I quit. But I have not given in. They cheer me on!
Did I mention, that my people also live in an RV back in Canada? We talk about renting the big house on this property next year together. And extending our stay to 6 months.
But back to me…
It’s incredible, how Ecuador has taught me how much I don’t need. My closet does not floweth over. My refrigerator is almost empty. But I’m neither naked nor hungry.
I come from a world that is conditioned to live a certain lifestyle. Though many of us don’t realize that this lifestyle is a choice. I have been hustling for new business constantly instead of being content with the clients I have right now.
What if I stopped working so hard to find more business and just focus on giving better service to my clients? I sound like the “Jerry McGuire” of the Online Business Management world. But I think I’ve tapped into something.
I don’t need as much money as I make already. What if I just lived off what I need and save the rest for another day?
We don’t have to choose what everyone else is doing if we don’t want to. Look at your lifestyle. Is this what you really want? If so, good. Be happy. If not, seek what brings you joy and go after it.
While you are working on this, I will get back to me…
“Place yourself in the middle of the stream of power and wisdom which animates all whom it floats, and you are without effort impelled to truth, to right and a perfect contentment.”
“Are you okay?”, the Native American Healer asks me. Good question. I can hardly reply, so the answer must be “no”. She continues, “Because you look like sh!t. Your energy is f*cked.”
I totally get it. It’s beyond vanity at this point. I have spent quite a few dollars changing my hairstyle, buying pretty flowers for my hair, etc. But there is something going on within and it is extending without.
I thought I had beaten my battle with sugar.
Unfortunately, this year got the best of me. Gluttony, sugar, smoking…What in the actual? What happened? Sickness, bad teeth and now another back injury have plagued me within the last 6 months.
So, I decided to spend a couple months in South America…alone. Well for the most part.
For the first wing of the trip, I flew my daughter and myself out to Ayampe, Ecuador. Ayampe is a lovely little surf town just 3 hours from Guayaquil. This place is off the beaten path. To buy any of the basics, like toothpaste, you will have to get a taxi or bus ride to Puerto Lopez.
We stayed at the beautiful Finca Punta Ayampe hotel. Wonderful staff, gorgeous setting, and delicious meals! The Staff Manager, Santiago, was extremely helpful in helping us get to our other locations.
There were so many stairs to reach our room, and then more stairs to get to the restaurant. This reminded me of my stay in Oia, Santorini Island, Greece. Only, I’m not is as good of shape as I was then. More to work on…
The plan was to spend a week doing Yoga and learning to surf. Unfortunately, I hurt my back lifting my bag during travel. Then my daughter got smacked in the mouth with her board. So, we are both in paradise, hurting.
Of course, I push it trying to do Yoga. But after 2 sessions at Otra Ola, I know I need to stop. I know this path all too well. No Yoga flows for at least 5 weeks. But I can probably find some Kundalini Kriyas, which will more than suffice. It’s been too long since I have practiced Kundalini.
Then there are the surfing lessons, which Otra Ola also provides. I did much better than I thought I would. Didn’t think that surfing would make my back worse. It did. Alas, I will probably have to get back to that next year, when I return. Too much risk. Well, at least we could take advantage of the soothing tea they brew when they are not teaching Yoga.
I feel I cannot make this trip good enough for my daughter. We take walks along the beach, drink tea, and have some conversations. This was not the “retreat” I had envisioned…
I pull out my chanting books for my daughter and me to practice together. This is something we enjoy doing with one another.
But we meet the Medicine Woman. And we know that everything that has happened on this trip was for this divine appointment. We were meant to meet her this very day.
And the Medicine Woman has a lot to say to both of us. So instead of chanting. We listen.
For most of my life, I believed my soulmate would be a man I would spend my life with – ‘til death-do-us-part. My God had a much better plan for me.
Love at First Sight
Chewy arrived in my world in April 2007. I had let my daughter’s friend live with us for a few months and her mom sent this little fur ball over as payment. Dee put him in my arms and said, “My mom wants me to sell this little guy in front of Walmart and give you the money.”
Watching me falling in love at first sight, Dee came up with a different proposal. “Or maybe you could keep him for yourself”. In the midst of my first divorce, I thought a new friend might help. I took him to meet my new boyfriend (who would become my second husband). From that point on, we were inseparable.
From the start, Chewy showed us what a fighter he was. Before we gave him his shots, he got Parvo. Two obstructions in his first year also led to a couple of surgeries. All the while, tears flowed from our eyes as we felt the insecurity of our “parenting” skills.
We had named him Chewbacca – Chewy for short. I guess the joke was on us. Many a pair of shorts, underwear, Doc Martens, and leather jackets – all chewed up.
Thank goodness for a good dog crate and tennis balls! Oh, how he loved his tennis balls, often falling asleep with one in his mouth. This was usually after a good afternoon of chasing said tennis ball. One of Chewy’s favorite things to do; lose his ball under the couch so either the hubby or myself would have to retrieve it. Once, he even lost it the very moment I had just given it back!
A New Addition
Much to his exasperation, we brought home a sister for Chewy two years later. He was none too pleased. And when we brought little Cherry into our bed to snuggle with the three of us, he froze up like he was dead and would not talk to us. But he got used to her rather quickly and the pair were joined at the hip. Almost literally. They walked side by side, hip to hip. They slept in a Yin-Yang shape together.
They were indeed, Yin and Yang. Or as I called it Addict (Chewy) and Codependent (Cherry). While Cherry was timid and a bit clingy, Chewy was bold, strong and protecting of all.
Throughout the years, Chewy ran the household. If I was in bed on a Saturday morning and the hubby was up and about, Chewy would paw at me until I got up and joined the rest of the family in the Livingroom. On the flipside, once the hubby went to bed, my little guy would paw at me until I joined the family in the bedroom…
Chewy was more of a person than a pup. Scoffing and scolding me when he didn’t get his way. And oh, so prideful when he achieved something like the time he “saved” the hubby from drowning in the river. He just jumped right in and landed in a patch of floating grass. After we pulled him out, he walked about like a prancing pony with his chest all puffed out. Leaping at Cherry as if to say “I can swim! I can swim!”, “Who’s the alpha now b!tch?!!”
Why do I call him my soulmate?
Because no one ever got me the way my Chewy did. If I was depressed and sleeping too long, there was Chewy, pawing at me. Informing me that I have spent too much time in my slumber and that I needed to let him take me out for a walk.
I have been sober for close to 15 years and 11 years of that time has been spent with my Chewy. Indeed, I have at least on one occasion told my sponsor “Chewy ate my 4th step!”
When I suffered from Gastroparesis, he lay by my side when I was sick. Doing Yoga and meditation was a joint activity as he had to practically sit on my lap when I was in meditation and on my stomach while I lay in Savasana.
A few years back, Chewy had a low-grade Sarcoma and was not expected to grow any more tumors. We celebrated his beating cancer, now referring to him as “Heisenchewy”. My little fighter.
A New Chapter
In 2017, the hubby and I decided we had done our best to no avail. We filed for divorce. He moved into a Condo (more him), I bought an RV and moved into a park down by the river (more me). He got the cat and I got the dogs.
Freedom! My daily routine started out with a long walk with the pups, coffee and then Yoga. We took so many walks throughout the day, enjoying and basking in the temple of nature. God’s country. At night, we snuggled and watched Netflix together. We learned to live in a whole new world. A world in which time slowed down. The neighbors got to know us well as we were always out doing something fun and exciting.
Shortly afterward, we had to separate the dogs while Chewy recovered from a degenerative disc condition. Cherry had to stay with my son and for the first time in Cherry’s life, they were not together. This was painful. But I knew it was only temporary.
In late November, I headed to The Big Island for an advanced Yoga teacher training and some additional vacation time. This would be the best vacation of my life. For during this time, I fell in love with a friend I had met in August. In addition, another stay at the Shambhava Konalani Ashram was just what the doctor ordered. Re-centering my spirituality, my Yoga practice & teaching skills, aaaaand falling in love in just 2 weeks! Not too shabby for a woman pushing 50!
“Mom, what is Lymphoma?” was the text I received on the 4th day of my stay at the Ashram. “Why?!!!”, I texted back. “Because Chewy might have it.” I headed to the living room at the Ashram so I could get a good phone service. Upon answering his phone, I could tell by my ex-husband’s voice that this was real. Really f!cked up!!! He was sobbing and informed me that the doctor was pretty confident in her diagnosis.
No, there is no cure for Lymphoma in dogs.
Yes, we could treat him with chemo but it would affect the quality of his life.
No, I did not need to head back early. The tumors were in a very early stage.
So, as I am bonding with 6 other amazing women at the ashram and falling in love with an incredible man, I am now also preparing to say goodbye to my Chewy. My soulmate.
The last two months of his life were spent with lots of hugs, sleeping on the couch at my son’s together. Walking the neighborhood and giving Chewy whatever he wanted. If Chewy wanted a burger, he got a burger. Pizza? It’s yours, buddy!
But sooner than I had hoped, his tail no longer wagged. He only occasionally chased after a tennis ball thrown his way.
One can be as prepared as they might think but never truly ready to say goodbye. It didn’t happen the way I had envisioned it, in the living room of the home Chewy always knew. But rather on a blanket, in the middle of the night at an emergency Pet clinic.
Chewy was struggling to breathe. I called my ex-husband and told him that he might want to meet me at the Pet ER.
After the doctor said Chewy would probably have an extremely rough night, we decided that it was time. This superb facility provided our boy with a full buffet, including chocolate chip cookies. Chewy ate like a king that night.
We cuddled, took pictures, shed some tears, and expressed our undying love to the little guy. I told him how he taught me how to love, how to see things beyond my tiny bubble of a world. I asked him if I had shown enough love, spent enough time…Did he know how better a person I had become because I had my soulmate for the past 11 years?
Then, he let us know. He was ready. We were not. However, his comfort was more important now. He walked over to the doctor and laid down. Two shots were empathetically and kindly given. After which, the doctor checked his heart and let us know that he was gone.
No longer having to hold back the guttural sobs that were waiting to come out, I let loose. This, this was much harder than my two divorces put together. My boy, my Heisenchewy, my soulmate had left for good.
Goodbye, my dearest Chewy. You brought many a Cherry-blossomed day into my life. I am now ready to accept the seasons. Mama misses you with every part of her soul.
Chewy visited me in a dream the other night. He was walking around the way he often would, like that prancing pony. “Mommy, where’s my ball?”, he asked. I woke up hoping he had found it and would never lose it again.
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I am not an astrologist and rarely view my horoscope for anything else besides entertainment. Yet, a few women, whose words I cherish have made a similar statement. One of the Super Blue Blood Moon’s effects will be shining the spotlight on ALL that we are. Be prepared to be exposed, the good and the bad. This will definitely serve its purpose by allowing us to let go of what no longer serves us. Mentally, Emotionally, Physically and Spiritually.
I recently shared my cowardice in being vulnerable with letting a remarkable man know me…really know me. Today, I’m over it. Good timing, since we will be spending next week together.
Today, I welcome the thought of his embrace, the feeling of his breath on my shoulder as we lean in close to one another. He will also know my touch, breathing, noises, weird faces, and (yikes!) ….my scent!
“Yeah baby, yeah baby, I come to dance with you
Yeah baby, yeah baby, are you ready?” – Kano
Elysia, how did you arrive here so quickly? I’m glad you asked! In addition to my daily prayers, here three key observations I have made through this process:
A Strong Support System
Being that this is a long-distance relationship, taking some time off was simple. Not easy. Having good friends to lean on, talk to and play completely inappropriate games with is imperative.
While taking some alone time for self-reflection is good, one should avoid loneliness. In addition, being alone for too long makes one take themselves too seriously. What a drag.
Thankfully, I have the best group of friends one could imagine. For better or worse, (and we have seen it all in each other), we stand together and are present for one another.
Another part of this newfound bravery has been my return to practicing mindfulness. Taking the time to experience my senses; While I’m walking the dogs – feeling the cold breeze on my skin, listening to my footsteps, and smelling the smoke from the neighbor’s chimneys.
Though nature walks can be inspiring, I’ve also applied mindfulness to my work; Listening to the scroll and click of my mouse, the tapping of my keyboard, giving attention to my sitting posture, & the pleasing scent of brewing coffee.
Additionally, housework is a useful activity to practice mindfulness. I learned a lot while residing at the Ashram in Hawaii. Seva (selfless service) is done with minimal talking. We would either listen to Kirtan or chant while working. The goal was not to get as much done in 30 minutes as it was being mindful of our actual work. After the 30-minute bell was rung, we stopped cleaning whether we were finished or not.
Acknowledging Our Shadows
We all have them. Ignoring our shadows or dark personalities doesn’t make them go away. We can only improve that which we can see.
Fall of 1986: I had just got my paycheck at a job I hated. In addition, my mother and I had a nasty argument right before my shift. So, I quit my job, cashed my check and bought a handle.
I decided to surprise my then boyfriend but he wasn’t home. This did not bother me in the least. One of his friends was hanging outside and we drank together. Platonic juvenile drinking of course. At some point, we decided to go get high. I don’t remember much about how we managed to get to a motel on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood.
There I was, with a bunch of men I didn’t know, in a motel room smoking crack. But the God-shot in all of this – Every single man in that room had only one thing on their mind; getting high. Really, these were the most polite and kind crackheads I would ever meet outside of the rooms of recovery. I found myself in the bathroom puking my guts out and they were bringing in water and wet cloths trying to comfort me in between hits.
This could have ended up very badly. I might not be here typing this story. But instead, I made it home alive and safe.
I’ve been to some dark places. These days, my shadows are not as grim. However, they do exist as life evolves. More is always revealed. If I am willing to take an honest look with an open mind.
So today, I am ready to enter the spotlight, with courage. Mindfully, no longer hiding my shadows, and knowing I have a good support system in place. The sweetest thing; knowing there is a strong soul of a man who wants to know me inside and out. Just as I am ready to know him.
Welcome the Super Blue Blood Moon to shine on our wholeness and assist our letting go of what no longer serves us.
Stay Blissful My Friends – E
PS. I have created a Moonsong Playlist on Spotify which I would love to share with you for your listening pleasure.
A few years ago, Brené Brown’s Rising Strong became an all-consuming topic on social media. The memes continue to be shared by many today. These words were incredibly powerful. I wanted in!
Of course, it was easy to live these words in my decision to leave my long-term position at an amazing company to start my own business. Business is an easy place for Elysia to be “Brave”.
Of course, it was easy to live these words in a loveless marriage, where the walls I had spent many years tearing down began their reconstruction.
Of course, it was easy to live these words as I walked away from said loveless marriage and chose to live by myself in an RV down by the river.
“Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center, of meaningful human experiences.” – Brené Brown
Sounds good yeah? Well no. Not for me. Vulnerability is not a safe place for me. Not today. Don’t get me wrong. I have complete admiration for Brené Brown. I follow her on Twitter and Facebook. I especially admired a picture she posted of herself with no makeup, no filter. This lead to a personal decision to stop wearing makeup and embracing the gray. Accepting what one looks like is true courage. This too was easy.
But when it comes to Love, true Love…Nothing is ever easy.
So, I met a guy…Not just any guy. A remarkable man with a strong spirit. Chivalrous, funny, intelligent, brilliant…the list goes on. This was NOT planned. I fell hard and fast. Well, maybe not too fast but exceptionally fast for me.
We are two extremely different people. He is conservative, preppy even. I am this wild woman spirit. He does not partake in my colorful language, does not do Yoga. Yet we connect on so many fundamental levels. And what an incredible writer he is – totally kicks my a$$, I might add. After many months of experiencing zero inspiration, I found myself passionate again about putting words together.
This gift came with distance, he lives on the East Coast and I am here in Colorful Colorado. Safe enough, yeah? No. I frequently found my heart being pulled in the direction of the east. Daydreaming, listening to love songs…and we had only hugged once.
He surprised me by flying out to Hawaii to celebrate my recent Advanced Yoga Teacher Training graduation. It was on now! We embarked on a most passionate love affair, the likes of which I had never known. Soaking in the Big Island experience, we spent 5 days of bliss, laughter, and total comfort with one another.
He was a trooper, staying the first 2 nights with me at a hippy shack I rented in Pahoa (not knowing I would have a guest), before deciding we needed to move on to a bed and breakfast in Captain Cook.
I can’t remember having laughed so much. Corny jokes, silly pet names…what a blast! And so much love. People could see it, often commenting to us how “cute” and “in love” we were.
Has it been the most ideal of romances? No. But just right. Just Elysian. Irregardless 😊 of the distance, he has been present with me at each given moment.
We made plans to see each other when we could. A 5-day visit last week here in Colorado. Hawaii again next month, then the Spring, many different possibilities. Our visit last week was euphoric for the most part, and then…
Wait, what happened? How did I let myself go this way? This man knows me. He has seen my messy hair, my imperfections. My snoring, drooling, clumsy, cellulite, needing a haircut Elysia. Then there is my inept ability to let my “street” come out every now and then, using “ain’t” and combining words that make absolutely no sense to anyone else but me.
And what do I really know about him? What if he’s a womanizer? If he were, would I still love him? The answer is an unapologetic “Yes”.
I know enough to keep my side of the street clean and to trust someone until that trust has been abused. I also know that expectations are future resentments. I have a past. We all do. So, I choose not to judge what I don’t have 100% knowledge of in any circumstance.
We agreed to take a short break. Then this watery substance starts to flow out of my eyes. Oh hell no.
I just watched Trainwreck (again) with my daughter last night and found myself admiring the main character in the beginning of the show. “Maybe I should move to New York and be a slut“, I said to my daughter. “There’s no shame in being who you are and accepting it”. To which, my daughter replied, “If that were what you are mom, I would support it. But that’s not you”.
Additionally, I forgot that Trainwreck is not just a comedy but a rom-com. The leading lady meets a man who is so different from her – he is quite conservative. This is sounding all too familiar and when the male lead talks of Norman Rockwell and his love of Billy Joel, my head starts to hurt. “I need to turn this off.”, I say to my daughter. She steals the remote from me.
I’m totally feeling it when the female lead expresses her concerns about vulnerability with her sister. Though she uses a far more colorful analogy than even I would use (can you imagine?). The movie rolls on and the couple breaks up. Now, this makes sense to me. Alas, with every rom-com there is the makeup scene and everyone lives…
This is so not real! Monogamy is not realistic. People do not live happily ever after. Am I bitter? No. More jaded, more careful than anything.
Vulnerability Part II
The last two years of my marriage were so easy. My ex-husband didn’t love me and I knew where I stood. No questions to ask. Safety.
I have indeed, fought with my monsters. But am I ready to take this journey of vulnerability? Why complicate things by getting lost in emotion? Tomorrow is another day. So for today, I am a coward, comfortable in the safe place of my fear.
Fortunately, I do not have to sit in my fear alone. Having a good group of friends, who love me unconditionally, is my saving grace.
For today, I would rather take a drink than be vulnerable. In fact, the thought of being vulnerable makes me crave a drink. Good thing it is time for a meeting, where I can surround myself in the safety of my GOD.
I was guiding a Yoga Class the other day and we found ourselves in Dandasana. Dandasana is the Sanskrit word for Seated Staff Pose. I decided that we would hold this pose for a bit, “Dandasana is commonly used as a transitional pose.” I continued, “But tonight, I think we should take a moment and consider Seated Staff Pose. You see, I cannot do fancy inversions or wrap my leg around my neck. I can, however, do Seated Staff Pose like a boss. Watch me!” “Impressive!”, one of my students exclaimed.
“Well, how do you feel about your Dandasana?”, I asked. I heard crickets. “Come on now,” I pressed, “Own your sh!t”!
You see, whatever we do, whether great or small, we have earned the right to own it! I am not a “great” Yoga instructor. But I give 100% to my students. I cultivate and nurture the memory of each moment I get to spend with them. I feel the same in my other hustles: Virtual Assistant/Blog Writer.
The Benefits of Owning Your Sh!t
By owning your sh!t, you get to know the real you. Accepting your darkness as well as your light is pretty damn powerful. Your Darkness – Own it! Your Light – Own it!
We get out of our damn way. Most of us eventually find that we are the ones holding ourselves back.
You learn, to be honest with yourself and accept other’s honesty.
We begin to love ourselves fully, deeply. What’s not to love? You are an effin’ badass! Accept it. Own it.
E – How do I own my sh!t? I am so glad you asked!
Stop Blaming Others
Really, we all succumb to this ridiculous behavior at one time or another. Well, stop that sh!t. When it comes down to it, we make the choices we make. If you felt you were manipulated, guess what? You made the effin’ choice to be manipulated. Own it!
Close the Book
You know that story about your failures that keeps playing in the back of your mind? Tell the narrator to shut the f*ck up! Time to move on to another story. The one that tells you that all people make mistakes. It is part of being human. Replaying that bullsh!t over and over just makes us useless and wastes precious time. Time, you will never get back. Stop playing the victim and step into the victor’s role!
Accept What You Deserve
Yeah, that’s right. You deserve the best friends, relationships, careers, home spaces, and self-love. If you don’t believe that, you’re a voluntary a$$hole! Some people like being a$$holes, I don’t. Do you? Be honest with yourself, because if the answer is yes, you know where you need to start. Go from being an a$$hole to being awesome! It’s your choice – own it!
Recognize Your Good Sh!t
While you are taking a good look at yourself, acknowledge the good sh!t. You know you have some! Pay attention to your actions. Write down a list of what good you have to offer the universe. You know you got one! Do you unconsciously serve coffee to someone every day? That may be a little thing to you. But on the grand scale of things, if you give 100% to that cup of coffee, you are a Java Rock Star! Kind of like my Dandasana pose.
So, Own Your Sh!t…And Stay Blissful My Friends – E