On starting a gratitude journal

On starting a gratitude journal

These shining faces

Every week or two I go see a therapist, because it’s a great touchstone for me. When I start to lose perspective, she can tell me that I am being just a little cray-cray. Today, I felt I got to the heart of some things by talking to her about how blocked I felt in trying to shift to more positivity. It’s so easy to focus on the negative when you’re stressed out.

She suggested I try a gratitude journal. It might take weeks or months of daily writing, she said, but just taking a few minutes each day to write down what I’m grateful for would, over time, shift my focus so that I thought more about the good and positive things. Less about the negative, the problems.

I won’t post about it here every day, because that would be cray-cray. But I thought I’d get started here.

Early…

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My Eighty-Year-Old Self Seems Pretty Cool

I’m reading this book called the Artist’s Way. It’s been incredibly helpful with unblocking some of the creativity I’ve been suppressing (particularly during the lawyer years). The book gives daily tasks, and the one I did today was to write a letter as my eighty-year-old self to my current self:

Dear Me,

Start doing what you want, and start right now. Now is the time to make the life you’ve always wanted. Start writing for real. You know it’s what you want, so keep doing it, don’t stop. Don’t let things get in your way. You’ll regret it if you do. If you start now, you get to spend the rest of your life creating, being an artist, what your soul has always known it wanted, and which, when thwarted, gets bitter, bitchy and depressed. When fulfilled-creating stories, crafting language, sharing your sense of humor-you’ll blossom. You’ll be more content and relaxed.

Start eating better. More veggies. More water. Less Alcohol. More exercise. You’ll thank yourself. Stick with daily meditation. You’ll thank yourself for that, too.

Don’t miss out on opportunities to dance, sing, laugh and express love. In fact, create more of those opportunities.

Find ways to travel more.

Stop obsessing over the house, fixing it up and keeping it clean. Plan more for retirement, though.

Get healthy and appreciate the ever-loving stuffing out of your kids if and when they come. You have no idea how much being a mother will change you for the better. Appreciate Brian every day. He is a challenge and a gift. You need both.

Forgive anyone you’re holding a grudge against. You’ll feel lighter.

Go the natural health route when you can. Remember self-care, which means self-love.

I love you the way God does-even when you didn’t know it, I always loved you. And I always will.

Love,

Me

I Never Thought I’d Say This, But

Where are the skinny jeans with stirrups? That hideous 80’s fashion trend would be really handy right now because HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO FIT MY SKINNY JEANS IN MY BOOTS WITHOUT STIRRUPS. When I stuff my jeans into short boots (Doc Martens, for instance) they bunch up around the ankles and I hate it so, so much. And with knee boots, of course, the jeans bunch up around your knees. I’ve tried tucking my jeans under my heels and it is impossible to keep them there. Does no one else have this problem? A stirrup attached to the jeans would keep them pleasantly stretched out instead of all fucked-up looking.

If these already exist, forgive me. I don’t have time to research fashion trends, I’m super busy, obviously.

You Know You’re Trying Too Hard When

I’m basically a failed hippie. Part of me really, really wants to be a long print skirt-wearing earth mother (I can’t even say “mama,” it feels creepy and vulnerable) who honestly doesn’t give a shit if she accomplishes all the items on her to-do list for that day.

But I do. I do care. It is in the deepest part of my nature to care if I have done everything I am supposed to do, and avoided the things I’m not supposed to do.

My parents are very nice people, but are the total opposite of hippies. That whole movement passed them by completely, along with all the great music, free love and drugs that came with it. We are not huggers, okay? So I took their buttoned-up, behaving ways to heart, and followed it up with law school.

It is almost impossible to be a hippie after you have gone to law school. Everyone knows this.

I try hard to just lighten the fuck up. I burn incense and candles and listen to electronic music and classic rock and dance around, but not with total abandon. My abandon is like, maybe, two-thirds abandoned at best. If it’s fully abandoned, it means I am on the verge of passing out because I have been attacking my abandon with booze. If that is the case, please take me home and deposit me on my couch.

My herb garden is another hippie project. I flirt with the idea of selling oils and teas, or moving to another state that allows for licensed herbalists. “Maybe I should have been a acupuncturist!” I think, every week when I go for acupuncture. Going to events where everyone is all openly loving and hugging each other makes me feel a little bit like a fraud. Attending a kirtan, a kind of call-and-response spiritual chanting gathering, I kept looking around nervously, waiting for someone to notice that I was an ex-lawyer who is not very comfortable with sharing my feelings.

My husband sat next to me, swaying, eyes closed, singing his little off-key heart out. Because…I even married a hippie. Brian is a born artist who hugs everyone he meets and tells people straight up and to their faces that he loves them. I can barely tell him I love him. In private. You know, the man I married. He is the most Type-B person in the world. This generates some conflict at home (the Hippie Hovel-it needs some work), because-and I probably don’t have to clarify this, but here you go anyway-I am not a laid-back person.

I totally get that the problem here is how hard I’m trying. Being laid-back or being a hippie or whatever the fuck you want to call it are all about not trying. I’d love to pull a Ram Dass and undo years of rule-following and academia with acid trips and searching for spiritual masters in India, but LSD freaks me the fuck out and I’m not willing to test my colonic well-being with an extended stay in the wilds of the subcontinent. Also, I have too much to do at home.

At last, I am trying to accept the truth that I am a little too…all over the place…to be just one thing. There is a small hippie part of me, who grows lemon balm and sage, burns incense and indulges in a lot of alternative medicine practices (this may or may not be a partial euphemism). There is a part of me that’s kind of punk, mostly expressing itself in the wearing of Doc Martens and black nail polish, as opposed to actually shit-kicking my way through life, Amanda Palmer-style.

And, of course, there is a conservative lawyer part of me. I’m trying to kill her, though. What, that’s not very hippie-like? Fuck it (see, I finally learned to let go of something).