Release

When I died, I flew away

Away from want and frustration

I flew away from confusion and obfuscation

I flew away… just away

 

I traveled over lust and curiosity

I saw anticipation and tingly feelings of joy

I watched longing and ache, melancholy and shock

I flew above them all and didn’t react

 

I saw myself cry

I saw myself leap for joy

I saw myself laugh so hard I held myself with my arms

I saw myself hiding in pillows and blankets

Waiting for the awful to subside

 

When I died, I felt and didn’t feel everything

It all traveled within me while I named none of it

Everything washed over me like an impossibly warm waterfall

The exact same temperature as my body

 

When I died, I left all of this

I left unrequited love and jealousy

I left I can’t remember and I don’t want to

I left you should have known better

 

From not too high above

I watched myself not have

I also watched myself hold and treasure

For a moment I worried that I might fall back into it all

 

I was heartbroken

I was ecstatic with life

I wept in spasms that I thought would rupture me

I remembered that I lept into anything, with people I loved

And I felt happiness too powerful to name

Without knowing I should label it for safekeeping

 

When I died, I felt everything

It all traveled within me while I held none of it

Everything washed over me like an impossibly warm waterfall

The exact same temperature as my body

Blog

That Vacation Feeling, Continued 

Master Cleanse Addendum

Cleansing

Bully!

The Bathhouse

Perfekshunism

It’s about damn time!

That Vacation Feeling…

VISION QUEST 2011, Part I

It’s just not that big a deal

Life Gets in the Way

Wrought Feelings

The Definition of Emotion

The Second Rule of Art Club…

The First Rule of Art Club…

I Knew It!

Private Art

Just Use It!

About that retreat…

RETREAT!

Waiting for the Next Bar to Drop

UN-EMPLOY-MENT

Art v. Competition (what?)

A Community… of Artists

The Story of Us, #1

The Story of Us (in NW IN)

Talk is Cheap in NW Indiana Too

Done yet?

 

That Vacation Feeling, Continued

A couple of years ago, I wrote about that lovely and elusive feeing we get when we’re on vacation – that sheer enjoyment that comes with relaxing at the resort or the campground or inn.  It is the simple pleasure of living in the moment in a lovely place; experiencing newness and purposeful refreshment of the body and soul.  I wanted to figure out how to maintain that feeling and… as luck would have it, moved to Hawai‘i.

I know that’s sounds like helluva way to live – everyone would like it, but few can attain such an existence.  Well, I’m certainly not complaining about any part of it.  I do love my life like crazy AND I want to explore all that goes into that right now (as I am in a car, riding from Ann Arbor, Michigan to Knoxville, Tennessee, after already being in South Bend, Indiana and St. Joseph and New Buffalo, Michigan, because that is where I could spend time with family and friends during one of my brief and few visits back to the mainland – my vacations).

For me that “newness” is exciting and awakening.  I am still an adrenaline junkie, loving the rush that comes from stepping into the unknown and reaching for new experiences that push my limits a bit.  I mean seriously, there are a lot of things I dream about doing, but I don’t really want to do any of them over and over again, day in and day out for the rest of my life.

What I find is that the moving and learning everything new, including names and local restaurants, is like being on vacation.  It can be a lot of “work,” but look at what we do on vacations, right?  We set a schedule to go see this, eat there and do that. We have to get souvenirs, get our nails done and try the hike or cruise or pasta that so-and-so recommended, after the walking tour and show.  Unless you go on vacation to do nothing but sleep and read, you’re putting some effort and decisions into it – the same things we do at work.

The difference here may be only that we think of it differently – we think of it all as what we want to do.  Hey, I’m on vacation, I’m going to do what I want… and that means I want to go through great effort to get tickets to the hottest show in town, or I’m going to shop until my ankles swell.

Now, there’s another aspect to all of this I know I’m neglecting here – doing all of the above a significant other, family and/or friends, rather than our co-workers, employees and bosses.   And that is what I’m almost doing now… I say almost because I’m with family and friends, but we’re not going to spas or big shows.

We’re not at the beach, on a boat or on skis.  We’re hanging out.  We’re making dinner, then eating it.  We’re entertaining the kids, going to the grocery store and playing board games at night – and we’re taking a lot of pictures together.

I love seeing these people and I miss actual physical contact with them.  I only get to see them once or twice a year now that I’m living “on vacation.”

It was an ironic twist to I realize that, because I am living in such a vacation place – 5000 miles away from my previous existence – my actual vacations have become frantic jaunts between loved-ones.  And there is no time for anything else.

So, while living in paradise and visiting my beautiful Midwest family and friends, I’m living my vacation, but never taking one.  My relaxation happens on weekends at home and planes and cars on the mainland.  My rejuvenation comes from the knowledge that life is full of choices and these are the ones I have made.

 

 

Master Cleanse Addendum

On day four of the cleanse I noticed that I felt very puffy and stiff.  I was getting ready for a vacation and, while packing, I tried on some clothes and noticed something horrible – my clothes were TIGHTER.  That’s when I decided to weigh myself, and discovered that I had gained 3 pounds.  After 4 days of only ingesting the MC lemonade, one cup of mint tea and a daily saltwater flush, I gained 3 pounds and felt awful.

Obviously, the saltwater was staying in my system.  I did the saltwater flush on day 5 and that was it.  I ended the cleanse.  I also promptly began peeing and sweating like a… I don’t know – peeing and sweating machine.  REALLY UNFORTUNATELY, I was flying from Hawaii to Chicago on day 6.

That began my vacation.  I had only juice on day 6, then fresh, raw fruits and vegetables on day 7.  I wasn’t around a bathroom scale, but my clothes became much looser.  Then, though I was eating mostly salads and produce, my clothes got tighter.  I returned from an 8 day vacation another 3 pounds heavier.

Upshot – cleansing alone doesn’t do anything more than give you short-lived euphoria, unnatural physical problems, then boomerang weight gain.

I’m done!

Cleansing

This is my third day of the Master Cleanse. I’ve done this one other time… about 5 months ago, for only three days. The goal is ten days.

For those unfamiliar, this is the cleanse that involves lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper – I’m sure you’ve heard of it. You eat nothing other than a lemonade concoction and a salt water flush every morning, natural laxative tea every night and mint tea occasionally… for ten days.

Frankly, I did this the first time because:

  1. I have been overweight to varying degrees all my life (sometimes fat, other times obese, never anything else)
  2. I have been dieting with varying degrees of success all my life (I have lost as much as 60 pounds three or four times in my life and have always gained most of that weight back)
  3. I have picked up some nasty habits over the years, including a deafening dependency on coffee and a nightly alcohol intake (sometimes just one glass of wine, sometimes a great IPA and a glass of Makers Mark neat – my favorite)

I looked forward to the nightly drink and morning coffee A LOT.  I’m not positive I was an alcoholic, but I was definitely a coffeeholic.  I was also noticing that I sometimes didn’t know when to stop either of them.  The first cup/drink was always the best and all following were just an attempt to return to that feeling, which of course, never happens.

I’d also noticed that I often didn’t feel 100% “together.”  I’d feel jittery or sluggish, drowsy or anxious.  I know I’m not 20 years old anymore, but I actually wondered if my mind was aging and this is what I had to look forward to for the rest of my life.  That frightened me.

And let’s not forget that both coffee and alcohol can take the place of food – that is to say, they both can eliminate the urge to eat.

Now let’s be clear that I’m a successful career woman with great friends and family and a pretty damn fantastic life.  That said, I was frustrated that I was over-eating and drinking in the day-to-day course of my life.  Any my brain and body were paying the usual price.

As all of this was swimming around in my system, I heard about the Master Cleanse from several different sources.  It kept coming up in conversation, or on the television show I was watching or radio program I heard on my way to work.  Yes, I thought this was a sign.

I had done cleanses before, but nothing nearly as dramatic as this one – I had never gone more than 24 hours without any solid food.  When I initially heard about this particular cleanse, I thought it was ridiculous.  When I googled it, I was in the middle the perfect storm of “a sign,” along with emotional angst, physical discomfort and ever tightening clothing.  I gave it a shot.

The first time I did the cleanse I journaled everyday and cleansed other aspects of my life as well: I didn’t watch television or listen to anything but peaceful music.  I worked, which requires that I participate in social media, but I tried to keep it to a minimum.  I allowed myself to think and feel everything I thought and felt.  That is to say, I didn’t make excuses or label anything right or wrong, good or bad.  I said to myself, I don’t like that thought/feeling, but I’m having it, so it’s a part of me.  What is it; why is it.  Sometimes I didn’t question or examine, I just thought and felt.  And I slept A LOT.  All of this happened in three days.

During that time I was suffering acute caffeine withdrawal symptoms.  I was irritable and uncomfortable as hell.  I didn’t realize how bad it would be, and had made the mistake of beginning on a Wednesday, meaning that I had to work all three days of my cleanse.  That wasn’t smart; however, by the fourth day, I felt so good, I considered staying on the cleanse, though I had already made plans to end it.  The last night I barely slept – I just laid there and thought CLEARLY through some problems and issues and comfortably made some big decisions, including a relationship change and move.  It was very, very good.

I didn’t go back to my coffee habit, but did eventually start drinking decaf, which I know contains traces of caffeine, and the occasional diet coke… with rum.  It took awhile for me to start drinking any type of alcohol again and I didn’t go back to the quantity I once enjoyed, but I did go back to a nearly nightly habit.  DAMN!

So… I am doing it again.  I figure I’ll just continue to get a little better at taking care of myself every time I do it.  I’ll also work my way up to the full ten days eventually.  This is a five day cleanse, chosen because I had to squeeze it between a fundraiser at work and a vacation.  The last time I did this I was soooo tired, I didn’t dare try it again during such a busy time at work, and of course, this is difficult to do when traveling (which requires nearly 24 hours straight between airports and shuttles, as I live in Hawaii and am traveling to visit family in Chicagoland).

I began the cleanse on Friday morning (though I did only fruit and vegetables on Thursday).  Today is Sunday.  Last time I only surfed around for information.  This time I got Peter Glickman’s book on the subject – I am MUCH better informed this time.

Here is what I’m experiencing:

  • Thus far, I’ve only had minor fatigue issues.  In fact, I feel pretty damn good
  • I have been a busy bee, completing several projects over the weekend.
  • Part of the reason I’ve gotten so much done is that I seem to have ADD; it’s easier to do things than not
  • I now recognize that the act of cooking and eating, drinking and watching television all do the same thing – they occupy me.  I like to be occupied.
  • Because I’ve spent the majority of my life either racing from work to rehearsal, running several offices, dealing with home (cooking, cleaning, decorating, mowing, weeding, shoveling, etc.), eating and drinking to excess… I don’t really know what to do without some sort of flourish of activity or mind-numbery.

That’s my story thus far.  Pretty good realizations, eh?  I should add that there is a biological nastiness to this cleansing business.  The quart of salt water you have to drink every morning causes about two hours of intermittent “flushing.”  Which is to say, the salt water goes right through you – with gusto – and carries with it all sorts of detritus.  It’s not pleasant, it’s not pretty and it’s not easy.  You must awake and drink the giant nasty beverage two hours before you have to be anywhere.  You cannot skip the step and you cannot trust your sphincter more than ten paces away from a bathroom.

Did I mention that I feel awesome?  I do – it’s totally worth it.

 

 

Bully!

A friend of mine is very passionately devoting his life to bringing awareness to the bullying of gay persons. He recently had an experience on an airplane, as he was seated next to some older persons who represented Christianity abominably. You can probably imagine what happened – referring to my friend as though he weren’t able to hear or understand them, and when he stood up for himself, pedantically and self-righteously explaining to him that he’s a sinner who has chosen foolishly and to his own eternal demise. Bullying, plain and simply.

I can remember similar treatment when I was in school. I was (ahem) more than chubby and had my little spirit shattered often by the horrible things the other kids said to me. There were even two awful teachers – 3rd grade, Miss Miner and 8th grade, Mr. Kamaneroff – who also joined in the laughter and “teasing.”

“Teasing” my ass! They were all shits who should have been zapped with an electric cattle prod 10 times for every awful word they said to me.

I remember acting as though it didn’t bother me. I remember pretending I didn’t dread going from one class to another… knowing that every foray in the halls meant I was vulnerable to another attack. I remember getting home from school one day and accidentally crumbling emotionally in front of my mom and finally telling her how a day didn’t go by without someone saying something horrible to me.

My mom died a little right along with me that day. I saw it. I saw the look in her face – wanting to comfort her child, but feeling completely helpless to do anything about it. I saw the same look on her face when I told her that one of the elders at church had touched me in a way I didn’t like. She didn’t think she could do anything about that either. I honestly don’t know if she said anything to dad about either of these, but it wouldn’t surprise me if she had and he reacted in the same way.

I think they both believed that the right thing to do is to suck it up. Be the strong one. Turn the other cheek and don’t rock the boat. Just let it pass. You’ll feel better in the morning. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

And in fact, I am just fine now.

Oh, well yes, I did have an awful marriage that went on far too long, then a second relationship that involved cheating (him) and forgiving (me) THREE TIMES.

And then there was a job at which my bosses treated me like crap and I stayed… and stayed… and stayed and took it. Suck it up; be the strong one; turn the other etc.

There’s also the hard knocks in life that I’ve managed to work through because – well, compared to what I endured in the halls of grade school – those hard knocks were a piece of cake. And there’s the confidence I have that comes from living through what didn’t kill me.

It is possible to prosper in spite of hardship – perhaps because of it – though I for one would definitely prefer my hardship come a little more organically than from some snot-nosed, lack-luster want-wit who felt better about him or herself because at least they weren’t fat like me (I still hear it echoing).

I’m proud of my young friend for standing up for himself on that plane. I’m really glad that he blogged about it to the world and that blog is poised to go viral. I’m happy that he’s fighting to help us all put an accurate name on that bad behavior. I’m proud that he’s giving parents and friends and teachers the words to identify that behavior, so that mothers don’t have to die a little because they have no idea what to do with the gawd-awful things their child just told them.

I’m also grateful for the point of reference with which to examine my own circumstance. None of this would have happened if {gasp} my young friend hadn’t been on that plane, seated next to those troglodytes, which led him to blog about the whole ghastly experience… that is poised to go viral…