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The New Year is now a distant memory for most of us. I know that MKL and I played pool, drank martinis, ate something yummy, watched tropical visions on Hawaii 5-0 on Netflix, and fell asleep before midnight. But many of you in the blogosphere may have noticed the “One Word Challenge.” I was late to that party, but the idea is that you pick one word to which you dedicate your actions and goals for the year. It’s simpler than your standard New Year’s resolutions, which are generally abandoned by the time you get the Christmas Tree off to the recycle center.

I’m not generally a big fan of this sort of thing (or of large parties), but this struck some chord within me. MKL and I do have a goal of combining households and actually living like a married couple in 2016, which led me to think that my word was “home.” But that is a very, very complex word for me (although MKL has made it simpler, as I feel as if my home is where he is). So I don’t think “home” is quite my word. I think my word is for 2016 is “bravery.”


The things that feed my soul that I fear pursuing because of rejection or failure need to be brought out to the show windows this year, reactions be damned. Maybe not quite like bravery in terms of Braveheart where Mel Gibson gets his intestines pulled out on a roller, but bravery in terms of going after what I want (no one else can do it for me) and taking risks around changes in my life, seeing new places, challenging myself. I haven’t done anything particularly brave in five years, when I was forced to reshape my roadkill of a life. So it’s time. Wish me luck. No, wish me courage.


Eastern Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Scared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing.” — Emma Donoghue

Daily gratitudes:
My MRI technician
Shamanic journeys
Meeting deadlines
Melting snow



I wonder if horses feel like this after winning a race?

I’m having a letdown day!  I’m actually quite surprised, but when I got to thinking about it, I realized that I’d been really driving myself towards the November 30 – 50,000 words – NaNoWriMo goal.  And now that I’ve achieved it, after my hyper-happiness and self-congratulatory bath last night, I’m a bit sluggish.  (And I’m cold but that has nothing to do with it.)

I don’t want to leave the house today. I just want to lie around and watch old movies.  Thank the gods there’s no chocolate in the house.  If there were, there soon wouldn’t be.

But I do have to go to work this afternoon, and I do have to go to the grocery store as there is no food in the house.  So leaving the sanctuary is inevitable.  To give you an idea of the strength of my desire to snug myself away here, I actually looked out the window today and wished for deep snow.  Yes, you read right.  ME wishing for snow and cold.  Sheer madness, I tell you.

In examining my feelings this morning, what I really want is a turkey sandwich.  No, just kidding.  What I really want is to keep working on my novel.  I’ve been happy writing it.  So, if you’re thinking what I think you’re thinking, you’re thinking, “OK, so?  Why not just go work on your novel?  If that’s what makes you happy, and what you want to do, go!  Who’s stopping you?  Not me!  So quit yer bitchin’ and go! GO!”  You might say it a little bit nicer than that, but you’d be right.

It’s an odd feeling when you’ve been working for a goal that was communal and not specifically self-imposed, and you have to shift to a goal that IS self-imposed.  In other words, when you have to become more self-driven, self-motivated.  As I am pondering this from the Red Couch this morning, I am realizing that self-motivation for achievements is one of those key elements in my life that many of my dreams have revolved around – and one that sits in the garden of my soul like an untended flower.  This novel, and this realization, may be just what I need to break through what I now see as a barrier that has blocked the flow of my success for most of my life.  I suspect that at its core is laziness and fear.  But I think that’s a therapy session for another day.

When I started out this morning, I was thinking that I was depressed – again.  But as I’ve been “writing it out” here, I realize that I’m not depressed.  I just need a little break.

I need to do what makes me happy and be kind to myself.  Sometimes, after you’ve worked very hard, it’s okay to take a break and watch Virginia Mayo movies for a while.  Soon, I’ll get up and go do things.

Like have a turkey sandwich.

Can I just say a brief WOW to myself (and to you guys, of course)?

Yesterday, my depression was bad.  And it wasn’t so damn great today.  But yesterday, I thought about quitting NaNoWriMo, about not finishing the novel (or at least my 50,000 word month.)  I was ready to throw in the towel.

Today being a little better, I bootstrapped myself back up emotionally.  I went back to Starbucks and wrote for a couple of hours.  Then I went to a new place and wrote for a couple more hours.  The words continue to spill out.  I had a minor tope, but got over it. 

It’s amazing how writing for about four hours only garners about 3,000 words.  I can see how writing a novel is full-time work.  But I’m over the 20,000 word mark now, and have set myself a goal to be over the 30,000 word mark by Monday night, trying to catch up from some days when I didn’t have computer access.  And then I’ll have to really crank to get to the finish – as of Tuesday morning, I’ll have 7 days left.

I’m glad I haven’t abandoned the project.  I’m glad I haven’t let my depression get the better of me this time.  I’m glad I have my main character to escape into and to channel my emotions through.

I’m proud of myself.

“Sometimes you have to venture into the unknown before you can know true success.”

Have you ever felt like you were standing in your own way of doing something you really wanted to do, and it’s as if the most obstinate mule in the world is blocking your path?  You try everything you can think of – bullying, cajoling, bribing, ignoring – but nothing budges the blockade that is you.  That’s where I am now.  Is it sheer laziness?  That doesn’t sound like me.  But it’s something I can’t figure out.

I have notes from several trips, all written in longhand, and want to do articles on them all, as a start to the Guidebook concept, but I can’t seem to move myself into the creative space to do so.  I know they’d be saleable.  Instead, I spend my limited free time watching old movies and trying to find places around the world to live – what’s up with that?  Clearly, I need a different carrot or a different stick.

This isn’t traditional writer’s block.  It feels like a fear of rejection, a fear of success, a fear that I may fail in my dreams.  I wrote last week that it’s easier for sometime never to pursue their dreams, because if they fail, they have no more dreams, and that’s the worst thing imaginable.   Which is all wrong, because even if these dreams don’t work, doors and windows open all the time – something will work.

As Dumbledore told Harry Potter when he stood before the Mirror of Erised, “It does not do to dwell in dreams and forget to live.”  BTW, I just “got” the name of the mirror.  Duh.

As I am working towards creating a new life, even if it’s only mental work right now, this question keeps coming up for me.  In my dreams, I think of talking to the Captain, to my Mother, and once awake, realizing I never will again.  The sadness is overwhelming, and I want to change the past.  But I wouldn’t even if I could.  Both of those dear people needed to move on, away from their broken bodies.  And I have moved on in a world where they are not. 

It’s easy, especially around the holidays, to let regrets and longings get the better of you.  In this year that has been so heavily focused on my divorce, there are some natural regrets around “destroying my family”.  What I really did was destroy the facade.  The perfect family unit wasn’t there.  It was really dysfunctional.  I wasn’t setting a good example for Kelsea about being true to oneself.  Maybe my unorthodox exit strategy wasn’t a good example either, but I’m trying to live my present and future so that she has a positive role model.  A positive role model of a woman who exited a marriage that was not and never would be nurturing, who does not hold bitterness or vengeance for the wrongs committed by her former husband, who does not beat herself up too much, who stands up for herself, and who works to make a healthy, happy new life – and new love.

I still miss my house, my illusion of security and being cared for, the warmth of the home I tried to create for us.  I don’t want it back, I don’t want Pat back, but I want those qualities back.  Just like I want the support of my parents back, their words of comfort.  That’s how I live in the past.  The question is, how can I take those longings and transform them into goals for my future?  How can I help myself find the proper places in my soul for those things to burrow and live and bloom into something new, safe, secure, solid, and pleasantly poignant?

During times of transition, living in the future is easier for me.  Again, Dumbledore’s advice comes to mind.  The future is based on dreams, and you cannot live in dreams.  But if you have no dreams, how do you control the forward motion of your life?  Especially when things in the present are not as you want them to be?  I have spent most of my life going with the flow, as opposed to directing the flow (the concept of conscious living that I wrote about here).  I’m a big believer in going with the flow, but that doesn’t mean not having intention.  Intention does not equal resistance.  Intention does not equal opposition to fate. 

Reality is, I cannot just pick up and leave tomorrow.  I have two jobs, a lease, a daughter, Mr. GF, two distant dogs, two distant cats and a soon-to-be-ex-husband.  Responsibilities.  As much as I want to decry my responsibilities, playing my given role in the universe means accepting them gracefully and making the most of them, not shirking them.  The game is how to fit the new dreams into the picture so that the responsibilities I want to keep are not ignored, but the goals of the dreams are achieved.

I am trying to bring my future into focus, to harness the power of the universe, to create my own reality and learn to know myself better and in a more forgiving manner.  My future is not the perfect house and expensive things.  My future is in peace, simplicity, creativity, passion, adventure and love.

And that takes us to living in the present.  Living in the present, while paving the road for the future, and taking some steps towards that future every single day.  Not lamenting the fact that I’m not in the future already.  Not regretting the past.   It’s a delicate balance between what’s meant to be, what is, and what I can shape.  Several platitudes come to mind – “God grant me to strength to change what I can, the courage to accept what I cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference.” – being the first, and “Today is a gift – that’s why they call it the present,” being the next.

So, when I slack off at work, or slump into depression, I am doing myself a disservice.  (I’m not being hard on myself, because I know that kind of thing will happen.  It already has.)  All of the work that I am doing, whether it’s at a job, in the house, or in my head, is helping me grow stronger and move closer to the new reality that I am shaping for myself.  The impact of each action, each project, each word, may be subtle, but if I stay tuned in to the future, while living fully in the present, I can see it.  It’s like spirits – you can often see them in your peripheral vision.  And when you do, you just have to believe in them.  They’re real.


January 2021


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