Mon. Nov. 4, 2019: Gratitude, Not Denial #UpbeatAuthors

yogateacher-3869527_1920
image by kumari sky via pixabay.com

Monday, November 4, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

November is “Gratitude Month” here on Upbeat Authors.

This has been a difficult year for me, on many fronts. Sometimes, it’s difficult to remember to be grateful. It’s easier to focus on what’s not working than what is working.

Also, far too many motivational or inspirational quotes feel like they trivialize pain.

Pain, on physical and emotional levels, is real. Everyone experiences it differently. Everyone must learn to cope, to heal, and to set and maintain boundaries. We need empathy and sympathy with each other; at the same time, we can take on, or be expected to take on, everyone else’s pain in addition to our own.

Creating a personal practice of gratitude doesn’t mean you’re in denial about what’s not working. It means using the things in your life for which you are grateful as a foundation on which to build the positive changes you need in your life.

There are basics for which I’m grateful every day:
My family
The cats
My friends
My creativity
My home
My food

On top of those basics, there are different things for which I’m grateful. On the days when I meet with my weekly meditation group, I’m grateful to have community with them and be able to practice.

On days when I participate in Remote Chats with one group or another, again, I’m grateful to be included and feel a sense of community with them.

A couple of weeks ago, when my car battery died, I was grateful that it happened in the garage at home and not out on the road somewhere.

I think of gratitude as layered. There’s Foundational Gratitude, which is includes the list above. Then there’s Transitional Gratitude, which are the different daily things that bring joy, peace, pleasure.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to find that list. But it’s always worth the time to make the list, even if you don’t write it down, and look for something, no matter how small that improves your daily life.

The basis of gratitude helps you build strength and energy to make the changes you need to make, so there’s less of “can’t I ever get a break?” and more of “I’m glad that happened.”

What you do consider your Foundational Gratitude?

Mon. Oct. 14, 2019: When Stress Manifests Physically #Upbeat Authors

stress-1837384_1920
image courtesy of johnhain via pixabay.com

Monday, October 14, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Have you ever noticed that when you’re under a great deal of stress, it manifests physically? Your resistance is lower, you’re more likely to catch whatever’s going around. Or you suddenly get a pain in a particular area of the body.

It’s important to listen to pain. Chronic pain is a different arena, and that needs specialized treatment, which it too often doesn’t get. I’m talking about unusual pain that crops up when something is wrong.

If you look at the word “disease” and break it down it is “dis” and “ease.”

The ease has been removed.

Take the time to do some self-assessment. Where is the pain located? How is it manifesting?

What is going on in your life? What worries you? What fears have cropped up lately?

Different astrological signs are connected to different parts of the body. I’m a Pisces. That sign is connected to feet. When I’m tired or stressed, it often affects my feet. I have to make sure I have comfortable shoes (outside the house; I don’t wear them inside), and warm, dry socks in winter. I do not do well in cold, wet socks.

I get migraines. I hold tension in my neck and shoulders. Lately, from all the sitting I’ve been doing, I’ve had problems in my lower back. To the point where the lower back and the hip sometimes “freeze.”

That tension in the lower back and hip joint, for me, indicate feeling stuck — and I’m going through a “stuck” period, where I know I need to make changes, but I’m not sure of the details. The days when I’m confident about what I’m doing and the direction I’m taking — no lower back pain.

Earlier in my life, when I was in a toxic situation, I suffered stomach problems constantly. Once I was out of the situation, no more stomach issues.

Listen to your body. Don’t be afraid to seek help. Too often, we don’t seek help for our health needs. Sometimes it’s an insurance issue. We can’t afford to get help, unless we give up something else, like food or paying the electric bill. The entire health industry in this country needs to be ripped apart and rebuilt from scratch, but that’s a different conversation. Sometimes, it’s because we’re not listened to when we ask for help.

“It’s all in your mind,” says the doctor.

“Yes,” you say, “and now it’s manifesting in my body. So please help me find the root cause so we can treat this holistically.”

For me, acupuncture is the best for pain management. Daily yoga and meditation practices help keep energy flowing, and help me discover causes and possible solutions.

It’s different for everyone. The human body is amazing, as is the human mind. We take both for granted. The more you learn to trust yourself, the better you are at self-advocating.

Because the industry itself is about how much money it can get out of YOU, and how little money insurance can get away with paying. It has nothing to do with actual health. Know that.

Know, also, that there are ways you can make the system better by making the time to argue for your rights. When you dispute an unfair decision by your insurance, copy your Senator, your Rep, your State Attorney General on the correspondence. Go to the top executives in the company. Don’t use the excuse that you “don’t have time” for that. It takes a few minutes to type a letter, run off copies, put a stamp on them and mail them to those who can do something. And yes, do it in writing. They want you to talk on the phone because their “notes” of the conversation have little to do with your rights or what you actually discussed. DO EVERYTHNG IN WRITING.

When your elected officials have town halls, make the time to go. Ask them what they’re doing to make things better. Make an appointment at the local office and discuss your situation with one of the aides. A good aide is dedicated to listening to constituents and weighing in on policy. MAKE the time.

And vote. Vote for candidates who want to rebuild the health care system so that it’s actually about health care and not about personal or corporate profits.

You do have power. If you choose not to use it, it’s on you.

It’s tough to do that when you’re not feeling well. Being sick takes a lot of energy. But you can’t expect “others” to do it. Your activism, based on your direct experience, will change things.

Remember that figuring out the cause of the stress doesn’t mean an instant fix. You might be facing a major life change. It won’t happen all at once. Try to find one small thing you can change that will help you mentally and release some of the physical pain. Integrate it into your life.

Then try the next small thing.

Small changes add up to big changes. Our individual rhythms are unique. We’re often pushed into situations at a rate that ‘s unhealthy for our individual rhythms. We need to be kind to ourselves, give ourselves time to adjust, and decide how to regain control and make the next change when WE want it.

It’s a lot of moving parts at any given time.

But the more you learn to listen to that inner voice, to trust YOUR instincts, the more your decisions will help make you a whole, healthy person.

Published in: on October 14, 2019 at 6:56 am  Comments (2)  
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Tues. July 30, 2019: Trying to Keep Steady

Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Dark Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Hot and humid

I did not have a particularly productive weekend. I wasn’t feeling well. Wrists, shoulders, hips, lower back, knees, all in pain. It was difficult to write.

I got a little bit done on ELLA. Not enough done on GRAVE REACH, and I feel like I’m losing the thread of it again. The deadline looms over me, so I have to get it done. Dig deeper and get it done.

But there was nothing in the tank this weekend.

I managed to get some grocery shopping done, and the recycling out to the dump. Painted some shells. Oiled a small table I picked up. Rearranged some stuff in the living room. Went through a box marked “trinkets” of things that were important to me about twenty years ago. At first, everything looked shabby and sad. Later, as I took each piece out and dealt with it, I decided what to keep and integrate, what to give away, what to toss.

Still have many, many more boxes to go and am running out of time.

We have a fisher on the property. I’m pretty welcoming to wildlife, but not fishers. They are vicious, and this one has an attitude. I don’t want him decimating our wildlife in the yard, or attacking Tessa. I’m not letting Tessa out, and she is angry with me. But I can’t risk her getting killed.

Fisher is part of the weasel family, and weasel is about stealth and paying close attention, so that is what I will do in the upcoming cycle.

While I try to figure out how to encourage him to move on.

Feeling very discouraged in general, and worn down.

But I managed to write the blurb for my friend’s book, which went off yesterday.

I’m still trying to get paid by that client. I thought this one was the exception to the local client rule around here. I was wrong. I’ll send another invoice on Friday, with the late fee. I partially blame myself — because of previous good experience with this client, I waived the partial fee up front. That won’t happen again.

Yesterday was the anniversary of my father’s death. He’s been out of my life longer than he was in it, but it’s still difficult. I did a “happy memories” ceremony for him last night.

The heat and humidity were high yesterday, and will be so again today. I don’t do well in that, either. Work with the client is off-the-charts stressful this week and next week, and then, hopefully, we can have some equilibrium. But yesterday went well, so I hope today and tomorrow will be the same.

All I can do is keep pushing through, and making adjustments as best I can, work toward making the necessary changes. But it’s difficult, disheartening, and slow.

Back to the page.

Published in: on July 30, 2019 at 6:23 am  Comments Off on Tues. July 30, 2019: Trying to Keep Steady  
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Tues. April 2, 2019: Regaining Equilibrium & Grabbing Opportunities

Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Waning Moon

I hope everyone had a good weekend.

Mine was all over the place. The drama surrounding what should have been something simple intensified, and I’m fed up. In addition to being hurt and frustrated because I said if these particular actions were taken, these would be the results, and I would be the one who had to pay for it both financially and emotionally. That was ignored, I was hit with consequences for something that was not an action of MINE, and now I’m supposed to jump through more hoops to fix it, instead of the person who caused the issue in the first place. No. Just no.

Human beings make mistakes. It happens.

When I make a mistake, I apologize, first and foremost. Then I take actions to correct the mistake. Then I work to rebuild any trust that was broken because of the mistake. Especially the latter takes time, and isn’t always successful. But I make the effort.

Yet in this situation, when the other party made a mistake that affected me in more than one area of my life — I had to fight to get an acknowledgement and then a half-hearted apology. And then I was told the hoops I had to jump through to get it fixed with a third party– again, this was NOT my mistake — which I had told the person who made the mistake wouldn’t work in the first place, because I actually have worked in this field and know the manipulations. As I predicted, it did not work, I was badly treated, shamed, and mansplained to. The situation is still not resolved. We are now in Day 5 of something that shouldn’t have happened in the first place, and could have been fixed in FIVE MINUTES.

Even if it is, any future interactions will be tainted. What used to be in the life balance column is now in the life stressor column.

I don’t need that, especially not this month, when things are stretched to the max anyway.

In addition to the whole situation making me angry, I am so, so hurt. This was someone I trusted.

But now I know better.

And I’ve lost a sanctuary I deeply value. Which is painful.

So, basically, most of the weekend was spent in emotional pain management, trying to heal, and, every time I took a step to try to resolve the situation, getting another metaphorical slap in the face.

I didn’t get a lot of writing done, although I got some plotting, and I’m back working on GRAVE REACH this week. At least I can relate to Lesley’s pain and sense of betrayal. I’ll find a way to funnel it into the work.

I read my friend Arlene Kay’s DEATH BY DOG SHOW, which was really fun. Made me laugh a lot.

I worked on the books for review. I worked on contest entries. I got quite a bit done on the contest entries.

I started working in the yard. Saturday was so beautiful. I got the terraced area in the back raked out. I didn’t get as far as the border bed on the terraced area, but I got the rest of the beds raked out, did some pruning and cutting back. Got rid of a lot of bindweed that’s been creeping around. And some of the roses are taking over, so I’m going to have to do some serious hacking back in the next few weeks.

Worked on the proofs for the almanac. They went out yesterday morning.

Was with a client on Monday, and will be so today. Wednesday, Thursday, and maybe into Friday, I have an adventure. I’ll be able to share some of the details next week. And then I go into another intense weekend of writing and, next Saturday, going to see my radio play performed live in Boston.

My entire intent on Monday was to keep my head down. I don’t like April Fool’s Day. I don’t like that people feel liberated to be cruel — although, since the 2016 election, they feel that every day, and, especially around here, regularly act on it.

Onward.

 

Published in: on April 2, 2019 at 5:26 am  Comments Off on Tues. April 2, 2019: Regaining Equilibrium & Grabbing Opportunities  
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Fri. July 17, 2015: Trips to Newport and to Urgent Care

Friday, July 17, 2015
New Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Sorry I haven’t posted. It’s been, to say the least, chaotic.

Can I even remember all the way back to last weekend? I remember a lot of writing, especially on INITIATE, which was amazing. I was so happy to be back in that world. It’s one of my favorite writings.

I know I rescued a mouse that was caught in a sticky trap. I poured olive oil on the trap and helped the poor, frightened little thing work its way off and scamper into the bushes. I’m going to have to get some Hav-a-heart traps – I thought we were done with mice, but I was delusional. They’re cute little field mice, but the cats make friends with them instead of catching them (taking the “harm none” house policy a bit too far), and I’d rather have them outside rather than inside.

Tuesday was staff day – -the carpets were cleaned, so the library was closed, and we did a staff day out in Newport, Rhode Island. A van was rented, and we travelled in style to Newport, where we had a private tour of The Elms (a delightful house), lunch at The Chandler (which was wonderful), and then a tour of Chateau-Sur-Mer, which I also loved. It was truly a lovely day. We discussed work topics, too, and got revved up about possibilities and things we’d like to do to make the place even better.

Wednesday was rather chaotic at work. It didn’t look as though the carpet cleaners actually cleaned anything, although chairs were put on tables. We had eight crates of books, a long paging list, and two carts full of books in the book drop. Then the new furniture arrived. Only we – the staff of women who are not in their twenties – had to load it off the truck. Because heaven forbid they buy furniture from a company that does anything but curbside delivery. Personally, if I pay thousands of dollars for a bunch of stuff, I do not give that money to a company that dumps things on the curb.

Also, part of the point of the new furniture was that it is light enough for us to rearrange easily for programs. Some of us were even in on the early meetings and discussed, at length, what we needed from the furniture. Which was, of course, disregarded, at least where the new, heavy tables were concerned.

Came home and collapsed on Wednesday night. I’ve been watching CASE HISTORIES, starring Jason Isaacs. Very well done, but that character’s refusal to move on from always falling for broken women gets old after awhile, as, in the first season, the constant replaying of his sister’s death. A bit heavy-handed.

Woke up on Thursday not able to feel on the right side. When I finally could, I was in terrible pain. Got to work, felt worse and worse and worse. Had an off-site meeting in the afternoon, then went to urgent care. I have pinched nerves, the rotator cuff injury has flared up again, there are some strained tendons and pulled muscles. They were more concerned about the pre-heart attack symptoms I exhibited. All things considered, I was in and out of there pretty quickly.

I wasn’t about to take the list of medications they wanted for me, especially not the painkillers or muscle relaxers. I went home and put a lot of turmeric in my chicken dinner – within an hour, I could feel the inflammation going down. I took valerian root last night and knocked myself out, feeling much better when I woke up, and hawthorn this morning. I’m better, but I’ll be in a sling for a few days – of course, it’s my right shoulder and I’m right-handed. Oh, well.

Long day today, and tomorrow is my Saturday “on”. Lots of errands to run, lots of writing to get done. The rental inspection is on Monday afternoon, and I have two board meetings on Tuesday.

Let’s hope next week is calmer.

Devon

Published in: on July 17, 2015 at 8:42 am  Comments Off on Fri. July 17, 2015: Trips to Newport and to Urgent Care  
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Mon. March 25, 2013: Sprouting Seeds and Scheduling Dilemmas

Monday, March 25, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Friday was a difficult day, and, frankly, there were times when I just wanted to give up. But I made it through. This week will be tough, but, hopefully, I will get through this, too.

I don’t remember much about Friday, except it was a blur of stress and pain.

Friday night’s rehearsal was a nice break, though. The actors are doing well, although they still have work to do. Friday was the painful rehearsal for them, where they realized that, in spite of all the good work they’ve done, there’s still more to do.

Came home late, exhausted.

Up early on Saturday. I filled in as the set-up person for the Tomorrow’s Writers Today program for teens at Barnstable Intermediate School, set up by The Cape Cod Writers Center. The people at the school were great, the teachers were great, and the kids were great. Terrific all around. At 10 AM, I handed off the program to the Executive Director.

The only thing about the experience that sent a chill through me was the postings, in every classroom, on “lockdown procedures” and “safe spots” set aside in every room. This is what it’s come to? It’s heartbreaking.

Came home, set up for the online Query Clinic, ran that.

Dealt with scheduling issues for the show. MURDER “SEALS” THE DEAL is sold out, and we want to add a second show, but it’s getting it scheduled with the company that’s a challenge.

Received the grant money for SEVEN OF SWORDS, my other play, which just made me feel all warm and fuzzy. It’s not the amount (which was small, but fair), it’s the fact that we were respected enough, as playwrights, to be awarded money for our work.

Sunday was supposed to be my day off, and one that was badly needed, but it didn’t work out that way. Dealt with show stuff nearly all day, searched for stuff I needed for various projects, which led to reorganizing the storage unit over the garage. It looks great and I can get at everything, but I still didn’t get my hands on what I needed. So tired, I was shaking and dizzy.

The mesclun greens, bok choy, buttercrunch lettuce, speckled lettuce, and radish seeds all sprouted over the weekend. Very exciting! The tulips I planted in pots and overwintered in the garage are also blooming — lovely!

I have a meeting in Brewster this morning, and then have to deal with show stuff and the book. I’m supposed to have another meeting this evening, but there’s no way I can do all of it.

Didn’t get enough work on the book done, which upsets me. Worked with students, sent out a lot of pitches.

Have a blasting migraine, but have to work through it.

Devon

Published in: on March 25, 2013 at 7:12 am  Comments (3)  
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December 31, 2010 — New Year’s Eve

Friday, December 31, 2010
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and mild
New Year’s Eve

I can’t believe this year is over, and it’s been quite a roller coaster of a year!

If you’d like to see my evaluation for 2010, which I thought would be depressing, but actually turned out to be quite enlightening (for me), hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions blog, which has been sorely neglected in the past few months.

My back kind of limited a lot of activity yesterday. I had to do a bunch of paperwork dealing with various transitional business — really, most of these companies are staffed by morons. There are enough people looking for work that companies should dump the incompetent and hire the intelligent. Oh, wait, that would mean they had to pay people a fair wage for a fair day’s work and the intelligent might actually question the corporation’s culture of screwing the public, and that would never do!

But the auto insurance kerflamma is sorted out. Turns out they sent the bill BEFORE they checked my driving record, and it’s even less than the original quote, thanks to me being a careful driver in the past (and now I have the pressure to continue)!

Paid a bunch of bills, so I can go into the New Year without bills hanging over my head.

Played with the cats, who wanted attention.

Filled the car to bursting with garbage and recycling and took it all to the dump. 80% of our garbage is recycling — we really generate very little stuff for the landfill, which is good.

Went grocery shopping and spent far more than I intended — I thought when you have a list you stay under budget? Even with a list, I bought more than I thought I would — and I stuck to the list! Also stocked up on some wine for next week. For a state with such tight blue laws, they have a lot of awesome wine shops around here!

I was in so much pain in the morning that I considered a trip to the emergency room. But, again, it would be a lot of money and tests and all they can do is give me a stronger painkiller, which doesn’t solve the problem. Alleve did NOTHING, didn’t even take the edge off, and neither did Excedrin. Spent most of the afternoon lying on the couch reading, with a heating pad on my back.

Yet another customer service person from Verizon told me that they “can’t” do anything to help me unless I buy the blocker. I ignored them, and I think I’ve finagled it so that it’s blocked — I’m not getting messages every 15 seconds any more.

Costume Imp and I are getting next week figured out — it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Saw a lovely rocking chair for sale for a great price on Craigslist – I was hoping to pick it up today, but haven’t heard back from the owner. If I can’t get it today, it’ll have to be next week, and they’ll probably sell it to someone else. Oh, well. I’ll either get it or I won’t.

The appliance repair place called and will come today to fix the washer. I can do laundry here before the New Year! I hate starting the new year with dirty clothes!

I also want to do my hair today — I want to start the New Year with shiny hair AND clean clothes!

My hurricane cylinders arrived yesterday (they weren’t scheduled to arrive until Monday) and this time, the UPS guy HANDED me the box instead of throwing it from the truck. Which is good, since they’re glass. They are beautiful. They fit the candlestands perfectly, although they’re taller than I expected, but look great. I washed them last night, let them dry and they’re up now. It will make things safer.

I’m looking forward to a nice, cozy celebration here at home tonight (I’m not big on New Year’s shindigs, and I don’t have to be banned from my own home until 1 AM, like I was in NYC). Yes, when I lived a block from Times Square, if I left the house after 6 PM, I was not allowed back in until after 1 AM, even though I lived there! Isn’t that awful? I usually had a show on New Year’s Eve (thankfully, most shows now only do a matinee), and then I was forced to go to a party. I don’t like New Year’s Eve — too much forced joviality for me — I like to celebrate quietly at home with one or two people.

Once I moved out of the city and wasn’t working full-time anymore, I refused to accept work for New Year’s. I did a yoga retreat upstate for several years, which was great. After that year where I was on the train when the year turned, I decided no more of other people deciding how I start my year!

So, I’ve got some errands to run today, and the repairman to wait for, and my hair to do, and some shelves to put up in the basement to sort the dishes I don’t need every day, some writing to do, and then enjoy sweeping the old year out of the back door and welcoming the New Year in the front!

I’ve got my bayberry candle for tonight; my bayberry incense for tonight and tomorrow, and the stuff I need for the dawn ceremony I do on New Year’s.

I want a peaceful end to this year and a quiet, fun start to 2011!

Happy New Year!

Devon

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday, March 22, 2009
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

It’s in the thirties here. So much for spring!

I got a good bit of work done, but not what I planned. I read over an adaptation I started last year. The bones of the story are good, but I have to map out more of it and finish the outline. The characters’ relationships weave an interesting web that’s integral to the story, and I have to make sure that I keep everything clear for me so that I know what to reveal when to the reader. It’s more hard sci-fi than I usually write, although there’s a good bit of mythology mixed in. It’ll be four to six months before I can actually go back and work on it again, but I think there’s enough there to warrant more attention. It’s a good stretch for me.

I also re-read what I have on MODERN CREATION MYTHS. Again, good bones, needs work. It’ll be awhile before I get back to it.

I was limited in what I could do at the computer because, in addition to the computer running poorly, for some reason, I had horrible pains in my hip and sacro-iliac. Bad enough so I had to take something for it (which is unusual). I could only sit for a few minutes at a time. That’s really going to make this week difficult if I can’t fix it fast.

I managed to get through some research (something I could do while lying on the floor, which seems to be the only position that didn’t cause excruciating pain, in spite of the pain pills and the yoga).

I wrote nearly 1K done on one of the anthology stories this morning (considering it’s due at the end of the week), and I will try to work in short bursts throughout the day. I hope to get some work done on the other story and maybe a little bit on CRAVE THE HUNT. If the weather holds, I’ll take a good long walk to loosen that hip.

Devon

Published in: on March 22, 2009 at 7:39 am  Comments (7)  
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