transformation

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Sorry I’ve been absent for a bit. I kind of hit the ground running when I returned from my writing sabbatical in March. My husband and I had an absolutely fantastic drive back from Washington together through the gorgeous states of Idaho and Utah (and of course WA and AZ). It’s well worth the road trip if you ever get that way.

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I don’t think I’d have made that drive by myself as there are miles and miles of uninhabited territory, which is fine when you’re with a companion but kinda scary driving alone. We had such a great time as we always do on our road trips, listening to music and singing in the car and of course long talks. I thought about introducing him to the podcast Serial during our three day drive but then realized there really is no space for anyone else talking in the car between the two of us.

I hit the ground running when I got home between deciding to recarpet most of my upstairs (and stairs) which is a major project I’d been avoiding for a decade number of years. One of my cats, in her stressed behavior when I was gone for prolonged periods, had taken to peeing all over my bedroom. It was not pretty at all. Plus the carpet was likely 20 years old and disgusting in its own right. Once we arrived in Tempe, John and I ran over to Home Depot and picked it out together. As we’ve never created our own marital home jointly, and have been living out of the three homes we already had prior to getting married, this had been a very touching, and important, project to do together. He’s been involved every single step of the way as we create this new, gorgeous, space together. Same for Sedona which we have completely revamped in the past few months, relocating bedrooms, moving furniture and the like.

 

 

Aside from just wanting to see my husband again, I asked him to come out for a quick visit in early April to help me with some of this. When I say this, I mean the archeological dig from my bedroom, layered with crap from over fifteen years that I needed to sort and dismantle, and pull out so that every single thing could be removed for the carpet–that’s the part I’d been avoiding. Simultaneously, I started a 10 day Purium cleanse again and although not intentional, realized I was doing the same process both inside and out. That’s how we Scorpios like to roll–all at once.

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omg thought they would not get it up those stairs!

Last year sometime, John and I realized we were sleeping in Queen and full beds in our homes yet when we stayed in hotels had the luxury of a spacious King size bed. I don’t know about the rest of you peri-menopausal ladies but I’ve learned to sprawl, kick off covers and basically hog an entire bed through my nights of hot flashes and insomnia. Poor John.😦 So the bed upgrade was decided first, then the carpet. I mean there was no way I was putting this gorgeous linen sleigh bed on that nasty flooring.

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see what I mean?

It has been a demanding and completely rewarding process. During John’s last visit, we dismantled my Queen bed, squeezed it into the guest room (along with all of the CRAP I was pulling out of the Master), picked out an incredible mattress at Mattress Overstock (we got a $2899 Stearns and Foster pillow top Cal King for $895 including box springs!), ordered our new bed, grabbed In and Out drive through (his first) and were on the road to Sedona by noon! We rock and roll together. We also managed to do our joint taxes for the first time that trip and basically have the great fun we always do together.

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Last week it all came together and I’ve spent the weekend carefully choosing what makes the cut back into this gorgeous suite we’ve created. I’ve donated or given away at least half of what was in here–books, clothes, purses, shoes–it feels SO GOOD to be letting go. Concurrently, I’m on Day 9 of my cleanse right now (and craving pizza dammit!) so it’s all happening.

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In the midst of all of this unearthing, a letter from Cindy emerged. She wrote it to me from her Freshman year in college while I was a senior in high school still at home. I was struggling and she took the time from studying to write me a lengthy letter (8 pages both sides) about all of the things I was dealing with–family, friends, boys. So interesting those themes are ones I struggled with my whole life and are so prevalant in the book–and it found its way back to me now.  Such a treasure and I’m so thankful to my 17 year old self for saving it all these years. It was just the connection I needed. I have one of my miracle stories to write about that but will save it for another entry as this one is getting so jammed.

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The very same day I found that letter, my current favorite client said to me as he walked out of my office “bye Cindy”. He knows nothing about my personal life like that. A message from Heaven. She is close now, I can feel it. And she’s cheering me on.

As you can imagine, the book has been on a kind of hold for the moment. That’s how I roll though–I work on it in immersive ways and I do have a plan, don’t worry. It will be completed. I just needed a little break.

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last weekend in Sedona where I started the Purium cleanse

Hope you are all enjoying your Spring. I’m completely psyched about attending the Agape Revelation Conference in LA this weekend with Michael Beckwith and crew. Then a quick turnaround to PA and into our FIRST ANNIVERSARY TRIP! Back to the scene of the crime in Niagara Falls–one of my favorite places on Earth. More on that later! Life is great and being married is off the charts amazing…better than I’d ever imagined for myself.

Finally, a sign off to Prince. Having just seen Purple Rain last night on a big screen, remembering seeing it in the theatre with Cindy in Minneapolis, I’m still feeling this loss deeply. Rest in the groove Beautiful One.

reminder

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In case anyone missed it the first time, I’m now blogging at least once a day while I’m up in WA again on a month Sabbatical writing.

I wrote today about my testimony in the first trial. Feel free to join me over there if you’d like to follow along.

My Testimony.

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back to the book

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edmonds

Hi All,

I’m back in Edmonds WA again for a month with the intention to finish my book. I’m documenting this process along the way over at my other blog if you’d like to follow along.

I’m also reading Juan Martinez’ book about convicting Jodi Arias and making some observations about that too. Would love it if you’d share yours as well.

I’ll be pretty absent from this blog but very active on the other one for the next 4 weeks so feel free to join me there!

Today’s entry here.

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valentines 

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Sending love to you all out there from the magnificent Northwest. We drove across Arizona, Utah, Idaho and now Oregon in the last two days.
Today, headed for a Portlandia style Valentine’s Day! I hope you are all grabbin the love where you find it too. xxoo 

hope

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Martin Luther King Jr. had a huge influence on me as a child. In fact, I was the one and only child who volunteered from my 3rd grade class in white suburbia to be bused in to “the black neighborhood” for my last three years of grade school. I was the only one in my family to make this decision. I did it in the name of Dr. King.

The timing of this and what’s happening this week is not lost on me. My father and I, along with our Victim’s Rights attorneys and advocates, are meeting with the Attorney General’s office this week related to Cindy’s murderer. It could be a game changer and I will write about it when I feel it’s appropriate.

For now, I just ask that you send us good energy this Friday Jan. 22 as our lives could significantly change in a positive direction related to this Hell we’ve lived in with the death penalty for 26 years.

I nod to you Dr. King as well with gratitude for your unending brilliance.

 

 

 

Holidays

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Hi! I know I’ve been way absent lately so taking this small moment I have at the airport in Philly to shoot off a holiday post and to say hello and hope you all are having a fantastic beginning to 2016!

I was supposed to be boarding this flight 2 nights ago but got to the airport and was having so much trouble breathing I decided to shift my flight one, then two more days and recover at the Doubletree Hotel (with its chocolate chip cookies) before heading back. It’s been a rough week for my lungs and I just didn’t feel confident with them until today.

I’m just going to, in the interest of time, throw a bunch of photos up of my holiday times then get back to writing once the dust settles a bit.

Hope you all out there are doing great! xxoo

There are a whole lot more than this but will post when I have more time. We had a great Christmas in Sedona, my brother had a fantastic weekend of concerts with his chorus again then we traveled back to Philly for NYE with our friends Kathy and Bob, had an interesting week in rural PA (where my lungs got , well, they just got not happy) where I made homemade sweet potato biscuits and soups then back to Philly for one more night with Kathy and Bob dining at Buddakan and staying at the beautiful Sofitel for a night.

Happy 2016 Everyone! More to come…

My Disagreement with the Four Agreements

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Some Things Are Personal
-my disagreement with one of the Four Agreements

I love Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements, I really do. Like many of you reading, I’ve used them as a kind of template for living for over a decade. I think they truly encompass a roadmap of sound advice.

Yet, lately, I’m having trouble with one of them. My discomfort doesn’t stem from Ruiz’s intent of this 3rd Agreement which I believe is pure and I get it. Yet, like many sacred texts, over time, pure intentions tend to get misinterpreted and exploited in all kinds of directions.

“Don’t Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering…” Ruiz teaches.

I can’t imagine however that he instructs us to never be open to feedback or honest sharing from others who are offering it up for us to grow. Herein lies my glitch.

I was recently in a semi – heated sharing with an acquaintance who had stumbled all over herself, offending me deeply. I am currently in the middle of writing a memoir about my sister’s homicide so I explore this topic at times on my blog or on social media. This person wrote me out of the clear blue for the first time asking general questions about my writing then delivered a line that just about choked me “do you see a time when you will be able to let go of this and move toward stuff that is not about murder (I say this with love)” she wrote .

It was not only the insensitivity and timing of this question that stunned me but also the questioner herself: a person who leads workshops using the writing path for healing. I was utterly shocked that I was on the receiving end of this question.

Once I exhaled again, I got angry. This is a normal human response when someone invades our safe boundaries which is exactly what this question did for me. She, nearly a stranger, tiptoed in to my world then went for my jugular challenging the most sensitive area of my writing life. Her question was less an inquiry than a judgment and I felt it. It was personal and I responded like any person would when a dagger pierces the heart of your greatest wound.

Now is the point I wonder what Ruiz would say. I guess he would advise me to not take that personally– that her ignorance was about her and not me—ok I get that. Yet people walking around with highly sensitive life events get assaulted like this with ignorant questions regularly. I felt I needed to educate her., especially her of all people. She quickly apologized and exited the conversation as fast as she’d bulleted in to it. And that was the end of it. At least between us.

This retreat, this unwillingness to engage in a meaningful dialogue about this changed everything for me about this person. I never trusted her again. I looked at her with a lens of caution wondering if she was actually harming others attempting to open up and heal using their writing medium—people a lot more vulnerable than me. What if the opportunity for me in this offended reaction I had was to speak up? To confront it? Not just for myself but for all of this who have been dealt dark hands to play in a world of “love and light”.

Months later I continued feeling affected by this every time I saw a posting by this person as our exchange was never taken beyond that original hit and run. I felt the sting of her words as I witnessed her writing about her insecurities and finally about how to handle “triggers”. I wasn’t surprised when she fell back on Ruiz’s teaching (not crediting him) telling her readers about how someone else’s issues with you are “never about you—ever”.

But my feedback was about her. It was an opportunity for her to learn something and grow. Yet her position that my response must have been all about me and not some kind of growth opportunity for her led me frankly to believe she was dangerous out there in the world of healing.

I tried bringing it up again, albeit awkwardly on social media. Her response was to block me without ever communicating with me directly. This kind of arrogance scares the shit out of me. People are following others who seem to have all the right words but the proof to me is how we are all dealing with, not our easy platitudes, but our challenging moments.

If we are to take nothing personally and we stumble in our humanity and hurt someone—even unintentionally—and are given honest feedback then resort to immediately placing the conflict on the other person’s “triggers”, how are we to grow? It’s hard to feel that grit in the sphere of our fragile comfort zone sometimes yet it’s the very irritation needed to pull us to yet another level of understanding.

After the original awkward exchange with this self described “healer”, I began watching her. I observed essay after essay confronting her insecurities and difficulty with others’ opinions of her. Yet in each the remedy remained the same – realize it’s not ever about you, you are great just the way you are, put it back on that person and move on!

My observation though was that this position was not strengthening her but keeping her right where she was—stuck in a place of a constant battle with insecurity, questioning herself while trying to talk herself off the ledge of fear with positive affirmations. I don’t think it works that way.

I think opening sometimes to taking something deeply personal and allowing it to open something within is just the ticket we need to clean out  wounds so we can truly be free.

Otherwise we spend a lifetime shielding ourselves from the next bit of unwanted feedback innoculating ourselves with positive platitudes that really have no crack to penetrate in to. We are dolloping whipped cream on a shit sundae higher and higher and it’s making us weaker. It’s taking us further away from the toxin that still remains, unattended, festering.

I don’t know what Don Miguel Ruiz would have to say about all of this but I do think about it. Maybe I’m just playing in a world of semantics.  I do think there is a place for honest feedback and the receiving of it that brings us to a level of growth we’d never get if we dismissed it to “just their projection”.

On Thanksgiving Day this year my husband said something to me out of pure exhaustion that I took personally and pouted about for a few hours. When I finally had the guts to share with him how I was feeling, he pulled me in closer and explained what he was feeling and how his choice of words was not indicative of my perception and we both cried while discovering another layer of tenderness between us, both of us vowing to not let that happen again—his words or my pouting. He could have so easily dismissed my little pity party as my problem, my projection and having nothing to do with what he said, but he didn’t do that. He listened, I listened and we understood each other, dismissing our fears, accepting more love. Our ability to be honest and dare I say take personally what each was sharing, allowed us to go deeper in to ourselves and as a couple.

Sometimes I reflect on this world of “everyone is a life coach” and “positive affirmations” and think it’s breeding a new culture of spiritual arrogance where no one thinks they are allowed to step on any one else’s toes and grow from it.

Yes, I do think we are all made in perfection in a divine esoteric way yet we are also made to develop and that means humbling ourselves.

I’d say, before jumping to the safe zone of “this is all about them and nothing about me” the next time I’m given uncomfortable feedback, it might be more helpful to take a pause and ask if there is anything in that that feels honest, familiar, and something I can grow from. Become a better person. A stronger person. A clearer person.

So instead of shutting the person out with my spiritual arrogance of pointing out their projection while refusing to take it in, much less personally, I can sit with it awhile and just maybe, one day return to them and thank them for the key that helped me drop another layer of my defendedness against my true nature – taking me one more step toward that perfection underneath my foibles.

I am still writing about murder and will continue to as long as it’s the topic in my life demanding my attention. My sister’s murderer was just granted an appeal on ineffective counsel and I will be writing about how we are responding to that as a family. And of course my book. It’s my path and standing up to a judgmental question about it has made me stronger and more able to confront it. So, I suppose, for that I can thank that person for asking her ignorant question. For making me braver and able to write this very essay. Standing stronger in my brilliant life with all of its dark pockets, unapologetically mine.