Christmas Miracles

Standard

wpid-20141213_211300.jpg wpid-2014-12-15-11.54.35.jpg.jpeg

I’m rarely at a loss for words in writing or speaking but this whole amazing weekend has left me feeling a bit inadequate in that department.  I mean how do you use something as limited as language to describe a bonafide miracle?

wpid-20141213_185728.jpg

I’ll do my best and use pictures which can tell the story much better.

wpid-2014-12-13-18.53.01.jpg.jpeg

My Dad and I attended all 3 concerts at Phoenix College in the John Paul Theatre where my dear brother stood tall and proud in the third tier of the risers singing his heart out and remembering ALL the words with the Phoenix Metropolitan Men’s Chorus.  Naughty and Nice, Sugar and Spice holiday concert.

wpid-2014-12-15-11.59.34.jpg.jpeg

Some of the songs were quite complicated, especially a mashed up version of the 12 Days of Christmas that was like a whole bunch of Christmas Carols all blended up mishmash style from 12 Days to Rudolf to Hark How the Bells, all wildly thrown together.  It even ended on Toto’s Africa “I spent Christmas down in Africa”…it was so hilarious and fun!  It had to be so hard to learn and was so fun to hear.  I love surprises on the familiar like that.

wpid-2014-12-15-11.59.15.jpg.jpeg wpid-2014-12-15-11.54.58.jpg.jpeg

I haven’t indicated this ever in the blog before and asked John’s permission last night to share that my brother is in fact, gay.  When I asked him if it was ok he said “sure, I’m out”.  I think it’s important to just be open about this at this point for all of us.  This is a gay men’s chorus he’s singing in and a huge part of the reason I got so insistent he try out.  He’s been living outside his people, struggling, for so long and I felt his finding a sense of community was so important for him.  Once I saw these guys perform, it became a dream to hook my dear brother up with them somehow.  And we all know how that turned out.  😉  It’s an absolutely perfect fit for him.  He keeps sharing  with me how “nice everyone is”.  He’s been welcomed with open and warm arms and I couldn’t be more relieved and happy.

wpid-20141213_211155.jpg

My Boys Rob and Sean who are now legally married in AZ!

Their mission is to help support and educate issues around LGBT awareness and as the conductor said “hopefully bring entertainment as well”.  This is such an important thing to understand about Alfonse’s participation with this group.  It’s so critical to know your tribe and those men are people who can understand him in a way no one else can, including me.  John’s illness started around the time he was realizing his sexuality and struggling intensely with it.  As much support and acceptance he can find, I believe, will help him be as healthy as he can be.  The conductor also mentioned something about music having the power to heal which of course made tears spring to my eyes watching my darling brother up there, in a tuxedo, singing away with peers, healthy peers.  And fitting in. He truly is a walking, singing, miracle for ALL of us.

wpid-2014-12-15-12.02.17.jpg.jpeg

The show dedicated a segment of songs to their mission statement that directly addressed issues our gay brothers and sisters face during the holidays–isolation, non-acceptance, depression, things like that.  I think that section of the performance was the most meaningful for me.

wpid-2014-12-15-12.02.40.jpg.jpeg

They did 3 songs which tugged at my heartstrings so hard and I cried every single performance (and forgot Kleenex every single time).  The one that really got me was a song from the musical Kinky Boots called “Not My Father’s Son”.  Whew, tears just thinking of it.  I’ll put a video here.  Beautiful, poignant song. And to see all those men sweetly expressing those lyrics, all of whom can relate I think….breathtaking.  And the soloists at these shows, some very very real talent in there.

wpid-20141214_160000.jpg

The other song that I keep hearing in my head and remembering and that opened my heart like a Polar Express running through it is called “My Grown up Christmas Wish”.  Whew…more tears!

wpid-2014-12-14-00.10.47.jpg.jpeg

The fellas were in festive holiday clothes for the first Act then in to their tuxedos for the second.  So handsome!  There were lots of fun and funny performances too like an rendition of the Grinch, a totally hilarious and irreverent take on the Three Kings and a salute to the Muppet Christmas.  I loved it all.  The stage was bright and festive with garlands and trees and choreographed lighting.

wpid-20141213_185730.jpg

The Chorus also sponsors a smaller chorus for teens called Omaggio and they did some performing as well.  It’s so impressive to see these young kids, at that age, claiming themselves in that way.  On a stage!  Another tear jerker.

Photos were disallowed so I waited until they were taking their bows to snap a few–I had to get my brother taking his bow and share it.

wpid-2014-12-15-12.01.57.jpg.jpeg

I could go on and on but I’ll let you absorb the photos.

On the social front, Cathy Hughes had Dad and I for dinner Friday then went with us.  Saturday I hosted a little soiree at my house and my Boys Rob and Sean  came down from Sedona and my darling Mya came along!

wpid-20141213_173541.jpg wpid-20141213_164730.jpg wpid-20141213_222356.jpg

I made fresh juice clementine margaritas, shrimp ceviche, a cheese plate and this delicious Sopa Verde chicken soup filled with kale, spinach, cilantro, garlic, lime, english peas, avocado, green onions…green and more green!  I adapted a couple recipes I saw online and have to say it turned out delicious.  We returned after the Saturday night performance and toasted with champagne and pomegrante seeds (gotta bling it out ya know) in my mother’s crystal.  I felt so overwhelmed by her presence during that Sat. night performance and opened myself to feeling her love shining down on her baby boy.  She exited the planet when John was just 3.  I can’t imagine what that must have been like for her.  I felt her love and warmth and pride flowing through my tears.

wpid-20141213_211109.jpg

Mya brought him flowers…awww

The Sunday performance was at 2pm so just my Dad and I went.  Then afterward the three of us went to a Mexican restaurant to celebrate.  John even got the deep fried ice cream.  😉

wpid-20141214_183855.jpg

This is his “in awe” face LOL

It was so wonderful seeing him being basked in the spotlight by everyone.  He sat in my living room Saturday night with all of our friends showering him with love and attention.  Something he may have never had in his life and he was soaking it up.  I was/am so proud of my brother.

wpid-2014-12-12-22.29.33.jpg.jpeg

I’m telling each and every one of you out there reading right now, if my brother can leap from the dark place he was in just over a year ago to standing on a stage in a tuxedo, part of something, singing his heart out, NOTHING absolutely NOTHING is beyond your/our/my grasp.  KNOW THIS!  Feel it!

holding-hands-photography-535693_1280_1024

Let’s go for big dreams now, ok?  Can you get on board with us?

Just a tiny snippet because I want to share it , speaking of big dreams:  I’ve fallen madly in love with someone.  It’s mutual, it’s real and it’s someone I feel I’ve waited my whole life for.  I’m sure I will write more about this when the time is right but this just fell out of the sky.  He read a poem online that I’d written, felt compelled to contact me, did and, well here we are, flying.  It’s quite the time in the Monkman world right now.

Love-Actually-love-actually-578223_1024_576

I will leave you on what Alfonse said was his favorite song of all in the concert–a beautiful and touching song from the movie Polar Express called Believe.  He said “I like it because it ends on such a positive note”.  Which my friends is exactly where we are sitting right now…right in the middle of a positive note.

baritone13

Happy Holidays all.  Let’s believe even bigger now, ok?  If my family, with all of our trauma at the holidays, can be walking this sparkling path right now, you can land on one too.  Stay open, please stay as open as you can.

doggiedreams2

Believe.

There are signs all around you.

 

wpid-2014-12-13-23.20.38.jpg.jpeg

 

 

mya magic

Standard

wpid-2014-11-22_08.10.59.jpg

Good morning all!  I’m finally getting around to taking the proper time to make a post about my fabulous birthday treasure hunt created by my darling friend Mya before Thanksgiving.  And pure magic it was, pure.

Mya and I take at least one day per month to offer what’s called “co-treatments” in our therapeutic modality, Myofascial Release.  This means we get together at her office and work on patients together (two on one) all day.  It’s amazing for us, for them, for the world. 😉  It’s just a great opportunity and I’m very very fortunate to have it.

We get along like peas and carrots.  We work so harmoniously together it’s almost scary.  We have never had one power struggle or conflict…we trust each other and just flow.  I think this is why the therapy is so deep for people because we become four hands from the same therapeutic body.  I learn from her, she learns from me and everyone wins.

wpid-2014-11-21-17.04.57.jpg.jpeg

We also have developed a very very close bond personally.  Mya is one of my friends who despite having a very very busy life with a business/practice and two young children, always makes time for me.  I am typically revolving, being single and without kids, around other people’s schedules as I’m just more flexible.  But I have a couple of friends who prioritize me in a way that just feels, well special.

The tale I’m about to tell involves that but in such a huge momentous way, it’s hard for me to believe but I believe it.  Maybe this is why it’s taken me a few weeks to write it up…maybe I’ve needed the time to digest it.

AppleHeart-BC v2.2 FA-3

That Friday was like any other co treatment day but we decided to get together after work and go celebrate my birthday a couple of weeks late (I was out of the country the week of my birthday as you may recall).  She asked to get together and easy peasy we were already together so it was perfect timing.

I thought we’d treat til 1:30 then head over to our favorite local hangout the Crepe Bar for lunch.  Perfect!

Oh no, this chick had other ideas and plans and magic up her sleeve.

I asked if we should go in separate cars or what and she sneakily said “no let’s go together in my car, let’s just go out and sit for a moment and decide where we want to go”.

“No problem” I said.  I had been following her lead all day, why stop now?

We climb in to her little sports car and sit and she pulls out this envelope that says Clue #1.

wpid-20141121_144815.jpg

“Huh”?  I think as I see this sly little grin on her face.

“OMG you’re taking me on a scavenger hunt!”

I knew she’d done this recently for her daughter’s BD and so wanted to participate but was in Sedona. She was doing this for ME!

So I opened the first clue which was mysterious but I eventually figured out we were going to a restaurant for lunch called the Pomegrante Cafe.  I’d been wanting to go there forever.  Healthy fresh cuisine, nearby.

wpid-20141121_153525.jpg

Before we pulled out of the parking lot though, she reached back and handed me a big bag with this wonderful gift inside.

wpid-20141121_144945.jpg

We had a delicious leisurely lunch there which I was thinking was the whole day until she pulled out Clue 2!  AND another present!

I finally guessed the next stop…my favorite local book store, near my house.  We drove there and she said “you have something waiting for you at the desk”.  I went up and they handed me another bag with two books in it–one related to writing and one related to dogs–my two big goals in life.  This girl pays attention!

wpid-20141121_165651.jpg

And then yet another Clue surfaced!

This one was right next door…my favorite nail salon and we got matching pedicures. And you guessed it–another present, some fuzzy socks and another clue!

wpid-20141121_162750.jpg

I could hardly believe it…this was a HUNT full of TREASURES the most being the time I was getting to spend with this beautiful creature called Mya.

wpid-2014-11-21-18.16.53.jpg.jpeg

According to the nail salon clue, I figured we were headed back to her office where my car was parked in full circle.  The final chapter of this magical mystery tour.

Oh no…another clue when we got there…in fact TWO more!  I was searching for a dark veil and looked behind her curtains then remembered a little storage space she has behind another curtain and there it was, a bouquet of balloons!  And in the refrigerator two single bundt cakes!  Yay, the birthday party was complete!  Balloons and cake shared in her office.

wpid-20141121_184846.jpg

wpid-20141121_184840.jpg

Oh no…………I was wrong, so premature!  There was yet another clue and we were back on the road again, guess where?

wpid-20141121_184836.jpg

TO MY BRIDGE!

wpid-20141121_184850.jpg

bridgestep

Everyone who knows me kind of knows of my magical relationship with the Tempe Pedestrian bridge.  It’s a portal to another dimension for me. I’d never been there with Mya yet so off we went, balloons and cake in hand, to the bridge.  And she had a plan.

wpid-20141121_194534.jpg

Once we got over there, there was some huge music festival going on so my regular parking lot reserved and people people people everywhere!  Then I remembered a sneaky parking lot on the other side of the lake I go with my client who takes me kayaking.  It’s right by the beach where we launch the boats.

Mya and I found it and quickly named it “The Sketchy Parking Lot” because at night it’s very very different.  It’s under the freeway and you just feel the nefariousness that’s going on there.  We paid no nevermind, armed with cake and balloons, we headed for the bridge.

bridge

We sat for a moment then she told me her plan.  I was to write things with a Sharpie she’d also brought, on the balloons then release them on the bridge walk.

My usual bridge ritual involves walking one way releasing something then the way back filling in the spaces with something new.  Now Mya added a twist.

She had 4 different balloons with ribbons and also had brought scissors (this gal was prepared!) to cut as the balloons released.  I thought of 3 things for myself and insisted she take the fourth.  You see Mya and I were talking all day about a BIG dream she was standing right in the middle of herself.  She and her husband had made an offer on their dream home that very day or at least the day before and were waiting for a response.  It was on our minds all afternoon.

dream-mirror-dreams-can-come-true-31082814-900-900

So we both wrote words and drew pictures on our balloons, then held hands as we stepped over the threshold of that bridge.

wpid-img_0152.jpg

We decided my balloons would represent 1. something to let go of  2.  something to fill that void and 3. the biggest dream I could imagine.

I think hers was basically the dream part. 😉

We decided to let the actual releasing process happen organically and magically it did unfold.

wpid-img_0161.jpg

My first balloon, the something to let go of, decided to get stuck in the arch structure of the bridge.  I just said “it’s ok, it will work it’s way out in time, let’s keep walking” and turned and started on.

Each balloon had it’s own story, it’s own trajectory, it’s own unique way of releasing itself to the heavens.

wpid-2014-11-22-08.31.37.jpg.jpeg

Mya’s was so astounding as we kept seeing it, in the dark, with this shining blue light embedded inside that reminded me of the third eye blue pearl remaining visible up to what looked like literally the stars.  My eyes were kind of straining so I looked away to adjust them and just as I did, Mya saw that balloon burst releasing the blue pearl in to the atmosphere like a brilliant explosion of blue light.  I missed it so that must have needed to be her personal message.

wpid-img_0144.jpg wpid-img_0147.jpg

As we walked back to the beginning, the “stuck” balloon was gone.  Mya said “you just turned your back on it and it worked itself out”.

just-believe-in-your-dreams-427758211020122155

I remember feeling no worry about it, just confidence it would find where it needed to be.  That’s how much I trust that bridge.  I aspire to trust my whole life like that.

It was a very good lesson for me though to consider just turning my back on something that is a block to my growth and letting it find it’s way out.  I tend to be a dog with a bone sometimes and this particular word I was releasing is one I have little control over so turning my back with confidence is something that I think will develop in me for a very long time.

After walking both ways, which took significant time, we sat and ate the most delicious moist cakes I think I’ve ever had–in two flavors.

wpid-2014-11-22-08.31.03.jpg.jpeg

We didn’t head back to the Sketchy Parking Lot until about 9:30 (scissors in hand 😉 ) but we weren’t really afraid.

Mya took me back to my car at her office only to find it completely dead!  The battery had just gone kaput.  Way too much energy to take in I guess.  She drove me home and I wasn’t even upset or worried.  I went back the next day, got a new battery thankful this happened in a safe place, not on the road to Seattle in an open wilderness.

And the next morning, Mya’s offer on her dream home was accepted.

doggiedreams1

I really don’t think I can add anything more to that.

I’ll let you know as my own dreams start to materialize although for this moment, it feels like I’m living in one big materialized dream.

55 is my best year yet, maybe ever in my entire life.

Now that I think of it, my mother died when I was 5 so maybe this is some kind of do-over.  I don’t know but it’s filled with miracles and love so far.

I can’t wait to see what else it’s to bring.

wpid-20141121_170405.jpg

I love you Mya Swan Rueda!  So much!

wpid-2014-12-08-08.46.50.jpg.jpegwpid-2014-12-08-08.47.37.jpg.jpeg

My assortment of clues and gifts.  I can’t wait to wear that soft purple scarf over the holidays and those fuzzy socks in Seattle.  ❤

inspiration

Standard

inspiration-photography-pink-pretty-Favim.com-122313_large

I’m here to tell you, life is bombarding me right now with so much intensely positive inspiration that it’s just not gonna let me get caught in any kind of trap of fear or negativity right now.  And I say a big fat THANK YOU back to life for this!  The first week of 2014 was not exactly simple or kind but I’m thinking what it was was necessary.

What’s making itself known without reservation right now are waves of inspiration cresting and falling all over me.  That’s probably some terrible grammar right there but I’m tired and I just can’t figure out how to correct it at the moment so….there ya have it.

miracle1

Yesterday I received two miracle moments related to my writing that just lifted me right up in to another sphere that no amount of evil or nastiness could ever come close to.

I will write about one of them right now.

I was asked last year to submit a chapter in a book about testimonials related to Myofascial Release being compiled by my friend Phil Tavolacci.  His book was published last summer to great reviews and I was honored to be a part of it.  His book is titled “What’s In Your Web?”.  I’m happy and excited for Phil in completing this project and the success he’s having.

inspiration5

Last weekend I received an email from a woman wanting an appointment, saying she found me via my chapter in Phil’s book.  My schedule is unusually open at the moment so I was able to get her in within 3 days.  She’s only in town for a couple of weeks she said.

I made the assumption that she found Phil’s book because she had a therapist elsewhere or perhaps was a therapist herself as his book is new and highly specialized of course.  So imagine my surprise when she came in and told the story of how she’d found the book and thus, me.

She shared about walking through my local independent bookstore Changing Hands and wandering around and “this book nearly flew off the shelf and in to (her) hands”.  She had heard nothing about me or Myofascial Release before.

kiefer_book_w_wings4

This woman shared about how as she read along, Phil quoted someone in his part of the writing who has the exact same name as her mother–first and last names.  Then as she read further and Phil described his own testimonial/coming to become a MFR therapist, he mentions the college he went to and it is the exact college her father went to.

She took all of these things as signs she was on the right track reading about this unique form of therapy.

waiting_for_a_sign

As she read along, in to my chapter, she realized I was right in her back yard.  And she also knew the primary issues she needed to deal with are emotional, affecting her body physically, which is basically what my entire chapter is about.

She broke down in tears in the waiting room, before the session even started, knowing she’d found a path that can really help her heal her own “ancient wounds” as John F. Barnes calls them.

We had a great session and for me, more than anything, her story catapulted me in to a place of knowing all is well in the world.

inspiration3

We’ve been in the clutches of some real darkness affecting our family including threats and, according to my father,  a potential for violence.  With all we’ve been through as a family, you can only imagine how this impacts us.  I’ve been cutting through my own wall of denial and dealing and alerting all who need alerting.

On that note, I’m meeting with my attorney today to discuss options.  What legal protections need to be initiated to set boundaries for all of us.  I take sociopathy very seriously as anyone should.  It’s inherently dangerous.

nothing-in-the-world-is-more-dangerous-than-sincere-ignorance-and-conscientious-stupidity

Pretty much everyone important in our family sphere, people of influence, have been alerted to this situation and this person which I think is the way to handle these kinds of things.  Shine the light while showing them to the door.

boundaries_with_work

Every single murder victim’s family I’ve ever met (including my family) has moments where they knew something felt wrong and potentially dangerous and wish they’d acted on it.

Well, I’m acting on it this time.  In a big way.

inspiration

And for that, I feel completely confident.

This individual really had no idea what he was  up against.  I’ve been  prepared for twenty five years for him.

boundaries

And there is an Army around me…and my father.  This sociopath has no idea…

Now, back to the regularly scheduled miracles that are unfolding all around me, even in the midst of this situation.  I know where the real Power lies.

inhale