Everyday Phoenix

Lately I’ve spent ‘way too much time listening to my Inner Censor and its backup group The Committee.

This is not a good thing.

Besides doing a number on my self-confidence, listening to those turkeys makes it easy for me to fall into overachiever/drudge/doormat mode.  Among other things I find myself doing ‘way too much for people who are perfectly capable of doing stuff for themselves because I:

  • am desperate for some kind of approval
  • voluntarily set aside my own boundaries
  • forget that “No” is an answer

Usually when this happens I end up depressed, viewing the world through corpse-colored glasses as I slog through my War and Peace-sized to-do list.

But this time was different.

This time I was royally, vehemently, unilaterally pissed off.

So I tossed my gotta-do list into the shredder, told the Censor and Committee to f*** right off and proceeded to do a bunch of stuff from my wanna-do list:

  • Took a vacation day from work.  Words cannot begin to express how badly I needed this downtime.  The only chore assigned to that day (a Friday) was a trip to the grocery store in order to avoid the Saturday madness, which was a blessing all by itself.
  • Bought some denim leggings. Been wanting to try them for ages but never did because I don’t look like the models in the ads. Well, screw that.  The leggings look good and feel great. (Side benefit: I have problems with my knees, and something about the fit of the leggings lessens the pain considerably. I found myself moving around a lot more; even going up and down stairs wasn’t as challenging.)
  • Did a daytime full-moon bonfire.  Didn’t want to wait until night, so we didn’t.  Judd got a scrap-wood fire going and we sat enjoying the gorgeous blue October sky and sunshine. (As a fair-complexioned former redhead, quite a few months of the year my relationship with sunshine is akin to a vampire’s.  So this was a wonderful luxury.)
  • Did a long-postponed releasing ritual.  Already had a nice fire going, so it was a simple matter to grab a notepad & pen, write down things I want to see gone on a personal level (example: “inertia”, “procrastination”, “fear of positive change”) and world level (things like “injustice”, “war”, “inequality”), add a brief clarification if one was needed, and toss each note into the fire.
  • Worked on my book for the first time in ages.  While editing a conversation between a middle-aged former roadie with 20+ years clean and sober and a much younger  active drug addict,  I had the younger man say, “When everything goes up in flames, how do you keep doing that one-day-at-a-time stuff?”  The older man ponders for a moment, then replies, “The way I see it, if I stay clean, I can be an everyday phoenix, rising from the ashes. Beats the hell out of the alternative.”  I stared at that line  for awhile after I wrote it, and I’ll be thinking of it in a variety of contexts for a very long time.
  • Rented Peter Gabriel’s “Secret World” concert from Amazon and watched it that night.  Loved every minute.  The last number is my absolutely favorite song of all time.  I use the concert version as an energetic meditation, and I want to share it with you.

Take care, all!


Sometimes soup just ain’t enough…..

Judd’s nasty bug I mentioned in my last post ended up turning downright vicious. It went from flu to pneumonia with the speed of light, and poor Judd ended up in the hospital from March 5th until late afternoon of March 17th.  He’s been home for a little over a week now and is steadily getting better, but time’s gonna take time.

This stuff is pure evil—and not the kind you can banish with a healthy dose of smudge.  So please, everybody, take care of yourselves.

Judd ended up tethered to all kinds of IVs, fed countless pills, and caught in a love/hate relationship with oxygen masks. The fact that my beloved human timber wolf allowed all this to be done to him without protest (or jailbreak) is a testimony to how very sick he was.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried, not to mention downright scared sometimes.  But one thing I’ve learned through dealing with my various fears and phobias over the years is not to let it immobilize me. Life’s gonna keep on keepin’ on, and I have to do the same.

I’m scared of hospitals, but I love Judd and wanted to be with him so I spent lots of time there.  I got to know the people, the routine, how to bend a few rules here and there, how to advocate when needed. (Did I mention I’m afraid of confrontation?) Being in the hospital was really hard for Judd, and anything I could do to make things easier for him was far more important than any pesky little fears.

Judd’s definitely doing better.  He’s on oxygen therapy for now, which means he travels around our two-story house with several miles of tubing.  There was a bit of a learning curve at first—he almost lassoed one of our Buddha statues during an early pilgrimage down the stairs—but now the man has got it down! 

I would never, ever have wished for Judd to get so sick. But being there to help him in any way I could is the most worthwhile thing I’ve done in a very long time.

I’m here to tell you–love kicks fear’s ass.

Going Viral

Looks like an evil little critter hitchhiked a ride on my unsuspecting husband.

Poor Judd’s been dealing with a lung-busting, rib-cracking cough for a couple of days (and nights) now.  I had my fingers crossed that it was something an antibiotic would quickly put to flight, but according to  the doctor  that wretched beast (the critter, not Judd) is a virus.  A virus just laughs in the face of antibiotics and goes about its nasty business.

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Eye Can See Clearly Now…..


Finally broke down and got new glasses.

I knew the old ones weren’t  cutting it anymore.  I’d often catch myself squinting at street signs and zooming in more and more on the computer screen. Whatever fancy-dancy coating they put on the lenses had gone rogue and made it impossible to clean them.

Of course I had a number of excuses for not addressing the situation sooner.

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My New Year’s UNresolutions

I haven’t made New Year’s resolutions for longer than I care to think about.

Oh, I used to do it.  Sometimes I’d write a list  on a piece of paper which I would then slap up where  it would stare me in the face on a regular basis. Invariably I’d get so used to that paper being around
that I didn’t really see it anymore, which usually coincided with my rapidly diminishing New Year’s fervor.  By the end of February the list was nothing but a reminder of my abject failure, so it ended up in the circular file.

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I’m not speaking to myself

I got really sick this past weekend–as in, couldn’t-get-two-steps-away-from the bathroom sick.  When I wasn’t shuffling to the porcelain throne, I was flat on my back in bed.  In the realm of Getting Things Done, I was an utterly useless life form.

But that’s not why I’m mad at me.

In the spirit of misery loves company, I broke my own rule about limiting  exposure to the combination circus/madhouse that passes for news these days, including the comment sections (which are the online equivalent of slogging through a septic tank barefoot).  Using only my trusty Kindle and a stylus, I was able to work myself up into a froth of frustration, fear and rage in a surprisingly short period of time.

But that’s not why I’m mad, either. (Well, okay, maybe a little bit.  It’s not like I don’t know better by now.)

Being out of commission gave my mind all kinds of time to come out and play. A few of its favorite games:

  • Compile impossible To Do lists to be accomplished when I felt better.


    Down the rabbit hole again…..

  • Take me on a trip down Memory Lane, featuring stops at every bad/painful/embarrassing thing I’d experienced since kindergarten.
  • Conjure up doomsday scenarios of a remote future that somehow managed to bleed into the present.

But that’s not  why I’m mad at me, either.  My mind is an unruly beast under the best of circumstances, of which being sick isn’t one.

Being sidelined brought everything–work, job, chores, all the “gotta do” yadda-yadda–to a screeching halt.  At first I was too busy being miserably sick to realize it. (Intestinal bugs are demanding little critters.)  When the worst was over, I had ample time to look–really look–at my life.

And it wasn’t pretty.

I discovered I’d been so busy scrambling to meet expectations (both my own, which are insanely high, and external ones, some of which verge on the impossible) that I had left no room in my life for……


That is why I’m mad.

How could I let this happen again?  How did I manage to fall back into the trap of

  • comparing my insides to other peoples’ outsides?
  • thinking that I, and I alone, am responsible for anything and everything that crosses my orbit?
  •  people-pleasing?  (Dammit, I thought I was past that crap!)
  • allowing myself to be overloaded or spread so thin the holes are showing?
  • not making time (with a machete, if necessary) for the things I really love?

Infinitely more important, how do I fix this mess?

One thing’s for sure–if I keep giving myself–my real self–the silent treatment, I’m never going to find out.

Fire from the mountain


When I finally made it to the mountaintop,
I had to sit for awhile to catch my breath.
I’ve always been afraid of heights, but I didn’t let that stop me.
On the way up I found myself hurting in places
I didn’t even know I had places,
But I kept on climbing.
Did I ever get discouraged?  Oh, hell yes!
But the only options I had
Were free-falling to a certain death,
Or crawling back down to where I’d started.
One seemed just as bad as the other,
So it was onward and upward.

The breeze tells me it’s time.
A surge of energy brings me to my feet.
I extend my arms as far as I can and open my hands,
Releasing all my emotional pain to the breeze.
It scatters in multi-color sparks, twinkles for an instant
Before going nova.
I scatter more things to the breeze–
Feelings of being trapped, overwhelmed and helpless
Form a temporary blazing circle, then dissolve into nothing.
Self-doubt and fear of change shine like a marquee
Before the breeze pulls the plug.
“You’ll never survive without me!”  howls my Inner Censor
As I send it spiraling after the rest of my jettisoned cargo,
But I know better.

I tossed lots of other things.
So many that I expected to feel empty.
But I didn’t.
The only thing I felt was…….free.

——Donna Frahmann