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Archive for November, 2008

“Called Out of Darkness”

Yesterday was kinda tough for this potato.  The damage I did to my foot while on vacation took an emotional toll.  While still in Vegas it kept me from doing a bunch of stuff I had wanted to do.  I didn’t let it completely sideline me, but I really did miss out on things I had wanted to do.  And the stuff I did despite the injury was marred somewhat by the limp and excruciating pain.  (Hindsight being 20/20 it would have been much less painful had I thought to have Mr. Spuds find an ace bandage to wrap my foot in and a cane so I could keep weight off of it and still move….but alas….I didn’t think of either of those things until I was back home and doctor told me they would help.  D’oh!) 

Basically Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were still fun vacation days, and at the same time they were so much less than I wanted them to be.

At the airport Mr. Spuds got one of Southwest’s special blue envelopes so I could board the plane before the “normal” passengers.  It sounds a little foolish, but I resented needing this special pass.  I really did need it—I was moving so slowly at that point I would have help up the entire boarding process.  But it was one more reminder (in addition to the brutal pain in my foot, lack of a shoe, and basic feeling of unwellness) that I was damaged goods.  And I really didn’t want another reminder.

I managed to get in to see the doctor on Saturday morning.  He didn’t think the foot was broken, but told me to stay off of it.  No problem doc!  It hurts too much to do anything!  He said it should start to feel better in 3 to 5 days.  And if it doesn’t, I get to go see a foot doctor. 

So naturally I spent all day yesterday wallowing in pity party.

Okay, that’s too harsh.  I spent all day yesterday trying to avoid wallowing in a pity party.  I was partially successful.  Despite that, it was essentially a wasted day.  I didn’t read anything.  I didn’t really write anything.  I spent the day staring at the TV, desperately wanting to do laundry, clean the bathroom, visit a friend; all of the stuff I had hoped to do when I returned from Vegas.  But I was stuck in my room—not allowed to do any of it.  I was helpless.  And I really, really, REALLY don’t like being helpless.

Today I decided enough was enough.  I have to return to work tomorrow, and I may as well do whatever I can today—without moving.  So I finished reading the book I had started on the plane.  (Have I mentioned how much I love my Kindle???  It rocks!  I had a dozen books to choose from….and didn’t have to cart around any extra luggage!)  And when I finished that one I decided to finish “Called Out of Darkness” by Anne Rice.  It’s the story of how she found her way back to God.  I had started it before vacation but hadn’t been able to finish it.

The first hundred or so pages were a little challenging for me.  Some it I could really relate to.  Some of it was foreign to me.  Rice grew up Catholic and she describes in great detail what that was like.  The education.  The saints.  The services.  The community.  The Latin.  All of that is pretty foreign to me.  I have a little knowledge, but I haven’t “lived” it and for some reason I found it difficult to relate to.

That was odd—the book I had just finished reading was about a zoo in Warsaw during WWII.  I’ve never been to Warsaw—much less a zoo there.  I clearly wasn’t around during WWII.   I’ve never helped people escape Nazi terrors.  Yet somehow I was able to relate to that book while Rice’s descriptions of a Catholic upbringing escaped me.

Odd.  I don’t really understand the difference.  But there it is.

There were parts of the first hundred or so pages that were easy to relate to.  They talked of Rice’s faith (while growing up) on a very personal level.  That was really neat to read.  She does an excellent job of describing what I would have called indescribable.   She gives words to feelings and thoughts I could not articulate.  Pretty neat stuff!

The final 100 pages of the book were mind-blowing. 

During the first half of the book I found myself thinking, “Get to the point Anne!  This is supposed to be the story of how you found your way back to God.  Why spend so much time describing your early faith?  Tell me about what your faith is NOW!”

I had to laugh when I found myself hit with those thoughts.  “LOL!  Come on Spudsie, it’s her story and she gets to tell it however she wants to.  That’s her right as the author….and as a person.  Just keep reading.”

I think Rice describes a struggle countless Christians have gone through.  Those of us raised on or with a parent’s faith have to go through a journey to make their faith our own.  Hmmmm…..that’s not quite right.  We have to go through a struggle, a journey to find our own faith.  Some of us abandon the original faith completely.  Some stay with the faith generally and make changes to how they practice.  Some cling to the faith of their parents so tightly they risk losing it altogether. 

For some the journey, the struggle is relatively quick.  For Rice the journey took thirty-some years.  As she looks back on those years she sees how her writing mirrored the struggle though she didn’t realize she was in the middle of it.

She talks about how her return to faith, her return to God was a deliberate choice.  One she made knowing it would require active participation on her end.  She didn’t stumble in to a blind faith.  She chose to return to God knowing full well she would have to wrestle with questions of what total devotion to God means.  Of what trusting God means.  Of releasing her own questions of “How can this be your will” to God, instead of answering them on her own.  She eloquently describes those struggles.  And how she went into them with open eyes.

Rice also talks of her fears of returning to God.  She writes, “I believed in God.  I feared Him.  I feared what He might ask of me.  I saw the shallowness of my commitment.  I saw the incompleteness of my life.  Mine was a negotiated abandonment, and that mean it was not a true abandonment at all.”

“I don’t recall talking to anyone about this.  It was too intensely personal to share with another.  And how pompous and foolish it might have sounded over a café table.  What if God wants something more of me?  I’m afraid.”

She struggled to find a way to make a deeper commitment.  And it hit her—she needed to write only for God.  Only for His purposes.  She needed to release that part of herself to Him.

Wow!  If we could all feel that, if we could all come to that place in our Christian lives, in our total lives, how different could church, could religion be?  Totally surrendered to God.  The thing we want to grasp the most—to release that to Him.  What would church communities look like then?  What would families look like?  What would our world look like?

More to the point, what would my world look like if I decided to make that choice?

I could be totally mistaken (I often am!), but I believe Rice wrote this book to tell her story.  To tell of her journey back to God.  Simply to share it because she had lived it.  (And she’s a writer—so that’s what she does.  J)  Perhaps she hoped it would be encouraging to readers.  Maybe she dared to think it might give inspiration to others struggling to find their way to God.

To me she did far more than that.  She challenged me.  She set the example.  She said, “I’m willing to let go of what made me a popular, successful author.  I’m willing to let go of the old characters.  I’m willing to leave them behind and to now write only for God.  I’m willing to ignore critics, willing to ignore doubters, scoffers, willing to be guided by God and God alone in my writing.  I’m willing to let go of the one thing that I know and go wherever God guides me.  Because I love and trust Him.”

What a remarkable thing to do.  What an example.  What a challenge.

Reading often transports me to unexpected places.  This book has been no exception.  And for a work of non-fiction to transport me to an unexpected spiritual place—that’s quite surprising. 

What is it You want from me God?  What am I trying to cling to?  And how do I let it go?

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I’m baaaaa-aaaack

Phew….what a vacation! 

Happy belated Thanksgiving to anyone I missed before I left.  I hope y’all had an awesome time.  Mine was great!!!

I’ll be writing/blogging/whatever about some of the vacation high points.  It turns out I’ll have a lot of time to work on it.  Since I tore some ligaments/tendons/something in my foot Wednesday (while on vacation in Vegas) and can’t walk.  Doc says if it’s not better in 3 to 5 days to go to a foot doctor.  Ugh.

At least he doesn’t think it’s broken–despite the fact that I literally cannot walk on it.  Where’s that crying emoticon when I need it??  LOL!

So I’m here at home, unable to move from my room, basically hopping on my other foot to the bed, to the shower, to the chair.  And that’s it.  No moving until Monday for work.  (Don’t get me started.)

Mr. Spuds is a huge help!!!  And has promised to find me the most “cool” cane he can fine.  The doc recommended one to help keep the weight off the foot.  I hope he can find one with flames like Dr. House uses….heh…heh…heh….

So, anyway, I’m back…safe and sound for the most part.  I gotta tell ya….Las Vegas is NOT a good city to be in when you cannot walk.  LOL!

Cool cane

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At the beep……

Hi!

You’re reached Spudsie’s blog.

Spudsie’s not here right now.  She’s celebrating the Buckeye win over Michigan (go Bucks!) and is headed out for Thanksgiving.

She hopes you enjoy (or at least are amused) by what you read on her blog while she’s gone.  Feel free to leave comments on the November gratitude page if there’s something you are thankful for.

If you need a dose of humor and cuteness while she’s gone please visit Maggie Mae’s blog.  That’s one smart doggie!!

If you’d like to leave a message, note or comment please do so at the beep.  Thanks for stopping by and we’ll see you soon!

Beeeeeeeeeeeep.

machine

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Here’s a song to get everyone in the mood for Thanksgiving.

“Bright light city gonna set my soul
Gonna set my soul on fire
Got a whole lot of money that’s ready to burn,
So get those stakes up higher
There’s a thousand pretty women waitin’ out there
And they’re all livin’ devil may care
And I’m just the devil with love to spare
Viva Las Vegas, Viva Las Vegas

How I wish that there were more
Than the twenty-four hours in the day
‘Cause even if there were forty more
I wouldn’t sleep a minute away
Oh, there’s black jack and poker and the roulette wheel
A fortune won and lost on every deal
All you need’s a strong heart and a nerve of steel
Viva Las Vegas, Viva Las Vegas

Viva Las Vegas with you neon flashin’
And your one armbandits crashin’
All those hopes down the drain
Viva Las Vegas turnin’ day into nighttime
Turnin’ night into daytime
If you see it once
You’ll never be the same again

I’m gonna keep on the run
I’m gonna have me some fun
If it costs me my very last dime
If I wind up broke up well
I’ll always remember that I had a swingin’ time
I’m gonna give it everything I’ve got
Lady luck please let the dice stay hot
Let me shoot a seven with every shot
Viva Las Vegas, Viva Las Vegas,Viva Las Vegas

Viva, Viva Las Vegas”

What?  What??  That doesn’t get everybody in the mood for Thanksgiving?? 

????????

Oh!  I think I understand…….this song gets me in the mood for Thanksgiving this year. J

Mr. Spuds and I are getting ready to leave for vacation this week.  We are packing and prepping.  Wanna guess where we are going?  Yup!  We are “running away” to Las Vegas to eat dinner on Thanksgiving at Bouchon.  Yuuuummmmmmmmmm!  I’m drooling just thinking about it.

So clearly it won’t be a “traditional” Thanksgiving for us.  We are trying something different.  It should be tons of fun!  Lots of good food while we are there, a good show, a great spa facility (I actually packed 4 days worth of work-out clothes for vacation!!), a great room.  Ahhhh….good times.

So, since I won’t be around to post a note on Thanksgiving I thought I would mention (perhaps a little early) what I’m thankful for this year.  

God.  I’m thankful for God.  Do I need to expand on that?  LOL!  There’s so much he does that I’m thankful for….I could probably blog for pages and pages.  I am especially thankful for his very clear presence in my life this past year.  He’s always around.  I know that.  This year I’ve been able to see him more often, more clearly.  I am thankful for his gentle guidance.  For his mercy and grace—something I need to learn to extend to myself.  I’m thankful he continues to extend it to me even though I try to reject it.  Thanks God.  You rock!!!

Mr. Spuds.  I have the best husband on the planet!!  (Even though he does make fun of me knowing what the Vulcan IDIC symbol is.  J)  He has been so supportive of me…….well…ever since I’ve known him.  His patience is amazing.  He allows me to be me.  Even when I’m trying to change, he still lets me be me.  He encourages me in so many ways.  He’s my rock on earth.  He keeps me centered and grounded—even when I feel like I’m lost, when I look at him I know I am loved and treasured and know I am where I belong. 

Family.  My family is amazing.  I love them all and am so thankful for their love, support and examples.  They are some of the most remarkable amazing people you could ever meet. 

I am so thankful for my mom’s example of dedication and commitment and protection.  She sacrificed some of her emotional safety to try and protect me and my siblings.  I didn’t recognize that at the time, but she put herself in harm’s way to try and stem some of the abuse that was headed my way, and my siblings’ way.  She couldn’t divert all of it, but every bit she could turn aside gave us a better chance.  She’s stayed with my dad through some of the toughest time I can imagine.  If Mr. Spuds treated me the way she’s been treated, I’m not so sure I would have stuck around.  But my mom?  She’s committed.  She’s in this for the long haul.  She’s worked to improve her marriage from within the marriage.  What an awesome example she is!

I’m so thankful for my dad’s example of a completely generous spirit and heart.  He’s not a perfect person—who is?  I often wonder how unhappy he must have been (and may still be) in the core of his being.  It must have been an excruciating pain for someone with the compassionate heart he has to lash out at those he loves the most.  His heart longs to give everything he can and to help everyone he meets.  His wry sense of humor is hilarious!  (At least it is to me! Must have inherited that from him.  LOL!)  I am very thankful he is my father.

Coaches.  This is a new category this year.  “Coaches?  As in plural?  Spudsie, do you need more than one coach??”  Oh yeah.  Coaches.  Plural.  More than one.  Oh, I have only one “official” coach—Coach Jim.  But I’m realizing that I have seemingly countless people in my life who are coaching me in one way or another.  People who are guiding me—some without even realizing it. 

Friends, co-workers, strangers, all kinds of people are setting examples of how to make deliberate choices.  Showing me how to be more of what I want to be.  People who encourage me.  People who pray for me.  People who listen to me, who read my ramblings here.  People who are interested in my life and who look for ways to encourage me.  Friends from all over the country—some who have never met me in real life.  I am so thankful for each and every one of them as they help coach me through life. 

And of course my “official” coach—Coach Jim.  I am so thankful he’s been willing to help me, willing to work with me.  Willing to continue to be patient with me (much more patient than I am with myself).  I’m thankful he’s always willing to say the same thing 83 different times and 24 different ways until I finally understand it.  Without his patience and gentle guidance and calm example I’m not sure I’d have made any progress.  When I find myself getting frustrated with myself in our conversations I stop and remind myself “Hey Spudsie, listen to Jim.  Listen to his tone.  Is there ANY frustration with you in his voice?  Is there any hint of irritation?  Nope.  Then let go of yours.  Just be in the conversation.  Leave the assessments on the sidelines.”  I’m thankful for Jim and the effort he puts into working with me.  Because of his efforts I’m really excited and curious to see where I’ll be at this time next year!

I’m thankful for my health.  I’m thankful for my employment.  I’m thankful for my home.  I’m thankful for my yard.  I’m thankful for my turtles (even when they try to bite me!).  There is so much I’m thankful for this year. 

And for the first time in a long time, I’m thankful for me.  I’m thankful for who I am.  For who I am working to become.  Not that I’m perfect, or finished, or where I want to be.  It’s just that I’m beginning to realize that Spudsie, just as she is, is kinda cool.  And I’m thankful for that.  And for everyone who’s helped me get here. 

For all of this (and more) I give thanks.

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Here’s a quick update on yesterday’s post.

I survived the evening. 

😉

Okay…..I did slightly better than just surviving.  (Grin!)  It was good.  I managed to be much more open than I would have been six months ago.  So I’m really happy about that!!  Being open (at least IRL) isn’t easy for me.  It’s truly a deliberate choice I have to make—it doesn’t come naturally.

Going into a group of 9 people I’ve never met before isn’t the problem for me.  I’ve learned how to engage people and get them talking about themselves.  I ask basic questions, listen to the answers, scan my brain for quick follow up questions that relate to their answers, and try to have them talk about themselves as much as possible.  And since most people love to talk about themselves, it’s pretty easy for me to come away without needing to “give away” too much information about me. 

If they say something that triggers a “Hey, I’ve done that/been there/know them too” type of response I’ll toss that out there.  And then follow up with questions about them again.  So I leave little clues about who I am in the conversation.   Knowing full well no one will pick up on them.

Occasionally someone will surprise me and remember something I said and mention it later in a conversation.  And I typically take that as a sign that they really do want to get to know me.  That they aren’t just being polite.  So I open up a little more.  I become a little less guarded.

But most of the time I try to keep people talking about their own life.  While it is a completely defensive way to walk through life, it also provides me with amazing information about people.  So it’s clearly a skill worth hanging onto, worth keeping in my tool belt.  I simply need to add some additional tools into the mix.

And I tried to do that last night.

Scratch that.

That’s what I DID last night.

I was more open, more authentic, more ME last night than I typically am with a brand new group of people.  Yay me!

Was I as open during the entire evening as I wanted to be?  Nope.

And I’m okay with that.  Clearly there is still a bunch of room for growth.  But I’m making progress.  Eye contact much of the time (except when I fell back into avoiding it), feet firmly on the ground (except when I fidgeted), shoulders fairly square (that was probably the biggest physical challenge….I’ll have to work on that more), fairly open body posture (arms not crossed at all—so that’s awesome!).  Lots of little things I managed to do some/much of the evening.

 I was open (for at least part of the evening) with my spirit.  We had a group prayer and I volunteered to pray for a specific area.  So that’s kinda cool—praying is a pretty personal thing for me.  Before communion was served/shared (the reason Mr. Spuds and I went to the group in the first place), we all went to individual spaces and wrote a note to God.  And then came back as a group and read the note out loud.  I wrote a personal note—since I knew I would be reading it in front of everyone I left some things out.  But I left a lot of pretty personal stuff in as well.

Here’s what I said to God.  (I want to record this here so I’ll remember it and be able to look back in 6 months and see exactly where I was.  And by writing it down, I feel like it helps me keep saying it to God.)

God,

You know how hard it is for me to think of you as Father, as Daddy, and feel that part of your love and protection.

I thank you for your never-ending love, patience and gentleness with me as I try to grow more comfortable with that aspect of you.  And as I try to grow into the person you want me to be—and know I am capable of being.

I am overjoyed with the people you have brought into my life in the past year to help me see myself more like you see me—and help me see you more accurately, more wholly, and more holy. 

I love you.  I thank you.  You are amazing in ways I don’t even understand!

(See….even in group settings with strangers I’m still long-winded!  LOL!)

That’s a fairly personal, honest, authentic prayer.  And I cried while reading it.  I cried while listening to the music they played before writing it.  It was a crying centered in calm.  Which is totally new for me!

During the evening I did a fair amount of checking my posture, checking my energy, checking myself overall.  It helped.

At the same time, it was still really, really, REALLY hard.  Really.

Was it worth it?  I think so.  I hope so.  Yeah…..it probably was.  If nothing else it was a great way to practice combining a lot of the things I’ve been working on with Coach Jim.  All of ‘em at the same time takes oodles of energy!  And I know that’s primarily because it’s all still new to me.  If I do it more, it will become easier.  So in the long run it will definitely be worth it! 

If the be-all end-all result of doing this was how I felt at the end of last night, I would have to say it wouldn’t have been worth it.  Because I walked away with a fair amount of frustration.  Frustration that there were periods of time where I wasn’t fully engaged.  When I simply sat and withdrew into myself.  When I wanted someone to reach out to me.

And that’s the down side (if there is one!) to practicing this with a group of strangers.  They have no idea who I am.  They don’t know what I’m struggling with.  They see me a little differently than anyone else because I’m presenting myself differently than I have in the past. 

I don’t think I’m articulating this very well.  Ugh. 

Essentially there are things I feel good about from last night, and thing I feel less-than-good about. 

Overall?  If I had it to do all over again, I’d make the same choice.  The choice to commit to walking in and being as open as I could be.  Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to do everything I wanted to do wouldn’t change that.  It was a great practice—and we all know I need to practice!!

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Just a “quick” note tonight—I could use some good luck, positive vibes, kind thoughts….you get the idea.  J

I’m going into a setting tonight that is causing me a fair amount of anxiety.  Well…perhaps that’s overstating it a little.  Let’s just say I’m a little nervous.

I’m meeting a new study group (from the church Mr. Spuds and I have been visiting) for the first time.  I know only one person there—the minister.  And I don’t really know him all that well.  So this is my one shot at making a good first impression.

Meeting groups of people who I hope to “fit in” with is always cause for a little nervousness in this potato.  In addition to that “normal” set of nerves, I’m trying something new this time.  I’m trying to go in with a more open spirit.  I’ve got all kinds of new tools to help me out—new body postures, new ways of carrying myself, new ways of listening, new ways of speaking.  Lots of new stuff!

I’m not entirely comfortable with all of the new stuff yet.

Coach Jim keeps reminding me that “Fake it till you make it” is an excellent thing to do.  So that’s what I’ll be doing at least part of this evening.  Which seems a little at odds with the appeal of this church—their authenticity. 

I feel like this is my first “large scale” road test of the new Spudsie (so to speak).

I’m kinda nervous about it.  It’s an excited nervous—which is better than an anxious nervous—but it’s nervousness nonetheless.

Will I be able to do it?  Will I fall back into old “habits” 15 seconds before I walk in the door?  Will I come across as really “fake?” 

(Actually I’m not overly concerned about that last one.  I shouldn’t come across as “fake” because I’m being who I am.  I’m just trying to carry myself and present myself in a more positive light.  It’s all still the Spudster!)

So……will it work?  Stay tuned…..only time will tell.

Gulp.

What have I gotten myself into???

Wish me luck!

fingers-crossed

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So I was talking with Coach Jim this morning (more on that later) and he observed, “You haven’t written much on your blog this week.”  Or something like that.

“Yeah Jim, I was sick half of last week and didn’t really have the energy to write much.”

That’s what I said out loud.  What I thought was……well…..let’s just say it was an overreaction.  Totally defensive.

“What?  A potato can’t have an off week?!  Blogging is something I do for me—whenever I feel like it.  Whenever I want to.  It’s not a requirement.  It’s something I enjoy doing when I chose to do it.  Besides, I posted quite the insightful post on Friday night if-I-do-say-so-myself!  And my gratitude journal’s been pretty active.  Whadda ya mean I’ve been quiet?!”

Ummmm…..overreacting much there Spudsie?  LOL!  J

The astute reader will note that Jim simply made an observation.  And internally I reacted as though he’d made an assessment.  (Evidently I was not being an astute listener.)  Clearly someone was making an assessment about my lack of writing.  It wasn’t Jim.  It was ME!

True, I was sick part of last week.  And my brain didn’t work very well those 3 or 4 days.  Beyond that I still hadn’t taken much time to write.  And clearly I’ve been aware of that and feeling a little guilty. 

I’ve had tons of stuff floating through my head.  I’ve started a dozen blog entries in my head.  The words have never made their way to e-paper.  And that’s because I’ve been actively avoiding writing.  I have something new that I keep saying I want to start.  And truth be told, I DO want to start working on it.  And at the same time it frightens me a little bit.  I want to tackle some deeper stuff (that will probably never be posted publically….at least not in an unexpurgated form) that’s packed full of emotional baggage.  And that’s a little frightening to me.  Even though I’m totally in control of the process (which is comforting to the control freak in me!) I’m still not sure how it will play out.  What the end result will be.  Will it help me?  How painful will it be emotionally?

And the more I put it off, the more daunting it becomes.  So as soon as I’m done with this piece, I’m going to start it.  (Any bets on how long I’ll work on this to avoid the new stuff??  LOL!)

In the meantime…..here are some bits and pieces, some odds ‘n ends that are floating around my head, begging to be let out.

Church.  Mr. Spuds and I have been visiting a new church.  I’ve mentioned it a few times lately.  I really enjoy it.  And typically on Sunday afternoons I want to come home and write about the sermon.  I haven’t been doing that as often as I’d like to, so I’m going to try to change that in the future.  The sermons are really, really good!  Tom’s delivery is terrific, open and authentic.  And the material is easily accessible—or at least it is to my brain.  It makes me think.  I love that!

The last few weeks have been about marriage.  How to build a stronger one.  How to improve the one you have.  How to enjoy your marriage.  I’ve been really encouraged by the lessons.  I feel (and I believe Mr. Spuds would agree with me) that my marriage to Mr. Spuds is awesome!  We don’t really fight—sometimes we grumble at each other, and I can be a bear (to put it mildly) to be around when I have a migraine—yet overall we get along remarkably well.  He’s my best friend and I love spending time with him.  I know he loves me—there’s no question in my mind that he will love me always.  (He and I both think of love as a decision as well as an emotion.)  It’s a very safe, secure place to be.  And I treasure it.

Given my nature, I tend to listen to sermons to learn where I need to improve, where I need to change.  Or on really down days, to learn what I’m doing wrong.  This series of sermons has been wonderful because I’ve been able to see this is an area where I’m doing good!  And I walked away each week encouraged.  Yay!

More odds ‘n ends…..

Coach Jim often mentions in his newsletters (may I interrupt myself here for just a moment?  His monthly Happiness newsletters are awesome!  I know once a month, every month, something will appear in my e-mail inbox full of positivity and happiness and concrete, practical ways to make changes to help me choose happiness.  It rocks!!!  If you’re curious here’s a link to the archived newsletters.  Seriously…check it out!  It’s the only newsletter I read without exception every month—several times.)….where was I ?  Oh yeah……

Coach Jim often mentions in his newsletters how helpful it can be to simply change your perspective.  To look at things from a different angle.  Literally.  Travel a different route to work.  Sit in a different spot in the company cafeteria.  Visit a different church. You get the idea.  His suggestion is spot on!  It’s so easy for me to get into a “rut,” into a routine (even a “good” one) that I can lose sight of other possibilities.

Mr. Spuds and I had decided to visit other churches before the last newsletter where Jim mentioned changing perspectives.  That newsletter arrived the week before we actually went to a different church.  At the time I remember thinking, “Too funny!  I’ve already planned to visit another church.  Wonder if anything will jump out at me now that I’m thinking about it with a Happiness mind frame?”

And several things have.  Some of them immediately.  And some of them over time.  I hadn’t even realized what I was missing in the church Mr. Spuds and I had regularly attended for 8 years.  Yet the first week we visited the new church, BAM!, it was obvious what had been eating away at me.  Pretty cool stuff! 

 More perspective odds ‘n ends….

Without even realizing it I’ve settled into a routine of a time and place for conversations with Coach Jim.  We typically talk on a Monday evening around 5pm-ish.  (Go ahead and laugh Jim…..I know you want to.  J There’s nothing “ish” about the time I call. If the clock says 5pm you KNOW your phone will be ringing. LOL!)  And I typically close myself in the room where I’m currently writing.

The space is a fairly emotional space for me.  Recently it’s been all good emotions.  Hmmm…that’s not exactly right.  Some of the stuff I write about is really difficult and emotionally challenging.  But this chair is the one space where I’ve been able to repeatedly work through the painful emotions and move on to calm.  So it’s got good karma right now. 

Of course it’s also the place where I recline and hold my head in my arms and pray to God Almighty that the migraine I’m feeling will pass.  But somehow that energy’s been replaced with a much more upbeat, encouraging energy from writing.  And from talking with Jim.

Am I rambling?  Yeah…probably.  Regardless, the physical space I’m in when typically talking with Jim is emotional.  It’s the place where I’ve practiced (more than any place else) accessing different emotions and exploring them. 

Our schedules didn’t match up to talk today at 5pm-ish.  So instead we talked this morning.  And I decided since I would have the house to myself I would sit at the kitchen table when I talked with him.  An emotionally neutral space.  A different perspective.

It was pretty cool!   Until today I hadn’t realized how much emotional stuff I’ve dealt with in this chair.  I hadn’t realized what a warm, fuzzy cocoon of emotional exploration it had become.  Until I stepped away from it I didn’t see it.

Sometimes I don’t see the most powerful tools in my life because I’ve looked at them the same way for so long.  I don’t realize they have changed, morphed, evolved.  Looking at things from a new perspective is an amazing tool. 

Guess that’s another one I can add to my tool belt!

tool-belt

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