Thursday, July 23, 2015

Changing The Thought "I Hate My Life"

This morning when I woke up, I did what I have been doing the last few mornings: I chose the thought "Life is good" to replace my morning default "I hate my life."

This is a vulnerable confession. This is part of my journey since losing my daughter. Choosing this new thought each morning is a challenge, but it definitely is helping me face each day more fully.

I know from experience and from my studies that all-out positive thinking doesn't really help—and can even harm—if you don't believe what you're thinking. Trapping your true feelings beneath pretty thoughts leaves grief and pain crying silently in the depths of your soul like neglected or abandoned children.

But substituting one partially-believed thought ("I hate my life") with a more positive partially-believed thought ("Life is good") can shift our focus and feelings in a self-nurturing way without denying our present reality.

It is painful for me to think "Life is good." How can life be good without Caety? How can life be good when I have lost my precious child? How can life be good when she did not get to continue living here, where she enjoyed so much of this world?

Yet I know there is a glimmer of truth in "Life is good." Family, friendships, caring for others, giving and receiving love—these are all still part of my life, and they are good.

So I step forward on that truth, that chosen thought, wincing with discomfort and effort, like someone learning to walk again as they heal from a hundred broken bones.  ♥    

The day after I wrote the above—before I even had a chance to post it—grief suddenly dropped me into a hole so dark I couldn't even see the glimmer of truth in "Life is good." 

I slept as much as I could (the only way I felt relief), cried a lot, and breathed through the intense pain in body, mind, and heart.

Eckhart Tolle says to accept everything—even to accept that you cannot accept. Some days I cannot accept the way life is. At those times, I accept that I cannot accept. No sense beating yourself up for not being able to stand.

Six days later, I am able again to awaken this morning and tentatively tell myself "Life is good."  ♥    

Photo: Caety, Stephen, and Ryan, July 2011

Life is good Beach Wave Heart T-Shirt (Pacific Blue)

Friday, March 7, 2014

I Wake Up Depressed Every Morning

[Originally posted on Bubblews March 5, 2014]

I wake up depressed every morning. If you have read many of my posts, you probably know that there are reasons for me to feel depressed. That's part of why I don't write more than one post per day on average. Sometimes it takes all day for me to start to feel good enough to put together a coherent piece of writing. Right now it is 11:37 AM and I am struggling to write this, as I am still very much in that dark place. I could've just waited to write like I usually do, but I'm trying something different right now in this moment - writing from the darkness and deep sadness and despair. Tears spring up now and I can't see the words I type.

It has gotten even worse this week because my ex-husband wants to sell the house where I live, the house where we (mostly I) raised our children. The last 20 years of Caety's life were in this house. Her pink-walled bedroom is here, left almost exactly the same as it was the day she went into the hospital never to come home again. I sit here typing at the kitchen table, directly across from the chair where she sat and ate and took hundreds of pills and remedies every day. The daybed in the family room calls up memories of her lying there asking me for a back rub to ease her pain. When I look out at the backyard, I can still see her sitting there on the hill on a blanket, reading a book or gazing at the sky or a rabbit, feeling moments of peace and joy in nature. I miss her so much.  

Photos of our backyard taken by Caety, May 2012, six months before she died. From her Facebook album titled "My Lovely Garden."


10 Reasons I Don't Write 10 Posts Per Day
I Wrote A Poem Today And Cried

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Be Brave ~ My Bravelets Story And An Offer For You

Last year shortly after Caety died, a Facebook friend who I have never met in person, Katarina Phang, expressed her compassion and desire to comfort me by telling me she wanted to buy me something special for Christmas. She asked me what I would like.

I had just happened to see Bravelets advertised on Facebook, and knew at once that I would love to have one of these beautiful bracelets inscribed with the words "Be brave" as a reminder to me to be brave and to "be okay" the way Caety wanted me to be.

Also, $10 of the purchase price would go toward research and help for people battling cystic fibrosis, so this was the perfect gift for me. Katarina ordered the purple CF Bravelet, and I have worn it almost every day since the day it arrived. I never leave the house without wrapping it around my wrist. It feels like a connection to Caety.

I also decided to buy a CF Bravelet last Christmas for each of my other children - Ryan, Stephen, and Robyn. Robyn's is just like mine, and the guys have the men's style bracelet. There is a new style available especially for young children too.

Last week I received an email from the Bravelets company telling me about their brand new independent consultant program and asking if I was interested in this new approach they are taking to getting the word out about Bravelets. I immediately said yes! It's a product AND a mission that I can stand behind 100%.

If you or someone you know need a tangible reminder to BE BRAVE, and you want to support an important cause that is near and dear to your heart, please take a look at www.bravelets.com where you can order a Bravelet for any of over 160 causes. Using the coupon code mel007 will give you a 10% discount, and will also give me credit for the sale. And $10 per Bravelet will go to support your cause.

Thank you for your support and for caring about the lives of people who are suffering, whether it's cystic fibrosis, Alzheimer's, abuse, Crohn's, cancer, multiple sclerosis, or any other serious struggle. Please share this page with your friends who might like Bravelets, too.  

More about my journey with grief: I Wrote A Poem Today And Cried

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Of Course I Don't Know What I'm Doing

Ever since my daughter died last November I have alternated between periods of intense pain and desperate distraction. It has taken me this long to even say or write the word "died." It sounds too final and real. I don't really know how to go on.

So of course I don't know what I'm doing.

If you've read my long and meandering blog post from July you know that I want to write about Caety. I still feel like part of my purpose is to finish the book I started writing the day she was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at three months old. And I want to share her writing with the world as well.

But I can't bring myself to enter that dark space.

So I distract myself with TV shows new and old, and write about other things, occasionally slipping in a word or two about my much-missed daughter because sometimes it just leaks out.

Most recently, a piece that started out innocently enough - Friday Favorites: What Movies Do You Love And Why? - quickly turned into a mini memorial. I should've seen it coming. Luckily, the tagline of the site I'm writing on lately is Speak Freely. Write Your World. That works for me.

So, since I am distracting myself with writing on this new addictive platform, I thought I'd share some of my latest work with readers of my blog (all eight of you).

Those of you who are writers or fans of earning money at home might be interested in these essays about my new adventure as a Bubbler (yes, you read that right):

Learning My Audience On Bubblews (And Other Thoughts About Writing)

It Takes Me Forever To Write A Bubblews Post

Sunday Share: Two Pin-Worthy Pages

I've also written several articles about relationships. Here are some of my favorites:

The Get A Good Relationship List

Relationship Ready And Receiving The Gifts Of The Wait

Do Women Really Have Too Much Masculine Energy Or Is It Something Else?

The complete list of all my Bubblews posts so far can be found here. If you're interested in writing for Bubblews, too, and want to help me earn twenty whole cents, you can use my referral link.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate it more than you know.  

Photo by Ryan Myer. All rights reserved. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Protected, Safely Solitary. {Poem}

scared of relationship
Photo by Raegan Young. All rights reserved.

afraid of relationship

"Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find 
all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it." ~ Rumi   

What would you have to give up to have the relationship you want? Are you really ready for intimacy? What would you lose? What are the risks? What are your fears? Be completely honest with yourself. Share your thoughts below! 

Read Unconsciously Resisting Intimacy: Are You Secretly Afraid To Be In A Relationship? (coming soon)

Recommended resources for personal and relational growth:
Margaret Paul's Inner Bonding
Inner Bonding Relationship Toolbox
Michael Brown's The Presence Process

Friday, July 12, 2013

What Would You Do Differently If You Didn't Have To Earn Money And How Would It Change The World If That Were The Case For Everyone?

What would you do differently if you didn't have to earn money, and how would it change the world if that were the case for everyone?

My mind landed on that question after spending a couple hours contemplating where online to submit a poem I had written. 

My plan was to try to get the poem published on a site with a larger audience than my blog, and then link the poem back to a related essay I would post on Squidoo - a site which, unlike most these days, actually pays its top writers (those who bring in a lot of traffic, hence my desire to draw more readers via publishing on other, non-paying, sites).

The problem was that most of the sites I was interested in - elephant journal, tiny buddha, MindBodyGreen - required submissions to be Word documents, and I write on a Mac. My sons told me it was simple: just save as Word doc. However, this particular poem is a pattern poem, and I would have no way of knowing if the formatting would be right when the editors opened it in Word. I could use a PC at the library (and I still might do that) but it might be a lot of work for nothing, as these sites are very selective.

HelloGiggles was a possibility, but only for their section From Our Readers, and I sheepishly admit that my ego struggled a bit with that idea; it brought back memories of contributing to Highlights as a ten-year-old. I investigated thoroughly - click, click, click, click - and decided it wasn't completely out of the question. 

But what to do?!?! How to decide? I wasn't thrilled with any of the options.

I reminisced about the pre-internet days of mailing poems to print magazines and gleefully getting paid $30-60 per poem when selected. For years I tried (and failed) to break into Woman's World's romantic fiction department simply because they paid $800 per 800-word story. I remembered my first online writing gig - $200 for an education piece for edhelper.com (which no longer pays freelancers). 

Suddenly I stopped the labyrinthine wanderings of my mind and asked myself: What do I really want? What is my ultimate goal and how can I get there? 

I needed money, that was true. But money never used to be my main reason for writing. I write because it is my passion, part of who I am. And although I often write for my eyes only, I have loved an audience ever since fifth grade when Mrs. Fandozzi asked me to go downstairs and read my illustrated story, Valerie The Valentine, to the kindergartners. 

My dream in life from the time I was eleven, was to live in a cabin in the mountains, my children playing in the meadow while I wrote story after poem after book and regularly walked down to the mailbox at the end of my winding driveway to mail them to publishers. Once or twice a week we would gather in homes with friends to make music together and laugh and talk and hug and find ways to make a difference in the world.

I think that is still my dream. Maybe not the details, but the spirit of it. I want to write because it brings me joy; I want to write to share that joy with others; I want to write to make a difference in the world, even if that difference is simply an extra smile or a moment of encouragement or connection or comfort or hope.

But what about money to live on? Writing is both exhilarating and tiring . . . and time-consuming. The more time spent earning money in other ways, the less time and energy left for writing. (I have no idea where the money was coming from in that cabin in the mountains scenario. . . .)

And that is how I arrived last night at the question: What would I do differently if I didn't have to earn money?

I want to write about Caety, but I am afraid to really start because once I do I will be lost in emotions like a deep dark forest for a very long time, and useless for making money until I come out on the other side. I want to write about many other things as well. There is so much inside me. 

If money weren't an issue, I would write and write and write, and publish publish publish. I wouldn't worry about how to get paid. I would follow my heart and pour it out on the world. I would laugh and cry and ache and smile as words flowed through me onto the page, and hopefully impact people's lives in a positive way. I would probably submit the previously mentioned poem and related essay together to one of those sites, instead of strategizing about monetizing.  

They say, "Do what you love and the money will follow," but I have not yet found that to be true for me. I know it is true for some of you. Others of you can relate to what I am saying and feeling and asking. Have you ever wondered how it might change the world if we all followed our passions without concern for earning cash? Might the world actually be a better place if we didn't have to make money? 

What would YOU do differently if you didn't have to earn money, and how would it change the world if that were the case for everyone?

I would love to hear your thoughts!

And since I haven't yet found a way to function without money, I would love for you to visit my pages at Squidoo or check out the products and services promoted here in the sidebar. I am also boldly throwing a donate button on here, just in case anyone wants to "support the arts" in that way. 

Thanks for reading, and please comment and share! 


P.S. for those of you who follow me on Facebook, yes, this is the post I wrote in my head in the shower and then lost. Apparently I found it again. 

P.P.S. I just realized I still haven't decided what to do with that poem.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

You Fly With Two Wings

I recently heard someone say something like this: You fly with two wings - one is intention, the other is faith. I felt surprised that the second one wasn't "action" (I had been expecting it to be when he was saying this.) But I felt a flutter of excitement and a resonance in my spirit, and memorized the idea.

A couple days later, my frustration with a particular aspect of my life became unbearable and I declared to myself that something was going to move within the next two days - there just was going to be some movement, and that's all there was to it. I simply couldn't bear it anymore. But how was I to accomplish this when there was no "massive action" to take? There really didn't seem to be anything I could do.

The next day I became more brave and realized there was something I could open up myself to more than I had before - so, with fear and trembling, I did.

And something moved.

That's when I remembered the wise words spoken the week before: You fly with two wings - one is intention, the other is faith. My intention had become so strong that it was finally a wing with which to fly.

My faith had also become stronger - I knew that something had to happen, and believed that it would, even though I didn't know what nor how. When the invitation to greater bravery presented itself, I recognized it as my opportunity to flap that little wing of faith.

There was action on my part, yet it was a tiny action (though massive internally), and it was action that flowed naturally and fluidly from my intention and faith.

So, with these newly strong wings, I will fly.

I'm not sure where I'm going or what I will find, but at least I am flying.