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On Being Precious

December 23, 2017

Pia Mellody, in her book Facing Codependence, proclaims that we are precious. Precious regardless of your past thoughts, actions and deeds? Precious if you wanted nothing more than to sit on a sofa and read all day long? Precious just because you were born?

I read that statement after my first session with a counselor, and I fought it. I was reading the book while taking a hot bath, and I grabbed my highlighter and began writing in the margins. I wrote, “bullshit! Who thinks they’re precious just because?” And then I wrote some strong (ok…bold swear words), and bolted from the tub. I was going to do a little research to prepare fo my next session so I could tell Cate (my little helper) that both she and Pia were on crack-that not one person I talked to feels they are inherently precious. I was excited to call bullshit.

I dressed, ran upstairs to where Chris was watching TV. During the commercial break (it was football, after all) I asked him if he felt precious. He didn’t stop looking at his phone for even a second or take the time to look at me, but very nonchalantly, said, “yes, of course.” What? Maybe I asked him the wrong question or in the wrong tone, so I asked again. This time, I got his attention, he stopped what he was doing to look at me and again answer, “yes, don’t you?” I remember not even needing him to finish the question before replying, “No! Who feels precious?” We bantered back and forth for a little while and I had to finally walk away. This was not even possible and my theory was already being shot.

So my second victim was my 84 year old mother. There was no way at all she felt precious. In her life, she has been through so much, and most of it is still sitting inside her spinning and festering, so I knew she would be on my side. Well she wasn’t and didn’t hesitate on her answer either. It was a conspiracy I was still determined to prove wrong, but the two responses struck enough of a cord in me that I did have the fleeting thought that perhaps it was me who had the issue because the last thing I have ever felt is precious.

Fast forward three months, and I can say my theory didn’t prove out. Everyone I asked feels precious, and I’m happy to say that their surety and confidence in answering the question must have validated this preciousness-thing a bit by allowing me to step back and want to join their group. Maybe I just assumed I wasn’t precious because I am not perfect. Maybe I held on to all that Lutheran guilt for so many years that I needed to shame myself into non-preciousness. Whatever it was, I started to tell myself I was precious. Then I began to start feeling precious. And now, every day, something happens where I am reminded that I am precious and I do deserve to have my needs met.

So on this day before Christmas, I declare that I am precious. I declare that the reason for the season, the birth of our Lord and Savior, also thinks I am precious and for that reason alone, I feel full. We are all His children, so let’s start living like it. When do you see a child not being spontaneous and playful? They do what they feel and they know they are inherently good and loved. The pass gas without holding it in. They squeal with glee when necessary and they always show how they are feeling. When did we stop living like this? I know, we can’t fart in public, but you get my drift. We are precious. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God and he came to Earth to die and save us. As a parent, I don’t think I could send my son or daughter into the world knowing the kind of death they were to endure just to save a bunch of people I didn’t know. But God did, and for that, we are inherently precious and loved beyond measure.

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I Have Something to Say

December 20, 2017

I have something to say, so I fired back up this blog in the hopes of getting out these words and adventures that will impact others.  What exactly to say will probably be different each day/week/month. Our world is changing so fast and what I do to counteract the bad while magnifying the good is important.

I’ve thought of doing this for years now but I don’t take the time. Thoughts and ideas stir in my head becoming reality to me, and they don’t make things better.  And I need to make things better.  For example, I work in the construction industry and have for over 30 years.  I could say #metoo hundreds of times over, yet the one time I did, I was punished.  This has stayed with me since I was 29 years old, and I haven’t, since then, been able to hold to my truths and stand firm on my convictions.  Until now.  Until I finally got help.

And there are so many other voices to my life that I want to get out in a public space.  Yes, for me, but also to create healthy conversation that has an impact on helping others that may be going through similar situations, but mostly, to carry forth what has been my mantra for 30 years: to want to make this world a better place for my daughters, and now my grand daughter.  Keeping quiet won’t be of much value…I promise.  I have way too much to say.

When In Utah

January 2, 2016
So what do people do when they’re in Utah? They exhaust themselves with the plethora of activities that surround them, that’s what! And then they wake up one morning and can’t walk, can’t lift their arms, can’t bend over, and just need a day of rest! But no fear, we are heading to workout soon and the elliptical machine is going to be my friend. Yuk!
As Utah newbies, our first ski trip here was to Brighton, and we had a BLAST! What a fantastic “hill”! It had just enough variety for our varying levels of ski ability, and Mikey could board.
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The only other mountain I’ve skied is Red Lodge Mountain in Montana and the last time I skied there I was 8 years younger than I am now, so this was a perfect start to get back into the swing of things.  By the end of the day and three runs down a black diamond, I was ready for longer runs and a bit more of a challenge. So what do we do?  Yep, jump right to the master, Snowbird. What in God’s name was I thinking???
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Snowbird is not necessarily the place for hearty Minnesotan’s to get back on their skis!  We started off taking the tram up to the top because again, why wouldn’t we?  Straight up to 11,000 feet forgetting that we needed to get back down on skis. Two of us worked our way down via the “cat-backs” which is a glorified switchback, and it was not enjoyable.  One of us didn’t care for the heights and looking down the cliffs, so he road the tram back down and headed off to smaller venues.  Finally I saw three ski patrols hanging out so asked them where to ski on this mountain that wasn’t going to kill me.  Thank goodness they directed me to the other side where Michael and I were able to conquer and fall in love with the Bassackwards run and a couple lovely black diamonds with a host of moguls.
Being it was New Year’s Eve and the lifts close at 4:00, Snowbird had a torchlight parade at 6:00 followed by fireworks, so we stayed on the mountain, grabbed a beer, and huddled around the fire pits out on the deck to watch.  If you’ve never seen a torchlight parade down a mountain, let me tell you it was beautiful!  I was in awe and didn’t take any photos, but here’s a beautiful one I found online from Brett Pelletire Photography that expresses the magic of the night.
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Photo by Brett Pelletier Photography

And yesterday, as you know, we ran the Lifetime 5K Commitment Day run in South Jordan and we are tired.  My Achilles is screaming at me and all I really want to do is crawl back in bed and watch reruns of Fixer Upper!  But no, we are off to the club to keep this perpetual motion thing moving forward because what doesn’t kill you supposedly makes you stronger.  Right?

A Reflection on 2015

January 1, 2016

As tradition has it, January 1st of each year marks the time when we have the opportunity to start with a clean slate and to make resolutions and commitments for the upcoming 365 days.  For me, I’ve never been much of a goal setter for the fact that doing so may prohibit me from seeing other ideas and options outside of what I am pursuing.  So instead I reflect and start anew with this year and am open to whatever it has in store for me.

Today, I symbolically committed to 2016 with a 5K run because it felt good to start the year with family, movement, and breath; a way to breathe in the new, and pant out the old.

IMG_5042And then continued contemplating the year before asking, “What worked?  What didn’t?  What did I learn?”

To begin with, I still marvel at the fact that I am here.  I am alive.  I often feel like I should be on my knees humbly and gratefully thanking God for the continued breaths He breathes into my lungs each day, and yet I still get deep into to-do lists and minutea and forget what truly is important.

To fill you in, last February, more life changing events happened than any other time in the 30 years we have been a family.  Little Lady Charleston, our beautiful grand daughter, was born one day, and the following day I lay in a hospital bed not knowing the severity of what had happened.  Blood clots decided to take residency in my lungs, and not knowing or honoring the symptoms my body had been showing me, I pushed them away for as long as I could until I had no choice but to get emergency care followed by a three day hospital stay.  The very next day, Chris received a phone call from Western Governors University in Salt Lake City with the invitation to pursue a new job with them, and the next he made plans to meet and interview.  By the end of the week, he had a soft offer with the official one coming shortly thereafter.

We had always talked about selling the house in the spring of 2015, but in no way, shape, or form were really going to get it done without being forced, and we were forced.  By the end of March, Chris was an employee of WGU and we were staring adventure, hard work, and the unknown right in the face.  As Chris started to travel to and from SLC and many other states for work, I kept working and got the house ready to sell creating and completing task list after task list.

In this 9 month process from baby/clot/WGU, I lost a lot.  I lost my physical strength, the comfort and security of what had been our home for 16 years, and my yoga (not the physical practice but rather the practice of becoming aware of my truest nature).  I no longer felt the divinity within and I definitely did not let go and surrender to God in the manner I had grown accustomed to but rather, I held on tightly to what I “thought” I could control and cross off in my planner.  I hid from friends, and I hid from myself.  Everything I did was done on the surface with no feeling of deep, raw love or true gratitude, and this is not a fun way to go through life and something I do not want to repeat.

So today I commit to living and not to resolutions that will alter the shape of my body.  I simply commit to live in the present, working to release any attachment to the past and the future. I tell my yoga students, when they are in supta baddha konasana, that they can place one hand on their heart and the other on their belly to feel and connect with their heartbeat-that one precious and ever-important beat that keeps the body alive without any control on their part.  I then invite them to remember this beat when they are stressed and are grappling with trying to control situations in their life and to know that those things which are truly important will happen organically and naturally.  I realized today, that this is a good lesson I also need to follow; so I commit to letting go of the desire to control everything and everybody and instead will breathe and be still remembering my beating heart, for I am alive.

 

Peace in 19′

October 5, 2015
Evie getting properly situated in her new back yard

Evie getting properly situated in her new back yard

Friday began a new adventure.  Evie, (aka our new 19′ travel trailer), is parked in Zimmerman where she is just a short jaunt down the hill from Dad & Lynette’s home, and we are spending our first night here relaxing, listening to the Minnesota Orchestra on MPR, reading, and obviously blogging.  Prior to us hunkering down for the night, Lynette made us a great spaghetti dinner, dad served us church-lady pie, and we visited while watching an old moving on TV before heading down to see what this sleeping-in-a-camper thing was all about.  I dare say, so far, the whole experience, pie and all, it pretty darn swell.

All gussied up

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At this moment, I feel like we live in a tiny house, (I think HGTV is going to show up with cameras any minute); like this cozy space is home and we truly need nothing more.  Granted, that feeling will probably go away but for now it is peaceful and embracing.  The weeks and months prior to this night have been chaotic and discombobulated, and there has been little time to de-stress.  But that has ended.  We are still. 

And as in most instances, I either have a camera hanging around my neck or crammed into the back pocket of my jeans-and sometimes both.  Wandering around the property brought back such wonderful memories of childhood some 40 years ago even though it was not the place where I grew up.  The same tractor is still being used, and my dad, as neat as ever, has a way of making crashed airplanes look beautiful.

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And if you’re wondering about the name, Evie, being I need to name my vehicles, when I purchased Evie from my 2nd cousin, I asked if the camper had a name, and it did not, she was nameless.  I offered up the name, Evie, after my grandmother, Evelyn, as my new car, Lula, is my maternal grandma’s nickname.  Gail, my cousin, instantly loved the name because my grandma, unbeknownst to me, was her Godmother.  It couldn’t be a better fit.

And so it begins

May 1, 2015

The journey begins today. We are here at the airport in Minneapolis heading to Salt Lake City. Chris just asked me if I was excited and I am and I’m not. How’s that for being indecisive? 

  
Change is never easy for me and the feeling of being without home is throwing me off. The house in Buffalo is for sale so it’s no longer “my” personalized and quirky abode.  And we have no address moving forward, so things are gray when I prefer black or white-no middle ground for this lady. 

But if I step back, and think of what God is teaching me; patience, trust, stillness, unattachment. I am happy. I’m learning new lessons which will I must need to learn. I take peace in knowing I’m exactly where I need to be at this moment in time. I tell that to my yoga students, so I best be able to walk the talk as well. 

So here’s to life’s lessons of being without home, new adventures, and being abundantly blessed. 

Namaste. 

What Rest Means to Me

October 27, 2014
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Even if I had stayed in bed and rested all weekend, it would have still been time well spent.  The original plan was for me to travel with my yogi friends to a cabin in Northern Minnesota for some girl-time, however after the last 6 weeks of “darkness,” non-stop eating, and the blahs, with a ton of guilt, I dug deep and found the response that I seldom give which is “no.”  What I needed was family, the Joni-version of rest, and my own bed.

Full on rest is never in the cards for me and being my my dear brother from Florida was in town, everyone got together at mom’s for Friday dinner and maybe a beer or two, (or three or four).  It was time to laugh, eat, reminisce, and pay homage to the growing baby bump that will be exploding onto the scene in February.

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The grandbaby keeps growing and growing!

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Sisters snuggling the poor brother

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Proof that my kid looks just like my brother!

On Saturday, Mr. P. puttered around the house and did some grocery shopping so I could be in the kitchen cooking sides and dessert for a nice dinner with friends at their home in St. Paul.  It felt so glorious to stay in my jammies and slippers all day with cookbooks spewed all over the kitchen counter along with flour and apple peels while listening to Boston Public Radio.  How I got addicted to classical Boston is beyond me! I’m damn lucky, (or should I say Jen and Alex are), that I even bothered to shower before going into their place! The comfort of their home feels like the comfort of mine, so quiet conversation, good food, wine, and as always a lot of laughter were good for this girl’s soul.

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Yes! I did too make it! And all from scratch!

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What’s the Wohl house with party favors?

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Mikey and Jen getting into trouble

Sunday brought about the final life enhancing experience of the weekend which was taking my mom for her 81st birthday to brunch at Haute Dish in the Warehouse District for what was one of the BEST bunches I have ever consumed, (the chicken and waffles were to die for!), buying some MAC lipstick, (yes, Jen, Dubbonet), and then attending the Vocal Essence Made in Minnesota concert at Orchestra Hall featuring the works of three women composers, one of which was Dessa whom I love.  Yes, big girl-crush on Dessa!

Dubonnet looks good on everyone!

Dubonnet looks good on everyone!

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Me and my beautiful mama

The most magical part of the weekend was being fully present for each little bit and truly experiencing the sounds, the tastes, and the people around me.  This is my kind of rest right now, and by gosh by golly, I rested up well.

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