I don’t have many memories from my childhood …but one that stands out for me is a memory from when I was about 9 or 10 years old and a cat was hit by a car in front of my house. Thankfully, I can’t remember every detail. But this is what I do remember…I remember seeing the cat in the road dragging her back legs behind her, circling and panting in the street. I remember many of our neighbors standing out in their front yards watching. I remember my moment of confusion as I tried to figure out how a person could hit and injure an animal and just keep driving and I remember wondering why no one was doing anything to help her. In that moment, it became very apparent that I had to do something because no one else was going to. I remember running from house to house trying to figure out if anyone knew who this cat belonged to…no one did… I remember devising a plan with my dad to take this helpless kitty in for veterinary attention. I remember picking this scared fur baby up out of the street and getting smeared with her blood. I remember trying to calm this precious girl while I held her in my lap. I remember arriving at the shelter where people told us they would do all they could to save her…
This morning, this story came to mind and as I have learned to do, I reflected on why. It became clear to me that the reason was my grief over America’s current state. America is the cat dragging her back half behind her and I want/need to do all that I can to lend a hand. America is in disrepair and I won’t take a bystander’s role. I can’t sit idly by and wait for someone else to take charge or speak up. I can’t sit around thinking it’s not my problem…it doesn’t affect me. What affects one affects ALL! I truly believe that’s why Trump is in office. There is always a reason for everything and Trump taking office is our wake-up call. He is serving as our catalyst for change. His role? To steer us away from our state of inaction and complacency. We have to get involved and fight like hell for all that we hold dear in our hearts. Nothing will improve, nothing will change if we stand by and wait for someone else to take the initiative!
There’s a 4 mile dirt road to Barnhardt Trail that after rain and snow turns into a bit of a mud bog. We braved the muddy trek to the trailhead in Payson, Arizona last weekend and my car has been sloughing mud ever since. Over the last week, I've been discovering chunks of dirt in my driveway and I hear it rattle off while I drive. I LOVE it! To me it is a metaphor for my hiking adventures…I get out there in the beauty of nature and with every step I take, the stress sheds off like the mud from my wheel wells and under carriage!
Hiking is my drug of choice! It is my miracle cure for all that ails me. I get out in nature and I’m instantly connected to Mother Earth and all who inhabit it. I make an effortless transition from my head to my heart and my anxiety and worries disappear. I find myself, my beauty, my greatness. I connect with the beautiful soul that I am and I remember the great capacity I have for love.
Some of my favorite places to hike in Arizona are West Fork Trail in Sedona, Barnhardt Trail, Horton Creek Trail, and Tonto Natural Bridge in Payson, Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior, Sabino Canyon in Tucson, and Ramsey Canyon Preserve Hereford.
Yesterday I marched! What an incredible feeling to come together with like-minded individuals to let our voices be heard. What an amazing energy we shared. Then to get online and see the millions of men, women, and children around the world, all 7 continents, who marched in solidarity. It had healing powers!
We marched in peace with nothing but love for ALL of our fellow humans. We marched to say We the people of the United States…WE the people, ALL of the people…every man, woman, and child…black, white, brown, lesbian, gay, Muslim, or disabled.
I love that we are a country where everyone is so different! That is what makes AMERICA GREAT! I choose love! Love is what will change the world! We are all in this together! It is not us/them. It is US/WE! We are Americans! We are Great! Love one another. Be the change.
We are going to be okay, my friends. But we have to keep this energy alive. We have to continue to fight for what we know in our hearts is right and just. Love wins and together we rise!!!
"It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality...This is the way our universe is structured, this is its interrelated quality. We aren't going to have peace on Earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality." ~Martin Luther King, Jr., A Christmas Sermon on Peace, 1967
I’ve been on winter break and being away from my regular schedule has wreaked havoc on my slumber! I am definitely one of those people who needs plenty of shut-eye to be a happy human! Anyone who knows me well can attest to this fact! I’m a teacher and I work with a room full of little people every day. This requires a great attitude and a lot of patience, something I’m unable to provide without a proper night sleep! So, upon returning to work, I decided I needed to get back on track or make some adjustments to my usual routine. I began doing some research (Yes, I do like to research! Perhaps I missed my calling!). What I found isn’t anything I didn’t already know but every now and then I need a good reminder and maybe you do too! There were definitely some areas of self-care that had gone by the wayside! Here are just a few tips on getting better sleep to start the new year out rested and ready to take on the world!
National Sleep Foundation. (n.d.). Electronics in the Bedroom: Why it’s necessary to Turn Off Before You Tuck In. Retrieved January 12, 2017 from the National Sleep Foundation website: https://sleepfoundation.org/ask-the-expert/electronics-the-bedroom
Mayo Clinic. (n.d.) Sleep Tips: 7 Steps to Better Sleep. Retrieved January 12, 2017 from the Mayo Clinic website: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep/art-20048379
Hendrick, Bill. (n.d.) Exercise Helps You Sleep: Regular Aerobic Exercise May Help Insomniacs By Bill Hendrick. Retrieved January 12, 2017 from the WebMD website: http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/news/20100917/exercise-helps-you-sleep#1
Altshul, Sara, (2011, November 3). Lavender – The Sweet Scent of Sleep: Whiff lavender for a more restful slumber. Retrieved January 10, 2017 from the Prevention website: http://www.prevention.com/mind-body/natural-remedies/how-lavender-can-help-you-sleep
The Dr. Oz Show. (2012, September 24). Fact Sheet: Melatonin. Retrieved January 10, 2017 from the Dr. Oz Show website: http://www.doctoroz.com/article/fact-sheet-melatonin
So, a few years back in the middle of my “storm”, I got a tattoo… I gave it a lot of thought because, well, it was going to be permanent. It would be a sunflower because sunflowers represent happiness for me… It would have a bee flying into the sunflower to exemplify the obvious, Be Happy! I wanted my sunflower to be a hybrid of a sunflower and lotus flower. I love lotus flowers…out of the murky water grows this magnificent blossom! And…I wanted there to be an Om symbol incorporated in there somewhere – very yogi. Oh, and I wanted it to be small.
I met with the tattoo artist and we talked about my ideas while he created a rough sketch. When I left, I was satisfied with the design. But when I arrived for my tattoo, he’d come up with something entirely different and much larger than we’d discussed. Well, I was, I’ll admit, a little freaked out, but then I realized that it would be the perfect tattoo, a theme for my life going forward!
Because, divorce was certainly not what I’d imagined for my life. Meet high school sweetheart, check. Fall in love, check. Go to college and get a degree, check. Get married, check. Get a Job, check. Buy a home, check. Have kids, check, check. That’s how it’s supposed to go, right? It’s the natural progression. But Divorce, not a part of the plan. So, the tattoo was perfect, not at all what I had planned for or expected, but absolutely perfect nonetheless! Because life doesn’t always work out the way you imagine. There are NO guarantees.
We all have our own path with detours along the way and I’m discovering that it’s the detours that give us strength and build our character…make us who we are meant to be. Divorce is one of those detours and I am left to figure out where I want to go from here. And the good albeit terrifying news is that there’s no road map. I get to create my own!
Happy New Year, my friends. It's a new year, a time for new beginnings. One of my goals for this year is to really be present for every moment, to relish all that is happening right now. I don’t know about you, but I tend to lose myself in the busyness that is life. This holiday season really was an eye opener for me. I always get so caught up in in the “have tos” of the season. I have to decorate, I have to buy gifts, I have to fill stockings, I have to bake, and I have to plan the holiday meals. But, do I really have to do any of those things? Nope, I really don’t. What is important to me during the holidays is that they are filled with the people I love. It is about the moments with my family and friends that we will look back on with fondness…slowing down to gather together as a family and breathe in the beautiful moments. It is in the presence not the presents!
And the holidays are really just a magnified representation of our everyday lives. We often get so busy, so caught up in all we have to do, that we don’t stop to smell the roses. We miss the beauty of each simple moment. When I began my journey to healing, to happiness, to myself, I did a lot of reading and researching happiness. One of the ideas that was presented over and over was how important it is to keep a journal. So, in my quest to become a great journal writer, I came upon an idea on Pinterest to list 50 things to be happy about. I began my list which, of course, included the obvious…my kids, my pets, my family, and my friends. But what really hit my heart, were the less obvious, the simple pleasures like sitting in my kitchen sipping hot peach tea with the door open and the breeze blowing in, the way the sun dances on the pages of my journal as it finds its way through the slits of the blinds, kitty snuggles, comfy pajamas, a hot shower, laughing so hard with friends that I cry, a clean house, and the smell and feel of clean sheets when I climb into bed at the end of a long day. Life is in these simple yet beautiful moments. It is happening right here, right now and if you don’t take the time to stop to notice and appreciate these simple moments, you will miss them, you will miss LIFE!
Cheers to a new year! May it be a year filled with the simple pleasures of life! Will you take the time to notice them?
Lisa is a teacher, mother, yogi, lover of life, and collector of experiences. Her motto: Life is what you make of it. So, do what you love and enjoy every minute! She’s on a journey of self-discovery and believes it’s important to write and share her story as a way of healing herself and others.