Rebekah M’s Click

Rebekah found my blog through Love-olution and sent me the following click story about finding her career path. You can follow Rebekah on her blog Another World Is Probable. In addition to working as a journalist she also wrote a book called Just A Girl From Kansas: One Woman’s Dreams Are Ant-Sized Compared To What Lay Ahead, which will be published by her company Tri-Sight Entertainment next year.

Rebekah M’s click

It would be disingenuous for me to say I’ve had a click moment. More like moments. In truth, my life is a series of clicks, some big and dramatic, some small and subtle. What follows is one of my more dramatic clicks.

As a sophomore in high school I joined the yearbook staff. I loved yearbook. I looked forward to it and didn’t even mind if I had to stay after school to finish some work. At the end of the year I was so proud of our book – the cover, the layouts, the photographs. I thought it was award-winning material. The staff went to a yearbook camp at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and I was sure we would win something.

We didn’t.

Watching all those other high schools win awards I took the determination that next year my high school would win something.

My junior year I became the editor-in-chief of the yearbook because there were no seniors to take up the post. Our theme was Evolution, something concocted by the former editor-in-chief. She laid the whole thing out for me – how we would start in black and white and eventually progress to color. How our typography would begin with a typewriter-esque font and evolve into something more modern. The whole nine yards.

The entire year I poured my blood, sweat and tears into that book. I made sure the whole thing screamed Evolution from our copy to our visuals. I took work home with me many a night to ensure we made our deadlines. Even though it was stressful I loved every minute of it. Even when I wanted to pull out my hair.

The year ended and it was again time for yearbook camp at UNC-Chapel Hill. I sat in the 400-person lecture hall with the lights dimmed and the projection screen lowered with my heart pounding. Would we win anything? Would our name flash across the screen?

Yes.

We won 12 awards that day including first place for theme copy, which I wrote. In that moment, when I saw my name flash across the screen I realized I wanted to be a journalist. Not only that I wanted to be a journalist but that I could be. That it was possible.

It is my firm belief the Universe communicates with us like that all the time. That there are a series of moments where we can give into what is being conveyed to us. Where we can say, “Yes. I believe you. I trust in divine guidance and I’m willing to take the plunge,” or not. I hope you say yes because when you do your heart will sing and the world becomes magical. I hope you say yes because as Paulo Coehlo would say in The Alchemist you are following your personal legend. And there’s nothing more gratifying than that.

What am I doing now? I’m a professional journalist. I don’t work for the New York Times or the Washington Post but I make a living as a writer. And all because of that one moment at yearbook camp.


Why I Like Eminem and The Wire

I’m in the car the other day and the new Eminem song (the one with Rhianna) comes on.  I sing along to the chorus, it moves me, I think it’s good.  I can’t say that it is actually good though.  The song in essence is about a violent and abusive relationship.    It is an artistic expression of the if I can’t have you no one can attitude.

Knowing this makes me question why I like the song.  Am I sick and twisted?  He sings about hurting her and she answers that she likes the way it hurts, loves the way he lies.  After giving it some thought I realized it is the honesty that speaks to me.  I don’t know that Eminem has ever lied to us in his music and lyrics.  He draws from what he knows, thinks and feels.  He takes the rage and instead of balling it up and pretending to be good and proper, he creates from it.

He admits his mistakes.  He warns of possible back slides.  He tells the truth as he knows it.  The truth reaches people.  It touches them for better or worse.

I loved the TV show The Wire because it told the truth.  The characters were believable.  The good guys were really bad sometimes and the bad guys were really good at other times.  Nobody is one or the other and an honest story shows us that.

Someone mention the honesty factor in response to my Stephen King post.  In his book, King talks about how important it is to tell the truth in your writing.  I’d say that falls in line with all creative expression.  When you put yourself out there and expose real emotions in your art or work, people will connect to it.

Simone’s Click

Simone is a fellow Owning Pink Blogger and Pink Posse member.  She and I have been connecting here and there through the world of Owning Pink for over a year now.  I love her energy and enthusiasm.  I was so excited when she agreed to write a “click story” for my comeback week!!  I know there are so many people out there struggling with the same decision she writes about and her story is an example of the many ways guidance arrives in our lives.  Here are some other places you can find Simone’s writing: Advice Blog-Good Witch, Bad Witch; Pop culture living for Carnal Spiritualistas blog-Pop Smarts Zen; Our self-paced online de-stress program-Still Sitting; Facebook.

When I was asked to write this article, I felt honored and relished the thought because writing is like breathing to me. Lately and persistently, I’ve been going through a lot in my personal life, a click shouldn’t be hard to recall. I rarely if ever feel blocked creatively, but suddenly realized I didn’t have a thing to write, as I’d recently been experiencing so many “clicks” that they were beginning to run together and I didn’t know where oneendedandthenextbegananymore. That clicking sound was getting loudly indistinguishable to the point of nearly negating itself. I needed some settle-out time just to stop the ringing in my ears.

A lot of my recent personal experiences have to do with family and duty. My cutie-patootie dad and I were talking and I stated that I had consciously and actively struck the word “obligation” from my vocabulary and actions at least 20 years ago. Plus I’ll believe in the Tooth Fairy before I believe in being “guilted” into anything. Even if I didn’t actually want to do a thing, I would willingly do it if I could muster up some legitimate (for myself) intention and reason that was sustainable. Nice words. Now in recent times, I found myself (a very caring but non-maternal woman) faced with the business end of caregiving for a family member who doesn’t (and can no longer) realize how much help she needs doing most everything. This sort of lengthy (coming up on Year 5), daily, ongoing task has started hitting me as a duty and I noticed I’d begun to resent it. If you met me even once, you’d know I’m not a shy and quiet person. How I’ve been expressing that simmering anger and frustration externally is snappiness at slower others. Unattractive…and not accurately reflecting what’s actually eating me. I had to really search to reconfirm/-affirm, if possible, my own legitimate intention, and exactly how sustainable it really was.

I did what I’ve done for decades: I meditated in bed, and asked my guides for signs and messages. “C’mon, babies! Talk to me. I am willing to shut the eff up and listen.” Immediately the next morning, dyed-in-the-wool night owl-me, sprang awake naturally at 5:00 a.m., made a beeline to the kitchen table where the 25-page Care facility documents were lounging lazily, procrastinating, and attacked them with a vigor that woke us both up. All business, all business, all business, eh!, no big deal, then…BAM! “List patient’s likes and dislikes” showed up. This question is an effort for the caregivers to help a patient re-engage as well as handle them with more customized personal attention. I wrote that she had once drawn and painted a lot, but no more, yet is still a very creative person. (Yikes, what a recipe for disaster that is!) I listed she likes natural objects including leaves and feathers. I noticed this line did slow me down for some reason. I even inexplicably started feeling warm and fuzzy about her again.

Later, I went out into the world. All day long, I ran into feathers. Feathers on the street, feathers in the cool store I discovered. I would have to be sleepwalking to not be knocked over by them. …And suddenly I remembered: the day before, we heard a vibratingly loud Thud!, and thought our full-of-life cat had knocked something over downstairs. It literally shook my house. Yet we could find nothing. Then after all the feathers showed up, we saw a huge moss clod on our front stairs. Obviously a large bird (to pick that thing up airborne!) had dropped it (probably while building a new nest). I often get messages from birds (symbolically the messengers) and knew “moss” was going to mean something really, really good. I could just feel it. The Book of Google said it represented “luck” and “money” both of which I have no conflict about.

I don’t think there’s no reason that this building block moss, meant for a new nest, dropped on my freshly painted house’s doorstep, as I am in the process of making a new home for a loved one. I don’t think the quieting of my anger and frustration and suddenly recalling how creative she is (too!), and all the feathers that kept flitting into the picture before me (did I mention my signature jewel feather necklace I wear?) are all just mere coincidences. I think I found my sustainability in recognition, in (re-) connection, in the flow of creativity and on the supportive hands of winged guides. I think when I think of her…there but for the grace of god, go I. My level of capability in this world is a gift, and gifts are best honored when shared.

If a feather “clicks!” and no one is around to hear it fall, has its message been delivered?

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Jane R’s Click

I received a click story in my inbox the other day and at first felt terrible that I had not found it sooner, but as I read it I realized the timing was just right.  I wrote about marriage on Monday and when I published that post I wondered about any readers who might be thinking that they’d been looking at the big picture and were tired of living in a black cloud and desperately seeking that silver lining.  I know there are people who put all they can into their marriages and still find that the only way to achieve joy is to leave it behind.  So this amazing post about the end of a marriage and the awakening of a creative, thriving, beautiful woman is for you. You can read Jane’s blog here.

One of my biggest personal changes happened when I got divorced from my ex-husband.  We had been living in a renovated carriage house on his parent’s property for 10 years.  His parents were adamant that the kids and I should stay and he should move out.  I had my chance to get that UHaul and move but I passed on it due to my own fear and self imposed limitations.  I simply didn’t believe that I could ever make it on my own out there with two children.  On July 1, 2004 my husband moved out.  As the kids ran to the window and watched the moving van pull out of the driveway, I sat there in a half empty dismantled home feeling envious that he got off that property instead of me.  He had the freedom while I put down the scissors after clipping my own wings.  It would be four more years of living next door to the main house and a soured relationship with my ex-in laws before the tides changed and I got that UHaul.  But in the mean time, those four years were the biggest gift from God that I ever got.  In that period of time I unearthed so many wonderful things about myself that I thought were long dead.

In the beginning of our divorce there were some adjustments to be made.  If you’re a woman who’s been through a divorce you know that no matter how happy you are to be free of a bad marriage there is a period of grieving that goes with it too.  For so long I was tied in to the identity of being someone’s wife.  Even though I was in a bad marriage, it still gave me a sense of feeling complete just knowing that I had a husband.  With the new title of “single mother” I really started looking closer at what it meant to be a woman.  Sometimes as a single mother I felt like I had scarlet letter on my forehead.  Other times women would approach me privately and tell me that they envied the freedom I had gotten because they had been in horrible marriages for years but were too afraid to leave for financial reasons.  It was then that I realized I would rather be single and struggling a bit than to stay in a loveless marriage for the next twenty years just so that I could hold on to the big house and tennis lessons.

It didn’t take too long after my ex husband moved out to realize that a huge mountain of weight had been lifted.  Granted, I was still living on his parent’s property and terrified about how I would make it as a single woman with no real career but I was still amazed at the sense of freedom for just having that weight taken off me.  I suddenly had a sense that if I could feel so much lighter despite those restrictions, imagine the real sense of freedom once I cut my ties to my in-law’s property entirely.

The greatest thing about my new found freedom was watching all the goodness in me resurface again.  The creativity that had no pulse was suddenly bursting out of me.   I replaced every piece of store bought art with my own original work.  My house was like a little art gallery.  I replaced white walls with vibrant yellows and reds.  I took up kayaking and entered in to the MS 150 bike ride from City to Shore.  For a woman who was constantly criticized for her bad cooking, I was suddenly finding myself devoting Saturday mornings to making Linzer Torte and homemade spinach pasta.  No longer fearful of being condemned for a messy house, I was elated to put my infamous little stacks of books and papers wherever I wanted.  I was creating a space and life that was uniquely mine and for the first time in my life I didn’t mind being without a partner.  During my first marriage I rarely went anywhere.  I isolated myself in our bedroom for hours.  Now I was taking every chance I had to go out and throw myself in to social situations that would allow me to talk and connect to everyone.  It was marvelous.  It truly was.  But the turning point that started me on a long path of self-discovery happened when a co-worker challenged me to pick up my camera and get involved in a Flickr project which involved taking and posting one self-portrait a day for a year.  The first time I picked up the camera and turned it on myself I cried.  It was actually joyous because what I saw staring back at me was a beautiful woman who had locked herself away for years.  It’s true that the eyes are the window to our souls.  Once I took that first snap shot I was hooked and it wasn’t because of some vain ego thing at all; it was because each photo revealed more of who I was on the inside.  I needed to take those pictures to continue to evolve.  Of course the posting on line lead to connecting with other people globally.  Now a whole new world of endless possibilities to connect was at my finger tips.  I started a blog and realized that I could actually write.  Five years later, I’m still blogging and continuing to build and connect in ways I never could have imagined if you asked me six years ago.  I’ve since remarried to an amazing man and life is so good.  I feel like I’ve been given a second chance at living.  I’ve been rebuilding my life slowly.  Writing, I’ve discovered, has a voice inside of me that needs to come out and share itself with others on their journeys.

Goddess Amy

I have thought of several blog posts this week and even wrote one that I saved and am not sure about publishing.  Aside from the one, I haven’t had the creative urges to sit down and put any of those ideas into words.  On Monday I said I’d write about the sculpture.  Since then I’ve gone back and forth on the idea.  I’ve had moments where I thought it was just too personal, moments where I figured anyone reading would think I was absolutely crazy, and moments where I wasn’t sure it needed any words or explanation at all.  But sitting here on Thursday afternoon it occurs to me that since I said I’d write about it I ought to stick to my word.

Unless you are a new reader to my blog, you know my precious friend, Amy, died in October.  This was the first time I’d lost someone so close.  She was a sister to me and someone I just knew would be in my life forever.  I know that sometimes people die young, but I just never expected it to happen to someone I loved so much.  In my process of grief, I’ve uncovered an enormous fear of abandonment within me.  If I could lose Amy, I could lose anyone.

When I left for Salt Springs on Thursday I realized it was the first time I’d traveled without Mark and the girls since Amy’s funeral.  I cried and then did all I could to distract myself.  I listened to a great interview with John Waters on NPR.  When I lost the radio station I put in my Ipod and listened to music.  I’d wanted to travel in silence, but I just couldn’t deal with the silence.  In the silence my fears were too loud.  But at least I was on my way to a healing place.

The weekend was good.  I had a few moments of emotional release.  (Those things tend to happen when you allow them to.)

I knew that part of the reason I was there was because of Amy.  I needed to think of her, cry for her, and release the fear surrounding the loss.  What I wasn’t really expecting is the way I would connect with her.

The second day we had a session where we put together ingredients to make a special soap clay.   We were then instructed to create a Goddess.  She could be anything: person, animal, or symbol.  I hadn’t made anything with clay since elementary school.  I had no idea what I was doing, but started forming the clay.  I began to make the shape of a woman and then added angel wings.  Very soon, I knew what was coming through.  After the body and wings were done, I molded her long flowing hair.  Then I had to decide what she was wearing.  The bridesmaid’s dress she was supposed to wear in Kristin’s wedding.  After that I added a bouquet with beads for flowers, put shells around the bottom (b/c certainly Amy’s heaven is a beach somewhere), placed a halo on her head and a butterfly on her shoulder.  I was so excited as I watched my “Goddess Amy” emerge.  I was truly in the flow during the whole process and Amy was there with me.

After our assignments were complete we were told to ask our Goddess what message she came to give us.  (Everything we create is expressing something.)  I looked at mine and inwardly asked the question.  The message that she had for me was “I am always with you.”

Going Crazy?

So yesterday I posted the quote by Julia Cameron.  The last time I started reading “The Artist’s Way” I had underlined it.  That quote spoke to me in a big way.  For those of you who read it and perhaps weren’t quite sure about it…here is the paragraph it came from.  This might clear it up a little.

“Trusting our creativity is new behavior for many of us.  It may feel quite threatening initially, not only to us but also to our intimates.  We may feel-and look-erratic.  This erraticism is a normal part of getting unstuck, pulling free from the muck that has blocked us.  It is important to remember that at first flush, going sane feels just like going crazy.

So I’d say my life has been filled with “craziness” over the past two and a half years.  Everyday I am a new person.  There was a spark, a light bulb moment where I realized what creativity really is.  I always related creativity to art and production.  If you could produce some thing unique and beautiful then you were creative.  But all of us are our own greatest works of art.  My life is a result of what I am willing to create and imagine.  If I believe it, whether it is good or bad, I can see it.

But as I have traveled along, learning to trust my creative powers, there have been moments where it appears that I’m out of my mind.  (Which technically I am and that’s a good thing.) Things that are an everyday part of my life now, I couldn’t have fathomed three years ago.  One of my oldest friends said in response to reading some of my blog posts “I don’t even feel like I know you anymore.”  It was bittersweet to hear.  Bitter because I want her to know me, sweet because I am moving ever closer to who I am meant to be.  If I appear to be crazy then I must be pulling free, getting unstuck, climbing over the roadblocks, and sloshing my way through the muck.

Star Wars Geeks

I just started watching that show The Big Bang Theory.  It is so funny and is based on these guys who are super smart and successful in their fields of science.  They are all stereotypical geeks and the best one of all is Sheldon.  He has to be the funniest character on TV currently.  I am quite sure in at least one episode they have made a reference to Star Wars, which made me start to wonder about the correlation between intelligence, success,  and being a Star Wars fan.

Mark grew up on Star Wars and is so into it.  When the new ones came out we saw each one during their opening weeks  in the theater.  We didn’t camp out or anything like that, but we were still there ASAP.  He is currently turning our daughters into Star Wars geeks.  They have seen all the movies except episode 6.  That DVD is  the only thing they beg for when we go to Target.  Callee knows all the characters names and when I take her to Border’s she manages to find everyone of the Star Wars picture books.  Mark has asked me if I think it’s OK and I’ve actually decided that its great for them.

My theory is that the kids who grew up as Star Wars fanatics apply the principles to their lives.  So first of all it teaches you to be less egocentric. The idea that there is this huge world out there with so many possibilities reminds you not to be too limited.  Who knows how many planets and life forms there really are and Star Wars does an excellent job imagining some of them.  Which brings me to the next plus…it encourages creativity and imagination!  Then of course there is the dark side versus the Jedi.  Despite the hardships and suffering that is endured along the journey, good always prevails in the end.  If not for this message, what would be the reason to be honest and ethical and follow through with good ideas.  Finally and most importantly we mustn’t forget THE FORCE.  I kind of think that every true Star Wars fan actually believes in the force and because they believe in it probably watch some pretty miraculous things happen in their lives.

So yes, I love that my girls are becoming Star Wars geeks just like their daddy.  For awhile Mark had this Yoda quote on his facebook page: “Do or do not…there is no try.”  That is one of the Star Wars quotes he lives by.  When he decides to do something he does it and does it successfully.  Rarely have I seen him fail at anything.  When he comes to what appears to be a roadblock he finds another way to get the job done.  But he always gets it done.  And if this is what he has learned by watching those movies, I will gladly let him pass that gift on to our daughters.  And it doesn’t hurt that it will be the special thing they have with Daddy!