Grateful for the Book Tour

I knew I’d be writing a post like this.  I knew I’d feel changed and ever-grateful for my time with Lissa last week.  But to tell you the truth I thought it would be for totally different reasons than it is.

You see, Lissa is a Goddess.  She is a Rockstar.  She is a Rockstar Goddess!  She is grace under pressure with enough energy to light up a big city.  I was in awe of the way she moved through each day, accomplishing everything on the agenda, answering her hundreds of emails, and being loving and open enough to sit and talk with individuals after events about their very personal female problems.  She has made her way to the stage and it’s going to be so much fun to watch it all unfold and know I had a small part in it.

When the opportunity to serve as “roadie” was first brought to me I told Mark I needed to do it so I’d know if my career goals were right for me.  Since I started writing again in 2007, I have dreamed of a career like Lissa’s.  I wanted to write books and travel, speaking to crowds and doing book signings.  I’ve thought so much about this dream that in ways it has disrupted my creative writing.  As time passes and I see myself no closer to “the goal” it has really brought me down.  So getting to experience the “Rockstar Author” life vicariously through Lissa was just what I needed.

I assumed that I’d get there and think “YES!! THIS IS THE LIFE FOR ME!”  Instead, it didn’t take long for me to realize I thrive on the simple, quiet life I have.  I reserve the right to change my mind (which is something I am told Charles Fillmore, founder of Unity, used to say), but that high-demand-everybody-wants-a-piece-of-you  life is not for me.  I love that I can sit on the couch and read a book for an hour without feeling like there is something else I need to be doing.  It’s nice knowing I get to pick the girls up from school everyday and schedule playdates for them.  I don’t need to be anyone else’s Rockstar because I am one to the people it matters to the most.

During her presentations, Lissa often mentioned how you can leave your job but you can’t leave your calling.  Her calling as an OBGYN was to take care of women.  As the author of What’s Up Down There? and creator of Owning Pink, she is still answering that call.  This was something that flashed like a red light across my imagination every time she said it.   THE CALLING!  I’m not 100% sure of my calling but the trip definitely gave me some ideas.  Although I’m resisting it like you wouldn’t believe, I think it has something to do with teaching!  Just like Lissa, I left that traditional job yet I still feel called to help educate people (though I’m not exactly sure on the subject).

This Thanksgiving week, I am so grateful for the chance I had to test-drive the car before I plunked down the money to buy it.  Now I’m one step closer to the me I’m meant to be!

In honor of the holiday week the next 4 days on the blog will be low-key!  I am still in need of “click stories” if you have an “aha” moment you’d like to write about!

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Lissa Rankin

In honor of heading off on tour with Lissa, the Sunday quote is from her.  I wanted to choose a quote directly from What’s Up Down There but I was so excited about spreading the message that I gave all of my copies of the book away.  The following quote from Lissa comes from a post she wrote on Owning Pink called For Victims of Molestation.

“Most importantly, know that you are loved. Your body is beautiful and whole. Your vagina is precious and wondrous. You deserve to be touched, to feel pleasure, to be cherished, to know joy, to live bountifully, to radiate sparkles of a life fully expressed. You deserve to heal.” -Dr. Lissa Rankin

Referral Day

I waited until the last possible minute, hoping someone would send me a click story.  Alas, the clickstories inbox remains empty.  As for me, I got nothing at the moment so I thought I’d refer you to a post I wrote for Owning Pink last week.  It is about an issue that I do not have the privilege to be voting on today, but one that peaks my interest none-the-less.  Please click here to read my thoughts on California’s Proposition 19.

PS:  I really want to keep click stories a part of the blog…if you have one please send it my way.  See the writers wanted page for details!!!

What’s Up Down There?

Most of you know that I write for a website called Owning Pink (technically I should have a button here, but I’m just not that computer savvy and couldn’t get it on the page).  I met Lissa Rankin M.D. in May of 09 about a week or so after she launched her website/blog on Twitter.  I was immediately hooked on Owning Pink and in awe of Lissa.  I must admit that in the past year and a  half she has been my biggest inspiration.  Every milestone I have watched her achieve has somehow felt like it also belonged to me.  I am so emotionally invested in her mission and success!!  All that being said, her book What’s Up Down There: Questions You Would Only Ask Your Gynecologist if She was Your Best Friend was released on September 28th and I pre-ordered 3 copies (one for me and two to give away).

The weekend my books arrived I was out of town.  My daughters informed me I had a package while we were catching a ride with a friend.  Knowing I’d ordered extras, I turned to my friend and asked it she wanted a book about vaginas.  She answered with a resounding NO!  I wanted to defend the book and insist my friend take a copy, but honestly in that moment I thought what if it is just a book about vaginas?  What if it’s boring or worse what if it’s full of embarrassing tidbits that would make my conservative friends squirm?

I’d been advertising the book and telling everyone on FB to pre-order it and I had promised myself that I would write a review once I read it.  Now that I had the book, my big fear was that I wouldn’t like it. If I didn’t like it I decided I’d stick to the old rule: if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

After only a few pages I quickly discovered all my fears were unfounded.  This was Lissa at her finest.  I’d been reading her words for over a year and this book was just an extended version of the beautiful posts she writes on Owning Pink.  I could hardly believe that I found myself unable to put down a book that can be found in the women’s health section of the bookstore.  The book is almost 400 pages and I read it in about 3 days.

What’s Up Down There is full of valuable information.  It answers so many of the questions you had/have and are too embarrassed to ask and answers some that you may never think of.  Almost every answer given includes a story from Lissa’s personal experience as a woman or a doctor.  You really feel like you are having a conversation with Lissa.  There were several times where I had the urge to be like “Oh my gosh, let me tell you about this time that…” then I would remember Lissa wasn’t sitting in front of me telling me these stories, I was reading them.  (I resisted the urge to email her with my OMG stories because I’d be willing to bet those emails are flooding into her inbox these days.)

The book has a wonderful flow and is broken up easily so that you can pick it up and read a quick section while the angel hair pasta is cooking or you’re waiting for your kids to put their shoes on before going for a walk.  It has stories that will make you laugh, cry, and cringe a little bit.  It has information about every stage of life from puberty to beyond menopause.  The underlying and most valuable lesson in this book is that you are wonderful just as you are.  Lissa is all about love and this book invites women to love every inch of themselves including all those girly parts that we often curse.

If you are a woman and someone asks you if you would like a book about Vaginas, ask what the title of the book is.  If it’s What’s Up Down There by Lissa Rankin M.D., SAY YES!  Do not miss the opportunity to read this book, even if parts of it make you blush and think heavens me it’s worth it!!  And if you are a man, consider reading it so that you’ll understand a little about what the women or girls in your life are and will be going through (also you might learn a few tricks to use in the bedroom).

The Word God

I find these days that I have a very strange reaction when people write or talk about God.  When I stumble upon religious blogs and read about a God that is very “human,” I feel somewhat assaulted.  I was reading through some old comments on this blog yesterday and found one in which the person mentioned that we should let God be the judge.  That person had commented in my defense, yet reading the comment still urked me.  I was thinking about this recently and I had this “click.”  What if I don’t actually believe in God? WHOA!  I’ve been chatting back and forth with a blog friend who is an atheist.  We have A LOT in common.  So I’ve spent some time over the last couple of weeks with this question and of course the answers have come to me.

The first answer I received came to me by way of that assaulted feeling, only this time I was reading my atheist friend’s blog.  He is an excellent writer and so often when reading his stuff I find myself shaking my head in agreement.  But in one particular post he emphasized his belief that there is no God and I couldn’t stomach it.  My heart ached as much as it does when someone talks about that judging, vengeful God.  So maybe I do believe in God.  WHEW!

So if I do believe in God, but my God is not that father figure waiting to reward or punish me, who or what is God to me?  During the week that this question was in my head I was reading the book “The Field” by Lynne McTaggart. The book was a bit over my head at first, but as luck would have it I began to really understand it and find my answers in its pages.  Basically the book discusses the scientific research being done that proves our connectedness and the power of consciousness (which I would define as our perceptions, beliefs, and ideals about our lives and environment).  “The Field” is, as I understand it, an energetic plane which contains all the memories of the past and the future.  Within it are all the discoveries that ever have and ever will be.  And we all have a connection to it and can go within to find that connection.  This book provided me with my definition of God.  God is this “field” and it isn’t subject to time, it knows all that ever was and all that will ever be.  It is always present and all powerful (particularly if you tap into to it).

God is not a father, a mother, or a son.  God is just a word.  Which brings me to one more piece of my answer.   I read this post over at Owning Pink and really got a lot from the discussion in response to it.  Like Dana (in the article), I believe that God is neutral.  I don’t think there is a being judging us, but I also don’t think there is something smiling on us when we do something good.  When our intentions are in line with what is best for our lives, we feel it, we KNOW it.  It’s not a reward or a punishment, it’s simply going with or against the flow.

I’m not quite sure how or if I’ll continue to use the word God.  It seems that how I define God is very different from the way most others define the word.  To me, there are many words that could be used instead.  There is spirit, energy, the Universe, flow, power, love, higher self, or “the field.”  The important piece of information here is that we are all connected and there is something that holds us together.  If we can use God as an excuse to go to war and to discriminate, then it doesn’t seem logical to me that THAT is actually God.

Alice’s Click

The following click was sent to me by a fellow member of the Owning Pink Posse. Alice Grist is an author, tarot advisor, and Reiki practitioner. You can visit Alice’s website here and learn more about her book, “The High Heeled Guide to Enlightenment.” You can also follow Alice on Twitter here.

I’d like to share this story with you as it describes how in the midst of madness something just clicked and life changed both instantly and gradually to became very different to how it once was.

I was once quite an exhausted party girl. Having been donning the glad-rags, over-drinking and living for the weekend for ten plus years, I was beginning to change. Things hadn’t been going well in my life and I had found myself contemplating a way out, not anything drastic, but I desperately wanted to abandon my life and start afresh. A zillion random ideas whizzed through my mind, possible retraining, traveling, lord knows what – I was truly grasping at straws. Then I struck upon something that had always been very dear to my heart; faith and alternative spirituality. As a youngster my Dad had been a Vicar, who eventually became a Wiccan ( Witch) and so I had been raised familiar with all manner of esoteric things. I was a dab hand at tarot, and had embraced spiritual healing. However in the haze of my teens and twenties all this fell aside in favor of spirits of an altogether different kind. Enough was enough though and I started to research Buddhism, Kabbalah, Shamanism, Reiki etc etc, and before you know it I had started to find another path. But that wasn’t the click moment.

The click came one morning before breakfast. I was drawn to the computer where I wrote one blog about my thoughts on spirituality. I then jumped into the shower, home of all great a-ha moments for me, and suddenly I knew it. I was to write a book for Women in my situation. Women who were looking for spirituality but weren’t quite sure where to start. I had to write it starting now and it would be called The High Heeled Guide to Enlightenment. Mission received. Click. Two and bit years down the line and that book is now in print – mission accomplished, and I have another one on the way. My life is utterly transformed and I am finally following a path that I know is my very own. Love, love, love that click.

Surrender

I went to visit my friends in North Carolina a few weeks ago.  I also got to have a short visit with my mom and my sisters.  Mostly, it was a great weekend.

When my plane took off to come back home and we were climbing higher and higher I looked down and recognized the landscape.  I saw a familiar building and a neighborhood.  It reminded me of something that I had been trying to let go of.   Feelings of fear, resentment, and regret bubbled up.  It was all ego stuff, attachments I needed to free myself of.  For me a portion of that weekend had been about making peace, forgiving and moving on even if it was only inside myself.  So it astonished me that I looked down and saw this representation of a chapter, a struggle, I’d been having within.  As the plane moved through the sky I made a decision to surrender and I felt the peace of it.  When we descended toward Tallahassee at the end of the flight we passed through the thickest, whitest, most angelic clouds I had ever seen.  Rays of sunshine streaked through them and the sight of it took my breath away.  It verified the beauty of surrender!

Flash forward a few weeks later and I do feel freer.  My reactions aren’t the same.  The things that bothered me before that moment don’t bother me now (or at least bother me a great deal less).  But it seems as always, life tests me and I am having to remind myself of the message of surrender.  I am finding myself attached to goals and outcomes I prefer for myself.  I spend a lot of time analyzing how I might get to where I want to go.  I look for signs to suggest a direction and a means of transportation.  I want to know when, how, and what!  But I’m also awake enough to see what I am doing to myself.  I feel the knots in my stomach and I know I should stop and choose another thought, another activity, something that helps me remember the truth.

I read this post on Owning Pink tonight and it helped me gather my thoughts to finish writing about surrender, because surrender is really about letting go of attachments.  When I am attached to an outcome that I envision for myself I am existing in a place of fear.  I am not trusting in the idea that my life is divinely led.  If I believe (and I do) that God goes before me to make the crooked places straight, than I must surrender to that idea.  Letting go of my fearful attachments allows me to live from a place of love and faith.  So, starting now I will feed my soul by being present with God, my family, and myself.  I will let go of the expectations I have for my life, my career, and my place in this world.

Here’s a song I love by Mute Math.  It is called Control, but it is really about Surrender!

Also, I wanted to add at the end here that I am pretty sure I have written a variation of this post before.  But part of this journey is about getting the same lessons over and over until you master them.  It would be nice to say this is the last time I write about “Surrender” and “Letting Go,” but it probably won’t be.