Tag Archive | peace

my balanced life (me and lot’s wife)


I am Lot’s wife.

Frozen in place.  A pillar of salt.

Eye on the past, no thought for the future.

Carrie and Regina Mae

I haven’t written a word since my last post on my beautiful friend, Carrie.  Afraid to write, afraid to think or feel.

Afraid to lose my friend.

Not the kind of loss that can be overcome by a long talk and a foot soak over a favorite pastry from The Corner Perk.

My sweet friend who taught me how to listen to my body.  How to walk into a room full of stretchy-bendy yoginis and just do my best.  Not compare myself to their best.

My sweet friend who taught me how to recognize peace.  How to walk away from the toxicity in my life.

My friend who taught me as much about bravery as any sheepdog I know.

I keep looking back to when the studio was open.  My safe haven from the ugliness and pain in my life.

Always looking back.  Frozen in place, my own little pillar of salt.

After spending the evening with her, I realize the fear is mine.  The despair is ours.  She’s made her peace and is ready to move on.  It’s those of us who will be left behind who struggle and despair.

Holding my breath, holding my words, won’t change the outcome.

Maybe breathing again, sharing my pain, will provide the salve my soul needs to keep going forward.

Maybe sitting next to her, absorbing her peace, will crack away at my pillar of salt.  Allow me to break free and face forward again.

Carrie

I love you, my friend.

I’ll miss you.  Always.

Sweet dreams.

See you on the other side.

adventures in dating (or here comes the rubber band man)


men are from mars women are from venus

I’ve been reading Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray, Ph.D.  For some reason, reading Gray’s theories about men and women make me as prickly as a porcupine.  Men are strong, silent types who have to solve their own problems. Women are clingy, drama queens who just need to sit in your lap for a few minutes to make their problems go away.  Seriously?

The only chapter that makes sense to me is the chapter about men being like rubber bands.  They get close to a woman, realize the level of intimacy is too strong for their comfort, and then run as far away as their rubber band will allow.

If we women do not chase after them (with phone calls, texts, emails), eventually, they will realize they miss us and bounce back to us with even stronger feelings than they had before.

I don’t know if that is true or not.  But I do know one night, Nature Boy told me he could live the rest of his life on air and my touch. Then the next morning, he yelled a lot, ran down the stairs, jumped over the doggy gate and got bitten by my sweet Rocky dog, never to be seen again.

I tried calling him after that, tried to figure out what went wrong, tried to assure him I didn’t want more than he was willing to give.

Then, I gave up.

A couple of weeks passed, then the text.  Have a great day.

Then a few days later, a phone call.  Hey, what are you up to?

About a week later, a phone call about his computer freezing up.  He doesn’t know what to do.  “Bring it to me,” I say.  “I’ll fix it.”

Do you ever wonder, when you haven’t seen someone in a while, if you were missing them, or just missing being with someone?

I was missing him. 

Do you ever wonder, if you come back together again, will it still be as comfortable? As peaceful?  As exciting?

It was.

We spent the evening together, downloading anti-virus programs, updating his security settings, basic computer fixes.  Went out for sushi while we waited on updates.  Laughed and talked about anything and everything.

When he kissed me at the end of the night, it was like that first kiss all over again.

Boing.  Rubber band man is back.

Another week passed, with calls (from him to me, not vice versa), and another meeting to give his computer back.

And now he’s MIA again.  Guess he’s trying to outrun the rubber band again.

Question:  Have you read Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus?  What’s your take on Gray’s theories?

my balanced life (or bring on the joy)


Do you remember what joy feels like?

little blonde girl in a grass skirt running in the surf

I spent the weekend at the beach in a one-bedroom condo across the street from a perfect stretch of beach.  My sister and her husband came down for the weekend, with my three-year-old niece.

If you ever forget what joy feels like, spend the weekend with a three year old.  Dress her in a grass skirt and watch her run along the shoreline, kicking up water, laughing and giggling with the glee of the ages.

Three year olds are as tickled by the dead fiddler crab as she is the live hermit crabs.  That kind of exuberance is contagious.

Three year olds don’t worry about how they look in their bathing suit.

little blonde girl buried in sand

They don’t worry about getting covered in sand.  Although if you bury them in it, they may exclaim, “Daddy, that’s gwoss,” before shaking themselves free and galloping down the beach again.

If you’re lucky, they are as happy to take a long nap after a morning on the beach as you are.  And you might find, if you wake up with a little hand holding yours, a little bit of their natural joy seeped from their hand to yours while you slept.

Question:  What brings you joy? 

my balanced life (or finding my margin)


keep calm and go to the beach

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the need to find margin, that slice of space needed to prevent overload in a busy life.  Michael Hyatt writes about it here.

Margin is not something that comes easily in a busy life. I’ve been feeling the crush of deadlines and responsibilities the last six months.  I’ve talked a lot about needing to get away.  To create a little margin away from my day-to-day responsibilities.  But being able to actually make that margin in my life just wasn’t happening.

Right now, my business schedule doesn’t allow me to be away from my office for more than a day here and there.  That is a reality that won’t change in the near future.

Which means the most margin I can carve out right now is a little weekend trip.

When I do get away, I need to find somewhere close.

It also helps to know which setting is most relaxing to me.

For some people, it’s the mountains.

For others, it’s a big, bustling city.

But I find peace at the beach.

sunrise on Hilton Head Island

I am blessed enough to live fifteen minutes from the beach.  But even that entails packing a day bag, towel and chair, snacks and water bottles, and then sitting in traffic.

This weekend, my friends were sweet enough to lend me their one-bedroom beach condo on Hilton Head Island.  The commute to the beach was grabbing the beach chair and my beach bag and walking across the street, over the boardwalk and across the sand.

I was there to watch the sun set behind the beautiful condos dotting the beach, watching the sky change from blue to pink to black.

I was there to watch the sun rise above the pine trees and sea grass.

The most strenuous responsibility I had was holding my book up high enough to avoid the waves and moving my chair in and out, following the tide.

A nice long walk at end the day.  An early morning jog to start the next.

Short walks back to the condo for naps as needed.

Paradise.

Margin.

Peace.

Whatever you want to call it, I found it this weekend.

I have a few hours left before I have to make that big fifteen-minute commute back home.  My teenager awaits my return.  As do my four dogs.  And my fifty pound backpack of responsibilities.

But for now, I’m going to grab my beach chair, beach bag and beach read and head back to enjoy the last of my time away.  My margin.

Question:  Do you schedule margin in your life?  That break from your responsibilities that gives you the chance to recharge and rejuvenate? 

lessons from my garden (or I am ready for new soil)


peace lily with two large blooms

I am mending my plant serial killer ways. A couple of weekends ago, I realized I’ve had two peace lilies for five years. One of them was an office-warming present from Client Number One when I left the Big Firm.

Once I got past the amazement of keeping anything alive for five years, I realized the peace lilies were looking crowded and root-bound in their pots. I spent a peaceful, joyful afternoon with Eliza, my favorite five-year old friend, carefully removing the plants from their pots. Gleefully dumping five-year old potting soil and spreading it around the backyard. (Every adult I know could use a lesson in gleeful from any available five year old!)

There’s something inherently satisfying about digging into a fresh bag of potting soil. Maybe it’s my farmer grandfather’s spirit hovering nearby. Or maybe just the memory of wandering around his basement with its rows of African violets and blue lights.

Eliza and I played in the dirt like five-year olds. Which one of us actually is. Transferring potting soil from bag to pot. Carefully separating the contents of each pot. Setting each half in its own pot. Filling in soil around listless roots. Giving each half a new home, old roots surrounded by new, nutrient-rich soil. Watering each plant to ease the transition to its new home.

I grew up a Navy brat. We moved a lot. Eleven schools from kindergarten through twelfth grade. My roots were frequently pulled up and planted somewhere new. The sole consistency in each new home was my parents and my siblings.

Live Oak trees draping over dirt road

When Sweetness was a baby, we made a choice to settle somewhere our children could have roots. Roots that are as deep as the live oak trees that surround us here in the beautiful Low Country we chose as home. Eighteen years later, I know I made the right decision. Sweetness and The Genius have roots that are deep and sturdy. They have a support system that goes far beyond their immediate family.

live oak tree

Sometimes people need to be transplanted, too. Life in the old pot gets too crowded. Our soil is leached of nutrients. Our roots are bound because we’ve run out of room to grow.

When Sweetness graduated last year, she moved to Charleston. Two hours away is far enough to count as being transplanted. There’s an indescribable satisfaction watching your child flourish. New soil. A little watering from mama and daddy. She’s blooming as sweetly as ever. Roots firmly planted. And the sure knowledge that there will always be roots she can come home to.

After eighteen years in one place, my roots are starting to feel a little root-bound. I love the life I made here. But the wandering feet I grew up with are getting antsy. Usually, a yearly trip to a new locale pacifies my wandering ways. Sadly, my work schedule isn’t allowing more than a three-day weekend here and there.

Maybe it isn’t my location, but my job that needs to change. Or the men I’m dating. Or the hobbies I’m choosing.

beautiful peace lily bloom

I am ready for a change. Ready to be transplanted. Ready for new soil, fresh out of the bag, teeming with nutrients. Ready to be watered so I can bloom, bigger and brighter than ever.

Question: Have you ever been transplanted? How did it turn out for you?

my year of balance (or Regina Mae floats away)


I take care of my body with intention.  I practice yoga.  I get acupuncture.  I do detoxifying foot soaks.  I get rainbow oil treatments.  I tap using EFT.

yin-yang symbol

I am a Reiki master.  I meditate.  I pray.

Four years ago, I was overweight, stressed and unhappy.  Perimenopause meant hot flashes and out of control emotions.

Four years ago, I started my journey into holistic medicine.

Four years ago, I started seeing my brilliant acupuncturist, Dr. Rahmie Valentine.  Week by week, her needles worked their magic on my meridians, or energy channels.  Lying on her table, I feel myself float away.  From the table.  From my troubles.  From my pain.

As my meridians opened up, I saw definite, palpable improvements to my body and my emotions.  My hot flashes went away.  My emotions came under control, allowing me to stop using Lexapro.  My digestion cleared up, resolving a lifetime struggle with IBS.

During one of my treatments, I mentioned to Rahmie that I had inexplicably started doing yoga at home.  She referred me to Carrie Peterson Wandall, who became my beloved yoga instructor.

girl in downward facing dog yoga pose

Yoga helped me get in touch with my body.  It helped me start to hear what my body was trying to tell me. I lost twenty pounds in yoga.  I learned what peace feels like in my yoga classes.

After surgery, I told Carrie that I felt like I just couldn’t shake the anesthesia.  I felt like I was walking through a cloud.  She referred me to Barbara Bock, R.N., Ph.D.

Barbara is a registered nurse who earned a Master’s Degree in Health Care Management and her Doctorate in Health Care Administration.  Barbara spent years in traditional medicine before her own health crisis led her to holistic healthcare.  She is a Reiki master and Licensed Massage Therapist who uses her life experiences and intuition to change people’s lives.

Barbara introduced me to the world of detoxifying foot soaks.  After the first soak, I felt like a new woman.  I slept better.  I had more energy.  I felt lighter as I walked out of the treatment room.

reiki hands and om symbol

Carrie also brought me to Reiki.  “Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing.”  Carrie introduced me to Bob Calabrese, who gave me my first degree attunement, and Vivian Quattlebaum, who gave me my second degree attunement.

Eric Burns gave Carrie and me our Master attunement together.  I met Eric at one of Carrie’s Holiday Restorative classes.  She lined up several Reiki practitioners to go around the room and give Reiki to the participants as we laid in various restorative poses.  When Eric gave me Reiki, my entire body tingled.  To this day, I’ve never met a more powerful Reiki practitioner!

Four years after starting my journey into holistic healing, my body is healthier than it’s ever been.  Yoga and meditation are easy ways for me to keep in touch with my body and mind on a daily basis.  Monthly acupuncture visits keep my meridians flowing.  Rainbow oil treatments are the newest feel-good addition to the repertoire.

I can’t wait to see where this journey leads me next.

Question: What do you do to take care of your body and soul?

adventures in dating (or miss independence)



lit sparklers

Three years ago this month I leapt madly toward independence.  It was like jumping out of a tenth floor window of a burning building.  Sometimes, it doesn’t matter if there is something waiting to break your fall.  Where you are is so bad, you have to take that leap of faith.

Asking for a divorce was the scariest thing I’ve ever done.  I tortured myself with self-doubt.  What if I was wrong?  What if he was right, and we were supposed to stay together?  What if the separation destroyed our kids?

What if I went through all the pain of the separation and then ended up with someone else exactly like the one I left?

What if I ended up ALONE?  I couldn’t imagine a fate worse than being alone.

I found a dead Monarch butterfly on my back patio around that time.  I saved it, wrapped in tissue in a Premier Jewelry box.  Whenever I was tempted to call my ex, I’d pull the box out.  I’d remind myself that if I stayed in my marriage, my soul would be as dead as that little butterfly.

Three years later, I look back on the woman I was like she’s a character in a book I read. Her grief is a distant memory, more like something I’ve watched on TV than lived firsthand.

Her anger and bitterness a distasteful chapter in a book I never want to read again.

power to choose

I’m thankful for my beautiful children, who worried about me and took care of me as much as I took care of them.  We grieved together.  For a family lost.  A husband and father absent.  For what could have been.  And never was.

As I write these words, tears pour down my cheeks.  A reminder that maybe the pain isn’t as distant as I thought.

I’m thankful for my friends who remind me of Jeremiah 40:31.  But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. 
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” 

My friends stood next to me.  They soared with me when I could.  They ran with me when I couldn’t.  They walked with me when that’s all I had left.

A couple of times in the last few months, I’ve thought to myself, I love being single.  Or, I like being single more than I ever liked being married.  It’s taken most of the three years to get to this point.

Being alone doesn’t scare me anymore.  I know there will always be people in my life.  Family to love.  Friends to lean on.  Boys to play with.

It takes time to get to this place.  And it’s a good place.

Maybe it’s because I’m in this place that Nature Boy finally found me.

Nature Boy is my biggest surprise.  He drifts in and out of my life like an unanchored boat.  When he’s around, he brings peace and stillness.  He soothes my soul.  As I soothe his.

Five years before I met him, I pointed out his sailboat to my photographer sister.  She snapped the pic and it’s been hanging in my office ever since.  From my desk, if I look left, there’s a picture of Sweetness.  If I look right, there’s a picture of Nature Boy’s sailboat.

Serendipity?  Fate?  Whatever brought Nature Boy to me now, I’m in a good place to enjoy it.  Enjoy him.

Question:  Have you declared your independence yet?  Or are you happily dependent?