dreaming.

As 2013 begins to close out, I dreamed of a burning overstuffed kitchen trashcan this morning. The flames licked the papers and trash, dangerously close to spilling onto our wood floors.  I desperately looked around for water to put out the smoke-less fire, but could not find any thing to douse the flames.  In frustration and fear, I attempted to close the plastic trash bag around the flames, but ended up irritating the fire further…

I then woke up poking my husband in the arm to please tell me that he put out the fire in the kitchen? Only answer I received was a string of chuckles.  Apparently, I have been sleep talking this week.

(Time away from work-work does that to me.)

This wasn’t my first burning dream, but it’s been at least a decade since the last one.  Long time ago I had repeat dreams that an errant cigarette smoldered under the sheets in my bed…

During a time when I was experiencing massive change in my life on many levels.

I am, of course, curious to find out what this means to/for me now, a decade later, when life has been relatively stable. (Er., outside of MS joining the party along with too many family losses.)  Or is this simply the result of leaning into Stephen King’s masterpiece, On Writing?

But, I have a hunch there is change yet again on the near horizon…Year of the Horse will soon be upon us and my first book (draft) complete by end Q1.  Oooh, I just got goosebumps typing that.  Can’t help it.  Do I dare share my draft title?!  Uh.  Not yet.  😉 Let’s just say it’s chick-lit, laced with some self-help woo-woo and maybe a unicorn or two.  Er, writing a book within a book is d*mn hard!

Huh.  Change.

Book?  Changes with work?  Back to school? A Master’s degree?!  New friends?  Turning 40. (No ? required for that last one.)   Travel?  New home?  All appear to be waiting up ahead, but oddly…things feel closer than they have in the past.  Whooo hoo!  Bring it!

What fires you up ahead in 2014?!  Do share!!

Wishing you the most happy, healthy, and abundant year ahead!  I am so grateful that you take the time from your day to read my nonsensical keystrokes!  I still giggle any time someone finds my blog when searching for INFJ Death Stare…which happens almost every other day…

Have a safe New Year’s out there people!!

xox

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two more sleeps…

before I begin writing something brand new.  fiction.

in other words:  two days to NaNoWriMo.  wow.  can’t believe it’s almost here.

today, the nerves started to settle in:  how am I going to write an average of 1,667 words/day?  :-O

especially with work being as crazy as it has been the last three weeks.

the life coach in me says to just focus on the feeling state when I write…it feels so good…remember how much you love it.  so do it!

but, what if I miss a day?

then I’ll have to write 2x that figure.  or 1,667 divided by number of remaining days.  that feels a bit better.  😉

sure.

no problem.

uh huh.

I have my story outline.  theme.  characters. (three central characters.)  goals.  motivations…internal and external.  (mainly internal, as that’s how I roll.)  conflicts.  and two pinch points.  one better than the other.

I don’t have to be the next Sarah Gruen, but I will finish.  I will.  I will.  see you on the other side!  last year I did 50 blogs in November…roughly 30K words.  this year, I’m doing 50K words.  yikes!

rock on people, and don’t forget that voice in you that urges you to do more, be more, give more…it’s sooo worth it.

xo

a boy called Gus.

I type this while our little girl is snuggled up next to me.

her head resting on my thigh.

one long ear draped over my left wrist.

peaceful sighs leaving her body.  breathing in and out.

she purrs like our Chloe.  I have never heard a dog purr.  but our girl does.

I wonder if that’s something Monty would have taught Gus.

a boy we would have called Gus.  the dog we will never know.

it still makes be sad that we will never know him or see him grow.  what would have been our Gus stories?

yet we made the right decision not to take him.

we got caught up in the puppy love.  he was so soft and squishy.  who wouldn’t??

we just wanted more love in our house after the last few years we have had…too many losses.

but then wise reality started to wriggle her way in.  think of the effort, she whispered.  and time.  the messes.  the frustrations.  his size.  and your poor girl was scared, remember?? what would happen if they were home alone together, and he snagged Red Bear??  

er. yes.  our girl was scared.  and we ignored her.

so we began discussing what could happen if this or that should occur? guilt and shame followed forgetting that we have all the love we want (and need) from our girl.

one is enough.  enough.

xo

sweet spot.

getting in the zone.  don’t you just love it when that happens?!  I don’t know about you, but I sure do.  😉

Suzanne McRae wrote about this topic earlier this week.   check out her amazing blog!  (we met in EFT training last summer; she’s brilliant.)

finding the sweet spot is a concept that has been rolling around in my head for the last few weeks…as I have been feeling like I’m in the zone much more frequently than usual.

sometimes it feels too good to be true (!)…and then what happens after that thought shows up?  life throws a curveball.  go figure.  you know what I’m talking about if you believe in the law of attraction.  😉

for me the sweet spot is a feeling of expansion, oneness, and low-grade (non-MS) buzzing throughout my entire body…I can see the future before it happens…I know what is about to arrive.

yet without any sort of attachment to the outcome.

everything was, is, and will be in perfect sync.

the sweet spot showed up when the hub and I were in Vegas last weekend celebrating our anniversary…and the universe was giving back exactly the same vibe I was pushing out there.  everything, every person aligned with my version of perfection.  we were surrounded by happy, joyful, friendly people.  those who were not, faded quietly away.  and the casino.  oh boy.  it definitely wanted to give back.

the hub and I even decided to test what was going on…I refocused my attention to the outcome of winning lots and lots of money.

and what happened? I began losing.  after a long winning streak.

so I quickly reverted to my feelings of goodwill and a positive, grounding vibe.

and sure enough, the Uni jumped on that too.  nuff-said.

when do you get in your sweet spot?  what happens when you get there?  share below!

xo

MiScellany.

eyes wide open. literally.  after a visit to my rockin’ awesome eye doc.  my peepers got the clean bill of health.

no prescription change either.

shocker coming from the gene pool in which I was made.

got home earlier than normal after shielding my dilated eyes from the blinding sun.  (luckily the doc’s office is super close.)  and something urged me to take the puppers for an extra long walk.

the dilation drops were very slowly wearing off, so I relaxed into the beauty around me.    since I could SEE everything.  and as I gazed at the swaying trees in our park while the puppers combed the grass, I felt a medley of something I don’t feel very often:  connection.  presence.  calm.  clear.  confidence.  confident that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.  ahhhh.  and that felt so good.  and it still is here – four days later.

sidebar>>may the fourth be with you.  haha.  can’t help it.  😉  happy Star Wars day!

even the doggy picked up on my calm energy.  she didn’t pull.  and didn’t want to lead.  she didn’t bark at any skate-boarders.  or even the FedEx truck.  she just trotted along beside me.  stopping to smell all the scents left behind from other furry creatures.  apparently, smelling things is like watching a reality TV show for dogs.  my puppers definitely travels life with her eyes wide open.

the eye doc said I’m doing really well.  and had a fourth neurologist referral should I decide to switch in the future.  hmmm.  I see my current neuro on Tuesday.

tangential curve:  loving work-life most days.  lots of connections.  and I love that I’m on a new project.  that makes all the difference to me:  learning and doing new sh*t.  getting things organized.

with that, I’m going to take a break from my extra-curricular learning.  I have Bike MS to prep for in October.  we’re gonna go for the full 100. but will settle for Day 1 if that’s how it works out. whatever happens, happens.

so grateful for what is.

this week, I decided to swap two words from one of my fave quotes from Gretchen Rubin:  the days are long, the years are short.

and change it to…the days are short, the years are long.

whatever one envisions, one can create.  that’s mine.  and it just popped to the surface.  write that one down woman!

what happened to you this week?  my cuz and Grandma were on my mind a lot.  I took a good chunk of my inheritance from my Grandma and passed it forward to the MS Society.  that felt so good!

xox

the space between thoughts.

I didn’t realize I had been ignoring the space until today…and that made all the difference…

oooph!

after marching along on superdrive for the last three months, clobbering my brain.

three classes (MBTI Step II, Intuition, and now B-School).

new concepts.

ideas.

planning my first workshop.  yippee!

inspiration.

fear (yep…that decided to creep in and check things out. on and off.)

excitement.

until everything came to a screeching halt on Saturday night while out with friends.

during a lively debate with a good friend about a topic on which we were polar opposites…

I became weighted down by an intense heaviness.

I couldn’t shut it off.  and it didn’t want to go away.

so in an attempt to fend it off, I said something kinda rude to my friend.  that I didn’t mean.

(but that’s not true, if I didn’t mean it in that exact moment, I wouldn’t have said it.)

I was slammed with overwhelm in that moment when everyone around me jumped on me.

I paused.  breathed.  smiled.  apologized.

collected my thoughts that were already wavering, ready to topple…

(what the hell am I doing?! and why did I just say that?! how do I say this in a way they will all see my side of things?!)

so I reframed.

he said he had never looked at things that way, yet we still agreed to disagree.

but the weight would not leave.  and the thoughts dangerously close to toppling were still there.

I tried Sunday and Monday nights to figure out the source of the weight…

intensely missing my sisters after spending a week with them.  worried about my mother in the hospital.  tossing and turning Sunday night after waking up from a work nightmare.

I became short and snippy.  demanding.  with everyone.  hub.  work.  myself.

(fyi – this is my Type at its worst!)

so I poured through my new Myers-Briggs book Monday night.  and found some answers. (brilliant book, btw, Do What You Are.)

yep, I can blame this one on my personality type.  ha!  joke’s on me.

Tuesday, I felt like crap at work.

but the weight became a bit lighter Tuesday night after receiving a new project at work.

yet returned with a vengeance this morning…until I decided I had enough.

so I put on a Deepak Chopra mediation (not part of Oprah’s deal with him – fyi for you peeps not on the Oprah team… 😉 while I made up my sullen face (insert INFJ death stare 😉 getting ready for work…

…and that’s when I heard the words…find the space between the thoughts...

I repeated them out loud.  and goosebumps rippled down my legs…and I decided not to think about the meaning of what I had just heard…

and everything fell back into place, easily, freely, and peacefully.  the anger dissipated almost instantly.  insecurities gone.  fear vanished.

and I let it go…with that tiny space I had just let in.

stepping back – I can see what led to this…

family stuff.  good and bad.

packing my brain so full with things to do and learn, I had zero space to add some space.  even a millimeter would have been okay.

so the lesson…don’t pack things in too tight.

things will topple eventually…when they don’t have to…they just need some breathing room.

xox

it is official.

…I am getting my official game on people!

moving to the next level of where I want to move in life…

yeeehhhawww!

feels expansive. and terrifying at the same time…

(that, my friends, is how one tells the difference between intuition and fear – if it ain’t expansive, it’s fear.)  😉

oooph!!

so here goes my plan…

step 1. sign up for Marie Forleo’s B-School. done!

step 2. send the intention for my end game out to the Universe. ummm, done!

step 3. start doing more of what I am being called to do: help people. write. and blog. speak.  life coach!  career coach!  create. inspire. volunteer at the art center. finish my dang book! travel.  just frickin’ do it, woman!  creative inspiration in the ravaged corporate-world.  ummm yeah..all kinda in progress.  though I had to ask my hub to stop me from signing up for any more classes after B-School.  so I can do more on this plan!

step 4. rebrand my website. and blog.  not yet!

step 5. do and fail at steps 3 and 4 over and over again.  until it sticks.  because that’s the only way it will.  bazinga!  zero here.

step 6. make an awesome Harlem Shake video.  also a big NULL!  for now.

that is all.

so…what is your calling, people!  I know you have one!  (that tiny voice that comes from within, helps provide the guidance.)

share below…puleeeeze!

because…you know you are awesome…and I would love to hear the magnitude of your awesome-sauce!!  go on, do it!

xox

unblocking.

in turtle steps.

one of my friends threw out a first sentence prompt on Friday.  in Facebook land.

“take the first sentence of the post below mine, and write a paragraph,” she instructed.

hell yes, was I going to play!  scratching out a few sentences, freehand.  I couldn’t wait to get to my laptop and post.

and now we have a FB group formed – the FSP Writer’s Guild.  😉

do we have the group public or secret?  now under discussion.

considering that I dropped the f-bomb in my second post, I’m not sure I want the whole world to know what a potty mouth I have.

but it’s who I am, so why not?  🙂

Thinking about my mother-in-law. Again,” she said.
“What’s bugging you now?” her friend asked. 
She cringed as she replayed the stinging words in her mind. “She said that ‘you’ll never be good enough for my son.’ It’s a beauty.”
“Ouch, why do you put up with that? Did he defend you at least?” her friend asked.
“No, of course not – he thinks it’s funny,” she sighed, grabbing her half-finished martini, throwing it down letting the icy vodka warm her throat.
“Honey, you need to leave that infant of a man and the mother he rode in on. Please do it for me, at least. If not yourself.”

no editing.  no nothing.  just let a paragraph flow from that first sentence.

love it.

xoxo

eulogy.

since I can’t think of anything else to write due to my writing blockage, I’m sharing the eulogy that I wrote and read for my sweet Grandma.on 1/31/13.  she passed away four weeks ago yesterday.  (wow!)  copy below.

~

Thank you for joining us today; I know my family sincerely appreciates you being here to honor and remember Muriel H.  For those of you that don’t me, I’m Erin, Muriel’s only granddaughter….and what an honor it is for me to speak for her today – so thank you!

Oooph!  Not a professional at this – first time out, but Saturday morning I knew I had to share a few words to honor my sweet Grandma.  and as one of my friends reminded me, I don’t have to run this like an organized PowerPoint presentation at work…because this is not work…it is coming from my heart.  those never go hand in hand, do they – 😉

January sure has been a long month.  Tough times for the H family, no doubt, after losing Grandma so soon after Damian.

Once things weren’t looking good for Grandma, I shared my breaking heart with my friends….

Thank goodness for good friends!

One of my girlfriends gave me the poem When I Die; she said it was read at the funeral for one of her close friends – and it helped her look at things a little differently – she knew it would serve me well.

Though, after the first read through, I wasn’t sure I liked it!

In fact, I literally wanted to throw it away.  But the poem had already started rolling around in my head; the magic was underway.

turns out…

it did  not want to be thrown away.

the words kept showing up.  and wiggling their way into my thoughts.  so I decided to give it another go, and gave it a good read, the second Sunday Grandma was back in the hospital.  and then it hit me…and everything fell into place…making perfect sense.  I read it out loud to my husband, Tim, and he agreed – that’s good.

I knew that this was the poem I had to read for Muriel.

This is for you, Grandma.

When I Die, by Merrit Malloy.

When I die
Give what’s left of me away
To children
And old(er generations) that wait to die.

And if you need to cry,
Cry for your sister
Walking the street beside you.
And when you need me,
Put your arms
Around anyone
And give them
What you need to give to me.

I want to leave you something,
Something better
Than words
Or sounds.

Look for me
In the people I’ve known
Or loved,
And if you cannot give me away,
At least let me live on in your eyes
And not on your mind.

You can love me most
By letting
Hands touch hands,
By letting
Bodies touch bodies,
And by letting go
Of children
That need to be free.

Love doesn’t die,
People do.
So, when all that’s left of me
Is love,

Give me away.

~

The poem really struck a chord, and strikes one harder every time I read it.  (as reflected right now!)

It makes me think of the words, what is gone lives on, as that is how I am choosing to honor Grandma!

What can I carry forward for and from her?

I would like to share just a few fond memories of Grandma – I know she touched many, and in so many facets of life…but this is what I will remember.

Her inner beauty.

her strength.

her stoic presence – thanks Jenny for that reminder!

her stubbornness!

her smiling face.  and twinkling eyes.

her graciousness.

her humor.

~

When I was little, I used to stare up at the old photograph of Grandma hanging in the hallway in our house in England.   I couldn’t believe that woman was my Grandma – she was so beautiful – how could I possibly be related to her I thought!!

She became even more beautiful as the years passed.  She was always smiling, gracious, and good-humored.  Yet there was more to her I could tell just by looking at her eyes – there was a depth of seeing the things in life that only she experienced.  The things that were hers.

When I was still young, and learned that Grandma was alone after Granddad had been shipped overseas for WWII – I was floored!  Granddad was gone for three years…and one of them being a year in a POW camp – I could not believe it!  Was she scared?  I wanted to know.  How did she end up being the happy Grandma I know now?  How could she be alone for so long?  Now I understand why she worried so much.  It was then, that my little self began to recognize how strong she was.

I would worry too after living through that experience – not knowing if  and when my husband was coming home.  if you knew my Grandma, you knew she worried about lots of things, because she loved so much.

Now I know where I picked up this unique talent.  😉

It was only after I became older that I recognized her resilience and perseverance to keep moving forward despite the external circumstances beyond her control.

So what did she do – she enrolled at Occidental College and earned her degree – that is so cool!  how many women did that in the 40s?

That always made me proud – that my Grandma had a college degree, and in psychology too – I love that!

~

Grandma always surprised me.

I remember her eyes twinkling when she told me she could shoot a bow and arrow, and liked to ride a boys’ bike down Hill Drive.  She wowed the boys with her fearlessness.

While is seems that Grandma had a sassy side, she was reserved in her adult life.  Yet she still did everything on her own time – and in her own way.  All the way until the end.  She didn’t even want to use a cane!  She hated that cane and would carry said cane three inches off the ground holding it like a picnic basket!  Her stubbornness – I have that down.  I think stubbornness runs in the H family!

The only exception I don’t have down is her persistent cleaning habit and keeping things orderly – all the time – that is something I will never be able to emulate – sorry honey!

Once Granddad came home from the war, Grandma and Granddad restarted what was to be a very long life together.  Kicking off the baby boom generation with their two kids – my mom and uncle – Jean and Jim.  Followed by three grandkids – Damian, Brent and me – not in that order though – they were so proud of their family.

Outside of square dancing, attending swim meets, track meets, church on Sundays, G&G loved to travel.  So many trips to Hawaii.  Europe.  all the cruises. even back to Italy, where Granddad had been taken after his plane was shot down.  I remember Grandma telling me, how Granddad took pause at the door to the castle where he had been temporarily taken before being moved to Germany.  Tahiti.  and lots of trips to visit us in England.

My mother and I would return to California for long summer visits – basking in the long warm summer nights, sitting out on the patio with the scent of BBQ warming the air.  And so many holidays once we moved back!  with Damian, Brent and I relegated to the kid’s table for dinners, feeling so grown up with our virgin pina coladas and egg nog.  though who knows what Granddad might have added to the blender…only he does…he certainly liked the nog!

Midnight snacks at ten PM.  staying up late watching movies.  debating the merits of a brown cow vs. a black cow. a black cow was always the consensus favorite.  and what earrings could I borrow the next day – preferably ones that didn’t pinch.  How I loved Grandma’s costume jewelry! I still do.

and breakfasts on New Year’s Day with the tv trays set up in the living room so we could watch the rose parade while eating Granddad’s hotcakes.  or hawaiian bread french toast.  still laughing every time about Charlie Olsen eating some of the pot pourrie from a bowl on Grandma and Granddad’s coffee table, thinking it was a snack one New Year’s Eve many years ago.

Like grandma, like granddaughter, I studied Psychology.  so many conversations I will miss having.  and dinners out.  holidays.  the phone calls.  hugs.  and I love you’s.

the joy of sharing the news that Tim had just proposed to me!  G&G were both so happy and eager to welcome Tim into the family.  me too.  😉

the number of years of service she devoted to this church – wow – 66 years – is that right?!  it was here that her desire to have everything clean, honored the Altar Guild!  as Fran said last weekend, Muriel would be horrified by the Friday night Taize service clean up.

How interested Grandma was in what I do for work.  she was so proud.  and equally interested in all the classes that I take now as an adult.  She even opened herself up to let me use some of my life coaching tools with her a couple years ago – and said how good I was – and how good our talks made her feel.

me too.

Grandma, so many happy happy memories I have of you, I could go on…but I won’t.  But the one thing that brings me peace is that you are now in heaven with two of your loves Granddad.  and Damian.

the last time I saw Grandma was the Wednesday before she passed, and I said everything I needed to say to her.  How much she was an inspiration for me in life.  What a good job she did being Grandma. How amazing she was.  and how much I loved her.  which I kept whispering to her over and over again.  But I know you are at peace now.  and while rough in the end, our arms intertwined that last day.  I’m keeping that one.  I will miss you Grandma but, I get to carry a lot forward – so thank you.

xoxo

random love stuff.

you’re awesome!  remember that on this Valentine’s Day Eve!

single or paired up.  or whatever.

and especially if you’re single or alone, make sure you do something for you.

to celebrate your awesomeness… 🙂

…and now a bit of a rub…

I just have to share:  today is the hub’s and my eleventh anniversary. (eleven years?!)

since we had our first official date.

first date after the happy hour that started it all.

he emailed me on a Monday morning, saying, so it looks like I’ll have a pair of Ducks tickets for Wednesday night, do you want to go?

did I want to go?  heck yes!!

I still remember the guy who sat across from me at work asking where I was going smelling so good and skipping out right at 5:00?  I have a date, I declared with a grin that would not stop.

yeah, yeah, the hub and I are overly sentimental.  I still have a copy of that email.

but that’s cool.  we dig it the most.  we wouldn’t be us if we weren’t, well, us.

daily, I write in my morning pages, how grateful I am for my rockin’… …amazing…brilliant…funny… hot hub!  whatever adjective fits.

we tell each other we love each other.  every day.  multiple times.  we never forget.

even on the not so great days.  (we have had those too – like every other couple out there!)

that’s all I got.  love you, baby, and you know I like to tell everyone…  😉

bit of a sidebar>>>the blogging mojo has still been avoiding me since my Grandma left her physical form…I think I exhausted it all writing her eulogy.

it’s okay though…doing some work on NOT comparing and despairing during this period of writing inactivity.  uh huh.  yep.  careful what words I use, woman!  inactivity, comparing, and despairing.  not good LOA choices are they!?

I know the mojo is still in there.

oh good.  goosebumps just confirmed it. (btw, taking a course on Intuition.  more on that later.)

what have you crazy peeps been up to lately…do tell?!

ps.  remember, that YOU are awesome.  tomorrow, find a random someone to look in the eyes and smile.  and see what happens.  I dare ya.  😉

xo