Sunday, September 28, 2014

Knowing = action.

I get so many emails - many that are promotional that clog up the inbox - that I admit, with the little time I have, I don't read much. Most I leave or "save" for another day (which never comes and so I have 15,000 unread emails I am "saving"). Well, the other day I strayed from my norm and opened an email from the Daily Love with Mastin Kipp. I scanned the email body, and happened upon a very simple sentence that touched me in a deep and profound way. 

I'll include the whole section to put it into context but I will highlight the part that spoke to me in bold:

"Instead of trying to think your way into a new way of action, it’s time to act your way into a new way of thinking.

 

It’s about risking. It’s about taking the adventure. It’s about letting go of the need to be comfortable and embracing the unknown.

 

Many people think they know this – but in fact they do not.

 

Why?

 

Because if you want to look at what you actually know – look at your actions.

 

There’s a difference between understanding something and knowing it.

 

We all understand lots of stuff. However, we may or may not actually know it.

 

That’s why it’s vital to begin to put into action the life that we want. That’s why we must begin to put our butt on the line and turn the fear that that brings into a fuel to push us forward."


Whoa. It occurred to me at that very moment that I sure thought I "knew" a lot, but really - maybe - I just understand it. So often I am aware of things yet I find reasons to be content and not "act" on them. I feel like I can do it when the time is right, or when I feel like it. No rush. 


I would willingly give advice to a friend, so sure of the words I choose, yet I don't always act on those words in my own life. 


Mastin is right. Big time. There's a big difference between something living in your head and living in action. If you want to know where you're at, look not at what you say (or "know") but what you do. 


If you're like me and you find yourself living more with words than actions in certain areas of your life, I challenge you to question why


Mastin says, "That’s why it’s vital to begin to put into action the life that we want. That’s why we must begin to put our butt on the line and turn the fear that that brings into a fuel to push us forward. 


You see – fear is just that – fuel for your journey. When you are scared, when you butt is on the line – that brings forward a different kind of energy, a different kind of action from our souls.

 

We are stirred into action. We bring forward deep gifts and creativity we didn’t know we had. And none of this can be found within your comfort zone."

 

Fear. Being afraid is "why."  For me anyway. And Mastin agrees. Though he makes it sound so easy, so matter of fact. I don't find that to necessarily always be accurate. It's not always easy. Sometimes it feels impossible to turn fear to fuel when it's deep seeded or not fully realized. 


Fear can disguise itself as many different things. He is a master magician and manipulator  (Sorry Fellas, but "fear" felt masculine). A puppeteer of sorts. 


My fear hides in contentment. He buries away under "eh, another day. I'm fine. No rush. I can always do it when I need to."


But now that I was reminded of this very fundamental concept, it's time to turn words to actions. Time to "put my butt on the line" as Mastin so eloquently stated. 


Your homework: 

Contemplate this:  is there something in your life that you understand but don't know (act on)? How is fear hiding in your life? What do your actions tell you about where you're at? 


Then do this: Baby steps, darling.  One little baby step at a time. That's all action is. One on top of another. Forward movement in alignment with who you are (the real you). Choose a tiny baby step out of your comfort zone (I'll do it, too!) and take note of how it feels, what happens as a result, etc. 


I would love to hear about your fears, the step you take and how it felt taking it, if you feel comfortable enough to share!  Comment here or email me at Camille@LiveFullToday.com. 










 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Saying Goodbye...

Today is the day.  

The day I say goodbye to a physical, symbolic stepping stone in my life.  A place I laid roots and experienced many, many different transitions.  Not only manifestations in my external situation(s), but transitions within myself.  

I moved into this apartment recently after graduating college.  And I bought it.  It was something tangible that was mine, it was not a rental.  It felt so warm and inviting, I knew it would be a friend to me for a long time. And it was.  It was always there just at the right time when I needed it to be.  

I was so young and hopeful when I moved into this space.  I splashed it with color and breathed life into it.  And in the next few years, those walls witnessed some of the most pivotal memories and experiences of my life.  A new puppy, an engagement, a marriage. A pregnancy, followed by the birth of my most precious daughter. I grieved the loss of my enchanting canine companion, Ursa.  I fostered several puppies then adopted a new dog, Raja.  Then, a separation. Depression. I moved out.  Then I moved back in a few months later.  I spent several years within this space raising my daugther as a single mother, working around the clock, when she wasn't home, to make ends meet.  I enrolled in the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and earned my certification as a Holistic Health Coach.  I became divorced. I began a relationship with someone from a previous chapter in my life. I eventually became pregnant, again, and moved out a second time.  And admittedly, there have been times since then that I wanted to run back there, again, to my "safe haven." 

Doing a final walk-through today, I can't imagine what it'll be like to never go back there.  Though I will still be paying the balance of the loan (Yes, like so many people out there, I owe more than it's worth) - it will no longer be a place I can run to or call my own.  It has served me through so many times in my life, both joyous and trying.  It was a nuisance on one hand, yet my safety blanket on the other.  Handing over the key... is like letting go of all that once "was."  It feels so finite and concrete.  

As I walked back to my car after my final walk-through, I snapped some photos of "rubble" that was once a beautiful display of natural art, built by my ex-husband.  It felt as though those days I recall are naturally merging into and being absorbed by the Earth in the same way as the actual, physical stones and signposts are.  New life (plants) is growing around and over them.  Their color has faded, the structures have been broken and moved around.  Much like the hopes and aspirations and stepping stones of my journey thus far.


I will never forget those years I spent in this sacred space... or the many versions of myself that inhabited those walls.  I walked in as one person and left as another.  If I close my eyes, I can still unlock the door...walk in and out of the rooms and onto the back patio where deer families could be seen in the woods just a few feet out. I can still hear the creaking of the ceiling from my neighbor above.  I can still shut the light out in the bedroom and tuck myself into the comfort and warmth of my bed. 

I guess it'll never really be gone.  Like everything else, it is stored in my subconscious even if my mind tricks me into thinking I have forgotten and lost so much.

I am so grateful for that apartment. The good, the bad, the ups and the downs.  Good bye, old friend.  I hope that you wrap up the new owner in your loving arms and extend the same gracious hospitality as you did for me and my family. xo

...and so I go, onto the next stepping stone on my journey.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Wheels on the Bus...

With fall upon us, I am called to action and embedded with nostalgia.  A burning desire to “do something” bubbles up in my gut and I get antsy.  Something about the crisp, cool air and the smells and colors of the season (and the enchanting aroma of fireplace!) serve as a reminder for me of who I am and why I am here.  I am not sure exactly when this began, but ironically just a few moments ago, I found a homework assignment I had written and it said that Fall was my favorite season.  I didn’t know that I always loved Fall.  I thought that I just began to in more recent years, or as I hit adolescence.  I almost feel as though I found these stories and assignments I wrote as a child at the perfect time.  Divine timing.  They solidified the thoughts I have had in my mind for the last couple of weeks... and have been a vivid example of the points I wanted to make here today.  Though I began wanting to speak about one thing, I am now called to fuse a few different topics together.

This weekend marks a pivotal “thumbtack” on my journey.  I am dropping a pin on where I “was” and am moving on to find a place to drop a new pin.  As I close one door and leave one chapter of my life behind me, I step into a new place. But, as I step into this new space, I now choose to bring something with me from previous chapters.  I have reached deep into the old and dug out Little Camille.  Yep.  I am bringing my child-self with me.  Only this time, I am going to love and honor her.  I am going to praise her and I will hear her when she speaks.  After all, she’s actually a lot wiser than I am... Big Me, that is.

My original purpose of this “writing,” if you will, was to discuss how our Little Selves actually know a lot more than we think.  That if we peer back into childhood, we may find that so much is cyclical.  That somewhere along the way, we lose our way, then inevitably end up right back where we began (though this may take a lifetime and never truly come to fruition in the physical realm, only in our mind).  It’s like the little sheep that strays rebelliously from the herd... has one hell of a time out in the wilderness on its own... then finds his way back home where he realizes he was meant to be all along.  

My add-on purpose(s) for today is to invite you to honor your inner child, and to encourage your actual children on their journey through life.

A couple of weeks ago, when I decided I wanted to write about this, I was taking a quiet walk pushing my newbie in the stroller.  I was reflecting, as I often do when the world is quiet.  I had just began writing, again, for the first time in many, many years.  It felt so natural and exhilarating. I felt like I was “home.”  I was sharing time with an old friend.  It’s incredible, really.  The circles we make in our lives.  From young to old.  What we once loved as a wee little lad,  we return to later on in life after we sort through our “junk” or give in to our intuition hounding us.  We make a lot of circles in our lifetime.  

“The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round. The wheels on the bus go round and round, all through the town (life).

And such is life.  The wheel of life, or dharma.  We begin by needing someone to care for us, we grow to care for ourselves, then we return to a place where we may need others to care for us, again.  We begin full of life and wonder, we become poisoned by conditioning and fears, then we begin to unravel, again, to appreciate the mystery and enchantment of life as we let go of all else we picked up along the way.  We do circles.  We go around and around and around.

I realized on this day, walking slowly amongst the trees, that I should have listened to Little Camille all along.  Why didn't I?  She knew so much more than I realized.  She knew herself, most of all. What she loved, what she wanted and what resonated in her heart and soul.  Ha.  I have to laugh, because I strayed so far away from her... and became lost.  But maybe, getting lost was a blessing.  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said, “I think you travel to search and you come back home to find yourself there.”  We don’t come “home” until we are good and ready to appreciate what we knew all along.  We go out and explore the massive Universe. We pick up things and "stuff" along the way.  Some that serve us, some that don’t.  We gain knowledge and experiences.  And finally, when we have had enough of getting tangled up in everyone else’s stories for us, we happen upon our home.  So, here I was.  Decades later.  I stumbled upon my home and realized that I knew everything I needed to know as a child.  

That leaves one asking, “What happened, then?”  What happens is life.  People (parents included) and society and culture dictate what we “should” do and be.  We begin to draw up conclusions about ourselves and the world.  We give in to fears.  We develop self-limiting beliefs.  We create tales that define us.  And inevitably, we begin to doubt ourselves.  “Oh, how silly is that!”  But, I will argue that Little You knew everything he or she needed to know.  Little You had passion and courage and love and zest.  Best of all, Little You had unwavering belief and confidence.  

I encourage you to ask these questions in a moment of silence: What is it that Little You loved so dearly? What did you enjoy doing?  What did you want to be when you became Big You? What was one activity you could just get lost in for hours on end without peeking your head up? What pushed and ignited your fire-button?   I truly believe that hidden within these answers - if you really spend the time reflecting - is your home.  What’s natural to you.  Where you came from, what feels good and perhaps where you belong. 

Little You may not have been nurtured and encouraged.  Maybe, you’re like me.  Little Camille was laughed at and teased.  She felt very much alone, and shy.  She felt as though she lived in a world where she was the only resident and she didn't belong in the “other” world.  She began to feel fear, and disappointment.  She didn't feel safe.  And, she didn't have the support she needed to grow her little seedlings into beautiful flowers.  Her dreams and desires fell by the wayside as she wandered out into the vast unknown, trying to navigate a place where she felt alienated and unprotected.  People mocked her for loving the things she did, especially animals.  Others told her she would never do what she wanted to do.  It was a hobby or interest. She would “starve” as a creative type.  

As far away as I wandered, my passions were woven deeply into my life journey.  They cropped up left and right, here and there.  Always a reminder of where I began.  And the Fall... that special, chilly air.  It speaks to me like no other.  Pushing me back to the place I call “home.”  Living through what I have, I truly appreciate this moment.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to see through new eyes.  I, most of all, am finally able to look back and reach out my hand to Little Camille.  To acknowledge her for how absolutely beautiful she was. Different, maybe.  But so beautiful.  Soft and gentle, maybe too innocent and naive.  I can finally go back to that place and love her unconditionally... heal her wounds. Look her in the eyes and tell her she was so very wise and that she is safe now.  Teach her to forgive and forge ahead with a renewed confidence to speak her voice and live her passion(s).

I speak of Little Camille, but really, I mean you, too.  There must be some wound that Little You needs mended.  Perhaps a broken heart.  Fears or doubts, needing a soothing embrace.  Little You needs to hear from Big You that everything is OK and that he or she is perfect as is.  Extend your hand, and take Little You with you where you go... loving him or her along the way.  The entire way.  

And for those of you that are parents, please...don’t laugh at your children or discourage them when they tell you what they want to be when they grow up.  When they tell you what they love.  It may not be what you liked or wanted to be or what you want(ed) for them, but it's what feels good for them.  Why cant they be an astronaut or a firefighter?  A dancer or a movie star?  A doctor or an athlete?  They are so much wiser than we give them credit for.  After all, they have not been tampered with, yet.  They are pure and radiate love and passion.  Encourage your children to blossom just as they are.  To reach for the stars, their dreams.  To follow their heart and let their intuition guide them.  They won’t stay little for long... and sooner or later, they meet us where we are.  Big People in the grown-up world.  Hopefully, where we are is living a life with renewed joy and enthusiasm (as www.entheos.com says so brilliantly, “en + theos. Two little Greek words. Put ‘em together and you’ve got enthusiasm—or “God within”—the secret sauce to creating an extraordinary life while making a difference in the world”). Divinity within us.

Keep those fires lit, friends.  And if your fire has simmered down, reach in to the world you came from and bring back Little You.  Bring that fire back to life.  And inspire others - especially your children - to do the same.  

If you are meeting with some resistance, don’t fret.  The wheels on the bus go ‘round and ‘round.  You’ll end up where you need to be when the timing is just perfect for you.  In the meantime, enjoy the ride. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

My shoes gave me blisters...

It is so true that until you walk a mile in someone's shoes, you have no idea what it's like. You can hypothesize and surmise, but you really have no idea. Even when that "someone" is you

It's easy to say what you "would" or "wouldn't" do in a situation prior to living it. But the truth is, you haven't a clue. Until we are faced with a situation, there isn't a way to fully understand how it feels for all the senses and all the emotions that arise. We often surprise ourselves with our reactions to occurrences in our lives. For what we consider the better and the worse. We can't be sure how we will process information until the information appears right in front of us. 

Such an example crept up on me recently. Amidst all the chaos and rubble of what had become my current life situation - let's call it an "opportunity for growth" and "trying on new glasses" to shed some positive light on it- some surprising feelings made their way front and center. Feelings - and thoughts - that I never really even considered. There was even a touch (ok maybe more than a touch) of rebellion and resistance. 

It's truly a gift to be able to watch yourself - your emotional and mental processes - as they are born, but through the eyes of an observer. A non-judgmental one.  Without getting attached to them. It's awe-inspiring really. The thoughts and feelings are born, and quickly they look for something to latch onto... To feed and nourish them so they can grow.  If they can't find a way to foster their development, they inevitably die off. 

THIS is the place that determines everything. Whether the storm will pass by quietly, or cause massive destruction.  As our stories manifest new sub-chapters, it is our decision to either accept what is as it is and let it move on (or die) or to welcome them as new truths (thereby feeding these babes to grow into reckless monsters). 

I chose to embrace my little baby demons with love. I understood them, where they came from and why. Without judgment or attachment, I gave them a wee little kiss - a thank you for allowing me to see - and set them free into the abyss. Far, far away from me, that is. (I will add here they later returned at my most vulnerable state to test me, again). 

What monsters were I birthing, you ask? Ah. Good question, indeed. Attachment and meaning. I was mourning a loss. Something I felt was "mine."  Something I gave meaning and substance to.  

Recent events left me without "ownership" of the "home" I was living in. I was "supposed" to be an owner of this place. I spent time, money and tons of energy building it into what it is today.  Time was spent planning the colors, picking out the floors, the appliances and so on. Love decorated it and made it warm and cozy for the children.  At the end of the remodel and move, I was happy with what was created. What I had a hand in creating. A lovely little nest for the little ones.  

You can imagine my upset when suddenly that was all taken from me.  Well, I didn't imagine I would feel that way.  I had no idea that I would actually mourn the loss as though it were a good friend. But thinking about it, it was. It provided us shelter and warmth. A place to express creativity. Share memories. A place to be together.  A safe haven. Something stable in an unstable world. 

It gave me a sense of ownership and pride. Look what "I" did. Look what's "mine."  Losing that entitlement left me feeling really empty and grasping for something to possess. Something to "have" for my children. Something to make me feel important.  No longer being owner totally changed the dynamic.  I didn't want to make it pretty anymore. I didn't want to spend more time and love on it because it wasn't "mine."  This is where the rebellion kicked in. Then a little resistance followed (this is referred to as bargaining in the typical phases of mourning, loss and grief).  

As I watched all of these thoughts and emotions swirl around frantically, desperately seeking a host, I kept myself removed so I can learn. About myself. About loss. About life. About processes. 

While I am sure it's totally normal that I had to grieve what once was, what I thought something was (the meaning and identity I gave it), and the hope for what it would be, I never expected to feel all of that. 

Through a very painful experience, I was able to understand myself better. So, I allowed myself the necessary time to mourn what was no longer and to accept the new.  I learned about parts of me I didn't even know existed! And in doing so, I now have a better understanding of people as a whole. 

We are creative. Very creative. You may be surprised by what comes up during trying times or new experiences. There's a whole big world out there (inside of you) that you don't even know exists. And if you aren't even aware of all parts of you, how can you know what is inside another?  Let's be sure to try lots of shoes on before we discount them or label them. 

As for me? My mind is wide open. I can say with confidence that I don't have any clue how a shoe feels until it's on nice and snug and I have spent some time in it.  Walking, running, playing, relaxing. Good quality time. 

I'm about ready for a new pair now. The last left me with blisters ;)

Friday, August 22, 2014

The coffin...

So many nights, I lay in bed and get comfy. I lay flat on my back and my hands naturally meet each other at my navel. Every single time this happens, I envision myself in a coffin, and at a funeral and I am totally creeped out. (Yes. This just happened to me right now.)

I'm not sure why this happens to me but it is a high shock-value reminder to me that everyone dies from this physical world. And I am part of that "everyone" whether I like it or not (which I don't).  

Though the only time in my life I ever came close to a panic attack was when I made myself "feel" what it would be like to face death - that moment before, knowing it was happening - it has been a recurring theme throughout my 30 somewhat years that the thought of dying catapults me into major gratitude and inner reflection. (That was a really long sentence - sorry!) Not only do I feel grateful to have this special gift of life, but it allows me to weigh dramas by this very equation: if I were to die today, would "this" still bother me? Would I spend any time thinking about it, being upset about it or addressing it? If not... Why am I now?  Is this moment any less valuable than my last?

Since we do not know when it's our time, or anyone else's for that matter, I find it rather silly we fall back into the human drama trap so frequently. And by drama I mean anything that consumes us emotionally. 

Let my freaky vision be your reminder to live full today. And love full today. And to weigh your dramas against the scales of what's really important. 

Show up. And give it your all.  This is your very precious life.  And today (right now) is all you have. Spend it in joy. 

Xo

Sweetest dreams, 'night all. 


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Unfulfilled dreams...

I was randomly thinking the other day about horses. I have loved horses for as long as I was aware of their existence. For decades they consumed my existence. I wanted a horse of my own with every ounce of my being. And always knew one day I would have one. Such magic, beauty. Words cannot describe their magnificence.  

The smell of a barn, the dust from the paths, the wet mark on the horse's back from under the saddle, the sound of a canter or trot  -- ah, nostalgia. 

Suddenly, it occurred to me that I may never get a horse. I was alarmed. And in shock, really. The thought had never crossed my mind. I just always knew I would one day share my heart with a special horse.  But, on this very day, seeing as my life was playing out every way but the way I imagined, the possibility of dying without fulfilling that dream was very real. And a raw, cold bitterness and stillness filled my veins. 

Then I thought, no way. I will not die without fulfilling my dream(s).  A swift shake of my head accompanied this denial. 

It was at that moment I realized something tragic. Of all the most powerful dreams we have, as children or even as we are older, I imagine that a great majority are never fulfilled. Countless numbers of people settle for a life so much less than they intended. They give up on their dreams every single day. They fall victim to fears and self-limiting beliefs. 

How terribly sad. With all the critics in the world, we need some more people who encourage us to dream and believe

It was very painful to empathically feel dreams flying by the wayside into the abyss. The sour taste of conforming to mediocrity.  The deep emptiness that pulsates within your chest and bubbles up to your throat. 

So, here I am today. I am the parental voice speaking to (and nurturing) your inner child. The child within you that dances with joy and dreams in vivid grandeur.  

Dream Big. Dream often. Chase your dreams, no matter where they take you. Believe in yourself and your abilities. Believe you deserve it. Because you do. You are worthy. You are beautiful and perfect and whole. You need nothing, but you can explore and play and express yourself and your dreams freely. You are magnificent. Anything you desire you can manifest, if you so choose. 

Please, if you do me - no, yourself - just one service, allow it to be openness that mimics the wonderment of a child. Follow what your heart speaks and chase down those dreams. This is your life. Allow yourself to live it, to love it (and love yourself) and do it fully. Today. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Your Daily Reminder...

My mother and I recently watched "Heaven is for Real." (The little boy in the movie is simply delish, so cute.). My mother was especially touched by the film, citing a message she received from it. 

She said so often we go to church or hear a message, and for that short period of time we "get it." We are kind and patient and living the word of Love. But once we leave that place, we leave behind that kindness, the tenderness and generosity. Our warm hearts turn anxious with the day to day grind we fall back into.

She questioned why this happens. Then she said, we just need to take it with us somehow. But how? She said we need a reminder each day to be that person we were at church, for example.

Well, here is your reminder Mom. And everyone else that struggles with breaking old patterns and bringing joy and love through to each and every day. It takes time to make new habits. But it's totally attainable.

Print this out. Hang it in the kitchen next to the coffee pot. Put it as your phone screensaver. Do something, anything, to keep that feeling ever-present within you. Look at it often to remind yourself of the precious love that is already in your heart. The love that just needs a little nudge sometimes to be reminded of its power and grace and impact on this world. 



Wednesday, August 6, 2014

"Never say 'never!'"

So, many years ago when I "knew everything," I was a big fan of the word "never."  I used it quite often. Along with should, could and would. All poisonous words in my current opinion (though I now realize I know nothing instead of everything). 

For a know-it-all, I sure didn't know much at all.  Gosh, I had a list of things I would "never" do or become. And I had a picture in my mind of what I would do and become. It was all crystal clear during my days of judgment and neat tidy boxes (side note: my phone auto corrected tidy to say tofu - ha. Touché iPhone. Touché.)

Well, here I am laughing today (sort of). I have literally become all of the things I said I never would. I have done things I said I would never do.  Today, I am the poster child for "NEVER SAY 'NEVER.'" 

I epitomize the philosophy that we never (oh God, I used it again) know what's going to happen day by day- never mind years from now. 

What's most ironic and somewhat humorous is that I am happier today than I was then. I have more peace now - though I have become all the frowned-upon things I said I never would, then some - than I did when my life was "on track" (for normalcy).

I may be a walking mess according to old-me, but this walking mess has learned so much and gained so much appreciation and love and awareness and knowledge that I wouldn't trade it for what "could've" been.  Yes, on some "bad" or difficult days I wish I could be young and ignorant, again, and normal.  But I'm not. And that's all there is to it. 

What is judgment anyway aside from an unhappy person's way of projecting their own issues outward to avoid looking inward?  

Goodbye, old-self. I am sorry to disappoint you but I am not sorry to see you go. Though I carry some battlescars today, and life situations that would have mortified you, I have outgrown the need for your approval. 

Now, I will never say "never," again! :)




Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Our Fat, Ugly bodies...

Gross. Fat. Ugly. Flabby. Eh, this part is ok. But this part, disgusting. Too big. Too small. Too short. Too tall. 

Body image is a reflection of our thoughts and belief systems. It is also an indicator of the amount of self love we possess. Stories we have been told. And lies we believe. 

The weight loss industry rakes in billions each year.  People try one diet after another. They ride the wave the media makes.  Everyone wants a quick fix to look "good," whatever that means. Heck, some people don't care if it's quick - they just want a fix. 

But, when tragedy strikes...it shakes those negative opinions and beliefs to the very core. 

It's truly life-altering having health one day and not having it the next. Having mobility can be taken away. Accidents happen and can leave debilitation in it's path.  We may be diagnosed with a disease or condition. We may be swept over by the flu or other illness. Bones break.  And, the extreme case is death. All life gone in a whisper. 

All this vanity imposed upon society may be revisited in these instances.  And we become suddenly and chillingly aware that all that matters is a body that works for us. And in that, it's beautiful

Six weeks ago I had a c-section. I was just 3 days away from my checkup where I was anticipating full clearance to go back to "normal" life (whatever that means, haha).  I came down with a fever suddenly. And the next morning my lower abdomen was red and hot to the touch. I don't normally call the doctor when I notice odd things, I usually just carry on with myself, but this time I called. They had me rush in on Friday before closing (this is a whole other story with its share of funnies for another time). Yep. My fears had been confirmed - infection. And if it didn't clear by the weekend for my appointment Monday, the incision would need to be reopened and remain open. There would be possible hospital time (the thought alone sent me in a frenzy being I am nursing and also have a 4 year old). And months of healing ahead. "Joy!!" 

That night, the redness from the infection nearly tripled in size, a pretty good sign it had spread. I was also getting pains in my chest similar to the ones in my lower abdomen where the infection was. My head ached. I had a fever. Most of my body was red.  For a split second, I was actually nervous. What if it spread further or was in my blood. My appointment wasn't for two more days. What if I had some freak thing happen? I did have a heart murmur, after all and I am not really sure what that means except that all of a sudden the dentists ask about it before seeing you.  My m.o. is to brush off any ailments but this time, I felt different. And scared.  Then I said to myself, a couple powerful words. "Not me."  Bam. It hit me. Everyone says "not me."  No one thinks something is going to happen. And freak things happen all the time.  Nah. I am too young. I have too much to do and say that I haven't done yet. Bam.  "But what if you planned this when you designed your life plan before birth?" No. I can't leave my two girls. Bam. Again. "What if it's in their life plan to not have their mom?" Chills flashed through my body. Raw, real shock shook my world. In that very moment, in a moment of perfect clarity, such a thing as "ugly" bore no relevance. I felt silly for wishing I was back to my "normal" size and body.  

I had a bargaining moment with God and myself. If I make it through this alive, I am going to just love my body as is. After all, the only thing that matters is I have a body...and a life in which to use that body as a vehicle. It's intended purpose. Who gives a damn about a little fold of skin that hangs over the incision that may never go away. Fat thighs? No more. They're awesome. They can move and I can walk and dance and play.  Appreciation and love took over. 

Seeing as I survived the night without going into heart failure, I was determined to ditch the infection. I ate lightly, had lots of liquids, and ate pretty much only fruits and veggies. 

Monday came. Diligence paid off. The infection was diminishing. I was given clearance to be "normal," again. I was elated.  

But something happened on Monday I never expected. I began to sulk about the fold of skin that the doctor said wouldn't go away (she actually said "maybe" to me verbally, but shook her head no at my mom who was with me accompanied by a 'yikes' face). I plotted ways to lose the baby weight. I felt ugly, again. 

It's unbelievable, really, how quickly we take for granted something so incredibly miraculous and beautiful. Our bodies were meant to help us in fulfilling our life path. Vehicles for transformation. Our ability to be mobile, to have sight or hearing, to touch...each blessing we are gifted with is to be cherished and celebrated. It is not until we learn to love and appreciate our bodies for what they are - miraculous - that we can begin to feel and look the way we were intended. No diet will work. No pill will hold a magic cure. Healing and change begins on the inside with a single thought. 

But the funny thing is, once you learn to love and respect your priceless body for all it gives you and helps you with, odds are you may not even care what it "looks" like. You'll love it no matter what. Because you're beautiful. 

###

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Magic inside...

I often question "life" - the ins, the outs, looking for some kind of a loop hole or secret door I may have missed. Some proof that "there's got to be more." Or less. Or something

Evidence that this is all for a reason.  That it's not what meets the eye on the surface. That what my heart believes is true and valid. Something to grasp onto that aligns with the feelings that so deeply move me to my core. Feelings that words just cannot express. 

Glimpses of a love so powerful, a bliss, that the human mind cannot fully understand it or label it. Freedom and openness that radiates like the brightest light. Warmth that wraps around like the most soft and snuggly blanket. Comfort, safety and inner peace and knowing. Inaction and satisfaction. Miracles and beauty that bring me to tears and teach me to be humble. Presence. 

I search - subconsciously mostly but some days consciously - for this tangible "Ah-ha, I knew it!" moment.  A reassurance of sorts. Maybe a measure of hope. 

Those moments, so rare and precious like the most stunning gemstone. I soak them in as much as I can before they slip through my fingers, disappearing into the abyss that is this earthly existence without any trace left behind. 

Perhaps I will never get the answers I am so desperately looking for. Maybe they're too simple for me to just "get it." Or maybe too complex.  Either way, the deeper side of me knows a world of magic and wonder. And I suppose it doesn't really matter if I find the proof I am looking for or not. It's alive inside of me. 





Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I'm sorry I'm different...

I'm sorry I'm different.  


It's so easy to judge and point fingers and be cold. To punish and condemn. To make rules and set "boundaries."  To be blind to the truth set before you. 


It's not easy to be understanding and compassionate and open. It takes real effort to break old patterns and dissolve the ego piece by piece. To remove the dense fog from your glasses. 


Sometimes I feel like people punish me for being different. For being me.  For trying to live a life guided by love.  Sometimes, despite all my knowing that it's not true,  I feel so alone in this vast universe.  We are all one yet I feel like the only one. Surrounded by silence, outside of myself a whirlwind of voices and opinions. They all mesh into one giant blob of gray and blurry ugliness.  They're so loud I can't even hear them. All I hear is a muffled echo, all I see is a vastness of fog. 


And one of the grand daddies of topics that people differ on and voice opinions of - raising children. I will never understand why we are so quick to tell our children what they do wrong, that they're being punished, that "it's ok," when clearly to them it's not, to be quiet or sit still. That we don't have time, "not now."  To threaten. To make them fear.  To lie to them to accomplish our own agendas. To make sure we set limits so they know "who is boss."  


Boss?! That has ego written all over it.  


But, why? Why can't we love unconditionally? Listen- really listen to them. Acknowledge how they feel. ASK how they feel. Understand them instead of punish and condemn. Accept who they are, what they like, that they are individuals with fears and insecurities and personalities all their own.  Validate them. Play even when it's messy. Teach kindness by showing kindness. Teach love by giving love freely without asking for anything in return. Know that they came here with their very own path, their own life to fulfill. 


Instead of worrying about "setting rules," why not spend quality time and do what feels right for us as parents to these beautiful beings?  I don't think anyone faces death and says, "Wow, I wish I had been stricter."  More than likely they have said, "Instead of being so strict maybe I could've eased up a little and been more present.  I could've had more fun and spent less time worrying about everything."  -- Not so much focused on the ego and what is "supposed" to be because everyone told you it's so -- but focused on what intuitively feels right and resonates in your heart. 


We breed children that bully and we do it in even the most subtle of ways. And some not so subtle. Let me ask you -- How many lives have to be lost to drugs and alcohol, abuse and suicide before we learn to love each other rather than create divides?  I know that we each have our own path, and that that journey requires there to be challenges and pain. But pain suffered unnecessarily and lives lost at the hands or words or judgment of another, a result of ego and fear, I just find to be so very devastating. 


I can still remember the sting of pain and anguish I felt pumping through my veins some 15 years ago as I chose to take my own life. The paralyzing breathlessness I felt in my chest as I sobbed, full with grief and asking "why?"  Where was love?  Even then I knew there was something bigger out there. Something outside of ourselves. Something more meaningful and pure. My heart breaks knowing that some people choose to take their life and are successful.  When all they needed was a little love to fill their aching and longing hearts. Acceptance. To be heard. Validated. Made to feel important. All things that are free for us to give and receive. 


I find it absolutely curious that some have so much to say on topics they haven't even lived through. Or because they heard it somewhere. Or because that's how they did it.  We know nothing of another person, because we are not them. We cannot know how they feel as we have not lived their life.  Everyone is different. "Wrong" and "right" are so subjective.  And we all have our own thoughts and opinions on what they are. 


So what?! 


At the end of the day does any of it really matter? 

Life is here. It's ours for the taking.  Everyday can be a celebration. It's so precious, and it can end in any moment for any one of us.  Wouldn't it be just so fulfilling to love and be loved? To accept and be accepted? To hear and be heard? To be open and not judge, and to not be judged? Wow.... Think of all the cases of substance abuse that would disappear. Suicides not attempted. Cycles of violence ended.  Think of all the smiles that would replace tears. Extended hands instead of fists. Joy instead of pain. Laughter instead of shouting. --- Love instead of fear. 


I may leave choppy waters in my wake. And I may make what is classified as lots of "mistakes," but I live my life lead by my heart and my soul. I live with passion and love as the driving force. What I do may seem crazy to some, or most, people. But aren't I entitled to experience this lifetime how I so choose if I am doing so out of a great love and appreciation for all that there is? 


I'm sorry I'm different. Or maybe I'm really not


I am only truly sorry for hiding in the shadows for 3 decades and allowing life to pass me by, and others to steer my ship.  For allowing the divinity within to be overpowered by all things fear and ego. 


I am sorry I tried to eliminate something so precious. And vow to never take it for granted again. To share love, to stay true to myself and to move forward with passion and vigor. And to grab as many passengers as I can to join me on this ride. 


- Bon voyage. 


 


Photo credit: Jonathan Adams. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

There it was, again...

I was going to the bathroom (yes, I was... I have to be accurate in telling the story) and in walks Raja (in telling an accurate story, please note that my time is no longer my own - no matter what someone is around no matter what I am doing - furry or 2 legged children).

I took a moment to truly stop and look into her eyes.

And there it was, again.

It has hit me before with my last Rottie, Ursa... and with Raja on several occasions.  But, inevitably it leaves and there are lapses in time where I forget, again.  And I need a reminder.  In a big way.

Well, there she was.  Staring at me with her big brown eyes, her ears back.  All she wanted was for me to stop for a moment to pet her and love her.  She didn't care what I was doing, that I was in the bathroom, what I was wearing or what I looked like.  She doesn't even see any of that; she sees me beneath it.  I could be painted purple, wearing some hideous outfit, and smell really, really awful.  And it would make no difference whatsoever (if that's not heart warming, I don't know what is).

It occurred to me at that very moment that Raja, as an example, knows no other kind of love than true and unconditional love.

  • I could be having an awful day, cranky and ugly in temperament:  she wouldn't care and she would still be there.  She would still wag her butt and stub for a tail, happy, every single time she saw me, even if I was only gone a few moments.  And she would still want me to share my love with her, petting her and being with her.
  • I could ignore her the whole day and leave her by herself:  she wouldn't care and she would still be there. 
  • I could yell at her for walking under my feet or being in my way on an irritable day: she wouldn't care and she would still be there. 
  • I could withhold her food, treats, toys - anything she enjoys or needs: she wouldn't care and she would still be there. 
  • I could be crying, whispering, speaking another language: she wouldn't care and she would still be there. 
I think you get the point... I can do any number of things, including heinous acts (not that I would), but she wouldn't care and she would still be there.  

It's amazing, actually.  To think about that level of love, free from conditions.  Freedom from the "ego."  Freedom from the victim role, insecurities and self limiting beliefs.  

Total freedom and a full, divine expression of love.  

I am so very humbled by my bathroom visitor.

And so grateful for the reminder of a love to strive for.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I have a confession to make...

I have a confession to make...

I secretly love when I witness other children misbehaving.  I find it mostly entertaining (sometimes annoying if it's incessant screaming of some kind, until I realize it means that I am not a bad mother with a bratty kid).

I don't have much to compare myself or my daughter to; I am not around kids often... though, as is my nature, I am always observing them and their parents (and parenting tactics) while I am out in public.  But, since I don't have a lot of comparisons -- I am easily jaded by negativity (fears, ego, etc.) and the endless opinions of others and what works, what doesn't, what I should (God, I dislike that word) be doing, etc.   I am left wondering: Is this normal? Am I doing something wrong? Are they right? Maybe I am just no good at this.  Is my daugther OK? Is she normal? (I feel bad even writing that; how dare I question if she is OK or "normal" - the standards of the word are subjective and who wants to be a uni-zombie anyway?)

So, yes.  I just cherish when I witness a scene less than pleasant made by someone other than myself or my daugther.  I giggle.  A lot.  And I sigh a huge breath of relief that I am doing OK afterall.

Judgment is truly the root of so much discontentment in society, and the cause of much upset within us.  Normal vs. abnormal vs. bad vs. good... it's exhausting.  And like I said, completely subjective.  Everyone has a different opinion of what these words mean.

I am sure those parents are embarrassed or feeling less than adequate - the ones with the kids "misbehaving" I referred to earlier.  Let's cut them some slack... share some love, laugther and light to fill their (possibly aching) hearts and lift their spirits.  I know if it were me, I have plenty of negative junk to go around for a lifetime, and a smile or a nod that someone relates would alleviate some of the already building pressures.

Being a parent is tough.  And it is an around-the-clock job.  Today, I celebrate all parents out there.  My message to you would be this:  everything is perfect as it is.  You are doing the best job you can, and that is all you can do.  Your child is unique and special, and he/she is perfect just as he/she is.  Love him/her up for the amazing spirit he/she is.  


PS -- (in reference to the photo) How can I be mad at that face?! Haha... she is such a clown.

PPS - I remember the days I would bring a blanket onto the (cold) kitchen tile floor, lay it down and curl up to read a book.  The couch was only ten feet away in the next room.  But I wanted to lay on the floor on a blanket.  Wrapped up like a coccoon.  Ah, the joys of being a child... the wonderment, the awe, the excitement in the little things.  Now that's something to be ressurected and celebrated!


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A nubby cardigan, a flower scarf and a new perfume = Experiencing

Everything is about experiencing.

But, how often do we actually use our 5 senses to explore our days? How much do we actually experience and what percentage is filtered out, unnoticed?

Wait.  That was unfair.  And not totally accurate.  Everything is about experiencing and perception.

Today, for some reason unbeknownst to me (especially considering I had a mini meltdown at one point earlier on), I was moving along my day just slow enough to experience it for all of its little blessings and delicious, oh-so-yummy subtleties.

A spring morning, sunny with a slight frost in the air. As I was finishing up getting ready, I opened a sample box of perfume I had received, and rolled it on the inside of my left wrist.  Rubbed the right on top of the left, and grabbed a cotton cardigan and scarf on my way out.

Mmmm....  I could smell the perfume as I was walking and moving along, just enough to appreciate its fragrance and uniqueness, its newness.  [Side Note: I am not sure about this phenomenon; but it seems I can only smell perfumes on me that are new.  Once I wear them a couple times, everyone can smell it but me.  I assume most of you understand what I am saying; perhaps you even wonder the same thing.  I wish it was not so, as I truly love catching whiffs of perfume throughout the day... a little reminder it's there.  A brief interlude in the day, a nudge to be mindful and present.]

There was something magical about the combination of the knitted cotton cardigan (with its delicate yet nubby texture), the flower patterned scarf and the new perfume that instantly grabbed stake on both the cardigan and scarf.  It kept me grounded and slow(er)-moving all morning - when I am normally rushing around and slightly irritable as a result.  I closed my eyes and breathed in the chill in the air and the radiant sunshine.  As I walked my daughter up to her school, I noticed the grounds had just been landscaped.  It smelled like wet, fresh-cut grass. Again, I closed my eyes for just a second and breathed it in. It was so green and vibrant.  When I got back home, I created a homemade version of a drip coffee machine using a natural paper filter and a mini wire colander, and grinds.  Like "back in the day."  K-cups are so overrated.

The entire hour or so, which felt like a full day of experiences, was felt and lived.

For those sixty or so minutes, I almost forgot about my daily migraine and the fact I had packed on 30 plus pounds, lugging a watermelon around with me wherever I went.

It's the little things, the subtleties -- the "normal" moments -- that matter, that make up our life.  It's what makes our experience.  And our perception of what we encounter, using our senses, is what determines and shapes that experience.

The awe and wonderment of a child.  If we can mentally time-travel and be sure to bring back even a little drop of this into our adult lives, our worlds (our lives, our days... everything) would look much more colorful. They would smell much more pleasant.  They would feel much more warm and fuzzy.  They would sound much more ethereal.  They would taste so much more delicious.

It may not happen everyday... but I am grateful for my experiences today.

It was a perfect morning.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Loopti-loop

Taken from http://dictionary.reference.com


loop-the-loop

  [loop-thuh-loop] 
noun
1.
an airplane maneuver in which a plane, starting upward, makes one complete vertical loop.
2.
a ride in an amusement park that simulates this maneuver.
Origin: 
1900–05

I assume that the word loopti-loop originated from loop-the-loop, but as with many things in life I could be absolutely wrong.  Let's pretend for a moment that I am correct for the purposes of this blog... a loopti-loop is then a big 'ole circle.   And as we know, circles just keep going.  I don't know where they begin, but they never end.  Loopti-loop.... loopti-loop.... 

I was thinking about (painful) patterns this morning.  The kind we indulge in, over and over.  

At some point in time, we are smacked in the face with clear vision.  We see our patterns right in front of us, glaring at us, almost laughing at us really.  "Oh my God... how did I not see this before?"   It's a feeling of wonderment, shock, fear maybe.  It is as though a blindfold is quickly torn from your eyes like a bandaid.  It happens just that fast. 

Wow.  I can see now.  I can now STOP myself (stop the pattern) from doing another loopti-loop.  

Or not.  

So, what happens exactly?  I wondered, why do we continue to eat the poisoned apple when we know the outcome?  Why would we voluntarily hop on a ride we know makes us motion-sick and leaves us paralyzed by discomfort?

It dawned on me that so much is clear when we feel the sting of pain.  "I am so never having a child, again.  Who would volunteer for this PAIN?  If I knew what it would be like, I would never have done this!"  -- words often heard during the plague of morning sickness... or after child birth.  But what happens is we FORGET the pain that was so raw at that very moment.  It becomes blurred with lots of happy times, everyday dramas and ultimately disappears into the oblivion of "yesterdays." 

So, I realized that once we begin to heal from our pain, and forget how much it "hurt" us, we also become very optimistic and hopeful.  Those painful patterns - or loopti-loops - that we SWORE we would never participate in, again, soon creep back into our new routines.  After all, we are solid.  We are happy, we got this.  And when we are (healthy) strong... we can handle anything.  It doesn't feel quite so bad, anymore.  We must have been exaggerating! 

It isn't until we get a bit worn down, again, that we realize we have once again put ourselves in a position we vowed to never be in, again.

How do we (truly) stop ourselves from being the gluttons for (self) punishment (pain) that we are? I wish I had an answer for you... but I don't.

My guess is that if we truly weigh all of our options with an open heart and mind, asking if this something that serves us and our highest good (not something we can DEAL WITH or TOLERATE, but something that actually benefits us or makes our heart sing) - we can distinguish that which we want to keep around versus that which we can "handle" at the moment.  Asking, is this helping me?  Is this in alignment with my goals, my vision, my heart, how I feel?  Is this something I am doing for me - or doing out of fear, guilt, for someone else, etc.?  

Though we may be all-mighty and powerful today, that does not mean we have to ressurect the loopti-loops of the past that so often made us sick and kept us from being the best versions of ourselves.  There's no need to prove our ability to "deal with" these patterns.  Toss 'em.  Make some room for new ones... healthy ones.  

Let's hear it for the ride of our lives that begins today (and everyday... each moment, actually)... 

Here we go loopty loo
Here we go loopty li
Here we go loopty loo
All on a Saturday night

Here we go way down low
Here we go way up high
Here we go way down low
We really know how to fly

Here we go round and round
Here we go fast and slow
Here we go round and round
Oh what a great way to go

Here we go up and down
Here we sit side by side
Here we go up and down
Oh what a wonderful ride

Here we go loopty loo
Here we go loopty li
Here we go loopty loo
All on a Saturday night
All on a Saturday night
All on a Saturday night



Monday, April 21, 2014

I got caught...

I did.

I got caught.  Totally, red-handed.

It was as though I were a third party watching the entire thing happen.  And I caught myself; the offense was clear as day.

"For a smart girl, you sure do stupid things, Camille."

It was that simple.  That short.  That quick.

But that ten-word sentence was super charged and packed with a punch.  It carried with it years of history and story-tales.  Layers of emotion, pain, memories and self-limiting beliefs.

It may seem innocent to the majority, but those ten words - altogether - are the root of so many internal struggles.  And after I caught myself, I stopped dead in my tracks.

Why did I call my actions stupid?  The things I do are no different than everyone else... millions of people.  Billions probably.  And what makes them stupid after all?  That is, most definitely and completely, subjective.  Why - in that moment - did I feel the need to judge myself?  It was as though I was speaking to another person.  As though I were two people, not one.  The judgmental, tightly wound Camille shaking her head in disapproval... telling the other Camille a thing or two about "life" and choices and what's smart and what is not.  Controlling the second girl that made a choice that perhaps was not - in hindsight - the best for her. Though, is it not true that we need to make certain choices to learn certain lessons?  Who is to say what is best for anyone, anyway?

That first Camille sounds an awful lot like someone I know very well.  Bless his heart, I love my father dearly.  But his tongue has been known to cut like the sharpest knife and be as venomous as a snake's bite.  And I was not spared from its wrath throughout my adolescence.

And so, here I am... in my thirties.  A parent, myself.  Ravenous for soul-food, always reading and expanding and questioning and nourishing and reaching to become the highest version of Camille I can be.  And out of the clear blue, left field comes that darn sneaky ego.  The embodiment of self limitations and fear and judgment.  The part of ourselves that wants to be right, wants to protect us and keep us safe (and stagnant) and the mind that stores our story-tales and regurgitates them at just the "appropriate" time.

It was a very raw and startling reminder of how powerful our minds can be, our stories and our beliefs. How they are tucked away and even when you think you've rid yourself of them - in your false sense of security, they pop up to play with you (not such a fun game).

More importantly, it was also a much-needed reminder that so much of life is subjective.  And being gentle with ourselves is so vital to optimal health and overall wellbeing.  We get judged at every corner... from the time we are children and into adulthood and beyond.  So, who needs a split personality version of themselves telling them all the things they do wrong? I am sure there are plenty of people or things out there willing to do that for us.  Everything is about learning and growing.  Everything is happening in perfect timing.  We may not always (or ever) understand the "why" of our situations, but trust - and faith - in ourselves, in life and in our journey can help to put us at ease, at peace, so we can carry on with our days and live perfectly presently in the moment.

So.... I would like to say a quick thing to Camille the first.  I am not stupid.  I am doing the best I can, in this very moment, with what I am given and with the knowledge I have.  And that is all I can do.

And to all of you reading this... you are beautiful and perfect just as you are.  If you want to believe in something... believe in that.  Because it is the real honest truth.

As Hans Christian King said, "Faith & Belief: Trust that the Universe will be there for you."