My elderly mother has been experiencing health issues over the past few months, with various hospital and rehabilitation facility stays. My oldest son, who lives five state away from me, was involved in a serious car accident. My podcast has started to explode (in a good way!) leaving me scrambling to stay on top of the interview, editing and publishing schedule. All of this is stress-inducing. But, that’s life . . . crazy and fun and chaotic and messy at times. However, it’s how we handle the chaos and resulting stress that determines whether we feel overwhelmed or calm in the moment.
Today I hit the trails at Cincinnati Nature Center for some self-care soul work. I practiced mindfulness exercises as I hiked, listening to the sounds of nature, taking in deep breaths of the forest scents, and allowing the cool morning air to embrace me. Nature is my reminder to stay grounded. As I focused on the little bee, asleep on a flower, I allowed myself peace. Right there in that moment. No decisions about nursing homes or insurance policies, no scheduling conflicts or malfunctioning recordings. Just me, a bee and a flower.
I wish you serenity in nature. Here is a little collage of some of my favorite photos I have snapped while hiking at our local nature preserve. Enjoy!
Thirty years ago today. Wow. That just dawned on me as I sat poolside, journaling today’s ponderings. May 23, 1988. A day I thought would forever be burned upon my soul. Branded by a cruel and searing experience.
As I turn my head to the left, sitting in my writing space, I glance upon a file folder holding newspaper articles, court documents, and everything cold and factual about that day.
I feel the tingles of a presence beside me. The spirit of a girl whose earth-life was stolen. Marsha Burger, age twenty-eight, engaged to be married, my new after-work bowling league teammate . . . shot with a gun that had been held to my head only three months prior on February 19, 1988 in a previous bank robbery. Our lives forever entangled in the cold steel of the revolver and the thick, callous fingers of a thief.
I find myself joyous in the fact that it took me until 4:00 p.m. to realize the significance of this date. I used to dread the anniversary’s approach for years, decades really. A reminder of all of my broken pieces showcased on displays labeled “Panic Attacks” and “Overwhelming Anxiety”.
Here I sit, oh-so-serene, thirty years after running terrified from the gun shots, staring down the barrel of a Luger semi-automatic weapon, as I froze in fear behind a house in the neighborhood just beyond the bank. I am calm. I have made my peace with the ghosts.
Today, in honor of you and your thirty years transitioned to another life, Marsha Burger, I share thirty tranquil thoughts:
1. There is peace in the stillness where there used to be overwhelming fear.
2. There is freedom in forgiveness.
3. There is clarity in the space between thoughts.
4. Each breath in is a gift, each breath out brings more relief.
This week has been fairly quiet on the book-front. The completed proposal is in my editor’s hands. She will have it back to me by the first week of February. Then I can edit away!
As for the book itself . . . I am so excited to have an outline to work with and a plan for it. Finally. As I’ve told so many, I’ve been writing this book for years. In, what feels like, circles. Always coming back to “what is it I am really trying to say?” I knew in my heart and soul I didn’t want it to be a “woe is me” story all about my trauma. I wanted it to be about hope and healing and the journey toward joy, yet knowing the trauma has to be a part of it.
There is a connection that happens between our souls when we have those “me, too” moments. The haunting beauty of my story is that it paints with a broad trauma brush, touching different people in different ways . . . yet, the vast majority of those folks are striving to live a more joyous, peaceful and purposeful existence. And many are stuck. Not knowing quite how to do move forward.
This is my tale from trauma to triumph, the “how to” for getting oneself unstuck from the muck.
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Tomorrow, I have a meeting to discuss the website development. Excited to move forward with that, as well! Wish me luck.
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A beautiful and incredibly talented friend painted this unicorn shadow for me. It hangs next to my desk in my writing space. I smile at it every day.
Goals for 2017 include continued self-care, cultivating peace in my life, experiencing continued connectedness. This morning before heading off to work, I took some “T” time.
I’m currently reading 13 different books but my favorite is “The Gifts of Imperfection”. If you’re looking for an amazing read, pick this book up.
I also wrote in a Gratitude journal, with today’s instructed subject: “To learn from our enemies is the best way to loving them: for it makes us grateful to them” . . . not that I have “enemies”, per se, but a difficult subject to write about in a grateful way, nonetheless.
Finally, I took a few minutes to mindfully color. Just breathe and settle into my day.
Take care of yourself in some way today. Whether big or small. You are so very worth it ?
I wish you a life filled with an abundance of joy, tranquility, laughter and love.