0

The word authenticity is a weird word. It’s something we want or need but to achieve it, it’s difficult. A simple concept: the quality of being genuine,  but what does that mean? I mean, how can you be consistent in a fluid concept? What does that even mean??

We’re human, we evolve everyday, we come across problems and we solve them(or don’t) and then we move to the next day. Even those who live in a routine life have changes everyday. SO how does one stay free from pretense..or hypocrisy?

By staying present.  I know we have heard that word before, what does being present have to do with anything?  Have you ever had a young person in your life that maybe you are not around very much? When you see them again, wow! They are so different! How did that happen? Has it been that long?!!  What have I been doing??

This happens all the time.  So staying present means we are aware everyday that situations are different, like a new flavor of ice cream that is similar to the one you had previously. Present means we are paying attention to every conversation, feeling we have, task and environment.  I know, that sounds exhausting.  The thing is, it really isn’t; what is exhausting is trying to catch up all the time because we are not paying attention on a daily basis.

For me, being authentic is all about honesty and action.  Where in your life are you unhappy? Where is stuff funky and not working? Where is the junk dragging you down?  Take out some paper and write down what isn’t working, then in another column write out what is bothering you about it.

This is a way to be honest, so now you have your answers, what are you going to do about it?

Some actions may be easy to plan, not happy with your weight? A new walking routine is easy to understand, got it!  What if something is harder like being lonely? It’s a more difficult concept but you can start by getting out of the house!  What if we put both of these together? Loosing weight and loneliness might be helped by taking a Zumba class.   I know what you are thinking…but I won’t know anyone..that’s the point!! You won’t at first but you will eventually!

A small thing about being authentic, because we change so often we have to check ourselves often.  Checking in can be easy, allow yourself to be objective and release emotional ickyness.  I’m not saying emotions are not important, they absolutely are!!!  Emotions can cloud our judgement and actions because we feeeeeeeeeeeeel sooooooooooo so we deeeeply about  how much we loooooooooove our partners.   What I’m saying here is that kind of feeeeeeeeelings can make us miss the point of questioning if the relationship is really working and good for you.  Another example, if you hate your job and want to think about other options, you may get stuck in the hating for 20 minutes instead of having a concise moment of “this job isn’t good for me, what else can I do to make a living?”

 

Staying present  and being authentic are skills, they require practice. I suggest a weekly check-in on a day you tend to be in a good mood such as Friday or Saturday, it doesn’t have to take long a good 20-30 minutes will suffice.   As time goes on, you check-in more often …  add goals or what you are grateful for or how successful is something.  Checking in can be a wonderful tool to get to know your true self and the best part of being present means we are dealing with molehills instead of mountains!!!  

Gandhi said”Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

So, honestly, what is or isn’t working? What are you gonna do about it?

 

Buckets of Love to you!

Kelly

 

PS

I found a great many things when I started being present with myself, such as a trip to the Zoo can help you with any ailment of the heart.  Dancing poorly is the best, not only are you moving but you are hopefully laughing at yourself. Choosing to have fun in any moment will make you shine and your days better(who doesn’t laugh at their boss?). Singing catchy songs can make you happy and irritate others.  I make every day better by saying in the morning “Today is the day I make millions!” Cartoons are good medicine.  Exercise is funny, it makes you do all sorts of weird body poses that aren’t ready for on a regular basis.  Wear goofy underwear.  Tell others what you are passionate about.  Look people in the eye and tell them you are grateful for them and better yet, look yourself in the eye in the mirror and do the same. Rescue a shelter animal. Love your funky ridiculous self, it’s the meaning of life. Eat lots of ice cream…this will save your soul.

 

 

 


0

So, this wonderful blog has been around for a bit of time and I am very happy with it. I thank all of you supporters and sharers and lovely posters!

We all have our “thing” in life, some of us are athletes, computer experts, artists, gondoliers, gamblers or whatever. We have our thing, we have our job/career. Some of us are lucky enough that our things are also our passions, the work that makes us come alive and bring sauciness out onto the world.   This is what Have Fun Have Everything is for me: it’s a way for me to live my passion.

You see, I am very interested in helping folks have fun & be happy.  I believe that when we are happy our lives will fall into a positive rhythm and we exude joy.  Now, I know all too well that Life does whatever it wants and that usually we are constantly dealing with craziness and pitfalls.  However, I believe that no matter what Life cranks out onto us we can still be happy. We can choose to be  so.

Time is precious; so is play.  I’m not talking sitting in front of the tv or computer being comatose…that’s being comatose. Play is when your mind,heart and soul are engaged with delight. Have you eve met that person who was so cheerful and fun to be around that you wondered what drugs they were taking? Well, that happy person can be you, if you learn to play.

Who among us still remembers the sublime fort in the living room you made a s a child?  That is the secret, if your seven to sixteen year old self enjoyed it then you probably still do. Play is what the magic in Christmas is, that fountain of youth, the moment you realize it’s your surprise party.

We as a society program ourselves into thinking about appropriate behavior. At my job I will not laugh and be miserable, when I am around my parents I can’t swear, if I run into my fellow church members I have to act holy, what will the neighbors think if I play metal music, blah blah blah… We put up sheilds to cover ourselves, to “protect” aspects of us from getting us fired or disengaging social norms. We teach our kids this, we teach ourselves this. We create a picture in our mind of what we should  look like, act like, sound like, be like, what cars to drive, pets to own,sports to play.  You know what sheilds and shoulds are really about? OTHER PEOPLE. Those shoulds are not about us or who we are or what we really want or love.  The acceptable behavior is something our minds think will make us happy but are you happy truly?

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away I was young, I had a boyfriend, he proposed with a pretty ring, I said yes and we were married in a big beautiful wedding.  We got a cat, bought a house and were happy,right?   I was miserable, I was beyond miserable I was stuck.    I had followed the path of acceptable society norms.  I am no longer wed, I don’t blame marriage, I don’t blame anything, I firmly believe I had not really thought things through, sifted through my true feelings. I wasn’t really paying attention…and that’s where we all get stuck.

Learning to play kept me honest.  It’s simple, you are enjoying yourself or you’re not, but a  huge factor of playing is being open to it.

We have to learn to drop our screens, or the behavior that keeps us glued to “acceptable adult behavior” will prevail. What if you DID still enjoy playing board games? What if you DID still walking in the woods? What if you DID still enjoy cannon balling the pool? Screaming like a crazy person at concerts? Playing jokes on sleeping loved ones? Going to haunted houses? Playing cards with your friends?  Tickling puppy feet?

Having play in your life makes your life better.  All that jargon about paying your dues or misery loves company was created by those who refused to engage in a better life.

I want you to take a deep breath in and really take in what I am saying here: you can still do all those things, laugh till you hurt with tears running down your face, snort, run with abandon in a field of fireflies, burn marshmallows on a stick in the fire . All of this is possible, but you have to actually do it and stop judging yourself. You deserve to play just as much as anyone and nothing in your past can take it away from you.

Our lives are our amusement parks. Try to see each scene of your life a new opportunity, be open and best of all, be silly.

Play is you.  What you do while having the best fun is you. It’s the great parts of you that take joy and delight in the world. When we actually are playing and being full of delight the world becomes better  because someone around us notices what you are doing and maybe then they also start to play to their fullest potential. Before you know it, POOF! The world has chain reacted into a bunch delighted people bouncing balls around Target stores wearing huge grins.

I’ve seen it happen.

So next time you are at a department store… go by the toy aisle, pick up that Thor mask, put it on and go shopping. Maybe the god of thunder needs some eggs. It’s up to you to decide.

Remember, when you have fun you can have everything!!

Much love to you!

Kelly

 

Ways I have had fun despite my circumstances in the past:  When on a less than stellar date, I picked up the controller for a skull at the natural history museum and started asking my date how he thought the date was going.   I used to work at Victoria’s Secret catalog and one day the phone systems kept the line active after the customer had hung up, I spent most of the day acting as if I was working but using movie lines instead such as “once I met this beautiful Cuban and every night was like the bay of pigs.”   I’m a big fan of seeing sights along the way, last spring my boyfriend and I were terribly lost but had a great time visiting a huge statue of Abraham Lincoln in middle of no where, KY.  When studying ancient things, turning them into “ermagherd” quotes will guarantee learning! Talk to your mother in funny voices, they love that. In Pittsburgh I was visiting museums with some friends and we were surrounded by some upper class ladies who were horrified when I asked them to pose for a picture holding a plastic dinosaur with  my friend.Best pic ever!

 

 


0

We are constantly at odds with our environments.

Stress from our job, relationship, family, car, home, pets.. on and on and on. Stress that turns into fatigue or worse illness.

We bark and wrestle with our stresses, seeking any kind of solace from them. Sometimes it can lead to addictive behaviors such as food, booze, drugs or other such things.

The thing is, the only thing we have as a consistent in all of our stresses is us. I know this because I have been the source of many problems over the years, don’ get me wrong, the other person was a part of it or sometimes, bad choices were made, or another break up occurred. Through all of it has been me, the consistent quotient.

Up until February of this year I have had many relationships and dates, you name it, I tried it. For a while I was searching for that person to make me happy. For a while I was searching for that item to make me happy. For a while I went to college to get the knowledge I thought would make me happy and so on….

For whatever reason I thought that an external answer was the key to my happiness.

Guess what? I had a lot of fun and was able to have some extraordinary experiences but I wasn’t happy.

 

What I was looking for was something so very simple, I didn’t even know it was right in front of me.  Because it was me… I didn’t see it. I was looking, but when we look we don’t see us, as we aren’t in our field of vision…so we don’t even recognize our part in the equation.So as I said before, we are always in the equation, always on the the other side of the fulcrum.

So what do we do to deal with all of our stresses?

We take care of ourselves.

I was talking to a group of kids as I was doing forgiveness statements with and I explained that forgiveness is the top the pyramid, it rests atop awareness and acceptance.  For us to do anything like forgiveness we must realize the issue(awareness) and then desire to move on with it(acceptance).

Taking care of oneself is imperative, we only have one body, so why do we treat it badly?  One of my favorite ways to think about what is good for me is compare the best friend with the action. Would I tell my friend Maggie that drinking buckets of tequila on a regular basis is a great idea? That eating red meat  five days a week or setting a krispie cream diet up … would I tell her, YES! Do it!  No, in fact I would not…just as I would never allow her to wear a neon green tube top.

I would warn her about toxic people, toxic foods/drinks, habits,   risky county fair  amusement rides, clowns(neither one us like clowns),  creepers, staying up too late or even going on a  walk in panther infested woods.

If she was having a hard time or illness I would recommend a physician, masseuse, therapist, exercise regimen, acupuncturist,  self-help books.   If she needed a friend I would hope she would ask.

All of these things I would hope for my friend,  we go back to our teens, I love her and want her to be happy, healthy and as perfect as she is.

So why is it so hard for us to be so for ourselves?

You know that saying :treat others as you would treat yourselves….. the golden rule….  right?   Stiff upper lip?  Grin and bear it?  Just let it go?

Right.

Where in those statements that have been pounded into us… is us?   Not one letter…. just we see our field of vision, so  are our sayings about the field of vision. Not about us at all. No wonder we have no thought trail about self-care, it’s not there..it never was.

It’s hard for us. We don’t have a model to base  self-care on. Even Jesus gave everything for others. SO what does that leave us?  Anger,confusion, exhaustion, and worst of all: we have no idea what we enjoy, how to unwind, what tricks are good for us to take care of ourselves. What if protein is bad for you? It is for me, I have gout, and once I discovered the root of my problem I was able to keep my gout under control. It’s the same with our lives, if we don’t know what is hindering us how can we help ourselves?  How depressed,stressed, beat up and over stimulated must we become to realize how important self-care is? Everyone is different, every face, hair, personality, clothing taste… so every self-care is different too.  

Believe you are worth your own time.  Think about that.

We all want THE relationship, job, house, car…blah blah blah….   None of those are attainable without you. The question becomes, how do I take care of myself to achieve the things I want?

Sleep. Exercise. Positive people. Pets. Good nutrition. Meditation. Massages.  An uncluttered home. Funny movies.  Amusement parks. Sunsets. Happy music. The beach on a full moon. Time with beloveds. Baths. Giggling. Walks in the autumn. Speaking our feelings. Time to ourselves. Quiet. Prayer. Yoga.  Journals. Making art. Writing love letters. Calling your grandma. Coffee shops. Sitting on the porch in a rocking chair. Smelling lavender on a summer night.  Napping in a hammock.

These are activities that are inexpensive and will help enrich your soul.  Your soul is yours, it’s part of you. We come into the world and leave it with just ourselves, taking care of us, all of us is crucial. When we forget to care for ourselves that quiet ethereal part of you gets mucky…and so does everything else.  Feed the quiet part of you with quiet, cherish yourself and your life will open up.  Once  you are open, then miracles happen. All those stressful situations are easier to manage, being more open allows us to have more fun.

You know that moment when you are having some great fun and the world seems yours? This is our goal, by taking care of ourselves we can  be in that place of delicious fun ,to have less stress and see how wonderful the world is.  See? When you have fun, you really do have everything.

Happy weekend!!!  I love you!

Kelly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


0

I recently heard someone say “If only I had known.”

 

This statement has a long list of modifiers in our world.

Someone passed away and you felt bad for not knowing but more importantly for not bringing the macaroni salad. Someone confessed to loving you on their deathbed. Somehow, you were a raving jerk to your friends who have supported you through thick and thin and they finally told you off,loudly. Someone you trusted threw you under the bus. Maybe a grandparent passed away before you realized how little you talked with them. Walking near alligators that are hungry may get you killed. Red wine makes you black out at weddings.

All of these possible epitaphs can go with “If only I had known.”  I hate to tell you, but you probably did know most of the things you wish you had known. I mean come on, I am speaking to myself to here, of course too much red wine made me black out at a wedding!(True Story)

The phrase is some weird thing we do to take some of the guilt away from us, because we hate to be responsible for our part of bad spots in life.  Guilt is a harsh emotion, it can literally whittle us down to nothing and keep us locked in to a section of our life that doesn’t serve us anymore. By all means remember the lesson, but release the guilt, it only will gum up your life. I hear all the time about Catholic guilt… seriously. I have been told since I am not Catholic I wouldn’t understand… well that part is true, I cannot connect with such reasoning.

You can give guilt all the pretty names you please but honestly, if you make a choice with the information you have at hand you made the best choice in that moment.  No one stands up and tells themselves “well, this option here will ruin me for the rest of my days, let’s go for it!!”

At the time, you did the best you could with the information you had.  Wishing you “had known”implies  doing something differently and if you truly HAD known otherwise then you would have behaved differently! DUH!

We live and we hopefully learn.  Guilt isn’t about learning, guilt is about control and all those who use it are trying to control you or you are allowing the past to control your present.   It’s your life, you get to change the channel!

What power on Earth told you that suffering was okay?

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” —Buddha

You may be thinking “I wish it were that easy.”  You know what? IT IS THAT EASY!!  The hard part is keeping that mindset consistently, kinda like the workout habit is the hard part to create not so much the actual workout. If you tell yourself something is easy…then it is…if you conversely say something is difficult then hold on to your pants, you’ll barely make it!!

Taking care of ourselves is partly realizing what we truly need in the moment.  A major part of that equation is letting go of guilt and every time that  ”if I had only known” phrase pops up maybe consider that you did what you could and that would have to be enough for then and in the future you will do otherwise. (Remember to  behave otherwise in the future or we’ll be back here at this point again.)  Don’t allow yourself to single yourself out of this one by proclaiming extraordinary circumstances that only you and you alone  in the Universe have and therefore you can stay in the vortex of “if onlys” …that is giving yourself permission to stay there eternally and you know what? Ain’t nobody got time for that!

You know what the great part about letting go of guilt is? More room for being happy!!!  Isn’t that amazing?

Be happy now, tell those you love you love them, smile at children and most importantly, love yourself as you are right now.  Do these things often and the best way you know how, stop beating yourself up and  remain free,  that’s where happiness is.

Being happy IS everything!

Happy July!!!

Kelly

 

 

 

 

 


0

Hello!

June is in full swing! The strawberries are sublime! I am enjoying the summer produce!  I hope this post finds you well, I myself am recovering from my recent trip but what a trip it was!

Have you ever gone to see we see what other folks live in, their physical conditions, their living spaces, their tiny social circles? Compared them to your own?

Maybe you have it better than you think.

Poverty isn’t just a real word, it’s a real problem.

Poverty, like most social problems is cyclical. Some folks don’t know they can have a better life, they live the life they know and of that is already steeped in poverty, it will continue. Lack of possibility in an area such as the    mountains of West Virginia,  is vast. Mining is a major source of income, other than that,jobs are from chains like Walmart. It amazes me that the beauty of the mountains can be tainted so by the problems.

I just returned from a week long trip to Nazareth Farm in Salem, West Virginia.  Nazareth Farm is an organization that offers home repair to anyone despite their income.This is the second time I have been a part of the service work the farm does in the community, and it was nice to see the place again.

The farm has this luminescence about it; the mist curls up from the ground in the morning, the birds sing and the breeze might blow. Time has a different quality about it. We all put our phones away and just stay in touch with each other.  We work in the morning and afternoon; we play in the evening.

The farm, much like anything folks attend every year has different lessons to teach us. This year  I was awash in giving  lots of emotional support to the kids, chaperons and clients of the farm.  While we serve those in need by repairing their homes, the kicker for me was the simple act of talking and smiling with them, I hugged a lot of people in my week,  those who don’t seem to get very many hugs.

Conversing in person, how often do you do it?

In the world outside of the mountains you and I can just pick up our cell phones or skype our loved ones. Not so much in the mountains, folks don’t have as much tech, it’s more old school. We visit, talking face to face and shaking hands.  I spent as much time as I could, glad to hear their laughter  and smile with them, not putting smiley faces in a text or sending a funny meme to them, but talking! Conversation is a great gift, listening to others and responding to them in person can change your life.

When I look at a person who is helping others, I can tell when they are starting to become grateful for their own lives, they see how lucky they are to have family, friends and a roof over their head.  Humility  changes a person, especially when they stand in it, drink it, and feel it.

Simplicity reminds us of what we need instead of what we want, it can go very deep. I am not a rich person, I do not have a lot of money but I have been able to maintain a certain kind of living condition far above some in Appalachia, I have also been able to go out and attend a University.

I was very specific to talk to the youngsters, and tell them what I do, how college is great and seeing the world outside of the mountains. So maybe they’ll venture out and seek a life with a little more options.

Maybe they will be happy just where they are as they are. Either way, I will respect their choices.  Maybe they value a life different than my own and that is enough for me. That is the real lesson of service, respecting the person involved in it despite the circumstances.

Folks can be happy in different ways than our own, best thing we can do is share our happiness with theirs and that is through conversation,preferably face to face.

I love a good talk, don’t you?

I hope that you dear soul, are happy and well loved.

Kelly

PS Opportunities for service are everywhere! Animal shelters are always in need, soup kitchens, food pantries can use you.  Nazareth Farm can be found on the internet www.nazarethfarm.org ,  similar organizations can be found …,Jerusalem Farm is in Kansas, Bethlehem Farm is also West Virginia. Look into your community for urban farming or county bulletin board for places that need help. If you don’t have time, monetary donations are always accepted. Some shelters/groups have wishlists on Amazon.com!  Happy volunteering!!


0

Hey kids!

Happy June!!

Summer is on its way!!!  The weather is warming, the pools are opening, the  aroma of BBQ is in the air!  Maybe even more importantly, it’s summer movie season!!!!  I don’t know about you, but I luuurve the summer blockbusters!  I even belong to a blockbuster discussion group.

So we all have our hobbies. We all have our passions. For some  it’s a pencil skirt or a football team or a chrome finish on a vintage car. For some of us, it’s more than that, it’s geekdom. Geeks or nerds are the folks who love their stories and characters enough they will go out of the way to collect the swag and merchandise offered with the medium the passion is aired. Some of us love movies, TV or books; sci-fi or westerns, gooey villains or time honored stars playing themselves in different clothing.  Whatever the medium, you love it.

Look at that part of yourself. You love your passion…your delight and excitement when you think of it is so real you can touch it. It’s your very essence, right?  Look at the part of you that loves books, it’s you in there. Do you love the book or yourself? Or the part of you that loves the book?

If we aren’t that fond of ourselves then we tend to just love the book.  BUT, the road to loving oneself can begin by loving that part of you whilst loving the book.  Over time, you can add more love for yourself. This process will take time, Rome wasn’t built in a day so loving oneself isn’t just an automatic declaration that instantly materializes.

I hate to break it to you all, humans are a process, were just not that easy when coming to change. Another example: you see that buff dreamboat on the movie screen, let’s say its Brad Pitt in the movie Troy… because,  well he was ridiculously fit in that movie(even he said he’ll never be that toned ever again) …that is not something that happened overnight, he had to workout and diet and be ridiculously dedicated to make such a body appear out of his frame.

With our emotional bodies, it’s the same, the dedication and patience are required for transformation.   A daily exercise to help yourself come to what you want.  We can tell ourselves we are calm and then head into a family event.  We can be determined to not eat sugar and then end up in an ice cream shop with friends.

Whatever change you desire is going to be made easier if you love yourself first. I myself did it backwards…I tried to work on my relationship chops…well, I did but I realized the core issue was me,  not that I am a crazy crazy who wants eighteen cats and the love of my life to show up wearing a Budweiser Tshirt.  Not in the least! The common denominator in each relationship was me. So I started realizing some big emotional stuff and designed daily routines to help fix those problems, sought out professional opinions but more importantly I rediscovered how incredibly fantastic I am.

I had forgotten..or disbelieved   Me.  You know what? It’s incredibly common. Self love, bring that up at parties and folks will be desperate for conversations about religion or politics.

This is how I began my recovery.  Just like I stated above, I looked at what I DID love more than anything in the world: Wonder Woman.  So, I don’t want too disappoint you dear reader but I am not a 6’5 Amazon with black hair and blue eyes…I am a short,cute, chubby ginger with a pinchet for comedy and finding delight in the Universe.  So, for a long time in order to try and re-program my feelings about myself I wrote “I am Wonder Woman  on my thigh in sharpie.   I would forget about it during the day… but I would see it when I used the restroom… becoming excited at the thought and confirming it loudly. Sometimes being asked later why I was swearing in the bathroom.

That tactic worked so well I would sometimes write other sayings and still do. The point is, what we love will help us love ourselves and the more we love ourselves the more incredible fortune will come to us.

The best part of loving myself has been that it fuels loving others more deeply. No longer are you worried about them loving you to fill the void…the void is filled already!!  All that energy is freed for other activities… Once your void is filled by yourself you have the freedom to ascertain what is good for you… sometimes when we love ourselves properly our external world will shift. We realize our relationship isn’t what we thought, maybe we need to move to a new place and have a fresh start, maybe taking dance lessons is something you’d like to try.

The most important part here is sticking to the process  Each of us is an individual .. so we have to figure out what our healing process is…it’s going to be different than others because we are have differences, but you are not alone, I bet more of your social circle is having similar problems.

If your old self destructive talk pops up and it will, don’t panic. It’s never going to be completely eradicated , you just learn to build defenses to make it so that talk doesn’t affect you.  We’re not here to throw down judgement …we’re here to acknowledge the parts that hurt us and replace them with parts that encourage us.

For every character you love there are reasons. Is it because they are brave? Maybe dedicated to a cause? Able to accomplish whatever they please? Have brainy brains that help them survive?  For every character or whatever we wish we were like them in some degree.  Is it possible that we recognize incredible feats in others easier than ourselves? Absolutely. Relating to good parts of a character is still relating…meaning you have that ability too.  Of course you do…you’re awesome! Maybe it’s time to look at yourself from the outside and see  objectively what is truly you.  Not just the physical aspects but the character…  The parts even Superman would be proud to have.

This isn’t  a competition between us and others, it’s a no judgement look at what we truly have to offer and loving ourselves for it.  A relationship can be a wonderful part of your life but only if it’s truly good for you, but you will be with you till the end.

So your geeky loves …how do they  reflect how awesome you are?

I don’t know about you, but Harry Potter doesn’t have anything on me!!! Have an incredible day!!!

Kelly

 

PS Things in geekdom that parallel me:  I have two parents just like Batman, but they’re alive.   Wonder Woman and I both are  full of love.  I am brave everyday just like my superhero counterparts… maybe it’s not saving people from a fire, but by picking up a tack.  I taught improv for many years and helped many have more confidence in themselves, just like Dumbledore.  I also wear rings like Green Lantern.  I don’t wear capes for fear of death.   I’m totally able to project like Black Canary.

For those who may not have found out on FB, I was featured on a podcast about comics! Check it out!

http://jedicole.blogspot.com/2013/05/hey-kids-comics-44-heros-journey.html


0

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears!

I did it. I graduated.  It was exhilarating   I didn’t know the president of the University would make a point to shake all of our hands and I was so happy. I didn’t know that I would be so overwhelmed by the size of it, the anticipation, seeing faces of my classmates. The moment came when the Dean of my college called my name and  all those years,weeks,days,hours,minutes, seconds spent at Wright State University came into light. Moments like these define us.

I had made the decision a long time ago to attend the graduation ceremony if I made it. I have never been so happy about a choice made. I am proud of my work certainly, but I what made it real was I showed up for graduation. It’s strange that we as Americans have so few rituals that we go through culturally  Some have religious ceremony but that’s not what I mean. Some make holiday traditions important, some create annual parties, some make up holidays or emphasize birthdays.  When we create traditions or events we have markers to the passage of our time.  Who wants to look back at 2013 as the year I sat on the couch?

Think about it…what did you DO last year?  Do we get so lost in our routine that we never make time for anything special? Or we just focus on special stuff for the kids in our family? What about you? Being healthy isn’t just taking that omega 3 pill or running the 5k, it’s also enjoying ourselves, making time for ourselves or making sure our mental health is just as much of a priority as our BMI. The balance in life that we sometimes miss is the health of both the mind and body

The ancient Greeks created an agalma for various gods, an agalma was an object in which the god would delight. This could be anything from a tiny figurine or a large hunkin cult statue or a temple or a big festival.  If the gods were happy then everyone was happy.

What could you create for yourself that would make you feel delight? An annual party? A trip to go hiking in the fall? Maybe going to an annual event like Gen con? Pick something that you have to personally show up for… Maybe an activity that has a celebratory ending such as graduation or something where you meet a group of friends. Something that helps recharge your batteries.

Who wants to glide by life on autopilot? Show up for your life! You are worth your own time. If you don’t feel your time is interesting then maybe it’s time to shake it up a bit, steer clear of your comfort zone, take on some challenges.  By taking small steps to make ourselves happy we can create huge possibility in our lives. I did.

So in that moment  during graduation when my name was called  my life changed because I created that moment for myself by myself. It wasn’t a wedding, it wasn’t a birth, it wasn’t an anniversary or reunion. It was MY graduation. I had completed this entirely myself. That’s why I am celebrating.

Show up for your life, be happy, be kind and rake in the benefits. I now have a degree from a University…what are you going to do?

With warm and fuzzy embraces,

Kelly

 

PS: Awesome annual events I know of or have attended:  Cinco de Mustache(the fellas shaving on April 5th have a contest who could grow the best Tom Selleck ‘stache). I attended the Elizabeth,the Queen Mother memorial party for years after her death, I am in no way British. Cooking contests are always a good time, my friend’s parents won big with their “Sadistic Bob’s butt-rippin chili.” My dad would take a week off every year to drink a lot(LOT)and only listen to Pink Floyd music in such a way he was trying to measure what amount of alcohol and PF would make him vomit;this annual tradition was called “Pink Floyd till ya puke” He thought of it as his annual contribution to science.True Story.

 


3

Hello friends!

I know we are all mourning the tragedy of the Boston marathon. In the days after the tragedy we want to quickly point fingers, to give our pain a target so we can put it there and maybe not feel it so intensely   Well, that’s normal.  FOr me, I just love my folks a little harder, hug them more(which is a task since I am a hugger) tell my people I care for them, reach out to those I haven’t talked to in a while. That is the way to beat violence, to love more. I have a friend who thankfully was not harmed in the race and he said it best”We’ll be there next year, too stubborn not to.”

Tragedy happens for all of us and we continue on.  Just like change, we come to the end of  how we perceived something,  or a goal reached and then we will continue but our lives or perception will be different. Transitions come in many forms.

I am about to graduate from college, as in next Saturday. I am very happy about this, but I am also scared too. Many parts of my life will change. My daily routine, my identity goes from student to graduate, my health insurance is over, the health center no longer available to me, the library access gone, my physical location changes, my gym schedule, my support system is going away, the places and facilities I have relied on will be over.

Don’t get me wrong I am happy but it’s a bigger change than I had anticipated.  When we have to change, even positive changes can be overwhelming. Part of me is actually scared.

I know I will be fine.  How many times have we expected a certain outcome to make our problems disappear ?  Certainly this degree will help in some areas but just because a change comes doesn’t mean the paradigm is better or worse, it’s just different.  Our anxiety then can over run us as uncertainty is terrifying so we may be prone to hold onto the past. How many times have we said “back in the good old days”  well, that just translates to “back then I had a handle on my environment, but now I am lost”

Certainty is a sticky whickett. DO we really KNOW what will happen?  No, but that is part of the fun too…we don’t know exactly how great it will be…. probably way better than we could ever know, so we make the best of our time with what we know at the time.

What I know is that this week I will take exams and hand in assignments, then put on an overpriced cap and gown and listen for my name to be called.  I will accept this degree not just because I have worked through many classes the last few years but also because I left college many years ago for a reason now I cannot remember and I came back. I showed up. I did the work so I can continue on in graduate program that will aid in my goals for healing and wellness because a few years ago I remembered how teaching others to have fun through improv made them happier people.  My goal ultimately is that,  to help others be happier.

So this graduation, this transition is merely a stop along  the way to a grander loftier goal, but it will stand on its own representing a stubborn redhead who forced her way through statistics class,  read line upon line of ancient writings, wrote papers applying modern Psychology to crusade warfare because she was tired, compared Jesus with Odysseus,  fell in love with Shakespeare again,  wept through computer programming, showed up with mono to discuss the writings of James Joyce,  interpreted religious law, held a human brain in her hands, argued feminism, funneled anger of a break up through writing on Ancient Greek comedy, I did all of this and more because I knew that my experiences would help me aid others.

“Learn what you are and be such”.
Pindar (522-438 BC) – Greek Poet

The last few years I have spent healing myself, somehow in my struggles of schoolwork and survival. It’s not something that will stop as I know I have an infinite number of circumstances to go over in my brain. I still work on forgiving myself for my failed marriage, I still will exercise for better health, I still will meditate and try to eat right because I know I am better when I do these things.  Transition offers us the chance to see how far we have come, how much more practiced we are at the things we used to fail.  Transition can be uncomfortable yes, but is that because we might have been too hard on ourselves in the first place?

Sometimes our transitions can come in unexpected ways. I knew (hoped)I would make it through undergrad, I knew that I would go to graduate school someday, I knew this, I knew that, I had realized this, I had an epiphany over that.    I had decided that I was okay with being single, I had become comfortable with the possibility of my life staying that way and I was happy about it.

And there he was.

The unexpected was waiting for me at the pub with brown eyes and a killer smile.

My buddy Chris told me once “A good make out session can change your life.” Yes, brown eyes and a killer smile has changed part of my life,  but my original goals are still in place. A transition aided by simple joys,  to smooth over the rough edges by holding my hand or making me laugh with his terrible jokes. I’ll take it!

So come Saturday I’ll have a big fancy piece of paper to hang on my wall next to my Linda Carter autograph, something to help me get where I am going. I’ll be sitting in a big huge spring graduation ceremony…. wanna play words with friends with me?

 

My heart to you all in these times of transitions, transitions in tragedy, in seasons,  in life moments. Don’t forget to laugh and sing!

Buckets of love!

Kelly

 

PS Stuff I learned in college:

Bouncy castles are amazing!!!(even at 38) How to make one statement then fill three pages of making the same statement in different ways.  Ancient Greeks are high-larious. If a professor seems to be disorganized, make a point to see his office and be amazed at the mess.  Food on campus is terrible.  Writing at three in the morning needs to be proof read before turning in!!!  Ask professors to allow you to compare myths with comic book characters then you get to write a paper you want! Attendance is imperative …then you don’t miss who falls asleep in class. Universities do not give you a free t-shirt upon graduation even though they should, because you had to not only buy a gown but pay a graduation fee as well.  Be grateful for your friends made in college.  Statistics hypotheses can be made way more interesting if you calculate pop culture instead of driving records. If you must read pages upon pages of religious law, read all of them so not to miss the awesome ones such as “it was considered a sin to come to church intoxicated, even more of a sin to vomit up the Eucharist, but if a dog came along and ate said expelled Eucharist you had to pay the severe price.”  Knowledge like that folks is what a Liberal Arts education is all about!

 


0

Hello all you gorgeous folks!

Happy Spring!!!  It’s here!! Whew!

I don’t know about you but I have had some interesting run ins with technology over the last few weeks!!!  I tried to publish two blogs and the web as all crazy, only putting up half or whatever. I am hopeful we have passed all that and I can get back to my regularly worded schedule! So, my apologies for being seemingly being away! I promise I was with you :)

It’s spring officially, Ohio is still showing signs of winter but I am hopeful the wind will die down soon. I  love winter but I am ready for spring and sunnier days!!!

I was sitting listening to friends the other day and they were speaking about this and that, I was intently listening to  their message and how it was affecting them and in my mind I heard a voice say to me “it’s simpler than that”   There was another time I was listening to  some other friends talk about their religion, and that same voice in my head popped up saying the same thing. Simpler.   When I look at my nephew(who just turned one) he is all over the place walking and laughing. Simply being himself in every moment. When I watch my kitties chasing after a bugs,  the focus in their eyes, the sheer determination to capture, their predatory instinct takes over and they come alive. When I taught improv for so many years and my students would have that moment wherein they would laugh with their whole beings shaking off any pretense they might have had previously, they had that comfort with themselves in the moment.

Simplicity is a hard concept for most to understand in our busy lives. Today we are bombarded with marketing, processed food, gadgets, wi-fi, anti-biotics, 24 hour news, violence in schools, war….  how could we imagine a simple life from all that and more? Simplicity is us, we are simple beings.

It’s difficult to imagine but in our deepest selves we don’t need much to survive. Don’t get me wrong, the blessings of technology are important in science and health, absolutely! I am grateful for tech and science!!!  I am also bewildered by the emptiness it can bring. How many in our modern age surrounded by wealth or blessings are unhappy?

Herodotus, a Greek historian in the fifth century BC wrote about a Lydian king, Croesus had a famous Athenian statesman and poet visit his kingdom.  Solon, was shown all the riches of Croesus’ kingdom,  wealth beyond compare. Croesus asked the wise man after showing him all his riches who was the happiest man in the world.  Much to Creosus’ surprise, Solon named a mere Athenian citizen, no king. A little flustered, Croesus asked who the second happiest man alive is, Solon didn’t even flinch and named a pair of twin brothers who had performed great service to their mother, a priestess of Hera,  again,  no kings just regular citizens and certainly not Croesus.

“To me you seem to be very rich and to be king of many people, but I cannot answer your question before I learn that you ended your life well.  …  It is necessary to see how the end of every affair turns out, for heaven promises fortune to many people and then utterly ruins them.” (Solon to Croesus. Herodotus, History 1.32).

Solon knew  the twins he spoke of had served a great deed to their mother then they died, for the Greeks, the twins had died at the height of their lives. It’s like how we remember James Dean or Marilyn Monroe, young and full of promise.

Stuff, bling, swag doesn’t bring happiness, those things are just things and can be taken away. You know what brings happiness? You. You bring yourself happiness.

The easiest way to happiness is by simplifying.

If things seem to have more than one answer, keep simplifying. If food labels have words you cannot pronounce, keep simplifying; if activities require you to buy lots of things,its possible it might be too much,if your relationship seems to need a new house,car or baby…maybe it’s time to re-think some things.

A list of simple things that might help you be happy on a day to day basis:

Sweat, everyday…it’s great for your skin and activity is good for your brain! So get out and exercise, have some steamy sex, ferocious gardening…whatever. Making ourselves sweat usually helps our body produce feely good hormones.

Create something! A yummy dish, a piece of art,  a card for a friend, a silly internet meme. Something, you made that you can share.

Take time for yourself. Read an actual book, take a drive on a beautiful day,  go to a coffee shop and sit enjoying a delicious beverage.

Get rid of clutter. All that stuff in the basement?  Go through it, keep what you absolutely cannot live without and donate the rest to charity. Get rid of clothes that don’t fit you anymore(wearing clothes that make you feel good is a huge deal!) Go through your friends list and see who makes you happy or stresses you out. Choose the schtuff and people in your environment.

Socialize!!  We are social animals. Go out with friends. Put down the phone and people watch. Call your grandma.

Get enough sleep! This is a biggie!

Be grateful for what you have already, let go of worrying what you don’t. This goes for relationships, possessions, vacations, whatever. You are good with what you have now. All the rest of that stuff will show up once you are truly grateful for what is in your hands now.

Have fun!! Laugh!!! As much as possible!!! No one gets out alive, so you may as well relinquish the need to appear like you are something you are not, I have heard many people balk at the idea of having as much fun as possible because they would appear silly or not respectable.  Really?  I want to laugh, dance, hug, kiss my way through my days with glee.  Delicious fun!!

Choose happiness. It’s really a conscious choice. I’m not going to lie, the last five years have been a challenge. About two and a half years ago I decided I wanted to be happy. SO, I was happy. Not all the time, there were many challenges and adjustments to get to being happy and I had to practice choosing positivity over negativity. Now, I don’t have to try I just am, even when the day is tough, it’s a good day.

Choose simplicity.  DO you really need a 4,000 square foot home? Brand new china that you’ll never use?  Ipads or new phones or gadgets that will hold their tech necessity for six months?  How about playing board games? Maybe a smaller home with a great view?  Adopt a pet from the pound?

Look for the simpler, bigger picture.  Love. Listen to Martin Luther King,JR, John Lennon, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, Anne Frank,  Marianne Williamson.  Look to poetry, for expressiveness and the humanity we seem to have lost.

I cannot give you meaning for your life I can only tell you about my own experience. I do know that exquisite bliss is at your feet if you want it. It’s not because I have this laptop to type this blog on, or schmancy converse shoes or jewelry.  It’s because I have gratitude. I laugh. I cry. I am happy. I play. I joke. I giggle at every opportunity. I serve others. I reach out.  I give.  I receive. I hope. I support.  I touch. I smile.

Most importantly, I love unconditionally.

I love you.

Many wishes to a happy spring for you!!

Kelly

 

 

 


0

Hello Beautiful Souls!

I hope that your new year has been lovely.  We have had plenty of time ot get back into that routine, time for packing away the holiday cheer and time for looking ahead at what is coming for us in the year. I’m not talking so much about resolutions, but design.

Something that has struck me this evening as I was piddling about in my place, by piddling I  mean, drinking my tea, petting the kittehs and maybe watching something or giggling about the wonders on Facebook, the thing that seems to be on my mind is why have I made the recent decisions I have?

In one of my former lives I was an entertainer…I did it for years and even toured with a singing group on the circuit of renaissance faires around the United States. I loved my time on the road, it was exciting, fun, difficult and tiring, I lived a very different life than many people will ever know. Some understand, my compatriots who traveled entertaining, the community is a wonderfully supportive one, as many like me looked for meaning in our extraordinary abilities.  My time there was challenging but uplifting and one day I realized it was time to change and do something different. I decided to return to college and finish my degree so I could move into a place where I would maybe get to exercise my true calling…something very much like here in this blog.

For a while I did both, traveling on the weekends to far away cities while being a full time student during the week. It was exhausting living in between the two worlds, trying to write and study in bars where the gatherings on the off hours took place. I slept on the plane, I studied Spanish during lunch or waiting for the parade or toted my laptop to the beach in the night when my heartbroken group mate dealt with an horrendous breakup with her boyfriend, I typed away on the beach in Ft Lauderdale as she sobbingly tore love letters and threw them in to the ocean by moonlight.  I drove half the night back and forth from St Louis. I held it together just enough to perform and be a good student.

The group decided to take a mini-retirement as traveling for myself in Ohio,  one in Toronto and the other in Boston was becoming too difficult to maintain. I missed it, but was consumed by school.

A few weeks ago an offer was laid out to do a few weekends in a far away city, it will work out that my time will be over spring break and I would only need one ticket… I agreed. I didn’t much think about it other than I could use the money and it would be a nice re-visit to my friends and former career.

What struck me tonight, is, I have agreed to do so but did I really think about it? Is getting onstage and being in that realm of character again something I want to engage in …again?  This isn’t the only thing from my past that has popped up that I think I have blindly agreed to… as much as I have changed, have I really?

How many times do we agree to something because the “good old days” sparkle in our memory?

How much of myself is thinking in that mental time frame instead of seeking out what my current self has to say about it?  What if I don’t enjoy it anymore? What if I am not as entertaining as I once was? I tend to be much kinder now… how will I handle it?  This can be said of past relationships or friendships or even Christmas…what are we basing our decision on…then or now?

Or am I making the decision based on the people involved? Is it because I want to see them? Because I want to re-live past glory? Like going to a high school reunion, do I expect the same magic of the past to be waiting for me in a box tied with a ribbon?

Decisions and choices tend to be the same…just in different costumes.  Time passed, I have changed as a person, how will that effect things?

When making decisions, I know now I must really think about how it fits me NOW.  I may not care for performance now, I may not have feelings for that person, I may get to the reunion and be baffled by the people in front of me.

I know that now I do not need to get thunderous applause to be happy(don’t get me wrong… it has its benefits) …I don’t need witty repartee to have fun(I do love it, being clever is very fun), I don’t need the right clothes or house or friends to be happy. I am fine with myself drinking hot tea, having a cuddle with a kitty, watching superhero cartoons, texting friends and wearing fun hats. I like my superhero Tshirts, I like reading books, having coffee in my Wonder Woman mug, I like thinking about how lucky I am to have what I have…which is a great deal of” money can’t buy you this” happiness. I am a simple person who knew Christmas would be lovely because of who I spend it with, my silly family.

The past is a foreign place to me now, drenched in pain or fondness and I’m good with it. Maybe I am silly for going back to it in some circumstances, but how can I pass up the chance to see 2013 Kelly re-live 2009? It could be like when I was younger and read the Hobbit once a year… different things stood out to me as I grew older. We’ll see if the decision was a good one or a bad one…we’ll see how I react to the norms of the past. It will be interesting, indeed.

What I am trying to show to you dear soul, is that being aware of what is important to us in the present is a constant vigilance… we must endeavor to continue to be aware of the changes in ourselves. Sometimes it is hard to do so, given our day to day activities may not offer us much chance to notice, that’s where design can help.  Sometimes, all we need is a little bit of new…a new museum, or coffee with someone new, or maybe even something way out of our norm…time to our self. By being alone we may notice something… that maybe we don’t like our present circumstance. When I was married, my ex loved a certain TV show, I watched it as much as he did getting all wrapped up in the plot lines. Years later when I was single again I watched the show and realized I didn’t care for it. Was his enthusiasm what I enjoyed? Was I really into this show for me? It didn’t matter as to why I didn’t care for it anymore just that I realized I didn’t like it and haven’t watched it since. That is being aware in the moment.

You get to design your life, but first you have to have all the information, much like  researching a topic for a paper, you have to research your own library, often.  It may seem overwhelming, but all you have to do is ask yourself.. “How do I really feel?”

How do you?

Peace in your mind, peace in your heart, peace in your tummy!!!

Kelly

 

PS  In my singing group, we had plenty of time for improv on the streets of the festivals in which we performed. Some of my favorite moments were… creating the BFF club and always having screaming preteens in my midst, walking around shaking hands when folks were in a line pretending I was at a receiving line for a wedding, mocking big muscle-y men by posing in classic body building poses,  having to duck into the bathroom before parade and when I came out the King was approaching and I walked the rest of the parade with him like I was his, in the mornings the King and Queen were sitting in their thrones for photo opportunities  I always loved to run up to the king and sit on his lap…and tell him what I wanted for Christmas.