Lettuce see!

I stumbled across a DIY tutorial on how to make a vase from dipping romaine leaves in concrete. To say I was initially perplexed, would be accurate. Do you ever find yourself asking why someone would make something frivolous, impractical, maybe even wasteful? Yep, I found myself doing the same, and then I chastised myself for it. I know better than that, I know that my opinion does not matter, and that we all see things differently, but I also recognized the hypocrisy of my judgment. So, why did I immediately judge?

Honestly, it is because my creativity has been stifled and lacking here of late. Not all creatives want to admit to this, but I fess up and embrace it. See, while I found dipping romaine leaves in concrete to form a vase a bit in poor choice, I also recognized I never thought of it, someone else wondered whether it could be done, and did it. Personally, I wondered how the lettuce decomposing would affect the concrete, wouldn’t the moisture break down the concrete? I truly don’t know, and maybe it would, but it really was very cute in it’s solid form. And in that, I see the beauty of it.

Finding the beauty in it was not all I received though. I also thought of the joy it would bring to the maker every time they remembered making it. If the maker gifted it to another, the joy would then be spread to the recipient, doubling or tripling the happiness derived from what others view as nonsensical or impractical. What if the vase recipient received flowers from another friend to put in the Romaine vase?? Joy then becomes exponential.

We are quick to make judgments, but are we just as quick to amend or think those thoughts through to arrive somewhere different? I know I work at that, encourage others around me to see different perspectives too. I mean, who would have thought that a random art project of turning romaine leaves in to a vase would spur a blog post about judgment and freeing ourselves to allow more joy?!? I sure didn’t see that coming.

To see my inspiration for this post, Find the video from MetDaan DIY https://pin.it/4alhWLg here: https://pin.it/7mak7EG

My current WHY

If you knew how many things I write, and never publish, you would see a very lopsided draft to publish ratio. I write pieces, often. I rarely let my thoughts and ideas be seen. This all seems counterproductive, even counterintuitive for a creative, but there you have it, many words go unread up in here.

I have often thought, why don’t I just journal these thoughts instead of making them in to blog posts that will never see the light of day? I do journal, but my journaling is more spiritual in nature, my blog posts are more based in human nature. As I write this, I feel there is an important key being placed in my hand. I don’t write about the good stuff, per se, I write about the real stuff.

That is a bit of a downer, even to my own ears, er, eyes. Why do I feel so compelled to write about the real stuff? Well, I write about the real stuff because I think that we tend to ignore the real, difficult things in life. We tend to want to push it down or away, hoping out of sight is out of mind, and if it is out of sight/out of mind, then we don’t have to confront it, let alone deal with it.

Why is this important to me? I feel this is the basis/beginning of our mental health. Over the last year, watching everything unfold as it has, I have come to the startling realization that our mental health collectively is extremely poor. I have known for some time that people have poor mental health, but we are grossly mentally ill as a society.

Mental health is not something we really discuss or place importance on, and for the older generations, I think that worked. It could be overcome, maybe overpowered is a better word, because you basically got out what you put in. And while that still holds true today in a sense, the mental health of people today is based upon the avoidance of it yesterday. But I am sure it has always been that way, I think that further solidifies what I am trying to say. It all just keeps adding up, and keeps getting passed on to the next generation.

This creates quite a storm. A mental health shit storm if you will. People have no idea there is an issue. I mean, they can’t physically see it or typically feel it, so there is nothing wrong, right? Have you noticed how angry people are these days? Do you know that anger is an emotion. Emotions tell us how we are feeling, they can serve as internal warnings that something is wrong, or they tell us that something feels right…and sometimes that can be wrong! Argh!!!

It is no wonder that we are, where we are. How many of you were mad at people for not wearing masks? How many of you were mad at people wearing masks? How many of you just wanted to see another person’s face, regardless of the mask debate?? So many confusing, emotion invoking feelings, and we are just talking masks and not anything else!

So, how did this past year alter your mental health? I know for some, they just kept plugging right along. For others, I think this past year was a relief to be able to interact with less humans than normal. Many people saw a decline in their mental health this past year, some of those folks know this, so many others do not. Personally, I steadily have been building pressure and I finally blew up a couple weeks ago.

My own experience over this past year started with gaining a much needed break for me and my family in March of 2020. After that break, the disappointments started rolling in. Then the corruption of our government started taking a toll. Then people all around me started pissing me off, with their opinions or their dumping of their undealt with emotions, and while I tried to remain positive and supportive, I tripped and fell into old bad habits of being too available to people. This coupled with old issues of my own and loved ones, in addition to trying to live a normal hectic life, just brought it all crashing down.

I became depressed. I became angry. My hatred for others started to mount and grow. I saw others fraying horribly, and passing it off as someone else’s problem and not their own, and finally, FINALLY, I talked about it. And now, I am writing about it. I am still making plans to help myself, one thing at a time. The first thing I had to do was distance myself from the external less important things that I had no control over. I also had to seclude myself from people that were trying to use me as a life raft. I can’t swim, so that was only drowning us both. My mental health had to take the front seat, and others need to do the same as well.

Making yourself, or your mental health a priority over serving others is not selfish. You cannot pour in to others from an empty cup. You cannot fulfill nor make other people happy if they are not happy with themselves. You cannot heal someone else, but you especially cannot help someone if you are not healed yourself. You cannot take on others’ problems to alleviate their pain. You cannot make people get help if they are unwilling. You can do one thing, and one thing only: you can be aware of you, and figure out how to help yourself if you need it. If you are unsure, you can ask a loved one or friend for advice, but the work is on you. You can seek out a healthcare professional, but remember, you need to know your starting point, that may be as simple as knowing you just don’t feel right.

It is no longer May, nor mental health awareness month, but shouldn’t every month be about mental health awareness? Shouldn’t we be well for ourselves, and that just so happens to benefit those around us? Yes. To end, I wants to challenge you to do one thing positive for your mental health this week. Maybe you turn off the news, maybe you put down your phone, maybe you tell someone no, maybe you go to a yoga class or read a book. Whatever you choose to do, do it for your health, your mental health, because head colds of the mental variety can end up as mental shit storms and no one wants that.

~Erin

The roles we play.

Are you playing a role in your own life? Are you playing multiple roles? Do you even know if you may be playing a role, as opposed to just being who you are? Whenever I find a common theme popping up in my life, this is the lightbulb that says write about it.

If we wanted a role in a play, we auditioned. Many of you may say, well, I don’t want to play a character, I just want to be me. What if I told you the roles we seek are comparable to when we were kids in gym class or recess, we just wanted to be picked? How about if I tell you that our roles often have to deal with our childhood, that we played roles for our parents or friends as a way of receiving love and finding self worth?

Many of us adults carry the childhood roles way far into our adulthood, doing the same or similar actions as those of what we did to get recognition and love from our parents and peers. We have fulfilled the roles for so long that we no longer realize that is what we are doing. Some may say, “this is my personality”, or this IS love, or this was how I was raised, or it’s not me, it’s you, as a way to explain their methods and ways of explaining themselves without understanding themselves. These are some examples of coping mechanisms, trauma, projection, finding and receiving love or self worth, acceptance.

When we don’t stop to examine what we have carried with us into adulthood, we more or less are saying we are not worth more, and neither are those around us. That is a pretty brash, hard statement, but truly, what is conditioning and what is choice? Do you know why you have a tendency to want to help/fix others? Do you know why you have a desire to be perfect? Do you know why you trust no men? If you can’t dissect and pinpoint why, you’ll never know why, things will not go how you want them to, and odds are it will be someone else’s fault, or you will blame yourself to the point that Jesus will look at you and ask if you are trying to take his position.

Some people will say that you can’t go back, you can only go forward. TRUTH. However, when you don’t examine the past, and look upon it with love and care, for you, your parents, for relatives, for people of influence, or friends, then you probably will short change you and anyone you have contact with in your present and future. Too many people think that looking at the past is a gateway to blaming your parents, caregivers, or friends for their flaws and failings, it is not. So what exactly is it?

It is a way for you to identify what you were tasked with, what you have not only brought to the present with you, but what you may think is just a part of you, and is actually a detriment to you. For example, I was a fixer/helper. My parents did not always get along, and I was the buffer, I fixed the situation so they would, at minimum, not argue. This carried over in to adulthood to where one time at a concert, I got between two grown men fist fighting. Yes, they stopped, but I put myself in harm’s way, which was stupid and dangerous. Why? Because I just reacted and did it. I realized this was a problem, that it was not my job nor duty, and the police showed up maybe 2 minutes after I got them to stop anyhow. I still tend to be a more diplomatic person, by choice, I have never run from conflict, I face it straight on, but how many people avoid conflict, and why? I have dealt with the childhood conditioning of my mediator status, to where what this entails now is listening, seeing both sides and communicating about it, but definitely not inserting myself where I am not asked to be, only being involved when asked or required for resolution.

How many of us are still living for our parents, relatives, or friends approval even if we know our parents don’t require that? How many of us think we are simply respecting our parents when we don’t communicate our disagreement or boundaries to them? How many of us are also putting this on our kids, who may in turn put it on their kids? And why is voicing our thoughts, opinions, dislike or disdain for our parents actions or choices seen as disrespectful, from them or us, can you handle this coming from your own kids??

Ah, it is the role we play. The role they gave us, the role we persist upon and perhaps it is a generational role that just keeps getting handed down? Well, if you know me, and my husband will also tell you, my motto has been and will forever be, “I’ll do whatever the hell I want to do!”. And you know what, I encourage every single person around me to try that on or adopt it for themselves. Why? Why not? If I know why I am making the choice based upon the system of checks and balances that I have, for the reason I am, how can that be anything but good for me?

If we are not being authentic with ourselves, we are not being authentic with others. If we are playing a role for someone else, we are not serving in the best way, or to the best of our abilities. Might there be nuggets of gold in those roles? Sure, but we must determine how that makes up a part of us, not a just a “personality” trait assigned to us that we accept as fact. So, you can’t go back, but you can’t freely move forward until you examine the past roles you have played.

Are you willing to be uncomfortable and examine your roles? Are you willing to see what you kept as yours, when it was put upon you? Do you want to be free of similar patterns, feelings and occurrences in your life??? Then look back, sort it out, show grace and love to yourself, your parents, relatives or caregivers, forgive you, forgive them, because they knew not what they did, but now you know you have a choice. Oh, and a thought to ponder, do you know what guides your choices, and how your roles play a part of that? Like, if you ignore the past, how, or is that really serving you?

~Erin

Pointing

Are you pointing to others in blame, or in acknowledgment of answers. Are you pointing in the direction you wish to go, or the place you came from, maybe where you stand that you can’t move from? Are you looking in the mirror pointing at yourself in awareness, in denying fault, or maybe just seeing yourself for the first time? Are you pointing to others like you and finding fault, or finding relief? Where are you pointing, and what do you find when you follow that?

A Little Dog Hair

Life is far from perfect. I’d go so far to say that life is a testimony of perfect imperfections. I’d probably include in that testimonial list, a series of reactions to the imperfections, a sense of humor, some observations and maybe a dose of the lesson we were meant to learn.

I made an observation the other day. It seems that every pitbull we get, is a representation of where we are in our lives. Since we have been married, we have had 3 pitties, and they all had similar pit qualities, but each one is unique. While initially that is eye opening, I think it all circles back around to the imperfections, the observations, the lessons and definitely the sense of humor.

Our Jack mutt, and Mini Schnauzer don’t seem to fall in to this realm, neither did our Boxer, it is a very odd thing, but it is also a very humbling thing. When you see reflected back to you, through a dog, where you have been or where you are, it is astounding. I am not saying that only pits are capable of holding a metaphorical mirror, that may be different for you with your dog(s), but in our case, this is how it has been and I kind of just cock my head like the dog thinking about it.

I love that we get back, what we put out, and it is so obvious. What an amazing barometer for self growth, what an amazing opportunity for our potential! Who would have thought that man’s best friend would end up being a reflection of our relationship with ourself?! Many of you may be saying, “yeah, no, it’s not that deep.”, but isn’t it? Isn’t it that deep??

I’ll leave you with this, our newly adopted guy, Sonny, you can tell that someone loved and cherished him when he was a pup. They devoted a lot of time and energy to teaching him and showing him how to behave. And you can tell somewhere down the line, they beat him. You can also tell that they abandoned him, because he needs to keep his people not only close to him, but in his sight, sometimes riding in the car worries him. I feel like I understand the person, through understanding him, and I just want to hug them, and not judge them. I want to tell them thank you for showing him the best parts of yourself, because he is the sweetest boy ever. I just want to say thank you for giving him up, if it meant no mistreatment, or betrayal. Thank you whoever you are, and may you have looked in the mirror he held before you dumped him.

~Erin

Trust the Fall

We often have the greatest of intentions to _______. We spend time planning on how to ______, we talk about getting ______ done. We even start to ______, eventually to find ourselves fallen off the path to ______. We can have the best of intentions, and we may even have already succeeded at ______. What happens when we fall off of ______, do we beat ourselves up, totally give up, or trust that falling is part of the process to succeed at _____?

I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic in July of 2020. That was a hard blow to be dealt, but at the same time, I had set an intention for better eating/health just two weeks prior. The need to change my eating habits showed up in a medical manner, and I thought, well, I wasn’t specific now was I?

I had shared my diagnosis with my yoga instructor, who also happens to be a Doctor of Physical Therapy, and a women’s health coach, she directed me to a book that she found helpful, and that she thought would be helpful to me as well. The book, titled “Hangry”, was the best thing I could have read, the best resource I could have asked for and, it helped me go from a 6.3 to 5.6 on my A1C testing! I also lost 25 pounds! It helped my hormones, my attitude, my overall well-being!

https://www.amazon.com/Hangry-Simple-Balance-Hormones-Restore/dp/1250620732/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=hangry+book&qid=1614475336&sprefix=hangry&sr=8-3

And then the holidays happened. I was feeling amazing, better than I have ever felt, my pain was at the lowest level I have felt in over 12 years, and to be honest, I felt the best about my body I have felt in like 30 years. Sounds amazing, right, so why would I put those feelings and results in jeopardy? Because I felt that good, that is why. I thought I could “afford” it, I thought the good things were more minimal than maximum, I thought a little poor choice here and there wouldn’t add up, they wouldn’t become long term and they would go by the wayside after the holidays.

Weeeeelllll, I have been wrong before and I will most definitely be wrong again. I know that I must resume the good things, eradicate the bad, I know how to do that, and I just need to do it. You know what else I need to do, the biggest thing I did when I started this plan the last time? I showed myself grace, I loved myself more, I cared for myself more, I nurtured myself more, and that was why I did so well before, perhaps that is why I fell this time, to remind me of how far I had come, and that if I need a break, that is okay, but to discard what works is not in my best interest, and I need to remind myself of that, as well as making my health my priority!

So what is in your blank space that I mentioned before? Do you have multiple blank spaces, do you need to think about what that might be for you? I will be gathering, regrouping, recentering my life on what I know worked for me, what makes me successful.

~Erin

You, your Internal Compass

Truth shall set you free. But what is the truth? Who determines the truth, or what is true for you, or true for me? Is there an exacting truth for everyone, like a one size fits all?

I truly do not think so, and I am glad that it appears that it isn’t the case. If we all were to walk the exact same path, in the exact same manner, with the exact same experiences, and the exact same outcomes, we would be robbing others of their truth. We would be robbed of our own truth! I don’t know about you, but that sounds like the exact opposite of what makes life beautiful, and rich.

Now, I think a majority of people want a similar final outcome. We want to be greeted with open arms, a loving presence to welcome us home, and the contentment of knowing that we did our best, that we truly made the effort with what we had to work with. Some people will say, what difference does it make, there is nothing and no one at the end. Period. The End. I respect that, I understand, and I have been there. Not that long ago in fact. And do you know what I did? I took a pause.

I paused because there were some things I needed to learn, about myself, about my life, about my health and about this world. I learned about other people, what makes them tick, looked deeper at what makes me tick, and then I had a revelation. I don’t know shit. Lol. All these years of thinking I had a good bead on things to realize, I really don’t know anything, and odds are, you don’t either.

That is not meant to say we are all dumb, because that is simply not accurate, but what it really says is this: no matter how much I learn, how much knowledge I gain, how much I grow from experience, at the end of the day, it is a drop in the bucket compared to all that I really don’t yet know and have not experienced yet.

This revelation blew my mind. It humbled me like nothing has before. I think in that moment, I really acknowledged that while our lives are vast and amazing, we are only specks of dust in the grand scheme of things…however, we are absolute miracles in this galaxy of possibilities. How do we arrive to believe one or two things ultimately? Why are we not seeing it ALL goes together? How do we not make the connection of life?

What I mean is that we are capable of studying the body for optimal health, so we have knowledge on how to do so. We have knowledge about the brain and how we can fix our thinking, take care of our mental health, we can choose our beliefs and let that fuel our soul…we have everything we need within reach of living out the most amazing life, it is brimming with possibilities, yet, yet, we fall into the trap of thinking we can only believe one thing, or one way, and the path we choose is the ONLY path. What if there is more than one way to arrive at the same place?

Want a peek inside my mind? I know what is at the top of the pyramid for me, and everything else falls under the apex. The things outside of my pyramid, I collect those, I am a curator of this life, in this body, and I believe I was created to be that way, I was tasked to be that way, and I am meant to never stop being that way. I am meant to be as full as I can of knowledge and experiences, of magic and wonder. I am meant to strive for balance, all while acquiring the fruits given to me, the opportunities to expand…but to never forget where it starts, it starts at the top it starts with God for me, and the rest gently cascades to the bottom. It is through grace that I humbly accept this, and I am in awe as I only arrived here through opening my heart.

Where do you start? What makes you full? Are you on your path with blinders, or are you gazing openly at what is put forth for you to experience and learn from? Do you feel others don’t or won’t get you if your beliefs or truth differs?

~Erin

Feeding your Soul

What are you feeding your soul? Is is sugar, is it salt, is it waste of the Earth? To be too honest, I have been feeding my body garbage and it started with the crap I was consuming with my soul. I didn’t care much for what I was feeding myself either way, so eminent changes were a comin’!

Might as well have been eating moldy bread.

I took a pause, disconnected, did some soul searching, and I went looking for answers in regards to what my soul was taking in. I was binging on hate, rhetoric, negativity, and to be quite honest, opinions and words from people I don’t know, don’t care for their outlooks, and some I don’t even like as people. And boy did I become bitter, closed off and a not so pleasant version of myself.

Now, I didn’t get irritated with myself, instead, I went inward, I did some soul searching, because at that point I felt my soul had been scorched out by what I was imbibing, 100 proof hate. I turned to consulting the only source I consult when I am at a loss for answers, and when I listened, this is what I got: You need to feed your community. You need to build that up. There is strength in numbers, strength in thoughts and belief. Feed your community.

What this means to me is words. Words. WORDS. At 16 I devoted my life to being a messenger, I surrendered, I was unburdened and I was born again. This was not the end nor the beginning, this was the moment that all other moments would spring forth from, the moment that my life would really start to matter from, and that all other moments would refer back to.

All kinds of amazing things have been happening in and around my life here lately, ever since I stopped consuming outside trash and giving it to my soul. And you know what, that is exactly what I needed to do…take the pause, take out the trash, and stop consuming all together the things that did not nourish me.

Now that I am soul nourishing like a fiend, I am soul serving as many people as I can around me. The next step is getting back to nourishing my body, that means going to yoga regularly, taking walks with my boy Sonny, and eating foods that are healthy and life giving to me!

I said I wanted a dog that required me to be more active by taking it for walks. He KNOWS how to demand a walk, which I appreciate and value!

So let me ask you, do you need to do a little soul sanitation, some body cleansing, and some deep level answer searching? I am renewed again, and I want the same for you, do you want that for you too?

~Erin

Something to Ponder

We intrinsically know what we need, are we willing to receive it? Do we truly believe it will happen? Have we said yes, when we think it may be possible? Are we our biggest blocker to what we want?

What do you read, books that tell you what you should want, or books that tell you how to get what you want? Have you defined what it is exactly that you are seeking, or do you maybe need to delve deeper to see you need multiple things? How do you know it is what you want, truly? Were you told this is what you should want, or did you have an experience that you made you aware of what you did not want, and now you know exactly what you do want?

Do you ponder if you are just being well behaved and wanting what you should? Or are you hungering and craving what your soul needs? And how can you tell a difference?

I leave you with all of these questions, I hope it sparks something inside you, be it a question or an answer. May you find what you are looking for, or start to wonder what that is!

~Erin

Be Unique, Honor the Journey

Our experience is our own. We need not compare ourselves to others, nor accept when others compare us to someone else, even if it is a well meaning comparison. We are on our own unique journey, our own path. People often want us to meet them where they are on their path. They don’t necessarily take in to consideration where we are on our own path. Honor dictates that we meet people where we are, and where they are. Observing someone on a differing path, their path, is not only respectful to them, it is respectful towards ourselves, as it says I am not trying to change or influence your path, I am only here to observe for my own learning, to honor and support you, and to wish you well on your journey. Hopefully, this is reflected back at you, that you on your journey, are honored, respected and observed too!

~Erin