Category Archives: The Joy in the Journey

July 2019

I heard my heart whisperIMG_3814

“Go back to Colorado.

See the mountains.

Feel the sky.

Let me be free.”

 

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Go see John Prine sing while you still can.

That troubadour who sings from his heart.

Hello in there, hello.

Come on home.

His songs called me. I listened.

Red Rocks Amphitheater in 4 days.

 

Off to our lodging for the next three days.

But alas.

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The reality did not match the advertisement.

We spent most of the evening convincing Kepler it would be ok and he would be safe. He insisted he was not going to stay there.

Before the end of the evening, Greg decided we would find alternate arrangements, for the good of us all.

My hero.

Next morning, a text from my mom, “Did you hear about John Prine?” I found this on Twitter and I cried:

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But this is why I came. Now what?

Meditation. That’s what. Becoming centered regardless of the story my mind was creating. The next few days were spent seeing places like this:

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Up the mountain to the top of Mt. Evans.

No guardrails.

Bighorn sheep strolling by.

An entire weather system visible ahead.

Kepler insisting he was NOT going to the top.

A short hike to a mountain lake on the way.

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A brief visit to Garden of the Gods the morning we left for home.

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A happy, happy hiker in the Garden of the Gods.

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I’ve Got to Tell You about Kyle Cease

Kyle is a former stand-up comedian who now does transformational events and speaking and I love him!

A couple weeks ago, my sister sent me a video about him and invited me to join her in watching a video series she had purchased. I’d never heard of the guy but I was in a bit of a stagnant place and knew I was ripe to hear some good input.

Well, it changed my life. Yeah. Really. I had struggled for many years being in an ongoing war with my brain, and Kyle’s teaching helped me befriend my little brain by understanding that it is going to create a story about everything and I am not the story!

I am not the story.

I am the space where the story happens.

And that’s about the most exciting thing I have learned in quite some time. The video series is called “The Limitation Game.” It can be found here. I spent $40 on lunch today. The video series costs $20. I own it and am enjoying watching it via Skype with one of my daughters. There are exercises and interaction that happen which continue to inspire me to living from my heart.

Kyle Cease on YouTube. This is a little snippet of the things he teaches. It’s about five minutes long. I dare you to watch it and see what moves in you.

The other day I was in the grocery store and I was craving this one thing that I often crave. Ok, it was a fried chicken breast from the deli. I really like chicken. Reallllly like it. And I eat it often in many different ways, but boy do I love those fried chicken breasts. However, this day I was aware of the craving and I decided to go inward to see what would happen.

My story was that I HAD to have a fried chicken breast or I would die. It was just a story. But then I remembered: I am not the story. I am the space where the story happens. When I realized I am the space, the tension and the tightness and the craving all released. Spoiler alert: I didn’t eat and chicken and I didn’t die.

Kyle is sharing what he shares because his calling is to inspire others to help change our world by stepping out of our stories and living from our hearts. I’m in. Join us!

 

Not an Accidental Post

Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/mohamed_hassan-5229782/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=2647299">mohamed Hassan</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=2647299">Pixabay</a>

Yes, I know it has been a long time, so I assure you this is me intentionally typing, not wordpress desperately putting up a post to indicate this website is still alive. Good day.

I discovered today that I am allergic to cherries. Cherries! A food I have eaten and loved since childhood.

I had been missing cherries on keto, and finally decided in my second summer of keto to go ahead and have some. And I discovered I am allergic. Now I don’t have to miss them anymore because the only thing I’m missing is allergy symptoms!

Since I last wrote, I have started using a lot! of exclamation points! I think that came about because ending a sentence with a period seems like I’m mad. Where did I get this idea?

Finally, if you remember the last post wherein I wrote about prioritizing speech practice for Kepler this summer, I thought I’d add an update.

Today we did our 47th day in a row of speech practice.

And also finally, more finally, is that yesterday as I was going about my day, I found two working inkpens at two different places, lying on the ground beside my car. I took it as a sign to write.

Love,
Siouxsie

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Hey! Long-time, no see! That’s my obligatory “sorry I haven’t been blogging” intro. First, a lot of things happen and there isn’t time to blog. Then, life gets a little overwhelming and I don’t want to blog. And then exciting things happen but I think, “oh, I can’t just jump back in with *this!*”

However, onward and upward.

Today was the last day of sixth grade for Kepler. Now it’s time to plan our summer. The highest priority for us this summer is to work on Kepler’s articulation so that everyone can understand him and appreciate his humor and sweet spirit like we do.

So I’m recruiting a village. I want people who want to help me be faithful to practice speech exercises with Kepler every day this summer. The challenge for me is two-fold. First, having a system in place that ensures I get it done without having to make a big decision about it every day. Second, persevering when progress is slow and when Kepler resists.

I’m people who are willing to receive a quick text message from me on predetermined days so I can tell someone I completed today’s practice. That’s it. You don’t have to do anything. It’s my job and I want to do it. I just need some help.

The ideal situation is for me to spend thirty minutes every day practicing the exercises together. Are you up to be part of the cheering section? Leave a comment, send me a text, send me a facebook message, whatever works for you!

Thank you for all your support!

Joyfully,

Siouxsie

Further Adventures in Retail

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photo credit: QueenBeesOnlineJournal.wordpress.com

 

I’ve been thinking about this post from July 2013 because I’m back in retail, although not stocking the band-aid shelves any longer. Now my job is to select the band-aids (and the cereal, and the water, and the canned tomatoes, and the bread) that the ecommerce customer has asked for.

Did you ever play store when you were a kid? We did. We would climb up onto the stove top and pull canned goods, oatmeal, teabags, cereal, and more out of that upper cabinet. Then we would go get some paper bags out of the closet, and carry it all into the living room to set up our store. There were three of us kids so we had a bagger, a cashier, and a customer. Sometimes we would strain the cashier’s capabilities and have TWO customers in line. Ah, it made for hours of fun.

I remember how fun it was to set up the store. When I started mulling over the possibility of getting a job in retail, my local grocery clerk actually asked me out of the blue if I would like a job, so I pursued it. There are some fun things about stocking shelves. Making everything look nice, filling in empty spots. The best part is being able to direct a customer to the product they are seeking.

And then the band aids happened.

Let’s just look at Johnson&Johnson, a popular brand of band-aid. The line that my local store carries includes comfort-flex plastic (60 count), medium comfort-flex adhesive pads (10 count), large comfort-flex adhesive pads (10 count), comfort-flex sheer (40 count), comfort-flex sheer assorted (40 count), comfort-flex sheer assorted (60 count), comfort-flex sheer assorted (80 count), comfort-flex extra large (10count), comfort-flex clear (30 count). And so on to the tune of over 40 varieties of type, size, and use.

Ah, but we would be remiss if we only offered 40 types of one company’s product. So we also offer another 40 or so similar products of the generic house brand.

Even if you skipped those last two paragraphs, that means EIGHTY types and varieties of band aids. And band aids don’t come in those sturdy metal canisters anymore. No, indeed. They come in paper boxes.

Paper band-aid boxes fall over at the whisper of a touch. So, the poor sod who gets the job of restocking the band-aid shelves — it’s like playing that children’s game “Operation” where the buzzer sounds if you touch the sides of the “incision.” But in this case, the boxes fall over, mix themselves up, turn their backs on me, slide, fall off the shelf, stand on their head, and turn on an angle. Anything but stay where they are PUT.

Of course people need band aids. And no doubt the magic Market Research has shown that people need band aids to come in all one size, and assorted, and waterproof, and extra large, and medium, and sheer, and clear, and flexible, and sport, and pre-treated with antibiotic ointment, and shaped for fingers, and shaped for toes, and extra-sticky, and less sticky, and the all-important travel pack.

But I don’t need to be the one who messes with the incredibly tedious job of straightening and

restocking the band-aid shelves. I felt the sand of my life descending into the bottom of the hourglass as I conscientiously did this job. NOT enough sand in the top to make this job worth me doing.

Not only band-aids, but allergy medicine, shaving cream, lotions, shampoos, vitamins, diapers, chocolate bars, hairspray, feminine products, toothpaste. They all come in MULTIPLE multiple sizes.

Not enough sand, my friends, NOT ENOUGH SAND.

As is my wont, I am questioning how I am spending my time. For a long time, i wanted to have my own business, and dabbled in a couple of ideas, but i just never felt like having my own business was a good fit. I am good at support, at following, at editing, at improving. Not quite as good at facing rejection, setting boundaries, pursuing self-care in the face of the needs of others, persevering through the difficulties, waiting for the business to grow, dealing with the paperwork, and making money through having a business.

And yet, in retail, there’s this disconnect between corporate and store-level employees. Store-level employees are paid very little and are there to advance the bottom line of the company. I’m sure I can’t solve the many management/labor issues that plague our society, but I can certainly observe that they are there. So even a store-level employee who loves their job is faced over and over with ever-increasing demands from corporate. And me being the frog that I am, I was quite comfortable in the pot of cold water I started in and didn’t really notice the heat being turned up and up and up until finally my physical self started to rebel. Even then, I ignored the symptoms in the name of doing a good job at my work.

So, now, here I am, questioning. Is what I am doing worth spending the limited sand in the hourglass? In some ways, I still say yes. In other ways, I say, not a chance. If I believed there was really a chance to be successful, that is, to provide excellent customer service, then the answer is yes. But I don’t know how to lead a team to provide excellent customer service, at least not in the petri dish of my employment. Talk about sacrificing the important on the altar of the urgent.

Everything is urgent in my job. Time deadlines from morning to night. Some are reasonable, and some are not. And when they are not, mistakes are made, customers are dissatisfied, and metrics are not adequately reached. In my very, very humble opinion, the ENTIRE reason for my job is customer satisfaction. But that is a slippery, slippery slope.

Customers have learned to express their dissatisfaction. They have learned that they will receive monetary benefit if they don’t like something. There are customers who exhibit an attitude of entitlement. I love providing excellent customer service, but I also recognize that the greater good isn’t necessarily being served in the job that i do. That’s kind of a hard thing to acknowledge.

I believe in accepting what comes my way. There are plenty of times when I have to work hard to get to a place of acceptance (note: several issues occurring as I write today), but I believe with all my heart that acceptance is what brings healing, and health, and unity, and hope, and peace.

The Universe seems to be offering me another opportunity to accept things as they are. I’m not sure yet what the ultimate outcome is going to be, but I recognize at least that I want to be true to the deepest values that I hold, and that could mean making some different choices about how I spend my time. I’m thinking …

Joyfully,

Siouxs

 

Adventures in Parking Garages

or how I lost and found my car and what happened in between.

I don’t know how these things happen. I guess I’m usually looking ahead to the next step and I miss some of the details of the step I’m on right now. Anyway …

after driving around the entire parking garage twice,  because “parking ➡️“ apparently means “we have parking spaces but NONE FOR YOU,” I finally espied a spot and backed in, as my UPS driver taught me when I was a driver helper. Hopped out and didn’t look back, although I was pretty sure I knew where I’d parked.

An hour and a quart of water later, I re-emerged into the parking garage and strode purposefully forth. Hmm. No car. Kept walking. Suddenly realized I REALLY should *not* have passed by the restroom in the office without stopping. Definitely should have stopped. Seriously definitely adamantly urgently should have.  And also, dude, where’s my car.

My thoughts bounced from bathroom, should have stopped, and car, where the heck is it, back to how far is the nearest bathroom to where did I park my stupid car.  Well, all that bouncing about meant we were going to have to abandon the idea of an *actual* bathroom and just look for a secluded corner.

Yes, that’s right.

I did an emergency pee of the floor of a parking garage. Crossing my fingers that I wouldn’t hear the clip clop of high heels bringing someone closer and closer, I found that sweet relief.

With that need finally met and one last review of how I really should have stopped in the bathroom in the office, I could focus on where my silly car was.

As I walked away from the scene, I reached for my phone. Hmm. Not in coat pockets, even after checking three times. Hmm. Not in my jean pockets. Still not in coat pockets. Not in jeans pockets. Not in coat pockets. No matter how many times I checked, it wasn’t in my coat pockets and it wasn’t in my jeans pockets.

Ruh roh.

Retraced my steps and yep, you guessed it, picked up my phone from the ground I had just rained on. Phone kind enough to land on case so no damage.

Now finally I could find my car! Walked and walked. And there it was, right where I left it.

I laughed all the way home.

Top 10 Ketogenic Things

Five hundred twenty five thousand, six hundred minutes. (Be sure to sing that to the “Rent” tune.)

Thats how long ago I rid myself of the high-carb diet I had favored and despised for so many years.

Many of my memories involving my dad are precious and also involve food. Regular stops at Bonnie Lynn Bakery for “emergency rations,” afternoons spent watching NFL football with him while munching Husman’s potato chips and drinking Pepsi, many homemade breakfasts featuring blue or green buttermilk biscuits because of his love of whimsy and food coloring, and of course truckloads of LaRosa’s pizza over the years.

Food has been part of the celebrations of my life all along. But gradually food became more than celebratory. It became more of an addiction, something I craved, then caved, and regretted my actions time and time again. The cycle of craving, using, and loathing exists for the foodie just as much as any drug addict.

Emotional eating was my bailiwick. Eat the crunchy things to process the anger. Eat the soft, gooey things to try and feel better. Eat the doughnuts because of the feel of those first bites in my mouth.

I tried to change. I knew my body wanted more vegetables and fruits and far fewer chips, but my mind refused to cooperate. Being a SAHM with a kitchen full of food right *there* made food an easy choice for solace.

When Dear Husband sent me the information last November about the research project studying the relationship between memory and diet, it took me less than a minute to call the researchers to get screened. I already had experimented with eating low-carb and knew it worked for me, but had never added the extra fat the ketogenic diet includes, so I always crept back into high-carb eating, relapsing as it were.

The ketogenic diet, as I understand it, has a few basic features. Most importantly, the daily consumption of net carbohydrates is 20 or fewer. Next, i eat adequate protein (.7-1 gram/lb of body weight). And finally, fat (the sworn enemy of most of us) plays a prominent role in what I eat. Sugar, white flour, grains, most fruit and some vegetables are now left on the shelf. It’s all about the insulin response and what that does to our body. We have an insulin reaction when we eat sugar, whether that’s in the form of a caramel sundae, or a hunk of watermelon.

So without further ado, I present the Top 10 Things I’ve Learned Eating Keto.

1. I actually can live without pizza.

2. I don’t actually have to live without pizza; I just make it a different way.

3. Thanks in large part to Maya Krampf at Wholesome Yum and her many recipes, cooking keto foods can be so easy and delicious.

4. It feels good to feel good. I don’t know that I have ever felt good before. I spent many years sloughing through emotional muck and didn’t even feel not-bad, let alone good.

5. I love being fit. My job helps me stay in shape, but this way of eating has given me a better shape than I had as a 25-year-old.

6. Keto foods taste as good and often better than traditional versions but omit the guilt and shame.

7. I still have some issues with food. I no longer overeat carbs, but I still catch myself sometimes processing stress by putting food in my mouth.

8. Keto is easy! No fancy ingredients or hours slaving over a complicated recipe. I’m sure they are out there, but who needs them!

9. I am still learning and improving and I see that as a permanent condition.

10. Finally, never say never. While it seems unfathomable now that I’d ever go back to the Standard American Diet with its preponderance of carbohydrates, I keep open hands and heart in recognizing that life happens and the curveballs always come. For now, for today, for this hour, keto is for me.

11. Bonus amazing thing is what it feels like *not to crave food.* To handle or smell foods I used to salivate to and be unable to resist, and now not even want them. That to me is powerful.

Everyone is on the keto bandwagon right now. Well, ok, not everyone. There are plenty of people helping the ice cream and chips fly off the grocery shelves right now. But if anyone is on a diet, they’re on keto. I don’t see this as a fad for me. I anticipate small changes, maybe shifting into paleo for periods of time, but I don’t know why I’d give this up. The rewards are too great.

The rewards are too great. The food is too good! And I am humbled by the gift I have received and continue to receive of life, and life abundant.

Joyfully,

Siouxs

Hidden silver linings

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No cats were harmed in the writing of this blog post.

There’s not much these days that gets under my skin. For the most part, I take things in stride. I guess I’m learning — slowly — that things have a way of working out.

Remember this post from the other day? Remember how excited I was about that discovery? Well, lo and behold, today I noticed the Colored. Bars. ARE. GONE.

Now the problem came when I jumped to an erroneous conclusion. Someone suggested that I was working too fast (with not enough accuracy) and part of that conversation referenced the colored bars. And so the problem was then exacerbated when I took it personally. (Girl, see Agreement 2 of The Four Agreements.)

Once you jump to a conclusion and take things personally, it’s harder to “let it be.” Harder to say and mean, “perfect, what’s next?” Hard to remember “yes, and.”

As a matter of fact, the experience of jumping and taking creates an almost tangible thing that you have to carry around with you. What I was carrying was a black bag, possibly full of cats. The bag was moving an awful lot. Like someone was inside punching outward. Or the cats were trying to escape.

So now we have not only the jump to the conclusion and the taking it personally, we now also have this black bag requiring attention and physical presence to keep from dropping the jumping thing.

Finally, the official word comes back. No one knew the bars were gone and they had most likely disappeared during the most recent software update.

No one was targeting my speed. No one was trying to impact my work. NO ONE WAS EVEN THINKING ABOUT ME AT ALL!

And while I could immediately drop the erroneous conclusion and realize it wasn’t about me (AS PER USUAL!), the black bag remained for awhile as the cats slunk out one by one.

That silver lining though. When I decided they were targeting me (ludicrous, I know), I decided to switch out of super-efficient mode into more of an “ok, I will do it your way, precisely, to the letter.” I stopped doing all the little tricks I do to more efficiently and went back to the job exactly as it was designed.

I like being efficient, but I discovered after a few hours that my little tricks have been contributing to the stress of my job, something about which I have been worrying lately.

I love this work, but I don’t love what it does to me physically. Always feeling pressured, always revved up inside, skipping breaks, and allowing the adrenaline to be a raging river within.

When I simply gave up, simply submitted to doing it as designed, the stress went away. I’m looking forward to my next shift when I won’t have to juggle the black bag and can just calmly do the job without worrying about anything.

And who knows — maybe the colored bars will return at some point. Whether they do or don’t I’ll be fine. They were a fun little puzzle to solve on every item, and therefore were a pleasurable part of the day, but I learned that I will be fine without them.

“Yes” the bars are gone, “and” look what came out of that!

Joyfully,

Siouxs

Privilege Malfunction Today

The-difficult-takes-time-the-impossible-a-little-longer.

You know how it is … the people who set policy are not always very in touch with the people who have to carry it out. There’s probably even a name for the phenomenon. The disconnect occurs in government, schools, companies, anywhere there is an org chart.

Unfortunately, there are way too many times when the policy that is set is actually not possible to implement successfully. No matter how much the policy makers want it.

I do think I have lived in a state of some privilege not to have experienced this phenomenon much at all. I realize that there are people for whom this is a reality; people who cannot extricate themselves from difficult situations.

Now I’m almost always up for a challenge. I am energized by meeting and exceeding expectations. But when you have the responsibility but not the authority, that’s a recipe for disaster.

I may have recently been told about a metric I am to meet. As much as I would like to succeed, I am not the only person involved. Others must do their part in order for everyone to succeed. And for whatever reason, when all the puzzle pieces aren’t on the table, you can’t possibly finish the puzzle.

(Whew, I’m full of metaphors today.)

And I let this expectation get into my head today. For awhile. But ain’t no way that unrealistic expectation gets to steal my joy.

I’ll admit; I had to do some fancy footwork to shift my internal state. But I knew it was possible and I decided to focus on the possible rather than the impossible.

So like Rainer Maria Rilke said, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

Joyfully,

Siouxs

I love an Addict

I’m gonna wrap my heart

in thick, bright tape

lots and lots of it

to stop the pain of loving

this precious child whose

heart is broken.

im gonna wrap my brain

with brown paper and green string

to hide the worry that he won’t make it

that his love for altered states

will make it impossible

to live in a world of beauty

hidden under heartbreak.

No. Wait.

i will not turn off my life

my love, my thoughts, my dreams

i will hold on to believing

that he has what it takes

to beat this. To win.

to be the  beautiful person he is

beneath the lies and thief of addiction

my child.

my child.

my child.