Things are lovely…repeat as necessary.

writing my heart out about living from our hearts

The Boogeymen and the Truth

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I will be in various stages of vacation with Brigit and my folks from August 9 thru 20.  During that time, I will be in and out of the cellular and wifi world, mostly out of it.  What I have to offer for this time are excerpts from my journal.  They are posted in random order, not cleaned up too much and exist in varying stages of relevance to my actual situation.  I chose them because they contain interesting kernels I might flesh out later.  Please feel free to carry on the conversation without me and I’ll check in when I can.  From the heart, Shannon.

Too many years I allowed myself to react to every present situation in ways that would protect me from boogeyman ghosts surviving from my past.  Yes, I put on a super game face and even had glorious moments of audacity, but it would all crash down the moment those boogeymen crept in.  I thought they defined me.  I thought they were real.  Flailing blindly through the present, living completely in the past, terrified of being exposed as a fraud in the future.  It was the most ridiculous tightrope act in the world.

Just in time, just in time, my soul woke me up.  It was a painful awakening and I am always tempted to say too late, but it wasn’t.  It was just in time, because it is never too late to live authentically.  It’s never too late to look at yourself and the shit-storm around you and begin to bring truth into the situation.  It’s never too late to call yourself out of hiding.

I think everybody hides behind something at some point in their lives.  Usually it is the masks we wear.  I have hidden behind Angry Child, Preppy Kid, Deadhead, and Suburban Know-it-all.  Maybe nobody saw Frightened One, or The One Who Just Didn’t Get It even though that was the real me.  My roles in life always came tailor-made with reasons why I didn’t need to take the actions I was most afraid to, so they rarely came up.  But sooner or later they came up.

Fears can rise up with such violence and nobody has a clue what is happening to the frightened one.  Panic attacks or forced arguments build further walls around these fears and it just gets uglier and uglier.  Then, eventually it comes to a head, it boils over, everything goes upside down and somewhere in there, the soul wakes up.  I hope.  I believe there’s always the chance for that.

I believe the soul has truth for you about who you are and where you’ve been and that you are actually headed somewhere.  The soul carries the truth that it’s going to be alright.  When you listen to your soul, you learn that there are things you truly want and they are far different from the roles you’ve been chasing.  Hold your truth in your hand like a map, like a key and it will show you your next step, and unlock the next.  As you learn to listen to your soul and trust it you will become more creative, less defensive and more and more who we are.


Written by Shannon Udell

August 12, 2010 at 5:00 am

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Mission Accomplished. Great Job, Team!

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Note: I wrote this post earlier, but I knew it was coming.  Trust me, I felt as strongly at the time of writing as I do today!
Scott and I don’t always get things right, but our record tips in that direction.  Actually we’ve gotten a whole bunch of things right.  At the top of our lists is this.

Scott and I have raised two amazing people from zygotes to college students.  I know, right?  Brigit has a counselling/orientation appointment today, then signs up for her classes.

Because she chose to graduate a year early, she’ll have the opportunity to spend this year at college with Megan.

I couldn’t be more proud of both of them.  They have been self-directed homeschooled students who have made learning into a passion.  They have chosen their own paths and followed them well.  I don’t worry about them at all.

Best Daddy and Mommy ever?  The jury’s still out on that one.  Best daughters in the history of daughters.  Oh. Yes.

Written by Shannon Udell

August 11, 2010 at 5:00 am

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Busting Out Forgiveness Clears a Path to Compassion

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I will be in various stages of vacation with Brigit and my folks from August 9 thru 20.  During that time, I will be in and out of the cellular and wifi world, mostly out of it.  What I have to offer for this time are excerpts from my journal.  They are posted in random order, not cleaned up too much and exist in varying stages of relevance to my actual situation.  I chose them because they contain interesting kernels I might flesh out later.  Please feel free to carry on the conversation without me and I’ll check in when I can.  From the heart, Shannon.

For an introverted person, compassion can be a scary idea.  As one who lives a good portion of my life inside my head, I have the quiet time to think about how much compassion is needed in the world, but can also see that it will probably involve my reaching out and initiating contact.  With people.  Compassion can level the walls of safety I put around myself and show me just how big my little communities are.  Compassion shows all the colors around ume, not just the comforting neighborhood pastels,  People live lives of glaring brights and dark contrasts and shades so muted as to barely be seen.  Some of these folks are absolute strangers, some that need my compassion are smack in our families or circle of friends.

In the overwhelming presence of need, where can I start?  I find that I can’t move forward at all until I begin with myself.  By the time my head wraps itself around the need to reach out, my social construct monkeys have been shouting at me that I am a bad person if I don’t, or that it’s too little too late.  I have to bust out the forgiveness.  Those monkeys hate it when I forgive myself and they clear a path for me to act.  Then, I am usually called to forgive others.  Unforgiven, every snipe, every shove, every perceived dirty look is poison to my soul.  Rather that duke it out (more poison) I just whisper to myself, I forgive you.  That covers both the one who offended and me, for taking offense in the first place.

This is my kindness yoga.  These are the baby steps that no matter how challenging to my ego, are easy for me to handle.  This opens me and strengthens me for the bigger acts of compassion.  I can give of my time, talk to the stranger, pray for the difficult, because I have first practiced compassion on myself.

I’d love to hear from introverts and extroverts alike your feelings on forgiveness and compassion.  Thanks for being here.

Written by Shannon Udell

August 10, 2010 at 5:00 am

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My Liminal Brain

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This writing comes out of one of my in-between moods.  Every day I work hard to get my footing in my new life. I struggle to understand the fears that I have allowed to run my life for so long and then to process those feelings and move past them.  After getting to each new layer of realization, I have to spend a few days deliberately not feeling guilt and shame.  That woman, that old life is in the past and there’s no point in yelling at a shadow.

Always, I’m looking at new ways I can move forward.  I plan to soon be brushing up on office skills and I work every day to improve my writing.  Thinking of careers is something I haven’t done in a long time.  It’s a new feeling.  Another new experience for me was getting my own auto insurance and taking that burden off of Scott.  I imagine there are plenty of readers out there giving themselves the old head-slap and “really?!”  Just remember, I moved out of my parent’s home the day I married Scott.  I’ve just ever done that stuff.

My pace these days is a cluster of forward moving actions followed by periods where I have to wait (!) for my next step.  I act.  I plan.  I wait.  I stand where I am, itching to get to the place I want to be.  I’ve been listening to a lot of the music of Arcade Fire and am inspired at the idea of creating whole lives out of destruction and chaos.  There’s a lot of hope for me in that theme.

This is what it’s like to be in my head these days, stops and starts, song snippets and fond thoughts of my dearest love.

With the exception of Wednesday’s post which I am pre-writing, all my posts for the next 9-10 days will be bits and oddments from my journals.  They’ll be raw, barely edited thoughts I wished to see out in the open.  They are from the last two months and may or may not reflect my feelings on the subject now.

Let me know what you think about them as I might try to flesh some of them out in later days.  Have a lovely week, Shannon.

Written by Shannon Udell

August 9, 2010 at 5:00 am

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Friday-Go-Round #2

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I stayed an extra day, ran errands with Scott and the girls, did some sad, did some awesome.  I dropped Brigit off at work and spent some time shopping with Megan.  Megan was the last person I saw in Rocklin and the first to greet me in the form of a letter waiting on my desk here in Geyserville.  Now I am missing my loves, but glad to be snuggling into my own bed.  I know, who’d have thought?   It’s a surreal life.

Adding to the theme of detachment this week are some thoughts on two things I’ve disengaged from in the last few weeks.

Coffee: I have slowly weened myself down to one week cup in the morning, then finally made the jump to an herbal tea with cinnamon and ginger.  It gave me the mildest of headaches the first day, then nothing but bliss.  I enjoy not being dependent on coffee.  I’m sure my inflammation has gone down that much more, along with my blood pressure, and I feel some hope for this shiny new crown in my mouth.

Television:  Don’t let me get too preachy, because the internet has taken its place and when the shows I like come back in the fall, I’ll surely watch them on the network sites.  This is more about choice and refining my choices.  Online, I choose what I see.  My Google reader, Bloglovin’, Facebook and Twitter accounts refer me to new content all the time that is usually aligned with what I want to put in my head.  Yes, last night that was Animaniacs clips on You Tube, but again, my choice.  By staying off the tv, I won’t find myself wound up in giving a crap about someone else’s drama.  I’m protecting my heart these days.

Here are three pages that came across my readers this week that seem to fit my idea of detachment.

  • Kevin Beck of Transmillennial debates the existence of a thing called happiness, but beautifully offers Permission to Feel Happy.

Happy Friday, all.  Revel in your weekend!

Written by Shannon Udell

August 6, 2010 at 5:00 am

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The Three I’s to Getting Ahead of Change

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Change is something that has resulted in floods of stress and fear in my life.  It’s time to gain some control over what changes are going down and when change will happen.  Do I think I’m gonna get control over my whole life and nothing unexpected will happen?   Of course not, but it is time for me to add some imagination, invitation and intention to all the random change around me.

This week that I’ve spent with Scott and the girls has reminded me to pay attention to synchronicity in my life.  So many times when we would make a choice to do the sensible thing, even if it was inconvenient, we felt rewarded by running into a person or picking up a piece of conversation that gave us insight into a question we were having.  These little messages have validated choices we have made or are considering and were each very helpful.

The choices and changes I have to be making remind me of the saying, “If you want to make an omelette, you have to break a lot of eggs.”   This omelette, this life I’m constructing is requiring many many eggs.  Lots of breaking, but apparently I need the protein.  When I am unaware, not paying attention, just skipping down the lane staring into the clouds, change sneaks up and hits hard.  I want to try a new way of inviting the change that is best for me.

  • Imagine.  I am beginning to get an inkling of where I want to go now with my writing/blogging.  In my journals I imagine a day in my future and the steps it might take to get there.  I try to keep the vision as clear as possible and see as many details as I can.
  • Invite.  As I write, I look at that future me and I invite her to come up with ways we can connect.  I invite the changes I would need to make in my life to arrive at the place where she is.
  • Intend.  Walking openly out into my day, I am ready for the coincidences that will point me toward change.  I still may not know what’s coming at me, but I am prepared to meet it and move forward from there.

I see my life as I hope it unfolds, invite the changes that must come to create that life and intend to welcome those changes when they come.

Written by Shannon Udell

August 5, 2010 at 5:00 am

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It isn’t Like That

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So how do I follow a week of audacity with all this talk of detachment?  Isn’t it difficult to live passionately for something you are trying to care less about?  Yes, that would be difficult, but detachment is actually a form of giving to others.

If I love you, I want you to live your fullest life and be your truest self.  If I start piling up expectations on you that are about me, how you love me, how we appear together, then I am keeping you from your best.  Of course it’s natural to want to be helpful to others and there’s no reason not to.  There is a problem when our fussiness is a way to cover our own feelings of guilt, or when our desire to control a situation rises our of our own long-held fears.

This is a late, too late lesson learned for me, but I am working every day to get closer to that mark.

That being said, I want to look at my feelings about my trip to Rocklin.

To be in such close proximity to my husband is a blessing, though sometimes a difficult one.  To stand behind the sofa with one hand on his shoulder is healing and the simple scent of his skin is intoxicating, but there are boundaries.  To truly express my love for this man, I have to detach myself from my own desires enough to respect his boundaries.

Our daughters are absolute jewels and every minute with them is a gift from heaven.  This separation is disruptive to them and they just want us to stop feeling sad, but I think they will be stronger people on the other side.  I think we all will.

The actual legal separation is just a thing.  All is does is remove the idea of community property from our marriage.  As far as I’m concerned, that can stay that way.  What is more difficult to detach from is the pain between us and the years of fighting.  It’s difficult to detach from the fact that I do not sleep beside my love.  I certainly do not want to care less.  I certainly do wish to desire to control less.

Today is the last day of my visit.  I’ll spend it with Scott settling the last details, visiting a notary public and finalizing the division of our assets.  My first goal: no crying in public.  My second goal: live this day like everyone ahead of me, in fully present appreciation and adoration of my husband and daughters.  They are amazing, brave and strong.  I’m proud to know them.

A woman I’d admire greatly will often encourage her Facebook friends to “love deeply.”  And I do.

Written by Shannon Udell

August 4, 2010 at 5:00 am

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