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Goodbye, Sophie

I’ve decided to shut down the blog. This one anyway. I may leave presumed2Bme up for awhile, in case I want to talk about nail polish or something.

Blogging was a great adventure for me for about 5 years, but I’m ready to move on and spend my energy on vocafemina instead. 

I loved having a place to try out my voice, and the thrill of saying things and dealing with the exposure of it was good for me. But you can probably tell my dedication has been waning lately. Some things were just too hard to put into words. Some things were too personal to write about. And some things only I was interested in.

So goodbye Sophie, for now. And please tune into vocafemina instead. We should be posted and ready to go early in January.

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Day 2

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It’s warmer today, and less windy. We were able to get into the water – it’s a little chilly – but there’s no swimming, really. The surf is a little too powerful on the Atlantic side. Maybe Ted will get up the nerve to take a boogie board out there, but the beach patrol isn’t recommending it.

The thing I like most about this particular stretch of Florida coast, at this particular time of year, is that all the people on the beach are old and pudgy, like us. Some older, some pudgier, some with leathery saggy skin from too much sun. I love them all!

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When we’d had our fill of salty waves, we spent an hour in the pool, floating aimlessly. A little lunch on the patio, a little gloating  blogging, and I’m thinking it’s a great day.

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Palm Trees in December

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It’s the ocean. We’re here in Florida, and although it’s incredibly windy today, the temperature is perfect for a walk on the beach. Perfect enough for this mountain dweller,  raised in the Black Hills of South Dakota, and currently living next to the Rocky Mountains. For me, the hills are home, while the ocean remains a fascinating, exotic stranger.

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Introducing Voca Femina

 

Banner art by the fabulous Jennifer Herrick

Banner art by the fabulous Jennifer Herrick

 

Yes, I’ve been negligent about the blog. But it’s because I’ve been excited about launching a new website created by Kathy Escobar, Jennifer Herrick, and myself, called Voca Femina

This is an invitation, really, for anyone who likes to write, paint, take photos or encourage those who do. 

Voca femina means a woman’s voice. The feminine voice is powerful, creative, life-giving, and beautiful. We’re here to celebrate it. We’re a group of friends providing space, audience, and support for the creative voices of women in our world. 

We believe there can never be too many venues for women to try out their voices. We know lots of powerful, creative women who have beautiful things to say, who may never land a book contract, fill an art gallery, or cut a record deal. Voca Femina is about giving us all a place to share, a place to grow. We hope you will listen, respond, encourage, and, most of all, participate. – From the sidebar.

Please go over and take a sneak peek at our site-under-construction and seriously consider contributing something to the cause. We hope to create an online community of women who love to try out their voices on each other and the world. Read through the dream, gander at the quotes, and peruse the guidelines for submission, and then send something our way. Or take a look at the site and send us an email at vocafemina@gmail.com. 

Enjoy!

 

 


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I’m the shit.

The brilliance is inside. 

Everything belongs, even the wobbly bits. 

Just say no to nice. 

Good girl must die.

Sass is the new chic.

No permission needed. Stop asking.

Defy propriety.

How much f@*#ing affirmation do you need, anyway? 

Never underestimate the therapeutic value of a few properly articulated swear words.

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I’m here to say that I am very pleased with the results of Tuesday’s election. No surprise, right? 

Now, two days after the election, I’m reflecting on my experience with this campaign, and my strong emotional attachment to all aspects of it, right through to today. Just some random observations.

1. I was alarmed by the intensity of my emotions. The projections, the inability to be objective, the way I was eager to vilify the other candidates, and the agitation I felt whenever I saw them or heard them speak. I felt I was caught up in something that was deeply primitive, both in myself, and in the soul of the country. I know I’m not alone in this; people on both sides of the race felt similar things. My emotions were extremely hard to control. I found I had to avoid talking about the campaign, listening to it, or engaging in conversation with anyone I perceived as not on the page with me. I couldn’t tolerate dissent. This was very scary to me.

2. I noticed a strong conflict inside myself around the idea of hope. Pendulum swings, all the way from deep cynicism and fear that I would find out my candidate was just another asshole vying for power, to the certainty that we all would live happily ever after, if we could just elect the man.

3. I also noticed a resistance to any real investment. I was content to believe he was the man for the job, and might have even punched someone who disagreed with me, but I was unwilling to volunteer for the campaign, or to give any money. I just could not risk investing, with the potential for failure. Couldn’t risk the disappointment. This is irrational as well, illogical and dysfunctional, I admit, but it was there. I simply would not put my money where my mouth was. Go figure. One very valid reason I refused to contribute was that I was offended by the obscene amount of money it requires to get someone elected in this country. This is morally wrong to me. On both sides, nearly a billion dollars spent, and for what? Negative campaign ads, hotel rooms, flights, etc. etc., all the while people are starving and struggling, right here in the US. Very hard to swallow, much less support.

4. The reality of the win is still sinking in. I resist letting myself believe it, or enjoy it. I have to remind myself that the election is over, and that the person I wanted to win actually won. I think at some level I actually believe that what I want, or what I think is right, is not possible. I think I secretly believe that assholes run the world, and there’s no justice or goodness to be had. I find I have to remind myself that Obama won, and when I do, I immediately take a breath into my heart, and I feel a moment of happiness, surprise and ease before returning to caution. I still can’t quite believe it.

5. I notice the incredulity I feel toward those who honestly believe Obama is evil, and that our country has taken a spiritual turn toward disaster. The syncretism of religion and Republicanism frightens me deeply from a spiritual perspective, and I have a new appreciation for the wisdom of separation between church and state.

6. I feel sad that the whole world is rejoicing, welcoming the news with relief and hope, while a sizeable group of people consisting of Neo-conservatives and the Religious Right are deeply dismayed and afraid.

7. I am honored to be able to witness history in the making. Of course, any election is history in the making, but this one is significant in a more powerful way. I’m happy to have been here.

8. I have a strong sense that our whole civilization is on the cusp of a powerful turn, the likes of which we haven’t seen in 500 years. I can’t help but feel that many things are changing, above and beyond partisan politics and even world events. We are in the crux of a shift that is impossible to resist, and this election is a small part of that shift, worldwide. 

That’s probably enough. Feel free to share your personal reactions. No accusations, please.

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Tuning Up

I’ve been working to set up my life-coaching practice. It’s founded on the principle that we need to live our lives in tune with ourselves, that the problem with many of us is that we split ourselves in pieces, shove the unseemly parts aside, polish up the good stuff and sell it to the public. When we stop doing that and honor all the parts, our lives come into resonance, like a good stringed instrument. Only then can we build a life that has any integrity, any authenticity, any real music.  

Hence the name, Resonance. Your life, in tune.  You can read about it on my makeshift web page (one of the changes I want to make is an affinity for the basics of technology, but oh well), or at Jen Lee’s blog, where she kindly interviews me about my new venture.

So far, here’s what I think:

I think that there are 4 areas a person should pay attention to if she wants to get her life in tune. You could think of your life as an instrument with 4 strings that must be tuned, each to a unique frequency, as well as to each other, in order for your instrument to begin to make decent music.

1. The head. For you Jungians, the Magician Archetype. The power to think, to imagine, to analyze, to gather and process information. 

2. The heart. Lover Archetype. This is the realm of emotion, connection, and human values.

3. The gut – intuition if you’d rather, but I like to stick with the body analogy. This coincides with the Sovereign Archetype, the king or queen. This encompasses alternative ways of knowing, senses, subtleties, inner wisdom, spirituality.

4. The feet. Warrior Archetype. This is the realm of the body, and of volition – the will. When all is processed, felt, sensed, and analyzed, what do you end up actually doing? How do you vote with your feet?

When these 4 areas are in tune, my, my. What music we could make.

This is Resonance. This is what I seek, this is what I work with.

This is what I know so far.

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Turtling

I’ve been a bit withdrawn. Turtling, you might say. I’ve been pondering how I know things, and then how to tell about what I know, after I know it. I’ve discovered it ain’t all that easy. There are things to know that can’t be put into words. I can’t tell you how frustrating that is. It’s very hard to write about. 

So instead, I’ve discovered that sometimes it’s good to pull inside oneself and be with what’s there. As long as it takes. For the sake of what, I’m not sure. Just until, I guess. Today I thought I’d stick my head out and look around. Give you an update, for what it’s worth.

I’m trying to make a fundamental shift in the way I live my life.

Conventional wisdom dictates that if you want to make a change, you first think up the thing you want to do instead of the thing you’re doing now. Next you break the thing down into reasonable, manageable goals, and then you set about accomplishing your thing, until you have it, enlisting whatever expert help you can find along the way. Many a success story and self-help book was founded on this simple way of being. It’s not bad advice, really. 

It just doesn’t work for me. And no amount of goal-setting, accountability, paid professionals, and self-recrimination makes any difference in the outcome. The things I want to change remain unchanged, while other things seem to come about anyway. Hmmm, she said.

Lately I’ve been thinking there’s got to be a better way. Or at least a way that’s just as good as the other one. My way, the way that works for me. 

That’s what’s goin’ on under the shell.

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photo by jen lemen
photo by jen lemen

Last week I spent a pleasant morning interviewing my friend, Jen Lee, about her new life’s path – writing – and two extraordinary projects she has created. These projects come straight from her brave soul, and serve as inspiration for us all.

The first project is entitled, “Don’t Write: A Reluctant Journal,” and the second is an audio cd with original stories called, “Solstice: Stories of Light in the Dark.”

Here’s my interview with Jen:

Me: So. “Don’t Write.” isn’t that a funny name for a journal? Tell me how you came up with the idea.

Jen: I was going through an internal show-down with all the messages and voices from past and present that were very loudly admonishing me, “Don’t write.” So, first came the poem, “Don’t write”, in which I laid bare my fears about the consequences of my words, and also spelled out just what it was that compelled me to keep going–even in the face of all I risked.

Don’t write.

It’s too powerful.

It might tell someone how

you feel. How you hurt.

What you don’t understand.

Don’t write.

It’s too powerful.

It will show who you are

on the inside to the outside.

It’ll blow your cover,

your nice reputation.

Don’t write.

It’s too powerful.

You might hurt someone’s feelings.

People may not like your words.

They may attack you, or abandon you. 

Don’t write.

It’s too powerful.

It might give others hope.

Let them know

they’re not alone.

It might change minds.

Change directions.

Change the world.

So, whatever you do,

Don’t write.

 

Jen: Then I was washing dishes one night, in April, I think, and I just thought, “It’s a journal. Don’t Write is a reluctant journal”.

I was warned against keeping journals my whole life, so it seemed the perfect expression of my dissidence.

Me: I love it so much – staring down the inner threats and saying “watch me!” 

Jen: They’re already there. In my head. In the room. We might as well name them–and something about seeing them in front of me makes them a little less scary. Like, bring it!

Me: Yes! And it gives us all permission to do the same. I feel a little flash of defiance when I think of it.

Jen: I think most of us could use a little flash of defiance. 

Me: Who do you especially want to use the journal?

Jen: People who are tired of being silent. Those who are done buying their own lines of bullsh*t about how they don’t have time, or what they have to say isn’t all that important–those who aren’t buying the voices telling them their words won’t make a difference. People who are ready for a revolution. 

Me: I’m feelin’ that flash of defiance again. I love it!

I heard you have another brilliant idea you’re working on. Can you tell us about it?

Jen: I just released a project that is my fiction debut. It’s an audio story collection called “Solstice: Stories of Light in the Dark”. It’s a little vulnerable for me to do a project that incorporates my physical voice, because I’ve really struggled this last year with the way I’ve even shut my voice down physically throughout my life.

But, I’m gaining confidence to put what I’ve got “out there”. These are the moves I got.

Me: Jen, you’re incredibly brave. This writing thing is really about letting your soul loose, isn’t it?

Jen: For me it is. It’s the best vehicle I’ve found for that so far. It’s easiest for me to be myself when I’m in the presence of those who love me outrageously. The six stories on this CD are really my love poems for these women.

Me: I can’t wait to hear them. How can we get our hands on both of these great projects? 

Jen: Both are available now for pre-order on my website. “Solstice: Stories of Light in the Dark” begins shipping mid-November, and “Don’t Write: A Reluctant Journal” should begin not long after that. The quantities are limited, though, so I’m hoping no one waits too long!

Visit Jen’s blog to get your hands on these two great projects, straight from the heart of a friend. 

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…says Spock’s mom, played by Betty White, in the Star Trek classic, The Voyage Home. I’ve used this line many times in conversations with my husband, the engineer.

Modernity has had a love affair with logic, the scientific method, rational reductionism, and the bottom line. And it has its place. But Disney World isn’t one of them.

It was the end of April, 1993. I had spent the better part of 6 months studying for the Examination for the Practice of Professional Psychology. 15 hours a week, slaving over flashcards and practice tests with a knot in my stomach the whole time.

(This test was a bugger. Some of my friends had taken it as many as 5 times and failed. I was taking it with a Master’s Degree under my belt, and not a Ph.D., because Minnesota was one of the few states that would still license psychologists at the masters’ level, which meant I was competing with doctoral students. I ended up passing. Fat lot of good it did me, but I’d like you to be impressed nonetheless.) 

In April, I took the test, took a breath, and promptly got sicker than the dog we did not have.

We had scheduled a trip to Disney World to celebrate. I was too anxious about the test to participate in planning the trip. I have an aversion to planning in general. 

Our 2 kids were the perfect age for Disney, 11 and 9. They were excited.

My dear logical husband had been reading about how to get the most out of the theme park and avoid the lines. So many rides, so little time. And he loves to plan. He’s a professional planner. Nothing makes him happier than planning to have fun, moment by moment. The planning is part of the fun, executing the plan is the epitome of fun, and patting oneself on the back for a good plan is also fun for him.

Plan=fun. Me? Not so much. But I had other things to think about.

He had devised a spread sheet for the Magic Kingdom, reading descriptions of rides to the kids, asking them to rate their attraction to the ride on a scale of 1-5, so he could weight their answers and mathematically discern priorities for the day. He plugged his values into the spreadsheet and came up with a winning scheme to get through the park with a minimum level of hassle. He was so excited.

And then I got sick. The day before we left for Florida I went to the doctor and discovered I had a nasty case of bronchitis. Pumped full of antibiotics, at 4 the next morning we bundled off to the airport. For the next 3 days I stumbled around Disney, led by the hand, barely functioning, napping in the afternoons if I could. Thank God someone had planned.

And then I got better.

Immediately the plan went from godsend to millstone around my neck. I chafed and complained, whined and objected.

I prefer spontaneity. Let’s leave it at that.

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