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Sitting here at my writing perch this morning listening to the clank clank clank of some chain embellishment on a dress flop round and round in the dryer–contrasting with the Aura station on my Sirius.  Ah life and it’s seeming conflicts crashing in to each other.

I’m also sitting here staring at the flotsam and jetsam next to me that are remnants of the Wild dance workshop last weekend, remembering.  Or as Jenny said over and over re-membering.  As re-member all of your parts once again.  That’s one of many things that will continue to influence my days, in fact I shared it with a client yesterday.

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One of the many wonderful exercises involved starting with making a list following the words:

I know I’m remembering the web when….

The web referring to the place where all things are connected.  And connecting.  When we know we are in the flow, part of that Universal Whole, that kind of thing.

So I thought I’d share my list here just as I wrote it fast which is how she instructed us.

Here it is:

I’m noticing moments of serendipity all around me.

I’m looking at mishaps and misfortunes with a sense of humor.

Poetry moves through me.

I’m wanting to listen to more music.

I put Ch. 977 or 968 on my stereo.

I’m taking better care:  drinking water, smoothies.

I’m cooking more.

I’m wishing well for others, including my “enemies”.

I’m going to bed earlier.

I’m enjoying mornings.

I see small things of beauty all around me.

I’m nicer to my family.

I’m more charming and magnetic.

I wrote that list in probably around 3 minutes, if that.  It felt good to write it and good to read it again.  When we bypass that filter of thinking too much, sometimes we’re surprised at what might come out.

And no, I don’t generate many enemies in my life.  A couple of frenemies have shown up but that’s all resolved now.  And of course the two big ones who are in prison.  That’s a tall order.

But I hold out hope for most things.

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I’ll end on the license plate that Officer Friendly so kindly put on my car late that night in Sedona.

I think it’s just fitting, don’t you?  <<<snicker>>>

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letter from home

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This poem is inspired by so many things I’ve navigated in the last year.  It came to me while driving up through Oak Creek canyon on a quiet Saturday morning during the incredible dance weekend I attended.  I recorded pieces of it in to my phone while driving so I wouldn’t forget.

If you’ve ever felt exiled or abandoned or rejected, there is a master plan just beneath the surface. There is a place you belong, even if it’s just to yourself.

I will also say, how are the ways we sometimes exile ourselves?

The ripping of the band aid is often the penance for staying too long, ignoring the whispers.  If you feel lost, there is a true North waiting.  And a new home, a new belonging.  A new freedom.

I didn’t know what to name this poem but remembered this beautiful Pat Metheny tune, Letter from Home. So here is a love letter from my new Home, shared with you.

Please, also, enjoy the soundtrack.

 

Letter from Home

 

Lower your eyes;

bow your head

toward

those Angels of Mercy

who banished you.

 

Only the softness

of your downward

gaze points

to the tarnished

compass

 

shining

in your open hand.

Wrapped in their bold

ejection, it waits

for your attention.

 

In your blindness,

it knew

no other route

navigated

to your line of sight.

 

This;

this one.

The arrow still

points True North.

 

Toward your new

Home.  The one

you imagined

in faraway dreams.

 

The one

that’s been waiting

for you.

With it’s open

welcoming door.

 

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be the change

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Good morning!

I feel confident saying those words this morning because of one other little word:  sleep.

 

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I’ve been working on my sleeping lately because, like a little dividend on the side of a root beer float, I was gifted the treasure of insomnia as a side dish to peri menopause.  I’d been a good sleeper all my life so this little gem came straight outta the rough.  You don’t know what ya got til it’s gone, indeed.  But I’m improving and my little fitbit shows me literally in hours and minutes how I’m doing.  7 hrs 29 minutes last night.  Hurray!  Sleep, I do appreciate you and wish you’d visit like that more often.  ;)

But that’s not what I came here to talk about this morning.  I notice that I have my best ideas, also, after a good night’s sleep (or in the shower after a good night’s sleep, what’s up with that?  The one place where you surely have no paper or pen to jot things down or in the car navigating a canyon where a poem to be shared later this week blasted in to my brain with two hands firmly on the wheel–sorry for the long parenthetical statement, couldn’t help it).

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I woke up thinking about intuition and about generosity and about how charity truly does begin at home (who said that anyway?  Is it in the Bible?).  I got to thinking about a sad fact I learned about Mother Teresa in a film I saw about her life at the Film Festival in Sedona this year.  It illustrated that although she was clearly out there doing amazing good works in the world and living with the abject poor, she lived of life of some pretty significant misery and depression personally which was reflected in a lifetime of letters she sent to her Priest (or Bishop or someone up there).  That hit me hard.  At what cost I thought to myself.

This song reflects the mood of this post so sharing here if you want a little background music.

All of that leads me to want to share a profound story of intuition and double rainbows from my life from the last two weeks.  This tale all is about listening to that voice inside that guides and moving with it.  Yes, it takes both but the moving part I’ve found can be the trickiest as we humans, especially in our culture, are experts of talking ourselves out of what we know to be true:  whether it’s a tough decision to leave someone/somewhere/something, an opportunity to grasp, a word to share, a moment of self preservation–we can deny it all out of, basically fear.  We all could be better at listening and moving.

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My dear brother had not been doing well for a number of months.  This is probably why I took a break from blogging as I was more involved there whether it was actually doing something or worrying.  I did get him back in the Momentum program that we moved him out here for and that’s been great for him.  But even they were worried about his regression in to depression.  It had just taken a hold of him for a period of months and wasn’t lifting.  I talked to his Dr. (who might I say again, is amazing) who changed some meds around but it didn’t really show signs of letting up.

 

A scary time for sure.  Because you see, dark and gloomy is not my brother’s personality– at all.  The opposite really.  He forgets slights, forgives easily, sees the bright side, gives compliments freely.  He just went through a long period of, as he would say daily, “hangin in there”.  All of the depression hallmarks rose up–grooming, lying in dark rooms for hours, dulled affect–the whole nine yards.

 

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Three weeks ago I took John to Sedona with me thinking a getaway would help.  It did and it didn’t.  And it didn’t before it did.  It did because of what ultimately came out of it but we had to go to Hell to get to Heaven.

Being around him like that 24/7 those days just caused something inside me to snap.  I was once again exhausting myself trying to light a fire under him and pushing or dragging or trying to get something moving.  I think all of the stars and constellations and planets aligned in just the right way to ignite a fire inside me to just say “we’ve had enough of this”.

I watched him be very high functioning in certain ways like making sure he has cigarettes or Diet Coke and meals but very very low functioning when it comes to other basic tasks.  Sometimes my being in denial of just how sick he is works against me and sometimes for me.  In this case probably a bit of both.

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I’m in a big exercise mode right now.  Having declared this summer The Summer of Fitness, I’m working out with a personal trainer three times a week and going to the gym other days.  I love it.  And what’s gotten me hooked more than anything is the cliched endorphin rush everyone talks about.  Trust me, I do not love doing pushups or kettle bell swings or running outside even for a short distance in this summer heat (or really at all) BUT the rush that comes after is so exhilarating it keeps me going (along with promises to my trainer and other sophisticated manipulations I’ve performed on myself ;) ).  Having experienced the high from exercise I can speak intelligently to my brother about how he just needs to DO SOMETHING and get MOVING to be at least somewhat in control of his mental well being.  So I convinced him to take a walk with me and after about 3 minutes could see he was very winded.  This was my chance to put the moves I’ve so carefully rehearsed on myself in to motion on him.

By the end of that walk I had convinced him to start seeing a trainer.  YES!

I found another trainer in the same gym I go to, very near our homes, that is a more appropriate fit  and will work with him one on one vs the bootcamps I go to and got his first meeting arranged the next day.  Mark, this trainer, revealed he has a schizophrenic aunt so is somewhat familiar with this diagnosis…what a surprising blessing.

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Oh but that sounds so neat and tidy doesn’t it?  Healing is messy and this story holds no exception.  As I said, we went through Hell to get to Heaven.

That evening, without going in to details, we went to dinner at a friend’s in Sedona.  Let’s just say something happened there that truly embarrassed me with my friends and displayed John’s regressive inappropriate behavior that was still evident (don’t worry, this story has a happy ending).  I got so mad and frustrated with him because he does know better that we had a SERIOUS talk the next morning about options such as putting him in a group home.  Words flew out of my mouth like “if you are going to act like a toddler then we will find you a place where all of your needs are just taken care of like that”.  Of course I’ve always believed he’s able to do more but poor guy was just flat out STUCK.

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I wasn’t consciously trying to light a fire under him in those words;  I was really just acting out of my own frustration that had hit a boiling point.  I just kept telling him how high functioning he is when he wants something but when he is expected to be respectful of other people’s *whatever*, he regresses and it just has to stop.  I just kept saying “you can do better but you choose not to!”.  I’m not saying it was pretty…it was frustration mixed with fear mixed with exasperation mixed with hope mixed with, well, I guess what a mother would feel like.

He was extremely remorseful, called our friends to apologize multiple times, begged me for “one more chance” to not to go to a group home.  In the middle of all of this, his case manager called me from the program and voiced her concerns about the regressive behavior and the depression.  We also discussed the group home option (which trust me breaks my heart in a million pieces– the LAST place I want to go visit my brother is that kind of environment) .  His Dr. also contacted me who’s been kind of pushing that option, privately to me, for a period of months.  I just kept thinking “I cannot and will not give up on my brother! ”  quickly followed by “if nothing changes I’m gonna lose my own damn mind”.

We packed up the car, well I should say I instructed him to do this and that to close up the house and pack up the car and he did everything I asked, slowly, but he did comply.  I instructed him to get his Ipad and put it in the front seat and on the way back we got busy.

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You see, I had had an aha moment in the shower and I had a plan.  I leveraged this “group home” business as my consequence and told him “you have one option to avoid that future and this is it” and laid out my plan.

I had him google “Overeaters Anonymous” and told him he needs to start attending those meetings.  I had already set up the trainer appt. so insisted he comply with whatever plan the trainer put him on for exercise and the third prong of my “Lifestyle Lift” was this:

You will audition for the Phoenix Men’s Metropolitan Chorus and if you don’t make it, you will become a volunteer there.

What most people don’t know about my brother, which is his secret weapon, is that he has an amazing pitch perfect voice.

He is primarily a bass (or whatever the low notes are–baritone?  I don’t know) BUT he can pull off the entire scale flawlessly.

Two years ago we went to see this Chorus perform their holiday extravaganza.  I think the word “flourish” best describes everything about it.  There were multiple costume changes, set changes, a faux ice rink in front where professional skaters skated to their sounds, a drum line, etc. etc.  It was a performance.  Yet, without in any way sounding disrespectful, I thought as we heard the various soloists “my brother can sing just as well as that”.  It planted a seed and I’ve been investigating it since.

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They say on their website about auditions that even if you aren’t needed that season (ie you have one of those terrible voices like we used to see on those crazy American Idol audition reels), we always need volunteers and need you part of our organization.  One stop shopping!

I had already started an email exchange with their President as auditions are coming up in August.

John called him from the car and left a message.

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Let’s review:  my 3 pronged plan for rescuing him is this:  OA meetings, personal training and singing.

None of which involve mentally ill people or the mental health community.

It’s a gutsy move but one I believe(d) in wholeheartedly.

I explained to John how all of these elements influence each other and will build on the collective momentum in order to help him from sinking so far down again.  Exercise/support/feeling better in his body/creativity/community.  All big holes in his life.  All I knew was we had to change something and this was what I came up with.

See the thing about me is when I know, deeply know, it’s time to move on something and how to move on it, I just know and I act.  Not all the time of course.  Sometimes I don’t move and torture myself a little bit more but those are my learning curves.  I’m getting better at trusting these inklings and moving in to them seamlessly.  For example,  I found my house the first day I went out looking and in ten minutes knew it was the one and bought it by the end of that day, we found our Sedona house that way–the very first day we went out looking– and despite my Dad’s doubts I just kept saying “this is our house” and it is.   I found my new office space just like that.  I guess I’m very very good at applying this to Real Estate.  ;)  Every single one of those bold moves and serious investments includes it’s own tale of magic.

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I had John sing for me the whole way down the mountain that day.  As we were raised on show tunes by our NYC born and raised father, we know all the words to many many musicals.  We landed on “Doe a Deer” as a good audition song and, let me see, the best way I can describe how it is listening to Alfonse sing is this.  Ya know how on American Idol (again) sometimes you’re sitting there white knuckled hoping the person hits their notes and sometimes you have this confidence and relaxation knowing they are gonna land on every one like a hammer straight to a nail head?  The latter is the feeling I have listening to my brother–a confidence.

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Now most stories do not have a straight road straight to Nirvana and ours didn’t either.

I dropped him off after that ride and went to work.

I came out of my work day to multiple texts from our friends in Sedona, John’s Dr. and messages from my Dad.  “Why is John calling me 8 times today? Is he ok?”.  Etc.

Uh oh, I thought, this shit has hit the fan.

I called John and he was all riled up.  Very upset.  Very angry!  At ME!

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I drove over there calling his Dr. on the way who texted me back “I’m 30  min away if you need me I’ll come right over”.  Gotta love the concierge service.  He knew how mad John was at me and worried about my safety.  I’ve never for one second worried about my, or anyone’s safety really with John.  He said “call me as soon as you leave”.

Oh yes John was pissed.  I mean really caustic and sarcastic and mad at me harshly telling me I had no right to threaten to put him in a group home, that I’d have to take it to a Judge, how our Dad was on his side, on and on.  It was all tumbling out as he sat across from me chain smoking.  Trust me, I was feeling defensive and reactive myself but, at the same time, I was aware “he’s making sense”.  That every point he was making was not paranoid but reasoned.  That he was just mad as a cat with claws out for being threatened.

So here’s where the magic happens.

We are sitting there embroiled in this catfight–mostly him hissing and me reacting.  My biggest fear in that moment was that he was going to abandon my three pronged plan which I KNEW was his salvation.  When I asked him he said “no, of course I”m going to do it, it’s a good idea but I will NOT go to a group home Kathy!”.

Somewhere smack dab in the middle of this the phone rings.  His phone.  He picks it up and answers and I watched a bonafide miracle unfold before my eyes.

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It was the freaking President of the Men’s Chorus finally getting back to him live.

OMG I thought as I sat across from him, what a terrible time to make a first impression.

But my dear, amazing brother, switched gears seamlessly and shone like a diamond in that call.  He snapped right out of his anger, popped channels was 100% appropriate on the phone.  “Yes my sister and I attended one of your shows and were so impressed I’d like to become a part of this organization in any way you need me.  I understand that if you don’t need me as a singer, you need volunteers and I would just like to be involved in any way”.  He nailed that first audition right then and there with me sitting across from him mouth agape.  He made an excellent first impression.

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I don’t think in that moment I could have pulled that off–it’s not as easy for me to switch gears so quickly.  I need a cooling off period.

The President said he wanted to send John an email detailing the particulars about the audition so John, appropriately replied “I don’t have my email set up yet but you can send it to my sister–she’s right here so can give you her email address”.

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He put me on the phone with this man who was so overjoyed and delighted to speak with us you would have thought someone had handed him a large donation.  “I’m so excited to meet you and John!  Please will you come with him to the audition because we find that the more support people have the better”  (uh does a bear….you know).  He gave us a date and invited us to stay for rehearsal after “just so you have a better idea of what we do”.

Yes, yes yes and yes.

 

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As I hung up I looked over at John and said “you nailed that phone call!  Wow!” and our war was over.

I also said “you’re not depressed are you?”.

He replied “I’ve not been depressed for two days Kathy”.

Ya know they say depression is anger turned inward–that’s one theory anyway.

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I found myself saying I was so glad he got that anger out because I think it’s been trapped in him for a long time.

I also reflected on certain words I heard him say to me that all three of us kids growing up said to our stepmother during times of abuse over and over.  That just about broke my heart.  Those words were likely trapped in him for decades.

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I cried and apologized.  He said “I wasn’t angry Kathy, I was scared.  I’m terrified of going in a group home and losing my freedom”.

More tears.  What an incredible insight for a schizophrenic man right?

My brother was emerging before my very eyes.

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I apologized for being heavy handed and threatening that.  I explained it was born out of my frustration and needing to light some kind of a fire.  He replied “I understand Kathy, I know you care about me.  I know you love me and I appreciate all you do for me.  This is a very good plan and I’m going to do it.”

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And it was over.  And beginning at the same time.

I texted his Dr. during this whole thing, while John was on the phone something like “John just got a call from the Men’s Chorus in the middle of this argument and he’s nailing the call!  I’m flabbergasted!” to which his Dr., cracking me up, replied “lol that’s great”.  He’s just such a real person I love it.  “Lol” indeed.

John has been going to personal training three times a week and is already reporting feeling better, sore, but a good sore.  He has been to weekly OA meetings and is forming bonds there.  And, he has his audition for the chorus August 12.  I’m so excited I can barely stand it!  I just know they are gonna be blown away by his voice but in the worst case scenario he will volunteer with them and have a new community, a new tribe.  Finding our people is so important and he’s just been kind of isolated in the mental health world for too long.

“Lead with your voice, not your disability” I had said to him while discussing the audition in the car.

And look at him proving me wrong with my fears about that by just the way he handled that call.

His depression has lifted like a dark cloud moving over our homes.  Everyone has contacted me telling me about this distinct shift.

 

 

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I’ve asked him to do things with me and he replies , cheerfully “Kathy my schedule is just so busy this week, we can go to that movie next week”.

From spending hours laying in a dark room, he’s now too busy to sit in a dark movie theatre with me until his schedule opens up.

And I couldn’t be any more happy.

Charity begins at Home.  We’ve been seeking volunteer opportunities for John.  But I told him (tears as I write this now) “John, you can be your own charitable project because we can’t help others until we are whole–so how about you put all of that helping energy to helping yourself”.

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Let’s face it, he’s in the disenfranchised population well people sign up to volunteer with..to help.  He’s his own worthy cause.

I’m sure I could be out doing much more to save the world as well but if I neglect my brother then what kind of saving is that?  Or burning myself in to depression like Mother Teresa?  I find her inspiring in so many ways but this unknown fact about her life inspires me as well.  It’s ok to do whatever you can do to live a happy life;  to be happy.  Especially when life has dealt you a whole lot of rough blows like John and I have endured.  It’s ok to be your own liferaft.

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I think, for John, being surrounded by a community of men who come together to express their love of singing outweighs stocking shelves at a Goodwill any day.

It’s ok to shine like a diamond and the difference you make in the world is being the change you wish to see.

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Please think a good thought for us Tues Aug. 12 at 6pm.  His life is gonna open up in a big way at that moment.  And so is mine.

Just the thought of sitting in an audience watching him sing as a part of that…..ok here come the waterworks again.

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I found myself saying these words to a friend this weekend, “if I wasn’t living in the center of this life, I’d think I was some sort of fictional character”.

That comment references the bizarre and magical and unusual things that happen to me on a daily basis.  I don’t know if I just notice these things that are happening in everyone’s life all the time.  Maybe I just have more time and space for the noticing.

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But they sure do happen and happen to be my life’s blood.

I’m still in Sedona after a magically delicious weekend of dance led by the beautiful and powerful Jenny Macke.

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I met Jenny at a dance retreat at Esalen a few years ago and have been wanting to dance with her again, especially at one of her workshops, ever since.  Of course when I saw her, it was like no time had passed.  There are deep unspoken bonds that form in this kind of dance world.

(I’m referring to dance such as Gabrilelle Roth’s 5 Rhythms, Soul Motion, Conscious Dance, Authentic Movement, Nia…these are all names that go with the kind of dance processes I’ve been in to for about twenty years now).

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So many powerful things unfolded this weekend but I’ll do a small recap of some highlights but I’m sure more will unfold over time.

I drove up Friday afternoon and landed in Sedona for a couple of hours before heading up the winding canyon to Flagstaff for the start of the workshop called Wild, that evening.

I’m always so refreshed just coming to our house  up here.  I never take this gift for granted.  I treat this house with tender loving care and it nurtures me right back.

 

20140728-075108-28268494.jpgI bought a new new rug and table for our small patio with it’s gorgeous view.  I always love seeing my sweet bedroom here, a place I rest so well in.

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The drive up the canyon is beautiful and at times stressful.  It’s a two lane road and mostly a no passing zone filled with lots of tourists going 25 mph in a 40 mph zone.  And if you’re trying to get to an unknown place on time…well it’s not always easy to enjoy those hairpin turns.  I made that drive six times this weekend.  I know it pretty well about now.  ;)20140728-075112-28272742.jpg

The workshop space was absolutely amazing.  It was in some kind of private academy, large enough to accommodate the 60 or so of us dancing the first evening.  It has indoor/outdoor space so we could easily flow between those areas.  That was particularly nice when a soft rain would fall after dancing hard and sweating for hours.

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I really only knew 3 people in the group which in itself is kind of liberating.  It’s kind of nice to bare your soul with people who see you as a blank slate.  These dance groups tend to attract the most interesting, kind soulful people I’ve met en masse I find.  It’s a good tribe.

Winding my way home after three hours of intense movement, in the dark, by myself, after that very long day (which started with 8am boot camp workout) was frankly exhausting.  All I could think about was getting ASAP in to my cozy bed.  And resting up for the next two days of dance and adventure.

I saw a raccoon on the road and exactly one other car.  It was a bit eerie or maybe I was just tired.  And in a hurry.

Which the stern blond police officer reminded me of when he pulled me over just as I reached the Sedona city limits.  For, you got it, speeding.

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I was so exasperated.  He asked if I knew the speed limit or how fast I was going as I came down that long winding road and I honestly said “no”.  He got kind of snarky with me then which didn’t improve my attitude.  I really don’t know what came over me because I’m normally very nice and respectful to police officers.  They’ve always been good to me in a variety of circumstances and I do appreciate them.

But with this cop for some reason I became a full blown bitch.  I wouldn’t look him in the eye.  Everything he asked me was responded to with a sigh and snotty attitude.  Of course he asked for my proof of insurance and registration.  Whch, inexplicably, I was unable to find in my glove box, increasing my frustration and crappy attitude.  The last I remembered seeing them was the other time I got pulled over for speeding in Sedona and got off with a warning.  I had all the paperwork then but surely did not want to tell this cop that little factoid of culpability.

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To add to my stellar citizenship, I had my old plate on my car.  I’d recently as in a couple months ago, switched to a new organ donor plate but hadn’t changed it yet, simply because I hadn’t gotten around to getting a screwdriver and doing it.  It was in the back of my car though.

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“Did you know having the incorrect plate on your car is a criminal offense?” Officer Friendly sternly questioned me.  I’m surprised I didn’t say “cuff me” then because I had just had enough of all of this.

All i know is that self-importaint , entitled brat had taken possession of me and she wasn’t about to let go anytime soon.

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At some point he asked “what kind of class were you at in Flagstaff that ran so late?” To which I, in some kind of self sabotaging Devil may care moment replied” really? You need to know that now?”.  Followed by some snotty teenaged response like”it was called Wild and you wouldn’t know anything about it”.

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I really am shocked I didn’t get arrested then and there for something.  I kind of deserved it.

He asked me get out of my car to retrieve my plate from the back and as I did I uttered “I’m just so tired I want to get home”.

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He must have taken pity on me or something because what happened next was nothing short of a miracle.

He left me there for a long time, writing up the encyclopedia of citations I was going to get I felt sure.

He approached my driver’s side window and asked me to roll down the window and spoke as I sat in my best sullen teenage posture staring straight ahead as he delivered this sermon:

“Ok, I’m not going to cite you for speeding but I’m giving you a warning.  I will have to cite you for having no proof of insurance but all you need to do is show up at the Sedona Municipal court before September 2nd and you won’t receive a fine.  If you need help putting on your new plate I can do that for you right now”.

Me, still in bitch mode, stared straight head saying”ok, you can do that”. (Who was this person?).

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He replaced my plate for me and asked me to get out to inspect it so I took a deep sigh in one of those sullen teenage “are we done yet?” modes and went to the back of the car again sighing, or rather whining “I just want to go home”.

Officer Friendly then said “”I’m going to back up now and give you space so you can pull out and get home”.

I did manage to utter a small “thank you”, pulled out slowly and that was that.

It wasn’t until I pulled in my garage that I realized how I had just dodged a bullet.

Let’s recap:  I was driving 52 in a 40 mph zone, had no current registration card or proof of insurance, had the wrong plates on my car and didn’t really get a major ticket!  Oh and I was acting like a Supreme Snotty nosed Adolescent to this police officer!  Who does that?

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I was both amused and appalled as I walked in the house.  As I sort of “came to” about my wildly inappropriate behavior I did feel a bit ashamed of myself.  And my second thought was I need to take some cookies to the police station with a note to that officer about how embarrassed I am for being so disrespectful.  How I was just so tired and upset I didn’t know where my documents were as I’m normally very on top of that.

I find most anything can be smoothed over with home baked goods and a heart felt apology.

And it’s a good thng to have the police in your town on your side.

I guess my guardian angels were working overtime for me that dark night just before midnight.  I just know there sure was a whole lot of protecting and serving going on and I didn’t deserve one bit of it.

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Either that or being a big boobed blond covered in dried sweat and dance-wear isn’t just a cliche.

I have a lot more to share from the weekend but typing on this iPad is nutty and I think this story needs to stand on its own anyway.  More to come…

stay-tuned

 

 

 

sounds

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My notes as I wrote them in this amazing dance workshop I’m in this weekend. From the wilderness in Flagstaff.

Sounds

The road sounds fade as the sounds of the woods rise up.

Loudly two birds eject themselves from the top of that tree one chasing the other.

The small sweet calls of the other more delicate birds to my right chippering to their friends.

Their conversation holds as many pauses as whistle notes.

A buzz behind me–LOUD! What bug was that? Two now sounding like chain saws.

Down the ravine a larger squawk sounds like a baby’s cry.

I close my ears thinking I will hear better but really it’s more acute with my eyes open.

I see something…a dragonfly? No, it’s lilting down, a leaf, gilded by the sunlight, fluttering down so feminine, so charming, I think I can hear it’s silent song.

Footnote: interesting Freudian slip I caught as I transcribed this- I said I’d share it just as I wrote it so I did.

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hearts

I just cancelled my date for tonight.

I haven’t been on a date in a long time and I had a good one planned with someone interesting, doing something fun which was his idea 100% and I still cancelled it.

I’m not feeling well.  I didn’t have an excitement about going when I woke up after a night of weird sort of feverish sleep.  It’s not a good idea to put your best food forward when your best foot just wants to be under your down comforter.

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And honestly I wasn’t totally feeling it with this guy just from our brief exchanges and had been trying to talk myself in to being excited about the date.

What was kind of a twist about it though is that I got a chance to talk to him on the phone for a bit to explain and he was so understanding and cool about me rescheduling that it made me actually excited about going out with him when it does happen.  It’s funny how that happens sometimes.

Things can just turn on the smallest dime.

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gotta be careful about who I label a frog–that dime might be a crown in disguise

I realized that I’ve just not had enough unstructured time to myself lately.  I’m a person who needs–probably more than most– patches of wandering aimlessly on a regular basis.  When I’m too scheduled and over committed I get cranky.  To have an entire landscape of a day in front of me with absolutely no plans is my idea of Heaven.

I love this day already.

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So here I am with my coffee, smoothie, one of Max’s clay masks on my face, my new cute manicure and my fountain dancing in the light outside, ready to tell another story.   Another one that I keep laughing about.  Hope you will too.

I’ve been repeating a lot of courses lately in my profession; Myofascial Release.

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I’ve been practicing this therapy for 25 years, have taken all of the courses, most multiple times and have assisted my teacher John F. Barnes with teaching seminars for two decades.  This Spring I decided to go back to the beginning and repeat the majority of the courses again.

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my dad even took an MFR course!

This is a no brainer.  I’ve probably spent as much or more in lodging in Sedona all these years as I have in training (Sedona is where all of the MFR courses are taught–other places too but Sedona is kind of the mecca of MFR).  Now I have a house to stay at, a kitchen to cook in so this is just obvious.

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I’ve been having a blast digging deeper in to myself, healing, growing.  Relationships have blossomed, some have shifted in other ways and it’s been kind of an intensive time of diving inward.  I’ve taken five seminars since March.  And I’m not finished yet.  :)

Sometimes, in anything, it’s just smart to go back to the beginning.

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Myofascial Release is as much a philosophy of living as it is a therapeutic practice.  It’s as much an art as it is a science.

One of the fundamental tenets of this approach has to do with how we view change.  John Barnes has a clear notion about how the process of change/healing occurs and this embraces the whole scary concept of chaos.

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We believe that in order for true healing to occur, patterns that are deterring the organism (the body/mind systems of being human) from optimal function need to be disrupted.  Then the innate intelligence that is the force that keeps our heart beating and our lungs breathing as well as all other automatic functions  being constant–the very life force if you will–takes over.  It will slip between the cracks of that broken dysfunctional pattern and express itself as vibrant health:  that which we are designed to experience.

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It goes basically like this:

Pattern of dysfunction disrupts ——> period of chaos as the system finds a new normal ——> reorganization occurs at a higher functioning level.

As therapists, we seek those patterns of dysfunction in the system and for lack of a better word, guide and support the being to consider options as patterns break and we support them as they cross that chasm of chaos.

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Stage two is always the hardest.  We all crave the familiar.  We all find comfort in our dysfunctional patterns.  I don’t care how “advanced” you think you are, that pattern has settled in to your system because it’s easier or more comfortable on some level than trying to live without it.

I could go on and on about this philosophy but I’ll leave it at that.  Let’s just say, if you are diving in to this modality for deep healing and you notice that you are somewhat scrambled and out of sorts, we say HURRAY!  You are healing!  The patterns are disrupting and you are moving through that canyon of chaos…keep going!

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The biggest sign of success with this work is a signal of CHANGE.

So we get very excited when we see this.  And we know it’s not easy so it’s important we take a position of confidence as each person enters in to those uncharted waters.

Hapuna Light #1 - Hapuna Beach, Big Islan, Hawaii

All of that preamble is necessary to truly understand the deeper story within the story I’m about to tell you.

And it has to do with my purse.

I know all you ladies out there reading know how attached we are to our purses.  On so many levels–the function and fashion.  The options.  The practicality.  The tendency to hoard crazy things.  The safety and security a purse provides.  “My life is in there” you will often hear someone say.  Maybe you’ve said it yourself.

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Or maybe you’re like me and you don’t really, exactly know what is in your purse much of the time.   You don’t really remember exactly which credit cards are in there, what important card or document you’ve shoved in there a few weeks ago rambling around at the bottom;  what earrings you pulled off when you had a massage that could be in any number of compartments.

And don’t even get me started on the lipsticks.

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you know I’m right

Notice I’m not even mentioning money!  Yet.  Or identification.

Our purses just have so many roles in our lives and, as a species, we women tend to be very very attached to them.

A few weeks ago, I had just come home from 8 days out of 11 in two major MFR courses:  Rebounding and Advanced Unwinding.  I’ve taken both of these numerous times over the years.  At this stage of my career, to be honest, I’m mostly interested in the personal growth that comes out the courses.  It’s kind of backwards now–in the beginning it was all about learning the techniques then if some personal healing came out of it too, great!

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Now it’s more like I’m invested in my personal development then realize I’m getting reminded of techniques long forgotten and get a boost in my  practice as a therapist as a bonus.

The second course, Advanced Unwinding, is one that really goes for the heart of those patterns of dysfunction I talked about earlier.  It kind of is designed to throw you in to chaos over and over again while you are learning so this knowledge slips deep in to your cellular matrix, sometimes without you even knowing.  My teacher designs the courses just for this to happen.  He makes us all very uncomfortable seated way too close together and moving from one intense technique to another.  It’s not uncommon to hear people sharing in the mornings how they’ve not slept well or had a fight with their boyfriend or crashed for the night at 5pm.

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John is so devoted to this process he will respond with words like “that’s great…you’re doing great”.  I’ve learned so much from him just from witnessing his unshakable confidence in the process.  He is a big soft teddy bear bad ass.  Everyone falls in love with him and his long white ponytail at some point–men and women.  Everyone who sticks around anyway.

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Back to the story.

I returned to work immediately after taking Advanced Unwinding feeling refreshed and more alive and happy.  I had gone through all kinds of things during the course but by the time I got home I was ready to get back to work and energized!

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My first day back at work, I had four clients back to back.  The last one was someone new so that’s always important to be on my A game for the assessment and the full explanation about the therapy and how it works.  I find this time spent with my clients is so invaluable so I have to be clear headed.

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During my first session, close to the end, I heard the chime sound from my front door.  It was five minutes til noon. I glanced at the clock because it seemed early for my next person to arrive and it was.  Twenty minutes early–a bit unusual for her.  I just noted that then shortly thereafter heard the chime sound again.  “Oh it was just the postman” I thought and finished my session thinking nothing of it.

My office is tucked in to this sweet, safe courtyard where I always feel 100% comfortable.  I love it there.

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The next client did arrive on time and I went about my day with back to back appts right up to the new person at the end of my day.  I have to say I congratulated myself for being so clear and kicking it out of the ballpark with this guy and he, not knowing anything about this modality, was on board with the philosophy before we got started.  I only say this because sometimes it can come off kind of “woowoo” to some people–particularly left brained thinking people, like those who, ya know, are men.  ;)  I nailed it with this guy.

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my cozy, safe treatment room

I felt so good at the end of my day–good energy, good successes all day.  Just in a good groove.

Until the very last moment of the day when I had closed up the office and went to lock up and realized, WHERE IS MY PURSE???

Now I can’t say I was exactly smart about the place I tended to place my purse–under my desk.

I looked everywhere–ran out to my car–no purse, the closet; no purse, my treatment room (a longshot); no purse.  I kept shoving out of my mind over and over that chime I’d heard at five til noon.  The “postman” chime.

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I came out of denial in about five minutes and realized my purse had been stolen.

Someone walked right in there, maybe some kind of solicitor, saw my purse there on the floor and just grabbed it.

Arrrrrgh!

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I instantly started thinking about what was and wasn’t in my purse.  I’d come back from Mexico not long ago–was my passport in there?  Where is my passport anyway?  How much cash?  Dammit, there was $200 cash in there someone had just given me recently.  OMG, that check!  I had a $1000 check made out to me to deposit after work that day.  From a bank.  And that burglar had that now and all my ID.  For the last 4.5 hours!  What damage have they done by now?

I went in to action mode as anyone would.  Called the police (ha! As if they cared about a stolen purse hours before), called and cancelled both debit cards, jumped in my car and as I raced to the Credit Union, called a couple other cards and the issuer of the $1K check en route.

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I flew in to the bank and immediately blurted out at the reception desk to the two girls there “my purse was just stolen”.  You can imagine their faces.  I imagine they were the same face I’d see if I could see through this screen right now at your own very face thinking about this happening to you (I’m right aren’t I?).  O M G!  Your purse!

The cute blond on the left goes immediately in to action mode asking me my account numbers (good thing I have them memorized) and tells me it doesn’t seem there is any nefarious activity on my accounts yet.

Luckily I had a couple of checks from clients with me–not in my purse but in my appt. book I’d carried in there like a purse out of sheer security blanketness.  She deposited them for me then asked if I needed cash.

“If you lost your cash and have no cards maybe you want some cash back right now to carry you over until we get this sorted out”

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How considerate.

I told her I didn’t even have ID to show her other than a business card and she just said “don’t worry about it, I’ll ask you security questions”.

Shortly after that she got me back in a private office with Matt, a bank associate who also sprung in to action.

He helped me figure out what to do about that big check and explained that they would know if someone had tried to cash it at the bank as it needs to be deposited before withdrawing the cash and there was no sign of anyone attempting that …yet.  He offered to put a note on my account to require a security word if anyone tried to cash it.

“They typically do this kind of thing through the drive through so I’ll make sure they have this alert–and if they come through at least you’ve got them on camera now”.

He was full of good ideas.

My checkbook was also in there.  Both work and personal checks. Ugh!

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Matt helped me problem solve how to figure out which checks to stop payment on but I’d have to go home and look at my boxes of checks to see where they ended so we could just block all of them in the purse.

He also told me he could get me a new debit card immediately but I’d need a photo ID.  I was obsessing about my passport and didn’t think I had it in there but….I wasn’t 100% sure.  I decided to run right home and find that or some other ID and return to at least get a new debit card.

To backtrack for a moment, as I was sitting in Matt’s office, sometime during that 45 min. crisis visit, I whispered “bastard got my favorite sunglasses” as I was attempting to inventory the contents of my dumping grounds of a purse in my head.

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As I got up to leave his office I instinctively reached for my head and there were my sunglasses!  I turned , a few steps from his door and said “Um Matt..?” pointing at my glasses.  He laughed and said “well I noticed that but just figured those were not your favorite”.

A nice moment of levity in the whole intense situation.

I have to say though, in hindsight, as I drove home I noticed that I was not as panicked over the whole thing that I thought I would be.  I just kept thinking “oh well, this is just money–you will make more, you will get this sorted out”.  I was in action mode but not frozen in panic like I’ve been in situations like this before.  I was actually oddly calm.

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I was also very grateful that this robber had not gotten my keys or phone.  I felt very lucky and a bit perplexed because my iphone was right there on the desk on the charger.  Whew!  Now that would have been a huge pain, not to mention the keys would have freaked me out.

I pulled in to my carport and swiftly entered my house to dig for where I thought the passport was in order to pivot right back to the bank.

I zipped in the laundry room door off the carport as I always do, rushed in to the foyer only to be Gobsmacked with this image.

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Yes, you are seeing that correctly.

That is my purse sitting in it’s usual spot on my banister.  Where I always hang it when I walk in the door.

Yes, that purse had been hanging there ALL FREAKING DAY.

At home.

I had not even noticed I never had it when I went to work!  I’d even put that big check in there for the sole purpose of depositing it that morning and still didn’t remember it.

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I NEVER leave my house without my purse and without noticing it!

This means I walked out of my house carrying my appt. book and keys, drove to work, walked in to work without my familiar purse on my shoulder and went the entire day without even noticing it wasn’t under my desk like it always was (not anymore).

I put myself and others, through that entire catastrophe needlessly and didn’t even know it!

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I immediately started shaking my head and laughing and called Matt back. I thought I had to tell him immediately to see if any of the bells we’d initiated could be unrung.  I don’t even know if there is an adjective to describe the emotion I was feeling right then:  some kind of mix of relief and amusement and a tiny dash of embarassment–but not much.

My conversation with Matt went like this.

“This is Matt-<whatever his last name is>”

Me, in a very slow, calm, semi sing-songy voice:

“Um Matt, this is Kathy Monkman”

“Are you ok?” he inquired sounding worried.  I mean he had just seen me moments before.

“Matt, I have lost my damn mind.  I just walked in to my house and my purse is hanging on my banister” .

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All I heard back in that moment was a very quiet hissing sound.

He couldn’t even speak through the suppressed hysterics.

It sounded like a tire leaking forced air.

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“I’m headed back there right now to deposit this big check, is there anyway we can unring any of those bells?”  I said in a controlled hysteria.

“No but …<cough…hiss>….at least you aren’t really out any money, just some inconvenience”

“I’m coming right back”

“I’m sorry Kathy, I’m not laughing at you, this is just the best thing that’s happened to me all week”

“Oh, Matt, trust me, I’m laughing at myself right now.  Laugh away, this is a moment in life where you can totally laugh at someone”.

Eight minutes later I entered the bank to the cute blond girl and the other one looking at me something like this.

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I just pointed to my purse, crossbody across my chest, and said one word:

“Menopause”.

Those girls were laughing so hard.

Matt finished what he was doing and brought me back again to his office.  We deposited the check, he took the alert off my account.  I apologized for wasting his time and he kept thanking me for the best story he’s ever had working at the bank.

As I walked away I turned and said, pointing at my glasses on my head,

“Um, thanks for not mentioning these”

And the laughter started up again and we ended on that note.

I stopped at the desk on my way out and said “surely you have some kind of comment card or something because I need to write Matt a recommendation for this as I really owe him one. As a matter of fact I want to write one for you too ” speaking to the cute young blond.

Who then shocked me with “I’m the bank manager”.

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I nearly fell on the floor.

I thought and said out loud “I thought you were a little sorority girl from ASU”.

She started laughing and so did I and I walked out of that bank with a tear in my eye and twinkle in my step.

The only thing that could have made it any better would be if I’d tripped on the way out (which believe me could happen as I’m not the most graceful person you’d ever meet).

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again

It wasn’t until later that evening, or maybe the next day that I realized “OMG I’m in total chaos right now from taking those courses!  RIGHT ON!”.

There is something about a purse that is a woman’s identity.  I mean we literally carry our identity cards in it.  I ended up concluding that I faux lost my identity that day but got it back unharmed.  There is something deep about that.

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But I didn’t dig too far for the meaning.  I just enjoyed the entire entertainment of the whole deal.

That weekend I decided to make some cookies for the bank as a thank you.  I made these lemon cookies that really turned out to be kind of mini scones and put little dollar signs on some of them.  It’s the second time I’ve made cookies for them–the first being after they were held up at gunpoint a few years ago.

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I walked in to the bank Monday morning carrying the cookies, the two completed comment cards and of course my purse.

The cute blond bank manager wasn’t at the desk (she probably almost never is in that position but was the faux purse steal day) but a young man was who DID legitimately look like an ASU student.  I asked if she was working and he explained it was her day off so I just said I was leaving the cookies for everyone but especially wanted her and Matt to know they were for them because of their exceptional service.

This young bespectacled man looked right back at me and said

“Oh you must be the lady with the purse” with a little smirk.

“Oh yes, that’s me”

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I’m glad I have that reputation at the bank.  Someone who brings levity and cookies.

And I’m so glad I faux lost my purse without it having to be really stolen.

I’m excited to see where I’m gonna land now after all that chaos, with or without my purse in hand.

Woman Walking Through Door into Meadow

 

 

 

 

 

fish story

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laughing-fit-o

I have not been able to stop laughing for two days.

Seriously.

And boy did I need that.

Every time a glimmer of this story flickers in to my mind, I feel the grin creep out of my insides sometimes expressing itself in to a full blown snort.

I haven’t written for awhile–my mind has been taken up with so many other things like traveling, having my purse faux stolen and engaging in my summer of fitness in all it’s ways.  More on those things later.

Today, I  have to share this story because it’s just too good to keep to myself.

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I’m sure many of you readers remember my friend Max (formerly known as Jordy).  The world was kind of introduced to us through our haphazard celebrity via the Scott Peterson trial.  This is a good read about it actually.  We’ve been friends for over a decade now and been buzzing around the country with many adventures near and far.

Three years ago Max decided she’d had enough of city life and decided she wanted an entirely different style of living.  Through a series of serendipitous events, she packed up Taylor, her little Boston Terrier and landed in Holly Springs, Mississippi making it their home.

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She is doing very well in this small town I call Mayberry.  Max is an esthetician and body worker so was able to settle, again by good luck and magic, in a gorgeous historic home owned by family of Jerry Lee Lewis.  She set up her spa on the second floor and her roots in the soil.  She and Taylor have a quiet, sweet family life there and are very happy.

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When Max moved to Holly Springs and started acquainting herself with the culture there, something else unexpectedly grabbed her.  She, an eclectically spiritual person who was raised by a mother who was both acutely mentally ill and a spiritualist; decided to become a Catholic.  She explained to me that she loved the rituals and just felt a calling.

So, a Catholic she did become.

With a twist.

Because you see, Max is a fully out lesbian.  Well, she was fully out before moving to Holly Springs where, wisely, she has been judicious about who she shares this detail with.  It’s a small town you know.  A small town in Mississippi.

Now add Catholic parish to a small town in the Bible belt.

Homegirl has balls.

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Parish council–Max is Vice President

Max has really blossomed in Holly Springs.  She has settled down, her mind and body have become healthier (just last year she had to get a new pacemaker as the one she’d had for fifteen years;  the one that was supposed to last six years tops; had failed) and she’s found a community there.  A sense of family.

She has developed her amazing line of skin care products that she sells online here and a strong client base for her facials and body treatments.  Included on that list are the town prosecutor and her Priest.

Yes, you did read that right.  This little blond newbie Catholic lesbian has formed a tight personal relationship with the town’s Priest.  The stories I’ve heard about their relationship and adventures are the stuff they make reality shows about.  Or movies like Fried Green Tomatoes.

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From what I decipher, looking from the outside, it seems they’ve both filled a void for each other.  Max was seeking spiritual development and Father Leonard was needing a friend.  A friend who didn’t only relate to him as a role, someone to lean on, someone to perfectly guide them as the voice of God.  But someone he could just be himself around.

Max once told me he’d said “no one talks to me like you do Max”.  Because to her, he’s a human being as well as her Priest.  What a relief that must be for him after a lifetime of living as a personification and all the facades and expectations that go with it.  I can only imagine how she talks to him because she can tell it straight, so to speak.  Sometimes the only way you can grow as a person is just that:  someone who cares about you having the nerve to tell you what’s what.

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This unlikely pair has enjoyed installing a fence around Max’s house together, Fr. Leonard helped her move, helped her install her new bed and gratefully accepted the gift of her old one.  Yes this Priest sleeps in a lesbian’s former bed.  How about that?   He has helped her with countless odd jobs around the house and she has helped him with some pretty serious back pain.

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In fact, the genesis of their friendship started with just that:  back pain.  Apparently Max caught wind that Father Leonard was not going to be able to stand up to perform Mass one Sunday because he was taken down by an acute bout of sciatica.  Max has taken a couple of courses in Myofascial Release and just generally has a good understanding of healing in the body so offered to help him.  Imagine this scene:  Max leading Father Leonard to a meeting room, having him “take off his alms” (robes) and laying him down on a long conference table to check out his back and attempt to work on it (she ended up sending him to a chiropractor who helped him).

In walks Sister Julene, naturally horrified to see her Priest disrobed on a table laid out like that with someone actually touching him!

Well you can see now how they became fast friends.  Pain tends to break down most any barrier.

Theirs is a love story without the romance.  But endearing and charming nonetheless.

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Now the story I’m about to tell you has to do with one of Max’s, and now Father Leonard’s favorite past times:  fishing.

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In the Spring of last year an offer she couldn’t refuse landed right in the lap of Max’s bait stained shorts:  an old, badly in need of renovation, pontoon boat for sale.  One she could afford.

On a bright Spring day, Max and Father Leonard were out fishing on Snow Lake in a borrowed bass boat “at a spot I knew was good near this man’s dock”.  When she saw the man on his property, she cheerfully waved to show respect and he waved back.  A few minutes later he called out to her “young lady!  young lady!” with excitement and told her he’d just found his wedding ring in the dirt the very second she waved to him.

As it turned out this man is a Baptist minister (how ironic right?) and had lost his wedding ring the day before while potting plants for his wife.  “There has not been one day in 33  years I’ve not had this ring on my finger” he later told Max.

Something about the magic of this moment; of finding his precious ring just as she waved created a spark in this man to offer to sell her his old pontoon boat for a mere $500.

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And buy it she did.  Just as she breathed a new vibrancy in to Father Leonard’s life, she revived this boat which she has now named MAXed Out.

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She renovated that boat within every inch of it’s life and I know the perfectionist that she is so I can imagine she’s got that thing like it just floated off a showroom.  I think it looks beautiful in the pictures, don’t you?   Can’t you imagine sitting on one of those front seats just tooling around on that peaceful lake?  Me too.

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Captain Max

Max is out on her boat every weekend and often she brings guests.  Always she brings Taylor.  She either just goes on pleasure cruises or she takes part in her true love:  fishing.

Not that she loves to eat the fish mind you.  In fact I don’t know if she’s ever eaten one of her catches.  But she shares them with friends or throws them back.  I think mostly she catches catfish.

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pretending to eat a worm

Well, now we enter our story.  One day in June, Max and Father Leonard were out on a day off enjoying the beautiful afternoon and fishing together.  It was just one of those perfect days.  Right up until the moment she felt that tug.  No, harder than a tug, she felt a downright yank!  That strong and powerful fish (or whatever it was) dove deep and she could feel it swim under the boat!

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Father Leonard yelled “it’s going to break your pole!  You better let it dive…let it dive!”.  I guess he forgot who he was dealing with there for a minute because there was no way Max was gonna let this fish win that one.  She yelled back “this is a catfish pole!  It’s made to bend!” as she fought that huge fish right on to the boat.  A funny moment in the story was when she talked  about how Father Leonard caught the fish in the fishing net after she’d wrangled it on board.

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“It’s already in the boat!” she laughed.

I think he just wanted to feel a part of this big catch.

Well Max sent me photos of her catch that day.  She recalled as she pulled it in that she thought “what IS this monster?”.  It was more huge than anything she’d ever seen come out of that lake.  It was a fisherman’s dream.

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She pulled out the poisonous horns with her pliers and gifted that fish to Father Leonard who took it home, fileted it (I assume) and put it in his freezer.  I don’t know if he ate any of it fresh that day but I hope he did.

So, ok, let’s fast forward to two weeks or so later.

Now let me just interject for a moment that Max told me this story two days ago, not as a funny story but as something entirely serious that was really bugging her.  That she had to get off her chest.  I mean who do you go to complain about your Priest?  Me, I guess.  ;)

Last weekend Max was at her usual Mass and enjoying her church community.  One of the fellow congregants, making friendly conversation, asked her if she’d been out fishing recently.

Max naturally responded “yes!  And I caught this huge fish, in fact it’s in Father Leonard’s freezer right now!”.

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Well, apparently the Bishop was nearby — the Bishop who shares that home with Father Leonard–and he overheard those remarks.   Max proudly reported this again to him telling him that fish in his freezer was the big one she caught!

Here’s where the worm turns.

Bishop Joe then turns to Max and delivers this tiny alarming phrase,

“Father Leonard told me he caught that fish.”

Max was incensed!  How dare he lay claim to her fish?  She caught that fish fair and square all on her own!  His participation was only just being there and trying to grab it unnecessarily with a net after the fact!  The audacity to  try and usurp her big fish story and claim it as his own!  Something had to be done about this and right now!

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She was so mad she went home and wrote him an email that, at least partly, went like this:

“I was showing Donny the picture of my fish when the Bishop came up.  I told him it was in his freezer.  Imagine my surprise when the Bishop said that you Father Leonard had told him YOU caught that fish. I asked the Bishop several times if he was razzing me but he assured me he was speaking the truth.  So, then let me ask you, why did you do that?  And I will allow you to answer”.  (let’s not forget she’s writing this to her PRIEST)

Father Leonard in his attempt to explain, replied:

“As you know, I have a habit of saying ‘we’ for me, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  Sorry for the confusion.”

And this, the words I’m about to share right now, are the chestnut of this whole story, the place where I lost it in spontaneous hysterics.

Max then replies to this well respected Priest:

“None of which caught my fish.”

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You know how someone is being funny but they think what they are saying is serious?  Yeah, it was like that.

I immediately burst in to gasps of hysterics hearing that and let me tell you, that was just the medicine I needed that day.

Max then started hissing on the phone hearing how funny her own words were reflected back.

In one fell swoop she semi-dissed the Priest, Jesus AND the Holy Spirit over a fish!

“NONE of which caught MY fish!”

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Max kept trying to explain to me how upsetting this was to her but this hilarity was having none of that.  It had just taken possession of the whole story.

Once I could breathe again and wiped the tears from my face, I told Max what my interpretation was of what had occurred.

I think he did say “we caught that fish” so the Bishop naturally thought he’d caught it or was at least part of the catching.

And I don’t think he was referring to himself, Jesus and the Holy Spirit either in my humble, un-Catholic opinion.

What I do think is whether you’re a Priest, a Nun, the Buddha or the Pope, everyone kind of wants to belong to someone.  It feels good being a “we”.  It’s just human.

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When you are single and hear that “we” identification all around you, it just feels lonely at times.  And you want to feel that sense of belonging.  It’s human nature and just as Max sees Father Leonard as a human being, this kind of thing goes right along with it.

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Maybe Max is his “we” person. And could you blame him?  Look how cute she is and she’s funny and she gives him a break from his pedestal, out on a boat on a sunny day reeling in a fish and sometimes throwing back a Mexican beer.

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We never know where we will find our connections, our real connections in life.  Sometimes they show up where we least expect them.

Jesus had his loaves and fishes parable.  Well Max, Father Leonard, me and now you have a catfish parable.

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I suggested she put a punctuation to this story by showing up at the rectory one day soon with a huge loaf of french bread saying “here’s the loaf to go with my fish”.

Although in my perfect scenario she says “our fish”.

Because ya know, every romantic tale and every fish story needs it’s embellishments.

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