Life Changing

The photo shown here is a lovely spot on the Oregon coast called Arch Rock. My husband got the light shining with the perfect angle. We were slated to check into a motel miles away, but we lingered at the sunset  to enjoy the moment.

DROPPING DEADLINES : PICKING UP LIFELINES INSTEAD

I had planned to do this blog as soon as my three week road trip was over. After listening and feeling “mizzle” (misty drizzle) on my face in the rain forest of Washington, I dropped the need to meet deadlines. Especially since I was the one making the deadlines. In my experience, people do not die from deadlines, especially self-imposed ones.

Most timelines can be extended, negotiated, and if missed, it’s my guess that something ever better might be around the corner. I’ve never been much of a linear thinker. I tend to be circular. I find that opportunities come around, just like some cosmic merry-go-round. I can still catch the brass ring if I lean at the right time, the moment I choose.

I am more into lifelines these days. That’s not to say I’m on a sinking ship or fallen overboard. I am not looking for a life preserver in an emergency. I am finding more and more alternatives to what I thought were rules set in stone. Stones sink.  I’d rather aim for walking on water, or at the very least, learn a better way to meet the tide.

I made a promise to myself to practice those things that are life enhancing. Daily meditation and prayer, moderate exercise, healthy food, good music, and gardening: those are my lifelines. I like to share them with my husband because that increases the pleasure.

If I ignore these necessary pleasures, the red warning light goes off. It keeps blinking until I do something about what’s causing it.

Case in point…. Before I left on vacation, I had three whiplashes, two concussions, and was struck by electricity from a rogue appliance after an earthquake. One might argue that these were just coincidences . People do have car accidents, hit heads on cupboard doors and a blue streak of electricity can strike if something is faulty.

I got the message: I was the one who was faulty. It took me awhile to learn the lesson. SLOW DOWN OR YOU MIGHT BE DEAD. That’s a deadline I did not want to meet, so I changed my ways. I bowed out of some commitments, extended some time frames, found some recreational activities that I enjoyed. I even got my first degree certification in reiki to help heal myself and others.

At this juncture of my life, I have decided it’s time to fulfill a life-long dream: to have a home on the beach. I have visualized a one story house in a quiet fishing village on the central coast of California. My husband and I both love the area. Our city home is lovely, but it’s time to find something more natural, like our mountain home. We can have the best of both worlds.

I do not let finances or the process of moving deter me. Letting go of “stuff” we have accumulated here has been refreshing for me. The house is just a reflection of our inner life as well. My husband and I have been clearing out mental things that no longer serve us and replacing them with what we truly desire.

“Today is the tomorrow I dreamed of yesterday.” That is what I will say when I cross the threshold of our new dwelling. And we will know that we have come home.

This recent photo of Mono Lake takes me halfway to heaven just looking at it. I don’t know how Bob got the Milky Way to look so close, as though I could reach out and touch it. Light is inspirational, whether it is external or internal. The best illumination is a combination of both.

ANGELIC INSPIRATIONS: WORDS WITH WINGS

Your state of mind is really where you live…not the outside world. I have lived in many different “states.” But I have never lived outside  California. My favorite state of mind is quiet contemplation because that is when I see such beautiful sights, and my best songs come to me.

It used to bother my friend Ken Porter (who is now in spirit) that I would sit down and write a song in five or ten minutes. He would spend days working on and perfecting one song. “How do you write them so fast?” he asked . My response to that question has eventually become, “ I  don’t exactly write them.”

There have been times when I consciously planned, produced, and edited a piece of poetry or music. That style of writing is rare for me now. These days (and nights) I just open up a window in my heart and let my mind take a backseat while I write the lyrics and notations down.

Afterwards, when I read back what is written on the page, I am sometimes surprised at my “creative” spelling and word usage with messages that go beyond what I know. I put my name on the copyright because I penned the song, and it would be too difficult to send the royalties to the real creator.

Since the 1980’s I have been writing songs for churches, spiritual centers, weddings, funerals, and loved ones, without any real effort on my part. The process goes something like this: I know the sermon topic, or the gospel reading, or a situation in advance, and I just ask for an appropriate song. The lyrics and music come in as soon as I make time to receive them. Sometimes, they circle like airplanes until I agree to write them down.

I remember when I was working on our first music CD, life was too hectic for me to sit down and breathe. Songs for the Soul by bobandkathi (available on the usual internet sources) did come out that year, 2012, but some songs were written at very strange hours. One time in particular, I recall awakening to a song I had been hearing as a title for days. “One Day My Soul Just Opened Up” really wanted to be “born,” but I kept saying, “I’m too busy.”

So at two o’clock when I woke up one morning, the Voice said, “You’re not too busy now.” I got up, wrote the song and dedicated it to Iyanla Vanzant, whose book I had read with the same title. (I dedicated each of the songs on that album to someone special to me.)

As far as knowing where the songs came from, I wasn’t really sure at first. When a very pleasant lady told me she saw angels around me and that they “channeled” through me, I thought perhaps she had a touch of dementia. I later came to realize what a wonderful place this world would be if everyone had the childlike simplicity to see and hear the wonderful things that are beyond standard science.

An even greater  gift is to be able to talk about it and share it with others. That makes words have wings….

I am spreading my own wings on a vacation soon where internet may not be available. Therefore, I am considering taking a few weeks off from blogging. The green of the rainforest will provide some lovely photos for my future writings. I am certain that experiences with the water, vegetation, and wildlife will inspire more to share, too.

May the busy schedules of life float away down the river until then. I will meet you on the shore.

 

 

 

Sagres, Portugal, is the setting for this beautiful rainbow. Bob and I went to Portugal for my 60th birthday. I had broken my foot earlier, but refused to cancel the trip. After pushing my wheelchair over cobblestones in the rain, my husband was glad to relax and snap a series of gorgeous sky shots.

AFTER THE RAIN: THE BEAUTIFUL WEATHER, PART ONE

So much of my early life had turmoil. It was a blessing to find the “rainbow of my life,” Bob Haine. Or maybe he found me. Either way, after the first week of school, we met at a T.G.I.F. party sponsored by the local teachers’ union.

It was probably not a meeting to go into the history books, but the details carved a place in my heart. First he impressed me by knowing my correct shoe size. During an economically lean time he had supplemented his substitute teaching income by selling shoes at Bullocks. It was not his favorite job. He probably never dreamed it would lead to a fateful pickup line.

Bob had been fired from his first teaching job, as fifth grade teacher in a catholic school. His crime was passing gas after eating lentil soup, and then explaining to the students  that “farting” was a natural body function. The head nun did not appreciate him using an “F” word. This firing led to being  hired by the Chaffey High School District. I was hired that same year. This is another example of how a setback can lead to a positive outcome.

Our first date was not without difficulties, but they were fun ones. Bob was having the passenger seat in his Toyota reupholstered, so I sat on a pillow on the floor. After dinner we went on a spur-of-the-moment trip to Will Rogers State Beach, near Santa Monica. We were having a great conversation when he pulled into a gas station on the Pacific Coast Highway.

I got out to use the restroom. When I came back outside I saw his car driving away, my purse inside, and me not sure if this was going to be a very long night. He did come back and picked me up. It was his first, but not his last, attempt to get me to see the lighter side of life.

In a few months, Bob asked me to marry him while at our special spot, lifeguard station 14. That was over thirty seven years ago. He always jokes about the musical reason he married me: I was the first woman he’d met who could harmonize with him, in more ways than one.

We have been harmonizing together ever since that first date, singing Beatle songs at two in the morning. Now we perform as the married duet of bobandkathi. Seven music videos and three CDs later, he is still the melody singer and lead guitarist. I am the harmony and the background mandolinist, as well as the songwriter.

The music of my married life has not been without dissonance. I was diagnosed as bipolar in 1985, some months after the loss of my first pregnancy. It was a difficult time for both of us. Losing the next two pregnancies was not much easier.

It was fortunate I married a “rock,” because the breakdowns led to very rocky times. I am reminded of a line I wrote in a song for a wedding: “You will be the rock and I will be the flower that blooms through the stone.” And I did bloom, although I think of myself as a late bloomer. It took awhile to ground myself. It took awhile to pull out the two hundred songs I had written, the almost forty years of journals and poetry I’d saved, and realize I might have something worthwhile to say.

My breakdowns were breakthroughs as well. But I didn’t see that until much later when I had a grander vista of life. I reread and reviewed my life from a different perspective. I could see that the good weather had come from the storms. No rain: no rainbow.

My photographer-singer husband (a former French teacher) has always liked the optimistic phrase, “Après la pluie, le beau temps.” The translation: “After the rain, the beautiful weather.” Our weather has gotten progressively better, but we have passed through more rainy seasons as well. Some have even been life threatening.

 

This picture of an archway in the Alabama Hills of California was taken by my husband on a recent photo expedition. It suits this particular blog because it is a natural bridge. I see “no” as a bridge leading to “yes,” when the proper intention is applied. Although the arch is stone, it seems softer in the early morning light.      

NO: IT’S THE NEW “YES”

In spite of what Webster’s Dictionary has to say, I don’t view “no” as a negative answer when the question or situation does not have a positive energy. I have been a people-pleaser most of my life. My therapist told me that this behavior is typical for childhood abuse victims. I have volunteered (and been volunteered) for thankless jobs that no one else wanted, agreed to do time-consuming projects for others at the expense of my own time, and have even considered suicide on more than one occasion when one simple word would have saved me: NO.

I am a changed woman now. I still maintain a compassionate heart, with one strong addition; my compassion now also extends to me. It is not healthy to hangout with energy vampires or people who have no intention of helping themselves. Being an enabler does nothing to help either party, if either person is not making independent choices and accepting the consequences of them.

I have also had to learn to say no to myself, the ego part of me that would love having a piece of chocolate cake, skipping yoga or a walk, watching reruns of Murder, She Wrote instead of meditating. Sandy, a dear friend, said it best: “Never give up your power to food, another person, or any idea.”

I do believe in surrendering to God, because that is saying no to the part of myself I would like to cast off in favor of something greater. Some of my best friends are angels, which I will blog about at a later date. When I listen to their advice, I find I don’t have to say no as much to others or myself.

It’s hard to make a Heaven on Earth if I don’t feel it myself. I like to grow my own “Garden of Eden” and invite others to join me. (I even wrote a song about it.) I can accept some unpopularity with popularity, because this is a dualistic world. I also allow others to say “no, not interested in joining at this time.”

Recently I found that I was overbooked for my life. I had too many writing contests to enter, too many singing engagements to do, and too many events to attend. Instead of losing control, I took charge and made some choices. I chose which contests I really wanted to win, what gatherings I felt happy to join, and I left the rest for another day. I even postponed my blog for a couple days. There rarely is a “one and only” time to do something, and seldom a “one and only” person to meet. That is a grace I am grateful for in life.

This week, I also learned that when doors say no to me, I have options. Do I have the right key for the door, or do I need to learn something more? If it’s an unfriendly keyhole, can I find another like-minded door that is already open? Even if I have a handful of keys, how do I know what doors they unlock? Are they doors I wish to enter?

Closing some doors may also be necessary to get to the vista I wish to see, the person I wish to become. Sometimes saying no is saying “go” to the person, the situation, the plan that is not working anymore. While this can be a step into the  unknown, it is the only way I know of to get to the new “yes” for me.

 

 

 

The peaceful picture at the top of my blog was taken by the love of my life, Bob Haine. He shot it in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park last March while I was attending a Hay House convention where Doreen Virtue was the keynote speaker. The photo is a beautiful lead-in to my first public writing of my very private life. The green of the old oak and the green of the stream present the balance I look for in life. That is the theme of this blog.


FINDING BALANCE: SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO LET GO TO KNOW IT’S ALREADY GONE

I did something rather amazing this week. I changed my name. No, I did not make up a new one, or create a pen name, or even change my name that much. I decided to go back to using the name that I was born with: Kathleen. Not Kathy or Kathi, the names I had picked up along the way. But my real name, the name I was meant to be.

Why do this, one might ask? Simple. I realized why I had changed the name in the first place. It was an unconscious attempt to get rid of my past. Many people have a past they would like to forget. My mind was very accommodating in that regard. Except for a few, limited memories, I had pretty much forgotten the scenes of my childhood. This week, however, I started to remember. More importantly, I learned how to put it in its place, pick up the pieces, integrate it, dump out the garbage, and claim the parts that I still loved. Nothing was wasted in the experience.

I have two reasons for sharing this in text. I find it cathartic for me. But I think my main motivation is to help others who may have had similar situations in their life, or are going through it now, or who are really earnest about getting empowered to be the person that they were meant (and CHOOSE) to be. I realize that I am mainly writing for women, because my experience is from the female point of view. Yet, I speak to the needs of everyone, because giving and accepting love, being peaceful, having boundaries, and knowing we are powerful beings who are never alone, are things we all need.

If anyone is offended by what I have to write, let it roll off their backs like the rain and water someone else’s garden. The people who would be most upset or embarrassed by my words are dead and buried. I wish them nothing but love. Forgiveness costs nothing but the peace of mind is priceless.

I was given a “rose” of a life. Roses have thorns. One just needs to learn how to cultivate a rose while avoiding getting stuck. And every true gardener knows the oldest, thorniest roses have the very best fragrance.

Back to my title…finding balance. To live life completely NOW I have decided to put the past away, keep the lessons and love I got from it. I plan to restore harmony to my life in my way of seeing things, doing things, and being however I choose to be. I know that accepting who I am now is the first step toward becoming who I want to be. Others will benefit by the ripple effect of this change. Even if everyone else doesn’t notice I am different, I will know it. The inside relationship is what really matters.

Yesterday evening, I did a little ritual to finalize my departure from a previous life and entry into a new one. I burned some old photographs in a pretty abalone shell, I buried the ashes in the dirt, I said a few prayers, took a warm, salt bubble bath, and had peaceful dreams all night.

This is not a journey that ends here. Perhaps you would like to take it with me. I invite you to do so. I will be writing every week in the coming year. My birthday is next week. Writing is the present I give to myself. I will be sixty-two, a senior citizen. As far as I am concerned, I was just reborn and I am very, very young at heart.