Tag Archives: Waldport

Where I’ve Been Lately

We’ve been in Waldport at the beach almost a whole month now. We have just a few days left and then we’ll pack up and head back to Colorado — the heat, our garden, our own bed, our “normal” life. I haven’t been blogging or even online much while we’ve been here. It’s been a nice break, but I’m also feeling ready to get back.

pieThis morning, while eating some delicious marionberry pie for breakfast after our walk on the beach, I listened to Jamie Ridler’s latest episode of Creative Living with Jamie. Lately she’s done some extra special podcasts, one with Natalie Goldberg and another with Lisa Congdon.

In the intro, Jamie always says “Who knows, one day I just might be talking to you.” Guess what…she did! In today’s episode, Jamie is interviewing me! It was so much fun to talk with her, to contemplate and answer her questions, get to tell my story.

mabelmag

Image by Kat McNally

The other place I showed up is in the first issue of Mabel Magazine. Because we’ve been gone, not home to get our mail, I haven’t looked at the real copy yet, but my friend Kat was nice enough to post a picture of my article on Instagram so I could at least see it. I can’t wait to hold the issue in my own hands. So many of my favorite people contributed.

And for those who have been missing it, just know I’ve already started collecting stuff for the return of Something Good on Monday July 21st. That first post just might be a long one.

#smallstone: Bodhisattva

writingbodhisattvaOn the small shrine on my writing desk is a white ceramic Bodhisattva with two dogs. I found her first and the bigger dog two summers later at the Flea Market in Waldport, Oregon. The tiny white plastic poodle with her is one of the only toys I ended up keeping from when I was a kid, my Barbie Doll dog.

I look at the three of them and it reminds me who I am, where my power rests. The feathers she holds remind me that softness is strength. It is also not lost on me that the same form that allows flight can also be dipped in a well of ink and used to write. The card I pulled this morning, a ten of cups, urged, “do not doubt this power.” This is who I am.

#Reverb12: Day 13

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Try

The full prompt: What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2012? What happened when you did/didn’t go for it? (Author: Kaileen Elise)

Next year, I want to try:

  • Once and for all letting go of my food addiction, having a normal and healthy relationship with food, to eating
  • Keeping my heart open, staying awake no matter what
  • Teaching an ecourse
  • Submitting some things for publication (or rather as is more likely, for rejection)
  • A dance class, could be Nia or Zumba, or a “real” dance class
  • Running, again, beginning again
  • Art Journaling

What I wanted to try in 2012, what happened when I did/didn’t go for it:

  • Blogging, maintaining a regular writing practice: totally did it and it was awesome
  • Being more involved: did it, but had to accept and honor the limitations, the special needs of being a HSP and an introvert
  • Eating more mindfully, healthier: there were moments, long stretches of success, of ease, but the past month or so has been difficult, I’ve slipped back into old habits and ways of being, even though they so clearly no longer serve me
  • Life Rehab, retreats and classes and workshops and study and practice: so much transformation (as a caterpillar turns to a butterfly, still the same being but turned to mush and reconfigured, and in the end having grown wings), so much I still want to do, to learn, to be
  • Being myself, wholly and without apology: I still can be timid and unsure, but the realization here is that who I am already is of so much more value than who I was trying so hard to be. I thought if I was perfect, always giving more and doing more, that’s what would make people love me, get my needs met, but it turns out that the simpler option (just being myself) is more loveable than the plastic version. Easier for me + more love = no brainer

Love

The full prompt: What are the things (or people or animals) in this world that you love the most.

My three boys, my little family. I love them with my whole heart.

threeboys

Do-Over

The full prompt: Of the things that happened this year, if you had the chance to do X all over again, what would it be?

This is difficult to answer. There was another prompt at some point that was similar, I think it asked about regrets. I couldn’t really answer that one either because everything that happens to me, everything I do, I see as one step forward, and looking back I can see how they string together to make a map from the place I was to where I am now. In this light, even the missteps, the things that hurt, that generated suffering, the places I stumbled or even fell down, the moments I resisted or wished away–all of them led to here, and how can I say that anything about here is wrong? I just can’t.

For example, Dexter was miserable on the drive to Oregon, really hating all that time in the car, would sometimes shake with it, was panting and unable to relax or rest most of the time. I could say I wish we’d found a sedative or something he could take that would calm him down, keep him comfortable, but what if that made him feel sick, had other side effects? And even if he relaxed or slept on the medication, how could I be sure that he actually felt better about it, had an easier experience?

So, I could say maybe we shouldn’t have even gone to Oregon, but that’s just silly because the month we had there, all the walking and running and playing and napping and hanging out with his people and having visitors, Dexter absolutely loved it. And it turned out to be his last chance to go, and I wouldn’t want to have taken that from him. So you see, even though I wish he hadn’t had such a rough trip there and back, I made the best choice I knew how for him, and to wish for a do-over, well I wouldn’t even know what to wish for exactly.

dexter on the beach, pure joy

dexter on the beach, pure joy

Or another example might be my participation at the World Domination Summit. I could say I wish I could go back and be more involved, more extroverted, attending more events, meeting more people, but would that have really made it a better experience for me? As it was, I took the time alone and apart that I felt I needed, and I did attend things, connected with some amazing people, introduced myself to almost all of the people on my “must meet someday and tell them to their face how much I adore them” list.

My final answer to this prompt would be something I saw posted on Facebook the other day, “With every rising of the sun, think of your life as just begun. The past has cancelled & buried deep all yesterdays. There let them sleep,” (author unknown).

Favorite Photo of You

The full prompt: “Please post your favourite picture of yourself from 2012, self-portrait or otherwise!” Besottment also included this prompt for Day 15 of Reverb: What was your favourite photo taken OF you and/or the photo you loved best that you took in 2012?

This one is a tie, but what I like about them is the same. They both show me content, somewhere that I love, confident in who I am, no mask. The first is me in Waldport, Oregon this summer, our first week of a month long stay, taken on a rainy morning while wearing my purple fleece robe, having just finished writing a blog post, an image I posted on Instagram.

purplefleecerobeThe second is me at Shambhala Mountain Center during the Fearless Creativity writing and meditation retreat with Susan Piver, the weekend I finally surrendered and claimed “I am a writer,” meant it, knew it was true, confident and content.

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#Reverb12: Day 4

reverb12There’s an odd magic happening with the Reverb prompts I’m using. Checking five different lists, one not even from this year, you’d think it would be a random collection of things, but it’s not. As I work my way through, they weave together, connect and support each other, giving a universal answer, telling a single story about the year I’m leaving behind and the one I’m entering into. They reveal things to me I hadn’t considered or seen, give me the space and opportunity to reflect and contemplate. Magic.

Fear

The full prompt is: “When were you most scared? Why? How did you respond? How do you wish you would have responded?” (Author: Mary Churchill).

Two things come immediately to mind: Dexter’s “bloody scare” and the World Domination Summit prefunction of sorts party at Kelly Rae Roberts’s Studio, (I talked about that second one just the other day).

bloodyscare

Before Dexter was diagnosed with cancer, we took him in to have a nasal scope, to rule out something stuck in his nose that might be causing his symptoms, and for a biopsy if they didn’t find a foreign object. It’s always stressful having your dog put under anesthesia, and it’s even more nerve wracking to know that the procedure might find cancer. It ended up being even worse then that, because when they tried to wake Dexter up after, he started hemorrhaging profusely from the biopsy sites (multiple tiny tissue samples that shouldn’t have caused such a bad reaction, but did), and the only way they could stop the bleeding was to sedate him again.

When we went to pick him up later in the day, they wouldn’t let us take him home, and suggested it was probably best if we didn’t try to see him, (we agreed, getting him excited and then leaving him again wouldn’t have helped). We had to leave him with the emergency vet overnight, and when we left him, they weren’t sure what was going to happen, which meant I didn’t know if I’d ever see him again. It was one of the worst nights of my life, and I was so scared I could hardly sleep, couldn’t eat, had to force myself to drink anything, felt sick with worry and panic. Things worked out okay (other than the fatal cancer diagnosis), and we now refer to it as “The Bloody Scare.”

P.S. I forgot to answer the last part of the prompt! I reacted by loving Dexter something fierce when he came home, accepting his cancer diagnosis with grace, so happy to have him back, to see him again after not knowing if I would, that instead of resisting his loss, I opened myself completely to it, grateful for whatever time we would have left together.

Place

The full prompt is: “What places anchored you this year? Or were you in search of new places and spaces to call your own and call home? Describe the place you love and why it means so much to you.”

beachgrassWaldport, Oregon. Half my heart lives there. Every other year, we try to plan a month long vacation there, and the rest of the time, I dream about it, miss it. I’m not sure I could ever again live year round with the gray sky and rain of the Pacific Northwest, but it still is home to me. I love everything about it (in my dreams it is always summer)–walking and walking, hiking, looking for shells and agates, gazing at the sky and listening to the waves, eating good food, taking long naps, renting movies at Waldport Video, being at ease, laughing, spending lazy afternoons reading books or listening to the radio. My heart breaks a little when we have to leave it, but I also love my little house in Colorado, my bed, my studio space, my garden, my routine here and my friends.

Music

The full prompt is: “Did you discover a favourite song or musical artist in 2012? What is it? Where did you discover it? Does it hold any special meaning for you? If you do not listen to music, how about your favourite book or author? Or artist across all mediums?”

My favorite new artist is Yuna. Her voice, style, lyrics, sound all are so spot on perfectly lovely. I wrote all about her when I first discovered her, and shared this video.

Beauty

The full prompt is: “How have your standards of beauty shifted in the past year?”

thanksgivingsky08The shift has been from perfection to wabi-sabi. In our culture, if you are a woman, perfection of body means straight and white teeth, skin that is slightly tan but has no wrinkles or blemishes or scars, all over tone, no cellulite, big boobs and small waist, young and fit, blah, blah, blah. Our homes are supposed to look a certain way, our families and children, our relationships and our work, our lives are suppose to look a certain way. We can never measure up to that standard, so in the last year, little by little, I’ve let it go.

I’ve surrendered to the brilliant mess. Things broken and dirty, old and dying, loved and worn, alive and full of joy, imperfect and impermanent. When I talk about beauty, I mean something more like the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, which is all about accepting transience, and about knowing what is beautiful is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. Something is wabi-sabi if “an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing” and this view “nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect,” (Wikipedia entry on wabi-sabi).

Celebrate

The full prompt is: “How are you going to celebrate your self this festive season?”

eyeiI’m going to honor myself. Ask myself what I want, what I need, what I’m craving, what I’m truly hungry for, what I want to stop doing, what I want to let go of. I am going to ask, really listen, respond. I am going to do what the brilliantly compassionate Sunni Chapman suggested on Facebook today, listen to my heart and be truly, madly, deeply alive:

In the quiet of your heart, lies every answer. Take it up with her first. Mind will always offer a second opinion. Thank it for it’s opinion, and go back to the truth that moves you. If it doesn’t move you, it’s not alive… and all you’ve ever wanted to be was truly, madly, deeply ALIVE.

Reverb12: Day Three

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Remember

The full prompt from Linar Studio: “What is one thing you did this year you think you’ll remember for the rest of your life?”

The last trip I took to the beach with my sweet Dexter. When we got back to Colorado after a month in Waldport, he was diagnosed with a fatal cancer, given a very short time to live. By some freak miracle, he’s still here, but we will never take that trip again, never spend weeks at a time talking long walks on the beach followed by long naps and then another walk. I will always remember how much he hated that long drive, two days in the car, how this last time he shook and panted and whined, but when we arrived, he knew just where we were and was so happy. I will always remember how he rolled in seal poop and how bad it smelled, how excited he was to find a tennis ball and a frisbee on the beach (“what?! free toys?!”), how he played and played, ran and ran. I will never forget that’s the first place he had a bloody nose, a reverse sneeze–the first signs of the cancer.

Dexter embraces his gray hair.

Storm

The full prompt from Besottment: “What storm did you weather in 2012? Big or small… obstacle(s) did you overcome? Feel free to be literal if you prefer… was there an actual storm that you survived?”

There were private storms, things I can’t really talk about here, don’t ever talk about here, ugliness that goes on “behind the scenes.” What I can tell you is how hard it is to love someone so much, to want what is best for them, but have to stand by, helpless and hopeless, watching them fail, struggle, and suffer. I’ve had to realize, accept that I can’t force anyone to change, and that I also can’t love them enough that they’ll want to change.

Year in Review

The full prompt is from Carolyn Rubenstein’s Reverb11 list: “As you reflect back on the happenings of 2011, what were your high points and what were your low points? What do you notice as you look back on the year as a whole?”

The Good

The Bad and The Ugly

  • Dexter was diagnosed with fatal cancer, and has had a few related issues that were pretty scary and sad.
  • A cancer scare of my own.
  • An ongoing struggle with being a highly functioning food addict.
  • Fatigue.
  • From time to time, I really struggled with my meditation practice.
  • Our washing machine died.
  • Some stuff I don’t even want to talk about here.

You know what I notice as I look back over the last year, kind and gentle reader? It was a great year, I have a lot to be grateful for and am so lucky.

What do you really wish for?

The full prompt, from Cam of Curly Pops and Kat at I Saw You Dancing: “Imagine a scenario where you only had one year left to live. What is one thing that you really wish to do that you just haven’t had the chance to accomplish yet? what steps could you take (however small) to ensure that you accomplish this thing in 2013?”

This is so hard to answer, because there are things I want to do before I die, but they might not be important enough to do if I only had a single year left. For example, I want to write a book. That matters to me, is important. I have something to say that feels like it needs to be shared.

And yet, if I only had a year left to live, I might want to spend every minute, rather than working on a big writing project, with Eric and my furry boys, with people I love, who make me laugh. Maybe get a house on the beach for four of those months, spend another four in a cabin in the mountains somewhere, and the last four in our tiny house that I love so much, doing the stuff we love to do.

Beautiful Things.

The full prompt, from Meredith’s Daily Angst: “What brought beauty into your life this year? Was it a tangible thing or something intangible?”

Gifts: little and big, received and given.

superhero earth necklace made by andrea scher, a gift to myself

superhero earth necklace made by andrea scher, a gift to myself

Connection: with all the beautiful, open-hearted, brave people I’m lucky enough to know. Long conversations about life, love, impermanence, books, eye brow waxing, and dogs. Laughter.

Time and Mindfulness: All the hours, the moments, each breath spent experiencing nature and love and joy and rest, meeting reality with an open heart.

The sky: it has been amazing this year, a real show off, every season, any time of day–or maybe I’m just now noticing it?

august18sky6

Book Writing Saturday

Sanctuary: a place of refuge or safety, a consecrated place where sacred objects are kept.

Yesterday in my writing group, we did a guided meditation in which we constructed a creative sanctuary. Somewhere we could go whenever we needed it, imagined yes, but tangible and whole nonetheless. I went into this the same way I do everything else: having already made up my mind. If I were to have such a place, of course it would be a cabin in the mountains.

The first part of the meditation was to imagine a path leading to our sanctuary. What manifested for me was a path of sand. I have a friend who just got back from Hawaii, so I assumed this was placing my sanctuary in a tropical location, and I resisted. This was not right, the path should be stone or dirt. I tried to force it, to see that instead, but every time I tried to place that image over what was already in my mind, it immediately dissolved and the sand path asserted itself again.

When we reached the part of the meditation where we were to go inside and look around, it all made sense. There were two full walls of windows and as soon as I saw the view, I new it was right: the beach at Waldport. Not a tropical location at all, but rather the place where half my heart lives.

I love Colorado. My job is here, I own a home here, my tiny little family lives here, and I am in love with the beauty of this land, specifically northwestern Colorado–the mountains, the Poudre River, the animals, the rocks, the sky and the trees. I love living in Fort Collins, having the university campus and Old Town both so close, but also living far enough north that it’s not unusual to see a fox running down the road in the middle of the afternoon, or to have neighbors that have horses and chickens. I love having so many parks and wild places in town to walk the dogs, and so many close places to hike.

And yet, half of my heart lives in Waldport, Oregon. Every other year, we try to plan a month long vacation there, and the rest of the time, I dream about it, miss it. I’m not sure I could ever again live year round with the gray sky and rain of the Pacific Northwest, but it still is home to me. It made total sense that if I would imagine a sanctuary, this is the place my heart would wish for, the location my mind would imagine.

Even though the location made total sense, I was surprised by what I found inside. My creative process usually seems so focused on a goal, on a product, I expected that to be the case in my sanctuary. We were guided to see the things we were working on, to imagine them, but what I saw was more about process and practice: a yoga mat, a comfortable and cozy place to read and dream (a huge white heavy cotton sectional couch facing the windows), a meditation shrine and cushion, art supplies and a computer, stacks of journals and books, a large kitchen with a long farm table that could seat at least 10, either for dinner or making art or simply “shooting the shit.” Rather than a private art studio with evidence of many completed projects, it was a retreat space that could be used by just me or welcome a larger group.

The NaBloPoMo prompt for yesterday was “If you could live anywhere, where would it be?” The clear answer is I would live most of the year in Fort Collins, Colorado, and spend summers in Waldport, Oregon. I dream of a day when I have a real sanctuary on the beach there, one that I can use but also share with others who need a retreat space, a safe place to rest and dream and play, a place of comfort, a space to practice, a sanctuary.

Gratitude Friday

This post is a mashup of The Little Bliss List and Joy Jam, and as such is meant to celebrate: the little things that brought me hope and happiness this week, the sweet stuff of life, those small gifts that brought me joy this week. By sharing them, I not only make public my gratitude, but maybe also help you notice your own good stuff and send some positive energy out into the world.

1. Spending time with family. Movie day with Mom (and Dad, although he usually doesn’t watch the movies with us), lunch and walking on the beach and ice cream with my brother and niece, and dinner with aunts and uncles.

2. Farmer’s Market produce and Depoe Baykery baked goods. Oh how I am going to miss them, but there’s word that my garden in Colorado is producing cucumbers and the tomatoes are starting, and it’s probably time to lay off the sweet, sweet carbs for a bit as well.

3. My purple fleece robe. This item has wrapped me in warmth and comfort through some really hard times of grief and sadness and depression, as well as being useful during better times. Eric bought it for me for Christmas many, many years ago. It is simple, functional, clearly durable, and a long time favorite, and was a good thing to have with me this summer, where the temperature never got much above the mid 60s and I was trying to learn to rest and take better care of myself.

4. Naps, sinking in and relaxing. The boys and I have shared many a nap during this vacation, pure bliss when you get up early and take long walks and have no plans, no work, no where you need to go. I need this kind of rest, and my only worry is how I will manage it when I am back at my paid job. But for now, no worries. The boys are napping as I write this post, and I soon as I finish, I’ll probably join them.

5. HGTV. This is the only thing I miss about not having cable TV. I’ve been able to watch it this whole month, since the house we are staying in has access. I am especially loving International House Hunters. I barely even bother with the other channels.

6. Hiking yesterday, and then the long shower I took after.

7. This vacation, this month at the beach in Waldport, but also going home to Colorado. This place is home too and I have loved being here so much and as it does every time, my heart will break a little when we have to go, but I’m also missing my little house, my bed, my studio space, my garden, my routine there, and my friends. I am looking forward to returning, to catching up and reconnecting with that space and those people.

Bonus Joy: Laughing with Eric. Sometimes he makes me almost hurt from it and I have to beg him to stop, but sometimes he’s the one who can’t stop.