Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Space Between

The space between what’s wrong and right
Is where you’ll find me hiding, waiting for you
The space between your heart and mine
Is the space we’ll fill with time…

 - Dave Matthews

It’s the little things.  Like a new plastic folding table that can tuck away and serve as a place for my coffee cup in the morning.  My routine is to sit on my bed and write until the sun shines too brightly through my window and then I move to David’s.  Where to put the coffee mug has been a big concern.  The floor, too low.  The bed, too unstable.  Can’t hold it and type.  Problem solved for $10.99.  And, we have now disposed of the second mouse that was bold enough to run past me twice last night.  Sharing this small space with two big dogs and another human is quite enough.  Sharing with small furry rodents who poop on my stuff and make nests out of my precious snuggly things, not gonna happen. 

More small stuff.  I found a matching set of our cowboy sheets online and now we will have the ability to have clean sheets at whim.  Yippy!  I googled cowboy sheets and up they popped.  Ahhh the marvels of modern living.  Yesterday, we also discovered ‘Camping World’ a mini-Wal-Mart for all things mobile home.  Kids in a candy store, we wandered the aisles looking for items to create more creature comforts.  Hooks for the inside of closet doors, an entry rug, the awaited rolling holding tank with which to empty our onboard shitter and my already mentioned folding table.  We also bought a small table and chairs to hold our umbrella and make outdoor dining a reality.  We are homesteading. 

Besides the giant pile of dirt the excavators left in removing our house, it seems that we hang on a lovely, albeit scorched, area of vacant land.  We are merely campers here.  We don’t disrupt much.  We leave it better than we found it.  We pack our trash out and leave the area as pristine as possible.  We live in harmony with the elements.  We practice on our own land before we take Flame on the open road to a “real” campground.  Another benefit of finding Camping World is we are now members (!!!!) and we get discounts at campgrounds across the country.  America, here we come.  We will start gently with a campground the Meehan’s have already discovered 2 ½ hours southeast.  We will test our mettle and make sure our badges are properly earned before we set out for more adventurers like the Grand Canyon.  David’s colleague lives within the park at the Canyon – and is requiring visits.  Wintering there for a few weeks or more sounds like an excellent plan. 

I wonder how I will be.  Do I want to pick up my shallow roots and move so soon?  I am a nestler.  I like to settle, burrow and get cozy.  I love my adventures but crave ‘home’.  Now our 26 feet of home will follow behind the truck with the dogs and us.  Maybe we will become nomads.  Airstream nomads, that is.  I don’t aspire to backcountry backpacking lugging essentials on my slender frame.  I am past that point in life.  At 46, I want adventure but not wacky adventure.  Our work is portable.  David needs to go to Seattle regularly but perhaps he will leave me in varying landscapes.  Solo at the Grand Canyon, alone by some mountain lake somewhere, by myself by the beach?  Locked and loaded with two big dogs as my protectors, I know I will be safe. 

I like the idea of wandering for a bit or maybe longer.  If not now, then when else?  My 74-year-old father romanticizes about our silver bullet.  He would love to hit the road as well.  It’s most likely not a good idea for him at this point in his life.  I don’t want to get to the point where it’s no longer and option and say I wish we could have, would have.  In the world of “should’s”, that definitely should be one of the lessons from this fire, right?   

Speaking of lessons, I am letting go of needing to know what I will learn for now.  I will reside in the unmanifested for a little while longer.  In some ways I want to know now and in many more ways I don’t.  This is a precious time before much has taken form.  No major decisions have been made, no ground has been broken, no large amount of money has been spent, no new paths have been worn.  We are formulating.  We are wondering.  We are hanging in that for as long as possible.  I want these lessons badly.  I demand the transformation that will come.  I crave to be rid of the confining parts of my self and live more from expansive possibility.  I insist on more of this rawness and less of the concerns about what others will think. 

And, for now, I will be where I am – in the in-between.  In the land of the unknown, the land of the unformed. 

I will rest in the ‘space between’ for a bit longer.  Feel free to visit me here.  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

For the Love of Dog

Last night one of our dear friends lost his beloved dog.  After hearing the news that she was sick, I could think of not much else.  She was showing symptoms of poisoning, the same reactions a rat would have when we are trying to get rid of it, her organs shutting down, bleeding internally.  Rather than put her down as the first doctor suggested, Frank was determined to do everything he could for her.  Even a blood transfusion couldn’t save her.  She died last night. 

I am stunned by the level of tragedy in our small community.  Yes, I realize, it is happening everywhere, all the time.  There have been times before where it seems devastating things are occuring all over our close circles.  I have had mine, you have had yours.  But these early months of 2012 have been exceptionally full.  I read callous comments after the fire, that we mountain people should expect such things.  Blah blah blah.  I wrote about that already.  Yes, we all know that to love is to risk having our heart broken in so many pieces that we may never pick them all up.  Right now, for Frank, I would imagine there are no words that will actually help.  What I can offer is to be there in the pain and with the pain.  We will tell him we aren’t going anywhere.  We love him.  It beyond sucks.  Life isn’t fair.  In walking through our fire, knowing that people can be in the shadows with us has made the biggest difference. 

I have been holding my dogs tighter since the news.  Not that I ever hold them that loosely.  I have written much about Tigger and my absolute adoration of every hair on his furry body.  After Jaxson, Tigger is the closest I may come to having my own offspring – the bond that deep.  He can do no wrong.  Chewing up my favorite baseball hat, coating my furniture in dirt and red hair, refusing to eat his dinner which sometimes leads me to hand feed him.  I will take it all.  Honeybee was Frank’s beloved.  She went everywhere with him.  I never knew Frank without her.  How do we go on after such a loss? 

Animals will crack our hearts and leave us bleeding.  Only a few days ago, Susan and Dan lost Chloe, suddenly too.  Of course these thoughts occupied my sleep.  David was at a concert finally having some real fun.  When I turned out the lights, I still hadn’t heard the news from Frank so was continuing to pray my ass off as promised.  At midnight, when I heard David at the door, I checked my phone.  A text from Dusty said, “she is gone.”  I told David the sad news, we talked about it for a bit, I don’t know if he slept right away but I tossed and turned with thoughts of Frank and his lovely fiancĂ© Jennifer.  We had just celebrated Frank’s birthday the night Honeybee got sick.  A gaggle of friends hanging outside in the beauty of Colorado eating the best cake in the world made by Jennifer.  We laughed and honored Frank, Honeybee wandered between us hoping for scraps.  She a part of the group as much as any of us. 

Now she is gone.  The space she filled will call out for a while.  There will be dog beds, leashes, toys, food – and lots of that glorious long hair she sported.  All will be reminders of her absence.  It will take a while for the reality to set in.  Noises will remind them of her – and have them hope she is there.  For a moment she might be,   until the shattering truth comes crashing back.  Our brain stores these things as favors that end up haunting us.  Today, I don’t want to be too far from Tigger.  As I tossed and turned I worried about ever leaving him.  Cancel all vacations, never let him out of my sight, and don’t let him wander.  Life is full enough of dangers – but poison?  What a horrible thing.  Frank and Jennifer didn’t have poison in their house.  There will be so many questions – the bargaining, the wondering, maybe never knowing.  Rob and Patricia lost their dog Zeke to poison too.  They aren’t sure what he ate but they can only assume there was some poisoned meat along a trail where they hiked earlier that day.  Later in the afternoon, they left the house for a short time, and upon their return found Zeke dead.  Horrific. 

Yes, we know they will die one day.  We don’t want it to happen.  We would do anything to stop it from happening.  When it does, we mourn deeply.  But the swift shift of life is almost too much to bear.  My heart is with Frank and Jennifer today.  It’s with all the lovers of pets whose hearts will fracture seemingly into millions of pieces never to be reassembled in the same way.  Tigger is only 2 ½ but can I keep him safe from the dangers of the world?  Yes, I realize this is the question parents have to face every day.  Us childless pet people only know this angst through soft puppy (or kitty) eyes.  Animals trust us.  Yes, their ancestors survived in the wild for eons before but domesticated animals have been ‘’dumbed” down.  They eat what they find and sometimes it isn’t good.  My dogs wander too far and could end up lost to fend for themselves.  We have promised to care for them and keep them protected.  They protect us in return – and promise to squash our hearts in the process.  Would I not experience this love?  No.  I am a dog person.  Always have been, always will be.  I am sure Frank is too.  He will love again, and I hope he will love big again, just like that deep eternal love I found with Tigger.  They are all beloved.  Yet some are our soul mates.  We can’t help it.  It may be predetermined.  It feels that way.  Choiceless, at the mercy – and unexpected.  I swore I would never love an animal like I did Jaxson and then Tigger came along poking his wet nose in my face and daring me not to adore him. 

Adore him I do.  And, yes you Roscoe lovers, I love him as well.  Roscoe is a sweet, kind, patient soul.  Yet, I cannot help how I feel about Tigger.  Call it unfair or wrong or whatever you want to call it.  He is my flesh and blood.  He makes a lump appear in my throat out of the blue.  Tears sting my eyes at the thought of life without him.  Oh Frank, I feel your pain.  I am so very sorry for your loss.  I am sorry your heart is in a million pieces.  They say time will heal, and it does.  It heals but never returns completely.  You will always miss and mourn that sweet Honeybee.  I still miss Jaxson.  I cry at his loss – just not all the time.  Just don’t test me with Tigger.

Update from Jennifer:

So here's the scoop: After a sweet birthday party for Frank on Monday (the day before his actual birthday) and Bee being her usual sweet party-dog self, she got sick in the night. Frank took her to her Vet as soon as they opened in the morning. She was losing blood internally and her condition declined. It got to the point that the vet recommended taking her to the Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital to potentially get a blood transfusion. At WRAH they were able to do ultra sounds, and a bunch of tests in house to see what they could find. What they found was that it was 99.9% Not HGI - which would have been the one 'curable' thing. She was dealing with and ulcerated intestine which was bleeding heavily into her intestines. The most likely causes of that, after ruling out several other things, were that it was some sort of cancer, or possibly poisoning. There is no evidence of poisoning and I don't in my heart believe that was the cause. NOTE: Keep all your antiInflammatory medicines - Advil, Aleve, etc out of any possible reach of your pets!

Most likely, they said, even if we did all the stuff- it would have just ended up being a 'making her comfortable' thing. Yuck - not for our Bee. Se was such a brave sweet soul. No yelping, complaining. She just wanted to be a good sweet dog - always. What a gift for my beloved Frank , giving him unconditional love that is beyond human capability in the worse and best of times. Please hold my Frank in your hearts - he needs our love most now. I love you Bee, I love you in my falible human way Frank... I hold you both so gently in my heart...

Monday, May 28, 2012

Getting my funny on... maybe

What would life be like without our people?  Not worth it.  My people include my furry people that keep us laughing with their antics.  The main benefit to having my own bed in Flame is that Tigger sleeps with me.  I have explained to him that it is an open invitation as he is such a good sleeper, curling at my feet and staying put.  I can’t make too much of a ruckus about it as Roscoe is not a good sleeper and if I boisterously invite Tigger then Roscoe will jump up too.  Roscoe likes to sprawl and twitches all night.  Tigger is still.  Often, Tigger starts on his dog bed (yes, we cracked the code) then ends up with me.  I take great comfort in his warmth on my toes.  David is a no dogs on the bed fella.  My bed is now my domain.  David and I snuggle across the narrow aisle – and yes, twin beds will not be forever once we build our tiny tiny house. 

I have the first part of the day at home and am quite happy about that.  I am now officially behind on two writing projects.  I haven’t worked on my Intro again since last week.  It only needs a few tweaks and then I will send it in for review.  And, I have another project which is waking me in the night and infiltrating my sleep… I said “yes” to a workshop Kristina Hall is running where 8 other women and I will each have our own mini-version of a one-woman show in the form of 7 minutes at the microphone in a real venue.  Oh my goodness what ever had me say yes?  What I haven’t mentioned yet, is it’s a comedy show.  Eeeeeegads.  Kristina is a brilliant professional comic with over 17 years experience in front of live audiences all over the world and on TV.  She is pretty much the funniest person I have ever known.  I have seen her perform live dozens of times and never ever get tired of her material.   Recently, I interviewed her on my radio show and we talked about her life as a comic and a writer as well as her mission to allow other women to be free in our expression on stage.  Thus the workshop – and at a time in my life where I am breaking through even more barriers – thus my call to say “yes”.  The caveat for the show and the course – authentic material only.  We take the issues of our lives and bring it all to the stage.  We also are learning the structure of a joke and that’s where my blood runs cold.  If you have been reading for a while, you know I bring in my own brand of humor.  I am good at this off-the-cuff stuff in both my writing and speaking.  But crafting it, then remembering it to present it?  Oh my.  It seems the moment I put pen to paper all funny eludes me. 

Of course, I will talk about the fire.  And, we know there isn’t much that is funny about a forest fire.  But I will draw on the absurd – what people say, my angsty PTSD moments and internal dialogue, the inane and insane.  I have ideas and real-life situations to share but I haven’t put it all together in a cohesive form.  Two nights ago I dreamt that I completely bombed.  It was so so so bad.  Kristina has explained that in this venue we won’t be able to see the audience due to the lights.  In my dream, I couldn’t see them at all.  They were below the stage and behind all sorts of obstacles.  I completely forgot about the microphone and paced all over the stage, rambling and stumbling over my words, forgetting all the punch lines – and no one was laughing.  At all.  Crickets.  Not even a chuckle. 
Flame peeking through the trees
Early this morning, I dozed and dreamt of brilliant material which of course I have completely forgotten.  Soon, I will step away from my comfort of writing this blog and into my discomfort of writing that material.  Then I will review my intro and ready it for submission tomorrow.  I will I will I will.  Deep breath with me, please.  I pause for a moment and hear the wind kicking up again.  The wind isn’t funny.  It is eerie, fierce and a little chilly.  The sun warms me though, heating up my silver bullet and calming my mind.  This sweet trailer is a lovely cocoon.  Next weekend, we will build her a flagstone patio apron to honor her beauty.  We bought an umbrella and a little table yesterday.  We are creating a little space of peace and comfort where David and I drank our coffee and soaked in the still lovely view. 

I glance out the window at stark black against lush green that is our landscape.  It’s dramatic and raw.  It’s also magical.  I breathe in again – so nice to remember my lungs have a larger capacity than I give them credit.  I keep forgetting to inhale.  Danger seems to lurk around corners but in these peaceful moments, all is right with the world. 

So what if I bomb on stage and say absolutely nothing funny.  I won’t die, right?  If I don’t keep stretching myself, I am dying anyway.  Letting go of the outcome has to be one of the gifts of this dang adventure.  It will go how it goes.  I will suit up and show up.  I will stand in the spotlight and test my mettle.  I will sleep the night before or I won’t.  I will suck or I will shine – or maybe both.  It will not kill me.  If you are in Denver, come join us at the D-Note in Old Towne Arvada on the 5th at 7:30 pm.  If you can’t be there, please send me some funny.  

Sunday, May 27, 2012

There is beauty in the world

So baby, in between
Notice the blue skies
Notice the butterflies
Stop and smell the flowers
And lose it
In the sweet music
And dance with me

Cause there is beauty in the world
So much beauty in the world
Always beauty in the world

Macy Gray

Coffee in bed is the best.  I wait patiently, or not so patiently, for my husband to make the coffee before I get out of bed.  It was chilly in here mid-way through the night but we snuggled under layers of blankets and now that the sun is shining, it’s warming up.  I don’t think I could live without coffee.  I am not willing to try.  I don’t have any other vices so this one stays.  Our best “upgrade” since the fire is our jumbo size French press.  To make “enough” coffee pre-fire, we had to brew two pots simultaneously.  Now, this plump pot does the trick.  Although normally one cup does the trick for me, this morning my lovely husband gives me an extra treat of a breve latte out of his little espresso machine.  Ahhhhhh.  Coffee makes life tolerable and beautiful. 

Before putting fingers to keyboard, I glanced at MSN where I often check in to make sure the world has not ended.  We are a no TV and no Newspaper family so the Internet is the only way to make sure that Armageddon has not occurred.  It seemed that it was occurring yesterday with the thick smoke from distant fires that clogged even the air in Denver as well as the swirling ash the wind kicked up at our place.  This morning David wiped the counters revealing blackened paper towels reminding us of the floating hazards in the air.  Fire and brimstone.  Hmmm.  Armageddon approacheth?

As I glance at the “headlines” on MSN, two diverse stories catch my eye.  The most recent massacre in Syria is what I followed first.  Physical descriptions of the 32 children who were killed are too much to bear.  The horror of human evil in its full exaltation.  Seeking an anecdote, I chose the obvious:  “Toddler deemed ‘Goat Whisperer’” depicting a little boy running around the petting zoo kissing and hugging all the goats and going back for good measure in case any felt slighted.  The contrast of this big beautiful bad world all right there for me to see.  That is life.  The full range of innocent beauty and corrupt killing machines.  How do we stand it?  How can we?  

Life and death surrounds us.  Beauty and despair are everywhere.  Life ends, life begins, life is taken.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason.  Religion attempts to make sense of it all.  Philosophers philosophize.  Lay people wonder or even give up.  The fractured often snap and break.  It doesn’t seem to make sense – yet it is life plain and simple.  Susan got word yesterday that her sweet 6 year-old dog was riddled with cancer causing seizures, incontinence and too much pain for the poor soul to bear.  Susan and Dan made the only decision they could and said their goodbyes. I wept a few times with her yesterday.  She knows I know.  Anyone with a beloved pet knows.  The pain is immense, the loss great, the guilt overbearing.  She did all the right things; there was nothing that could be done.  The missing of Chloe’s sweet presence will be intense.  For a while

Two days ago, I found Jaxson’s dog tag outside in the dirt.  A plastic rainbow colored dog-bone shaped tag that had been attached to his leather collar.  How this survived the flaming fury, I have no idea.  I saw it in the dirt and brought it in Flame to keep on my blossoming alter.  When Jaxson died, the pain was gargantuan, choking out any light.  I was traveling when David called with the news.  Six months earlier, Jaxson had surgery to remove a mass on his spleen.  After the surgery, his symptoms that perplexed the doctors for months were gone.  At 11 ½ he regained some puppy spirit.  Then one night, David returned home to find him collapsed on the floor.  On the way down to the emergency vet, Jaxson stopped breathing.  2 ½ years later, I still weep at the loss of that great dog.  I pause to bargain with God or whatever is up there listening, you better not take Tigger.  Sounds more like a threat than a “bargain” but I mean it.  What I would do to follow up with my threat?  I have no idea but it gives me an illusion of control.  “Don’t you dare.  You hear me, mofo?”

With the amount of ash that accumulated in the interior of Flame after our windstorm, I wonder about the ash in our lungs and in the dogs whose faces stay closer to the ground.  I pray the cillia that lines the passages is enough of a filter.  Should we flee to the city and breathe in the smog of that world?  Life is full of hazards.  The crazy wind brought down branches in our stressed trees.  I watched these towering and mostly dead pines sway like drunken sailors.  I especially dislike the swaggering that happens way to close to Flame.  We are in the kill zone of at least 6 of these towering beasts.  They call them “widow makers” as the compromised root system cannot be trusted to hold the weight of the tree any longer.  Sometimes they simply keel over squashing anything in their path.  Yes, we will do something about these hazards.  Sooner rather than later. 

Let’s return to the beauty, shall we?  My sweet little trailer has emerged unharmed with us in her womb-like warmth.  The dogs are perky this morning, much happier after the wail of the wind is gone.  The sun is shining and my husband is channeling his morning energy into cleaning.  It’s a 3-day weekend and we are less than halfway through.  We will bathe in the love and energy of our friends and give it back in return.  We both have massages later in the lovely town of Evergreen with the uber-talented Kim Nilsson.  We will have breakfast at the Wild Flower CafĂ© and indulge in their hollandaise and potatoes.  The dogs will run off-leash at the park and meet new friends.  Then we will return to Flame, with our newly purchased popcorn popper and watch a movie snug in our beds.  A beautiful day. 

There is always beauty even in destruction.  I can’t see the beauty in the Syrian massacre yet there will be beauty in humans coming together to support each other in their pain.  I don’t see beauty in Susan’s loss of Chloe yet the love they shared was exquisite and the tears we will share together will bond us further.   We shouldn’t be expected to see the beauty always – but to know it is there waiting for us is essential.  Without it, the world would be a big bad scary place and nothing else.  Yet, we humans are still here, still giving it another go.  We leave the womb and enter the world not knowing what will happen or where the journey will take us.  We don’t know how long we have or what it will look like.  It may be too short a ride, it may be too long.  We have no idea. 

I will take another sip of coffee and begin another day… cause there is beauty in the world.  

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A little rant and a lotta roll...

Sewing machine, telescope, Kleenex box holders, Cuisinart… these things run through my mind as I am trying to return to REM this morning.  The dreaded inventory list, still not complete and always looming.  I stunned another naive insured person yesterday by explaining what the inventory process is really like.  Most people have no idea.  I didn’t.  Listing everything you owned down to the minutia in order to get a fraction of it back from your “insurance” is a painstaking process.  Interestingly, David awoke with a similar list.  We haven’t sat down to do inventory together lately.   The clock is ticking.  Things are popping into our heads, and some may disappear forever into the folds of grey matter that we limited humans still can’t access.  It’s time to get this sucker done.  Operation Inundation must proceed – and complete – soon.  It drains are beleaguered energy banks.  I still pant as I walk up small hills, but my psychological energy is replenishing.  Until, that is, something happens…

The recent ‘happening’ was a trip to the bank carrying a large check meant to represent “our structure”.  As you faithful readers know, this number has been grossly underestimated (and that’s a whole ‘nother story).  So into my bank I go, pleased to have received this check from the insurance company and ready to have some financial breathing room for our near future.  The bank had other ideas. Even though we continue paying our mortgage, the bank wants to keep the money and dole it out at their pre-determined milestones along the way.  To add salt to the wound, this would tie up other monies that are coupled with that large check including our “outbuilding fund” to replace sheds and our “tree fund” for the meager attempt to rehab some of our trees which really means chop them down and haul them away.  In that moment, I could not engage in the one-sided proclamation that was heading my way.  I was beyond furious.  The sympathetic banker who was the deliverer of the bad news glanced at me kindly.  I steamed out of there calling my attorney as I fled. 

Ya have insurance, dontya?  Jeeeeeeez.  Once upon a time in a galaxy far far away, I might have asked the same question.  Never ever ever again. 

A total loss is a devastating financial hit for most people, it’s another thing entirely if you have a mountain property or anything with acreage.  There is NO coverage for the land (besides my $10k for trees which is a completely funny and random figure when you think of 37 acres of dense forest and groundcover...).  At our last homeowners meeting, we discussed the loss of value in acreages and views – and we heard from a forest biologist who evaluates the devastation in ecosystems after a fire.  We heard about decreased soil fertility, the dearth of nutrients, and what it really might take to rehab the land including the range of price per acre.  He emphasized that the land will never return to what it once was – in our lifetime anyway.  And, I believe he said “never” just one to many times.  My head felt like it was spinning off.  Ya have insurance dontya?  Yeah, right…. 

Who has time for all of this?  Do you think insurance covers our loss of time normally spent on living our lives, on developing our careers, on writing?  No.  Do I sound bitter?  There certainly is an edge I feel.  It’s tiring to say the least.  Yes, it’s a grand adventure and oh my my we are so freeeeee after losing all our possessions.  (oooops.  Sarcasm emerged again.)  I do absolutely love living in Flame.  I am committed to a world of adventure.  I will see the gift – and yes Bill, I will be the gift.  Most of the time, that is.  I practiced the spiritual principle of “shut up” with the hapless bank representative who was the roadblock in my freedom to deposit our money.  Instead of wailing like a banshee, I retreated to rally the troops.  I haven’t even told David of the latest development in our bureaucratic journey.  I will let him have his second cup of coffee first and enjoy the morning. 

Fear you say?  Yes, it triggers fear.  It triggers anger mostly.  Just like seeing the sap scars and ash stockings on my dogs, it brings up a deep sense of helplessness – and yes, probably victimization.  I feel powerless and not the type of powerlessness we tout in the 12-step rooms.  That powerlessness has inherent power as we give up our old way of being, leap into the unknown and trust the process.  And, yes, because I choose a path of resilience, I still trust the process as in I know we will be ok.

The fight or flight response serves a purpose.  I did flee the bank.  I also chose.  I knew I was hosting my radio show within the hour and chose to calm my ravaged mind as much as possible – realizing I could revisit this red tape later.  It would be there, patiently waiting my return.  My angsty moments between leaving the bank and returning to Jessica’s to sit down with my guests and my audience are a bit blurry.  Upon entering Jessica’s house, I was quite distraught and combined with hunger, low blood sugar, a crunched schedule and a need to urinate suddenly peeing on the floor seemed like a reasonable option.  For a moment, I considered how that level of psychological unraveling might just do the trick.  After peeing outside so much recently and the realization that the harder the surface, the greater the splash the romanticizing of peeing on her floor lost its luster relatively quickly.

My day improved from that point.  After writing this, I wondered whether I wanted to post yet another rant.  But ranting is part of my process.  I rant to you.  I rant at God.  I rant internally.  Ranting helps to move the shit through.  I have been tired, edgy and tender the last few days.  David and I have been a bit angsty with each other which is to be expected and discouraging at the same time.  We keep re-promising to remember that we are both spent and we recommit to bring an excessive level of patience.  Today, smoke fills the air from fires burning as far away as Montrose and New Mexico.  I feel for those people.  The smog fits my somewhat cloudy mood with bits of sunshine poking through.  We stopped for breakfast at Einstein’s as we headed into town to shop for flagstone.  It’s time to replace our Astroturf lawn with a more permanent structure to surround Flame and make life a little sweeter. 

As I sit in this fine establishment and look around at the collection of folks, I settle a bit.  I remember how to take a deep breath.  I breathe in the A/C and coffee fumes.  I pause and reflect.  And, then I choose:  Today, I promise to be loving to my husband.  I promise to be grateful for at least a few things.  And, I chuckle as I write that as I know there is an abundance of things to be grateful for.  Today, I will let the rant lapse.  I will know I can come back to it when I choose.  I will use a proper bathroom, I won’t pee on anyone’s floors, I will wash the dirt from under my fingernails and celebrate clean underwear.  I will call my mother and tell her I love her.  I will be kind to a stranger - or two.  

And, right now, I will dig in to my breakfast and be happy that I didn't have to cook it.    

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A little grubby here, go sell sparkle somewhere else...

In the last few days, my shitter overflowed, then clogged, then clogged again.  I ran out of propane while cooking a burger, ran out of gas in the generator which then kills the internet, spilled gas everywhere trying to re-fill the tank.  The dogs are filthy, there is dirt everywhere and I discovered that a very large rodent is living with us.  And, then last night, just as I was ready take a hot birdbath and finally get clean, the water ran out....  and I still say I LOVE living in Flame. 

Flame is my home.  I may be an adventurer, but I seek the comfort of home.  Last night I stayed at Jessica’s and woke this morning to the faces (and noises) of her sweet girls.  I played kiss the chubby hands with Chloe something I was inspired to do, then the commands came sharply from her, “do it again, do it again, do it again.”  I obey an obligatory order when I hear it and salute her demanding Aries nature.  Cassidy loves Roscoe and giggles as he leans his weight against her in her Snow White dress.  I am doing my heaps of laundry here today, taking a stand up shower (that’s right!) and after my therapy session in downtown Evergreen, I will return to host my radio show on Jessica’s reliable Internet. 

Yesterday, I did what I said I would do and wrote my “Introduction” then sent it to Ellen.  It wasn’t as painful as I anticipated.  Yes, not much is… it’s the sitting through the discomfort that is painful.  This re-write is a monumental task, but with partnership and support, I am getting excited about it.  And, I need to keep working on it as it will certainly not write itself as I rest on my laurels.  This I know to be true.  The sun is out again today after yesterday’s drizzle.  Colorado can’t quite make up her mind.  It’s bloody hot one day, then rainy, then cool and crisp.  Each day brings a new surprise.  Just like life in Flame.  I texted David periodically about the unfolding of events and he kept inquiring, “you still like camping?”  I texted him how happy I was to drink a cup of peppermint tea with cream, how unhappy I was to have a handiwipe bath, how happy I was to write in the quiet of the morning, how unhappy I was to see the sap stuck to Tigger’s fur…  The answer to the question, yes, I still like camping. 

I love my cozy little home that’s perfect for one person, pushes it with two and is over the top with two big dogs.  I still love it.  I like having less.  I bought 3 bowls yesterday and David now concerned said, “don’t start accumulating stuff…”  It’s funny.  Three bowls and that seems like accumulation.  I never ever want as much stuff as we had before.  Never, ever, ever, ever.  You hear me?  With my now limited (previously abundant) wardrobe, I stall when the weather pulls its tricks like last night.  Going to a concert, it is raining and cold, whatever do I wear?  Most of my wardrobe is from consignment and I have a pretty decent rotation – but the cold, rainy attire stumps me.  I layered in things that didn’t match at all, put my greasy hair in a pony tail (no shower, remember?), washed the front of my bangs with a bottle of water, took a handiwipe and astringent “bath”, put on my muddy flip flops and headed out the door.  I have to admit; I made a quick stop at the mall and bought a brick red sweater shawl at Saks discount store which was already half off and another half off due to a sale.  $30 bucks later, I felt a little more presentable and threw on some overly clumping mascara before getting out of the car. 

When Jessica and I attended the 4-Mile Canyon fire survivor meeting the first week after our fire, we “met” a bearded man who had what appeared to be ash all over his face.  Puzzled, I inquired to another attendee.  “Is that ash? Or does he have some sort of birth mark on his face?”  “He has questionable hygiene…”, was the response.  It simply occurred as odd at the time, but I have to tell you that I now understand.  Somewhat anyway.  I feel like wearing my dirt around.  I care less about my blackened soles and greasy hair.  My jeans have greasy soot spots and I don’t let it get to me.  I do preserve some of my princess heels, I must say.  Don’t want to track through the dirt in my one pair of Jimmy Choos for sure.  They are packed safely away from the grime.  Yet, feeling a little grubby feels a little normal.  I actually forgot to brush all my teeth before heading out too.  Jessica called as I was beginning to brush and I simply forgot to return to the task. 

Even dirty, I had fun with Marny seeing our favorite band EVER the all-vocal rock band Face.  Nothing can bring a cheer to my heart than hearing these cute boys sing.  I have my all-time favorites and then wage an internal battle of “now, this one’s my favorite, no, that one is…”  Last night they played some Face classics like “Calling All Angels” (major swoon) and newer in the Face repertoire, Forest singing “Standing Outside the Fire”.  I think I have expressed my deep adoration of Garth Brooks and of course I dig the fire metaphor so this takes last nights experience over the top.  Unfortunately, I was fumbling for my video on my phone so was distracted for much of the beginning of the song.  They finished with “The River Runs Slow” a gorgeous song that showcases each of the 6 of them in all their glory.  David and I saw Face for his birthday almost 2 months ago and a mere 5 days before the fire.  Last night, I kept checking in with myself to see if this felt weird.  A familiar experience, Face at Nissi’s playing many of the same songs at a time when our lives were moving along on their projected track – and a mere two months later, me oily and dirty at the same venue with my life looking nothing the same.  I couldn’t generate any weirdness, just a nice evening with Marny, good food, and me, a little sleepier than I normally am at a Face convert. 

I may not want to stay dirty forever.  I am certainly going to enjoy the stand up shower I am about to take.  I am happy to hear my 2nd load of laundry clumping around in Jessica’s machine.  When I put my clean bedspreads back tonight, I am most likely not gonna want the dogs to lie there immediately.  Probably by tomorrow morning, I will soften.  I will sweep out Flame for David’s arrival tonight.  I will wipe down the counters as I don’t like dirt to accumulate there.  Tomorrow, we will kindly ask the rodent to move out in the form of a steel snap around his little furry neck (sorry).  If you are a rodent in Flame, it is war. 

We are mountain people.  We are living on the land and with the land.  We are dirty.  We are raw.  We are moody, like the Colorado weather.  We stink sometimes.  We could use a good scrub both externally and in the dark chambers of our souls.  We often forget to brush our teeth, although I never forget to scrub behind my ears.  I do draw the line at clean underwear.  This is of extreme importance.  Other things I can let slide.  We don’t aspire to sparkly clean right now.  That would feel false.  We are in a newly added stage of the grief process called “Grubby”.  So, to butcher one of my favorite lines from “As Good as it Gets” with Jack Nicholson, “go sell sparkle somewhere else, we are all stocked up here”.  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Waxing poetic as I plummet

Mornings are my favorite.  When I write, that is.  What began as my first blog entry on April 5th has now become my most reliable practice of self-soothing.  Mind you, I don’t always feel soothed to write some of the angsty things I have shared but getting it out of the old squirrel cage and onto “paper” is definitely therapeutic.  Some of my overall darkest days have been those when I haven’t written.  Hmmmm.  Doctor, do we see a pattern here?  Typically entire days don’t occur as dark.  As I shared, Monday wasn’t so bright.  Mostly I am “good” in the morning.  I like hearing the birds, I love sitting on my bed in Flame with my Mac serving as a portable heater warming my lap in the brisk morning air.  The dogs are outside playing.  We still have this dirt thing but in the morning I am not so daunted.  It’s just what is so.  We have acres and acres of dirt and soot and the dogs will get coated with it and we will have piles of towels to wash with no laundry facility in site.  Just don’t ask me about the dirt at the end of the day…

Mostly, mid-day’s are good too.  The sun shines, or it rains or the wind blows – which I must say is still a bit disturbing and these delicate plexiglass windows in Flame don’t seem like they can stand too much in the way of excessive stress and strain so I batten down the hatches and ride it out.  But days are good.  It’s when I start getting tired at the end of the day or whenever my mind says is the end of the day.  I began getting hoarse around 5:30pm last evening and still had two groups of fabulous authors to support.  I could hear the flatness in my voice, feel the fatigue in my system and just wanted to go to bed.  My peeps inspired me by their perseverance and commitment to their own writing so I had just enough gas to be with them on the calls.  Coaching authors is like the proverbial “you can lead a horse to water…” I can’t make them write.  Yet, write, they are.  They are engaged, finding their own voices and expressions – and they are sticking with the process.  It is remarkable.  They are remarkable. 

We all know how hard it is to stick with a goal that is outside the norm.  Writing is like this for most people.  For those that have been writing all your lives, bravo.  Most of my peeps are, like me, late bloomer writers and aspiring authors.  This takes something.  And, we can map it on to any far reaching goal.  My studly (and after seeing recent pictures) super duper smokin’ hot sister-in-law is a marathon runner.  She wasn’t always this way (well, she was always hot, but not quite as studly…).  As a youngster and into adulthood she trained as a dancer.  Modern funky dance.  She always worked out too.  But at one point many many moons ago, I could kick her ass running.  Hah!  Never again could I do that.  I stopped running and she lapped me long ago.  Her first marathon was in 2009 and now she trains in rain, snow, sleet and hail and well below zero temperatures as she lives in the wilds of Wyoming with my brother and two nephews.  Patricia has run marathons on the coast of California and in the woods of the wild West.  She always finishes at the top.  She blew her knee out last year and got back into training the moment she could (and probably a bit before the doctors would have approved…).  Next up for her?  A 100-mile run trail run.  Yes, you read that correctly.  That’s one-hundred-miles of running.  One-hundred-miles in a row.  Eeeeegads.  That, I cannot even imagine.  I will keep my numbers in word count only. 

Yesterday, she emailed some photos recently shot for promotion (and submission to Title 9 Sports) and they are beyond amazing.  Her 6-pack abs dare you to call her regular (ok, you younger generation, that is a reference to a commercial from the olden days…).  Action shots with her jumping for joy on the boys’ trampoline, running or simply hanging out on her deck - all the while glowing gorgeously.  I am quite proud of her.  When that woman sets her mind to something, she does it.  Plain and simple.  No ifs, ands or buts.

So what is that level of dedication all about?  Why do so many have dreams yet never live them?  Why do we die with our music still inside us?  Yes, I am actively in this exploration again...  I resumed work on my re-write yesterday with the help of Ellen Moore, my dear friend and brilliant editor.  First up: the introduction.  I don’t want this book to merely be a new and improved version of Waiting for Jack.  And, to address something here, many people have asked why re-write it at all.  Because, I am ready to really stop waiting for Jack.  Really, really, really this time!  And this means letting go of “Jack” in all sizes, shapes and forms.  Truth be told, I was still waiting – and I was still waiting for Jack.  And, not just the metaphorical Jack but the real one.  Still hoping on some hidden levels (and some not so hidden) that Jack was a ticket to a new level of life… And, don’t get me wrong.  I love the man.  He is truly a wonderful and inspiring human being.  Now, I need to let go of all things Jack and make this break for me.  And, for you too. 

This book will be even more raw and real – and it will have a new sense of urgency. It can’t help that given my recent turn of events.  Also, I was given the opportunity to work with a new publisher on this project – so what is a writer and an author coach to do other than say, “YES”?  Nothing.  We just say, yes.  Yes to opportunity.  Yes to the challenge.  Yes to letting go of the past.  Yes to reinvention.  Yes to the future.  Yes to the unknown.  And, we may feel like puking much of the time.  We may find ourselves doing anything but working on the project.  We may wonder if we are up to the task.  We may question everything.  Again.

And, we bring all of that along for the ride.  I am bringing all of it along for this ride.  It’s so much easier to blog than to work on my book.  And, yes, there is material in this blog that I can use in the book.  But I have to trick myself and not think about that.  So, shhhhh please.  Don’t tell me that.  I need to pretend I am just writing.  Just writing what’s there to write.  Not for anything other than to just write.  Not for publication.  Not for a book that wants to be my most important book yet.  No, we wouldn’t want that kind of pressure on creativity.  We just want to write for the self-expression.  Write for the joy.  Write for the fun.  Cause, really, my morning blogging is all of that.  So what happens when we create a goal and suddenly the fear shows up and the inspiration is nowhere to be found? 

Well, we keep going anyway.  And, yes, I have written a ton on commitment before.  I believe its commitment that keeps us going.  Patricia is committed to her running.  I am committed to my writing.  My clients make commitments to me and to their peers and that keeps them going.  Commitment trumps all excuses.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t “feel” like staying married today if you are committed.  It doesn’t matter if I have to deal with dirty dogs, an overflowing shitter and an upside down life if I am committed to something.  Yes, we need the initial inspiration.  The passion is helpful.  The vision is mighty.  Your “burning why” is essential.  A healthy support system is wonderful.  All of these things are important contributing factors but when the chips are down, the mood is low, the wind is cold, the coffee is gone, the running shoes are muddy, the knee is blown out, the house burns down – all that is left is our commitment. 

I have thrown my hat over the fence and said yes to my new publisher.  I have committed to this endeavor.  I will honor that commitment – and again, I will know myself as greater than I feel in this moment.  That’s what really matters.  It’s not so much what we produce, it’s how we experience ourselves after (and during) our honoring of a commitment made to ourselves.  It’s helpful to make the commitment to others, as most of us get sloppy simply making commitments to ourselves.  We let ourselves off the hook way to early and way to fast and then we don’t trust what comes out of our mouth.  We then begin to believe the lie that we couldn’t do it anyway – or worse yet, we sell out on our dream.  So making the commitment to someone else who will actually hold us to that commitment is the way to go.  My publisher paid me money to honor my commitment.  They invested in me.  My commitment is my investment in myself.

To honor our commitments, we must walk through our own fire.  It isn’t easy.  It’s often scary.  Patricia comes home with blisters on her blisters and missing toenails.  And, she loves it.  I can’t claim to have any blisters on my typing fingers although sometimes my wrists ache.  I can tell you that it often feels painful.  I am afraid.  I am concerned.  I am daunted to say the least.  And, just like walking through the fire on March 26th, I will keep walking.  I will work on staying in today.  Staying in right now.  I know that when I finish this blog, I will sit down with that introduction and work with it.  And, knowing that, I am inclined to make this the longest blog known to man and may keep writing ad infintium in order to avoid sitting in front of that introduction.  Seriously, the squirrel cage is loud.  Screaming monkeys.  Bullying banshees.  Argumentative gargoyles.  That’s how it seems.  Silly, you say?  How is it I might struggle with writing that and yet here on this blog I have typed 1581 words in less than an hour… That is the human (my human, and I would argue yours too) mechanism at work.  That is why I wait.  That is why we wait. 

Now, please wish me luck.  I am at the edge ready to leap into the morass.  I am contemplating the potential fall.  I am waxing poetic about the plummet.  Now, I am diving in.  arrrrrggggghhhhhhhhhh!

As, I say to my author clients "Write on!" 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My Shitter Overflowith

New goals should be clearly set and worked toward, as this is the beginning of a nine-year cycle. It is best not to dwell on the past at this time. This will be fairly easy for you to do because most of the problems and disappointments of the past will tend to disappear, leaving the way open for these new challenges. This is a great time; use it to its full advantage! It holds the promise of an exciting new adventure, with life taking on new challenges that pave the way for the next cycle of nine years in your life. This is a time to clarify your goals and to act on them. Hard work may be necessary to get a new venture moving.
From a reading, describing the end of 2011 and what’s to come… Hmmmm.   An exciting new adventure.  Yes, I can see that.  New challenges, check!  Clarifying my goals.  Yes.  Hard work.  Fer shure. 

Most of the problems and disappointments from the past have disappeared - in a fiery maelstrom.  So, yes, it's true, I am not dwelling on those things.  Don’t even remember what they were.  And, most days, I am doing “well”.  And then there are those moments…  You know “those” moments?  The ones that take you to your knees, that leave you unsure if you will crack open on the spot and not “crack open” in the seemingly good way but in the way where your psyche may actually fold in on itself and you may just die right there?  Those moments.  I danced on the verge of a few of these moments yesterday. 

Let me be clear, I absolutely adore Flame.  Living in her is lovely.  It is also challenging, small for two people and two big dogs and a major adjustment.  And, I would rather be living here than any of the other options we have at this moment.  Come snowfall, this will probably be different but we aren’t there yet.  We are getting our systems in order.  Internet still needs to be run off the generator which can be a bit of a drag.  Upgrading this system is a top priority on David’s list.  We have the water situation mostly handled as we have a larger generator, which can support the well pump.  The dog fence is operational – and I will talk about that in a minute.  The biggest “to be handled” issue is the shitter.  We topped out on the storage capacity of the shitter on Sunday morning.  We knew it was inevitable yet there didn’t seem to be a gauge anywhere.  They way we discovered we were at capacity was it just wouldn’t go down…  Unable to locate the proper “black storage tank” in time, we were at the mercy of the local septic pump-out company.  Fortunately it was only one and a half days of doing our business in the wild.  I absolutely love the freedom of living so far away from people that I can pee anywhere I damn well like.  Doing my other business, not so much.  Digging holes where the dogs won’t go scavenging and the entire experience is not on my bucket list.  Shirley Septic saved the day and bought us some more time to get this essential system up and running.  I found myself wanting to make jokes with the gentle man whose business it is to remove other people’s business.  He sees it all the time.  I, on the other hand, don’t usually shoot the shit while watching my shit empty into a bucket.  It was a bit awkward to say the least.  He was a pro so I rose to the occasion and talked shop with him. 

You would think that my mood would be drastically improved after all my shit was removed!  And, I was quite grateful.  The early summer day was beautiful and I got caught up with more paperwork then I have in months.  Being in the sweet space of Flame felt warm and supportive for checking items off my ever-growing to-do list.  Once again, I must say, I thought I knew what “busy” was before.  Hah!  I took breaks during the day to begin the training of the dogs on their new fence, and that’s when I began dancing on the edge of my angst and anguish. 

On the flat areas of our land (of which there are very few) and on a couple of the hillside areas, grass is coming up in patches and clumps.  It looks lovely, the green against the stark black.  It is a reminder of the regenerative power of nature; a sign of hope.  David lay out the invisible fence in a circle of a couple acres vs. the double that size these ranging dogs had before.  We are keeping the dogs away from the future building site so we won’t have to worry about them getting in the way of construction and its hazards.  Now, they have the flat area where Flame sits and a few hillsides around the property.  I began my trek around the fence to place the flags and weight it down with rocks.  As I went, I trudged through ash.  As I picked up rocks, my hands darkened.  As I brushed against trees, my clothes were left striped.  As I hiked, my once pink Keens (yes, I did it again) were left coated and my feet blackened.  Then, it was time to bring the dogs through.  One at a time, I led them on this route and watched them get coated with zebra stripes as well.  Grey socks growing on their precious feet.  I had already been picking black sooty sap off their skin, which yanks their hair and seems to create bald spots.  Watching my babies get coated in this greasy crap triggered anger so deep that it began to darken my sky and choke my air supply. 

We choose to live here; they cannot avoid this mess.  These dogs are high energy and need space to move.  Yes, we could keep them confined to a tiny area then always take them off the property for exercise.  But there is no real “clean” area on our 37 acres.  Flame’s sweet interior is beginning to take on a grey tinge as well.   Defeated after the initial training, I scrubbed them as best I could with baby wipes.  Too caked myself for anything other than a major wash down, I took them off the property and down the road for our usual hike.  However, nothing is “usual” around here anymore.  We keep them closer by as we don’t know what type of construction vehicle may try to pass on our narrow roads.  Also, much of the road crosses through burn area which is just more of the same with it’s own brand of sooty soil.  Then, we emerge into the land of “what once was”. 

I have reveled in the beauty of seeing what early summer is “supposed” to look like in Colorado.  Last night in my fragile state, the contrast was too great. It roiled and boiled me.  Here is what our land once was: green, lush, dense foliage, wildflowers, aspen trees in full bloom and towering pines gently swooshing in the breeze.  I couldn’t even weep, the pain felt too enormous.  It logded in my throat and made me want to give up, call uncle, say I quit.  Into my mind came the ignorant comments from a few who inquire, “well you have insurance, dontya?”  You have already heard my description of what it really is like to deal with the insurance and the unavoidable financial losses that follow…  As the uber-brilliant Kristina Hall pointed out, it’s not like a fender bender.  Oh, we will just put all of this in the shop and it will come back good as new.  Good as new.  No it won’t actually, not ever.  Or, at least in our lifetime.

Who will help the land?  Besides being patient with it, what can really be done?  Who will scrub the soot from the trees?  The rain is trying but it is a monumental task.  It may take eons.  I can accept a lot, but when my dogs are impacted, I get pissed.  To all the bureaucrats who paper-pushed this fire into existence and then went on their merry way, how ‘bout you put your babies in the middle of an ash forest that once was their home and see how well you handle it while they crawl around and turn black from the soot.  When they breathe in the ash and begin to shit it out, let me know how accepting you are.  When you have no idea of the long-term effects, tell me how you sleep. 

When I stepped briefly away from my writing just now, the notion ran through my mind that I am too dark.  Perhaps you are tired of it.  Perhaps I should be grateful for life.  Then, I recall the words I read yesterday by Dawn Cartwritght who explores the trap of living in “love and light” where many of us feel we need to be all the f-ing time. 
I find that life has texture. It’s interesting. And so am I. Life becomes an adventure, something definitely worth getting out of bed for in the morning. And not because I am now comfortable. Not because everything’s rosy. It’s because everything is on the table. That 15 megatons of internal pressure caused by trying (said with clenched jaw and grinding teeth) to live in love and light has been released. I am free. I am raw. I am naked. And my heart? This is the big bonus. My heart is open. No longer a made-for-TV version, but the real thing. 
This is not a made-for-TV version unless TV decides it wants the real deal and not just the sound-bites (hear that Marshall? ;-) that never quite capture the actual truth. This is the raw and gritty version that has it’s ups and downs and all arounds.  This is good one day and horrific the next.  This is gratitude for the silver bullet I now call home and a moan so deep as I glance in the dusk at the vacant hole that once was my dream house.  This is all of it.  It is avoiding people I love cause I just can’t deal.  It is running to the arms of others who happen to say the right thing at the right time.  It is irritation at people’s careless, yet well-meaning remarks, deep anger at the “system”, great love for the world, marveling at the star-filled sky out my window from my cowboy-sheeted twin bed.  It is the promise of the first cup of coffee.  The stinky wet kisses from Tigger.  The happiness from the feel of my Mont Blanc pen in my hand as I drink out of a Walmart plastic cup.  It is a life in Flame and in flames. 

Are we making the right decision to stay here on this damaged but still extraordinary land?  Who the fuck knows.  We may never know.  There may be ambiguous or tragic or amazing consequences later.  Only time will tell.  Only the shadow knows.  

Sunday, May 20, 2012

In Gratitude

In this moment, I am forced to experience gratitude.  Forced you say?  How does that work?  Well, lemme tell you.  Yesterday, we had a visitor.  Previously a stranger, John was the deliverer of joy.  Joy came in the form of a community rallying around me – and us – by creating a gift so lovely and heart-filled that I can be nothing but grateful this morning even as I sit with cramps and fatigue that makes my eyes feel squinty. 

The weekend after the fire, I was supposed to be with my community of healing professionals at a training program created by Jesse and Sharla Jacobs of Rejuvenate Training.  Jesse and Sharla have dedicated their life work to empowering and teaching holistic practitioners and coaches a heart-centered way of marketing themselves as us healing types are often not so business savvy.  In fact, we prefer to give our services away out of love and due to the fact that we are expressing our passion.  That should be free, right?  Charge what we are worth, what???  How can you put a price on love? 

Sharla and Jesse understand this mindset, as they are holistic practitioners. Sharla trained as an acupuncturist and Jesse as a coach so they both saw the perils of the over-generous spirit in themselves – and in the people they chose to spend time with.  Yet, Jesse and Sharla knew something else was possible and invested in thousands of dollars and hours of training to become business savvy.  Seeing the ease of creating a successful heart-based business, they vowed to bring this level of ease coupled with success to countless others.  Thus the birth of Rejuvenate training. 

I found Rejuvenate after hearing Sharla on a tele-seminar and after vowing not to sign up for any more trainings!  Yet, something compelled me to register for the course she was offering.  Attracted to her warmth as well as her no-nonsense approach, I knew I was on to something.  What I had no idea of was the rich and deep community I was entering.  A year later, I had attended every course they offered and my business more than quadrupled.  I also was part of a family of practitioners who became some of my dearest friends.  We eagerly awaited the next weekend training where we would see each other again; we kept in touch in the in between time through social calls as well as small mastermind groups.  We cheered each others successes and nurtured each others failures as we got out there in the world to market our businesses.  We grew in ways that weren’t expected and our investments in the trainings were made back multi-fold.  I found my home, I found my business expression, I found a community of “my peeps”.  

As I began packing on the day of the fire, I anticipated first a speaking event in LA, then my weekend where I would be surrounded by my Rejuvenate community.   I would reconnect with Megan Walrod my coach extraordinaire, and get to bask in the aura of Jesse and Sharla.  What a gift – and a lift – it would be to be around these people.  I was still madly in love with my author coaching business but needed a recharge in my marketing efforts.  I needed to be reminded it was fun and a natural expression of my love of my work – not the struggle I had started to make it.  This course was my favorite from last year and I was nervous (cause that’s how I roll…) but ecstatic to bathe in the glow of the community. 

Instead, you know what happened.  My home burned to the ground later that day, and my life turned upside down.  Megan and I have been talking regularly during this time, having developed a mutual coaching arrangement – me with her book, her with my business – and a deep friendship.  Megan flew here to be with me twice and we spent long hours in my lovely home creating visions, worksheets and templates for my business while she wrote some of the most deeply moving words I have ever read.  I am so glad she spent time in my space as she now shares the loss of its exquisiteness.  Reports of the fun everyone was having at the course came flying in coupled with how often I was mentioned and missed.  I felt the support and love over the miles from my community – even those I had never met before.  Then Megan told me a gift had been created and a messenger had been chosen to deliver that gift. 

John, the messenger, arrived yesterday in a bright yellow rain jacket which was much needed in our Seattle-esque weather.  As he emerged from his car, we glimpsed a burly man with a bald head and a twinkle in his eye, and wondered just who this stranger would turn out to be.  He was on a road trip through Colorado having come from California and tasking himself with the delivery of my prize.  He gingerly carried a brown paper wrapped box into the cozy warmth of Flame.  We all sat together eating orange slices and began the getting to know you process.  It turned out, that John and David had much in common so the conversation flowed easily.  Of course, he and I had a love for our teachers and community so we connected without words.   

After a bit of settling in, I began to unwrap this gift which was lovingly transported all the way from San Jose.  After wrestling with the ribbon, out of the top, peaked white fabric and twine.  I began to pull my prize – and handwritten messages greeted me.  “HOPE for the Best, BELIEVE everything happens for a reason.  And, KNOW that you have love and support always.”  “HOME is where your heart is.”  “The sun is still shining.”  “LOVE”  “Wishing you be filled with love and the knowing that we care.”  On and on I pulled this chain of prayers flags from the box until I was buried beneath the love and hugs from afar.  Each member of the course had hand made their own flag.  All the staff and people assisting each created one too.  Jesse and Sharla signed their own.  And, their young son Jacob drew a picture.  All the flags were painstakingly tied together by none other than Megan Walrod.  I still have not stretched them out to see their vast expanse.  They sit, as my “goggy” next to me as I type, an undeniable physical representation of a vast community of people who are with me, loving me, near me, hear for me.  How could I experience anything but gratitude today?  I could not. 

To you, my Rejuvenate community, I cherish you.  I am moved beyond words to describe my feelings.  The gesture, the sentiments, the love that comes off each and every one of the flags is unutterable.  I am brimming with the blessings from all of you and of all of you.  What makes life bearable is love.  What makes tragedy fathomable is connection.  What makes me happy today is YOU.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.   

Forever yours, Kristen

PS - 

If you want to know more about Rejuvenate Training you can check them out here:

You can also listen to my radio interview with Jesse – which eerily was on the day they began the “controlled burn” that ended up raging out of control a mere 4 days later.  The interview is at - just scroll down on the left to the audio player.