Monday, June 27, 2011

The Daring Young Girl

or: Now, You Can Do Anything....

Yesterday I took my daughter and her best bud for a trapeze lesson. (Part 1)  It was an amazing experience. This was an event I had promised her for a year and was finally able to coordinate at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY.

She couldn't sleep the night before and the couple of hours leading up to the lesson seemed to drag on forever.....

I was so excited for her that I didn't know what to do first; take still photos? Take video? Take a video on my phone to text to friends and family? Or watch and breathe?

Well, the videos and still photos won most of my attention.

I mean, how could I not capture this moment forever?

She was blessed to work with some of the most well known, world renowned circus people in the entire world! Including:

'Uncle' Tony Steele, who, nearing 80 years old and having been in the circus since he was 15, is a Guiness World Record Holder:

Chachi, who is 5th generation in a circus family:

And Peter Gold, one of the most beloved trapeze instructors in the world:

I watched as much as I could with my own two eyes but am sooo glad I got it all on video! She and I have watched it over and over and over again...

This one is going in a frame:

The thrill, even from the ground, was absolutely unbelievable! Being able to give this gift to my daughter was an honor. But the highlight for me was when Peter Gold told her, "Marley, now that you have flown on a trapeze, you can do anything."

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Worlds Colliding

or Look to the Cookie.....

Within the last week and a half I have had a hardcore reminder that this is a world of dualities, kind of like a 'black & white' cookie.

Nearly two weeks ago I almost lost one of my oldest and dearest friends. This was a girl I met by chance on September 10, 1987, my first day of college. My parents had delivered me to my dorm, The Hospitality Center, on Narragansett Boulevard in Cranston, Rhode Island, lower lobby room 19. We unloaded the car, unpacked it all and waited for at least one of my roommates to show up. We waited and waited. While all of the other kids were making friends right away, I was sitting on my bunk bed all alone. My parents were getting itchy to leave when they walked in; identical twins from Mahwah, NJ. Can you fucking believe my luck.....

Well it was pretty clear within the first five minutes that I was the odd girl out. While they teased their hair and put on more make up, I headed off to discover my dorm and try to find the cafeteria. My first attempt seemed logical; take the elevator to the basement. That basically delivered me to what looked like the gates of hell. Back up I went to try the stairs at the other end of the hall. I opened the door and there were about 5 girls coming down from the second floor who immediately scooped me up. It was a sigh of relief I still feel to this day. These women became my fast friends, roommates, bridesmaids, sisters.

These memories have been flooding back this past week as I have been keeping our college friends up to date with our dear friend who is extremely ill. I have spent quite some time in the hospital with her, just holding space. I can't offer more than my love and hopefully that's enough. I love this woman. We have things in common that I can't quite share with my newer group of friends. We are die hard Yankee fans. We can recite basically any Seinfeld episode, word for word. And we share a 24 year history. It's wonderful. She makes me laugh til I'm in tears, a rare gift. Even yesterday in the hospital we were laughing so hard that we were both crying as she regaled me with stories from the hospital and her midnight male nurse who apparently is Taye Diggs' twin brother.....

Although she is healing and can start to laugh again, the hospital sucks. I hate being there as I know she does too. It's icky and I leave there feeling drained of my prana as if the death and dying surrounds me and tries to hold on to whatever life I've got. I come home and shower. I'll be glad when she's out.

But also twice within the last week I have come home from the hospital, showered changed (into what feels like a completely different person) and gone out with my newer group of friends. We must look like a 'Sex and the City' scene. We're dolled up and dressed to the nines. We're drinking martinis and talking about sex and clothes. It's fun and I feel alive, really alive. We don't have a life long friendship yet, but we're starting one. Building memories, brick by brick.

It's a complete contrast to how I have spent my days recently. There were moments during my nights out where I felt guilty about living as my dear friend lay near death. How can I even think about having cocktails and which dress to wear with what heels while she's in a johnny coat? During one of these girls nights out, as we were listening to a new friend from Helsinki play piano and sing us into a dreamland, I was consumed by the duality of it all. Here, there. Life, death.   

Are my worlds are colliding?

Will hospital Kristina kill Sex and the City Kristina?

I won't let her because I finally understand the truth that there isn't a world at all. Duality is just an insane idea that we like to buy into. It's part of the grand illusion. You can exist in each of your perceived worlds at once and feel alive in all of them. It's all love, just in different forms.

And as usual it always goes back to balance. The trick though is to 'look to the cookie'.

The key is to get a little bit of each world in every bite and all of our problems will be solved.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Party Crasher

or You Can Never Find a Rubber Chicken When You Need One....

My only daughter, Marley, will be turning 9 in a few weeks. She's the Party Crasher. That's what we called her for years after she was born. She was completely unexpected. We had suffered through 7 years of infertility when we finally succeeded with our son Elijah. We were quite content after he was born. We never, ever expected to have another baby after what it took to conceive him and we certainly were not  planning for her. But she decided to show up anyways. Elijah was only 9 months old when Marley decided to 'crash our party'....

We found out I was pregnant with her on the very day we were opening our deli and from that moment on everything about her has been a wonderful surprise, including the first time I held her. As my husband put her in my arms, she immediately latched onto my breast. I gazed down at her delicate features for the first time and I yelled out "She has a tuft of blond hair!".

We thought that blond streak was what made her unique but we were sorely wrong. She is clever, cute and dream-filled. She is what the rest of us in the family are not. Her open and loving heart often puts the rest of us to shame. She sees life in a way that is fanciful, sweet and a never-ending adventure. The rest of us all live in this magical world of hers and it is a blessing from heaven. 

She loves to skateboard and when we take her to the skate park it is fascinating to watch the teenage boys stare at her in wonder. She has wanted to be a veterinarian since she was 3 years old and loves animals. In fact, she loves animals so much that when she decided to be an animal doctor she also decided that she was a cat. Since then I have called her 'Kitten', per her request.

She is named after Bob Marley and has t-shirts, hats and posters of him all over her room. We recently learned her name also means 'marshy meadow' and 'of Magdala'. So in one powerful name she embraces beauty, faith and oneness. We couldn't have chosen a better name for her. We knew from the day of her birth that we had chosen correctly though. When they moved me from the delivery room to our recovery room my husband looked out the window on the beautiful summer day. To his surprise, facing our room was a giant air conditioning unit on the hospital roof. The sign on the unit: MARLEY. This could only be seen from the room we were in.

Her adventurous spirit will be most evident this week as we head to Omega with her best friend for her birthday celebration: a trapeze lesson. I have been conscious since she was born to not hold her back. She is not girly. She is a tomboy and we embrace that. I want her to fly and this week she will.

Along with all of this adventure and creativity, she has a distinctive sense of humor. She will frequently send us into fits of giggles with her unusual outlook. One day she told me that she was a 'colorful local character' and she couldn't have been more right.

Her baby book is filled with these kinds of memories. One of my all time favorites, though, is from when she was graduating from pre-school to kindergarten. When I asked her what she wanted for a graduation gift she firmly replied, "A rubber chicken".

And let me tell you, you can never find a rubber chicken when you need one.... 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Thick Skin or Lack Thereof....

or 'The Issues in my Tissues' part 2

Since I first wrote 'The Issues in my Tissues' part 1 I have been working on forgiving and healing a particular incident in my childhood. It hasn't been easy. It has been ugly, messy and painful. After that post I was flooded by comments from friends near and far. I was, in truth, angered by so many people telling me I'd find healing in forgiving the perpetrator. I knew they were right but it was infuriating to read their sentiments. I wanted to be coddled, to be held in the warmth and love of my friends, not for them to coddle the bad guy. They weren't saying that it was okay what he did to me. They weren't saying that I deserved it. They were just trying to point out that I couldn't (and still can't) see the big picture. That kinda hurt.

We are never capable of seeing the big picture. That privilege is reserved for the Big Guy, the heavenly director of this comedy called life. I don't know why things happen or what the outcome may produce. All I can do is be in each moment and apply as much Love to that moment as possible. So as I take each moment and apply as much Love as I can, why do I continue to have hurt feelings?

I'm a pleaser. You know, one of these folks who can't say 'no'. I'm the one who is always thinking of the other person. The one who picks up little surprises for a friend as I go about my day. I send cards just to say 'hi'. That girl. Love me. Love me. Love me. And when you can't love me how I think I want you to love me, I get hurt. I hate being that girl. It's clear that the school bus beat down was the catalyst to my present behavior. I'm so fearful of being shunned that I begin to cling. I detest this about myself.

I don't want to be an island but it does feel safer alone. I am working on finding the self-confidence that is buried deep under the scars. And I'm working on loving myself. Yikes... Ok, there's the core of it.

How does one fall in love with them self?

The more I realize that I am divinity the easier it is to feel self love. Greater self love can only lead to more peace in my heart. Peace in my heart can only lead to more love and peace to share with others. Right? Then, the question remains, where did my thick skin go?

When I worked for GMRI right out of college, we were taught to put our thick skin on. Don't get hurt and, as my mentor drilled into my head, NEVER let them see you cry. I was never the most resilient girl but as I have gotten into a holistic practice it has completely dissolved. I can cry at the drop of a hat. My nerves are raw from too much emotion. Everything has turned into a spiritual life lesson. It's exhausting. So now I work on finding that balance. Ugh.

Tink sent me some writings this morning on the 'wounded healer' complex. I think this describes me to a tee. And I know I'm not alone. Many folks who get into 'healer mode' do so in self preservation. When we realize that there is only one Self, then do we see the greater healing of all. This is where I am in healing my school bus drama. I do wish that It didn't hurt so much to heal though.

One of the revelations I had after working with my dear friend and healer, KWB, was that when I chose to drive my own kids to school every day so they wouldn't have to ride the bus, I put myself 'on the bus' instead. Every day I take them to school and pick them up. It is a burden that I willingly offer up for their benefit as I perceive it. I am forced, every day twice a day, to wait in the lobby of the elementary school. It is unbearably loud. There are children running all over. I am surrounded by my peers. And I stand alone. Every day. I have put myself back on the bus. It was this revelation that started the deep healing process from pain that was caused when I was 12 years old.

So the healing has begun as well as the forgiveness. I am trying to forgive that boy who damaged me. I am trying to forgive my inner child for taking the abuse and letting it continue to be a part of me. And I am forgiving myself for putting grown me on the bus everyday for the last 5 years.

This week is Marley's last day at the elementary school. I know there will still be times when I'll feel like I'm 'back on the bus' again as my children continue through school but I won't be in this situation everyday twice a day anymore. I definitely have learned lessons and have grown through this experience. I am conscious that I chose this situation as a means to growth. 

Although I am finding answers and even forgiveness in this most recent life lesson I do wish that the feelings of being 'left out' and 'not good enough' would go away. I'm looking for some thick skin to put on that only allows for Love to pass in and out and enables me to stand strong even in the strongest winds of betrayal. 

Even though it's finally summer vacation I already know that this is the next subject on the lesson plan.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Exit Light....Enter Night.....

Take my hand.... Off to Never Never Land.

"Krissy, you'll always remember what street you live on if you remember what Peter Pan lost."

Hello Darkness, my old friend. Not really glad that you're back, but now that you are, and so soon after your last visit, we must find a way for you to leave quickly.

Yup, I'm blue again. Things have gotten dark in my world. I'm having such a hard time shaking this off. Trying to find the bright side of life when you keep getting kicked while you're down is anything but easy or cheery. And why this continues to happen at certain times of the year is perplexing. 

A myriad of issues can trigger the darkness but the underlying recent issue is something that I am going through this past year or so. I can't talk about it just yet for many reasons but hopefully I'll be able to soon. It's not a life or death issue and I understand that this is only a blip on the radar. Compared to what a lot of people are going through, this is only a minor challenge. I get it. I do, really. Nonetheless, it is sending me into the depths of darkness. When you start to pile on the daily woes and personal growth obstacles, the weight of the shadows begins to become unbearable.

The best way to describe it is like a pool of bloody ink in my belly that starts to swirl, churning my bowels. Then the bony hands begin to reach up from the depths of my gut and strangle me from the inside out until I can't breathe and the panic sets in. Once I'm in that state, it's feels like it's impossible to get out.

Eventually the light will start to filter in. It may come as a hug from my daughter or a laugh from my son. The full recovery still feels like it is a million miles away. I'll be grasping for the light-filled moments until they become more regular attendees at this morbid party.

I've been here before and gotten out before. I know the party will end eventually. I keep reminding myself that I can choose to skip these dark events. How much of this is my choice is something that I struggle to understand. How much of this I created is another story. So now I choose to find some light, even if it's only in the backyard sunshine.


I'm sorry if this is too much 'honesty' for you. I could easily write about all of the wonderful, positive moments that happen every day in my life and conveniently skip this side of myself. I could, as many bloggers I know do, but how true would that be? This is part of my healing process and if you don't like it I'm quite sure you can find fluff to read elsewhere.

In the meantime, I'm trying to learn to embrace my dark side as much as I celebrate my light. I can't escape it, it's part of me. Only Peter Pan had to have his dark side sewed on to him. I already have Tink by my side so I know I'll be okay.  

I guess that's what you get when you grow up on Shadow Lane.