It Takes A Toll

It takes a toll

this shining brightly

Leaves a body
when enough is enough

Leaves a mind
circling in on itself
looking for a release
that just won’t come

It takes a toll
trying so hard
to be what everybody wants
without knowing
what it is you want
and need
and should demand

Leaves a heart
walled up

Leaves a spirit

It takes a toll

NL (c) 2016


I lied.
I did ask…in a manner of speaking.
I asked for clarification…elaboration…what the hell could your smiley response mean to that deeply exposing text I sent…
And I got silence.
Silence I understand…
Silence needs no clarification…
You’re done…with me…with my big scary emotions…god forbid I put myself out there to you and you just aren’t looking for a relationship…
You said you were…and maybe you are…but just not with me…
All you had to do was say so…say slow down…say back off…and maybe you did…with your silence that I just wouldn’t accept…
But now I will…
Because some piece of me knows that I am better than that…
I’m worth more than all your smiley faces and blow jobs and fucks…
I’m worth more than your silence…
I deserve more.

The 27 Day Challenge of Excellence

The past couple of months have been somewhat of a roller-coaster ride for me. Really, I guess you could say that about 2013 in general, but things seemed to have come to a head in late August, early September.
I did some soul searching, which is never an easy thing (if you’re doing it right) and made some tough decisions, with some even tougher choices being the result.
For the last week or so, I’ve felt like I survived a free fall of sorts. A little broken, a lot bruised. Uncertain of my surroundings, a little scared (ok, maybe a lot), but still feeling that rush of adrenaline that comes when something huge has taken place.

Stumbling around in the dark is not the smart way to get where you are trying to go. You may get there, out of pure luck, but it’s better to have a light, and a map. Or at the very least, a compass.

This Challenge dropped into view, or maybe I stumbled upon it, but however the Universe brought it to me, I am thankful. For it is my map, my compass, my light.

The premise is that you make a list of habits you want to change – either bad habits you are trying to stop, or good habits you are trying to cultivate. Then, for the next 27 days, you focus on those habits, and by the end of the challenge period, you should have adopted them (or quit them, as the case may be).

It helps if you have a group of people who are working on their own habits, to help you through the rough spots, because, let’s face it, if you aren’t cheating yourself, there WILL be rough spots.

I sat down Sunday night and wrote out my list. There were 15 things I wanted to work on – some are hard, some seem like no-brainers, but I need to work on them anyway.

Then Monday I refined my list, and went to work on it. I didn’t do too badly for the first day, or the second day.

I’ve decided to share my list here. And at the end of the 27 days, I will write another post with my results, and my struggles throughout.

So, here is my list of habits that I am working on over the next 25 days (2 days are in the books already!):

1. Workout 6 days/week – 3 of those days have to be at 5AM
2. Get up at 5AM every day (Sunday can be 7AM)
3. Floss Teeth every night
4. Shower & Get dressed, including hair & makeup – whether I’m leaving the house or not!
5. Don’t buy anything I can’t afford to buy with cash
6. Minimum of 2 hours/day, 6 days /week of solid, focused work on BB
7. Write one blog post/day – can be personal or business – just write
8. No chips, no candy, no beer
9. Quit Smoking
10. Run minimum of 3 days/week
11. Listen to PD audio every day
12. Read minimum of one personal development book
13. Drink Shakeology every day

Stay tuned for my results!

The Writer Within

I love writers. They are, hands down, in my top three of the types of people I would surround myself with on a daily basis, if the opportunities presented themselves. I would rather communicate with the written word than with a verbal conversation at least 90% of the time. I feel like I’m so much more eloquent when writing, and can rarely present my thoughts and ideas effectively when having to speak them aloud. Perhaps that’s a throwback to spending more time with books than people during my childhood. Maybe I was never sufficiently socialized as a child. Or maybe I just don’t like the drama and affectations of people in the flesh. It’s a mystery, for sure.

Back to writers, though. I have friends whose pieces I’ve had the pleasure of reading this week. It amazes (and frustrates) me that their words seem to effortlessly take shape on the page, that they’ve managed to capture so effectively the thoughts that are streaming through my mind at a million miles per minute. Their words just seem to tumble out, forming the perfect bridge between my psyche and reality, and they leave me wondering how it is possible that they can so accurately harness what I’m feeling, without the benefit of a conversation, without “knowing” what I think I’m going through.

I’m jealous, angry even, that they have “stolen” my stories, and have put them to paper before I can even formulate the story myself. It makes me feel like nothing I write after them will be good enough, or will even feel original. To undertake the piece now, I would just be reiterating something someone else has already written, that they’ve written in such a way that no matter how I create my piece, it will seem to fall flat.

Even this is a struggle.

And it occurs to me that I’m being extremely self-centered.

They aren’t writing for me, or about me.

I am not the only person who has ever felt the things I’ve felt. Many of my experiences, while unique to me and my life, are not unique to the world around me. There are people here, in this space, who have experienced the hurts, the joys, the love, and the loneliness that I have experienced. Not in exactly the same way, and not by the same path that I’ve travelled, but the feelings are the same. And I’m filled with an overwhelming feeling of love and admiration for the writers that I know. They have been able to muddle through their thoughts, walls, and emotions and share a piece of themselves in a medium that has the space available for anyone who wishes to do the same.

There is relief in this thought.

I love writers. I love my friends who are writers, who, through their own courageous forays into pen and paper, continuously give me the drive to work through the onion of my own mind and soul, peeling back the layers a bit at a time. In time, I will be able to share myself the way others do, but there is no timeline.

I don’t have to rush to beat someone else to the story. I don’t have to feel like my time has slipped by for being relevant. I don’t have to create the writer within. She’s already there, and she’ll come out when she’s ready.

Get Rich Quick

A few days ago, I wrote a piece for my business blog entitled “Get Rich Quick!”

As I was formulating the idea for the piece, I thought that it would be cool to write a companion piece that spoke more on a personal level than business.

But to be fair, I need to discuss two sides to “richness.”

First off, the most widely accepted definition of rich pertains to finances.

I don’t know how many times a day I see people posting links about making money, and making money fast, with seemingly little work. All you have to do is join this program, or buy this training, etc.

The negative responses are just as numerous. I really could use this training, but I can’t afford it. I don’t have enough money to put gas in my car. I’ve lost my job and the economy sucks.

To all this, and I’ve had my fair share of spouting off the same sentiments, I say this…

If your “why” is strong enough, you will find the money to do what you need to do.

Look around your house. Grab a box, and go through each room, and put everything you don’t touch, use, or even recall being there in the box.

You’ll probably need more boxes.

Then, depending on what you’ve gathered up, jump on eBay, or CraigsList, if that’s your thing. Maybe have a yard sale. With some friends…make it FUN!

You’ll be surprised how much money is sitting in your house, untouched.

And how many training products you’ll be able to afford. Or vacations, or new shoes!

If you have “stuff” laying around the house, taking up space, then you have no business whining about being in the poor house. (Perhaps a harsh reality check, but I’m not apologetic.)

Now, maybe you are one of the rare breed of people who still finds that riches aren’t about money or possessions at all. I have my moments still where I’m amazed at how truly rich I am, despite the sometimes sorry state of my finances.

So, once again, take a walk around your house. Maybe you’re married, with children and pets. Feel the love that emanates from them. Just let it flow through you, over you, around you.

Maybe you live alone.

Look out your window. Seek out the peacefulness of nature in your own backyard. Hear the trees, take in the sky, the stars, the clouds, the contrails of the jets. Feel your smallness, in this seemingly endless universe. Then revel in your uniqueness. Focus on something that only YOU can offer to the world.

Think of the smiles you bring to people’s faces, without even trying.

Think of the tears and sorrow that you’ve soothed away, just by listening, or offering a hug, or a kind word.

If you do these things, or even just take a moment to quiet your mind and listen to your own heart beating, you can’t tell me that, for even one second, you don’t feel like the richest person alive.

If you don’t….if you can’t find that breath of a moment, then you may have bigger problems than where your next dollar is coming from.

Under Pressure

The gray skies weigh heavy on my shoulders. It’s days like this I feel an overwhelming tiredness that consumes my whole being. It saps the strength to hold my head up, leaves my limbs leaden, my very being muddled.

I feel I could just close my eyes and sleep forever, but not a restful sleep, the kind of sleep you just don’t wake from.

There is a cancer ravaging me from the inside out. A cancer of the spirit. A cancer of the mind. Fed by frustration, self-doubt, irritation with bureaucracy, policy, rules meant to benefit the few, but suppress the many.

I’ve been here so many times. A cycle of sorts, predictable in its unpredictability. The highs, the lows, the struggle between the two, always just hoping for some sort of peaceful in-between.

It never comes. Oh, sure, there are lulls, spans of time, short or long, that seem convincing to onlookers, almost convincing to me. But it’s always there, the shadow lurking in my peripheral vision, just far enough out of reach for me to squelch for good. It’s always planning, scheming, waiting for the precise moment to attack.

Chameleon, it blends in with the daily trials of life. A celebration? Strike now, and push her over the top! And people say she’s having a really good time. She’s sad? Strike now, and push her over the edge! And people say she’s overreacting, she’s emotional, she’s irrational.

There are treatments. Chemical treatments that suck the life out of you, leaving you a shell of who you might have been. I tried them. Over and over again. I stopped feeling, I stopped thinking. I stopped being me.

There are other treatments. Drugs, alcohol. Self-medication. Trouble waiting to happen. I tried them. Over and over again. I found trouble, over and over again. I stopped feeling, I stopped thinking. I became a version of me I couldn’t live with.

There are more treatments. Clean eating, fitness. Get your body back to basics with the fuel and exercise it craves. I tried them. Over and over again. They work, sometimes a little too well. I started feeling, in bright swatches of color. I started thinking, grandiose visions that I was determined to achieve. I became a version of me that other people have a hard time living with.

There is no cure for mental illness. There are only band-aids. Temporary fixes.

I have PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). I may, or may not, have bi-polar disorder. My psychiatrists have said yes, my sister has said no, and most good days I’m on the fence about it.

I have these disorders. But they are not who I am. They do not define me, but perhaps they explain me in some ways.

And I’m out of cigarettes.

Finishing Strong

It seems like a lifetime ago, but once upon a time, I was in the Army. One of the places I was stationed for training was in Monterey, CA. It was beautiful. It was dreadful. It was a place for learning lessons – lessons the Army paid me to learn, and lessons no one should ever have to learn, about themselves and about the world we live in.

I decided long ago that I would move back to California someday, because the beauty far outweighed the pain.

However, tonight, almost seventeen years after my time in California, I believe I learned a lesson I should have learned a long time ago.

When I was stationed in California, we used to have to do these battalion runs. I think they were about three miles long, which shouldn’t be horrible for someone who does PT (physical training) every day. But running was never my thing. I even had a profile (waiver) against running, I was that bad at it, and it took that much out of my body. So when we would do these runs, I think once per quarter, I would trudge along for about 2-1/2 miles, and would either finish at a walk, far behind the rest, or I would be picked up by the medic van and brought back to the formation. I never finished, not once.

I was thinking about that tonight, and about how often in my life I’ve given up, just trudging along until I quit or until someone picked me up and brought me back to where I was supposed to be. It’s not a very satisfying feeling at all. My whole life, I’ve taken the easy out, the fail, instead of looking for a way to push through, a way to succeed against all odds. I’ve always just told that voice in my head that I was “afraid” of success. What a load of crap!

I was never afraid to succeed. It was just easier to fail.

So, maybe you’re wondering what made me think of this lesson tonight? It’s simple, really. I’m 16 days into a 21-day detox/cleanse. It’s called the Ultimate Reset. It’s supposed to clean out all the gunk we habitually load into our bodies. We wonder why we feel like crap, have no energy, fall ill. It’s all of the toxic garbage we put into our bodies, whether we’re eating it, drinking it, or inhaling it. Slathering it on our skin. Toxins come from everywhere. Most people don’t realize that. Most people don’t care. They’ll keep going to the doctors, taking more medications, damaging their seemingly fragile yet impossibly strong bodies beyond belief. But I digress.

Tonight, I was hungry, and bored. Probably more bored than hungry. I was ready to eat anything I could get my hands on. I looked at the calendar, grabbed a glass of water, because I am allowed to have that, and thought about it. Since I knew I wasn’t really hungry, I got over the craving for junk. And I thought about the 16 days I’ve already gone through – the headaches, the cold, hot and cold flashes (mostly cold), the endless supplements and gallons of distilled water. I thought about all of the good foods that I’ve been introduced to, the proper eating habits, how good I actually feel. I thought about the fact that I only have five days left until the cleanse is over.

And I thought about never finishing a single battalion run while I was in California.

I’m not afraid of success. I’m not taking the easy fail. This is one run I’m going to finish.