True Confessions of a Terrible Blogger

20150613_112004_resizedI’m a terrible blogger.

Long gone are the days when I would write a daily post, and then go around checking on all my blog “friends”, commenting here and there and interacting along the way.

When I first started blogging back in 2004 or so, it was a whole ‘nuther world.  Blogging itself was a relatively new phenom.  This was in the days before “Smart Phones” and tablets, social media and “monetizing”.

Before the “Like” button.

Sure, the platforms themselves were pretty rustic compared to all the bells and whistles available today.  We had a small handful of options for templates and such.  Corporate websites weren’t yet using a blog as a generic marketing tool.  “Click bait” would’ve been mistaken for some sort of fishing apparatus. But oh, those were great blog times.  I sometimes miss them in the middle of the night.

These days, I “think” about writing here far more often than I actually do.  One reason (the main reason) is, I’ve lost the plot. I don’t know what my motivation is….the whole “WHY” of it.

I’m not an “expert” on anything.  I haven’t any earth shattering wisdom to impart, a book to promote,  or a service or product to sell.

I have no interest in trying to be “someone”, or garner an adoring crowd (well, actually, that part sounds pretty good.  haha!)

So why write here?  What is it that keeps me coming back (albeit sporadically), year after year, even after weeks and months of being MIA?

It’s simple, really. I long to connect.  To reach out and touch someone and maybe, if I’m lucky, have them touch back.  To write something and have someone say, “Hey, me, too!” or “I totally get you!”

Being “get” cannot be rated highly enough.

One of the most unexpected developments of having been diagnosed with breast cancer almost 2 years ago was how it would impact my relationships.  I’ve written reams about it in my journal, and mentioned it briefly here (I think….)  And I suppose much of the changes stem from how the news – and the treatment journey itself – impacted me.

Unless you’ve walked a mile in the shoes of someone who’s been told they have the Big C, it’s hard to understand, even if you are close to someone who has or is going through it.  See, you can’t be in their head.  You aren’t there in those dark, solitary, sleepless hours in the middle of the night with your thoughts running amuck.  Hell, even my own family doesn’t know some of the stuff I had to deal with – emotionally and physically – because I didn’t want to burden them any more than they already had to deal with.  I still don’t.

Long story short, and not surprisingly, I’m not the same person I was 2 years ago.  For example, I’ve essentially ditched the New Thought/New Age/Alternative spirituality stuff I had been practicing for a decade or so.  I found that 97% of it was pretty useless when it came to dealing with the diagnosis.  My beliefs were tried by fire.  I am, most assuredly, a Jesus person again.  NOT a fundamentalist.  You can’t “unknow” or “unexperience” certain things.  I love and support my gay friends and the LGBT community at large.  I still swear up a storm and I don’t go to church (although, if I could find one where I “fit in”, I would go in a heartbeat).  I still believe in the Feminine Face of God, and the Mystery of the spiritual realm.

Physically, I’ve changed, too.  I don’t have long dyed hair and acrylic nails any more.  My face is different….a little more battle-scarred and war-weary.  And my wardrobe.  Ugh!  After being away from the corporate environ for this long, and after going from 2 incomes to 1, well, the word “limited” comes to mind.

Hell, some days I don’t even put makeup on except maybe my eyebrows.  They are a MUST HAVE, if I want to avoid looking rather alien.  I didn’t have much before and, after chemo, things didn’t improve.  At least I got my lashes back.  Mostly.

Another big change is how I spend my days.  I am, by and large, living the life of a retiree – even with my part-time bookkeeping job (which, as it turns out, is VERY part-time).  My days are spent doing mundane “housewife” things like cooking and laundry and cleaning.  I actually don’t mind that, interestingly enough.  And I have plenty of time (if not money) to do the crafts and classes that I enjoy.

I never did relate to the “cancer survivor” meme, even though – technically – I am one.  Never joined a support group and don’t have a single piece of pink-ribboned paraphernalia.  Going through breast cancer was more like going through an ugly divorce or a death or some other trauma. I am doing what I can to put “that phase” of my life in the past as much as possible considering it was – well – cancer.

So I didn’t come out of that phase with a tribe of “sisters”, even though I was told I would.  In fact, some friends have drifted off into the sunset.  Why?  I dunno…Changing interests or lifestyles, maybe?  Some of that is to be expected, I suppose.  In July 2015, when my BFF broke up with me  after my 2nd round of chemo (and right after I shaved my head), I had a big wake up call.  Another one, I should say.  It was the understanding that some people can’t handle the tough times…the really tough times.  Times involving a drastic change in availability, or appearance or energy.

Times of facing one’s own mortality.

My friendships have undergone a serious pruning.  In spite of that, the relationships I have with myself, the God of my understanding, my husband and my children are all stronger than ever.  I’ve made a few new acquaintances and friends along the way, although no one (yet) to fill those BFF shoes. But I appreciate these women when we spend time together.  We laugh and have fun as we get to know each other better.

But in my heart I believe there is one special woman out there.  One who is also looking for me, wanting the same sort of “sisterfriend” relationship I want.  Someone like-minded and enjoys the same things.  A woman who  makes the best of things and lives life  – every day – to the fullest.  She’ll be down to earth with a good head on her shoulders and a smartass remark on her lips. And we’ll laugh our asses off, A LOT, even when we’re crying.  It’s just a matter of time before we are connected.

CONNECTED.

Connection.  That feeling you get when you know someone is there for you, and you for them, during good times or bad, happy times or sad.  When the people involved experience the strength and comfort that comes from doing life together vs. going it alone.

I want more of that in my life. In real-time.  Because as wonderful as online friendships are, they aren’t the same as those where you actually DO stuff together, physically, in the same space.  Words written on a page (or in a text) are not the same as those spoken face to face, eye to eye.

Maybe even heart to heart, when someone needs a hug……

CONNECTION.

I may be a terrible blogger, but I give great hugs.

It’s just a matter of time.

The Write Stuff

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Writers are a strange weird breed unto themselves.

I spent an hour reading and un-privatizing some posts from 2007 on Saturday. Just a few for now.  And don’t ask me why.  It just felt like something I wanted to do, and I plan on doing more as the mood strikes.

2007.  Where has the time gone? This blog used to be called The Wild Pomegranate.   I changed it last summer when I thought to redirect the subject of my posts.  Funny thing is, that didn’t last long.  I keep defaulting to my Self.  Go figure.

But Thank the BlogGods my days of deleting entire blogs on a whim (usually triggered by some emotional or spiritual melt down) are over. I remember two of them – one, “Phoenix Rising” and another, “The 13 Graces”. I had some really good stuff on those pages, too, dammit.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve kicked my own ass for “purging” like that.

Now if I’m not feeling it for some reason, I just go private and stop blogging for a while, or start-up a new blog. (Don’t tell WordPress but I have at least 2 dozen in the queue.)

C’est la vie.  Guess you can teach an old blog-dog new tricks after all.

There’s something vastly appealing about a starting new blog, or a new page in a journal, or a new journal all together, for that matter! A blank page – be it a piece of paper or a computer screen – just beckons for something FRESH. Something NEW. Something NOT EXPERIENCED BEFORE. I get giddy of all that possibility.  (Confession: I purge my journals, too. Those books are my “safe space”, where I literally bleed on the pages. Not a word is written with an “audience” in mind, not even a spouse or a child. Besides. Who would want to saddle someone with decades worth of THAT crazy stuff?)

Most blogging “experts” advise picking a single topic for your blog so as to show yourself as an “expert” – you know, for building a brand and a following and all that stuff. The only thing I’m an expert at is myself, and even then it’s a crap shoot.  And while it’s nice to think others like my writing enough to follow along, I got over the numbers game years ago.  I write for the joy.  For the release.  For the healing.  I write because I have to.

And my topics  Well, they’re as eclectic as I am:  Spirituality, family, cooking, sex, relationships, crafts, politics, the whole Breast Cancer thing. I’ve even played around with some fiction, as well.

You name it, I’ve probably penned at least one rant post about it.

In this new season of my life, however, with all this TIME I now have, writing has taken on a new significance.  A week ago, I went to my first writer’s workshop and have more on the calendar. Imagine, all these decades of writing both personally and professionally and I’ve never had any proper training. I’m a pantser, 95% of the time, and 80% of the time, it turns out pretty good.  I keep remembering the people who came out of the woodwork last year to tell me I should write a book.  I’m not sure if I’m there yet, but SOMETHING is happening.

I’m starting a whole new LifeStory, so to speak. I’ve been walking through Unchartered Territory,  being transformed by a paradigm shift of immense proportions. It’s been more than a year year since I left my desk job.  A YEAR! The longest I’ve gone without a place to go to Monday through Friday since I started Kindergarten at age 5! Talk about a WTF realization!

With the diagnosis received in January of 2015, nothing has been Business As Usual.  The way I spend my time is fluid and largely unscheduled, except for my ongoing treatments. My social circle has been morphing.  How I relate to “activities” and people and events is changing.

Mother's Day 2016 With My Grandson
Mother’s Day 2016 With My Grandson
Even the way I look is completely different, with my little gray post-chemo pixie. Almost everything in my life has changed.

Everything except for the writing.

Tomorrow, my life is about to change again. For the first time since the late 90s when I did a lot of volunteering in church (head of Women’s Ministry, co-head of the Food Pantry, Bible Study leader, Prayer Team leader, Den Mother to a couple dozen 7 and 8 year olds boys in the Royal Rangers program), I’ll be spending scheduled time every week volunteering.  Specifically for Habitat For Humanity.

Yep, I got the gig I interviewed for after all! Starting tomorrow, 4 to 5 hours a day on Monday/Wednesday/Fridays, I’ll be the acting Social Media and On Line Marketing administrator for one of the H4H ReStores.  For 4 months, I have the opportunity to do what I love doing for a great cause – everything from keeping their half-dozen Social Media outlets updated, to taking photographs and listing items for sale, to writing blogs to inform and inspire others.

THIS is something unlike anything I’ve never done before. A new beginning. A fresh page.  And I can’t hardly wait!  Who knew that this was the new life promise I’ve been holding onto through surgeries, chemo, radiation, betrayal, job loss, ad naseum?

And who knows what will happen from here?  It feels like I’ve stumbled upon my destiny, and can finally (thankyoujesus) put what I know to good use for something bigger than myself – spending my time in meaningful ways, with like-minded people, for something I believe in.  It is literally a dream come true, the dream I blogged about years ago.  I feel like this is the right thing, at the right time, for all the right reasons – even if I’m not getting paid for it.  Yet. (smiling)

And THAT is something to write about.

In Memory Of Dr. Wayne Dyer

For those who were students and appreciators of Dr. Wayne Dyer and his work, his sudden and unexpected death on August 29, 2015 came as a huge shock.20150805_065656

I count myself as one of those people, and not just because he shared a strong resemblance to my father.

Coming late to the New Thought party, I didn’t hear of Dr. Dyer until sometime around 2002.  But once I had, I was hooked.  Many of his books are on my shelves.  I’ve watched untold number of PBS specials with him as the speaker, and I attribute his work for being some of the most meaningful in my life in the last decade.

As I am not quite up to writing a full post this morning, I thought I would share a fantastic article that arrived in my email this morning.  Written by Luminita Savius over at Purpose Fairy.

It’s called, “15 Life Changing Lessons To Learn From Wayne Dyer”, and you can find it HERE.

I love all 15 of Luminita’s points, but especially No. 11.  It’s one I’m practicing a lot these days….

11. No need to stress over everything.

Believe it or not, there is an invisible force who created the whole world, the whole Universe and this force becomes available to us the moment we stop trying to do it all by ourselves, the moment we decide to allow events to take their natural course and just go with the FLOW.

“Good morning, this is God. I will be handling all of your problems today. I will not need your help. So have a miraculous day.” ~ Wayne Dyer

Wishing YOU a miraculous day as well.

A Change In Direction – A New Blogging Journey

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2015 is proving to be THE Year of Radical Transformation for me, catapulted by a diagnosis of Breast Cancer that I received back in January.

Like most people given the news that they have a life threatening illness, my first thought was, “This can’t be happening!”  It’s true what they say, you know.  You never think it could happen to you. I’ve always been a strong, independent, capable woman.  After receiving the news just prior to my 58th birthday, I was feeling anything but.  Instead, I felt fragile and petrified. I wasn’t sure what to do, where to go, and who to talk to, to get my life back!

Mostly, I acutely felt my mortality for the first time ever.  This shit could kill me.

Breast cancer has impacted every aspect of my life, not just my health.  My relationships, my job, my spiritual and emotional lives, my finances and my sense of self have all been enormously impacted – I will never be the same.

And I’m beginning to think this may be one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

I’m learning so much while on this journey, and here’s one thing that I know for sure:  While there are definitely moments of gut wrenching fear, pain, and loss, there are many more moments of receiving unconditional love, peace, healing, and extravagant Grace.  Life has a new preciousness to it now.  I savor and find pleasure in the small, simple things, all while taking an honest look at what’s really important to me and how I want to live out the rest of this wild ride called LIFE.

There are still good things yet to be experienced.  GREAT things, even.  My best days really are ahead of me!

If I only stay in a place of SURRENDER, TRUST and BELIEF….

So, you may have noticed by now.  The Wild Pomegranate is gone, and Grace Upside Down is here with a new look, a new name, and new direction.  I have felt The Call to blog primarily about my own “dance” with breast cancer (love this term coined by Susan Weed, The Wise Woman!) and all the stuff that goes along with it.  However, not all posts will be BC related.  This is another thing I know: Breast cancer doesn’t define me.  It’s only one season in a long chain of seasons in my life.

But this dance is honing me and purifying me like a great big Fiery Furnace of Alchemy.  The lead is turning to gold.  I am going to come out of this thing bearing Gifts and I want to share them.  I will come out this deal in better shape than I was going in.  For all intents and purposes, I will be a completely changed woman, more ME than I’ve ever been, and yet different in innumerable ways.  Ways that I want to be in alignment with the highest version of myself and my purpose.

My hope is that what I provide here will be helpful to others engaged in their own dance with breast cancer, as well as caretakers and anyone else who might want to stick along for the ride.  That being said….

To My Subscribers:  Some of you have been with me since the beginning in 2007.  Please, please, please know that I will not take offense if you decide to unsubscribe in the face of this new direction I’m taking.  I totally get it if it’s not for you.  THANK YOU for the time that you did spend with me here, and I wish you much health and happiness!

For anyone else who decides to stay – and for the new people who make their way here –

Welcome to my Initiation.