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OPEN AND RECEPTIVE

OPEN AND RECEPTIVE

I am open and receptive to all good. These are the words I have used to replace any other words that occasionally find their way into my brain. These eight words, especially when 3 am rolls around and the dark chocolate has kicked in I ate before I went to bed, have been my go to phrase since almost 1989 when I discovered Louise Hay.

Louise Hay was one of the founders of the self help movement and when I first read her book, You Can Heal Your Life, I was only twenty four. Her theories about thinking and the meaning of the thoughts we think changed the way I thought about thinking. I had never heard this thought process before, that I actually had control over that frisky brain of mine that until then had led me very much astray. Louise Hay was a game changer for me and at twenty four, I never realized how important the simple notion of belief systems were.

Thirty years later, when my brain takes over my intuition, I know that deliberately shifting my words, rearranging them like a puzzle, changes how I feel. This is an outstanding notion and I wish we could teach this to our middle schoolers with much more priority. The movie, The Secret, where the intention was to teach that our unique powers are within us by changing the way we think about ourselves left out one important component, Action. I can lay in my bed all day saying positive phrases, but I must get out of bed to see how the experiment works. This is not to say that we always have control. Louise Hay and many of her believers also believed that every single ailment was caused by belief systems. I once heard this young man on THE MOTH telling his story about being born with cerebral palsy. He was hilarious in his story and one of the lines he used was, Fuck Louise Hay. He was not responsible for being born with that condition, but she could be interpreted that way. When my brother was diagnosed with lung cancer at 24, I too found myself thinking he had some control over his fatal outcome. No such luck and I shutter to think about some of the language I used with him at the beginning.

The thoughts we think are powerful. This I know for sure. Now that I have many moons of life experience and traumatic events to add to the mix, what I have figured out for myself is when I feel good, positive, grounded, happy, the energy in my body feels different. Those rare times when my brain heads south, my body feels depleted, negative, low energy and it seems that this is when the Life Coming at Me kicks in to high gear. It is more a feeling, but I think that many of us understand the basic concept of seeing the bright side rather than the dark side. When I look at life with my rose colored glasses, life brings me pleasure even in my dark times. This is brain training because our minds seem to be hard wired for fear and doubt. After all our ancestors were in a constant state of fight or flight trying to outrun the enemy. The good of this is self protection, survival, pretty useful when you had to fight off lions and tigers and bears. These days, the enemy, at least in my neat little protected world, is my mind and what I allow it to believe. I am not running away from wild beasts to save myself from extinction, but anytime I have a trigger or an arrow coming towards me, my body reverts to fight or flight sending my cortisol hormones into overdrive. Cortisol in overdrive is a death sentence, and my body should not have the same type of adrenaline rush when I am struggling to find a parking spot as it does if I was trying to outrun a grizzly. But it does. Isn’t that fascinating?

When my brain has taken me hostage filling me with all kinds of terrible thoughts about myself, wasteful thoughts that don’t serve me like, I feel fat, I am a slacker, I am a procrastinator, holy shit, where did that bulge around my middle show up, not good enough thoughts that blah blah blah and blast away like those sparklers on the forth of July, I have a low energy from them. This is just a sampler, but there is not a woman I know who can’t relate. I am guessing there are men out there, too, who have this experience. We are all humans each with our own brains that go rogue at the drop of a hat. I have learned that a simple often deliberate shift always makes me feel better and when I feel better I see the world better and when I see the world better, life has a way of working itself out. Always. Even in my darkest times, I see the world with a speck of light. I like light. I appreciate kindness, random smiles and a hardy strong hug that lingers just a little longer. And in this volatile time with so many darts at every turn, as we duck and hide and run for cover from the technology that now seems to be the grizzly bear in the woods, a smile, a hug and old fashioned connection may be just the interrupters we humans need.


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LOOKING UP AND WITHIN

LOOKING UP AND WITHIN

Catchy phrases surround me. Almost everywhere I look I have some positive quote or reminder that I am indeed ok. I am loving and loveable. The universe provides exactly what I need at all times. Life loves me and I love life. Just for Today Alanon mantras are also part of this collection that abounds. I get them on my phone from a group of fellow Alanon women, I eagerly forward them to my dear friends hoping to add a little inspiration to their day. I receive them back and the exchange of these positive mantras is endless and often appreciated. When people come into my home or my business, they comment on these quotes and the general feel this good energy provides as they work their way through the maze of their day. With the quantity of these one liners, there should always be a smiley face looking back at me in the mirror. The mirror, by the way, has these quotes and prayers reminding me to wake up with a big heart-full of gratitude in case I forgot when I was getting my sleep the night before.

These quotes that I have been bathing in since I discovered Louise Hay when I was about 22 have been a parental force in my life. Louise Hay wrote many books, but my go to self help and self awareness favorite of all time was You Can Heal Your Life. This book changed my compass and allowed me the notion at this tender age to realize that my thoughts are powerful and that I actually choose them. What I think affirms what I think and therefore often affirms outcome. This was a big concept for a 22 year old very damaged young woman trying to find her way in the world with zero parental support since she was fifteen. Little did I know that this lack of foundation in my early teen years would follow me and many of my choices as I navigated onward.

Typical of 22 year olds, I thought I had it figured out after I read this one book. I then went on to discover Wayne Dyer, Your Erroneous Zones, Expressive Arts Therapy, herbal tinctures and a loose aromatherapy understanding. I also started reading books on nutrition well before the phrase Clean Eating was coined. I moved in with a man who showed stability and love and of course typical of youth and dysfunction, thought that at 24, this would be a good time to get my wild self grounded and get married. I loved being married. The notion of playing house for real, for mimicking what I remember about my own house when the appearances were those of stability and happiness. Before I learned the truth which was I had two parents who were basically bullshitting their children and really weren’t very happy with each other or themselves. Living a lie in front of your children is not a very successful formula for raising healthy ones. Though I had a very materially stable life and was well provided for, the emotional trauma of having a mother who really never liked me continues to this day in my interactions with people I am close to and people who I have employed. It is a constant job to supply myself with the necessary armor to not personalize every single thing.

For the most part I have overcome the washing machine head as I heard someone say at an Alanon meeting. But sometimes it sneaks up on me and takes over my brain like a mutiny and I am always surprised by its force in my head. Usually it is equated with a few items I can quickly check off the list so as to remind myself that I am not losing it. I can replay the sugar intake, or the four days of red wine, or the not exercising for a few days or look up the timing of mercury being in retrograde to quickly understand the spinney head. This always brings relief to me as I know that I am ok. I have done THE WORK. I never stop doing THE WORK. And I know exactly what I need to do to get back on the yellow brick road path back to home where I started rather than the quick slide down the rabbit hole to the dark abyss.

The full moon, this past full moon as a matter of fact coupled with a very stressful month in October put me into a bit of a tailspin though and I had to come to some sort of reality check or I was on my way to a health crisis for sure. I had such a great time hiking in nature in the middle of this otherwise stressful past month which gave me a taste of what astounds and grounds me. And as I had a quick visceral reactive response to a seemingly innocent conversation I had with my partner and blasted off to the gym for a serious grind on the treadmill, I realized that there was more to this then I had given any credit for. Funny how innocent conversations can trigger, but when you do THE WORK like I have done, those triggers often create a self awareness that easily brings me off the ledge and into a speedy lotus pose. So as I was blasting sprints on the treadmill escaping from my chatterhead the epiphanies began at the speed of light. My realization about the giving of myself outwardly came to my radar as I considered that since my first breast cancer diagnosis in March of 2015, I have mostly gone and been outward in my world. This coupled with my perpetual work on deep rooted abandonment issues that have permeated my life made for a recipe of wonder. No wonder I was feeling angst. I have not allowed myself the boundaries necessary to go within. I am so busy running to workouts, yoga, going to dinner, organizing parties and saying yes to almost everything coming at me, coaching my team, loving my partner and trying to stay conscious in my relationship with him so we can continue to reap the benefits of this solid and joyful union, that I have forgotten my insides. I realized that if I took just a small amount of the love and energy I put out there and kept some for me turning it back inside this would be something. Actually it is a foreign concept. Sure I have meditated and gone for contemplative walks, but usually I am trying to rally the female forces and get them to open their hearts to the abundance of light.

So I realized as I was burning it up on the treadmill that it was time to take better care of my inside self. Let alayne white take a break and invite alayne to her own party for a change. So I met my partner for lunch and asked him for the consideration of some alone time so that I could make sure that I was capable of caring for myself as much as I cared for the rest. This may seem like a fairly reasonable request, but for me it was so difficult to ask for this without feeling like I may be causing some unnecessary but real feelings of abandonment. This means that when we could be eating dinner together and sharing company I was consciously asking to be alone. Not forever just for a few days to contemplate myself. To engage my soul and reconnect with my spiritual centeredness. To ask for this small request was a huge obstacle I needed to overcome as I had to feel safe and loved in the ask and though I do feel this whole heartedly, it still strange to take the risk. This is THE WORK. The little heart palpitation in asking for something that I know I need to grow and be a more evolved woman for myself and overcoming that anyway. Like going hiking on a trail and still going despite my fear of getting lost. I needed to get lost in my ownself and feel that feeling.

Last night I started to have that feeling of what the fuck alayne, how can I miss dinner with my love? Life is short, drive over, but instead I leaned into having dinner alone and consciously being with myself. I went for a walk to the water and sat and looked at the moon and the stars. I felt the wind travel through my skin and my hair and my lungs. I took deep meditative breaths and felt a reconnection with my spirit that I have for some reason neglected. I think in all of this madness I call breast cancer, breast reconstruction, business owning, brca2 discoveries, losing my brother, father, grandmother and aunt, son going to college, divorce, leaving a marriage and a home of 20 years, breaking up the family, having a flood, buying a magic kingdom and having a mother who asks you to never contact her again because of some silly excuse to be pissed off has had its toll on me and in my effort to plow ahead, I have forgotten to go through the full grieving process.

The only analogy I can give it is when you are a caregiver for someone who is dying and your full day to day experience is this care, when they finally leave you, you have so much time to consider all of a sudden. You realize that the time you spent caring was a necessary distraction and part of the grieving process, but only the beginning of it. The rest comes after the funeral. And that is the part that is the hardest because it is the part that is the discipline in going within and allowing that to be your distraction. Grief comes in all forms and there are surely levels of it all, but the process of grieving is necessary and the only way around it is through it. So as I take some time to be in a relationship with myself to make sure that I in fact like myself enough, I challenge my core. Thankfully I have a partner who totally gets this. He allows me the space I need to understand and move through this next part of my experience of putting all of this world of cancer to rest and seeing who I have become because of it. I will look up more often this next few days and I will look within. After all it is the within that is the seed of most fruit, that precious life force that has all of that delicious energy that makes the whole fruit sweeter, or bigger or more flavorful depending on how it was grown in the first place. We often throw away the seeds or compost them. I am always amazed what sprouts from my compost pile when I just innocently throw the seeds in there for their part in the pile. I always get a surprise and in this travel back inward, I too am getting those sprouts. Just from paying attention.

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THE BEACH AND ME

THE BEACH AND ME

Finally after a super busy week and a very successful garden tour yesterday complete, I had today, this perfect summer Sunday to get to the beach. My ever patient beach and life partner kindly got the umbrella ready and secure (umbrellas are a must now that I am over the five-o mark). Shoes off, towels down, chairs placed- sunscreen on, followed by my hat (which is also now a must- post 50). I grabbed my beach earrings from my bag, (I can’t go to the beach without earrings and lipstick) and put them on, tarnished from the many beach trips and salty air and sand. I looked around to search out the familiar faces because kind of like season tickets to Fenway, you get to know the regulars. After recognizing the one woman who I call crazy chick, I sighed with the delight of the familiarity of it all. I sat myself down with my pile of magazines and a cooler full of food, ahhh… my beach ritual, tried and true.

Sundays are super crazy at the beach and as much as I love the beach (I seriously could go every single day from 9–3 if I could) Sundays are not my favorite day. Too many people, too many tourists, too many families of the regulars, but like a trooper, I suck it up. After all, this “complaint” is a luxury problem and I laugh at the notion that I would even dare to differentiate a “good” beach day. Aren’t all beach days good — great, actually? I know I am returning back to my sassy self when I hear the first blaring note of a deep base beat coming from the couple in a matching polka dotted bathing suit. They had just driven their dinghy from their big ass boat and not only unloaded pretentious beach equipment, but two very cute, but very yappy dogs and a special dog umbrella to protect them from the blaring heat. And before I knew it, one of those portable Bose type speakers to play their techno crap.

When the second dinghy arrived with another group that polka dot couple seemed to know but didn’t sit next to each other, the sounds of their conversations hummed my way along with the technobeat. “If they are going to have full blown conversations, why don’t they sit next to each other instead of screaming their talking across from each other?” I impatiently stated in a kind of factual annoyed statementy kind of non question. I mean does anyone have any type of beach etiquette anymore?

There is a list of unwritten beach rules that are just part of your fabric if you have grown up anywhere near a beach in your life. The first one besides not smoking, thank goodness this isn’t allowed anymore, should be noise level etiquette. No yelling, no screaming at your kids or your partner, no loud music- definitely the top if the list for sure. I mean why is it that someone thinks their music should be the defining entertainment for all to endure? Today was an unusually odd day because it seemed like no one got the memo that dogs are not permitted on the beach. I love dogs, but if you are going to break the beach rules and bring your dog to the beach, please make sure he or she is not a yapping one that disrupts the beautiful sounds of the waves crashing at the shore and the seagulls flying overhead. On top of the three families who brought their dogs, the yapping from all was followed endlessly by the sounds of “Shhhh. Stop that. Quiet. No.” about a thousand times.

I tried to look at the positive side. I am at the beach. This about sums up the positive. Doesn’t get more positive than this simple fact. I am at the beach with my boyfriend. I have a one hundred and forty dollar beach sticker on my car that I can afford so that I can go to my preferred beach with my partner. I have a cooler full of organic food from Green Grocer in Portsmouth, RI and pies from Sam’s Bakery in Fall River, Mass where I drove to at 8:00am this morning because I am alive and healthy and I could. I am at the beach ELEVEN WEEKS after a seven hour surgery. I am at the beach rocking a kick ass body because not only have I a stellar new set of bad ass ta-tas, but I have been working out and eating clean for almost 4 full weeks straight and feel stronger than I ever have for real.

How’s that for a positive spin around? I sat there starting to go south with my feeling personally offended bitchatude and took a big fat pause. How dare I? I have a friend who just got a really shitty potentially fatal diagnosis and I am guessing she would really appreciate one day on a hot beach with loud music and a set or two of yappy dogs. So I stopped myself. I stopped my feeling of self-righteousness and entitlement and I said thank you. Thank you for the gift of another Sunday at the beach. Even though the peripheral folks were breaking my self proclaimed beach rules, I don’t have to feel personally offended by them. The fact is that their behavior has nothing to do with me UNLESS I LET IT. My life as it stands today with my Wonder Woman lovely bad ass attitude is how do I want to spend my precious time thinking and being.

Two great quotes came across my inbox today sandwiching my day. This one started me off from my dear friend, Chris; quote by Dr. Robert Holden

“The miracle of gratitude is that it shifts your perception to such an extent that it changes the world you see.”

Then this great quote ended my day in the universal timing it usually does by the Matriarch of Positive Thinking, Louise Hay,

“I do not fix problems, I fix my thinking. Then problems fix themselves.”

I simply must let the “stuff” go. I can’t control it. I can’t allow it because it impacts my health and I choose health over nonsense and drama that has nothing to do with me. So when I go to the beach again, I have so many choices. I could bring headphones, I could meditate, I could send love and light, I could ignore the bullshit or I could choose to stay home. Whatever I decide to do and think is up to me and me alone. I just have to catch myself when I start to go south in my head, the rewards of doing so are really the stuff that makes a beach day truly spectacular.

BAM.


“my” beach on a not so busy day.