Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Travel time

Laundry done, Chinese in Colstrip, meeting at the Casino, sound sleep from 10:00 to 7:30 a.m. Packed and ready to go. Aiming for Cheyenne, Wyoming, tonight and Hays, Ks. tomorrow night. I hope to be home early afternoon on Friday. It was hard to say goodbye to Eric this morning.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Catch Up

Eric went to work yesterday before I got up at 11:00 a.m. I had a nap from 2:30 to 4:30 and after we ate dinner, we both went to bed at 6:00 p.m. Poor Eric. He was worn out from all that driving. I was just worn out. Both of us slept through until this morning. Today I'm doing laundry in preparation for leaving tomorrow morning. We didn't make it to a meeting last night so will go tonight. I've had a fabulous time but am ready to be back in Tulsa.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Food and Fun

After leaving camp, we went to Jackson. Looked at the amazing Native American art at the visitor center, and then went to the art fair in Jackson. When we had looked at all of the delightful things, we went to the Merry Piglets to eat Mexican food. I was delighted with my rice bowl which had almost every vegetable I could think of plus, of course, rice and black beans. We attended the 8:00 pm meeting where I got a fashion idea from a guy with one leg who coordinates the color of his shirt with a ribbon he puts around his artificial peg leg. I could do that with my cane! It was a speaker meeting and the woman who spoke was articulate and fun to listen to. She talked a lot about how hard it was to surrender. We spent the night at Annie's - a fabulous house that has an incredible view of the Grand Tetons. Slept like a baby until 10:30, dressed and got on the road.

We left Jackson about noon, ate Calzone at the pizza place where we ate with Annie, and went to another part of Yellowstone where we had not been before. Right next to the lake is an area where there are smaller holes with boiling water where the micro-organisms have colored the water - blue, orange, yellow, green. Amazing sight. The rest of the day was the trip back to Lame Deer. We stopped in Cody, Wyoming, to eat at the hotel/restaurant built by Buffalo Bill Cody. In this whole area there are reminders of him. The huge dam in the area is named for him. My grandmother told us that we were related to him - he would be my great, great, great uncle. Hmmm. I wonder what perks I should be getting for being related to such a famous person. We got to Lame Deer about midnight. I slept until 11:00 this morning v I think I will take a nap this afternoon. I probably will stay another day and leave Wednesday morning since all this adventuring has used up my reserve of energy (which wasn't very bit in the first place.) But it has been a great use of energy!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

More Adventure

Yesterday was Yellowstone adventure - I suspect it is a completely unique place. According to the tour book, for 200 years explorers and others reported that boiling water shot up out of the ground, that there was boiling mud, etc. Back east people said those people were crazy. Lewis and Clark didn't go there because an Indian told them there were evil spirits there that didn't want people there. Of course, all the time the Indians were hunting buffalo there. Finally, after 200 years of scoffing, a scientist took an expedition to see what was really true. He took Thomas Moran, the painter with him to have a visual record. This was about 1870. Finally, people believed that this place actually existed. I can certainly see why it was hard to believe. I've said, "Oh my God!" many times yesterday.

We camped in a tent/cabin with our friend, Annie, last night. Sat around a bonfire last night and this morning and then left for Jackson. We've taken a lot of pictures of the Grand Tetons - beautiful, beautiful mountains. Right now we're at Annie's house where we will stay tonight. She is about to go to work. Eric and I will nap, clean up and maybe take a ski lift tour. Tonight is meeting night.

We'll head back to Lame Deer tomorrow. I'll stay there for a day or two and then head back to Tulsa. Such an amazing adventure!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I arrived in Lame Deer, Montana, yesterday about 6:30 mountain time. I had a smooth trip with almost no glitches. The scenery was beautiful and sometimes breathtaking. I expected to see lots of wind farms but saw only a few. I wondered who owns all this empty space and what he or she is doing with it. My only disappointment was that my used, refurbished laptop is just not working. I patted myself on the head a bunch for finding a bargain, but it appears not to have been a bargain. Luckily Eric is loaning me his Mac for blogging and googling.

It's great to see Eric. I have really missed his company. The phone talks are just not the same.

All the way here I listened to an audio book, "Tomorrow's God." It's about the search people are currently on to find a way to live spiritually. I found it very thought provoking. One thing struck me - if we are on a search to live spiritually, we should probably start with taking care of ourselves, beginning with 15 minutes of meditation morning and evening, 20 minutes of exercise every day, and eating a balanced diet. The book said that one of the main obstacles to living spiritually is our distaste for taking care of ourselves. We want someone else to take care of us - even God. Hmmm. The book added that there's a fourth thing - a way of regularly inspiring ourselves. Possibilities: nature, music, study of spirituality, church, etc. Anyway, it was a great way to travel.

Tonight after Eric finishes work, we will head toward Yellowstone. We plan to meet our friend, Annie, who works in Jackson and have dinner with her. I'm not sure when we will start back to Eric's but it may be Saturday afternoon or Sunday. Since I've never seen Yellowstone, I'm looking forward to it. My childhood friend, Connie, and her family went on a trip to Yellowstone when we were about 10 years old. I was very jealous. Now I can get over it.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


After a lovely "staycation" with granddaughter, Rebecca, I'm going on an actual trip. Tomorrow I set out for Lame Deer, Montana, where my friend, Eric, moved six months ago. I'm driving so I can see the country and to avoid the annoyances of flying. I'm really looking forward to it. Friends are saying, "Are you driving? Alone?!!!" They forget that I had two jobs where I drove (alone) all over creation. I learned a lot about long distance traveling. It can be a great experience if you like to sing to the Brandenburg Concertos, listen to audio books and talk to yourself - all of which I love to do but get very little chance to do.

I just finished washing my car - for the first time since the wreck. I thought I was surely in good enough shape to do it instead of spending $ at the car wash. And indeed it was a piece of cake. Next I've got to clean it out. I'm not sure why, but my car seens to become an office with all kinds of business stuff in it, but that shouldn't take long. Then, of course, I must pack. A couple of friends are going to help me shampoo carpet at the clubhouse. Newcomers spill a lot of coffee and the stains keep wicking back up even after it is shampooed. So we're going to see if we can keep that from happening. Then we have our book study on the Four Agreements. After that if there's anything left of me, I'll finish packing and hit the hay.

I'm hoping that I will be able to post as I go along. I just bought a used Mac book which should give me that capability.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Treasure found in the Clean Out

I've been engaged in one of those major cleanouts most of us do periodically - closets, cabinets, desks, etc. Yesterday I found a treasure among the papers I had piled up to do something with someday. Usually those piles all end up in the trash because by the time I go through them, I've lost interest or time has made them irrelevant. However, this time I found an article describing how to make major changes in one's self or one's life by using brain functions.

According to the article, by using ritual several times a day - it doesn't really matter what - to support the changes you want to make, your brain will automatically go to work on helping you make those changes. These rituals make memories that gradually change you into a new person, so to speak. Rituals could consist of just stopping and spending a few minutes thinking about the changes you want to make.

The article outlines six elements that need to go into the work: 1) Do the rituals frequently - three to five times a day. 2) Use meditation to support the changes - by quieting the "to-do" mind and getting in touch with the quieter part of the mind, one's "higher self" can surface. This part of the "self" is the part that will support the changes we want to make. 3) Create a model for the self you want to create. This could be based on someone you admire or just on how you want to be. 4) Cultivate the "witness." All of us have a part of ourselves that observes our thoughts and behaviors. Some people call this the conscience. Some call it an inner guide. To make changes, we need to be in touch with this part of ourselves so that we can mnitor whether our thoughts and behaviors are in alignment with the changes we want to make and make adjustments as we go along. 5) Choose a motivational feelling. This would be an emotion that you've had in the past that supported you in making changes. Remember that feeling and develop ways to evoke that feeling in yourself. Maybe there are pictures or objects that evoke that feeling. Maybe a piece of jewelry. Fragrance is another powerful way to evoke feeling. Maybe a particular scent would help you get into that feeling. 6) Choose some new behaviors to engage in that will support the changes you want to make. Make a list of at least three things you could do that you've never done before that would support the changes you want to make. Do the easiest one first when the time is right. Then work your way through the list to the most difficult one.

Here's an example of a ritual that incorporates all of the six elements for change:
Begin with a short period of meditation so that your higher self to come to the surface. Then evoke the feelilng state you chose for motivating your changes. Let the feeling grow and allow it to adjust your body and facial expression. Then bring to mind the self you want to become and focus on each of the values and characteristics you want. This can be a very brief practice.

In between times, remain in touch with your witness as much as possible and when making decisions, ask yourself what your new self would do. When you catch yourself doing or saying something that is not in alignment with your new self, stop for a moment and do a mini-ritual to shift back.

Cultivate environments that support the changes you want to make. You might want to create a sacred space in your home or even make your entire home a sacred space. Look for places that inspire you in your geographical area - nature or beautiful buildings. Even more important, cultivate a supportive social environment. Surround yourself with people who support the changes you are making.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Pain as a Touchstone for Spiritual Growth

When I was first in recovery I was in a meeting that was studying Step 10 and they came across the paragraph that says something about pain being the touchstone of all spiritual growth. I said I was sure that wasn't going to be true for me because I had had all the pain in my life that I could handle and I was sure my Higher Power was going to protect me from pain so that I could stay sober. My sponsor's sponsor was in the room, and she said, "Oh, honey. Please see me after the meeting."

I truly thought that one of the main objectives of life was to have no pain. But the beautiful lady said, "No! Pain is a tool that tells us when something is wrong that we need to do something about! What if we had no pain when we broke a leg? We would keep walking and further damage our leg. The same is true for emotional pain - it alerts us that something is wrong and needs to be fixed. Even grief at the death of a much beloved person alerts us to the fact that we need to adjust to a new life without the person. Of course, I had never thought about pain that way. I was sure that pain was to be avoided and escaped which meant that the relief from pain that chemicals gave me was a good thing - which, of course, led to addiction.

So - now I don't try to find pain to make myself grow. There's plenty to be had without seeking it. But in every kind of pain there's a gift of some kind, and it's my job to find it.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

365 Project

Rebecca and I had a great adventurous few days when she came to visit. I forgot to take pictures at Big Splash and the pics I took at the drive in movie did not come out. But here are the rest of the pics plus some others of interest.

Bec is trying to fit in with the fishes when we visited the aquarium.
Beautiful Bec and beautiful fishes at the aquarium.

Our first trip on the adventure Rebecca and I had last week. This is the door into the Woolaroc museum near Bartlesville.
Here's Bec with the huge elephant head at Woolaroc.

And here, at last, are the shrunken heads at Woolaroc that Bec has waited for a long time to see. I believe everyone should see shrunken heads.

The buffalo (bison) on the way in to Woolaroc.
Water buffalo at Woolaroc. They're in the water for sure on this hot day.

Check these out! Either they're new or Rebecca noticed them when I haven't in all the times I've stopped for gas at this rest stop on the way home from Dallas. We got a great big laugh.
Bec and I went to the aquarium on our adventure week and got this picture with the diver in one of the big tanks.

Here's Minky with his swimming instructor. He is doing great with swimming lessons.

This is the shadow cast on the wall through my front window and the bushes. I thought it was pretty but it didn't take a very pretty picture.
Apparently I inadvertently bought a slow cooker that was meant for cannibals!

Poor Cisco. It was time for his rabies shot, but it made him sick this time and he had to go back to the vet.

Sunday, August 01, 2010


Re-organizing is the story of my life. My priorities shift constantly. Of course, the wreck really re-organized my life. Grief takes massive amounts of energy. My whole psyche had to learn to live without Ron who was the center of my life for twenty-two years. It was the most amazing thing to just observe how much work went into that that was pretty much out of my control. I guess we are hardwired to grieve losses and there's little we can really do to change it. It's possible to schedule some of the uncontrollable weeping for more convenient times than at work or at the grocery store, but that's about it. Then, of course, there was the physical healing process that was daily work. Five surgeries in a year and a half took a toll on this over 60 body when added to the trauma of being hit by a car. It wasn't unusual for me to sleep 14 to 16 hours out of every 24. Some folks tried to tell me that I was depressed, but believe me I know the difference between completely pooped and bummed, and I was pooped.

Little by little I've gotten better. Not just because almost five years have passed, although that's part of it. I've also done just about everything I could think of or that anybody could suggest to facilitate my healing: Hawaiian massage, cranial-sacral body work (2 kinds), counseling, nutrition, voice-mapping, NUCCA chiropractic, physical therapy. It seems to me that the voice-mapping, nutrition, physical therapy, and cranial-sacral body work have been the most help.

I am far from normal now, but it's hard to tell what I would have been like at 69 without the wreck. Maybe I would be as easily tired as I am now. Maybe I would have the same quirks - like I can't eat highly spiced food anymore. Who knows. But here I am - probably as well as I'm going to be. That doesn't mean I will stop doing the things that help me, but I'm shifting my focus. Up til now healing has been top priority - physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. Everything else had to take second place. Of course, I spend time with family and friends because I love them and because they sustain me, but besides that - it was kind of - "I'll do what I can and that will have to be enough." Household chores certainly fell into that category. Sometimes the chores didn't get done and things were in a wreck. I paid bills late, ate McDonalds three meals a day, etc. Finally my job fell into that category and I quit after cutting back three or four times.

I've spent the last few months inventorying my spiritual and emotional self (per the 12 Steps) and I'm almost done with that process. Through that process I realized I needed to do some clearing of the house and I'm almost finished with that. So, now I'm re-organizing my priorities to get even more serious about the writing I've wanted to do my whole life. I've done a lot of it in the past few months, but I need a lot more time to progress more quickly. I'm feeling pretty unsettled in this process. I've been through so many changes that I would rather dig a rut and veg out in it. But my decision is to move forward. At 69, it's not good to postpone the desire of my life!!!! But in redesigning my days, I will have to take into consideration that the time to write will have to come out of something else and it can't be the time to rest; feed myself physically, spiritually, emotionally; and exercise.

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