Thursday, April 24, 2014


I used to hate to spend time by myself. I think I'd have been considered an extrovert once upon a time, but that has changed as I've gotten older. I've become more comfortable in my own presence and now I cherish time to myself.

I'm a stay at home mom, so I don't get a lot of that time to myself thing. Even my morning yoga is done in the living room with my hubby present and sometimes at least one kid. I often will finish the physical part and then retire to my bedroom for some quiet contemplation or meditation. I also write with others in the room most of the time. I plug in my headphones and turn on my writing station on Pandora and just try to block out my environment. The kids will come over to get my attention and up will go my finger in that universal signal for 1 minute please - they've learned to wait patiently while I finish my thought - then I give them my attention. It's the same for my artwork. I have a corner of the living room set up with my drafting table with all my art supplies and that's where I sit to do my sketching, zentangling, or quilling. One side affect of this is that I end up sharing my passions with my family - I think the kids seeing me engaged in what I love is important. It may not be a perfect system, but it works for us.

One thing I've come to really prioritize for myself is me time. My darling hubby is a champ at facilitating this for me. When he gets home from work he usually gives me some time to go to our bedroom and just be by myself. I usually read or meditate, but the being by myself thing is key. If it's been a particularly trying day - I'll get cranky if I'm interrupted, but most of the time the family is very respectful of that time to myself. I've really come to need it - that me time.

Monday, April 21, 2014

self control

This is quite the concept for me as a compulsive overeater and sugar addict. It would be nice if battling an addiction was as easy as self control. I have lots of self control when it comes to some things, but not sugar.

People who are not addicts find it very hard to understand how sugar or food can be an addiction - they don't understand why I can't just eat one little slice of pie.

Yesterday was Easter and we went to my parents' house for dinner. There was chocolate cream pie for desert and my mom offered me a slice. I turned her down - thanking her politely and she said just have a little piece. What she doesn't understand is that one tiny slice of pie would mean me sneaking in to the kids' rooms to steal their Easter candy or getting in the car late at night to go buy myself ice cream then eating the whole pint. I'm not proud of this - I'm a little embarrassed actually, but it's the truth. One taste of sugar and I lose control.

One thing I've noticed since giving up sugar and compulsive eating is that I have more self control in all other aspects of my life too. I'm much less likely to fly off the handle now that sugar is out of my system. I'm calmer, more in control of my reactions and emotions.

So today I thank my Higher Power for giving me self control - for helping me do what I cannot do myself. I'm on day 52 of abstinence and it was worth not having any chocolate cream pie yesterday - I'm free of compulsive overeating and sugar.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Who Am I?

From For Today published by Overeaters Anonymous, Inc.
"There is no ache more
Deadly than the striving
to be oneself."
Yevgeniy Vinokurov

This is an important part of self recovery - getting to know oneself. The basis of who I am is that I'm a person of light and love, but my every evolving self is important to get to know and make friends with too. That is one of the goals of the 12 steps - to get to know the God of My Understanding and to get to know myself. 

I think one of the basics of who I am is that I'm a seeker of spiritual truth. I've found it many different places and in very different ways. There is a lot of truth in my spiritual path and I feel unbelievably blessed. I think this is just one component of who I am.

I'm a complex person as I believe all of us are, so trying to sum up the answer to this question in a blog post seems a daunting task. Add to that the every changing nature of personality and you see my conundrum.

I think the search for oneself is in and of itself knowledge of oneself - does that make sense? I think just looking for who am I is enough. As I work the steps, I'm bound to change and evolve into someone closer to my true self and that is all I can really ask for.

Getting to know my Higher Power is part of the process. If we are indeed created in His/Her image than we are a reflection of that Power greater than ourselves and can see bits of ourselves in that relationship.

I think this is a lifelong process and certainly can not be summed up perfectly in one simple blog post, so with that I will leave you with blessings for you journeys of self discovery.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


"Time ripens all things.
No man's born wise."
Miguel de Cervantes
from For Today published by Overeaters Anonymous Inc.

Growth takes time, but just like a little kid who can't wait to be a grownup I'm impatient. I want enlightenment NOW! I stamp my foot like a child in the middle of tantrum, wanting to have my payout before the work.

As long as I work the steps and do the work I will see the results, but in my Higher Power's time, not my own. Would I like to be thinner now? Hell yes! But.....there is obviously more I need to learn from being in this larger body. Do I have to like it? Not necessarily, but it helps to find gratitude for the journey I'm on right here and now.

Take time to stop, pause and appreciate the moment. I will never have this moment again and though I may not like all of it, there is always something to be thankful. I'm thankful that this body has taught me to slow down and learn my own limitations. I often try to do things I'm not ready for and end up hurting myself or others. Having this body has made me pause and think before I act - is this necessary? Am I really capable or do I have more to learn, do, etc before I can accomplish this task. One example of this is that I really want to hike in the mountains, my dream is to backpack on the Appalachian Trail here in Maine. Right now at 100 pounds overweight, with poor cardiovascular health and very little strength this would be a really bad idea, but with time, weight loss, conditioning, and building strength it is something I can accomplish. A rudimentary example, but a good one nonetheless. 

So today I will appreciate the journey, my ability to even be on the path of recovery and health. I will be thankful for the moment and I will relax and let things happen in their own time.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


From a page on Facebook called Wild Woman Sisterhood
"The average length of a hug between two people is 3 seconds.
 But researchers have discovered something fantastic. When a hug lasts 20 seconds, there is a therapeutic effect on the body and mind. The reason is that a sincere hug produces a hormone called "oxytocin", also known as the love hormone. This substance has many benefits in our physical and mental health, helps us, among other things, to relax, to feel safe and calm our fears and anxiety. This wonderful calming is offered free of charge every time we have a person in our arms, who cradled a child, we cherish a dog or cat, we're dancing with our partner, the closer we get to someone or just hold the shoulders of a friend."

This quote made me think. I don't know how accurate it is, but I do believe that hugs are good for us. I'm a hugger as many of the people in my life already know. I love hugging and I tend to hug longer than 3 seconds. I'm often told that I'm the best hugger and I think that it may be because I hug longer than the average so that 'oxytocin' is released. It's not conscious - I just like hugging. I even send lots of virtual hugs.

One of the best things about hugs is that no matter how many you give you never lose any. As a matter of fact you receive as you give - how awesome is that - hugs beget hugs!

So for your own happiness go out and hug someone today. Here's a big ((((((HUG))))))) from me to you. If you need a hug and you live nearby - I'm happy to oblige. 

art as meditation

There is an art form called zentangles (to learn more go here: The basis of the idea is to make doodles in an intentional meditative way.

I wouldn't say I do "actual" zentangles, but I've been doodling zentangle-like doodles and mandalas in a meditative way. It's incredibly relaxing and I've been making some beautiful artwork. I wouldn't say it's wall worthy, but it's filling up my journal nicely.

I spend some time every day in quiet contemplation, trying to quiet my mind and just listen. I'm successful in varying degrees. I often find my mind wandering in the oddest directions while I'm trying to still it. Honestly, it can be a little frustrating. I have, however, redecorated my bedroom, renovated the basement, created new story lines for my writing, etc. When my mind starts wandering, I try to bring it back to what I'm doing. (What can I say? I'm still a work in progress - actually I always will be. Isn't that comforting? That I don't ever have to be perfect. I just keep moving along One Day At A Time, one step at a time.) This art form has given me another form of meditation to work on quieting my mind and I find the my mind doesn't wander nearly as much - it focusing on the art.

I love my life - really. I'm so blessed to have the kind of life that allows me to follow my passions. Yesterday and today I've been obsessing a bit about meditative art and so I've put off my writing (another passion) to work on some art. Unschooling my children gives them the same freedom. The girl (my daughter) has discovered zentangles too, so she's been watching videos on Youtube about them and practicing the art form. The boy (my son) is watching Murder She Wrote because he just loves murder mysteries (Nero Wolfe and Hercule Poirot are a couple of his favorite tv series too. Now if I could just get him to read Rex Stout and Agatha Christie.)

I've been very relaxed the last couple of days and feeling very focused. My brain is getting a workout - one of the many reasons I love art. It may look like I'm "wasting" time, but the reality is I'm working with my imagination and exercising my brain.

If any one is interested and would like more information you can check out the website above or check for videos on Youtube. Of course I'm also more than willing to show you in person if you live nearby or chat about it in the comments here or on Facebook.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Spiritual Awakening

For most of us in program a spiritual awakening is not a flash in the desert, but is rather a gradual process. I think this is true of me.

I've been in program for probably about a year and a half and it has taken me all that time - including a time of relapse - to really rediscover my Higher Power. My awakening has definitely been gradual - little by little, day by day, step by step, moment by moment until I realized I had reestablished a connection with my Higher Power. It happened so naturally that I almost didn't recognize it.

But, here I am. Writing about my spiritual journey through the steps - awakening out of a time of deep depression - blinking my eyes at the coming light.

I'm grateful - oh so grateful for the 12 step program of OA because not only has it helped me rediscover my Higher Power, but in doing so it helped me rediscover myself. I was lost in the desert and I slowly made my way back to who I am. Changed and better, but still Hope.

I have a very varied spiritual path. I grew up as a Christian in a Congregationalist Church attending Sunday School and going to services on holidays. I converted to Catholicism in my teenage years then discovered Wicca in college. I've attended church services of many types within the Christian faith and been parts of Pagan circles. I've studied Shamanism and worked with beautiful Shamanic healers. Ultimately, at this point in my life, I feel called to an eclectic paganism that incorporates my entire Spiritual Journey. I've had to be reawakened to my spirituality various times throughout my life as I wandered off the path of my journey, but somehow I've always found myself making my way back to a rich spiritual life. At this point my path is along the 12 steps of OA and has led my back to the Goddess who has claimed me for this time.

I am blessed to be called to this Spiritual Journey and though it may have so many twists and turns that now one else could find their way - it's my way and I am thankful for it.

Monday, April 7, 2014


Community has become hard for me - actually I think it's always been hard for me, but due to a falling out with a number of friends I'm finding even harder to trust than I used to.

I've made babysteps over the last year in rebuilding community and making friends. First I began going to OA meetings and met some wonderful people who were a supportive community of mostly women who understand what it's like being controlled by addiction. That was a wonderful discovery for me. I still have a hard time relating to these women outside of meetings though - it's hard for me just to pick up the phone to say hello - I mean why would anyone want to waste their time talking to me - I'm awkward and uncomfortable in social situations and I just don't know what to say. Having said that I continue to push myself out of my comfort zone. After being in OA for a while, I and my family joined a homeschool co-op that meets once a week during the school year. This has been important because I've begun working on finding community for my kids. We've lived in isolation for a couple of years now, so this is important work we are doing as a family.

It's hard - I'm not going to lie to you. Sometimes I hate it. Not only have been going to this co-op, but I also have been teaching classes. Teaching is a bit easier then I expected; it's the social niceties that I find difficult. I have a hard time keeping up my side of a conversation. I just don't know what to say a lot of the time. I tend to keep my passionately held believes to myself and I absolutely avoid conflict - I don't think it really serves any purpose - I feel people have the right to their beliefs and opinions whether I may or may not agree with them. I used to enjoy a good debate especially if it was with someone I loved. Now that I've lost a number of people I loved because they disagreed with me, I find it hard to disagree with anyone - I'd rather just keep my mouth shut. I'm not likely to change anyone's mind anyway. Live and let live.

Yesterday I reconnected with a family that was part of a community I was once very involved with. I'd drifted away from them and then closed down. I was able to explain to them what happened and they were so wonderfully supportive and understanding. I'll be honest I still felt a bit awkward, but I also felt loved and accepted for who I am and that was a gift. I am so grateful that my friend was willing to reach out to me and invite me to their home. They are a lovely family that I have quite a bit in common with, so it was good not to have to hide - I still did a bit, but it was nice knowing I didn't have to.

I guess I'm coming to understand that community still has a place in my life and I've really short changed my children this last couple of years in the idea of "protecting" them. Sort of backfired. I just ended up with unhappy lonely children. We as a family are rectifying that, but it takes time and I'm still standoffish. It's hard watching my kids jump in with no regard to their feelings. Everyone is their best friend and I'm so worried they are going to get hurt, because I did. I lost my 2 best friends. But - that is just part of life and it's my job to be here to help them learn to deal with hurt when it happens, to help them heal and pick themselves back up and try again. I do this by example and that's just what I'm trying to do.

Community is important and I don't have to have just one community. I'm a multifaceted person, so it would make sense that I would have more than one community to find support and friendship.

So today I'm grateful for community. My community of OA, my homeschooling community, my Facebook community, and my very small community of family and friends. Thank you all for being there for me and letting me be there for you.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Self acceptance

This is a tough one, because I'm called to complete self acceptance, not partial self acceptance. This means I must love all of me just as I am in this moment.

This is a tall order to be honest. It's easy to love the parts of me that I find positive: my loving, kind nature, my open heart, my acceptance of others, my talents. But....this is not all I am. I can't love me and hate my fat - it's part of who I am in this moment. I can't love myself and hate my selfishness - that's part of me too. I need to look at all of me good and bad and accept that this is who I am in this moment a complete fallible person worthy of love and acceptance.

It's easy for me to love my friends and family, foibles and all, but I judge myself so much more harshly. I think because I have moments of selfishness, than that makes me a selfish person and means I'm not worthy of love. The opposite is true, because of my moments of selfishness I need more love to help me get beyond that one moment and find a place of selflessness.

Does that make sense? I love my children unconditionally even though they may have done things that were very wrong. That doesn't mean that I stop loving them - they need my loving acceptance even more to help them learn from their mistakes and grow from them rather than being stuck in an unhealthy place making the same mistakes over and over again.

I'm no different, I need the loving guidance of my Higher Power and the gift of self acceptance so that I can grow beyond my foibles, my mistakes. Who I am is the sum of all those parts, not just those parts separate from each other. I have to take the good with that bad. That's how it works.

So today, I turn to my Higher Power who accepts for who I am in this moment unconditionally and I pray for the gift of self acceptance. I work at loving myself as I am right now because I am grateful for who I am, who I was and who I will become, but right now is what is important. I'm grateful that I am on this journey of self discovery and spiritual awakening called the 12 steps.


journeying on......

Thursday, April 3, 2014

touching others


Another wonderful quote from For Today published by Overeaters Anonymous, Inc.

"Want is a growing giant whom the coat 
of have was never large enough to cover."
                                                                               Ralph Waldo Emerson

Yesterday I talked about serenity and how that is my goal rather than happiness. I still enjoy feeling happy, I just don't feel it is necessary to be happy all the time, I'd much rather feel peaceful and in harmony. One of the keys to this is to have my wants in balance with my haves.

What does that mean? I have to think hard about this one. I think ultimately the key here is gratitude, being grateful for all I already have and wanting what I have rather than always searching for more - wanting more. In my case a specific example is the ever present more food, more sugar, which I think I try to convince myself can take the place of love. That's what I'm really looking for I think - more love.

Never mind that I'm already loved. I have a family that in spite of character defects or maybe even because of them loves me. I have friends that love me. Most importantly I have a Higher Power that loves me. And for the first time in my life I can truly say that I love me.

What is the best way to experience love? I believe it is to love more - to love the people in my life, love the trees all around me, love my pets, the wind, the sun and mostly to love my Higher Power. Discovering more love in myself helps me love myself and realizing that I already have love means I don't have to want more love. 

The goal is to fill that hole in myself with so much love and gratitude that there is no more room for compulsive overeating or cravings for sugar. 

I have so much to be grateful for and so many people to love - even those who may no longer like me or love me. I can still love them and pray for them - wish the best for them. I don't need them to love me back to feel the love I have for them. They don't even need to know I love them to benefit from my love. It just needs to be. 

All my life I've been drowning in wants - I want, I want, I want (maybe I said I need, I need, I need, but what I meant was want). I just kept forgetting what I already have. Now thanks to the 12 steps and my deepening relationship with my Higher Power I can focus more on being grateful for what I have - I can want what I already have - specifically love, cuz really that's all it boils down to. Love of others and love of self. I have a healthier relationship with myself than I have for years. Lots of therapy and some working of the program got me here. Accepting I need a Higher Power to take control of my wants and my needs was key. 

Luckily that is something I have always had. I've always had a loving Higher Power that has been taking care of me even when I wasn't aware of it. What a blessing! How blessed am I.

My wants and haves are more in balance then they probably ever have been. Of course that doesn't mean I don't still want - I do - I still want things I don't necessarily need. Remember I'm a work in progress. We say in program "progress not perfection" - I don't have to ever have the pressure of an expectation of perfection, what is important in my recovery is progress - spiritual progress because this a spiritual program at it's heart. As we find and work on the spiritual answer to our problems we find balance in the spiritual, mental and physical. I'm a libra - I like balance, so this all works out well for me.

Today I am grateful. I'm grateful for the love in my life, for the love I can feel for others, for my love of nature, for my Higher Power, for my love of writing, and I'm grateful for all of you. The ones who take the time to read these words. Thank you for being here and reading. May you be blessed.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Another wonderful quote from For Today published by Overeaters Anonymous, Inc.:

"The greatest happiness you can have
is knowing that you do not 
necessarily require happiness."
                                                                                        William Saroyan

This really struck me as profound. I actually read it a few times before I decided to blog about it today.

When I was in the midst of my compulsive overeating I was trying to obtain happiness using food. How silly is that? I wasn't happy so I'd search for happiness in the bottom of a pint of Ben and Jerry's. I may have found temporary pleasure, but it wasn't happiness and who says I need to be happy all the time anyway? There is a lot of pressure in trying to be happy all the time.

I think that misconception may have been one of the reasons I suffer so often from depression - my expectations do not meet with reality. For some reason I've been conditioned to believe that in order to have a good life I must always be happy.

Since I've started working on my depression and how to deal with all my emotions, I do have more periods of happiness; more importantly I know fully feel sadness and just neutrality: not feeling happy or sad, just being comfortable in my skin with myself and my Higher Power. It's incredibly freeing.

I've always believed that we need the happy and the sad - 2 sides to every coin and all that, but I never really accepted the sad - it was just a phase that helped me better feel the happy and the goal was always to get out of the sad to the happy. Now I don't necessarily have to feel either. I can just be.

I try to live in a state of gratitude, but these even lead me to that wonderful feeling of being in that neutral place between the peaks of happy or sad. It's a peaceful place to be - a place of the serenity talked about in the Serenity Prayer that I try to say everyday at least once.

"God(dess) grant me the Serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
and Wisdom to know the difference. 

It's a powerful little prayer and reminds me that Serenity is my goal, courage and wisdom alongside it - not happiness. 

Having rediscovered my spiritual relationship with my Higher Power is really the greatest gift that OA has given me. I feel blessed to have Her loving arms around me every day as I meditate and pray. That place in Her arms of peace and warmth and serenity are what I strive for - those moments are even better than happiness.

Blessings to you all.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

turning it all over

Turning my will over to my Higher Power does not mean I'm no longer taking responsibility for my life. It means simple that I'm trying to align myself with the focus of the Universe. To me that means Love.

Love is the primary purpose of all creation. I truly believe this. All things come from love and return to love. I need more love in my life - I think we all do.

One of my greatest struggles is love of self. I fear being selfish more than anything and I struggle with the concept of self love not being selfish. In order to show kindness, compassion and love to others unconditionally, I need to have love for myself. In essence in order to be unselfish I need to love myself. That is where it all starts.

Ultimately what it comes down to, is that my Higher Power loves me unconditionally even when I'm messing up - even in the worst of my compulsive eating, my Goddess was with me loving me and supporting me - I just didn't acknowledge it. Who am I to be so self centered as to think that my Higher Power is wrong and shouldn't love me. I was created to be a being of love and light. I love others for their potential why do I inside on hating myself.

I love me and that is a selfless act - it makes life for all those around me better, because it allows me to love them.

I will not apologize for my self love and I will probably not stop struggling with it - I've been conditioned to believe that my defects of character and my mistakes make me unloveable. This isn't so - I can still love me - it's imperative for me to love me more because I need love to over come those defects of character and to learn from those mistakes.

So for today, I will forgive myself and I will take time to love myself.