I’m 50!

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I recall with a pang in my breath the times my mother mentioned Christmas was not the same without her mother. I barely flinched, I may have flashed an eye to meet hers, but rarely did I extend compassion to my mom when she spoke of such things. More than likely I returned to my own desperate thoughts of yet another devoid holiday season.

I recently realized I was on that same self-inflicted, torturous path, even though I’m a long ways from home. My mom has been gone for almost three years and so far this “joyful” season was kicking my ass. I stood last week in the center of San Miguel as the decorations went up. Mom would have liked that, I said under my breath, as I turned and walked flatly away. It’s just weird without her.

I still reach for the phone most Sundays to call her; it’s become my missing limb with it’s phantom feelings; she’s not there. My brothers are not speaking to me, most of my family is dead or very distant, and I forgot to have a daughter who will hold my hand as I lay dying. The world has gone crazy-violent, the Republicans are hell-bent on destroying any shred of decency remaining in my country, and chemicals, pollutants and plastics are choking the earth to death. Whoa is me, this is all made a just tad worse by the fact that I am alone once again, ooooooh whoa is me.

I tumbled into a dark rabbit hole for a number of days, sad and weepy, deep in the clutches of grief. It has turned cold in Central Mexico, so I crawled under a mountain of blankets and stayed there; highly unusual for me. I’ve orchestrated this highly solitary life and it is no longer working for me. And oooohhhhh my gawd, my birthday, the big FIVE-O is approaching, aaah boy, hand me another hanky.

Sunday morning I awoke with tears streaming down my cheeks, but everything felt different. I could see colorful, brilliant, twirling lights in the corners of my eyes; something I used to see quite often as a kid, but not so much as an adult. I used to called these lights “fairies”, although I really have no clue. They do however, make me feel better; they generate heat within. I stood up and noticed things looked brighter, so I karate chopped my way out of my bedroom, “I live in Saint Michael’s town and I have a bazillion things to be grateful for, just LOOK at how well I can karate chop my way around the house!!” I got dressed and ran down the hill to dance class; I felt a pep in my step and was eager to move. My eyes were full from the idea of tears, as I glanced at some new and familiar faces in Sunday’s ecstatic dance class. The song, “Hallelujah” came on. It poured over me like a waterfall.

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Yes, I’m going to be fifty years old and how fucking amazing is it that I am still alive?!? How tremendous is it that I am dancing like a champ in the ballet room of Bellas Artes, in the middle of Mexico!?!?!? And hallelujah to be free of a relationship that has been wearing me down ever since it started?!?! I love the cows of Rancho Santo Niño! I love my strong legs! I love my jibbly belly! I love my dog! I love Mexico! I love the United States! I love Donald Trump! I love my artwork! I love my energy!!

Uhhhh ok I would love for Donald Trump to shut his racist cake hole and go away forever. This is where delusion and optimism come in handy.

On and on I pranced, HALLELUJAH my forties are over! I hid out for so many of them; I tried so hard to be invisible, but nothing worked. I hated myself and wished I were dead. The gravity of these sentiments is not lost on me, ever; it wakes me in the wee hours of the night, but throughout the years, I honestly thought I was quite deficient. I was always buzzing in a quiet desperation to find a cure outside myself, but in the meantime I distracted myself with a number of mind-numbing pacifiers because — well, because get me out of this pain now.

I struggled over a lot of things my forties. I felt awful about a marriage to a man I should not have married. We liked each other a lot, we still do, but we never once worked as a couple, and so I strayed, before we divorced. I was wracked with guilt, angry too. I was a failure. I crawled back to Illinois with my tail between my legs and worked for awful people because they helped punish me when I fell short. I didn’t care about my future, I didn’t want to travel, I didn’t want to learn anything new, I had zero interest in any long term goals. I deserved no happiness.

I hope it’s not too late.

Then my mom got sick and needed me. She was going down for the count and reached for my hand like never before. She apologized to me. She told me she was very sorry she had not been nicer to me and had deep regrets. “I wish I had been nicer to you Meag.”

With those words, my mom healed a thousand and one wounds; I can picture myself falling slow-motion backwards through a time warp as these words penetrate. My focus went from staring deep inside my jagged soul, to turning around and looking at the horizon out in front of me, “There it is, my death, over there towards the horizon. I better live the best damn life I can possibly live before I reach my horizon.”

It’s true, I fell into a rabbit hole, what with the coming holidays, my approaching half-century birthday, the holidays without my mom nor family, and dang I forgot to have a kid, and well, why not have another holiday as a singleton…. oy vey, the grief is huge.

Although, none of this matters if I slather on the right combination of denial, delusion and optimism, because I have the greatest gift inside my heart; my mom’s blessings.

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She set me free and I will be forever grateful, even if she did wait until her deathbed — but oh my she finished strong. It’s time to get busy living or get busy dying, as they say in prison. Don’t forget the denial — fake it til I make it is in full swing right now.

San Miguel de Allende is a lot of things, and it is also a city full of women who have come to re-invent themselves after the divorce, the retirement, the breakup, the failure, the success; this path has been blazed many times, but never duplicated. I am in the right place, at the right time, at the right age.

So let’s dance…

Thank you Fairies!

Thanks Ma!
Love you like a diamond! xx

Happy Birthday to my brothers Sean & Kevin too, I love you both wherever you are! xx

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Drift Out of Driftwood

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This week I am closing up life at the ranch and joining Reed in San Miguel de Allende for the next few weeks. It’s hot as a witch’s breath here in Austin; everything’s gone and dried up and blowing in the dust. I hear cackles in the wind, it’s that hot.

I’m so very happy to be heading down south; when the news sank in, my spirit shot up about three stories high. My time in Central Texas has not been easy, oh but it has been highly educational.

It’s been challenging to find work in and around Austin, THE hottest, hippest city in America. Countless interviews later, I was probably giving off a much bigger vibe of “no, I really don’t want to work for your company” than their vibe of “now wait, who are you?” After years of working for companies I could not be more opposed to, I find it difficult to pretend to be excited about someone else’s company. Throughout many of the interviews, I could see exactly why I would leave, or more specifically, why they wouldn’t ask me to join. I have had small project work here and there, but mostly I have spent a heck of a lot of time expanding my repertoire of energy, energy, energy, gimme more of that arty-energy-jui-jui-jui.

My fear of failing after being fired a handful of times a few short years ago has had a fierce grip on me, almost smothering at times, but my backbone has returned and I’m ready to get forward move ahead. I failed at being able to succeed in a corporate job; I never liked it, but that’s what I was supposed to do, right? My mom’s voice still haunts me, “for crying out loud Meag, why can’t you just keep your mouth shut?”. This internal struggle has led me to work for some terrible people at some awful companies and guess what? I could not keep my mouth shut and was eventually shown the door.

My inner conflicts reflected as all my outer struggles. I have been in my way forever.

Another challenge to finding work was “being so far away from Austin” in Driftwood, Texas, a small po-dunk Texas Hill Country town, about 22 miles southwest of Austin. Yes, TWENTY-TWO miles, not TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY-TWO miles. Driftwood truly has a gritty feel of the wild, wild West; it’s rugged and quiet, hot and empty — for now, the real estate wars are heating up all across Hays County. The Salt Lick BBQ is here and that’s a huge claim to fame for Texas BBQ fans, but there is little else besides ranching, cowboying, and stealing water. Reed’s family has had property here for a number of years, so I have had the privilege of living on a gorgeous National Park, in a state with very little national parks. I have tremendously enjoyed my ranch explorations with Dito Bandito at my side, Henry in the car; I will always think fondly of this little internet-providerless town, ideally from afar.

You get dirty when you live in Driftwood, it comes with the territory and the terrifying shower I avoid like the plague. Here, I have lived precariously close to scorpions, spiders, snakes, fire ants, lobsters, chiggers, kissing bugs, cows, wasps, mean donkeys, mean HORSES, oh and an angry Reed Burns, but the latter has started to mellow as he ages like a fine wine, errr rather a full-bodied, potent, añejo tequila. We have had a rough road together, Reed and I, but we’ve also made great strides as we break down our walls — huge graffiti-filled walls from the early days of our spontaneous, mostly reckless, tequila-fueled, rowdy marriage. I am excited to meet Reed; he’s in his element in Mexico and it is something to behold, when he holds his court.

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In early 2001, I moved to San Miguel de Allende to teach Gabrielle Roth’s 5 Rhythms dance class and develop my artistic talent. However, in reality, after 10+ years of sobriety, I decided to drink the vino tintos and life took a turn towards a very different path than I had envisioned. It wasn’t awful, but sometimes it was painfully awful. I certainly had some glorious times, but many of my demons came back to haunt, they took a hold and directed my life for a number of years and through a number of scenarios. I eventually made my way back to Chicago after our divorce and I spent the next few years directionless and heart broken.

I am not these things anymore; my heart is alive and looking straight ahead. I take my dedication to all-things-energy very seriously and have experienced some tremendous healing as of late. I was recently attuned in Reiki Level II in Wimberly with Melissa Kleen; I am very aware of the strengthening eyeballs in the palms of my hands. An intensely powerful shamanic surgery with a clairaudient shaman healer has created new pathways in and around my heart during a mind-expanding experience. A traditional cacao ceremony has elevated my heart and I can’t stop giggling, nor crying tears of joy, for that matter — it has also changed my approach to my art and how I see the world. An autoimmune friendly approach to eating has relieved some long-time anxieties and discomfort, in addition to helping me drop some weight I had been struggling with. Curious to see how I will fare when face-to-face with the delicious street tacos of Guanajuato olé!

—> I am totally ready to get to work — I need to get to work.

ANDALE! Nos vemos!! Saying adios to my NIA Dance pals, until next time xx

Andale Austin

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I have been in Texas for just over a year and in the past few weeks — no, days really, it has truly begun to feel like home. I am feeling so much support in this cradle in the middle of Texas, I find myself caught off guard and tingly-all-over by the kindness of strangers and not-so-strangers that have helped me get acclimated in my new hometown.

After several months of travelling and setting up shop on the ranch, I have turned my focus to getting into the groove in Austin. I’m back at Square One in that I need to get a job, an address, a routine… and it’s finally starting to happen. I know what I want and now it’s time for the legwork. I have found some work; it is not my dream work, but it is putting me out in front of people, which is a great start. I am highly animated these days and eager to work with others. One foot in front of the other.

Austin is a very fast moving city; hottest city in America, some would say. The recent cover of Austin Monthly magazine quoted 158 people are moving to Austin EVERY DAY. That’s a solid stream of buses dropping off musicians everyday at the Greyhound station.

New friends, YaY!

Austin’s NIA dance community has been a great source of support; it’s teeming with women who are excited about life, love to shake their moneymaker and aren’t afraid to let it all hang out. Their stories are extraordinary and many times moving, and I’m thrilled to have found this support as a new whitebelt teacher and as a new citizen of Austin. Many of these women are undergoing profound personal transformation and have been a great source of comfort as I go through my own. Plus we spontaneously break out in dance when out in public.

There’s something very delightful about not caring if you cause a stir –when stirred properly.

Meetup.com has been a great resource to meet new people and learn of new ideas; I attend about four meetup groups on a regular basis and the momentum is building. One is an art and technology meetup with it’s focus on creating a community in Austin for new digital artists; I volunteered to be the gatekeeper of information and gather everyone’s name and interests. I even presented my #PicTweetArt and #NewEnergyin15 at the last meetup! It was a bit of a departure from the amazing new media presentations that were being highlighted, but I think it was all very well-received. There were LOLs :D. I joined the group to discover new ideas in video and to meet some interesting people.

The artistic sparks are flying, she said with a cheese-eatin’ grin!

I am a member of a Women’s Shaman Circle; the wisdom that’s being shared within this sacred circle has altered my life forever. I am honored to be a part of such a experienced and educated circle of women.

Women helping women. SHAZAM.

I’m also a new member in a specialized qi gong training called Jingui Golden Shield. It is a rare Temple Style of qi gong designed to achieve super health by developing the human energy body very quickly. I discovered this through my Chinese doctor and acupuncturist, Dr. Zhang, who diagnosed me with a deficient spleen a few weeks ago. We are working on this, but basically it’s the early stages of a thyroid condition, and it is my goal to reverse this condition NOW before a Western doctor prescribes daily pharmaceuticals.

Nooooo pills for me.

A worrisome mind, my age and irregular eating patterns are probably to thank — oh and the stress of absolutely everything changing in my life.

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I am turning 50 this year and this health condition has added an extra 10 pounds around my belly. It freaked me out — well hell’s bells it still freaks me out, because it gets in my way and I want it gone. Given the amount of energy work I do in addition to biking, hiking, dancing, yoga-ing, qi gong-ing and walking, it drives me craaaaaaazy that I have this new blob that just won’t budge. Then I read a book called “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl. I’m remarkably embarrassed I’ve had the audacity to cry about a little midlife weight gain.

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I have the privilege of being alive and living pretty well for half a century. I digress. This profoundly moving book about surviving a Nazi prison camp put gratitude in perspective for me in a manner I shan’t easily forget.

Profound gratitude.

My body can still move in amazing ways. I have great new friends I can lean on. I am networking. I’ve always hated networking! I love, love, love learning about energy and sharing it. I am branding and self-promoting, gaaaaa the dreaded self-marketing. I am in Austin, f*cking Texas, the hottest city in America and the good vibes are growing. I have a tremendous friend and confidant in Reed Burns. Sure it’s terrifying to be starting all over, but I am totally grateful for this life.

I am scrappy and I live in America — and if there’s one thing America loves besides Cheezwhiz, it’s scrappiness.

ANDALE TEXAS!

 

New Energy in 15, I am a Texas Tree!

I have decided to lay down my roots in Austin, Texas after sitting on a fence for about a year. I actually cried as I gazed up to Lady Liberty on top of the Texas State Capitol; this State can annoy the heck out of me at times, but fault can be found in any state. I don’t look for that because I have found some awesome new friends, some bubbling opportunities and a fairly clear path ahead of me. It’s where I want to be.

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Why I do the New Energy in 15

For the past 40 weeks, I’ve been posting a 15-second video to Instagram, sharing insight on what I’ve learned about energy. “Energy?” you say?! “Energy!!” I say! “Energy Balls!” I say even louder!! The road has been fascinating and it will be a lifetime of learning — tip of the iceberg, as they say. Some weeks are better than others and I find I am getting better at just rolling with it. I’m truly dedicated to this, so I decided early on to commit to doing #NewEnergyin15 for one year… but why?

Because there’s so much to learn, so much to know and so much to try. So much to heal. I don’t need to post the videos on the social networks, but why not? It’s fun and helps keep me focused on this, my purpose. Learning about video on the iPhone and all the cool apps available, are an added bonus. Doing energy work in public places has all kinds of perks, mainly meeting new people and getting over my fears. Sharing these videos with you is *your* bonus 😉 The more I learn, the more there is to discover, and so it goes. The videos will go deeper in the future.

Two years ago I awoke to the gift of feeling something different around me, in fact everything had shifted in my life after my mom passed away. I’ve felt compelled to know more about this strange new sensation because my vibration had unknowingly been raised and it literally felt like I was having a heart attack. It was scaryKundalini rising, wooooosh. It took a few weeks to feel right in my skin, but when I did, holy moley what is all this??! So began the clean up of my life and it continues today.

What’s that? Was that an eye roll? Energy is a bunch of hooey, you say? Faeries Riding Unicorns, Sprinkling Pixie Dust on Glittery Rainbows All Over the Place? Believe me, I have heard it all — mostly because I’ve thought it myself; at least I did years ago, before I could see and feel the things I can see and feel today. I spent years trying to understand and fix myself through self-help books, therapists, groups, workshops, ETC., mostly to no avail because I was a bit dead in the heart. My mission was, “I’ve got to fix this thing that’s wrong with me; WHAT is this thing that’s wrong with me!?” ‘Round and around the treadmill I ran for years and years. It was exhausting and frustrating, and eventually I gave up and went back to my old bad habits. My eyes would roll as I walked away from “energy” people. Weirdos.

Millions of self-help books.
They know the treadmill.

Then.
As my mom neared her final day, she said to me, “I wish I had been nicer to you Meag. I was wrong about you. I’m really sorry.”

*boom*
I fall down, everything’s different. Closed my eyes…
The power of love. The power of forgiveness.
Millions of useless self-help books.

My mom’s death (and perhaps the other heart-breaking deaths I’ve been privy to) completely cracked me open in a way I was not expecting. I now feel a responsibility to understand what’s happening around me and to gain a grasp of it– not a control of it. All those years of annoyance at my mom have been replaced with gratitude for the priceless gift she has given me. There are things to do, but I no longer feel there is something wrong with me. I am excited if I am anything, for Pete’s Sake.

I read about energy. I study energy. I love energy! I practice intuition. I sleep better than I have ever slept in my life. I dance, I qigong, I t’ai chi, I make art— which has improved tremendously since I started playing with energy. I’ve walked through many of my fears and doubts and have witnessed some incredible shifts. I moved to Texas. I am meeting a new tribe; we speak the same language, yet there are plenty more words to learn. How cool is that? But in all honesty, my energy game is way off these days.

This road is not always easy; but it is necessary. There has been heartache and loss, there too has been ghastly name calling; I have been called weird. Alas… I no longer blink at weird; my mom thought I was weird, she then regretted it. I am weird. No biggie.

I’ve set my sights in a new direction because the past few months have been brutal at home and my Spirit has effectively left the building. This affects my everything; I am not learning as quickly nor effortlessly as I had in the past. My energy is stuck, wowza how ironic — and dammit this hurts. Luckily I have found a support system and am leaning on them; I am confident I will bounce back but my biggest fear is that my heart shut down again. Oh please not that. I hold my heart near and dear, literally, figuratively and metaphorically, and will continue to protect it fiercely.

Three steps forward, two steps back.
Expanse, Constrict.
Energy Balls.

Thank you for checking out my new website; Larkabouts is now forever larking about here and there. This site will house my art and energy endeavors, with more categories to come. My heart thanks you for following along — and reading — this far. Stay tuned for a few more weeks of #NewEnergyin15 and then… on to deeper things.

This week’s video is a reminder about why I do this work — I really do love it, even as I struggle through it right now. I am not, nor will I ever give up; I am Grasshopper 4Evah!

Thank you xx

—> My #NewEnergyin15 YouTube Channel is here <—

Follow along on Instagram
………. Twitter toooooooooo!

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New Energy in 15, a bike ride in Austin

I love that Henry is still game to come along with me on adventures — he really is the most docile dog in the world, without being annoying.

In what was a rather stressful week, a bike ride along Lady Bird Lake was the perfect medicine for the day; I rented an Austin B Cycle and away we went. Henry gets all the smiles — he alone changes people’s energy. My energy was changed too, Bless His Heart as they say here in Texas.

New Energy in 15, 7 Precious Gestures on Lady Bird

In Qi Gong, there’s a practice called “7 Precious Gestures” and while there is no perfecting them, I hope they will be a part of my daily routine for the rest of my days. The slower, the better, the bigger the burn — the bigger the test on my patience. Even though it’s done very s-l-o-w-l-y, these 7 gestures totally fire up my life force energy and that’s what I’m here for.

Adios Dirty Bird!

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Once, many years ago, when I returned home from Mexico, my mom told me I looked dirty and weathered….. and I was deeply offended. Even shed some tears. Today, as I prepare to head to Texas after a winter in Mexico, I laugh because I AM dirty. And I love it!

I’ve got the dirt and dust under my fingernails and the sand from the ocean lines the bottom of my suitcases. I haven’t really done my hair since I was in America, and although I got dolled up a few times while I was here, for the most part, I rolled out of bed and galloped off to yoga or t’ai chi, and then began my chores upon returning home.

I like getting dirty, it feels good. Keeps me young 😀

It’s a dirty I am grateful for because it has taught me things and brought new experiences. Whether I was climbing the mountains to greet the full moon, stretching in the morning sun while standing in the ocean’s edge, eating street tacos with salsa running down my arm or riding in the back of a pickup to get out to the country, I have enjoyed my time in San Miguel de Allende, Taxco, Mexico DF, Puerto Vallarta and Bucerias tremendously!

Maybe I have always been too sensitive, this is probably true. I am dirty and weathered and it feels great. I would not be offended by my mom’s words today.

This Dirty Bird is ready to go home, and is profoundly grateful to Mexico for it’s lessons. ANDALE get me home to that bath tub so I can scrub my weathered, sun-kissed face!

And aw geez I gotta get to work! Adios Birdies! xx

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Adios Birdy! Weasel too!

 

Swimming through Fear

I wasn’t always afraid of the water, I grew up in Crystal Lake, Illinois, swimming in the crystal clear water and other area lakes at every opportunity and truly loved being a mermaid. But then came the dawn of JAWS and my swimming career was effectively halted. I remember trying to drown out my fears by singing to myself as I swam, in an attempt to not think about that shark and it’s reign of terror, but I sank in the fear of it all. One last swim in Crystal Lake at summer’s end, a snapping turtle poked it’s head up in front of mine and snapped at me — it was officially over. More sea-terror movies were rolled out, which effectively sealed the deal: Barracuda, Piranha, JAWS 2, JAWS 3, JAWS 4 (*cough*), Creatures, Tentacles, Titanic, ETC., I became content to stroll along the shores, even in the most docile of waters. The fear was big and silent and I gave into it.

Because if I swam, it would look like this:
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I sometimes get a little embarrassed that so much of my life became unhinged (and is still unhinging) after my mom’s death. I hear a voice back there “yeah get over it already, it’s been two years now, do your thing whatever, stop talking about it!”

I understand grief knows no bounds, yet why am I quick to scrutinize and criticize myself when I find myself still grappling with it? Oy, the personal pangs that tug at me in the wee hours of the night when no one is looking, oy oy oy.

It’s true, I still struggle with grief and the confusion from everything that is now different in my life — I am mostly okay with my evolution, but some confusion remains. I’m certain many of these changes were inevitable because of my age ta boot; as I approach 50, I understand with more compassion than ever that many women simply must re-invent, re-discover or re-up, or literally lose themselves. I have found many of Dr. Christiane Northrup‘s books and workshops have helped me sort my way through this with better clarity and assurance I’m not losing my marbles. My mom’s death was perhaps the the dime I turned on, bringing with it new opportunities and exciting adventures, although — in hindsight — I can see it was going to happen no matter what. I was ready to shed my skin.

On Mother’s Day, 2013, I put my mom’s ashes in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin on a brutally cold and windy May day. Her ashes flew up and around me like a tornado before they landed in the lake. It was surreal, for real. I was surprised to learn there’s a boat service available for people to put ashes in the lake, and I sometimes wonder how many people are in that lake?? Ashes-to-ashes, I don’t really care, but I do like that my mom is there. She wanted to be in Green Bay because of the Packers and I decided that was too far; I wanted to keep an eye on her in Lake Geneva. So began my frequent visits to the lake.

There is an amazing 22-mile walking path around the entire lake and as the cold spring turned to summer, I began to sink my toes into the water. And then I dangled my legs and stared deeply at the water. One day I jumped in and cried. This happened several times. I had lost so much… jobs, addresses, people, things… it was terribly scary because I had no idea how I would climb out of this hole, but I had faith and this lake helped me. I felt tingly energy all around me and something about my existence had been elevated — it was hard to explain, but everything was different. By mid-summer, I was helping myself to absent-summer-resident’s personal boat docks and full-on jumping into the cool waters of Lake Geneva and feeling the calmest I had ever felt in my life.

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The summer of 2013 was an amazing, amazing summer and I am forever be grateful for all of it’s lessons.

I left Illinois mid-November of that year and life became very, very different. I had made a promise to myself that the rest of my life would be “magical”,  although I wasn’t even sure what that meant, except that it was fodder for jokes — and I love good jokes. Guess what? My life has become magical in many ways, and while there are still mundane and challenging things about it as there should be, I am totally enjoying what my life has become. Call it magical or intentional, I love they way I feel in my skin these days. I miss the Midwest and my days in Lake Geneva — Chicago too, but life has carried on, as it should, and my dreams keep me close to it all. Someday I will be back.

Until then…

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Buenas Dias de Bucerias!

I am having the good fortune of spending this winter in Mexico with Reed; first at the house in San Miguel de Allende, and then traveling through Central Mexico while he attends to business. Situated in a lovely situation here in Bucerias, Nayarit, Mexico, this past weekend we made plans to spend the day on a boat with Chica Locca Tours that promised whale watching, water activities, food and drink, snorkeling, cave diving; a day out at sea on a very comfortable boat. This group completely delivered and we had an amazing, amazing day. Well I did, for sure.

My fear of open water is still pretty HUGE and when we arrived off the Marieta Islands (“there’s only one way to get there, and that’s to swim for it!“), it was up to us to gear up and swim to the island, where the fun would continue. I did not read this bit in the brochure and my heart sank a mile or two when this was mentioned. I put the fins and snorkeling gear on and became a blubbering, quivering lip awash in a terrifying wave of fear. Everyone was jumping in the water and I stood at the edge of the boat, trembling — NO I could not do this. It was too far away and it was OPEN WATER for Christ’s Sake and surely I would be eaten alive by some monsterous sea creature before I hit the island. This was the OCEAN, did they not realize??! I whelped to the guys I could not do it, no way, my heart was going to explode out of my chest and I was not strong enough. I waddled to the back of the boat to take off my gear and pout it out.

I looked over to the ladder on the side of the boat and said, “fuck it, I will hate myself if I don’t do this.” With that, I jumped into the terrifying (not!) waters and swam to the island. Holy Moley it was gorgeous!

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It was a gooooooooooooorgeous adventure and I am sooooooooooo glad I jumped in! We swam to the island and explored the caves and tunnels and dark holes that I thought for sure electric eels lived in and were waiting inside to kill me or eat me and guess what? They were no electric eels waiting in darkness to kill me nor eat me because they couldn’t care less about me! I was the happiest clam in the ocean this day!

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After this awesome adventure on Gilligan’s Island, it was time to swim back to the boat. Oh shit….. who moved the boat soooooooooo far away?? It’s even farther away now because some dumb law says it can’t be too close to the island. I was never going to make it and oh my gawd I can’t breathe and so why not kick wildly and claw at the water as if there’s a magic rope to lead me home …

I totally panicked and gasped for air as I attempted to swim for several minutes; holy Mackerel I was scared! Wait. Stop it Meag!

I put my goggles on and looked down into the water and saw holy mackerels but no sharks. I knew I had to stop this panicking and rolled onto my back and looked up at the sky. I needed to breathe more normally and take myself out of the equation. A song came to me that I sang in the temescal a year ago; we sang this as a way to pass the time while sitting in pitch dark, soul-cracking, sweltering heat:

One little, two little, three little Indians
Four little, five little, six little Indians
Seven little, eight little, nine little Indians
Ten little Indian boys.
Ten little, nine little, eight little Indians
Seven little, six little, five little Indians
Four little, three little, two little Indians
One little Indian boy.

Whad’ya know, I made it to the boat safe and sound!

Again, I was the happiest clam in the ocean! I have been walking on my tippy-toes ever since this glorious day, even though every muscle in my body is sore, but it is a good sore, a sore I am grateful for; a soreness that reminds me I swam to the damn boat, RAWR!

I realize there are people in today’s world who are facing much bigger fears and maybe not by choice, but by fire and I by no means intend to compare to anyone’s challenges. This was a first world challenge, for sure. I believe I become a better person, first to myself and then to others, if I take an opportunity to break down any personal barriers that have held me back in life, or have kept me feeling fearful. There is a freedom that has grown within me in the past two years that has altered the course of my life and I, for one, choose to celebrate all of these personal achievements, great and small.

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Sunburnt, sore & smiling :))

xx

 

What is Nia Dance?

Sometimes I burst out in tears when I think about my mom, and I’m occasionally surprised at how close I feel to the sadness, but I don’t question it, as grief is what it is. This usually happens when I am doing the dishes or sweeping the floor or some other mundane task, but not always; sometimes it happens when I am out in public and I find creative ways to work the tears into whatever it is I am doing. I get a pang in my heart and find the most comforting thing to do is to put my forearm over my eyes and let it all hang out, even if in silence. It is usually short-lived, but bellows from deep down.

Last night I threw a ribeye on the hot iron skillet and it hit me just as the sizzle splashed up; the sorrow of my mother’s death. The sorrow of her unlived life; dreams never seen, love never felt. It is not that I wish she were here, because we did not spend much time together and when we did it was strained — or something. I cry for her sadness and how our entire lives together were summarized in those few short days or minutes before she could not speak anymore. I cry for not having a daughter; who will hold my hand when I die? But still, my mom and I made our peace. She loved me. She was sorry. I was sorry. I loved her.

I often see it as my mother slipping into a black, fiery hole, on a board that is angled at a fairly steep 45-degree angle, leading into the black, murky hole. It is a big hole and I am kneeling on one knee on the edge, with my arm extended towards her, leaning farther in as I am physically begging her to grab my hand. There are angels standing along the edge of the hole, probably about ten of them — I just counted them for the first time in my mind, because I have not paid much attention to them. My mom is slipping feet first into this hole and she is looking back up at me, reaching towards me and trying to say something to me as if its the first time she is speaking to me and obviously, it is the last time. Always in this scene, I am reaching towards her with my right arm as I have my left forearm over my eyes, as I hang my head low in deep sorrow. She is leaving me for the final time. The sadness goes deep.

“Don’t be scared, Mom”, as she slips in deeper.
What do I know? Nothing. It’s hard to know what to say when someone is dying.
I miss her. I think she’s okay. What do I know?

When I am hit with this moving picture show in my mind, and once I compose myself, I think about how much my life has changed since my mom’s death. In many ways, maybe I too was sliding into a big black hole, because I certainly didn’t feel all that alive 18 months ago. I was trapped in my own fears, imprisoned by my own thoughts and completely out of touch with my heart. I had accepted that I was getting old and that there would be no more real moments of joy nor carefree silliness in life; only perhaps drunken silliness, and this is not really all that silly, except that it is pretty silly.

I clutched my heart a lot after my mom’s death; I thought I was having a heart attack. I couldn’t breathe and I was terrified. I reached for the walls when I walked in case I fell down. I was so afraid I was dying. Nooooooo, please not like this. I found a doctor, made an appointment. Then fell asleep for two weeks.

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My first trip after crumbling was to Lake Tahoe

After I changed everything in my life, I actually started to have real fun again. My spirit came back after I left Chicago and moved to my mom’s empty place in Woodstock, where I began to pursue the things that mattered most to me. People fell out of my life, good ones and bad, as did a number of jobs — money too; oh the money went tumbling out. I started taking long walks around Lake Geneva, because I simply had to move about outside, as well as doing lots of yoga. I quit drinking and drank kale juice every morning and soon felt amazingly strong and ready for new adventures. I was breaking free of the shackles of my life, which in hindsight felt a lot like walking through a long dark hallway while being striped of every thread I wore. It was beautiful and terrifying time, and the fears of the future were loud, but my faith grew louder each day as I awoke to a new ability to see and feel…. energy. Twirling Figure 8’s are what I see, everywhere. They make me hopeful.

I am certain I will spend the rest of my life learning about energy, even though I hear those sarcastic Irish voices in my head that say, “you do WHAT Meag??! You see Figure 8’s???? Should you be driving? Are you in the paint again Meag???” I boot those needling leprechauns aside and forge ahead — they cannot stop me now because they are all dead and I am alive and roam the earth with my trusty energy balls.

I initially thought I would be an energy healer in my next career, but as I dig deeper, I am not so sure. To work with people’s energy is to associate with them on such an intimate level, which presents all sorts of ethical issues that I’m not interested in, quite frankly. I have always been a bit of a loner, so I looked to other ways of working it. Which is why I am super-glad I have jumped into the arena by returning to my first love, DANCING.

Nia-Logo-3000px

I am now a Nia Technique teacher, although for years I studied and taught Gabrielle Roth’s 5 Rhythm’s. I loved my time in the 5 Rhythms but my life fits so much better with Nia now. However, no one is coming to my classes just yet, but gosh it’s great practice! I suspect this dance may be a bit too progressive for Dripping Springs. Change is in the air here and people are moving here in droves, but the majority of people here are young, church-going families, who I suspect are not looking to take a dance class that combines the best of modern dance, martial arts and the healing arts. I keep my heart and my eyes open for new horizons, as usual, as I look outside of Texas.

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When I taught dance in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

What is Nia dance, you ask? When founders Debbie and Carlos Rosas created NIA in the early 80’s as an alternative to the high-impact aerobics craze, they called it “non-impact aerobics”. Over time they determined the acronym was negative, so research took them in a new direction. It was then renamed “Neuromuscular Integrated Action”, but how lame is that? About 15 years ago, a truth revealed itself: in Swahili, Nia means ‘purpose;’ in Hebrew, it means ‘to create subtle movements.’ Ah, the metaphysical truth.

In Nia, we use nine classic movement forms: three from the martial arts (t’ai chi, aikido, tae kwon do), three from the dance arts (jazz, modern, Duncan), and three from the healing arts (yoga, Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais). There are also 52 fundamental steps and patterns. When the custom choreographed music starts up, I move the moves by adding my own personality and style of dance, so that it becomes my dance — and I encourage you to discover your dance. This is why I really love Nia, it honors the skill level and development of the individual spirit with these age-old practices. There is no wrong way to do Nia, unless you are hurting yourself; you move in your body’s way. I learn something new each time I dance the dance and I anticipate future learning pangs.

I incorporate tools to improve my body’s energy during my class that I have learned over the past several months, and I also share them on Instagram, called #newenergyin15 . I’ve learned these tips from Lee Holden, Sonia Choquette, Lydia Wong, Donna Eden at Eden Energy Medicine ( I LOVE Donna’s energy!) and from my own inspiration, so it really is becoming my style and maybe someday I will have students!

When the tears for my mom appear, I let them hang out, because they keep me grateful and in tune with why I pursue the things I pursue. My mom’s dreams were cut short many years ago while she sat around waiting to die and then she fought like hell in the final hours. I’m attempting to mow down my regrets before they have a chance to fester; having sat with three people as they laid dying revealed some crushing views on life and I am thanking my stars above that I have an opportunity to turn my life around. Once again. 😀

My mission statement: “I want the rest of my life to be the best of my life.”
My quest to understand energy has only just begun, so do you care to dance with me?
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deathbed regrets

I seem to be stumbling upon more and more stories about deathbed regrets. I have been doing a load of writing these days, both sharing publicly and privately; I write as soon as I wake up, freehand, a la The Artist’s Way morning pages, just to dump the garbage out of my head to start the day.

So I was prompted, what would be my deathbed regrets? Free form, just letting it flow, no edits, just a few typos:

I would regret not loving more, that I kept to myself for most of my 40’s because I didn’t think I was good enough for the company of anyone. I was ashamed of myself because I struggled with smoking cigarettes and feeling absolutely horrible about that but was unable to stop. I felt bad for wrecking my marriage to Reed which was another reason I hid out — I didn’t think I was lovable anymore. That has all changed since I’ve made peace with Reed and my mom apologized to me; I, for the first time in my life, felt I had to stop doing bad and harmful things — like smoking, which when I was ready to quit a month after my mom died, I smoked my last butt on the morning of March 11, 2013 and celebrated that freedom without looking back ——— that is until I arrived in Mexico for Thanksgiving. I totally love being a non-smoker and I see now that my years of struggles with that awful trap were a way for me to continue to hide. My thinking was, “no one loves me, so who cares if I smoke?” And so I would smoke and say, “well no one is going to love me because I smoke so who cares, I’ll keep smoking.” It was a vicious cycle and it tormented me for years because I knew that was not who I was deep down and that I had been smothering myself, my true self for a very long time in order to just maintain – but that was hardly maintaining, that was being totally dishonest to who I was deep down and I was a broken girl for many years because of it, or so I thought.

I always knew my mom was not crazy about me. She much preferred my brothers and I knew it and I guess in hindsight it hurt my feelings that she thought I was weird and different and mostly she just tolerated me. But I was definitely the weird one, and that’s how I lived my life, as an outcast, never really understanding that it had anything to do with my mom. I know I had daddy issues — what girl doesn’t, and worked through most of them, but I never made a connection to not feeling loved by my mom. And I’m not blaming her — I know that she was not favored much as a young girl herself — my grandmom preferred the boys over my my mom as well; she was just passing the buck. And unfortunately or now perhaps fortunately, I have always felt too much, always wondered too deep, always searched so high for my answers in life — which drove my mom crazy — and my entire life I have been asking, “what is wrong with me?” and now I know that there was nothing wrong with me, I just didn’t feel loved; I was hungry, and now at this age and intersection of my life, I can do something about this before it is too late and then perhaps I won’t have deathbed regrets of not having loved enough.

My mom said, “y’know, I was wrong about you… I wish I had gotten to know you… I am sorry I was not nicer to you….” and these words were the magic potion that melted the steel cage around around my heart and now I cannot deny loving myself for the first time in my life. At this age of 48, I have connected the dots and understand that there has been nothing wrong with me, and now I choose love.

My mom’s words haunt me on a daily basis and I can live with this because it is a constant reminder that I want to be really good to myself and rise above. I was a sarcastic, angst-ridden woman my whole life, I leaned on pills, booze and smokes; not all of the years, but many of them, in between long stretches of sobriety, yet I would rush back to these vices when the going got tough and they would take my pain away for the moment, for the night, for the moment. I did years of therapy, 12-step groups, alternative therapies, and just flat out abstinence from everything, inducing food one year, and then I would still end up feeling like shit because I picked shitty men, men who didn’t care about me and ignored me and rejected me. I lived life as a healthy person on the outside, because that’s totally who I wanted to be yet on the inside I was grasping for straws and crying and felt lost and unloved and empty and I never understood why and I would work to make money so I could ask yet another professional, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME??” and I never got a satisfying answer.

It’s been a wicked ride, without a doubt, because through all of this, I was always up for an adventure and I traveled far and wide to search for these answers or to just escape myself. I think my Spirit kept me alive and searching, knowing that someday I would find that answer — so my Spirit or my Angels or my God or something decided to let me live even though I attempted suicide twice in my young life. My calls for help ran deep.

And who fucking knew that it would be my mothers’ deathbed apology that would sky-rocket me into arriving at the answer to my life-long question and discovering that THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH ME, IT’S ALL ABOUT LOVE.

Love, love, love, I honestly never in a million years realized the answer would be so simple. And when I awoke from the funeral, from the nightmare of losing yet another job, from the freedom of quitting smoking, I looked at myself in the mirror and said,

well there you are, hi.

I no longer harm myself with shitty harmful things and people who do not care about me. I intend to live the remainder of life in loud, colorful and vibrant way. Surrounded by love xoxo.

Thank you Mom.

Living with the Cows

Last November, I attended a brilliant Sonia Choquette workshop in Chicago, along with an amazing group of my now-new-peers, peers whom share a desire to live an extraordinarily rich and vibrant life. At the end of this three-day workshop, I declared that I want to be a Modern Farmer. These words felt as if they came rushing out of nowhere, and I’m still not clear I know exactly what being a modern farmer means for me; but my path has definately veered this direction since making the declaration.

Pay no mind to the fact that I was living in my deceased mother’s empty condo in Woodstock, Illinois and was once again “without employment”, which is jargon for “unemployed”.

All things told, I knew swift changes were headed my way.

A week later I was in San Miguel de Allende for Thanksgiving with Reed Burns, my crazy cowboy of an ex-husband. We found our way back to each other, something that surprised us both because we had both said in the past that we were DONE. We have become family again and more important, are friends this time too.

A few months later, here I am in Driftwood, Texas, living in Reed’s 1940s farmhouse on a few acres of land, across the road from Reed, as he lives on the main ranch. I’ve got my dog, a new job (more on than later, when I’m sure I still have a job HAHA), and up until this morning, I had 28 cows living in my front yard.

Cows that Stare

I wouldn’t quite describe this as being a “modern farmer”, but it certainly is a million miles closer to being one than I was last November.

These are Red Angus cows, and are most commonly raised for beef production in the US. Reed’s family ranch is named Charro Ranch, and the cows of Charro have almost 300 acres to graze upon before they go to market twice a year. These are, without a doubt, very HAPPY COWS. They roam, they graze, they reproduce, they raise their young, they yell at each other, they do it all over again.

The cows arriving.

We moved the cows to this property, across the street from Charro Ranch, in order for them to maintenance the land and keep it safe from grass fires. Exactly four weeks later, there is no more grass for them to eat and this morning they went home.

The cows going home.

I adored having the cows here; there were back at the house just about every other day because they work the land in a circular motion, and it took two days to move around the fourteen acres. When they were close by, there were two gals in particular that would hop the fence and dine in the front yard. At first I would escort Helen and Syliva back across the fence line, but then I began to enjoy having them in the yard. Soon their babies joined them and I loved having coffee with the girls and their kids, every other morning in the yard.

They have personalities; some bigger than others, and I enjoyed getting to know them. There is a solid calm about cows that I really admire, they emit a calming affect. Reed thinks I’m crazy for this, but I know what I feel. My dad used to reminisce about how heartbroken he was as a teenager after he sold his favorite cow, Daisy, so he could buy his first car. His eyes would well up with tears every time he told that story and we would laugh at him for getting all emotional over a cow. “Don’t have a cow over a cow Dad, ha-ha-HA!”

I always liked that story and now I get it.

Maybe a modern farmer has cows that cut her lawn and then they go home; I’m not sure.

I am still sorting this out and I love the daily exercise of this life because although I have very few certainties, I am certain that I have never been more awake than I am these days. It’s a whole-lotta-Texas to take in, and sometimes I need a breather from all this country thunder, but *yahoo* I’m living in the Wild, Wild West and am totally grateful for this opportunity.

Next up: chickens in the yard :))

Motherless Day 2014

Charro Ranch swimming hole

Every evening at sunset, I have the extreme fortune to jump into a man-made swimming hole in the middle of a Texas Hill Country ranch and it is completely invigorating and effervescent.  The water is cold, the tadpoles are lively, and the scenery is a-buzz, even sometimes with horses or cows.

I am doing this plunge every day for the month of May to help me get settled in my new house and community. I am really enjoying the land and opportunities to rub elbows with nature.  Lawdy the bugs are big and will only get bigger as the summer heats up, so I hold a respectful appreciation of all the creatures whose path I cross. My recent interlude with a scorpion in the kitchen sink reminded me of where I am and who rules the roost in Texas. Not me.

This weekend is Mother’s Day. Wow that year flew by quickly, as they all tend to do as I get older. Even with all the year’s logistical changes, the lessons of my mom’s death are still at the forefront of my thoughts and play a part in almost every action I take, every decision I make.

One year ago, I was FREEZING as I stood on a super-windy pier, tossing my mom’s ashes into the icy waters of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The ashes flew all up and around me but eventually found their way back into the water and I watched with tears in my eyes as the smokey ashes swirled away into the water. It was the biting wind that caused my tears on this occasion and honestly, I gave no thought to Juls’ ashes once they were where she had requested; in Wisconsin.

There were conversations that she would have preferred Green Bay, because she was a diehard Packer Fan. I shot that down because I wanted to keep her close to me. I was adamant that I had to keep an eye on her and make sure she was okay; although I had declined to pick up her ashes from the funeral home until this Mother’s Day. I was certain I did not want her in the house with me — but that I needed to keep an eye on her. Strange, perhaps.

My mom and I always loved Lake Geneva, but never for any shared memories, we each had our own reasons. Now that Juls was in the lake, I started visiting on a regular basis to chat with her. I honestly felt better when I would first see the lake because it felt like she was happy, finally. My mom was not a happy woman, especially later in life, but now I believe she was free. It made me smile to think she was swimming around Wisconsin, in the beautiful clear lake, eating pretzels and drinking beer with all the other Packer fans.

When I was 13, I saw the movie JAWS and I wished I hadn’t, who’s with me on that? Once an avid swimmer, I suddenly was terrified of ALL water and honestly avoided every opportunity to swim in anything other than a chlorinated pool for the rest of my days. I don’t like fish and I don’t like seaweed. I don’t swim in Lake Geneva or any other lake, river or ocean for that matter.

Funny thing happened as I started to visit Juls’ in Lake Geneva, soon I found myself climbing into the water. And swimming. With fish. Naked (when I could get away with it!). And often. I would hike around the walking path on the days I could get up to Lake Geneva and jump in where I could. Preferably at sunset.

I took a paddle-board lesson… LOVED IT, then joined a paddle-board club (“tribe”), where we went on weekend outings. I started kayaking and enjoyed this too because I could bring Henry with me. I LOVED being in the water and still do today — even in Texas, where the bugs and fish are BIG and angry!

Me, the one who was horribly uncomfortable in the water now finds comfort in the water.

I recently read “Motherless Daughters” for the first time and although it tends to mostly speak to women who lost their mothers when they were younger, nonetheless I clearly understand it to say that when a woman loses her mother, no matter what age, her life is profoundly and forever changed.

For me, this has meant re-examining EVERYTHING. I did not set out to do this, but in the year and months since mom died, I have become extremely aware of my own mortality and interested in understanding where I came from and how I became the person I am today. There is also an unstoppable force to be a better person.

I like being nice, who knew?

Not only did my mom die in front of me as we held on tight to each other for the first time in our lives, but she apologized. I may have said this before and I will say it for the rest of my life; my mom’s deathbed apology has altered me forever and because of it, I have worked endlessly to change old, tired beliefs that have never served me — nor my treatment of you.

Juls said she was wrong about me. That she wished she had been nicer to me. Was sorry that she didn’t get to know me better.

When she was saying these things, I said, “CUT IT OUT MOM! It’s not like you are dying or something!” I didn’t know what-what. But that’s okay.

My mom’s apology melted a steel cage from around my heart and this has been an indescribable feeling, and one of the most freeing feelings in my life. See “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” for a better description.

I spent my adult life reading self help books, attending workshops, seeing shamans, psychologists, you name it… always digging to discover what was wrong with me and on and on and on…. and never discovering the answers; that anxiousness and restlessness stayed, churning away at me. I kept hearing it was Daddy Issues and sure there were some of those, but nothing will compare to the freedom pill my mom gave me when she acknowledged some of the choices she made in her life — and for this, she was regretful and was sorry.

My life: changed forever.

The year has not been without heartache nor challenges; I am still recovering from the sting of losing a number of jobs, all my stuff and I lost all my stuff, did I mention this?  But at this point, this has become my Badge of Honor. I am finding my way. I found my ex-husband in Mexico and have made amends for the mistakes I made when I was his wife. We are living together in Texas now, peacefully for the most part, and with a much better understanding and appreciation of each other. He has a very big life and it has been a wonderful opportunity to get to know Reed and his world once again; this time with eyes that love and not hate.

Today I jump in the water with the bugs, frogs and bats at every sunset. I walk the fields with my camera and take pictures of cows, flowers, naughty horses and sunsets. I cook healthy meals that sometime include bacon and BBQ and am enjoying learning about native plants and birds. Oh the birds! I never noticed the birds last time I lived in Texas — and now they sing to me everywhere.

This Mother’s Day I am grateful to have a mom who gave me the greatest gift of all; the gift of a new life, a new beginning, a chance to make things right. I am a happy kid again.

Happy :)

Thank you Mom. Go Packers! xoxoxo

mom and me, 3 years ago

 

 

One Amazing Act of Kindness

Guardian Angel

I used to scoff at people who claimed they were blessed and/or were grateful. I had a hard time being grateful a few years back…. not so much anymore; I’ve had more than a few brushes with magic and now feel grateful everyday — even on bad days. It’s not perfect, but I stay committed to looking for it.

When I packed up my life a few weeks ago in Illinois to move to Texas, I had five days to do so because I was starting a new job in seven days and had no time to spare. Needless to say, I blasted through quite a bit while sorting things out and tried my best to keep on top of everything, but recently I discovered I overlooked something fairly huge.

More like gargantuan:

My checkbook, my mother’s checkbook, her savings account book, my bank statements with credit card info, a stack of new meagburnt biz cards and a *signed* blank check for made out for $900.00. Oh and a cow notepad.

Apparently I missed the opportunity to include my social security card to this stack of goods.

I received a call with a Michigan area code and of course did not answer it, because who answers an unrecognized number? I then listened to the message from a woman named Becky who recently purchased a red suitcase from the Sparrow’s Nest thrift shop in Woodstock and I almost ran off the Texas Highway, because she had all of the above items that I had left in a donated suitcase. ALL OF THEM.

She was a lovely, lovely woman and asked if she could mail these things to me; of course, of course you can mail these things to me, I would be forever grateful if you would mail these things to me.

I received a large envelope in my new Texas mailbox on Good Friday, along with an Easter card from my Aunt Nancy, who feels incomplete in life if she is unable to send me a card. Life is right again; I have a mailbox!

However, I still need to clean out the bird’s nest…

Mailbox Bird Nest

Inside the big envelope was all of my sacred financial information, as well as a handwritten note. Becky tells me she purchased the suitcase for her son & daughter-in-law, who had just moved to London. Becky and her husband were soon to depart for a visit and had filled the suitcase with 41-pounds of chocolate chips, organic peanut butter, cheez-its, walnuts, Mexican ingredients; all the things the kids were sure to miss from America — she literally told me my suitcase is now very happy in the UK, having delivered all the goodies to the kids! And thanked me for donating the little red suitcase! Becky thanked me in a wonderful twist of karmic goodness.

The Goods Returned!

I read the letter as I walked up my driveway and I was in udder shock by the time I got to my door.  Does this type of kindness even exist in our world today? Yes, apparently so! The proof was in my hands and in this wonderful envelope I received on Good Friday. I’ve thought momentarily of everything that could have gone terribly wrong, but instead I say THANK YOU.

I sent Becky a text when I composed myself and thanked her for the safe return of my things and for her generous spirit, wonderful integrity and cheery letter.  I promised to send her a hand-written note within the next few days — but first I needed to gather the supplies necessary to send an actual hand-written letter.

I wrote that letter-slash-card to Becky and again thanked her for her kindness. I even sent her some photos of my adventures in Texas — and of course London too! My suitcase is having a marvelous time in London! I had a marvelous time in London! I love London!

Lark in London

Now that I have started to gather the materials needed to send hand written notes, I think I will make a habit of this. It was an awesome gift to receive and felt really good — affirming and solid — to send a letter in return to a perfect stranger who saved me from possible financial ruin.

Thank you Universe! I did cartwheels in your honor this Easter Weekend!!

joy joy joy

 Do you want a Texas postcard? Send me your address to larkabouts@gmail.com

My first runaway Steer!

Cows at the Fence!

Recently I was driving out of Charro Ranch on a pleasant warm day, when I saw one of the workers standing out on the road waving his arms — and then I saw a cow close to the road.  One of the cows had somehow hopped a fence or discovered a broken fence line, and was now out there close to the highway.  People drive crazy fast down the Texas highways, so there’s no need to discuss the possibilities of a sad outcome here; there was no time, I jumped into action!

I had to get this cow on the other side of the fence NOW!

I obviously had never rounded up a cow before and especially using my jeep as my lasso to get him back home.  But after I cut left in front of the cow, he quickly turned around and started to run towards the main gate. “WOW THAT WAS EASY”, I said to myself. But wait, no…. there’s a cow gate at the main gate, and cows won’t walk over nor jump a cow gate to get out, let alone get back in. So as I leisurely drove back to the front gate, this cow, whom I shall call RALPH, looked at the main gate and then kept right on running. WHOAAAA NELLIE RALPH!

I ran with Ralph for about 3 miles down the road, trying to get him to turn around and stay out of traffic.  Ralph did not care if a semi trailor was hauling ass up the highway, he would dart out into the road and I would lay on the horn.  I had no fear of getting creamed on the highway; I was all about saving Ralph and getting him back home. But Ralph kept running the wrong way. I yelled at him, “Are we going to see a show in Austin??!!” He didn’t respond. Yikes!!! When I would cut right in front of him, he would back up and cross the road.  I called Reed and got voicemail; who does one call in a situation like this? Cowbusters?

Ralph & I kept running like Forrest Gump down the Texas highway.

And then a pickup truck pulled up alongside me; a woman yelled out, “GET HIM TO THE NEXT RANCH GATE, I’LL OPEN IT UP FOR HIM!” And off she blasted.

Ralph and I ran up the highway and like the friendly cowgirl said, the gate was open and Ralph ran in, without bothering to say thanks or bye or THAT WAS HILARIOUS or anything!

I got out to talk to the woman; she was the horse caretaker at a neighboring ranch and ony wanted to help — which she did so tremendously. No one was hurt, no accidents were caused and Ralph was safe inside our neighbor’s ranch! I was now so relieved and estatic about what just happened and that nothing happened except that Ralph was safe!!!!!!!!!

I made a FLIPAGRAM of the adventure! Just click this photo:

ralph

 

That was an awesome freakin’ day, thank you RALPH!!

 

Gifts of mom’s death; gratitude

love

Since my mom’s death, I’ve come to know gratitude. And LOVE. On an entirely new level. By way of crawling through the murkiness of pain and sorrow.  But there has also been some true moments of happiness.

Am I happy my mom died? No of course not. I’m still completely surprised that I occasionally burst out in tears when a thought about my mom pops in my head. Or I see something. Or smell something.  No one is more surprised by this than me – I honestly thought I was prepared for my mom’s death because she seemed to be sitting around waiting for Mr. Reaper to knock on her door and take her away.  I don’t knock myself for having these outbursts; I’m studied enough to know that grief knows no bounds and we are all wrapped up in grief at some level and no need to resist it, otherwise it festers and rears it’s head in other ways. So I don’t mind the tears. They do surprise me, however.

I’m okay with surprises.

My mom’s death was such a wake-up call and continues to flood my thoughts and dreams with new ideas.  Eight months before my mom duked out her last duke, I was being pulled by forces to change my life, yet I completely resisted at the time.  I even felt damned by what I thought was “happening to me”.  A year later, it’s starting to make sense as I continue to make more changes, because now I’m on a mission and feel compelled to acknowledge that which royally pissed me off a year ago.

I honestly believe I was being yanked by a higher power – angels to be exact – to become a better person; a better version of Meagan, because on so many levels, I was drowning and had given up. I remember saying to myself, “I give up. No really, I’m done.”  That’s pretty clear, eh?

I had no passion and a seriously low low low energetic vibration; I cared very little about what was going on around me – AND I was harboring a truckload of shame for having been fired from some jobs. Holy-moley, who was I if I didn’t have a job I could brag about?  Even if I didn’t have a date, at least I had a job.  I was losing things to be excited about and could feel the sparkle oozing out of my being – and I have always been a sparkly person, so this was heart-breaking for me.  No job, no relationship since my divorce, no money, no home of my own…. Who am I and seriously, what happened?

The entire 2012 year feels like it was in a state of suspension, and looking back, I now understand bit more.  I was being prompted to empty out my life and look ahead.  Look above. Look behind.  Look up.

I fought this. I was angry. Not anymore. I like the view.

In January 2013, my mom needed me. She had not wanted me around for years. But now she had no choice – my twin uncles had recently died (ouch) and my two brothers were in Phoenix. She had no choice but me. I went immediately.

It’s been eight months since she died and I can honestly say this has been the most gut-wrenching time of my life, with mom’s death being the frosting on my cake of gloom, but it has also rocked my soul to the core and I am forever grateful for this HUUUGE wake up call.

I have mentioned it before (and will not in the future), but I had this habit of getting fired from jobs, in addition to quitting a few.  I went my whole life without getting fired (well there was that one office job that I was fired from after the Christmas party, but that’s a story for another day) and then in a matter of about two years, I was fired three times.  I also quit two other jobs.  That’s a boatload of jobs in a very short time, Ladies and Gentlemen!

It was a revolving door of drama and heartache, and I had no idea how to stop the rollercoaster because I was so desperate and ashamed about being fired.  I jumped into action immediately and was able to get a new job wham-bam, but I was not bothering to ask if I was right for the job or if I even wanted to work for this company or with it’s people. I had no time to think about these things, so the universe sorted this out for me. QUICKLY.

“Hello, you’re hired!”
“Hey, you’re fired, there’s the door!”

When I was fired seven weeks ago, I completely slammed on the brakes and decided to take a much needed time out.  I struggle with this because there’s a part of me that feels guilty for not working, but there is a much larger part of me that is completely committed to getting stronger, smarter, healthier and in touch with what I really should be doing.

I am completely grateful I have a spot of time to do my soul searching and a quiet, calm place out in the country.

So many bittersweet gifts since my mom’s death.

I have been marching around my entire life thinking I understood certain things about life and how things had to get done.  I had accepted this mostly, and was quietly and numbly going about life and losing a bit more steam each year.

And then….. and then my mom apologized for being mean to me before she died. Wished she had been nicer to me. Said she was wrong about me. Was so, so, so happy I made spaghetti at her place instead of eating out.

Funny what sticks out.

With this apology, I was knocked flat on my back for a good number of days and to this present day, I am still decoding this newfound vision and my strong, peppy heartbeat that beats vibrantly in my now strong rib cage.

My mom gave me the gift of love and I had no idea I had been living without it. I am enjoying having an invigorated pulse at this stage in life.  I understand now with much greater compassion that my mom lived a loveless life herself and it breaks my heart when I think of it, but she made amends where she could and I am forever grateful.

She was smart. Unburden yourself before you go.

Now I have an opportunity to live with vim, vigor, zest, laughter, curiosity, wonder and passion! All the things that felt natural to me as a kid (let’s be honest, this feels natural to every kid)  and I’m totally embracing it again, like it’s my birthday! (jaja)

birthday

This is the reason I have stepped off the fast-moving train of life to re-examine everything.  I have become softer, more thoughtful, slower and happier.  My laugh has improved. No really, make me laugh and you will see! I prefer being outside in nature and eating lots of healthy greens. I read and write poetry. I read a ton of books. I adore silence. I watch zero tv and avoid all gossip sites. I still read Twitter! Can’t live in outer space ALL THE TIME.  I am taking several classes right now that are helping me feel better. I am s-l-o-w-l-y finding new social circles. I quit drinking and smoking – something the angels were giving me SUCH a hard time about. I couldn’t do these things anymore without feeling like hell on earth, so I happily gave them up. I thought it would be hard. It wasn’t.

The next job I take will be a job that has meaning to me.  Or I will create something myself — this is in the works.  I still don’t have all the answers but these things are true:

I am happier now than I have ever been in my adult life.  I am at peace. I enjoy little things. I am not afraid of the holidays.  Nor the water, or being out in nature. I am not worried about being fired again. I will not go hungry.  I am awesome! I really want to help others.  I am super-super-super excited about the autumn and winter of my life because it has been and will continue to be magical.

Have I mentioned the faeries that have appeared in my life? Yes. The faeries. The angels too! They call me Snow White when I go out in the woods; the birds, the trees, the clouds – they are all talking to me and I love it!

xoxo.