A Curated Life

Most people have made, or at least entertained the idea of making some sort of resolution or intention during this end and beginning of years. Even vowing not to make resolutions is in itself a resolution. We like the idea of grand gestures, big promises and dramatic results.

However, any lasting and significant change in our lives is not some instantaneous transformation. The big events we go through that we call major life changes are more of a wading into difference. A marriage, a move, a divorce, a birth or a death…they happen in moments, over days and seasons of time. Joining your life with someone isn’t just the big day when you say “I Do”. It’s the weeks and years where you live out the highs and lows of life together. Losing someone isn’t just the moment of loss. It is the hours and days that follow where you have to navigate a life without them.

That’s why, if you feel stuck and are wanting to embark on a journey of transformation, you have to learn to start with today, and each moment contained within this little block of time. It takes an appreciation of moments in time, to settle into lasting change.

Twenty-one months ago, I made a big promise to myself in a small moment of darkness. I promised to no longer be carried by the current of addiction, but to find my footing, and start to walk. My drinking habit, the behavior that had been with me for the majority of my life, had completely overtaken my sense of self, any ambitions I may have harbored, and all of the authentic relationships within reach. In the small hours of that long night, I’d finally had enough.

But hitting a wall isn’t the change. The promise isn’t the change. The resolution isn’t the result, it’s a starting point. Any meaningful change that you want to see in yourself happens in the moments, days, weeks and years that follow. Whether or not you are successful in making the change depends on what makes up the living you do in the moments.

It is in showing up and doing the work each day that we keep our promises to ourselves. However, merely showing up and going through the motions isn’t enough. Life needs our participation. Moments don’t simply arrive to pass us by; they are meant to be lived. And it is by living in the small moments, the often mundane and repeated moments, that we create a life. A life of our choosing, orchestrated by our engagement in the process.

It is not until we learn to appreciate and be taken up in and by the moments of our day that we actually learn to live. The wonderful part is that we do have some say in what those moments will be. Tasks and obligations are inevitable, but we can choose our attitude while performing them. We also get to choose the way we set up our daily routine, whether it’s taking in the sunrise with God each morning, or taking a meditative walk with the dog each evening.

If it is truly important to the journey, we will commit to living these moments with consistency and authenticity. So, don’t be taken in by the idea of overnight change, or dramatic “before and after’s.” Instead, be taken in by the moments you live each day.

Because that is how you curate a life.

This is a guest post written by my friend Collette, who I met on WordPress. You can visit her Blog, Wine to Water here. Thank you Collette.

A Sacred Bow

As we approach the end of the year, let’s take this opportunity to look back … so that we can learn from our experience, set intentions going forward, and improve our practice and structure.

Leo Babauta

Since June, I’ve been a part of the Fearless Community, and it was one of the best things I did for myself all year. A lot of what I’ve posted here this year was due in large part to Fearless Training. The Fearless practice brought my meaningful work to the forefront of my everyday.

This morning, as I walked into my room, the light from my window was hitting something shiny and causing it to shimmer. You know that’s going to grab my attention. 🙂

It was a medallion my daughter gifted me with 3 years ago, and it’s one of my favorites. The medallion was something I always looked forward to in the rooms. To celebrate years of sobriety, the meeting you frequented the most would hold a birthday meeting every month. It was called birthday night and they’d hand you a medallion with your year embossed on it, and there was cake.

I paused at the window and looked down at the medallion resting in the little love dish. ‘To thy own self be true’ is the inscription. It reminded me of the sacred bow, so I gave it a little bow. (Bow rhymes with cow)

I have a stack of these medallions.

The first few medallions were bronze color, but I received my first ‘pretty’ one after 2 years. There’s Bloggers who have given up alcohol this year, and that is a massive accomplishment. Medallions signify a lot of ‘one day at a times’. Those days accumulate into years, and then you get to hold that year in the palm of your hand.

Some people carry them in their pocket, or place them on a key ring. It’s a good reminder of what you hold sacred.

Sobriety is so worthy of a sacred bow.

Protect Your Sobriety

Every morning I open my eyes, my first thought and words spoken are, “Thank you God for waking me up sober.”

I’ve been thinking about sobriety, which is normal for me this time of year. On November 10th, I’ll be 22 years sober. There’s a twinge of embarrassment when I say that to someone newly sober. They usually ask, “How’d you do it Barb?” I respond with, “With God one day at a time.”

When I was newly sober, my then husband flew me to Canada with him for business. We were to meet his clients at a French restaurant for dinner. I recall walking into our private dining room and seeing the table set with what seemed like a million wine glasses. I was 2 weeks sober.

Photo by Fabio Sangregorio on Unsplash

It broke my heart to take a seat at that table.

My then husband didn’t understand the alcoholic. He thought maybe I’d have a glass of wine and be a part of the evening’s festivities, but when the waiter came to my glass with the bottle, I laid my hand over the top so he wouldn’t pour. He felt my trepidation and took the glass away.

Then I just got angry. Being the lady I am, I sat quietly at the table holding my composure, but wanted to scream. That was the last time I sat at a table like that.

Back then, I looked at drinking as something I couldn’t have and it felt like I was missing out. What I didn’t realize it was actually the beginning of a whole new life.

Almost 22 years later, I’m still thinking about sobriety. It’s not that I can’t drink. I could and the life I have today would quickly dissipate. I’m not willing to let that go. When it comes to one more day sober, here’s your permission slip to choose your table wisely, and protect your sobriety.

Leaving the Throne

It was one year ago I saw her post with a picture of the ragged bible and went looking for my Bible. It was sitting on a shelf of books collecting dust, but it had a cover on it which I wrote about here. This year, I took the protective cover off in hopes that it would begin to look used. Let’s just say it’s been a process.

When I brought it down from the shelf, I laid it on the windowsill and I picked it up every now and then to read. It got moved from the windowsill to the bedside table. This table is on the far side of the bed, so basically it laid in a corner. I’d wake up and gaze at that Bible seeming so far away, but not completely out of reach.

I’d grab my phone and do a meditation instead.

A while ago, the Bible made it to the table on my side of the bed. When I sit up in the morning, I still grab my phone, but I grab the Bible along with it. I look at Instagram to see if this same woman with the ragged Bible from a year ago has posted a verse to read. She calls it a ‘Faith Read’ and posts the chapter and verse.

In my previous post, my daughter loved the picture of the woman sitting on the pier. It is a beautiful photo, but I found it on Google. I dug up the photo below and this was my pier. I stood there almost every morning, waiting to see the sunrise and to praise and worship God. This pier got me through everything life threw.

This pier is where God showed up every time I did.

Not quite as blissful looking as Google’s.

While driving into town, I heard a song on the radio. It was an old Philips, Craig and Dean song and it took me back to this pier. It was the song I sang when I wasn’t feeling the whole ‘just show up’ thing. You are God alone, gives me peace and comfort in knowing no matter what we see today, He is still on the throne, and He’s not leaving the throne.

Follow the Breadcrumbs

Once you connect with the dream in your heart, it won’t leave, but it’s easy to put everything else before it. Since posting The Beach Rug, I’ve been following the trail of breadcrumbs.

I’ve had this cutting board for as long as I can remember. Why I took it with me when I left my marriage, I’m not sure, but am grateful I did. I was standing in the kitchen slicing a lemon for a pitcher of lemon water. No matter what I’m cutting, or how much pressure is applied, it just sits there unmoved.

I have a secret to share. When life gets to be a little much, or my job is throwing darts at rapid fire, I make croutons. My daughter will concur, a French Baguette in the house means contentment. I walk into the kitchen, lay it on the cutting board, and pull out my bread knife. I slice it in half, then slice it again lengthwise and continue slicing into the shape of croutons.

Step One of the croutons.

I’ve been doing this since mid March, so it doesn’t require any thought. This is my time to think through some thoughts. With each slice a thought floats by that may or may not need attention. When the slices are complete, I dump them into my red bowl to add garlic, parmesan and olive oil.

Slow the pace to watch your thoughts and only keep the ones of value. By letting go of the ones taking up space, we make room to see what’s important. Focus on that.

Always the red bowl and spatula.

My friend Shawna over at Finding a Sober Miracle left this comment, “This is exactly how my life works! And it happens all the time. And this morning, your blog is another bread crumb in my quest to find out just where I should be focusing my attention.” I found her comment in Spam as I was writing this post. Oh yes, darling check your Spam! Breadcrumbs have a way of hiding.

She left the comment on Breathe It in, and has no idea I’m writing this post which was titled days ago. When I told my daughter about the comment, she asked, “How does it make you feel?” I said, “It’s like confirmation of the path.” Watch for clues that you’re on the right path and follow the breadcrumbs.

Completed croutons in Caesar Salad.

We’ve been talking about living the dream. Here are the posts in order up to now. Thank you for your love and support. ~Barb

Keep Choosing Her

I woke up this morning to the smell of Mrs. Meyers. I cleaned house yesterday, and not just the usual dusting and vacuuming. No, my darling, I was on my hands and knees scrubbing corners.

It reminded me of my drinking days.

I was a falling down, blackout drunk.

soberwoman

I posted this on my Letitgocoach Facebook page, but seeing it again this morning, it spoke to me as a sober woman. Sobriety is a choice, and when you have family history of alcoholism, the odds of drinking increase.

Recently, I offended a friend of mine.

She lost her sobriety after taking care of her Grand-kids for a week. That would definitely be a tempting time to drink, but no, I’m not giving up sobriety. She asked if I’d ever been tempted to drink, and I told her, “You would think so when the doctor told me I had Breast Cancer, but you can’t drink during Chemotherapy.”

She compared my Cancer, to her one bad day.

Hey, anyone can stop drinking, but living sober is an act of God. It’s a hard choice, and by His grace, the only choice to continue being a sober woman, is to keep choosing her.

A Dreamy Bed

My heart beats a little bit faster for a dreamy bed.

My daughter was home over the weekend, and I wanted to let her catch up on some sleep. As I closed her bedroom door, this quote came to mind, and I remembered this photo on my vision board.

lethersleep

The two combined became a meme.

I’ve been pondering linen for my bed, but have you priced linen sheets? The real ones are not merely a purchase. They’re a freakin’ investment! A linen bed-skirt would be a sweet touch, and keep the dust bunnies out from under the bed.

I have really good sheets on my bed.

I laid this napkin on the sheet this morning before making up the bed. Yes, the sheets feel as good as they look. The quality of mattress, sheets and pillow reflect the quality of sleep.

How you sleep, is how you feel the next day.

napkin

The napkin is for a bar, but we use them on our coffee bar. Whoever said you need alcohol to get buzzed has never drank our coffee!

Hey there little mountain mover. If you’re gonna wake and move some mountains you’ll need really good coffee, and a dreamy bed.

Women Like Us

There was a comment left on my Blog that caused me to ponder. I had commented on a Blog I follow, and someone made a comment about my comment. My comment was, “My worst day sober, is still better than my best day drunk.”

This Blogger enjoyed my comment, and I’m guessing had not heard it before. She most likely wouldn’t hear it unless she goes to AA. That is where I heard it, but for me, those sayings are part of my sobriety.

AA is the one place I’ve always been able to walk in and feel accepted. Everyone there has a common problem. Alcohol.

♥ ♥ ♥

I met a friend this week for coffee.

Our favorite Barista was working and he always spoils us. My friend couldn’t decide what she wanted to drink, but he was going to help her decide. She told him what she wanted by naming a list of ingredients. This drink wasn’t on the menu, but he was willing to make something just for her.

We sat down at a table and he brought her drink over shortly. When he sat it on the table, it was like unveiling a masterpiece. This drink was so worthy of my friend.

firstone

I watched her face and you could see she felt the love and care poured into her mug.

She enjoyed every sip, and to be perfectly honest it didn’t compare to my bowl of coffee. Our Barista came by to check on us and asked if I would like one too. I jumped at the opportunity to have a drink just like my friends. Then he said…

“It won’t be exactly like hers because I like to leave room for improvement.” He had learned some things the first time and would apply that to mine.

mine

The same drink but it looks different.

The Barista made more than enough for my drink and asked my friend if she wanted it. That is the whole purpose of our meeting. To refill one another’s cup!

I learn from this woman and she tells me straight up. I don’t have to agree with every word, but I respect her wisdom. We love each other, but we also have a bond of core values. We meet for coffee and dust each other off so we can continue our journey.

♥ ♥ ♥

Women like us are supposed to straighten one another’s crown. Not say, “It’s crooked.”

Women like us are ‘doers’, and we blaze a trail. Sometimes we get into trouble and we have to revert back to the rule book.

Women like us have huge hearts, but are particular about who receives a piece.

Women like us don’t need approval, and we run up against opposition frequently.

Women like us are zero drama, but that doesn’t stop it from occurring around us.

♥ ♥ ♥

AA introduced me to a God of my understanding, but my friend and I know the same God. We meet for coffee and inspire one another to be women like us.

small_gang

Hopes and Dreams

Hopes and dreams. Otherwise, our lives merely exist.

hopesanddreams

This photo popped up on my Facebook news-feed.

My heart ran as fast as it could into that photo! My life is simple, so skip the fancy couch. A Yoga mat, or pillow will do just fine. The view is what made filled my heart and soul.

To live by the sea is a ‘hope and dream’ of mine.

lifeat40

God gives revelation in yearly increments.

Once 30 years had passed, I knew my life would change. At the age of 35, my daughter was born, and by 40, my marriage was an unhealthy space for everyone involved. After trying to make it work for 8 more years, God opened a door for us to leave. At 48, my daughter and I began our new life together, with God.

Seeing this quote by Jung stirred up memories. My life continues to change, but is it my life changing, or my soul?  My soul is awake as well. ‘Hope’, is what keeps us here, but ‘Dreams’ are where the soul roams.

Save

Dear Sober Me

It’s been raining this week in Texas. The sun broke through the clouds this morning, beamed through the front windows, and filled my home with light. The air outside was cool, but the warmth of the sun felt fabulous. Now it’s cloudy again, but that is only the weather.

I am grateful every morning I wake up, but even more grateful to wake up sober. Today marks 18 years of sobriety for this chick. So, even though the weather is cloudy, my mind is not, and neither are my eyes. There is a lot on my mind at the moment, but my eyes are shining bright! Asking God for His help 18 years ago, was the best decision I ever made.

I just returned form a very long appointment with a Radiologist. Just to check my level of patience, they had me waiting from the very beginning. I went yesterday, which living in the woods, is a 45 minute drive to see them, one way. They had me scheduled with the wrong doctor, and asked me to come back today. So I did, and there was more waiting.

A nurse came in and asked me lots of questions. Once they were answered, another lady came in that is the doctor’s assistant. She liked to talk, and I sat there listening to her describe every aspect of radiation. By the third time I looked down at my lap and zoned out, she got the message and stopped talking. I just wanted to see the doctor and leave.

The doctor eventually came in and went over the same information as she. It was like they were trying to talk me into it or something, so I said, “What are my next steps, and when do we start?” They said their goodbye’s, and told me to expect a phone call this week, or next, about scheduling a scan of my breast.

Two weeks after the scan, they will start treatment.

sobriety

It’s a good day to be sober. I cannot imagine following this Breast Cancer Journey hungover.

God took my desire to drink completely away when I asked. I can’t recall a craving in all these years, but the thought of a drink has crossed my mind. Fortunately, I learned very well that a glass of wine, or ten, does not fix anything. The circumstance I was drinking over was waiting on me the next day, along with whatever chaos I caused while drinking.

I was hoping my Breast Cancer Journey would be over by the end of the year. Radiation will begin sometime in December, and be 5 days a week, for six weeks. The journey will fall into the new year. My sponsor would ask me, “Would you like some cheese with that whine?” I have nothing to whine about. We will continue the journey as planned, and stay sober me.