Completion

I drove by his workplace after an exhilarating dance class; it’s unavoidable when travelling to and from the industrial East side of the city. One side of the entire building is floor-to-ceiling glass, and without wanting to, I reflexively looked in as my car stopped at the red light. There he was, sitting at a desk scrolling on his phone, wearing the jacket I’d wrapped around myself more than once while snuggling into his protective arms. If I hadn’t been aware of the things he’d done to hurt me, this would have been a welcome opportunity: I used to relish this drive-by scenario, honking and waving madly to get his attention, giggling to myself and hopefully embarrassing him in the process. That evening, it just made me sad. And then I got mad because I was sad.

I’m supposed to be learning about the grief process, healing, starting over fresh, etc. What I’m learning is that it hurts in waves. Most of the time I’m getting through my day managing my emotions fairly well, and then a memory makes me laugh, or makes me so angry that I start crying gigantic crocodile tears that just won’t go away. And I want them to disappear, I want the pain to vanish. But for some reason, the tears are oddly comforting, like a sad song I’ve listened to dozens of times or a campfire that I let myself get lost in. Do you know what I mean? Why are these tears so warm and inviting while they sting my cheeks at the same time?

I find pieces of him all over the house. I’ve been collecting them for some full moon exorcism, I suppose… Or I’m finding it hard to completely disconnect, if I have to tell the truth. But I am aware that with this collection of his things, I must perform a completion and thus welcome in a new beginning. So, to the Snuggle Dome memorabilia, I’m saying goodbye, respectfully but firmly.

As 2022 opens it arms anew, I will participate fully. Memories, new ones that are fresh and sparkling and beautiful—these are what will drive me in 2022. A whim trip to Kauai? Don’t mind if I do! Snowshoeing with fellow goddesses? Yes please! Should I write a novel and tell everyone about it so that I’ll stay accountable? Why the hell not!? I can do whatever I set my mind to, and that includes loving my imperfect self, and allowing myself the time to heal.

Goodbye. Hello.

Dear Becky at age 12,

The desire for love is going to hurt. It’s going to rip open parts of you that you didn’t know could tear. Emotionally, your parents’ divorce messes you up about men in ways that will reverberate for decades. For a time, you will look at fathers—all fathers, all men in fact—differently. The most trusted men in your life will seem threatening for no apparent reason. You will not understand their role once your father has left and your mother seems to be doing both jobs. Your mother wants what’s best for you. It’s incredibly hard to see this because of the stage you’re in and the trauma you’re experiencing. But try to have faith that it will all make sense eventually. She’s trying her best while your father is figuring out his own demons. But that’s fine. It turns out we’re all broken. It’s what we do with the broken pieces that matters. 

You are not going to believe me when I say this, but in some ways, being an overweight young woman will benefit you. You will grow to develop a strong character, surrounding yourself with people who care solely about your insides. Friends will be ferociously, relentlessly loyal and you will quickly be able to tell who is real and who isn’t. But you’re going to feel a lot of pain when it comes to romantic interests, and get rejected more than the others. That’s just how it is sometimes. It will get you down, and that’s okay! You are allowed to feel those feelings!! They are valid. Sometimes you’ll get chewed up, and if I’m being honest, you won’t get to do a lot of chewing. And that’s okay too. You want to know why? Because those few times you do show up with a black heart, it’ll make you feel like shit and you’ll be reminded why you’re so incredibly special. You are SUNSHINE.

It will take what feels like forever to give your heart fully to someone. And in the end, they will break it, but that leaves you more ready for the next person. Every single experience is a lesson. Remember that when you’re crying to your ride-or-dies. These friendships will carry you through oceans of despair and the happiest days of your life. You would do anything for them, and they would do everything for you. 

Boundaries are difficult. There are only a few things you’ll regret in this life, and undefined boundaries are ALWAYS the cause. Try to remember that.

Goodbye.

Dear Becky at 42,

Hello.

Some nights, if you had a knife you would have slit his throat after what he did to you. The pain he caused you is something you haven’t felt before and now you’re processing the who-what-why. He made choices that purposely broke what you two had, and it’s hard to understand. You’d never felt so confident of someone’s love and so taken by complete surprise at the way it was ripped out from under you. 

And yet. You will set him free. You will honor the place he had in your life. You will genuinely wish him nothing but true happiness and enlightenment for his next life—because you loved him, truly and wholly, and unconditionally. He didn’t know how to accept that within himself and so he couldn’t recognize it when you gave it to him. All you can do now is hope that he will learn from these lessons.

You gave all of yourself to Boo Bear. You did the best you could. You will never regret a single moment, and you will probably always love him. You will miss so very much about him. Inside jokes and memories will constantly pop up, making your heart pull and crack. It will stop at some point, but you’re not there yet. You’re going to see someone wearing his flannel shirt and it’ll take your breath away for a moment, replaced by the emotions of a bittersweet memory. You’ll remember laughing until you cried with him. Maybe you’ll think that he’s the only one who could ever make you laugh that way, but it’s not true. Someone else will make you laugh like that. Louder, even. The thought of someone wrapping their arms around you the way he did will make your heart sob, for a time. You will be held like that again

Keep moving forward and don’t regret where you came from or the mistakes you made. They happened for a reason. 

I love you.

We're not all going to Eat, Pray, Love our way through life, but we can try

When I was a child, my mother often read out loud to me. She would never start at chapter one—instead, she patiently read every single page, including the author’s name, the illustrator, dedication, and forward. The only exception was the library of congress page, although she did always note the copyright date.
For my birthday in 2015, she sent a book entitled Stressed is Dessert Spelled Backwards, written by Brian Luke Seaward with a forward by Joan Lunden; no illustrator this time. I brought this book on a flight to San Diego. I was already well into it, enjoying it thoroughly, but needed to put it down to do something…I can’t remember what. Maybe stretch. Maybe have a drink of water. While it was lying on my tray table, the pages curling upwards, I noticed writing on one of the pages—the title page—one I had skipped because I had read the title on the cover and didn’t think it was necessary. (Sorry, mom.)
She had inscribed it, “Dear Becky, hope this is a help when you become upset. Love, Mom. August 31, 2015.” My birthday. Tears instantly came to my eyes when I read this. I was four chapters in by this time, and it was blowing my mind. I could see why she was drawn to it personally. There is a lot of reflection on the power of prayer, something my mother believes in very strongly. Both of my parents raised me to have a close relationship with God, and, though it has changed, waxed, and waned over the years, that relationship remains inside of me. Call it prayer, call it manifestation, it’s all based on a spirituality that is incredibly personal, and it gives me a connection with the universe, love, and every person on this planet.
Right now in my faith, I have decided that God is a name for life-force. Existence. Love. So when I pray, it is not necessarily to an almighty power. I am praying to myself, to a drop of water, to a strand of hair, everything that holds a vibration—energy. When I think it, when I feel it, I manifest it. We all do. The power of energy is strong.
And now I’m back home, inspired. My muse is sitting on my shoulder. He is wearing a kilt, and has a glencairn of pinot barrel-aged gin in his left hand and a whip in the other. He’s tapping his foot impatiently. So, armed the wisdom of my new-agey knowledge, I decide now is the perfect time to do something I’ve been waiting all of 2015 for. Open my happiness jar.
 
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I’m not going to lie, I saw it on Pinterest. It was January 2015. I was feeling optimistic after a fantastic New Year’s Eve and thought, what a great idea! I find a jar (in my case it was a tall cylindrical vase), decorate it, and drop in memories and trinkets that remind me how blessed I am. I told myself I would read it on New Year’s Eve 2015, but of course I ended up going to a party; you know how those things go. So tonight, a few days into the new year, I am cracking it open to see what gems I experienced over the last year. Here are a few.

  • I have two friends that, when we get together, jokingly call our group the Venus Flytraps. We occasionally have goddess gatherings at my place (or hen party, ladies night, etc.). At one of these gatherings, I decided to print out each of our horoscopes from Free Will Astrology that week on beautiful gold paper and present them to each lady. After the gathering I decided to stick it in my jar to see how it would manifest. My Virgo horoscope read as follows: It is always important to know when something has reached its end,” writes Paulo Coelho in his book The Zahir. Use this advice heroically in 2015, Virgo. Wield it to clear away anything that no longer serves you, that weighs you down or holds you back. Prepare the way for the new story that will begin for you around your next birthday. “Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters,” Coelho says, “it doesn’t matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over.” Thud, thud, thud, goes my heart. Letting go in the last year has served me incredibly well. I let go of tired expectations about relationships, old understandings about my sensual and sexual expression. Some of you know that my boyfriend and I parted ways (although I didn’t get rid of him entirely—he is still very much a part of my life as a dear friend). I let free my assumptions about who I am as a dancer, as a runner, even as a writer. I simply am those things. I look forward to seeing what fills the space of the things I let go in the coming year.
  • A Louise Hay Power of Thought card: I allow others to be themselves. This card was handed to me after a particularly snarly interaction with a friend of mine while camping. Now, I love my friend Joe, I do. He is like the brother I never had. But as all brothers do, he gets on my nerves from time to time. And on that day, he had gotten on my last one. I blew up at him in front of 6 others in my campsite. I don’t think any of those people have ever seen me do anything but smile; I’m a pretty positive person 98% of the time. After my little tantrum, I stomped around camp for a while, drank my coffee, and avoided eye contact with my fellow campers. Then, my friend Sarah came up to me and handed me this card. She said, if you love Joe, you have to love him for who he is…flaws and all. I was embarrassed at first, but I soon realized she gave it to me in friendship, not to put me in my place. I read the back of the card: I do not try to heal my friends. I do my own mental work and heal myself. This is the best thing I can do for others. I was so humbled and grateful for Sarah in that moment. It has never left me. Ever since then, every time someone grates on me for doing something that is, in my eyes, wrong, I remember Sarah’s kind offering.
  • In the first part of the year, I cultivated a strong connection with a man who became a very close friend. He has inspired me multiple times this year, and I’ve even used his inspiration in a few of my blogs. After reading one of them, he wrote me this note. “So I re-read your blog as requested. I originally felt touched by the part about the friend who talks about his son living in every moment as I saw a connection to me. Now, knowing you wrote that about/for me I am touched even more. Thank you Becky for your kindness and your authenticity. Your (sic) truly a special person and someone someday is going to be very blessed to have you as a partner. Happy New Year and on-on.” I close my eyes now, and remember the warmth I felt when I read that note the first time, and every time thereafter. It reminds me what special and amazing souls I have in my life.
  • I attended two writing workshops this year, both of which brought me great joy. In one of the workshops, led by Kate Gray, we were tasked to write a short fiction piece. I ended up writing something about belly dance, and loved it so much that I kept it around. It contains many parts that are true to my own life as well as musings of a greater sort. Here is a short excerpt: “Here, she danced for pleasure. For art. To see her hair fly in the air as she spun in a barrel turn. To see the man drop his pita into the hummus because her muscle isolations made it seem as though her hips were no longer connected to the rest of her body. To feel beautiful in stage makeup, and feel the pure delight of washing it off at the end of the night, watching the makeup and sweat and soap bubbles slink circuitously into the drain and flow somewhere else…She grew up with rhythms from all over the world. She couldn’t imagine a life without romantic harmonies, haunting vibratos, and razor sharp words. Music moved her.” HAPPINESS!
  • If you have not read The Four Agreements, I highly recommend it. I wrote each one down and put them in my jar, and they have served me incredibly well this year. You really must read the book, but here are the agreements, in short.
Be impeccable with your word.
Don’t take anything personally.
Don’t make assumptions.
Always do your best.
  • This is an action that has never come easily to me. A friend of mine gave me a deck of cards with meditation words on them a few years ago. Surrender kept coming up for me whenever I pulled this deck out. I decided that Surrender would be my word of the year. And so I have quite happily, and continue to surrender to whatever the universe brings me.

2015 was a year of growth for me. It was not without growing pains, to be sure. Most of these times I understood that there was a bigger message, a lesson I needed to learn. I have to hand it to the universe, it can throw some seriously cockeyed lessons my way, but I do feel strongly that I needed each and every one of them, no matter how painful at the time.
I encourage you to reflect on your 2015 and come up with some of the lessons you experienced, maybe set up a happiness jar for 2016. We’re not all going to get to the other side boasting the ideal job, the perfect mate, and a flawless life, but we can absolutely appreciate the path we’ve taken to get to where we are now—exactly where we’re supposed to be at this time and place.

Destiny’s Children–First Anniversary Blog!

I can’t believe it! THIS CURIOUS UNIVERSE turns one year old today! I want to thank every person who has ever purposely or accidently stumbled onto my blog and took the time to read it. Truly my writing is for me, but it does wonders for my confidence and drive when I know other people are seeing it and maybe even getting something out of it the way I have.
This blog has birthed an astonishing amount of discovery within my life. More often than not, I’ll start writing about one thing and end up engaging in a dialogue about something completely different that grew out of the original seed. This birthing analogy is particularly strong within me today for a number of reasons. The most obvious has already been said:  the birth of self-discovery. Another, more literal, reason is the amount of new babies coming into my life this year. There have been times when it felt like someone passed around the pregnancy Koolaid and I was the only one who didn’t drink it…but it’s a beautiful thing, and I am so happy for all of them. It also makes me ponder how far I’ve come in this life, and what remarkable things I am yet destined to do. (Babies included!)
Recently, I was at a seminar called How To Work With Difficult, Demanding & Inconsiderate People, and a woman stood up and told the group about this practice that takes positivity, gratitude, and manifestation and binds them together (pun intended) in a helpful way that makes us focus on them every day. I like that, because I tend to get lost in the busyness of my days, the to-do lists, the who-what-when-where, and as I’m crawling into bed, realize that I forgot to work on my manifest destiny,* but that now I’m too tired to do anything about it. I’m sure that I’m not alone here. The basic idea was to choose a special journal and every day, on each two-page spread, write two lists:

I am grateful for…

I aspire to have/be…

   
   
   
   
   

 
The result is that all the positive ions you are producing from feeling grateful automatically get sprinkled into the dreams you aspire to, making your goals feel close-at-hand and effortless! It takes only minutes, but can have a big impact on your attitude towards life.
*If you are unfamiliar with the original Manifest Destiny, it was (on a very elementary level) the idea that we (in that particular case, WASP Americans) are meant to expand across the continent. My own personal manifest destiny is not unlike its original, except I do not want to obtain an entire continent…something closer to a province-du-Becky. I want to grow into my most amazing self by being my own best friend, and a positive inspiration to every unique person in my life.
The physical expression of this theoretically goes like this: I write down my goals and now I’m supposed to look at them every single night, thinking about the next step in achieving these goals. But I don’t do it every single night, because who wants to look at the same piece of paper and think deep thoughts when there is no real action taking place? Being who I am, however, writing something new every night reminds me that every word I write gets me closer to my goal of publishing my novel, marrying my dream man, having the life I’ve always wanted, etc. Even if you don’t aspire to be the next Hunter S. Thompson, seeing the words in front of you may just be a great way to light that fire.
Think about it this weekend, and if you are lucky enough to have time off, take the opportunity to start your journal and get one step closer to your dreams.

Quick post on belly dance

I’m still working on my current blog post, but I wanted to give you something to read in the meantime. Hipmix.net is a great website for all things belly dance. It’s got shopping, articles, advice, videos, and lots of links for belly dance resources. I spotted this great article today and wanted to share.
Feeling the inspiration to go pro with your belly dancing? Take a look at this helpful article. It’s got great tips for what to do before you start building your business. Yes, ladies, if you are being paid for your art, you are a business-woman, and should think from that perspective before you perform your first gig. Read on for more information. Get to know the practical side of belly dance.  
http://www.hipmix.net/hip-to-know-article.php?pid=45#.Tywe8loosDc.facebook

The Ridiculousless of Reality

By now I assume you’ve heard about the escaped exotic animals in Zanesville, OH…Yep, that’s my hometown. And the animal preserve they escaped from is about five miles from my mom’s house. Now, I know it’s irrational to be truly worried about my mother’s safety, but she’s getting older, slower, and could be an easy target. I say this mostly in jest, but it’s one of those stories that will be incredibly sad when we get over laughing about the ridiculous nature of it—after all, most of the animals were killed (not tranquillized) for fear of interaction with humans.
But until then, we have humor. Following is the text message exchange between my sister and me this morning (spelling errors and all):
Becky: I know it’s probably dumb to worry but have you called mom to make sure she wasn’t eaten by a lion? I just have a vision of her asking it in for tea and then it eats her…
Sarah: Oh Jesus! That is too funny!
…U have outgoing calls on ur phone now right? LOL
B: What do you mean, outgoing calls? Is this part of the animal rampage?
S: Yes becky. It means, have you called mom?
B: Well yeah but I got the answering machine so I got worried!
S: She’s working you nitwit!
I don’t actually think your a nitwit but osn’t that a great word??
B: All the schools are closed you NITWIT!! because the animals are loose! Don’t you watch the news!
S: I heard about it. Didn’t know the schools were closed!!! Wow. That is serious. Now I need to look into it more.
B: How do I know more about this than you?
S: I heard a lil on the radio, but didn’t get to listen for long. Only in car on way to park and ride.
B: Well it’s all over Facebook and Twitter so I am totally connected. I am going to try her again.
She is probably at Zola’s making bear traps
S: OMG that is hilarious!!
B: What is Zola’s last name? Oh by the way the animal preserve is on 40 right near westside market. So, you know, pretty close to her. There are lots of juicy deer near moms house so if they are close to her I pray they eat the deer and not mom.
S: Lets hope so. Mom is getting boney anyway so she prob wouldn’t taste great. But she’s slow-moving so an easy target. I saw u & Kyle talking about it on FB.
B: Yeah old people are gamey.
S: Exactly, the animals will prob stop by Terry’s Tavern for wings or something.
B: If they get drunk enough they will tranquillize themselves! Easy cleanup.
S: You are a fool today! Lol
B: What can I say? When I am stressed I am a comedian!

A Love Note

Becky and the trees in their joy!


I’ve got several things I need to write about, but I’ve chosen my trip to the California Redwoods with my cousins Linda, Michael, and Tutu, since it is still fresh in my mind. Indulge me if this seems like “nature porn” to you. My sister, Sarah (the originator of the term nature porn), made me aware that some of my last posts about nature border on…intimate. The thing is, that is how I feel about nature. I can’t help it. Please accept my flowery prose as yes, a love note to nature. Just roll your eyes behind my back. Or nod your head and say to yourself, right on Becky!
I watched The Celestine Prophecy the night before I left for my Redwoods adventure. I have read the book no less than six times, but seeing one director’s interpretation of the story in action was unforgettable. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a book written about eight insights that the main character discovers throughout his journey to Peru. Much of the story takes place in the jungle, a most beautiful and magical setting, and coincidentally much like the place I was to see in my own upcoming adventures. The main character was a naïve history teacher, not knowing that when he got laid off, everything that had happened up until that moment was all a part of his greater plan. One of the insights he learned was that he needed to start paying attention to every little thing that was happening around him. Notice the coincidences around you; they all mean something. His journey also taught him to be in the moment, and manifest what you want.
I have been exploring these themes in my own life for several years now, as you know if you have read my blog before. It occurs to me that each time I experience The Celestine Prophecy I learn something new. The lesson that everything happens for a reason was highlighted when I realized there was absolutely a reason that I watched this movie right before heading to my own magical locale. Of course I’ve always understood that the history teacher made his way to a beautiful place. Every story needs a setting. It just never dawned on me that the jungle was actually a character in his story, as the Redwoods would become a character in my story.
They glowed under my attention, and I in theirs. The minute I was in them, I could feel their energy. In the movie, when the history teacher focuses his gaze on a philodendron, he sees its energy, or aura. It touches him. I felt the same in the midst of the giant trees and their unique ecosystem. As the sun pushed its way down, all the way down—dozens of feet of each tree—the beams would touch and highlight the brilliant green of the undergrowth. The effect was visually magical, and physically warming. The opulence of the trees, and the knowledge that they have seen more than any human can ever tell, was stunning. Did you know these trees have been around since the time of the dinosaurs? The fact that they are still on earth because of the stubbornness and love of a few special people was fantastical. These trees had been 90% harvested until the Save-the-Redwoods League was created to protect them. I felt that history with every move I made. I was being hugged by the spirit of these trees; I could actually feel a lovely thickness around me. Inside, I felt a peace and fullness. Most of all I experienced love. I know it may sound a little silly; trees don’t have the cognitive ability to love. But if I can love the forest, why can’t it love me back?
My family wandered the woods with me. We spoke excitedly some, but mostly we all just drank it in. Tutu, my 82-year old cousin, repeated softly to me, “We are so lucky, do you know how lucky we are to be here?” I appreciated her comment, but instead of feeling lucky I felt more blessed than anything. It wasn’t luck that brought me here; it was my will, and the will of the Universe. It wasn’t luck that led me to drive the five hours each way from Portland to Medford where my cousins Linda and Michael live, and then on another few hours to California. It was my desire to Be there.
I had been traveling for two weeks straight before this trip and I almost cancelled because I was so tired of living out of a suitcase. I just wanted to relax in my own home. But the Universe gave me a little nudge and told me that this was something I needed to experience NOW. Wouldn’t you know it, but the Universe was right again! To share this trip in words is something that is less than adequate, but it is all I have. I hope, if you visit, the trees give you the same love they gave to me.
 

Should I do a Post a Day in October??

November marks the beginning of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a project in which thousands of writers around the world work toward completing a 50,000-word novel by November 30th. Sound like something you want to get in on?

Whoa. That’s 1,667 words per day. I’m not ready for that!

We hear you — writing a whole novel is a pretty big undertaking. So why not gear up for the project by starting the WordPress.com Post a Day Challenge this October? It’s a great way to meet others in the WordPress.com community, including writers who have completed NaNoWriMo in the past.
At The Daily Post, home of the Post a Day Challenge, we provide creative inspiration each and every day. You can also find tons of writing prompts at Plinky.com, so you never have to worry about running out of ideas. Participating in Post a Day is also a great opportunity to prepare outlines, character sketches, and research before starting your novel in November.
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That excerpt was taken from my WordPress News email I get every week. Now…I’m thinking this is a great idea. The more you write, the more it flows! I’m not sure which direction I’ll take it. I am probably not going to put my NaNoWriMo info in it. It most likely will be a continuation of the blog I already write…er, maybe not. Perhaps I should not flood This Curious Universe, perhaps put it on a different page with a link on This Curious Universe for people who want to read my daily posts. Well that decision was just made for me! I’m extremely excited for National Novel Writing Month to commence, but I must say, I am still collecting a LOT of content for my novel. I have a basic idea, but I don’t have the big conflict yet.
Well readers, stay tuned! I will reveal my link when it’s all set up…as if you need to read more from me! I think this project will be more for my benefit than yours, but what can I say? I like to share!
And YES, I will be writing a long and detailed post about my fabulous flying experience from Portland to Chicago to Detroit to Scranton, with lots of giggles and frustration in between. (Look at the right side of this page to read my Tweets during the adventure.) The adventure continues—I still don’t have my luggage! I am praying it will show up tomorrow. I am exhausted, and finally able to get more than 2 hours of sleep, and so I will depart for now!