On Starfishes and Community

Purple Linqia Starfish

The Linqia starfish is one of the most resilient creatures in the Great Barrier Reef. When a piece of that starfish breaks off, it regenerates, and the cast off piece also has the remarkable ability to form an entirely new starfish. So not only does the original starfish survive, the piece that it lost becomes another member of the community. The loss is actually a gain.

We see this in our daily lives, as well.

Companies send their best people out to open up a new branch to develop a new area. If done right, the company will see more market share, resulting in higher profits.

Churches send their missionaries off to plant new communities of followers around the world. The loss of a couple of hands from one church may result in the creation of a thriving community.

Our children go off and create their own communities and families. It doesn't hurt us that they're gone. We miss them, of course, but they go on to thrive in the world and hopefully, have a positive impact on it.

At one point in time, the Linqia population grew so large that they were deemed a nuisance that needed to be gotten rid of. Someone thought it would be a great idea to set off underwater explosions to kill them, but what ended up happening was the broken pieces regenerated and the population grew even larger. Eventually, scientists came up with a way to control the population of Linqia.

What was the one thing that killed this community?

Poison.

Poison comes in many forms. Companies, churches, families... they can all fall prey to some form of poison or another. Secrecy, lack of communication, resentment, anger... ignoring those potential poisons will undo the strongest of communities.

It's Almost Been a Year

It’s almost been a year.

Almost a year since we got sucker-punched by life.

Almost a year since we had to start itemizing all of our belongings... just in case.

Almost a year since we were lucky enough to get a national ad that would have paid for a really sweet family vacation, but instead, went towards our regular monthly payments.

Since then, we had to sell my Jeep and the 914 that Mr. Jones and I used to take out on date nights. We had to leave our half acre and chickens and friends that would meet for coffee just because and our favorite coffee shops and beaches and trails and everything else that I loved that was so familiar. We landed in a good place, but that doesn’t take away the fact that we lost a lot. 

It just hit me today that I am still in mourning for the life we had before... and the life we almost had. I miss it more than I want to admit to anyone, especially myself. It feels like there was this moment in time where everything was almost perfect... and I’m sad that I want it back and don't know how to make that possible.

Maybe I'm being selfish. I don’t care. I had a life that I loved and now I don’t. The life I have now is good, but it isn’t the one I was perfectly happy with last year... when we almost had everything... and then everything changed.

And for some reason, I can't stop crying about it today.

The hardest thing...

Pitch email:

The hardest thing about being a mom is looking as put together as you did when you were sans baby...

No, actually... that is NOT the hardest thing about being a mom. 

The hardest thing about being a mom might be loving your kid with all your heart and detaching yourself from her personal choices, knowing that you've raised her to be true to the spirit inside that guides her.

Or maybe, the hardest thing about being a mom is letting a kid be mad at you forever and never getting to be part of her life, wondering if you'll ever get to see her again, looking back at all the times things could have been different that might have made the present different.

The hardest thing about being a mom could be watching your little girl grow up into a beautiful young lady with the strength and wisdom inside that constantly amazes you... and knowing that one day, she'll move away to college and you won't get to hang out with her every day.

The hardest thing could also be having a sweet little teddy bear of a boy that is smart and stubborn and creative and impatient just like you, and not being sure which of the characteristics that you are allowing to bloom or fester will make him a stronger adult.

No, the hardest thing about being a mom isn't getting your pre-baby style back. The hardest thing about being a mom might be trying to figure it all out without your heart breaking into a million tiny pieces because you love them so much and you just wish each of them understood how much they mean to you every moment of every day... today, tomorrow, and always.


Detaching

In less than two weeks, my daughter will have gone to her first concert. This is a big day for both of us. For her, she gets to see her idol, Demi Lovato, LIVE! She's in tears every day talking about it. For me, I will have no commitments on the calendar or any reason to stay close to home once the concert is over. I am in tears every day thinking about it.

Moving to Mexico was a big step, but we only moved to Ensenada, which really wasn't that big of a step. We were planning to move further south with plans to sort of hunt and gather to survive, but then Mr. Jones got some work offers that he couldn't refuse after months of being unemployed. So here we are, just two hours away from San Diego. It's convenient. 

Too convenient.

I have a personality trait that some of you might share with me. In a particular profile assessment, it's called a "destructive" feature, which sounds awful, and it can be, but it's not if the person with the feature is in a healthy place. HUH? Okay, follow me. When a kid plays with LEGOs, he's building something out of blocks. But when he's done building that creation, what does he usually do? He tears them all apart and starts over! He builds a new thing fresh in his mind. And then tears it down and starts over on a another new build.

This is what creatives do. They create, recreate, break down, add to, destroy, and start all over again. But when a creative person is in a stagnant space following a predictable daily routine, they might go a little stir crazy. They could start obsessing over the tiniest things. They will become agitated and anxious. If they keep going down that road of stuffing their need to create and recreate, pretending everything is totally cool, they will become destructive in the bad sense of the word. 

They explode.

Unfortunately, their explosion might get them blamed for all the bad stuff that's going on at home or at work or in a relationship. Creative people that explode are easy scapegoats. I'm almost at that point... the point where I'm going to pop. Just in time, the schedule is loosening up. I'm feeling like there's a little turn off up ahead. Like I've been carrying around a big heavy backpack for a while and it's almost time to take it off for a bit.

I can't be in one place for very long. I always felt like a loser for what I saw as the nasty habit of a flaky person. But really, it's just who I am. It's in my DNA. It's not that I don't like being home. I just need to get out and explore. Unfortunately, I also have this desire for security. I crave it like a warm blanket. Sometimes I fall back into a life that's safer... scheduled... stagnant.

As much as I hate that stagnant feeling, I could never resist the pull to just be normal. Because normal scheduled people with jobs live easier. Sometimes I want that life just so I can fit in. It feels shitty when someone with a nice car, a house they've lived in for more than five years, a job with a hefty salary, and a degree from a really cool college looks at me like I'm too old to be fucking around with my life. I always think about all the choices I made that lead me away from that sort of life, and I hate myself for making them. After a couple of days of beating myself up, I detach from the one-size-fits-all thinking. I would never be happy in that life for very long. I know that.

I don't have a regular paycheck. I don't own my home. I don't even have five year plan! But I do have this need to create and recreate and travel and discover. And in less than two weeks, for just a little while, I'm detaching from a calendar and the house in Ensenada. I'm packing my camping gear (and the kids and the dog and the laptops and the phone) and I'm going to go do a little exploring.

And I'm in tears just thinking about it.

Knowing

"Faith is taking the first step… even when you don't see the whole staircase." MLK

spiral staircase.jpg

This quote has had me thinking. With Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s holiday coming up, most people are thinking about where they'll go on their Monday off. I'm thinking about the staircase.

The staircase and where it leads worry me now. My faith has been worn down. I'm a supreme optimist with a healthy dose of realism and a dash of cynicism to keep my feet squarely on the ground. Most days, I can get through the daily obligations of being me. Some days, though, I'm frozen just thinking about the staircase.

I took a big step the other day... one that I'm sad I had to take, but one that any idiot could have seen needed to happen. Speaking to someone a few days before, I said the words, "Life's too short to be miserable." As those words came out of my mouth, I wondered how I could be so inauthentic as to say them out loud and not apply them to myself. It's not that I'm full of shit. I was just afraid of the staircase… and I have scarce amounts of faith left in myself and my decisions when it comes to this part of my life.

After declaring those words a second time in the middle of a parking lot with strangers looking on (because who doesn't love public displays of tension?), I made a decision to not live miserably any longer. I drove in circles for about an hour and finally ended up at the door of a dear friend and intuitive counselor

She wasn't home… but I did reach her over the phone and, after hearing that I finally made the move she'd been warning I'd have to make, she agreed to meet me two hours later when she finished all of her errands.

When Shawna answered the door, I felt immediately relaxed. She wasn't mad at me for being late. She just let me know that our time would be shorter. No problem, I said. I knew what I needed to ask. I wrote my three questions down on a small pad of paper in her office and waited while she invited Spirit to our meeting.

"Greetings… I feel you giggling inside… and I feel your worries, too."

Shawna is an intuitive counselor who channels a spirit guide. Whether you believe or not is not my concern. This is my story and this is what I know. I know that no matter what I've ever wanted to discuss, Shawna's spirit guide has gone around it and pierced through to the things that I really needed to confront. I know that she knew things I didn't want to know… things I kept hidden so deeply, I never thought about them. I know that I've ignored Spirit's advice on one particular matter for so long that part of my heart has atrophied. I have to admit that her guidance was right, which was why I was there.

I just needed some answers about the next steps on the staircase.

I asked my questions and received straight forward guidance. She told me exactly what I needed to be careful about and what I could relax about. What's funny is that I was worrying about things I didn't need to be worried about, and because my mind was busy fighting imaginary monsters, I wasn't putting enough attention on the things I needed to focus on. After our meeting, I rallied and went to work.

By the next morning, I was taking the first steps on the staircase and continue climbing out and up.

Step by step, I can feel my faith returning.

~~~

If you are unsure about your next steps and would like to speak with Shawna about a meeting in person or over the phone, call 1-800-KNOWING.