Thursday, February 23, 2012

Embracing Nature's Fury... A Continuation

More on that whole Tornado/ Nature's Fury biz.... 

A little background: I've had recurring dreams about tornadoes since I was a young child. They vary slightly from dream to dream... Sometimes there's just one. Sometimes there are many. Used to see them from an upstairs window where I grew up... Since moving out - they appear in various locales. Usually, the dreams originate when I'm feeling stressed or overwhelmed. It's like my subconscious mind ties my 'whirlwind' of events to this natural phenomena, as played-out in the dreams. You see - the primary consistency between these dreams has always been, for years & years, the fact that I see the tornado(es) coming, and try to warn those around me to no avail (stress). I can never seem to get them to believe me - or to take shelter quickly enough. For years, it had been my parents - rolling their eyes, as though I was dramatizing it, or making it up. Since my kiddos were born, I find I'm typically trying to gather them & my husband to a basement/ safe area (quite often my parents' basement, ironically) - and we're just panicked in that process to ensure the babies' safety. I never did get into any psychology courses, but I'm pretty sure this 'tornado' theme has much deeper meaning behind it.

I've always been fascinated by (and as a kid, was fearful of - until learning more about them over the years) ~ this force-of-nature. Thing is, I'm by no means a scientist. (Nor, an adrenaline-junky!) Regardless, they still fascinate - and I love watching the nature-vids on the tube, and would welcome the opp to trek along and photograph one from a safe, but nearby distance. 

But I began to realize something after I awoke around 4am last night, and jotted down the deets of my most recent tornado dream. There has been a real revolution with these! 

Mind you - I've been in the throws of some changes, and "stress"... However in this case, it just so happens to be positive. Happy-stress! But unfortunately, my stress hormones do not differentiate good vs. bad stress. (I'm pretty sure Cortisol is at the root of my tornadic night-time-visions!) Here's the good news: I'm no longer stressing-out over a feeling of people ignoring me, belittling my judgement, not trusting my instincts, etc.... These dreams are taking a turn for the good

Three nights ago - I had one of these dreams - only this time, I was out in the country - on a beautiful farm - preparing to shoot a wedding. Guests were being seated in the chairs in the outdoor garden, and the clouds were looking ominous. Everyone was holing-out hope that they might 'beat the weather' - and exchange vows before any storms set-in. As I was checking out the sky - I noticed a lot of rotation in those low-lying, dark clouds, and they appeared much like the early stages of a tornado - as we've seen on TV many times. I ran inside, asking kitchen staff if there was a basement in their building. I was directed to the door - and saw it was HUGE! So I ran back out - and the clouds were tightening up. I told Joel, who happened to be there for some reason, "I think this thing is developing into a tornado. We have gotta get these people inside." He asked if I was sure, and I said, "No - but it looks just like what we've seen..." He agreed. So we started yelling at everyone to hurry to the basement of the kitchen - quickly! As the last few people made their way down the stairs, followed closely by us, the twister touched-down near the garden. An aunt of mine who happened to be there as well asked, "How did you KNOW?" I said, "I didn't - but it resembled so much of what we've been watching lately - I decided to risk looking stupid - thankfully!" And wallah - First-time-ever successful avoidance of tornado during tornado-dream!

Last night, I was dreaming that I was in the heart of downtown MPLS - back at the old Federal Reserve Bank. (Another recurring NIGHTMARE! Will never be able to work in a call-center again. Don't even like talking on the phone. Emotionally scarred - for life.) So at first, it sounds stressful. Storms are brewing, and the sirens go off...The entire building in this dream happened to be comprised of GLASS (but of course!) - and the doors to the basement are locked. These doors are there just for emergencies such as this, and wouldn't you know it... the batteries (yes, batteries) that operate the locking mechanism of said doors are out of juice! Ha! (Oh - if my prior FRB Sup happens to read this - Jeff - FM isn't going to cut it this time! FM = "Fu@%!ng Magic" - as applied to rebooting computers that go awry - dubbed so by this heroic supervisor for whom I harbor a great deal of respect, and whom I miss. If you are reading this, thank you - by the way - for all of your support during the 'fed-years'!)

So - we see this thing whirling down the street toward the building - debris everywhere - and security personnel can't unlock the doors to safe-harbor. Suddenly I realize that my parents are both there (hello?) and my mom is looking very sad and nervous. She was using a cane (???) and was working there. I had helped her get the job! (Whoah.) Dad was there too - and was clearly frustrated and in disbelief that they couldn't get the doors to work. We didn't have much choice, so we and the others occupying the building began to hunker-down and huddle - getting as low to the ground as we could. I had mom sit down, and I tried to block her (as if she'd ever allow us kids to do something like that! But I DID.) I was half-expecting dad to hover around both of us, but he got close, and huddled beside us with a look that seriously said exactly these words, "Well... I guess this is it." (It was like I could read his mind!) So, I look over to see that it's inching closer and closer - random bits of building flying everywhere - and suddenly - and almost instantly - it completely disappeared!! I took a nice deep breath - (as I'd been holding it for a while) - and in relief and amazement - I gasped, "It's gone! It's DONE!" I immediately recognized the miraculous timing, and my mom smiled, and my dad did too - with a "well I'll be darned" expression. [Do you suppose there is still deeper meaning here? I would wager! Though honestly - not entirely sure where that came from. Still not so sure I've "proven" my ability to adequately navigate life in their eyes. But I'll take it - even if in dream-form!]

So - bottom line - If you keep at it - there's no need to prove yourself. You simply have to do what matters to you - and follow your heart - and let the rest fall into place... as seemingly, it will. And I'll tell you - as a mother - it was undeniably nice not to be worried about the safety of my babies during these two, most recent movies-of-the-mind!

TIP - for my babes, and anyone else who may benefit: Others won't always see you the way you'd like them to. Stick to your guns & be true to yourself, and let the universe handle that piece.
A QUOTE (or 3!):  
~ "Ah, beware of snobbery; it is the unwelcome recognition of one's own past failings. " ~Cary Grant
~ "All faith consists essentially in the recognition of a world of spiritual values behind, yet not apart from, the world of natural phenomena." ~Dean Inge
~ "All my writing is about the recognition that there is no single reality. But the beauty of it is that you nevertheless go on, walking towards utopia, which may not exist, on a bridge which might end before you reach the other side. " ~Marguerite Young
WHIDFML: Enjoyed a full 8-hour day of TRUE and total ME-time - LONG overdue. Definitely not a moment of it went by where I took it for granted... and I felt entirely FREE. I played with music, danced, enjoyed a (half-caff & half-price!) Breve, and basically performed no hard-core thinking for a whole day - woot! Zero responsibility. No interruptions. I must also say that I thoroughly enjoyed concluding the day with a goose, duck, and rapids-serenaded, solo walk along the river at sunset. (Gorgeous sunset!) Glowing trees & water... Glistening snow. NEED more days like this! Thank you very much.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"Nature's Fury"

J and I have been enjoying some re-runs on Netflix of various shows having to do with Mother Nature and her impending 'fury' - as it is deemed. Our real fixation is on tornadoes & chasing them... I'm honestly considering adding a Tornado Tour to my bucket-list! Hey, what can I say? Some people want to climb mountains, others wish to jump out of airplanes. I happen to think it a grand opportunity to travel with expert-guides in an armored vehicle & take some amazing photos of a tornado out over the plains of the infamous "Tornado Alley".

An older vid fittingly titled "Nature's Fury"embodied a summary of all of the natural disasters that could be thrown at humanity. There was a lot of coverage depicting how we humans try to stop or prevent nature from 'taking its course' - (literally & figuratively, when applied to rivers flooding out onto the plains that have been barricaded in a futile attempt to hold the waters back...) It got me thinking - about how it applies to life in general. It's kind of a suitable analogy, really. Nature > the things we cannot control. While we can't always control what happens to us, our forethought & precaution, our response, and how we get back up again all enable us to learn and experience new things & grow as a result.

For a while there, J & I were at the mercy of our natural happenstance. We thought we were laying down well-thought-out plans to strengthen our finances for the future when we invested in a duplex together before we were married. But "nature" (read: the economy) had other plans! This was out of our control. We'd done what we needed to do to secure the home we're living in now... We took a hit, and found ourselves in an unexpectedly deep 'hole', and we slowly-but-surely dug our way out again. The light at the top was a bit blinding, and so we took a few more falls that set us back somewhat... But all in all, we've persevered. We started re-building, and making decisions that impacted us differently for all that would be forthcoming. We learned a lot in the process - and realized the benefits that came out of our unscheduled set-backs. And now we can look back and recall how we did everything we could, did so legitimately and legally, and without any need to allow it to impede our goals as we now look ahead once again.

This life isn't supposed to be easy. We all have this dream of making big-moola so we can just do fun things, and nary have a care in the world. But we all have hardships. They differ from person to person - but we all experience it no matter how 'easy' someone may appear to have it.

Sure, yeah - the economy sucks (still)... It appears that it will get worse before it gets any better. This is out of our control. But the way I see it - we have a couple of options... 1) We can hunker-down with our stored-up funds, guns loaded by our sides, and quiver when we listen to the news at night... OR, 2) We can prioritize accordingly, and continue to LIVE! I'm all about living, baby! I chinse-out where applicable & where opportunity allows... and put those funds toward the things that matter more. There is a difference between caution and giving up or giving in to the BS that tries to impose on us while we're trying to enjoy life. Attitude is at least 90% of it! I'm grateful to be in the position we're currently in, and I pray for change in this world - to include an elimination of greed and extremes - like poverty... But much like there will always be earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, & floods - there, too, will likely always be greed. Since we can't 'save everyone', we try to do what we can to help people around us and pay-it-forward. Hopefully, the circle of love will continue, and overpower the greed, just as we can apply evolving science & discovery to early warning systems and shelters to prevent the destruction of lives during natural disasters.

I just hope my girls can learn to think about the future, but live right now too. You only have today. We don't know what the future holds, and so why chance missing out?! Do what's meaningful to you - follow your heart, and let the rest fall into place. When you get knocked down, pick yourself up again, figure out the lesson, and seek the sliver lining - and move on - the stronger and wiser for it! This is today's TIP - for all the kids who will be shaping the future!

A QUOTE: "Happiness resides not in possessions and not in gold; the feeling of happiness dwells in the soul." ~Democritus
WHIDFML: Re-learning swing-dancing with the hub! (Got a couple of vids, plus trusty YouTube, for now. Perhaps formal lessons in the future??) :)

Change O' Plans~

We did it! We found our family's ideal camper unit. It's a hybrid (hard sided camper - with tent pop-outs for beds on the ends.) J & I miss our tent, if you can believe that... Howeva - tenting with toddlers isn't exactly practical, particularly on road-trips. I have fond memories growing up, of my family's travels, and I want to make those kinds of memories with my own little ladies & the hub. It's much more compact than our current giant-house-on-wheels... Will traverse mountains with ease, and enable more spontaneity. Plus, it was a deal we couldn't pass up!

This season, J and I were poised & ready to tackle that bunny-hill in Lutsen, snowboards tethered to our boots, and my fear of heights put to the test in order to kick something off the ol' bucket-list. But alas, this Winter has been more of an extended Spring. I'm not complaining about that. I've been enjoying the lack of bitter-cold & snow... In addition, it gives me more reason to justify putting-off my desire to attempt snowboarding for one more year - when we can look forward to better ice snow pack - & therefore hopefully less pain in my ass, quite literally.

We decided to put our tax refund on the new camping mobile instead. It goes against everything inside of me; I tend to prefer experiences over 'things'. This particular 'thing-exchange' is much easier to justify though - when you consider the oodles of experiences it will enable us to endeavor! We're already looking forward to a maiden voyage road-trip to Yellowstone with the kiddos! Seems a grand 1st time out - taking it slowly so they don't resent being in a vehicle for too long at one time. It should equate to our being able to pay this off by the end of this year as well. In that case - bring it! 

We shall forgo this particular extra-curricular as a couple, (and seek another means of reveling in some couple-time this year) in order to acquire this family vehicle - equipped for extended stays in very natural locales for the long-run. So be it!

Sometimes, it's not that we 'can't have it all'... [I've been told that since I can remember, but I've been gleefully proving that theory wrong over and over... I've never been one to 'settle' for anything.] It's more like, we can't have it all at once. Sorting out priorities is the challenge. J & I are getting pretty good at it! Cheers to that~

TIP: We'll have ZERO TV on our camping excursions. There will be hand-held children's learning games, reading toys, magna-doodles, & sticker books... along with plenty of stretching at local hot-spots to check out along the way! 
A QUOTE: "Another thing I like to do is sit back and take in nature. To look at the birds, listen to their singing, go hiking, camping and jogging and running, walking along the beach, playing games and sometimes being alone with the great outdoors. It's very special to me."  ~Larry Wilcox
WHIDFML: Did a bit of research into some more super-foods and other healthy goodies... and we're stocking-up! Have conjured up some of the most delish foods you could imagine. The bonus is that it's real fuel for the bod too! (Healthy foods CAN be excellent-tasting... contrary to popular theory.)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

For my next trick...

The above music had been swirling around in my head for weeks... along with the multitude of projects and daily duties I was "juggling", all while walking the high-wire, and grabbing hold of the trapeze on occasion! Seriously. Or at least that's what it felt like... And so - this tune kept popping into my mind's ear - and the volume kept increasing as I found myself in trickier situations over the course of my 'performance'. 
My bestie recently pointed out that the 'trapeze' was in fact, an ideal analogy - The whole hanging on and letting-go - all timed just right to keep from falling. Yes. For sure. And I've had quite a lot of practice since the kiddos have been around. While I've decided I'd prefer to 'train' in one select category, rather than trying to do it all... I somehow still find myself in these unexpectedly frenzied circumstances.
But hey! "Entry of the Gladiators" seems a fitting title then, wouldn't you agree? I mean, we don't generally visualize an armor-laden warrior out there on the flying trapeze, or juggling those bowling pins... However, if I conjure up this imagery whilst in the midst of my tornadic storms-of-life, it can only aid in propelling me forward through the chaos - sword drawn, shoulders back, and shield poised in protection. Hmmm... Yes, I think I'll run with that!

TIP: Life gets challenging at times. It's part of the plan... that learning-endeavor we are here to take part in. But, if you allow yourself the opp to take a step back and view it from a different, outside perspective... it's often easier to simply laugh-it-off, and continue with your forward momentum.
A QUOTE: Actually - 2 today - by Erma Bombeck herself... in honor of some fab compliments...
~ "If you can't make it better, you can laugh at it." 
~ "Humorists can never start to take themselves seriously. It's literary suicide."
WHIDFML: Danced my arse off 'til 2am recently - followed by gf pizza from Pizza Luce' - all with some incredibly fun gals! [Gotta get my dance on!]