Book

writing-a-book

Weird to write about this since I haven’t written in such a long time. Guess everything has cycles.

Years ago my ex once said we should write a book about co-parenting through a divorce. My internal response was. “Yeah, right.”

But yesterday, after another one of our family meetings, I have completely embraced this idea. Jaime and I co-parent better apart than we ever did married. There are tons of things that factor in to this and we would of course explore this in the book. It seemed simple to me, but when I step back and look at it, it’s not. There are so many little things we do, in addition to the big ones, that make it work.

You don’t know how many people have a puzzled expression when I refer to him as my ex, or tell me they didn’t realize we aren’t together until they see the separate listings in the school directory. The reason: we sit next to each other on the soccer field, at the swim meet and school events. We are co-parents. We are friends.

The more and more people who compliment us on how we’re doing it right, the more and more I realize people have a hard time getting to where we are. The emotions are so high in a dissolution of a marriage, hell, ours were, too. But because of my depression which led to years of therapy, of marriage counseling, workshops, etc. we learned tools to deal with these feelings and emotions. We release them where appropriate, we call each other out on our bull shit, when one of us slips up, we are patient with each other, we take the high road. Again, I could go on and on. More of why there’s a book in here.

I even an idea for a working title, “Love Your Kids More Than You Hate Your Ex.”

I Am

Kara Glover Billhardt

Sunday was my ACJ (A Continuing Journey) workshop. I was so looking forward to this. To make it even better, I was blessed to drive up to Massachusetts early in the morning and watch the sun rise to highlight the spectacular fall foliage we are enjoying in New England this autumn. It truly was glorious.

As I was driving I was listening to a special playlist I’ve created for these drives. It’s my soul music. It’s on shuffle. But I’ve always felt my Apple tools are keyed in to me intuitively. I have quite a few freaky stories about this, actually. So, second to last song before I arrive in Lexington at Joanne’s office where ACJ meets and the song “Come With Me” comes on by Brother Sun.

To summarize some of the lyrics it talks about being in a dark place, trying to find strength, being weary. Then they sing about “there you are in the water with me, take my hand and guide me graciously.” The chorus is: “Will you come with me on this journey, with every breath we take keep reaching for the dawn. I know alone, I will falter. With a good friend with me, I will carry on!” Perfect for where I’ve been lately, right? Learning to trust that others will be there for me in my darkest and ugliest places. I’m so moved! I shared it with my friends immediately when we arrived.

At the lunch break I played it for Joanne. She, of course, heard it as me being here for myself. I had only briefly thought it could be interpreted that way while I was listening to it in the car. But Joanne has been coaching me lately about how much I truly show up for and support myself.  In fact, if I go back to the intuitive ability of my iPhone playlist, the last song to play was “Butterflies” by Joshua Kadison (my soul song, if there ever was one).

As I have re-listened to “Come With Me” since then it truly is about me being a friend to myself.

On Monday, I had my Heart Intuition Group with another mentor of mine, Anya. While we were waiting for everyone to arrive on the call, Anya asked me to give her a ring afterwards. On the conference call we started practicing coaching with our intuition. Such a truly awe-inspiring experience. I practiced first and I’m really starting to tune in, which is so cool. When I called Anya after she said I’ve been coming in for her a lot lately. Her parting words were to me, it’s time for me to focus on “I am.” She’s getting that I am ready. This is the word that kept coming to her.

But it needs to be self empowered.

Because when I am in myself, just being in my true brilliance, it is when my gift shines the brightest and when I have the most to offer to others.

Just being myself and meeting others in this brilliantly bright place.

Guess what I’ve been using as my mantra with my mala since? Yes, “I am!”

It is truly from this place of I am that I offer to all I meet my brilliant gift.

I have the gift of vision to who you truly are, something I can reflect back to you. I don’t see who I think you are or who you should be or all the stuff that has happened to you or your hurt selves or your defenses.

My Authentic Self feels your Authentic Self.

Purpose

Our current homework assignment for ACJ (A Continuing Journey-the group I’ve been participating in and talking about in my blog) is to spend the 19 days preceding our meeting this Sunday creating space to listen to our “essential” self and what is our true calling, our purpose. There’s a lot more to this, but these are all the goodies from doing group work with Joanne, so if you want more, you’ll have to work with my amazing coach. I only give you this tidbit as insight to why I am writing today’s blog post.

We were instructed to use whatever medium works for us. For me, it is writing. Sometimes I write and I don’t publish, but most of the time, I let you all in to what is happening with me.

To follow is a slightly edited version (to protect privacy) of what I emailed out to the members of ACJ. This is one way I receive support between our sessions. I email out to them and always receive a response.

“I have really been writing and working on my blog over the last few weeks. This is where I am starting to explore and letting myself fly. My last post allowed my readers into my most vulnerable self.

What has come from there is a decision to no longer live in a place of lack. I have been participating in some self deprivation due to stretched finances, but I’m not going to live in this land any more.

I am beginning to manage my own money, which still scares me some, but it no longer terrifies me. Prior to yesterday I had already decided it was time for a new car and I would take the money out of my nest egg and pay for it in cash. Mine is 10 yrs old. I no longer feel super safe in it, especially with the girls in it, as I hear rattles, etc.

Then this weekend as I was working the huge pumpkin carnival where I manage all the volunteers an amazing connection happened. I have renewed my focus on getting the coaching practice started. Found meditation partner with the Darien library, testing out tag lines on my readers, connecting more with therapist who attends girls’ school to use as resource for myself and my clients. Know there’s more.

But this all takes time. Saturday as I was checking in one of the volunteers, I made my usual side comment when people compliment my organization with this role. “Well, I used to do this for a living.” She said, well we own a family operated event company based here in Darien and we use  free-lance people all the time. Wow!!! I checked her in and went about my task. But the next time I walked by her station I grabbed a business card I have now started carrying in my pocket and gave it to her. She was talking to people but smiled when I handed it to her. Last night I checked out their website and emailed her.

Can you believe it friends, a way to make some money now in an area I already have a gift for and love. This means it wouldn’t be too much of a distraction from the practice and other things. Also, it can help fund those areas I want to fly in to.

One thing I would like to fly with is broader reach with my blog. The more I network and I’m out there (these events would be great for this) the more this will happen. Might tweak this email in to a post. I came up with about 3 more ideas last night.

Speaking of last night, my insomnia is back. Since I was through my big event, I allowed myself to dialogue with the one who feels left behind last night. I found her and felt her relax. Now I need to support her and let her express her grief. She’s my little girl. The one who is panicked her mom is dying from cancer. Can feel her leaving. So sad and scared. Wants to weep, but bigger me is telling her she has to be strong. I let her come out a little the other day with a good cry that I describe in Let It Hurt. But I didn’t really allow her the time and space she needed to grieve. I will do that now. Joanne, I am trying to allow myself the support I need, even just from myself giving myself support.

Aside from broader reach of the blog, I will sit with our homework this week to see where else I want to fly.

Thanks for supporting me and being a place I can go to and write long emails. I know they won’t be begrudged, but welcomed.

Love you all and can’t wait to see you Sunday.

Always, Julie”

Another way I am creating space is I was back out on the road yesterday for a run. I then “sat” at my favorite place to meditate.

Previous picture of my favorite place to “sit”

It was so wonderful to be back here meditating post run when I am most in my body. Yesterday, I used the prayer beads Joanne gave me as a gift. They are periwinkle blue with a butterfly dangling from them. I used the beads to do an “I’m Here” mantra 108 times. This is to let my little girl know I am here and I am supporting her. I will not leave her behind. I followed this with some sky gazing. Waves crashing, birds calling, cool autumn breeze, leaves changing. I then finished by repeating the 108 I’m here mantra with my beads. I really need some reassuring of this right now. Apparently, she still needs to hear it as I am up again in the middle of the night.

I bid you, my readers, good night, though as I am off to listen to my “Healthy Sleep” guided imagery and go back to sleep.

Let It Hurt

Kara Glover Billhardt

Rascal Flatts, my all time favorite band, has a song called “Let It Hurt.” If I knew how to post a sound file here, I would. It’s on my Facebook page if you want to check it out.

First time I heard it, it resonated in my bones.

The work I am trained in is using emotional release to clear what you have held. What didn’t get completed? What wasn’t released?

Yesterday I needed a good, good cry.

It was raining and I was standing in school parking lot talking to dear, dear friend. This friend’s husband just received his No Evidence of Disease (NED) report post surgery recently from past 6 month experience (borrowing Lisa’s word) with testicular cancer. Such good news for them we toasted a few weeks ago. Today, I was tearing up and telling this friend how when I feel like I did right then, I go back to the worst night of my entire life.

A time I was living literally second to second. If I could survive that, I knew I could survive anything.

It was the hours before my mom passed.

It was the middle of the night and I was on shift. Aunt B and I were alternating. Mom was leaving. She was so angry.

Earlier that night she actually bit Aunt B’s finger when Aunt B was giving Mom some meds. Mom was not ready to leave.

Mom and I are (almost put were there, but are fits better) so connected I could feel this anger. She was fighting it so hard. I wanted her to have peace with it.

My breath was super shallow.

Step dad had an analog clock I could see. I was watching the second hand go by. Telling myself, you can do this. You can be here with her, with this. Come on, Julie, take it second by second. I knew I could go wake up Aunt B if it got to be too much.

But I knew I could do this.

I could be here for Mom like this. Slowly the second to second, grew to minute to minute, then 5 minutes to 5 minutes.

Both our energies and breath slowed and calmed.

I made it ’til Aunt B woke up.

Mom passed with the two of us being with her in the early morning hours.

I will share that experience too some day, but right now this post is about Let It Hurt.

Today, I had to go back and release some of what I still held from that night. It’s been a shit storm of emotions this week. In addition, to friend Lisa’s diagnosis, dear sunny friend of mine from soccer field I mentioned before is moving out of the country. To top it off, we had a little bit of family drama.

So, I sat in my car. Blared “Let It Hurt.” Bawled with the rain.

I then came in and called Aunt B.

Phew, so much better.

Got it out.

Allowed comfort in from my second mom.

I’m really learning what I need. What supports me.

Sometimes it’s just a good, gut wrenching cry.

Ideas

One positive side effect of my insomnia is I get epiphanies and ideas.

Tonight’s: I need to beta test a new tagline.

Debra encouraged me to do it with my target market. Well, aren’t you all my target market? My readers.

In the physical realm my target market is here in Fairfield county, so I need to use my Courage to do this on the soccer sidelines, pool deck, staffing of local carnival, post Girl Scout leader meetings, etc. I’ll do that.

So, here’s what Debra and I came up with last spring for a new tagline:

Aligning you with your Soul so your Authentic Self can fly.

When you read this, what do you think I do?

If you were my client and you had an hour, day, group, retreat with me, what would you want from that time together?

Please feel free to comment here, on Facebook (Julie Punishill, Authentic Self Coaching), tweet me or email me. However you’re comfortable sending me your feedback.

Next steps are photo shoot, site redesign, discussions with library and UUSIS about hosting meditation groups. Thinking one evening once a month and one day time, hopefully weekly, to start.

Courage

I started this business called Authentic Self Coaching.

My coach, Joanne, has said one of the things that makes you unique is you are walking the walk. This is truly what I do have to offer. I don’t have this thing down all the way, yet. I’m getting there, but not quite.

There are still times when I want to dampen my true bright “authentic” self.

See, I didn’t want to go to the annual Tokeneke (where my girls go to school) cocktail party last night. Wasn’t going to use the school’s name, but by the end of this story, you’ll see why I did. Money has been really tight lately, I didn’t really feel like I had anything I wanted to wear. We couldn’t find a sitter, so that would mean if I went, my ex couldn’t. But mainly as you know I was feeling really shitty on Thursday.

A friend of mine liked a page on Facebook of some fabulous cowboy boots. Feeling snarky I said, “I love these boots. Do you think I can wear mine with some Wranglers and a chambray shirt? This country girl wishes she had the guts to do it.” To which my friend replied, “If you do it, I’ll do it. I’m in no mood to get pretty tonight.” I posted a tweet about it to get support from my twitter friends to go for it. Of course they egged me on. Lisa caught it, of course. I swear the woman doesn’t miss a single tweet. So, I added I would make sure I wore “full make-up” though in homage to her. Full make up is her thing, despite her cancer experience. She’s gorgeous, doesn’t need it but it makes her feel good.

So, I sampled outfits. Changed it to skinny jeans and a hot pink peasant blouse (had to dress it up a little). Plus, Wranglers would be lost on these East Coast folk. They don’t get it.

You know what? I felt great when I came down those stairs. I actually felt like one hot momma, because I was being the real me. Not wrapping her up.

Our school is such a special community. Truly accepting and full of wonderfully warm people. I never should have doubted that I could just be myself amongst them. But I did.

Of course no one blinked an eye when I walked in the room. In fact, I got quite a few compliments on my boots. One friend said, “I love your eyes, how you did your make up is great.” Well, I did do a little more than usual, as it was in homage to Lisa. But I bet what she was really seeing was the twinkle in my eyes.

Touched

I was so very touched by the response to my last blog post, Funk.

It let me know I am doing the right thing in being open and vulnerable about depression.

But on a more personal level it really fed this trust I am trying to build.

I have never had so many deep and sincere comments on a blog post before. My friends from all walks of my life (and my biz coach, Debra) reached out to let me know they are here for me. My sis called, Facebooked (is that a new verb, folks?) and emailed until we connected and she could hear my voice. Prita and Joanne (being the intuitive people they are) knew something was going on with me and reached out. Neither of them had read the blog post, people. They are just that good!

That I have all this support is something I know in my head, but have not allowed myself to trust with my heart. In addition, I can’t tell you how many of my local friends have stopped me in person to ask me how I’m doing. They generally care. Many said they read the blog and just want to let me know they are here for me.

This brings tears to my eyes right now as I write this. Talk about dispelling my fear that no one will be here for me when I am in my dark and ugly place. I wrote a very public blog about my depression and people showed up!!

Wow!!

I’ve been meaning to sit down and write this since basically the day after my last post. However, as a strategy to help me cope with my depression, I front loaded my girls’ school calendar year this year with 2 large volunteer positions for myself. I thought it would help force me to be busy and get out there and make in person contact. It’s really working. I probably could write a blog post on this alone. Last year I entered a deep funk when my girls went back to school. I felt a sense of loss. This sense of loss was a trigger for me. It took me until December to get in to see Prita and really look into what was going on. So, I came up with this new tool/strategy for dealing with back to school this year and I think it’s really working.

I am really coming out of my depression. But, I’ve been so busy I haven’t taken the time to write this blog.

In addition, I know I’m a people person. But when I’m in a depression, I want to isolate. Joanne has been nudging me to allow myself the true consistent support I need. Not to be stingy. So, I’m making a conscious effort to get out there and make personal contact. A few weeks ago Jaime had the girls on a Sunday. After I got home from Livie’s soccer game I heard the voice in my head of let’s take a nap, let’s have a lazy Sunday. I knew two of my dear friends’ daughters had a soccer game at the park closest to my home. Instead of napping, I decided to go watch the game and hang with two very cool chicks! We’re all from California and our blond hair, our sunny dispositions and the way we just get each other really lifted my spirits.

Yesterday I was having a really Shitty day!! I emailed fellow Girl Scout leaders I am close to and asked if they wanted to go out for a drink after our leader meeting last night. Two of them took me up on it. Was exactly what I needed to be out amongst people and bonding with women friends!

I was in such a mood yesterday. I was angry and sad. Many of you know my friend Lisa Adams and follow her blog and/or twitter. She had posted a blog post on Wednesday night letting us know her cancer has returned and it has metastasized. I had seen Lisa that day. I could tell something was off with her. That night, I had just opened my iPad to send her an email and thought I would quickly check Twitter to see if she had posted any updates. I was shocked to read her post.

For those of you who haven’t read my bio, I have lost both my parents to cancer. I hate this insidious disease.

Something happened yesterday though that moved me like nothing has in a very, very long time. I noticed I was seeing pictures of flowers showing up on my Facebook timeline with Lisa tagged in them. Lisa LOVES flowers and posts Instagram updates of what is happening in her yard on a regular basis. I was curious and went to investigate. OMG! When I got to her page, I saw the start of something amazing. Being the nosy person I am I scrolled down to see if I could find the start.

See, Lisa is a bit of a twitter “celeb.” She tweets a lot and she has always been very open and honest about her cancer experience on twitter and in her blog. She has friends from all over the country and world she has never met in person. One of these friends lives in Texas. This friend was having trouble sleeping (like many of us who love Lisa were) and went in to her garden early in the morning. She was greeted by the most spectacular, blooming yellow roses. She took pictures of them and posted them on Lisa’s wall to let Lisa know she was thinking of her. I bet she never expected what she set in motion.

Everyone started posting pictures of flowers and other things to let Lisa know they were thinking of her. By the time I looked at Lisa’s Facebook page one last time late last night it was literally a virtual garden. I can’t tell you how many gorgeous flowers are decorating her page.

It is quite a sight to behold.

Here is the flower I posted:

Funk

Ah, so there you go.

If you read my blog last spring, you may remember I mentioned I am still prone to periods of depression. I call them funks as they aren’t as deep and bad as my clinical depression. But, in all honesty, they are depressions.

And that is where I’ve been, another one.

Kara Glover Billhardt

 

The whole goal of starting this blog was to talk in a real way about my journey with depression, so it feels important to write a little about where I’ve been lately.

As I’ve been doing my personal growth work, I have really been tackling some very deep-rooted issues. In my last blog post I mentioned I am now participating in an ongoing workshop called A Continuing Journey (ACJ). This is really taking my personal growth work to a new level. During one of these workshops this spring, I was taken back to some really dark times in my life. Times where I felt completely isolated and alone, times when I was going through some really scary things. As I was exploring these times, I grew angry that people weren’t there to support me through those times in the earlier years of my life. The first memory in particular of this was when I was a very little girl, about to go through major surgery to correct a possibly life threatening birth defect and no one was explaining to me what was going on. No one was holding me in my fear. My parents were physically there, but they weren’t There.

I was really taken back to that oh so vulnerable place where I learned I couldn’t trust someone would be there for me emotionally when I really needed them. When I was exploring this at the ACJ workshop, I really allowed myself to go back there and really feel what that felt like at its worst; the time before my surgery just a petrified toddler, or after my dad was diagnosed with his cancer and I “stopped out” from Stanford and came home. Both times I was terrified. The second, I felt like an utter and complete failure.

During my work at ACJ that day, I will always remember one of my friends from the group looking me in the face and saying, “Julie, it makes sense that you learned not to trust. It was real, there was no one there.” This really helped validate what I was feeling and also allowed me to stop blaming myself. When I doubt, I bring forth the image of his face right in front of mine and I find strength.

Out of these alone and deeply scary times arose an inability to trust people on that deep emotional level and allow them to see how truly dark and vulnerable I can be.

Even though I have built a strong and accessible support system and I know it is there in my head, I really struggle to allow myself to fall back into that support, when I am in this dark, ugly place. I am scared and don’t trust that it will actually be there to help hold me. I’m scared that I am so dark and ugly, I will scare people away. I wait until I start to feel a little better.

As I was doing this piece of work, my dear friend was actually physically standing behind me offering her warm hand for me to lean back into for support. Even though in my head I knew it was there, warm, understanding, strong, I TRULY struggled to allow myself to lean back in to it. I would hold myself up, ramrod straight, steeling myself.

This really helped explain to me why I isolate when I am in a funk. I don’t think I’ve understood it as well as I do now, what a struggle it is for me to trust.

So the journey over the last few months has been to allow myself to lean back in to support, but from a different place than I ever have before. I have had to do this slowly to convince myself little by little, it is there. This meant asking to go in the “middle” at the end of a prep session for helpers and facilitators of the Emotional Re-education Workshop this summer. We were practicing a technique that was new for a lot of us. We were drawing to a close of the time we were scheduled to spend together, two other people had already gone. I was scared to ask people to stay later, but I knew I really needed to do some work. I had to not “caretake” my colleagues, my friends and trust they would speak up for themselves if they didn’t feel they could stay. Well, guess what? Everyone stayed and I did a really nice deep piece of work.

Since then I’ve really been processing through that place. I allowed myself to open up to an observation from Joanne (my coach) to seek out some sort of regular, consistent support. I took almost a month to figure out how I wanted to do this. I think I’ve found what I want to do and I start participating in a new group on Monday.

I decided I would write this post about where I am, even though I’m still in a bit of a dark and ugly place. I would trust you, my readers and let you see me dark and vulnerable.

So that is where I have been lately: in my dark, ugly, scary place, slowly allowing myself to learn to trust.

Insomnia

I know it’s  been a while since I posted, but I’ve been focused on creating the business plan for the coaching practice. As I told Joanne yesterday, thanks to my day with Debra, the butterfly now has a home.  I will write more about this later.

I wrote the below post while coming off a 10 day insomnia jag. Not fun!! I’ve revised it a little since I wrote it a week ago.

Moon and 95 at Night

Calder Billhardt

Since nearly to the day my dad told me his cancer diagnosis, I have suffered from bouts of insomnia.

Some have been pretty severe and others, not so much.

In college, as I spiraled in to the clinical depression, I literally started to go into shock one morning due to lack of sleep. I hadn’t slept in 3 days. Now, Professor Dement from Sleep and Dreams at Stanford, one of the founders of sleep research, would tell you I was probably having micro sleeps during that period, but no significant sleep of record. I had a midterm that morning. I had slept over at my boyfriend’s dorm room. I left to drive to my test, because I was too exhausted to bike or walk. As I turned the key in the car door, I started to sweat, my heart was racing, I couldn’t catch my breath, I felt like I was going to pass out. I knew enough not to get behind the wheel. I went back in to the dorm, knocked on Chuck’s door. Luckily, Chuck was an outdoorsy guy and studying physical therapy, because the minute he opened his door, he recognized the signs that I was going in to shock. The lack of sleep and panic over the test I was unprepared for were pushing my body in to shock! He brought me in, had me lay down, propped my legs up on pillows, covered me with blankets and called his mom for advice on what to do next. Needless to say, I didn’t take the test, I didn’t go fully in to shock and eventually I slept.

The student health center’s answer was to give me Valium and Lorazepam. Both highly addictive. Dad freaked when I told him this. He sent me to Kaiser (his employer) and they said Benadryl. For many years, Benadryl has been my go to trick.

Enter Prita, Joanne and my introduction in to our modality. With their cues, I now listen to my insomnia.

“Who” can’t sleep?

See now I get my bouts of sleeplessness when things are good. When they’re on the upturn. Joanne asked me point-blank last week, who is it that feels they are being left behind. I have been working on this all week, while I listen to my Healthy Sleep guided imagery, by Belleruth Naperstek (highly recommend it). I’m getting there. My body isn’t quite so tight, my breathing more relaxed.

Now, enter melatonin. I’ve used it before but the dis-solvable kind. I switched to it because as I age I am getting more drug sensitive. I was waking up super groggy because of the Benadryl half-life. The dis-solvable melatonin was working to help me fall asleep, but not helping me stay asleep. That’s my major problem. A neighbor suggested I try the swallow-able kind. After 9 days of insomnia, girls and I stopped at Whole Foods to get some. Robert in Whole Body was so helpful. Told me start with one 1 mg pill and go from there.

So, last Tuesday night, I did and I slept. I slept for 6.5 hours. Woke up at 4 am, took another tablet at 5 am, back to bed at 6:20 and slept until 8:45.

Wow, I finally felt grounded!

Sleep grounds me!

Without it, I get manic!

Couple this (at that point) 9 day bout of insomnia with the launching of the coaching practice and I was Spinning! Actually it all was interwoven together.

On Wednesday, I could finally breathe deeply and I relaxed, I could focus, I was so much more calm. All because I slept.

Plus, I figured out who felt left behind.

My Sophomore year of high school, my BFF since 7th grade pulled away from me. We were inseparable, they called us the “Bobsy Twins.” In college she wrote me a wonderful letter apologizing. She said it was because she was envious of the success I was finding and the relationship I had started. But see, her family had become a safe haven for me. This loss really hurt.

When I was laying in bed not able to sleep last week, listening to my guided imagery, I asked myself Joanne’s question, “Who feels left behind?” It was this part of my young self. See I had success in HS, but I had no true ground. Christy was off at college, Mom was in the bottle, Dad was pulling further and further away. Dialoguing with this part of my psyche acknowledged the pain I felt back then. I told this part of myself. This time is different. I will provide us with safety, I will give us ground, I will ask for support when we need it.

So after Tuesday’s sleep, I figured since I did have that 2 hr awake period during the night, for Wednesday night I’d try two 1 mg pills.

Big mistake!!

I was up after 2 hours. “Robert” warned me that could happen. This is when I wrote the first draft of this post.

Now we’re at last Thursday and I had an appointment with Prita. Prior to helping facilitate at the Emotional Re-Education Workshops we all make sure we have cleared anything that is bothering us, so we can fully be there to support the people attending the workshop. As this post is way longer than I like them to be, I won’t go in to details now.

But, needless to say, I found my calm!!

So, I’ve found my sweet spot on the dose of melatonin I need.

I remembered the Healthy Sleep guided imagery really works for me.

But mainly, I have to keep doing my personal growth work and coming back to me.

This butterfly has to rest on the leaf and drink the sweet nectar of me, find my calm.

Go Card!

The Farm!

A part of my heart is still there!

I carry The Farm in my heart!

You see, I never graduated from Stanford. I worked my butt off, got in and I LOVE it there!!!!!

But, when my dad was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma my Sophomore year and the Depression hit, boy did it become a struggle.

For the first time ever I was getting F’s. The Performer had never gotten anything lower than a B.

I had a super understanding Academic Counselor in the Bursar’s Office. He really tried to work with me to be able to stay. But eventually it all became too much and I “stopped out,” Stanford jargon for taking a leave of absence.

I only had 45 units left to graduate. But I knew, I would never be able to complete them in my current state of mind.

I entered the job force. My first real job was as the Information person for Reunion Homecoming at the SAA (Stanford Alumni Association). This place is still near and dear to my heart. I worked there all through my college years and never have I worked at such a special place since. They trained me with the office and people skills I would need to thrive in the working world.

From there I worked temp jobs, admin jobs and eventually on to events.

But a part of me has always felt incomplete and ashamed. I wouldn’t talk about my Stanford years much. I wouldn’t wear my Stanford paraphernalia, or if I did, I’d hide it under a fleece.

I have let this keep me from exuding the pride I feel in my university.

But, no more!!!

This started to change a few years ago with Facebook. See, I’m a HUGE sports fan and I LOVE my Cardinal teams! I would post cheers for them, excitement when the east coast TV televised a Stanford game. I started to publicly cheer on my school!

But, I still wouldn’t wear my sweatshirt with pride. After all, (whisper voice here) you know what, I didn’t graduate.

But in the end, does that truly matter?!

Did I work my ass off to get in?  Yes!

Did I love it there? Yes!

Did I feel like I belonged there? Yes!

Would anyone who ever attended Stanford begrudge me for wearing my Stanford sweatshirt with pride, even though I didn’t graduate? I highly doubt it!

Stanford truly is a unique place in this world. Nestled in the foothills, with its large campus. The energy on campus is difficult to put in to words. It’s youthful, alive, thriving, warm, intellectual, questioning, embracing, supportive. . . just to name a few words that come to mind when I picture myself sitting on a fountain there on campus.

Just because I didn’t graduate, it doesn’t mean I am not a part of Stanford and that it’s not a part of me.

So, today and many days lately, I am wearing my Stanford sweatshirt with great PRIDE!!!!

When I just looked in the mirror, I smiled at myself (yes, still practicing that) and said, “I know what I want to write today!”

Go Card!!!!