Wanna Migrate?

bird

Loyal followers… I wondered if you’d consider migrating over to my other blog and following me there?

I’ve blended the content so that I can continue to write with both voices, and would sure love to have you follow me here:

The Revelation Project Blog

The Revelation Project on Facebook

The Revelation Project on Twitter

and….

Here we are on Pinterest 🙂

My recent diagnosis of ADD comes with some insurance… or is that assurance? Hmmmm… anyways- it means that the treatment has allowed me to focus more and more on my writing, and I’m working to improve . I’d love to invite you along to help me get there.

If There Be Dragons Part 2

Rumi said that the origin of the wound is where the light gets in…..

Yet before it does, the darkness will always have it’s way with you.  To really know the difference means that each must have a waltz on your dance card. To dance with the devil was an experience I will never forget.

Initially the darkness came for me in the form of all things dangerous and destructive. Life suddenly felt better with wild and reckless company.  I  felt the sweet surrender as I let it have its way with me on it’s canyons edge taking me further and further from the terrain of hyper vigilance and overly capable.   It made me feel powerful to rebel against life’s constricting rules and unpredictable atmosphere and finally I stood in the face of all that I could not fix and jumped from it’s spring board as I took a full beautiful arching swan dive over it’s deep dark end.

It felt good to stop caring who I was hurting and how often I was doing it- it was a relief to plunge into the body of  indifference and finally escape the cloying, choking , trapped feeling that held me suspended between two worlds in which my opposing parents each stood, heels firmly dug pulling me in opposite directions like an under-dried wish bone .  The love I had for each of them had turned to a black unrelenting fear in the impossibility of not hurting one or the other and rather than face that end I turned inward until I could stand the agony no more.  My own fury and fear unleashed a path of chaos and destruction that blazed toward epic proportions as my inner inferno combusted from my own sense of helplessness and self loathing.

As I look back now I realize that I’d checked out long before my teenage years but had never had any wisdom or perspective to be able to understand that this is what I had done.  Even in elementary school I was always “distracted” and “If Monica would only apply herself..” but the truth is evident now as mother to my own girl child who holds an eerie resemblance to my former self in looks and in spirit.

At her age, I was simply too busy trying to put the pieces of my home and family life together to have the stamina for anything that seemed less important. The history of my own legacy seemed far more urgent in nature than something that happened in world history.  Textbooks seemed so factual and precise… and offered less stimulation than my heightened senses allowed for.  “Is everything all right at home ?” I remembered Miss Crysta asking when I was in the second grade as I sat frozen in place absorbed in some far away land as my classmates filed out for recess.  I had no idea at that time what was even wrong with me except that I was kind of thick apparently – my grades said so anyway.

After I joined Al-Anon later in my late thirties I learned about those roles that adult children of alcoholics play inside the home.  I sat in shock as I listened to the participants describe my life.  I’d felt like an alien on a strange planet who’d finally been reunited with it’s species. Kids in these situations will become the caretakers, the pack mules and the sentry for the events and situations that take place in an effort to survive and make sense of the pain and confusion. They will assume the roles of little adults who work overtime to keep the peace, distract, entertain. Tap dancing through the wreckage as the the tension continued to grow –  it’s equilibrium so delicate it teetered dangerously in this fragile pressure vortex that felt a lot like a balloon at overcapacity for more air intake….

****POP!!!*****

As I danced cheek to cheek with the darkness we shagged and tangoed with abandoned over ballon covered ballroom floor empty of eager party goers popping everything in our devastating wake.  BLAM!! BLAM !!BLAM!!! – I crashed his porsche, I smashed her things, I cursed and hurled and defied and howled.  I beat my sister, I stole from stores. I lied, I drank and I snorted. Even as I sat at the police station (again) waiting for my Dad to come and pick me up I steeled myself for his look of disappointment knowing that this fate was far better than the one that would have rendered our relationship extinct. I would rather die.

At the height of my performance as the anti-christ he was diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer.  Our house seemed to heave a great sigh of relief as each side on enemy lines put down their weapons of mass destruction and began the peace treaty that all of us would sign.  There was still time to rebuild the city and restore the burnt out buildings and they did their best to mend the catastrophic woundings that took place there over the past five years in the name of progress.    There would finally be an end to the madness,  but it happen only after months of steady downward prognosis , grimaces of pain on progressively brittle bones as the cancer spread, and ineffective medical procedures to contain it.

The compromise was cuddled at home in a hospice bed centered in his favorite room, surrounded by his all of his leather bound books and his classical music collection. My mother was never far and most often curled by his side as she swept his hair over his still handsome irish brow with her soft forgiving hands, while murmuring nothings to his neck as we gathered on surrounding couches and armchairs shifting with the discomfort of their newborn intimacy.  Adagio for Strings would play along with classical pieces that met my fathers mood as his graceful surgeons fingers composed his opus on octaves outside our range. He died at age Seventy,  September 28th.  I would be turning twenty one.

Life is a paradox… filled with opposites and contrasts and events that must be gathered to each of us in our own time. As mortal humans we gather their confusing  straggling pieces to our chest  like a burdensome laundry pile one struggles to contain as it’s carried up the narrow dark cellar stairs only to realize that each sock that once had its match is now somehow,  mysteriously and maddeningly missing.  By the time the next pile is dirtied enough for that new lightening and brightening formula it’s formerly unavailable partner shows up out of nowhere like a long lost lover for game. set. match. to help make some sense of it all.

As his vitality lessoned over those last three years so did my bend toward destruction. On the day of his funeral I was utterly wracked with the grief of losing him, yet not a pew behind was the surprising rush of relief that comes when any horrible alternative end so narrowly missed releases you safely into the extended arms of mercy.  I had been rescued from the bitter taste of betrayal and the irrational fear of losing him in my life to losing him instead to a seemingly expertly choreographed death.  There these two impossibly incongruent emotions held each other in a tight embrace as my life seemed to know some strange yet certain alignment with fate.

I’d been allowed to love him without having had to call him out on the dapper coat tails of his hideous disease . It’s lack of decorum. spontaneous whims, and unpredictable mood swings  had held us hostage like a wedding party of wildly wilting buttonholed boutonnieres for so very long , yet we would miss it’s familiar hold on us like those who’ve known the blind bait and switch of Stockholm Syndrome.  Who were we now without him?

Al-Anon would also teach me that alcoholism is a “family disease” and once you know that the family unit is truly infected by it’s intoxicating fumes you won’t be surprised when I tell you that we all continued to flirt with it’s company as each of us set out for our own black tie event to live, love, and marry into the fun house mirrors of our fractured selves.

To be Continued…..

(ok- so it keeps comin… I thank you for reading and those of you who know me also know I struggle with writers block and have not been writing for some time.  Somehow last night as I was sitting with the keyboard this is the story that was coming up … and it just seemed to flow out but please know that it’s only my “story” and not my TRUTH if that makes sense?  This is all the past and I am happy and healthy and thriving and I’m telling it from a place of peace… so please know that I so appreciate you reading and commenting AND… I’m really good! -I love my mom and Dad and I love my family to pieces!  I think somethings just unplugging or something so I’m gonna keep it coming as long as it’s flowing and please feel free to read, ask questions, laugh, or none of the above. XO)

Thoughts Of Mothers Day

This is my first official portrait taken with my two children.  Why did I wait so long?! Last Saturday we lucked out with a beautiful afternoon and spent our time together in the competent and amazingly talented hands of  Terry Lee Cafferty. Terry Lee was offering a Mothers Day promotion at her new studio and I knew right away I wanted to participate. I’m still only ten years new at this mommy thing and who are these two look-alike children with their beautiful faces on top of mine?  I’m so happy we did this!

As Mothers Day approaches I think of my own Mother- a woman who has dedicated every cell in her body to making sure I am alive and well in the world and that nothing harms a hair follicle on my precious head.  I realize that the witchery of motherhood  comes as some instant hex when we deliver our tight fisted babe from the universal womb. Our instincts forever heightened and downright primal as we need simply tilt our heads in a certain angle in order to sniff the air- the scent of our baby inextricably glued into our every pore for ad infinitum.  I get it now-  no one could have ever explained how birthing another forever changes you.

My Mother- The woman who somehow just “knows” when something is not quite right  -the invisible thread.  Was it a message sent to her by way of  the wind? A tug in the umbilical aura? A shift in cosmic energy? How does she doooo that? Oh, yes… this is me now… I too can summon hurricane force winds and lift John Deer Tractors if given by threat to my children.  YES,  HEAR ME ROAR.

This beautiful creature – my mother, as time wraps it’s wisdom in a shawl of crinkled lines around her sparkling eyes
every
single
time
she looks at her children… her grandchildren
growing even more beautiful with age.

This being who brought me in, knew long before I ever would what it really takes to birth another, raise another, love another, bury another, honor another… what it takes to keep the memories of past faces and places like heart shaped moments on the tin of a freshly baked cookie sheet…  smell the goodness.

“Mom- i’m home!”

home again home again jigged de jig….

She was always there….

bigger than life …even when she wasn’t…

…  her face and voice the echo and compass inside the heart she grew, inside a heart that knew inside a heart of another, mother… hers.

Her love-  combined with the waterfall of (other) mothers…. never ending – it’s force coming down to cleanse and rebirth even the most prodigal child…

never did she lose faith or hope.

never did she stop giving.

believing,

loving.

and so…it’s mothers day, and I will follow her lead – with every cell in my body which inherently knows the true depth and power of  this love. This awesome mom- me power so pure and this connection so strong that yes, one gentle breeze might simply touch my cheek and I will know, oh I will know that moment before I know- because that is the power of mom, and somehow in this cosmos come hell or high water I will lean in with every fiber of my being to kow that my babies are alright and if that’s so – then:  ALL is right with the world….  YES. All is right with the world.

Happy Mothers Day.

Love after Love and a Pregnancy Haiku

So, I’m not really sure when i started loving poetry but i think it was around the time I was at a loss for complete sentences to describe what was happening – so…. pregnancy perhaps?  I wonder what my pregnancy Haiku would have sounded like:

Plump and round…
Square circle
Weighing FAT 183 pounds

or

Cookie Cookie
Carbs and Baloney
Love you so… never lonely

I digress.

I’ve loved poetry since the moment i discovered what a beautiful way it describes the “in betweens” of life.  The intangibles of our emotional world.  It can weave words into beautiful life pictures.  It’s the artists pallet of the written word.

Take this image for example… in a sentence it would sound like this:

“yeah, this sunset over the water painting was so spectacular, and the colors were amazing”

or

“Sunset sweeps across the sky,

radiating color

warmth will spread from the hue of tomorrow”

Ok- who know’s if i am making any sense at all but the point of this post was to share the following with you:

I  love this poem a friend introduced me to about two weeks ago and wanted to share it with you and dedicate it to The Revelation Project and all the women who have come to the banquet of their own lives.  Also to those who dare to really discover who they are.  What inspiration-  wow.

Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.”

― Derek Walcott

Normal? That’s never really been my life.

The past almost eight weeks has really been a blur.  I started conducting social media workshops at my house just around the time my neighbor Robyn had a snowboarding accident and sustained a level three concussion which had originally thrown everything into a chaotic scramble.

Come July Robyn will have lived across the street for an entire year so needless to say having had so much in common (single mom’s, 2 small children, photography, our own businesses, and a love for self development) we developed a fairly significant bond. Her concussion strengthened that bond even further as throughout her recovery process myself and several others have been helping her get back to “normal” whatever that is.

Laughingly the other night we wondered if that’s even possible given the turn of events these weeks have provided.  Robyn’s head injury has allowed her to tap into a deeper knowing of herself and those around her that some might even say borders on (you fill in the blank).

Those of us around her who know her best have witnessed the change in her… a calmer more centered demeanor and while at first i wondered if perhaps I should call this “the injury” – it’s also clear that it’s not in any way impaired her work, the project, or her ability to process her thoughts and emotions…  her hectic, spinning, ADD self is gone… and in it’s place there seems to be a quiet, calm, knowing that some might find disconcerting.  Honestly, I’d be worried if I did not know her as well I do- and to my great relief her humor and wit is back in full form, which, if not for that I’d been truly beside myself with concern.  She is officially Robyn… but altered as if to a higher form of herself (maybe I should bump my head?)

So life continues along its semi- hectic pace with a new twist in the agenda, as Robyn taps in to what we can only both think of right now as a gift.  Her clarity and calm and optimism is refreshing and exciting and well, calming.

We resumed work on The Revelation Project last week and the experience seems more inspiring that ever, and I honor in my heart what I believe to finally be a greater part of my calling in the world.  Maybe that sounds hokey but I feel called to it in a way that is different for me.  I have no business to be unconcerned for money or material comforts as my “situation” does not really lend itself to a life of leisure – lol. But I feel like because the money is not the motive and my heart is 100% in it… it creates an ease, and earns “enough” to at least take the edge off.   In the meantime my social media classes and blogging workshops have been filled with amazing people who come to learn something I did not even realize I had to offer… (thanks Jennifer Neuguth) and who help me pay for the weeks groceries (side plug: I’ve got another social media workshop coming up late may on a SATURDAY for those who cant make a week day so let me know if you want to book a seat!)

It’s been a LOOOONG three years but I will officially now say:  I AM HAPPY.

(Deep gratitude to those of you who have been the light while i was the darkness)

What’s New? Mommy 911 and Blogging

Everything!

I’m a little overwhelmed.   Blogging for a few different organizations has been harder to juggle than i initially thought.  Did I really think that it was going to be easy?

I’m starting to get the hang of it now… it’s called routine- something I ROUTINELY avoid. Ugh!

Robyn (co-creator of The Revelation Project) is finally off my couch and seems to be able to feed herself again after banging her noggin snowboarding so I can no longer with good intention avoid the obligations that scream for my attention. KIDS! BATH! LAUNDRY! and I’ve managed to get a few posts completed on TLC’s Discovery Network.  I wrote this one today on my experience growing up and attending a Waldorf School in Detroit Michigan, and I’ve also managed to write a few for the Revelation Project which you can view here and here.  My favorite however is the one I wrote with YOU in mind which you can view here: Mommy 911

I CAN'T WAIT FOR SUMMER!

The other reason for some of the overwhelm is that the project has been a hit!  In order to keep things simple ( that’s a joke) I separated the blogs (Childerness and The Revelation Project) so if you’d also like to follow that one please sign up here.  I did this because many women and younger women who don’t have kids are interested but as soon as they saw “the childerness” title they got nervous (any surprise?) and though the project was just for mom’s… which it’s not.

Finally; I just want to say… I can’t WAIT for summer this year.  It will be the first REAL SUMMER I will have in a long long long long time ( I’ll explain in the next post!)

Sprinkler!!!

I could eat them!

TLC and The Revelation Project

A few months ago I was invited to blog for TLC’s new parenting site called Parentables and although I am loving it I have to say it’s incredibly hard to do knowing that other people outside my own social network will see my writing or eeeks, be able to criticize!

I always amaze myself at how insecure I can be when I venture out into the world of something new.  I love pretending I don’t care what people have to say about me while behind the scenes I have to make repeated trips to the bathroom for a nervous tinkle or two.

Anyway- the most exciting part is that The Revelation Project has also been invited to be posted there with the highly visible Kate Gosselin (I don’t have tv so something about Kate plus Eight or something? … and wait.. eight what? puppies?.. I mean, who would ever do that?  -animal control!) and some amazing writers such as Sarah Fernandez, Marla Garfield , and many more…

So far I’m only behind by three posts and would love to hear what some of you might want me to take a stab at writing about because somehow I have a feeling that you could all make me feel a bit braver if i knew you were kind of there with me. Kay?

I think i can i think i can i think i can…..

The two posts featured for The Revelation Project so far are this one and this one.

The Revelation Project Part VII: Meaghan O’Neill

I first met Meg a few years ago through her sister who was working with me as I was pitching venture capital companies for a bright idea I had about saving the world. I had this amazing business coach who was directing me on how to build a board of advisors, and I wanted Meg to be one of them.  From the start Meg was “game” – and that’s how I’ve tended to look at her.  It would not surprise me if she played varsity sports all four years and was considered MVP or if she was named “most likely to be a team player” in her high school year book.  Hell- I would not surprise me if she graduated valedictorian of her class.  That’s kind of what I mean… I don’t actually know these things about her… it just would not surprise me at all.  She’s just comes off as “Meg” – what you see is what you get and what you get is someone who’s on your team in a huge way- and who comes across as likable and non threatening.  When you learn that she’s got all this amazing experience, know how and respect with absolutely no arrogance you think… how does she DO THAT?  I mean.  My head would be so huge it might literally pop off my body.  Not Meg. Meg is Meg is Meg.  I’m thinking that when women are really taken seriously as a presidential candidate that we might consider Meg.  Yeah, Meg for U.S. President.

Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi, my name is Meg; I live in Newport, RI with my husband and son.
I’m a writer and editor, and I work for Parentables http://parentables.howstuffworks.com/ , a parenting website, and TreeHugger http://www.treehugger.com, a blog dedicated to environmental news and culture.

What did you think about the approach of the upcoming photo shoot (before you got there) and what were the results you were expecting?

I had seen the outcome of a few prior shoots, so I was really excited to partake. But I tried not to psyche myself out by pretending it was “no big deal.” Luckily, my computer also melted down on the morning of the shoot, so I had a good distraction from my vanity (read: insecurity).

How did you feel during the shoot and was there anything in particular that made you feel more or less relaxed or open to the process?

Monica and Robyn are really approachable and down-to-earth, so that made me feel like I was on equal terms with them – and their cameras. And there wasn’t a big fuss about hair, make-up, and wardrobe, so there wasn’t this intimidating this is a big deal factor. It felt more like hanging out with friends.

Can you describe in three words the way you felt before we shot?
Giddy, giggly, anxious.

3 words for after

New. Best. Friends.

Three words for when you saw the results
Hey, that’s me!

After you left but before you saw the results – did you have any thoughts about the experience? What were some of the things you thought about on the drive home?

I felt like I had just been out clubbing all night with my good friends. Like we had really lived it up for a while – grabbed the bull by the horns.

When you saw the results can you tell me your first impression?
Me: “I am outrageously laughing in every single picture. I should really take myself more seriously!”

Can you talk about the feedback you received from those who saw your photographs?

Mom: “That doesn’t even look like you! When did you hair get so curly?”

Husband: “These are beautiful.”

What are some words you would use to describe how you were feeling throughout the shoot?

What the hell is my “sultry” look? (I need to work on that.)

Did you learn anything new about yourself from the experience?

I confirmed that I laugh and act goofy when I’m nervous. But I think I also conquered a little bit more of fear about being in the center of attention.

Did you feel empowered? Why? Why not?
Yes. Even if you’re not the kind of person who craves it, it’s pretty cool to know that someone is spending the time and energy to put you in the spotlight, and to know that you can be in control of it and that it’s okay to let yourself shine.

Since the shoot happened almost four weeks ago now can you talk about the lasting impact of the experience?  Has it altered the way you view yourself or your surroundings?

For me this was probably, above all, a confidence building exercise. I don’t think I’m a weak person and I’m not unhappy with where I am in life, but I certainly have obstacles that I want to overcome and plenty of character flaws… Participating in the Revelation Project gave me a chance to reassess where I am and where I want to be and, ultimately, to ask myself not only “Where the hell do you think you’re headed?” but also “How do you want to get there?” That’s powerful stuff.

Do you think this was an important/valuable experience for yourself? Why?

For sure. I’m always up for a challenge, and for me, putting myself in front of a camera for two hours isn’t easy. So facing that fear was part of the experience – but a good part.

Do you think it’s relevant for other women? Why?
Absolutely. Participating in the Revelation Project isn’t just about getting your portrait taken. It’s an opportunity to reflect on who you’ve been, what you’ve become, and where you want to go. And if  you pay attention, you might even capture a glimpse of your own pure awesomeness.

How would you use the photos moving forward? Professionally? Personally? As gifts?

I’ve already used them professionally http://parentables.howstuffworks.com/author/meaghan-oneill , and I might use them personally. I’m not sure if I’m quite to the point of hanging large-scale photos of myself on the wall yet, but we’ll see.

If you could sum up the experience what would you say?
It was fun, exhilarating, and totally worth it. Also, when I first looked at the photos I thought, “Yeah, these are decent.” Then I went to choose a headshot and realized that I couldn’t decide which one I liked best. That’s a really nice feeling.

Can you recommend a great song or album you think other women who have donethis project might like?

I’m sort of in a Chrissie Hynde state of mind right now – she’s cool, confident, passionate, uniquely talented, and she hangs tough in a guys’ world without losing her femininity. Oh, and she’s like, approaching 60 and still totally rocking and gorgeous. That’s who I want to be.

What is the most challenging thing you have faced as a woman?

The hardest thing about being a woman in our generation is that we have so much choice, but at the same time so many expectations. We’ve benefited enormously from the women before us that worked their asses off to break through the glass ceiling. You can be a mom, a daughter, a wife, a boss, an employee. But there’s a lot of pressure — both self- and society-imposed — to do all of these things well all at the same time.

I think sometimes we forget to check in and see if we’re hitting the right balance — and to say no to something if we’re not. A wise woman once told me, “You can have it all; you just can’t have it all at the same time.” This is a woman, who, at different times in her life, has been a professional ballerina, an artist, and a stay-at-home mom, then became an M.D. in her fifties. I try to remember to live by those words. Cutting yourself is a break is some pretty good medicine.

A Video of Gratitude: Thank You

Last Sunday I was looking through the many photos of the women who have taken part in The Revelation Project these last two months.  I was so overwhelmed with gratitude for somehow stumbling into this whole thing that all i could do was listen to the song ‘Thank You” by Alanis Morissette over and over… and then somehow was able to put this video together to capture what I wanted to express.

Thank you to all of you who’ve been willing, all of you who’ve been touched by this, and all of you who’ve continued to follow our progress.  I can’t even tell you how much it’s impacted me and infused every part of my world. My thoughts, my conversations, even my dreams.

I hope you enjoy the show….