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Tag Archives: Philadelphia
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Connections, Connecting, Connector

23 Feb

It feels like a Sunday morning, it’s not, it’s Saturday. Typical Saturdays at our house are so hectic, I should be out the door for karate now, not sitting and watching tv and drinking coffee. I was meant to be here, on my big plush green microfiber sofa. I was meant to sit and sip my coffee out of my new coffee mug, the one my mom bought me that reads, “Life is Good.”

I love Oprah. I really love Oprah. I cried when her show ended. I was elated to find her having her own network, The OWN network. I love it to the umpteenth degree. I have a new favorite show called, “The Trouble Next Door.” Here is the premise. A family in the neighborhood is in some type of crisis, desperate and running low on options. They call a neighborhood meeting and the family, who most don’t know, ask all of the neighborhood for help. Tons of neighbors show up to the meeting to meet this family in peril, they show up and take it on all the way.

This episode is serendipitous. This single mother has 5 children, one who is severely autistic, and one with major behavioral issues. Oh my heart beats for her. I feel like our hearts are connected. I don’t know her, she most certainly doesn’t know me, but I wish we could. Hey, this family is from just here in the Atlanta area, it could happen.

This mother is drained, she is sad, she is desperate, all emotions I have felt often. As the episode moves forward you see these connections building. They start out small, maybe like a flimsy wood suspension bridge, but then they build. Now they are the Golden Gate bridge. Miracles happen everyday, you have to ask for them. My heart is pounding as I see the courage it took for this mother to reach out to these stranger and just ask for HELP.

What changes will take place in her life? Has the course of her life been altered forever because she chose to connect, get connected, be a connector. It is powerful.

When Blaise was first diagnosed with Prader Willi Syndrome I was defeated. I was lost, angry, and hopeless. That never stopped me before in my life, why would I go there now. I got on the phone and started making connections. In 24 hours I was on the phone with two PWS families.That was nothing compared to meeting the Georgia chapter of PWS USA. I was so nervous that day. My stomach was way down by my feet. I felt the earth giving in underneath me with each step. I just kept telling myself, “put one foot in front of the other, keep walking, keep breathing.” I was completely unprepared for what was to follow. It was family, it was connection instantly, it was a group of people who genuinely looked in my eyes and let me know, “we are connected, you are one of us now, we have your back.”

I look back on that day over 3 years ago. Life changing and eye-opening. It was a day full of promise for me, a day filled with opportunity and hope that my boy would be part of something in his life.

My writing has brought me connections that would other wise never have appeared. I feel a sense of utter calm when I am in a room full of connected souls. That is what we all want. We want to feel connected. We want connections. We want to know:

WE ARE NOT ALONE, YOU AREN’T!

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Connections provide that safety net, that harness that holds you up in a ropes course. When I was 20 years old I did such a ropes course. I had to climb to the top of a tree, I don’t know it was like 80 feet high, probably not but it was really high. I had to then climb on a disc placed at the top of such tree, and jump. Oh, I had to jump and catch a trapeze. When I got to the top of the tree I could make it on the disc. My stomach was churning. I am getting nervous just thinking of that day, that moment in time. I remember yelling down, “I am going to throw up on all of you.” A voice came from down below, it was a friend I had made named Eliza. I could barely make out her words at first, she kept repeating them. “We are here for you, you can do this, we are all doing this together, keep going.” I don’t know but I just gave one big push and up I went. I said, “shit Rachel, I can’t believe this.” and then I jumped. I screamed as I leapt through the air, but I knew the 20 folks on the ground were there for me.

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In your dark night of the soul, or your brightest day of light sending, find your connections. Be a connector. I have this feeling crawling up inside of me. It is creeping up through my restless legs at night, it is finding a home in my belly, it is finding its way up to my heart. This is what i want to do. I want to make connections, keep connecting, and be a CONNECTOR.

Have you connected your soul to another yet? I say go out and make connections. Facebook connections are great, but make those real face to face connections. Get out there. Make plans with your friends even when your tired. Call up your friends on the phone, instead of texting. Make genuine and authentic connections, and then sit back and watch what unfolds for you.

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You could reach down in your soul and find more than enough things to connect with. I look at my own life and realize I am full of connections waiting to happen.

I am connected to Special Needs Families

I am connected to recovering addicts

I am connected to the Jewish community

I am connected to people from Philadelphia

I am connected to people who love the Bay area in California

I am connected to people who lost their parents too young

I am connected to those who love yoga.

I could go on forever. Sometimes I pick and choose which connection I want that day. Sometimes it is more than one. All the time I know that they are there and waiting to bust out.

Are you a connector or are you searching for connections? Share below

 

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Fear Came Knocking

20 Feb

When I was 16 years old I left home. My sister was away at college and my mom was in a rough spot in her life. I was in a rough spot in my life. When you are 16 the bad times feel like hell has come home to live where your heart once was.I will leave high school and enroll in community college in Philadelphia. I will get my GED in college and then keep on going. I had it all planned out. I would live in a super fab apartment in Center CIty, have my fab great pro skateboarder friends and I would be living the life.

It didn’t go quite as I planned.

I did have the most ridiculous apartment overlooking the Philadelphia city scape. It was awe-inspiring. We lived on the third floor and had huge bay windows that made you feel that you could see till the end of the earth. I didn’t get my GED, instead I got a job managing a health food store. I went to work at 5 am every morning, snow sleet or hail. I was there, always there. I had all the amazing friends and I lived life to the fullest. Every hour was filled with memories to be made. The nights went on forever and every morning was a new day full of mishaps and adventures to be had.

If you ever visited Philadelphia you know the city has an interesting layout. Posh fancy apartments just one block away from crack row. I could have cared less. I was 16 years old and I was a bad ass to the core. My boyfriend lived on one of the most dangerous streets in Center City, I laughed at that. I would walk down that street by myself, all 5’2 inches of me at 3am and I dare anybody mess with me. I was ten feet tall and ready to rumble.

Where did she go?

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I nearly threw up in my seat the first time I had to fly with my kids. I have been flying since I was 5 years old. Back then I could fly by myself, even sit in first class. I had no fears, no worries of the plane crashing, no fearful thoughts that came in and took over.

When you get older decisions become more difficult, more complicated, more powerful. This is at  my definition of aging.

I can close my eyes and squeeze my eyelids tight. I can time travel back in time to 1985. I can feel the sand under my feet as we walked along our favorite beach, El Matador in Malibu, California. I can hear my sisters laughter as we discovered the hidden caves and their priceless treasures inside. Pieces of colored glass that were polished down and smooth as silk. Our stepfather Carl used to tell us they were precious gems that came  from the Far East. I believed every word. I always believed every word said to me as a child.I would run and jump and play in the blue ocean waters. I would let the waves carry me out as I got tangled up in massive beds of seaweed. I would feel little animals brush past my legs, I would giggle.

30 years later I am in Florida with my kids and I can barely put my feet in the water. I can’t go in, there are sharks there, they will eat me. I see fish swimming around me, the sharks must be close. I have to get my kids out of the water. My fear so great that I momentary become dizzy. I finally get in the water, I swim out pretty far. The whole time I am talking to myself, “It’s okay, you are fine, you don’t want your kids to grow up with fear. You have to do this. You have to at least appear to have courage.”

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I heard Oprah interview an immensely popular author, he said the number one thing preventing us from living our fullest lives is fear. At first you think, yeah that’s just some airy fairy stuff, but once I dug deeper I realized not so hippy dippy after all.

I am consumed by fear most days, engulfed in it, wrapped up in it like a newborn baby being swaddled by his mother. Why, Why, Why? I am paralyzed at times by my fear. It follows me around like a shadow creeping around the corner in a dark alley. It isn’t my friend, it tries to tell me its my friend and that it’s here to protect me, but that is bullish-t! I get so enraged at myself for feeling like I am stuck in quicksand, so maddened by my immobilization.

I don’t live well with the unknown. I try to tell myself that all will be ok. I make others tell me the same. Tell me what I want to hear. Tell me that it’s fine and will work out just magnificently in the end. Lie to me so that I feel safe. The minute I know my safety is threatened my fear comes calling my name.

In the spirit of authenticity I will share out loud and with integrity.

I am scared. I am scared of change. I am scared of what will be. I am scared that I am not enough. I am scared that I don’t have the will to overcome the fear.

Are you with me? Are you scared? Do you find yourself strolling down the street in your fear wheelchair to afraid to get up and walk on your own two feet?

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Wear Batman Pajamas!

18 Oct

It is a typical Santa Monica morning. Overcast and breezy and if I listen closely I can hear the rumbling of the nearby waves.

There is nothing that can take the place of being home.

For me, home is a confusing term.

I am not quite sure if home is Philadelphia, the place I was born, if home is New Jersey, where I also lived, and, the place my father is laid to rest. Maybe home is California, the place where I lived most of my life, and the place where my mother, stepdad, and my sister still live?

Mostly it doesn’t matter.

When I am in California, Philadelphia, or New Jersey I still have that same feeling. Like a gigantic sigh that comes from deep down inside of me. It is my soul is coming back home. My true Self is back in its favorite sweatshirt, the one with all the holes that you have had since the beginning of time but can’t bare to part with.

I love the sound of the ocean, the quiet deafening after the waves crash on the beach. I love that sound. I love the memories that come crashing into my mind every time I hear another break hit the sand. I can close my eyes and remember that house on Lincoln Blvd. I can remember that monstrous rod iron bed that I had as a little pipsqueak of 8 or 9 years old. A bed that required a step stool to get into. I remember leaving the window open in my bedroom to hear the ocean, the same way my sister does in her living room, right where I slept last night. It is as if I have time traveled. As a little girl I used to sit as I am now, listening to that quiet, an irony that is not lost on me.

I find it very difficult to be in silence.

Here I am, on this couch transported back in time, a time when I had my beloved Monet, our West highland Terrier. A time when my sister and I had hamsters, skateboards, and bicycles with banana seats. (You remember those awful seats, don’t you?)

Yesterday I took my youngest on a school field trip to a local farm. They have what they call a jumping pillow. Maddock was all over that, as you can imagine.  I watched as 20 of these jubilant 3 years old ran for that nylon filled air sack and jumped their little hearts out. They were so happy to bounce up and feel that squish under their feet as they came down. I watched those children jumping intently.

I thought to myself: What can I learn from this? What can I learn from being airborne?

Here is what I came up with. As kids, all you know is fun. Kids don’t know financial stress, they aren’t worried how the mortgage will get paid. They just want to know that Mommy and Daddy want to play with them and tuck them in at night. Kids don’t know love lost, they love everybody. Kids don’t know self-consciousness, they don’t care what others think of them. If they love those batman pajamas then they will wear them to school no matter what anybody thinks.

Kids can sit and listen to the ocean and imagine faraway lands, as I did when I was a child, or jump on a trampoline and imagine flying, as my son does. They aren’t worried about the stress of the day. There is no room for that when you are living that moment to the fullest.

There is a feeling you get when you are jumping. A sensation that takes over when you are airborne. You are weightless, fearless, and full of joy. You aren’t worried about hitting the bottom. You only live for the air beneath you now.

This is where I chose to live my life from today and all the days to follow.

I am airborne. I am going home.

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Poor Little Chickens

12 Oct

If you read my blog then you are aware that I am the proud owner of 14 chickens, 3 goats and 2 dogs. It is a teeny little farm we have going on here. I being the city girl that I am have adjusted to what I would consider acceptable standards.

At the beginning of the summer my husband went away for a few days. I begrudgingly said I would take care of all the animals. I will not lie I am not a huge fan of the boy goats(they are kinda mean to me, like spear me in the privates kinda mean) and the chicken coop is a poopy haven. I had no choice it was up to me. Well I thought I was doing just fine until well…….Maddock and I left the coop open and a fox got in and ate and or scared away about 6 chickens. Needless to say my husband was a wee bit mad at me. After some steam we were fine and our on way to eventually building up our flock again.

Cut to this week. We are happily collecting 8 or more eggs a day and all my girls are so happy. My hubby is away and I am mother earth again tending to my animals. As my husband calls me everyday I recall to him just how well I am doing with the animals, just how easy it is, and how fabulous a farmer I am. Thursday morning I made my normal rounds; chickens and goats fed and watered, check. Oops! As I would later find out, no check. As I went to collect my eggs there were NONE, to my horror. I began to look around for signs of distress, what could cause my girls to go so haywire and not give me any eggs. Is it too cold? Is there not enough light? Oh why me, why not when my husband is here? Then I look oh wait a minute there is NO WATER, ANYWHERE!! Oops. I filled up all the water on Tuesday in the late afternoon and NEVER BROUGHT IT BACK IN TO THEM. I dehyrated the girls. Oh are they mad.

Thursday afternoon hubby calls and I say, “wee little problem with the chickens.” He says, “oh no how many did you kill this time?” I said, “no they are alive but haven’t had water in a few days.” He then explained to me that they are mad at me and won’t give me eggs. So I am waiting and waiting. Finally this afternoon I got 2 eggs. I have redeemed myself with at least 2 of my girls.

Moral of the story is: Don’t leave your wife from Philadelphia alone with farm animals. It’s never a good idea.

Better luck next time.

The other part of my sharing this story is this: I really didn’t want to do it, NOT AT ALL. But I am.

I have been getting really bothered by how worried my hubby is that I am going out of town. He is really worried about how to feed our son with Prader Willi Syndrome. He is of course going to make it happen but it is causing him anxiety, the same anxiety the animals cause me. Taking care of our ‘farm’ is no biggie for him, just as taking care of our family is no biggie for me.

I realized that sometimes it can be a bit unfair to take somebody else’s worries and make them un-important because they aren’t worries for you. We all  can practice being careful when telling somebody that their feelings don’t matter. Un arguable truths I have written about it before.

Where in your life do you take somebody’s un-arguable truth and make it not true? We all do it.

Here is a great explanation of an un-arguable truth is found here from the Hendricks Institute.

I think about this on the mat and off the mat.

Where can I acknowledge other’s truths and let them know that they are heard? How can I shift my thinking so that I can be more supportive in other’s journey of communicating their feelings?

Just some thoughts to ponder on your Friday afternoon.

Happy Farming and Namaste-

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