What I’ve Been Reading Recently…

So, it turns out that being out of school is much more conducive to picking up a volume of the written word and perusing it for pleasure.

In the past month I think I’ve read… 5 books? I’m losing count now. I figured that this prodigious amount of reading merited some reviews of these books. I’ve been excessively excited about most of them and dying to recommend them to people, so… thanks for being my guinea pigs! ūüėČ

Without further ado…

1. Immortal Diamond – Richard Rohr
My friend loaned me this book about a month and a half ago (maybe more? sorry, H, I’ll get it back to you soon) when I said I needed more spiritual reading for my mornings. What a powerhouse of a book. Reading it kind of made me think about being a Christian again. In the most non-traditional sense possible. At heart, I think I’m just a mystic no matter what religion it’s tied to. This book is all about transcending the ego (or transmuting/transforming it, depending on what language you’d like to use) and finding the immortal diamond within us all. That’s a really, really pithy way to describe the entire book. Honestly I just suggest getting it yourself if you are interested in any type of mysticism. It’s a great read. I honestly need to go through it again; there is SO MUCH there.

2. The Desire Map – Danielle Laporte
I mentioned this book in my last post. Danielle Laporte is a life coach and has produced an insane amount of material. This book came along right when my quarter life crisis first hit and I jumped at it. A blogger friend of mine was offering the opportunity to do an online book group for it and I thought it was the perfect opportunity. So I’ve been working through it now for about 2 months. Namely, I’ve discovered I’m truly motivated by the 6¬†core feelings (she calls them CDFs or Core Desired Feelings) that¬†I mentioned in my last post – Sacred, Grounded, Belonging, Flow, Electric, and¬†Liberated. I’ve had these words for about a month now and I have definitely noticed them in all facets of my life. Furthermore, it helps me to live much more intentionally. Danielle recommends steering your entire life towards these feelings – her message? To feel good, of course! That’s pretty much the point of the book: figure out what feelings are core for you, and live in a way directed to them. AKA following your bliss. I highly recommend this book if you need a new way of looking at goals or if goal setting wears you out! I promise this version of it won’t!

3. The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
This is the only fiction book I’ve read in the past couple of months, so far. And to be honest? I was not and am not impressed. Everyone was all ga-ga over this book and gushing about how SAD it was and how PROFOUND it was. Maybe it was supposed to be ironic? Maybe that was the point? I really don’t care. It was awful. It was another cliched cancer book, and I read a ton of those as a teenager so I am really over this trend. Plus, the entire plot was so predictable. I personally like creative, interesting, different books that radically shift one’s mindset on something. Like Perks of Being a Wallflower when it came out. Now that was a book. This one… well… nope. (Yes, it pretty much is NOT a book but a piece of cancer fan fic)

4. If The Buddha Dated – Charlotte Kasl
So, my therapist recommended this book to me months ago when I complained about feeling totally inept at dating and relationships with men. Of course I promptly ignored his book suggestion until¬†I felt really desperate. Then I picked up this book. OMG you guys. I’m telling you. If you read ANY book on dating, read this one. And it’s not just good for people actively dating. It’s a spiritual approach to the whole thing (mostly Buddhist, but Charlotte is Sufi, Buddhist, and Quaker, so¬†it’s¬†not all Buddhist). It talks about centering yourself first and living out of a spontaneous authentic center as the basis for all you do. A-MAAHHH-ZING. Thanks, therapist… you were right, again.

5. The Power of Myth – Joseph Campbell
I’m just finishing this book up and wow. I got it as an e-book from the library, and I have historically started out slow in reading e-books. Well, this book started as a slow read for me, and then I have absolutely devoured it. The mythic ideas throughout have been fascinating. I find myself realizing what he talks about – we live in a society that has no main myth. I can feel the ache while I read other myths, the longing for a core myth of my own and the relation in my soul to the myths he mentioned. They’ve become informative and transformative for me just in reading through this. This book has been hitting me in the gut and has provided several eye-opening realizations. Recommend, recommend! If you haven’t read it yet – DO!

Next up on my reading list, I have Island by Aldous Huxley, finishing off The Women Who Run with Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, and Many Roads, One Journey by Charlotte Kasl. That last one might be considered a bit blasphemous by some of my friends. But I like living outside the lines. I want a full perspective on recovery, not just a program one. And I’m curious to hear her perspective. I’ll let you know what I think after I read the book.

What have you been reading? What are some recommendations you have? What do you want to read next?

[Ps. I am NOT being compensated for any of these reviews – they are purely based on my own opinion]

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Quarter Life Crisis

If you are feeling trapped and dissatisfied, have recently experienced a complete change of life direction, and are in your mid to late 20’s, you might be experiencing a quarter life crisis.

10 Signs You're Having Your Quarter-Life Crisis

Common side effects of quarter life crisis include:

A sudden change of mind on career paths.
A drastic move across the country/world.
Breaking up with longterm boyfriends.
Feeling stifled, stir-crazy,  and unfulfilled in your current life situation.
Wild-eyed dreams of entrepreneurship.
Sudden indecision about your life goals.
Dramatic moments of wondering “what does it all mean?”
Paralyzing depression at all the options available to you.

——

Recently, I have found myself in the grips of quarter life crisis. Don’t think that’s a thing? Well, apparently, you have never been 25 years old.

I didn’t see it coming. Maybe I should have. After 23 months of alcohol sobriety, and 22 months of love addiction sobriety, all that inner work was bound to change my outer landscape eventually. I was bound to dig through all that shit and find out that what I’ve been striving for isn’t what I want, in the end.

When you’re in your addictive cycle, whether it be love or alcohol, all you see is the illusion. For me, some of that illusion was hard work¬†that in my mind, I “had” to do or “should” do. It was this illusion of what I needed to be for others (or for my internal critic) that often led me to drink or to acting out with men. I was so in tune with this that I never got the chance to see who I really was outside of all my ideas of who I needed to be.

“You have to be a good daughter. You have to take care of this person all the time. You must stay married, it’s God’s will.¬†It’s your job to just suck it up. You shouldn’t say that. You should do this.” Blah. Blah. BLAH.

I put myself in a cage. I was the small woman building cages for everyone she knows, from that Hafiz poem. I built a nice little cage for myself. One of my favorite songs for years was Simon, by Lifehouse:

“Catch your breath, hit the wall,
Scream out loud, as you start to crawl
Back in your cage the only place
Where they will leave you alone.
‘Cause the weak will seek the weaker til they’ve broken them.
Could you get it back again?
Would it be the same?
Fulfillment to their lack of strength at your expense,
Left you with no defense;
They tore it down.”

Well… recovery started doing something, both addiction recovery and the EMDR work I did. The walls became doors. Unlocked ones, because I’d found the key.

Imagine my shock, recently, when stepping outside the door I found a different world than I knew existed. Kind of like that movie The Truman Show. My life was totally scripted, and then I saw the cracks. And then I completely left that life.

So it should be no surprise I’m having a quarter life crisis, I suppose. But it still took my breath away in a slightly frightened, slightly anticipatory way when I wrote these words in my journal on the way home from Mexico:

“I think I’m going to at least defer my graduate school acceptance.”

Best gif to describe what everything inside of me did after writing that?

 bradwhat
(yes, I have used this before. my blog, my rules!)

AKA:

“If I’m not going to be a therapist… then WHAT THE F*CK am I going to be???”

I have been gearing up to be a therapist for 10 years. 10 years is a long-ass time for a 25 year old. That’s when I was 15, folks. Only a wee babe just out of the womb, practically. And now my plans for the past 10 years are suddenly just… not plans anymore?

Cue quarter life crisis.

The last two weeks have been a strange mixture of totally stoked and abso-freakin-lutely terrified. I have some ideas of what I want to do. Actually, the problem is that I have TOO MANY ideas of what I want to do.

I could be a photojournalist. I could be a life coach. I could be a cultural anthropologist. I could be a full time writer. I could be a  marketing consultant. I could be a wellness consultant. I could be a travel writer. I could learn graphic design.

Ai yi yi. With all these beautiful things, how could I ever decide? Thus, I’m trying to just sit in the space and see what happens. That’s what my sponsor told me to do, so I’m trying to take advice. Just sit with it and see what comes up.

I have 3 things I’m holding onto as a guide. I mentioned them in my Mexico post. 3 passions that make me feel sparkly and alive.

Art.
Travel.
Connection.

Whatever I do, it needs to mix these three, somehow. I don’t know what it looks like. But these are the things I love. (Suggestions are VERY welcome!)

So, despite the anxiety of feeling like¬†I’m at the crest of a rollercoaster… I’m stoked. The world is my oyster. I can do anything, it seems… and with so many things that I love, the future looks extremely colorful.

Crisis? What crisis? THIS IS AN ADVENTURE!!!

Quotes Picture: it's a dangerous business, frodo, going out your door if you don't kick your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to

——

If you are experiencing symptoms of quarter life crisis, ask your doctor if New Opportunity might be right for you. Side effects may include heart palpitations, nervous tremors, adventure, drastic change, and excitement overload. New Opportunity is not for everyone. If you have a stable career that you love, a boyfriend who is a potential life partner, or feel fully satisfied in your life, New Opportunity may cause extreme mood swings, depression, or anxiety. However, if Quarter Life Crisis has recently struck you, stagnancy is optional. New Opportunity can give you that push you need to get going and change your life. Try it today!

Dave The Bookstore Guy (AKA the Swinger)

My in-real-life friends know about the bookstore guy. I met him a couple of months ago at a local bookstore and had a fascinating chat with him about maps and travel (TWO of my favorite things, as all my friends know). I ran out before I got his phone number and didn’t see him again, though I tried. Maybe as a love addict I shouldn’t have tried so hard. But I did. Maybe 12 3¬†times I entered this bookstore looking for him.

Tonight I went in and I was not looking. I should have known.

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I was going in to read some Neruda, who I am pretty sure I was in a past life. (Maybe kidding, maybe not) Anyway, I walked in and…

penny hits head
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Anyways it was pretty awesome. And surprising. So, I play it all cool. I read my poetry. I read my other books I wandered around in pretense looking at…

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Not really… but you know. For the sake of this post.

And since this was a total fail last time after our fascinating conversation (which I had thought about ever since because I was so intrigued) I was determined not to let this go to waste. No more running out like a chicken, which yes, actually did happen last time. I was going to leave with a number, so help me.

skymall

So, he comes up. Introduces himself. “Hi, I’m David. Didn’t we talk a couple of months ago?” Me: “Yeah, you’re the GIS guy.” Him: “Wow, good memory. Me: “Yeah well, it’s just because I like maps.”

resume

Asks what I’m reading. So. We’re chatting.

smile

About books (win) and degrees (double win) and intellectual things such as spirituality (TRIPLE win!). ¬†I’m making a list in my head…

proscons

(let it be noted that his name was Dave)

And it was coming out all pros.

He then mentions that we should get together sometime and chat for longer, because he was getting distracted from his work.

winning

So I was pretty happy about all this. Right before I leave, I go up to say goodbye and we exchange numbers, so it’s all official like. During which, we’re STILL nonstop talking about very interesting issues.

five

Then he mentions the amount of animals “his household” possesses. So I ask THE QUESTION…

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“What, do you mean your roommates’, or what?” (AKA NOT YOUR GIRLFRIEND RIGHT???)

Cue awkward smile. “Well no. I actually have kind of a strange living situation. I live with my wife…

gasp

and my girlfriend…
whoremouth

And my wife’s boyfriend, so…”

mistake1mistake2

I didn’t hear another word he said, I assure you.
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Other than his “We should definitely hang out.” At which my mind actually kind of looked like this…
yikesbikes

byebyebye

And here I am not an hour later writing this post because, writing is cheap therapy, AMIRIGHT?

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And also, because this is not an option for me:
drink

because if that happened I would do something stupid like actually go out with the guy.

fallpenny

As it is… I’ve already emailed my sponsor and texted my best friend, and also have determined that I am not going to actually TRY meeting anyone anytime soon. If this is what happens… I can love my life and be super badass ALL BY MYSELF. ALONE. VERY VERY ALONE.

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Or just find a gay husband.

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So here’s the dealio, Stealio… aka the New Year’s/Year End post

[Disclaimer: the second half of this post includes GIFs!!!!]

I don’t choose words for the year. Okay. Well sometimes I do. But the last time that happened was in 2007 and my word was “hope.” Interesting word for a year that was the worst of my life. I suppose it was fitting because I needed hope like a lifeline by December 31.

I love words though. Two words¬†dropped down from the heavens like shooting stars last night. Right before bedtime, of course. I¬†had to run and grab my journal to mark the first one down before I forgot.¬†Audacity. Audacity is, in my opinion, entirely overused. But it’s still charming. Because the connotation makes it a little more jaw-dropping than brazen. Yet it doesn’t have quite the scandalous ring that brazen does. Brazen just sounds like a woman’s eyes in the red light district. Audacity sounds more like the unexpected. What happens when an old woman drives a 60’s red convertible¬†mustang at over 100 mph down a country dirt road screaming, “WOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOO!!!”

Yeah. That’s audacity.

The other word was querulous. I just now¬†had to look this one up in the dictionary to get the meaning. What I love about it is how it sounds (I most certainly will NOT be picking this one for my word of the year). Que-ruuu-lussss. Snotty in the extreme. The meaning gives me a picture of the elderly grandmother in Anne of Avonlea the movie. (Or Anne of Windy Poplars, if you’ve read the books) She was querulous.

I may love words, but I’m not sure I want to pick a word for the year. It’s a bit damning. Even though I really, really love audacity right now and it may just become my word of the year through osmosis. (Because I am stubborn and will not pick it)¬†So you might see audacity returning throughout 2014. I have some ideas for that word.

Speaking of ideas… one thing I would like to do in 2014 is to make this little blog a little more official. A redesign and my OWN DOMAIN. Yikes. That’s a little scary. And also where I might be thinking about using audacity. I really want to push forward with my writing and see if I can make anything of it. If yes, cool. If not, no harm no fowl. Thankfully, domain names are only about $15 a pop for the year. Could be a nice experiment.

As for 2013… it’s been quite an interesting year. I was writing out some highlights yesterday, and since I’ve been recently obsessed with/crushing on¬†reading Aussa Loren’s new blog, what I wrote all came out as sarcasm. ūüėÄ That is not this version¬†since I left that version at home, safe in my Mac which is probably being warmed by my kitty as I type. Plenty of sarcasm is still dead ahead, though. Also, lots of Happy Endings memes, since I don’t have cable and can’t watch the marathon tomorrow (Fail. Epic. Fail.).

My life has been extraordinarily adventurous this year (and always, but who is counting).

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First off, my neighbors were crazier than yours. From the schizophrenic crazy woman¬†who talked in a deep male sailor voice to herself…


(like this, but slightly younger. Everything else is accurate)

…to the psycho whose favorite pastime was shootouts with the police…


(pew pew pew!!)

And yes the twain were friends. It was an unlikely pairing: old¬†schizophrenic witch¬†woman and young, sunglasses-bedecked (AKA¬†tweaking)¬†male… but they both talked to themselves so in the end, they probably had great conversations.

After the shootout incident, I also wore THIS perfume

For like a week straight. I AM TITANIUM, BITCHES!

I was surrounded by insanity this year. And the burning of copious amounts of sage. Especially around the back wall of my bedroom, which I, ironically (not so ironically?) shared with crazy shootout guy.

The other weird thing that happened this year was that on December 9th, the anniversary of my sister’s deaths, I had to get stitches. I was rolling out of bed TO PRAY¬†and hit my head on my nightstand/garden table (that has metal edges).

 

But on to other, more epic things from this year:

Marked one year of sobriety in the back of a hippie van singing beautiful music. It was spontaneous and amazing. I still feel sparkled with stardust at this moment and it happened 7 months ago. ūüôā Best Higher Power ever, y’all.

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Started EMDR therapy with the coolest therapist ever. EMDR is eye movement desensitization and reprocessing… basically it’s reprogramming your brain. So thanks to EMDR, I’m much less neurotic than earlier this year.


I think…

Also, my therapist is both sensitive and sarcastic, which quite frankly is probably the best combination in the world. I get eye rolls and sarcastic renderings of myself one minute, and the next minute he’s tearing up at my tears. The. Best.

The Bestie in June. I went to Langley, B.C. the first week of June to spend some long-awaited time with my bestie of almost 20 years. We laughed, we cried… we pranced around Vancouver in 50’s swag. We looked like this:

Hermione, my kitty. Who forever seals my fate as the old cat lady. But with her leading me, I go willingly into that¬†dark night. It was love at first sight at the adoption event in June. Then stark hatred for 3 months as I came to terms with sharing my space with this… creature. Then when psycho neighbor went all Live Free or Die Hard on everyone’s ass, Hermione was my sweet salvation… if she were a hero she might look like this…

except she’s not a boy. Also, I think I should have named her Prof. Trelawney instead… if you knew her you would know why.

Graduated from COOOLLLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEGGEEE!!!
After 5 years of being in college for my undergrad, I finally walked across the stage. This was so big for me because in the last 5 years, all this has happened:
Got engaged and married to ex-husband
Ramped up my drinking career – the worse my marriage got the more I drank
Realized ex was not going to stop shenanigans and started going to a 12-step group for wives of sex addicts
Realized ex would not change so filed for divorce
Divorced
More drinking
More men
And THEN I got sober in May and June 2012
And moved to NC for 3 months
Then moved back
Celebrated 18 months of sobriety
Then graduated on 2 years to the day that my divorce was final.

Talk about awesome.

So what does 2014 have in store?? I think audacity is definitely going to become my word by osmosis, just looking at this year. I will be starting grad school sometime between June and September, depending on where I choose to go. Now that’s pretty audacious if you ask me. Especially if I end up leaving the state to do it.

I also want to love with more audacity. My prayer for the past 2 weeks has been to open my heart (just not literally).
I want to take on life with more audacity. Take some risks.
I want to write with audacity – no holds barred, not obsessing about mistakes and grammar. And maybe a domain name and better branding. That’s pretty audacious because it’s taken a lot of work to get the followers I have (not many) and I don’t want to lose them but…

you know… audacity.

Happy 2014 everyone!!!! may it be filled with Happy Endings for everyone!!!