You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2012.

I had my first acupuncture treatment yesterday.

Ok, I know some people may be rolling their eyes. I used to think acupuncture sounded a bit hokey as well. Seriously, how could poking someone with needles actually do any good? But the more I studied it, the more I began to realize there is actually a lot more to it than that.

I began my interest in acupuncture well before I got into vet school when I saw a bird practically go to sleep when a gentle pressure was applied to a certain spot on the top of its head. After getting into vet school, I began to take more of an interest in some of the more non-traditional therapies available. I learned a couple of really interesting facts. First, acupuncture has been around for thousands of years and the points haven’t changed. Scientists actually discovered a mummified body with tattoos of acupuncture points. They also discovered that the person had likely suffered from a degenerative joint disease. A bunch of Western scientists were bothered that they didn’t understand how it worked, so they dissected out all of the acupuncture points and found what amounted to powerhouses in the nervous system. So the points may have not been scientifically defined, but they were far from random.

I’ve studied acupuncture, watched it, and even done some basic needle placing in animals. I’ve learned a lot of things, but there are three basic points that relate to my experience.
1.) It’s not supposed to hurt.
2.) You aren’t supposed to bleed.
3.) You aren’t supposed to pass out.

I did all three (ok, not completely pass out, but started feeling light headed). It basically translated to this:
1.) It’s inflamed where it hurts.
2.) Any point that bleeds is an area that really needed a needle.
3.) Holy $@?&.

So that brings me to my experience. I’ve believed in the effectiveness of acupuncture for a few years but it never actually occurred to me to go for my back injury. When I arrived, I was informed that she was going to use 3 different types of therapy: acupuncture, cold laser, and micro-current. All of these work together to accelerate healing. She started by placing a few needles. Now, these needles are about the width of 2 human hairs, so the most you will feel is a little prick. The ones I felt the most were behind my knee, and of all those I felt, I tended to feel them more on the left side (the side of the impact). After the needles were all placed, I couldn’t feel them at all, even if I moved. After the needles were in place, she started with the cold laser. That basically felt like a really cold pen cap, so again, nothing big. Until she got to the spot right over my left kidney, the part where I have been feeling the most pain for the past 3 weeks. That felt more like someone was touching a really bad bruise. She explained that this meant that area was really inflamed, which makes sense since its been hurting constantly. At this point, I start to get the feeling that I’m about to pass out. I tell her this, and she moves with the same speed I did when a cat went into cardiac arrest on my table. She sticks a needle in the top of my head and starts gently applying pressure to various points and eventually the feeling passes. (Please note that the ONLY way I have ever been able to stop an attack is to lie on my back with my knees up in the air. The only thing sitting with my head between my knees does is ensures that my head will be the first thing to hit the floor when I do pass out.) So why did I feel such a strong reaction? Apparently, my energy was moving too fast. My body essentially relived the crash, and even though there was no physical or mental response, my muscles and nerves remembered and basically had the same response they did when I was hit. It really brought home just how severe the crash was, how much my body went through, how much shock it absorbed. It all makes me wonder what would have happened if my adrenaline wasn’t so high. So after that is all over, she starts with the micro-current therapy. I really can’t describe it too well, but it really helped with the pain. Finally, she removed the needles, and I only had one that bled (mind you, paper cuts bleed worse than this did), and it was a kidney point on my left side. When a needle point bleeds, it means that there is a “stagnation of chi.” Regardless of what you believe about chi and energy flow, it makes sense that an area with a lot of tension and pressure will be more apt to bleed once that pressured is released. I wasn’t surprised at the point that bled, I actually expected more. She told me that I would be sore today, but more like a post-workout sore than a true pain sore.

I scheduled my next appointment for a week from today, and thankfully, I shouldn’t have quite the extreme reaction I had this time. You might think I’m crazy for wanting to do this again after nearly passing out, but the truth is, I had those reactions because I needed this. I’ve been in constant pain for three weeks and no pain killer I’ve been given has provided more than a mild temporary relief. If I didn’t need to break the cycle, if I didn’t need to get my systems straightened out and unplugged, I wouldn’t have felt this way. This morning, I definitely feel sore, but for the first time since February 6th, I’m not hurting. It truly is amazing.

Disclaimer: if you decide acupuncture may be right for you, please do research and make sure your acupuncturist is properly trained, certified, and licensed. Not every state regulates this and it’s easy for someone to say they have had training when they haven’t.

Last fall, I participated in an online class that was all about being brave enough to follow your dreams and how to appreciate the little steps to help you reach them. It was an amazing class, and even though I have yet to actually start work on my chosen project, it still left me changed. That class was the beginning of an ongoing soul-searching transformation that has been long overdue.

I have always had difficulties finding a place in the world. I’ve survived by defining myself by my own strengths and abilities rather than how the world viewed me, and I owe that to my parents and their guidance. Had I chosen to go by what others thought of me, the journey would have been much more painful. I definitely faced my share of bullying (albeit mild compared to what our youth is forced to endure today) all through elementary and middle school, and the only thing that made it lessen through high school was that my dad was a teacher at the school and kids knew better than to screw with the daughter of a Marine. But that didn’t mean I was instantly accepted, just tolerated. Even in college, I didn’t have any set group that I fit into, and that was painfully emphasized in vet school when I was overlooked and frequently left out of the one group I tried to be a part of. But please don’t think I’m complaining — in it’s own way, this was the best thing that could have happened to me.

As a result of all of the above, the friends I did have became that much more dear to me. The friends I made in high school are still my friends today, and it is such a strong bond we can go months without talking and pick right back up when we do. My friends I made in undergrad were my rock through vet school, and my friends I made in vet school are like my sisters. Had I been tied down to a set group, I would never have met many of these amazing people, and my heart hurts to think about how much I would have missed out on.

Still, it is our nature to want to fit into a group. When we don’t fit into a set group, we feel left out, hurt, unimportant, even worthless at times. Depending on the group, those people may even try to emphasize those feelings, try to wear us down and make us feel that we aren’t part of the elite group because we don’t deserve it. Extreme cases create bullies whose primary goal is to create these feelings in people who may not have felt them before. It takes a good support system and strong role models to remind these individuals that they are still valuable, beautiful, smart, talented, and amazing just for being themselves.

When we begin to identify with a certain group, the group becomes our identity. We begin to believe that our attributes are those set by the group and forget what it is that makes us special. For awhile, this may seem enjoyable, and this is the face we put out to the world. We want the world to think that we are happy because we are a part of this elite group. Identifying ourselves with the group becomes safe and comfortable, mainly because we believe that the group will be around forever. The longer we continue to blend our identity with the group, the more ours becomes buried. Then one day, the unthinkable happens: the group dissolves, and suddenly we are standing alone, holding on to an identity created by something that no longer exists, and we realize we have forgotten who we are.

We need to encourage our youth to discover their own individual identity, to discover and feed our special talents and abilities, to define themselves by their own dreams rather than by the dreams and talents of others. No one else can be us better than we can be ourselves, but that also means that we cannot be someone else better than we can be us. We were created to be us, not someone else, and the more we try to create a separate identity, the scarier the world becomes when that identity is suddenly taken away from us. That doesn’t mean we can’t be part of a group, just that when we do find that group, it doesn’t replace our identity. On the other hand, if we fail to find that one specific group, we still know who we are, and that enables us to face the world head on, to tackle our challenges using our finely developed strengths that we have been tuning all our lives.

Our dreams are our own, and the strengths and abilities we have are given to us specifically to help us achieve our dreams. If we fail to discover those gifts, it becomes that much more difficult to reach our destinies. If we begin to identify ourselves by something outside of us, we will lose sight of not only our strengths, but also our dreams themselves.

Define your dreams and then focus on your strengths and talents. Begin to visualize how those gifts can be used to reach your dreams and appreciate that they were given to you just for that reason. This is your identity. This is who you are.

P.S. If you are interested in learning more about the class I took, visit Big Dreams Small Wonders. To visit the artist’s website, go to Louise Gale.

I have been finding lots of fun creative projects on the Internet lately, so many it’s hard to choose which to get involved with! I wanted to introduce everyone to one that I am extremely excited about and want to invite everyone to join!

I stumbled across the 30 Days of Lists website last year, directed there by an artist I follow. It looked like a fun idea, but by the time I found the website the challenge was over. I unfortunately forgot about it and when I remembered to go back to check for another challenge, the second one was almost over. Finally I got smart and signed up for notification and was able to join for the third round. The basic idea is this: we all lead busy lives and many times, we get so caught up in work, family, community, and other obligations that we don’t take time to think about the little things we enjoy. Keeping a journal is one way to record life’s moments, but even that can seem like a daunting task. The creators of the 30 Days of Lists challenge recognized this and came up with a simple, quick way to keep track of life’s moments. Every day for 30 days, they present a new prompt and participants make a list relating to the prompt. This can be done as simple or as elaborately as you want. Some people make incredible art journals, others use sticky notes or phone apps. You can devote 2 minutes or 2 hours, whatever you like! Then, if you like, you can post your list and share it with the other participants. I am really looking forward to this, and I hope you will join me!

If you decide to sign up, leave a comment and tell me your user name so I can be sure to find you on the forums!

<a href="http://Click here to join 30 Days of Lists“>30 Days of Lists

We can’t always predict what will happen to us, but we can’t dwell on what has already happened. When faces with a moment that throws everything into chaos, we can choose to stay put, mourning what we have lost, or we can choose to move forward. But in the end, it is a choice that we must make. Once we make the choice to move forward, the steps we need to take will suddenly become clear.

Note: this post is epically long. But trust me, it’s worth the read.

I’ve been doing lots of reading on the subject of how our thoughts and feelings can determine our lives. I was one of those who thought it was all hokey and just a bunch of talk by people who didn’t want to face reality, but the more I reflected on my own life, the more I came to realize just how true it all is.

I remember when the book “The Secret” came out and the uproar it caused within the mainstream Christian churches. I didn’t really understand why or what the big deal was, I just knew the church was claiming it was “anti-God” and lots of other things. I didn’t think about it much, didn’t really care either way, until I read it several months ago. By this time I was fed up with mainstream religion and all the hypocrisy so I had no prejudices going into it. The more I read of it, and the more I read of other books like it, I came to realize two very important things:
1.) There’s a lot of truth to it
2.) It’s the exact opposite of anti-God. In fact, it’s more close to God than anything.

Awhile back, I remember being hit with a thought that was so powerful that it stuck with me. It was about 12:30 during a very sleepless night, and all of a sudden, I heard a quiet voice saying, “We sing songs to worship God, preach to talk about God, and pray to talk to God, but sometimes He just wants us to shut up and listen.” It affirmed so much of what I had come to know but not fully understand. I have long said that when God speaks to me, it isn’t gentle and quiet, nor is it loud and booming, it’s a proverbial 2×4 to the head and a “Wake up and pay attention, I’m only gonna say this once.” So much has happened in my life that I never actually “prayed” for in the classic mainstream sense, but when I looked back, I realized that in fact, it happened because it was the strongest type of prayer — the kind where you put your heart and soul into something you want and then get out of the way and let Him work.

I’ve never been good at the kneeling, church type of prayer. It always felt so fake to me, and the truth is that it was. The church teaches us that we have to follow a certain formula in our prayers and that we have to pray at certain times, but that is so misleading. Our prayers become mechanical, rehearsed, and devoid of any passion that we can hardly call it a connection to the Divine. We forget what prayer is used for and why we do it. It becomes one more thing to check off our “good Christian” list before we start our day and before we go to sleep, but it loses it’s meaning so much that, if it doesn’t mean anything to us, why should we think it means anything to God?

I gave up on the mechanical rehearsed recitation routine and followed a different path. Instead of following the formula, I began practicing seeing God everywhere I went. I would look at a flower, tree, blade of grass, and “see” the force of God within them. (I use “see” in quotations because not all seeing requires eyes.) My prayers were reserved for when I actually felt like talking to God, and even then they weren’t always spoken. I stopped seeing God as this big unseeable force that was a zillion miles away and started seeing Him in every aspect of daily life. I’m not perfect by any means, I fail more often than I succeed, and on bad days it can be nonexistent, but I feel that this simple change makes all the difference in the world. I feel more connected to God than I ever did before in church, and even when I don’t consciously recognize it, there is a small part inside of my heart that holds onto that and reminds me when I most need it.

But I digress. What does all this have to do with feelings dictating our lives? Just the fact that our most powerful prayers rarely fit what we are taught to believe prayer is. I will set a few examples out that strengthened my faith, convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt that God exists, and that even though these books might not outright call the “positive thinking force” God, that’s exactly what it is.

Back in second grade, I had to do a project on a foreign country. Having a last name further in the alphabet, by the time it was my turn to pick one, all the popular countries had already been picked. I picked one out at random and chose Australia. During the course of the project, I fell in love with the country. I had a superstition about the number 15, so I decided that I wanted to go to Australia when I was 15 years old. I think my family chalked it up to the cute dreams of a 7 year old, and by the time I was older I had forgotten all about it. Amazingly enough, during my freshman year of high school, I got a letter in the mail from an organization called People to People, a group dedicated to sending youth to other countries to learn the culture, government, politics, and way of life. The letter I got was for a three-week trip to………..yes, you guessed it, Australia (with New Zealand thrown in for good measure). The kicker? I would be 15 during the trip. But that’s not all…

My whole goal in undergrad was to prepare me for vet school. That was my job, and given the fact that I would meet all the qualifications as a junior, I could apply early. So I did what any good overachiever would do and began the application. I was literally halfway through the application when I was overcome by this feeling that I needed to stop, finish my undergrad, graduate as a senior, and then apply during my senior year. This was scary for lots of reasons, the main one being that it took away an extra chance I had to apply if I didn’t get in the first time. This was not a popular decision, and caused a little bit of friction in my family, but I just knew that it wasn’t right, even though I couldn’t explain why. So I abandoned my application and prepared for my last year of college. I was in a pretty serious relationship at the time and I thought originally that this feeling was there to give me more time to cultivate this relationship. Early into my senior year, that relationship ended and I was feeling a bit lost. I remember that night, saying “God, I’m not looking for anyone right now, but if the right one comes along, I will be open.” Two weeks later, I got a message through Facebook from someone who remembers me from that trip to Australia. Not only did he remember me, but I remembered him — in fact, he was the ONLY person from that trip that I recognized and remembered his name. I even remember that on the trip, I had a moment of feeling that there was something about him, something that almost said, “You need to remember this guy.” And I did, and for 3 years I passed him and knew exactly who he was. So when he messaged me, it was cool that I finally confirmed what I knew. I found out we were living in the same dorm, which was crazy. I looked at his profile and interests and it was spooky how much we had in common, how much made me think, “there’s something about him…” We picked up where we left off, cultivated a friendship, and eventually turned into a relationship. We got married in 2008. I looked back on that feeling I had to stall my application and realized that, had I applied early, this reconnection wouldn’t have happened.

One of my favorite artists is a guy by the name of Christian Riese Lassen. He does these unbelievably vibrant colorful paintings of sea life, and they are just amazing. I have so many posters that its ridiculous. The downside is that his main gallery is in Hawaii. Well, when I was checking out colleges, one such college took me down to San Antonio to visit Trinity University. On the last day of our trip, we go out to lunch in a strip mall that, for some cosmic reason, had a Lassen gallery. Unfortunately, it happened to be closed that day and we were leaving the following day. We ate lunch and as we were coming back, we saw someone getting ready to go into the gallery. We caught up with him, explained our situation, and he let us come in for a tour. Looking at all of his art, I decided that I wanted to get one of his official prints as a vet school graduation gift. So not only did I get a private tour because I REALLY wanted to go in, I also got a special edition book featuring his artwork. Fast forward to my last year of vet school, my parents went to Hawaii. I was on rotations and couldn’t go, so they went without me. While on the trip, they were walking down a street when my dad, for a reason he can’t explain, entered a little hidden art shop. He said he didn’t know why but he was just drawn to it. During my graduation party, he revealed what he found there — a genuine Lassen print, but not only that, it was one of his sea turtle prints (an animal I have felt especially drawn to).

None of these things happened because I got down on my knees and specifically asked for them. These things happen because I felt a passion for them, and because I trusted God to handle it. Granted it was more of an “if He wants me to have it it will happen” but there was never a doubt that it would happen if it was meant to. I didn’t do anything special to make these events occur except be open to receive them, to trust that they would happen, and to be passionate about them. All of these books, they all say the same thing; want something with passion and trust that it will happen. So many people were up in arms over this teaching because it went against their view of a vengeful, judgmental God that demands some sort of payment or penance to get what they want, that you have to work hard and earn your dreams, that suffering is some sort of a test. The Bible itself has a verse that says, “Believe and you shall receive.” This isn’t conditional — it’s not “believe, work hard, and pay a price and then you might receive if I deem you worthy.” But this is what so many people believe and teach others to believe.

These things didn’t happen to me because I was “saved” or because I had met a certain criteria. These things were set in motion well before I met the church criteria of salvation, and I promise I was no more worthy or deserving than anyone else. These things happened because, even though I didn’t fully understand at the time, I trusted that they would happen. I felt a passion for them in my heart and trusted that they would happen when the time was right, and they did. God was watching out for me long before I truly understood who He was, and I still cannot say I understand. But I do know that God is love and that He gives us these dreams and passions for a reason. To doubt their reality, to question whether we deserve them, all these things prevent us from following the individual Path that has been laid out before us. No, we won’t live a life of misery if we don’t follow it, and other opportunities will come up, but we will always turn to those dreams, sometimes with a deep regret that we did not follow them. We pray to God to ask for things we don’t think we deserve or that we doubt He will give us, and as a result, we block our hearts to recognizing the opportunities in front of us. Trust me when I say:

If you have a desire for something, it is because God has put it there. You do not need to question whether you deserve it — if you have a desire, there is a reason. The plans necessary to make them happen are already in place. It isn’t your job to figure it out, and it won’t always make sense. That’s not the point. All you need to do is follow the opportunities, take those chances, listen to your inner heart saying, “Go for it.”

A brief update: I went back to the doctor yesterday because my back has been constantly hurting since the accident. She told me that it is possible that I could be hurting for awhile, even if it is just a muscle injury. I had X-rays taken of my spine to rule out anything more serious and am still waiting to hear from the radiologist. So now it’s just trying to face the day and do the best I can. My job has definitely been affected, as I’ve been limited as a result, but at the end of the day, I’m alive and I can deal with pain. I do have a lot to be thankful for.

I finished my inspiration deck last night. There is a huge difference between the cards I finished before my accident and those I finished afterward. Actually, it was a good change. I’m not very free in my art. I strive too hard for perfection, symmetry, exact replicas, and it would always bother me if something wasn’t just right. I’m usually pretty good at copying a photo by hand, but trying to create something wholly original just led to frustration. However, after the wreck, with the ongoing back pain, I can’t afford to be picky because I can’t bend over a canvas for that long. So I had to be careless, imperfect, spontaneous, and it was amazing that I still liked the results.

I am trying to branch out more, take my art somewhere, be confident in creating something from the heart without worrying about every little detail. I have taken part in a few online courses, guides, and projects that are helping me break out of my rigid shell, and though the process is slow, I am definitely moving forward. I am very excited to see what my upcoming projects will bring. Hopefully one day I can actually go on a retreat and be completely immersed in a creative environment, surrounded by creative souls who can bring me out even more. It will take time, especially now that I have car payments to consider, but I know that when the time is right, the opportunity will present itself. And I will be ready.

When I bought my Jeep, one of the things that stood out was the color. A beautiful deep blue, slightly pearlized, not really midnight but not really royal. Just a stunning dark blue. When I looked over the paperwork, it had the name of the paint color: patriot blue. Of course, given the events that had recently happened, it took on a little more meaning then, but still a cheesy name nonetheless. But I never forgot that.

The other day, I brought home the next chapter in my life, a little silver 2011 Jeep.

Her name?

<a href="http://Uploaded with Snapbucket“>

The healing has begun.

I’ve never been very good at letting go of things. I’m one of those people that, once I find something I like, I want to hang onto it for as long as I can. I wouldn’t say that I don’t adapt well to change, because for the most part I can be pretty laid back, but as far as certain things go, it’s hard. I wish I could say I’m not a materialistic person, but to a certain extent I am, and I tend to attach a lot of emotion to certain items, and when that happens, it becomes absolutely devastating if something happens to them. It’s shallow I know, but it is a personality trait that I have to come to terms with.

I had grandiose plans for my Jeep. I remember that I had my heart set on a Wrangler, but as soon as we pulled up to the lot, this beautiful blue Cherokee just struck a chord in my heart that wouldn’t quiet, and even after test driving many other cars, I was still pulled back to that Cherokee. I bought it new as a junior in high school, and at the time, I was told it had to last me through college. I bought it in October, just in time for the weather to begin to change. I remember the first time I turned the heater on and the new-heater smell filled the car, and that was a memory that stayed with me forever. Every time winter would come around, I always had happy memories when I turned the heater on for the first time in months. The memories of getting my new car, even if they weren’t visual memories, always came out into the open. It became, in it’s own way, an extension of myself, a visual piece of my soul in tangible for for the world to see. I made it through college, and by that point I had become so attached that I decided I would drive it until it no longer ran, restore it, and drive it some more. It lasted me through vet school, as much an icon of myself as anything could be. In a way, it helped defined who I was. My Jeep carried me to South Dakota when my husband and I were kept apart by school and military, and it wasn’t until November 2010 — over 9 years since I bought it — that it rolled over 100,000 miles. I had kept it in good shape and had only sustained two accidents, both of which could be repaired. I had definitely looked at other cars, but never with the intention of replacing mine. As far as I had planned, my Jeep would be with me for a long time.

It’s hard not to drive without being mildly aware of the potential for a crash, especially after watching the ways other people drive. I have always tried to be an alert driver, not necessarily so defensive as to be dangerous, just aggressive enough to take opportunities when I had them, never reckless enough to put myself in danger (at least not intentionally). I have always been conscious of other drivers and tried to anticipate their next move so I could plan mine accordingly. Still, it’s impossible to prepare for everything, and even the best drivers are susceptible. Tuesday night, I was on my way to pick up dinner for my husband and I, and my focus was on the road ahead of me, preparing for my turn-in. I caught the movement out of the corner of my eye and turned in time to see a car pulling out into the first lane going the opposite direction. I remember thinking that maybe she was turning left, because surely she wouldn’t go straight with me right there. About that time, she crossed into the second lane and began rapidly accelerating. I realized at that point she was not going to turn and I was going to likely be hit. I honked my horn, and a little over a second later she struck my door. I don’t know if she didn’t hear me or if she assumed that someone else was being honked at, but she never braked. She hit me at a full acceleration, enough force to nearly roll my car. I couldn’t open my drivers side door and had to crawl out the passenger side just to get out to talk to the police. It took a full 30 minutes for the shock to begin to manifest as physical pain. But the worst part was looking at my car and realizing that the end had come much sooner than I could have ever prepared for.

Getting the official word that my car was being declared a total loss brought home the truth I had known since the crash. Still, I couldn’t help crying as I looked at my Jeep in the lot, knowing it was the last time I would ever see it. Even writing this now I can’t help but tear up. The physical pain, the insurance headaches, the fact that I somehow have to now raise money for a new car just as we were finally starting to get ahead of our current debt, all of those pale in comparison to the simple fact that I lost a huge part of myself in losing my car. I realize that some people reading this may feel like I am being too shallow, selfish, materialistic, etc., but at this point I don’t care. I realize that in the big picture, I’m incredibly lucky that I didn’t get hurt worse, that no one else was injured, that I wasn’t a split second later to be the one to hit her and possibly kill her passenger, I’m fully aware of all of these things. Still, it doesn’t change the fact that my first car and piece of myself was taken away because someone was in too much of a hurry to get a movie that she couldn’t be bothered to look both ways before pulling out into a 4-lane street.

So now becomes the process of letting go, trying to move forward. The loss has happened, I cannot change that fact. I know that even if I put all the money in the world to getting my car fixed, it would never be the same, would never completely drive right, would never be able to restore back to the good condition it was in before. That chapter of my life has ended, that door shut, and I have no choice but to move forward through the door that lies in front of me right now. Nothing lasts forever, and as much as I wasn’t prepared for this, didn’t want this day to come so quickly, a small part of me was rational enough to know that at some point in my life I would be moving on to another car, another chapter, another story. The pain will be with me for awhile I’m sure, but I have to keep my eyes forward. I can’t live in this place forever, mourning something I can never get back, pining for something that I can never again have. This is part of being human, and painful as it is, this is simply another beauty of life, that we do have many chapters, many stories, many dimensions to our existence. I know that I will get through this and come out on the other side, ready to face the world and everything ahead of me. There may still be a part of me that aches occasionally, a part of my soul that is forever tied to that little Jeep Cherokee, but the beauty of living is that no matter how attached I may have been, that car wasn’t all of who I am. I am more than my possessions, more than my titles, more than anything that can be used to label me. And now, as I go searching for my next car, I will do so with the intention of keeping my heart and mind open, awake to life, aware of what is around me, and hopefully, open enough to recognize when my next chapter calls to me, waiting for me to turn the page.

Hey everyone, I’m going to have to take a short break for awhile. Last night I was involved in a car accident. Thankfully, no one was injured too bad. The other driver and passenger are fine, I have some bruising and muscle spasms in my back. Still, I need a little bit of time to get back on my feet.

A brief synopsis: last night I was coming home from yoga, traveling eastbound in the far right lane. A car came out of a side street heading south and struck my drivers’ side, mostly on my door. The driver claimed that, despite crossing three lanes of traffic, she somehow didn’t see me. When my car was struck, it was thrown across a concrete-and-grass median and behind a barricade. I’m not sure how I managed to not roll, because I was up on two wheels at one point. Currently I’m on medication on for back pain and spasms but nothing more serious. My car, however, is probably gone.

I’m very grateful that I had a car that sat up higher, as my injuries would have been significantly worse if I had been any lower. Also, I am convinced that yoga played a big role in why I did not sustain worse injuries. I will have to take a break for awhile, but once my back is healed I will be right back to it.

At this point, please send prayers and good vibes for quick healing and for us to be able to afford for me to replace my car.

Here are some photos.

<a href="http://Uploaded with Snapbucket“>My door

<a href="http://Uploaded with Snapbucket“>My back door

<a href="http://Uploaded with Snapbucket“>This landed here from the force of the impact. I didn’t put that there.

<a href="http://Uploaded with Snapbucket“>Not supposed to be like that

<a href="http://Uploaded with Snapbucket“>My side that got hit

<a href="http://Uploaded with Snapbucket“>Passenger side. Only reason the tire is out is because it hit the curb.

<a href="http://Uploaded with Snapbucket“>The tire that hit the curb median.

<a href="http://Uploaded with Snapbucket“>The door is crushed against my seat. if my car had been any lower, that would have been me.

Yesterday I gave you a preview of the new project I am working on. Here is the full story.

We always see these page-a-day calendars with cute pictures or inspirational quotes. In fact, I would be willing to guess that the calendar industry makes a big chunk of cash on these calendars. The one downside is that we read the quote, think to ourselves how inspiring it is, and then, when the next day comes, we throw the page away and move onto the next quote. It’s a vicious cycle that, in my opinion, begins to lessen the value of those quotes. After a few months, the calendar becomes less a source of inspiration and more a ritual of tear, read, throw away. Toward the end of the year, it simply becomes a way to remember what day it is. It may be because these are mass-produced and seem more generic and less specific to our individual lives, or it could be that a quote a day is simply too frequent to allow the significance of the quote to really resonate with us. This is where the project comes in.

The idea is to take a deck of playing cards, decorate them, and add a quote that you find inspiring. 52 cards, 52 weeks = 1 quote per week. Not only does this allow the quotes to be more personal, it also gives them time to settle with us, for us to find a way to understand just how that quote applies to our life at that moment. It’s a cool idea on its own, but what would happen if those quotes went out into the world? What would happen if your deck was made up of art and quotes made and discovered by other individuals? The world would suddenly feel smaller, much closer. We would feel more connected to those around us as we learn that even two very different people have a common need. We might even come to discover that, at the very core of our souls, we are all the same. Not something that can be bought at a mall kiosk.

To learn more about the project and find out how you can participate, visit this website.
Inspiration Deck Swap

P.S. If you have a quote you find especially inspiring, please leave it in the comments section. I currently have enough quotes for 20 cards and would love to hear what touches your soul.