Monday, November 21, 2016

the anniversary of everything

photo by: Jill Candland Photography
This week is the anniversary of everything: the marriage, the nightmares, the d-day, the weird paralysis, and the divorce.  Yes, the divorce. The end of an era.

When I look back, it's a no-brainer, I needed to leave. But, I also see the maze of bridges I wanted to cross, all the spaces in my heart I wanted to explore, all the waking up I wanted to do.

I remember the {POW} moment when my therapist said, "You know what to do." She said it with a certainty I couldn't grasp.

Deciding to leave a marriage feels like the most impossible decision. Kids, lives, mortgages...leaving means reshaping all of that. Staying felt like a betrayal of me and leaving felt like a betrayal of them.

So, I stayed. Uncertain. I became comfortable with limbo; the space between the space. I told myself that maybe I could live my whole life in limbo, neither being or not being, feeling more like an android and less like a woman. But, at least I'd be holding back the damage from my children. It felt like my back was up against the Hoover Dam, and if I moved, even an inch, the whole thing would come flooding out, drowning everything.

Six months later, I was having lunch with friends, some married and some divorced.  As the conversation and banter grew between marrieds and divorced I heard my heart say, "if there's any light in your marriage, find it."

As soon as I was alone, I called Mr. Scabs and explained that I finally felt an answer. After what felt like eons of limbo, I had a direction. I was going to put both feet in my marriage. I was going to toss everything in and surrender to the great {whatever}. I was going to jump over the waterfall and see who catches me. I knew God was somewhere in that equation but I was hoping Mr. Scabs was too.

For so long, I felt like I was backpedaling a canoe, avoiding the raging Niagara waterfall in front of me. It was time to pull in the oars and let the white-water carry me forward.

The edge was near. I took a deep breath and flew over the edge of the falls, with full trust.

We spent the summer together, almost like a summer fling. We held hands, planned futures, visited family, laughed, road tripped and even slept in the same bed. I breathed and trusted that the waterfall and God would tell me the truth. And It did.

Because one day I had that feeling. That familiar feeling that I was going blind to the lies around me. So, I woke up, and I asked him, and I observed and used all my new tools.

This time, the blow of discovering sex with random women barely brushed my shoulder. I didn't cry. I didn't feel gut-punched. I didn't feel sad. I wasn't even surprised. I just knew what I had to do. I had drawn a line in the sand and I had to honor myself.

I looked at Mr. Scabs and this is what came out of my mouth,

"When I said, 'no more women,' did you think I was joking? Because I wasn't."

It was this moment, that my back loosened its grip on the Hoover Dam, I stepped forward with intention and the stones of the dam began to crumble and the water began to heave. I didn't want to protect my kids from this any longer. I had made a decision. So, I reached out with the tightest grip on their little hands and I hugged and kissed them and told them they were conceived and born in love and that although this isn't what I wanted for them when their dad and I made a family, this is what we have. And even though it hurts, I'm solid and I am here with you. And with that, the water rushed around my legs and swept us away.

What I didn't know is that all those years of limbo, of maze bridges, and exploring the spaces in my heart grounded me. I had been prepared to 'be' with my children as the floods washed over them. I couldn't protect them, and I no longer wanted to. Instead, I wanted to breathe with them as their little bodies grieved, and cried, and yelled, "IT ISN'T FAIR!"

This post is a hard one, and I'm sorry it's so raw. These words have been sitting in me for over a year and it finally feels right to share them.


Friday, August 12, 2016

The Perfect Morning Routine

Just kidding!

I won't be writing about my perfect morning routine because I don't have one. Boo! I know.

Even though my kids have officially started school, it still feels like the tail end bits of summer which creates this conflict in me. I want to have a back-to-school, my-life-has-some-kind-of-structure routine and at the same time I want to remain wildly unscheduled. Besides, there are just far too many things I'd like to do in the wee morning hours and not enough morning time:

Sleep in
Practice Yoga
Make breakfast
Take a shower
Wake up with the Sun
Plan my day

I'm going to sit on the morning routine thing for awhile. Maybe I'll come up with something good and then I'll share it with you. But, for now, enjoy this headless Instagram pic of me still hanging onto summerish mornings in a caftan. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

owning my high-water jeans


Last summer I quit my job, it was boring anyway. And, I spent time digging in the dirt. I spent time being slow. I spent time being quiet and walking my dogs.

The last few years have been this calm kind of chaos. I haven't felt incredibly stressed but things had still felt uncertain. And life's river kept floating me along, meandering all over the landscapes. I've been able to visit a lot of places.

Finally, I'm landing. Throwing down the anchor for a bit and as my feet hit the river bank I'm off--not really running--but some kind of nerdy excited speed walk!

Like I said, I'd been meandering and last I left y'all I was recovering from betrayal and consuming fire and some weird paralyzed leg syndrome and an epic 12-step dump. I surrendered, gave way, broke my own heart and said lots of tearful sorries.

Do you ever hear that voice? The one convincing you that you'll always be a little too dirty and a little too heavy and your jeans will always be the unintentional, unfashionable kind of high-waters. I didn't realize how deeply ensnared in my guts that voice was until I forced it out with all those 12-step readings and meetings and the looking inside and writing of lists and loving of people even though we're all insane! And that's when the destruction of my fire somehow transformed into water. And this is how I began to meander and surrender.

A year later I stood in front of another body of water. Mr. Scabs invited our friends and I and even our little girl's 5th grade teacher to surround him as he was re-baptized (see excommunication and pity sex--seriously I can't believe I'm posting a link to this embarrassing write-up). I suppose this was his way of showing us that he wanted to have a different life. I'm actually not sure what it all meant for him but for me it ranks up there in the top 5 most stunning moments of my life.

Watching him fall under the water and die, as they say, only to be lifted out and born anew reminded me of my own rebirth. How I had broken my own heart and said lots of tearful sorries and how that broken heart had given me a new lens; Mr. Scab's seemingly unforgivable, dirty, heavy, unfashionably high-watered past suddenly felt forgivable. More than that, repairable. And so, I meandered.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Camp Scabs Scholarship

The time has come for Camp Scabs Georgia!!  And with it...some scholarships!  Remember, scholarships are given for those that are in need.  So many of us struggle to get the help we need because of finances.  We just got a sudden pile of scholarship money from a woman who has been in our shoes.  I can't wait to give it away! :) Camp Details here

Winners will be announced next week.

{Thank you! The Scholarships have been given}

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Camp Scabs: Landing in Georgia

Since my recent connection with Bloom and the Bloom retreats, many have wondered...

"Is Camp Scabs is still a thing?" 

It is still a thing.  Camp Scabs has evolved and the 2.0 version is AMAZING!  

As you know, camp has been a piece of my heart for many years.  I am lucky enough to be trusted by so many of you.  Thank you for coming.   And this spring, for the first time ever, we are crossing over the mountains and heading east!  I can't wait to breathe in the air of Georgia! 

I love Bloom!  I love everything it gives.  The people at Bloom are always searching for the best tools to help us heal, they are honest, good and genuine.  I'm truly honored to be part of their team.  My connection with Bloom has allowed me to keep Camp Scabs philanthropic; a way to give back to my tribe.

The main difference between Camp Scabs and Bloom retreats are professionals.  I always felt the need to bring certified therapists to Camp Scabs --so many of us are dealing with deep wounds.  But, couldn't figure out how to do this without high-jacking the price.  This is where Bloom steps in, we've had Dr. Kevin Skinner and Amy Parks both CSAT (Certified Sex Addiction Therapist) come and lead sessions at Bloom retreats.  The work of these therapists is not to be undersold.  The best part, we can still keep the price reasonable!  

The other main difference between Bloom and Camp Scabs...Camp Scabs is just a little more wild! cause we burn shit

This summer we have some cool things happening: Georgia, Michigan (hosted and dreamed up by a Camp Scabs Alumni) and Wyoming...see the 2016 event calendar for registration and details.  See ya'll soon!

Friday, March 25, 2016

We are seeds

Each day we wake up to what life gives us and sometimes we step into it feeling bright and brave and other times our light is snuffed out before our first breath... My best friend lost two babies a few years ago...And when I lay next to her in her bed, I dug into the experience of my own pain. I haven't lost a child but I do know the gutted ache of loss... We sobbed as our fingers ran over the tiny baby dress that would never clothe the little girl we grieved.
And what I began to understand is this: pain is pain and it comes to all of us. There is no comparing one being worse than another. And in my own very dark days when taking another sleeping pill made more sense than getting dressed, I knew a choice was in front of me.
What I wish for all of us is that we use our bodies, our minds and our hearts to step forward, to live our beautiful life! It takes time. It takes work. It takes love. It takes trying new things. It takes a smile and a laugh. Who's with me?


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Jekyll and Hyde

Dear Sugar

The Jekyll and Hyde...even now, 5-years post d-day I still can't reconcile the man I thought I knew as my husband with the man I came to know.  At timecode 15:30 Dear Sugar​ says it best, " can't control what your husband is going to do about his problem, ok? but what you do know is that he has to do something or you can't stay with him...there are two truths, you're not responsible for your husband's life but you are responsible for your own.  Maybe you'll look into your husband's eyes and see that he is very sincere and see that he is going to really tackle this and you're willing to wait and maybe you're going to walk away tomorrow and i think anything you do is the right thing to do."
For me, this was the crux of it. Something had to be done or I knew I couldn't stay.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

waking the dead

It's a little awkward when people talk to you and you just silently smile and nod.

We all nodded and smiled without a word when the tall old salt-n-pepper-haired crater attendant told us our soak time was up.  He tried to make a joke when he said he felt like he was waking the dead. Some of us chuckled but none of us spoke.

Years ago I read a blurb in National Geographic highlighting an incredibly unique geothermal swimming hole in a domed crater, so weird!  I knew it was bucket list material but imagined it in some far away exotic place, turns out it's in Utah; the Homestead Crater.

The first time I saw the dome I was with a bunch of camp scabbers. I thought Morla the giant tortoise from Neverending Story was going to stick his head out and sneeze on me.  What? You've never seen Neverending Story!! Only one of the best movies of 1984.   We went on a whim and without a reservation weren't allowed to swim but one unnamed and unruly camper wore her swimsuit, confidently walked onto the dock and dove into the 95 degree water!  We were all envious of her stolen, under-handed soak!

Since then, I've been three more times and this last time, as part of the Bloom Retreat.  The Bloom retreat is full of awareness, breathing, mindful yoga and meditative practices, so we decided to practice the art of silence at the crater.

In the stillness, the brilliant emerald moss seemed to breathe up the crater wall.  The diamond water dripping from above appeared like fire or stars falling from an inky sky.  In the silence, each diamond fell in slow motion then ker-plopped on the azure surface.  Lying back with my hands behind my head I float weightless, my feet dangling, cradled, as if in mother earth's belly.  It's a strange kind of safety; an exercise in surrender.  I imagine the water tunneling deep below the earth's surface, deep into the heart of the great mother. There she gathers all things that do not serve me.  All thoughts, feelings, actions, traumas, habits that I am able to surrender seem to drip from my body and fall deep into her nurturing heart.   She is the great recycler.  And so, she lovingly gathers all things heavy, dark and useless and makes them light, green and full again.

When I look across the water I see all the Bloom women, lying back, awake in their own silence. The power of this small group of women is so indelible that everyone else in the crater is either silent or whispering.  No one wants to interrupt the peace we have made in this sacred space, no one except the salt-n-pepper haired man making jokes about waking the dead.

The truth is, we did wake up.  We spent a week away from the world;  time reflecting, learning and caring for our bodies, minds and souls.  And during the week, there are a few moments when clarity comes ringing like a bell daring us to act on what we have learned to be true.

Join us, The next Bloom Retreat is April 13-16.  Register here.

camp scabs

Monday, February 1, 2016


Here's a present, an early Valentine's gift from me to you:

We all know the crazy making, the insanity festering, the double-guessing, endless doubting, mad-hatter bark raving nuts feelings of being betrayed. And most of the time it feels hopeless.

But the coolest thing about being alive in 2016 is that we have more resources, help, research and understanding about how to repair such damage. It isn't hopeless!

Remember when I asked y'all to COMMIT to creating a space to heal? This is how. Listen to this podcast while you're walking through your day. Trust the words when they validate you and feel right. Find something in here that makes sense for you and go with it.

Dr. Sue Johnson  and Dr. Kevin Skinner with Bloom share some nitty-gritty awesomeness about betrayal trauma and how to get out of being lost and confused.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

how to forgive

There is a moment in yoga practice, after the working, stretching and twisting where you find yourself lying flat on your back in corpse pose.  Your breathing slows, your body melts and if you're lucky, your teacher plays some incredibly penetrating but soothing music.

This is a moment of death.  And quite literally, the yogis believe that as we lie down we let all things die that no longer serve us.  And, when we rise from this pose, we are born clarified and bright, ready to serve the world.

This morning an old man sat next to me on a bench.  I couldn't ignore him because he just kept talking.  So, I turned to face him and invest in a conversation with a stranger.  Somehow, my life as Scabs came into view.  He spoke about the many marriages and relationship he's seen struggle and about one woman he knows, who has decided to stay with her husband but can't seem to forgive him.How many of us are staying and struggling to forgive?  How many of us are leaving and struggling to forgive?  And, how many of us can not forgive ourselves?

Tonight, a friend told me that she wants to punch herself in the face.  She doesn't feel she deserves her own forgiveness.

The craziness of not forgiving anyone, especially not forgiving myself was the fuel to my regression. Swimming neck-deep in the darkest pool only sent me into blacker, thicker waters.Spring 2012 I sat on another bench but on this bench I sat next to my 12-step sponsor.  My most terrifying step was writing a big-fat-crappy-brutally-honest list of all the mistakes I'd ever made.  12-step uses nicer words like: write a personal inventory of all your wrongs.  On that bench, I told my sponsor everything on that list.

The whole process took months, but I did it.  I studied the steps.  I confessed all the hurts and injustices I'd placed on others and harbored in myself.  I searched for ways to say I'm sorry and make restitution.  And from all this, I discovered the excitement and freedom of keeping my side of the street clean.

I love the daily act of bending my knees, talking to my maker each night and saying:Father, I'm sorry for blah blah blah.  Forgive me and please teach me to be better tomorrow.

The only way I know how to forgive others (even the most awful and unfair of crimes), is to let my own bygones be bygones.

To my friend that wants to punch herself in the face and anyone else struggling to forgive I'd like to tell you this:

We live in an incredibly human world.  The fiery planet Mars is high in the sky right now, some say this causes turmoil and havoc on earth.  If you are feeling this turmoil I suggest that you practice your own corpse pose.  Every night as you go to sleep let all things die that don't serve you.  Practice forgiving yourself.  And in the morning, when you rise, let yourself feel bright and strong.  Own this brightness, because it's from this place I believe, forgiveness is grown.

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