Cultivate: Day 4

What needs to be asked? Are you afraid of hearing no?

Sometimes, I am afraid of hearing the word, “no”.

I need to ask myself, “why not?” more often and just, as they say, “do it”.

I need to stop being afraid. My fear of failure tends to get in the way of me moving forward and putting myself out there.

It is definitely something I need to continue working on.

 

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It’s time for Cultivate again! It’s a yearly blogging event focused on goals and encouragement for the new year. It was created by Meredith Shadwill. Find out more and how you can participate by going to Meredith’s blog.

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Cultivate: Day 3

When was the last time you unplugged from your devices? Could you benefit from a digital break?

I try to “unplug” from time to time. It’s difficult because some of my responsibilities. I do miss the days before personal computers and cell phones. I miss my time in the mountains – no power – few if any people.

I find that stealing away into the woods for a few hours helps me greatly. It is not as much time as I would like, but it does wonders in recharging my soul.

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It’s time for Cultivate again! It’s a yearly blogging event focused on goals and encouragement for the new year. It was created by Meredith Shadwill. Find out more and how you can participate by going to Meredith’s blog.

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Cultivate: Day 2

How can you better manage your time? What would you like to do in your spare time to enjoy it more?

Oh where to begin?

I SUCK at time management. I have intentions of wise-use-of-time-management but then before I know it, the day is over and it’s time for bed. Never enough time in a day.

Lately, since last Fall, especially – it’s almost like I am afraid to sit and write – to quiet my mind and allow my thoughts to take center stage.

I need to get over that.

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It’s time for Cultivate again! It’s a yearly blogging event focused on goals and encouragement for the new year. It was created by Meredith Shadwill. Find out more and how you can participate by going to Meredith’s blog.

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Cultivate: Day 1

What’s your biggest goal for 2016?

This is the one year I finally realized I don’t have any goals or resolutions. I don’t want any. And I don’t believe I have to have any.

I plan to take each day as it comes.

The biggest thing I want to focus on is “consistency”.

This is not to say I don’t have plans or any goals whatsoever. I just refuse to build them up in my mind as a “do or die” sort of thing.

Carpe diem!

 

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It’s time for Cultivate again! It’s a yearly blogging event focused on goals and encouragement for the new year. It was created by Meredith Shadwill. Find out more and how you can participate by going to Meredith’s blog.

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#Reverb15 – Day 16: Magic and Beauty

Today’s prompt comes from illuminary and messenger, Deborah Weber. Deborah’s words and images always infuse my day with a sense of sacred calm. I love the way she moves through her world with a keen eye and an open heart, and feel so lucky to be sharing the journey with her.

Deborah writes:

Ancient alchemical texts are things of beauty – filled with allegory and symbolic language; things hidden in plain sight; and plain things promising transformation.

If we were to peek into the book of your year, what might we find?

What magic do you carry that people need to look a bit deeply to see?

_____

The book of my year. What would it contain?

My book would be made of old parchment. Edges rough cut, binding and cover of homemade paper with pressed autumn leaves and flowers. It would crackle slightly and the texture would be thick that when you run your fingers over the pages, you can feel the substance before you even come to the words within.
Opening the book, you would find snippets of poetry, sketches, thoughts and favorite quotes. You would find leaves pressed between pages. There are clippings tucked here and there – of things I’d cut out in passing.
This year’s book would be a bit scattered – full of highs and lows – peaks and valleys. Thoughts being sorted out as I search for answers and meaning. It’s a book that might not make sense straight away to the casual observer. But it is me.
My magic – I do not know. It’s a hard thing for me to see/recognize. I am not certain what I offer if any.

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Reverb is a yearly writing challenge that takes place in December. Being the end of the year, it is the perfect time to reflect and think about all that we hold dear to us and to let go of those things that are weighing us down or holding us back. I hope you’ll join us as we share in this wonderful yearly ritual that has become so dear to so many – especially me.

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#Reverb15 – Day 15: Of Marshmallows and Trampolines

Issue 5 of the beautiful magazine Bella Grace carries a gorgeous illustrated quote from a chap called H. Jackson Brown Jr as follows:

“Watch the sunrise at least once a year, put a lot of marshmallows in your hot chocolate, lie on your back and look at the stars, never buy a coffee table you can’t put your feet on, never pass up a chance to jump on a trampoline, don’t overlook life’s small joys while searching for the big ones.”

What small pleasures gave you moments of intense joy in 2015?

What more could you cultivate in 2016?

______

Oooooh! *claps hands excitedly
So many things gave me intense joy! Where to begin! Here are just a few!

*Sitting out on the lawn in the dark taking pictures of the night sky (incredibly relaxing)
*Laying out on the grass, eyes closed as the sun kisses my face
*A day trip to Door County and getting to see a friend and also eat at Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant! I just wish the goats had been out on the roof!
*Getting in touch with my Swedish heritage through baking!
*Finding gifts for friends and sending them to them out of the blue.
*Helping people.
*Hearing my daughter giggle and tell her whacky jokes.
*A cup of fresh ground, pour over coffee from Montana.
*Breathing in fresh, chilly Fall/Winter air.
*Twinkling Christmas lights in our yard.
*Pumpkins. Always pumpkins.
*Organizing Christmas cards to be sent out by state and sometimes zip code – if there are many going to one particular state. Yes, I know it is not necessary but I’ve always done it and it gives me this odd pleasure to do so.
*Finding perfect Autumn leaves on the sidewalk or grass and taking a picture.

I plan (of course!) to continue this in the new year! How could I not! I will take more time to indulge in the little things. But it is not difficult for me to do this! I delight in all that is around me! That is one of the best things about life!

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Reverb is a yearly writing challenge that takes place in December. Being the end of the year, it is the perfect time to reflect and think about all that we hold dear to us and to let go of those things that are weighing us down or holding us back. I hope you’ll join us as we share in this wonderful yearly ritual that has become so dear to so many – especially me.

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#Reverb15 – Day 14: Transformation

You wake up and the light through the window seems different, the air carries a chill or maybe a hint of warmer days.

What has changed? You? The world?

It can be a change that happened this past year or one you’re looking toward in the time ahead. It can be a broad sweep obvious to all or a more subtle shift that only you know about.

Tell us about transformation. 

______

*I realize I’m WAY behind on my Reverb15 blog posts. These last few days (well week) got away from me. So I shall try to catch up. :)

It’s funny because “transformation” was my word I chose for 2015.

I wanted it to be a transformative year for me and it was – in more ways than one.

It was in not always in the best of ways, unfortunately. But perhaps that is what made it transformative in a positive way – as an end result?

It has not been the worst year of my life. But several negative situations helped take the wind out of our sails throughout the course of 2015.

I think, looking back, that the change I see is how I view things – how I view myself. If I am to take away something positive out of all the muck – it would be that I am more accepting of myself than I used to be. I no longer look in the mirror and see the imperfections. I like who I am looking at. I see strength. I see myself for me. And I am proud of that.
I’m tired of thinking I need to be a certain size to be happy. I’m strong. I’m healthy. I accept me for me. That is incredibly freeing.

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Reverb is a yearly writing challenge that takes place in December. Being the end of the year, it is the perfect time to reflect and think about all that we hold dear to us and to let go of those things that are weighing us down or holding us back. I hope you’ll join us as we share in this wonderful yearly ritual that has become so dear to so many – especially me.

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#Reverb15 – Day 13: Shake It Off

What are you going to shake off with fierceness before you enter the new year? 
______

Like a dusty old rug taken outside to be shook
I’m going to shake off the negative things
that have plagued us this year
and let them be carried far, far away on the wind.

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Reverb is a yearly writing challenge that takes place in December. Being the end of the year, it is the perfect time to reflect and think about all that we hold dear to us and to let go of those things that are weighing us down or holding us back. I hope you’ll join us as we share in this wonderful yearly ritual that has become so dear to so many – especially me.

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#Reverb15 – Day 12: The Alchemy of Fear

One way we can be alchemists is when comes to fear. I don’t believe in fearlessness. I truly cannot imagine what that would feel like. But when we experience fear we can transmute that energy into something else, something more helpful.For example, we may choose to change that fear into motivation, or focus, or hyper-awareness. Can you think of an instance in the past year where you have been successful at making fear useful?  What fears do you hold about the year ahead? And how could you use the energy of those fears in a different way?
_____

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

          ~Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear
Frank Herbert – “Dune”

There are different facets to fear – varying degrees of fear. Fear manifests itself in each of us quite differently. For some, it can be quite debilitating while for others, it can be a tremendous motivator.

I don’t know I would want to live a life without fear. To me, complacency made possible by a life devoid of fear is far more scary than fear itself. Fear can drive us to do incredible things. It is true it can also drive us to do horrible things. I guess it is a two-edged sword.

I think the key is to recognize fear for what it is and face it head on as suggested in the Litany Against Fear as quoted above. And to not allow the fear to become a negative motivator but rather a positive one.

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Reverb is a yearly writing challenge that takes place in December. Being the end of the year, it is the perfect time to reflect and think about all that we hold dear to us and to let go of those things that are weighing us down or holding us back. I hope you’ll join us as we share in this wonderful yearly ritual that has become so dear to so many – especially me.

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#Reverb15 – Day 11: Of Atoms and Stories

Muriel Rukeyser once wrote: “The Universe is made of stories, not of atoms.”And I could not agree more. Our stories are our own but, in sharing them, they become universal. And timeless.

What stories touched you this year? Which stories of your own are you glad you shared?
_____

I fear this post may come across as rather selfish.
So many stories touched me this year. But I have to confess that nothing touched me more than the stories of family and friends – other women who have had miscarriages.

I was about six or seven weeks pregnant this past September when I miscarried our baby.

It was like being sucked underwater by an overpowering current with no means to catch my breathe.  I know I wasn’t that far along but we wanted this second child so much. As with AnneShirley, I connected straight away with the baby and was talking to it constantly. We had already decided on names: Marilla for a girl and Hunter for a boy.

We shared on Facebook – as soon as we found out – that we were pregnant. And also, as with AnneShirley – I knew very quickly that I was pregnant. We were beyond excited and anyone who knows me knows I am not one to sit on news – especially when it is something I am ecstatic about. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I always have.

And then this happened.

I felt the only way was to address it head on – but not for some altruistic reason. I simply could not bear the thought of other people believing I was going to have a baby – happy and excited for us while I was living in this nightmare reality where my baby was gone and would never be. I had to get everyone on the same page so as to avoid the – “when are you due or how is the pregnancy going” questions.

It sounds dreadful when I write this but it is the truth.

So I posted on Facebook what happened. I asked that no one post that “this was God’s will” or “it is for the best”. I didn’t expect any response, I just wanted to let everyone know.

And then, my Facebook page was flooded with love. Private messages filled my Facebook message folder from friends, my former teachers, family – all women who have had miscarriages. They shared their painful stories. Friends thanked me for sharing because miscarriage is something people tend to shy away from talking about.

I was overwhelmed with so much love and support. I had no idea so many women have gone through this. It broke my heart to hear these stories. No woman should ever have to go through this. It is an experience that scars the soul for life.

It nearly broke me. But the stories – they helped me so very, very much. I did not feel so alone.

I’m glad I shared what happened. I still ache for my baby.  But sharing helped prevent me from retreating into my shell (as I sometimes do). It raised my own awareness about this sort of loss. I do believe it has and continues to help me heal.

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Reverb is a yearly writing challenge that takes place in December. Being the end of the year, it is the perfect time to reflect and think about all that we hold dear to us and to let go of those things that are weighing us down or holding us back. I hope you’ll join us as we share in this wonderful yearly ritual that has become so dear to so many – especially me.

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#Reverb15 – Day 10: Radical Acts of Love

When we heal our spirits the ripples are felt from the highest branches to the deepest roots of our family trees. What radical act of love or non-conformity did you embrace this year?  How did performing this alchemy affect your ancestors and what is the gold waiting to be shared with future relations?
______

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I am coming up empty for this prompt, which really saddens me because I feel as if I am missing something or not understanding it. So I’ll just post this picture I took earlier this Fall when I was out hiking. It reminds me of the paths I have yet to take and the never-ending possibilities life presents us.

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Reverb is a yearly writing challenge that takes place in December. Being the end of the year, it is the perfect time to reflect and think about all that we hold dear to us and to let go of those things that are weighing us down or holding us back. I hope you’ll join us as we share in this wonderful yearly ritual that has become so dear to so many – especially me.

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#Reverb15 – Day 9: Secret Ingredients

As you may have gathered, the theme of this year’s Reverb reflective writing challenge is Alchemy. This was my word for 2015 but it has been so rich and evocative that I may just keep it for life.

Just the idea of alchemy makes me curious.

Like, what if you had to give someone a recipe for how to make a YOU?

What major ingredients are required? What method do you recommend?

How would your je ne sais quoi be recreated?

______

Recipe for Tracy

In a large bowl, sift one handful of each of the following:

humor
empathy
compassion
determination
imagination
intelligence
loyalty
perseverance

Add:
2 cups strong coffee
1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
¼ cup pickles diced
½ cup effervescence
½ teaspoon impatience

Stir well and add:
Dash of silliness
Pinch of  trouble

Mix and pour into a tarnished and flawed baking pan.

Sprinkle with giggles.

Bake  on low heat with a whole lot of love and patience and even though it will never be completely done, it will be a one of a kind creation. 😉

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Reverb is a yearly writing challenge that takes place in December. Being the end of the year, it is the perfect time to reflect and think about all that we hold dear to us and to let go of those things that are weighing us down or holding us back. I hope you’ll join us as we share in this wonderful yearly ritual that has become so dear to so many – especially me.

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#Reverb15 – Day 8: Alchemy & Serendipity

 

While alchemy is the active process of creating something of value, serendipity is the passive path to finding an unexpected treasure.

Looking back through 2015, what did you diligently try to create?

What great thing did you just happen to find?

_____

2015 has not been the most creative of years for me. At least not in the writing sense.

I would say it has been a year of cultivation more than creating. But of course, one could say those two things go hand in hand.

My love of photography is cultivating in interesting ways. I find I am drawn to night sky photography right now and deriving enormous pleasure in playing with settings and seeing what interesting shots I can get.

It’s funny because I started off this year – back in January –  brimming with hope and excitement over my renewed focus on creating. Truth is, I’ve been so busy with external projects – things for other people that my own projects have suffered.

But now that I think of it, I have been rather creative. I photographed a friend’s wedding. I shot video of another friend’s wedding and am working on edits for that. I have been consistently designing posters/fliers for groups with which I am involved, I am working on a website for another friend. I help out with a fundraiser each year at my daughter’s school and there is a lot of creativity that goes into creating the baskets for that event. I came up with the name for an award that will be given out in our district and then I designed the certificate.

Please do not get me wrong, this is not a list of me thumping my chest saying, look what I did! It’s more of me going over the things I did accomplish this year and it really has not hit me until this very moment that I have not been slacking creatively.  Quite the opposite, really.

Looking back,  it’s been rewarding and fun. And I think what thrills me the most is that others – the ones I do this for – the people I help – seem to really appreciate it and are happy with what I present to them. THAT is what really makes me happy – when I am helping others and giving back.

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Reverb is a yearly writing challenge that takes place in December. Being the end of the year, it is the perfect time to reflect and think about all that we hold dear to us and to let go of those things that are weighing us down or holding us back. I hope you’ll join us as we share in this wonderful yearly ritual that has become so dear to so many – especially me.

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#Reverb15 – Day 7: The Verdict

In her seminal book Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott offers the observation: “The evidence is in, and you are the verdict.”

Regardless of where you live in this crazy beautiful world, I’m sure you’ll agree it’s been a BIG year.

Today, I want to acknowledge that you are here and I am here and we are here.

We’re just… HERE.

That feels like a BIG DEAL.

And, that being said, I invite you to reflect on all that this evinces. What are you the verdict of?

_______

The word “verdict” is throwing me off because it has more of a negative flavor to it.

It’s like being in the judgement seat. And I really do not like that feeling.

So, I’ll look at it this way: I am the answer.

At the end of the day, when it is all said and done, it begins and ends with me.

Everything with which I battle and contend – is to large degree – within my power to mold however I see fit.

I might not be able to control everything but I can control my reactions to them.
That’s not always easy.

The question is who is standing in my way when the road blocks pop up?
The answer is me.

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Reverb is a yearly writing challenge that takes place in December. Being the end of the year, it is the perfect time to reflect and think about all that we hold dear to us and to let go of those things that are weighing us down or holding us back. I hope you’ll join us as we share in this wonderful yearly ritual that has become so dear to so many – especially me.

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#Reverb15 – Day 6: Ancestral Healing

As each year progresses, we unknowingly gather many thoughts, beliefs, and patterns to us. In fact, what we are carrying may have been passed down to us from previous generations.

Looking at the thoughts and patterns that may be holding you back from living the life you want, trace back through the generations of your family and see if your beliefs originated generations ago.

In 2016, how can you bring healing to these patterns of thought that are holding you back?

________

They have. I know they have. It is a double-edged sword really.

I’ve let go of many, many beliefs because I found them appalling.

Most, if not all those beliefs came from my father and his side of the family.

My father’s beliefs were the ones from which I worked  hard to release myself.

It resulted in me releasing myself from him entirely so that I might have peace.

I don’t know that I need healing in 2016 from these beliefs. I’ve made my peace with them  a couple years ago.

It’s a process though and I think as long as we recognize the patterns and see which ones are healthy and which ones are not, we are okay. It’s when we sit – glued as it were – to those beliefs just because and refuse to waiver—refuse to grow, that problems arise. We stagnate and perpetuate those beliefs.

I believe what I believe because it is what I choose to believe. That is such a profound thing to realize. It didn’t happen until I was about 37 years old. And it is finally – truly sinking in that this is my reality and no one else’s.

That is freedom.

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Reverb is a yearly writing challenge that takes place in December. Being the end of the year, it is the perfect time to reflect and think about all that we hold dear to us and to let go of those things that are weighing us down or holding us back. I hope you’ll join us as we share in this wonderful yearly ritual that has become so dear to so many – especially me.

 

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#Reverb15 – Day 5: Show Us Your Selfie

If you’ve been a part of Reverb before, you know that this is the bit where I invite you to share your favourite photo of yourself from the year (selfie or otherwise).

For bonus points, give us a montage of the photos you have shared during each Reverb you’ve participated in. (Throwback Thursdays #tbt are also welcome!)
_________

I love this year’s selfie from last summer.  I couldn’t help but take advantage of the magnificent skyline when we were visiting my husband’s hometown of Chester, MT  and staying with his Grandma. This was taken towards the end of the day and it turned out exactly as I was hoping it would. I feel strong here. This is me.

I could not find my 2011 selfie. But I did find the others. I look forward to Reverb each year. At first I didn’t know if I had it in me to write this year, but how could I not? This is where I met so many of my dearest friends. This is home.

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Me and my kettlebell on the Hi-Line near Chester, MT this past summer of 2015

 

2010

This is Me – 2010

 

2012

2012

2013

2013

2014

2014

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Reverb is a yearly writing challenge that takes place in December. Being the end of the year, it is the perfect time to reflect and think about all that we hold dear to us and to let go of those things that are weighing us down or holding us back. I hope you’ll join us as we share in this wonderful yearly ritual that has become so dear to so many – especially me.

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#Reverb15 – Day 4: Replenishment

How can you replenish your (physical, mental, spiritual and/or emotional) resources? What do you need most of all at this moment?
__________

© 2015 Tracy A. Mangold

© 2015 Tracy A. Mangold

Right now I need to be alone with my thoughts
as much as that scares me
I need to scratch away this protective skin I’ve wrapped so tightly around my soul

I need to feel the pain.
And allow it to pass through me, allow it to connect to my inner self so the healing
might begin.

I don’t want to, mind you.
I want to slam shut the door.

But that might mean never writing again.
I don’t think I can do that. I need to write as I need to breathe.

I’ve been suffocating these last few months and the time to surface has arrived.

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Reverb is a yearly writing challenge that takes place in December. Being the end of the year, it is the perfect time to reflect and think about all that we hold dear to us and to let go of those things that are weighing us down or holding us back. I hope you’ll join us as we share in this wonderful yearly ritual that has become so dear to so many – especially me.

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