NaBloPoMO

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

NaBloPoMo Day 31

Back in December, I mentioned to the partner: "I think I'd like to try blogging."  Only a few weeks later, it was magically National Blog Posting Month and I was signed up...just like that.  

When I started, I wasn't sure that I had anything interesting enough to put out to the great wide world (still am not), but I've found that I don't actually write these little pieces for other people...I write them for myself.  I write the things that are stuck in my head...bits of fluff that float around during the day, bumping through the nooks and crannies of my grey matter...or sometimes my heart.  I write the things that have affected me...or made me think...or made me feelSomehow, typing them onto the screen helps me release them from judgement and, instead, allows them to be seen more clearly for simply what they are.  

Putting these things out for the "world" to see (or at least the 4 or 5 people that actually read this) also somehow releases me.  By writing, re-reading, adjusting, and posting, I am able to carefully examine the underlying thoughts and feelings they produce, allowing me to ultimately find more equilibrium and more comfort in my own skin.  In other words, it has become a sort of therapy.  

But now the month is over.  

Now what?


I think I have just declared February "National Continue to Blog" month.  


Let the ramblings begin.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Zzzzzzzzz

To sleep, perchance to dream...or just, perchance to sleep.

Finals week for the daughter, a cold to fight for the partner, progress reports and a newsletter to write for me.  Doesn't leave a whole lotta time for deep introspection...or even a good night's sleep.  But I'm off to give it my best shot.  


After all, the Dalai Lama once said: "Sleep is the best meditation."

Time to meditate now. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Just a friendly reminder from the Universe

When I opened my window this morning, expecting to see the usual dreary January rain, I was blessed with this view.  A perfect rainbow arching across the sky directly in front of my  house. 

My partner and I are each fighting a cold, and it is flattening both of us...neither of us sleeping well, or getting enough rest to end its attack.  This morning, I literally stumbled out of bed, shuffling towards my first cup of coffee in hopes that its warmth and caffeine would give me some semblance of energy...but not actually holding out much hope.  To make matters even more challenging, I had a weekend--and upcoming week--fairly overloaded with work.  As a result, dragging my sorry ass out of bed was a bit of a struggle, to say the least. 

And then I opened the blinds.

And the Universe reminded me...

To trust 
To take it one baby step at a time...and that those baby steps are enough
To just let life be
To remember that the sun is always shining, we just can't always see it

And it made a difference.  I took a breath and released some of the struggle.  My day was still loaded with work, my head still foggy with congestion, but it was okay.  Because I don't need to do it all at once...in fact I don't need to do it "all" at all.  I just need to do one thing at a time, be in my moment, and appreciate the beauty that surrounds me.  

Thanks, Universe.
Message received.
 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

What's that, you say?

I've always thought of myself as a good communicator. 

Silly me.

Only recently have I come to realize how far this is from the truth.  And truth is the key.  For so long, I've kept so much to myself.  My upbringing was such that sharing how you really felt, telling someone what you were really thinking, was emotionally--and sometimes physically--dangerous.  So, over time, I learned to put it away.  So far away that I didn't even know, myself, what the truth was.  So (resolution #4), this is the year that I find my truth and speak it...which is much harder than it sounds.  

Sometimes I find myself buried in feelings that come from seemingly nowhere.  UFOs...those "unidentifiable feelings of...", and they result in emotions and behaviors that seem out of my control...certainly out of my understanding.  Finding the truth beneath all of this is an excavation project of massive proportions.  But I am learning to dig...and observe...and examine...and analyze.  And more and more I am also learning to identify my truths and, just as importantly, taking the leap to share them with those around me. 

At times, it's terrifying. 

And it's just as terrifying to see and admit to my truths, as it is to share them. 

But it's also liberating.  

And so I continue my archeology work...my intimate digging into the muck that is myself.  Where I have come from, and where it has led me.  

Because how else will I discover who I am?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Wave riding

It's a better day, folks.  The sun was shining (in Portland...in January!), and my heart lifted today.  It's funny how such a small thing can have such a big impact.  

I go forth into my weekend with a plan of relaxation and work (yes, combined).  I will put one foot in front of the other, thinking only about the step I am completing, and completing only one step at a time.  I will remain present and accounted for, paying attention to what is before me.  Over the week I have lost sight of this a bit, and am now working my way back.  

Remembering to ride the waves rather than to fight them. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Just be.

Why is it that when you need it most, it is the hardest to just be?

My reserves are depleted...end of the week, fighting a cold, feeling drained and exhausted.  This would be the perfect time to settle into myself and just be. And yet, I am finding it hard to find my center...to see what's in front of me rather than get lost in the fog in my mind.  My body is struggling, my emotions are bubbling, and my defenses are down, leaving me feeling fragile and edgy.  This, my friends, can only lead to no good. 

So tonight I look for an escape.  Fairy tale theatre and (hopefully) a good night's sleep to fortify my body and mind.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

At least there's sunshine.

A ray of sunshine came to me tonight.  

An unexpected phone call from a very special person...someone facing their own darkness right now.  

And in that call there was a sharing of sadness--but there was also a sharing of laughter. In that call, with our voices, we reminded each other that we are still here.  No matter what the circumstances, we are still here.  We are strong, we are growing, and we will make it to the next time the sun rises.   

The obvious is true: life does not always go as planned.  In fact, sometimes life sucks the big one.  But another obvious is also true: we survive.  We feel the pain, and cry the tears (as we should), and then it is a new day.  

Buddha taught: Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.  
So, I guess the key is to simply face that new day...do the best you can with what you have inside of you, and know that it is enough.  

In fact...it's just right. 
I am sending love to my ray of sunshine. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Equanimity

noun:  mental or emotional stability or composure, especially under tension or strain; calmness; equilibrium.

To have the gift of equanimity is one of my greatest aspirations.  

In the past, I have been ruled by the swings of my moods, my emotions, my reactions.  But thankfully, over the past half a year of soul-searching, introspection and yes, at times, pure unadulterated dukka, I have begun to find my way towards this gift.  I am beginning to not only understand and accept, but to appreciate the fact that suffering is a part of everyone's life, just as joy and happiness and comfort are.  Discomfort, disequilibrium, stress...all of these are messengers to us that change is necessary.  I have come to truly realize that facing our fears and our worries, although frightening and painful at times, is also the key to our growth and to our becoming more of our true selves.  

So now, when faced with a challenge (you know, like a soaking wet and smelly basement floor) I can reflect: "It's just life."  No matter what it is, it is just that...life.  And for a moment, I grasp the true gift of equanimity.  

Sunday, January 22, 2012

NOOOOOOOO!

It simply CAN'T be Sunday night already!  I am not prepared for another week to start  (please see my December 19, "Occupy the Weekend", post).  Why, oh why, must Monday come so very quickly?!

*deep sigh*

Must find many cute kitten posts in which to drown my sorrows.  Or maybe I'll just watch the baby Drac video again.  Hard to be too sad when watching adorable baby bats learn to use their wings.  


http://pulse.me/s/5ftRQ

May the cuteness of the baby bat be with you as you travel into your new week.   

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Grocery List

What does it say about you if this is your grocery list?

Talk amongst yourselves.

Friday, January 20, 2012

NaBloPoMo Day 20

It's been a hard day's night...or something along those lines.

It's been raining for three straight days and, between that and the hormones, the little butterfly of happiness is really struggling.

But it's Friday night, my tummy's full of pizza, and I have an evening of George Clooney, cuddles and (hopefully) a good night's sleep ahead of me.

Here's to day 21.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pay Attention--Installment 2

"Pay Attention"

It has become my mantra...my most important New Year's resolution. And, (in deference to another one of my resolutions), I am taking pride in my accomplishments in regards to how much I have improved in this, as well as (resolution #3) remembering that baby steps are enough.  Having said all of that, though, I had quite an aha moment on my way to work this morning.  

How many of us take essentially the same route to work every day?  We drive down the same streets, turn at the same corners, going our merry way on autopilot because, after all, we see the same thing every day.  

Except we don't.  

Because each day,  the view is different...we only have to pay attention and notice the changes around us.  

There is a woman I see most days on my way to work.  She walks down the street pulling a red radio flyer.  In that wagon is a child.  Sunshine or rain, warm or cold--she carts her child to wherever it is that they are going.  In September, it was bright and sunny during my 7:30 a.m.commute, and the child sat tall in the wagon...thumb in mouth, eyes alert.  The woman was jaunty in running pants and a t-shirt, walking with purpose, but also with a relaxed and leisurely air.  Now, in the cold and dark mornings of January, the child is curled up in the wagon...bundled in a coat and blankets, sometimes with an umbrella propped over its head, seemingly trying to keep the morning and the cold away, with its eyes shut tight.  The woman wears her bright yellow rain slicker and wellies, moving quickly in what seems to be the hopes of staying warm, or at least reaching her destination as quickly as possible.  On the occasional morning that I do not see them, I notice their absence and wonder where they are.  

This morning, as I saw the pair moving quickly and with purpose down the street in the pouring rain, I wondered--before my recent revelations...before my new "awakening"...would I even have noticed these two?  Or would I have been so involved with planning my day, worrying and wondering, living inside my own head, that I would have driven past without ever seeing?  

Now, as I drive that "same" commute every morning, I do my best to look around, to notice, to pay attention.  I've already missed too many important things in my life. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Defeating the Dragon

Tonight I battled a dragon...and won. 

Okay...at least I wasn't defeated.  And in this case, I call that a victory.  

Prior to the battle, my nerves jangled, and my heart beat noisily in my chest.  My breathing quickened, and my body readied itself for battle.  But then I realized that this dragon would not be defeated by might.  Instead, it needed to be approached with stealth and composure.  And so it was that I lowered my voice and stilled my body.  I gathered my troops around me and we quietly tiptoed past the beast, as it happily munched its dinner--oblivious to our travels. 

Now I sit, victorious.  The danger has passed (at least for the moment), and I relish in my success.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sometimes, sad is just sad

Over the weekend, I had a number of times when--out of seemingly nowhere--I would suddenly feel a giant sadness wash over me.  I would be going along, doing my thing, when I'd stop, and the tears would quickly threaten to spill over.  I would breathe, find my way to the present moment, and move on, only to find the pattern repeating itself a few hours later. 


Being the therapy junkie that I am, I searched inside myself to find the reason for the emotions that kept trying to overwhelm me.  Was it something from my past rearing its head?  No.  Was I worrying or obsessing over something that I thought might happen in the future?  Nope.  What about right now?  Was there something in the actual moment that was causing me pain?  Still nothing. 


Then it hit me...


Sometimes sad is just sad.  


It may be that you're tired, or that the book you've read has affected you, or that you're physically not feeling well.  Or, it might just be that you're sad.  And that's ok.  It's ok to be sad for "no good reason."  And when the sadness overtakes you, it's also ok to feel it, share it, and move on.  Because once you've accepted it as just one of the many emotions you have, you're able to give it some much-needed "ah baby"s, a good snuggle, and then let it go...often feeling much relieved and all the better for the process.  



Monday, January 16, 2012

Let it snow!

What many people may not know is that it is the teachers, even more than the students, that hope and pray for the delightfully unexpected, and highly anticipated,

SNOW DAY!

And so it is that my colleagues and I are bringing forth every ounce of supernatural power we can muster in the hopes of bringing many, many, of those lovely white flakes to the valley floor.  I have been advised that a white crayon and a spoon in your window will ensure success.  Done.  A snow dance must be performed.  Done.  All our ducks are in a row, all our forces are joined together for good.  

Anything you can do to help would be greatly appreciated.   

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Winter Weather Watch

Don't like it?  Wait 5 minutes--it'll change

It's snowing!
No, it's hailing!
No, it's raining!
No, the sun is shining!

Will the weather please make up its damned mind, already?! How am I supposed to stay sane when Mother Nature is clearly exhibiting her multiple personalities? All it leads to is too much computer time and the consumption of junk food. I have to say, this is not a good thing for anyone.  Beware.

You will now be returned to your regularly scheduled activities.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

We have so much to be grateful for

When we think of all the things we're grateful for (and, even when life seems bleak, we have so many), most of us naturally go for the "biggies": our friends, our family, our health (if we have it), yadda, yadda, yadda.  But I've been keeping a gratitude journal for the last few weeks (one of my New Year's resolutions, of sorts) having made the commitment to not repeat myself (at least not often), and I've been happily surprised by the things that I have found that I am truly grateful for. 

So...without further ado...some of my favorite gratitudes for the first two weeks of 2012:
I am grateful for...
  • Tweets and blogs that make me laugh
  • Homemade powdered sugar donuts
  • The library
  • Daily "Kitteh" posts
  • The fact that I am mostly sane
  • Brave and fearless squirrels
  • Peanut butter
  • Soft, clean sheets
  • Indoor plumbing and flush toilets
  • The passage of time
This list gives me such a sense of wonder--not to mention some always needed giggles--and reminds me that the present and the future have so much to offer

Friday, January 13, 2012

A moment in the moment

Every year, the students of our school spend the first two weeks of January studying and celebrating the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  We read books; we have discussions about fairness, justice, and equality; we create beautiful pieces of art; and we perform service activities--all in his name.  The culmination of our work is a community gathering in which the children sing their songs, share their artwork, and explain the importance of their service work.  As you can imagine, it is truly inspiring.

Until this year, though, it had also been a chore.  It was another thing that "had to be done."  In particular, our final day of celebration had always been highly stressful in a number of ways.  From walking all 150 students across town, to ensuring they sit quietly and respectfully in the beautiful old church, to being sure that they are being kind and attentive audience members--my attention has always been focused on the "must dos" and on making sure that everything was done "right."  

Until today.  

As I sat in the audience, I suddenly realized that, over all these years, I had been missing the most important part.  I hadn't been watching and listening to the children as they lifted their voices in song, or spoke the words they had so carefully crafted to explain what this special day represented for them.  

So, I stopped.  

I stopped fussing at my class to sit quietly.  I stopped checking the agenda to see what came next.  I stopped looking at my watch to make sure we were on time.  Instead, I looked to the stage where over 40 beautiful kindergartners and first graders were singing about how "just one little person" could make a difference in our world.  I looked at the sincerity on their faces, and listened to the powerful energy in their voices.  And then I did the same as the other students took to the stage, showed their work, and expressed--in their own words--what the life of Dr. King had meant to them. 

I am learning...slowly, but surely, I am learning.  I am learning to stop and to truly be in the moment.  I am learning to more fully understand and believe that this moment really is all that we ever have.  And since it is, I must also learn to be constantly aware and present, or I will surely miss the importance that each of these moments has to offer. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

NaBloPoMo day 12

Such a long day, so overstimulated.

But now I am home and ready to be warm and cozy. It is the perfect ending to the day.

And, as lame as this may be, at least I haven't missed a day of posting.

Tee hee!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Striving to be a role model.

Being a good mom is hard sometimes...especially if you didn't have a positive role model of your own to learn from.  


My daughter is amazing.  She is kind, loving, intelligent, curious, beautiful, hard-working, determined, and more grounded than I'll ever be.  She is also 14 years old and, at times, completely hormonally unhinged.  In these moments, as she sits in my lap and cries tears of frustration (yes, she still sits in my lap...a fact for which I am eternally grateful), I search for the right words to say to calm her and to bring her back to a space where she can see reality. I look back to my own teen years--to those feelings of overwhelming sadness and confusion that would flood my mind--and search for what soothed me.  Sadly, I find nothing.  When I was in that place, support was nowhere to be found.  I was alone.


So now I am sailing without a compass.  I hold this beautiful child (who is so close to no longer being a child) and I say the words that fill my heart:


You are loved.  
You are strong.  
You are capable.  
I am here.
I always will be.


And I hope that they penetrate the hormone fog...that she is able to hear and believe them.  And that, when she is a mother, holding her own daughter in much the same way, she is able to think back to these times and know that she was never alone.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Thank you, Jenny

"Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are easy."
-Dr. Seuss

Jenny struggles--sometimes a lot. She fights her demons daily, often with a dark biting humor that can make me laugh and cry all in one sentence. You see, one of her weapons against the dark forces is her blog. Through the writing and sharing of her fears, her struggles and her victories, she connects with so many others that are fighting similar battles every day. Her openness and willingness to be vulnerable has literally changed the lives of many.

A short time ago Jenny tackled one of her demons, and won. She found a simple thing--the wearing of a red dress--that gave her a sense of accomplishment and hope and, as she often does, she shared the experience. It turns out that many, many people fully understood the true meaning of the red dress: the thing you desire and fear all at once. The thing you think you are not worthy of. The thing that you could never have...that would never be you. And yet...

Now the glory of the red dress is spreading at lightening speed. People from all walks of life are tackling their own fears and then celebrating in sparkling, dazzling, empowering red dresses. And they are sharing the love. Donating dresses, sending them to perfect strangers and, in the process, creating a powerfully loving and supportive community that literally spans the globe.

But it all started with one person. Willing to face their demons. Willing to share their true being with others, thereby becoming the voice for so many.

The answer was simple. Love. Thank you, Jenny.

Visit Jenny's
Blog.

See also this story on Forbes.

Or just search Twitter. for the many wonderful stories of the red dresses: #travelingreddress

Monday, January 9, 2012

Ding, I own it.

For the second time in just over a year, someone has entered our space and taken things that don't belong to them. The first time it was computers and electronics from the house. This time it was a bicycle from our garage and a piece of my phone from the car. The bicycle belonged to a friend of our daughter.

So now, each night before bed, we will all double and triple check the door locks and the car alarms. As we leave for work and school in the mornings, we will worry that we are somehow unprotected. Vulnerable. All because someone, for some reason beyond my understanding, felt they had the right to take something that wasn't theirs.

The items taken were not items of necessity, but rather items of convenience...of want. What brings someone to the point of seeing this as a viable option...a reasonable choice?

I guess I am grateful that I will never understand the answer to that question.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

I've already spent too much time in my life, doing things I didn't want to...

  • Determination
  • Perseverance
  • Achievement
Words to live by, right?   

I have spent the better part of my life working my ass off to reach the next goal. 
And there was always a next goal to be reached.  No matter how hard I worked, how much I accomplished, how far I had gone, it was never enough.  Never enough for me to feel like I had done what I was supposed to do, be who I was supposed to be.  You see, I had this idea that somehow, somewhere, some time, I would reach this mythical peak and then I would be "there."  And I would stay there...happily living my life in perpetuity.  But, as Gertrude Stein so wisely stated: "When you get there, there is no there there."   

I am now literally in the middle of my life and I have only recently come to realize how crazy this thinking has been.  I have been so busy getting "there" that I was consistently missing the amazing parts of the "here."  And when they're gone, they're gone. 

So, enough.  It's time to breathe, and sleep, and cuddle, and read, and, yes, work hard at something that challenges me and makes me happy. 


And--with determination and perseverance--it will truly be a great achievement. 

http://www.amandapalmer.net/thetruth/ 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Every morning is Christmas morning!

I own a pug. 

For many people, this is all the description that is needed.  However, if you are, sadly, not a pug owner, please let me elaborate. 

Each and every morning, my pug wakes me with the joy and exuberance of a 3 year old child on Christmas morning.  She wags...she wiggles...she howls with absolute complete and utter joy.  "Thank you!" she cries, "for a new day!  Can we go for a walk?!  Can I have a treat?!  Can I chase the cat?!"  She is a living breathing example of Buddha's reminder:

"Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most."

Although her energy is, on some dark and early mornings, quite overwhelming, it is also a reminder.  She sees only the here and the now.  She experiences only new beginnings each day.  She desires to give and receive only unconditional love (along with some serious belly scratching and a few delicious treats).  She stops and sleeps when she is tired, and gives everything she has when she is not.  

So, is the moral to live life with a pug perspective?  I'm not really sure, and I am fairly positive that I could not actually bring that amount of exuberance to every day.  However, it is a daily reminder to me that each day is truly a gift, and that so much of how we receive that gift is in our perspective.

Friday, January 6, 2012

For now

The truth is that none of it is certain, and anything can happen at any moment.

So we must each live our lives with awareness
And purpose
And honesty
And compassion for others
And ourselves
And joy
And love

For with this time, and this soul...
This is all we have

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Living your values

"Live truth instead of expressing it." 
- Elbert Hubbard

"But do you know what your values are?
I was recently asked this question by the most important person in my life.   I had listed "Live my values" as one of my New Year's resolutions, and had just shared this with her.   

"But do you know what your values are?"  
Of course I know what my values are...don't I?  After my initial auto-defensiveness subsided, I actually stopped and asked myself the same question.   

"But do you know what your values are?" 
Over the next few days, I considered this idea very carefully.  It turns out that, 
happily, yes, for the most part I do know what my true values are, thank you very much.  It also turns out that, sadly, I have spent many of the past few years living in a way that does not actually reflect them at all. Instead, I was speaking the words and assuming that this was enough, without any real consideration of how my lack of action was the true expression of my beliefs.  This realization made me reconsider who I thought I was, who I wanted to be, and what I needed to commit to doing to become the person I envisioned as "me". 

So, what are my values?  
1) I must be true to myself and, to do this, I must honestly know and appreciate who I truly am. 
2) My partner and my daughter are my  number one priority.
3) My chosen family and friends are a close second.
4) I must love what I do.  I must be challenged and excited by my work.
5) I want to give to others...to be truly compassionate and giving to my fellow human beings.
6) Hard work and dedication are important, but so is a work-life balance. (See numbers 1-3)

Looking at this list, I see my future.  For the first time in a very long time, I am present and aware of what I want.  I am also clear on the path that I must take in order to live the life I have defined. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sadness

It is a sad day, today.  One of my dearest friends miscarried after five months of a pregnancy that had been celebrated by so many.  As those of us who love her gathered together, we cried.  We felt the loss of something that was already so loved, so a part of us, and such a part of our dear girl.  I cannot imagine her pain, and mine is that I am not able to be there to hold her and comfort her. 

There is no right thing to say...nothing that will take the pain away...nothing that will make it better.  We are all inconsequential in this moment.  So, we do what we know best: we send our strongest, most loving thoughts over the 1000 mile distance and hope that she can feel the lifeline that we are throwing.  

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I resign!

"For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the Universe." 
-Larry Eisenberg


How many of us think that, if we don't do something, it won't get done...or at least it won't get done right?  Turns out, so many of the things we try to control are simply out of our hands.  And the more we try to control them, the more frustrated and overwhelmed we become.  


Well, people, it's time we face facts: we have no power to control what happens.  What we do have the power over is how we respond.  Each of us must take personal responsibility for our own actions and reactions, and let the Universe do its work in peace.  It is through this process that we are free to become our own selves which, in turn, benefits all of those around us.  


From this point forward, I resign as general manager of the Universe.  Turns out, I have enough of my own work to do.  



Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy Second Day of 2012

My long (but not long enough) winter break is coming to an end. As I look towards returning to "regular life" I am trying to remember to stay present, to notice the good and beautiful around me. For example, I can notice that the days are growing so slightly longer. At 5:00 it wasn't pitch dark yet, and that makes me smile. It is a good reminder about how the darkness always gives way to the light, and yet each is needed for us to appreciate the other.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

What color is your corset?

"To think creatively, we must be able to look afresh at what we normally take for granted."
  -George Kneller

Corsets.  Did you know that there are people in this world who make corsets for a living?  I know one, and I am in awe. She is a true artist, passionate about what she does, and highly successful in the business sense.  Who knew?  There are haberdashers, too.  (Those are hat makers.)  And people who sell specialty cupcakes on-line.  And aerial acrobats...some of whom don't even work for Cirque du Soleil.  Hmmm...

"So, what's the point?" you may ask.  Well, it's simple, yet profound.  Most of us have a tendency to live what we know.  We make choices almost exclusively based on what we have already experienced, very seldom moving out more than a few feet from our personal bubble.  These limits can, then, define us and create a reality that is unnecessary and often causes us to ultimately lose ourselves in what we've become.  

But, the choice is ours.  I challenge us to look again...what is available to all of us?  If it is happiness we seek (and isn't that what we all seek?), then it's time to look at all the possibilities that surround us.  Remember to ask ourselves: "What color is your corset?"