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Monday, November 19, 2012

'Manda's Musings- Real Life Twilight--My experience in an abusive relationship

**Quick note. I am taking a break from my "Positive Energy" Blog Experience--not because it was too much for me or anything, but because I planned it so inefficiently over NaNoWriMo and baby, writing 50k words is no small feat**

*Secondary quick note--This is in no way intended as a cry out for help or a pity fest--Merely to explain a situation-and to serve as a warning that this CAN and DOES happen to ANYONE* 

Now, those things being said, let's get on with this. 

I am not a TWIHARD... but I did enjoy the books (as bad as her actual writing abilities are Stephenie Meyer is excellent at character development and cliff hangers... which make for a very addictive read), and I really loved the last movie... and have seen all the movies. When I first started the books, I was with John. It was not hard for me to make distinct correlations between my relationship with him and Bella's relationship with Edward. I thought, though, that was just the typical behaviors of a book--trying to make the characters relateable.

Enter: Ben. Someone with a good head on his shoulders, who has never even been witness to abuse in a relationship. I realized, quickly, when with him (although it took repeated experiences) that what I had been through was not normal. 

I suffered PTSD from the relationship I had with John for over a year. I worked VERY hard with a counselor and many other people and services to make it through to the brighter side.

As you know the last Twilight movie was released this last week... and with that dug up old articles and reminders of the unhealthy behaviors exhibited therein. Here is one article I read... beyond just what it said about the movie, I realized even more what it said about my past:

According to the National Domestic Violence hotline, these are some signs that you may be in an emotionally or physically abusive relationship.

Does your partner:
* Look at you or act in ways that scare you?

I was being threatened multiple times per day. Even something just as simple as staying late for school resulted in rage I feared on a daily basis.

* Control what you do, who you see or talk to or where you go?

"Stay away from the werewolves. I love you."

Yes. I was not often allowed to speak with my family. I was not allowed to say "I love you" to anyone else. The list is very long. 
* Make all of the decisions?
Definitely. Convinced me I was unable to balance a checkbook and then lead us down a road of negative bills and credit which cost me personally over 20 thousand dollars to get out of (and I'm still working through it) 

Not to mention--He ordered EVERY meal for me... I remember the week after I left him the VERY FIRST meal I ordered I cried... I couldn't believe how freeing it was to be able to choose for myself again.  

* Act like the abuse is no big deal, it's your fault, or even deny doing it?
"If I wasn't so attracted to you, I wouldn't have to break up with you."
I wish you weren't my soul mate sometimes, Then I could just leave you and be with someone who was less painful to be around.  Also: I just can't stand to be apart from you... your friends should understand that.

* Threaten to commit suicide?

"I just can't live without you. In fact, I'll run to Italy and try suicide by vampire if anything happens to you."
5 times, to be exact.
* Threaten to kill you?
On their first date.
This one is a bit harsh-he only ever threatened to LEAVE or HURT me, never to kill me... Threatened to kill people I cared about. 
These are some more signs of an abusive relationship.
Has your partner...

* Tried to isolate you from family or friends.
Bella doesn't have time for anyone else!
Touched on this earlier... I was not allowed to spend time with any of my friends, alone, for any extraordinary period of time. 
* Damaged property when angry (thrown objects, punched walls, kicked doors, etc.).
In the time that I was with him: Broke my phone (Hated that I was texting and threw it across a room), Punched walls, pillows and doors, as well as shattered the windshield of our car with his fist... 
* Pushed, slapped, bitten, kicked or choked you.
Does tossing her through a glass table count?

Pushed-Often... Several times. Almost punched me twice. 
* Abandoned you in a dangerous or unfamiliar place.
"We're breaking up. And I'm leaving you in the forest."
He did not do this--but there was one time I THOUGHT he was going to ... 
* Scared you by driving recklessly.
*nod* yup

* Forced you to leave your home.

She had to run away with him to flee from the other vampires in the first movie, and she had to drop everything and run to Italy in the second.
um... I don't remember this happening either... Well... there was that one time I drove ALL THE WAY TO Arkansas alone in the middle of January to go get him... my mom about killed me... 
* Prevented you from calling police or seeking medical attention.
Check. Even in the hospital, nothing is a big deal.
* Views women as objects and believes in rigid gender roles.
Well, they are Mormon... (I know, I know, cheap shot.) **PS I don't appreciate this comment about the Cullens (assuming that is what she means) being Mormon... that's just offensive on so many levels...
YUP... If the house wasn't clean... it was my fault.
* Accuses you of cheating or is often jealous of your outside relationships.
Check, wolf-boy.
This got so bad that even if I went out for lunch with a female friend I was a lesbian and cheating with them... It was painful trying to abide by the "love no one but me" standard... its no wonder I fight for my right to love anyone and everyone now... 

According to the NDVH, "If you answered ‘yes' to even one of these questions, you may be in an abusive relationship." This list is fifteen.

So there you have it... My relationship with John in a very boxy nutshell... 

I will try, forever probably, to be sure to talk about this with everyone I know. Not because I think it is something to be proud of or because I want sympathy, but because knowledge IS POWER. No woman or man should have to be in a relationship like this one, and popular culture like the Twilight Saga are exactly what continues to perpetuate this. 

Like I said-I am just as guilty as anyone else-I support the brand of Twilight by reading the books and watching the movies. But, I think by recognizing how real the abuse and manipulation are in the series, the more freedom we will have from situations like this one. 

I am hopeful for a brighter future. In my 20s I have been in an abusive relationship, cut ties with almost all friends and family, realized I was being abused, left that relationship, reestablished my connections, and started a healthy mature relationship with a different amazing man. By the way, I am only 25... a lot can change if we want it to. 

If you can relate to ANYTHING in that list in your current relationship (or a friendship, or an employment, or with a family member), I plea for you to SEEK HELP!!! Even if it is just sending me an email and working through it that way, or finding a counselor, or speaking to someone from your church or community. 

YOU ARE NOT ALONE! NEVER accept someone telling you that you are!

SO MUCH LOVE! <3 <3 <3 <3

Manda (My email is

PS HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! Spend it with the ones you love! :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Positive Energy Week 1: Awaken Intuition and Rejuvenate Yourself

The first week of this 10 week program! If you are like "What the heck? what program?" then take a look at my  previous post about my current project I am working on.

This week is about awakening my intuition and getting ready to take on all the amazing things this book has to offer. I have broken this prescription down into 5 parts, and I am going to be honest... this post (and others to come) are going to be long!... this book has a TON to offer and my experiences with it have been amazing already so I am eager to get them all out. Each chapter has writings, exercises, and an interview so I will be touching on all of those things throughout. :)

The 5 parts of this post are:

1. Intuition and Empathy
2. Pacing
3. The Now
4. Now Suckers
5. Quincy Jones Interview

So let's get started!

1. Intuition and Empathy: 

By awakening your intuition you can access your full energy. (Pg. 19)

Intuition is a truth detector. When you deviate even a nanofraction from your inner voice, your energy will wane, whether a subtle seepage or radical bottoming out. (Pg 21)

For me intuition has never even been a question. I think I was raised in a way that my parents trusted and used their intuition on a regular basis and encouraged my brother and myself to use ours as well. I have mentioned a million and one times in this blog alone that I trust my intuition more than any other resource. Not to say that I discredit other resources or science but in my experience the most reliable of all is my own intuition.

In the positive energy program you'll get in the habit of intuitively tracking your energy response.

Intuition also involves picking up vibes. People and situations can give off welcoming positive energy that invigorates, or oppressive negative energy that repels.  (Pg 22)

First exercise: Body Scanning (at home) 

This exercise encourages readers to get with a partner and take turns laying down and reading each others energy fields through the palms of their hands. I used to do this for fun as a kid with my brother whenever he would ask me for a back rub or to scratch his back. I find it so interesting the vibes people give off and their energy forces.

Second Exercise: Body Scanning (in the world) 

This just takes it up a notch and challenges readers to recognize energy fields in other people without having to be intimately close to them.

Not many people know this about me but since I was very young I have been able to see auras. I have never been embarrassed by it I just learned at a young age that it is not typically acceptable in our culture to talk about so I just kinda keep it to myself. It was so nice, when reading this book, to realize how real my feelings and experiences are. Validation really feels incredible. Like I said I am not ashamed of the abilities I have had, and been able to tune into... I am just grateful to know that I am not weird for it. Also, I am glad to know that ANYONE can do this, meaning I am not just some special evolved human being ... we all are!

The energetic quality of all our connections matter. (Pg 27)

Every moment we spend in this life is effected by the energy of others around us including "non living" things. We must keep that in mind, absorbing only the good energies. :)

To take charge of your energetic health, you must know if you're an intuitive empath... Like it or not, empaths process all stress in their bodies, are more prone to take in a personal or global trauma's energetic residue. Vulnerable to negativity; whether minuscule or horrendous, many empaths have chronically low energy, a common complaint that baffles traditional physicians. The symptoms of intuitive overload include depression, psychosomatic complaints, and overeating.Negative energy arises from people,... places, and situations. (Pg 28)

On Page 29 there is a quiz to see if these symptoms might be some you are feeling... ask yourself:

Am I an intuitive empath?:

Have I been labeled as overly sensitive? (yes!)
If a friend is distraught or in physical pain do I start feeling it too? (Yes)
Am I drained in crowds, going out of my way to avoid them? (Yes)
Do I get anxious in packed elevators, airplanes, or subways? (yes)
Am I hypersensitive to noise, scents or excessive talking? (YES!)
When I see gruesome newscasts, does my energy plummet? (yes)
Do I get burned out by groups, require lots of time alone to revive? (Yes)

... Maybe you are an intuitive empath too? I know I am... This is blatantly obvious. I have said for years that my senses are more sensitive than most... and when they are cut off I feel lost. My 6th sense included...

Discovering you are an empath can be a revelation. Putting a name to a very real intuitive experience legitimizes your perceptions. (Pg 29)

AMEN! I feel so much better knowing these things. Honestly I knew I was an intuitive empath already, and all of the questions were not surprising to me. However, what did relieve me of some feelings of anxiety and or confusion were the symptoms I might have due to being an intuitive empath. I really feel so relieved to know that working on my energy can help with these things.

Third Exercise: Center yourself and build positive energy

Basically-now you know--what are you gonna do with it? Learning how to channel positive energy through peaceful meditation.

Being firmly grounded protects you from getting flattened by negativity. (Pg 31)

Not everyone has empathy overload... Define your instinctual style of interacting with the world so you can honor it. (Pg 31)

This part baffles me... I always have empathy overload... but I am glad to hear not everyone does :)

2. Pacing 

I want to mention that as far as this portion of the chapter went... It was obvious when I was going back through it that I was (un)intentionally avoiding it... There was hardly anything highlighted, no notes, nothing. Apparently I struggle with pacing and am in certain denial of it. I will tell you, though, before we get in deeper, that this portion of the chapter helped awaken some things in me I didn't quite know even existed. :) Thanks Judith! :)  

As an energy psychiatrist, I teach [my patients] about pacing: a basic rhythm I train [them] to sense intuitively. (Pg 32)

We rush for many reasons: to dull emotional pain. To flee from anxiety, depression, or feeling we're not enough. To respond to unrealistic expectations of what we can accomplish in a finite period. (Pg 34)

Dr Orloff offers a list of intuitions that will tell you if you are rushing:

Your energy feels scattered
You have little or no awareness of your body
You experience subliminal or overt sense of panic
Your ability to listen is impaired, as is your memory for details.

Well shit... That pretty much describes how I have been feeling to a T as of late especially. With the wedding and everything I have felt incapable of catching up to myself.

Judith also mentions that rushing can be addicting, which I can certainly relate to. I grew up in a world that was spinning by me rapidly, and I took that as a cue on how to behave myself in my life. A common phrase in my family is "We work better under a deadline" and other variations of this same phrase. Obviously this is not entirely our faults. The world around us is moving so quickly that to seem "normal" we must overwork ourselves and keep up. -- Dr Orloff taught me that this is common and can definitely be helped... want help with your rushing... read ahead.

First Dr Orloff asked me to check myself by sensing with my intuition if I am in sync with my pace:

(Pg 35)

When you're in sync: 

Emotional Balance
Physical Stamina

When you're out of sync: 

Ongoing Fatigue
Emotional numbness
Mood swings
Psychosomatic symptoms (IBS, headaches, acid reflux etc)
Decreased libido
Sexual Shutdown

After reading those lists I actually can say yes to about half of each list which means to me that although I am not always rushing currently I am, or I am trying to rush through or past something. I am not 100% certain what that is but, it could generally be life. I have been known to just want this certain time period to get over so I can get to living a part that I look forward to more (This will be visited in the section about living in the Now).

Exercise: Intuit Your Pacing (Pg 36-38)

This is a 2 part exercise.

First readers are asked to take time to tune in. This is something I don't do as regularly as I should and I know that... but when asked to, I have done it and it has proven a great tool to have. This is where you find if you are rushing or moving too slowly through life. I have been known to do both.

Second, to find solutions that might work. There are a few she offers: Realign with an in-sync rhythm, if you're a rusher, If you're on a deadline, If your pace is too slow.

The key to success is to ease into your new right pace. As some of my overzealous patients discovered, making giant leaps too quickly can sabotage this program. 

Please no grand gestures. Just start moving in the right direction. This sends a positive message to your life force. Don't worry if you slip into old habits, we all do. Every minute you've succeeded renews vitality and awe. (Pg 39)

This all leads nicely into:

3. The Now

In the Now you're moving, grooving through the eternal present, physically and emotionally alive. Out of the Now you're cardboard, numb, distracted, imprisoned in your head; the intoxicating fragrance of a rose garden on a summer's night doesn't even register--a sorry state I urge you to rail against.  (pg 40)

Until very recently I had never really experienced the Now. At least not since I was very small. I can't pinpoint the time when I quit believing in living for the present. I had a lot invested in the future and I chose to spend most of my time there. I am a daydreamer by nature. It has always been very hard for me to remain grounded--although I have, for some reason, the ability to split my consciousness and remain present for important things, like learning, while continually daydreaming. I am forever grateful that I barely missed the cusp of the "ADD/ADHD" era where I would have had pills possibly shoved down my throat to dampen this part of who I am (My opinion--not Judith's--this does not reflect her opinion in anyway, as far as I know).

Now, back to the Now... Let's keep reading shall we?

Exercise: Tune in to the Now (Pg 40-43)

Observe masters of the moment:
To viscerally grasp the power of the Now, observe those who're in it. ... Babies, especially, have totally focused energy when they zero in on you. Locking into their gaze will align your energy. ... Similarly, observe creative people for whom the moment is everything. ... Also recognize that during emergencies, you naturally, instantly revert to the Now.

Follow your breath: 
Many westerners, however, are clueless that the breath is sacred until illness takes it away. ... So you won't miss a moment of this miracle, I recommend conscious breathing. It'll ground you in the body and still your thoughts. 

Check your pulse: 
An instant antidote for being out-of-the-Now is to feel your pulse. ... With each beat, intuitively visualize your life force as a golden (for me it's purple) energy rushing through you, a splendid sensation. 

Adopt a mantra: 
A mantra is a sacred word or phrase that can cue you to return to the Now. ... Whatever mantra appeals, it's a grounding incantation

 I chose to take clips from the book for this exercise because I find it so incredibly important and useful. I know so many people who struggle with staying in the Now. A lot of this is because of "enemies of the Now" or what I choose to call "Now Suckers" (merely because it sounds really funny)... Which will be covered in the very next portion.

What I love about this prescription is that Dr. Orloff offers so many options for the variety of people that exist. I think she, of all people, knows that not everyone fits into the same hole... and that is something I really cherish. As a person who has strove to continue to be myself regardless of pressures around me, I really respect and admire a person who has made such a life of herself as Dr Orloff has, by truly being true to herself and her intuition. She is an inspiration to me, for me to remain true to myself, regardless of outside forces.

**Laughter only happens in the Now, anchors you in a flash.** 

I highlighted this line because, damn it, I LOVE to laugh!! As I mentioned earlier I always struggle for staying in the Now... Since meeting my husband, Ben, that struggle has dampened quite a lot. Part of it is due to my necklace, which I may touch on later. Truly, though, I believe it is because I have my NOW right here with me all the time and it is worth living for. And we laugh... we laugh hard and so darn much. I love laughing, so does Ben, we make it through so much with laughter. I am entirely and eternally grateful for this. 

4. Now Suckers!!! (Teehee)

Twenty-first century America presents us with two unique maladies that obscure the Now: workaholism and technodispair... (Pg 43)

Here we go... this is really digging deep, folks. Be ready to admit/accept that you are voiding yourself of the now which is crucial to your energetic balance... Here we go. 
Workaholism is the Puritan ethic gone haywire, an addiction to doing more, going nonstop until you drop. 

This is what I was talking about earlier, living in a world that encourages overdoing it... trying to take on more and more every day to prove ourselves? To feel alive? at what price? 

We're socially reinforced to go faster, do more. In fact, we're bludgeoning our subtle energy reserves, inviting dis-ease. ... Suddenly everyone is multi-tasking and proud of it. (Pg 44)

Doesn't it start to make you question why you push so much? It did me. I sat down after reading this and thought to myself "Why do I do it? what makes it so worth it? Am I getting anywhere any further or faster than I would if I weren't putting myself in such dis-ease, such discomfort? Maybe I should slow my roll? 

Most of us are starving for quality time. our full attention is a gift we must give ourselves and each other. ... This prescription offers a multi-pronged approach to workaholism that uses both psychological and intuitive strategies. For maximum benefit, combine them.  (Pg 44) 

Exercise 1: Stop Pushing and Break the Workaholism Cycle: (Pg 45-47)
(Here is where I literally had to stop lying to myself and take a chill pill... *Sigh* Self-admitted workaholic)

The causes are: (I asterisked the ones that apply to me)
A need to control*
Loneliness (Formerly)
Self-worth tied to your accomplishments*
Financial pressures*
Greed (this was a tough one to admit*
an "inner slave driver"*
Family conditioning* (I had workaholic parents)
An escape from emotions: loneliness, anxiety, depression (Formerly)
An unsatisfying marriage
No role models for showing Self-compassion.

An intuitive deathbed perspective: 
Dr Orloff suggests we imagine we are on our death beds and figure what we will wish we had done more of? Work? Do we wish we had more money? Do we wish we had experienced more adventure, more love? More excitement? More time with friends? family? Colleagues? Work? What is it, with your final moments of life, will you be wishing for more of?
RIGHT? Did that hit you? it totally hit me... I assume that we each have our own "OMG" moments
 and I respect that... but man o man... this was one of mine.

One [origin of anxiety] is a Now-numbing energy affliction I call technodispair. The clincher is that you experience the mild to intense nervousness, depression, or fatigue after bouts with the complexities of technology. Relief from technodispair comes from limiting contact with machines, or by learning to cope more productively with them. The upside to technology: it makes life easier. The downside: mishaps can grate on your mental health... First, negative emotions, which contaminate your serenity and energy field, can be offset by externals. (The whole, stub your toe--everything is downhill from there idea) ... Secondly, machines give off electromagnetic fields that can jangle or zap energy. (WHOA! Jump back! What?! The energy field of my computer interacts with my energy field and they may impact each other?! ... does this mean what I think it means? ... keep reading...) (Pg 48-49)

Exercise 2: Stop Letting Technology Sap Your Energy (Pg 49-51)

Don't worry, my friends, there is a way to keep this from ruining your zen, your hold on the Now... and here we are at the prescription that may help you to do that! :) 

Avoid information overload:
Take technology fasts... Purposely restrict the volume of incoming information...

This is a tough one for me because I hate taking a break from everything and everyone. I must admit, however, this book has helped me realize that it isn't everything, and everyone... it will (mostly) all be here when I return, and what is most important is my health and energy. When my phone was smashed (yeah) I had 3 days without it. They were 3 of the most meaningful days I have had in a long time. There was a lot of peace, and self reflection. A lack of reliance on time... it was really liberating. I like to think my *need* for technology has lessened since then, even if only a bit. 

Don't catastrophize technology snafus:
Technology fiascoes incite negative energy by ripping off patience and peace of mind. To not succumb, be prepared. ... practice self-compassion and center in the Now. ... Sometimes a feeling of being out-of-control or helpless may escalate...  For Now, the point is to counteract this setback by tapping into your positive emotional energy.

I am actually quite good at this one. I tend to laugh through mix ups. I am more attached to sentimental things than electronic things. Probably partially because I know all information is either recoverable or not the end of the world. Everything on the Internet that I have came from somewhere else... and at the very least it is still in my mind. One of a kind items such as a gift from my grandmother who as passed on, or a memento from my wedding that is very unique and personal, are much harder for me to disconnect from. 

Counteract the energy drain of machines:
As you sit inches from the screen, your energy field will be encroached on by it, which may compromise your emotional and physical well-being.  Fluctuations in your mood or energy level could be machine related. ... To minimize drain, flush toxic vibes from your system as you would a virus so they won't energetically congeal. Drink lots of water, inhale fresh air etc...

This is fascinating to me. Not the fact that electronics can be draining or have an impact on our energy, that seemed obvious to me... but the fact that we can counteract that through normal detox. Something I had never thought to try. I wonder if this is why I feel more thirsty when I am working at a computer than when I am not... I know several interpreters who avoid the field of VRS due to energy drain... this might help them :) 

Recognize the effect of your emotional energy on machines: 
I'm utterly convinced, far-out as it may sound, that they register our vibes just as we intuitively register theirs. ... Your emotional energy, especially anger and frustration, may also disrupt appliances and technology. If so, pinpointing the link lets you contain potential mayhem. ... Machines react to your energy field; you can't pull a fast one on them. They'll remain kaput until you've resolved your agitation.

HAHA this makes me giggle a bit. I have always teased my mother about this one, and have heard of other people having similar experiences. I know people who can control the energy of light bulbs... they either last longer, or burn out faster, around them. My mom and my thing is batteries. My mom drains batteries... SO FAST. She goes through a watch battery once every 6 months (the more stressed she is the faster this happens)... I, however, can make batteries last FOREVER. I have an electric toothbrush, so does she (the same one), she told me she was getting rid of it because she went through 3 sets of batteries in like 6 months on it, not worth it to her. For me, a set of batteries will last close to a year at almost full strength. I have always thought it was kinda silly, and now it is something I value about myself. I have always been the person who "brightens" or "Energizes" the room I walk into, I take that with great responsibility, because that means that equally if my mood is down I can bring a room down with me just as quickly.

5. Quincy Jones Interview

This interview was very insightful. I am not sure I will ever get used to seeing intuition being used as a tool in everyday life. It is not that I have ever been, nor had to be, ashamed of my intuition. I feel very confident in it as a matter of fact. However, I think it is amazing how many people are impacted by intuitive thinking. I am naturally drawn to analytical (nerdy) people and many of them need science, need proof, and are frustrated by my "go with your gut" responses to life. Especially because my gut has yet to lead me astray. I think it is almost frustrating for those people to live, I feel they might live a life with a lack of happiness, because they refuse their intuition on a daily basis. Something to ponder. 

Quincy Jones is a musician and a producer among other things. He as worked with anyone and everyone you can probably think of and admire and uses his intuition every step of the way. He strongly advocates this, as well as not backing down. When you know something is right, don't stop... fight for it. That is something I can relate to, and live by as well. Thank you, Mr Jones, for your interview in this book. It truly means so much to me to see people like you, and Dr Orloff, in positions you are in, using your intuition and not hiding it, but sharing it and helping others to use theirs as well.  

This is about the end of this chapter... (I know it's been a long post but if you've made it this far hopefully you have enjoyed it and learned something about yourself, and at the very least, about me)

In her final words on the chapter Dr Orloff says:

... be fierce about your inner listening. From that center point, feel your life's rhythm. Synchronize with it and watch your positive energy grow.  ... Intuition isn't a luxury; it's mandatory for a joyous life. Risk trusting it. I guarantee: your energy will flourish.

Treat Yourself: The only "must" is that it feel right deep down in your cells, a sure sign you're in sync with your life's rhythm. 

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions about this I am totally up for it. Drop me a comment, an inbox on FB, or an email Thank you so much for reading. Please take care of yourself, your energy, your soul... Love all day long, it is worth it. And Laugh as hard as you can! :)

Love you so much,

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Positive Energy: Introduction to my Journey

Hey everybody! How you doing!?

So there is a book written by one of my very favorite authors Dr. Judith Orloff, M.D.  called "Positive Energy" which I am currently reading. If you don't want to open the link my general synopsis of it is that Dr Orloff would love for everyone to be able to tune into their energy capabilities to protect ourselves from outside entities as well as to maximize our abilities and enjoy life to its fullest. To do this she offers 10 prescriptions which I will be covering in detail over the next 10 weeks. Dr. Orloff suggests that her book be taken in weekly increments for best results, and so that is what I am doing.

The introduction to the book is pretty much the same as the synopsis on her website. I will, however, say that so far I am really loving this book. I own all 4 of Dr Orloff's books and have only read her first, "Second Sight" which was recommended to me by a good friend. Orloff's adventures, and experiences, in her book really spoke to me and I found less confused and baffled by my abilities to attune to my intuition and energy, as well as others... but felt more in control and powerful in my life.

I have always had crazy intuition and empathy, I figured now is the time to get real focus of it and see what power it can bring me. :) I am very excited to take this adventure through "Positive Thought". I look forward to seeing what strides I make  as well as what I find challenging. I am anxious to share my results with all of you, as well, and see what you think of it.

The reason I chose to keep this review on this blog as opposed to a different one is because being Paleo/Primal has helped me awaken a lot of my spiritual energy. I find that when I am eating cleaner foods my energy levels are heightened and my abilities are strengthened. I feel this is not just because of the physical nourishment of the food but also the energy it has and how it coincides with my own energies. When I am eating more primal I can see auras more clearly and my intuitive dreams are more direct and frequent. I miss this feeling. I think the first place for me to really start getting back into the saddle is from the foundation up. I was mistaken in thinking my body is my foundation... I know it is my spirit and so I will start there.

Dr Orloff mentions in several places in all of her books that intuitive empaths have problems with overeating... and a number of other symptoms that scream my name... I am all too curious, and excited, to see where this journey brings me.

So please, join me on my journey through positive energy. I look forward to sharing my experiences with you. And in the end, who knows, maybe there will be a book give away! ;)

Thanks for reading.

Love and joy to you all!

Also-Here is a link to Dr Orloff's Facebook Page! :) 

Monday, October 22, 2012


I'm participating in this years national novel writing month... The event happens everyNovember and is huge!... The requirement is basically to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. The goal is creativity, comradery, inspiration, and time management... I'm doing it with my HUSBAND and one of our best friends.
  I'm really getting excited about my novel idea! I got some tips from a friend of mine who has some knowledge on my topic and she us just as stoked as I am... Which us really awesome!
Anyway this was just a quick post while I'm on break... I'll return later with more to offer!
Much love!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

'Manda's Musings: Loving everyone from "Primal" to "PAF"

 I was not gonna blog again until after the wedding because, let's be honest, there are "better" things I could be doing with my time. However, of course, I read some things and witnessed some things that got me all riled up and excited to write, so here it is.

If you have been out of your cave lately you might have noticed that the awesomeness that is Paleo Parents did a post this week about the defense of 'Paleo' in regards to the movement that many of us are a part of. There have also been posts about this same issue on many of my other favorite blogs (none of which I can find right now... you know me and resources). Not to mention the craziness that is Paleo and Primal groups on Facebook.

It is INSANE to me how much this 'revolution' resembles the mechanics and behaviors of 7th grade. Let's review shall we?

For some reason, (at least for me and most people I know) 7th grade is THAT TIME where everyone is awkward, all you want is to fit in, and people really start kind of making their own decisions and forming opinions about certain issues.

For example: When I was in 7th grade I decided that it didn't matter what someone was... it was who they were that was important. I had many friends who were still in the closet at the time and I loved them regardless. I had friends who were struggling with finding themselves, like I was, and we all kinda went through that together. It could have been because that was the year of Matthew Shepherd's Death and his cousin was in my class, or it could have been because I was sick of being treated like crap just because I was different. I was overweight and I was not popular... but I found who I am and have stuck to that as much as possible since.

I went to a middle school with an interesting dynamic. There were people from privileged families who were fairly well off and had everything they needed. Then, in the same exact school, there were children who were so poor they didn't eat if not at school. As a Caucasian I was considered a MINORITY at my school, but we were a part of one of the richest and whitest counties in Colorado... This gave way to a lot more changes, and this was when the great divide started to happen.

So how does this have to do with the Paleo Movement, Paleo Revolution, Paleo Sphere?

If you haven't figured it out already... we are hitting adolescence. There is starting to be a GREAT DIVIDE. There are the people who are doing it for health reasons, who started from the very bottom and are trying our hardest to work our way to better health. There are people who, to quote Paleo Parents "tend to be self-righteous, pompous, and were seemingly birthed into the world of Paleo eating liver and sweet potatoes from day one". There are also the people who were "born" into the Paleo world even less fortunate and struggle to even make it happen.

The similarities to my experiences as a 12 year old trying to navigate 7th grade are becoming more and more clear, and more disappointing to be honest. I have done nothing but love everyone in the paleo world (and the whole world really) and in return I have been bad mouthed on  Facebook Groups: IPMG and Primal and even in certain forums. I have some amazing friends who are experiencing the same type of immaturity in their efforts. The only thing I can say for all of us is this: Thank goodness we are capable of handling this kind of treatment better than when we were 12. At least in my case, instead of crying, I smile and tell people I love them. I just LEAVE the groups I don't agree with. Most importantly, I never ever waiver on what I feel is right. I won't tell you what is right for you, please don't tell me what is right for me.

As you all know, and as I have said hundreds of time on this blog, I am NOT the person you should go to for facts. I don't really care about facts as much as some of my EXTREMELY AWESOME counterparts. I take my Paleo (and other life) journey almost 100% based on gut feelings ... and my gut tells me what I am doing is right for my body (not to mention my PHYSICAL gut feels better when I do it).

Readers come to this blog for a few reasons, I am assuming:
 1. To be inspired by my story  (Which I still struggle with but through certain experiences am learning to accept and appreciate about myself.)
 2. To get love. There is NEVER EVER a lack of love on my blog, I believe that love is exponential, love begets love, and I love you, even if I don't exactly KNOW you... 
and 3. For enjoyment. This blog is pretty entertaining... especially if you like seeing people set plans, make promises, and then only keep them for like a month or two. I am the queen of starting something new, and then getting too busy to carry it out. It is a personal defect of mine, but I promise, I love you still even if I don't post for months ;)

I digress--People in the scientific world, more specifically the scientific side of the Paleo world, have very little patience for people like me. I have noticed, in my experiences, that stories like mine are undervalued because I don't have a science to what I do. I just do what feels right. There are people who think the best thing to do and the ONLY way to be paleo is to be (to use the fairly new and  somewhat irritating term) PAF (Paleo as F**k). It is just another way for us to segregate ourselves through labels...

As far as I can tell this is the equivalent of what it was to be Preppy  when I was a kid.  I remember one time there was a girl who was SO SWEET she just wanted to help me. She was one of the ones who fit in. I didn't, even if I wanted to I probably couldn't have. My hair was in a really awkward phase (due to puberty)... it was between wavy and its now beautiful curly... and she pulled me aside when her friends weren't around and said, "Amanda, you would be much prettier, and everyone would like you more, if you just blow-dried your hair straight. I can teach you if you want me to. Then you might be able to be preppy and no one would make fun of you anymore." What a sweetheart, she had my best interest at heart. What she didn't know was that 1. I am FAR too lazy to blow dry my hair... and 2. getting up that early was NOT WORTH having those jerks as my friends.

How does this relate? ... Well... a person on IPMG told me once in a private message after a whole big huge blow up on the board "If you just ate only meats and veg, and stopped having Primal Fuel for your shakes... just eat ground beef ... its PAF and people won't give you so much *crap*... also you'll get down to like 13% BF and everyone wants that right?" ... Just because it is SOME people's goal to be 15,% or even 20%... does not mean it is mine. And I am sorry but if eating barely cooked ground beef  or liver is what I need to do to fit in your little club... Meh, I can hang out outside of your club drinking my Primal Fuel and when no one is looking and your reputation isn't on the line, you can PM me and we can be friends... cuz I got nothin' but love. I get that this may be what is "best" for you... but my gut says "yuck"-so I will have to say "no".

The last topic is one I can't PERSONALLY relate to very much but is something that I think needs to be brought up. Again, I wish I had all the links ... I need to keep a folder (but we all know I won't)... there has been A LOT of talk about minority groups, impoverished families, and Paleo. Why is it that paleo is mainly a community of white, middle to upper class men (and recently a lot more women)?... BECAUSE It was geared toward that group to begin with. HOWEVER, that does not mean that we need to, nor do we want to, LIMIT ourselves to that demographic.

A HUGE goal of mine (that I haven't shared yet) is to start a local Paleo movement. Of course I live in the WHITEST city in America (I am not kidding folks, this place is wonderbread)... but I have to start somewhere, and hopefully it can expand. I think that we can easily survive on a Paleo diet without having to spend our savings. I ate Paleo my entire last year of college and it was CHEAPER than when I wasn't eating Paleo (I think it is cuz i had to eat MORE S.A.D. food to feel "full" and I was also an over-eater consuming addictive foods, so that didn't help). I think we CAN  (and will) integrate minorities. It is becoming more and more common for people to eat "Paleo" regardless of if that is what they call it or not labels don't matter. HOPEFULLY one day the government can even get on board and support a more whole foods focused diet so the WIC and Food Stamps government support groups can be geared toward this healthful way of being. (My lack of science knowledge really puts me at a disadvantage with this, but I am really nice and personable so hopefully I can help in the face to face or on the phone stuff... ;) )

NOW--My experience with this and middle school? Not many people know this story but as I said I was a part of the minority of my middle school. It doesn't matter how white your skin is or how big your parent's bank roll is if you live in a city that has high crime and gang rates which were growing when I was growing up... you were at the equal opportunity of being harassed. I had a friend who was black (I had/have a LOT of black friends... lol as my good friend Amber will tell you, I love black people :) )... This person and I were in choir together and we had been friends for like 3 years or so. At that time it was really popular to wear those sock buns (you know what I am talking about, they are coming back now!) and many people put a scrunchy around it or a bandanna... Well I was wearing this super cute red outfit one day and threw a red bandanna around my sock bun to go along with it. My 'friend' was apparently upset by my decision because as we were leaving class she grabbed by bun and bandanna and ripped it out (pulling out some of my hair) yelling at me: "You don't have the right skin color to pull this off! NEVER wear it again!" I didn't. The bandanna returned to my locker. I cried... fixed my hair, and never ever wore a sock bun OR a bandanna again (to this day).

I am scarred by that single moment in my life... and to think there are HUNDREDS of people who are subjected to that kind of cruelty daily... sometimes more than that. There are places in the world where you can be killed for what you look like and if you don't follow the "norms" for your skin tone or culture...

We are in America, (regardless of your political beliefs) a free country... There is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON we should be treating ANYONE with this cruelty... I can love you no matter what is on the outside. I love you if you agree with me I love you if you disagree with me. I love you if you speak my language, I love you if you don't. This is pretty obvious by just flipping through my Facebook friends, there are people of almost EVERY religious background, almost EVERY race, almost EVERY sexual orientation, etc etc etc... this is because I BELIEVE IN EQUALITY. People NEED love, ALL LIVING THINGS NEED LOVE. I will not accept or condone any behaviors which point fingers at someone because they are different... instead of getting uncomfortable at the idea of integrating minorities into our community... let's get loving... and share the love... we should be encouraging healthy behavior no matter what color or shape it comes in.

So... That was a long ass post. I hope you took something from it. If you made it this far, please leave me a comment. Let me know what you think... I want to know your thoughts.

Thank you

I love you all

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

255/366 Thought I would check in through the maddness!

Hey there guys,

I hope I haven't completely lost you all!

I am just checking in mid-madness... I am hoping that one day in the next few months my life will get back to normal(ish). Or at least to where it was before ;)

As I am sure most of you have guessed I have been spending most, if not all, of my time on WEDDING STUFF... There is so much awesome I can't even tell ya!

Pictures of my dress and some of the other things we have been working on are available on my Facebook page...

It is going to be the most beautiful wedding ever I think. I have to be honest, My mother in law has done almost ALL the work for the decorations, and the dress etc... THANK GODS she has the same taste as me when it comes to pretty much everything :) She loves the fall as much as I do (if not more) so this has been really fun for both of us (and a bonding experience).

My father in law is doing his part as well--I really feel like even though it has been a bit stressful in ways, living with them has been REALLY GREAT for our relationship with each other. I don't know many in laws who get along quite the way we do :)

Then there is the whole HOSTING THE WHOLE THING which my mom is so graciously doing... Her work is really going to come in the next couple weeks and get really intense starting on the first... Luckily my MOH, and my mom's best friend will both be in town to help us most of that week! <3

The last several months have been financially trying for us. I am so amazed by how blessed we were to have moved in with Ben's parents right when the crap hit the fan for us... I don't know what we would have done with 700/mo for rent on top of everything else. Saving for a wedding/spending for a wedding would have been a lot harder too. Both my mom and Ben's parents have done so much for us in that regard--I really can't be thankful enough at this point.

There are a lot of things I can't wait for... and by can't wait I mean "will wait as patiently as I can but really wish they would happen sooner" for... ;)

1. Having our own kitchen again... I really really miss cooking with my sweetie. Doing all the things we did together. Having our kitchen all done up the way we want. Especially as time goes on and bridal showers happen--I keep thinking of things I want to add to our kitchen, that we don't have (yet).

2. Having a home. I am very set on not buying a house until we are SURE that we are going to stay in that state (at least for a long while), have some financial security, and are definitely capable of FIXING it ... if something were to break... But a home a house does not make... what I am ready for is having a place to call home for longer than a year (I have talked about this before) there are some cute town houses we have looked at, and some apartments as well. Really I am just ready to feel kind of settled in to a place for a good while...

3. The wedding rush/stress to subside. I know that it is worth it and I am so excited and dont want to rush it away but... I miss my regular day to day life--my hobbies and my spare time and activities... Like choir, crossfit, socializing LOL

4... yeah.. tick tock tick tock... I hate to admit it but that stupid clock is going off like crazy. I am going to try to hit the snooze button as much as I can for the next 3 to 5 years--wish me luck ;)

So... the last thing I kinda wanna get off my chest is the nightmares I have been having. Pre-wedding jitters probably but I have had a lot of very violent flashbacks to times with my ex husband... before and during our wedding and marriage... I know it is probably something I am just working through emotionally. I am so grateful to have the love and support of Ben through it all... he has always been so understanding of my recovery form an abusive situation, and I can't be more blessed.

Thank you all for reading. I love you all so much. I hope your summer went well and you are ready for the best season of all! :) <3


Monday, June 11, 2012

Live.Love.Eat--My Podcast Experience

Hello all! :)

I hope this blog finds you happy and full of love and happiness today. If not, I am sending you love from Sioux Falls!!! :)

This week I had the amazing opportunity to be a part of a podcast recording hosted by the author of Paleo for Women, Stefani Ruper. Her new podcast is called "Live.Love.Eat" which is beautiful because it embraces so many things. Her main goal is to develop a supportive community of women who support each other through their experience, strength and hope--their stories of living, loving and eating (as the title states.) She asked me to be the first guest on her podcast to kick-start this amazing revolution of love and support. I can only say so many words of gratitude in how I felt with this.

I am so grateful to be considered even inspirational enough as a person to be on a podcast of this kind, but I do have a goal of helping women love themselves in the way I am learning to.

The experience was really unique. We had to record twice because of some sound issues, but the second version is available at her website HERE and you can download it and listen to it over and over again. It is really odd, being recorded with hopes of inspiring of people... :) I hope someone somewhere discovered some tid-bit of self-love from my responses to Stefani's questions.

I spoke on my experiences as a disordered eater, trips and falls that I have taken, my feelings on paleo (minimally), my feelings on self-love (a lot), and my experiences with overeaters anonymous...

Please listen with an open heart.

Feel free to contact me at my email ( if you have questions or comments, or if you just need someone to love you unconditionally!

Love you all so much!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Manda's Musings-How to REALLY Learn to Love Yourself.

The other day, another one of my very closest friends moved away to Washington DC. He was terrified because he knew no one there and had no idea what to expect. We were terrified because, like always when people move, we wondered what the future would hold for our friendship. Will we change? Definitely, change is inevitable. Will we change so much that we are no longer friends? That is up for the universe to decide. I happen to be of the belief that our bond is stronger and will be able to sustain throughout.

As you know I never thought this would happen to me. I thought I would be the one moving and my friends would be the ones adjusting to their lives without me. I had it all figured out so that the Universe could laugh at the plans I had made (I have a tendency to do that). Currently all of the people I have considered BEST Friends do not live anywhere near me anymore. The one who is closest is about an hour and a half away, so not too bad. The furthest is now in Washington DC. Part of having such a big heart is making friends across the country, which I have done, and across the world. I also have to accept that my friends will change, and so will I, but we may be able to keep what we have if we both want it.

When talking to this friend, I am not sure he feels comfortable having his name posted which is why I haven't, I told him that he has to be comfortable with himself, so that people can really get to know him there. His response is that he doesn't know if he want's people to know and like him there, so when he leaves it will be easier. This definitely reflects the opinions and feelings I have had the past decade in Sioux Falls. He told me he loved me and I told him I love him too. We talked about that a lot, and how many people a person can love. I think the number is infinite.

Why do we need to love each other? Why do we need other people's love to feel comfort and acceptance? Haven't we been told that to be loved by others we must truly love ourselves?

I think that is wrong. I think to be loved by others we must be honest with ourselves, and others, about who we are. However, to love ourselves, we must witness the love of others. I think we have it a bit backwards, and here is why.

I have known myself longer than anyone else. For the 9 months I was in the womb, my mom, dad and brother thought I could be an Amanda or I could be a Nicolas. I already knew I was a Manda and I was growing and developing and getting to know myself, and my family, before the day I would arrive and change their lives forever (For the better of course). With knowing myself comes lying to myself. Giving myself filters aka survival skills/defects, to protect myself from the things that may hurt me in the coming years. As I grew the filters changed, but I never could see myself 100% without them.

Now, this is where others come in. When I was true with myself, and others, of who I was. I felt comfortable in my skin. I could make friends/love people who loved me for who I was and brought out the best qualities in me. They kind of were like the maintenance on the filters. Helped me clear away the grime, and see things for what they were. Without them, I only saw myself through dirt that had accrued throughout the years and felt normal and comforting.

Now, when I was in an uncomfortable place with myself the people I met did nothing for me. They added filters and grime to my current set up, they pointed out things about me that were ugly and awful, and helped me to hate myself, and in the end I had to do a lot of work to go back through and figure out which grime and muck was my own, and which was added for me by the people I was surrounding myself with. I had to start being honest with myself, again about who I was and what I felt. Then I could be honest with others, and they could get to know me again and adjust and help me clean up the distorted views I had of myself.

How can I truly love myself, if I don't know what about me is loveable? If you asked me what I loved about myself it would probably be different from the things that people love about me, probably more conservative. The things other people love about me are so much deeper. Assets and personality traits I never knew I even had. Thank god my friends and family have been there to clear away the muck.

Now, what you love most about my blog may or may not be the fact that I have no proof for anything. My blog is not one of those "Here are the facts of why Paleo is good for you and here is what I think about it." Kind of blogs. My blog is "This is my experience, and my life, put out there for you to read. I hope you learn something."

Without any proof-or motivation even-the point of this post is simple. You can not truly love yourself without the love of others. HOWEVER, the love of others may be skewed and placed inappropriately if you are not honest about who you are with yourself and the universe. If you are unsure of who you are, take a self inventory. Take a look at yourself and the life you live and start getting honest. One of my very best friends told me when I left my ex-husband that her way of learning to tell the truth was to say "That was a lie" after every lie. I tell you what, it works! Every time I said something that made me feel bad, or that was not a truth, I followed it up with, "That was a lie" and the edited true statement. It really helped me become comfortable with disappointing people. (The main reason I lied so much in my life was fear of disappointment.) It also really helped people get to know the real me, and hey, they seem to love me.

So thank you, thank each and every one of you, for showing me what about me is truly loveable. Without you I would think the best quality I have is that I hold the door for people and I say "bless you" when anyone sneezes. My values of myself are superficial due to the many years of filters I have created to protect myself from being hurt. Thank you for pulling out the magic cleaning detergent to make those filters sparkle, so I can truly see myself for who I am. This love has to continue, we can't stop telling each other what we love or why we love each other, because then our filters will start to build grime and self-hate again.

An update on my friend status. Through a lot of self love and self expression I have 2 very close friends here again. One even came with a husband who likes Ben! :) I am so grateful to have another best friend close. The other is my future sister-in-law, who I am so grateful I love. I was terrified when I first met her that she and I would never get along and always be at odds. Turns out she is a lot like my best friend Tove, which makes it very very easy to love her.

Then there are all of you, some of you love me out loud, and others quietly from a distance. I hope you know that I love you, as much of you as you have let me know. The point of being honest is that people can love you for who you are, but we can't love something if we don't know anything about it. I know it is scary, but be honest, and I promise people will love you. I already do.

SO MUCH LOVE to all of you!


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over ____--that our lives had become unmanageable.

I did my first step last October.

... Or so I had thought.

Lately the Universe/my HP has done an incredible job of slapping in my face just how much control I do not have over this world. I make a plan for something and it results in something else entirely. I don't mind that, of course, usually it is working out for the best. But honestly, I have been really struggling with the fact that I don't have all the answers.

I presume that I am typing this WEEKS before I will probably post it-because things in this blog will be news to some of you, and I don't want to make an announcement like that over a blog, I would rather tell you in a more personal way (like a Facebook status ;) ). But in all seriousness, I know that I have said some things that may make people disappointed while reading this blog, but this life is not about you. It's not really about me either... It is about living.

For 10 years... (that's a decade... 40% of my lifetime) I have been wanting nothing more than to return "home" to Colorado. I was arguably blind to all other options, throughout that time, because all I ever wanted was to return to the life I loved.

10 years ago I was 15 years old, my family had barely started to fall apart, my best friends were simply obvious to me (Kathy, Rachael, Jeanie, Kelly, Aimee, Whitney and Jenn) ... people I loved through and through and could NEVER imagine not being close to, Music was my LIFE and I was moving up in the choirs at school, I was in advanced level courses (in HS) and making decent grades at that, I was comfortable (at least partially) and happy (sometimes) and when I moved to Rapid city I thought my life was over.

The first moments I walked into RC Central HS I wanted to run back out kicking and screaming. I went from a happy and delightful high school to a place that felt more like a prison. My teachers doubted my limits and I certainly doubted theirs. My only escape was choir and, let's be honest, no one there really liked me either. It wasn't their fault, though, because I never really gave them a chance to. Every time I met someone I would say "Yeah I am only here until i graduate then I will go to school back in Colorado" It's a wonder they thought I felt like I was above them.

I skipped a grade because it was just TOO much for me to bear any longer. Hopped hard and fast into USD. This was only temporary, too, because as soon as I graduated I was packing my bags and getting back to CO. Every time I met someone I said "I went to HS in Rapid but I am FROM Colorado." I even remember meeting my to be best friend Tove and saying "Wow, I would never guess you are from SD, you are so kind and open minded!" I thought I was giving her a compliment-now I see that it was really more of an insult.

I hate to say it, but I have always looked down on South Dakota. I didn't like the reason I came here in the first place, but I came because it was what my mom wanted, and because I wanted to escape the feeling of losing my dad. I wanted so badly to change everything. I got "control" and met my now ex husband. Forced a marriage out of all of that and thank god that is over.

Made my way through college at Augie (my the skin of my teeth mostly) and finally graduated. I am certain my professor would be a millionaire if she had 100 bucks for each time I have said "Well, this is it, I am going back home to Colorado now." If she is reading this, she has got to be shaking her head and laughing... I never gave her a chance either. Sorry for that, you deserved a lot more from me.

No one really got the best of me because I have been reserving that for the better more deserving people in Colorado... what a jerk. This all, unfortunately, only came to me just recently. I got an amazing opportunity to stay here. Once again I had a BIG HUGE foot out the door ready to run to the mountains, and then... BAM the Universe said "Manda, seriously, we have to do this AGAIN!?"

Maybe, this town really isn't that bad. ;) Maybe, actually, this town is exactly what I need. The kind-hearted sweet and friendly people of Sioux falls. The ones who say hello, and goodbye, every time you go in any store. The people who wave to you on the side of the road. The people who's kids have never known a stranger because it takes a village to raise a child, and this village loves it's families and children. I have avoided calling Sioux Falls my home, even though I have lived here longer than I have lived in any town in my entire life. That's a BIG pill to swallow. And if I include Vermilion it has been almost 8 years... that's a really long time. Even without Vermtown it's been 6 years almost straight through.

The best part is, everyone has been so forgiving. Everyone in Sioux Falls who I have met and planted my "Colorado is better" seed on have just nodded and smiled like they knew the ultimate truth, that I would fall in love with this place, and the people, and I would stay. I would raise my family here because it is safe, and secure, and a great community. I will take my trips to Colorado, and Kentucky, and other great places to visit, but always return to the place that has always been the best home to me, Sioux Falls.

There was even a conversation with another educator/colleague of mine... she told me that she had a foot out the door until she met her husband... and the rest is history, she stayed here. I told her flat out "That won't happen to me. There is no man worth staying here for." ... I am not staying here FOR Ben, he will be here too though of course. I am staying here because Sioux Falls is home.

When I told my mom about the opportunity and that it would keep me from Colorado and I just can't figure out why this keeps happening every time I get a bit closer. Her response? "I know why." ... so I inquired as to why... "Colorado is not the place you left 10 years ago. You were younger, your friends were different people, your family was mostly all you knew of the world. The population was smaller, and since then there have been 10 years between where you have changed, they have changed, and the world around you has changed. When you go back to visit is the best of all worlds because people take time to see you, but you can never move back to the way things were, it is better to just accept life as it is and move forward Do what is best for you and your family, and be happy."

There are things I would change about Sioux Falls. But then again, there are things I would change about the world, and the country. But if I would change them, then why have I not made the effort to do so? because I am too afraid to get involved and then move. I have moved 24 times in my life. (this includes to and from college) I was a part of 6 different graduating classes, before I actually graduated from High School. I got scared to get close to anyone, for fear of losing them. I got scared to get involved in anything, for fear of having to cut my roots, again, and replant. I was afraid to be comfortable, because if I got comfortable something would surely come along and change it. I am the girl without a home-but this is by my own choice.

So to take this 1400 word blog and turn it all into a short story...

I am done.

I am done running. I am done planning (Shocking I know) I am done.

I waste too much energy in trying to have control of my life, and the outcomes--and I get so tired from it. I am tired of pushing for something that obviously is not supposed to happen.

"If you want something, it is your job to ask for it. The Universe will work out the HOW but any time you spend toward the HOW is time you will not have with the thing you asked for. It is not your job to figure out HOW to get what you want, it is your job to know what you want, and ask for it. Let the Universe do the rest." (the Daily Secret)

I am happy and grateful to have such a kind and wonderful and loving group of people who love me.
I am happy and grateful that I am coming to peace with who I am.
I am happy and grateful for my ever going recovery.
I am happy and grateful to have found a truly loving and compassionate partner to share my life with.
I am happy and grateful to have all I need and more, financially, and otherwise in my life.
I am happy and grateful that I have a place to call home.

Thank you Sioux falls for loving me even when I refused to love you back.

I give up. I surrender. I am all yours.

Now it is time to live. I want to help the interpreting community of Sioux Falls grow and flourish. I want to help SDIA become the best that it can be, and be a place for people to go when they truly need encouragement and growth in the industry.
I want to sing again damn it! I am joining a choir!
I want to be more active in the program at Augustana. To show my support to the future alumni of my Alma mater.
I want to take trips to all the places I want to visit in the world, but have a place to come home to.
I want to have kittens! :)

I promise to not put you down anymore Sioux Falls. I promise to love you as much as I have loved Colorado all of these years. I am cutting the chord. Colorado is officially the place I was raised, Sioux Falls is the place I call home.

To those of you who are hurt by this decision. I LOVE YOU ALL. I am so sorry that I got any one's hopes up through my ebbs and flows of what I am doing. I get excited about something and get very narrow minded and stubborn. I am hard headed when it comes to my plans, and very determined. Just know that my determination was just proof of how much I love you all. I promise I will visit as often as we can. We really are not that far away from each other, after all. I hope you come and visit me too, Sioux Falls is really quite a lovely place.

For the people of Sioux Falls who I may have avoided getting to know a little better. I promise to make a more concerted effort to spend time with you. I will attend your events with an open heart filled with love for you, without the resounding fear of loss.

Thanks for reading this incredibly long post.

Lastly I want to share with you the reason it is titled what it is.  Because I finally admitted "I am powerless, my life has become unmanageable"-at least by my standards. The only person who has any control over all of this is my HP and so I release my life to your loving hands. Please treat it with care, as I know you will, since you are LOVE and LOVE is you... and Love is the best thing we can possibly share.

Thanks for sharing the love.

Love always,

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Nothing Feels as Good as Losing Your Pants

Or as my English friends would say "trousers"

I love losing my trousers--even in the most embarrassing of situations, it is a good thing.

I am not sure if I have shrunk... If I looked in the mirror with my own eyes I would say I have not, but my eyes tend to deceive me, as we have discussed. Maybe if I looked in the mirror with someone else's eyes I would look fantastic... so we will go with that one.

The pants I am wearing are those Goucho pants... I got them from a girl friend of mine who has also lost a crap ton of weight being primal... she is the one who introduced me to this amazing way of eating. The pants have never been TIGHT on me by any means... they are a large... But... today I cant hardly walk 3 feet without them sliding off of my hips... What a GREAT feeling... So much better than standing on a scale to read a number that means nothing...

In other news-I cheated a bit today... for about 2 and a half minutes... and then realized what I was eating and thought "WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING?" and then threw it away... it was fine... No biggy.

Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Manda's Musings: (short) Ramblings on about Passion

I am an overly passionate person, if such a thing exists. I have a lot of love to give to anything and everything I can get my hands on, and the same goes for people. I don't typically give 10% to things, unless I am scared to give more due to fear of failure or lack of perfection.

Having this passion I tend to want to be excellent at everything. I put my all into one basket and then when that doesn't work out for me I get confused as to why I am so exhausted and have so little to show for it.

I think my longest running passion, other than living and loving, is music. Since I can remember I have loved to sing... I HAVE ADORED it... I remember the day I decided I was not going to be in choir anymore, that it was time to focus my energies on my newer passion and future career of interpreting. I am glad I focused so much on it because it takes a lot of work, and school wasn't easy, but since then my passion for music has been waiting on the back burner starting to boil, unbeknownst to me.

Along with music my second longest running passion is writing. I absolutely love to express myself with words, and throughout the years I found a way to say things eloquently. I have often been complimented on the way I am able to present something via the written word, although I am not aspiring at all to be a writer (too many of my friends are and I encourage and support ALL of you, it's just not for me) I do adore putting the pen to a pad or journal and getting my thoughts out there. Many of my connections with the universe and my own experiences have come fluidly through this medium and I feel like I have left it burning too, a lot like my music.

Interpreting is amazing. I am so grateful it found me and I was lead to such a beautiful and rewarding career. I feel that every day not only am I providing a customer service to a variety of people, but I am also helping myself improve as a person by learning all the magnificent things I get to see and hear on my calls. My skills develop constantly and my appreciation for the work and my colleagues is unending. I am so grateful to have found a career that speaks to me so clearly, and that I can be passionate about without having to dedicate every waking minute to it.

My newest passion is helping aspiring interpreters and the interpreting community around me. I haven't really figured out where to go to start with it, but I promise I won't leave it set, I will be sure to be there for the incoming interpreters as well as my colleagues, to provide at least a smile and a hug when needed.

I could go on with the things I am passionate about. Family, friends, love, health, music, writing, art, colors, flowers, animals, travel, culture, theater, reading, cooking, teaching, learning, etc etc... They are unending really. The thing is ... I feel like I am coming to a time in my life where things aren't temporary anymore...

For the last 10 years of my life every address I have lived at has had an expiration date from day one. Even before that I always knew as a kid it was just a matter of time before my parents would move. I love moving, I love change, but I feel like the winds of change are dying down in my life. I feel like it is time to get serious again. I feel like it is time to pull those passions off the back burner and hope they still taste good.

As far as my writing is concerned, I have always kind of considered my blogging "good enough" ... I haven't dropped a line of poetry in well over 6 months and most of my blogging is fairly superficial. As much as you all love me and care for my life and well being, you are kind people and would appreciate anything I write. I just am not sure that what I am writing here is fulfilling the desires I have as a writer... Something I would like to think about/work on.

Music is incredible and I still am head over heals in love with it. I hear a song and get it stuck in my head and spend days re writing it and singing it in different ways... I miss singing. I have let myself really decline in regards to my music. I don't feel as confident even with Karaoke, even with some of the nice things people have said. It was hard to go from being one of the top singers in my choir to being in a college of musicians. They always warn you of that. I took a 9 month hiatus from music at all after that, I couldn't hardly stand to hear music, luckily that ended. Then I auditioned for a choir in my new college and when I didn't make it in the one I had expected, I chose to call it a sign that I needed to focus on interpreting.

The other day I was spending time with a girl friend of mine. She and I were in choir together all through high school and part of college. She is about to leave for India to go teach music and it is her whole life. I am glad it is not my whole life, but I have to admit when she said "Lady, why the heck aren't you in any choirs?" I felt a ping in my heart. I miss it. I miss using my voice to soothe my soul. I miss contorting my instrument to create new and different sounds and I miss harmonizing. I miss getting really close to the note of my peer where it is verging on uncomfortable but makes a sound like melting butter... I MISS THAT. I need a choir.

Lastly, I suppose... since this was supposed to be a short post and all, is my passion for health. This is my newest passion. It is still relatively green and something I am terrified of failing at. Not just because I know I have NO prior knowledge or experience in healthy nutrition and exercise (I literally looked for ways to get out of gym class people), but also because if I fail it is on me. If I choose to not get serious about this passion and give it my all, then I am the one who suffers (And my children and family). Health is SO IMPORTANT! I only have one life, I only have one body, I must ask myself daily what can I do that is best for my future and my body?

I love the primal and paleo ways of eating. I connect with them obviously. I love some of the more recent posts about embracing the concept of the way of eating and even the lifestyle but not becoming an elitist... As you well know I have a thing about elitists... Cliques and groups haven't always been good to me, so I choose to avoid them. The other thing, in regards to health, that I got passionate about was CrossFit. I loved how I felt when I would lift even just the 35lb bar over my head or push through a 500m row... just because it is something I haven't done before. My fear of failure is keeping me from going back. My fear of not measuring up, not doing things perfectly, and being a disappointment to myself and others is keeping me on the couch instead of in the box. This is something else I want to change. I dont' blame myself or beat myself up for this, I know it is just a character defect of mine, but this is a new passion and I have to realize that I am not going to be GREAT at everything off the bat. I need to value the skills I have.

So, in true 'Manda fashion, I have taken a supposed to be short posed and turned it into a properly long one. But that is who I am, that is who you love... And for some of you-that is what you love about me. I love that about me... I find it endearing that I can find plenty of words for several various subjects. I just hope I am not one to ramble too often on things I know nothing about.

If you have made it this far, thanks for reading. Either way this post was good therapy for me.

Have a beautiful and blessed day,

Friday, May 18, 2012

'Manda's Musings-The Next Step to a Beautiful Me

I wish I could show you, When you are lonely or in darkness, The astonishing light of your own being. ~Hafiz

I think... I am done with spending all my time telling people they are wrong about me.

I think that I have spent too much time trying to be my own version of humble... that I have lost good time in loving myself to the fullest.

I think that I have established new goals for myself... in relation to this beautiful quote.

I kind of stumbled upon a fellow Paleo Eating Disordered Blogger-Paleo Pepper. She has an astonishing outlook on life... and she is motivated to change the way women think of themselves... and I have decided to help her. How do you eat an elephant? one bite at a time? How do you change woman's self esteem? ONE WOMAN AT A TIME! :)

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It's not.  ~Dr. Seuss
Pepper helped me realize how important I really am. She reminded me that even though it seems I haven't done much (at least to me) I have made huge strides in my health and in my future. I have nothing to do but be grateful for how far I have come. I can not expect to feel better about myself, if I don't start feeling better about myself. I can't beat myself up for making mistakes, what I can do, though, is laugh them off and keep going.

Now it is time for me to stop being so "humble" and start getting real. I am gorgeous. I have a beautiful soul. I have an incredible body. I have a lot of strength; Physical, emotional and spiritual. I am supportive and loving of all people around me. I am fun to be around. I am a hard worker, and I give back to my community and anywhere I can. I am creative, smart, inventive, talented, energetic, and kind.

The list is longer than this, but I don't have all the time in the world. I am mostly repeating what others have said about me, and embracing  it as truth. I am all of these things and more. And I am finally ready to accept it, be grateful, and love myself.

Having a low opinion of yourself is not "modesty". It's self-destruction. Holding your uniqueness in high regard is not "egotism". It's a necessary precondition to happiness and success. ~Bobbe Sommer

So what does this all mean? I am going to try to love myself more... yes. I am going to hope that this will reflect well on others and they, too can love themselves... yes. I am going to work toward new goals in my health and life... yes, kinda.

For the immediate future, this means that I am not going to be pounding the pavement trying to work myself to the bone to get into a wedding dress that I think is an acceptable size. I am dropping my expectations for weight loss and size loss. Instead I am focusing on gains. On happiness and acceptance. On loving myself exactly as I am. And on continuing to do what I know to be right for my body. Eating things that give me energy, avoiding things that do not. But not beating myself over anything, ever. I will love myself relentlessly, endlessly.

“Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can; all of them make me laugh.”
W.H. Auden

And in final hopes that I am one you love, who can make you laugh... here is a video I can not get enough of:

Ben said "THAT IS TOTALLY YOU IN CHILD FORM!" I have to agree with him... it is SOOOO GOOD! (In my best Essex accent!)

Love you all so much, thank you of course for loving me too!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

'Manda's Musings-15 things to give up for supreme happiness

Hello readers! I hope I didn't lose all of you in my long long long long time away. I have had quite the March and April. I am still struggling to feel happy with the loss of a cousin recently.  He wasn't a part of my EVERY day life, but he was a part of my heart, and it never gets easier, losing a cousin who is more like a brother in this way. I am sorry he is gone.

A good friend of mine sent me a link to this website... and I really want to spend some time looking at what it has to say. Fair warning... this will be a long post. But if you stick with me, you might learn something. <3

"Here is a list of 15 things which, if you give up on them, will make your life a lot easier and much, much happier. We hold on to so many things that cause us a great deal of pain, stress and suffering – and instead of letting them all go, instead of allowing ourselves to be stress free and happy – we cling on to them. Not anymore. Starting today we will give up on all those things that no longer serve us, and we will embrace change. Ready? Here we go:

1. Give up your need to always be right. There are so many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right – even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain, for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the ‘urgent’ need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question: “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?” Wayne Dyer. What difference will that make? Is your ego really that big?

I think this is something I hate to admit about myself. I do want to be right. I strive to be the best at absolutely everything I can be, and I don't know where else to go but there. I have been taught through and through to put my best effort into everything, and when that is met with error or failure I get down on myself, and sometimes others. Especially when it comes to my wanting to be right about my future and my life... I think I need to embrace the fact that sometimes it is okay to be wrong. 

 Be willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you – situations, events, people, etc. Whether they are loved ones, coworkers, or just strangers you meet on the street – just allow them to be. Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better will that make you feel.
“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning.” Lao Tzu

This one is a toughy too. I like to think I am in control of everything-including the future. I am trying, very hard, to relinquish my false sense of control to my HP and allow them to do what they do best, the impossible.

3. Give up on blame. Give up on your need to blame others for what you have or don’t have, for what you feel or don’t feel. Stop giving your powers away and start taking responsibility for your life.

Until this very moment I didn't feel like I could connect with this one, while I was typing "I don't really connect with this one" I realized that I do. I have blamed people for a lot of things.  I have blamed my father for most of the things that have gone wrong in my life. I have blamed South Dakota for my unhappiness... It goes on. All I can do is ask for guidance in my journey and pray that I find peace, without judgement or blame. For those who I have blamed: I can try, my best, to make amends.

4. Give up your self-defeating self-talk. Oh my. How many people are hurting themselves because of their negative, polluted and repetitive self-defeating mindset? Don’t believe everything that your mind is telling you – especially if it’s negative and self-defeating. You are better than that.
“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.” Eckhart Tolle

 Oh dear... This is one I would fail at.  Ben has been trying to program me to erase the bad words and replace them with good ones. Whenever he hears me self-defeat he makes me repeat positive things about myself. This has been very helpful because I am coming up with nicer things to say about myself. I came to him with an idea to send love to EVERYONE even people who bother us and or bad drivers etc. He said "That's fine but that means you have to send love to yourself too, can you handle that?"... Does the boy know me or does he know me!? 

5. Give up your limiting beliefs about what you can or cannot do, about what is possible or impossible. From now on, you are no longer going to allow your limiting beliefs to keep you stuck in the wrong place. Spread your wings and fly!
“A belief is not an idea held by the mind, it is an idea that holds the mind” Elly Roselle

I seem to have beliefs that actually stretch TOO far. I don't usually let things limit my beliefs unless it is my beliefs about myself (most of the time). This is one I don't really feel relates to me that much. 
6. Give up complaining. Give up your constant need to complain about those many, many, maaany things – people, situations, events that make you unhappy, sad and depressed. Nobody can make you unhappy, no situation can make you sad or miserable unless you allow it to. It’s not the situation that triggers those feelings in you, but how you choose to look at it. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.

I would like to think that I don't complain. But, like most people, when I truly take time to listen to the words coming out of my mouth and the thoughts flowing freely in my head, more often than not they are complaints about things I have little to no control over. I have recently been trying to replace these negative thoughts with something more functional and positive... because a complaint fixes nothing but your attitude into a semi-negative state.

7. Give up the luxury of criticism. Give up your need to criticize things, events or people that are different than you. We are all different, yet we are all the same. We all want to be happy, we all want to love and be loved and we all want to be understood. We all want something, and something is wished by us all.

This could have the exact same response as the complaints. Complaints and criticisms go hand in hand for me and they should be eliminated from my frame of thought-they do nothing good for the world.

8. Give up your need to impress others. Stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not just to make others like you. It doesn’t work this way. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, the moment you take of all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you, effortlessly.

Oh jeeze... I literally need to take time and put it into this one. I can't figure out... how to not care about impressing others.

I really care so much about what other people think. More so I care that I am hurting them or making them uncomfortable in some way... I don't want that at all.

9. Give up your resistance to change. Change is good. Change will help you move from A to B. Change will help you make improvements in your life and also the lives of those around you. Follow your bliss, embrace change – don’t resist it.
“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls” 
Joseph Campbell

Change is good. Sometimes too much change is bad. Instead of a resistance to change I have a dependency on it... I would like to give up on my dependency to change--let life happen as it should.

10. Give up labels. Stop labeling those things, people or events that you don’t understand as being weird or different and try opening your mind, little by little. Minds only work when open. “The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.” Wayne Dyer

I have gone to workshops for this! :) LOL I am pretty decent at not using labels, at least not excessively. This is one that goes to the bottom of my list, just because it doesn't take much effort from me.

11. Give up on your fears. Fear is just an illusion, it doesn’t exist – you created it. It’s all in your mind. Correct the inside and the outside will fall into place.
“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”
 Franklin D. Roosevelt

Step 6 and 7 are there for this one. Fear is one of my character defects, hell this whole list is. I just mostly have a fear of the unknown... and a fear of being alone. Fear is just an illusion... I created it... I am confident in my life and my HP to take care of me.

12. Give up your excuses. Send them packing and tell them they’re fired. You no longer need them. A lot of times we limit ourselves because of the many excuses we use. Instead of growing and working on improving ourselves and our lives, we get stuck, lying to ourselves, using all kind of excuses – excuses that 99.9% of the time are not even real.

DAMN IT! This post is taking everything I have! ;) I am grateful today to not make as many excuses as I have in the past! :) I am doing really well at not making excuses-or so I think. At least, at the very very least, I am no longer lying... that is an adequate start, If you ask me.

13. Give up the past. I know, I know. It’s hard. Especially when the past looks so much better than the present and the future looks so frightening, but you have to take into consideration the fact that the present moment is all you have and all you will ever have. The past you are now longing for – the past that you are now dreaming about – was ignored by you when it was present. Stop deluding yourself. Be present in everything you do and enjoy life. After all life is a journey not a destination. Have a clear vision for the future, prepare yourself, but always be present in the now.

Past, I have moved on. Mostly. Some things that happened I hold on to but for the most part, I have spent so much time living in the future that I have not had much time to spend with the past.

14. Give up attachment. This is a concept that, for most of us is so hard to grasp and I have to tell you that it was for me too, (it still is) but it’s not something impossible. You get better and better at with time and practice. The moment you detach yourself from all things, (and that doesn’t mean you give up your love for them – because love and attachment have nothing to do with one another,  attachment comes from a place of fear, while love… well, real love is pure, kind, and self less, where there is love there can’t be fear, and because of that, attachment and love cannot coexist) you become so peaceful, so tolerant, so kind, and so serene. You will get to a place where you will be able to understand all things without even trying. A state beyond words.

YUCK! How hard is this!? At least for me it is hard... Detach myself from ALL THINGS?! Wowsa... I hope that I am capable of doing this at some point... It just seems so daunting right now.

15. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations. Way too many people are living a life that is not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them, they live their lives according to what their parents think is best for them, to what their friends, their enemies and their teachers, their government and the media think is best for them. They ignore their inner voice, that inner calling. They are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that they lose control over their lives. They forget what makes them happy, what they want, what they need….and eventually they forget about themselves.  You have one life – this one right now – you must live it, own it, and especially don’t let other people’s opinions distract you from your path.

If there is one thing on this entire list that I need to do, and that I have worked on in the last 4 days since receiving this link... it is this one.

This is not your life. It is mine. As a matter of fact, it is not even my life to control, just my life to live and appreciate. I have made decisions that you would not have made. I have said and done things that you would not have said and done. I am sorry for that, but it is not your decision. It is my life to live, my decisions and mistakes to make, and my love that should remind you that nothing I have done has been in a personal vendetta against you. It is merely what I felt I needed to do.

So that's that. those are 15 things I am striving to give up for happiness.

 I hope you all have a pleasant and beautiful weekend.