The Buffalo

credit: Chase A. Fountain photo

I grew up on the prairie lands of South Dakota. It was my home, and also the home of the Sioux tribe, and their beloved and sacred buffalo. From what I understand of the Sioux tradition, the buffalo is a symbol of the divine feminine, ancestors, and wisdom.

I come from a long line of cattle ranchers. We lean on fence posts and watch the herds chew and graze.

Cattle are known for their timid, nature and when the wild prairie land storms approach, they often run away from the storm, the wind at their backs. For them, it makes the most sense. It’s easier to run away with the wind at your back. But, the cost is this:  the winds often overtake the cattle, and they struggle longer in the chaos of the storm.

Buffalo are quiet, fierce creatures, and when the wild prairie land storms come, they often turn into the wind. They stand with their great heads down, feet grounded and their shoulders up, bearing the brunt of the storm.  It’s hard work for a lone buffalo. But, when her tribe surrounds her, they gather together, shoulder to shoulder and deliberately step into the wind. And, the gift is this: the tribe is bound together in strength and they walk through the storm together, passing more quickly through the winds and chaos.

Lean into the resistance, it takes practice and courage, and the gift is priceless. 

the anniversary of everything

 

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

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

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

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

So, I stayed. Uncertain. I became comfortable with limbo; the space between the space. I told myself that

maybe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xo

Scabs

owning my high-water jeans

credit

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

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

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

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

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

A year later I stood in front of another body of water. Mr. Scabs invited our friends and I and even our little girl's 5th grade teacher to surround him as he was re-baptized (see

excommunication and pity sex

--seriously I can't believe I'm posting a link to this embarrassing write-up). I suppose this was his way of showing us that he wanted to have a different life. I'm actually not sure what it all meant for him but for me it ranks up there in the top 5 most stunning moments of my life.

Watching him fall under the water and

die

, as they say, only to be lifted out and

born anew

It reminded me of my own rebirth. How I had broken my own heart and said lots of tearful sorries and how that broken heart had given me a new lens; Mr. Scab's seemingly unforgivable, dirty, heavy, unfashionably high-watered past suddenly felt forgivable. More than that, repairable. And so, I meandered.

We are seeds

"They tried to bury us. They didn't know we were seeds."

-Mexican Proverb

Each day we wake up to what life gives us and sometimes we step into it feeling bright and brave and other times our light is snuffed out before our first breath... My best friend lost two babies a few years ago...And when I lay next to her in her bed, I dug into the experience of my own pain. I haven't lost a child but I do know the gutted ache of loss... We sobbed as our fingers ran over the tiny baby dress that would never clothe the little girl we grieved.

And what I began to understand is this: pain is pain and it comes to all of us. There is no comparing one being worse than another. And in my own very dark days when taking another sleeping pill made more sense than getting dressed, I knew a choice was in front of me.

What I wish for all of us is that we use our bodies, our minds, and our hearts to step forward. Everything has a solution. When I keep walking, I find it. 

 

xo,

                 Scabs

waking the dead




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

camp scabs




how to forgive




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tradition

Bisbee wall mural inspiration

In the sticky month of July I called Mr. Scabs mother and announced that I would bring the kids for Thanksgiving!  I love their house, full of love and fun and cousins and baked things.  But most of all, I have fallen in love Mr. Scabs family, who over the years has come to feel like my very own blood. We've held hands through this trauma which rocked all our worlds.  Salt of the earth.

The last few years, Thanksgiving has held some kind of hostage over me.  Shadows of D-day and nightmares and painful wedding anniversaries and paralyzed legs, ya know, just the usual holiday anxiety.  

Some years Thanksgiving 

floated by

without so much as an anxious flutter of my heart.  Other years it passed by as heavily and thickly as any

terrible trauma

does.  Other times I've felt a

simple sense of honor and peace

for these experiences.  Ahhh Thanksgiving...you are my achilles heal.  

This year...

10 hours before our flights engine roared and took to the November sky, I called his family and tearfully explained that I couldn't do it this year.  We all cried.  It's painful for everyone, but they understand.  And, the sickness I felt in my gut lifted the moment I decided to stay.  While we ate breakfast, I explained to my kids that they were about to have the greatest vacation with Dad at Grandma's house and that I was so excited for them to go and have fun!  I told them I couldn't wait to hear all about it (attitude is everything when explaining these difficult things to kids)!  They got excited and that made me happy. 

Mr. Scabs said it wasn't fair and that he is so sorry.  More than once he offered to stay home and let me go, but my heart knew I needed to stay.  

And so, I balked all tradition and put Mr. Scabs and the kids on a plane.

Thank the powers that be for

Airbnb

!  My search found the most adorable last minute "tiny" bungalow for rent in the little hippy town of Bisbee, AZ.  I spent the next day maxing out my house, mopping floors, doing all the laundry, making pet arrangements, baking a ham and rolls and a big fat pumpkin pie.  It was kinda fun cooking for my solo Thanksgiving dinner.  That night my head hit the pillow and I slept.  

Word must have spread around the neighborhood about my tradition balking because the pies started flooding in.  My neighbors are so kind and I had a million invitations to join their meals.  Some expressions clearly couldn't understand why I'd choose to be alone much less alone on Thanksgiving. Others wished they could join me.  

I gathered all my pies, my yoga mat and my books and began my roadtrip.  

At the gas station I met an older man dressed in a plaid shirt and cuffed jeans with a wooden cross hanging from his neck.  He was filling the tank of his dark red VW bus.  I looked over with envy. The only thing missing from this trip was a bus.  We talked for a minute, he blessed my trip and I blessed his. We said our goodbyes over our insanely gigantic road trip style cokes.  

This year my non-traditional Thanksgiving included, used book stores, eating pumpkin pie in my bed, yoga on the third floor of a Odd Fellows lodge built in 1910, a ghost story tour, reading and praying and being and eating the yummiest corned beef hash from the Breakfast Club.

Later today, I'll pack up the "tiny" bungalow and fill my non-VW bus with gas and drive north.  I'll pass through some pretty fascinating Arizona history and probably stop at all the historical markers because that's what I like to do.  

Many of us ask, how can we pass through the difficult days, memories and family traditions? How do we walk through holidays that may now hold a different meaning?  

This is what I learned: No matter what plans I made in the sticky months of summer,  my new tradition is to honor my gut feelings and follow my instincts, always.

Rise Up


Rise Up

This voice!  This woman!  This style!
I {heart} her new release Rise Up...so play it loud
This one is for some lovely ladies who put their hearts into The Togetherness Project.  Despite whatever life brings (and it always brings a lot) these ladies know how to Rise Up and get stuff done. 

And, this one is also for all the brave ladies who are attending the project this Saturday, Oct 17.   
Especially the ladies who will wake up early Saturday morning, put on their lip gloss, grab something to eat and drive to the venue alone.  And, to the ladies who park in the back and sit in their car gathering the courage to walk through the doors and enter the world of The Togetherness Project.  And quietly praying that no one recognizes them and at the same time praying that someone will recognize them.  To you, I say this: 

While you sit in your car gathering courage, blast this song, then walk confidently into the project and find your tribe.  
Rise Up ladies!  

Wish I could be there with you!  
Have the best weekend.

xo,
Scabs

the letter


credit

This letter is a repost, but I read it again last night and realized that years later, it still holds true.  I especially held on and felt the feels when I wrote about my daughter.  She is thirteen now but she was eight on d-day.  The other night, I had a moment with her that is one of my brightest.  The question many of us ask is how to we walk our children through this path?  How do we talk to them?  What do we say?  How does a child understand such things?  I will post the story of how it is working for my daughter and I on Thursday.  I have a feeling that it is very possible for our children to come out of this stronger, happier and more secure about themselves than before.  There is an incredible amount of hope!

----------------------------------

Letter to myself
Please deliver November 27, 2010
midnight

Dear Self,

I know you are screaming, your eyes are bloodshot and your mind is exploding at the impossible truth you see in front of you.  You're teeter-tottering between denial, dry stomach heaves and melting onto the floor in an inconsolable heap.  But, as you look into his emptiness you see the truth.  I know you want to punch him in the face but take a step backward.

Good.  Take another step.

Now walk away.  Go to the kitchen, get a drink of water and stare out the window into the black night for a minute...

Strengthen yourself, because you are about to enter the storm of your life.

It's ok to be afraid.  And angry.  And pissed.  And it's ok to throw all his belongings out of your room and spit on them.  It's ok to hunker down and cry on your sofa and not know what to do.  It's ok to feel numb.  Press into the numbness as it's Gods way of protecting you and as a good friend pointed out, possibly protecting him as well.  It's ok to feel bitter and sallow disrespect.  It's ok to doubt and hold mistrust.  It's ok to disconnect from him.  And, oddly it's ok to connect with him.  It's ok to hate him.  It's ok to banish him from your home and life.  It's ok to feel humiliated by his actions.  It's ok to wonder what the hell you did wrong.  It's ok to tell no one and then everyone.  It's ok to question your sexuality.  It's ok to squeeze your eyes shut and wish this terrible mess away.  It's ok to wear the same sweatpants for days, forget to wash your hair and call in sick to work.  It's ok to pretend.  And, it's ok to be utterly raw.  It's ok to stay up all night watching Divorce Court.  It's ok to text your sponsor in the middle of the night.  It's ok to try and manipulate and control him.  It's ok to puke in your mouth every time you see him.  It's ok to be racked by triggers and terrible thoughts.  It's ok to feel betrayal and want revenge.  It's ok to be lost and confused and question God.  All these and more are ok.  Not because it's what you should do and should feel but because it's what you do feel.  This is trauma.  There is no doubt it will scar and change you.

But, it is not ok to wallow or dwell on any of these.  There is a time to get up off the couch and get to work.

Do not be afraid of the unfamiliar emotions that are coming your way.  You can do this.  You will find an untapped strength and discover that you are oddly well-prepared to move through this pain.  These emotions will be your lighthouse.  They will guide you through this storm.  Through the squall.  Through the screaming white walls of shame and fear.   For each ugly emotion you feel you must also feel your way out of it.  Everything has it's opposite.  And, at the end of all this is deep forgiveness.

Take your time.  Be patient with yourself.  Make sure you are ok.  But do this.  This is how you will be able to let go of the hurt and replace it with love.   Love is everything.  You're daughter will teach you this.

It's ok to talk to your daughter about it in a gentle age-appropriate way.  It's ok to involve her in the healing process.  Recognize that even if you don't tell her, she will feel the pain.  So open this door of love and learning for both of you.

When you think about taking your daughter to Disneyland, do it.  Don't hesitate.  You will both love it and need it.  Spend two days instead of one and spend all of Mr. Scabs money.  Buy those $8 churros.  You won't regret it.

Time will pass and you will begin to see shadows and silhouettes in the storm.  You will see the outline of an orange life vest.  Reach out.  Paddle toward her.  You need each other.  Her rescue boat may be shattered and sinking but she has an extra life vest.  Share with each other.  Do not be afraid to tell your story.

Listen to your mind.  What does it tell you?  Then listen to your heart.  What does it tell you?  When that small voice in your heart matches the small voice in your mind you will have the courage to take another step forward.  You will be led not knowing beforehand the things you should do or what the future will hold.  The only way out of this storm is to keep paddling.  You will come to know that the strength of your paddle is not your own.

There is one truth you must learn to accept.  This is a painful and difficult truth.  It's something you will struggle with but once you accept it, it will change everything.

This is it:
There are no guarantees.  Mr. Scabs is a free agent.  He may or may not change.  You cannot force it. Wish it. Be sexy enough for it.  Or beg it to happen.  Only he will decide.  And you must step back and let him do it, or not do it.

There is also one last thing I want to tell you.  And, it might be the most important of all.

I am from your future.  I know what happens.  I know the outcome.  Right this very moment I'm sitting on your living room floor, drinking hot chocolate and typing you this letter.  I have been through the storm.  My heart is full of happiness, love, compassion and forgiveness.  I feel more depth and understanding of life's purpose.  I am here to tell you that the storm of your life does not steal or waste you.  It builds you.

You can do this.

Love,
Me
       
-----------------

Challenge: Write a letter to yourself.  If you blog, be sure to link back.  
If you don't blog and want to share your letter, email me.

Seeds

Carl Bloch

Spring 2006

Ms. Kimberly is weird, really weird.  The kind of weird where she birthed her 9th child in her bathroom with no one but herself to catch the baby girl she would name Crystal.  The child's cord was wrapped around her neck and Ms. Kimberly simply unwrapped it and continued to birth her child, as if it was the most normal thing.  She is earthy and unattached.  She would take crystal rocks into the desert and sing to the moon.  She would invite me to chew mushrooms and have a psychedelic experience, I never did (psychedelic isn't my thing).  She might be a witch and a hippie and the product of freedom after an abusive marriage, but these are the reasons I like her.  I'm fascinated by her stories, but mostly, her questions.

Years ago, before the blow up in my marriage, I worked with a small, loud Italian woman who's nails were long and perfectly manicured.  When she talked in her lilting Italian accent she would wave and explain everything with her hands.  One day while telling me something and waving her hands she poked me in the eye.  More than poked me. Her perfectly manicured nail scraped my eyeball.  I know, it's gross and you're cringing right now. But, I tell you this because I want to explain why there was a patch on my eye when I saw Ms. Kimberly that day.

She took my hand, led me to the kitchen, poured me a bowl of miso soup and asked about my eye. Of course, I animated the story of the small Italian lady with wicked fingernails.  Ms. Kimberly always had a different way of looking at things.  She asked, "What is it in you life that you don't want to see?"

"Uhhhh," I staggered.  She dug deep.

At that time, my life felt messy and there were lots of things I didn't want to see.  Mr. Scabs hadn't yet become Mr. Scabs but things still felt uneasy.   Our marriage felt young and new although, at the same time it felt difficult and confusing. Things I had solidly believed in were fading.  My once strong faith felt like a puff of pixy dust.  Our love felt thinner than rice paper. My heart knew the direction an unnurtured relationship takes but I couldn't quite mend it or grasp why this was happening.  And so, I kept on being hesitant and confused.

I'm not sure why this story is spilling out on the page today except that it leads up to one solid event that seeded itself in my chest.  The moment is small and brief but it has the most incredible and powerful impact.  Let me be clear, the impact wasn't immediate. This small event is a seed that took it's sweet time growing.  The memory of this moment is still fresh.

For years, I had been doubting faith.  Doubting marriage.  Doubting myself. Doubting purpose.  Faith has never been natural to me.  It is far easier to fill my mind with doubt, alternative thinking and logic.  When faith has filled me, it has been the result of brow-sweating hard work, humility and searching.

One day, while standing in Ms. Kimberly's grassy backyard, I felt fire blaze through my chest answering the question I was asking, "Is Christ really real?"

All it took was that one brief, seeding moment, to know that He is.

{camp photo album}

the classic camp photo

Alright, all you mathematicians and problem solving whizzes, here's an equation for you:

What do you get when you hunker down in a secluded cabin in the woods + 15 strangers + paintball guns and a midnight dance party and other unmentionable things?

You get Camp Scabs of course!!

I thought ya'll might like a sneak peek into the camp photo album...

Disclaimer: Photos and visual content are copyrighted and owned by Eat My Scabs blog.  

Photos may be used with Camps Scabs credit and link.  Photos by Jill Candland Photography.

Photos were all used with permission of campers.

First, the food.  It was yummy, clean, nourishing.  Thanks to our top secret yoga ninja chef we were 

well fed

.

Wyoming is the most beautiful wild country.  

A perfect place to {become}.

 ...and then there was the yoga, the boating, the paintball, the 3-hours of silence and gut-busting giggles, the starlight meditation (insert a run-in with the Ranger) and lantern ceremony.  

There was, of course, the epic burning of shit and a midnight dance party (with a little

whip

and a little

nae nae

but I can't show any pictures of that).

So when is the next Camp Scabs?

We are in the planning process for two upcoming camps!

Upcoming pending dates:

Dec 30, 2015-Jan 2 2016, Phoenix AZ

New Years Bash: Camp Scabs Style

Yes, that's New Years weekend.   And, I know, we usually spend it with family and friends, but what better way to be reborn into the new year 2016 than at Camp Scabs?  

As usual, scholarships will be available. 

November 2015 (dates pending), SLC, UT

Such a lucky partnership!  

Bloom for Women

and I have decided to raises glasses and combine efforts to give you a retreat.  I'm excited about the details but for now, know that we are planning luxury, relaxation, food, yoga, 

laughing and work with lead therapist 

Dr. Skinner

 from

Addo Recovery

.  This will be a Bloom Retreat for Women hosted by Scabs.

If you're interested and want more details

email

campscabs@gmail.com

weird cool aid


I've been nursing my Camp Scabs hangover.  No, not drug, alcohol or even chocolate induced...this is the kind of hangover where coming back to real life smacks you on the head and you have to run carpools, fold last weeks laundry and pull weeds.  Why can't everyday be like Camps Scabs and Christmas?

If you haven't seen the gorgeousness that is summer in Wyoming, you should!  I miss it!  And I'm terribly heartsick for brave ladies who camped with me.   But, most of all, I miss the wild west park ranger (with a mustache and a billy club) who tried to interrupt the chi of our starlight meditation.  I miss him so much, I left him a present--or at least the birthday girl left him a present (sorry, sorry, camp joke...bahaha!).

I can't wait to show you pictures and tell you more about camp but that will have to wait till Monday. For now, I feel like telling more of my story.  It's been almost five years since those nightmares woke me to the world I now walk.  It's time to put more pen to paper and tell the rest.

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April 2012

Mr. Scabs takes a sledge hammer to my kitchen cabinets and counter tops and then to the wall. Everything is a disaster.  Destruction is always so much easier than creation.  Always.

Sitting on my stool I watch and then complain he isn't doing it right.  Especially when it comes to knocking out the load bearing wall.  I'm nervous.   Whether I'm awake or asleep my mind plays a reel of wood splintering crashes, ceilings caving in, plaster cracking and my house falling into a pile of earthquake worthy rubble.  Mr Scabs destructive force in my life and in my house is trauma inducing! I talk about it with my shrink.  It unsettles me while I try to ground my yoga practice.  It follows me to 12-step.  I second-guess everything.  Nothing feels solid.  At any moment my marriage and my house could be a pile of broken bricks and splintered two-by-fours.

If you've never walked into a 12-step group it's like landing on another planet.  Not a familiar planet in our galaxy like Jupiter or Venus, but some outrageous planet found on the other side of a black hole where up is down and down is up.  Even the air is different.  No matter how many times I go, it still feels like another planet.  The 12-step culture is so strange and so foreign.

What's said here, stays here.

Then the group cheers HERE! HERE!

I didn't understood the cheering bit and so I didn't add my voice.  Life makes more sense to me when it's buffet style: choosing what interests me and leaving what doesn't.  The chants didn't interest me but the challenge did.

Step One: Admit powerlessness

Powerlessness seems like the opposite of what I should do in the wake of Mr. Scabs destruction of my kitchen.  What the hell does powerlessness even mean?  It sounds seriously dangerous.  A horrible idea.  When can I get started?

This is the moment.  Among the faces and tears of women I didn't know but already trusted, among the chants and weirdness of this other planet I decided to search.  I didn't know what I was searching for but I did feel the wanderlust of a fresh way to live.

And so, every week, I got in my car turned spaceship and landed on planet 12-step and breathed the strange air and drank the weird cool aid.  Here! Here! 


our kids!!!

Our kids!! Don't you worry about them?  I do.  All the time.

We had just come in from walking the dogs and the night was cool and crisp, so were our hands and our feet.  It was the kind of night that makes the moon seem wise and the stars bright and alive. We laughed cause we could

almost

see our breath {I heart Arizona winters}.  My daughter burried her cold little toes under the feather comforter as she snuggled into her bed.

The quiet calmness of bedtime makes sense, like the day is wraping itself up, tying up loose ends and surrending the things that don't make sense.  It had been a hard day and as my daughter lay silently in bed, I scratched her back and began to tell her a story.

It was the magnificent story of her birth!  I shared the excitment and deep love that was her father's and mine.  And how the morning she was born a deer and her fawn came to eat grass in our front yard.  I told her how she came into the world wide-eyed and curious.  Her father and I were so entirely happy to watch her first breath and how she ravenously drank her first meal.  Pages hadn't been written yet and we wanted to give her every good thing.  

The truth is, I feel sad that this addiction has woven itself into my daughters childhood.  I feel a loss for her.  I know that you know what I mean.  I know that many of you feel this loss too.  

The cost of addiction is terribly high.  And terribly unfair to our children.

So, as I scratched her back, I told her how I felt sad that I can't give her all the things I want to. That many times life has another plan and doesn't give guarantees.  But, life had given me her and that she was made because of love and that her value was wider and deeper than any ocean.  I told her that a mothers love for her child never dies and that she will always have my heart.  I explained how I want to teach her to be happy, kind and of course, brave.  Because, although we cannot steer the boats of those around us, we can steer our own boats to safe harbors.  

Today I listened to

Kathy's

 presentation on how to improve our parenting while dealing with betrayal trauma.  Tonight I listened again.  Something clicked!  

Kids and moms...of course we all have damage to heal.  It so hard to know what to do or say to help our kids navigate this "new normal".  But, Kathy's presentation has given me some clear direction and confidence. In fact, I signed up for her online class that starts April 16th because I want to learn more.  

It's one thing for us as mothers to live through trauma, but it is entirely different for us to watch our children suffer and feel pain.  I've always thought whether our kids know or don't know about the addiction, they can feel a difference in our homes.  More than anything, I want to be a safe person for my two kids. 

Sign up

and we can learn together!

If you want to watch her free video register 

here

.

Scabby Update

this might be the place where i study and learn
(my legs are uber white!)



I'm in the weeds ya'll!  It's been a busy spring.  

Just a little update:

One...
There's something in the air, something in my life that has turned me into a sponge.  I want to learn, discover and explore everything.  Seriously, everything!  I bought a desk and a pair of glasses and decided to return to acadamia and pursue a graduate degree.  So many of you have found the same power in your life...you inspire me!

Two...
My children.  We've been talking and playing UNO a lot.  We've been meditating and making mind jars.  We've been experimenting in the kitchen.  We've been focusing on how we speak and listen. Occationally we clean rooms and vaccuum dog hair.

Three...
There were three things that really broke me after the trauma of infidelity passed.  1)  That he was willing to put the health and life of my children and I at risk.  2)  The grief and loss of future children we wouldn't have.  3) That he used and abused prostituted women.

I have had my ways of processing these things but #3 has become an undercurrent to my experience here on scabs.  Next week, hand in hand with a small bunch of rad women, I'll attend the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations as a delegate representing the fight against sexual exploitation.  This is where the sponge kicks in again...I'll be soaking up everything I see, hear and feel and I'll try and keep things updated on Instagram.  Pray for me.

Four...
Camp Scabs!  Camp Scabs, I haven't forgotten you.  I love you and you are evolving but this year things may be a bit different because I'm in the weeds and working to slow things down by summer time.  Instead of multiple camps this year.  We will hold one camp this summer.  I'm ironing out details but possibly the last week of June near SLC.  We have scholarship money for flights!  People are fabulous and generous. xo

The woman I am now is so different from the woman I was five years ago (pre-d day).  I love them both but I'm incredibly thankful for the steps that brought me here.  Break free from whatever binds you.  Keep going.  Your life, your breath, your heart and brain are valuable beyond comprehension.

                                               xo,
                                                     Scabs


the way we love


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In my heart, I truly belive we can heal anything.  I really do.

Even the things that seem irrevocably broken.  Even the way we love and care about the people in our lives.  This speaker series about Intimacy from ADDO has just been released!  Let's get it!  I signed up for free here and can't wait to get it in my inbox.

                                                                                    xo,
                                                                                          Scabs

mini-buns






She's my tomboy daughter (we've always called her mini-buns) who is walking along side the rest of our family discovering what life means to her. I am so proud. This is what she wrote today:




"Today I realized that you can't pray to God for the exact answer to your problems. You have to ask him for something that will help you with your problems. Not for something to automatically solve them. And I also realized that friends are more important then they may seem. That they may appear to be people that you just hang out with, nothing more. But they are much more than whatever they may seem to be. They help your ship to not sink, they keep you company on your long journey home. But most importantly they are there when you need to blab on and on about your storm. They are and always will be there when you most need them. How this ties into asking God for something, is that I've got lots of friend on my boat to help me on my journey home to the sky."


I adore every bit of her, she is a gyser of amazingness and I am in awe.


stardust

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Sometimes I like to tell my kids bedtimes stories. Here's a favorite.
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My dear children, I want to tell you a story about the Universe and stardust and about the unique creation of you.

Many years ago, before you were born and even years before your Dad and I fell in love,  I wanted to be an astronaut.  I wanted talk with the man in the moon and bounce between the stars.  I wanted sail in the Carina and search for the Golden Fleece, come face to face with comets and stardust.  I wanted float through space and marvel at the great vastness of the inky forever of the universe.  I fell in love with the stories the Universe tells.

When I was a kid, math didn't interest me.  Which is sad because math is the language of creation and space.  Math is how we've discovered what the Universe is made from.  Isn't that strange?  Numbers and symbols and formulas have opened the window to understanding space!  Do you ever wonder how scientists know what the sun is made from?  Especially when we can't visit and land on it's surface and take samples of its fiery heat?   I always wonder this.

There are many ideas explaining the beginning of the Universe but theidea I love most begins with an itty-bitty, hot, dense speck of pure energy.  Dense is a weird word but this simply means that this speck was extremely heavy.  Imagine all you see squished and smashed so small that it fits onto the tiny tip-top of your finger, this gives you and idea of what dense means.   This itty-bitty, hot, dense speck of pure energy was smaller than an atom which is even smaller than an invisible piece of dust floating around your room.

You know that time of night when I've kissed you, gotten you another drink, tucked you in bed and kissed you again?  That is the time of night you get most excited and you want to play and jump on the bed and bounce off the walls and giggle.  Well this is how the itty-bitty, hot, dense speck of pure energy felt.  It was so whirled up in a tizzy that it felt like exploding! And so it did.  There was once a famous scientist who explained it this way E=mc2. This just means that energy can turn into stuff and stuff can turn into energy.  This idea explains how all the planets and stars were made from one tiny speck of energy.  It is incredible, isn't it?

But the most incredible thing about this explosion is that you and I and all the things we see are made from similar explosions.  We are literally made from stardust!

When a star is young it burns bright and eats energy ferociously, just like when you come home from playing all day!  But, when a star is old and has used all its energy to shine it gives us one more gift; it creates a stupendous explosion and cooks atoms into all the elements.  These elements are simply the parts that everything is made from, like the blocks of your Legos.  The explosion starts out small but in nanoseconds it expands and as it expands it creates waves of elements like copper, zinc, iron, calcium and even gold!  Did you know that your body is made of these elements?  We are made from the dust of stars!

Aren't the stars grand and wonderful?  Next time we lay on the lawn during the late spring nights and tell the story of Orion eternally chasing the seven sisters, remember you are just as grand and unique and wonderful!  I love you.


The rebuild

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Previous

February 2012 

I haven't known how to tell the next part of my story.

The part that comes after the drama of discovering Mr. Scabs disloyalty,
kicking him out of the house,
buring all his underwear,
having tourettes,
asking him to eat the scab,
the mysterious paralysis of my legs and then the healing of those legs,
the disipating fog of limbo,
bits of hope
and the conscience decision to work on our marriage.

As my legs healed and grew stronger I began to walk and ride my bike and practice yoga again. Life felt slow.  I was careful and observant.  I watched mr scabs tear down walls and gut our 50's style kitchen and tinker, rebuild and remodel.  We were both incredibly vulnerable; just like the kitchen, we were being gutted.

I handed him nails and hammers and drew outlines and consulteed with experts on our new kitchen. All the while, not knowing what to do about the disaster that had become our life.  Advice, opinions and stories filtering over my ears into my gut shaped my thoguhts and so i did what i have always done; move forward and take another step in the direction my feet were pointed.

I had to trust that.

I had to trust the ups and downs.  I had to invest in discovering, exploring, understanding and studying the ins and outs of this new life with Mr. Scabs ...we had an uneasy agreement to work on ourselves and see what would happen.

There were times we slept in the same bed and sometimes the guest room became Mr. Scabs room. Sometimes we went on vacation together and other times we left Mr. Scabs at home.  Sometimes I was in and other times I was out. There were times I contemplated shaving off one of his eyebrows while he slept and other insane times I'd ransack his truck certain I'd find evidence.  And then, there were times we'd take the family to the dog park and run and play like we were the couple that fell in love years ago!

But mostly, I carefully observed.  I watched him from the safety of my boundaries.  I watched him rebuild those kitchen walls.


P.S.  Our friends at ADDO have been up to some pretty rad things!  Free Speaker Series!


Provide your email to get a FREE, no strings attached link to 
Dr. Skinner's presentation:



When he says "intimacy" he doesn't 
mean just sex.  

you can buy me for a dollar

R.A.T. Race

I'd never been to a race where they prayed before we ran/walked.  It was during this prayer that my emotions flooded over and burst out of my eyes.  My little boy reached his arm around my leg and whispered, "mama?"   The woman bowing her head in front of me snuck a glance in the direction of my sniveling.   When the buzzer rang and we all began to walk, tears still streamed.  And when I looked to the left and the right and to the hundreds of people in front of me, I bawled some more.  So many people came to support the R.A.T Race (Run Against Trafficking).

This hits so very, very close to home for the Scabs family.

On the way to the race, we talked about slavery.  We talked about what it is, how it happens and how children and women and men get lost in this underground industry.  We talked about it feeds pornography.  We talked about predators, victims and surviors.  We talked about how it is spreading wider and deeper all over the world and how it's even festering in our own neighborhood.  We talked about people like OUR, TRUST AZ and ISEEUhope.  We talked about hope and God.  We talked about what we can do to become abolitionists.

And then, my blonde haired boy with all the answeres pipes up,

"Mama, I know how you can save me if I get stolen.  You can just come to the place where they are selling me and buy me for a dollar or something."

I did that weird thing where you cry and laugh at the same time.

-----------------

P.S. Mr. Scabs ran so fast he earned a metal.  He was proud.  
He was also more awake to the world he'd been involved with.