Stay With The Feelings

**If you’re visiting from the Ultimate Blog Party, see my introductory post here!**


Earlier this evening, I stumbled across something that irritated me in a big way. Without going into detail, I can tell you that I was wishing, even while I was experiencing the emotions and venting to a few people, that it didn’t affect me like it did. And I kept going for that and going for that, trying to flush the feelings out.

You see, I don’t like to stay with certain feelings. Feelings like depression? I can get with. I’m comfortable there. But anger? Nope! I’m not comfortable with anger and I always feel guilty when I experience it. Anger is violent and out of anger arises the desire to harm. Harming isn’t necessarily physical. It can be in mind and speech and well, and let me tell you, it definitely was there in my mind and speech. I didn’t like it so I worked to get rid of it. But then I realized that I needed to experience the anger before I could let it go.

I dug through some of my notes from teacher training (because this was echoing in me, like deja vu) and sure enough, one of the Sutras is Ahimsa: Non-Violence. I am trying to practice non-violence in my life. The way I acted, although I didn’t go out and beat the crap out of someone, was violent regardless. I gave into the anger and let it drive me to say and think harmful things. And those thoughts echoed in me, making me feel uncomfortable and icky. And yet, I know that if I’d have tried to tamp it down, it would have popped up another way, another day.

So where do I find that balance?

I have to practice compassion and love for myself. I can’t do anything about the thing that annoyed me this evening. The situation is out of my control and frankly, not worth my time. But I can learn from the way I reacted to it, and also NOT punish myself for reacting as I did. But going forward, I know better. I need to learn how to experience emotions like anger without letting them drive me to act in ways that are hurtful. It’s not the emotions themselves that are bad. But giving in to the desire to hurt as much as I feel that I’ve been hurt? Nothing good ever comes from that.

‘Til next time.


Easter Through The Years…or Snippets of My Spiritual Journey

Over the years, Easter has become less and less of a big deal in my life, which is sad, because Christ’s resurrection is like THE CORNERSTONE of Christianity, right? My mom used to make a huge deal out of it. New dresses. Dyeing eggs. Church (except the year we stopped going), and big dinners that always involved ham. Don’t get me wrong. It’s still a pretty awesome holiday, but for me, it doesn’t have that same anticipation and specialness that Christmas does. And it should, and not just because of the chocolate.

Here’s a short pictorial trip down memory lane, where you can see how I celebrated Easter through the years, complete with retrotastic furniture and all.

Happy Easter, Little Ronica!
age two

Easter Basket
age three

age eight

When I was twenty, I was initiated into the Catholic Church through RCIA at the St. Thomas More Newman Center (Eee, Father Vinny is still there!). The ceremony took place during a three hour long Easter Vigil, during which I was baptized, confirmed, and had my first communion. It was pretty cool. After the ceremony we had a huge party and were given giant Easter baskets full of chocolate and a Pass The Pigs game. (We’d had too much fun playing Pass the Pigs at the RCIA retreat a few weeks earlier.)

Being Baptized
being baptized

being confirmed by Father Vinny

being a neophyte

Once I was a confirmed Catholic, I went nuts. I was a Eucharistic Minister. I was always involved in one thing or another. Student ministry. RCIA (this time as a sponsor). Volunteering. And I even worked on staff there as a part-time receptionist for a while after college. I very fond memories of that church and that community.

I am no longer a practicing Catholic, but I still find many aspects of the faith beautiful, and I still have a collection of all kinds of rosaries, including a few that I handmade. I was just thinking tonight about how I kind of wished I was at an Easter Vigil. Yes, it’s a long service, but the way my church did it? It didn’t seem that long at all. It was a beautiful, amazing service. I don’t know if I’d want to go to anywhere ele, but I kind of wish I was at Newman Center right now. I have this to keep me company though:

As I said, I drifted away from the Catholic Church and church in general. Until about 2004, when I became really involved in an evangelical community. This was Aidan’s Easter basket that year:

Aidan's Easter Basket

That Easter was pretty cool. I spent the night under the stars with a bunch of other young (or young at heart) people (I’m sure I was the oldest one there, but it was still fun) and we did a sunrise service that was amazing. I was SO HIGH from that.

2004 was a crazy year for me in so many ways. I made a lot of new friends (most of whom I no longer really talk to except for the occasional facebook stalk or facebook game spam), I became super involved in church activities: volunteering with the teen ministry (my FAVORITE!) and the young adult ministry, doing Power Point presentations, throwing parties, putting together newsletters, and even running a life group. There was a lot going on at home as well. I get exhausted when I read those entries–I was always going going going. No wonder I’m so content to just sit and read these days.

There was the Easter in 2006 where I was treated to a double rainbow.

Double Rainbow - Easter Morning

2006 is also the year my life changed in so many major ways that to think about everything that happened to lead me to where I am today is overwhelming and crazy. And also kind of amazing. Needless to say, my spirituality took some crazy twists and turns, and right now, it’s an ever growing and ever changing and ever winding journey. Maybe one day I’ll go more in depth.

Happy Easter!


2011: A Year in Pictures

I was totally supposed to post this before my “Looking Ahead” post *points to post below this one* but I forgot that I had the Looking Ahead post scheduled already. So it posted and it took me a while to realize it had posted, and I wasn’t about to UNpost it because let’s face it, it’s a perfectly fine post.

And I used post WAY too many times in that last paragraph!

So, this one is a bit out of order, but I worked so hard on it that I decided not to trash it. So, without further ado, here is 2011 (and maybe a tiny bit of 2012) represented in pictures.

Adam, Mickey Mouse, and Me!
Disney World January 2011

Smooches in Magic Kingdom
Smooches in Magic Kingdom

Aidan and "Weird Al" Yankovic
Aidan and Weird Al Yankovic

Spring 2011 Blossoms
Spring Blossoms

Hanging with J and Rho
Hanging with my Plurk friends J and Rho

Sarah Dessen | Anderson's Bookshop Naperville
Meeting Sarah Dessen again!! :D

Ginger Doss
Ginger Doss. LOVE her music.

s00j, Me, Bekah
SJ Tucker, me, and Bekah Kelso.
Too much awesomeness for one photo.

Love getting my toe nails done.

It's Us!
Disney World June 2011

Rockin' Out With Phineas and Ferb
Rockin’ Out with Phineas and Ferb
(I know this one was posted before,
but it’s too awesome not to repeat!)

Three Generations
Three Generations
My mom, me, and Aidan

New toenail color! :)
Sparkly toes!

The Rosie Show Test Show
The Rosie Show taping #1

Horseback Riding!
Getting to know Jessy

Pumpkins Galore!
Amish Country in Ohio

Me & My Friend :)
Me and Claudia Gray.
How I’d missed her.
Why’d she have to move so far away?

Bright Orange Toes for Autumn
Orange toes!

Me and Suzanne Sterling
“Sing Yourself Awake” Workshop
with Suzanne Sterling

The Rosie Show Taping
The Rosie Show Taping #2

Family Pictures
Thanksmas in Georgia

Christmas Ornaments 2011
Christmas in Chicago

Happy Birthday Aidan!
Happy Birthday, Aidan!

Aidan & Me
Me and my favorite kid in the entire universe in all of space and time and dimensions.

Happy New Year!


Looking Ahead…


“To dream anything that you want to dream.
That is the beauty of the human mind.
To do anything that you want to do.
That is the strength of the human will.
To trust yourself to test your limits.
That is the courage to succeed.”
— Bernard Edmonds

I don’t make resolutions, per se. But I do have hopes and dreams.
These are my hopes for 2012.

See Aidan more often
Write more, unabashedly and with excitement
Possibly write/complete a novel
Travel to another country
Get hard core with my yoga practice
Lose weight
Get enough work-at-home projects to be comfortable financially
Read 75 new books
Write more in my paper journal
Be more positive
Become more assertive and honest
Have more faith
Write and mail more handwritten letters

There is so much to look forward to in 2012! New music to discover, new books to read, new people to meet, new experiences to have, and new opportunities to pursue. Plus The Hunger Games movie!

You already know about our Disney World trip, but I’d love to visit my friend Amy in New Orleans. A trip to New York City wouldn’t make me sad, either. But that can wait until summer. Oh, and I’d love to hit a nice, warm beach. A resort where I do nothing but relax and drink juice while baking in the sun. Or under a beach umbrella. Whatever.

There are some online friends I hope to meet in person in 2012.

I hope to be ever so closer to doing this:

Source: via Ronni on Pinterest

I’m still undecided as to what to do about yoga teacher training. The spring session begins March 8. Am I ready for that kind of commitment? I suppose I can wait til the summer session. But I don’t want to put it off too long…cause I can see myself doing that then going “It’s too late. I may as well not do it now.”

I know your tricks and manners.

…good Lord. I’m talking to myself on my blog.

I’d like to volunteer at PAWS Chicago, the no-kill animal shelter where we adopted Helena. I really want to work with the kitty cats. I should make it happen in 2012.

And of course, there is the usual workout more, eat better, blah ditty blah blah blah crap we all spew out. Will I be able to stick to it, is the thing?

I understand why people make resolutions. 365 (366 next year) days seem like a lot. But I think that most of us make these resolutions and expect to get them done right away (like within 30 days)… and well, when we don’t, we get discouraged. The weight isn’t dropping off all that quickly. Just can’t/won’t quit the Whatchamacallit bars. The winter is so gloomy and grey, and who wants to work out when it’s like that? Writing? It’s too hard, man.

I have to give myself time. That’s why I don’t make resolutions–cause then I’ll end up beating myself up for failing, when I really just need to ease myself into things rather than shock myself with ALL THESE LIFESTYLE CHANGES RIGHT NOW which will NEVER stick, not with that kind of pressure.

So, no pressure, right? :)

Source: via Ronni on Pinterest

Happy New Year!

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2011: A Year In Review

Autumn in The Morton Arboretum

I can’t complain. 2011 was a pretty good year for me. I got to do some neat things, go to neat places, and meet cool people (like Weird Al Yankovic!). I was introduced to new music, made some crazy life-changing choices, and did some neat things. I got to meet my Plurk friends Jon & Rho, I had the chance to see my favorite author Sarah Dessen (and she totally recognized me!), I got to see SJ Tucker loads of times, and I got to eat a lot of sushi!

The easiest way to recap is to do a survey. I know how much you guys love those. Feel free to steal and do it yourself.

Was 2011 a good year for you?
For the most part, yes!

What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
– attended Musecon
– rode a horse

Horseback Riding!

– pet a giraffe


– purchased exercise equipment
– got a passport
– Pilates reformer
– Capeoira
– got a facial
– lipolaser

Did anyone close to you give birth?
A lot of my friends had babies or are pregnant,
but I can’t say anyone particularly close to me.

Did anyone close to you die?
My aunt Lue passed away during the summer.

What countries did you visit?

What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
August 5, 2011. I took my life back.
…and a giant leap of faith.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting into better shape.

What was your biggest failure?
Didn’t complete writing a novel. Boo.
Also falling back out of shape. Ha.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Mostly colds.
Had an incident in April that I thought might be gallbladder related,
but it was just gastritis.

Where did most of your money go?
Disney trips, dolls, clothes, sushi, gifts

What song will always remind you of 2011?
Nataraj (Dancing in the Flames) by Suzanne Sterling
Come Down by Ginger Doss

What do you wish you’d done more of?
– writing
– yoga

What do you wish you’d done less of?
Working. I worked way too many hours at Schawk.

What was your greatest musical discovery?
Ginger Doss
Bekah Kelso

What did you want and get?
– new camera
– Disney trips
– passport
– exercise bike
– books

What did you want and not get?
– MORE AIDAN TIME (there is never enough)
– a treadmill (our apartment is too small for such things)
– a trip out of the country

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 37. I spent the day with my family and ate
food from Harold’s Chicken Shack.

What kept you sane?
Reading. Lots of reading.
My family. My kitty cats.
Jen and Amy and our email chain.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Matt Smith

What political issue stirred you the most?
Anything that had to do with women’s reproductive rights

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011:
Having a lot of money isn’t everything.
But when making the money
is costing your health, family time,
and sanity,
then it’s time to rethink some things.
So I did.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Sweaters and jeans, or tee-shirts and jeans, or hoodies and jeans.
Grey long-sleeved tee-shirts.
Sometimes a cute skirt with boots.
Long, hippy skirts or dresses.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I love that I can’t think of an answer to this question.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
Magic touched my life again
in a single breath
shining in your eyes
like a firefly
and a moment of revelation
–Ginger Doss

Few Days Old Braidout

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