See Ya Later Old Friend…

self

I just realized tonight that since I started my new blog, I never posted the new site address here.  So I thought I would once and for all bid farewell to Thoughts From the Couch and invite everyone to enjoy my new site Peterisms as well as my lifestyle magazine raannt! This blog was a good friend but I have moved on to other things.  Please check out my new sites below! I love you all!

Peterisms is HERE!

raannt is HERE!

Much love and I’ll see you on my new sites!

Peter

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Dreams…

I nap every day. I love to listen to people talk about taking a 30 minute nap or a disco nap. A nap to me is at least 2-3 hours. I recently heard a statement that hundreds of years ago, people slept two times a day for 3-4 hours at a time. That would totally work for me. I love to sleep, but I like to be up really late at night. They say the freaks come out at night and that’s probably true. I think I achieve more between the hours of midnight and 6am then any other time during the day.

Today, I kept waking up from my nap and falling back to sleep and waking up and falling back to sleep. It was…amazing. I love sleep where I fall back into a dream. Do you ever wonder where dreams originate? I’m not talking about neuroscience and sleep studies. No…I’m talking about where are our dreams born? Recently, I’ve even wondered if my dreamstate is reality and my waking life is my dreamstate. Sometimes, I confuse myself or think I’m going crazy, but I know I’m not.

When I was a little kid, my mom gave me a journal to write down my dreams. She said if when I woke up I immediately wrote down my dreams then I would remember them more clearly. I now remember my dreams very clearly. Sometimes…too clearly. Today, my dreams were very, very strange. I’m thinking about beginning to write down everything I dream about and turning it into a weird little book. I need a title though…that’s what keeps me from writing most of my books. Oh well…

What do you dream about? Do you write down your dreams? Do you remember your dreams? I believe dreams are a woven tapestry of our subconscious mind with souvenirs of our daily life. What do you think? I’d probably have more to say about it if I didn’t need to go to sleep and go back to dreamland…because we’re on borrowed time as it is.

In the Beginning…

Most of you probably don’t even know how this all began. My mother died four years ago on May 14th, 2008. I had recently separated from my partner of 8 years and left a job of almost 13 years. I was alone. I was numb. I had no direction. The only solace I found was driving down country highways with a pack of cigarettes, a cup of coffee and country music blaring on my radio. I quickly became friends with the 3rd shift employees of gas stations and grocery stores. I came home late and went to sleep with my pup Griffin snuggled at my feet. Day after day I lost clients as I canceled or forgot appointments. Quickly my business declined and my credit card debt grew. While talking to my cousin Caroline one day, she suggested I start a blog for my business to help me get more clients. “You’re a great writer”, she said, “people will be able to relate to you and they’ll want to come see you.”

I had never heard of blogging before and I didn’t really understand much about the internet. I had exited a relationship into a world of Facebook and Myspace. Youtube and dating sites. To say it simply…I was lost. Nothing made sense to me anymore. I couldn’t even figure out how to do my bills online. But I was determined to try.

One night in July, I found myself distracted while driving around and went home early. I sat down at the computer and began my blog which was originally titled Suicide Birds and Seahorses. I started to explain why I was starting the blog. Actually, it might be easier if you read my first entry. Here it is, Suicide Birds and Seahorses July 28th, 2008:

Hmmmm….where should I start…well, I guess at the beginning…I’m not even sure that I understand the purpose of this, but I know eventually it will find me. Let’s start, Halloween, 2007. Unsatisfied, unfulfilled with my life, I sat on the porch in the Smokey Mountains at 2:30 a.m. with a friend discussing that I was nearing 40, and I didn’t feel as if I knew what I was supposed to be doing, or better yet, wasn’t doing what I felt I should be doing anymore, but I didn’t even know what that was I guess. My friend, a very wise, yet unfulfilled 57 year old, sat back, stared right into my eyes and said, “Don’t wait until you’re 57 and you’re husband sits on the couch all day watching CNN news.” It was the moment in Thelma and Louise when Thelma can no longer go back, those words released me. And I could not go back. Within the next few months, I left a seven year relationship, which at times, I am unsure was the correct decision, resigned from a job I had been with for 12 years and began writing a book. And then not one book, but two and now three. Oh, did I mention I’m a recovering addict and as such, I can’t limit myself to any one thing. And then, my mother became extremely ill and was in the hospital until May 14th, when she passed away. And driving away from the hospital that night, Bob Dylan singing “Shelter From the Storm” through my speakers, a bird swooped down and dove directly in front of my car. A suicide bird, I thought. But why would they take such a risk. For the excitement, for the test, the chance that maybe they would make it to the other side and maybe they wouldn’t? Could these small creatures really be that wise. Swallow Sage? And maybe, we were all suicide birds, putting ourselves in risky situations, or taking chances to feel for one small moment that we were truly alive. And that’s how it began for me, through all this crap that has happened, although I’ve always known it served a purpose, I’ve begun my own nosedive in front of cars on the interstate late at night. It started with dedicating one year of my life to living freely, taking chances, going where I wanted to go and not being afraid to meet new people. But now I think, maybe this is the way it’s supposed to be for me. Maybe I’m not supposed to sit like a bird on a wire, waiting for winter to fly south. Maybe, I’m supposed to fly south now, or tomorrow. But nothing makes sense and everything makes sense, all at once. Suddenly. And I don’t question anymore. Or at least I try not to. Haha…I’m not that arrogant. And one thing I know, is that the magic still exists in me, and that is part of my journey, to forever stay four, wading through the creek behind our house, watching the sunlight hit the moss on the rocks, or seven, my mom and I checking out twenty books each at the library, or nine, and still now, believing that somewhere, way down beneath the still waters of St. Barts or off the coast of Tulum, live sea horses who sport bright red top hats and sing Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon”…at least I hope…I hope they do…

Wow! That just made me start crying. Four years later and my life has changed so drastically. I’m in a new relationship and married. I’m living in my mother’s old condo. I have three new dogs. I have a successful practice with clients who love coming to see me and I delight in waiting to see them. I run a full service website with my husband where we interview celebrities and do social reviews. I haven’t finished a book and now I’m writing 10 instead of 3. I still drive around at night. I still get sad. I still miss my mom.

But time goes on.

I can either sit back and be sad all of the time about things I can’t change and continue to be that lost and numb person I was four years ago, or I can ebb and flow with the tides of life and enjoy what comes my way. I prefer the later.

In exactly 10 days I turn 40. I will be posting a journal entry every day on my blog and doing a video for my YouTube channel every day. When I started this project four years ago, I did it for myself. I didn’t care how many views I got or how many people commented on my posts. I did it because I loved to write and I loved to find things to write about. I think I’ve lost some of that passion. Today, I write to inspire, not to be inspired. I need to be inspired again. I need to get back on that old, dusty road and continue my adventure…because we’re on borrowed time as it is!

*I need to ask my readers for a favor! I’m trying to put together some great goals to accomplish in the next year. I’m already determined to finish writing my first book, be in the best shape I’ve ever been, pay off all of my debt and quit smoking. What are some things you think I should do? What are some books you think are important that I read? I’ve come so far in four years and accomplished so much I’d like to prove what can happen in a year. When Adele won Album of the Year at The Grammy’s she talked about the power of just one year and I agree. If I can overcome three major losses and come out on top, so can anyone else. Follow the journey with me…even make your own…because, like my mother always said, we’re on borrowed time as it is!

Please follow me here for my year long journey!
And follow my videos on YouTube HERE!

If you’d like to take a look at my old blog, Suicide Birds and Seahorses, check it out HERE!

Stillness…

Years ago I heard about a study where a scientist went looking for an amount of space where absolute silence existed. He went all over the world searching for one square foot of silence but couldn’t find it, not even in the recesses of the western Pacific forests. The reason? Nothing could stop and be silent for any period of time…either a leaf fell from a tree, or an insect moved or someone’s breath made a sound…but nothing could rest long enough for the scientist to measure silence.

Sad really that we aren’t able to find measurable amounts of silence or be able to practice stillness in our own lives.

When I was fifteen I was fortunate enough to go with my father and stepmother to the island of St. Barts. One day we took a boat trip on a catamaran and I remember sitting at the end of the boat, my feet dangling in the azure waters, earphones beating the sounds of Paul Simon’s Graceland into my thoughts. For hours, I played the cassette tape over and over again, listening to every word and every beat as my feet grazed the tops of the waves and my eyes glanced upwards towards the Caribbean mountains of the islands. To this day, that is probably one of my fondest memories, and one of only a few moments of true stillness in my life.

I struggle today with staying still for too long. Either I’m writing or counseling, talking on the phone, planning with friends or Alex, driving here or there…but always moving.

Today was different. I allowed myself to sleep in and then I took the puppies outside to run around with their older brother. I sat on a chair and watched as they played, enjoying the simple act of play which only puppies, who know no better, can teach us. I watched the birds fly overhead, probably wondering what was going on below as they chased each other for no reason. I smelled the dirt and the fresh grass. I listened to the wind.

And then I went inside and as they took a nap, I layed on the bed, fan blowing the sheets around my ankles, and I read some ridiculous suspense novel for probably an hour. Afterwards I placed the book on my nightstand and just listened to the sounds coming through the window. And I remembered that day on the boat and wondered where so many days in between had gone. And the day drifted on and on and on.

When Alex came home from work, we sat on the back patio, planning our garden for the summer, as the dogs again played, never tiring of this game of chase and catch. We talked to our 90 year old neighbor about her rose bushes and we hung up the wind chimes. I sat on the front porch, talking to my best friend Tonya on the phone, watching the worms crawl around in the soil in our mulch and I waved to my other neighbors as they walked down the street. And the day drifted on…

And I remembered stillness; the very act which is so vital like air to our lungs. We forget to take a few moments every day to remember why we’re here and to truly enjoy the simple things, the small things. My mother loved the small things. The sound of rain on the rooftop or the glaze of the first snow on the trees. The smell of homemade, chocolate chip cookies in the oven and the touch of grass on the bottom of your feet at night in the summer. And most importantly, she loved the feel of the crisp sheets against her legs as she fell asleep…and I’m reminded of that every night.

And she doesn’t have the luxury to be hurried anymore or to take these things for granted…because she’s gone, as are many others. But we’re not, which is why we should stop, drop and roll through the spring grass and enjoy the small things…staying still a few moments every day…

Because we’re on borrowed time as it is!

Picking Weeds…

Recently I shared this story with a good friend of mine and it resonated around the lives of several of my friend’s lives right now, so I thought I would share it on here, partly to possibly help others and partly to remind myself where I was several years ago!

My mother’s birthday was always a special occasion and every year my ex-boyfriend and I would do something for her; typically staying overnight in a casino near Louisville, her choice for a birthday adventure. On the day of her last birthday, my ex and I got into a horrible fight just minutes before going to my mom’s house. It’s important to understand that at this point in my life, I was frustrated with several different levels of my life including my relationship, my job and the overall quality of my life.

After reaching my mother’s house, my ex decided he was not going to spend the day with us, due to our fight, so my mom and I headed off to go shopping at the outlet mall and then head down to the casino to spend the day gambling and drinking fountain cokes. I think if you live in Indiana it’s a right of passage, once you reach 60, to spend several weekends a year, sitting at a slot machine, drinking cokes and smoking cigarettes, praying for a big win. Although my mom prided herself in being a woman who would never fit this definition, secretly, she enjoyed sitting there watching cherries come up instead of three sevens, hoping to hit a few thousand. Instead, she’d pull a ticket out for $30 stating that she would buy us breakfast the next morning.

Needless to say, my mother, who loved my ex dearly, didn’t understand why we were fighting and why he didn’t want to come with us. I tried to explain to her that I was frustrated with several aspects of my life and that he and I had been arguing a lot recently and I had been thinking seriously if I was in a healthy relationship. I explained that I needed passion and desire in my life and that maybe we had let the problems take over the good parts of the relationship and it was long over due for us to go our separate ways. I explained that, although I loved him dearly, I thought maybe we each deserved something better in our lives.

Now, you would have had to know my mother, who had an opinion on every topic from oriental literature to Trip to Bountiful being the greatest movie next to To Kill a Mockingbird. She rarely knew silence and often, she drove people crazy with her incessant talk; a trait I believe she passed down to me. When, on rare occasions, she sat in silence, it was almost as if you could feel her mind ticking, profound wisdom about to pass from her lips. And then it came…almost like a whisper.

“Be very careful. Weeds grow fast in a garden.” She said.

And I sat there, not entirely sure what she meant by this statement.

“Our lives are like beautiful gardens which need watering and special care. If you aren’t careful, and you let the weeds of negativity begin to take over; all you see is a garden of dandelions. And sometimes, you start convincing yourself the dandelions are a more beautiful sight than the garden itself.”

And that, my dear friends, is exactly what happened in my life. And looking back, I don’t regret it. No, I’m a believer that everything that happens in life happens for a reason. That we are on some great journey with several guides and teachers along the way. But I do believe that we can pick the weeds so we careful to make sure and see the beauty we have in our lives. And maybe at the time, I just wanted a different garden. And that’s exactly what I got.

But is that for everyone? I love my life now, but if at the time I had been more careful, I think I could have saved some of myself and repaired that garden. I don’t think that’s what was supposed to happen, but for anyone whose unsure…your garden can be saved…just make sure you get out there and pick the weeds.

Luckily, I came out on the other side, tangled in a new, amazingly beautiful garden of lilies and daisies, spinning and spinning in the sunshine. But all around me, I see my friends tangled up in weeds, unable to break free and I wonder, if maybe they started picking away, one by one, they might have the beauty I enjoy every day…

But be careful. Because if all you see is the weeds, you miss out on the beauty that may already exist. And that would be a shame…

Because after all…we’re on borrowed time as it is…

Blame It On Rio…

It seems lately I’ve been getting tons of calls about relationship counseling. At the same time, I feel like every time I turn around I hear about another couple that “didn’t make it”, and I guess I’m wondering what’s been going on in the world of love right now. As someone who has been in several long term relationships that “didn’t make it”, I understand the need for separation and newness, but it isn’t always the answer. And honestly, in my last relationship, if we had come together years before and decided we needed counseling or became willing to work on our issues, maybe it would have “worked”, if I even understand the definition of “work”. But I am a believer that everything happens for a reason and we are all on a journey…each one being as different from the next.

But as a relationship therapist I know one thing…relationships are easier to reconcile and improve than they are to end and move on. If in fact your partner is not what you want anymore and they aren’t willing to change, or you two are just on two completely different roads, then maybe the best answer is to separate and discover new lives, as sad as that may be.

I know for me it was vital for me to leave my past relationship because I felt we weren’t experiencing the same passion and respect for each other as we once had and I just don’t think we were happy anymore. But I think counseling can fix these problems. Creative counseling with home assignments and a commitment to continue no matter what.

Which is not what I’ve been experiencing in my practice. I’ve met couples who are extremely invested in working together and doing home assignments and being as corny as I challenge them to be. And then I meet couples who don’t come consistently and don’t do anything I ask outside of the office and then grow frustrated because they don’t want change. Well, as a person in recovery I realize first and foremost that a desire to change is the most important part of the journey.

And I really want everyone to “make it”! Because there are enough lonely people out there that don’t have anyone in their life who constantly complain that they can’t meet anyone that we should be grateful when we do have someone…unless it’s not the right match or it doesn’t feel right. And there is nothing wrong with being single. Being single can be one of the most rejuvenating periods of a person’s life as long as they allow themselves to focus on self-improvement..enjoying time with themselves. In my practice, I am an avid supporter of not dating for a year after the ending of a relationship or just getting into recovery because it is a time which can be just for you.

Lately, I’ve been playing all these old 80’s movies in the background while I write. Into the Night, Hanky Panky, Legal Eagles and Blame it on Rio. It’s funny how those movies were different than movies now. Don’t get me wrong; I love everything that’s out there, but maybe we’ve all become a little too serious. Maybe, we need to go back to the bad hair and bad leather of the 80’s, enjoying bad music and just having a fun time. Maybe, we need to bring a little of the 80’s back into our relationship and try to just have some fun. I think we focus so much on the bills, the kids, the house that we forget all about having fun and remembering why the hell we’re together in the first place.

Find your 80’s moment…for me it’s the Brazilian music of Blame it on Rio, candles lit around the house, dancing barefoot and waiting for some fun nights out with Alex…as well as some relaxing ones too! It’s all in moderation. Just don’t be too hard on each other…relax, find the passion again, have fun…and remember why the hell you’re together in the first place.

And if that doesn’t work…call me…cause we’re on borrowed time as it is!!!

Young Love…Jump Start Your Relationship!

Do you remember having crushes in high school? That feeling in your stomach when that person would walk by and you’d just stare out of the top of your eyes and wish, just wish, they would look over at you and say hi. Or get to your locker only to find an anonymous romantic note from someone and wonder who it’s from, hoping upon all else, that’s it’s from that guy you were staring at earlier in the day or that girl that was watching you skate with your friends around the parking lot. Well, what I’ve learned in my fifteen years of working with adolescents and generously being allowed into their lives, is that love at 15, really isn’t a whole lot different than love at 28 or 37. The feelings are the same and the my stomach still drops when they enter a room and look right at me.

Alex and I have been together for some time now and what I know is that it takes work. Love comes naturally, but it takes some work to keep that excitement and passion alive. I remember being single before I met Alex and my friends would ask me what I was looking for and I would reply, “someone who will walk around a book store with me on a Sunday afternoon and then go home and read in bed” or “someone who will stare at me across a room like I’m the only one they see” and finally, “someone who looks across the table at me during dinner and tells me they want to skip the rest of the meal and hurry home.” And all of that came true.

As most of our friends will tell you, we’ve had a rocky past. It wasn’t easy getting where we are today. And unlike Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher who swear they don’t fight…we fight all the time. Well, maybe not all the time, but enough that is continues to cause struggle in our daily life like walking across a bridge whose ropes might collapse at any time. But we’re still here dammit!

And honestly, I think Valentine’s Day is a perfect time to remember how important you are to one another. Every day I hear people say, “But you should practice that every day.” and “We don’t need one day a year to make me feel inadequate when I treat them well every other day.” My reply is simply a smile, but what I’m really thinking is that Alex better remember it’s Valentines day and buy me some damn flowers! And he will, because we’ve started to communicate our differences. We’ve started to explain to each other what’s important to the other one.

When I first got sober over 15 years ago, I dedicated my first year only to staying away from alcohol and drugs. It was so hand to mouth for me that I couldn’t understanding the thought process behind addiction and I couldn’t enjoy the benefits, past not being in jail or financial ruins, of not using. 15 years later, it is not a drinking disease to me but a thinking disease. Every day I enjoy what sobriety gives me including being able to stay calm in difficult situations like my mother’s illness and death, or to be patient when something doesn’t go my way or to try and understand where other people are coming from. Love relationships are the same. The first few months or year should be dedicated to the hand to mouth. The phone calls, dates, stayovers and random texts. After that, the true understanding of your bond begins, and although difficult, as were the later years of my recovery, the benefits are much greater because now you have a true understanding of one another.

No relationship is perfect. Everyone argues and everyone has differences. Imagine a Japanese man and a Swedish women in a relationship speaking their own languages. At first, they won’t understand each other, although they will assume they do through facial movements or eye gestures. After a few months they might start picking up a few words and finally being able to understand one another and truly speak to one another. That’s what we do every day in our romantic relationships. And a lot of us don’t try and pick up those small words…we just stay focused on the non-verbal cues, ruining what could be truly communicated. And some of us, like myself, probably say too much. Sometimes, less is more.

Honestly, and I don’t care what anyone says, we all want to be in love. It makes us feel good. Love DOES NOT suck! It’s awesome. We just need to jump start our hearts every once in awhile even if that means taking a risk. Allow yourself to be laughed at. Wear some sexy underwear or costume and heat up that bedroom, even if it inspires laughter. What greater way to get to know each other again than to be each other’s favorite comedians. Buy flowers…or pick them, hell, even a dandelion on a summer day makes me a little happy. Mustard plant and grass in a small glass jar can even look pretty. Make cards, or children’s books for each other. Cook for one another or buy them a slushy. It doesn’t take much to think outside the box. And not to toot my own horn, but I’m really good at this stuff so if you need any suggestions…please contact me.

What I’m really saying is, love yourself and your partner enough to do whatever it takes to get that car rolling down Lover’s Lane again. I’ve even started 2-3 session Cupid Couching Retreats for couples to help them spice up their life and allow love back into their daily lives and find that love they felt when they were 15. (If you’re interested please contact me). It’s in all of us. Young love. I want that…don’t you? I want a note on my windshield and a stare across a room. Now, I just know I want it from Alex.

So no matter how much you hate Valentines Day or think it’s corny or Hallmark’s way of making money, which it is but who cares, dedicate this Valentine’s Day to either improving your relationship or improving yourself…because we’re on borrowed time as it is!