Feel Something…

As I was driving to work today my favorite song from Sia came on; “Breathe Me”. This song absolutely makes me feel something. I immediately catch my breath, turn up the music to take it in as loudly as I can, feeling every word inside and out. I love anything that makes me FEEL SOMETHING.

Isn’t this life all about feeling something? Where there is no feeling there is no life. I live to feel and I feel to live; it’s the emotion, the ups, the downs and everything in between.

Music is the ultimate in feeling for me. A song can take me back in a New York minute I am jettisoned to the very moment in time, where I was, who I was with and how I felt in that moment. I heard “Mandy” by Barry Manilow on the radio over the weekend and there I was with my Mom at his last concert in Orlando, remembering how I would laugh as she would cry at the crescendo of the song. It always made her cry and that made me laugh!

Movies are another medium that makes me feel something. Two hours in a movie theater is as good as a weekend away…well it’s close. I get wrapped up in the story and am miles away for that short moment in time. It’s all encompassing when the movie is good and I leave refreshed and inspired.

Places are my favorite to feel. The energy in a room is the immediate feeling I detect. Whether it be the soul of the building or the story of the design; it inspires me. It is interesting to me that the places where I connect are where I belong. Not every place is right for me and I am not right for every place; it is all about the energy.

My favorite moment today was all about the feeling. I was driving home and got a call from my South Florida family and I realized as I was hanging up as I got home that it was my favorite moment of the day as I was feeling so loved, so happy and fulfilled. The smiles on their faces (yes, it might have been a FaceTime but it was hands-free!), the stories, the fellowship made my heart glow. When you surround yourself with the ones you love there simply is NO greater feeling.

My life is all about the “feels” every single one; every sense and every experience. I feel immensely, I live in the deepest of love and I dive into the depths of despair. I would not trade it for neutrality as “even” is not how this KIEL wants to live. Give me the highs, give me the lows; I just want to feel something. I am alive living life as I feel it – L.

The voices inside my head

Got your attention? Well they certainly have mine. The voices in my head keep me awake all night and keep me company all day. Not certifiably crazy, certifiably driven! Yes, that is right…driven. My mind is always going, always thinking, always learning, always processing 24/7. It can be exhausting at times as relaxation does not come easy but I am grateful for this monkey mind of mine as it is key to energy.

I have always had an excessive amount of energy as I was often described as “hyperactive” when I was young. I was indeed a busy girl but not more than I see in my own kids; or at least the way I recognized it. As a teenager again I think I was pretty chill but was never able to sleep-in and hated sleepovers because I was always the one up at 7a while my friends would sleep until 10a. Ugh…b-o-r-i-n-g! Outside of not needing 12 hours of sleep like most teenagers I was typical; love music, had the best BFF’s, tons of sleepovers and lots of laughter.

As an adult my mind would be my most powerful asset. The expectations have been set internally and the rules are always in flux. The pressure is real regardless of it being self-imposed. I always hold myself to a much higher expectation than anyone else could. While this seems like a good practice it can be mentally exhausting as you are always evaluating and redirecting the multitude of thoughts. I love rules and make them for myself constantly. Some call it self-discipline, and it is as long as you also exercise moderation. It is the moderation that is tough for me, “the gray”! It is all or nothing, all the time.

Multi-tasking is not a “thing” in my world. It’s hard enough keeping it all straight when I am doing one thing at a time let alone multiple tasks. I learned this early-on when attempting to talk on the phone and work on the computer. One would definitely suffer and it was typically the phone convo! Ha!! The person on the other end of the line would ask a question and I would have NO idea what the question was…busted!!!

While I do not multi-task my brain works in many directions when I am focusing on any task. For that reason I always keep a notebook on-hand or send myself an email to remind myself of what was on my mind in that moment to allow me to stay focused on the task at hand. If I am not disciplined enough to park the thought and continue driving through the initial task I will forget what I was doing and inevitably end up with 5 different windows open. Sometimes this can be quite humorous when I finish with the thing that took me off my course and realize what I was doing when my mind kidnapped my productivity!! I am also very guilty of this when surfing the web. I will go in for one simply search term and an 1.5 hrs later I came up for air realizing that I have just explored 10 sites digging deeper than thought possible on the original search.

So while I could go on and on about the voices in my head that keep me focused, take me out of focus, create rules, expectations and ultimately give every day a pass or fail…but that is neurotic. What keeps it all in check, what makes sure that I am not neurotic is “the work”. I do the work by creating timelines in my day, schedules are my jam, setting the intention for every single day, checking myself, my attitude, my energy…I do the work. Depending on the time in my life that work would be manifested through meditation, yoga, running, music, reading and all things that require my mind to quiet. This IS work! When you have a monkey brain and voices constantly driving your day the attempt to quiet the entire thing down is a task in itself, but it is possible. It is through this quietude that I find myself and clarity ensues.

My favorite question to ask Gary is, “What are you thinking about right now?” and his response is always “Nothing”. What the heck??!!??! How can you NOT be thinking about something every second of every day; including dreaming about the days events at night??? B thinks it is because Gary is in a constant state of meditation…we are going to go with that…Buddha Dad!

Life as I see it – L.

Life whispers…

“Life whispers to you all the time, your life is speaking to you all around, from the time you wake up in the morning, in every single experience…and if you don’t get the whisper it gets louder…like a little pebble upside the head…if you don’t pay attention to the problem, the becomes like a brick…the brick upside your head is a crisis…if you (still) don’t pay attention…the crisis turns into a disaster and the whole house comes falling down.”

Oprah Winfrey

This quote speaks volumes. The whispers are messages that require your attention. Are you listening? Those messages come in many different forms. Sometimes they come in the form of opening doors. Sometimes they come in the form of experiences that you would have missed if you had not made one small decision. Whether you choose to walk through those doors or make the decision can be the defining moments of your life.

I have been fortunate that my career has been one of those “life whispers” where things just happened, unsolicited and sometimes without warning but when it was right I knew it was right. Out of the four companies I have worked for I only applied for two of the jobs. The first and the third. The first was of course my entree into the hospitality industry and the third was an opportunity that came up in South Florida that I applied for on a whim. I was never really considering moving from Daytona but when I went to the interview and met the GM I knew it was a done deal. Gary and I thought we were just taking advantage of a weekend away and it became one of the best career moves and a start of our new life. While it built my career, it toughened me up and introduced me to some of the best friends I would have for life. The other two opportunities found me when I was not looking. It seems that you find the best life has to offer, when you are not looking.

I also met the love of my life in one of those moments. He walked through the back door of the book store where he was already working and I was just starting, on my first day. I could not know in that moment that he would become my best friend and life partner. It was as universal as it gets, it was energy pointed in laser focus that led us to meet that day. One small decision by so many could have prevented this moment from happening. That day happened because my cousin did not take the position as it was originally offered to her, it happened because that whisper became a pebble that became a brick and hit me across the head to tell me I was in the midst of a crisis. That day could have gone so many ways instead it was the end of one story and became the start of another; one a nightmare and other a fairy tale.

It comes back to energy; these life whispers are about being in touch with your life and the energy that is all around you. My advice to you is simple:

  • Create an environment for energy to come to you. If you are closed off this cannot happen.
  • If you want to change your life, change your energy.
  • Most importantly BE RESPONSIBLE for the energy you bring in the room.

This is life as I live it – L.

To write or not to write…

To write or not to write that is the question or is it? I write to relieve my brain, give my thoughts freedom and to pass along those things that I think can bring value to those around me. I am enjoying this journey and thought that today the process deserved some understanding of the intention and history behind it.

My writing started many years back with the exercise as prescribed by my then therapist, Randie, that gave me the assignment. She said that I needed to get what was wound tight in my head out. The assignment was to start writing, just write whatever was in my head and get it out on paper. Don’t correct anything, not spelling, grammar or punctuation and don’t read what I wrote…Just write. I did and it worked. Typing has always been easier than writing as I type as fast as I think and therefore my Google Docs were born. I did exactly as assigned and wrote for years. And then I started reading some of what I had written and wow. I could not believe what had come out on paper. Much like therapy so many of those thoughts that I didn’t even know I had locked inside started to come out as stories, recounts and full of emotion, EVERYTHING unfolded on those docs. I still never thought much of it until sharing a few of those entries with others and seeing their reactions. It was then that I realized that there may be more to this, more to give back, more to share, if I was willing to open these very vulnerable documents and truths about myself to the world.

There are times that I am learning that you don’t write or more importantly don’t publish. I had my first understanding of that a few weeks back when one of my loved ones was going through a tough time; a tough day and I realized that to write nothing at all, to let things lie where they were, was the right thing to do as that was my way of honoring her. I found myself feeling much the same way last night. Two mass shootings in less than 24 hours…and what in the world is “right” to publish? What could I write that wouldn’t seem callous to what had just gone on and what did I have to add to the conversation of the day. I think it’s an atrocity, I think it’s scary as hell right now and it falls somewhere in between believing there has to be more control of guns but more importantly MORE emphasis on mental health! I will leave the gun debate to those that know more than I but with regards to mental health I am going to beat that f’n drum as loud as I can and as often as I am given the soapbox because ultimately this is what is fueling these fires. So it was with that respect, to those lost and to those left to survive that I left last night unpublished. There will be many more days for me to write about all that I know, feel and believe about mental health/illness, last night wasn’t the time for it.

The more I write the more I read and the more I read the more I become fearful of what I don’t know. This creative energy has a lot more to it than I have originally invested. I decided it was time to write and I did, I decided it was time to publish and I did and now as I decide to perfect this craft I will become a student of writing but will work hard not to allow it to restrict my flow of creativity, thoughts, emotions and everything that has compelled me to write in the first place.

As stated this all started with a mental health practice of journaling/writing what was tangled up inside as a way to straighten it all out leaving room for things to resolve. The only thing that has changed is that I have found the courage to now allow those thoughts to flow out in a public forum, where you are welcome to join me in this journey. Take what serves you and leave the rest. Share what moves you or keep it close to your vest.

I have passed along this same advice to many that have confided in me about their own angst. Just write, don’t read it, don’t correct it, just write. It’s the best medicine and has opened up an entire world to me; internally through my mental health and now externally through sharing with you…my world. This is life as I see it – L.

p.s. Today we lost our sweet Smokey. She was our beloved cat who was blessed to live a very long life with us. She was 22 years old, as best we knew as we got her about a year after moving to South Florida. She disciplined our kids better than we did; swatting at them when they would simply walk by her and was my husband’s biggest fan. She loved G more than any of us and he her although he would spend years denying it. In the end, she gave us as much as we gave her, unconditional love and a sweet life. You will be missed as you are as much a part of this family as any of us. RIP Smokey Kiel –

Psychic Expectation

Today I visited Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp. It is the “Psychic Capital of the World”. This would be both my second visit to Cassadaga and my second reading ever. I have always been leary of “messing” with this side of the universe. I absolutely do believe in psychics, mediums and healers but believed I was better not knowing the unknown.

Desperately Seeking Psychic

My history with the supernatural are few but one was very meaningful. New Years Day 2018 I decided out of the blue that I was going to go visit a psychic to get the answers I was longing for as to whether I was doing enough for my mother. At that time we were three months into her cancer diagnosis and two months into treatment. When I decided I wanted to go I was sitting at Panera by myself, reading a book and it occurred to me that I was going to go to Cassadaga. I Googled to find a psychic before heading over and found Peter. He appealed to me because of the many titles he carried and noted that he had been featured on TLC. I figured if he had managed to make it on TV there had to be something about him. I called him and he told me to head on over. Let’s pause for a Public Service Announcement:

I would warn against doing what I did…I proceeded to Peter’s house. Meanwhile no one in the world knew I was going there, where I was or how to find me. When I got to Peter’s house I realized that I might be walking into the next Dateline as for all I knew he could have been a serial killer and I was walking right into his house, alone. DUMB! So very DUMB!

Back to the story…when I arrived at Peter’s house I was unassuming; wearing a ball cap, dressed in all gray, no jewelry, no make-up, driving my husband’s truck. I decided as I waited for Peter that I was going to keep a straight-face and say as little as possible. This poor guy had no idea the skeptic that had walked in his house.

It didn’t take long before Peter had me hook, line and sinker. He was so quirky exactly as I would expect, he didn’t disappoint. He used Tarot Cards for my reading and as he would deal the cards my story was unfolding. He would ask a question to see if he was on the right path and I would barely utter a word, I would give him a yea, uh huh or nod of my head. His reading was 100% on point. He made me a believer and gave me exactly what I came in for, the reassurance that I was indeed doing all I could for my mom. Peter ended our session together with a spiritual cleansing which was a perfect way to start the New Year.

Spiritually Enriching

Today I did not go seeking anything more than fellowship with the three beautiful souls I went on this journey of spiritual enlightenment with…Ha! aka a great lunch at The Table in Deland and then four appointments as assigned by the Hotel Cassadaga. I did request the person I would see today, Aylah, as she had been referred to me. As soon as I met Aylah the energy between us was undeniable. I was actually worried that I might have screwed up that energy by trying to reach out to her via email initially. She assured me that was not the case. I enjoyed the 30 minutes we spent together and there were certainly many things that she said that appealed to me and my current state and then of course there were a few that did not connect…at least for today. I came out of this reading feeling enlightened as my spirits were high and I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent with this Spiritual Soul.

This time was certainly different as I did not go in as a skeptic but as an optimist that I would hear something that would resonate. This time was different because I wasn’t carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. This time was different…well…because so am I. I half-halfheartedly wanted my mother to show herself and there were certainly some ironies but there was nothing apparent. When I think about the reality of that “want” it makes me laugh, because anyone that knows my mom knows that this is definitely not her “thing”.

Psychic Expectation

I have to acknowledge that while I do believe in the power of psychics, mediums and healers I also acknowledge that the success of the reading depends on the expectation. You cannot help having some expectation when you go otherwise why would you go? I had a heavy expectation the first time I went and this time while I was going more for fun I did selfishly want to hear something that would connect. In listening for those connections it is hard not to try to make sense of what you are hearing and that is where I fear we can make something out of nothing. There is little harm in this if all it offers is hope and a watchful eye for those few things that did not connect.

In the end today was a great day, it was full of fellowship with my family. It is exactly where I wanted to be and I loved every minute of it. I had the benefit of meeting a beautiful soul who offered me advice, optimism and the reassurance that it is all going to be okay…but I knew that before I went.

This is life as I see it – L.

Blessed because I wasn’t…

So here is a new perspective for you to consider and I realize before I start that I am treading on sacred territory but hear me out.

I was not baptized as a child because in short my mother was Jewish and my father was Catholic and therefore they decided it best to let me decide when I was old enough. There was one flaw in that theory, you cannot decide what you do not know.

My religious history is simple; I was fortunate to go to church with friends as I was growing up and as an adult I frequented two churches intermittently; one with my Mom as she was exploring her own curiosity of religion and the other with my oldest son that was given the benefit of faith through his grandparents. I was always curious and most of the time liked how I felt when I was there but admittedly spent much of the time confused as I have no context, no knowledge to rely on…to have faith. I do not know the bible, I do not know prayers by heart and I am devoid of all proper religious knowledge. And yes, after having stated all of that I still think I am the most blessed person in the room.

Here is my perspective on why I am “blessed because I wasn’t”…

  • Not having a founding religion allowed me as I grew up to consider all religions that were introduced to me. It was in that consideration that I was open to all of them.
  • Not having a foundation of belief and faith I have been open to the miracles in all faiths, beliefs and spirituality.
  • Not having a concrete set of values founded in one faith has allowed me to create my own. I have assembled a faith that believes in a higher power that I refer to as God, believes in the power of the universe and believes that energy defines us.

I see things that others find routine with awe and amazement; here are two instances that occurred just recently:

  • I was having a conversation with my friend on Good Friday. She was so excited that our trip was getting cut short because it meant that she was going to be able to get home in time for Good Friday service. When I inquired to learn more she was generous with informing me of the meaning behind the holiday and the many other scheduled services that she and her family would attend throughout the weekend. I sat and listened hanging on every word as I was truly intrigued. The blessing in this conversation was the emotion in her eyes as they welled up with tears as she talked about this holiday, and her passion behind it was infectious.
  • Another recent example of bearing witness to this awe and amazement came when another friend and I were talking about our childhoods. We share many of the same stories but hers were a bit more intense. At one point I turned to her and said, “How did you make it through” and she looked back at me and said “Because of my faith and because I know I have “him” on my side I know I will always be okay.” The words on this page cannot possibly explain what I saw in her eyes. In that moment I was witnessing true belief and devout faith and could feel the energy around us change. It was breathtaking.

You see it’s through these examples that I can resolve that had I had a religion of my own, or one that owned me I would never have been able to be as wide open as I was in either of these instances. It was because I am curious and hungry for perspective that I was able to experience God in both of these amazing individuals.

In conclusion I believe that I am blessed because the decision was not made for me, and that made all the difference. My father once told me that when he says his prayers at night he removes the part of the prayer that states “If I should die before I wake, I pray to God my soul to take” because he never wants to be in a place that his daughter cannot. My response to that desperate plea is that it will be okay because while you may have your belief that is founded in heaven and hell I believe that there is a beautiful place in the afterlife for all of us. My belief is that it doesn’t matter if you were baptized, bar mitzvah’d or raised to make your own decision as the God I believe in would not decide subjectively.

I am blessed because I wasn’t, because…

  • I believe in what you put out in the universe is what you get back
  • I believe in right and wrong
  • I believe in kindness to others regardless of status
  • I believe in the power of prayer because prayer is the most concentrated energy we can put out in the universe

I believe all of these things and these beliefs have made me who I am. In this perspective I have realized that I am not “less than” because of a lack of religion because in the end it is about faith, and Lord knows I have faith! This is life as I am living it, full of faith, lacking religion and BLESSED. L.