Category Archives: change

Flowing with the Seasons

Here in Wisconsin spring is a fickle maiden. One day she tempts us with the promise of summer, teasing us with warm whispers and the scent of new blossoms, an alluring perfume. The nest day she is cold, snippy, she spits rain in your face contemptuously; the date you made yesterday is off, no picnic for you, stay at home and find your own source of warmth and comfort.
Is it no wonder then that those of us who are sensitive to nature and her moods find ourselves grappling with our own rollercoaster of emotions.
I have always been subject to the whim of the seasons.  The winter blues or cabin fever can plunge me into the depths of an existential crisis. Summer brings a sense of freedom and joy, but by August I begin to feel like the party girl who has had a bit too much to drink, I just want to go home and sleep.
Spring typically brings a renewed energy, a sense of hope, and inspiration.

Therefore I feel a slap of disappointment when little miss Spring decides to withdraw her affection and warmth, such a tease! But like most sassy girls when she’s good she’s good, and today she was kind and flirty. I was lured by her charms to my little garden plot to pluck some weeds, I reveled in the nostalgic aroma of her Lilac blooms and my dogs trotted along happily as we walked to the co-op to buy some early greens.
 Life can’t always be like a perfect spring day just as we can’t always be happy, hopeful or inspired. We have our rainy days, our own fickle moods and throughout life we have our seasons. Nature is authentic, gritty, beautiful, terrible and yet she moves with grace through her changes. She makes no apologies for the sudden thunderstorm, but she brings renewal and growth in it’s wake. Every mood serves it’s purpose, to cleanse, to nourish and sometimes to destroy in order for healing and renewal to take root. Like Nature we can flow with the changes and seasons of our life fully alive in the expression of of the moment and  aware of our purpose.

© 2010-2012 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard


How to Change the World

Hm, I was sincerely hoping to have an answer for you, but alas I am yet a mere mortal. I have come to the conclusion  that the solution begins with me, after all its the one place that I have the power to influence. The New Year approaches, along with the tradition of  creating resolutions, this year co-occurring with another turning point in my personal life. I’ve given considerable thought to my own goals for the coming year. There are of course the reruns, the pledges to be more organized, to procrastinate less, to pay bills on time (as long as the money is there) but as I review these well intentioned promises to myself I realize there’s a reason behind the repetition in theme, year and year again. These resolutions address behaviors and responses that are symptoms of  deeper issues.There is a lot of talk circulating these days in reference to the question of Global Change; there are discussions, dictates, manifestos, opinions, dreams, arguments and unfortunately, a fair amount of discord. An objective observer can easily spot the common ground that is inherent in the collective desire for renewal. The Communal sense of urgency and rebellion is frequently lost amongst the strict adherence to doctrine.

Procrastination, disorganization and general lack of responsibility are a cluster of behaviors based in learned helplessness and the fear of personal  power. They are reactive behaviors. The recent social/Political movements have been accused of many of the same traits I myself struggle to manage. I understand the struggle that groups encounter as they are pressed for demands and clear statements of purpose. We know what we don’t want, but we have been subjected to the system that imposes “what we don’t want” for so long, we’re not even sure how to implement what it is we do want. It’s one thing to dream of a better world and it’s quite another to do the work, to educate and empower ourselves to make it happen. I can envision the life I want to create, but to move forward and create that life requires risk. There will be mistakes and setbacks. There will be critics standing by telling me it’s not possible (some of them will be nagging voices in my own mind!) But guess what? Just like Fox News and its smirking self righteous observation of today’s activists, those influences already reporting daily, and the less I accomplish the more righteous they become.

I’m lucky, most of  my critics are internal, my own insecurities and leftover fears from days long ago. Much like an obnoxious political commentator, they can be turned off, I can change the channel and  once I acknowledge the limited scope of their experience that is the root of their pessimism I can forgive them and separate myself from their influence. I can tune into the frequencies that transmit hope, idealism, and the required education to provide the skills and means to create reality from fantasy, to manifest dreams and to ultimately change my world. Don’t underestimate the Sci-fi channel, it is one place that fears, ideas, possibilities and dreams are played out. We the Dreamers, envision solutions, we create blueprints for change and we thrive on Hope.  Our Dreams and Visions are the beginning, may this New Years baby be the birth of a year of  Action and Creation.

Peace and Happy New year!

Occupying Milwaukee, Occupying Everywhere

Hello Readers,
It seems we are in the midst of a time of great Change and Promise. Each day brings more news of  communities organizing, reaching out and demanding Justice.
I intend to devote some attention to the voices of the 99% and the recent “Occupy” movements that have been emerging into the public field of vision over the past month. All over the U.S and abroad local chapters and occupations have been born in Solidarity with the incredible tenacity and commitment of the original “Occupy Wall Street” action. I might add that although the OWS is the most recent highly visible manifestation of Community Action, there have always been and continue to be organizations, affinity groups and individuals who have been committed to the cause of Social Justice. When I use the term Social Justice I refer to any cause or group whose purpose is to improve the quality of life for all living things including our Mother Planet. It happened that OWS made their appearance at a time when many of us have reached a point of critical mass. The people have been communicating, educating ourselves and one another and watching the incredible Social Revolutions that have taken place in Egypt, Greece, Spain and many other countries throughout the world. It seems that the Collective Consciousness has been germinating the seeds for change, nurturing the soil with love and care and our efforts are now coming into full bloom.

It is crucial to acknowledge that historically great change takes place in steps, and movements for progress have their own ebb and flow. If we track history as far back as we are able we are likely to discover periods of “Social Unrest” and Revolution often followed by seasons of what may appear to be complacency. We must not allow ourselves to be discouraged by these times of apparent stagnation, they are necessary for regeneration and stabilization; and even in such times there are those who persist in our roles as educators, rabble rousers, rebels and rogues. That’s you, my readers, all of us who never quite fit in, who have struggled with rules, questioned the “norm” and dared to imagine a different reality.
I believe our time has come. We, as individuals who have no fear of challenging the status quo, who have  applicable street smarts tempered with the wisdom of experience are well suited to the changes and challenges of a mass shift in consciousness.
You may say you are not a “political” person, or you may not identify with one particular movement or cause. You may feel you want to help but don’t know how. Or you may feel the world can clean up it’s own crap just fine without you, which is equally valid and certainly understandable. I am not calling anyone to action specifically; I am a Messenger, not a Recruiter. However, as a Messenger, I must say that we are in the midst of some pretty exciting times and it’s worth tapping into that energy even if only to charge up your own juice.
This post is just the beginning. The planting of a seed, the nudging of a thought, the “bug in the ear”.  Look around you. Read or watch non-commercial media. Talk to your friends and neighbors. If you are already active in a cause (even if it’s your own) give yourself a hug. Evaluate your experiences. Do they feel authentic? If not, what’s missing? What would feel right for you? If you have found yourself in a good place, a group or action where you feel energized, productive and passionate by all means take a moment to appreciate how that feels, to be empowered, to be part of a community and say I am the 99% and I am joined by Brothers and Sisters everywhere. Reach out and love your family, all 99%!
As always I’d love to hear stories, feedback, thoughts etc. My next post will include a mix of some of my personal experience with the movement along with some practical information for those who are interested.  I will also be adding some mini-posts of stories I have heard, actions I have witnessed and pictures, words and events that have struck a chord resonating the sound of change.

© 2010-2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard

Check the Road Map

Overcoming a slump. Maybe it’s the summer heat, maybe it’s the recent life changes I’ve experienced (yes, one of them is “the change” menopause) maybe it’s the let down after the excitement of discovering I’ve successfully conquered liver disease after a year of grueling treatment. Whatever it is I’m stuck.
Like a lady wearing lead shoes, every step feel laborious. My brain seems to be on vacation somewhere. As Aerosmith once said “my get up and go musta got up and went”
But I think I know what the “problem” is: freedom. Yes, that’s right, freedom. I’ve written before about the methods some of us can use to employ our anchors, our responsibilities as excuses for not pursuing our dreams. A job, a family, health problems or a lease- whatever it is that we believe binds us does indeed bind us. Those beliefs become safe and cozy. We are not asked to challenge ourselves because we have other things to do. It’s a pretty rare phenomenon to be freed of the majority of one’s responsibilities within a very short time. As so often happens in my eccentric life, I find myself knee deep in anomaly.
You would think (or I would’ve thought) I would be eager to fill the blank page before me with words, colors, opinions and adventures, but instead I am truly at a loss for what to do next.
At present I am in another city helping my partner relocate for an employment opportunity. Things being what they are with our economy that seems to be happening more often these days. I suppose I’m lucky, the new job is only 500 miles away from home and reasonably manageable by bus. I can’t help but feel that it only adds more confusion and uncertainty to my already obfuscated view of the near future.

I was reminded along the 6 hour drive here, that every journey requires and occasional rest stop. Eat, pee, stretch your limbs and take another look at the map. The rest stops have always been a integral part of a road trip, ever since I was a small child travelling across country with my parents in our over packed pale blue VW Beetle.
Now is the time to revisit the road map, check out the routes and their alternates, be advised of detours and prepare well before taking to the highway into life’s next chapter.

© 2010-2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard

A Deeper Look at anger

I’m going to grace you all with a special treat. I’m going to therapize myself! Aren’t you excited?
Ok fine, bear with me anyway okay?
Writing the last post on anger, along with my recent binge of crabbiness which prompted the post, has prodded me to reflect on the roots of this binge. If I listen to my own words I hear anger can be a catalyst for change, or a sign that we need to address some aspect of our lives. Right now my life is in a pretty good place so I had to dig a little deeper to weed out the roots of this agitation.

The quick check questions to ask are:

  • what do you feel in your body (get out of your head)
  • have there been another times when you felt a similar feeling
  • what event or stimulus triggered your feelings? what was happening in your life at the time?

I’m not going to go into great detail about my personal life, but after thinking about these statements three issues became clear – uncertainty,  potential change/possibly relocating and feeling pulled in different directions/ having to make decisions.
Uncertainty is unnerving to me. Change, I can manage but best with a decent amount of certainty attached. Decisions, well let’s just say it’s a work in progress and one that requires at least some guidelines and factual information that I can refer to during the internal dialog that takes place between the different dimensions of Me.
Right now, today anyway, I am in limbo. There are some questions that will be answered in the next week or so that will allow me to move on and leave the majority of the uncertainty factor behind. In the meantime I will shift the blame to the 90+ temperatures and the swampy like humidity that permeates all potentially climate controlled areas, knowing with some assurance that my own “climate control” is being carefully monitored.
Stay Cool,

© 2010-2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard

Thursdays Thought-Cheeky Changes

There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse! As I have often found in travelling in a stagecoach, that it is often a comfort to shift one’s position, and be bruised in a new place. ~Washington Irving

What a delightful quote, it made me chuckle a bit, and then to laugh out loud. I wanted a quote about change to piggyback on yesterdays subject of seasons and cycles of change. Naturally there are many cheery, optimistic and inspirational quotes about change but I chose this one for it’s realism and simplicity. In truth it speaks to our adaptable nature and resiliency. Those of us who have endured difficult times have often had to trade one discomfort for another in order to reach a destination. Maybe you’ve gone from a crappy marriage to a life of poverty as a single parent. Or perhaps you’ve left behind a drug addiction to spend 3 months in a treatment center with four crabby roommates and limited freedom. What ever situation caused us to exchange one bruised butt cheek for another, we eventually made it to the end of the Stagecoach ride, bruised, but having found a new and different place.
How have you “bruised your butt cheeks” to arrive at a destination?

© 2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard

Geographical Relocation

It has taken months of vacillating, debating and false starts but I finally decided it was time to change residence. My former flat had, through numerous recent circumstances, gradually drifted out of that region known as “my price range” like a rogue balloon.  I cast back and forth between enduring the stress of moving vs. the stress of having basically no money and finally decided to resume my search for a smaller, more affordable apartment.  After finding a few affordable, but unattractive prospects and/or being denied because of pets or credit history,  I finally stumbled across an upper flat only 3 blocks from my former duplex.

Everything seemed to fall into place perfectly, which my former AODA counselor used to say was a sign that you were on the right path. I was able to qualify for funding from a local Advocacy agency to help with the moving costs,  I hired movers for the first time in my life and on November 2,  I moved into my new digs.
It’s a cute place, it has character, a huge kitchen,  a sizable balcony/upper porch and lots of closet space. Like many of the houses in my neighborhood it’s probably between 80-100 years old and was very likely a single family home that was converted into a flat sometime around the 1940’s, which is partially what gives it it’s unique character and floor plan, (and tiny bedrooms!)
Now, my sole purpose for moving was to save money, which I will eventually (the movers cost twice what they’d estimated) but it also was an important step for me to make this decision and go with it while in the midst of treatment for Hep C which leaves me with sporadic motivation and low (if any) energy.  I knew I would be doing a lot of the work alone and I knew it would, frankly, knock me on my ass for a few days. I also knew it needed to be done and it was up to me to make it happen.
In addiction “Geographical Relocation” is a trick that people frequently use on themselves and their loved ones to create a sense of false hope for interpersonal change. “Once we get out of this neighborhood with all our history/ with all the bars/ with all our “using friends”/ (fill in any appropriate external force of control that is preventing change) “things will change”.  Of course as we all know, we take our problems with us because our problems don’t live in the house, or the bar or in our friends, but within us.  Naturally, with my History, I’ve dragged myself, my family and all my personal belongings down that Yellow Brick Road many times, and learned the same lesson that Dorothy ultimately learned; “Over the Rainbow” is within us all, we only need to look inside to find it.
After moving, not surprisingly I was exhausted. Not just moving exhausted but being on toxic treatment and overdoing it exhausted. Enter, stage left, sick grandchildren and next thing I know I am sick as a proverbial dog. After two days of not keeping any food down and basically sleeping the entire time, I came back to the real world long enough to realize I had a counseling session scheduled with my therapist that day. I gave him a call to let him know I wouldn’t be there and why. His response was “oh no everything was supposed to be okay after you moved”
Hmmm, really?
Did I give the impression that I believed that? Did I imply I was falling for the old “Geographical Relocation” self scam? I’m  pretty sure I did not, and yet his response irritated me at the time.  I wasn’t sure if he was being facetious or….what. I responded by telling him that I was simply sick with a bug, no deeper meaning attached, and things will be fine.
Funny how once we’ve travelled the Yellow Brick Road, learned our lesson and moved on, we still carry the stigma of our old ways, even if only in our own minds.

© 2010 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard