Facing your own mortality

I’ve only had two experiences in my life where I felt I could have died. The first was when I had taken an extra job working at a restaurant to supplement my teaching income that summer, but decided to keep working there nights and weekends during the fall semester. I was working every day and night somewhere. One evening, I had left work to visit a friend, and on my way home, I was involved in a terrible car accident that should have killed me. All I remember is that one minute I was driving, the next minute I was in my car, facing the opposite direction of where I was headed, and paramedics were lifting me onto a gurney. The first thing I said was, “Did I hurt anyone?” I didn’t remember my teaching job, just my restaurant job. It was determined that I fell asleep for a moment, and in that moment, my car hit the right guardrail at 55 mph, which spun the car around into the left guardrail, then finally came to rest facing the other direction in the middle of the highway. Thankfully, no other cars were on the road, and I only suffered a mild concussion and a very bruised up knee from hitting the dashboard and windshield. My seat belt was broken and the new one was on order, so it was not functional. From this I walked away and quickly realized that the restaurant job had to go.

Today at work, I was eating and working through lunch, as is the norm for a winery with a very small staff, and I choked on something I was eating. At first I thought it would be OK if I just got up to get water, but I wasn’t quick enough. I tried to breathe and I couldn’t. There were only three of us in the office: me, the bookkeeper, and the sales manager. The bookkeeper was closest, but she didn’t know what to do. I felt myself getting lightheaded and I couldn’t talk. At that moment, my life really did flash before my eyes, just as described in books and other media. I walked towards the sales manager and managed to mouth to him, “Help me.” He grabbed me and performed the Heimlich Maneuver repeatedly until finally the I could breathe. I was sweating and tears were streaming down my face. Thankfully he knew what to do and he saved my life. What you don’t know is that after this happens, you are afraid to eat and especially afraid to eat alone. I settled on liquid tonight, spicy soup, to soothe my throat. Call it strategic eating. Tonight also just happened to be my weekly chiropractor appointment. My chiropractor knew something was wrong. “It’s like facing your own mortality,” he said, when he learned what happened to me today. I told him I thought it was a sign that I needed to make some changes in my life and he agreed. He said exactly what I had been thinking most of the day: events like this are intentional and are meant to wake us up from things or people from the past or the present that are keeping us stuck. He scanned me, “I haven’t seen you this misaligned in months,” and gave me the most major neck adjustment I’ve had since I started going last May. During my longer resting period, my thoughts were racing. What’s next? I can’t stop thinking about my life: my past, my present, my future, what I want, where I am now, and where I want to be. I am still here for a reason and I know what I need to do. It’s putting my thoughts, ideas, and intentions into action. It’s about following my instincts about both things and people. It’s about removing anxiety, stress, and toxicity from my life. Now. Before I need to be scared straight again.
I am thankful to be here to write this.

My life as an egg

When you numb your pain you also numb your joy. ~ Brene Brown

I have one more thing to write before 2015 begins after all.

Yesterday, I had a panic attack about being alone. I don’t mean not being in a relationship, I mean feeling disconnected from the world, away from East Coast family and friends. I never had panic attacks until I lost my relationship and job in 2012, but I guess they are a form of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), maybe? Most of them are about finances, but this was personal. With these moments of panic often come moments of clarity and enlightenment.

While I took a big risk by moving across the country for a new life and I love to travel to new places, I’ve never really opened myself up completely to opportunities or people since I moved. I have RSVPed to events or get-togethers with people I didn’t know, then chickened out at the last minute. I wanted to go, but I was afraid. Sometimes I attended, but I would quickly exit. I just arrived home from Hawaii and realized that while I was there, I did the same thing. I spent a lot of time with new friends that welcomed me into their fold, but I also would retreat to my hotel when I could. Part of that is because I’m an HSP and crowds and activity can overstimulate me. However, I also think it’s because I am drained from keeping my guard up.

On Christmas Eve, I watched one of my favorite movies again, French Kiss, but with different eyes. It has comedy, romance, France, a great wine moment, and it has a woman like me, a crazy chick who takes a risk that goes against her grain. However, she discovers along the way that she had been living a very closed life.

As I thought of all of this, it hit me. I am like an egg, closed, afraid to break open. I’m afraid of someone breaking through the shell that I’ve built around me for two and a half years. I’m afraid of not being accepted. I’m afraid of rejection. I’m afraid to really live. My chiropractors have known this for seven months, as they have had to open me up physically nearly every week.

In 2015, this egg will be ready to crack open. What good is an egg with an unbroken shell? The shell is meant to be removed to get to the deliciousness inside. I know it will be a process to let go of my fears, but it’s all about baby steps. It’s about peeling the shell away one piece at a time. And just wait until you see what’s inside of me.


Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015

Autumn in the vineyard

Autumn in the vineyard

If I could describe this year in one word, it would be crazy. Who in the hell packs up and leaves the life they know, their comfort zone, their family, their friends, their people, the South, the reality they have known all of their life, and moves across the country to start a new career? I’ll tell you who. This crazy girl.

It’s been a roller coaster of a year. The first phase was bliss: I can’t believe I live and work here. Every season is gorgeous, well, except the pouring rain right now. I pass famous vineyard after vineyard every morning on Silverado Trail and in the beginning I was thinking, “Holy shit, I LIVE here!” There’s wine everywhere. People drink and give wine away like it’s water. I have about 90 bottles right now and started out with 24 when I moved and I am drinking wine multiple days per week.

The second phase is reality. Napa is expensive. My apartment is a third of the size and over triple the rent of my apartment in Virginia. Fresh food is abundant, but costly. Gas is higher than in much of the country. My old car had two major, unexpected repairs. Health insurance finally kicked in and I realized I need a dentist, doctor, and medications. I also needed a veterinarian for my cat. Reality exists in Napa Valley. I finally went to a chiropractor after having been in pain since December 2013 and realized that’s one of the best decisions I’ve made this year. Because of my chiropractic care, my overall physical and mental health have improved. I no longer have the pain I had. I’ve cut out most of the daily medications I was taking for allergies and other things. I now take one allergy medication and a couple baby aspirin per day (confession: I’m terrified of having strokes like my mom and uncles had, even though I’ve never smoked like they did). I also discovered along the way that I’m not really like about 80% of everyone else. That was a big reality check. There’s also the reality that every job has its good and not-so-good days, even at a gorgeous winery in Napa Valley.

The third phase I’m going to call the holidays alone. It’s the time of year when my dad passed away. My mom is in a nursing home in North Carolina. I’m in a place far away from my people. Strangely enough, in a place that is often festive with an abundance of wine, food, and events galore, it’s been hard to connect with people here. I knew a ton of people here via social media, then I arrived, but my social life is meh. There’s also the “I have no one to spend the holidays with” syndrome, which has been going on since 2012. This is my third year trying to arrange things so as to not be alone. In fact, this past month, my coping mechanism has been crazy-ass travel: Philadelphia, Seattle twice, and Asheville. I needed to get away and be with my people.

Although most days I feel like I am where I want to be, there are some days I really struggle. I miss people from the East Coast, I battle loneliness, and I have sleep issues from the stress of such a big life change. Sometimes it feels like me against the world. I owe an apology to those I’ve maybe leaned on a little too much this year, but I am thankful to have you, too.

Today was one of those challenging days. Both the rains and my tears flowed most of the day. However, at the end of the day, I discovered an unexpected blessing. A much-needed blessing. It was in that moment I truly felt like the Universe may not have forgotten me after all and I was filled with a bit of hope. After the rain and tears stop, there’s something beautiful to behold. Someone at work told me that when things get crazy tough, just go running through vineyard to clear my mind. I think she’s right. Running through the vineyard sounds like a much better idea than tears.

I’m ready to get back to the bliss phase in 2015. And admittedly, it’s still there inside of me when I allow it. I still say to myself, “Holy shit, I LIVE here!”


I am strong. I trust my foundation.

I have a chiropractor who believes in the mind-body connection like I do. Every visit she adjusts me based on zones, which have both physical and emotional components attached to them. I have finally reached the maintenance level of chiropractic care, but every now and then I have what I call a relapse. Today was one of those days and I knew it before I arrived for my appointment. Throughout the day, my physical discomfort increased relative to the emotional pain I was experiencing. I tend to repress my feelings, which affects me physically. I required a complete adjustment tonight.

After my adjustments, my chiropractor always provides me with an affirmation for my 15-minute rest period. Tonight’s was:

I am strong.
I trust my foundation.

I repeated my affirmation and thought about what it meant for me.

I know I am strong. I know I am a survivor. However, what is my foundation? What are my core beliefs and values?

When I think of myself, these descriptors come to mind:



Risk Taker


In spite of everything that has happened to me, sometimes I am still guilty of doubting my own strength. I allow things to shake me to my core, to my foundation, if you will. I analyze and question myself. After repeating this affirmation, I realized there is nothing wrong with me. I am still strong. My foundation is solid if I just believe and trust in myself. I can only be shaken if I allow myself to be shaken. I will only crumble if I allow myself to crumble. It’s all about my choices and my reactions to the world around me.

My revised affirmation:

Choose myself.
Choose strength. 
Choose to let go.
Choose to grow.


Dear Universe

AreYouThereGod may be found at the following website: http://www.eatthebooks.com

AreYouThereGod may be found at the following website: http://www.eatthebooks.com

OK, so I almost wanted to call this post Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret. Anyone else remember this young girls’ coming-of-age book? And to think when I read it back in the day, I was only terrified of getting my period for the first time, growing boobs, and wearing a bra. If only life were this simple.

Turns out that life is much more than that.

I do have one piece of good news to report. I had my second clean chiropractic scan tonight. It had been a long 10 days since I was miraculously clear after the box purge. Because I was so clear, I received a minimal adjustment. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Let’s see if I can stay clear for the next 14 days, as my next visit isn’t until August 13.

Now to the not-so-good news. For this, I have written a letter to the Universe.

Dear Universe,

So yeah, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. At least according to Kelly Clarkson. But this song is so 2011-2012. It’s 2014. Cut me a freaking break already. 

Don’t you think I have had enough life’s strength training? I promise to utilize what I have learned and keep working out on my own if you could please just let up on me a teeny tiny bit. I have a fitbit, you know. You can track my ass.

Is it because you are still testing me? Trust me, I could bench press a Hummer right now. What have I done to deserve this?

Maybe you think I’m a cool, single crazy cat lady. Of course this is true, but seriously. Where are humans when you need them? Where is the love?

Or is it because you are trying to save me? Could it be that I need to trust you, trust life? It’s just so damned hard to do it all alone.

Please bring back the simple life, like periods, boobs, and bras, K? I’d be good with an old-fashioned game of Spin The Bottle, too.

Holding out for a hero,

The Mind-Body Connection

I am writing this post to thank him for sending me my belongings back and to thank my chiropractic team. If it weren’t for last week’s craziness, I might still be struggling with my physical pain and progress and my inability to keep moving forward.

However, the mind has a funny way of affecting the human body. On Thursday, July 17 afternoon, I took my life back and let go of the past by throwing these belongings away. Early evening that same day, I had an appointment with my chiropractor. He told me how tight I was in my middle back. He administered a powerful adjustment.

Tonight, four days later, my chiropractic scan was the clearest it has been in the two months since I started. In fact, I didn’t receive an adjustment at all tonight it was so clear. We had a four-week assessment session and I am now scheduled for adjustments once per week instead of twice per week. Even more interesting is that my affirmations for this session were, “I have forgiven. I’m letting go.” My chiropractor said she could even see this improvement in my face and my eyes. I was so profoundly affected by this visit that I couldn’t sit still resting for 15 minutes like I was supposed to. I was too excited about this breakthrough.

If you are someone who is still skeptical of the mind-body connection or the importance of love and spirituality in one’s life, then I encourage you to consider this as evidence that what we feel affects how we feel. I also recommend considering chiropractic care as a means to relieve physical pain and open yourself up to change, progress, and an improved quality of life.


The day I want to forget

Sunset at Timber Cove Inn

Sunset at Timber Cove Inn

It was two years ago on Wednesday night, June 27, 2012, a summer night much like tonight, that my boyfriend called to dump me over the phone. We have never spoken since, but he did keep my belongings and never returned them to me, which to this day still bewilders me. The last contact was a check he mailed to me for an airline change fee for a ticket I had booked to visit him. Not ever having contact again was my choice and I stand firm in that decision. Anyone who doesn’t have the courage to face me after the end a 15+ year relationship does not deserve anything else from me.

So why can’t I forget this two years later? God knows I have tried and am trying. I just had a four-week assessment with my chiropractor Monday of this week and I still have not stabilized, so I have started another four weeks of sessions. In our assessment session, we revisited questions she had asked me on my first visit: happiness, stress, sleep, mobility, etc. The question with which I have made no progress is how loved I feel. My perception of feeling loved remains the same. I believe that my physical progress is being inhibited my inability to move beyond the aforementioned loss of love. I have not gone on a date, nor had a relationship in two years. Love has not been replicated in my life.

During my sessions, my body has improved, but not without setbacks. I can feel the back and forth both physically and emotionally. When I have a very powerful session, my mood dramatically improves. The mind-body connection is real and has never been more real to me than during these past four or five weeks as I open myself physically and emotionally to change and improvement.

Tonight’s chiropractic affirmation was “Love and forgive yourself.” I do love myself. I believe I am more courageous than I ever thought I could be. I am proud of my resiliency and ability to survive in the world alone, so it’s not self-love with which I am struggling, it’s my perception of being loved by others after the most painful rejection of my life.

It begs the question of you, anyone who reads this. How do I let go and stop allowing him to enter my thoughts and preventing my progress? Can I release my thoughts through my continued chiropractic care? Are there other methods of release I can try? I am exercising more and trying out yoga. Anything else for a gal on a budget in California? Let me know in the comments.