Thursday, July 24, 2014

Not My Turn....Yet (Day 684)

 “The next time you feel slightly uncomfortable with the pressure in your life, remember no pressure, no diamonds. Pressure is a part of success.”
  - Eric Thomas

Far too many months, I have been sitting in idle.I haven't given up.  I can see the mountain top, but the trails leading to it are so tangled up with miscellaneous obstacles at each step before me.  I'm exhausted mentally, emotionally and physically.  I'm relentlessly fighting for my health and life every second of the day.  Despite my will to endure what comes my way, each tick of the second hand is a reminder of yet another second gone by without my achieving my dreams.   Everything has become a chore, even trying to relax to sleep at night brings me tremendous anxiety. I'm still homeless and have no idea where I will live in just a couple months. I had high hopes at the end of April that my answer, my turn, had arrived when the Section 8 Housing WAITING list announced an opening for 500 people in the county I currently work and "reside".

With a renew burst of enthusiasm, I thought THIS must be the Universe's answer for me. I thought for sure my being homeless would grant me a spot with some type of assistance, even if it is just temporary,  in affording a home once again. However, this feeling of sheer bliss was shattered when I learned the selection of the 500 people was not based on need. The selection was to be a lottery. Yes, you read that correctly a lottery. This meaning someone already in a home qualified as long as they met the required income. Much to my dismay, for many reasons,  over 3000+ people filled out an application hoping they, too, would randomly be selected by a computer to be a lucky “winner” of one of the 500 spots on the waiting list. Once again as a homeless person, I find myself a number, not an individual with a name, just another randomly assigned number in the system of survival.

Using a "vacation day" from work, I took a "trip" to the Division of Housing and stood outside in a sardine packed line of humans that wrapped around a building the length of at least four city blocks. At least it was a cool Spring sunny day--not too hot and no rain.  Police were there to silently make a statement to the herd of unfortunates not to get out of control. Standing next to the application tables with their guns visible in their holsters they spoke only to the Housing Authorities and paid no attention to the growing line. I couldn't help to chuckle to myself as my mind flashed back to Super Storm Sandy.  When the Governor placed almost the entire state under gas rations using even and odd license plates, police stood guard at the handful of gas stations to control crowds. Apparently homeless people are too ignorant to comprehend order and rules when the opportunity of a possible roof was placed before them. I guess they felt we were a wild herd of humans that would stampede the Division of Housing.  Being the decision to make it a housing lottery, it made no difference if you were the first or last application.  The drawing was to take place a month from now. Did they REALLY need to waste the tax payers' money for the show of police over a housing lottery?  Simple rules.  One application per person! Fill it out! Turn it in! Pray your heart out for a winning housing voucher! PUH-LEAZE!

Insulted by the visual message presented, I turned away from the shiny badges and guns and fixated my eyes on the long line of somber faces eagerly waiting the chance to complete a voucher for the housing lottery. Despite being homeless, I felt guilty completing my housing lottery voucher,  as my ears couldn't help to tune into one heart breaking story after another. A single mother of two small children living in a hotel. An elderly widow who lived in an efficiency choosing her medicine one month and food the next to make sure she would not lose the roof over her head. A young pregnant girl who's boyfriend left her and was now sleeping on various friends couches. A man who lost his job during the Recession, despite his education and experience, was too old (62 years old) for the job market and living out of his car for almost 5 years.  A veteran so scarred mentally, physically and emotionally from war he was unable to secure work in a country he put his own life on the line to protect!  My heart was so heavy as one story after another bombarded my brain.  The pain was too much to ingest and as a result my tummy hurt as if someone had pierced it with a butcher's knife.

This pain worsened as I stared at my lottery voucher. My eyes focused  in on the upper right hand corner.  My application number, after just two days out of ten days applications would be accepted, was already in the high 500's.  OVER five hundred people had already submitted an application prior to me; this only accounted for the English version and did not include the Spanish printed applications. I bit my quivering bottom lip as I handed my completed lottery application to the Housing Authority sitting behind a make shift shaded table. 

Upon submitting my lottery housing voucher,  I'm told I need to fill in my home address.  I discreetly explain I'm homeless.  A working homeless; that I work in the county so I do qualify to submit a voucher.  The housing representative either didn't hear or didn't care and demanded I MUST put a home address or the voucher would be denied!  Quite the switch for me, I find myself laughing and repeating, not so discreetly this time, "I'm a working homeless. If I HAD a home address, I would NOT be standing before you!" Yeah, I was shocked by my answer, too, but more blown away by the demand when I clearly marked on my voucher, as indicated, I'm homeless (not helpless folks).  Apparently, as explained to me by the Housing "Authority", the computer would reject applications without a home address (yeah, again, the irony of the system, right?). I'm "advised" to write in an address of a friend, co-worker or local hotel where I was staying?  Denial perhaps homeless people actually reside in one of the richest counties in the United States? It was tempting to use the Governor's address but even he doesn't reside in the county!  Unable to contain my chuckle as my housing lottery voucher is handed back to me for completion,  my brain silently analyzes the ridiculous situation. Brain: "We need a home address in order to get help obtaining a home---let me repeat this to you....we need a home address in order to get assistance from the county housing division...a county agency created to help people GET affordable housing....we"---I cut off the rambling of my brain with a shake of my head and quickly fill in the "home" address line with my work address, minus the suite number.  I figure it's a partial truth since I'm there at least 8 of my waking hours of the day.

I hand in my lottery voucher, again.  The Housing Representative, never looking up at me, took my application, quickly scanned it over, called out "565" and made a copy for me.  Again, never looking up she held the copy up in my direction, mumbled "good luck"; then yelled, "next".  As I turned, my eyes lock with the next person's in line behind me.  We didn't exchange words or smiles, but we at least made eye contact and acknowledged one another.  I walked away with a piece of paper marked with a number, just as I did so many times when I utilized the food pantry.  Feeling drained to the core mentally, emotionally and physically, I hurried to the haven of my car. 

Once I was safely back in my car at the other end of the parking lot, I allowed myself to release the anxiety that had been building up within me for the past 2 hours.  I did not cry but wailed, not just for me but for every single person I saw and heard that day and for every single person who was there on day one filling out an application AND for the others who were going to fill applications out for the next eight days. There were more people in need than there were spots available on the waiting list! I couldn't help to silently whisper, "Why is this happening to me?  Will I ever be able to rebuild my life?  Will I remain homeless?" and then nothing.  I felt nothing.  I said nothing.  For 30 minutes, I sat in my car in a zombie stage staring out my window at nothing.

As I sat in silence in my car, too numb to drive away, I tightly closed my eyes to cease the tears and silently spoke to the Universe.  I begged the Universe to please help those who truly needed it most, as the Universe can see the bigger picture that we can't. Yes, this meant even if I were not to receive a “winning” be it, as the Universe knows best and I placed the outcome of the lottery in Its hands. Wiping away the few residual tears on my cheeks, I felt a bit more hopeful and tried best to use the remainder of my vacation day in a positive way.

A month later, the night before housing informed individuals if they “won” a spot on the waiting list for housing assistance, I once again closed my eyes to speak to the Universe. Once again asking It to please utilize those 500 precious spots for those most in need, even if it meant I would not be one of the lucky lottery recipients. It was a restless night. One without much if any sleep. Excitement and anticipation, but much different than that felt on a typical Christmas Eve night for most.

The next morning, I was informed with "much regret that I was not randomly selected by the computer to receive housing assistance". I will admit not only was I devastated, but I also selfishly cried for 15 minutes. My mind convinced me I was a pathetic failure because I “lost” the chance to have a roof over my head.  I had less than an to hour to compose myself and get to work. I had to act as if everything was normal, regardless of the fact I was to remain homeless with only a few months left to stay in the BB.  All the world is a stage and I am an unwilling actress playing one too many roles to conceal my homeless situation.

After pulling myself together, I stopped in at the local Walmart to use the bathroom to splash cold water on my face in hope of soothing my red swollen teary eyes. On the way out of the store, I saw the elderly widow who was there the same day I was filling out my application for housing. She immediately recognized me and gave me a huge smile and said, “Did you win a voucher, sweetie?” Feeling an all too familiar lump building up in my throat I couldn't get my words out of my mouth. I did my best to fight back my tears, smile and shake my head no.

Her smile quickly vanished, as did the twinkle in her tired blue eyes. “I'm so sorry, sweetie.” With the knot dissipating from my throat, I find the words to ask her if she won the housing lottery. This time, that same knot was in her throat as she fought to hold back her tears but she nodded yes. With no further words exchanged, we embraced in a hug, as if we were old friends, and parted ways after patting one another gently on the back.

Once in my car, in the far corner of the parking lot, I find my tears uncontrollably flowing down my cheeks in a heavy steady stream. This time, however, my heart was so full of gratitude. I knew my not getting a spot, allowed an elderly widow to be able to eat each month, have money for her medication each month AND keep the roof over her head. I thanked the Universe for listening and taking care of those who needed the housing assistance most, even if it meant I was not one of the selected in need. Although it felt at first I'm not loved, deserving, good enough, important enough or worthy of life's basic needs, etc. I know this is not the truth.  I KNOW there is a much bigger picture I can't see; that the Universe DOES see.  It wasn't my turn, yet, but one day it WILL be.

 "I am not alone. I AM connected! I am a part of a bigger plan. The role I am living in this lifetime is important. I AM significant!"

Leafy Greens and LOTS of LOVE!
Vivian Bloomfield:)!
FB pages: "Loving Yourself From The Inside and Out"
                  "Making Change with Coins"

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Spring Awakening (Day 560)

"To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself." ~Thich Nhat Hanh

I woke up at 7 am today to the sound of birds happily chirping. As I rolled out from under the table bed and walked aimlessly to the corner of the BB to relieve myself on the bucket, I looked up and out the BB's window. The welcome warmth of the sun's rays kissed my face as I closed my tired eyes. I smiled.  It has been a long unusually snowy winter with one too many to count days and nights of sub-zero temperatures. Eyes still closed, I took in a deep breath as I sat on my blue bucket too exhausted to move.  My body, mind and soul were completely drained. An unwelcome icky empty feeling permeated my belly washing waves of anxiety through me. 

With my eyes once again opened, I was taken back by how blue the sky looked. In fact, it looked weird. For the past several months, each morning as I sat squatting on the bucket staring out of the BB window, the sky was always some dull or dark angry shade of grey.  My PASSION to write was snuffed there for a quite a while, as it seemed I never had the time nor place to go blog; therefore it became a stress and yet another “chore” to tick off my long list of daily things to do and squeeze into my homeless schedule! Today, however, this was NOT true.  Despite the storm brewing in my belly,  I was joyfully ready to tickle the keys of my lap top with my fingers, as I once not so long ago adored to do:)!

I quickly dressed and cleaned up our little bungalow, grabbed my lap top in determination to find a peaceful place to write. However, as I walked through the barn, I felt this uncontrollable urge to head to the creek. Unknown to me, a MAJOR battle of my body, mind and soul was about to take place.

My mind was desperate to write and release, my soul was screaming for escape and well, my poor body didn't know what to do! At first I just kept heading to my car through the barn. However, each step closer to the lower barn door made my heart heavier, as sobering thoughts invaded my mind. Suddenly, I found myself heading back to the BB with my back pack in hand, as an intense force of anxiety flooded every cell in my body.

I stood in the BB once again staring out the window, in an upright position this time, on both feet. Frozen by  anxiety as to HOW do I spend the day, as it was quickly flying by AND it was to be the last day before I “lose” that extra hour! The year is half over, I still have no idea (or enough money) as to where I will have to move by THIS September—just 6 months away, I'm NO where near my planned weight loss goal, etc. WHAT have I done and accomplished since being homeless?!?!?!

An early Spring wind grabbed the outer screen door to the BB and slammed it shut. Startled, I jumped and abruptly turned. Bringing my focus back to the view just outside the BB window, an inner cry for complete solitude flooded me and a chant of "instant freedom from everything NOW!" rang in my ears.

The next thing I knew I was walking through the partially thawed pastures towards the creek. Despite much of the snow melting from the hammering winter storms, each step I took with my winter boots, snow came up to the calves of my legs. My sunglasses protected my eyes from the sun's glare reflecting off the snow covered ground. With each crunchy footstep into the snow, I could hear the creek calling for me in the near distance.

Safely tucked away in the lower pasture corner, far from anyone's view, the creek displayed a clear bed of rocks in the middle of its rushing waters. I precariously climbed out and over snow covered rocks to the center of the creek and perched myself upon a cluster of dry hot rock. Chunks of ice and miscellaneous debris of Mother Nature's early Spring cleaning swiftly floated by me in the creek. I felt safe upon my little “island”. I took off my winter boots and socks, and stretched out on my rock face up on my back.

I closed my eyes as the sun beamed down upon me permeating warmth in my body from head to toe. It was heavenly feeling, especially as I thought about the long frigid sub-zero nights spent in the BB this winter.  I smiled. The slight cool breeze from the wind rhythmically tossed my hair back and forth in front of my face tickling my nose. The birds continued to chirp, perhaps celebrating Spring. I didn't have the heart to spoil their party and disclose snow was expected next week. Like me, I allowed them to bask in the 42 degree “heatwave” of the moment.

A group of cackling geese trying to re-create their triangle formation after taking flight from a break in a nearby cornfield forced my eyes open as I stared in complete content at the brilliant blue sky above me. I smiled. I closed my eyes. The creek's rushing water was strong.  Its force creating a loud vibrating swoosh against the rock. I found this abnormally soothing and felt myself relaxing even deeper into a tranquil state of complete inner bliss. I  was completely disconnected from the world. The ache in my belly just a few moments ago became a distant memory and I fell asleep. 

This is when it happen, out of no where, I realized I was crying. Every thought, sight and experience since becoming homeless came crashing down on me. It felt like tiny cold hard sharp hail balls were piercing my weary body through my layers of winter clothing.  Every inch of my being hurt from head to toe. A year and half of being homeless swept over me in a matter of seconds! I felt like a piece of drift wood being forced down the creek knocking and banging into everything along the way. I had no control and was being shoved along by a force invisible yet stronger than me.

I couldn't stop sobbing and my heart was pounding in my chest. The wind kept brushing my hair across my face like a tissue wiping away tears as the sun continued to beam its warmth down upon me drying up what my hair was missing. I couldn't catch my breath. When I eventually forced opened my mouth to catch a breath, the sound that came out was in human. It sounded like a wounded animal stuck in a trap. I felt possessed.

“Brain barf” quickly came in erratic waves, some moments so quick that I couldn't recall where and when it took place during my homeless days to date, but others so wickedly vivid and strong! My mind flash-backed to those last few moments where I stood before my apartment door for the last time to lock it. I clearly remember it as if it were yesterday. Solemnly standing on the landing of my apartment, I stared out at the world for the first time in a totally different view not knowing where I was going to sleep that hot and humid night.  The sweat trickling down my back. I recall looking down at my feet and watching myself take my first step away from the safety of the apartment that no longer was mine. I will never forget that first step. It is forever etched in my mind because it took me almost 15 minutes to find the inner and physical strength to take it. I was unsure where the my steps would take me, but I knew I HAD to keep moving in order to survive.

My mind was flashing images of trees flying by me in the sky. I realize I'm looking out the BB windows with taped “x's” on them. The sky is a blackish-green color and angry looking beyond description. The is rain whipping from every direction and the wind is  relentlessly banging on everything or tossing items everywhere that dare cross its path.  This storm is trying its hardest to destroy whatever gets in its way. I'm grabbing my Girls and tucking us under the table bed.  The Girls obey and cuddle up next to me. I'm piling all the quilts around us.  I can hear the metal roof of the barn being challenged by the ferocious wind.  I'm terrified and think tonight I will meet my Maker.  I fear the BB's  windows being smashed by the flying debris in the pasture being tossed and kicked around by the bullying wind. My Girls are in my arms and the layers of quilts tightly over us under the table bed. Despite no noise coming from the animals in the barn, clear as day I can hear the sound of a speeding train getting louder and coming closer to the BB. I realize it's Super Storm Sandy my mind is "barfing up".

I'm in my car too emotionally numb to find the strength, let alone desire, to put the car key into the ignition to start it. I feel lost, hopeless and hungry. I have a worn index card with a number “45”  in my left hand.  I had  just left the food pantry.  I'm scared.  I'm confused. I forgot to bring bags that I don't have. I'm trying my best to learn the “rules”.  Tears. I'm crying. I've failed once again. I'm tired. It's been a long day. I feel a quick twinge in my severely swollen left knee. I lay helpless on the rock trapped by these thoughts that seemed to happen for hours but were only momentarily. My knee. The crutches. I'm hurt. I'm homeless and no one knows, not even the surgeon who completed the operation. I'm in the hospital for 5-6 hours to have surgery. I'm released with stitches, crutches, pain medication and an ice bag to heal. I'm sent back into the world to “Go home, rest and heal in comfort". "Rest is important, keep warm, keep the knee on ice and elevated.” I'm on the BB concrete floor.  My crutches propped against the BB wall. My knee is extremely tender and I have no way to elevate it. I take a pain pill and fall asleep.

Despite the warmth of the sun, a rush of brutally cold air chilled me to the bone. The tips of my fingers hurt, as do my toes. I'm trying to escape the thoughts but my mind won't let me. Instead, I subconsciously pull my layers of winter clothing closer to me and hang on tight as my mind drags me through the past several months of sub zero temperatures and the many relentless snow storms.  I'm up to my knees in snow trying to get into the BB across the pasture.  The lower barn door is trapped behind feet of snow.  The metal gate to the pasture is covered in ice.  I'm picking away at the ice on the gate latch.  I hear coyotes howling in the near distance.  Engulfed by fear, a burst of energy allows me to yank the latch open with my exposed bare hands.  I can't move any faster.  The snow is deep. I fear falling in the ice covered snow.  The coyotes sound closer.  All of a sudden, I'm safely in the BB. I have nails in my hand that I found in the barn and I am hammering them into the BB ceiling to stop the snow from blowing into our little room. 

My fingers are cold and dark red.  My mind has thrown me back outside into the frigid wintery wonderland of snow again.  I'm trying to cross the pasture to reach my car.  I have to get it unburied from the snow.  I can't be late for work.  I can't fall or I will get wet. I can't go to work wet. The snow is knee deep.  I don't have a shovel.  I don't have gloves.  My fingers are so raw and numb.  I must get my car cleaned off. I MUST get to work. My jeans are snow covered from the hips down.  I'm wet.  I'm cold. I'm tired. I MUST get to work. Tears cling like frozen icicles to my long dark eyelashes. Ice is getting into my eyes and it feels like cold hard pieces of broken glass.  I'm trying not to blink, but the gusting winter wind is relentless. I lose control of my body's functions and accidentally blink.  The sharp daggers of the "eye-cicles" pierce the whites of my eyes making me wince. I fight back the tears to stop this vicious cycle! 

I continued to wail  DEEP from within, my eyes shut tight,  as my mind purged thought after thought, too numerous to detail and write. My body and soul were helpless prisoners to my mind.  They were paralyzed in fear trapped on the rock in the middle of the creek, as I uncontrollably cried, unable to break free from its torturing.  Suddenly, like a tornado,  the thoughts just all stopped! I felt as if I had been held under water and was released. I immediately sit up on the rock and take a huge much needed DEEP breath of air. My eyes pop wide open. They hurt but  from squeezing them so tightly shut from the visions raping my mind. The only noise around me is the creek's water rushing by. The chirping birds have flown away, no doubt from the crying nut roasting and "cracking up" on the rock, and I'm left alone!

I slowly stood up on the rock and took another BIG breath air. I was exhausted and felt dizzy. I needed to lie down, but NOT on the rock. I yearned to be under my quilts in the comfort and safety of the BB. Too weak to put on my boots and socks, I walked barefoot back to the BB through the icy creek waters, across the snow, mud and manure covered pasture. I was literally numb body, mind and soul. I didn't even feel the cold of the snow on my bare feet nor the offensive odor of manure I managed to step in during my zombie walk back to the BB. My only desire, deeply driven from within me, was to get back to the BB. I went into auto-pilot by disconnecting myself from everything including me. I felt nothing, smelled nothing and remained focused only on one thought--to get back to the BB. I shut down and locked into survival mode.  A state of mind that has become automatic and all to easy for me to do since becoming homeless. 

Safely back in my cocoon, the BB, I wiped my cold brown stained feet. Despite my toes being beet red, I couldn't feel them. I stripped off my layers of clothing down to a t-shirt, hoodie and sweats, curled up under my table bed and fell sound asleep for SIX hours! It was only 10 am.

I woke up around 4 pm to write this post. My dreams were many and vivid during those 6 hours of sleep, packed with both horrific and peaceful flashback moments. I believe today I allowed myself for the first time, since becoming homeless over a year and a half ago, to listen to my soul and mind by letting down my guard and stepping out of survival mode. These last several months have been especially trying for me on many levels. These past few weeks I've especially felt like I'm a failure. I had health goals, financial goals, etc all set during this journey but not having reached all of them to the level I had anticipated nor the time frame I had initially set.

I believe today that going down to the creek bed was The Universe trying to show me I AM strong or I would NOT have endured, let alone survived, just the physical aspects of being homeless, especially while keeping it to myself! Perhaps not all my goals have been met---yet, but I had NUMEROUS ones tacked on by the Universe with reasons I know that will make sense as my journey moves forward and unveils my future and its purpose.

I believe, too numerous of times to count, in these past 1 and ½ years, I sabotage my own efforts because I don't have the answer NOW as to WHAT IS the purpose of my journey. Fear sets in and pushes ALL the Universe's love away: self-love, receiving love from others and being able to give love to others who enter my life, if only for a brief moment!  This past week I'm starting to realize that yes, my JOURNEY is MINE, BUT its purpose belongs to the Universe. Right now, my job, and ONLY job, is to remain focused on my goal of becoming a healthy and happy person body mind and soul. There is no need to waste precious energy or time worrying about the outcome of my journey, because it already has been determined by the Universe. Yes, it's done and PATIENTLY waiting for me:)! This applies to everyone. The key is trusting and believing in yourself, as well as the Universe.

"I choose happiness over sadness. I choose freedom over bondage. I choose to love myself without judgement. I feel joy pumping through my veins."

Leafy Greens and LOTS of LOVE!
Vivian Bloomfield:)!
FB pages: "What I Ate Along the Weigh"
                  "Making Change with Coins"

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Seeds of Love In The Organic Aisle (Day 500)

An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.

"An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind."
Mahatma Gandhi 
With a Christmas gift card for groceries, I stopped into a local grocery store to grab some plant food to eat and juice. As I walked around the store, scoping out sales and reviewing coupons to help stretch my gift card, a young girl caught my eye. At first I thought she needed to use the bathroom. As she stood before a shelf of food, she kept hopping back and forth nervously like she had a full bladder.

I looked into her hand held grocery basket. It contained a tiny bushel of asparagus and a pack of plain, unsalted, “card board hockey pucks” (a.k.a rice cakes). Glancing back up at her she now looked extremely overwhelmed. Her stick thin legs in her black tight yoga pants looked like they would snap in half with all the bouncing movement going on.

She was picking up Lara bars and reading the ingredients in each bar. She would place one in her basket, read another and pull the first one back OUT of her basket. Seriously, this went on for OVER five minutes, no lie. She was oblivious I was standing there waiting for the shelf, but I was fine waiting my turn. I kind of chuckled to myself thinking for someone who is so tiny she was occupying the entire shelf with all this uncontrollable movement.  Go use the restroom already so you CAN enjoy your shopping time!

When she suddenly scooted to the left grabbing another variety of Lara bar, I saw my opportunity and took a step forward to the shelf, knowing exactly what three Lara bars I wanted, especially being on sale for JUST $1.00 a piece. As I happily dropped my selection into my basket, the girl abruptly turned and looked at me with the most disgusted horrified look on her face! Her bloodshot eyes gazed me up and down like I was the most repulsive thing she had ever seen, despite my smiling at her. She then looked at the Lara bars I selected and QUICKLY removed the same ones I chose out of her own basket. She literally threw them back on the shelf as if they were contaminated! I was absolutely blown away be her behavior!

Her lifeless eyes again gazed back at me, squinting them with a wrinkled nose,  as she scoped me from head to toe. From the look on her face, I thought she was going to throw up right there in the aisle. I realized my “excess stored energy” was repulsive to her. It became clear to me at this point her need to pee was really just her stressing over WHICH Lara bars to get. She must have been looking not so much at the quality of the ingredients in the bars, but the number of calories they contained, no doubt focusing on the fat grams, as most ignorant young girls do, lacking the knowledge of a whole plant-based lifestyle. This poor girl couldn't make a simple healthy choice. She was literally stressed about eating a healthy bar that contained so many calories (in her mind so many calories).

As my mind quickly registered her non-verbal actions to me, part of me wanted to take ONE of EACH Lara bar and put it in my basket, grab the EXACT bag of rice cakes in her basket, and say out loud to myself, “Oh shoot, I forgot to get my asparagus!” To top it all off, I would've loved to have hugged her and let my "repulsive fatness"  seep through her bulky layers of clothing right into every cell of her body. No doubt she would've died on the spot to have MY fat germs embrace her and invade her “perfected healthy thinness”. Seriously, thinking what I pick to eat will make her instantly fat and so repulsive to look at?!?!

However, instead, I remained calm, wordless and did none of the ego driven ideas previously mentioned. Instead, I kept smiling at her, not sarcastically but honestly sincerely. I couldn't help not to commiserate with her. Here I am trying hard to regain my health and get back to my ideal weight while being homeless. I educated myself on a plant-based lifestyle shed OVER 400+ pounds but became lost in every sense when the recession hit! I can easily recall how wonderful I felt being thinner and healthier verses feeling fat, frumpy and ugly in my current physical state. Yet, this young girl so thin and beautiful obviously felt for whatever reason she was too fat and no doubt also ugly. In her innocent mind, she was fat according to her standards, the ones she conformed to and obviously takes to heart, emotionally, mentally and eventually physically:(!

Despite this young girl projecting those same feelings of ugliness and unworthiness upon me, I could only feel love for her. I wanted to tell her how beautiful she was right now; that she did not need to lose any more weight. I wanted to explain to her how a plant-base lifestyle can give her energy, longevity, keep her health happy, naturally beautiful and maintain her ideal weight. However, coming from my current physical body composition, she no doubt would've scoffed at me and rolled her eyes, further displaying her disgust of my presence in this world.

Strangely enough, such a confrontation as this just a year ago probably would've had me crying in my car while eating a bag of pretzels to “soothe” my injured ego. However, I've grown in many wonderful ways since becoming homeless. I realize her behavior was her OWN insecurities about herself, NOT me! Sure, I'm a heavier version of myself than I wish to be right now, BUT I also have learned HOW to become physically healthy by eating a plant-based lifestyle. I am comfortable and confident in the process of doing so and know with time, determination, persistence and love, I WILL achieve ALL my health goals:)!

Four years ago, I was that young girl. I was not demeaning to others as bluntly as she had been to me, BUT I was extremely insecure about myself and my actions came from my ego despite having lost over 400+ pounds. I still had not learned HOW to LOVE myself, so F.R.E.D (f&#*ing ridiculous eating disorder) was lurking around in my head enjoying all his mind games at the cost of the Unity of MY Trinity!

Without one word being spoken between the two of us, she did a quick cutesy "confident" turn in the aisle, flipping her long blonde hair back, as if to say she was SOOOOOOOOOOOO much better than me because she was thin. I know some day, she will experience this same scenario again, but this time because of the F.R.E.D., who lives in HER head, she will be the “frumpy fat” one smiling love upon a young girl trying to live by the standards society  placed upon her verses learning how to love herself and love others unconditionally in the process.

"I radiate love everywhere I go."

Leafy Greens and LOTS of LOVE!
Vivian Bloomfield:)!
(The Plant-Powered Princess)
FB pages: "What I Ate Along the Weigh"
                  "Making Change with Coins"

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Making Peace With My Mental Monster (Day 497)

Like success, failure is many things to many people. With Positive Mental Attitude, failure is a learning experience, a rung on the ladder, a plateau at which to get your thoughts in order and prepare to try again.

“With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.” – Dr. Wayne W Dyer
Like success, failure is many things to many people. With Positive Mental Attitude, failure is a learning experience, a rung on the ladder, a plateau at which to get your thoughts in order and prepare to try again.

Like success, failure is many things to many people. With Positive Mental Attitude, failure is a learning experience, a rung on the ladder, a plateau at which to get your thoughts in order and prepare to try again.


I believe each and everyone of us seeks (and deserves) to enjoy the abundance in life.  However, there is that annoying little voice gnawing away in the back of our minds preventing us from receiving and appreciating the FULL abundance life has to offer us.  I've previously have named this mental meanie "Negative Nelly and/or Pessimistic Peggy"--again, sorry to those of you named Nelly and Peggy; alliteration just seems to nail this little mental monster straight on the head like a nail! This mental monster (aka Negative Nelly or Pessimistic Peggy) is the creepy little critter in our heads that acts like a barrier to our overall happiness; totally deserving of a few strikes from a hammer!

Mental monsters in our head LOVE to scare us into inaction based on negative comments.  It torments us by whispering cajoling statements such as, "WHO do you think YOU are? You're not good enough, thin enough, smart enough, pretty enough, qualified enough, (fill in the space), etc"....sound familiar?  Many of us have more than one of these monsters living in our heads (yes, Negative Nelly and Pessimistic Peggy have an EXTENSIVE family tree!).

 During the month of December, I can honestly admit I think the ENTIRE Mental Monster clan was residing within ONLY my mind! I'm still trying to shake out the last unwelcome member from my mind but found the following few ideas are helping me to rid ALL of them completely from my mind so I can move forward with my goals and dreams!

I noticed when the thoughts were overwhelmingly negative (which by the way DO lead to unhealthy actions if NOT addresses and stopped!) they limited my life and/or lead me into self-sabotaging behaviors, DESPITE my hard efforts to persevere my dreams and goals!  It was frightening and caused me utter inner confusion. Not only were these negative thoughts destroying the hard work that was placing me closer to my dreams, but they were also shutting down my body, mind and soul.  My Trinity was so panic stricken I found it going totally numb to Negative Nelly.  I felt nothing.  I did not react to things on a physical, mental, emotional nor spiritual level.  I was like a zombie just going through the motions,  Allow me to clarify that it was NOT depression, because I didn't even feel down....just numb, like a dentist injected Novocaine in every part of me!

Negative Nelly had me feeling completely powerless in my own body, choices..heck MY life!  It took time to sort through all these horrific thoughts to draw upon some logic to break free from Nelly's spell.  One major realization was that these thoughts MAY be in my head, BUT they are NOT me nor conducive to my dreams.  They are JUST thoughts and thoughts CAN easily be changed!  It was my choice to decide WHAT I would allow myself to think!; much like a boring dvd, I could just eject the thoughts out of my mind and replace them with ones that nurtured me and my dreams.

I would close my eyes at night and FLOOD my mind with BRILLIANT positive visions of what I desire for my life!  I drenched my mind with these visions, planting and creating the positive energy needed to achieve my dreams.  EVERY inch of my mind was submerged with these visions of love and positivity, leaving NO room for Nelly to do her Nagging Negative dance in my head.  I would always end each vision with words of gratitude and an affirmation to wrap around it, like a secured loved and welcome hug and kiss.

While doing this mental exercise the entire month of December, I noticed on some days it was harder than others to knock Nelly out of my mind.  Mental monsters, like Negative Nelly, tend to multiply and fester when you are not as physically active (hmmm, do you see The Unity of the Trinity here folks:)?).  With the unknown assistance of my client in my part-time job, I noticed on the days I worked with him at the gym, Nelly was easy to put to nap (aka silence her) or she never even woke form her nap to fill my head with her negative gibberish:)!  By being engaged in physical activity, simple as walking the treadmill, rarely did I have to deal with Nelly!

At my full-time job, I sit at a desk all day and Nelly would REALLY give me a hard time!  Trying to concentrate on my work, she was ALWAYS filling my head with her Negative Nelly Nonsense with things I would typically just ignore.  I started to make it a point to GET UP and MOVE each hour. I would walk down and back up three flights of stairs to use the lobby bathroom JUST so I had some physical activity.  It worked like a charm:)! Once back at my desk, Nelly was gone:)!

I HIGHLY recommend to GET UP and become physically active when Negative Nelly starts her Nagging dance in your head!  You can take a quick brisk outside (past those smoking co-workers smoke break because YOU too deserve a 10-15 minute break every 1 1/2 hours!), stand up at your desk and reach down a few times to touch your toes, dance if you work at home or have a private office, etc..the key is to engage in 5-10 minutes of physical activity to shake up the energy source that is feeding the mental monster's mantra in your head.  (Of course, I also recommend trying to engage in 30 minutes of cardio activity every day, too.  Not only will this keep Nelly at bay, but it will also be beneficial to your overall health and weight goals:)!)

I've also experienced times when Negative Nelly makes it extremely difficult for me to make simple decisions:(!  I found by pausing, taking a deep breath and listening to know, that feeling in your gut, the one that tells you to go or stop:)?  This is YOU "talking" and guiding you to the right decision for YOU, not what Nelly tells you what other people think (or will think), what other people will say, etc. No, ask YOU, :What should I do?"; then follow  listen and feel YOUR answer---YOUR decision:)!

As I've shared with your before, I'm a work in progress and continue to learn about myself on my journey.  Life is not about a destination.  Life is about living, learning and sharing the outcome of the experience:)!

"I choose to live MY best possible life.  The Negative Nelly in my mind are not match for me!  I AM powerful, loved and MORE than enough!"

Leafy Greens and LOTS of LOVE!
Vivian Bloomfield:)!
(The Plant-Powered Princess)
FB pages: "What I Ate Along the Weigh"
                  "Making Change with Coins"

Like success, failure is many things to many people. With Positive Mental Attitude, failure is a learning experience, a rung on the ladder, a plateau at which to get your thoughts in order and prepare to try again.


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Backsliding OUT of December (Day 455)

"Winners practice honesty in every part of their life, starting with accepting and acknowledging their feelings. I AM a winner!"--Anonymous

I don't even know WHERE to start with this post!  I had a total tear meltdown last night. I was sobbing so hard that I cried myself right to sleep! My heart was so filled with embarrassment, defeat, hopelessness, unworthiness,  etc.  I woke up twice to "use the bucket".  As a stream of kidney relief was flowing out one end, a flood of tears kept streaming out the other.  HY2 has just been one emotional hurdle after another for me:(!  I'm learning just being in a homeless situation adds more stress to the "normal" daily routine of living making an earning and basic survival.  I've just become numb to everything, despite the magical feeling that surrounds the Christmas season.  I can list ALL the craziness that is taking place in my life right now JUST to survive, but it's ALL excuses and won't change anything until I decide to make changes, just as I had to do in order to shed OVER 405+ pounds the first time just a few short years ago!

Yes, I'm frustrated and angry with myself, so much that I could literally jump out of my own skin right now!  Since September , I felt like a snowball rolling down a hill!  Well, now the snowball has gotten bigger and REALLY out of control!  The entire situation has me SO upset and disappointed in myself! At this moment, I feel like I DO NOT deserve to have a home, be happy, be healthy,  be back to my thinner self, etc BUT I also know it's these exact same negative thoughts that have a lasso around my Trinity and is yanking it in three different directions...all AWAY from one another:(!

I'm silent crying behind my sunglasses in the library as I write this!  I've worked so hard to Unite my Trinity, to better my health and regain my life I fought just a few years prior to save!  Since September, I've struggled physically, emotionally and mentally after such a fabulous summer!  Between the sniffles and tears last night, as I was curled up under the table bed in the BB,  I kept asking myself WHAT is wrong? WHY are you sabotaging your hard efforts? WHERE are you?  WHO are you trying to become?...just a few questions that ran through my head.

I believe I'm just afraid:(!  My weight is a wall if protection.  It went up as protection due to past trauma in my life but I fought with ALL my heart to bring it down and to learn to LOVE me, even if no one else in this world did. I swore to myself I LOVED ME; that was all that mattered!...and down came that wall!  I fought to save my life, a life that I was literally eating myself to death.  As I took the time to LOVE ME, the weight effortlessly came off and my world opened up in so many wonderful and exciting ways, as both a surprise and reward to me.

However, the walls came crashing down and the weight back on, with the lost of my job, being manipulated and utilized by someone for their gain at the cost of my Trinity (no, it was not due to a romantic relationship).  I did not realized until last week what had truly happened and why.  It hit me like a ton of bricks.  During a sleepiness night, as I was curled up in my blankets with the Girls, under the table bed in the BB, with my tiny flashlight reading a book, a passage hit me hard in the heart.  The passage that struck the chord read, "Perhaps it's time to stop looking for someone else to put the spotlight on you and instead, own your story and your power and step into your own light."

This was a MAJOR "WHOA!" moment for me! So much that I wrote these words on a piece of paper and taped them to the table bottom of my BB bed.  When I wake up, it's the first thing I see and the last thing I read at night before shutting off my tiny flashlight on the nights I read. You see, it made me realize I NEVER embraced what I had achieved the first time when I lost my "shield of protection".  I was focused on trying to understand how a "normal" person lived life and to this new world around me now that I could actually participate in it, because I could easily move around due to that lost 405+ pounds. I had no idea how isolated my world was when I weighed 550+ pounds.  I lived parallel to the world, doing my own thing, at my own pace and this became "normal" to me.  Losing 405+ pounds, propelled me into another foreign life.  It was like I was placed in another country with all these new things to see, do and learn!....that was such a HUGE adjustment--very overwhelming, exciting, thrilling, but also EXTREMELY scary!

My mind never allowed me to see nor accept the thinner version of me.  My mind kept me in a prison, telling me I was STILL 550+ pounds. More than once, I had experiences where I didn't recognize my own reflection in a full length mirror and even bumped into my own reflection while walking down a city sidewalk, apologizing to my reflection and realizing it was actually me when people nearby me giggled at my response.  It was SUCH an odd and difficult time. Unfortunately, the people I was around at the time, realizing my struggle (and avoidance) to what I actually accomplished used this to their advantage verses not helping me to adjust to my new body and environment.  I now know better and have learned to listen to my gut.  As I  go forward I will know to NOT place myself in such circumstances or around people I've come to call "energy vampires".  You know, the types that literally suck the very life out of you and leave you drained, a shell and feeling worthless.  People as such WANT to keep you small in my mind, not help you continue to heal and blossom so that you can share your gifts, your journey withe the world.  Instead, they want your journey for themselves to utilize, profit and make themselves feel better.  

Again, I've learned that I gave away my power, which stripped me of my self-esteem and self-worth.  I think my backslide is my being afraid I will allow this to happen again:(!  My mind is literally trapping my body to remain with its wall of weigh for protection. My body is desperately aching and screaming to be its healthier version again.  I know it's an inner turmoil struggle with my Trinity; each part wanting to protect the other and ultimately the main goal to protect ME!

So, with all this said, I pulled out my BELOVED copy of "You Can Heal Your Life" this morning and once again, started reading page one of this book for the umpteenth time!  Each time I have read this book over the past year being homeless, it has helped me focus on my goals and dreams. The words speak to my Trinity, giving it harmony I am seeking.  I was reminded by Louise Hay that I do NOT need anyone's permission to do ANYTHING in my life! NOR do I have to apologize for NOT being "perfect"; that no one is perfect!  MANY successful people HAVE "failed"; the key was they LEARNED from their "setbacks" and  NEVER stopped trying despite their "setbacks". They NEVER stopped visualizing their dreams, regardless how far fetched and impossible they may have seemed to others.  They NEVER stopped believing in themselves and the song in their heart!  

So with all this said, and the tears and the relief of feeling bad for letting myself down subsiding, I realized this time around I HAVE owned my story by blogging and sharing; that I have taken my power back, because my brain is FULL of ideas to utilize what I'm achieving while homeless to not only help me but others, etc.  This time my "wall of protection" will come down in a safe, permanent way that will allow me to blossom and help others, as I continue to grow and give on my journey. 

I remind myself, a technically challenged person, that I taught myself via trial and error HOW to start and create my blog:)!  Simple as it is, I took MY power and am using MY words right now to reach and touch thousands of people ALL over the world simply by sharing:)!  I was amazed to learn that I AM a writer; had I not become homeless, I would never have learned this!  Truly a blessing in disguise! During my journey, I also learned as a child I carried a composition notebook, crayons and pencils with me in a little canvas bag and was always writing and drawing in it!  I NEVER knew that about myself! My inner child is being nurtured and as a result, she is coming alive once again:)!

I know there is much more to share with my journey, even once I get the roof over my head.  I've spent hundreds of hours since being homeless reading about plant-based nutrition, natural hygiene care, healing of the spirit, etc....yes, so much more to share with everyone:)! I look forward to the day when money allows me to attend health lectures so that I can keep learning and sharing.  I look forward to learning how to edit and create videos and possibly have my own YouTube channel:)!  I look forward to learning how to do photography so that I can one day share the visual changes in myself and the environments I lived in, etc:)!  

It is time to take a deep breath and take the time to create a schedule to fit in the activities that soothe my body, mind and soul, so that I can have them united in harmony once again.  Right now, first priority is my health.  With my added part-time hours, I NOW have a CONSISTENT $50 PER WEEK to use for food (oh yes, we need a Bloomfield WAHOOOOOO:)! here!).  I've ignored the scale, been eating WAY too many quick carb meals (aka baked potatoes, popcorn, etc) and now weigh 295:(!Since September, this is a backslide of 20 pounds!...NOT acceptable! I basically have to "lose" myself in weight (150 lbs) to reach the top end of my ideal weight (145 lbs). I can turn this around and have already taken the necessary steps and put a plan of action into place.  Heck, I;ve already proven to myself I CAN and HAVE lost 405+ pounds, I CAN lose 150 lbs!

I WILL be purchasing TWO packs of batteries so that the scale in the BB will ALWAYS be able to weigh me (With it being so cold in the barn, batteries tend to juice out quickly giving me a false reading or not being able to weigh me).  I will also be weighing in ONCE per week at the BB and placing those weekly weigh-ins on my blog and FB and monthly on this blog as a post.  These will be my accountability channels:)!  I've also decided this blog will  be about the daily grind, observations and thoughts of my journey. My new blog will talk about WHAT I'm actually eating/doing to regain my health and losing the weight.  I'm hoping you'll support me by visiting that site, too:)!  As always, I'm grateful to the many visitors who have stopped by my blog:)! 

You see, it's all good...even the backslides, as long as we learn from them.. They aren't here to break us down, but to build our character, inner strength, and to learn how to be humble:)!  Hmmm, did I mention how freakin' fabulous it feels to back on my blog posting:)!?!?!?  WAHOOOOOOOOOO:)! WAHOOOOO:)! WAHOOOOO:)!!

"Today I open my eyes and see the world in a new light. I view it as a child seeing a freshly opened flower for the first time." 

Leafy Greens and LOTS of LOVE!
Vivian Bloomfield:)!
(The Plant-Powered Princess)
FB pages: "What I Ate Along the Weigh"
                  "Making Change with Coins"

 p.s. I have a a BUNCH of drafts that need to be posted to this blog:)!.  I have off December 24th and December 25th (WAHOOOOO) and plan to finish and post them, so be prepared to check in and scroll back to make sure you didn't miss any:)!   

p.s. p.s . As I  was sitting here in the library finishing this post, I just noticed my "home" aka blog, has just reached 18, 500 visitors, since I opened its doors on September 1st, 2012.  THANK YOU:)! for the support, love and company:)!  Here's to an even happier and healthier New Year:)! WAHOOO:)!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Message In A Mason Jar (Day 415)

"It's where we go, and what we do when we get there, that tells us who we are."
Joyce Carol Oates

The Christmas prior to my becoming homeless will forever remain THE best Christmas of my life! I know, pretty bold statement to make considering my life is not over, yet! For one thing, despite being in my 40's, it was my first ever Christmas I actually celebrated as an adult. It was the first time I ever had a decorated Christmas tree in my home AND the tree was REAL! Despite residing in a barn among horses, when I close my eyes, I can STILL smell the fresh scent of pine:)!  My dear friend Jenn was determined to make that Christmas special for me, as she knew I was going through a rough time being unemployed, the backslide in my weight and the uncertainty about my future. (Never in her wildest dreams, nor mine for that matter, did she imagine I would be homeless the following Christmas.)

Literally dressed in a Santa hat and a huge warm smile, she arrived after a 6 hour drive with two elves (aka friends of Jenn) dressed accordingly, with a chubby pine tree tied to the roof of her jeep and a backseat STUFFED to the rim with gifts wrapped in bright cheerful Christmas paper ALL for ME! She and her elves quickly hopped out singing Merry Christmas and embraced me in hugs and kisses. It was truly magical moment deserving of a Norman Rockwell portrait. Like an organized army unit they emptied her jeep, hiking jingling Christmas gift bags and gift boxes up three flights of stairs, not ever once complaining, (nor missing a step for that matter) and proceeded to trim my first ever Christmas tree.

For two weeks, with the lights off, The Girls and I sat on our living room rug in the evening staring up with dreamy eyes at the twinkling white lights reflecting off the shiny metallic purple Christmas balls and silver glittered butterfly ornaments that trimmed our beautiful Christmas tree. The word “BELIEVE” spelled in bold silver letters on a plaque hung just below the tree topper, which was a gorgeous silver butterfly with its wings spread open wide, as if it were ready to take flight into its future at any moment! Truly a tree symbolic of me from trimming to trimming! (Side bar: We did have ONE incident of “someone” climbing the Christmas tree trunk, but we won't mention names, right Suki:)?!).

That Christmas Eve night, I didn't sleep a wink. I can easily recall hearing the church bell in town counting down the hours to Christmas morning with each inching quarter of an hour chime closer to the big day! Needless to say come Christmas morning I was as giddy as a little kid. However, in all fairness, I DO believe the lack of sleep fueled this giddiness, alright, partially fueled it. After all, it had been OVER 20+ years since I had Christmas gifts to open on Christmas Day.

I was hesitant to start ripping the packages open, because I did not want the day to end. I had totally forgotten the excitement of Christmas day and so desperately wanted to hold onto that tingly thrilling feeling for as long as I could! After much inner turmoil (the desire to rip ALL the gifts open at once and the desire to sit with ALL the gifts UNOPEN for the majority of the day) I came to a compromise with myself (although I believe at the time, my inner child was behaving more like the adult), and decided to savor the day by opening TWO presents every hour.

The gift that touched my heart the most was from a sister and a brother. Kaiya, the sister, gave me her gold one dollar Andrew Johnson coin. I later learned from my friend Jenn that Kaiya's dad gave her this coin and she treasured it. However, when she heard about my circumstances via her mom from my friend Jenn, Kaiya insisted her mom send it to Jenn to give me. She taped her beloved coin to a piece of paper and wrote upon it, “surprise -A reminder of God” and adhered one pink smile face sticker and two purple smiley face stickers just below the brilliant gold coin. Likewise, her older brother, Jackson, who was in 6th grade at the time, broke into his piggy bank and gave me his entire savings: $3.81---three one dollar bills, two quarters, two dimes, one nickel and six pennies. He created a handmade envelope to place in his savings, and on that envelope he wrote to me, “Hope u enjoy!:)! Never Give Up!:)”.

As I write this, I'm crying as hard as I did the day I opened their gift. I keep their gift safely secured in a glass mason jar that I got from a thrift store. It sits PROUDLY on the only tiny corner shelf in the BB. Whenever I feel hopeless, or feel like I can't go on, or that my dreams of regaining my health and life will never happen, or that I will NEVER have the needed money to get a home again, Kaiya and Jackson's angelic unconditional gesture of pure love is there BOLDLY staring at me letting me know differently.

Despite their intentions of wanting to give me money to have food, heat, pay bills, etc, I could never (and will not ever) spend their money! Their gift is my reminder that I will NEVER be broke, because I will ALWAYS have $4.81 (of which ONE dollar of that is a special gold coin) but more importantly: I AM LOVED, God is ALWAYS with me and I was NOT built to break!

I placed their precious written notes from their gifts in such a way that Jackson's “Never Give Up” and Kaiya's, “surprise -A reminder of God” faces out for easy access for me to read. Seeing their words written with their innocent handwriting restores my belief not only in myself, but also my Higher Power and the purpose I was placed on this Earth to carry out.  For now, I work hard on believing in myself, having faith and focusing on the meaning behind each every test presented to me as I live as a homeless person.  Although I have no idea WHAT my purpose is yet, I know my Higher Power placed these two little angels' messages/gifts in my life as His reminder to me that everything happens for a reason and it's ALL good and it WILL make sense to me in His time.

"I believe in myself. I can do anything!"

Leafy Greens and LOTS of LOVE!
Vivian Bloomfield:)!
FB pages: "What I Ate Along the Weigh"
                  "Making Change with Coins"