Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Fear & Loathing in Los Angeles


It has been a minute since I last posted.

Many minutes really. Hours… days… months…

Who’s counting? 

Somebody is and I am grateful for those of you who are and keep asking me to post. You are the reason I am sitting here today attempting to write this blog. I make no excuses, life is simply happening at full speed all around me. Back to school, back to life back to reality… Problem is, I didn’t know I had left.

Summer, I realize, is a mind, body experience. It was like a Calgon moment on steroids that took me away with out me ever knowing it. Now I am faced with the paralyzing notion that I don’t want to go back!

Come back from where? It wasn’t as if I didn’t work and took the summer off.  In fact, I worked most days, I finished my next book, I took care of my family, traveled a bit, visited some relatives, got a haircut and so on and so on and so on… I’m exhausted; one may think I would welcome the back to school bonanza.

However, I did not drink the kool aid and the last month has been both an eternity and a flash.

I have questioned it all; my work, my goals, my geographical location, school, friends, life, love and pursuit of happiness.

On the ride to school today, I noticed a billboard for Allstate Insurance.
It sent my brain into overdrive. Life insurance… wills… time… I am mortal and not immune. It read…

“The butterflies you are feeling should be from love not fear.”

Talk about a wake up call.

I realized at that moment that I was filled with butterflies from fear not love. It was fear that was paralyzing me. Fear of transitions and finding balance and no more escapism…OH MY! What has happened to me?

The vortex of LA has finally got the best of me. It has sucked me in, spit me out and here I sit at the corner of how did I get here and where am I going next?

I was never scared of anything.
And then I had kids.

Why does it have to change? Better question to pose at myself… How did I let it change?

I JUST WANT TO GO BACK TO THE BEACH!

I don’t want to deal!  With any of it…

Somehow the responsibility of it all has just gotten the best of me and I feel worn out.

The words of Hunter S. Thompson ring in my ears,

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”

Somehow his words comfort me. They give me a pat on the back and assure me I am supposed to be worn out. I’m doing just fine and exactly where I should be.

“Give yourself a break Kimberly” I hear being yelled at me. Was that Hunter? No not really just my inner-self attempting to move on from my momentary lapse in consciousness. However, I think he would say to me, “Who is the happier woman, she who has braved the storm of life and lived or she who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?”


Thank you for your words Hunter.  Here comes the happiness and the butterflies from love people because I am braving the storm of life. Bring it on! 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sharks & Minnows, revisited



February 28, 2014

Studio City, CA

Finally the rain has come... all I want to do is light a fire, curl up with a book and hide a way.

Not my reality... breakfast... lunches... kids to school... work... life... READY SET GO...

So not in the mood! 
I begrudgingly pulled myself out of bed and somehow reached the coffee maker. I heard my phone ringing and ringing and ringing... REALLY... it was only 6:45am.

I answered and like most of the things that I don't want to do it turned out to be the thing I needed most. 

After 5 minutes hearing out a friend in need, I quickly threw my reality back into perspective.  As we were saying goodbye she thanked me for sharing  my words and how a post I had written over a year ago entitled Sharks & Minnows got her out of bed today.

I needed help getting out of bed today... and I have no time to write so I oblige my friend and share again with you...

Sharks and Minnows

I am, as I write, happily in a reclined position, poolside, watching my girls play sharks and minnows in the pool.

Notwithstanding the joyful embrace of the above, equilibrium is off… I feel out of sorts…

Is mercury in retrograde?

The air is heavy, it’s so hot and the energy seems to be sucked away by the heat.

The past week has held a myriad of mishaps from my car getting plowed into to misc. missed appointments and meetings that mysteriously were evaporated from my calendar to juggling the trials and tribulations of navigating kindergarten with twins and their first week of school.

And I ask myself, “Why am I so exhausted?”

How is summer over already? “Time flies” is an understatement.

A week and a half ago I was in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, approximately 130 nautical miles from Ensenada in Guadalupe Island. It is referred to as “the western frontier of Mexico” and is a 7 million year old volcanic island that sprang from the ocean’s floor.

I was off the grid… on a boat with 20 people… the only other being’s I saw for 5 days were Blue Whales, Elephant Seals, and Great Whites… Oh My!

Today, 10 days later, here I am poolside watching my 3 girls playing Sharks and Minnows of all things…how ironic.

I laugh to myself as I recall my emotional voyage out to sea, curled up in the fetal position, crying to my husband. I was sea sick, hating the boat and the claustrophobic room. I was feeling irresponsible and a terrible parent for leaving our 3 girls at home while we swam with Great White Sharks… unreachable for 5 days. Really?

I am back in the moment as my girl’s laughter attracts my attention. “Sharky, Sharky come out and play.” 

They splash in the pool as my eight year old, the Shark chases her two little sisters, the minnows.

I think back to my real world sea world adventure that already seems so long ago. It truly was one of the most amazing experiences ever.  After I got over the first night and awoke to the beautiful sunrise, the rest was a “Bucket List Item.”

Life Changing!

I was captivated by the daily show; with the beach as their stage, the seal pups play in the tide pools. The elephant seals leave their babies at 2 weeks of age. They must fend for themselves thereafter, 14 days old and they must learn to swim, find food… all of it… on their own.

How do those mama seals do it?  I can barely hold back the tears as I break away from the clinging arms wrapped like a straight jacket around me when it’s time to say goodbye to my 5-year-old twins in their separate kindergarten classrooms. Hang on loosely I tell myself… always.

Emotions have run wild this past week, excitement and anticipation about kindergarten. All of us parents feeling the same, going through the same anxiety and influx of new beginnings that our children are navigating.

Two weeks ago while I cried to my husband, Michael, on the boat, he reminded me that he fell in love with my sense of adventure. He reminded me that I tell my kids daily to live everyday as an adventure. Yet there I was filled with fear, not wanting to go, feeling as if I had made a terrible choice by leaving them at home.

Visions and headlines filled my head with “WIFE OF WHITE MIKE EATEN ALIVE BY A GREAT WHITE!”

Didn’t happen… I am here alive and well.

I think of my little girls… they have been feeling much of the same…  swimming in their own school of sharks. They are having great new adventures although it is unfamiliar and may be scary and amazing all at the same time. 

It is all a matter of perception.

Just like The Great Whites. The reality is, folklore aside, those strong, beautiful, majestic creatures, are not interested in us.  Humans are a threat to them and the reason they are nearly extinct. In fact, Sharks are such a great example of people’s perception being fed by fear and how it imposes on the greater good. It all feels intimidating, until you get right up close and experience the reality; it is not at all as it seems.

One of the greatest parts of my shark adventure was that I was ignited with a sense of wonderment, as if I were a child again.

It was a time of firsts… Remember what it is like the first time you taste, see, feel, or experience something.

Not only was it the first time I had gone diving with sharks. It was the first time I have ever been so far away from my kids. No phones, no Internet, no nothing.

Being so out of reach freaked me out. But that’s just it; anything can happen, anywhere, at any given moment (by recent example, car crashing into me).  Being a control freak this continues to be a very difficult concept for me to grasp. My morning mantra “let go of all fear and open to trust. “

I am again brought back into the moment as my girls stand over me, getting everything wet.

“Mommy want to hear the Rose and the Thorn from our first week of school?” asks my 8 year old.

They all talk over one another and raise their hands to go first.  The noise reminds me of the seal pups barking in Guadalupe.

My 8 year old, “ The thorn is that I am not with my BFF! The Rose is we play at recess.”

I smile, she’s learning.

My 5 year old, “ The Rose was when you picked me up. The Thorn when you left me. I missed you so much.”

I feel a familiar pang in my heart.

My other 5 year old, “ The Rose was it was a boy’s birthday and we ate cupcakes. The Thorn was I couldn’t have two.”

They are all laughing and happy and I realize this is their journey. I cannot protect them and make their new adventure all nice and cozy. They will experience all in their individual way.  And as much as I want to be there for every minute, I won’t be. Whether swimming with sharks in the sea or at a meeting, I am on my adventure and they are on theirs. 


I remind myself that when we all live life to its fullest and have daily adventures, we have great stories to share at dinnertime.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Slow Dance



I know better than to watch the news…

This morning, however, I had a rare extra 20 minutes. It felt like a little slice of heaven… pure solitude.

Kids were at school… my husband their means of transportation... and there I sat. Alone, in quiet, with a cup of coffee, still in my nightie with a moment of, “what shall I do?”

I stole a glimpse of my computer sitting across the room…. It yelled at me to pick it up and answer the 1600 e-mails and get to work. My attempt to silence the Apple began with grabbing the remote. Matt and Al and Savannah smiled at me and shared the headline news.

What was I thinking grabbing that remote… Plane crashes and Schizophrenics and Al Qaeda… I should have paused. Just like that I turned my solitude into chaos.

A choice… In a moment… I should have paused. My brain got the best of me and immediately began spiraling with its own private conspiracy theories.

The Apple yelled at me across the room, “I told you, you should have picked me up…” Shoulda coulda woulda…. I quickly turned off the tv and obliged the Apple. The first e-mail was from a friend. It included a poem written by a young girl...

Her words inspired and moved me in so many ways. With her words in my head, I danced through my day.

Slow Dance

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain slapping on the ground?
 Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading light?

You better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.

Do you run through each day on the fly?
When you ask How Are You?
Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done, do you lie in your bed?
With the next hundred chores, running through your head?

You’d better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.

Ever lost touch, let a good friendship die.
Cause you never had time to call and say, “Hi.”

You’d better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last. 

When you run so fast to get somewhere,
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift thrown away.
Life is not a race. Do take it slower.
Hear the music, Before the song is over.



Talk about a reminder to pause!  When I’m hurried and future fucking myself, I get ahead of myself.

These words remind me to pause, to stop and smell the roses – so to speak. Constant reminders are necessary in ones day to day. Right now during these holidays I need reminders in my minute to minute.

The energy in the streets puts me in a HolyDaze!

 When I think of a slow dance, memories wash over me as if I am watching a movie. I am 5 years old, dancing on my grandpa’s shoes…. 9th grade, Skynyrd, Stairway to Heaven…. First dance at my wedding…. and so on… I can hear the music, and I immediately slow down….

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

'Tis the Season


It is December 3rd and 70 degrees in Southern Cali…

That in itself makes it difficult for me to get in the holiday spirit.

That and the fact that I feel like Holidays 2012 was yesterday. How has a year passed already? The minute I leave the comfort of my house however, I am accosted with reminders that it has… Lights… Santa’s… Menorahs… It’s all happening… it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… and we are smack in the middle of Hanukkah.

I feel like the “Grinchess” who stole Hanukkah… Calling Scrooges everywhere, I need a visit from ghosts of Xmas past.

Nativity scenes and tree lots and carolers… OH MY!

I find comfort with the lazy shopkeepers who have yet to get rid of thanksgiving turkeys decorating shop windows. 'Tis the season to be Jolly… Fa la la Sounds more like ‘Tis the season to be grumpy… in my head!

Holiday music feels like nails on a chalkboard … I turn down the music on the car radio only to be succumbed to the louder noises in my head. Holiday music means presents… I haven’t shopped… just adding to the list of TO DO’s, which at this point looks more like a list of all the things I haven’t done.

Perhaps it’s the leftovers from last week. And I don’t mean the turkey. Parents, in laws… all of it… I am combusting in the aftermath… I am exhausted.

I seem to have a major case of the blah hum bugs.

I remember the days that the warm glow from the fire actually warmed me. And the thrilling anticipation of getting just what I wanted thrilled me. And the wonderful sense of giving filled me. It wasn’t that long ago… was it?

I feel like Dorothy clicking her ruby red slippers… I want to go back there.

I understand now why bears hibernate… they are smart. They wake up and tis the season has passed and they are well rested. Sounds like heaven. I am trying to remember when I lost sight that the world was my oyster. When life was without responsibility, and I magically received gifts I wished for. Oh yeah, it was when I became an adult! As if I needed a reminder, the holidays seem to be screaming at me, “YOU ARE NOT A CHILD ANYMORE!” Damn! What is happening to me? I love to shop and give and surprise my kids and family and friends. All of a sudden it seems holiday shopping is merely a form of torture. I am hanging on to the fact that my kids think the Grinch is cute. That is until Mommy turns into one.

OK Lady… this is where the road intersects… your choice… You may withdraw or do what you do best, plunge into action as a brave warrior in a losing battle.

I know, I know, as an adult, my delight comes from the realm of my inner child.

It is my job as a parent to help my children learn how to turn that delight on for themselves. It should be enough knowing what I know and seeing so many adults who are still learning how to create their own happiness and spend too much time waiting for someone else to turn that light on for them.

I will not let this case of the Blah Hum Bugs get the best of me. Kimberly Muller get it together…

I close my eyes and visualize me turning my light back on. I learned long ago when I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus, that the secret in approaching the holidays is not to wait for others to make us happy; it is for us to create our own happiness.

What can I say; we all have momentary lapses of consciousness.

Bring it on Santa…

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Gratitude...


“Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”
                                       ― A.A. MilneWinnie-the-Pooh


It's that time of year... my kids come home bearing armfuls of art... reciting pretty prose... and singing seasonal songs... It''s all about Thanksgiving... 

I am not quite ready for 'Tis the Season. My children, however, have been getting into the holiday season and have started decorating. First, they made a table cloth with a piece of old linen and using leaves as stencils, went to town with fabric Spray Paint.

Once that was finished they turned a tree that I have been holding onto - certain it will make a comeback - into what they have named their Gratitude Tree. They wrote all the things they were grateful for on paper leaves and hung them with twine.

It's an ongoing ritual that began a week ago, and I love that nightly dinner conversations have continued to be about gratitude and how much we have to be thankful for.

I found myself telling them that we should be grateful everyday... all year... not just at Thanksgiving time....

I quickly reminded myself what we were talking about and got back to gratitude and was grateful for that moment.

IN THE WORDS OF CICERO, "Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others."



 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Naked Lunch

“There is only one thing a writer can write about: what is in front of his senses at the moment of writing... I am a recording instrument...” -William S. Burroughs “Naked Lunch”

I know I must record what I am seeing…  

It is a 78 degree, gorgeous day on a Saturday in November. The sun is hot but there is a fresh feel to the air that comes in the fall.

The water is surprisingly warm and a flock of children play beneath me in the sea. The waves crash and are spotted with surfers in bright colored wet suits, gliding on boards like a magic carpet ride.

I sit high on this vantage point where I can see it all, taking the place of NO LIFEGUARD ON DUTY.

Some of the older kids are still riding the waves on this majestic day in southern Cali, while the smaller ones have retreated to the tide pools that have revealed themselves as the tide makes its way out to sea. There is a scurry of activity as they are busy investigating sea slugs and starfish and bright red fighting crabs.

The air is growing colder as the sun hides behind the hills. Right on cue, I smell the start of a bonfire being built below me in the sand. I hear a child crying about the clothes his mother packed for him to change into. She doesn’t want to argue (I can relate) and tells him he doesn’t have to wear them, so he takes this quite literally and happily runs off in his birthday suit. Minutes later he returns with a few of the flock that had been frolicking earlier, they too are now naked.

I should mention that these kids are between the ages of 1 to 6, just as a precursor to what happens next.

The fire is keeping them warm, when a little girl around 4 announces that she is hungry, and gathers them all. The mom begins to pull out snacks as the kids swarm her like a bunch of starving seagulls. She whistles, they are at attention; she asks them to all sit down as she prepares the food.

A couple approaches the bonfire and tells the Mother that she should put clothes on the kids… I may add that there are now approximately 9 children all sitting around the fire (a few of my kids included) in various stages of undress...

The mother is taken by surprise and answers, “I don’t think that is any of your business…” and continues passing out snacks.

The couple does not budge and continues about how it is not appropriate… The Mother turns to them and without a beat removes her sweatshirt, uncovering a bathing suit and says, “this is a private beach…” as she removes her top.

Her son looks up and says, “Look everyone Mommy is joining our Naked Lunch…”

I laugh out loud for so many reasons and give my friend a thumbs up from above.

The couple, now speechless, shook their heads and continued their walk down the beach.

I stand high on my perch, taking it all in… My friend looks up and smiles as she quickly puts her sweatshirt back on, its now 4:30 and getting cold. The kids are never cold as they sit unphased and continue their snack time aka geniously proclaimed “naked lunch”.

I give my friend a round of applause that is joined by a few others who saw what had occurred.

I am so inspired by my friends’ bold choice in this situation. It’s such a great reminder that no matter what the situation, we choose our reaction. Every moment we are presented with situations that allow us to make choices. It is all a matter of perception and we all view the world through individual filters. We each have the ability to choose how we perceive any event in our life. It is up to us to exercise this power of choice in every circumstance, every day of our life.

I see in this moment so clearly the difference between the people who "get it" and have a strategy to create the results they want - and those like the couple, who don't and just complain and are stuck in their own way.


The big kids are now all out of the water and have taken refuge by the fire. I climb down off my rock to join them and am overcome with a feeling of freedom. Is it the sea…  or this spot? Really I think it’s the affect of my friend’s bold move. Like Robert Frost said, “Freedom lies in being bold.”
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