Wake and Sea is the name of our little beach home and the name has layers of meaning for me and my husband. First of all, it means “wake up and see God’s abundance,” for when I’m at the beach, there is just so very much that I see and hear and feel that fills my heart with gratitude, and I just plain feel good when I’m here. My favorite pastime in the whole wide world is beach combing for seashells and, since Holden Beach usually has lots of piles of shells to look through, I consider the plentiful shelling opportunities another form of abundance that I can hardly wait to “wake up and see” every day that I’m here. Our primary residence is in Wake Forest, NC, hence the other meaning for “wake” in the name.
I am currently working on my first book, though I’ve been writing other pieces lately. It is about shelling at Holden Beach, where I’ve been coming almost annually since I was an infant – so for more than 60 years. The working title of my memoir style, coffee table type book is Looking, Finding, Seeing: Adventures in Shelling. It describes and shows how to find more than a dozen seashells indigenous to NC, so it will be somewhat of an initial “how to start shelling” book for those unfamiliar with this pastime. Yet it is inspirational at deeper levels, too, and describes the positive emotional and spiritual gifts one can enjoy by spending time in meditative shelling.
I’ve lived in NC most of my life, with the exception of six years in Little Rock, Arkansas, from ages 12 to 18. I graduated from the famous Little Rock Central High School and am thrilled that Facebook has enabled me to reconnect with many long-lost friends in the past several years. Our 40th reunion a couple of years ago was so unifying for our class – a model for positive race relations.
I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1982 with a BA in Radio, TV, Motion Pictures (now Communications). Yes, that WAS the year (one of them) we won the NCAA Championship. I waited tables at Four Corners Restaurant that year and have fond memories of drinking long island ice teas in big Carolina cups watching the craziness on Franklin Street from there that night with my co-workers. Ahhh, the good ole days! I am still quite the Tarheel basketball fan. If you ever have tickets to a game and no one to go with, … Go Heels!
I have two grown daughters, ages 30 and 33, which I consider to be my finest work in this lifetime. Certainly the most fulfilling, meaningful, challenging, exhilarating, exhausting, joyous, and uplifting! But I’m now also loving being a grandmother. I will soon welcome my sixth grandchild, the oldest of whom turns six this week. My husband of more than 20 years is an awesome man – loving, kind, generous, smart, and into alternative health like me. His holistic, general dentistry practice is in Durham. He is now taking Mondays off in addition to Fridays, which comes in handy for long weekends at Wake and Sea!
On November 25, 1990, my world changed forever, though I didn’t realize it would be forever back then. Yes, more than 27 years ago, when my daughters were 18 months and 4, I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Fibromyalgia, now referred to as ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) and Fibromyalgia. The first two decades I explored some fascinating alternative healing modalities and tried to make the most of the resulting sedentary lifestyle, finding pleasure in reading, writing, kundalini yoga and meditation, and studying and learning new things, among other interests. I also had breast cancer in 2008, then another lumpectomy for an early-stage breast cancer in June 2013. Now, I am cancer-free! I still deal with CFS/FM daily and miss swimming, aerobics and other sports activities I used to enjoy. Now that I have grandchildren, I must admit that my inability to go visit them more often and more predictably, to play with them, be active with them is, frankly, a source of deep grief. Life has so much to offer and I am grateful for so many blessings and my network of supportive friends and family. But as I age and am faced with additional health challenges, keeping up my spirits is a daily thing. I believe part of my mission in life is to be a light to others, so dealing and overcoming my own trials and sharing that process with my readers is one way I try to make a difference in the lives of others.
In 2000 I took teacher training from my yoga teacher/mentor, HarDarshan Khalsa, and became a kundalini yoga instructor. I taught privately and at Wake Forest Yoga off and on prior to 2008. Kundalini yoga and meditation is definitely what has gotten me through my toughest times with health issues, divorce, grief, etc. Currently, I’m just coming out of about a 4-year CFS/FM flare (thanks to a new medical device – a PEMF device – BEMER) that I’ve been using since November 2017. I’ve been able to recently resume doing yoga and am actually able to leave the house a few days a week and do an errand or two, though that’s still a day by day, unpredictable thing. But writing these words now is a reminder to me of how I persevered in the early days of the illness — I can at least listen to Snatam Kaur and meditate from my bed!
In 2010 I had my first essay published in an Amazon best-selling book, Speaking Your Truth: Inspiring Stories from Courageous Women. My piece, “Royal Warrior Goddess,” is about kundalini yoga and how it saved me during those first five tough years of CFS. In spring of 2015, I had two pieces of writing published in the book Writing in Circles: A Celebration of Women’s Writing, a book about author and writing instructor Peggy Tabor Millan’s lovely and effective process of centered writing practice. Both books are available on Amazon.
Thanks for reading my blog!