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Dawn Downey's Blog: Stories About Mindfulness, Gratitude, and Transformation

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Dawn Downey's Blog: Stories About Mindfulness, Gratitude, and Transformation

Rated: 2.96 / 5 | 1,076 listing views Dawn Downey's Blog: Stories About Mindfulness, Gratitude, and Transformation

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  • Dawn Downey
  • December 01, 2014 04:49:52 PM
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A Little About Us

My outlook on daily life will inspire you and make you laugh.

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Website URL: http://dawndowneyblog.com/

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Goodbye Bumper Sticker

I declared peace in the space around my car. I peeled off my Obama bumper sticker. I crossed the YMCA parking lot after a yoga class and felt the warmth of safety when I spotted the tail light of my car. I hurried toward its familiar outline, my achy back anticipating the lumbar support in the driver's seat. The instant that bumper sticker came into view, I recoiled and then stiffened—feet planted, chest puffed, and spine straightened to its full five-foot-three. Ready...

I declared peace in the space around my car. I peeled off my Obama bumper sticker. 

I crossed the YMCA parking lot after a yoga class and felt the warmth of safety when I spotted the tail light of my car. I hurried toward its familiar outline, my achy back anticipating the lumbar support in the driver's seat. The instant that bumper sticker came into view, I recoiled and then stiffened—feet planted, chest puffed, and spine straightened to its full five-foot-three. Ready for a fight. Don’t you tell me who should be president.

The bumper's rallying cry had fulfilled its purpose: provoke a reaction from passers-by. By slapping a political opinion on my car, I'd sought validation from those who agreed with me, and more importantly, sought to create distress in those who disagreed. I was shocked to realize my unconscious intent and to find myself on the receiving end. The aggression shooting off the bumper sticker superseded my agreement with its content.  

The instant I felt the impulse to argue with my car, I recognized the reaction; I responded the same way to all bumper stickers: Battle! Democratic candidate? She didn’t go far enough on criminal justice. Republican? I disagreed with his stand on taxes. Gun rights? I suspected she wanted the right to shoot me. Gun control? Dad owned guns—it was the only way we ate meat. Pro choice? If she'd ever had one, she'd never choose one. Pro life? I doubted he'd take care of all the babies. Coexist?Impossible. City streets turned into battlefields, opinions—including mine—exploding like grenades. 

While most bumper stickers triggered an impulse to fight, a few set off my flight response. Confederate and Nazi symbols transformed any vehicle into a mud-spattered pick-up driven by a sheet-wearing storm trooper. I imagined the driver would lash me to the trailer hitch, drag me down a dirt road and toss my broken body into a ditch. The last sound to reach my consciousness would be the N word.

It didn’t matter that I’d heard the N word from liberal white friends perched on my couch. It didn’t matter that I lived in the suburbs a world away from dirt roads and mud-spattered pickups. It didn’t even matter the leftiest lefty I knew lived on the dirtiest dirt road I’d ever driven. You could not reason me out of my fear.

Whether the political message in the next lane scared the bejeebers out of me or made me want to argue, it was all about taking sides. Standing in the YMCA parking lot, I understood that's what my own bumper sticker was all about.

Obama 2008. Us against them. 

The decal no longer spoke my truth. I no longer wanted to provoke reactions, positive or negative. A slogan plastered across the rear end of my Honda gave me no right to claim validation from strangers. It gave me no right to provoke disagreement. Disagreements should be discussed over hot chocolate. Facing my car, feeling threatened instead of safe, I realized my political opinions were attacking innocent bystanders. I wanted to spread peace, but I'd weaponized my car.

I peeled off my Obama sticker. It's time to disarm.



Book Review

Today I'm popping my buttons. Here's the latest review of my book:"Searching for My Heart is filled with beautiful personal stories. Downey has a wonderful way of bringing the reader into a moment with expressive language that is sometimes poetic and sometimes direct, but always moving and thoughtful. The writing flows effortlessly, and there is real inspiration and wisdom to be found in these pages. Dawn Downey is an author who needs to be discovered by everyone."     ...

Today I'm popping my buttons. 

Here's the latest review of my book:

"Searching for My Heart is filled with beautiful personal stories. Downey has a wonderful way of bringing the reader into a moment with expressive language that is sometimes poetic and sometimes direct, but always moving and thoughtful. The writing flows effortlessly, and there is real inspiration and wisdom to be found in these pages. Dawn Downey is an author who needs to be discovered by everyone."
                                             ———— Self-Publishing Review


Thank you for reading my Friday posts. having a deadline keeps me writing every day. And I'll be darned, practice pays off. So thank you.

I'll use the review in my overall marketing plan, as a stepping stone to the next phase of advertising, which will lead to the next phase, and the next. Tomorrow I face the blank page again, but today I celebrate. Join me--take the day off.



We'll Try Again

When my husband offered me some of the dark chocolate his friend had brought him from Paris, I wasn’t even tempted. I’d given up my favorite treat, because it triggered migraine. Instantly, with the intensity of the pain in direct ascending correlation to the quality of the chocolate. I’m no dummy; it only took a few mistakes to learn my lesson, so at the time my husband offered it to me, that French chocolate was as appetizing as a clod of mud.However.Someone, somewhere, said...

When my husband offered me some of the dark chocolate his friend had brought him from Paris, I wasn’t even tempted. I’d given up my favorite treat, because it triggered migraine. Instantly, with the intensity of the pain in direct ascending correlation to the quality of the chocolate. I’m no dummy; it only took a few mistakes to learn my lesson, so at the time my husband offered it to me, that French chocolate was as appetizing as a clod of mud.


However.


Someone, somewhere, said something to me, with ridicule in their voice, and disdain in their glance, and I wanted to climb  into a hole. There was no hole to climb into, but there was a piece of chocolate.


Maybe, since I’d been taking a new migraine prevention pill, maybe a tiny bite of that chocolate would be okay. After all, with the new pill, it took two simultaneous triggers to produce a migraine, and even if that chocolate was a trigger—which it wouldn’t be—a tiny experimental bite will equal only half a trigger.


On the other hand. Don’t give in. You’ve been doing so well. Don’t ruin everything now, for the sake of … what?


In the back of the cabinet, behind a jar of tomato sauce, under a package of ramen noodles, the candy bar waited. I pulled it out. The label read 65% cacao. Less than expected. 70% would definitely be deadly, but 65%, no problem. I slipped the candy from the wrapper, my mouth watering at the sight of the naked bar, which was cool and slick in my palm. Shiny as a new dime and scored into squares. I snapped off a square, carried it up to my writing room/guest room, and closed the door. I broke the square in half, then broke the half in half. Facing the mirror, I placed the thumbnail-sized shard on my tongue, like the tab of acid I’d tried in high school. Bitter. And then, gone—dissolved and swallowed too fast to provide the tactile pleasure of chocolate melting in my mouth. Too fast to bury the feelings I was trying not to feel. Still, I'd eaten chocolate without getting  a migraine. So what if I didn’t especially like the taste?


I tossed the remains of the square on the dresser for later and drove off on an errand. Ten minutes later, the migraine erupted.


I’d have to take a pain-killer, and the insurance company only allotted nine each month to relieve the eighteen headaches I got each month. Now I’d have to take one for a headache I’d caused myself. By the time I got home, I needed to take two of the rationed pills, which left three till the end of the month, still thirteen days away. And the math intensified the migraine.


Stupid stupid stupid rose to my consciousness, but this time the accusation sank under its own weight, allowing kindness to bubble to the surface. Instead of comfort, I’d ended up with an extra dose of the shame I’d initially tried to escape. I wondered about the people whose poisons actually provided a couple hours relief—whether it be from chronic pain or chronic reality. Here’s to us, who couldn’t say no: To Dawn who ate the candy she knew would split her skull, to the homeless man who bragged he’d get himself a beer with the money I gave him, to the mother on the 6:00 news who sneaked another OxyContin even though they’d take away her kids, to my ex who succumbed to heroin laced with fentanyl. To all of us, I say, It’s okay, dear heart. We’ll try again.



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