Intentional In-touchness

You may remember, back in January, I became a participant of a project called Bold Brilliant Beautiful You. My gut told me there was something very necessary about joining these women. And I continue to find out how right I am. Because connections are a good thing.

I grew up as an isolationist. My parents divorced and then my sister moved away. There was no religious community. Friends came and went. Our extended family lived far away. We would befriend neighbors who would eventually move away. There were weekends with Dad when I was little. Summer weeks as a teen. Then he moved too.

When I was a young adult, I was a party thrower. I worked in restaurants and had as much social life as I wanted. But I’m not in my 20’s or in the city anymore. Now, I’m married with kids in the country and we’re not super social like we used to be. Visits with family on occasions and Holidays and once a year reunions with friends from an hour away is the extent of our social life. Add that the first baby was born in a town where I knew no one. We have more acquaintances with this next baby 8 years later but children can dampen some of our partying attending enthusiasm. I long for the party throwing of the old days and community block parties.

Seems the computer, which once was evil beyond belief, ended up being my soul savior. Then the blog I had created warranted I interrelate with strangers outside my known world. Now I have an opportunity to talk and exchange ideas with people from all over the world of like minds and differing opinions. The biggest benefit of these interactions ?  I have begun to see my invisible self. Not a small feat. And I owe it to  practicing what I call intentional in-touchness.

Sunset on the courthouse green on

The private message conversation below demonstrates what this is and what it means to me. Patti is one of the amazing women I met through the Bold Brilliant Beautiful You project. I wrote a comment on her blog and the first message is Patti talking.

Friday 3:22am

Hey! How are you? I wanted to followup on the note you left on my blog about my goals to be Bold. Brilliant. Beautiful. You had a baby at 46? How was that? I turn 40 in one week and am thinking of having a third but am scared….Anyway, I wanted to reach out and say hi and thanks for your positive energy in my direction!

Friday 7:13am

Hey Patti. Thanks for your return communication. Yes, 46. Really no different than having my first baby at 38. You have to steel yourself against the over the prime hype. I refused any invasive tests. Only ultra sounds. And kept a positive attitude even with another good case of morning sickness. She’s perfect. And I’m such a better parent now. I’ll keep in touch via social media. My number one goal right now is intentional in-touchness Love, Shalagh

Monday 9:15pm

Hey Patti I tried to follow you on Instagram but you are a private user. Shalagh

Did you try recently? I realized at ALT that if I wanted people to follow me, I needed to make myself public. So I thought about it and then did public. Try it again and if you have a problem let me know! I love the idea of intentional in-touchness. What does that mean for you? Patti

I tried last night. It’s still saying you’re private and I’m shown as having requested to follow you. Hmm, I guess intentional in-touchness is following a person everywhere and then making sure to read their stuff and comment and get a feeling for them. It’s a little more effort than just obligatory following. It takes checking back and making a note and being sincere. I notice intentional in-touchness from others. It makes me feel good and I want to gift it to others. And now I’ll have to write about it. Thanks Patti. I can honestly say I didn’t really know myself until I heard others say happy positive stuff about what I’d said. And you did it again.

So this is me savouring every blog post I’ve signed up to receive in my inbox. Trying weekly to reach out and say hi to people, comment, and like their stuff. They’re sticking their necks out and deserve to have people acknowledge this. I get it and know how hard it can be sometimes to step up and say hello. When you get a real piece of mail, it feels really good right?. It’s this odd acknowledgement that you’re worth the postage. And that feeling is a gift someone gifts you. It’s called caring and I’m practicing intentional intouchness so that I can give that gift to others that I may feel the universe hand it back to me. It’s a selfless and selfish act all in one.

Our Story

We had a “meeting” set up for 10am. And we met. Hi, nice to meet you. I’m Alberta or Ramona or Jill. But what we really did was to sit in that coffee shop and tell our stories.

Each of us has one or two thousand of these. Tales of our locations or our health or our secret dreams spilled out upon the tabletop as we went around and back and forth. We understand the power. Storytelling is from forever.

We may forget these stories are important in our impatience to hear ourselves talk. One minute, I force myself to shut my mouth and open my ears wider. Even the stories people refuse to tell are telling. Because Everyone’s life has a story or two thousand. And we’ll always be in the mood to listen for familiar truths.

Story teller, moment giver. There’s no shame in your tale. How noble and freeing it is to attempt to deliver one’s truth, whatever that is to you. Amen and keep those stories coming.

(This post originally published Feb. 21,2012. Six months ago, I met with some fabulous women at a local coffee shop. So much has happened since. Tomorrow, we will share our stories in the same coffee shop. )

Camp Shalagh Began

So far we’re having a happenin’ summer. There have been parties and pools and outings. And the real camps have yet to begin. My new jobs as cruise director and camp counselor are cramping my post deliveries. I’m doing pretty well at everything else but.

This past week, my life-long friend and soul-sister Sarah and her son Charlie came to visit us. Camp Shalagh began. Sarah and I met over forty years ago when I fell off her pier near Annapolis, MD, and busted my lip open. We journeyed to her old house to see this place and took our kids.

Rock Stars

Lace cap hydrangea and lady roses

Her son is slightly older than my son so he had to put up with a little shadowing. I’d brought a sacrifice to the alter of friendship and it had been accepted. They played on the playground she did when she was little. We had lunch at the Double T diner. We all got along despite the attempted whining on their part. We just wined later.

We enjoyed lots of hours on my back porch in the beautiful weather chatting and sipping Pinot Grigio. Our kids caught fireflies, talked about Greek mythology, hit golf balls at the house, played rock star in the garage, and threw rocks in the mud of the low tide river. We chilled, grilled, and enjoyed the visit. Because that’s what vacationing and summer is all about. Being not doing.

Huge thanks to Sarah for the forethought of the visit and setting a spell with me and mine. Calendars have also been synchronized for the rest of the summer’s fun including a Williamsburg trip and a beach trip. I’m setting it in place and then enjoying the ride. Next year, I’ll make sure to have my posts stockpiled for you amusement. Enjoy the pictures and your Fourth of July.

Chillin’ at the art gallery


Trust Deposits

This week has been jam packed with stuff doin’. Not always the getting done accomplishing stuff. My dirty floors are testimony to that. This was the being with me, family, and friends kind of doin’ stuff.

If you don’t know or can’t tell, I’m a busy brain girl. Exuberant and thoughtful add up to busy brain. And this weeks mulling over has been thematic. A concept I culled from a once very popular book a friend suggested I read got stuck in my head. And thoughts merged and were pinned on a board themed “Relationship Goodness”.

First day of my week I was honored to accompany my dear and long time friend to a practical examination to achieve a license. I was her stunt model and she passed. Like old times, we were together when the going was tough enough to need someone you trusted.

Time spent with my “no more school” kid is about to go from spent to endured for the week. And he has been “testing, testing, testing, is this parent on?” Minoring in whining and lying, I am trying not to have a major problem spending more time with him. I have been intentionally exuding authority and confidence and trying to distract with humor. Point is, there’s a relationship I’m maintaining here. Annoying but important.

Tonight I had the privilege of attending an impromptu bachelorette dinner for a dear friend created this year. She had all her other friends there and it was the reaffirmation of friendship and support that you get when food and wine and a lovely breeze are flowing and blowing. Travis the waiter gets kudos here.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was suggested to me by the bride to be. Dumb name for a really kickin’ book. And the author talks about how relationships, professional or personal, rely on an account of trust established between the people in the relationship. Both people make deposits to the surplus and it grows. A surplus deposit and you’ve got an amazing machine, but if neither makes deposits, there’s no trust and no surplus and no relationship.

You know how you make a relationship surplus? You consider the other person. You ask how they are. You show up every time they need you or they have events. You invest in the account and in them. It’s the stuff families are supposed to be made of. It’s what my husband and I automatically do. And it’s very important to having the life and the love and the family and the friendships you want. You ask “How are you today? How are your Mom and Dad? Kid? Wife? Life?” And then you listen.

Best of the Boyfriends

I remember a discussion I had once with someone about sucky mean people and it went something like this. Wouldn’t it be nice if all the sucky bosses and ex-boyfriends would all go live on an island together and make each-other miserable? And all of us nice people could roam around the rest of the world and not be concerned with bumping into them. I think I liked the imagery of that whole island imprisonment thing. And maybe one of them is Dr. Moreau.

Of course, those boyfriends had some good points. I remember thinking, wouldn’t it be nice if you could take all of the best qualities of all the ex-boyfriends and combine them into one person. The over-confidence of one, the thriftiness of another, the adventuress spirit and wanderlust of another. The artistic talent, good nature, awesome sense of humor, or amazing eyes of another. So many good qualities thrown out with the bath waters of the ex-beaus.

But none of them had the kind temperament and the patience that my husband shows with my son. In the end, I shopped for this quality in a man who would father our child. He’s got a lot of those good qualities as well. On our last date, I asked him,” What do you like about me?” He said, “I never know what to expect.” My answer to him was that he makes me laugh and he gets me (and he lets me be me). He’s also my friend because the other criterion of friendship was to be clever, honest, and kind. My ex-boyfriends weren’t ever a friend to whom I could entrust the gentle care of my fragile heart much less that of my child, my heart outside my body. Thanks, Mark.