I am just one person.
One person with years of experience
One person who has failed and got up again
One person with the capacity to love and be loved
One person with feelings, desires and fears
One person with choices and talents
One person who effects everyone I touch
One person who can make or break another’s heart
One person who wants the best for those I love
One person with the capacity for great things
…though I may not accept that yet
One person who can lift another into the light
…though I may not see it yet
One person who can stand in the truth
…and set an example for others
One person who can allow emotions to override reason
…or quiet my spirit by pausing to reflect
I am one person…with a voice, with a choice.
Do I measure my days by the sickness in the world, or do I get on with the business of living?
This was a question I posed to myself after being part of the fallout of 9/11 in the airline industry and being subjected to news report after horrible news report. I also worked for a federal agency during the time of the Oklahoma bombings and the siege in Waco. It was a frightening time for all of us but it taught me the importance of feeding my brain the best information possible. Those were the days I became aware of how my body reacted to the things I put into my mind. I gave up watching the news, quit reading horror stories and looked for ways to be in the world that would change the way I felt.
We can get sucked into things that begin to take away our choices and not even know that we have lost them. I have an acquaintance who is the town crier, feeling the need to post the most heinous of news stories in her Facebook feed. I sense that she gets an almost giddy thrill out of being the first one to spread the news. There is another whose conversation always consists of her current ailments and arguments with the world, while passing judgement on everyone and everything. Having them in my life for even short bursts is tough, but as I consider my own past I know that I was once like them. It wasn’t until I discovered that there were alternative ways of seeing the world that I began to grow past the need to feed off the tragedy like a vulture. It was not a joyous awakening but it change my life.
We are pure energy. Our brains and nervous systems pass electrical current through us to create movement, to trigger release of hormones, and to process the world around us. Block any of that energy and you have a malfunction in a perfectly designed system. Being bombarded with news stories throughout the day causes our bodies to create stress hormones to protect the system. When we have negative input it creates a negative environment, and disease grows in a negative environment. Do that enough and your brain will alter its structure to accommodate the negative process and shut down systems that keep you going.
When we are constantly focusing outside of ourselves and “stressing out” over others behaviors, unsubstantiated fears, and things we are completely powerless to change, it can create a loop of fear, guilt, anger and punishment. We don’t want to feel fearful or guilty, so when we do many of us find ways to punish ourselves for being less than perfect. If we aren’t healthy mentally or physically, we might seek out someone or something to blame to justify our feelings. The punishment might come in the form of denying ourselves, lashing out at others, acting out in ways we really know we shouldn’t, or ingesting chemicals, food or alcohol to excess. Regardless of the results, the catalyst is usually focusing on things that take away our ability to make healthy choices.
So what do you do to change? Start from right where you are. Take a look around you on a typical day and see what choices you make. At the end of the day pull out your journal (one of the best change agents around) and get honest with yourself. Here are some ideas on how to start:
How did you see your world today?
What did you say?
How did you react when things didn’t go as planned?
What thoughts went through your head when your coworker didn’t deliver on their part of the project?
What about how you talk to your spouse or children? And most importantly….
What went right?
Change won’t happen if you hide from the problem…and the problem is often what you nourish yourself with. Whether ideas, environment, people, food…everything we surround ourselves with is what sustains us. A friend of mine said many years ago that "the thing I focus on the most, becomes my God for the day".
Being mindful in a world of technology and busyness fed by fear is tough but doable. Find time to get quiet in the mornings. Make sure your phone, tablet etc. are out of reach and sit on the porch, or in a quiet spot in your home. Get up earlier, write, pray, meditate and give yourself time discover who you have become. You have to know and get familiar with your truth so that that the things that are no longer serving you can be released. Write gratitude lists and pay attention to what you feel…don’t judge…just pay attention.
Each of us has the choice to wake up and create a happy life for ourselves. When you begin to accomplish one thing, it makes you feel better. When your energy goes up you feel it and you will want more of that good feeling.
When you alleviate the fear, guilt, anger, and punishment cycle you begin to have more choices and can feed your energy in ways that will create happiness in your life. This cycle of happy anticipation will be the nourishment you need to live a more fulfilling and productive life.
The world will go on as it will. Your life can change...today.
I want to share a comment from my youngest daughter’s Facebook page:
“I don't really want to feel like a normal human anymore, I'd rather exist in this feeling of being my own human”
When I read those words I realized she is finally coming to terms with what really is important. Being you, no matter what that looks like to others. At 23 she has struggled with many things. I have been frightened often that life would be too much for her and that no matter what wisdom I tried to impart to her it would fall shy of what she needed. Being a mother has been rewarding, heartbreaking and terrifying all at the same time.
My daughters have different fathers and as I grew and learned, the quality of the messages they got became simpler and more succinct. Their personalities are very different, yet I see the influence of my devotion to growth in them. My words have often been received as preachy and insensitive or not received at all, yet they often let me know what things in the past have had a positive influence on them. It once was heartbreaking to watch my children in pain, yet what I understand today is that the pain of growing and learning is what shaped the beautiful life I currently experience. That pain is what has always prompted me to move toward something new. How many times have I wanted it to end…the feeling, the event, and life as I was experiencing it, yet at the last moment leaped - not into the abyss, but into something much better? How the heck do we begin to prepare someone else for the journey that is so uniquely theirs?
We are ready for the lessons only when we are made ready by our inability to endure the place we are right now. Whether that manifests as something physical or not is never the real indicator. The emotion and interpretation that got us there drives our need. We never “arrive” at any place and stay there for long without being moved again by our need to be fully engaged in something better – something more. It seems my real value as a mother and a spiritual teacher has been to make safe space for others to figure it out on their own. To provide them with enough safety to explore what is real and true for them – without judgement. There is nothing that I can tell anyone that will make it real for them unless they are in agreement with my interpretation of their lives. All the information I will ever possess about another person is minuscule, and to me it is arrogant to tell anyone what they must do to have the life they are meant to experience. The data is just not available to me and never will be for anyone but myself – and at that I still guess and stumble. It is the way of us humans.
I suspect that my daughter’s statement about being her own human is a surrender of sorts to the world around her that seemed to demand so much of her. Her words were light and filled with positive energy where she has been challenged so many times in the past. We all try to fit into the space that our knowledge and experience to this point gives us access to. Her brave determination to keep reaching for answers, to find her way, and to make a way for herself without giving up, are inspiring to many who watch her. I taught my daughters by my own actions, that no matter what, you get up and you keep trudging forward and that somewhere over the horizon is something better. What prompts us to get up and start walking is unpredictable and magical all at the same time.
My daughter’s comments inspired me to pull myself out of my own frozen state today. What looked to me like laziness and fear in my own life has been transformed into a new perspective and a renewed commitment to promises I have made to myself. We are exactly who we are, doing what we are meant to do, being who we are meant to be at any given moment. I don’t have to have anyone else’s approval to exist, make copious amounts of money to feel like a success, nor be any more or less that I am, to be ok with me. Thank you sweet Hannah for teaching me today.
What is your pain trying to tell you today? Stop fighting it and make friends with it. Write it down. Own it. Thank the pain for all that it is teaching you. It may only mean a small change is needed to move out of it into something more empowering.
I think you will find once you acknowledge that there is purpose and valuable information in that tough place that makes you wobble…you will begin to find your balance.
There is a place inside of you and me that connects us to something more powerful than all that is going on outside of us. Once there we settle into comfort and peace. Whether or not we recognize its existence, it resides there waiting for us to sit quietly and commune with the energy. What name we give it means little. We may be drawn away by social media, the past, our fears or many other enticements but it is forever within our grasp. Sitting still with no distraction and attempting to listen for its gentle voice will lend us perspective on many things. Read any article on the effects of mindfulness and meditation and you will find powerful evidence of the existence of this truth.
Whether you call it meditation, communion with God or your higher self, or ascribe to other spiritual or religious terms, that doesn’t change. It is that place where the chaos and the dust of your existence settles and reveals to you what is real. It makes perfect sense to react with horror, fear, and anger and feel extreme pain when bad things seem to be happening every day. However, to dwell in it is to constantly invite that which keeps the chaos living inside us and eroding our souls.
The moment we came into the world we were made of pure love. How well that love within us is nurtured lies in the hands of other humans trying to maneuver this often complex journey. Some of us have forgotten and that foundation of love retreats in our haste to survive and protect ourselves. For when we are denied the essence of love, in whatever form we expect, we feel tragically dishonored. The result is that fear becomes the vehicle in which we travel through life.
It isn’t what is happening in the news that has dishonored our own personal love and connection. It is how we view ourselves compared to others. We each experience what is happening around us through different lenses and are challenged in different ways. In the middle of the chaos is a place where each of us can do the one thing that will change the world. We can do what we can to help another. We can honor this life we have been given and find ways to help others do the same. But we have to find our own calm first.
Start by turning off and tuning out for increasingly longer periods of time and using your own time to change something or do something new and different. We all feel helpless and overwhelmed at times. You could begin by asking yourself “what is one thing I can do to feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day?” Whether it is mow the neighbor’s yard, clean out a closet, donate time to a local charity…your momentum of moving away from “the” problem and finding “a” solution can change your thinking, relieve tension and improve your perspective.
No one person will ever solve all the problems in the world. But when each of us looks to our own lives to see what we CAN do, we can make huge strides in how we see each other by making peace with ourselves.
Something to try today:
Turn off the television, put away your phone or computer, sit quietly and breathe. Notice what you are feeling inside your body. Inhale deeply and feel the air entering your nostrils and filling your lungs. With each inhale think love, say the world love in your mind as you bring the air in. As you exhale, imagine that you are releasing a cloud of smoke that is everything that was stored inside of you that has been causing you discomfort. Breathe in love, breath out discomfort. Be conscious of your heart beating in your chest as you inhale the love. Let that love spread from your heart throughout your body as it expels anything that doesn’t feel like love. Try this for a few moments until you feel a subtle shift in your body and it releases some of the tension.
When you feel you have done this enough, take out a pen and paper and write about the experience. Be honest. Whether it felt stupid or lovely, put it down on paper so you can see it. When you do this you have connected to that space within you that wants you to thrive and to be happy.
Know that you are loved and that though I am one small person, I am here for you and hope that these words I write bring comfort. Be at peace my friends.
Let me ask you an important question. Why does it matter how you feel?
What are the first thoughts you think as the universe awakens you from your slumber? Did you know that your first thoughts guide the direction and energy of your day? So if that is true, what is going to be different tomorrow?
Every thought leads to a feeling, and every feeling leads to an action. If your first thought in the morning is something negative, then it will cause you to feel something, well – NEGATIVE. Worrying about something you have no control over, sets you up for fear. Then fear causes you to behave in ways that you believe will protect you from something THAT HAS NOT HAPPENED. It is the same for anything predictive that comes to mind. If you wake up with a mild headache thinking “Oh no, a full blown migraine is on the way”, then of course your next actions are going to be to prevent or protect yourself (unless you enjoy migraines). This action kicks in the stress hormones in your body that flood you with fight or flight chemicals and shut down other physical processes so everything is focused on the perceived DANGER. Now for the rest of the day you will be on guard. One of the major problems with this is that you actually may end up making the headache worse!
What can you do instead? If thoughts provoke feelings and feelings lead to actions, you can start with thinking about how you want to feel instead. What is a more productive and healthy feeling for you? This doesn’t mean you discount the problem or illness at hand, it just means you begin to look at it in a more loving way. So ask yourself instead what you can do to feel better, look better, or to behave differently.
Here are some examples:
From the OLD WAY OF THINKING to a NEW WAY OF THINKING
I feel like crap! ----- What can I do for myself to feel better?
I can already tell this day isn’t going to go well!-----------What are 3 good things about this day?
Oh no! It's already morning???----------This is going to be a great day!
If he/she says one more ugly thing to me…---------I wonder what he/she is struggling with.
How we feel has everything to do with how we think. Write your thoughts down first thing in the morning and see how your mind works. If what you see on the page doesn’t serve your good, then change it up and see if you can find a better feeling by changing your perspective. The process of attracting better things in your life, starts with having better thoughts. When you feel better, your actions will serve you and others in more positive ways. At the end of the day, ask yourself “what is better?” and write that down. Try this for a couple of weeks and see if it doesn’t start changing the way you feel. Your body AND mind will be happier for it!
Nothing is easy until the challenge has been overcome. You have thought those thoughts all your life and it will take time to change. I promise you it will be worth it if you will try. When you are working toward improving your perspective you will empower yourself to do many things you have been wanting to accomplish. Then you will think new thoughts, feel new feelings, and take new actions. Happiness is what really matters. When you are happy everything begins to work and the struggle subsides.
What matters to you today?
A spiritual mentor once stopped me mid-sentence as I was explaining a new breakthrough. Because the experience was unfamiliar to me and I was struggling with its validity, I indicated to her that it was “weird”. She wondered out loud if there was a more positive word I could use to think about my timid epiphany, and made a few suggestions when I drew a blank. As I listened to her more seasoned perspective I tried the words on like new hats. I don’t recall having ever considered rearranging my thinking to change the way I felt about an event prior to that day. I marveled at the way the new words tasted. Interesting, Intriguing. Fascinating. They all seemed to lend the experience a deeper and more expansive meaning. It was like stepping into a massive library with all the answers in front of me. My job was just to immerse myself in the process.
No two people see any situation in exactly the same way. We see things the way we want to see them – the way it serves us currently. If I didn’t understand something back in those days, it was weird. If you introduced me to a new food, I was more likely to say “no thanks” or “not interested” - because it was “weird”. Staying within the confines of the familiar in all things was more comforting to me. However, it was also quite limiting.
At the beginning of this year, like many other half-hearted dreamers, I made a resolution to lose weight. There are very few annual rituals that have resulted in less commitment or determination for me than weight loss. Everything else in my life zapped the energy that was stored to care for and nurture my body. (Single working mom, yardwork, housework, etc.) When all the important work was done, the best I could manage for myself was to at least eat more salads. I was hoping that all the spiritual and emotional work I had done in recovery would result in some magical breakthrough whereby I would wake up one day completely willing. To do what, I had no clue. Something inside me knew I wasn’t ready to release my grip on the 45-50 extra pounds I had been hauling around. Every diet I would consider seemed to be shot through with “weird” or unfamiliar foods. Going back through my journals, I seemed to be obsessed with my inability to move forward with any kind of plan that would get me to a healthier weight. It became my favorite subject to explore and my least favorite to act upon.
In the past year or so I have made huge changes in my life that are going to put me in a place in which energy, stamina and endurance will play a vital role. At 57 I went back to school, started my own coaching practice, conduct workshops, speak, and author a weekly blog. It occurred me that standing in front of an audience for several hours at a time might be challenging with the weight I was carrying. My mentor’s words came back to me as I contemplated my next steps. What if I looked at this from a new perspective? “Losing” weight had always been a daunting and unreachable goal for me. Besides the universe often conspires to help us find lost things. In searching for a more empowering and positive way to look at the journey I wanted to begin, I considered the feelings around the phrase “eating research” as an alternative for diet. Could I pick SOMETHING to try and just look at the process as an observer and see what happened? I also knew through lots of emotional and spiritual work that the weight I carried was armor to protect me from a world that I had been terrified of for years. I was happy now. It was safe to let it go.
The problems I had experienced from being overweight included many of those things the average American suffers from. Achy joints, elevated blood pressure and shortness of breath prompted me the most. My bookshelf is packed with diet books, all sitting there staring at me every time I walk by. It was time to try one. The anti-inflammatory eating plan seemed to stand out as what would get me some relief, albeit restrictive. That is what I wanted to do…remove something. No weird food – just discontinuing the consumption of many things like sugar, white flour, etc., and replacing those with fresh fruit and vegetables. It entailed a lot of thought and preparation of fresh foods and I can sometimes spend big blocks of time in the kitchen. Considering my use of words, I journaled what I was feeling as I went through the process. Lighter. Encouraged. Energetic. Proud. Seeing the loving words that I used in my journal to encourage myself gave me hope.
I got creative with the things I could eat and reintroduced myself to weird. Some of my concoctions have been quite interesting and often they actually taste good. Sticking with it killed the cravings I had for bread and sweets and I have consistently dropped an average of 5 pounds per month. All from changing the WAY I see the process. I am off my blood pressure meds, have more energy, think clearer and get more done every day. That mashed banana and almond butter I dip my apple slices in, no longer feels weird – it is delicious. Spinach and kale find their way into lots of things and my smoothies are a work of art.
We are nearly half way through the year and my perspective keeps changing with the days. Hubby has come on board and we spend time together preparing things to pave the way to our improved health and slimmer physiques. Finding new ways to see this experience, writing them down so I can celebrate the successes, and being grateful for each small step has created an atmosphere of love in our home. Treating myself with love has caused me to be in love with the person I see in the mirror each day. The numbers on the scale are secondary, how I feel and think of myself is what motivates me to continue. I am on my way to a new and healthy body!
Whatever you are struggling with today…consider looking at things in a different way. Listen to what you tell yourself and consider changing your words. Weird just might turn into wonderful!
During this politically charged time in our lives, I have often caught myself, just prior to posting or sharing an opinion on social media, and asked myself “how important is this?” How important is this to what I am trying to achieve today? To my happiness or success and that of others? As a public figure (and social media assures that we all are) it matters to me what kind of image I project. The “pause button” is part of my makeup, and for this recovered “rageaholic” that was a necessary add-on to the package. Though it took many years of self-discovery, screw-ups, and difficult challenges – I no longer throw fits, blame, and get angry for the sake of winning an argument. Nothing like seeing yourself in the behavior of a discouraging presidential candidate to ignite wounds and defensive behavior. It’s amusing to me to observe this in others now that I don’t have to protect this once cherished super-power – judgement. In the book “A Course in Miracles” judgement is considered an attack on MYSELF AND others. If I am judging you, it is because I find something lacking in me.
I would guess that the only folks who don’t think there is something broken in our system are the ones who fight to keep it that way. The finger-pointing, back biting, and underhanded tactics that seem to permeate our political systems have been going on since the beginning of time. History repeats itself whether it is on the marble steps of an ancient Greek pyramid or the steps of the Nation’s Capital. Everyone is trying to protect what they have, believe in, or aspire to accomplish. However, my political views aren’t nearly as important as what I do in my own backyard or how much integrity I practice. Who I am every day has more impact on my life than anything in the news. My judgement about you has never made me feel good about myself – and that goes for my opinions on lots of other things as well. The things that upset me the most are often those things I have the least information about or those things I am trying to keep secret. To put myself in check, these are some of the things I ask myself:
Each of us can be mindful of our own behaviors and feelings at any given time we chose. All it takes is a pause and an honest look at what we are doing, saying, and being in the world. It can be as small as what we say to our partner or child the moment we wake up. Our first thoughts in the morning or our last thoughts at night. Asking ourselves “what am I doing for others today”, or “what can I do better tomorrow” can also help us be mindful of how we interact with others. An honest look at ourselves on paper in the form of an inventory, a journal or a letter to God, is a cathartic learning tool for self-discovery that can help us see how everything we do IS important.
How important is this to your piece of mind, to your peace?
(Please consider commenting...just click on the green "Comments" below. I would love to know the folks who are reading this blog- THANKS!)
There are not many things more relaxing to me than sitting near the ocean. It’s as if my soul re-calibrates and finds its natural rhythm. Tropical breezes and gorgeous flowers. Slower pace. Yes…this is the life of someone who has found gratitude and grace.
We all have within us a point of peace that when reached everything within our bodies finds balance and renewed well-being. It is where our emotional and physical systems find their set-point and function optimally and where everything seems to sigh in relief. My spot just happens to be the ocean. Something within the push and pull of the sea reconnects me to the heartbeat of the Mother. Relaxation and anticipation combine to make this experience one of preparation for rebirth and like any good vacation, we come back renewed. Getting out of our routine and finding a slower pace, fresh air and sunshine is a wonderful recipe for well-being.
But a vacation is only as good as the attitude and point of view I take with me. This vacation was different. Often in preparing for a trip away from home in the past, anxiety plagued me for the 2 days before and for 2-3 days into the trip. Everything had to be perfect because these types of opportunities didn’t not often present themselves. Planning, preparing and leaving things done at home took away a lot of the pleasure for me. My girls just wanted to be kids, go exploring, have fun and eat good food. I was wrapped up in the orchestration of everything around us lest something go awry and ruin it for the entire family. I was accused of being too fearful and watchful. It caused anxiety for everyone and they were grown and gone before I figured it out. For the last few years I longed for their presence as I had new experiences. It would have given me an opportunity to show them I had it in me. Though they are grown, I know I am forging a path for them even if they are not around when explore this awesome life.
I finally feel free to be me, to lighten up, be present and enjoy the journey.
A trusted friend and spiritual advisor shared with me once that he got hung up on “judging past experiences with current information”. I believe that is where most of us leave our spirit…in the past. We go back and revisit those things that didn’t turn out like we think they should have, with the idea that if we figure it out now it will somehow make it better. We beat ourselves up for not knowing what we didn’t know. And because we keep living in the past, we miss the experience of the moment. Those unhealed emotional wounds that I carried into every moment shut off my ability to be present for myself – much less anyone else. I have spent many years doing the things I felt would help me connect with my own spirit. Twelve step programs, therapy, yoga, meditation, writing, and just plain having the courage to live this life I have been given. I saw evidence of my healing at every turn.
That I know is what was different about this vacation – I was healed. I didn’t long for anything different. I spent myself on the experience of the moment, loving the man that I was with, and feeling the feelings that were present for me – now. No wounds were opened, no feelings hurt, and though I hope my girls have experiences like this one day, I didn’t long to have them there so I could have fun. I showed up full out, gave nature, my body, my husband and everyone I came in contact with, my full attention. I delighted in everything I could take in – every texture, smell, taste, smile, and feeling. My mind was quiet, my body nourished by the excellent food, the sun, the clean air and the love of my wonderful partner. I didn’t do much of anything else…that was all I seemed to need.
I am almost 59 years old and I finally know what it is like to be fully present. I just didn’t figure it out until I got back. I pray that each of my clients and those whose lives I have the honor of touching, find this freedom as well. I know that my life is devoted to giving this back to others…it is what sustains me.
What “present” will you give yourself today?
I don’t have a clue what to write about. I feel dense and awkward and totally disengaged from this writing thing today. I made a promise to myself that I would write a blog every week – it was my first attempt at honoring my dedication to integrity as a business owner and coach. But as with most humans, some days I just can’t get motivated. I need inspiration and focus and sitting still in one spot is only easy for me if I am thoroughly engaged in something.
The reason I write is to share the things that have broken me, inspired me, and healed me the most. I am of an age where there is a lot to look back on, but a desire to move forward more courageously and thoughtfully. My children are grown, I have a great relationship, a comfortable home, and the means to care for myself in any way that my needs call for. I have more than many, not as much as some, and just enough to make me joyously content. My past is fodder for many subjects and my current understanding of what I have overcome delightful. It makes for a giddy gratitude that fuels me to try and help others in any way I can. When your cup is overflowing it has to go somewhere.
Writing is a self-help tool that anyone who can hold a pen can make use of. It is a way to dump the garbage your brain has been composting and stirring up so that you can sleep clear-headed. Writing will reveal the lies you tell yourself and also your deepest fears. Putting pen to paper can assist you in unleashing a landslide of anger without alienating another human. It is a tangible way of doing SOMETHING about any challenge you might be faced with. Nothing is more engaging than discovering some truth on the page that you had not even formed a thought about. And that’s the point. When you write you access the secret log book to your soul.
One of the tools I use with my clients is what in sales they used to call the “Ben Franklin Close”. Pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages – it is a wonderful tool for getting at the truth, the solution, or helping you make decisions and see the value in choice. Simply draw a vertical line down a sheet of paper. Use it for whatever you are dealing with. My favorite is “Don’t Want” vs. “Want Instead”. This works for all kinds of situations. Out there dating? Looking for a new job? Mad at yourself and looking for solutions? Need new ideas for a project? The simple act of writing something out with the intention of looking for a solution puts you on the path to many open doors. It accesses a part of the brain you sometimes can’t get to by mere pondering or worrying about a situation.
Writing is also a great tool for experiencing our feelings, developing gratitude, and for exploring what hides in the recesses of our mind unless we explore with a pen. A great spiritual exercise I learned to use when I was in the depths of despair over a breakup was the “I love this because_______” writing exercise. Training myself to look for the good in every situation (no matter how devastating) took courage and the willingness to want to feel differently. Amazingly, I began to gain perspective on the red flags I missed, the things I gave up to keep him around, and a whole lot of clarity and truth. It was what helped me give up the grieving and get on with my life.
Anais Nin stated “We write to taste life twice”. It helps me to see things from the perspective of new understanding, a night’s sleep, or just the willingness to own up to my own part in an event. I can own my feelings, express my hopes or fears, and close the cover of my journal and never look at it again. I can create new ideas, bring old ones to the light of new experiences, and convey the things that I hope will inspire others to action that will nourish their souls. Whatever the reason, you can sit back and know that in front of you is evidence that you accomplished something that was productive – regardless of the goal.
By just sitting down at my keyboard and speaking my truth, something was created on the page. Unless someone comments or some conversation is started, I will never know whether it mattered to anyone but me. But because I wanted to produce something, once I started the things that my soul had to say engaged me in the task. I was inspired to continue and curious to see what would evolve. And maybe, just maybe…someone else will be inspired to try writing as well.
What would keep you from trying out a bit of writing today?
Something profound happened to me years ago and I haven’t had the need to forgive since that event.
I am struggling with something deep inside of me that I am trying to express, identify, birth into reality. Muffled voices in my head, not yet clear, keep holding me back from something I know I was born to accomplish. They are the voices of reason, doubt, fear and disbelief that challenge the reality that someone like me can be accomplished, successful, respected and believed. The woman raised by alcoholic parents – neglected due to a disease that challenged even the truth of my own existence. I imagine my mother carrying her surprise burden at 17, dazed and confused at the turn of events that were catapulting her life into dangerous territory. Marrying quickly to assure propriety occurred to help mitigate a drunken mistake. Two drunk teens starting a chain reaction that in 7 years became a houseful of 5 children. So many times I heard them both talk about what could have been…but never saw anything change for the good. No one is to blame. It was just something that happened. Yet the hole that opens up inside of me is always about nurturing.
I am torn between the need for a loving mentor and the fear that no one will measure up. It keeps me living contemplatively and looking for ways to feed that need for approval. On occasion I reach out and open up to the intimacy of letting someone else see me, but I either reject the ones who can out of fear, or find little to enjoy in the company of other beings. I want to be lifted up, not judged. Encouraged to fly, not have my feet held to the floor because of someone else’s lack of vision. Most of all, I want someone who intuitively knows me or at least is skilled in helping me know myself. Risking exposure and being vulnerable are my greatest fears.
If we are to forgive then we ego-driven humans seem to have to decide where to place blame so that our forgiveness has meaning. When I am honest and in fit spiritual condition, I see how ludicrous that can be. If I am blaming others then I become a puzzle made from incompatible pieces whose finished product will never be coherent. Blaming others for my feelings and actions is the default reaction for those who are afraid to be themselves.
My general disposition is one of joy…rarely do I feel anything less than contentment. Early on in my recovery, a loving mentor suggested that my constant smile made others disbelieve me. A doctor suggested that my constant laughter was often a sign of some hidden mental anguish. I even had a female employer tell me I should stop smiling so much because in my later years I would be sorry when I saw the wrinkles it would cause. I thank those people because they made me look within at the cause of my feelings. Whether I was genuinely happy then could be called into question in the light of my abuse of alcohol and some of the poor decisions I made regarding relationships. I want to believe that I knew all along that if I could find a way to get to happiness, it would come to stay. Every behavior, whether it can be perceived as good or bad, healthy or unhealthy, was my way of seeking that which I was born to experience – joy. I sought it in approval of teachers, the touch of a man, the flavor of a favorite food, the excitement of a new outfit, the abandon of a night on the dance floor, the euphoria of a mind altering experience or substance. Everything I do…everything…is about finding and embracing a better feeling.
As I have watched these words evolve on the page I realize that the fears that keep me stuck have nothing to do with who I am right now. When I stop and write down everything I have accomplished in the past year I am amazed. That critical gremlin of self-doubt only pops up when I am isolating from the rest of the world and relying on my own mind to pull me through. I could view it as a mistake, but the beauty of it all is that I learn something new every time. My desire to bring others the joy I have found in living is my life work because it is the life I am experiencing.
The person I need to forgive today is myself. For being afraid to be human, and afraid to be spiritual. For doubting myself, based on false and imaginary thoughts. For forgetting and refusing the things that make me feel good being me. For forgetting that serving others and extending the love, recovery, and beautiful truths I have learned is what keeps me happy.
Looking at what I have done right, what I have accomplished, and looking for someone I can help is my assurance that regardless of what I am faced with, I can choose happiness and let go of the need for forgiveness.
Be who you want to be today and look forward to what that will bring you.
It is your choice.
Every blog I share comes from the heart and has a challenge or a question within it to help others explore new ways of thinking. I hope that as you read the blogs you would consider starting conversation by commenting. We can learn so much together!