Daily Life, friendship, Growth, Honesty, Love, Self, self love

It’s Okay if You Don’t Like Me… I Like Me

Is the quickest way to peace of mind to love yourself?  For some reason this week this statement has been running through my mind “It’s okay if you don’t like me, I like me” I don’t even know why but all of a sudden I am kind of falling in love with myself.  And it feels good.  It feels peaceful, no struggle, no trying to fix myself.  No trying to change for someone or appease someone.  No thinking they are right about me and I am wrong. I am simply relaxing into who I am.

katieI think most people like me, but not everyone.  At one point I would have been wondering why.Did I do something, was I offensive, do they disapprove of my lifestyle?  How can I fix this?  Can I make them like me. Well no I cannot. And is that okay?  Yes.  You can not like me, you can not want to be my friend. I like me and I will be my friend.

The more I am loving myself the better I am to the world.  The better to my friends, my family and the community I live in.  It is like stopping a struggle, the struggle to prove myself.  I get it that I am not everyone’s cup of tea.  And that is okay, there are many flavors out there.  And what I know is, I cannot please everyone. I have to start with myself.

There are certain people I have great respect and love for.  These people, I do care what they think.  I do listen to their opinions and it is important to me that they like me, that they approve of me. But that is a handful of people, and honestly at the end of day if they cannot love me for who I am, I still cannot pull myself in pieces trying to be who they need.  They are just going to have to need me to be as I am, and love me anyway. Everyone else, take me, or don’t.

Okay I am not perfect.  I see things in myself I want to change.   I can jump to conclusions.  I am defensive, I can be self absorbed.  I will let my emotions rule my head.  Sometimes I talk too much and forget to listen.  Other times I don’t talk at all and shut down. I will overshare and then undershare.  I will take way too much crap and then be mad at others and myself.  So I guess I am human.

But I am also amazing.  And I don’t even need to list all those things, it is enough that I know them.   Also,  I am a work in progress.  And I am learning more every day and trying to apply it.  It is all about baby steps.  One after another.  I can look back and see progress.  I am way less concerned with how the world sees me and more connected to my own vision. I am not afraid of you anymore.  I am not afraid of your opinion.  I don’t not have to change for you. I am free, or least on my way.

“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”

– Louise L. Hay

Someone I loved gave me a box of darkness…. I have spoken of that before. My mother, one of my great teachers.  She did not like herself, let alone, love herself. I watched her push the world away one by one.  I heard her say  so many times things like “Well, I don’t like me.”  And I thought, I love you, can’t you see that?  Can’t you see how amazing the world could be for you, if you would stop this, and starting loving yourself.  She never did, until the very end, she pushed us all away. And I do not want that for myself.  I do not want to repeat how my mom lived.  I do not want to not love myself. I saw what it could do, it was not beautiful, or loving, or peaceful.

The more I accept and love myself the better I am to myself.  I recognize that it makes a difference in the foods I eat, I sleep I get.  I seek out people and circumstances that feed my soul with joy.  I make sure I relax and not be demanding on myself.  I speak well to myself about myself. When I am in a state of self love, I can go out there and change the world.  I can go out there spread love.  I can be joy.  I can be compassionate.

And the struggle to be something we are not can end.  When I know I do not have to change for you to like me, I also know you do not have to change a thing for me.  You are perfect, you are amazing.  You are a beautiful, unique and irreplaceable. You get to celebrate that.  We can each shine our light, our perfect light out into the world saying “Here I am, there is no one else like me and for that I am grateful”.

Namaste

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challenges, Change, daily practice, family, Growth, Relationships

It is Time to Release the Mantra

I don’t even really know where to start.  2 weeks ago my grandmother passed away and I have so many feelings about it.  They are all mixed up.  She was 94 and lived every day of her life.  Her illness was not lingering, she was not suffering.  She basically lived up until the final day.  The day before she died she sitting up in intensive care talking to me, loving me, and living life. The next day she was gone. That cannot be a bad thing.

But for me, I miss my grandma. And now I am looking at another loss.  I see this news headline and 7 children died in a fire.  How do parents survive that?  I mean, that is a tragedy.  That is a loss.  Everywhere I look I see losses that seem to me greater, more significant than mine.  I think for me, it is just adding them all up. And I feel like it is wearing me down.

My life feels so different now. Quick view:  3 years it looked like this:  I was living in my home of 20 years, I had a mom, I lived with my son and our 2 dogs, my sister lived on the next street, my sister was healthy, I was healthy, I liked my job,  I had a grandmother.

Now much of that is gone, I lost the house, my mom died, my son moved out, we had to put one dog to sleep (old age) and re home the other.  My sister and I live miles apart.  My sister had a health crisis and our relationship is changed.  The stress comes out through a variety of health issues. One of my best friends moved away. The work environment has changed and I am unhappy at my job. I tried to have a romantic relationship, that failed. I am trying to get on feet financially and help my son, it is a constant daily struggle. Now my grandmother has died. It is all adding up. I did the lifestyle stress test, I am in trouble.

And I can feel all of this in my body and I have to fix it.  I am starting to have more nocturnal anxiety attacks. My hair continues to shed, I am tired, I have gained weight.  Everything feels like a struggle and I have no emotional reserves.  I was so drained from the whole losing my mom, my home and all that went with that.  I was just starting to get it together when my sister had a big health crisis last summer.  She is my best friend, and now it has changed so much.  And now a few months later my grandmother is gone. Could all of this just please stop?

I can tell you I am trying to mitigate the stress as much as possible.  I meditate daily, I take long walks to clear my head.  I pray.  I try to spend time with friends but it seems that laughter and fun are missing these days.  Everything seem intense. I really just need to fucking relax and let it go. If you have to work at relaxing is that really relaxing?  I don’t think so. But I have to start somewhere.  When I see my son, what I say is “are you having any fun?”  Could I say that to myself?  Because apparently I am on a roller coaster ride these last few years. I guess I need to learn to love the ride.

I keep thinking of losses, I have lost this, I have lost that. That feels sad, that feels pathetic.  It is a pity party.  The truth is I have lost nothing.  I still have a mom and a grandmother.  They are not in physical form,  but I will always be a daughter and a granddaughter.  The souls we share lives with are never away from us. I know that to be true. And that goes for every being, human or not, that I have loved. Everything else is simply stuff.

I still have a home, a different home.  My relationship with my sister is different, but perhaps there can a deepening from the shared journey.  My son, he loves me, but he lives his own life. Isn’t that what i raised him for? Friends?  Well, even the ones I don’t share my time with now, I can love them and I can know they love me.  And I can welcome the new relationships into my life. Work?  I can keep in front of me the knowledge that I can only do my best, I am not in charge of how others respond.  Because at the end of the day if I have loved some, laughed a little, relaxed, been honest with myself and others, prayed, meditated, had a good meal, took a walk and breathed in nature, and laid down my head safe in my home, what more can I really ask for?  That is life, that is the good life.

So I have to accept change again.  I am doing this guided meditation with Deepak Chopra and the end he says “it is time to release the mantra”.  My mantra has been ” I have lost so much.” It is time to release that mantra.  Because it is not about loss, it never was.  It is about change, and change will always happen.  Change causes me to grow, to stretch myself, to look inside, to be honest, to be brave, to be compassionate.  Change makes me better.  And I will always ask for that, to be better.  And if change is the price, than so be it, I am willing. So no more loss, this is about growth. This is about life. And I am grateful.

And so it is.

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Daily Life, family, Growth, Inspiration, Love, Relationships, Self

Becoming My Own Example

So I think I am becoming my own example.  Today my grandmother is pressing on my mind.  I am thinking of her passing and the influence she had on me.  My grandmother (Maxine) was really really alive every day.  She lived until 94, every day celebrating being alive. And she has been such an inspiration to me.  She lived all alone the last 20 years, but was never lonely.  She had an active social life, church life and family life.  She never quit, ever. She told me, don’t stop. Be thirsty, be honest but caring. Grandma had her nose in everything, she was curious and loved to laugh.  She did not let life get her down, she kept going.

And then I thought of my mom who passed 3 years ago, and all the inspiration she gave me.  She was bold, fierce.  She took crap from no one. Honestly my mom had other issues and ended up allowing her demons to push away many friends and family that loved her.  But the parts that inspired me, she would fight for what she loved. She never let anyone tell her what to do. She was artistic, flamboyant and in your face.  She loved strongly.  She was amazing.

My dad’s mom, Grandma Stell  passed away more than 20 years ago.  She had a laughter to her life.  She always wanted to have fun.  She was southern to the core and sweet tea was always in the house.  She would take 3 different artificial Christmas trees, make them into one and called it  “pretty”. Married multiple times, again a woman who never gave up.   She loved hard, she loved me, she loved my dad. Oh my gosh, she would defend her family,

So all of these women who have loved and raised me are passed now.  And I am a mix of all of them.  All of their examples, all of their lessons have found their way into me.  Everyone of them was strong and stood on her own in her own way.  I realize that I do not have to be Mom, or Little Grandma, or Grandma Stell, I get to be Sandy.  And that takes nothing from them.  They did not live in another’s shadow but shone their own light.  I shine my own light, I beat my own drum.  I take the best from all, and become my own example.  I become my own inspiration.

All of these women lived and died a simple life.  None of them became famous, none of them left a mark beyond their own family, friends and lives.  No one wrote a book,  they were not politicians or great humanitarians.  100 years from we will hard pressed to find a memory, but I remember. And I am here now, and that matters.  This is how life goes on.  We lives our lives best we can.  I take all that I have been blessed with build my life.  I leave my mark on the world, be it simple or not.

So more and more I become my own example.  I live my life no one else’s.  I honor all of those women before who lived their own lives.  I see how different they were and each life was beautiful.  They made their choices, they became who they really were, no apologies. And I can do that too. I become myself, no one else. And I make no apologies.  I can see other examples, I can see the fierceness, the laughter, the lovingness, and the strength.  And instead of saying that is how I want to live, who I want to be, I can just be those qualities.  It takes nothing from those who have gone before, there is enough for everyone.  So instead of saying, this is who I want to be, I become it and say ” This is Who I Am.”

And so it is……

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challenges, Daily Life, daily practice, Gratitude, kindness, life

Kindness Matters………

Kindness, that is what is on my mind these days….

You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”
Plato

I have an event in my life right now that has made me more fragile than usual.  My grandmother passed away this week.  I can go into that more at a different time, right now I have been thinking about kindness and how everyone needs this.  I go out into my day and I am wounded.  I am sad,  I am feeling a loss, an important one. And 98% of the people I meet have no idea.  The people in line with me at the stores don’t know, the person I pass on my walk has no idea.  Many people in my church today had no reason to know.  At my work this only a handful of people knew.  Of course my friends know and are helping me.  They reach out, they are gentle with me, they are loving to me.  They understand I am little fragile right now.

But what about the others, the majority of people I interact with everyday. Well, what a blessing, most of them are kind. They smile and the smile reaches their eyes.  They greet me happily.  They wish me well.  They are nice to me. And they do not know I am broken inside. What I am thinking is that most of them are too.

Plato did say it “we are all fighting a battle”.  The women in line at the grocers, maybe she choose food instead of fuel.  The person walking past me, does their car run? Do they have one? That person that greeted me, are they well, is someone they love sick?  They child that is smiling, do they live in a loving home?

I could go on forever, you know what I am saying.  It is hard out there. Life is not just an easy slide to heaven.  There is work do be done here.  There are lessons to be learned here.  We have to break our own boundaries and our own barriers.  We have to love and lose and love again. We have to have sickness and then heal. We have to stand at the edge of disaster and feel the power in ourselves that comes from recovery.  All of us, everyone, has pain, frustration, loss, sadness and longing. All of us, everyone, needs to know we are loved.

And how can we show that to the world?  We can be kind. Yes, it is easy to be kind when you know there is a problem.  I am telling you right  now, there is always a problem. We just don’t know it. It doesn’t mean it is not real.  It doesn’t mean the problem does not deserve love or respect.  If we are not told or are not a witness,  does not the pain still exist?  Yes, we know it does.

So we can be kind.  We can assume that everyone we meet needs love, needs a smile, needs gentleness. Be kind, if nothing else, just be kind. Have a moment to say you exist, I acknowledge you.  I know you are fighting a battle somewhere, somehow, and I am fighting my own right along side you.  We don’t have to talk about it.  We don’t have to share or know everything.  We can just start by being here, available and human.  We can recognize that each person has a whole life and parts of it are hard.  And we can show kindness.

So right now i am little fragile, but mostly I am really grateful. And every time someone is kind that gratitude grows.  And it makes me want to be kind.  I want to smile at you. I want to share a kind word. I want you to know you are not alone. Whatever you are fighting, whatever your burden, we are in this together.  So the next time you have a chance, be kind.  It may be the best thing that happens to that person that day.  We never know where our gifts end up, but we do know that kindness ripples outward and spreads peace and love.

May kindness visit every day, many times……

kindness jewel

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Change, Daily Life, Growth, Honesty, Inspiration, self love

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

So what story am I telling myself, and is it even true?  Something happened today that made me take a look at the stories we tell and where they come from.  How we build lives around them, make decisions around them, and was the story ever really true?

Someone I know (my son) has been living this story that today proved to not even be true.  He bought a car 1 1/2 years ago.  In order to register it in his name he had to have it smogged.  This car had modifications to the engines (guys car) so he said it would not pass smog.  He could not finish the registration and transfer because of this.  Time goes by, he gets an extension. More time goes by, he gets a tickets as his tags are expired.   He cannot get the tags, because its not in his name.  He gets another extension.  We have multiple conversations around this. He tells me there is an engine light causing the problem.  To fix it would mean much work and many dollars.  More time goes by, he gets another tickets.  Next move is impound.

There is much stress, anxiety, many conversations around this.  My sister tries to help, my brother in law gives advice.  Finally I say I need to tell my mechanic exactly why it won’t smog.  Tell me what the smog people said. My sons says “well I never tried to have it smogged.”  What?????  Deep breath…… Okay son, take it to the smog people, get an exact reason it will not smog and we can go from there. Today he takes the car in.  It passes smog.  There is no problem.  The story was not true. He built a whole piece of his life around a story that was not true.

our story

Our stories are important. We define ourselves,  we connect with others, we make decisions, all around the story we have decided is our truth.  But we have a responsibility to ourselves to  question these stories.  We cannot live blindly or stuck in an old story.  That does not do us or those around us justice.  Every now and then we need to check in and say is this still true?  How did we start believing this, was it ever true?  Looking at that will help us move forward and grow.  Maybe the story is still true, okay then we know are on the right path. We have to be wiling to look at ourselves and what we believe about ourselves every now and then.  Otherwise we are living by default.

One story I tell myself is that I am not the kind of woman a man wants to marry.  Where I decided this I don’t know.  I think it was to protect myself from being rejected.  This thought helped me get through failed relationships, giving me an out (not my fault),  after all I am not the kind of woman that men marry.  It couldn’t have been that I picked men who were emotionally unavailable, or younger and wanting to make a family. It couldn’t have been that I did not want to be married.  Shouldn’t every woman want that?  Isn’t that the dream?  How could I not want that?

Here is the thing, that thought helped me get through some really fragile years.  Years I should not have been thinking of marriage or any long term relationship.  So that belief served me well. It protected me, it gave me time, time to grow. I came out of a 20 year marriage and I had some healing to do. So that story that I told, well it helped me then.

But now, maybe I need to look at that again.  Because I still say it, and I am not so sure it is true anymore.  I think differently now.  I have grown in many ways and now my life has changed and so have I .   But if I keep thinking that and saying that, I will be stuck in an old pattern.  A pattern that doesn’t fit anymore.   Yes, I am independent and tend to need alone time, but I am sure there is someone out there that I am perfect for.   I am changing my story.

Our stories can be good, they can be empowering.  One of my mom’s stories was that she was lucky. And she was!  She was always winning contests and jackpots.  She went through her life saying “i’m lucky” and it served her well.  So how about some good stories.  How about I say I am smart, funny, capable? How about I believe that I am amazing?  I could say I am lucky in love, in finances.  Just plain lucky.  I could tell the story of how I survived a divorce and came out on the other side with my sanity. I could believe that I am available to be a wonderful partner. My story could be I am a great mom. My story could be I leave a blessed mark wherever I go.  My story can be whatever I want.

But I need to look at it.  What am I telling myself, what I do believe to be true?  And is it? No more hiding, no more fairy tales.  The princess is a queen now and stories are in the open.  Whether pretty, ugly, sad or uplifting, I own them.  I invite you to look at your stories.  What are you telling yourself, and is it true?  We all have many stories through our lives.  We can change them, we can write another chapter.  It is all in our hands.  But mainly be sure the story still fits.  Don’t try to live in outgrown skin.   Make a new story, and fill it with love.

Namaste

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attachment, Daily Life, Growth, Love, Relationships

Can I Really Dis- Attach?

Attachment has been coming up a lot for me this week.  Attachment to things, situations, relationships, all kinds of things.  It seems like each time I check out Facebook there is some kind of quote on attachment.  Attachment reminders are all around me these days.

I keep wanting things to stay the same, it is like safety net in some ways.  For instance, I had a possession that I have been holding on to for awhile.  Even though I didn’t really treasure it, I always thought well, if I ever need it……    But this last week it was taken out of my hands.  I let someone else make a decision around it.  I gave that person instructions about letting go of it and she disregarded that and made her own choice.  Before I knew it, it was gone. At first I was taken aback, but then I thought a different way.  The clinging to it, the attachment was gone.  Not by my hand, but maybe that is the way it had to happen.  Because I felt a little freer. Like I could not quite make that choice, so the Universe made it for me.

I have a relationship in my life I am attached to. And I can see some shifting around that.  I might have to let it go. I don’t really want to, it brings me joy and pleasure.  But some things have happened around the relationship which may bring it an end. Is that Life’s way of saying “let go”?  I am not sure yet, but I at least have to look at it.

A feeling of aversion or attachment toward something is your clue that there’s work to be done…….Ram Dass

I have to listen to those signs.  What is coming into my awareness?   When I am sleeping (even though awake) it is easy for me to pass by the clues that I don’t really want to see.   If I see, hear or feel something, but disregard it, that does not mean it is not real. It means that I choose not to acknowledge it because it challenged my attachment.  The more I am attached to something the less awake I am to change and growth.

Because I am awakening it is harder for me to ignore the signs along the path.  And more and more I know everything means something.  All kinds of signals come my way.  I heard what you said, I saw the sign,  I felt the wrongness in my stomach. I knew it felt bad, I could feel the loss of personal power and choice.  Because I am attached to the idea, the belief, the person, the possession. the safety, the status quo, the past, my story I disregard the signals.

I am attached to so much, and does it serve me?  Only to a point.  When attachment impedes my growth it is not serving me.  When attachment holds space in my life keeping out newness it does not serve me.  When attachment keeps me feeling safe, that is an illusion. When I am attached to an outcome that is a set up for frustration and disappointment.

attachment So can I let go and let life happen?  I want to.  I did this week, a baby step.  I let go of a possession that I had been clinging to .  And I did it gracefully.  After a small feeling of shock and feeling an empty spot, i let go.  I even said thank you to the Universe for helping me dis attach. The relationship?  I am not sure yet, but at least I am willing to look with fresh eyes.  To not cling blindly and without thought.  I may make a choice which seems the same on the outside but has been made from a different mindset.

Sometimes I confuse attachments with love. It is easy to do.  Both have similar feelings for me. But they go down very different paths, and that is the trick, staying on the path of love.  Not straying off into attachment. Because attachments have expectation around the outcome, and often those are not met. For instance, I love my son. Simply love him. But I do have some attachments around that. Way less that I used too, but I am attached to the idea he loves me back.  I am attached to the idea he will stay in my life. I love him clearly, without judgement, without needing to change him, without wanting to control him.  The attachments I have are around how I want our relationship to play out. And I have to keep that separate in my mind.  When I become frustrated or hurt, this is not about the love, this is about the attachment.  And the attachment keeps me a little needy and a little powerless.  So if nothing else, I can recognize that and take the lesson.

I know this, attachments seem comforting in the beginning.  Whether it is a thought, a belief, a person, a situation, a possession.  But at some point when the agreement is not given freely attachments can become my burdens.  They stop me from living from a place of choice and freedom.  So I work on that.  I recognize when I am attached and look at how important that is to me.  Can I let it go?  Can I be free of that?  Can I have a different thought? Can I take a different path?  When I can do that I am free to enjoy what life has placed before me.  I don’t look to see where this is going, I don’t push the river.  I can be in the moment, I can dis attach and enjoy my life. I let go of worry on the future, I release the bindings of the past.  So this week that is what I am working on.  Dis-attachment and simply staying in the moment.  Letting Life take me down the road.  Because I can never be empty.  The Universe will always fill the spaces I open when I release.  I am open to the joy and love coming my way and I am making room for it.

Namaste

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Change, Choice, Growth, lov, Love, Relationships, self love

It is Not About Them, It Never Was

This week I have been on vacation.  I have had a lot of time to myself to relax my mind and do some self reflection.  A few days ago I was sitting out by some water doing a guided meditation on self love. It took me down some paths I did not see coming.  As I was letting the words stay in the background I was thinking about a couple of circumstances in my life now.  Both of these things have given me much stress and angst. On the surface they are appear different, but I looked for a common thread.

I realized I have looking for validation in both places.  Looking outward, saying prove how much you want me, prove I am valuable to you.  Won’t you sacrifice this or that for me?  Aren’t  I worth it?  Oh my gosh, this is not about them and what they have been doing, this is about me. Okay then, that doesn’t feel as good.  Where did this start?

Was it my ex husband?  We were married for 20 years.  During that time his drinking took him over.  My story has been that he choose alcohol over me.  But that is just my story, what I have told myself, and then the world.  I don’t know that to be true.  I don’t know what it is like to be an alcoholic. I don’t know that even he had a choice. And if he did, the choice is his to live with. It is time to let my story go and have a new thought about it.  I don’t know how that looks yet, but I know something shifted.  Maybe I choose happiness, sanity, a better life over living with an alcoholic.

I kept on with the meditation letting the voice fall into the background as I dug deeper.  Could this go back farther?  You know, my mom was not easy.  I could write story after story about her.  At my moms core she did not feel loved.  I know my mom loved me as best she could, but there were lots of lessons around that. So if I can just look at that I can see she had a lot of “prove your love” in her.  Love wasn’t given freely, it had to be earned.  You had to be “worth” it.  I saw that in how she moved through the world.  I saw that in her relationships.  I saw that in how she taught me about being in love.  She never loved herself, she felt unlovable and these were my first lessons.

And I took those lessons out in the world.  I had a dad who balanced much of my mom.  I knew I was loved, my family loved me.  I was not ignored or abused.  One thing my mom always said is ” I want my children to have a dad that loves them, I never had that”.  That was important to her, that we felt loved. Still I was little girl learning about life and love from my moms example.  And I think I might be finally sorting out these lessons.

Keeping on with my meditation I had a moment of ‘I will remove this person from my life’.  And at the same time the podcast said ” you can’t reject any part of you, you have to love everything”.  At that moment I saw that removing a person only left room for the same thing to happen over again.  It didn’t really fix anything.  Because it is not about them, it never was.  Both of these circumstances that are playing out have happened multiple times before.  It really is  a here we go again feeling. Okay, who is creating this?  Me, I am. Everything around me has been by choice, my invitation. I can consciously accept that and start to make a change.

Because it seems at the core of all of this is me saying if you love me, if you value me, prove it.  I want you to sacrifice for me.  I choose men who would have to give up something to be with me.  This last one, he would have to move 500 miles, giving up living by his family, his children, in a community he has grown up in. He would have to give up his job, basically everything to be with me.  If he is not willing to that , well then what, he didn’t love me enough?  I wasn’t worth it?  And this is just the last one, this is a pattern.  Because shutting him out,  deleting him, I will just replace him with something similar.  Someone who has to make some kind of sacrifice to prove they love me.  Love should not be this hard.

It is not just relationships.  I see this played out in other ways throughout my life.  It comes up in employment a lot.  I  end up frustrated and feeling devalued.  It will take years, but it happens.  Then I make a change, and end up years later in a similar situation.  Sometimes with long time friends, I see them move on to different friends, lifestyles and I feel rejected.  I am better with that now, but it has played out in the past.  It seems when I have time and an emotional investment in something or someone I have set it up so that at some point I need them to choose me. Prove they love me.  It seems I am needy that way,  I have to let that go.

So this was never about them,  it is always about me.  About my growth, my lessons, my being willing to look at things differently and have a different story.  I am not unworthy of love, I am not unlovable, I am not my mother. I don’t have to keep repeating those lessons.  She never learned differently, she never really trusted love.   I don’t have to draw circumstances into my life where I feel like being loved is a win. I can let go of the need to prove myself through others that I am lovable.  I can let this go.  Maybe not overnight, these lessons are almost hard wired in, but I control my thoughts and I can have a different thought.  I can say I am ready to be loved just as I am.  I don’t have to earn your love and you do not have to prove you love me. We can let be easy, we can let it flow. I can start here, in my 3rd act, ready to be open and learn a new truth about myself.

Because it is not about them, it never was.

Namaste

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Change, Daily Life, Growth, life, Self, strength

The River Flows as Does Life

Yesterday I walked along a river and noting all the different ways the river flowed.  From its source to the natural end,  it goes through many different incarnations. There are calm pools, there are rapids, there are easily flowing streams, there are waterfalls, it widens, it narrows.  Sometimes it is a trickle and sometimes a flood.  There are twists and turns, over rocks, under branches. So many times life has been likened to a river, I am remembering that now.

Could we not look at the above paragraph and substitute life for river?  From the beginning of our lives we cannot see where it is going to take us.  And though we have conscious thought, choice and control within our lives we cannot always see how we got to where we are.  Life will respond to our unspoken words, our true beliefs and the thoughts we fill our minds with. So even when I say, well this is not what I wanted, is it not what I believed I could have?  Of course it is. My thoughts, my desires, my belief in what I truly can accept is what makes up the river of my life.

I think I have to have all the parts of the river to be whole.  I need the rapids. The rapids make me strong.  I can look back and say I survived that.  I survived that loss, that divorce, that growth, that disappointment.  I build emotional muscle when I run the rapids.  And the waterfalls,  they build my faith.  When I am falling with no idea how this will end, I step into faith. And trust. Let go and let God, or let Life, however you look it.  These are the waterfalls of my life.  This is when I stand up and know whatever happens I can survive.  The rapids have made strong and faith takes me though it.

At times the river is narrow and twisty.  I can only see a small piece of my world.  Perhaps I am focused on one area.  Usually there are rocks underneath and branches above.   At those times my world feels shrunken and tight. I have to work hard to move through it. Maybe there are dangers, things I need to raise my attention to.  These are the times I step carefully, working my way to smoother waters.

At times in narrowness the river dries.  Never completely empty, but pooled and stagnant.  These times are dark.  In those moments of life, it is easy to get stuck. It is muddy and I get bogged down. I feel the stillness instead of movement. In those times I learn what I really want and need in my life. And I call to it, I reach out.  This stretch of the river teaches me patience and strengthens my faith. To know I will make it out of the muck, to know there is movement beyond this moment, this time. Life always returns, and me with it.

There are pools in the river, places to rest.  These times give me peace, and serenity.  To know that I will be back in the river, but for this moment, I get to rest.  I get to be still.  I get to stop look around and make a choice.  For me this is a time of reflection, a deepening. Even though the movement of the river takes me forward,  the pool gives me a moment to breathe and reflect.  I need that in my life to keep my direction.

The tinkling brook, the sounds of the water flowing freely over the rocks.  There is joy, there is ease. It is a busy time, with much movement in my life. I think this part of my life is one of my favorite times.  I feel alive, engaged, happy.  Yes there is work, but in the way that frees me to move forward.  The river sparkles with light, and I sparkle with life.

Sometimes the river is wide and calm and peaceful.  I move from the busy brook to wide river knowing my soul needs rest. I feel full during these times.  I am reaping my harvest from the busy times. I am moving forward, but a pace that affords me rest.  These times fill me with expansiveness and love.  I feel the breadth of my life.  I see my rewards, I feel my peace.  My soul cries out for these times.  To rest, rejuvenate,  and gather myself for the next  piece of the river.

Because I need all of the pieces of the river.  Just as the river is not whole without each facet, neither am I. I am a sparkly brook, a wide peaceful stream.  I am also a waterfall, a rapid and a pool.  All of this makes up the fabric of my life.  Each pieces teaches something about myself.  Each piece brings its own gift.  Each piece makes me whole. And wholeness, well that is Life.  So I am going to love each and every moment of the river. I am going to love the rapids, the falls, the mud, just as much as I love the sparkling brook,  the deep pools and the wideness of my life. It is all me,  this river of my life.  A crazy, twisted, calm, wide, narrow, sparkling ride.  I wish you safe journey down your river, see you at the end.

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Choice, Daily Life, daily practice, Growth, Honesty, Love, Relationships

Loving Myself is a Daily Practice

Yesterday I was having lunch with a friend and she was talking about how she is overworked at her job.  She has been working 6 days a week for months now and is feeling the strain in her body.  Here is the deal, although there must be some kind of pay off it is not financial and she is not trying to advance in her job. So why then?  Only she can answer that, but it got me to thinking…..

“self-development is a higher duty than self-sacrifice.”
― Elizabeth Cady Stanton

My response to her it that I will not do for my job.  Maybe a different job at a different time, but not this one. I am clear on my boundaries with my job and I am comfortable with how clean my side of the street is.  But that is just my employment and there is a whole bunch more to my life.  And I do get sucked in.  And why is that?  I guess it changes according to the situation.  In a crisis I step up, no question about that, especially when it is my family. I will set aside my life to help them. If my son called I would set this aside, jump in my truck and go. That is a given.  But I will reclaim my life as soon as possible.

Right now my grandmother is in a convalescent home.  She is improving and right now they say she is going home this week.  I know she would like me to be there every day visiting her.  Not going to happen. She has visitors every day, it does not have to be me.  I love my grandmother so much, but my life is important too.  And I get to take care of myself also.  I think it took me being in my fifties before I could say that comfortably.

Before that I was all about self sacrifice.  I stayed in a marriage too long thinking It was better for him and my son (wrong by the way). I would become over involved in my employment only to see at the end of the day I didn’t own the businesses and everyone can be replaced.  I hung on to friendships past their expiration date thinking I could save something that was over. Even over involvement in volunteering or community becomes draining, stealing the joy from the original intention.  Men, on my gosh, I gave up my life, making theirs the focal point of our relationships. The list goes on…..  If I just loved more, worked harder,  gave everything, well then I would be important, I would be loved, appreciated,  no one would leave me.  It didn’t really work out that way. And now I have learned some lessons from that.

the buddha

At the end of the day no one can bring me happiness beyond myself.  Loving and caring for myself must be first on my list.  To move through life with a full heart, means I have to fill it.  And this is not easy.  It is almost a reflex to say “yes”.  It is how I was raised. My impulse is to set myself aside and take care of you. But is that what is best for me, and in the end you, perhaps not. So I need to be mindful of when and why I say yes.  I need to listen to my body and my heart when it starts saying no. I need to be okay with putting myself first.  And that means unlearning behavior that is years ingrained. Loving myself needs to be a daily practice.

Yes, if you love me, that can make me feel good.  But if you love me and I don’t love myself, I won’t believe you. I won’t trust that love. Because how could you love what I believe to be unlovable?  When I do not value myself what value can you put on me?  If I am so willing to set aside my wants, desires, dreams, time and energy why would you respect them? I want to engage with those people who have a healthy self respect for themselves and their lives.  I want them to love themselves so I can love them back.  Please don’t sacrifice yourself for me, I cannot carry the weight of both of our lives.

This is not about those times when I need help or you need help.  Those are teaching moments in our lives.  Those are moments that give us connection and a sense of belonging outside of ourselves. Those are times when we can almost touch love. It becomes tangible. But to do that without resentment or expecting a return we have to come from a place of love.  And love starts within.  It all comes back to loving yourself.  To loving yourself so much you have love to give others.  You have filled your time and spent your energy so well, you have it to share.

So it is not selfish to say “I love myself first”. It is not wrong to be wise with your time and your energy.  It is okay to say no when something is draining you, taking more than you have to give.  You can put yourself first. This is your day, this is your life. You get to choose how you spend, where you spend and who you spend it with.  Life moves fast and time is precious. Be sure to have time well spent.  And spend that time loving yourself.

Namaste

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Choice, Daily Life, Growth, Inspiration, Self, time

You Can’t Buy Time

“All I need is time, and  you can’t buy time.”  This was said to me today in my grandmothers hospital room.  She is 94 and well aware that time is precious for her.  We want to believe that she has many more years, and maybe she does, but maybe she doesn’t. It is harder to believe you do when you are 94 and looking at major changes in health and lifestyle.  So we smiled a little, but the moment was bittersweet, because there was such honesty behind it.

  • It is so easy to waste our lives: our days, our hours, our minutes. It is so easy to take for granted the pale new growth on an evergreen, the sheen of the limestone on Fifth Avenue, the color of our kids’ eyes, the way the melody in a symphony rises and falls and disappears and rises again. It is so easy to exist instead of live. Unless you know there is a clock ticking.–Anna Quindlen (A Short Guide to a Happy Life)

We have all watched time slip away on something.  A child growing up and moving out on their own.  We watch those precious days of them under our roof, knowing that will end.  We have been in school knowing graduation was coming and life would change.  We have watched marriages end, the clock ticking as we made our plans.  We have watched friends move away, each day bringing them closer to being gone.  We have watched loved ones die, each moment precious and never to be recovered. We have lain in bed with our lover on a cold morning knowing the world was calling and the moment of separation was at hand. We have watched time slip away over and over again. That is the way of life. Time moves forward.

So what could be more precious than the moment at hand?  Never to be recovered or to be repeated.  How am I honoring these moments, these hours, these days? Am I spending them as well as I can.  Am I throwing away time? Do I recognize its value?

I have a job that I do not love, I also do not hate it. But 40 hours of every week are assigned to being there.  What I know is the job is honorable, productive and serves a greater purpose in the world. It also affords me the means to be independent and self sufficient. Since I have to be there I can look for the good in how spend my time.  I am surrounded by co workers and each one is an opportunity to make a connection.  To see a greater truth about why we are there.  To find some joy and laughter in the day.  To be of support when someone needs a shoulder. Is this easy?  No.  Do I fail? Yes.  Do I keep trying? Yes.  Because I am spending my time there and my time is valuable and I don’t want to waste my days. I cannot replace them.

Beyond that, how am spending my time?  Can I lay down at night and feel I had a good day, a worthwhile day?  Can I look back at last week and think I spent my time with those I love?  Can I see that I spend time in joy?  Did I learn, did I grow?  Did I give back as much as I received?

Can I recognize what does not feed my soul and leave it behind?  Can I say to myself this person, this situation, does not honor my time and let it go?  Can I do that without guilt?  Can I honest and gentle and still put myself and my time first?  Time is too valuable, I need to choose wisely. Not one moment can ever be given back.

Because for me time wasted is not about a Netflix marathon.  If I am happy and enjoying myself whatever I am doing is not time wasted.  Time wasted is spending my time in distress, in unhappiness, being uncomfortable.  Those are the conditions I do not want to lay down with at night.  Those are the things where I can say “this is not bringing value to my life” and move away from them.  I know it is easier said than done.  But I can try, I can start the process. I can refuse to support situations that are not for my greater good.

Because I want to be 94 and still looking for more time.  I want time to have time served me so well that I am greedy for more.  I want a life well lived, and I know that is up to me.  Everyday when I awaken I get to choose how I spend my time.  Maybe not where I spend my time, but how.  Because whether I am at work, lounging around, sharing time with loved ones, stuck in traffic or standing in line at the store I still get to choose the quality of that time.  Those are still my moments and they are equal in value.  Some are teaching moments, some are learning moments, some are simply bliss, and they are all mine.  And sometimes it is as simple I am choosing to be happy in this moment.

So all of our clocks are ticking.  I am trusting I have a grandmother clock which will last a long time. But if I have not spent my time well it doesn’t matter how long I have.  And if I have, I guess it doesn’t really matter either.  At the end of the day time is kind of an illusion we use to mark our days.  The truth what we really have is right now, this moment. The past is gone, the future an unknown, but this moment, this moment is here. You have this time right now…..spend it wisely.

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