Blessings, challenges, Change, Healing, Inner Voice, Inspiration, Lessons

I Forgot Who I Am

I have had some physical symptoms going on for about a year now that I have not been dealing with. Well, not dealing with correctly, like going to the doctor. There has been much heart racing, anxiety, some rashes,  extreme fatigue, loss of hair, etc and I put it all to stress, aging or emotional issues.  And I tried to fix it that way. I prayed, I meditated, I exercised, I spent time with friends, anything that felt joyful or stress relieving I brought it in. I tried hard to not feed the stress and negativity that we all encounter in our daily lives. By doing all of that I am sure I mitigated the problem, but it did not fix it.  At some point (couple weeks ago) I got it, this is not working, and I went to the doctor and have been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism.  It explains pretty much all of these symptoms which can treated medically and I should be fine eventually.

One by one I accepted these things (symptoms) into my life and they became part of who I am.  I allowed myself to be okay with being too tired.  I blamed it on aging or getting up early every day. I put up with a racing heart thinking I could not handle the stresses in my life. My thinning hair  and dry skin, again I must be getting old. My anxiety and general impatience, well I am overwhelmed and cannot handle anything beyond the moment.  Everything I was feeling I judged myself for and came up short. I forgot who I truly am.

So there are some reasons I would go to stress and feeling overwhelmed as my default.  I have been through some challenges these past few years.  And the hits kept coming. So it felt natural to say I am finally at my breaking point and body reflects that.  But it wasn’t true.  I made  up that story.  I forgot who I was.

I forgot I am strong, I forgot I am capable, I forgot that I handle life like a boss. I forgot I have an amazing belief that my life is good.  I forgot I am juicy.  I forgot my mind can see the truth.  I forgot my ability to see past the surface. I forgot to believe in myself. i forgot that I am amazing and destined to live in a way that celebrates life.

I started living by default.  I started letting my beliefs around what was happening to my body determine my quality of life. How often do we do that? My wake call (this time) was physical, but it can manifest in a zillion ways. When I accept a relationship in my life that is stealing my joy.  When I make excuses for it and blame myself. When I stay at a job that is killing me but am afraid to let go of the security. When I believe that is all I can have. When I look at my finances and think of them as meager instead of seeing the abundance around me. Then I am living in fear of lack. So one by one I ignore the little hints in the situations and end up facing a thyroid storm, or whatever manifests from blaming myself and not seeing the truth.

So my job now is to remember who I am.  And to trust myself. And to trust the God within me. To remember I am strong and wise.  To turn off that auto pilot of self blame and open my eyes to a different truth. This lesson could have been much harsher. I ignored something medical and it could have been way more serious.  I was too busy blaming myself for not being enough.  I am grateful for the blessing of this lesson. And I am done forgetting who I am.

Namaste

check out my Facebook page EdgeofAnAngel

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challenges, Daily Life, daily practice, Growth, Honesty, Inspiration, Self

Flexing my Spiritual Muscle

It seems like there are 2 types of people around me these days.  Like minded and challenging. Sometimes (often) they are one in the same.  Human’s are complex, when I am in agreement in one area I can be polar opposite in another. It is those opposites that strengthen.

When I am in class, in church, among like minded friends I feel loved and supported.  I feel like my beliefs are solid, I can expand them.  I learn how to deepen my faith and my core beliefs.  There is no challenge, I hear thoughts and comments that support the path I am on.  And this is good for me, it is a safe place to grow.

But then I go out into the world. And that is where I get stronger.  Because the world does not necessarily agree with me.  I am constantly challenged by different belief systems.  Some of those challenges come from people who I love and respect.  This is where I step up or step out. Can I stand in my truth and not be afraid to share that?

It is pretty easy to take an anonymous stand.  It is pretty easy to say some headline news story is horrible.  We can mostly be in agreement when comes to global disasters, we can all be aghast at kidnappings, human slavery, famine.  This is when we are wonderful as humans who come together for a common good cause.

But when it comes down to individual beliefs we are different.  I was talking to a friend the other day and he was on a little rant against one of the recent police/black deaths that seem to prevalent these days.  We stand on opposite sides of this.  I didn’t want to argue, I didn’t want to have separation between us.  But I couldn’t agree and feel good within myself.  So I simply said “I have to believe that in the end Love will win”.  And there we found a common ground.

I have another friend who I love dearly.  We have common beliefs but we veer away on others.  There was a post the other day I disagreed with.  I tried all day to avoid it.  But I couldn’t let it go.  For me, if I stayed quiet, then I was complicit. I had to speak up, I tried so hard to be respectful.  I was not trying to change them. But I have to be willing to stand behind my beliefs.

And that is where I strengthen my muscles.  It is in the trenches I get stronger.  I believe in being kind.  I say it, I post it.  I’m all about kindness.  What about when it is not easy?  Can I still be kind?  When I am in line at the grocers and your baby is crying and annoying me…can I still be kind?  Can I see you are tired and simply trying to get home to feed the baby.  Can I just see the humanness and be kind?  When you cut me off in traffic can I bless you instead of flipping you off?  Can I see you as distracted or hurried rather than arrogant? When you snub me in the hallway at work, can I smile anyway?  Can I know a bigger truth about you, and not see you as rude?

Those are some simple daily actions that strengthen my muscles.  Life is the classroom.  Life is where I do the work.  Life is where I put into practice all of the beliefs that develop when supported by like minded people.  So my challenges are my greatest blessings.  They show where I have growing to do. I can meditate till the cows come home, but if I am rude to someone, feel anger, or impatience then I have more work to do. If I am afraid you won’t love me if I disagree or stand up for my beliefs, I have work to do.  And I am not going to see that in my little bubble of bliss.  I have to go out in the world and flex my muscles.

So thank you world, for making me strong. Thank you challenges for letting me see where I have work to do.  Thank you humans for showing me I truly believe my talk and am willing to walk it.  Thank you like minded people for giving me a safe place to grow.  Thank you Universal Spirit for this amazingly complex classroom we call life.

Namaste

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challenges, Choice, Daily Life, Gratitude, life, Love, Today

Just For Today

Oh my gosh today is beautiful. Just for today I am setting aside my complaints, my stresses, my sorrows. Just for today I am stepping into the moment. I hear the song of the birds and the call of the dove. I see the gentle breeze flicking the bamboo. I feel the freshness of the morning air and I know I am blessed. For today, I do not worry, I do not argue within my mind. For today I accept all of God’s blessings and claim them as mine.

This was my Facebook post this morning.  And then I thought why “just for today”?  Why not everyday?  Everyday feels big to me.  Forever?  Really?  Not worry, not stress, be in a place of calmness and peace…..forever?  Wow, all kinds of resistance comes up around that.  All kinds of monkey mind starts chattering.  But what about all the things that I call challenges?  Finances, relationships, health, those are the big 3.  I can’t just let that all go can I?

Well…..just for today I can. Because it is a beautiful day out there for me to enjoy.  Why should I miss that?  What if this is my last day?  And I missed it.  What a shame that would be. I am sitting here in my little apartment with the morning air and doves are cooing. And it is beautiful.  And the day is mine.  Mine to enjoy or worry away. Mine to see the blessings or the sorrows.  Mine to feel Universal love and support or stress and fear.  I choose Love.

I know it is close to impossible to live this every day.  I am not sitting in a secluded place where only love and peace touch my world.  I live in the real world.  It is messy, it can be stressful.  There is loss, change, worry. There are many interesting challenges.  And there are people everywhere showing me all kinds of mirrors.

But today I am looking at the mirrors that show me how blessed I am.  The big mirror of beauty, of love, of peace. Just for today I am going to breathe in the beauties of life.  And maybe tomorrow also.  Because the more I practice the more easy it is for me to slip into a state of grace and ease. Mainly I simply have to remember it is there and available all the time.

Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.…….Dr. Seuss

Have a Beautiful Today

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challenges, Change, Daily Life, family, Growth, Love, Relationships, Self

Feeling Guilt and Moving Forward

“The problem with surviving was that you ended up with the ghosts of everyone you’d ever left behind riding on your shoulders.”

Paolo Bacigalupi, The Drowned Cities

Guilt…..guilt of all kinds does not feel good.  That feeling inside of us when something is wrong.  I think you have to be basically a good human to feel guilt.  We have to have the self awareness that our actions or even simply our thoughts, might have caused harm; to other humans, to our planet, to the animals, even to ourselves. So I guess guilt can be a useful tool on the road to growth and self knowledge.  It helps us see what feels right and what does not sit well.

This is what is coming up for me, Survivors Guilt.  Yes I used capitals, yes it feels big. This guilt was not brought on me by anyone but myself. And it comes out of love. I tried to talk about it in class the other night and I could not move the words out of my body,  Maybe I can write them out.

Here is the deal. my sister had a stroke last fall.  She is not really recovering well.  She is in pain every day.  Her left side is compromised and she does not have much use of her left arm and hand. Yes, she goes to therapy, yes there has been improvement, but the truth for today is that life is hard for her.  And I feel horrible.  And I don’t know how to step out of that place. She is my best friend, cradle to grave, she is my girl.

So I try to give her what she needs.  It seems what she needs most is space.  I can’t really get close to her.  I try,  I call, I ask to stop by, I invite her places.  Mostly she shuts me down.  She is in pain and all of those things make it worse.  So we text, maybe talk on the phone.  Yesterday for instance, it is a beautiful day here.  I am headed out for a walk at the lake. I text her to see if I can stop by and visit.  She says no, hard day, going back to bed.

Okay, I go ahead with my day, but there is a sadness and heaviness in my heart.  Because I am out there in this beautiful day with people, and sunshine and laughter.  I am engaging in life, I feel good.  And my sister, my best friend, is laying in bed in pain. How the fuck am I supposed to feel good?  I know it serves no purpose to feel guilty about my good day.  I know she does not want that.  But when I love someone it is hard to be joyful and happy when they are in such a difficult place.  Even though I know it is her path, not mine, I cannot separate my feelings and my humanness.  I have to figure out a way to move forward in my life, but it feels like I am leaving her behind.  And it is breaking me.

I have felt this before, when I was married.  Eight years into my marriage my husband was in a car accident.  He had head injuries.  He was never the same.  Physically he pretty much recovered but mentally there was a disconnect.  There I was, 26 years old, healthy, looking to the future and my husband was changed, damaged, and the man I had married was gone. What do you do?  Well I stayed in the marriage another 12 years until his alcoholism killed our marriage.  But honestly, the accident killed our marriage.  He felt less than the man he had been.   Finally, for myself and my son, I knew I had to survive. It was not safe or healthy for us to live in an alcoholic household. But I knew I was leaving behind someone who who had his chance for a full life stunted.  And I felt horrible guilt.  Guilt that I wanted  everything that life had to offer.  And to have that I would have to sever our relationship.  So I did. There is still, 20 years later, a wistful sadness around that.

Another time I felt this to a lesser degree was when my Mom had a terminal cancer diagnosis.  I remember a short period of thinking this should be me and not her.  But that passed pretty quickly.  I think even in my distress and craziness I realized that thought had no basis or substance.  It was a reaction to everything and my way of trying to take on her pain. To save her.  I could not save her, no one could.  I recognize those thoughts as an emotional reaction to a extreme situation.  And everything after her diagnosis happened so fast the guilt did not have any time to cling to me.

Okay so in writing this I can see my survivor guilt comes up when I truly love the person. I have friends that are fighting cancer or have other big challenges in their lives.  I feel compassion and caring.  I send love and positive thoughts their way. I don’t feel guilty. I don’t feel it should be me and not them.  I have a healthy boundary around it. But let it be my close loves and  I feel bad that I get to be whole, happy and healthy when they are suffering.  I don’t know how to fix this.  This situation with my sister is a long term process.  I want to move through it with grace and ease.  I want to help her, but also be okay with having joy in my day.  I want to understand that no one (least of all her) want or need me to suffer also. And I do know this mentally, but emotionally I am struggling .

I know her path is her own.  I know i cannot walk that for her.  I know sacrificing my joys serve no one.  So I move forward in my day and in my life.  I see my friends, I connect with family.  I talk with God. I meditate, I walk. I laugh.  I find joy, humor and love out there.  But somewhere inside of me is this little place that knows while I am out celebrating life my best girl is home, in pain and struggling.  And I feel guilty, guilty she does not have the same chance to enjoy her life like I do.

I am working through this, writing it out helps. So if you stayed with me  this long, thank you.  Life is here to teach us, we are here to grow and create.  This is a lesson on my path. Once I learn it, truly learn it, I can release it.  As with everything, baby steps.

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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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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